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#32 Talent Fall 2012 â‚Ź19,50

Coumou / Cartagena / Lavalette / Kim / Falls Sarchiola / Messias / Cafiero / Zambardino El-Tantawy / Teichmann / Sleeuwits / Goudal Murakami / Taptik / Lavigne

Please enjoy this preview of our latest issue. We encourage you to visit our shop and purchase or subscribe to the magazine to get the full experience.

Popel Coumou / Alejandro Cartagena / Shane Lavalette Grace Kim / Sam Falls / Giulio Sarchiola / Fabio Messias Olga Cafiero / Antonio Zambardino / Laura El-Tantawy Esther Teichmann / Marleen Sleeuwits / NoĂŠmie Goudal Tomoe Murakami / Ali Taptik / Maroesjka Lavigne

3 Editorial

foam magazine # 32 talent

4 Portfolio Overview 6 On My Mind Liz Wells, Ron Galella, Tim Page, Bart Rutten, Françoise Docquiert, Stefano Stoll 12 Interview Michael G Wilson It started small

Portfolios All interviews by Anne-Celine Jaeger

29 Popel Coumou Untitled 39 Alejandro Cartagena Car Poolers 49 Shane Lavalette Brand New Tongue

by Laura Noble

67 Grace Kim Constellations

19 Theme introduction Talents to be seen

77 Sam Falls Untitled

by Marcel Feil

95 Giulio Sarchiola Afghanistan. The hidden war

105 Fabio Messias Vital 115 Olga Cafiero Curioso 133 Antonio Zambardino Climate Ground Zero 143 Laura El-Tantawy In the Shadow of the Pyramids: EGYPT 161 Esther Teichmann Mythologies 2

171 Marleen Sleeuwits Interiors 189 Noémie Goudal Les Amants Haven Her Body Was 207 Tomoe Murakami Invisible 217 Ali Taptik Nothing Surprising 235 Maroesjka Lavigne Ísland 254 Photobooks by Sebastian Hau

260 Foam ­Amsterdam Exhibition Programme 288 Colophon


Within the format of Foam Magazine we do our best to make as much room as possible for new talent. Our Talent issue therefore includes sixteen portfolios ­rather than the usual eight. Still, we are aware that choosing sixteen portfolios out of almost a thousand entries means that the work of many talented photographers remains unduly neglected. Foam Magazine plans to consider ways to unlock the vast archive of young talent we have built up over recent years. You will no doubt hear more about this soon.

by Marloes Krijnen Editor-in-chief

Another new development is ‘Unseen’, the interna­ tional photography fair which will take place in ­Amsterdam from 19 to 24 September, organized by Foam together with Vandejong (jointly responsible for Foam ­Magazine) and Platform A. It will concentrate specifically on work by young photographers, to which many photography fairs fail to pay due attention. ‘­Unseen’ will be a platform on which young photo­ graphers and interesting, innovative galleries can ­present themselves to the public, to famous collectors, and undoubtedly also to new collectors and first-time buyers. The work published in this issue will be prom­ inent there as well, with an open-air exhibition of the photographs on large billboards. Scouting, selecting, showing and stimulating Talent remains key to almost everything Foam does.


After a lengthy but greatly inspiring process of looking, assessing and selecting, we are extremely pleased to present the annual Talent issue of Foam Magazine, devoted to the work of young, talented photographers. Each autumn issue focuses exclusively on new talent, and we are delighted that after six successive years this is fast becoming an internationally recognized ­tradition. As is clear from the sheer number of entries, there is a widespread awareness of the opportunity for relatively young photographers to send in work with the hope of seeing it presented in Foam Magazine. Every year the editors look forward to the moment in which the selec­ tion process will start. And every year we are impressed by the number and quality of the entries. Almost a thousand photographers, from every continent as ­always, presented us with their work. Many, many thanks. It’s great to see how many people know about Foam Magazine and obviously value it. It’s also great to see so much inspiring work every year and to have an annual update on talented, promising photo­ graphers. Because that is what drives us: an eagerness to show what a new generation of photographers and image-makers is up to, and to acquaint our readers with their work at an early stage. Even work that is not selected is extremely important for Foam. The magazine deliberately pays a great deal of attention to the work of young photographers, and it may happen that work not initially chosen will be published by us in a different context. As well as the magazine, Foam has many other platforms for showing work, ranging from our special Talent programme at the museum, Foam Amsterdam, to our website. We therefore hope that the photographers whose work is not represented here won’t be too disappointed. We certainly don’t want the annual Talent Call to become a competition, so this is not at all a matter of winners and losers.


foam magazine # 32 talent

Portfolio Overview Popel Coumou Untitled The essence of Popel Coumou’s photo­ graphy is a game that plays with our perception of the real. She intuitively explores feelings of nostalgia and mel­ ancholy and their connection to spaces and locations.

Alejandro Cartagena Car Poolers Alejandro Cartagena’s projects examine environmental, urban and social issues that are dominant in the current Latin American landscape. Car Poolers is an example of thinking about how to rep­ resent specific relationships between his­ tory, culture and economics.

Shane Lavalette Brand New Tongue Shane Lavalette was commissioned by the High Museum of Art in Atlanta to make a project about the American south. He took the vernacular music of the region as his point of entry, but then wisely decided not to make a documen­ tary about musicians…

Grace Kim Constellations In the series Constellations Grace Kim has created works that exhibit both eeriness and a sense of humour. Per­ spectives are altered, humans tumble through the air alongside ravens, while cars make their way, like Jesus walking on water, along Venetian canals.

Sam Falls Untitled The work of Sam Falls consists of imag­ es coming out of his interest in exploring photography’s capacity for representa­ tion and challenging its veracity. Rather than depicting reality through photogra­ phy, he produces a reality that has had no previous existence.

Giulio Sarchiola Afghanistan. The hidden war Afghanistan, the Hidden War consists of a series of portraits of Italian soldiers and a number of documents about the missions undertaken by the Italian army in Afghanistan. The men all belong to a platoon engaged in military operations that are not accessible to the media.

Fabio Messias Vital For his series Vital the Brazilian artist Fabio Messias photographed eighty of his eighty-year-old grandfather’s objects as still-life. Its power is derived from the secret lives of things that are loaded with meaning for individuals and for families.

Olga Cafiero Curioso Curioso, by the Swiss-Italian artist Olga Cafiero, is inspired by Renaissance cabi­ nets of curiosities. She tries to reveal the underlying tension between the images by linking contrasting subjects in order to awaken the reader’s curiosity.


Esther Teichmann Mythologies Esther Teichmann uses still and moving images, collage and painting to create alternative worlds that blur autobio­ graphy and fiction. Central to the work lies an exploration of the origins of fan­ tasy and desire.

Marleen Sleeuwits Interiors Over the past few years Dutch artist ­Marleen Sleeuwits has photographed interiors encountered in random places. They are spaces that lack a connection with the outside world and they almost appear to be situated beyond conscious­ ness.

Noémie Goudal Les amants ~ Haven her body was Noémie Goudal’s work focuses on im­ ages resulting from sculptures and in­ stallations connected to specific spaces before being photographed. The con­ struction of the installations is essential, but the act of taking the picture trans­ forms them so that the image actually becomes the object.

Tomoe Murakami Invisible Japanese photographer Tomoe Murakami is very much interested in ‘the invisible’ and has taken it as her subject for the last ten years. All her work traces the process of reaching out to something beyond.

Ali Taptik Nothing Surprising If photographs are words or expressions, then Ali Taptik’s publications, exhibitions and installations are his novellas, poems and essays. He is primarily interested in revealing the relationship between photo­ grapher and subject, whether a person, an object, a building or a place.

Maroesjka Lavigne Ísland The series Ísland by Belgian photo­ grapher Maroesjka Lavigne originates from her four-month stay in Iceland. The unspoilt and overwhelming natural world of that sparsely populated island seems to dominate her hushed photographic images. Human presences are no more than traces. 5

portfolio overview

Laura El-Tantawy In the Shadow of the Pyramids: EGYPT In the Shadow of the Pyramids is part of a larger series exploring the essence of Egyptian identity. This series focuses on images of Egyptian citizens at moments that range from absolute joy to despair, reflecting the country’s current state of turmoil.

portfolio editorial overview

Antonio Zambardino Climate Ground Zero Antonio Zambardino created a visual report of the Appalachia region in Ken­ tucky (USA), devastated by a coal mining practice called Mountaintop Removal. The overall series has an ambiguity that does justice to a reality that is both com­ plex and alarming.

On My Mind

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Six well-known figures from the cultural world selected an image that has recently been on their minds...

Døren / The Door, 2007 ©Per Bak Jensen, Galleri Bo Bjerggaard

Liz Wells I don’t usually buy photo books when travelling by plane – too heavy! But in 2006 I made an exception for The Unseen Image by Per Bak Jensen, showcased within the Scandinavian theme at Paris-Photo. It is a hardback of 352 pages and 24 x 29 cm in format. Yet I couldn’t resist it! The exhibition Sense of Place, European Landscape Photography at BOZAR, Brussels, includes five pictures from his more recent work. As its curator, the exhibition offered me an opportunity to reflect upon his work. The Door (2007) particularly intrigues me. At 165 x 205 cm the gallery print arrests attention by its sheer scale. The composition is classically harmonious; the picture centres on a rocky promontory in the foreground, yet the intensely blue water dominates. There is no life without water; the reference to the elemental is obvious, as is the symbolic (biblical) association with spiritual cleansing and renewal. I keep being drawn back to this image. I live by an estuary so I identify with gazing out over waters, sometimes calm, constantly in flux. Who knows what is going on beneath this serene surface? Am I drawn to swim, or are the rocks a necessary refuge? The title disconcerts; this is no simple doorway. So what lies through this looking-glass that arrests attention? Despite the replenishment that water offers, its indifference to human presence is sublimely unsettling. I look at the water, but it disregards me. •

Liz Wells (UK) is Professor in Photographic Culture at Plymouth University, UK. She writes, curates and lectures on photography history, theory and practices. She was guest curator of Sense of Place, European Landscape Photography at BOZAR – Centre des Beaux Arts, Brussels (2012).


Ron Galella October 7, 1971: New York – It was late in the afternoon, around 4:30pm, and I finished photographing a model, Joy Smith, who needed pictures for her portfolio. I wasn’t getting paid for it, so I thought I might as well shoot in Central Park across from Jackie’s apartment in case I would get lucky – and I did! Upon leaving the park, I saw Jackie leaving her apartment on 85th Street, heading toward Madison Avenue. Joy could not believe it was Jackie! We were behind her at 85th Street and Madison Avenue. Jackie made a left going north. I decided not to run in front of her, because if I did she would have put on those dark sunglasses. So, we hopped a cab to catch up to her so she couldn’t see me. “Follow that woman”, I told the cab driver. She paused, turning at the corner of 91st Street, when she heard the honking of the taxi driver horn. I shot from the rear cab window to capture my favorite, most published photograph of Jackie. After getting out of the cab, she spotted me and immediately put on her sunglasses. I then handed Joy one of my cameras with a wide-angle lens pre-focused to 15 feet. I told her to get the two of us together. Both Joy and I were clicking and laughing until Jackie, furious, turned to me and said, “Are you pleased with yourself?” Well, I knew then to stop, and said “Yes, thank you!” This is my favorite photo because it captures the qualities of the paparazzi style: off-guard, unrehearsed, spontaneous – the only game. The dramatic, soft backlighting, and over-the-shoulder composition show her at her sexiest. She was casually dressed, wore no makeup, and her hair was windblown, which all added up to natural beauty. Da Vinci has his Mona Lisa, and I have my Windblown Jackie. It all happened within 15 minutes! •

Ron Galella (b. 1931, The Bronx, New York, USA) started his career in the US Air Force. After returning from Korea he attended the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles and graduated in 1958 as photo journalist. In his spare time he started photographing stars attending premières. This became his true passion.


on my mind

Windblown Jackie, 1971 © Ron Galella

foam magazine # 32 talent

Jim Morrison, New Haven, December 9, 1967 @ Tim Page

Tim Page Taking a break from the war in Viet Nam, I arrived in New York just as the anti-war movement surged across the nation. An assignment for LIFE found me heading for New Haven, Connecticut, with a writer called Fred Powledge who was ‘in-sighting’ the current psychedelically edged music thorough the eyes of his teen daughter for the magazine. On arrival we saw a squad of New Haven's finest posted as sentries to prevent their daughters from groping the man in taut black. Pre-concert Jim was supposedly caught receiving oral sex in his dressing room, the police overreacted and maced Morrison backstage just before he went on. When he came out on stage he was charged with what the Vietnamese would call revolutionary zeal. The police surged on stage as the power was cut. Morrison had enough power left to parry the mike at Lt. Kelly’s face with a “say your thing man” before the whole hot moment was stunned briefly into ill-lit silence. As the cops dragged the protesting performer off stage, a riot erupted. Five thousand erstwhile peaceful fans went ballistic. I danced about with my camera shooting the punch out. An officer grabbed me and began beating me and told me to move on. I protested to the lieutenant in charge. Instant arrest. I was shoved into a squad car back seat. An hour of cruising and collecting knife-flicking drunks, we arrived at the New Haven central tank in time to share central holding with the star himself. We presented a motley spectrum for the night’s catch. It was only then that they wanted my cameras, shoelaces and all the other good stuff to prevent me from suiciding. Jim Morrison was recently exonerated for his crime in New Haven. As for me, I am still a wanted man in Connecticut, having skipped the $350 bail LIFE deducted from my fees. The magazine ran the story as five pages of black-and-white photos, then promptly lost the negatives. •

Tim Page (b. 1944, UK) is an English photographer who covered extensively the Vietnam War. He is the subject of many documentaries and the author of several books, including Requiem (1997) co-curated with Horst Faas. Requiem has become since early 2000 a traveling photographic exhibition placed under the custody of the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film. He lives in Brisbane, Australia.


on my mind

ANGEL, 1975 © Bruce Conner, courtesy Bruce Conner Estate, Michael Kohn Gallery and Pictoright Amsterdam

Bart Rutten The only works by Bruce Conner I knew were his collages and found-footage films in which he focuses on the erotic and dark side of man. So I was very surprised when I saw a catalogue with ANGELS, a series of photograms that he made between 1973 and 1975 in collaboration with the photographer Edmund Shea. Each of the ANGELS is a life-sized print of a body, a more or less white silhouette against a dark background. His collaborators used a slide projector as the source of light and Conner placed his own body between the light and a large sheet of photosensitive paper. Unlike Conner’s better-known works, these photograms have an unworldly aspect. The title of course refers to angels, Biblical creatures that transform the physical, mortal body into a ‘body of light’ – and this in the libertine West Coast art scene of the 1970s! On seeing this work a jumble of interpretations involving light and darkness, mortality and the precise moment of registration occurred to me: immortality, physical presence and the ephemeral absence of his body seemed to converge. The fact that this classic art-historical, biblical theme had been captured in an extremely performative, experimental medium made these monumental photograms (and what a size they were) astonishing. The Stedelijk Museum has purchased the most abstract image of the series. •

Bart Rutten (b. 1973, the Netherlands) is an art historian, expert within the field of video art and media theory. He is Art Curator at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam since 2008 and was also part of the content team of The Temporary Stedelijk.


foam magazine # 32 talent

Fanny, Barcelona, 2004 © Mathieu Pernot

Françoise Docquiert This is an image that I look at every day. It sits across from me on my desk. Its presence is simultaneously sombre and full of hope. I met Mathieu Pernot over ten years ago at the photography exhibition Les Rencontres d’Arles. He had already achieved dialogue and a sense of trust with the gypsy families of Arles whose portraits he had made while he was at the National School of Photography. Five years ago, Mathieu gave me a photograph. My attention was immediately caught by the series of Shouters, men and women standing by prison walls who are communicating with detainees – a relative, a friend, a dear one – by yelling. I wanted to choose a picture of a woman, because I feel emotionally closer to this. Fanny is portrayed in profile and in three-quarter length, physically active, but not in an architectural context. It is an evocative image, because if one does not know the story of these Shouters, one can give free rein to all sorts of interpretations. The photograph was taken in Barcelona in 2004, possibly at Modelo Prison, an example of panopticism, which Foucault saw as a model of the workings of discipline in society. In such prisons, the guards, positioned in a central tower, can observe the prisoners without being noticed by them. Above all, Fanny is an image of freedom and love, an image of differences, of boundaries, and of methods used to circumvent captivity. She is a message of life to isolated people whom society wants to forget. What could be more provocative than the reality of these bodies using their voices to communicate with their nearest and dearest, and providing them with a link to the outside world? What captivates me about this image, more than its being a piece about politics or memory, is that it allows me to re-integrate it into the perspective of my personal history. With Fanny, I can devise my own narration regarding a familiar figure of otherness. •

Françoise Docquiert (b. 1954, France) is vice-chairman of the Department of Arts and Art Sciences at the University of Paris, 1 Panthéon, Sorbonne. She directs there in particular a master’s program in the administration of exhibits of contemporary art and photography. She organises the official symposium Rencontres d’Art every year, and will oversee an exhibit of works by Raphael Dallaporta in September 2012.


