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Welcome to our new issue as we mark the end of our third year in existence. Over these years we have enjoyed the unwavering support of photographers, agencies and readers alike as we pursue our goal of publishing stories that we feel are under-reported in our day to day lives. Certainly at the moment when the world focuses muchneeded attention on rebuilding communities in the Tsunami devastated region of South Asia our aim is not to compete with important ongoing stories but to gently focus attention on other issues that continue to be unresolved and tragic on a vast humanitarian scale elsewhere. In this respect Heidi Bradner reminds us that the brutal war in Chechnya has now been raging for over 10 years. Her numerous trips to the region, most recently in December, have resulted in the graphic report published here. A similar story unfolds in Uganda where children face abduction and death as they strive to survive out of the reach of the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army. As ever our stories lead with photography, the images provide us with a language to bridge the gap between an experience of real events and our imagination of them. In our essay on the subject of rape in war we attempt to tackle the difficult question of how one should depict a taboo subject and to what lengths one should go to in order to get the shot. If you should question the power of imagination and its ability to mobilise emotion and action then I ask you to turn to the back page where a seemingly incongruous image of a swimmer on Brighton beach appears to take on a whole new meaning in the context of the thousands who have died as a result of the awesome power of the sea. JL 8 Index Modelling Charity Declan O’Neill worked as a writer for six years before turning to photography two years ago. While working mainly on commercial assignments, Declan has also been developing personal projects, including the one seen here. www.declanoneill.com Sisters Ryan Anson is a freelance photojournalist based in Washington DC and Southeast Asia. In the last three years, Ryan has produced numerous visual advocacy projects for international and Philippines-based NGOs. He is currently represented by Network Photographers www.networkphotographers.com firstname.lastname@example.org Hip-Hop Salone Aubrey Wade, an independent British photographer, spent three months in Sierra Leone exploring Freetown’s post-conflict youth culture. Dividing his time between assignment work and personal projects, for which he has received several awards, Aubrey continues to explore the dual themes of culture and identity in his work. www.aubreywade.com Chechnya, The Lost Decade After studying journalism in her native Alaska, Heidi Bradner worked independently in Russia and Eastern Europe throughout the 90s. The
Editor Jon Levy Features Editor Max Houghton Associate Editor Lauren Heinz Picture Editor Flora Bathurst Contributing Editors Sophie Batterbury, Colin Jacobson, Ludivine Morel Managing Editor Gordon Miller Reviewers Bill Kouwenhoven, Sophie Wright Design Rob & Phil Special Thanks Maurice Geller, Andrew Ferguson Reprographics John Doran at Wyndeham Graphics Print Stones the Printers Paper Galerie Art Silk: cover 250gsm, body 130gsm Distribution Specialist bookshops & galleries – Central Books 020 8986 4854, Newstrade – Comag 01895 433800 ISSN 1476-6817
award-winning story featured here is a product of her numerous trips to Chechnya, most recently at the end of last year. An exhibition of her images will be held at the Side Gallery, Newcastle (see Diary p72). Heidi is represented by Panos Pictures. www.panos.co.uk www.heidibradner.com Watch Over Me During the past 13 years, Dutch photographer Chris de Bode travelled extensively, particularly in Africa, where he completed this story on the humanitarian crisis in Uganda. Chris’ photos are published in numerous magazines worldwide. He is represented by Panos Pictures. www.panos.co.uk Leopold and Mobutu Guy Tillim started photographing professionally in 1986 and joined Afrapix, a collective of South African photographers with whom he worked closely until 1990. The story about the Congo printed here appears in book format entitled Leopold and Mobutu published by Filigranes Editions (www.filigranes.com) and will be exhibited in London later this year. See more of Tillim’s photography at www.michaelstevenson.com or contact email@example.com Uneins Sibylle Fendt has been practising photography since 1996, beginning with her studies and evolving into her work as
a freelance photographer. Focusing on the people of her native Germany as subjects, the story shown here features people with OCD that she documented in and around their homes. www.sibyllefendt.de Crossing the Amazon Spanish photographer Alvaro Leiva, largely self-taught, began shooting professionally in 1989. The photographs featured here form part of a three-year project on mighty rivers of the world also taking in the Ganges and the Mekong. He is represented by Panos Pictures. www.panos.co.uk Visual Noise Barry Lewis started his photographic career in 1976 as a staff photographer at Vogue. His personal project featured here is an exploration of the urban environment looking at the juxtapositions of advertising, graffiti, signage and messaging that form our visual landscape. For more see: www.networkphotographers.com or www.barrylewisphotography.com Whatever the Weather James DiBiase is a photographer based in Brighton, England, where he also lectures at Sussex Downs College. His recent work has included off-beat studies of Japan, New York and Russia. He strives to capture “the more unusual aspects of modern culture”. www.jamesdibiase.co.uk
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Contents Vol.3 No.4 March 2005 12
