Archive for category Events

More Cuts In The Arts?

As my last post attests, I’m a big fan of initiative and achieving great ideas, even when resources are limited.

Third Floor Gallery is one such Great Idea. Since February 2010, they’ve been producing some brilliant photography exhibitions showcasing a range of talent. And they’ve done it without ACE (arts council – UK government) funding.

Last spring, Joni Karanka from the gallery came up to Open Eye Gallery to talk about Third Floor’s work. Open Eye started out, just like Third Floor, as a grassroots organisation founded by dedicated photography fans who just want to share great work. That was in the 1970s. Open Eye are due this week to re-open in a new space on Liverpool’s Waterfront, and is considered a key photography gallery internationally, as well as a key cultural body within Liverpool. Joni is now cutting his hair in a bid to raise money to keep Third Floor Gallery open and brilliant.

So, I’m supporting Third Floor Gallery, by offering to also cut off 5 (or more) inches of my curly girly hair to raise money to cover running costs for the Gallery. And I’m asking anyone who has appreciated ST84Photo Blog to consider donating to this cause.

Here’s the relevant link, and it only takes you a moment to donate!

All money raised goes direct to Third Floor Gallery.

When it comes to ACE funded organisations, we asked the government to stop the cuts. Third Floor aren’t ACE funded at all so, for them, we’re asking you to give some money to start the cuts (hair only) and keep them going!

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Architecture of Conflict

Today, ST84Photo Blog is in sunny Bradford, for the Architecture of Conflict seminar being held at the National Media Museum.

As you can see from the seminar programme I’ve added below, there are some great speakers lined up. I’ve also pre-blogged this entry, so it’s probably also grim and raining, and not sunny at all. Which makes the (presumably) scintillating debate a welcome distraction from my shivering. Or something like that.

Depending on how it is going, I might currently be taking some notes on what is being discussed to post up here when I return to Liverpool.

Maybe.

11.00 – 11.15
Introduction by Brigitte Lardinois, Deputy Director photography and the Archive Research Centre, University of the Arts London

11.15 – 12.15
Donovan Wylie, Photographer
Introduction to show + In Conversation with Greg Hobson, Curator of Photographs

12.15 – 13.15
Lunch and opportunity for delegates to see show

13.15 – 13.45
Hilary Roberts, Head Curator Photograph Archive Imperial War Museum
Cecil Beaton’s use of structure and form in his work as a Ministry of Information official photographer during the Second World War.

13.45 – 14.15
Melanie Friend, Photographer
Melanie will be talking about her new project, The Home Front, which focuses on the marketing of war and the relationship between militarism and leisure.

14.15 – 14.45
Paul Lowe, Course Director, MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography, London College of Communication
Paul will discuss how his work as a photographer in Bosnia and Palestine has explored the spatial and geographic aspects of conflict zones that much news photography ignores.

14.45 – 15.00
Break

15.00 – 15.30
Richard Daniels, Senior Archivist/Assistant Manager, University of the Arts London Archives and Special Collections Centre
Using material from the Stanley Kubrick Archive Richard will explore how Kubrick created Vietnam in an abandoned industrial estate in East London.

15.30 – 16.00
Jennifer Pollard, Senior Lecturer, History & Theory of Photojournalism & Documentary Photography, London College of Communication
The fallen ‘twin towers’ as central symbols within the photojournalistic convention of substituting bodies with buildings (or ‘cityscapes of flesh’) in the reportage of urban catastrophe.

16.00 – 16.30
Stephen Graham, Professor of Cities and Society, Newcastle University
Cities Under Siege: The New Military Urbanism Cities have become the new battleground of our increasingly urban world. From the slums of the global South to the wealthy financial centers of the West, this talk will trace how political violence now operates through the sites, spaces, infrastructures and symbols of the world’s rapidly expanding metropolitan areas.