Audrey on Black Lace II, from the series Bodies. 6 Women, 1 Man, 2012 © Nadav Kander/Flowers Gallery

on my mind

Stefano Stoll Every two years, some 1,000 photographers submit a previously unpublished project to the jury of the International Photography Grand Prix of Vevey with a view to utilising the grant that made their project possible. In 2011, Nadav Kander honoured us with a submission. Even though in the end he was not the winner, his portfolio caught the attention of the jury and impressed me deeply: it was bold to suggest working with the nude, that genre which is currently so abandoned by institutions, festivals, and the media. Nadav Kander follows his own lead. Those first small studies lodged in my brain, and when the time came to choose a photographer for Espace Quai 1, an exhibition space used for entrants of the International Photography Grand Prix of Vevey, I remembered those unexpected and intriguing images. The series uses six women and one man as models. Their bodies, covered with white paint, stand out against an entirely black background. Their gaze studiously avoids that of the spectator, and occasionally mice are invited to join the picture. The ample flesh, red tresses and studied poses sometimes evoke Baroque and Classical painting, but also the work of Lucian Freud or Hans Bellmer. By means of a few clichés, Nadav Kander calls aesthetic canons into question and entrusts these chalk-white bodies to the judgment of the spectator. It is for the latter, viewing these images, to act as arbiter over the eternal combat between Eros and Thanatos: it is for him to ponder the relevance and pertinence of this genre of photography.  •

Stefano Stoll (b. 1975, Switzerland) is the Director of the Festival IMAGES in Vevey (Switzerland), focusing on monumental photography and outdoor exhibitions. The next edition will present the very first showing of a selection from this imposing body of work in September 2012, which will be the subject of a volume from Hatje Cantz Publishers.



foam magazine # 32 talent

Next to being the producer and screenwriter of many James Bond movies, and an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, Michael G Wilson has built one of the largest private photography collections to date: The Wilson Centre for Photography. One day Laura Noble sat with him, and they started talking about how it started, and what it became. Interview with

by Laura Noble

It started small photographs by WassinkLundgren



Michael G Wilson

Philanthropy is a very American approach to art. Your kind of commitment to photographers is not so common in Europe. We’ve been the patrons for about a dozen ­photo­graphers.

foam magazine # 32 talent

How many books has the Wilson Centre published? Well, in the last year we’ve worked closely with se-veral publishers and collaboratively produced books by Simon Norfolk, Taryn Simon, Chino Otsuka and Bianca Brunner to mention a few. That’s a lot for one individual, as photography book deals are very hard to come by these days. Many opt to self-publish now as the cost can end up being the same with some publishers… We have a bursary fund, supported by the National Media Museum, ourselves, Kraszna-Krausz and the John Kobal Foundation. We help administer it and this year MACK published a photographer’s first book: Mrs Merryman’s Collection.

When did you begin to collect photography? It started in 1978. It started small. I had been a collector of other things before, prints and books, and in the early 1980s I decided to focus entirely on photography

How do you feel about limited edition photo­ graphy books? For example, books sold with a print as part of a very limited edition have proved quite popular over recent years. How do you feel about them as collectable objects? It depends on the participation of the artist; whether the artist participates in the design and really considers it his own book. For instance, Luc Delahaye did that sort of thing with his book History, which I bought. He created a work that came with a picture – I guess a keepsake – but he supervised the project, so it is really an artist’s book. I think I have problems when it’s a method. If it’s simply a way of upping the price, artistic integrity is not involved. And in a posthumous situation, a book released with a print is not something I’d be particularly interested in collecting. Other people might find it interesting or have a use for it but I do not. Putting a photograph in a book, even in a very limited edition of twenty or thirty copies – photobooks are usually published in hundreds, or thousands – makes it a keepsake rather than a work of art. It’s all about the attention, about the detail, the cost involved in making it. How you distinguish a piece of artwork from a decorative piece has always been an issue with editioned work.

What was it about photography that appealed so much over other art mediums? When I started collecting, the history of photography was still being written, so it was possible to take part in creating the academic history, which I found an ­exciting idea, and I could also find photographs for relatively small sums of money (compared to paintings and other works of art). I started out with nineteenthcentury work and gradually moved forward in time. What was the first work that you bought? The first work I actually bought was a Pictorialist piece from a gallery by Anne Brigman, which was on the cover of a great Californian Pictorialist book, Heart of the Storm. That was the first picture I bought at a ­gallery, but I bought the nineteenth-century things at auction. I’d go to an auction and I’d buy twenty, thirty, forty lots that meant that I became very interested in and focused on specific areas of photo­g raphy. For ­example, I worked with Dennis Reed on the book Pictorialism in California: Photographs, 1900-1940. Dennis did the Southern California half and I wrote the Northern California part and curated the show at the Getty Museum. It’s wonderful that I was able to participate in building the history of photography.

Can editioning be confusing to the novice entering the art market? That’s the way the markets have seen it over a hundred years. It’s based on a tradition of vintage prints at a time when people really didn’t edition their prints. Photographers would print them up as ordered, like Edward Weston did. It wasn’t the case that they would just push a button and a machine fired out twelve prints and they decided that was the edition. So I think that whole idea has been somewhat glossed and there’s a danger of losing the collectors’ and the dealers’ and the public’s faith by not sticking to a very rigid idea of what constitutes an edition.

The Wilson Centre has really shown a long-term commitment to photography. How does it work? It’s a photographic collection, so it’s not really the same thing as a gallery. We also have an active programme of lending work to museums and work closely with curators from around the world. In addition we use it as a teaching collection, especially in the area of vintage photographs and photographic processes. We follow and support artists, and we also collaborate in publishing books.


It’s wonderful that I was able to participate in building the history of photography.

How do you feel about the size of a work in light of the edition? To me, the artist has in mind what the right size is for the viewing of their artwork, for the ideal viewing experience. These kinds of methods of issuing three sizes of prints are simply marketing ideas, which come from dealer’s minds. They don’t come out of artist’s minds. They are a dealer-invented idea, a marketing idea. So I’m sceptical.

nique. Every edition they come out with is very different from the others. So I think that what’s important is how the photographer/artist interprets his work and what his vision is. That’s what you are looking for.

When would an edition be too large? Is there a cut-off point where you draw the line as a ­collector? Going back in history Weston made a lot of his prints in editions of fifty, but I don’t think anyone has seen fifty out of fifty. They are lucky to see twenty-five out of fifty, because he had to make each one. Usually when someone ordered one he made an extra one as he’d set up the darkroom. It took him an hour to print and as he got older he wanted to spend less time in the darkroom because it became harder for him. Lee Friedlander is a guy who never editioned his prints but as he gets older he doesn’t go in the darkroom that much and it’s hard to get him to make prints. You might wait months to get a print out of him, because he prints himself. Those are not editioned, but I still think that they are valuable and important. The concept of being editioned or un-editioned is not crucial; rather it’s about what’s behind it, the intention, the integrity, the artistry.

Do you ever see photographers’ work before their dealers do? In general it’s a collaborative process. We work closely with artists, galleries, dealers, museums and curators and I think we help with the process of work being made. What are the mistakes you feel you’ve made along the way with regard to your collecting? I’ve made plenty of mistakes. The thing about having a large collection like this is that the mistakes get buried away. The BIG mistakes, the ones you really regret are the ones you didn’t buy, for some reason or other. Those are the biggest mistakes. Buying something that didn’t work out doesn’t matter too much. What are your thoughts on collecting contemporary photography and conceptual photo­ graphy specifically? Conceptual work I find I have more trouble with, being a photographic collector rather than an art collector. My curators have been eager to help me to better appreciate conceptual art. I guess coming from the photographic world I felt a little unhappy with the way that some of the art dealers market photography, because they don’t seem to value things that I value. They have certain ideas about connoisseurship. So there is an issue about art dealers versus photographic dealers. The

So your concern isn’t digital, per se, but the quality of the print as an object? I’m not worried whether it’s digital or not. I’m worried about how involved they are, what the photographer’s concerns are. We have a lot of Edward Burtynsky’s work and you know he set up his own printing press in Canada because he wanted to print the work and supervise it very carefully. The photographers Anderson and Low are very careful, they work over and over, making the prints the right way, getting the right tech-



How important is it for your contemporary collection to develop a relationship with those emerging photographers? Some I have a relationship with and some I don’t. Sometimes knowing the photographers and seeing how they function is important, just as important as the total experience of understanding the work is important.


foam magazine # 32 talent

The concept of being editioned or un-editioned is not crucial; rather it’s about what’s behind it, the intention, the integrity, the artistry.

categorise these things as people just switch between categories. They can be in many categories at once. You have to evaluate everybody individually. Like photojournalism becoming recognized as a great work of art, taking on a status other than that for which it was originally intended – for editorial for example? Going back to FSA photography before the Second World War. Those people who took documentary took that next step into ‘art’. So which contemporary photographers would you put in that category now? Simon Norfolk, Luc Delahaye. Delahaye was a war photographer who ten or twelve years ago became an art photographer and makes a total output of only two or three pictures a year. I think Simon Norfolk is absolutely wonderful at what he does.

But there are examples that do work? Certainly Irving Penn, Richard Avedon and Helmut Newton are brilliant.

Do you think that it has something to do with the duration of an image? When it is taken for a newspaper it may be there one day and gone the next, unlike an art image that has a longer life because of the way in which it is displayed, in an exhibition say? That’s happened to some war correspondents from the Second World War. Dorethea Lange believed she was an artist beforehand. She was a portrait photographer who had been steeped in the San Francisco art scene and was working in that. When she worked for the FSA she brought that canon to it. She borrows the negatives back and makes exhibition prints, lavishly done with a very particular aesthetic.You can see and understand that she is an artist making a work of art. The marketers can make it into a work of art or the artists can do it. So who’s behind the work of art? Magnum makes some into a work of art rather than the artist. Some of these guys are artists, some of them aren’t. Koudelka for instance makes a print and spends an enormous amount of time to achieve the desired

What is your feeling about Guy Bourdin? I think when you get into Guy Bourdin it’s a little more problematic. But again I think those are fairly unsubtle. Herb Ritts for example - the Getty just did a big retrospective of him – I guess because in Los Angeles and advertising and the MET Ritts’ work has made a huge impact and is copied a lot. The question is whether to compare his male nudes to, say, Mapplethorpe or compare his other stuff to Helmut Newton. I find their work a lot more engaging in the long term, in the sense that you can look at it for a long time. That’s just my personal opinion. Do you think that these markets are driven by nostalgia as well? Certainly, in the Horst pictures of famous actresses, there’s a lot of that, although they are aesthetically very beautiful prints. He was a master printer. It’s hard to



photographic dealers are very conservative most of the time, but the art dealers tend to be very un-conservative about marketing work. That’s not true of all art dealers, but I’m trying to make a point. Colour work has become popular now in the last ten years; there has been a movement into new areas. Fashion never used to be collectable for example. That’s fine, but they seem to ignore the traditional values we place on pictures. I’ve not leapt into those markets because the images tend to be in the world of illustration. The reason they don’t seem to work for me is that advertising and fashion images are meant to arrest your attention to sell a product. So, for example, when you are flipping through a magazine you would think ‘wow look at that’ when you come across it. As you live with the piece for a long time there’s nothing more than that in it. So I suppose that’s why I’m less enthused by that area of photography.

result. He hardly ever goes into the darkroom, so to get a Koudelka print that he did is incredibly hard.

foam magazine # 32 talent

With the proliferation of photography courses at degree level and above now, it seems to be that the education system teaches photographers to be artists from the outset. What do you think about that shift in education from an academic perspective as opposed to the traditions of learning on the job, or working in the commercial ­industry to develop one’s skills before entering the art market? It depends on the course but, yes, there is a lot of that. But that’s like art school. How many kids go to art school whose parents told them to go to college? Now it’s media or photography. It’s a place where all the layabouts go and where a few people who are really serious, really talented, really work hard at it. So you do get a large number of people studying photography. The ones who really want to be artists are the people who don’t know what else to do with themselves other than create art.

Michael G Wilson (b. 1942, New York, USA) is Managing Director of EON Productions Ltd, the company behind the James Bond films. Together with his sister, Barbara Broccoli, they have produced every 007 release since GoldenEye. Michael is interested in all aspects of still photography and is recognized as a leading expert on nineteenth century photography. He opened the Wilson Centre for Photography in 1998. The Centre is one of the largest private collections of photography today, spanning works from some of the earliest extant photographs to the most current contemporary productions. The centre hosts seminars, study sessions and loans to international museums and galleries. Michael is a Chairman of the Science Museum Foundation, a Trustee of the Carnegie Institution for Science, a Trustee of the Art Fund, Chair of the Kraszna Krausz Foundation, and a Trustee of Cape Farewell.

Do you go to any of the student graduate shows? Oh yes. I go down to The Royal College of Art and Central Saint Martins to see what’s cooking. We have a program here where we were giving bursaries out. What we did was to look at people five years out of college and see who sifted through and who was left. If you are around five years later and still banging your head against the wall you’re worth looking at. So with this in mind how broad is your collection? Do you focus more and more on emerging talent? I buy across the board.

Laura Noble (b. 1974, UK) is a London-based gallerist, artist and writer. She is the author of The Art of Collecting Photography (2006) and of primary essays in various monographs. She has delivered seminars on Collecting Photo-graphy at Westminster University, Rochester University, Glasgow Art Fair, Fundacio Foto Colectania (Barcelona) and Foam Editions. Editor-at-Large for Photoicon Magazine and regular contributor for various periodicals, she is Director of Diemar/Noble Photography, a new Commercial Gallery in the heart of London’s West End.

To return to the subject of the print, how do you feel about ink jet printing? What’s important is what it looks like and what the artist’s intentions are. I would hope that it’s stable. Part of the covenant of the collector is that you assume the photograph is stable unless you are told otherwise. Then you can assume the artist has done the research necessary to provide that. For example, the demise of Cibachrome has meant that the people who used Cibachrome have now been able to kind of get the same effect by laminating plastic over the front of the picture, which is probably a bad thing. We don’t know what’s going to happen to the print in the long term.

WassinkLundgren is a collaboration between Dutch photographers Thijs groot Wassink (1981) and Ruben Lundgren (1983) who work and live in London and Beijing, respectively. Their work has been shown in group exhibitions across the world from Bilbao to New York to Beijing, as well as solo exhibitions in Amsterdam and Beijing. The duo has received numerous prizes including the Prix du Livre (Rencontres d’Arles), Best books of 2007/2008 (by Thomas Weski at Fotoforum Kassel), Nomination Theme Art Award (Art Amsterdam), Nomination Foam Paul Huf Award, Nomination Piet Bakker prijs (Utrecht School of the Arts) and Nomination Kunstanjers (Prins Bernard Cultuurfonds). WassinkLundgren will be showing a new body of work in a solo presentation at Van Zoetendaal Collections during Unseen (Amsterdam).

Do you have any daguerreotypes? Yes, but then I also buy Modern and contemporary. More and more we’re looking at being a supporter or sponsor rather than buying individual pieces, so that we do it by project basis and get the work into museums, helping them get established, to produce a book for example. We are about enhancing the careers of people rather than collecting the work. Do you think that this is a role for a new collector to think about? Well, if you have a lot of money and plenty of time and you have a nice curatorial staff to help you, yes it’s a perfect way to go. •


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Since Foam Magazine held its first Talent call six years ago we have featured a total of sixty-six promising young photographers. We are proud to think we had a hand in spotting their talent and in providing them with an international platform. In 2012 sixteen finalists were selected out of almost a thousand submissions. As well as profiling these finalists, we have included images here from a further sixteen young artists whom we believe show great potential.

by Marcel Feil

ages. Still, we did come across a good number of documentary works and reportages, among them some of the most experimental of the submissions. We were intrigued by series where photo­graphers explored the possibilities of the medium. Only a few were photographic transpositions of multimedia projects, a trend that we believe will increasingly catch our attention in the coming years. We were so impressed by the overall quality of the ­submissions that we felt inspired to build new exhibition platforms and decided to present the Talent Issue selection in a large outdoor exhibition as well, in cooperation with Unseen. The first edition of the Unseen Photo Fair will take place in Amsterdam at the Westergasfabriek, a very special moment for Foam Magazine and the ­selected finalists. Organized by Foam together with ­Vandejong and Platform A, Unseen will concentrate specifically on work by young photographers, to which many photo­graphy fairs fail to pay due attention. It aims to be a new sales platform for young and relatively unknown photo­ ­ g raphers, connecting supply and ­demand, and perhaps creating a new group of fi ­ rst-time buyers. Unseen seems to be the perfect time and place for the Foam Magazine Talents to present themselves. ›

Our Talent Call 2012 was announced on 30 January and closed on 16 April. We received almost a thousand submissions, plus another hundred portfolios nominated for the Foam Paul Huf Award. As usual, judging them has been an overwhelming and inspiring experience, and it was supremely difficult to reduce our final selection to just sixteen names. We are very conscious of the importance of our task, as the Foam Magazine Talent Issue has become one of the most important scouting platforms for young photographers around the world, trawled by curators, photo editors and ­critics alike. Sifting through so many submissions from more than fifty countries gives us a broad overview of photo­graphic trends and interests. One notable aspect is a general sense of nostalgia and melancholy rather than a hunger for the future. We noticed a tendency towards introspection: personal and family stories prevailed (with elderly people as a main focus), along with ­images of textures, stillness and nature. We often found ourselves looking at dark or post-apocalyptic scenarios. And it is striking how often people make use of d ­ iptychs. We saw an amazing quantity of rocks, stones and mountains, and an emphasis on textures resulting in almost abstract im-


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Talents to be seen

foam magazine # 32 talent Two Homes © Emer Gillespie (1980, Ireland)

Cars of Hokkaido © Thomas Stöckli (1978 Switzerland)

TAccidental Archives © Sara Cwynar (1985, Canada)

Knots © Jowhara AlSaud (1978, Saudi Arabia)


Popel Coumou

notion that direct observation can be beamed through a lens to the viewer. They are quiet pictures that, ­together, build to a boisterous whole. (adapted from an original text by Tim Davis)

The essence of Popel Coumous photography is a game that plays with our perception of the real. Her constructed realities and imagined spaces are the ­result of an intricate process involving 2D sketches, real-time models made from clay, paper or other ­materials, light and photography. Coumou intuitively explores feelings of nostalgia and melancholy and their connection to spaces and locations. The immaterial, dreamlike quality of much of Coumous work adds to the sense of mystery and dislocation it evokes. To define the spaces and interiors , Coumou has made cunning use of bright colours and bold geo­metric forms. These shapes are increasingly used as singular motifs within a landscape or an outdoor scene. I­ nitially this may increase the recognizability and familiarity of the representation, but it also allows Coumou to undermine clichés and to investigate the erratic shapes that occur in nature.