>Moments >6 Modelling Charity Declan O’Neill – From high street to art collectors’ wish list, child-size charity boxes have taken on a different function >8 Sisters Ryan Anson – Separated from their families, girls as young as eight band together in Davao City, Philippines, for comfort and security >10 Hip-Hop Salone Aubrey Wade – The youth of Freetown express their injustice through powerful lyrics and inspiring rhythms >Features >12 Chechnya, The Lost Decade Heidi Bradner – 10 years after the Russian invasion attempt that triggered a war, Grozny remains a centre of conflict >20 Watch Over Me Chris de Bode – Children in northern Uganda seek refuge to escape abduction into the Lord’s Resistance Army >38 Leopold and Mobutu Guy Tillim – Uncovering the Congo and the remains of its troubled history at the hands of the Belgian colonists and President Mobutu >44 Uneins Sibylle Fendt – Afflicted by obsessive-compulsive tendencies, “Uneins” or “divided” people live amidst the chaos that is their daily existence >50 Crossing the Amazon Alvaro Leiva – At the source of the mighty Amazon, the indigenous peoples lead a timeless life fishing, hunting and herding their livestock >56 Visual Noise Barry Lewis – The overload of urban camouflage and graphic imagery on the streets of London and New York >Essays >28 On Its Knees Paul Hayward – The decline and fall of heavyweight boxing >32 The Atrocious Image Max Houghton – The visual representation of the rape of women as a tool of war >37 Dear Jon Laurence Watts – A charity worker responds to The Atrocious Image, questioning the media’s ambivalence to reporting rape >Inside >60 Charlotte Cotton – The Head of Programming at the Photographers’ Gallery talks to Colin Jacobson about her views on exhibiting photojournalism >Reviews >62 Magnum Stories, Why Mister, Why?, Cycl’es, When We Were Young, The Corporation, Mois de la Photo, Joel Meyerowitz, Blink, Life Below, Into the Silent Land, Wow Wow Diary, Artificial Arcadia, Phil and Me, Digging >Diary >72 A comprehensive guide to worldwide photography exhibitions and events
44 >Listings >74 Picture Agencies and Professional Services >Scene >82 Whatever the Weather James DiBiase – Diving into chilly waters with the keen bathers of Brighton
>Cover Amazon © Alvaro Leiva/Panos Pictures 5
>Moments Modelling Charity Declan Oâ€™Neill The child-sized charity collection box has all but disappeared from the British high street, forced into hiding in the 1980s through vandalism and disability rights campaigns. But in recent years they have become collectable cultural icons and have found new lives and homes in art galleries and loft apartments. A few stalwarts continue their charity work. Others have gained celebrity status. David Bailey keeps a pair in his studio. John Lennon painted a group pure white for a 1968 exhibition at the Robert Fraser Gallery. Damien Hirst cast a 22ft replica in painted bronze, which survived last yearâ€™s Momart fire. That figure is closely modelled on the daughter of the original designer, Alan Grounds. Of the thousands produced in the 1960s at factories in Loughborough and Surrey, few have survived the British climate, thieves and shifting perceptions of disability. Replaced by eager students with clipboards primed to collect our direct debit details, the fibreglass fundraisers have taken on a macabre appearance, crudely renovated reminders of a more innocent time 8
>Moments Sisters Ryan Anson High on rum and Rugby, an industrial solvent supposedly outlawed for sale to minors, but freely available in the city streets if you know where to look, Kin Kin (left) is hanging out with her friend Mikay, but Mikay has other things on her mind. Filipino Kin Kin left her home in Compostela Valley, when she was eight years old, heading to Davao City to find work. Like many street children separated â€“ for different reasons â€“ from their families, she found the security and comfort she needed by joining a gang. The bonds of friendship are sacrosanct, and the girls engage in elaborate initiation rituals, where they tattoo each other, or simply slash their wrists. Such actions are not always rites of passage, but an outlet for the abuse; emotional, physical, or sexual they have suffered in their young lives. Kin Kin and Mikay are members of Demonyo sa Pagasa, a mixed gang in which the 20 or so girl members frequently become dependent on the boys for their material needs and sometimes offer sex in exchange for soap, cigarettes or food. Always hungry, a hit of Rugby relieves the emptiness for a while, and also helps Kin Kin forget about the time she awoke to find fellow gang members had shaved her head as she slept. Although life on the streets is never far from danger, the fatal stabbing of Macao, leader of girl gang Warshock, in 2003, is still the most-talked about event in recent history. Her death added to the 100-strong toll of street children who have been killed in Davao City in the last four years 8
>Moments Hip-Hop Salone Aubrey Wade The youth of Freetown, Sierra Leone, are breathing new life into their warravaged country, kick-starting its heart to the beat of Hip-Hop. In the decade when conflict was the nation’s defining characteristic, foreign music reigned supreme – R Kelly’s The Storm is Over encapsulated the relief when, finally, peace began to descend. These days a vibrant music scene has erupted as young artists, like the band Baw Waw – seen here in a back alley of Congotown, filming the music video for their song City Life – mix reggae and rap with local boo-boo rhythms and lyrics in Krio, Mende and Temne. Dissatisfied with a backward-looking political system that seems incapable of shifting Sierra Leone’s unenviable position as “the least developed nation in the world”, it is the bands and crews of Freetown who are politicising their contemporaries in a way those who hold the power can only dream of 8 AN’PORTO by 2PLUS1 “Hello ladies and gentleman, I am a whiteman in Sierra Leone, I want you to know that, learning is better than silver and gold, So I need all your minerals and then you will be educated. Hey, An’Porto Ehmadi! (Hey, White man, I want to eat!) What? Duya, duya, me brother don’t forsake a you country. Wo dem you born, don’t forsake for another land. If na money sef you go find I abroad a I wan for make you know say dae Sae wo den born you dem na here you mother land. Dae respect and cola wae you get na ya. You no go get am na any foreign land It’s no lie, let we check. Me bo, Guinea wae we go as refugee Dae whiteman dae come tradae turn we paddy. Tell we education better than gold and diamonds. Send me na school na april fool. Take we mineral all and get am gold. Salone dae for suffer but a we dae no for know Frustration, hypertension, Thiefman boku, beggar man boku, Liar, sweeter, longhand, shorthand, bribery, amory, Angry, we sorry If you go na Europe, Asia or America Bo, you for no say no more, Any time you na stranger, green card or no green card. All de time for fool you. For make you help dem build dem country how dae want You sef sef sabi, salone na wae only country wae we for try for make So a dae beg, Bo! You go no ever for come back I want you for know, You home na you home. And no place like home Salone don begin change. Are we gonna stay na Salone?”
