April 2012 Archives
April 26, 2012
Already an award-winning photographer of contemporary Afghanistan, Simon Norfolk returned this time to follow the footsteps of a relatively unknown Irish war photographer, John Burke, who had documented the Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878-1880). An immensely engaging book presents the works of both photographers, as well as compelling essays that offer context to this subtle and complex work.
This work is also currently on exhibit at the Tate Modern in London, and it won a World Press Photo Award, too. It is highly unusual for a single body of work to be lauded by both the fine art world and praised by the toughest critics in documentary photojournalism.
See 20 photographs, and read more about the book, here in Lens Culture.
April 25, 2012
Image courtesy George and Betty Woodman, and Contrasto Books.
A new book — Francesca Woodman, The Roman years: between flesh and film — intimately (and academically) explores two particularly creative years during Francesca Woodman's tragically short life. See more images, and read the book review in Lens Culture.
April 24, 2012
Photography books are sometimes a near-perfect art form — establishing a lasting, shared connection between author and reader. So, in this case, after spending a long thoughtful time entranced by Léonie Hampton's book In the Shadow of Things (a very personal book about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), I felt at first compelled to respond in the form of a poem, rather than a traditional prose review of a photobook:
blurry, flared with blinding light
dark details hidden in shadows
especially peculiar these that made the cut
these to be placed and bound so
in a volume, each mostly
floating adrift tenuous connections
an archipelago hinting at some mystery
glances stolen in quick moments
(except for those dozen or so asterisks*)
precise, precious, detailed
invasive elusive allusive
a damaged mind seeking its own way
to the bottom of
the troubles’ swirling source
manic, a plan to pin down these bits
like bugs or flowers in a box or book
before a new order is imposed
rational, organic, determined, willful
from this decades-old disorder
worlds of words and letters and singular rules
and manners scrambled in a lost code
a fight for power and control
it’s not normal, it’s not conventional
but yes it is, just different, clearly avoiding
the flaws and illogic of those other so-called
the silence of the photos
by the precisely preserved verbal transcriptions
tucked into organized columns of text at the end,
a flow that has itself been shuffled to mirror some
how many thousand were left out
not scraps drifting about on the cutting room floor
but bundled preciously, labelled, and put into boxes
almost all of time’s tedious march
indexed and preserved
never again to see the light of day
By the way, you can find the conventional book review here in Lens Culture, as well.
April 23, 2012
White South African teens wrestle with an uncertain identity. An extreme right-wing group is teaching young Afrikaners to eschew Nelson Mandela's vision of a multicultural rainbow nation. The fringe group Kommandokorps organizes camps during school holidays where Afrikaner teenagers learn self-defense and how to combat a perceived black enemy. The group’s leader, self-proclaimed ‘Colonel’ Franz Jooste, served with the South African Defence Force under the old apartheid regime. The teenagers are taught (brainwashed might be a more accurate term) that they are their own people — not South Africans but Afrikaners — and that they shouldn't integrate in the new democratic South Africa.
This disturbing multimedia production about the racist, right-wing organization was awarded 1st Prize in Multimedia by World Press Photo. The story was made by Dutch journalist/videographer Elles van Gelder & Dutch photojournalist Ilvy Njiokiktjien in conjunction with their production company froginatent.com.
In many ways, this multimedia approach (artfully blending video, still photography, sound, interviews, investigative journalism, and compelling story-telling) is the ideal way to raise public awareness of these atrocities. In fact, it stirred up so much controversy in South Africa, that the racist leader depicted in this piece went into hiding and changed his physical appearance out of fear. It's also interesting to note that this is the very first multimedia production put together by this young team. We're eager to see more from them in the future.
April 17, 2012
© Massoud Hossaini of Agence France-Presse
Tarana Akbari, 12, screams in fear moments after a suicide bomber detonated a bomb in a crowd at the Abul Fazel Shrine in Kabul on December 06, 2011. 'When I could stand up, I saw that everybody was around me on the ground, really bloody. I was really, really scared,' said the Tarana, whose name means 'melody' in English. Out of 17 women and children from her family who went to a riverside shrine in Kabul that day to mark the Shiite holy day of Ashura, seven died including her seven-year-old brother Shoaib. More than 70 people lost their lives in all, and at least nine other members of Tarana's family were wounded. The blast has prompted fears that Afghanistan could see the sort of sectarian violence that has pitched Shiite against Sunni Muslims in Iraq and Pakistan. The attack was the deadliest strike on the capital in three years. President Hamid Karzai said this was the first time insurgents had struck on such an important religious day. The Taliban condemned the attack, which some official viewed as sectarian. On the same day, a second bomber attacked in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif. Karzai said on December 11 that a total of 80 people were killed in both attacks. Published December 7, 2011.
April 16, 2012
While Chinese government video camera surveillance continues, surrounding Weiwei's home 24/7, he is forbidden to broadcast from his own "surveillance" cameras he set up inside his own home.
The artist and dissident Weiwei writes that despite powerful government controls, harassment and censorship of the media (even Google backed out of China under pressure), that:
“The Internet is uncontrollable. And if the Internet is uncontrollable, freedom will win. It’s as simple as that.”
April 5, 2012
Since its inception in August 2011, FOLi or Museo de la Fotografía Lima has undertaken several initiatives in support and promotion of contemporary photography in South America, especially bridging the gap between photographers and their audience.
In a low-cost, experimental approach at the first Photography Biennale of Lima, FOLi launched a new community project: FOLiLAB.
Four shipping containers – placed in the iconic Kennedy Park in the Miraflores district – provide a unique platform to introduce contemporary photography to a broader public. The four containers offer different spaces and ways of approaching photography – each box reveals a personalized identity, with different functionalities. It's cool.