16.30 – 17.00
Plenary

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Photo Conference: Architecture of Conflict

Will drop in links later, but I just got sent info on this and it looks like a seriously interesting conference. I’m hoping to go, will I see you there?

In collaboration with the London College of Communication the Architecture of Conflict seminar day will explore how photography has engaged with the militarisation of urban spaces. By bringing together practitioners, academics, and critics, the conference will examine how visual artists have depicted the often violent interaction between warfare and cities.

The Architecture of Conflict Conference and the Media and Conflict Interchange are both part of our Conflict Season, which will focus on the wider debate surrounding the representation of conflict in the visual arts and film.

Conference Programme

11.00 – 11.15
Introduction by Brigitte Lardinois, Deputy Director photography and the Archive Research Centre, University of the Arts London

11.15 – 12.15
Donovan Wylie, Photographer
Introduction to show + In Conversation with Greg Hobson, Curator of Photographs

12.15 – 13.15
Lunch and opportunity for delegates to see show

13.15 – 13.45
Hilary Roberts, Head Curator Photograph Archive Imperial War Museum
Cecil Beaton’s use of structure and form in his work as a Ministry of Information official photographer during the Second World War.

13.45 – 14.15
Melanie Friend, Photographer
Melanie will be speaking about her work which focuses on air shows and the militarisation of beaches and daily life.

14.15 – 14.45
Paul Lowe, Course Director, MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography, London College of Communication
Paul will discuss how his work as a photographer in Bosnia and Palestine has explored the spatial and geographic aspects of conflict zones that much news photography ignores.

14.45 – 15.00
Break

15.00 – 15.30
Richard Daniels, Senior Archivist/Assistant Manager, University of the Arts London Archives and Special Collections Centre
Using material from the Stanley Kubrick Archive Richard will explore how Kubrick created Vietnam in an abandoned industrial estate in East London.

15.30 – 16.00
Jennifer Pollard, Senior Lecturer, History & Theory of Photojournalism & Documentary Photography, London College of Communication
The fallen ‘twin towers’ as central symbols within the photojournalistic convention of substituting bodies with buildings (or ‘cityscapes of flesh’) in the reportage of urban catastrophe.

16.00 – 16.30
Stephen Graham, Professor of Cities and Society, Newcastle University
Cities Under Siege: The New Military Urbanism Cities have become the new battleground of our increasingly urban world. From the slums of the global South to the wealthy financial centers of the West, this talk will trace how political violence now operates through the sites, spaces, infrastructures and symbols of the world’s rapidly expanding metropolitan areas.

16.30 – 17.00
Plenary

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LDN Street Photography Festival Print Auction

The London Street Photography Festival was a massive success in its first year, this summer. With a range of work that included images by members of in-Public, Mimi Mollica, George Georgiou, Vivian Maier, and many others, it was a real delight to walk around Camden and take in the inspiration.

To help pay the costs of organising this festival, the Festival Team have organised an auction of prints featured in the festival. A great opportunity to see some of this work again, and to take some of it home with you.

From the London Street Photography Festival Team:

FESTIVAL FUNDRAISING AUCTION
Please join us for the final event of LSPF 2011…

Festival Fundraising Auction
24 August 2011, German Gymnasium

Help us raise funds to ensure the festival is here next year. Enjoy a night of entertainment and fun and have the opportunity to bid on prints from the festival, photographic experiences and much more! Tickets: £20 (includes food, drinks and raffle ticket)

You can find more information about this auction here.

If you want to buy tickets straight away, you can do so here.

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Seconds2Real Photo Exhib Liverpool

Just got in from hanging the prints by Austrian/German Street Photography Collective, Seconds2Real.

Big shout out to Sam, owner of Bold Street Coffee for welcoming this exhibition to his space, and big shout out to Ceri from Open Eye Gallery who kindly helped with the hanging. Appreciated, guys! 😀

This exhibition of Seconds2Real Street Photography Collective prints is at Bold Street Coffee until mid-July, check it out over a coffee while you can!