Chechnya, The Lost Decade Heidi Bradner 12
Russian servicemen roll through the ravaged Chechen capital of Grozny on armoured personnel carriers
A woman takes leave of two of her four children (top) before going out to support her husband, a fighter. He was killed in an attack on their village two months later. A corpse lies frozen (left) in a village on the Daghestan border after rebels, who had been holding hostages there, broke through Russian lines to return to Chechnya. And, outside a home in Grozny (below), a resident of the capital lies dead following an airstrike
A young soldier braces himself against the cold (right) after Russian forces finally gained control of Grozny in 1995. Weeks of ferocious artillery and bombing have reduced entire blocks of the city to rubble
Young conscripts form the backbone of the Russian army (facing page). â€œThe cannon fodderâ€? is what the soldiers sometimes call themselves
By local tradition, a new bride (top) goes to the nearest source to draw water, a symbol of life, to bring to her new home. Staying behind to watch over the family home this man (right) was severely burned after a shell exploded gas lines next to his house. And, against the background of their destroyed home (below), children find amusement with the detritus of war
My first trip to Grozny, the Chechen capital, was 10 years ago, in early January 1995, just after the New Year’s Eve invasion attempt by Russian forces. The pictures I took of young Russian soldiers lying on the streets, half-eaten by dogs, faces upturned to the sky, some burned the colour of charcoal from tank fires, stay in my mind even now. They seemed to me just boys, yet they would have been 18, the age of conscription. I felt looking at them that any one of them could have been a son of families I had stayed with in towns and villages across Russia in five years working as a photographer. There they were – mowed down, dead here on the streets of Grozny. This one doomed assault would trigger a fearful chain of events for Chechnya, while for me, the country would become the centre of my work and life for the next decade. Ten years ago, the fatal storming of Grozny and the massacre of the soldier-boys might have been a tragic political and military mistake that could still be corrected. Instead, it was just a glimpse of the death and destruction wrought by numerous future battles and invasions that would take place in Chechnya. Today, Chechens refer to the “first, second, third and fourth wars”. Russian forces invaded Grozny again in 1999, promising to restore law and order. The assault, airstrikes and artillery and brutal aftermath made that campaign even more destructive than the first war. Chechnya became a black hole closed to the media and international organisations. Abduction, torture and extortion were realities of life amid an even greater scale of devastation. “The first war was Disneyland compared to this,” a Chechen woman told me on my most recent visit in 2004. The horror of the second war produced an extremism that was unknown 10 years ago. It also brought the conflict into the homes of people of Russia. In 2003, terrorists took an entire audience hostage in a Moscow theatre heralding a vicious escalation. In 2004, the seizing of the Beslan school and the downing of two domestic Russian flights simultaneously by suicide bombers again shocked Russia and the world. Far from being solved by the Kremlin’s heavy-handed policies over the past decade, Chechnya’s problems are far worse for the intervention. “For 10 years, we have been unable to breathe,” my friend Rosa told me recently. After a decade of violence, checkpoints, unemployment, death and fear, ordinary Chechens dream of a normal life and future. They feel caught between Russia and the extremist Islamic fringe that has grown in the void left by the war. Almost every family in Chechnya has lost a loved one. Almost every family is searching for relatives taken during the dreaded zachistkas or “mopping up” operations by the Russian military, but they have usually disappeared without trace. “The lucky ones are the ones that find a body,” my driver told me. He has been searching for his nephew for over two years. In 1995 approximately half a million people lived in Grozny, then a flourishing modern city with universities, tree-lined avenues, suburbs and important oil refineries. Today, residents scrawl “People Live Here” across shrapnel and bullet-ridden gates or walls of their homes surrounded by rubble, to show where life exists in a city that looks dead at first glance. For despite many cycles of wars and the utter devastation they have brought, