May 8, 2010 § Leave a comment
Photographs by Caroline Irby
7 May – 30 August 2010
Photographer Caroline Irby spent one year tracking down a child born in every country in the world, then photographed and interviewed each one.
Caroline found children from 185 of the world’s 192 nations and asked each to tell their story in their own words. The children’s unique accounts of leaving their countries of origin, their hopes for a new life in the UK and their observations of cultural differences, provide a thought-provoking and often humorous insight into the effects of globalisation.
A selection of Irby’s visually and emotionally engaging photographs will be on display alongside a series of short films the artist made for Channel 4, which features a number of interviews with the children.
V&A Museum of Childhood
Cambridge Heath Road
London E2 9PA
Tel: +44 (0)20 8983 5200
Open 10.00-17.45 Monday-Sunday (last admission 17.30) including 10.00-21.00 on the first Thursday of every month.
Caroline Irby Biography
Caroline Irby (b.1977) had her most intense photographic lesson at 18 when she worked at Magnum in Paris three months immersed in great composition and surrounded by her heroes. After graduating in French and Philosophy from Edinburgh University in 2000, she entered the world of photography. She has been published in The Sunday Times Magazine, The Guardian Magazine, The Observer Magazine, Marie Claire, and The Independent among others. Caroline also works for aid agencies including Save the Children, UNICEF and Oxfam alongside commercial assignments. Her work has received awards from the Observer Hodge, the BBC and The Commonwealth Photographic Awards and has been exhibited in the UK and internationally. Caroline was a member of Network Photographers until 2005 and is now represented by Abby Johnston.
For more information about Caroline’s work, please visit www.carolineirby.com
Text credit: Verve Photo
October 26, 2009 § Leave a comment
An exhibition of work by documentary photographers recording Britain’s state of transition and unrest between the 1960s and 1980s.
No Such Thing As Society brings together 150 photographs by photographers including Martin Parr, Keith Arnatt and Victor Burgin. The exhibition takes its name from Margaret Thatcher’s famous statement, “Society? There is no such thing. There are individual men and women and there are families.”
The exhibition includes a shot by Tish Murtha, taken in the 1980s, of teenagers in Newcastle’s West end which originally included the caption, ‘They see no real future for themselves.’
The show runs from 31 Ocotber 2009 – 07 February 2010 at the Laing Art Gallery, New Bridge Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, NE1 8AG.
Telephone: 0191 232 7734
October 17, 2009 § Leave a comment
‘Fraulein’ by Ellen von Unwerth : 23 October – 21 November 2009
Born in 1954, Ellen von Unwerth is a German photographer and director who began her career working as a fashion model before she picked up a camera.
She initially found recognition in the late 80’s when she first photographed Claudia Schiffer, Carré Otis, Eva Herzigova and Drew Barrymore for the Guess? Jeans advertorial campaign. Ever since then top journals such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, Arena, Interview, L’uomo Vogue and I-D have been clamoring to publish her striking images of models, film and music stars.
Her career as a model has given her a particularly good advantage when taking pictures – knowing how to make women look good, celebrating their femininity and creating deeply stylish and sexy images without being lascivious or objectifying.
Ellen has also been responsible for the production of several photography books (see list below) and has directed short films and music videos for the likes of Janet Jackson, Britney Spears and Duran Duran to name but a few.
“The Michael Hoppen Gallery is delighted to announce ‘Fräulein’; a show of personal favorites and never previously seen images from the last 15 years. The exhibition at Michael Hoppen will take place in collaboration with TASCHEN who will be publishing a major monograph of Ellen von Unwerth’s work, also entitled Fräulein. The text is written by Ingrid Sischy, the former editor in chief of Interview magazine and currently fashion critic at the New Yorker and a contributing editor for Vanity Fair.
Known for her casual, playful attitude on shoots, her lack of pretense is the key to why her photographs resonate – they feel warm, human and fun. Von Unwerth’s photography revels in sexual intrigue, femininity and sheer joie de vivre.
Fashion and fantasy are enthrallingly combined in a way no male photographer could dare.” MH
Ellen von Unwerth’s signed limited edition prints will be on display over two floors, celebrating female icons in a variety of poses such as Claudia Schiffer, Vanessa Paradis, Kate Moss, Carla Bruni, Natalie Portman among many others.
Ellen Von Unwerth Publications
- Snaps, 1994, (ISBN 0-944092-29-2)
- Wicked, 1999, (ISBN 3-88814-899-5)
- Couples, 1998, (ISBN 3-8238-0367-0)
- Revenge, 2003, (ISBN 1-931885-14-1)
- Omahyra & Boyd, 2005, (ISBN 2-914171-20-X)
- Plumes et Dentelles, 2005, (ISBN 2-84114-772-X)
October 11, 2009 § Leave a comment
Open See documents the experiences of people who travel from war torn, socially and economically devastated countries, to make new lives in Europe. They have left often violent, oppressive, poverty-stricken or AIDS ravaged communities, in search of stability and the promise of a better future. Originating from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, these ‘new Europeans’ have met violence and brutality as well as hope and liberation in their new homes.