Grace Kim

In the series Constellations Grace Kim has created works that exhibit both eeriness and a sense of humour. Perspectives are altered, humans tumble through the air alongside ravens, while cars make their way, like Jesus walking on water, along Venetian canals. The ­series includes strange but poetic black-and-white landscapes. All the photographs are constructed by piecing together fragments or photos collected on Kims travels and everyday wanderings, as well as some that she sourced online. Grace Kim is interested in the sensibility of collage because it echoes the process by which memory is ­constructed through selective inclusion or exclusion,

Sifting through so many submissions from more than fifty countries gives us a broad overview of photographic trends and interests. Alejandro Cartagena

intuition and personal projection. The images are ­created in an organic, intuitive process that is both free and controlled. Equivalence and contradiction are important to Kims work, and black-and-white ­ ­photography has a poetry and lyricism that, in combination with purity and formal elegance, explores those themes beautifully.

Alejandro Cartagenas projects examine environmental, urban and social issues that are dominant in the current Latin American landscape. Car Poolers is an example of thinking about how to represent specific relationships between history, culture and economics. Cartagena does this by bringing to light suburban sprawls effect on peoples lives. The series is the result of a rather straightforward photographic approach; once or twice a week Cartagena went to a high pedestrian overpass and waited for pickup trucks to pass on the way to work. He then photographed straight downwards, showing the workers squashed into the back of the truck, often hiding from view. The series can be seen as a metaphor of contemporary Mexican society, and of the socio-political and environmental consequences of a modern suburban boom. The collision between privacy and the public sphere, the act of peeping and sharing something not meant to be revealed, gives the photographs a sense of urgency.

Sam Falls

The work by Samuel Falls presented in this issue ­consists of images that derive from Falls interest in exploring photographys capacity for representation and challenging its veracity. He made abstract compositions from coloured paper and photographed them with a large-format camera, scanned the film into a computer and painted on it, as it were, in Photoshop. By selecting colours and by making marks on the ­image, he picks out a colour from one of the pixels that make up the colour of a piece of paper in the image. After adding digital paint, a print is made in ­archival pigment which is then painted onto the print itself in all the various colours present. The process creates a multimedia composition in which the s­ ubject becomes an artistic production and an illustration of linear time. Rather than depicting reality through photography, Falls produces a reality that has had no previous ­existence. A lot of his work is based around stages of production, with the aim of defying the Barthian ­this-has-been classification of photography.

Shane Lavalette

‘Shane Lavalette was commissioned by the High ­Museum of Art in Atlanta to make a project about the American south. He took the vernacular music of the region as his point of entry. At first sight the camera, being so single-mindedly visual, seems an illogical tool for investigating music, but Lavalette wisely d ­ ecided not to make a documentary about musicians. Instead he scoured the landscape for the feeling the music evokes, digging for roots rather than picking flowers, hunting for analogies, hints and circum­locutions. He is not painting an epic history of southern music; he is uncovering lyrical fragments of an oral tradition in the visible world, letting them rattle in his carrying case. The pictures in Brand New Tongue are visually straightforward, obsessively clear, devoted to the metaphysical

Giulio Sarchiola

As of 2002 Italy has been engaged in a peace mission on Afghan territory. Afghanistan. The Hidden War consists of a series of portraits of Italian soldiers and a number of documents about the missions undertaken by the Italian army in Afghanistan. The pictures were taken in the Afghan provinces of Farah and Herat in


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foam magazine # 32 talent

Frozen © Kamil Strudziński (1983, Poland)

Entropia © Frederick Vidal (1977, Germany)

WhatWeWantWhatWeBelieveIn © Namsa Leuba (1982, Guinean/Switzerland) Family Reflections © Alfonso Almendros (1981, Spain/Finland)


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Zeitgeber © Lena Dobrowolska (1985, Poland) Extra Terrestrial © Amelia Bauer (1979, USA)

Bees © Zhe Chen (1989, China) They © Daisuke Yokota (1983, Japan) Color Pickers © Andrey Bogush (1987, Russia/ Finland)


May 2011 and February 2012, and they show the ­Italian soldiers at times of relaxation and privacy. ­Giulio portrays those rare moments when soldiers can take their minds off military activities, attend to themselves and escape the routine of war. As regular citizens we never get to see soldiers like this. The men all belong to a platoon engaged in military operations that are not accessible to the media. The photographs are t­aken with a large-format camera and studio flashes in a small studio Giulio set up inside a tent.

foam magazine # 32 talent

Antonio Zambardino has created an impressive visual report on the region, the suffering communities and the practice of MTR without ever adopting a prescriptive standpoint. The strong individual ­pictures vary from portraits to still lifes or landscapes, giving the overall series an ambiguity that does justice to a reality that is both complex and alarming.

Fabio Messias

For his series Vital the Brazilian artist Fabio Messias photographed eighty of his eighty-year-old grandfathers objects as still-lifes. They include such disparate items as a trowel, a jar containing a yellowing liquid and a red plastic bottle. They are beautifully shot, making us deeply interested in objects that would ordinarily be classed as detritus but were ­essential to a persons life. Many people develop a habit of keeping objects as they get older. In a way it is a strategy of challenging the passage of time by safeguarding those private ­ objects with which we are intrinsically connected, touching upon something universal. Its power is ­derived from the secret lives of things that are loaded with meaning for individuals and for families, and from all the stories that connect the mental with the material world.

Olga Cafiero

Curioso, by the Swiss-Italian artist Olga Cafiero, is ­inspired by Renaissance cabinets of curiosities, when a collector could take an encyclopaedic approach, using his own criteria to organize heterogeneous objects according to his own tastes, interests and passions. It was a subjective process, resulting in the reproduction of a personal and often magical world. Cafiero takes that as a basic principle, assembling images of ­extraordinary and disquieting animals, portraits of ­uncertain provenance and contemporary machines that somehow resemble decors of the past. Cafiero interrogates the professional practice of photo­graphy – whether architectural, still life or scientific – to build a collection of images and to seek a structure, a way of rendering them. She tries to reveal the underlying tension between the images by linking contrasting subjects.

Laura El-Tantawy

In the Shadow of the Pyramids: EGYPT is part of a l­arger series exploring the essence of Egyptian identity at a time when Egypt is searching for a sense of self. Since Laura El-Tantawy began to work on the series in 2005 it has expanded to cover the drama of a nation in transition, the cutting short of the Mubarak era and the embracing the revolution and the looming future. El-Tantawys interest in Egypt goes well beyond mere storytelling. She was born in England to Egyptian parents and declares her identity to be rooted in Egypt, in her childhood memories and in the cultural and traditional practices she lives by. She set out to document the lives of everyday Egyptians. Starting from the inside looking out, she went in search of herself in a country that is itself searching for an identity. This particular series focuses on images of the joy and despair of Egyptian citizens, reflecting the countrys current state of political, social and economic turmoil. The pictures were taken in Tahrir Square, now etched into history as a symbol of the struggle for democracy, dignity and identity. El-Tantawys striking close-up portraits are characterized by strong outpourings of emotion and a dark palette.

Esther Teichmann

Esther Teichmann uses still and moving images, collage and painting to create alternative worlds that blur autobiography and fiction. Central to her work is an exploration of the origins of fantasy and desire, and of the ways in which they are connected with experiences of loss and representation. Working with intimate subjects, such as mother and lover, she examines the illusion that survival without the other would be an impossibility. Both bodies remind us of our own separateness; it is at the point of contact with the other that we become most acutely aware of our own skin, our own boundaries. Teichmanns relationship with photography has ­little to do with the idea of delivering transparency or a copy of something. Instead the camera and the image function as metaphors for subjectivity, memory and desire. The real is transformed in a magical totemic process that shatters any claims the photograph may have as evidence.

Antonio Zambardino

Mountaintop Removal (MTR) is a coal mining ­practice in the Appalachia region of Kentucky, in which explosives are used to uncover coal seams. The earth from a mountaintop is dumped in the valley, creating a flat area called a valley fill. Dynamite blasts needed to splinter rock strata are so powerful that they often crack the foundations and walls of houses nearby. This type of mining dries up an average of 100 wells a year and contaminates water. Thousands of square kilometres of Appalachia have been devastated by MTR. ­Because of slack safety standards and poor health f­acilities on jobs in the coal mines, Appalachia is a region of widespread suffering. As a result it has ­become the national painkiller capital, where deaths by overdose have in many places overtaken road ­fatalities.

Marleen Sleeuwits

Over the past few years Dutch artist Marleen Sleeuwits has photographed interiors encountered in random places: the dead corners of office buildings, waitingrooms in airports or empty hotel corridors. They are spaces that lack a connection with the o ­ utside world, so it is unclear what their function is, where they are and at what time of day they were photographed. They almost appear to be situated beyond consciousness. The feeling of estrangement and disconnection is at the heart of Sleeuwits work.  ›


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Primal Mountain © Yuji Hamada (1979, Japan/UK)

Cidade Natureza © Florian Jomain (1985, France) Quantum Blink © Isabel M. Martinez (1977, Chile)

Empolyees Only © Jesse R. Louttit (1980, Canada)


Here lies a paradox: the spaces that catch Sleeuwits attention are in some sense non-spaces. Lacking a clear function or any reference to the outside world, they are in the end nothing but spaces. The paradox is evident to anyone looking at the images; Sleeuwits tries to ­capture the experience of being disconnected from a physical space by almost inviting the viewer to step inside the picture and relate physically to what is ­portrayed there. Print size and sharpness are therefore of essential importance. In Interiors she plays an intricate and complex game with scale, perception, and the tension between reality and illusion.

city that can be seen as divided between an exterior world of streets, squares and facades and an interior world of homes, friends and relationships. For Taptik living in Istanbul means there is hardly any separation between work and his private life – the city is omnipresent, a constant, never-ending dialogue between the social and the private. If photographs are words or expressions, then Taptiks publications, exhibitions and installations are his ­novellas, poems and essays. For him the means of ­acquisition and deployment of images are more important than the beauty or impact of an individual photo-

We were intrigued by series where photographers explored the possibilities of the medium.

foam magazine # 32 talent

Noémie Goudal

graph. He is primarily interested in revealing the relationship between photographer and subject, whether a person, an object, a building or a place.

In recent years Noemie Goudals work has predominantly focused on photographic images resulting from sculptures and installations that are carefully connected to specific spaces before being photographed. The construction of the installations is essential, but the act of taking the picture transforms them so that the image actually becomes the object. By building sets that ­interact with her chosen locations, Goudal produces versatile realms that offer entirely new perspectives. In the projects Haven Her Body Was and Les Amants, the imagery is encapsulated in its own sphere of existence. While Haven Her BodyWas is set in confined areas ­detached from any human domination, Les Amants consists of ­altered paradises that, according to their initial ­definition, refer to enclosed parks. They are inviting yet create a clear sense of disconnection. Goudals scenes present isolated territories that grow in p ­ arallel to h ­ uman time, giving their own historicity a chance to evolve.

Tomoe Murakami

Being interested in invisible things might seem paradoxical in a photographer. Making things visible that would otherwise remain unseen is a quintessential ­requirement of the profession. Japanese photo­grapher Tomoe Murakami has taken the invisible as her subject for the last ten years. Characteristic of her work is the depiction of unclear scenery: fog, misty rain, sheets of spray. It is all but impossible for the viewer to see what lies ahead. This seems to be exactly the reason why Murakami is so intrigued by such scenery. She has an insatiable desire to see further, beyond the visible. All her work traces the process of reaching out to something beyond. To Murakami photography is the proper medium for such exploration, for portraying the unclear and hidden world.

Maroesjka Lavigne

The series Ísland by Belgian photographer Maroesjka Lavigne originates from a four-month stay in Iceland. The unspoilt and overwhelming natural world of that sparsely populated island seems to dominate her hushed photographic images. Human presences are no more than traces; nature is so ubiquitous that any form of human life is immediately reduced to something tiny, paltry and insignificant. Even the colour palette of the artificial, manmade world contrasts starkly with the monochrome inaccessibility of I­ celand in winter: a completely isolated but brightly coloured house in a vast whiteness of snow and ice, the red of a bus that is almost invisible and a landscape ravaged by wind and snow. Lavignes images are poetic and surrealistic, and also strongly filmic. Where one image has connotations of the film Fargo by the Coen brothers, others are reminiscent of the film noir of the 1950s. A young woman stands in front of her car in a snowstorm, or sits in her car lost in thought; such images give an edge to Lavignes whole series, lifting it above the c­ liché of an Icelandic landscape. •

Ali Taptik

Trained as an architect, Ali Taptik can best be d ­ escribed as an author who writes with photographs. For him photographs are words or expressions; he constantly tries to acquire more and more images, building an ever-increasing vocabulary. Taptik is from ­Istanbul, a


Popel Coumou Untitled

Popel Coumou

portfolio text

All images © Popel Coumou, courtesy TORCH Gallery, Amsterdam Popel Coumou (b. 1980, The Netherlands) graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in 2004 with a BA in photography. Her work has been exhibited in a variety of international galleries and other spaces, including the Villa Noailles in Hyères, the Torch Gallery in Amsterdam and the Hangaram Design Museum in Seoul. She was awarded as Best Photographer at the 2007 Festival of Fashion and Photography in Hyères and in 2010 was nominated for the Paul Huf Award. Popel has just published her first monograph Untitled (TORCH Gallery & Van Zoetendaal, June 2012). She currently lives and works in Amsterdam.


image. My work isn’t a direct result of that line of thinking but it does interest me. I try to create images of spaces that trigger the way we remember places. In a very intuitive way I try to explore feelings of nostalgia and melancholy without giving in to them. Some of your images, include overtly romantic scenes, such as a walk on a beach, thereby playing around with the notion of the visual cliché. How do you ensure you transcend cliché? It’s hard to tell how your images are put together. Can you tell me about the working process? How many stages are involved and what materials do you use? Getting to the final image is quite a long process. But all stages are equally important. First I make sketches or photographs that I use as an inspiration or as a base for the collage. Then I start building a 2D collage in A4 size with paper, clay, plastic, fabric and photographs. To add the third dimension, I light the collage. Sometimes I only backlight it, but most of the time I also light it from the front. I mostly use a combination of daylight and artificial light. Then I take an analogue photograph of the lighted collage. By taking a photograph of the collage I add the third ­dimension and bring it one step closer to reality. The final step is letting my photo lab make an analogue print at 130 x 87 cm. That way of working makes it possible to create a world of my own that overlaps reality with ­fiction.

might accentuate some shapes within an image or space but I never went past the border of what was recognized or accepted as a reality. For about two years I had a desire to cross that ­border, to interfere with reality. To add geometrical shapes that can’t exist in real life but can still be accepted by the viewer within the image. Finally, in 2011, I dared to take the leap. The earlier work of outside spaces was, among other things, concerned with the ­combination of the very rigid shapes of architecture and the erratic shapes of a nature that humans try to organize or restrict but never really can, as they are a part of it themselves and nature doesn’t let itself be controlled. My latest work deals with this same subject and still has the same ­surface tension. It remains a study of colour and composition.

foam magazine # 32 talent

To create a world of my own that overlaps reality with fiction.

