May 27, 2016

Friday Round Up - 27th May, 2016

Exclusive to Photojournalism Now: 
This week legendary photojournalist Tim Page returns to Photojournalism Now with "Afghanistan from the Air" a series of unpublished photographs accompanied by a story written by Tim about his time in that country.

In exclusive monthly installations, Tim will showcase images from his vast archive and share his experiences with Photojournalism Now's readers.

This is a fantastic opportunity for Tim to publish work that is beyond the scope of conflict photojournalism, the genre in which he made his name.

I'm delighted to be able to feature these images and excited about the installations to come.

Tim's archive is amazing.

Just wait and see!

Alison Stieven-Taylor
May 2016

Special Feature:

Words and Pictures: Tim Page

Afghanistan is a brutal place, the landscape as rugged as the folk that live on a land that is only 12% arable.

It is the collision and collusion of east and west and its mountains, the Hindu Kush rise up across its entirety.

In between are sparse bits of green clinging to riversides in gorges or dusty plains.

Now and then a broad lush valley appears between ranges where war has ravaged much of the countryside over the last 40 years.

This magical land is difficult to see from its beauteous aspect, you are obliged to see devastation and dislocation, the results of a series of massive wars that have reached this frontier twixt east and west.

Where Alexander and Buddhism coursed the same valleys.

Diverse is a desultory word.

After a couple of months at the UN mission in Kabul teaching 6 young Afghan photographers, I had got to know the mission brass who invited me along on their weekly inspection trips to far flung places out of reach on dodgy roads.

District and provincial capitals that few folk visited much less were able to photograph.

The Chief of Mission had his own MI 18 on permanent stand by.

Both crew and chopper were vintage the Soviet war of the 80’s, both having the vibe of being fuelled on vodka.

At least they knew this desolate land.

You had to presume the antique patched white painted former war bird was airworthy.

Luckily, there usually were no more than 10 of us, so lots of room for fuel.

Even so we stopped off to top up in Bamiyan, Kandahar and points in between.

How this 40-year-old lump of obsolete technology was able to claw its way up to 5,000 metres I do not know.

We crossed mountain saddles at 4k, below a landscape akin to the moon. 

Landing out or auto-rotating would have been fatal.

Neither crew or UN personnel seemed to give it a second thought.

After a bit I got locked into the door seat with the best piece of plexiglass in the bird.

Every vista could be composed into a frame, beyond the abstract, a dreamscape of colour and geomorphology.

Impossible pastiches fluttered into view and receded.

Mountains so old and full of resources, they looked as though they were rusting.

The horizon was jagged, some of it snow capped; the higher we climbed you could see to Kyrgyzstan, almost Pakistan.

Ethereal and beyond captivating.

I couldn’t wait for future expeditions to shoot through the winter and the spring.


Then the Taliban assaulted a U.N. guesthouse killing 8 people (5 UN staff members, 2 Afghan security personnel, 1 Afghan civilian - 3 attackers also died) and thereby curtailing all the feel good in-country missions, including the mentoring programmes.

My gig was up.

I will remember the beauty of this remarkable place through these images.

The people are a separate homage - another essay.

May 20, 2016

Friday Round Up - 20th May, 2016

This week on Friday Round Up a preview to the 2016 Auckland Festival of Photography, which runs 2-24 June plus a look at the second edition of Photo London which is on this weekend. But first a photo essay on refugees from Central America.

Photo Essay:
Joseph Sorrentino - Walking to America

Currently featured on Social Documentary Network is this insightful and at times harrowing photo essay by Joseph Sorrentino who has been documenting Central American migrants travelling through Mexico since 2012. When he began this project Sorrentino says, "the vast majority rode the cargo trains known as La Bestia: The Beast. Despite facing a horrific journey—it’s estimated that 80% of refugees were attacked, 60% of women raped, people are killed falling off trains—virtually every train had hundreds of people clinging to it." 

On returning to Mexico in 2015 Sorrentino discovered the trains virtually empty. "Police, immigration agents and even army units are now preventing people from riding La Bestia, sometimes using brutal methods. These include pulling people off trains with long hooks, using Tasers and even shooting refugees. People are taking even more dangerous routes and literally walking to America". This is the refugee crisis no one is talking about says Sorrentino. 

(C) All photos Joseph Sorrentino

Festival: Preview
Auckland Festival of Photography

"Shame" Russ Flatt

This annual festival in the magic habour city of Auckland on New Zealand's north island goes from strength to strength. This year more than 100 exhibitions and events provide visitors with an expansive programme that features both local and international artists working across photographic genres.

The 2016 theme is HOME, which Auckland Festival of Photography's (AFP) public participation director Julia Durkin says, "is a rich and complex one to explore. In Auckland we are having to grapple with regional growth, fading dreams of home ownership, migrant hopes and expectations, and refugees searching for new identity. These elements all feed into the ‘conversation’ that this year’s HOME content provides audiences”.

