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Tuesday, 21 November 2017

10 Years of the Blog: The Best Post!

E* from sohrab hura on Vimeo.

On 14th December, this blog will have been going for 10 years. There have been over 1,600 posts, 2 million pageviews and thousands of pictures and words, some of which really mean a lot.

So to commemorate the 10 year anniversary of the blog, in the run up to the 14th December, I'm going to celebrate by regurgitating some of the old posts.

And I'll do it in list form. So:

  • Best post
  • Most read post
  • Most nonsensical post
  • Best books
  • Best photography event
  • Best exhibition
  • Best project
  • Best talk
and so on.

Lots of bests. It doesn't mean they are the best, it simply means they are called the best. Which is almost the same!

Anyway, the best post?

That's really easy. It's this interview from 2015 (I know the pictures won't load) with Sohrab Hura. It starts

'I've always wondered about what new photography is happening in India but never really knew quite how dynamic Indian photography is until I asked Sohrab Hura (Magnum member and author of the truly fantastic Life is Elsewhere) about it. Sohrab is helping to run the Delhi Photo-Festival - which takes place at the beginning of November and doubles up with Photo Kathmandu if you're thinking of an India/Nepal Photo-Festival double-header. 

I asked Sohrab a few questions about the festivals and Indian photography and this is what he said. It's long but it's worth it - especially for the links and the searches that take you into new and undiscovered places (by me at least).'

.... and continues like this.

What are the difficulties Indian photography faces?

I think in the last few years the internet has given many of the photographers a certain independence that had not really existed before, But despite the proliferation of this new found freedom, the photo scene in India remains quite scattered unlike say for example in Bangladesh where a lot of the current photography is specific to the students and alumni of two institutions i.e. Pathshala and Counterfoto. Personally speaking, this is not a problem for me but it does make a difference if someone from outside was to look for work in a specific country/region/space. 

There is also a certain degree of expectation, from outside, of what Indian Photography should be or should not be and I’m sure the same exists across other mediums and other similar non-occidental regions as well.
As in every field and every place, it is a little more difficult for women here too.  There is a huge part of photography that may require one to be out and about quite a lot and given the lack of safety for women it is at times not easy for photographers who happen to be women.  

Add to it competing with male egos, trying to do what you want to do while dealing with other social pressures, dealing with unwanted and unsolicited advances by men, sometimes from within photography itself and finally there existing this underlying current that far from acknowledges any of these obstacles. It’s not the easiest world out there and kudos to the photographers who happen to be women and who’ve pulled through.

All of which was very innocent and understated, but which touched a major nerve and caused something of a shitstorm and led to this post on Sexual Harrassment in Photography, which led to direct complaints in India against somebody called Manik Katyal, which led to him launching a lawsuit against just about everybody (including me), which subsequently led to criminal charges being filed against Katyal. All of which is ongoing. And if somebody would like to tell me what is happening with it now, please do.

It was a major pain and expensive, but so nice to actually see women in India putting their money where their mouth is and standing up for their rights and fighting a major-league shit!

That's why it's the best post.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Thanks for the Memories

Thank you to Diane Smythe for a lovely piece on All Quiet on the Home Front in BJP online

“Nothing that can prepare you for the shock of becoming a parent; you kind of lose yourself,” he says. “It drives you insane. But then you gain a new identity, only for that  to die too, when you realise they have their own lives to lead. Then you have to have another rebirth. I don’t think it’s always that comfortable. Sometimes you wish things were different. You wish your children away at times. You always wish them back.”
The book is part of a group of family-based works Pantall is working on, which include a German family album from the 1930s (Pantall’s mother is German), and Sofa Portraits, which pictures Isabel watching television on the same coffee-coloured settee, variously wide-eyed and somnolent.
In the piece it mentions the place I used to work at. Actually, it's officially my last day tomorrow, so I'll take this opportunity to thank everybody I worked with there, but in particular the students. I'll really miss you. You were an inspiration. Keep on making noise, get yours and others voices heard and keep on making great images. I'll look forward to seeing you in the outside world. And thank you for the summer leaving card. It makes a difference. 

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Paris Photo

These are a  fair few things that I liked at Paris Photo. First of all, these sewn collages by Anne Magret. When I was walking by these, a kid saw them, gasped, ran to his mum and said "Mum, this is scary!"

And so it is!

The first thing I saw when I walked in the Grand Palais was a picture of Yukio Mishima by Eikoh Hosoe. This is from Ordeal by Roses and Mishima is looking well-hard, but there was a lot of Hosoe around the Grand Palais. And big. And I would have bought it if circumstances were three zeroes different.

Antonio Lopez's grids were stunning and fun.

Macron was there, but even better was accidentally running into Mathieu Asselin shaking hands with his friend The Minister of Culture and Minister of Work with Sam Stourdze in attendance. 

The most beautiful presentation award, by popular acclaim, goes to this shelf of Masao Yamamoto. Presented in glass, they were both delicate but also organic. The photograph as object really comes alive. Done wrong it could go a bit IKEA. And it will go a bit IKEA with some people, but here it was special. 

The mass of images and the apparent randomness of what is shown in some booths can be overwhelming at times. It was hard to settle at times. So it was really beautiful to see the East Wing Gallery showing just one set of prints: Astres Noirs by Katrin Koenning and Sarker Protick. This was an almost meditative space amidst the madness and though I missed Sarker, it was really lovely to finally meet Katrin. 

Kazuma Obara's new book 30, published by Editorial RM (sorry I can't find the link). I've got the original handmade book which is a thing of beauty and what Editorial RM have done to reproduce it is quite amazing, as it was with Silent Histories.

