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20/07/2015 13:43 26/06/2015 12:47
From Black Pages of an Iranian Photo Album © Newsha Tavakolian See page 25
Magnum’s newest nominees | Visa pour l’Image 2015 | Unseen Photo Fair returns | Julia Margaret Cameron at the V&A
Callum Wilson | Louise Cooper | Lam Pok Yin Jeff & Chong Ng | Jade Tickle | Julian Mährlein | Melissa Arras | Becca Sidhu
Newsha Tavakolian, one of six photographers recently nominated as a member of Magnum Photos,
conveys the personal stories of her generation growing up in Tehran post the revolution of 1979. Tom Seymour finds out about the context and ideas behind her work, Blank Pages of an Iranian Photo Album
James Ellroy’s latest book, LAPD ’53, is a tightly curated selection of 1953 crime scene photos from the Los Angeles Police Museum archive. Austin Collings interviews the crime fiction writer about his interpretation of LA then and now
The San Francisco Bay Area has always been a restless, inventive centre of photography. A re-evaluation of the work of some of the Bay’s lesser-known names of the 1970s and ’80s is shedding renewed light on this West Coast hub. Stephen McLaren visits three local artists to find out more about this ‘golden era’ of photography Leica Summilux-M 28mm. See page 68
World Press Photo’s new MD, Lars Boering | Belfast Exposed
Sony A7 II and A7R | Rollei hipjib | Leica Summilux-M 28mm f/1.4 | Phase One’s Capture One Pro 8.3 | Adobe Lightroom | Voigtländer 10.5mm f/0.95 MFT Nokton
In Photocaptionist, V&A’s Bronwen Colquhoun responds to a photo of a mirror circa 1700 alongside an extract from A Man in a Landscape
Visa pour l’Image Perpignan’s world-class photojournalism festival returns this summer for its 27th edition. Gemma Padley reports Visa pour l’Image is back with more than 20 exhibitions, many of them focusing on issues in Africa. Somalia by Mohamed Abdiwahab documents life in a country plagued by bombs and gang violence, for example, while Daniel Berehulak’s images
explore the impact of the ebola virus in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Berehulak worked in the region for four months, shooting on assignment for The New York Times. Marcus Bleasdale is showing images from the Central African Republic, where he worked from October 2013 to February 2015, documenting for Human Rights Watch and National Geographic the ongoing conflict between government forces and rebel gangs. Edouard Elias will be showing work on French soldiers in the same region, a series that won him the Ville de Perpignan Rémi
Ochlik Award for ‘best young reporter’, as chosen by a group of international picture editors. Diana Zeyneb Alhindawi will be showing The Minova Rape Trials, work shot in the Democratic Republic of Congo and which won the 2015 Humanitarian Visa d’or Award – International Committee of the Red Cross. Beyond Africa, the festival is showing several intimate, personal projects. In Cancer Family, Ongoing Nancy Borowick follows her parents as they undergo treatment for stage-four cancer, exploring love and life on the edge of death; Teenage
Mothers is a series that documents teen mothers in France, which won Viviane Dalles the 2014 Canon Female Photojournalist Award. Other notable exhibitions include Magnum photographer Eli Reed’s first career retrospective, A Long Walk Home, which spans five decades’ worth of work and highlights social and economic realities in the US, and conflicts in Africa, the Middle East and Central America. Lynsey Addario’s Syrian Refugees in the Middle East chronicles the plight of Syrians fleeing the civil war, while Alfred Yaghobzadeh’s work explores female Kurdish
fighters battling the Islamic State. Giulio Piscitelli’s From There to Here: Immigration and Fortress Europe is a study of mass migration caused by violence and poverty in the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa. The festival’s Professional Week has become a meeting point for photojournalists, picture editors and others, and this year it takes place from 31 August to 06 September. The winners of several awards will be announced that week, among them the 2015 Arthus-Bertrand Visa d’or prizes for news reporting and feature reporting, which include the daily
press award, feature award and web documentary award. Other photographers to be honoured this year are Anastasia Rudenko, who won the 2015 Canon Female Photojournalist Award, supported by Elle magazine, and Edouard Elias, who won the Ville de Perpignan Rémi Ochlik Award 2015. The winners of this year’s Getty Images Grants for Editorial Photography will also be honoured. Visitors can also look forward to a series of evening screenings at the historic Campo de Santo site, covering news events from the previous year and screenings