In your series, you present interior spaces which at first look like colour compositions, but on closer inspection, we see they are imagined spaces too, or as you say, a scrapbook of photos of places never visited. You are interested in Gilles Deleuze’s concept of memory, a synthesis of one’s current state of mind and the subjective interpretation of past occurrences. Can you explain how this plays out in your work? I think places play an important part in the construction of our memory. We link smells, events and moods to the ideas of places we pass through. Deleuze has very complicated thoughts on this ­process but I like the way he describes it as a constant flux of impulses that sometimes contract to form a more lasting

interview by Anne-Celine Jaeger I like to play with clichés, aesthetics and romantic scenes. Clichés are subjects that everybody recognizes. You can hate something but it’s a cliché because everybody knows it and it does happen in life. But we also have to ­admit it’s usually beautiful. My work has to be nice to look at to capture the audience, but in the end it needs more than that to make them stay. It needs to go beyond the cliché and aesthetics. An image needs to make you think, wonder and raise questions. To decide whether an image is good I put a small print of it on my wall in my studio for a few months. For a start, an image has to trigger me at first sight, to warrant a spot on my wall and then it has to grow and conquer a spot in my mind. If an image is only aesthetic or romantic it doesn’t last very long. I know it’s dangerous to play with these subjects, but I believe if people take more time to look at the work, they will see that there is much more to them. In the work you created in 2011 and 2012, your constructions become more intricate, involving geometric shapes, such as a cube elevated in a Tuscan-looking landscape, or a pyramid immersed in a sunset. What is the idea behind the visual development and how do you feel it fits into the series? From 2004 till the beginning of 2011 I played with shapes and compositions that already existed within the images I constructed or found around me. I


What are you currently working on? Leaving the borders of recognizable ­reality is still a new way of working. So there is way more for me to discover there.  •

Alejandro Cartagena Car Poolers

Alejandro Cartagena

portfolio text

All images © Alejandro Cartagena Alejandro Cartagena (b. 1977, Dominican Republic ) currently lives and works in Monterrey, Mexico. Cartagena’s projects examine the environmental, urban and social issues present in the current Latin American landscape. His work has been exhibited and published internationally. He is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including Photo Lucida’s Critical Mass Photo Book Award in 2010, and was named one of Photo District News’s thirty emerging photographers in 2010. He currently teaches at the faculty of Visual Arts at the University of Nuevo Leon, whilst continuing to work on his personal projects.


You worked at Fototeca Photography Centre in Monterrey, Mexico from 2004-2010. What is the Fototeca and what was your role there? The Fototeca is a photography centre in charge of the conservation of Nuevo Leon’s state photography collection. It also collects and presents contemporary photography from Mexico and abroad. I started working there as a volunteer before becoming their digitizer of historical archives, so I was scanning old prints and negatives from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Towards the end, I started to organize, curate and print exhibitions for the various artists invited to show in the gallery space. Since I hadn’t studied photography, and there were no formal photography schools in Monterrey, it was the perfect opportunity to learn about the medium. I became a photographer and a photography promoter at the same time.

the perfect example of thinking about how to represent an issue, by bringing to light the effect of suburban sprawl on people’s lives.

where these men prepare themselves for a long day of work; the only thing strange about it is that they do it in a public space. These car poolers seem to represent how Mexican suburbia is not working. If you think of early twentieth-century photography of tenement houses in New York, Lewis Hine comes to mind. People were squashed into small rooms hoping for a better future; hoping one day to be homeowners, which eventually happened. But now it seems as though, here in Mexico, to preserve the dream of owning your house in the suburbs you are forced into a squashed state again.

foam magazine # 32 talent

It seems to me that cities aren’t what they appear on the surface. interview by Anne-Celine Jaeger

Did working at the Fototeca inspire you to do your M.A. in Visual Arts at the Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon? What do you feel you got out of the M.A.? It did inspire me, to some extent, as I had to create exhibitions and write texts and I felt I needed a better understanding of photography and art to do so. During the M.A. I felt I progressed. I learned about contextualizing my work and the importance of history in contemporary production. It also made me more critical of my own production.

You are inspired by social theorists such as David Harvey. What is it about his writings that motivates you to create the work you do? Are there any themes in particular that are of interest to you, such as his teachings on Right to the City for example? His ideas about the right to the city are very much a part of the things I’ve been photographing in the last five years, especially his ideas about how cities have been used in history as commodities. It seems to me that cities aren’t what they appear on the surface. They are people’s ambitions, desires and culture amongst other things. His thoughts, and those of other social theorists, empowered me to speak and comment about the things we consider normal, when they are not, in the never-ending cycle of growth and destructions of cities. I want to be able to take advantage of art as a way of proposing abstract and aesthetic ideas about issues that are central to the way we live, or survive, in this urban age.

The two series you submitted to Foam (Lost Rivers and Car Poolers) examine social and environmental issues. Did your interest in such issues arise at university or simply by living in Monterrey? I think both. When I started shooting Lost Rivers I was in the middle of digitizing the work of the Mexican photographer Eugenio Espino Barros, which I came to admire. It became a reference in my work. He was a camera inventor and grand landscape photographer from Monterrey. My idea was to bring a contemporary approach to Mexican landscapes. But at the same time I was interested in referencing the work of photographers from the New Topographics exhibition. My M.A. experience led me to find even deeper relationships between history, culture, economics and especially urban issues and my subject matter. Car Poolers is

Your series Car Poolers comments on urban expansion and its consequences. How did the series come about and how was it shot? After finishing my Suburbia Mexicana book I felt I was looking for new subject matter that could address some of the issues that I had left out, like interiors and transportation. Then, while doing a commission for a research centre here in Monterrey about the uses of the car in the metropolitan area, I came across a group of workers traveling in the back of pickup trucks. I immediately photographed them. A couple of months later, I realized how those images would resonate with the idea of suburbia and its consequences for the daily life of its inhabitants. I went back once or twice a week to shoot. I would go to a high pedestrian overpass and wait for them to pass on their way to work. The images seem to me like an intimate interior


Your personal work, (such as Dreaming a House and Portraits of Absence) is very much about what it means to live in Mexico today. Can you imagine living and working outside of Mexico, or do you feel you have a lot more to say in and about your native country? I love Monterrey. It has given me everything. But right now it is a very unsafe and scary place. In a way I wish I could leave, but I also feel that I should stay and create images that will speak of this time of turmoil. There is definitely much more I want to say about this place and so I think I will stay here for now. What are you currently working on? I´ve been shooting work for a project called Change is Good, Change is Bad. It’s about a neighbourhood in Guadalajara that defeated the local government’s plan to construct a toll highway through the community. I am interested in documenting a space that resisted change because of people’s willingness to protect the city they live in. That doesn’t happen every day in Latin America.  •

Shane Lavalette Brand New Tongue

Shane Lavalette

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All images © Shane Lavalette Shane Lavalette (b. 1987, USA) graduated with a BFA from Tufts University in partnership with the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Lavalette’s work has been shown widely, including exhibitions at the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne, the Aperture Gallery in New York and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. The project Lavalette submitted this year was the result of a commission from the High Museum of Art in Atlanta to create a new body of photographs for their Picturing the South series, which includes past artists Sally Mann, Emmet Gowin, Richard Misrach and Alec Soth. Lavalette is the founding publisher and editor of Lay Flat, as well as the Associate Director of Light Work, an artist-run, non-profit photography and digital media centre. Shane Lavalette currently lives in upstate New York.


What did a BFA at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University in Boston do for your photographic practice? Because of how self-directed the program is, the Museum School helped lay the foundations for my artistic career. I wasn’t given much guidance and therefore had to figure a lot of things out on my own, including how I actually wanted to participate in the art world. While at the school, my own work evolved and grew but I also explored avenues of curating and publishing, which continue to complement my personal practice.

sent along a proposal for Picturing the South along with a selection of past work for them to view, and it went from there. I was so honoured to be selected and join the likes of past commissioned artists Sally Mann, Emmet Gowin, ­ Richard Misrach and Alec Soth, among others. It’s great to see a major museum offering support to an artist such as myself, so early in my career. I think the model is one that is quite special and can hope other museums follow suit.

artists to have others speak about their work, especially those who can share the perspective of being an artist and have a nice way with words, like Tim. You’ve managed to raise enough money through donations to put a book of your new work together. Congratulations! How does one go about doing that? Who are the benefactors, and what do they get in return? Is it entirely for the love of art? When I began this project I knew I was interested in it being a book at some point, since the work seems to lend itself to pages (maybe more so than the wall). I decided to launch the project on Kickstarter, a crowd-funding platform for creative projects. In exchange for backing a project, there are various tiers of rewards – everything from a little bookmark made from the proof prints for my exhibition at the High to a digital music download, signed archival prints, a pre-order for an advance copy of the publication upon release and more. Of course, much of the support comes purely out of the love of art, but I think having some good incentives for folks is helpful. To conduct a successful campaign you really need an audience or supporters to start with, but online platforms also allow for complete strangers to discover your work, including people outside the art world. This has been a nice experience, connecting with musicians, historians, etc. who have an interest in the project.

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My biggest connection to the South has always been through music.

Your work was featured in reGeneration2, a book published by Thames & Hudson in London and Aperture in New York in 2010. An exhibition of images from the book has travelled extensively, from Lausanne to Monterrey, Fez, Beijing, Washington, Cape Town and ­beyond. How has being selected for the book affected your career? It was amazing to be a part of a project on that scale. The Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne brought nearly all eighty photo­g raphers to Switzerland for the opening. Being in the presence of other young artists from all over the globe was a bit overwhelming but completely ­inspiring. Much like the Foam Talent issues, the exhibition and book does a nice job showcasing the breadth of work being made by artists today. In 2010 you were commissioned by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta (along with Martin Parr and Kael Alford), to create a new body of ­images for their Picturing the South series. How did the selection process work? Did you have to submit an outline of your project? The High’s Assistant Curator Danielle Avram-Morgan and the Curator of Photo­graphy Julian Cox reached out to me with an interest in my work. I then

interview by Anne-Celine Jaeger Your images in Picturing the South are lyrical and poetic. Whilst looking at them I kept sing-songing the word ‘bayou’ in my head. What was your idea for the project? Haha, I’m glad the pictures make you sing! My biggest connection to the South has always been through music. Having grown up in the Northeast, it’s primarily through traditional Southern music, such as old time, blues and ­gospel, that my understanding of the region had been shaped. I felt this was both a natural and a fertile starting point for a photographic project, so I began with the intention of making a body of work inspired by that history. Did the fact that the commission came from a museum have an impact on how you approached the work? You feel a certain pressure when you know there’s a specific audience or ­expectations, but I took care to divorce myself from that feeling as much as ­possible. That said, I truly couldn’t have made this work without the direct ­support of the museum. You are one of very few artists for the Talent Issue to submit a statement written by someone else. How important do you think it is to get others to write about your work? When I sent along my images for consideration I felt I couldn’t describe them better than Tim Davis, who wrote a short essay titled Tongue After Tongue about my project. I think it’s helpful for


What are you currently working on? What’s next for you? The book is the next big project so I’m directing all of my focus and energy ­towards that now, as well as looking for other venues to exhibit the work.  •

Grace Kim Constellations

Grace Kim

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All images Š Grace Kim Grace Kim (b. 1976, New York) is currently doing a Masters in Philosophy, Media and Communication at the European Graduate School in Saas-FÊe, Switzerland, and has participated in various artist-in-residence programs, including one at the Center for Photography in Woodstock, NY, and GlogauAir in Berlin. Her work has been exhibited in numerous group shows, including Inside is Not the Opposite of Outside at the Bronx Art Space and Time is Love. 5, which travelled extensively worldwide. In 2012, Grace Kim was the recipient of the AHL Foundation Visual Arts Award. She currently lives and works in both Berlin and New York.


You have taken many classes and courses in the past decade. Do you find it easier to produce work or to be creatively inspired when you are part of an artistic establishment, such as during your residency at the School of Visual Arts, or your time at the ICP? I love learning and being wherever there is a shared passion for ideas and knowledge, but I have found that organized education systems often make me feel a bit trapped and disillusioned, and before long I’m questioning everything around me. It b ­ ecomes a challenge to produce anything then, or to feel inspired. I struggle to hold on to a truth, something pure, authentic. But in the end it turns out to be a good thing, because new convictions always arise that I might not have discovered otherwise, and I have met some inspiring people along the way.

modern science supports ideas that ­philosophers and Eastern mystics have been pondering for centuries, such as the duality of existence, universal consciousness and the notion that objective reality does not exist. The book The Secret, exploits quantum theory, reducing it to a commercial simplicity, but its premise is the same: space is a vacuum in which energy and particles float in and out of existence, acquiring their form only through the reality that we shape as our own. Other ideas that I find interesting are the notion of time as a cyclical structure in which the past, present and future are simultaneous, and the theory of parallel universes - which views reality as a many-branched tree in which all possible histories and futures are realized. Yes, floatingworld alludes to these themes, and I like the idea that when someone emails me they are e­ ntering a picture of reality that I ­perpetuate through my work.

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Colour often provides too much information; there has to be a reason for it, conceptually.

In the series Constellations, which you submitted this year, you create works that have an eeriness, a sense of the unknown, and humour. Perspective is altered, humans tumble through the air alongside ravens, while cars drive, like Jesus walking on water, along Venetian canals. We find ourselves within poetic blackand-white landscapes. How do you construct those landscapes? Are they formed in your mind, or do they get patched together little by little as a work progresses? I piece together fragments of footage shot during my travels and wanderings, as well as some that I source online. The sensibility of the collage interests me because it echoes the process by which memory is constructed, through selective fragments of inclusion/exclusion, intuition and personal projection. The images are created through an ­organic, intuitive process. Sometimes it begins with a landscape or detail that touches me, inspiring an idea. Other times I’ll have an idea in mind and ­conceive an image around it. So the methodology is quite free but also very controlled. I am conscious that the ­images connect through a specific, ­symbolic language while remaining very individual. When looked upon as a ­series, there is a broader, carefully crafted narrative and it’s important to me that every aspect contributes to, so that I can build a cohesive whole.

interview by Anne-Celine Jaeger All your works, both stills and moving images, are in black-and-white. Can you tell me about that creative choice? Themes of duality and contradiction are essential to me, and black-and-white has a poetry and lyricism that explore these beautifully. It also has a purity and formal elegance that resonate with my ideals. I like to play with notions of perception, lending a depiction many possible identities without giving too much away. I do appreciate colour and I’m beginning to integrate bits of it into my new work. It’s just that colour often provides too much information; there has to be a reason for it, conceptually. You seem to have a deep interest in Buddhist philosophy and quantum theory. What exactly does that mean to the layman? I don’t know much about either. Is your email ­address, floatingworld, another clue to your fascinations? I have a high regard for Buddhism ­although I don’t consider myself a ­Buddhist. I personally feel a resistance to rituals and rules, and I’m more interested in the essence of what gives birth to these systems and what keeps them alive – things that have no time, culture, or politics. Buddhist ideas resonate with much of what I have come to believe; that the universe and consciousness are infinite, that the soul evolves and that the dualities (yin/yang) tell us a lot about the human condition. I appreciate it as a spiritual philosophy that flows in tandem with the fundamental issues concerning all religions. It also has some affinity with quantum theory, which I find fascinating as it means that


Your most recent work, Everness, like much of your series, Threshold and Nothingness, is video. Do you see yourself tending more towards moving-image installations? Yes I’m excited about exploring new concepts that manifest the themes behind my work more provocatively. I am especially interested in immersive, ­multi-dimensional experiences that engage the viewer in such a way that his/ her perception is akin to living inside one of my images and contributing to its narrative dialogue. What are you currently working on? I am continuing the Constellations series, and developing an intermedia installation performance and thesis, which explores various relationships between Western philosophy, Eastern mysticism, quantum theory and media. It will take the form of a symbolic narrative, loosely inspired by a short story by Jorge Luis Borges called The Garden of Forking Paths.  •

Sam Falls Untitled

Sam Falls

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All images Š Sam Falls, courtesy of American Contemporary, International Art Objects, and MB Gallery Sam Falls(b.1984, California, USA) did his BA at Reed College before going to ICP-Bard for an MFA and graduating in 2010. His work has been exhibited internationally, including solo exhibitions at West Street Gallery (New York), Higher Pictures (New York), Fotografiska (Sweden) and China Art Objects (Los Angeles). He was the recipient of the Tierney Fellowship in 2010. His most recent monographs include Val Verde (Karma, 2011), Paint Paper Palms (Dashwood Books, 2011) and Visible Library (Lay Flat, 2011). Sam Falls lives and works in Los Angeles.