AFP's Signature series of exhibitions showcases 25 New Zealand-based photographers. There are also 18 Talking Culture events with presentations from leading experts from India, China, New Zealand, Singapore, USA and Australia. 

"AFP has become the most significant visual arts event in the New Zealand winter calendar...and includes but goes beyond the major galleries, involving Auckland-based photographers in its extensive fringe programme of 44 exhibitions. AFP is also building a unique archive of the region thanks to the popular appeal of AFP’s annual Nikon Auckland Photo Day competition."

New works by this year's recipient of AFP's Annual Commission by Sacred Hill, Russ Flatt, will also be premiered on opening night at Silo6 in Wynyard Quarter along with an international line up, selected by New York-based curator Simone Douglas: USA-based artist collaborative Lin +Lam, and Australia-based Shan Turner-Carrol, Shoufay Derz and Eva Marosy-Weide as well as Anna Carey, Ian Strange and Sean Lowry.
Here's a peek at what's on show. For more information on the festival visit the AFP website. To find out more about each exhibition below click on the relevant link.

Ian Strange - HOME

Arthur Ou - HOME


Laurence Aberhart - Celebrating Wood

Kate van der Drift - Eventual Efflorescence

Sim Chi Yin - The Rat Tribe

Talking Cultures Series

Wen Huang PhD, Chair of Jury 2014 and co-founder China International Press Photo

Europe refugees - Sergey Ponomarev - Russia - Picture of the Year CHIPP 2016 Freelance/The New York Times

Photo London

The second edition of Photo London opened yesterday and is on until Sunday. L'Oeil de la Photographie previewed the Fair and you can read the full story here. But for now, here are some of the visual highlights.

Sheep going to slaughter, early morning near the Caledonian Road, London 1965, Don McCullin courtesy of Hamiltons Gallery

Manchester, 1967 by Shirley Baker, courtesy The Photographers’ Gallery London

From the series Imprisoned Women (1991-1993) by Adriana LesVdo, courtesy Rolf Art Buenos Aries

David Bowie and Kate Moss 2005 by Ellen von Unwerth, courtesy Camera Work Berlin

By Night, Shining Wool and Towering Heel, Evelyn Tripp, New York by Lillian Bassman  
Ori Gersht. Floating World, Lost World, Courtesy Ben Brown Fine Art

Giles, The Pharmacy. Courtesy Eleven Fine Art
Handstand on Michel, 1948 by Jurgen Schadeberg, Blanca Berlin, Madrid

May 13, 2016

Friday Round Up - 13th May, 2016

This week on Friday Round Up a photo essay by Italian photographer Pierpaolo Mittica, a new book that documents the history of the Greek milk bars in Australia, Sandro Miller's amazing Homage: Malkovich and the Masters opens in New York, and some interesting weekend reading. Don't forget if you're in Sydney Head On Photo Festival is on until 22nd May. You can read my Head On Diary for L'Oeil de la Photographie here.

Photo Essay:
Pierpaolo Mittica - Living Toxic

The 13,000 odd residents of Karabash, a remote Russian copper mining town about 160km north of Kazakhstan, live in a polluted environment that Italian photographer Pierpaolo Mittica describes as “post-apocalyptic”. Mittica photographed Karabash for his ongoing series Living Toxic which he began in 2013. Living Toxic documents some of the world’s most environmentally damaged towns. Here the stench from the copper smelting plant makes the air virtually unbreathable, the river is poisoned and a huge black slag heap runs for about 1.5km through the town.

(C) All images Pierpaolo Mittica

Greek Cafes & Milk Bars of Australia

In the 1940s Greek milk bars started springing up around Australia, becoming focal points for regional towns where entertainment options were limited. This wonderful new book Greek Cafes & Milk Bars of Australia features hundred of photographs, stories and even old sample menus. It’s a great addition to Australia’s rich migrant history. How bland our world would have been without immigration. To find out more or buy the book click here

Exhibition: New York
Sandro Miller - Homage: Malkovich and the Masters 

Andres Serrano / Piss Christ (C) Sandro Miller

Dorothea Lange/ Migrant Mother (C) Sandro Miller

Herb Ritts/Jack Nicholson The Joker (C) Sandro Miller

Coinciding with the release of the book, which I'll be reviewing in the coming weeks, Chicago photographer Sandro Miller's Homage: Malkovich and the Masters opened last night in New York. I interviewed Sandro when he was in Australia last year for Head On Photo Festival and since then I've written a number of stories on his work. He's collaborated with John Malkovich for more than two decades and this body of work is nothing short of extraordinary - he and Mallkovich have painstakingly recreated some of the most iconic images of the 20th Century. Sandro is one of the most generous and talented photographers I've had the pleasure to interview and his work with Malkovich will be exhibited far and wide this year - from New York it goes to Amsterdam and then onto Russia. If you're in New York check it out. I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

Until 1 July