looking back at the troubles in Ukraine, the ebola crisis in Africa, and the migrant crisis in Europe. This year these events will also include a tribute to Charlie Hebdo, following the terrorist attacks at the satirical magazine’s headquarters in Paris in January. The festival also celebrates the opening of its new Centre International du Photojournalisme, which the organisers hope will help “defend, enhance and develop the different professions in photojournalism”. BJP
1 Esther Doryen (5) being carried to an ambulance prior to being taken to the Ebola Treatment Center run by Doctors Without Borders. One week later she passed away. Monrovia, Liberia, 31 August 2014. © Daniel Berehulak / Getty Images Reportage / The New York Times 2 As displaced persons entered the compound, their machetes were confiscated by FOMAC troops. 06 December 2013. © Marcus Bleasdale / Human Rights Watch / National Geographic Magazine 3 Harlem, New York, 1987 © Eli Reed / Magnum Photos
Visa pour l’Image is open from 29 August to 13 September. www.visapourlimage.com
All images © Julian Mährlein
JULIAN MÄHRLEIN www.julianmaehrlein.de
A project seeks to show asylum seekers in Mineo, Italy, as people rather than refugees Named after a small Sicilian village, Mineo is a series about the asylum seekers at the Cara Mineo camp, refugees who are detained at the holding centre while their applications are processed. Mineo, located near Catania in Sicily, has one of the largest reception centres for asylum seekers in Europe, says Julian Mährlein, who worked on the project from January to April this year. The people who arrive there by boat are “stuck in bureaucratic limbo” for up to two years. The 28-year-old knew he wanted to shoot a series about migrants and decided to focus on Sicily after researching his topic. “I had a strong feeling that the imagery produced by the mainstream media on this issue has a stigmatising and dehumanising effect, which distorts the way we perceive the situation,” he says. “I wanted to show these people from a different, more personal angle. I approached the theme in a way that I hope humanises the people I met and counteracts the numbness that is created in the viewer by the recurring, similar news imagery we see.” Mährlein, who recently graduated from the London College of Communication with a BA in photography, was determined to portray his subjects as independent, normal people, for example – not as victims, despite their difficult circumstances. “This gets easily forgotten when you see these people as helpless and dependent over and over again.” The German-born photographer, who is based in London, shot most of the images around the refugee centre, making several trips to Italy to work on the series. His project includes details of the exquisite Sicilian landscape, as well as portraits, with plants acting as a metaphor for beauty in society. As the men he photographed got accustomed to their new environment, he made double exposures, blending them with the vegetation. He hopes to extend the project by collaborating with a writer. BJP S EM P TAERM CB HE2R0 21 30 1 5
SEE ME, HEAR ME In Blank Pages of an Iranian Photo Album, Newsha Tavakolian attempts to convey the shrouded personal stories of her generation, growing up in Tehran after the 1979 revolution. Recently announced as one of six new nominee members of Magnum Photos, she explains the context and ideas behind her work, and why – despite being one of thousands of 30-something, middle-class Iranians whose lives remain largely invisible – she must be heard on her own terms. Tom Seymour investigates
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OLD SCHOOL IS THE NEW SCHOOL The Bay Area of northern California, which includes San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley, has always been a restlessly inventive centre of North American photography, but in recent years one of the most interesting developments has been a reappraisal of the archives belonging to some lesser-known photographers in the region who were ploughing their own furrow back in the late 1970s and ’80s. Galleries, whether up-market, civic or underground, have been showing work that has been languishing in boxes and attics for nigh on 40 years, and institutions have been buying whole bodies of work that speak volumes about a troubled period for this region. In the process of this re-evaluation, a new generation of photographers and curators are appreciating work that is as edgy, complex and in-depth as anything being made today. Talented photographers who are now in their late 50s or early 60s, such as Michael Jang, Janet Delaney and Mimi Plumb, are getting an overdue second viewing. Their pictures have aged well. San Francisco-based writer and photographer Stephen McLaren pays each of them a visit, profiling their work for our special feature recalling a golden era in Bay Area photography, and putting it into context.