In an interview you refer to Reed College, your BA alma mater, as one of the best experiences in the country. Can you explain what you mean by that and why you felt that while there? Reed was rigorous and concentrated. Like many liberal arts schools it has a lot of general education requirements, which require you to take classes outside of your major. Rather than finding these courses distracting, I felt they really encouraged an interdisciplinary focus and a dialogue between all areas of study. There’s something special about the student body as well, so rather than just moving through the classes it felt like everybody was engaged and it was really fun to have every discipline represented. Everyone came at it from their own angle in a really productive way. There’s a strong focus on critical theory, which guided me from physics to philosophy and eventually to studio art.

How many stages are involved in your work? What is your start point and end point? A lot of the work is based around stages of production in order to do away with the Barthian this-has-been classification of photography. So I start by photographing a subject with film, scan it, work on it in Photoshop, print it, then paint on it or something. So the object has several different encounters with time and change – it’s not pinned down to one instant the way photography classically is. I think that makes for a much less alienating object when viewed.

life. It is rather photographers’ self-­ imposed segregation. The more I work with this issue the less I identify with photography and the more I’m interested in what its essential elements, time and representation, have to contribute to the history of painting and sculpture. How do you think the present day viewer relates to both photography and painting on their own, and also the merging of the two? I think it’s pretty much the same as ­always – painting and sculpture are m aterially more empathetic while ­ photo­g raphy is more of a dictator. Photo­graphy is alienating by nature – by distance – and often tells the viewer something, while painting and sculpture are inviting and hold time from past to present. The actual engagement of the artist with the object that’s shared is a friendly and vulnerable gesture, while a photograph is cold; if it holds anything vulnerable it is in the subject not the ­object. When you look at failure present in the different mediums, the failure ­addressed in painting and sculpture is that of the artist, while photography usually addresses the failure of process and material. That’s why I do enjoy the merging, because you can cover issues of the artist, process, and material.    You state that you did your MFA partly to qualify to teach. Have you started teaching and are you finding it assists you to do and finance the projects you really want to do? I’ve given some lectures but I’ve been lucky to be able to pursue art full time and at the moment really want to put all my efforts into the many ideas in action that are constantly presenting themselves. Education is one thing, but experience and distance are really necessary to be a good teacher.    What are you currently working on? A lot of sculpture and outdoor permanent pieces. I’d like to open a space in Los Angeles where contemporary artists can install permanent large-scale outdoor sculptures. That is something I’ve really become interested in and I think is lacking at the moment.  •

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I never wanted to compose images; I wanted to compose stories, narratives, or fiction.

You submitted two series for this year’s competition, both a bit of a departure from earlier works. When did you first become interested in exploring the interaction between the medium of photography, print and paint? When I was in graduate school a lot of the photographic fine art, especially in New York, was a dialogue surrounding abstraction. I found it really exciting ­because it was being spoken about in terms that historically applied to painting, like minimalism, abstraction, and objecthood. The one problem I found was with the materiality of the medium and how most of the artists being recognized, like Walead Beshty, Eileen ­Quinlan and Liz Deschenes were reenacting the sort of modernist end-game painting had already been through, where the ­object reverted so much to its production that it was about nullifying the ­medium rather than expanding it. I ­became frustrated with how much of the work moved toward other art forms but then reverted to being about professional photographic processes, which is largely what I took issue with in my work. I wanted to start with photo­ graphy, move it toward painting and sculpture, and then continue the ­dialogue forward from there, rather than returning to it being about photography. To do this I began by explicitly using paint, and now sculpture.

interview by Anne-Celine Jaeger Rather than looking at an image and thinking about the past, the viewer is able to encounter a timeline that leads all the way up to them. With the abstract images in particular, it’s hard to tell where the photographic start point is, or was, which I really like. Can you talk about that? I wanted to begin with a purely photographic image that dictated the subject and object of the piece. So I begin in the darkroom and use various colours of filtered light, which address colour photography, naturally. Then I match those colours with liquid acrylic and airbrush them onto the c-print to achieve a tromp l’oeil of sorts in colour and form. So rather than depicting a pre-existing reality via photography, the photograph produces its own reality that has yet to exist.  The series explores photography’s capacity for representation and challenges its veracity. Do you feel that that is almost a necessary investigation for art photographers working today? Not really. I think that what needs to be questioned is the lack of space for photography’s obvious potential as an art form. Originally I was interested in the problem of hanging a photograph next to a painting, and why this remains a problem. But I don’t think it’s the fault of art history or photography’s separate


Sarchiola Giulio Afghanistan. The hidden war

Giulio Sarchiola

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All images © Giulio Sarchiola Giulio Sarchiola (b. 1982, Italy) studied sociology and anthropology at La Sapienza University in Rome. He became Marc Riboud’s first assistant in 2003, remaining under his tutelage for two years. In 2005 Sarchiola became a correspondent in Beijing for the Italian photo agency Contrasto. He has more recently been working on personal projects such as Afghanistan. The Hidden War and Clinical Zone. His work has been published in numerous international peridicals including GQ (Italy), Vanity Fair (Italy), Le Monde and L’Espresso. In 2010 he won the Canon Young Photographer Award. Sarchiola is still working for Contrasto but is spending more of his time on his own projects.


You were Marc Riboud’s photographic assistant in Paris in 2003 and 2004. How did you get that job? It can’t have been easy. There must have been a lot of competition. It actually happened by chance. I had moved to Paris three months earlier. Whilst working as an intern in a photography studio, I met Theo, Marc’s son, who told me that his father was looking for someone to work for him. I met Marc Riboud for an interview and that’s when it all began. I worked on trial for the first couple of months and things didn’t go too well, but it gradually ran more smoothly and I can say that working with him was one of the most enriching experiences of my life.

How did your project Afghanistan. The Hidden War come about? The project on Afghanistan is a product of my previous work, Androids. During the making of Androids I met many soldiers who had recently returned from Afghanistan. Fascinated by their stories I decided to participate in a media tour, without having a clear idea in my head of what I wanted to make of that experience. Throughout the trip I undertook a reportage on the functioning of military bases for the science magazine Focus, an experience that gave me valuable insight into the practices of a complex war machine. At the same time it opened my eyes to the barriers the media faces in reporting the conflict there and that aspect provided the foundations for my work Afghanistan. The Hidden War.

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It opened my eyes to the barriers the media faces in reporting the conflict there.

Did you have any previous background in photography? Do you feel being Marc Riboud’s assistant was a good foundation for going out into the world and becoming a photographer? I started taking pictures in secondary school. A friend taught me how to load a film, expose it and bring pictures into focus. Photography has always been a private activity that I liked to keep to myself. I rarely took pictures of my friends, usually preferring to wander alone throughout the day and night to take pictures of landscapes, capture moments from daily life and demonstrations. My points of reference were those shared by most Italians: immortalizing day-to-day life using stolen shots, like Henri Cartier-Bresson and all those artists inspired by him. Meeting Riboud proved to be an extremely valuable and formative experience. My main concern in those years was to fulfil my desire to become a professional photographer. Deciding whether to undertake a career in photography was a big source of insecurity and doubt. I constantly tried to convince myself that the most reasonable thing to do was to return to university to study something and make a choice that would offer firmer guarantees of a career. Meeting someone who had been working as a photographer for fifty years gave me an almighty push. I also learned a lot from a photographic point of view: I assisted him in the making of reportage, exhibitions and books. Those two years were very intense. Leaving Riboud was not easy, but the jump from assistant to photographer is

interview by Anne-Celine Jaeger

never easy for anyone. Working with him made me realize that the only way to start my career was to try to come up with some stories and suggest them to agencies and magazines, which is exactly what I did. In 2005 you became a correspondent in China for the Italian photo Agency­Contrasto. What kind of assignments did you do there? What's the most important thing you learnt about being a correspondent? In China I began with more adventurous reportage, covering stories about the dissidents of the Xinjiang region and clandestine worship by Catholics and Protestants. Those were followed by stories on universities, the health system in Tibet and Beijing's first-aid service. In those two years in China I began to work more seriously as a photographer. For the first time I learned how to create stories from beginning to end. I was probably more attracted by the life experiences that I acquired through my reportage than the photographic work itself. Travelling through the hinterlands and sneaking into various communities was very exciting. After some time, however, I began to feel the need to create a photographic project that was deeper than those I had done before. I tried to achieve that in China but the language barrier proved to be a serious obstacle to the kind of work that I wished to undertake. So I returned to Italy where I produced Clinical Zone. In China I also had met photographer Luigi Gariglio, who proved to be essential to my professional growth. Matching myself against him helped me to broaden my horizons.


How did you set up your studio on location? What challenges had to be overcome? Transferring photographic material was quite tiring, but that was all. I had about ten bags of equipment and the soldiers always helped carry them. Setting up the studio on location was no different to anywhere else; I’ve done it many times and I didn’t face any particular difficulties. The novelty of this work lay in the approach. Having a background as a commercial photographer, continually shooting commercial work about the same topic proved beneficial. With ­Androids for example, I fulfilled commissions for two separate magazines while shooting my own project. The same thing happened with Clinical Zone. In contrast, with Afghanistan. The Hidden War I focused entirely on my personal work, seeking to develop my ideas ­regardless of the commercial potential the situation might have presented to me. That was a significant step forward for my career. What are you currently working on? I have an idea but I haven't started working on it as yet. I would love to make a work about the impact of life experiences on people’s faces. •

Fabio Messias Vital

Fabio Messias

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All images © Fabio Messias Fabio Messias (b.1980, Brazil) studied graphic design from 1998 to 2000 at the Panamaricana School of Arts in São Paolo. He returned to the same school in 2008 to complete a degree in photography, graduating in 2009. His work was shown at the Arterix Gallery in São Paolo in 2011 as part of the Dobradiça Exhibition, curated by Eder Chiodetto. In 2012 Fabio Messias won the Prêmio Brasil de Fotografia Award. He lives and works in São Paolo.


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You studied drawing between the ages of twelve and nineteen. Has that background influenced your photography, the way you frame a picture and tell a story? Drawing led me into graphic design, which became my profession and is how I make my living. I was very young when I took drawing lessons under the great comic-book master artist, Waldir ­Igayara. Usually one doesn’t really have too many existentialist thoughts at that stage of life, so I feel photography came into my life at the right moment. I see it as an artistic language that allows me to expose personal matters that affect me. For me drawing has had an intuitive and unconscious influence rather than being something conscious or planned. In 2010 you attended a photo-essay master class with the Museum of Modern Art’s curator Eder Chiodetto. What did you take away from that class, and how has it e ­ mbedded itself in your working practice ­today? Editing, editing, editing. Eder is a master of the edit. It’s amazing how easily he can detect powerful images and use them as a model for some ongoing project or create connections between images, both formal and conceptual, which we could not see until we watched him do it. Those are two of his skills that I focused on learning. His class was a great turning point for me and it changed the way I think about and understand the editing process in projects.   For your series Vital you photographed eighty of your grandfather’s personal objects as still-lifes when he reached the age of eighty. The o ­ bjects include such disparate items as a trowel, a jar with yellowing ­liquid and a red plastic bottle. They are beautifully shot, making us take a deeper interest in objects some ­people would call detritus, but that for your grandfather, who built houses, were essential to his life. How did you figure out how you wanted to shoot the items? I started thinking about photographing those objects when I noticed that many things my grandfather kept might normally have been thrown away because they were considered useless. Many people­develop that habit as they get older. It’s as if they’ve become attached

to things of the world because they have little time left to live in it. I was raised by my grandparents from the age of eleven and I always noticed how my grandfather had a habit of keeping things because they could be used later. I started to look for all the objects he had stored in the old wardrobes, drawers and I

Editing, editing, editing. interview by Anne-Celine Jaeger found dozens of them. Many were intriguing, some were even hilarious. I was very surprised when I found a plastic cup with thousands of dandelion seeds, which he had kept for years. I thought there was a lot of poetry in that, so I decided to photograph everything. Even the fabric I used as background for the photos was one of the things I had found. For the production I had the idea that the project should look like a catalog and in fact I got that final result on my first attempt. The studio was set up outside my own house, in a very improvised way. I used natural light, on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day of 2009. In your statement you write beautifully: ‘The objects were like discovering an inventory of a lifetime stored in the drawers of my grandfather’s memory.’ Your statement is about the objects we choose to store or keep physically, and therefore in our memory, and those we choose to erase. What was your grandfather’s reaction upon seeing his life as a catalogue of still-lifes? Unfortunately my grandfather’s reaction was not anything like people ­imagine it would be when they look at the photographs. He simply does not understand why I shot those objects, despite my ­attempts to explain. My grandparents were born in a small rural town in the state of Bahia, in the northeast of Brazil, a place where few went to school. They came to São Paulo when they were very young, looking for work. There are many things they don’t understand, because it’s not part of their life experience. My family didn’t care for photographic records that much, the culture of photography was unimportant to


them. We do not have big family photo albums. So when it comes to matters relating to images, my grandfather doesn’t understand them very well, even pictures of himself. When the photographs were exhibited for the first time I wanted him to come to the opening. He said: ‘But what is there to see there? Those photos of yours? No, no, I don’t want to go, I have to go to church today.’ You’ve also done a project about your grandmother (This Light Over the Garden, 2012), who suffered from Alzheimer’s for eight years before she died in 2011, aged 85. Do you feel you work best with ­subjects that, or who, are close to you? I believe all stories in the world can be banal and special at the same time. They can be both singular and universal. And stories related to families, family ­relations, are increasingly present in my mind these days. Both projects originated from ideas I consider to be rather simple as starting points. The project Vital, for example, arose out of my curiosity, and the project about my grandmother’s Alzheimer’s was created as a way of dealing with what seemed to be the last year of her life. I see them as simple stories, but also very personal, that were part of the universe of my home.   What are you currently working on? Recently I’ve been working on ideas for a book project featuring the series This Light Over the Garden. I’ve tried different editing patterns, planned the content of the book, considered printing options, ways to make it feasible, and things like that. It’s something I would like to complete this year. I’m also doing research on Pictorialism, its reasoning, ideals and related questions, for a project I started on images produced by photographers of that time.  •    

Olga Cafiero Curioso

Olga Cafiero

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All images © Olga Cafiero Olga Cafiero (b. 1982, Switzerland) is a Swiss-Italian graduate of the École Cantonale D’Art de Lausanne, where she completed both a BA and an MA with a focus on photography. Curioso, the series Cafiero submitted, is inspired by the Cabinets of Curiosities of the Renaissance, in which project she purposely assembles images of seemingly incongruous subjects, such as albino horses, ultra high-tech machinery and plants that grow in basements, thereby turning herself into a collector. Cafiero is interested in creating links between contrasting topics to intrigue the viewer and awaken his or her curiosity. She has won numerous prizes, including the BFF Förderpreis in 2010 and the Swiss Confederation’s Design Award in 2011.


It seems there is a lot of talent coming out of the photography department of your alma mater, Écal, not least some Foam Talent finalists of recent years, such as Adrien Missika (Talent Issue 2008). What is it about the programme and/or teaching which attracted you to do both a BA and an MA there? Living in Switzerland, it was an easy choice to make. It’s a tough school, because professors always push you forwards by questioning your work. Throughout my time there I had the same professor, Pierre Fantys, who really helped and guided me from the beginning. He became a photographic mentor to me. I guess that’s one of the reasons I decided to do my MA there. Apart from technique and theory, I’d say I learnt always to challenge my limits by constantly questioning my work, breaking the rules and not indulging in autosatisfaction.

cination and curiosity. What a marvellous combination of emotions to have when going out to work. Do you base your decisions on a visual curiosity or fascination, or is it more about the subject itself and what it may teach you or tell you? The starting point can be anything, something I have seen, read or heard about. Then I usually start researching to delve further into the subject, and I

I would love to work for the Vatican! I can’t even imagine what I might find there. How have you found leaving school? Graduates often tell me they ­struggle with the sudden absence of discussion about their work. I have to admit that after six years in Écal, being on my own was quite difficult. But once I got over the fear I started trusting myself, because I had to, and it worked, and that has really been a great feeling. It’s very stimulating to work on your own. And there will always be people around me with whom to discuss my work.

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It is essential to surprise, to intrigue and to create fascination.

With your project Curioso, you have cleverly constructed a platform for yourself where you can legitimately take interesting images ad infinitum. The framework is there: you collect images, just like a collector might collect butterflies, plant species, stamps or other things. Did the project’s theme emerge from a disparate group of images, or was the theme there before the images emerged? The project emerged from a couple of images at the end of my BA. I realized they were related through internal connections, and that they had to group together, even if at first sight they did not constitute a series. That’s when and how the cabinet started. The installation came later, when my collection became bigger and more specific. Oddness and peculiarities are at the origin of my work, which is essentially driven by curiosity and a desire to produce varied images. From the start I felt, if only intuitively, that these images would fit into a kind of cabinet of curiosities, inspired by those of the Renaissance. Huge machines recall the complexity of nature by their fascinating structures, and so refer to science, the founding principle of Renaissance collectors. At the same time, they put my work back into a contemporary context. In your statement you say you choose your subjects based on fas-

interview by Anne-Celine Jaeger may come across unexpected things. Other times I’m driven by a specific obsession. For example, I wanted to shoot machines at one point, so I started looking for places or objects I thought were interesting. Can you tell me a bit about how you hang your work, why you exhibit it the way you do and why it’s important to you that, for example, the jury knows about your approach to exhibiting the work? My work is based on photography. That is my means of expression. Presently I am collecting images. Once I have the pictures, I need to do something with them: it might be a book, an installation, or something else. I have chosen to ­explore installations, which allows me to create links and look for underlying tensions between images of a different ­nature and typology. I am interested in composing a meaningful series out of heterogeneity. I also overlap images, one picture becoming the support for ­another and thereby strengthening the notion of space. The criteria I choose by which to associate images may vary. They may be based on similarities of themes, or simply dictated by a choice of colours or textures. I am interested in the possible connections among objects that, a priori, are unrelated, with a view to elaborate concepts. Some of your individual shots from your series, such as the albino horse or the artichoke flower, I would imagine, excite art buyers. If you were to do some commercial photography, who would your dream client be?


