July 01, 2016

Friday Round Up - 1st July, 2016

This week it's all about Les Rencontres D'Arles the largest photography festival in the world.

The 47th edition and the second under director Sam Stourdzé opens on 4th July with the central theme of photographers as storytellers.

That might be stating the obvious, but the art of storytelling is complex and in this image-saturated world it may be the key factor in defining the critical difference between professional photographers' work and the photography of the masses.

The 2016 programme presents exhibitions organised under key headings: Street Photography Revisited, Western Stories, Monsters & Co., Africa Pop, Platforms of the Visible New Approaches to Documentary Photography; After War; I Am Writing To You From a Far Off Country; Rereading Photography in a Different Light: Singular (Quirky Collections); Outside the Frame; and Emergences. There is also an associated programme, book awards, workshops and more.

As eclectic as the programme so is my selection. Feast your eyes on works by Alexandre Guirkinger, Bernard Plossu, Eamonn Doyle, Ethan Levitas, Garry Winogrand, Don McCullin, Yan Morvan, Piero Martinello, PJ Harvey and Seamus-Murphy, Sid Grossman and more. Enjoy!

AFTER WAR:
Alexandre Guirkinger 


MAGINOT LINE - "Burrows are fascinating because usually only the outline or threshold is known; the rest is left to the imagination. On a symbolic level, the same is true for the Maginot Line: everybody has heard of it but few can describe it. Its name resonates like a receptacle for fantasies. Their shapes have a symbolic dimension. Through my images, I wanted to share my fascination with this extraordinary relic of an already old modernity. The shape, location or outline of the bunkers I chose to photograph leads the image to become something more than the material record of a border: a kind of science fiction movie set, a trace of land art, modernist architecture, a contemporary geoglyph or something else that captures the imagination. The gap between the abundance of the line’s relics and the lack of contemporary representations offers an exciting playground to question our relationship to the landscape, borders and limits." Alexandre Guirkinger 

Yan Morvan


Battlefields - "Yan Morvan’s impression that media coverage of conflicts no longer boils down to anything more than infotainment and the mass consumption of images prompted him to orientate his work in a different direction and portray the image and reality of war more thoughtfully. In the spring of 2004, he travelled around the world with his tripod and Deardorff 20x25cm in search of places that have made history for 3500 years. Do they still recount the past? Mr. Morvan’s working conditions may not be the same as a photojournalist’s, but he actually continues photographing war through its absence. This exhibition, which features 80 pictures, provides us with a thought-provoking glimpse of history."  Marco Zappone

Don McCullin


"Don McCullin is known primarily as one of the most highly regarded conflict photographers of the late twentieth century, having produced some of the most iconic and defining images of wars in Vietnam, Cyprus, Beirut and Biafra. The exhibition of his work at the Rencontres d’Arles 2016 brings together, for the first time, the wealth and depth of his photographic practice beyond the limits of conflict, exploring his long standing practice as a documentary and landscape photographer. Even outside the frame of war, McCullin’s work reflects some of the most pressing social issues of our time, always portrayed using a photographic language of great beauty and subtlety. Perhaps his greatest talent, however, has been his ability to capture a diversity of subjects from a consistent standpoint. From his local surroundings in London, to foreign conflicts and tragedies, or returning to the peaceful landscape of the Somerset levels, there is a universal way in which McCullin reveals the world around us." Simon Baker and Shoair Mavlian

WESTERN COLORS:
Bernard Plossu



"Bernard Plossu’s last official visit to Arles was for a 1987 group show of work by photographers using the Fresson process. At the age of 71, Western Colors is his first solo exhibition. Rewind: in 1966, Plossu arrived in San Francisco. The 21-year-old longhaired beatnik had a deep desire to experience and live in the American West that had captured his imagination. He was more excited about the Indians than the cowboys. In his eyes, they symbolise revolt, freedom, space and nature—a lost paradise to which he kept returning on hikes or car trips in Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and California until 1985, when he definitively returned to France. Armed with a Nikkormat with a single 50-mm lens, Plossu shot his own colour Western. The shots are still, soft and empathically and enthusiastically framed. Plossu is in his element. He not only captures his dreams but breathes life into them. He shows nothing. He is not a reporter. He constructs no series nor pursues any theme. He breathes, photographs, walks, photographs, drives, photographs. Westerns forever!" Stéphane Brasca