Seconds2Real are an Austrian/German collective.

Bold Street Coffee Opening Times:
Mon-Sat 9am-6pm
Sun 10am-5pm

And now, for the photos…

Seconds2RealInstall-8

Seconds2RealInstall-6

Seconds2RealInstall-5

Seconds2RealInstall-2

Seconds2RealInstall-3

Seconds2RealInstall

Seconds2RealInstall-7

Seconds2RealInstall-4

(That’s me, doing some hanging. Those are my “techy clothes” and baggy for grooving to the photo goodness while being all techy and stuff:

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Collateral Damage Part III

Panos Pictures have shared this video discussing the agency’s history and the changes in documentary photographer and photojournalism over the last few decades.

Harry Hardie who co-curated Collateral Damage with Paul Lowe (LCC) is a key contributor the discussion in the Panos video, as is Mishka Henner who exhibited in the Collateral Damage show.

This is a brief side-note to the conclusion of my review of Collateral Damage, which will be posted later today (and that’s a promise!), but the video is worth 25 minutes of your time and is an excellent way to augment the material ST84Photo has been discussing in this review.

Part I and Part II are also worth reading and chock full of links to the relevant sources.

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Collateral Damage Part II (Paul Lowe & Harry Hardie)

You can read Part I here.

After a quick coffee and lunch, we reconvened at Novas CUC for the afternoon of the LCC seminar: talks by Paul Lowe (LCC), Mishka Henner, and Dr. Jennifer PollardDr. jennifer Pollard (LCC), and a roundtable discussion that also included John Davies.

This “talks and discussion” session was scheduled to be broadcast as a live webinar, with input from a global audience. But this wasn’t to be. I believe the politically astute term for this scenario may well be “technical glitch”. I also believe the politically not very astute gesture for this may well be a faux-shock gaping mouth and a finger pointing directly at the LCC MA Course Director. Hi Paul. Got my MA application, yet? Just checking.

To be fair, it was more that the venue had a very weak wifi signal, a fact known to ex-musical heathens like myself, from days spent practicing in the adjoining rehearsal rooms of Elevator Studios. But I was surprised that neither the venue nor the Look11 team seemed to have sought a workaround for this event, or to inform the LCC of this issue. I’m not sure who really dropped the ball here, but it was a fairly rookie mistake from someone or, more likely, several.

Lowe’s talk could be described as a Rough Guide to Conflict Photography History. I mean no insult there; as a relative newcomer to looking at conflict photography beyond the pages and webpages of the broadsheets, it was a very useful introduction to the debate, and I culled much in the way of notes for future reference.

Lowe’s argument was essentially that rather than there being a supposedly fairly recent trend of making a different form of conflict photography in response to photojournalistic efforts, photographers had been doing this all along. It wasn’t something that started with Paul Seawright and contemporaries (see here for more), but rather has it’s roots as early as the days of Stanley Green, who was experimenting at the start of the 20th Century with this notion of alternative story-telling, using metaphor and allegory to photograph the unphotographable (to quote that threadbare phrase).

He elaborates that while an increasing number of photojournalists are taking cues from the fine art world in how they make and present their work, we ought not to pass over the icons of classic photojournalims, like Green and Robert Capa, who frequently did find alternative ways to document what they witnessed.

That said, he noted that photojournalism trails behind fine art practice in adopting new techniques and methods of portrayal, leading me to question both why this is, and whether it will continue as the distribution media for classic photojournalism continues to weaken and new channels of distribution are created and experimented with. It seems to me that experimentation and reiterative processes are key to fostering creativity, and with a distribution media either in collapse or in flux (depending on the strength of view you take regarding the rise of the mount olympus of social media), the time is ripe for some truly innovative work to be produced. I think we may have yet to see that work be made, but I do wonder if, how, and when it might happen.