Since 2003, Magnum photographer Jim Goldberg (b.1953, USA) has been photographing and collecting stories through a range of media: Polaroids, video, written text, ephemera, large and medium format photographs. The exhibition installation reflects his dynamic approach to documentary through dense displays of images, objects and text.
The Polaroids on show have often been defaced and written on by the people they portray. The words and images combine to tell intimate stories of past and present experiences. Faces and features are sometimes scratched out, coloured in, or marked in some way. Larger-scale colour photographs depicting landscapes from the subjects’ countries of origin appear both poetic and dystopic in equal measure. One image shows a young family walking along a sunlit road, while another is of a man standing on a vast rubbish tip holding a dead goat salvaged from the debris.
Part of an ongoing project by Goldberg, Open See confronts us with the realities of migration and the conditions for desiring escape.
This exhibition is presented in collaboration with Magnum Photos (www.magnumphotos.com) and runs from 15 October 2009 – 31 January 2010.
The Photographers Gallery
16-18 Ramilies Street
Telephone: 0845 262 1618
September 24, 2009 § Leave a comment
“The beloved Polaroid, in all its clunky, hands-on, hit-and-miss old-fashionedness, is a pre-digital classic that is refusing to die quietly”
Early last year, the Polaroid corporation ceased to produce its iconic film.
The 9 October 2009 sees a Polaroid exhibition called ‘Polaroid EXP.09.10.09′ opening at the Atlas Gallery and featuring all the greats…
Mary Ellen Mark
The exhibition at the Atlas gallery on Dorset Street, London W1 will see the final ‘use by’ or expiration date of the last batch of Polaroid film manufactured. A wide selection of Polaroid prints by photographers who have either worked directly with the Polaroid Corporation as part of their research program or who have become famous for the quality of their Polaroid prints either alongside or independent from their traditional camera-based work. It traces the development and use of this unique medium up to the present day.
Artist Marc Quinn writes of this experience, “What I like about Polaroids is that they are like a sculpture of a photograph. In other words, when you press the button, the Polaroid comes out of the camera, and image is transformed into an object”
Text Credit: Atlas Gallery Press release
September 23, 2009 § Leave a comment
Do you remember Polaroids? The satisfying cause-and-effect of the click followed by that sticky plastic sliver sliding out of the front of the machine; the distinctive abrupt buzz that accompanied its arrival and the grey square that morphed, as you watched, into an image, like a well-loved building looming out of thick fog. Digital photography is all very clever, of course, but you don’t hold anything in your hand at the end of the process that you didn’t at the beginning. Man cannot live by virtual reality alone, especially as ‘virtual’, lest we forget, means ‘almost’.
Now that Polaroid is defunct – the UK branch of the company in administration, the last batch of film just expired – two galleries are trying to do for the instant camera what it once did for the world: fix it in our memories. It helps that a lot of interesting artists experimented with the medium at various points, although Polaroid can be grimly unforgiving. Andy Warhol, who has pictures at both the Atlas and the Pumphouse galleries, doesn’t show well, and nor does Nobuyoshi Araki, since his trussed nudes look even seedier, if that’s possible, on this small scale.
Why is Polaroid so uncompromising? Because it’s so limited. Size can vary (Roe Etheridge’s giant ‘Popcorn Factory’ has an uneasy banality that is strikingly different from the crisp examination of the ordinary in Walker Evans’s tiny street signs) but there’s no zoom, no wide-angle. The medium, invented by Edwin H Land in 1947, was especially useless for landscape photography. Hockney’s disparaging comment about photography, that it ‘is all right if you don’t mind looking at the world from the point of view of a paralysed Cyclops’, may be grossly unfair to the genre, but it works for Polaroid.
Which is not to say that the instant camera has nothing to offer, quite the contrary. Limitations are artistic Viagra – even a paralysed Cyclops can imagine, or dream. David Bailey manages to superimpose a sharply delineated statue on the trademark Polaroid fog; Marc Quinn paints on the tiles; Bourdin somehow recreates his own world – the gorgeous, ghostly girl, the glorious background, the pervasive miasma of imminent unhappiness – in images that are formed in a finger’s click. Andre Kertesz, working just after his wife died, creates extraordinary, ineffably sad images of loneliness and vanished happiness using glass statues and an out-of-focus background that feels Parisian (despite the fact that the pictures were actually taken in New York); Michael Snow takes a mirror and sticks on it an assemblage of Polaroids so brilliantly self-referential it even incorporates the viewer’s puzzled frown, staring back from behind monochrome images of Snow taking Polaroids in a mirror.