What do you think is needed to create an outstanding photographic series? In my view, it is essential to surprise, to intrigue and to create fascination. This summer, you were one of the final ten photographers at the Hyères Festival. Congratulations. What did you take away from the ten portfolio reviews you had from the jury panel? The portfolio reviews were really interesting. Some of the discussions gave me new ideas and new directions to explore. It allowed me to see how my work is perceived and what reactions it provokes. It also gave me an opportunity to meet key people from the photographic domain, people I would never have met otherwise. It was helpful in creating an interesting and important professional network. That, in essence, is what Hyères is about. What are you currently working on? I’m opening a new chapter of my work, pointing my camera in other directions and for the moment I’m not tired of it.•

Antonio Zambardino Climate Ground Zero

Antonio Zambardino

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All images © Antonio Zambardino Antonio Zambardino (b. 1981, Italy) graduated from the Istituto Europeo di Design in Rome in 2004 with a BA in photography, graphics and video editing. He worked as an intern at Fabrica, Benetton’s creative laboratory in Treviso. His work has been published in numerous international periodicals, including Vanity Fair, L’Espresso, Max, Rolling Stone, Neon, Focus and Liberation. He has received several awards, including the International Photography Awards HB in both 2011 and 2010. Antonio Zambardino is currently represented by the Italian photography agency and publishing house Contrasto.


Fabrica has become the stuff of ­legend. Photographers who have emerged from it in the last two decades include Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin. How would you describe your time there? Fabrica was a great moment for me, even though I didn't get the scholarship. It’s super hard to work as a documentary photographer here in Italy, as there are very few foundations that support ­projects. The same goes for publishing reportage, which is border-line impossible. When I was invited to participate, I felt really positive about my work. For the trial, we had to produce a reportage in two weeks. I liked what I did, but in the end exceptionally gifted photographers, such as Olivia Arthur, Phillipp Ebeling and Ashley Gilbertson were chosen, so I didn't feel too bad about it at the time.

not been done already. So that’s where interpretation comes in, by giving new imagery to a topic, or by offering a different point of view. My method is to get in close to my subjects. They have to know me for a while otherwise I would find it difficult to shoot and then just leave. A great example of interpreting a wide-ranging theme with a very individual story is Donald Weber's book In-

There are many high-profile documentary photographers giving master­classes around the world. What do you feel you learnt during your workshop with Eugene Richards? I was interested to learn about the way he conceives of and develops his projects. He is very clear and understandable to anybody, a quality I appreciate very much in reporters. And he has no fear of telling you about every little trouble he has and the downsides of his job. Ultimately I would say that he is a great investigator, and a fabulous photographer.

How did the Climate Ground Zero (CGZ) story come about? It’s really interesting to me as most of the stories that have come out of the region in recent years have been about people producing the drug crystal meth, and yet your story was about the effects of mountaintop removal. The CGZ project was suggested to me by a bluegrass band called Rising Appalachia. When they told me ‘they are turning mountains into desert’, I couldn’t really imagine it, then I went online and saw a few documentaries that presented horrific stories that depict a very different kind of America. Crystal meth is a big story yes, but Oxycontin, and the painkiller epidemic that goes with it even more so. Since Purdue Pharma first introduced Oxycodone with Oxycontin in 1995, the entire Appalachian region has turned into a battle field. More people die from Oxycontin overdoses than are killed in car crashes. Energy production, the theme of CGZ, and pharmaceuticals may seem like separate subjects, but they are not. The same goes for the fact that Oxycodone is so pervasive over there. The rate of injuries on minefields are out of control in Appalachia, as are side-effects of working in the mines like tumors, isolation and general suffering. The quality of air and water is poor, so people just get even sicker, and turn to painkillers. Oxycontin is freely available. You can buy it on the street.

your subjects are on. What was your intention in telling the story? I believe strongly in the complexity of things. I hate it when problems are ­reduced to a single cause just to outline a specific target. The sad truth is that mountaintop removal is the cheapest way to produce coal. What’s happening over there is wrong and much of the time illegal. It’s very hard to draw a line, fighting mountaintop removal suddenly becomes fighting coal in general, which means fighting the coal operators. It’s very demagogic. I wanted to show the polarization of this fight. Extremism goes back a couple of centuries in Appalachia; two Kentuckian families feuded for decades. In the twenties and thirties, at the peak of the unions time, you were either a union man or a scab. Today it’s pro-coal against green anti-coal. But no matter what the battleground is, there are, metaphorically speaking, only two ways to go.

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I like to change grammar in photography.

Judging by the personal projects on your website (such as Climate Ground Zero, Tonga Below Sea Level and Campania, The Changing Face), you have a deep interest in environmental issues. Like many themes often in the press, it can be hard to find a new way of depicting a story. How do you overcome that challenge? That is something I constantly think about. I like to change grammar in photo­graphy. You can be shooting very plainly to display something, or darkly and allusively. In a portfolio review ­Leonie Purchas once told me that photos should not always try to explain things, they can also just ask questions. I love that idea. It creates a wide space for ­personal interpretation in documentary photography. When approaching a story as a photo­grapher, you are supposed to check what others have done before you. It’s almost impossible to find a story that has

interview by Anne-Celine Jaeger terrogations. It takes me time to get to that point and have a specific vision of what I want to do, but when I’m there, it’s a straight road to the end of the project.

In some pictures in that series it’s hard to tell what side of the fence


How much time do you usually spend in a community or embedded in a project? As much as I need. I spent 89 days in the States, that's how long I could stay legally with a waiver visa. What human attributes do you think are needed to get the most out of a story and its subjects? Respect, patience, interest and compassion. Most professionals in the industry say you should be cold and distant with your subjects, the NYT contract says you should not even accept an invitation to dine with them. I respect that point of view, but I can’t work that way. Where do you stand on the debate of whether a picture can make change happen? I don’t think a picture can change anything in itself, but without pictures there would be no visual information. If ­people are moved by photography, they can individually seek justice. What are you working on right now? I just finished a project in Sicily about unknown victims of the mafia, forgotten by the public, and specific sites in Sicily where mafia-related developers committed crimes against public spaces and the environment by, for example, tearing down old villas to build skyscrapers as a way of money laundering. •

Laura El-Tantawy In the Shadow of the Pyramids: EGYPT

Laura El-Tantawy

portfolio text

All images Š Laura El-Tantawy / VII Mentor Laura El-Tantawy (b. 1980, UK) began working as a newspaper photographer for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the Sarasota Herald Tribune in 2002, but decided to work freelance in 2006 and concentrate on personal projects. In 2008 Laura was one of ten photographers selected to take part in the Reflexions Masterclass, a two-year photography seminar based in Venice. Her work has appeared in various publications worldwide, including Time Magazine’s Lightbox, The Sunday Times Magazine, Burn Magazine and the National Geographic. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the HM Lens Culture International Exposure Awards in 2011, and was recently nominated to become part of the VII Mentor Program.


But to answer your question, I increasingly find that I produce my best work when I show what I feel rather than what I see. It’s an intrinsic human characteristic and I am never looking for images that are photojournalistic per se, but I am always looking for an element

as my work fits within the requirements. Most such calls require some sort of ­project description, which makes them a good way to refine my explanation of my project as well as being a good way to have my work seen by a panel of experts in the field. Even if I my work is not selected, it’s still good exposure and I have had editors tell me they know my name through my work because they saw it while judging this or that.

I produce my best work when I show what I feel rather than what I see. interview by Anne-Celine Jaeger

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of colour, light, facial expression or body language that can convey a feeling rather than tell a whole story. For me this is more challenging, which makes it more interesting and it’s what I am naturally inclined towards.

When did you first get into photography, and at what point on your journey did you decide to focus on documentary photography? I was introduced to photojournalism and documentary photography at university. At the time I was majoring in journalism and political science and thought a class in photography would be a break from my more serious studies. Growing up in Egypt, my only exposure to photography was going to a photo studio to get a passport picture. Egypt still does not have an understanding of photography as a form of expression or as a respected career. At university, I realized it was an extremely powerful storytelling and artistic medium. The first two photographers I was introduced to were James Nachtwey and Steve McCurry. I began focusing on documentary photography after my stint as a newspaper photographer on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. When asked once to summarize your work in three words, you said ‘emotion, life, colour’. How does emotion affect your choice of a story to follow, both your own set of emotions and that of your subjects? I think now if I were asked what three words I’d use to describe my work I would say ‘emotion, light and colour’.

There is a distinct tonality to your work, for example the shades of silvery brown in your macro images or the dusty brown feel of your Egypt series. What is your approach to colour? Colour is extremely important in my life in general and I guess that comes through in my work. When I’m framing a shot I’m looking for a moment when colour, emotion and light are all present. Sometimes it’s the colour and/or light that create the emotion. In the series on farmer suicides I wanted a colour palette that referenced the soil and the earth, which is why those ­silvery brown tones are prominent in the work. Egypt is more difficult for me to talk about because the subject matter is so close to my heart. Everything I photograph in Egypt is centred around my reality, my culture, my tradition, my memories and essentially my identity. The series on the faces of the protesters in Tahrir Square is very important for me because I know how the people feel in those pictures. Every one of the images can be a self-portrait. I couldn’t say this about any of my other bodies of work. Your work has been shown in exhibition spaces around the world, from Cairo to Oxford, Dubai and Bangkok. What advice have you got for promoting work and ensuring it is seen by as many people as possible? You seem to be good at that. I respond to all calls for entries as long


What are you currently working on? I’m currently continuing my long-term project in Egypt, which I aim to publish as a book. I started the series in 2005 as a self-exploration and a search for my identity in a country I was rediscovering. Over the years Egypt has changed substantially and I am now searching for my identity in a country that is searching for its own. I’m in Cairo now as the country experiences its first presidential elections since Mubarak’s ouster and, as we speak, protesters are in Tahrir Square once more, demonstrating against the outcome of Mubarak’s sentencing hearing. •

Esther Teichmann Mythologies

Esther Teichmann

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All images Š Esther Teichmann Esther Teichmann (b. 1980, Germany) graduated from the Royal College of Art with a Masters in Fine Art in 2005. She is currently a senior lecturer at the London College of Communication and will spend the coming year as a guest artist at the California College of Art in San Francisco. Teichmann’s practice merges photography, collage, painting and the moving image. In her work Teichmann explores the genesis of desire and fantasy and how they are closely linked to the experiences of loss and representation. Her work has been exhibited and published internationally, including solo exhibitions in the UK, Australia, Germany and Switzerland. Esther Teichmann recently published Drinking Air, a limited edition artist book.


What in particular grabbed you about the medium of photography when you did your Masters in Fine Art at the Royal College of Art? Inherent to the photographic, as to desire and love, is the paradox and impossibility of grasping a body, the quest to close the gap between oneself and the other, the image, and the inevitable distance which always remains. As much as the photograph is a question of this body of desire, it is also a moment of violence, of wanting to possess that which is always beyond reach. My relationship with photography has little to do with delivering transparency or a copy. Rather, the camera and image function here as metaphors for subjectivity, memory and desire. The real is transformed from one thing into another in a magical totemistic process, fracturing any claims of the photograph as evidence. Photography delivers the possibly universal and timeless desire to become one with another, which we seek within the lovers’ embrace.

Your also create work around the idea of the primal loss of the mother, who, as it says in your statement, necessarily turns away. It sounds rather psychoanalytical. Was that your starting point for the project?

like artist book in small numbers – the edition of fifty included a 10x8-inch edition contact print – rather than a monograph with an essay by an art historian or critic. I think some aspects work better than others, but it really helped me to think more about the book space and the relationship between text and image and how I can develop and rework that for future publications. The process of testing out those ideas really helped to me think about other ways of exhibiting work.

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I am fascinated by what we can never know.

In your work you explore themes of loss, grief, fantasy and desire, using a variety of media (photo­ graphy, inks, acrylics) and a range of source material from Orientalist paintings to literature. When and how did those themes emerge for you as an artist? I am drawn to works that explore human relationships and look at desire and loss as bound up with one another. Growing up in southern Germany in the Rhine Valley next to the Black Forest, I was introduced to works by artists such as Cranach and Grünewald. The eroticism, violence and fantastical landscapes in their paintings had a huge impact on me and have always stayed with me. I go back to my hometown regularly and do some of my work there, using the swamp-and-cave landscape as a backdrop to stage narratives. I am fascinated by what we can never know about the bodies and subjects we desire, about the mother and lover’s lives before we knew them, and the people they are when not with us. It is within that context that I’m interested in the fantasy and exoticism of the other, which underpins Orientalist painting. My parents were both displaced from their home and origin in different ways, so I was always aware of a sort of inherited homesickness and the impossibility of returning to something which no longer exists.

interview by Anne-Celine Jaeger All my bodies of work stem from autobiographical experiences reworked and restaged into fictional and fantastical narratives. I am interested in psychoanalysis only to the extent that I see it as fiction, the drama of the family, and think it has much in common with how an artist works, in terms of a process of associations, leaping from one thing to another that are connected in imaginative and contingent ways. A lot of the philosophers and writers I’m interested in – Maurice Blanchot, Georges Bataille, Julia Kristeva or Marguerite Duras – were or are influenced by psychoanalysis. Can you tell me a little bit about your approach to executing your ideas using mixed media? In my sketchbooks I have always written fictional texts alongside the image-making, and draw on of the photographs and create extensions to them to plan further set constructions and new images. But then I realized those were as much the work as the final image, so I began including reference material, collages, etchings and painting into photographs and film pieces with voice-over narratives. The slippage between photographic and other media is something I have always worked with and perhaps it is a reflection of the works I’m drawn to and look at within my research. You recently published a limitededition artist book called Drinking Air, which features the past six years of your work, alongside prose. What was your concept for the book and are you happy with the outcome? A printer I have worked with for years approached me about creating a sample book for him to target artists working with self-published limited editions. I wanted to use the opportunity to test out ideas for creating more of a sketchbook-


You are currently a senior lecturer at the London College of Communication. Do you feel there is a specific academic language used in writing artist statements about work that can exclude a broader audience? Like any specialized area, the language used to talk about art definitely can overcomplicate and veil meaning and as a result it might feel inaccessible to a broader audience. When used as a trope to sound academic this kind of text quickly falls apart and becomes a parody of itself. Many artists have a very close relationship to language and writing, generating a different kind of literature or text - I for one am most captivated by those texts which I am never fully able to grasp, which change and shift with each rereading. What are you currently working on? I am rewriting scripts for new movingimage pieces, which follow on, although they are also stand-alone pieces, from In Search of Lightning. I’m also thinking about what kinds of voices to cast for the voice-overs. During the summer I will be filming and editing the new works in California. I have also just spent a few weeks in the studio working on blackand-white images of bodies against sky backdrops, which have a strange charged atmosphere of inside and outside space collapsed. Working with 10x8-inch plate cameras and spending time in a blackand-white darkroom again is exhilarating after spending months in editing suites on the film piece. •

Marleen Sleeuwits Interiors

Marleen Sleeuwits

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List of works (in order of appearance): Interior no. 24 (48 x 60 cm), 2011 Interior no. 31 (122 x 150 cm), 2011 Interior no. 25 (160 x 200 cm), 2011 Interior no. 27(72 x 90 cm), 2011 Interior no. 30 (56 x 90 cm), 2011 Interior no. 29 (85 x 110 cm), 2011 Interior no. 35 (118 x 150 cm), 2012 Interior no. 26 (24 x 30 cm), 2011 Interior no. 28 (99 x 150 cm), 2011 Interior no. 32 (86 x 101 cm), 2011 All images Š Marleen Sleeuwits Marleen Sleeuwits (b. 1980, The Netherlands) gained a BA at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, followed by an MA in Photography at the Art Academy of Breda (2003-2005). She investigates the state of disconnection that arises from the spaces she has sought out, such as dead corners of office buildings, waiting rooms or empty corridors in hotels. More recently, Sleeuwits has started constructing new environments within such spaces, using materials she finds there, such as laminate flooring, tape and sticking tiles. She currently lives and works in The Hague and is represented by Liefhertje en de Grote Witte Reus, The Hague.