The emphasis on the material of the image continued throughout the hall with pictures presented above mounts, with edges, and a certain roughness showing. There was supremely subtle framing of smaller images, and then you got those where the process was central to what was on display The photogravures by Susan Derges were very special with glorious greys and pages almost resting on the mount.

And lastly there was this by Boris Ignatov. Just fabulous.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

All Quiet on the Home Front Thank You!

All Quiet on the Home Front arrived a week ago and now it is out in the world so it’s time for a thank you to all the people who helped me make this work and publish this book.

First and foremost thank you to Alejandro Acin for your brilliance, vision and patience in editing, planning and producing this book. Thank you to Alessia Glaviano, Awoiska van der Molen, Susan Bright and Timothy Archibald for your beautiful words, your intelligence, your inspiration, and for your help with everything. 

Thank you also to Paul Gaffney, Dragana Jurisic, Jesse Alexander, Jon Tonks, Rocco Venezia, Laura El-Tantawy, Amak Mahmoodian, Lua Ribeira, Tom Groves, Emilie Lauwers, Andrea Copetti and Tito Mouraz for your advice and input on the work. To Lina Pallota, Melissa Carnemolla, Teresa Bellina and Simone Sapienza thank you for Gazebook Sicily, and for much more besides. And thank you to my parents for your help and support over the years.

Thank you to all the subscribers who pre-ordered this book and made its publication possible. Paul Fox, Gabriela Cendoya, Brian Steptoe, Eva-Maria Kunz, Barry Miller, Rania Matar, Adrian Campbell-Howard, Kazuhiko Sato, Jesse Alexander, Geneva Brinton, Martin Amis (PhotobookStore), Alberto Martinez, Melissa Carnemolla, and Harry Rose.

And a big thank you to Sam Hardie for making the brilliant films!

Finally thank you so much to my beloved wife, Katherine, without whom I couldn’t have made this work and be the father I am. And of course Isabel, thank you for those shared times spent outside and for simply being the person you are.

In Paris thank you to everybody for the conversation, the photography, the moments, and for buying the book. Thank you Tipi Bookshop and Polycopies for hosting the launch, for drinks, chats and loveliness, thank you Sian Davey, Abbie Trayler-Smith, Mimi Mollica, Catherine Balet, Ethna Rose, Lewis Bush, Simon Bainbridge, Giuseppe Iannello, Asya Zhetvina, Seba Bruno, Clementine Schneidermann, Natasha, Mathieu Asselin, Katrin Koening, Armand Quetsch, Stephanie Wynne, Laurent Chardon, Jon Tonks, Derek Man, Rob Hoesel, Natasha Christia, Nicolo de Giorgis, Kazuma Obara, Sebastian Hau, Chiara Oggioni Tieppelo, Sam Harris, Priscilla Stanley, Vincent Sassu, Madina, Vanessa, and Claude Lemaire. And if I've forgotten anyone, thank you too.

Finally thank you Eamonn Doyle and Flora for a great last evening complete with the history of Ireland, Zinedine Zidane, and a bunch of French kids jumping around to Champagne Supernova. Thank you to the guy with the harmonica. I’m so sorry for getting angry with you but I don’t care how good the eggs are, I’m not walking three miles across Paris in the pissing 7am rain. 

Thank you to the guy in the wheelchair for the Fox Terrier picture and the performance of his sidecar years, and thank you Anita and Jessica for Chez Denise and a night spent re-enacting the Seventh Seal on the streets of Paris. Just shows you can have fun without the Black Death! It was fabulous!  

And thank you Paris! 

Thursday, 9 November 2017

All Quiet on the Home Front: On the Way to Paris!

All Quiet on the Home Front arrived at the offices of ICVL on Tuesday so it's been a busy time of unpacking, signing and packing in preparation for the launch in Paris on Saturday (at 6pm on the Polycopies boat.

Alex and I are delighted with the book. It looks and feels and smells great, the culmination of a long, long process, and the beginning of another. All Quiet is the first part in a quartet of works that look at domestic life and the family space from  domestic (12 Grosvenor Place) , physcial (Sofa Portraits), environmental (All Quiet on the Home Front)l and historical (My German Family Album) points of view.

All Quiet on the Home Front is the environmental point of view. It's also my point of view, the story of how I became a father, how I developed my relationship with Isabel through the landscape. I've been telling the story of the ideas behind the book both on the BJP instagram account (@bjp1854) and on this blog.

So you can read about paternal ambivalencethe gendering of the landscape and representation of girls in the landscape, space, place and landscape, fatherhood, narrative, domestic spaces, and more besides.

We are driving down to Paris tomorrow and will be launching the book at the Tipi stand on the Polycopies boat at 6pm on Saturday 11th November. I'll sign your book for you and draw a picture too if you like!  I'm really looking forward to saying hello to people and getting the book out into the big, wide world at last.

If you're not going to Paris, you can buy a copy here. There are still a few special editions left, which come complete with the handmade, lino-printed boxes and a limited edition print. They are gorgeous.

See you in Paris!

Monday, 6 November 2017

All Quiet on the Home Front Linocuts

It's been a riot of paper, ink and lino this last week.

At home Isabel has been making prints that will be for sale starting at the launch of All Quiet on the Home Front on the Polycopies boat (aka Atlantique-Concord) next Saturday 11th November.

And at the hotbed of creativity that is the ICVL studio, Alejandro Acin and I were printing the boxes for the Subscriber's Edition! There's not many of these left.

Buy All Quiet on the Home Front here.