1 Saturday Afternoon, Howard, between 3rd and 4th Streets, 1981 2
Transbay Terminal Newsstand, 1982
Market at 2nd Street, 1986
All images ÂŠ Janet Delaney
4 SEPTEMBER 2015
5 SEPTEMBER 2015
LAPD ’53 “It’s pathetic, it’s transgressive, it’s vile, it’s human.” It’s LAPD ’53 – James Ellroy’s latest book, a tightly curated selection of 1953 crime scene photos from the Los Angeles Police Museum archive that make for an absurdly comic and hypnotic display of magical memory that is neither history as fiction nor history as non-fiction, says Austin Collings, who interviews the crime fiction writer about LA now and then
1 SEPTEMBER 2015
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20/07/2015 13:42 20/05/2015 14:19
Intelligence meets Lars Boering, World Press Photo’s new managing director, and goes inside Belfast Exposed, born from an exhibition that took place in the shadow of The Troubles
From the series Homophobia in Russia, which won the World Press Photo of the Year 2015. Image © Mads Nissen, courtesy of Scanpix / Panos Pictures and World Press Photo
All change Lars Boering took over as managing director of World Press Photo in January and is pushing through a fundamental rethink of the organisation’s role, finds Taco Hidde Bakker Set up in The Netherlands in 1955, World Press Photo is one of the great bastions of high-quality photojournalism. Its annual competition helps define the documentary photography scene each year, and the exhibition of winners travels the globe. In addition the organisation creates about 100 local exhibitions around the world every year, runs the annual Joop Swart Masterclass for young photojournalists, numerous workshops and much, much more. Even so, when Lars Boering took over as managing director in
January, he did it with a mandate to make changes. Having led the Photographers Association of The Netherlands for five years, and having successfully merged a handful of small professional photographersʼ associations into DuPho [Dutch Photographers] to give them more lobbying power, he has a wealth of experience. He wrote a long letter to WPP in summer 2014, outlining what he would do if he took over from Michiel Munneke. He loved WPP and what it stood for, he wrote, but thought it was “behaving like an old man, rather inward-looking and self-satisfied,” he says. “Their focus was almost exclusively on the annual contest and exploiting its results.” Now that heʼs got his feet under the table, heʼs determined to refocus WPP towards knowledge and ideas, turning it into a kind of thinktank or hub for debate. In doing so, heʼs responding to a fast-changing
contemporary landscape. “In the past five years, more has changed within the photography world than during the five preceding decades,” he says. He believes WPP should therefore “be more actively involved with issues concerning professional, social and cultural changes within the field, that it should aim at the expansion of expertise worldwide, play a steering role in debates, and be a supportive partner to photographers.”
Sign of our times
The changes he refers to are partly economic, as photographers find new ways to make work in the face of declining editorial fees and opportunities; they are also technological, as photographers get to grips with digital media and all it means for image capture and dissemination. But they are also partly aesthetic, as this yearʼs World Press Photo of the Year shows. 2014
was “an unrelenting news year”, wrote Michele McNally, chair of the World Press Photo competition this spring and assistant managing editor of The New York Times, in her foreword to the competition catalogue. But rather than plumping for an image relating to a front-page story, the jury selected as the winner a subdued image of a gay couple by Danish photographer Mads Nissen, partly because it wanted to stimulate debate. This newfound direction means Boering also wants to open WPP to the outside world, setting up a visitor centre, for example, which would give the general public access to some of the knowledge and archives the organisation has built up. But he also wants the organisation to focus on photography produced by people from Asia, Africa and Latin America. “Iʼm in for permanent exchange and education, and I
TECHNOLOGY CAMERA TEST
Sony A7R II and A7R A number of significant improvements to Sony’s fullframe lineup offer a compelling argument for making the switch from DSLR. David Kilpatrick investigates In order to show a maximum number of improvements, Sony’s publicity compares the A7R II with the A7R. This allows features such as the control layout, weatherproofing, lens mount strength and in-body five-way sensor stabilisation to be included. In fact, all these were already present in the A7 II, and the A7R II is clearly based on the A7 II, not the A7R. Just as the A7R represented a 36-megapixel resolution alternative to the original 24-megapixel A7 and put magnesium alloy construction in place of plastics, the A7R II offers 42 megapixels and allmagnesium body against the A7 II 24 megapixels and mixed metal and plastic body. In this respect, it is a successor to the A7R, but in most other ways its bullet points are already ticked by the A7 II. Professional users will be pleased by a new shutter with a 500,000 cycle life and three operating modes: twin curtain (for best control of noise levels and flash compatibility); first curtain electronic (near-instant response and no shutter jolt or shake); and totally electronic (silent). Stick to the silent mode and you may get an infinite shutter life.