You did an MA in photography at the Art Academy in Breda, following your BA in art. What did the MA course add to your photographic practice? My Bachelor education in The Hague was mainly focused on commercial photo­ graphy. I learned a lot about photographic­ techniques and presentation. After graduation I worked for two years as a commercial photographer but it didn’t feel like something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I started the MA in Breda to investigate my own fascinations and to work on my own projects. The best thing about Breda was the discussion. Every week several students presented their latest work to a group made up of students, teachers and guest teachers. With so much expertise and so many opinions, I learned how to talk about my work and to trust my ideas and ­defend them.

tant to me. The places I photograph are mostly what I call sick buildings; buildings that are awful to be in because of the lighting, air conditioning etc. But my pictures are not about how horrible these places are, nor about being unable to connect with the place you are in. I need you to feel attracted to the space as well, so that you don't really know whether to hate or love it. I try to achieve that by choosing spaces with ­attractive bright colours, interesting structures and exciting light.

experiment with the medium, combining photography with video, sculpture and installations. They come from various art academies in The Hague, Breda, Amsterdam and Utrecht. It seems talents inspire and encourage each other. Another important element is that the cultural climate for emerging artist in the Netherlands used to be very good. There were several subsidies and grants that enabled young artists to develop their work. I think this is very important because it takes time to find your own way and grow as an artist. Unfortunately due to enormous budget cuts in the field of culture in the Netherlands those financial arrangements are rapidly disappearing. I fear that in the near future this fertile cultural landscape will disappear and it will be very difficult for art academy graduates to flourish.

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The need to find a balance between concept and intuition.

What first attracted you to interiors and the feelings they elicit? I started to take photos of interiors when I was doing a series about airports. I began work on that series after watching a documentary about a businessman who travelled the world for his job. He spent most of his time in convention centres and around airports. One day he woke up in his hotel and had totally forgotten where he was. Looking out of the window didn’t give him any clues. He had to check his ­diary to find out. I thought his experience was quite surreal. It related to a feeling I sometimes have in airports or suburban areas myself. I made it visual by taking photos at various airports and ended up in underground areas, such as endless labyrinths of moving staircases, hallways and waiting rooms. They almost seem to be designed to disorientate. You loose all sense of direction, and usually there’s no daylight so you have no idea what time of day it is. Interiors are common subjects, or much-photographed places. How did you impose your way of seeing on those spaces? Sometimes I search for months before I even get my camera out of my suitcase. The first important element for me is that it’s not instantly clear how the space is put together. There may be a hallway that seems to lead nowhere or a fake wall suddenly dividing the room. Also, structures and colours are impor-

interview by Anne-Celine Jaeger In Interiors, you deform or alter spaces in vacant office buildings to create installations of your own making. Do you know immediately what the space needs? What is your working process in deciding what the installation will be? For this new series I don’t know exactly what I want to do with a space before I start. I don’t make sketches but experiment with the space itself and with ­materials already present in the building such as insulation-material, ceiling ­systems TL light boxes, carpet, etc. Sometimes I add things that I buy at the hardware store. This is a big turnaround in my way of working. Building the spaces myself enables me to work in a more intuitive way and to be less dependent on what I actually encounter. I am able to research a lot in a relatively short period of time, by making compositions of various materials and photographing them with a small snapshot camera and seeing if it will work in a 2D composition. Rather than using existing architecture, this way of working enables me to create more psychological spaces that translate the feeling of disconnection in a more personal way. There seem to be a number of ­talented young photographers emerging in the Netherlands. What do you think it is about the country and its teaching system that’s ­producing such talent? I agree with you that there are many young talented photographers from the Netherlands. A lot of them make great work and


You have taught photography at Fotogram in Amsterdam and at ­ Beeldfabriek Rotterdam. If you were to distil your lectures into a single message, what is it you were trying hardest to get across to your students? The need to find a balance between concept and intuition. Ideally they should work on both simultaneously. Students can be very vulnerable so encouraging them to make lots of work, experiment and not to think in dogmas is for me the most important thing. What are you currently working on? I’ve been changing and constructing spaces for over a year now. I’m definitely not finished with that. The new method made me more aware of the fact that textures and surfaces are increasingly important in my work. I’m currently conceptually interested in working with cheap, fake, non-durable materials, such as laminate flooring, slab tiles or ceiling systems because they immediately refer to the places in my previous work. I’m also working on a plan to exhibit my work in a spatial presentation. The installations I build for my photos are sometimes very interesting in themselves. I want to experiment with presenting them in combination with the photographic works. •

NoĂŠmie Goudal Les Amants Haven Her Body Was

Noémie Goudal

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List of works (in order of appearance): Filet, from the series Les Amants, 2009 Cascade, from the series Les Amants, 2009 Creus, from the series Haven Her Body Was, 2012 Observatory, from the series Haven Her Body Was, 2012 Promenade, from the series Les Amants, 2009 Well, from the series Haven Her Body Was, 2011 Coulée, from the series Les Amants, 2010 Trail, from the series Haven Her Body Was, 2012 All images © Noémie Goudal Noémie Goudal (b. 1984, France) after completing a BA in Graphic Design at Central St Martins in London in 2008, she went on to do an MA in Photography at the Royal College of Art. She graduated with distinction in 2010. Noémie Goudal’s solo work has been exhibited in HotShoe Gallery, London; Severed Head Gallery, Dublin; Project B, Milan and in the Out of Focus group show at the Saatchi Gallery in London. Her work is in numerous collections, including the Fotomuseum Winterthur, Conran Foundation, David Roberts Foundation and the Catlin Art Foundation. She will also be part of the 2012 edition of the Festival IMAGES in Vevey, opening in September. She currently lives and works in London.


You did a BA in graphic design at Central St Martins in London and then an MA in photography at the Royal College of Art. How did the evolution from graphic design to art photography come about? I started to get interested in photography when I was in high school. At St Martins I was using the colour and black-and-white darkroom all day long and when I graduated with a Graphic Design BA I only had pictures in my portfolio. I think that was the moment when I decided to go fully into photography; it appeared to be quite an obvious decision at the time.

the prevaricated in photography and heterotopias are spaces that embody this idea. They don’t belong to a particular geography but lie in between the real world and the map of the human imagination. We know the places in the images exist somewhere

between the works. The still lifes are often very simple interventions. The coral/moonlike shape was a study on cavities that I made while I was gathering ideas and information about caves and hollow formations. I sometimes integrate – within the same series – a picture that has not been constructed, such as Well. I like to confront this kind of image next to the constructed ones as it creates a vital dialogue between the invention and the what is called reality. With this blend, I’m hoping to provide the series with more dynamism and a more lively dialogue.

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The constructions are in some ways the essence of my practice.

Your works consist of sculptures or installations. We are confronted with, for example, industrial settings, which have been transformed into fictitious landscapes using ­paper backdrops, or sets where you have constructed alternative realities using another medium, such as plastic sheets to represent waterfalls. To what degree are those fabrications, as you call them, central to your photographic practice? The constructions are in some ways the essence of my practice, as they exist before the photograph does. The backdrop, for example, represents fiction for me. I photograph a place, very often industrial, in decay, raw and I inject the large-scale backdrops into them, as if they were a story being told. The viewer knows it’s fiction; he can see the paper, he can see its a construction. But he still gets into it. It’s telling a narrative. The other constructions, such as Cascade are interventions into landscapes. There is often a connection and juxtaposition between the man-made and the organic. I’m usually trying to find the right balance between what I can bring to a space to alter it and what might already be there. The process takes a lot of time and it’s very difficult to find the right equilibrium. You call your works heterotopias, a term coined by Michel Foucault in the ’60s, referring to spaces of other­ness where mental and physical implications have a chance to merge. How did your interest in heterotopias come about, and how did you come up with the concept of portraying that fascination? I always work at the intersection of fiction and reality; the represented and

interview by Anne-Celine Jaeger as they are photographed, but nothing is given away about their location. In my new series Haven Her Body Was, I explored remote and secluded spaces and constructed the series as three chapters: caves, nests and islands. The three types of space represent, each in its own way, the idea of isolation, shelter and remoteness. Both of the projects you submitted, Les Amants and Haven Her Body Was refer to people, and yet no one is present in your images. Is the human presence in the title merely part of our imagined construct of what could be or might have been? With the sizes of the images and the lack of any human presence, I’m hoping to invite the viewer inside the image to become the protagonist of the scene. The titles are a personification of the objects that I show, whether they are organic or constructed. I think of them as being alive when I photograph them as they tell me a story. Les Amants had several meanings; it was the relationship between the man-made and the organic, both fighting and espousing at the same time. However, the Cascade can also show the bed sheets of human lovers into the wild, the Promenade is an escape road for them to disappear. Haven Her Body Was refers to mother Earth and the cave as being the womb, the safe place, the birth place. Can you talk to me about the three still lifes in that series? The tissuelike floating image, the pumpkinlike round thing and the thing on stilts. What are they, and how do they fit into the series for you? I’m interested in using a variety of techniques to amplify the dialogue


In Les Amants, I’m intrigued by the chair with the fishnet-like hairscape trawling from its loins, and the picture of the eggs escaping from their boxes. Can you tell me about these images? Filet is a fishing net I found on the beach. It reminded me of an old and disintegrated wedding dress. I liked the opposition between the plastic of the net and the organic wood of the chair. They both embrace each other. However it almost looks as if the plastic of the net is eating the wood, growing around it. Kermebel was the first image of the series. I wanted to create an image in which organic shapes exhibited human behaviour, as if nature was taking over. When I started the series Les Amants, I had a narrative in mind: ‘Men loved the Earth so much that they devoured it; they consumed it completely. Then they left because nothing remained for them. After their disappearance, nature grew and constructed new lands.’ What are you currently working on? I’m working on my next solo show which will be held at the gallery Edel Assanti in London in September and then travel to the Gallery Project B in Milan in November. It will show the series Haven Her Body Was, and include some installations. I am currently working on building stereoscopes. The lenses and the display of the stereoscope allow me to isolate the gaze of the viewer, which is the main problematic of the show. •

Tomoe Murakami Invisible

Tomoe Murakami

portfolio text

All images Š Tomoe Murakami Tomoe Murakami (b. 1980, Japan) graduated in Art and Literature from Waseda University in Tokyo. In 2007 she became a research assistant at the Photography Centre, Tokyo University of the Arts, and in 2010 an assistant professor. Tomoe Murakami has had numerous solo shows in Japan, including The Universe is Fine, Photo Particles, I Imagine at Cashi in Tokyo in 2010 and Stars and Water at the Shinjuku Nikon Salon in Tokyo, in 2008. Her work has been exhibited in group shows in Japan, the USA and Korea. She was awarded the first prize at the Art of Photography Show in San Diego in 2010 and is now working on her personal projects.


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You did a BA in Art and Literature at Waseda University in Tokyo. What a great combination. Do you feel studying literature influenced your artistic practice in some way? Yes, absolutely. I started to take photo­ graphs at university. I had no knowledge of photography, but I knew intuitively from the start that photography was similar to poetry. I like to read litera­ ture, especially novels and poetry. I was always reading at high school, so I went to Waseda University to learn more about literature. It was only by coinci­ dence that I joined a photography group. I find ­poetry highly visual. It is the simple e­ xpression of the word and evokes aspects of memory and the im­ agination in me – things I associate with the image as well. I think the common aspect of memory and imagination is the blank space that allows people to imagine freely with minimum information. Lit­ erature is similar. They are just words but one can imag­ ine so many things when reading them. The more I take photographs, the more I think the two are very closely linked. My feeling that poetry and photo­ graphy are similar is very Japanese. We have developed a particular photograph­ ic tradition. Take the shi-shashin move­ ment, meaning private photography, which has developed into a trend in the photobook culture here. My images may not align with that trend, but I’ve been very influenced by those photobooks. Given that you have a literature ­degree, are there any particular writers that influence your visual aesthetic, or the way you work? Literature has always been with me, and I feel it has influenced my way of think­ ing, my philosophy. It’s not a concrete influence, it’s highly ambiguous. Put simply, literature makes my philosophy and philosophy makes my work. They are all connected like a Möbius Loop. You are currently an assistant professor at the Photography Centre at the Tokyo University of the Arts. What do you feel is the most important thing students can learn from you? What do you try to get through to them? The most important thing students can learn from me is to try new things, to see many things and to make lots of mis­ takes because there is no right way in art. I want them to learn how to convey

their work to the outside world. In ­Japan, students who study photography have a tendency to stay in their own world, so I try to advise them to look at their own world from a distance. I feel it’s impor­ tant to think for yourself and to try to get your work seen by as many people as

I want to capture the world. interview by Anne-Celine Jaeger possible, like I’m doing now with the Foam Talent issue. I try to inspire them to contact people around the world, to apply to lots of programs or competi­ tions and to make new work. I can’t give students anything concrete, but I hope to create a dialogue. In the series you submitted, Approach to Invisible, you are looking to reach beyond the invisible, to capture that which we cannot see, that which is mysterious to us, ­beyond the mist and fog. Is your starting point a philosophical one, or would you say it’s more poetic, a lyrical investigation into what is invisible to the naked eye? I don’t start my work from a philosoph­ ical or poetic point of view. I can say this though: I want to capture the world, which spreads across the invisible sight. It’s not so much a lyrical investigation as an objective sampling, like a geologist might collect one grain of sand at a time from a new layer of earth. Of course I do this with some philosophical sense and an aesthetic sensibility, forever thinking about how I can express it. I think the Japanese may also have a special point of view when looking at scenery as an invisible thing. We see fog, rain and vapour as something ambigu­ ous rather than concrete.


You say in your statement that your fundamental reason for working is: ‘I understand that I can’t see the invisible but the act of taking a photo­graph motivates me to search for it.’ Where do you think that ­investigation will lead you, and how are you intending to develop it ­further? I have a strong desire to see; I always want to see more than what is visible and yet I know I can’t see the invisible. But I believe there is such a thing as the in­ visible because the word exists. So, I continue to search for it. My work leads me to somewhere I don’t know, which in turn makes me go there physically and mentally. I don’t attempt to deter­ mine a particular subject. What I see appears suddenly, when I don’t expect it. It’s haphazard. To what extent would you say that contemporary Japanese photographers have a particular colour sensitivity? In particular I’m thinking of yourself, Rinko Kawauchi and Syoin Kajii. If they do, how would you explain where it comes from and why? What is it about Japanese culture that brings out those colours? I think the biggest reason for a particular colour sensitivity in Japanese photo­ graphers is the humid climate and the physical aspect of the colour of our eyes. We have clearly different eyes and skin color from western people, and the natural sunlight is also different here. Of course the Japanese traditional disposi­ tion is different as well, but that has been cultivated by our climate and the solid ground of Japan. I want to think a great deal about this colour culture. It’s a unique point for expression, of which we are proud. What are you currently working on? I’m working on two new, challenging series.  •

Ali Taptik Nothing Surprising

Ali Taptik

portfolio text

All images Š Ali Taptik Ali Taptik (b. 1983, Turkey) graduated with a BSc in Architecture from the Istanbul Technical University in 2011. A self-taught photographer, Taptik has had a number of solo exhibitions in Europe, including his show Wounds at the Cuadro Gallery in Dubai and Cover at Krinzinger Projekte in Vienna. His work has been exhibited in numerous group shows worldwide, most recently Witnessing, Negotiation, Stability, at the Galerie Françoise Heitsch in Munich in 2012. He is currently interested in the relationship between literature and visuality and publishing as artistic production. Ali Taptik lives and works in Istanbul.


You did a BSc in Architecture, followed by an MSc in the History of Architecture, and you are a selftaught photographer. Can you tell me at what point you picked up a camera and decided to combine your knowledge and understanding of the city with your visual interpretation of it? It was actually the other way around. I terrorized my family and friends with my camera throughout high school. I want­ ed to be a writer, a novelist; I was publishing zines with my friends, and was writing short stories. But I lost my sketch­ book with all my notes in a bus accident when I was seventeen and gave up. I wanted to study photography but at that mo­ ment the photography schools in Turkey weren’t so good, so I went to the school of architecture instead. It was the best unconscious decision of my life! I think it influenced my practice a lot. I learned to be self-critical at all times, which is a must during the design process, and I developed a higher aware­ ness of urban environments.

Choosing to live in a huge city one has to face the feeling of solitude within the crowd. It’s a beautiful but sad feeling. When you accept this, the sadness turns into something positive that you share and actually enjoy with others. The posi­ tive aspect of the images is the part that gets lost in translation. I know that reac­ tions towards the work are very different in Istanbul than in anywhere else.

proach, portraying potential daily encounters with urban incidents, such as a car crash, furniture abandoned on the street, a neatly stacked pile of wood that has ­toppled and steel beams emerging out of rooftops. What was the idea behind the series? The starting word at that time was Crisis. It was 2008, when the financial crisis had just begun. Everybody was seeing things as crises. I looked up the etymology of the word. It relates to the turning point of an illness either for good or for bad. Now, four years later, noth­ ing has changed. There is a photo in that ­series, a picture of a note. That was a rude note to my friends from a building con­ tractor given, who had lost their jobs because of the 2008 financial crisis about an overdue payment. They were white collars who had rapidly been sacked. So that series is about the mood of that year, that time. The steel beams you are referring to have been left protruding from buildings in the slums in the hope of later being able to extend the building. It’s an aspect of semi-illegal settlements in the slums. Without that knowledge, something ­obvious to any person from Istanbul, it takes on a different meaning, doesn’t it?

foam magazine # 32 talent

I never wanted to compose images; I wanted to compose stories, narratives, or fiction.

Your series Kaza ve Kadar, which translates as Accident and Fate includes pictures of run-down housing, a rusty, derelict ship in a harbour, the evidence of scarring both physical and to some degree mental, grey skies above a dilapidated cityscape. It’s a poetic yet melancholic portrayal of a city made up of disparate impressions or associations. Is your view of how the individual and the city co-exist a dark one? Kaza ve Kader doesn’t really translate well. Literally it’s ‘accident and fate’. But actually Kaza also means ‘event’ and Kader can mean ‘Outcome’. I start­ ed both Kaza ve Kader and Nothing ­Surprising with words as concepts that I then tried to visualize and build a narra­ tive around. My view of the city isn’t a dark one. You are reading something dark into it. This is rather important, as we don’t share a similar cultural or local back­ ground. There are some important signs and images that would take on a very dif­ ferent significance if you read them from a local point of view. A lot gets lost in translation. In both these series I provide a chance for meaning and some hints, but I have started to accept that people see what they want to see and what they are able to see.

interview by Anne-Celine Jaeger You state that one of the key ­elements of the series is the narrative between the intimate and the social. Can you explain what you mean by that? You see the streets of the city, the out­ side, but you also see the inside of the city, the inside of our homes, parts of my personal relationships and my friends. Once you start developing a holistic view of life, the borders start to dissolve. You go out, but then you go back in and then out again and you are at home, you don’t travel anywhere to work, so it’s ­really a constant process, you are con­ stantly working. There are excerpts from a visual diary but there are narrative constructions as well. It’s directed but not staged. That’s why I think photo­ graphy is much closer to literature than any other form of art. How did you shoot the images in the series and what made you take these aesthetic choices, for example to create a subliminal darker ring around a number of images, almost as if you are looking through a blurred barrel of a gun? I shot them by walking around, trying to go everywhere in town. I loved the sin­ gularity and centrality of the square, the way it limits possibilities of composition. I never wanted to compose images; I wanted to compose stories, narratives, or fiction. The barrel, the vignette, is a residue of my early influences. It’s a bad habit that I am trying to get rid of. Your series Nothing Surprising is also about the city but to some degree it takes a more accidental ap-


How do you ensure you progress as an artist and photographer? I work a lot, and share what I create. I try to be really hard on myself. I do what’s necessary to get my work out there. I try not to enter competitions or open calls as they take too much time and bring on too much frustration. I try instead to get the work directly to people who want to see it. I ended up as a Tal­ ent finalist because someone else nomi­ nated me for the Foam Paul Huf Award. What are you currently working on? An exhibition, where I’ll be a facilitator for other artists and creatives. It’s a project related to adapting a short story to screen. I’m also working on a book about Marseille, which is designed as a list of failures. And we are about to start a ­publishing house that deals with the book as a medium in itself, rather than just a container to hold images or text or draw­ ings. Basically I’m working on giving up photography, I am tired of limiting myself and being limited to one medium. •

Maroesjka Lavigne テ行land

Maroesjka Lavigne

portfolio text

All images ツゥ Maroesjka Lavigne Maroesjka Lavigne (b.1989, Belgium) gained her Masters in Photography at Ghent University in the summer of 2012. Her work was exhibited at The Affordable Art Fair in Brussels Tour and at the 44 Gallery in Bruges, Belgium. For テ行land, the project Lavigne submitted this year, she spent four months in Iceland, driving on her own through the desolate snow-covered and blossoming landscapes of winter and spring, looking for those moments when colour, light and the subject merge into the perfect image. She is currently living and working in Ghent.


When did you first get interested in photography? I started audiovisual studies in high school when I was fifteen. I guess that’s when I started to become interested in the image. But it wasn’t until I decided to do my bachelors, and later a masters degree in Ghent that I really got inter­ ested. Especially in the final years, when we were allowed more freedom and could do whatever we wanted. I like ­going to places I’ve never been before and looking around until I see something that’s worth photographing, until light, colour and subject all come together. But unfor­ tunately that doesn’t happen very often.You have to go out and look for it.

is to take pictures. I like the small things. With photography you can take a little frame out of the world and give it special attention. For example, the picture of the shrimps in the sink. It’s not a crazy thing to do, but when I was washing them I was thinking ‘this is such a strange sight’. People do strange things and sometimes we’ve got to put some focus on them to realize what we’re ­doing. Maybe it’s something about the Iceland aura too. That always makes people’s actions look a bit silly, set against big ­almighty nature. The rela­ tionship between man and nature is fascinating I think. Not in too serious a way, more in the little things.

foam magazine # 32 talent

With photography you can take a little frame out of the world and give it special attention.

What was your time at Ghent like? What do you feel you learnt there? My time in Ghent was great. I think school gave me the opportunity to find out for myself what it was that attracted me to photography. Like most people, when I started I thought of b ­ ecoming some kind of documentary photo­ grapher. I wasn’t really familiar with other kinds of styles of photo­graphy. But as you start the course you come across almost every kind of style, and you gain a lot from looking at other people’s ­pictures as well. It took me quite a while to find out what I wanted to do. How did your project in Iceland come about? How did you find yourself there and why? When I started my masters I was a bit confused about what I wanted to do. I felt I had to go away for a while and figure it out. So I chose to go to Iceland. Of course that’s a very attractive place for a photographer because of the great landscape and isolation, and it’s not too big, so you feel like you have some ­control. I found a great internship there at an English-language newspaper, The Reykjavik Grapevine. They helped me a lot because I could go on trips around the island for them. Mostly to touristic places, but I could always stop and take some pictures for myself. I was free to suggest my own ideas. You have a refined colour sensitivity and, to judge by your images, are attracted to shapes. Do you generally frame your shots purely from a visual/graphic point of view? Yes, I became aware of that for the first time in Iceland. Maybe it’s because

interview by Anne-Celine Jaeger everything seemed more vivid there. But sometimes a moment can really jump out at you when everything is right. Mostly I just look around for ­colours and shapes. It’s a nice surprise if you find something that seems right. You somehow get addicted to that kind of surprise. It can really give you a buzz of happiness. Your images show nature having the upper hand, yet there is also a degree of non-threatening stillness and quiet. What emotions did you encounter while living out there for your project and which of them did you want to convey with your work? It was my first trip alone, far away, in a different world. Especially because I had to drive through a white void most of the time. It was a strange new feel­ ing. I was driving alone a lot, but I was never bored. I can only compare it to looking at a very slow movie scene with some nice music in the background. You get caught up in the moment. Per­ haps you can see this in my pictures? I didn’t really think about it that much at the time. I didn’t have a plan until I came back to Belgium, when I realized that the project wasn’t really finished yet and I had to find some kind of story. So the natural thing to do was to go back to Iceland in wintertime. It’s a completely different feeling then. It’s always dark and everybody seems a bit depressed, whereas in springtime ­everybody seemed filled with joy. I think if you go to a place you’ve never been to before, you really start to look around. Especially when your aim


Would you be interested in doing commercial work? If so, who would your dream client be? Since I’m graduating this year I’m spend­ ing a lot of time thinking about what I would like to do with photography in the future. I think my pictures could work commercially way. My dream client would be somebody who’s open to ideas, in par­ ticular ideas that make you smile and think about something you hadn’t thought about before. What are you currently working on? We have a jury-judging or masters p ­ roject very soon, so I’m getting ready for that. I’m finishing a book on the ­Iceland ­project. So everything is getting cleared up in my head. And I notice that I’m ­becoming eager to try something new.•

Foam enables people all over the world to experience and ­enjoy photography, whether it’s at our museum in Amsterdam, on the ­website, via our internationally ­distributed magazine or in our ­Editions department. The heart of Foam is located in the centre of Amsterdam, in the museum on the ­Keizersgracht. Here we schedule a varied programme of exhibitions including world-famous photographers as well as young or undiscovered talent. Large-scale exhibitions alternate with small, quickly changing shows. We also organise a dynamic programme of lectures, discussions, guided tours, workshops and special events. Open daily 10:00 – 18:00, Thu⁄Fri 10:00 – 21:00

foam magazine # 32 talent Identical twins, Roselle, N.J. 1967 Š The Estate of Diane Arbus


foam amsterdam

Woman with a veil on Fifth Avenue, N.Y.C. 1968 Š The Estate of Diane Arbus


foam magazine # 32 talent Child with a toy hand grenade in Central Park, N.Y.C. 1962 Š The Estate of Diane Arbus


Diane Arbus 26 October 2012 – 13 January 2013 Diane Arbus (1923–1971) revolutionized the art she practiced. Her bold subject matter and photographic approach produced a body of work that is often shocking in its purity, in its steadfast celebration of things as they are. Her gift for rendering strange those things we consider most familiar, and for uncovering the familiar within the exotic, enlarges our understanding of ourselves. Arbus found most of her subjects in New York City, a place that she explored as both a known geography and as a foreign land, photographing people she discovered during the 1950s and 1960s. She was committed to photography as a medium that tangles with the facts. Her contemporary anthropology—portraits of couples, children, carnival performers, nudists, middle-class families, transvestites, zealots, eccentrics, and celebrities—stands as an allegory of the human experience, an exploration of the relationship between appearance and identity, illusion and belief, theater and reality.

Much has been written and said about Diane Arbus’s work since her death in 1971— so much that it has sometimes made it difficult to see the work on its own terms. Foam is pleased to present, perhaps for the first time, a major retrospective of Arbus’ uniquely powerful photographs in the true eloquence of their silence. The show will enable each viewer to encounter the images much as the photographer encountered her subjects: directly and unencumbered by preconceptions. Visitors to the exhibition seeking knowledge about Arbus’s life and working methods will be able to explore four additional separate galleries containing biographical material, books, personal notebooks, correspondence and other writings in which the artist articulates the goals, obstacles, and strategies that went into making the pictures. This exhibition has been organized by Jeu de Paume, Paris, in collaboration with The Estate of Diane Arbus LLC, New York and with the participation of Fotomuseum Winterthur and Martin-Gropius-Bau Berlin. •


foam amsterdam

This exhibition of two hundred photographs affords an opportunity to explore the origins, scope, and aspirations of a wholly original force in photography. It includes all of the artist’s iconic photographs as well as many that have never before been exhibited in the Netherlands. Even the earliest examples of her work demonstrate Arbus’s distinctive sensibility through the expression on a face, someone’s posture, the character of the light, and the personal implications of objects in a room or landscape. These elements, animated by the singular relationship between the photographer and her subject, conspire to implicate the viewer with the force of a personal encounter.

Foam Paul Huf Award Alex Prager

Alumni of the Rijksakademie RE-Search

31 August – 14 October 2012

31 August - 14 October 2012 For Re-Search Foam has invited eight Rijksakademie alumni of recent years that have worked in varied ways with photography as medium or subject. Their inquiring attitude has been translated to images that deal with the visualisation of history, looking and the interpretation of archives. Participating artists are Gwenneth Boelens, Lotte Geeven & Semâ B ­ ekirovic, Zachary Formwalt, Gert Jan Kocken, ­A lexandra Leykauf, Paulien Oltheten and Fiona Tan. Rijksakademie creates an environment in which artists can concentrate on research, experimental and creating progressive art. The exhibition does justice to the foundations of the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten and reflects the consistent high quality of the former residents of this internationally renowned institution. With this exhibition Foam underlines the importance and unique position of the Rijksakademie for the development of exceptionally talented (inter)national artists. •

foam magazine # 32 talent

This year Alex Prager (1979, USA) was chosen by an international jury as the winner of the Foam Paul Huf Award 2012, an annual prize given to a photo­ graphy talent under the age of 35. The prize brings € 20,000 and an exhibition in Foam Amsterdam. The jury found that Prager’s work ‘draws brilliantly on different but complementary threads in the photographic tradition, but nevertheless results in a fresh and distinct voice in photography today. (...) Her work is original, intelligent and seductive.’ Prager’s work is on show until 14 October 2012. •

3 32pm, Coldwater Canyon, 2012 © Alex Prager, courtesy of Michael Hoppen Contemporary

Foam in Van Loon III, Daniëlle van Ark 12 October 2012 – 21 January 2013 Both in 2005 and 2009 Museum van Loon kindly opened its doors to Foam. The museum is situated straight across the canal from Foam. Since Foam will be closed temporarily during the installation of the museum-encompassing retrospective ‘Diane Arbus’ (from 15 October until 25 October), Dutch photo­ grapher Daniëlle van Ark has been invited by Foam to be inspired by this mansion of the Van Loon family. Status, descent, lineage, transience and mortality are the central themes. The result is a special exhibition: Foam in Van Loon III, Daniëlle van Ark. •

Ikebana City/ New York, 2011 © Lotte Geeven & Semâ Bekirovic



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Colophon Issue #32, Fall 2012 Editor-in-chief Marloes Krijnen Creative Director Pjotr de Jong (Vandejong) Editors Marcel Feil, Pjotr de Jong, Elisa Medde, Marloes Krijnen Managing Editor Elisa Medde Magazine Management Betty Man, Femke Papma Communication Intern G. Janset Genel

foam magazine # 32 talent

Art Director Hamid Sallali (Vandejong) Design & Layout Hamid Sallali, Maarten Kanters (Vandejong) Typography Maarten Kanters (Vandejong) Contributing Photographers and Artists Olga Cafiero, Alejandro Cartagena, Popel Coumou, Laura El-Tantawy, Sam Falls, Noémie Goudal, Grace Kim, Shane Lavalette, Maroesjka Lavigne, Fabio Messias, Tomoe Murakami, Giulio Sarchiola, Marleen Sleeuwits, Ali Taptik, Esther Teichmann, Antonio Zambardino, WassinkLundgren Cover Photograph Oranges, 2012 © Sam Falls, courtesy of American Contemporary, International Art Objects, and MB Gallery. Acrylic and pastel on archival pigment print, 24x20 inches. Contributing Writers Marcel Feil, Anne-Celine Jaeger, Laura Noble, Sebastian Hau

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Publisher Foam Magazine PO Box 92292 1090 AG Amsterdam – NL ISSN 1570-4874 ISBN 978-90-70516-27-7 © photographers, authors, Foam Magazine BV, Amsterdam, 2012. All photographs and illustration material is the copyright property of the photographers and /or their estates, and the publications in which they have been published. Every effort has been made to contact copyright holders. Any copyright holders we have been unable to reach or to whom inaccurate acknowledgement has been made are invited to contact the publishers at All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photo-copy, recording or otherwise without prior written permission of the publishers. Although the highest care is taken to make the information contained in Foam Magazine as accurate as possible, neither the publishers nor the authors can accept any responsibility for damage, of any nature, resulting from the use of this information.

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#32 Talent Fall 2012 €19,50

The impetus for Peeping Tom’s Digest#3: Beirut is a roundtable discussion featuring Lebanese , which took place in Beirut in February 2012, and which was art practitioners Coumou / Cartagena / Lavalette / Kim / Falls organized and filmed by Peeping Tom. Peeping Tom’s Digest is an experimental and subjective publication dedicated to contemporary art. Each issue focuses on trends and movements of a particular geographic area and highlights the artists and initiatives represented within it. The point of departure for each edition is a residency of the Peeping Tom collective lasting several months in the chosen city, region or country. Deliberately empirical, without critical, theoretical or historical pretensions, its approach allows them to veer off the beaten path. Not only sharing the work, the artists, and the artistic and cultural efforts they encountered, each volume also aims to reveal the specificity of a depicted art scene: the curatorial process and the structure of the magazine (graphic design, format, number of pages and so on) varies from issue to issue reflecting the characteristics and stakes of each locale. The genealogy of the experiment and its numerous protagonists are showcased in the publication as an inserted poster.

Sarchiola / Messias / Cafiero / Zambardino El-Tantawy / Teichmann / Sleeuwits / Goudal Murakami / Taptik / Lavigne





c-print, 45 x 30 cm, photo© Studio Wurm, Courtesy: Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York

#32 Talent Fall 2012 €19,50

Coumou / Cartagena / Lavalette / Kim / Falls Sarchiola / Messias / Cafiero / Zambardino El-Tantawy / Teichmann / Sleeuwits / Goudal Murakami / Taptik / Lavigne

Erwin Wurm, One Minute Sculpture, 1997

PREVIEW Foam Magazine #32, Talent Issue 2012  
PREVIEW Foam Magazine #32, Talent Issue 2012  

This is Foam Magazine #32 Talent, which is devoted to the work of young, talented photographers. Each autumn issue focuses exclusively on ne...