He also shared a few variations on The Capa Quote™ (note: quote must be uttered with defiant tone) “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.”

Joel Sternfeld: If your pictures aren’t good enough, then you’re too close.

Todd Pappageorge: If your pictures aren’t good enough, then you’re not reading enough.

This sums up a move away from the literal into the metaphoric, a move perhaps most strongly demonstrated in the work of Paul Seawright, Simon Norfolk, and in Broomberg and Chanarin’s The Day Nobody Died (links in Part I of this review).

To conclude his talk, Lowe argued that instead of judging this style of work based on individual pieces or even individual photographers, we would be better off viewing it as a collective narrative that provides a sustained and complex response to the too-frequently seen classic photojournalistic images of conflict that blinds us emotionally by saturation of imagery to the reality of the situation they set out so earnestly to depict. As Lowe said later, “the problem isn’t in the presence of certain kinds of images [classic photojournalism] but in the absence of certain other kinds of images [the more allegorical and metaphorical style discussed in his talk].” Conflicts, and their effects, run too deep for a solely surface appearance of them to suffice in documenting their true nature.

Edit – struggling to find the relevant links for the rest of this post and must dash for work. Shall finish up later tonight.

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Seconds2Real Exhibition Exclusive Preview

seconds2real
Seconds2Real European Street Photography Collective are exhibiting work at Bold Street Coffee, Liverpool, from 15th June until 13th July, 2011.

To celebrate the exhibition, ST84Photo blog will be bringing you exclusive interviews and images with the photographers running throughout the exhibition. ST84Photo will also be documenting the installation and opening of the exhibition, to give those of you who can’t make it in person a taste of the brilliant atmosphere and images on display.

To get the ball rolling, this post would like to introduce the cast of exhibiting photographers:

Kay von Aspern – Vienna
Elisabeth Schuh – Vienna
Guido Steenkamp – Berlin
Thorsten Strasas – Berlin
Natalie Opocensky – Vienna
Alexander Magedler – Vienna
Heiko Menze – Vienna
Mario Cuic – Munich
Christian Reister – Berlin
Andreas Stelter – Minden

Locations were the images were made are:
Bratislava
Istanbul
Budapest
Berlin
Hamburg
Vienna
Munich
Tokyo
Firenze
Pitigliano

The time frame the images were made during is:
2002-2011

Interviews will be coming to ST84Photo blog soon, so watch this space!
Update: Interviews with the Seconds2Real photographers will start appearing on ST84Photo from Thursday 16th June, 2011, so watch this space!

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Landscapes of Conflict – Part I

A couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate to be invited by Paul Lowe to attend a one-day seminar for LCC students at Liverpool’s CUC.

Why Liverpool for a London University event? Well, Paul Lowe and Harry Hardie have curated the group show, Collateral Damage for Look11. The show features conflict photography and seeks to offer a refreshingly different perspective to the repetition of ‘stock’ compositions that are heavily featured in photojournalism new pieces.

The show runs Tues-Sun, until 26th June 2011. Check it out while you can – my personal opinion is that it is one of the strongest exhibitions in the Look11 festival, and the curatorial aspects of the show really enhance the selection of images by contrasting the approaches of different photographers and positioning them so the different perspectives play off each other very strongly.

The day began with a tour of the show, and some time spent visiting some of the other Look11 exhibitions; some of the Lightbox work and the John Davies/Donovan Wylie Signs of War exhibition at Milk and Sugar. This was followed after lunch by talks from Paul Lowe (LCC), photographer Mishka Henner, and Dr. Jennifer Pollard (LCC), and a roundtable discussion that also included John Davies.

Collateral Damage features work by Simon Norfolk, Tim Hetherington, Zijah Gafic, Paul Lowe, Edmund Clark, Lisa Barnard, Ashley Gilbertson, Adam Broomberg and Olivier Chanarin, Brett Van Ort, Mishka Henner.

The exhibition is largely laid out across three ‘corridors’ where images from two photographers face each other. Brett Van Ort and Edmund Clark are paired together, both works dealing with “what exists but can’t be seen” – Brett’s work shows beautiful looking landscapes in frames which open to reveal coldly photographed product photography of the mines hidden in the landscape, while Edmund Clark’s work comprises photographs of letters sent to inmates at Guantanamo Bay. The photographs are of scanned copies of the letters, with text blacked out, as prisoners never received the actual letters themselves but the scanned copies. The photographs are the more poignant for this fact – the sense of distance the viewer feels is akin in kind to the detachment the inmate has from the actual letter sent, and often sent by a family member. Both works allude to dislocation between beauty hinted at (or proclaimed, in Brett’s work) and the dangers that aren’t at first apparent to the viewer, but ever present for those living in these spaces.

The next ‘corridor’ features work by Tim Hetherington (whose tragic death this blog wrote about here ) and by Lisa Barnard. A perhaps unintended consequence of this pairing is that, in light of Tim’s recent death in Libya, and the attendant discussion in the media and photojournalism forums of the psychological effects of warfare on both those who participate in it and those who document it, Lisa’s images depicting the psychological training and treatment of American troops takes on a further potency than it otherwise might have had. Tim’s work featured in this exhibition is early work, examining the graffiti in post-conflict zones, pointing to the territorial nature of disputes. These ghostly echoes of the causes and basis of war are powerful, both for their similarity in appearance to the markings left in all urban spaces, and for the link with Lisa’s work, namely that marks of war live on after the war has ended, both physically and psychologically. It makes the viewer question where the end of a war actually is.

The final corridor pairs Paul Lowe’s images of the wall separating Israel and Palestine, and Mishka Henner’s aerial google views of American military bases around the world (his 51 states). Each offering unique perspectives on the divisions of architecture, symbolic of the divisions between nation-states, these images carry a hypnotic weight through repetition of content and framing. There is a pervading sense here, as in other work featured in Collateral Damage, that this could be anywhere, and the absence of stereotypical or easy markers for locating the spaces depicted adds to the force of interrogation the viewer faces – by refusing to show whose backyard this is, it becomes everyone’s backyard. Interesting, then, that Lowe and Hardie feature Ashley Gilbertson’s Bedrooms of the Fallen along the side wall, printed in large-scale panoramic format (a powerful counter-point to the comparatively tiny panoramics of Lowe’s Wall), depicting bedrooms of American soldiers. Instigated after Ashley was working on assignment and witnessed the death of a soldier who had taken him to the top of a mosque for picture opportunities, the work is laden with emotional cues and is reminiscent of the Rimbaud poem, The Sideboard and Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology (see also Gibson, Affordances, 1971) – objects are never merely objects but always exist in relation to us. In this case, the artefacts of youth where life has ended, there is an unsettling feeling created by looking at a bedroom that will never be slept in again. The relationships of attachment, entertainment, and utility that these objects once had in relation to their owners are now broken, and instead the whole room becomes a shrine for the family remembering their loss.

Next to Ashley’s work, and on the opposite wall, creating a pair crossing the walls of Van Ort and Clark, are two images by Simon Norfolk, from Full Spectrum Dominance: Missiles, Rockets, Satellites in America. Like Van Ort and Clark, there is a notion here of what can’t be seen – the missiles are created and transported in top secrecy, and the satellites are fired into space, where they can’t be seen, only their effects are tangible. Here, Norfolk photographs the single brief moment when they are visible, and spectacularly so, during their launch. That these two images are the only clear signs of the “shock and awe” of warfare in the exhibition reminds us of the link between the quieter images presented by the other photographers and the newspaper images we are all saturated with, but Norfolk does it in a conceptually intriguing manner; the viewer is reminded of the childhood (or childish? maybe) interest in war games for their spectacle, for the fireworks we celebrate with every November, for the sheer sense of display.