Pumphouse has a 1972 film by Charles and Ray Eames which flags up the simple Polaroid ethos of ‘point, click, shoot’ – then offers such bewildering detail on the machine’s inner workings you’d need a science degree to understand it, and both these exhibitions also veer between the simple (Storm modelling agency casting shots and found photography annotated with tawdry, disconsolate messages of forever love) and the intensely complicated, although many of the images – Jim Goldberg’s Liberians and Bangladeshis, Lucas Samaras’s smeared self-portraits – incorporate a little of both, just as a Polaroid image combines the desire to make lasting art with the craving for the instant visual hit.
Of all the well-known artists who have played around with this beguiling, difficult format, surely the most interesting is David Hockney, whose comments about paralysed Cyclops haven’t prevented him from experimenting with all kinds of photography. Hockney has long complained that most photos can only be looked at for about the same time as it takes to create them, so in the early 1980s, he took up the challenge to get ‘lived time’ into the medium. The results, as his composite image of Nicholas Wilder demonstrates, are descended directly from Cubism.
Polaroids from artists including Richard Hamilton, Andy Warhol, Rut Blees Luxemburg, Walker Evans Nobuyoshi Araki , Guy Bourdin , Tim Braden, Roe Ethridge , Walker Evans, David Hockney, André Kertész , John Latham, Robert Mapplethorpe, Jonathan Monk, Lisa Oppenheim , Lucas Samaras , Michael Snow, Juergen Teller , Wim Wenders are on display at the Pump House Gallery starting on 6 Ocotber 2009, and coincides with the October 2009 expiry date of the last batch of Polaroid film. This exhibition runs until 13 December 2009.
Pump House Gallery
Text credit: Nina Caplan
September 20, 2009 § 1 Comment
All Images © Norman Parkinson Ltd
Legendary British fashion photographer Norman Parkinson, CBE (1913 – 1990) is being celebrated in two ways this month; firstly with the launch of a new monograph by Louise Baring entitled ‘Norman Parkinson: A Very British Glamour‘.
Published by Rizzoli in October and with contributions by Grace Coddington and Jerry Hall, this book gives a wonderful view of his career spanning over 50 years.
Then to celebrate the publication of the book, a selection of portraits from the Norman Parkinson archive will be displayed at Somerset House, London from 9 October 2009 – 31 January 2010.
Norman Parkinson or ‘Parks’ as he preferred to be called, is quite simply one of my favorite photographers who revolutionised the world of British fashion photography in the 1940’s by creating pictures that were entirely different from anything that had come before him.
Parkinson’s images were modern, often humorous and spontaneous. He was one of the first photographers to bring his models from the rigid studio environment into a far more dynamic outdoor setting. He encouraged them to move naturallyand liked his girls to be active, jump and be full of life.
It was through this vivacity and his creative use of outdoor locations, that his work became famous. He was so influential, he also ‘made’ models such as Jerry Hall, Celia Hammond, Carmen Dell’ Orefice and Wenda Rogerson, who later became not only his muse, but his wife (see image below).
It wasn’t just his impulsive and unstructured style to photography that made him stand out – his persona played a big part in his celebrity. He was always professional, had impeccable manners and charmed his subjects with his eccentricities. Since he was 6 ft 5 inches tall, he was unable to remain unobtrusive behind the lens of his camera, so he created this flamboyant personality who often wore a Kashmiri wedding hat while taking photographs, to reassure and disarm any uneasy sitters he had.
Norman Parkinson, self portraits
Norman Parkinson began his career in 1931 as an apprentice to the court photographers Speaight and Sons Ltd. In 1934 he opened his own studio together with Norman Kibblewhite specialising in portraiture. In 1935 he had his first solo exhibition that included portraits of Vivien Leigh and Noel Coward after which Parkinson was recruited by Harper’s Bazaar and The Bystander magazines to take editorial and reportage photographs.
After the war he was employed as a portrait and fashion photographer for Vogue magazine and worked for them right up until 1960 when his contract was terminated over after a dispute regarding ownership over negatives of photographs commissioned for its magazine.
He was then recruited as Associate Editor of Queen magazine (the most influential fashion and features magazine of the early 1960s), before moving to Tobago with his family in 1963 to live in tax exile. He frequently returned to London and travelled around the world to fulfill the assignments required by Queen magazine, however when his contract with them ended he began to freelance for Life Magazine and others until his death at the age of 75.
Norman Parkinson was one of the first fashion photographers to enjoy personal celebrity worldwide recognition. He was not just much-loved with the fashion pack, but was also admired and adored by the British Royal family.
He took the first official photographs of Prince Charles at his investiture as Prince of Wales. A favourite of Princess Anne, he photographed her on her horse in Windsor Great Park, and took official portraits for her 19th and 21st birthday’s as well as the official engagement and wedding portraits of her and Captain Mark Phillips.
He also took portraits for Queen Mothers 75th and 80th birthday’s, including the ‘Blue Trinity’ portrait of the Queen, the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret.
Part of Parkinson’s success, is that he reinvented himself for each of the seven decades of his career, continually dazzling the world with his sparkling inventiveness as a photographer.
This timely book, ‘Norman Parkinson: A Very British Glamour‘ illustrates his unrivalled portfolio containing photographs of many of the greatest icons of the twentieth century as well as some of the world’s most beautiful women. Shining through his work is Parkinson’s inimitable wit and style, and his unique eye for glamour and beauty.
September 13, 2009 § 1 Comment
Renowned Fine Art Photographer Shows at the Air/Atlas Gallery, 32 Dover street, London
Nick Brandt began his career as a music-video director and was working on Michael Jackson’s ‘Earth’ video in the mid 90’s when he fell in love with the African landscape. A few years later, he embarked on a zealous quest to photograph the animals of East Africa, afraid that he was running out of time to capture their beauty amongst the natural landscape.
Brandt freely admits that his images are romanticised, showing a kind of idyllic Africa, but he doesn’t like to photograph nature’s more brutal side – he points out that photographs of this kind of thing don’t fit within the aesthetic sensibility of his work.
I haven’t quite decided what to make of Nick Brandt’s photographs. A couple of his pieces currently on show at the Air/Atlas Gallery are really quite stunning, however others remind me of modern day Athena poster-type prints.
I can’t quite figure out whether it is the fact that his photographs are digitally printed on a textured cotton rag Hahnemuhle paper that lets the work down – (I know that more and more people are beginning to accept the digitally outputted print, but I am not sure if this does the work any favours) or Brandt’s excessive use of Photoshop to enhance his images.
In Brandt’s defence, I know that he has previously spent years trying to find a printer that could produce his photographs with the right tonalities and that he has never found anything that worked for him, hence him turning to modern printing technology to aid with the colour process. Also, Nicks’ background is in painting, so it’s no surprise that he uses Photoshop, however even though he says he is careful to maintain the integrity of the negative, I feel that a little less manipulation of the original shot, may work better for him.
Despite my reservations, Brandt’s photographs have received acclaim from publications such as Time magazine, and he has had major exhibitions worldwide from Berlin to Los Angeles.
Putting all that aside though, Nick Brandt’s work is very different to other wildlife photographers in that he photographs wild animals as if he were photographing people – close up portraits capturing them in their state of ‘being’ as opposed to ‘action’ and combining this with sweeping landscapes which stir the emotions of the viewer in powerful ways.
Nick also only shoots on 120 mm film (because of the detail in a negative of this size) with the aid of a Pentax 67 II camera. He works using an unusual technique in that he does not use a telephoto lens saying, “You wouldn’t photograph a person from one hundred feet away with a telephoto lens and expect to capture their personality. I feel the same way about photographing animals.”
He also likes shooting under cloud cover, whereas most photographers prefer sunlight. “It perhaps sounds a little strange to choose to photograph in cloudy weather”, he says, “but the flat light makes the shape of the animal cleaner, more graphic, more iconic. There are no heavy shadows and blown-out highlights to obscure, to complicate the shape of the animal.”
Hopefully the images in his show will enlighten people as to these animals threatened existence. Nick has organised a special evening at the gallery on September 16, from 6.30 – 8.30 pm, where guests can meet him and buy signed copies of the book at a reduced price of £50.
The Air/Atlas Gallery will donate £35 for each book sold to Tusk, the wildlife charity (www.tusk.org) Entry is free.
An exhibition of his works and signed copies of the limited edition book can be viewed from September 8 to October 3 2009 at the Air/Atlas Gallery, 32 Dover Street, London W1S 4NE (www.atlasgallery.com).
September 12, 2009 § Leave a comment
I believe the Michael Hoppen Gallery is probably the best photography gallery in London, always showcasing interesting work from a wide range of photographers. The staff are polite, professional and extremely helpful – particularly in print sales.
This month, be the first to see an exhibition of new works by six artists from Saatchi artists online, opening in London tomorrow.
Working from their own photographs – found or made – the artists have spun the images into unique and unusual works of art.
The collaboration between Michael Hoppen Contemporary and Saatchi online features the work of artists Maurizzo Anzeri, Gabriele Beveridge, David Birkin, RobinCracknell, Hannah Dakin and Dong Yoon Kim.
‘Starting with a Photograph’ shows until 12 October 2009.