The use of backside illuminated CMOS puts the silicon closer to the microlens array, which increases the effective aperture of those microlenses and also the sharpness of phase-detect focusing, which uses special microlens pairs. The diagrams indicate that two to four times the light may be reaching the sensels, and to transfer the charge rapidly a pure copper conductor layer is used rather than the standard aluminium. The backside illumination design gives a short and faster electronic path, and the sensor’s clock speed is boosted to use this fully. The uncompressed 14-bit image data reaches on-chip buffer
Sony’s new 4K line-up – upgraded pocketable DSC RX100 Mk IV, professionally targeted full-frame mirrorless A7 Mk II, and all-rounder bridge style RX10 Mk II. Illustrative image David Kilpatrick
memory six times faster than conventional sensors, allowing slow-motion filming speeds up to 240fps at better than 720p, and webfriendly clips up to 1000fps. As previewed, the A7R II uses the same final-stage raw file compression as other Sony models, but the Bionz X processor firmware is capable of uncompressed raw to be introduced in a firmware upgrade. There’s no indication that earlier models can be upgraded this way. For 4.2.2 4K video, the A7R II offers direct recording to SD cards and does not require the use of something like the Atomos Shogun external recorder. However, the robust large-capacity and large monitor screen of the Shogun will keep it in demand for TV and feature crews, and wedding and event filmmakers. There’s no double SD slot, but there is still image 4K capture during filming. All this will certainly demand the highest-grade, fastest SD cards. Sony has the XQD card format, which is far more robust in its interface and designed specifically for this task, but it has chosen to keep the storage medium affordable and popular rather than fit an XQD slot in the A7R II.
While the A7R II has a magnesium back section (replacing A7 II plastic), it has the same simple tilting hinged rear screen and excellent RGBW panel, but it is lacking the versatility of fully articulated mounting. The EVF is improved, using the same resolution as the previous four A7 series bodies, but with new eyepiece optics giving an apparent 0.78× window instead of 0.71×.
Pro optical finder full-frame DSLRs are normally in the 0.70 to 0.72× range. When reading specifications, don’t be confused by the 1.09× shown for the APS-C model EVF in the Sony A77 Mark II. This is 1.09×.66, as it’s quoted relative to the smaller sensor, and is exactly the same 0.71×. The A7R II finder is the largest visual display around, and it’s also very sharp, without any smudgy zones or loss of visibility at the edges. Eyepoint contrast, thanks to T* coating of the optics, and dioptric control are all as good as you’ll find. The Fujifilm X-T1 with 0.77× had the best EVF around until now. The extreme data transfer speed of the backside illumination sensor ensures lagfree action viewing too.
We were not able to take any test photographs with the new Sony models at their UK press launch, and as usual the samples on hand could have been taken on almost any camera. The A7R II needs a 17.7×26.6inch print at 300dpi to show its resolution, and most printers would be happy to work at 200dpi and show an even larger output. Sony showed A3 prints and a 10×8 section enlarged from one shot. As for lens compatibility, even 42.2 megapixels is well within the capabilities of anything except cheaper consumer-grade zooms. It’s a lower resolution than the popular 24-megapixel APS-C models. On full frame, flatness of field and good corner-to-corner coverage are the qualities you need along with high contrast and resolution. Sony’s new 90mm f/2.8 macro lens looks ideal, but I would happily trust any multicoated Pentax, Nikon, Canon, Minolta or equivalent from the past 45 years. Canon owners get a special message from Sony that the Metabones IV independent EF to FE mount adaptor allows Canon USM lenses to autofocus surprisingly fast on the A7R II – they can focus on earlier bodies, often slowly, and with hit or miss results. I
took a couple of cheaper EF to FE adaptors along to the conference, with 40mm f/2.8 and 85mm f/1.8 Canon lenses and a Sigma 12-24mm HSM. Sony had a Metabones IV adaptor and a 24mm f/2.8 Canon to demonstrate. The pre-production A7R II bodies varied in response, as did the three adaptors and different lenses, with the 85mm f/1.8 proving incompatible despite working well on the earlier A7R and A7 II. I think the message to Canon owners is too confident and optimistic. While the A7R II can power up and use both the AF and IS optical stabilisation of Canon lenses, the adaptors are not yet intelligent enough to prevent malfunction, including double stabilisation, which results in guaranteed blur. But for 4K filming, AF is rarely used and full manual control is popular along with the use of special Schneider, Zeiss, Hartblei or Samyang ciné lenses. The phase-detection matrix covering a wide area of the sensor has 399 points, and in certain modes with certain lenses it’s clear from the on-and-off flickering of the small viewfinder squares that these are working. Most of the time, focus confirmation uses larger indicators and face recognition (with eye tracking) to show AF activity. You can not choose PDAF or contrast-detection modes. The camera does this intelligently based on the attached lens, including Sony A-mount lenses with SSM/SAM motors on an LA-EA3 adaptor. Focus-peaking and magnified view are still the best ways to focus manually, using Leica rangefinder or other adapted purely manual glass. Focus-peaking is a visual indicator of contrast detection. We asked whether the phasedetection points could, perhaps, light up to confirm manual focus and this apparently won’t happen – not even with Zeiss Loxia electronically coupled MF lenses (Sony is confident the autofocus Zeiss Batis models will work just like native Sony models). At the same time as launching the new cameras, Sony issued a firmware upgrade that added XAVC-S video encoding to the relatively humble APS-C A6000 model, alongside other firmware to improve startup times in the A7, A7S and A7R. Needless to say, after installing the upgrade I got a
message that the 32GB 95MB/s card in the camera was not usable. My first reaction was that it must be too slow, so I ordered an extremely fast SanDisk (280MB/s) 32BG card. Only when that did not work did I find that the lock-out has nothing to do with card speed, only with capacity, and a far cheaper 64GB SDXC 633X Lexar card proved to be the solution. The one-inch sensor models upgraded, the RX10 and RX100, remain at 20 megapixels but gain 4K internal recording and some extremely fast image data transfer thanks to BSI design with stacked electronic layers. Better ISO performance can be expected simply because the more efficient electronic pathway will preserve more of the lowbit info and introduce less noise, as with the A7R II.