In all, Lowe and Hardie ought to be commended for producing an exhibition that explores a wide range of different dimensions to the effects of war, on the military involved, the people stuck in war zones, and the families of those lost in the name of supposedly noble causes. Henner’s work also shows how the military machine is everywhere, and inescapable in terms of distancing oneself geographically (and, by extension emotionally), the from the debate. The work presented is quiet but insistent in it’s interrogation of the viewer, and manages to ask questions without polemicising strongly one way or another. A fantastic exhibition, and extremely well delivered.

You can read Part II of this review here, where I get into the talks and discussions in the afternoon session of this event.

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Nps 3 – Saturday Review Part II

The Saturday Sessions of NPS 3 were too much to squeeze in to one blog post, without doing a real disservice to all the wonderful speakers so, here it comes….Part II.

I’m the Community Manager for The Street Photography Now Project being run via Flickr by The Photographers’ Gallery. It’s a year-long mass-participation project on a global scale.

When I was invited to speak at Format Festival, I had wanted to make it clear that as big a fan of Social Media as I am, simply using it because it is popular is pointless. The faddish nature of wanting to use “the latest web platform” often overtakes clear thinking about how to use it effectively. What excited me about he Street Photography Now Project was precisely the fact that it couldn’t be duplicated without Social Media tools without incurring a massive cost. We have 52 photographers offering feedback over the course of a year, and participants from every continent. And the whole thing is free for people participating. That’s pretty damn special, if I may say so. It’s what had me say “I’m in” when it came to running it for a year.

I wanted to find other web-and-photo projects with a similar thought behind them. I’d say web-based, but these projects rarely are; they’re web-facilitated, if anything. And I found an amazing one (which we highlighted in our presentation) in The 4am Project. I’d googled and found it, and I’ve been telling everyone about it ever since. So, imagine my delight to walk into a small lecture space, only to have Mike England kindly introduce me to Karen Strunks, the amazing lady behind the 4am Project. I had no idea who had set this project up, and even less idea that it had come from just down the road in Birmingham (okay, motorway, let’s not quibble though…).

Her 15-minute talk covered the growth of her project, from its organic beginnings with her happening to be out late one night and finding the change in public space photographically and emotionally intriguing, to going out with her camera and photographing in the small hours, uploading the images and receiving other peoples’ late night images in response, to setting up the website and organising 4am Events for people across the globe to participate in.

In a time where arts organisations are increasingly under pressure to demonstrate their value to the wider community in their work, people like Karen really ought to be applauded for organising a novel idea, executing it in a relatively low-cost manner (using Twitter and Facebook as key advertising tools), and genuinely engaging with the power of todays communications devices to create a project that fosters a sense of community without borders.

I was amazed to learn that the 4am Events that had already occurred included people who went out on prearranged photo-walks without even taking a camera, just to be part of it. Those who go out alone do so knowing there are other people out there doing the same thing at the same time. And Karen has taken it to a new level in her home town of Birmingham by (somehow – and I want your ninja secrets here) getting permission to building and sites normally closed at this hour – Birmingham New Street station was opened, as was the Library, and the New Art Gallery. At 4am. For people to take photographs. Given the popularity of complaints that photographers are being prevented from photographing in public places (complaints that are, at times, extremely valid), this project deserves to be known by every person who ever picks up a camera and photographs in a public place.

At this point, hunger pangs really did overtake me, and I had to duck out for food. But the Bluecoat did an admirable job with a barbecue (inside, due to the rain), and people got to chatting away, catching up with old friends, and meeting new ones.

Edmund Clark
Photographer, Edmund Clark enjoying a bottle of wine with Karen Newman and Adam Lee at The Bluecoat.

This was followed by casual drinks at local cocktail bar par excellence, Santa Chupitos. TNT was the popular choice, and it proved a nice way to wind down from a photography-packed day.

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