Street Photography:
Eamonn Doyle


"End. seeks out the driving forces of both photographer and subject in an exhibition that brings together three bodies of work—i, ON and End.—exploring the local streets of Doyle’s native Dublin. Though apparently the concluding work of a trilogy, End. actively opens up the heart of the whole. i presents unknowable street figures enveloped entirely in the interior landscape of their location. ON’s black & white giants convulse across their own image, bracing the hard Dublin light. End. as a sequence of events revealing a city whose concrete is as plastic as the movement of its inhabitants. Created as both installation and publication, End. is a collaborative work by Eamonn Doyle, Niall Sweeney and David Donohoe. Built around the photographs of Doyle, it also features drawing and sound by Sweeney and Donohoe." Niall Sweeney

Ethan Levitas and Garry Winogrand
(C) Ethan Levitas

(C) Garry Winogrand

Radical Relation - "Pairing the pioneering and complementary oeuvres of Ethan Levitas and Garry Winogrand, this exhibition re-examines the street photography through its own language and terms in order to situate it properly within the open field of contemporary art practice. Hailed by John Szarkowski as the central photographer of his generation, Winogrand’s contribution to street photography is widely acknowledged, if only partly understood. An inheritor of Winogrand’s unfinished legacy, Levitas has, over the past decade, developed and extended the practice of street photography by defining it as a relation of parts—the sum of which discloses a dissonance between visibility and appearance. What does it mean to look? Can meaning be created through the act of looking? Among Levitas’s bodies of work, we can more clearly comprehend the significance of Winogrand’s endeavor, and see a fulfillment of its promise." Joshua Chuang

Sid Grossman


From Document to Revelation - "Sid Grossman is an important but long-overlooked figure in modern American photography. Before his death in 1955, at the age of 42, he created a powerful and influential body of work. Grossman began as a social-documentary photographer and helped found the New York Photo League in 1936. In the spirit of the League’s left-leaning politics, he photographed in the working-class neighborhoods of Chelsea and Harlem until the mid-1940s, when Grossman’s vision became more personal and subjective. Radical in its day, this work exemplified the expressionistic energy of the ‘New York School’ of the 1950s. In 1949, the FBI blacklisted Grossman as a communist ‘ subversive’. This exhibition is the most comprehensive look at Grossman’s artistic achievement and influence in at least 35 years, and his first exhibit in Europe. It includes rare vintage prints from the Grossman estate and from noted public and private collections, as well as works by his leading students. " Keith F. Davis

Platforms of the Visible 
New Approaches to Documentary Photography
Piero Martinello




Radicalia - "Radical’ is something ‘acting in depth; concerning an issue beginning with its essential principles’, according to Salvatore Battaglia’s definition in the Grande dizionario della lingua italiana. With this as his starting point, photographer Piero Martinello travelled around Italy in search of women and men who—each in their own way and for different reasons—have embraced radical choices and lifestyles. Fools, ravers, criminals, devouts and cloistered nuns: Martinello’s subjects come to life in a series of portraits in which the photographic medium appears at times in its pure form, at others grafted in items of vernacular iconography (passport pictures, holy pictures, mug shots). Everything comes together in a concept album where the face becomes a prism through which to investigate the human need to undertake extreme and unconventional life paths."

Other Exhibitions:

PJ Harvey and Seamus Murphy


Swinging Bamako


Phenomena Realities Extraterrestres


Lady Liberty


Les Rencontres d'Arles runs 4 July to 25 September.