Despite the apparent upgrades for all the cameras being featurebased, they are R&D driven, and the Sony sensor and image processor division can be thanked for this. With more of the image processing being performed on the sensor assembly, these two aspects are now completely interdependent. Samsung has taken the same approach, and healthy competition is benefiting the whole industry. Significantly, where Sony has in the past often released new developments to a third party first (Nikon), the 42.4-megapixel fullframe sensor makes its debut in its own range, with no sign so far of sale or license to others. Where this leaves Canon, despite its 50-megapixel EOS 5DS and 5DR, remains to be seen – these don’t offer 4K. Contrast this with the original 5D, which brought HD video to the DSLR world and changed the industry. Sony is targeting Canon users, because their lenses have some compatibility where no intelligent Nikon adaptor has yet been made. The news is that with the launch of the A7R II, at least one Chinese manufacturer is working hard to launch the first Nikon G AF-S to Sony FE adaptor with full exposure and focus functions. BJP www.sony.co.uk
Moving between static and more creative shots is relatively with the hipjib. The only real drawback is the physical limitation posed by the user’s reach, which is why a suitable video tripod head is a must.
Rollei hipjib Mobility and flexibility are the key features in this essential addition to a filmmaker’s kit, finds Kevin Carter Imagine being able to handhold your tripod with a video camera attached and using it as a mobile crane or a jib-arm for impromptu overhead shots and pans, all while holding it steady. That’s impossible without some kind of pivot, which was the inspiration behind the hipjib, a lightweight (400g) and compact (25×5cm) belt-based tripod holder. Originally designed by veteran photographer and documentary filmmaker Gert Wagner, it was successfully pitched on Kickstarter, after which it was handed over to Rollei for production. That’s Rollei, the firm behind tripods and action cams, not the maker of the Rolleiflex TLR, even though the hipjib shares that brand name. Like a lot of clever ideas it’s a simple one. The hipjib consists of a wide, tough polypropylene belt with a quick-release buckle and small, robust holder with a rotating spindle. Two receptacles on top are designed to grip-hold the feet of two partially protracted tripod legs (the third leg should
be moved to one side but left unextended). Another receptacle, located underneath, in the centre of spindle, is meant for a monopod. With it attached around your waist the hipjib acts as a pivot, allowing a high degree of control over the tripod or monopod as an improvised crane or jib. A fluid-filled video tripod head with a long handle is a must for smooth tilts, then the versatility of the hipjib really becomes apparent. Overhead shots can be mixed with low viewpoints, and the belt must be worn high on the hips to avoid rocking. The only real restrictions in use are posed by the limitations of the chosen head. Viewing a smallish monitor on the back of the camera can also be a challenge, but that can be overcome by clamping an external monitor to one of the legs. The only other is the weight of the rig. Rollei recommends using a camera no heavier than 3kg, but it’s best to think in terms of mass, with 8kg to 10kg being the limit.
Although it’s not intended as a replacement for other equipment as it takes little room in a backpack, it could prove indispensable. Given the versatility and price (£149 inc VAT), there’s no good reason not to recommend it. BJP www.rollei.com
BJP's September issue features Michael Jang, Janet Delaney and Mimi Plumb on shooting LA and finding fame, 30 years after the event. Plus an...
Published on Nov 2, 2015
BJP's September issue features Michael Jang, Janet Delaney and Mimi Plumb on shooting LA and finding fame, 30 years after the event. Plus an...