June 02, 2017

Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up - 2nd June, 2017

This week Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up is live from Auckland for the 14th annual Auckland Festival of Photography.

Coming in to land (C) Alison Stieven-Taylor

Special feature:
Auckland Festival of Photography

(C) Rona Ngahuia Osborne & Dan Mace
Until 16 July Corban Estate Arts Centre, Henderson

I arrived in Auckland yesterday for the opening night of the 14th annual Auckland Festival of Photography. The main event was at Silo 6, which is an amazing venue that is literally inside a disused silo down on the wharf. Remembering my past experience, I rugged up against the antipodean winter, made even colder by being inside a concrete silo! The wine flowed and the great turn out filled the silo with a heartwarming buzz. What a treat to view such extraordinary work curated by Bangladeshi photojournalist and activist Shahidul Alam on this year's festival theme of Identity.

Shahidul Alam pictured with work by Shahria Sharmin. This is my favourite in the Identity show Shahidul curated. This series "Call Me Heena" tells a very intimate story of the Hijras, people who identify as third gender. Helena (pictured) befriended Shahria and invited her to document her life and that of her community. Shahria, a Bangladeshi photographer who came second in the Alexia Foundation Student Grant category 2014, says this body of work is an "attempt to show the beauty in Hijras' lives" and breakdown prejudices and misperceptions.  
(C) Alison Stieven-Taylor

Also on show at Silo 6 is the work from this year's festival commission winner Janet Lilo. Really extraordinary and a definite must see on your exhibition list. Festival Director Julia Durkin is pictured below with part of one of Janet's pieces.

Festival Director Julia Durkin (C) Alison Stieven-Taylor

Looking around the venue, for a moment I thought I was in Australia, there were so many familiar faces! Moshe Rosenzveig from Head On was there along with the festival's general manager Anita Schwartz and team member Stephen. Photographer and poet Judith Crispin (pictured below) was also there, which blew me away given I'd just finished reviewing her book on the flight over! Ingetje Tadros (from Broome) was there also minus her luggage, including her books. Her work is on show as part of the Identity projections series and she was a speaker at Photobook Friday at the Auckland Central Library. Luckily her books arrived in time! Jim and Sue Dooley were also in attendance. They're from New York, but we're claiming them as our own as they've been to Australia numerous times and we had a great catch up in Melbourne last week.

Opening night at Silo 6 (above). Festival Director Julia Durkin (left) needed a stool to see above the crowd. (C) Alison Stieven-Taylor

Alexia Foundation's Jim Dooley and Shahidul Alam (C) Alison Stieven-Taylor

Australian photographer and poet Judith Crispin (C) Alison Stieven-Taylor

Sue and Jim Dooley (C) Alison Stieven-Taylor

One of the highlights of the evening was meeting Mayumi Suzuki whose handmade book The Restoration Will is exquisite in its use of beautiful Japanese papers, found images, textures, and hidden folds. The haunting story behind the book, the loss of her parents in Tōhoku in the 2011 tsunami, makes the work even more extraordinary and incredibly brave.  

Mayumi Suzuki (C) Alison Stieven-Taylor

Friday heralded a clean, crisp morning. A few showers and patches of blue. I felt right at home, the weather not dissimilar to Melbourne. By the end of the day it was raining so heavily I thought I was in the tropics, minus the warmth!

In the afternoon Jim Dooley, of the Alexia Foundation and I were guests of radio personality Wallace Chapman. We pre-recorded an interview about the challenges and opportunities facing photojournalism and social documentary photography, which airs this Sunday on Chapman's show (Radio NZ 7am-midday). What fun! I love talking about photojournalism and being able to engage with Jim, who is a font of knowledge, and Wallace who was an entertaining host, gave me an ideal opportunity to indulge in one of my favourite subjects.

Friday afternoon I sat down with Shahidul Alam to catch up with his news - last time we spoke was at Head On Photo Festival in 2014 when I interviewed him about his work Crossfire. Look out for my review on the Auckland Festival of Photography in Pro Photo magazine where my interview with Shahidul will feature in part. I'll also post the full interview here in the coming weeks.

To wrap up today's post, here are a selection of random photographs from various exhibitions. I'm looking forward to seeing more over the weekend and encourage Aucklanders to get out and see as much of this amazing festival as you can. At the opening night one of the city councillors spoke (can't recall his name as when politicians usually talk I zone out). But this speech was engaging and heartfelt and clearly demonstrated the City of Auckland's commitment to the festival, which is great to see.

Real Pictures: Imaging XX 
Until 30 June
Gus Fisher Gallery
74 Shortland Street,
Auckland City

(C) Jenny Tomlin 

(C) Sue Gee

(C) Deborah Smith

Dreaming in the Anthropocene
Trish Clark Gallery
1 Bowen Avenue
13 June - 28 July

(C) Chris Corson-Scott

(C) Chris Corson-Scott

(C) Chris Corson-Scott

Studio 541
541 Mount Eden Road
Until 12 June

(C) Dan Kerins

(C) Dan Kerins

(C) Dan Kerins

Ghost South Road
Nathan Homestead Gallery
70 Hill Road
Until 25 June

(C) Paul Janman, Ian Powell and Scott Hamilton

(C) Paul Janman, Ian Powell and Scott Hamilton

(C) Paul Janman, Ian Powell and Scott Hamilton

Auckland Festival of Photography
Until 24 June

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