May 05, 2017

Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up - 5th May, 2017

This week on Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up – part two of the Head On Photo Festival features my interview with Markus Klinko about his Bowie Unseen exhibition, plus a sneak peek at exhibitions by Rennie Ellis (Kings Cross 1970-1971), Younes Mohammad (In the Name of Religion) and Stephen Dupont (The Australians).

Special Feature:
Head On Photo Festival - Part Two

On Saturday 6th May the annual Head On Photo Festival will officially kick off in Sydney with the announcement of this year's Head On Photo Festival Awards winners. The Festival features an eclectic array of photography exhibitions spanning all genres plus special events. Many of the featured exhibitions are showing in and around Paddington and the CBD making it easy to gorge on this visual feast. Check out the Festival's website for daily happenings.

Don't forget to register for the debate with photographers from around the globe, and moderated by myself, on the question "Does photojournalism facilitate or counteract 'fake news'? Click here to register. It's free! This Sunday 7.30pm, Beauchamp Hotel, 265-267 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst.

A reminder of some of last week's top picks:

Juli Balla

Dina Litovsky

Maggie Steber

If you missed Head On Photo Festival feature part one, you can see more images here.

Bowie Unseen - Markus Klinko 
by Alison Stieven-Taylor
(First published in the Australian Financial Review Weekend)

“When Iman came to the studio to choose the photograph for the cover of her book I Am Iman, she brought her husband with her, which was a great surprise,” says Swiss-born photographer Markus Klinko recalling his first encounter with David Bowie back in 2001.

At the time Klinko, who had been a notable international harp soloist before an injury cut short his career, was trying to break into the highly competitive field of celebrity photography. Working out of a small studio in New York, he says he was blown away when the musician walked in. “He was every bit as charismatic and extraordinary as one can imagine, but really kind and lovely to talk to”.

Impressed with the photographs of his model wife, Bowie suggested that Klinko work with him on the cover for his album Heathen. “That was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had…David was so collaborative. He came with a lot of ideas, but was also interested in my thoughts”.

“Iman and David opened a lot of doors,” says Klinko who has since photographed a procession of contemporary musicians from Beyonce and Lady Gaga to Kanye West and Mariah Carey. He’s also an A-list photographer for celebrities including Kate Winslet, Will Smith and Eva Mendes. 

Now based in Los Angeles, Klinko is in Sydney for the debut of his exhibition Bowie Unseen, one of the headline shows for this year’s Head On Photo Festival. The show features 22 images of Bowie along with two of Iman, which were shot for the cover of Vanity Fair on the model’s 60th birthday. The images of Iman were taken with his photographic partner, Koala, who has also curated the show.

Bowie Unseen includes photographs from the Heathen shoot as well as a series of complex composite images used in the 2002 GQ Men of the Year issue. In these photographs Bowie is pictured holding wild wolves on a leash. Or is he? In fact these images are a combination of two shoots, as Klinko explains.

“GQ wanted to feature David on the cover, but he wasn’t available. I had this idea of David with these wild wolves and talked it through with him. I told David I could extract elements from the Heathen shoot and combine them. He was intrigued and trusted me. When he saw the photographs he loved them, joking that he’d never have to do another photo shoot!” 

(C) All images Markus Klinko

Klinko hired a “very brave” model to act as a body double. The wolves were smuggled into his Soho studio, as it was illegal at the time to have wild animals in the city. The wolves’ trainer kept them placated with raw meat treats, while Klinko set up. “It was an adventure,” laughs Klinko adding that while he was nervous about having these enormous creatures in his studio, he wasn’t scared. “It was intense, but I wasn’t shaking like I was when I was working with Janet Jackson and had two wild black panthers in the studio!” 

Until 3 June
Blender Gallery
16 Elizabeth St 


More exhibitions to add to your 'must see' list (there's a black and white thing going on):

Kings Cross 1970-1971: Rennie Ellis

Head On Photo Festival, Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive, and Mossgreen Gallery present this series of images by one of Australia’s most iconic photographers, the late Rennie Ellis (1940 – 2003).

This exhibition features photographs taken by Ellis over the summer of 1970-1971 in Sydney’s notorious red light district of Kings Cross, where Aussie rock, social protest and the freedom of youth rubbed against the underbelly of the city. Ellis’ images unmask the subculture of the Cross, as it is known locally, in all its out-there glory capturing a place that Ellis said “has a pulse rate and a lifestyle unlike anywhere else in Australia”.

(C) All images Rennie Ellis Archive

Until 2 June
36-40 Queen Street,

Younes Mohammad
In the Name of Religion

Kurdish freelance photographer Younes Mohammad presents a series of images capturing the devastation of wars made in the name of religion. Younes took up photography in 2011 and since that time his work has been shown in more than 50 exhibitions and published by AP, Getty Images, CNN, The Guardian and the Daily Mail amongst others. 

(C) Younes Mohammad

Venue: Lower Town Hall - Sydney

Out of town:
Stephen Dupont - The Australians

(C) All images Stephen Dupont

One of the world's most awarded photojournalists, Australian Stephen Dupont presents images from his ongoing series The Australians in which he focuses his camera on local artists and community figures from Wollongong and its surrounding regions (south of Sydney). This exhibition is part of Ambush Gallery’s Here There & Everywhere program and is being held in Wollongong.

Venue: The Gateway Building
Wollongong Central
200 Crown Street

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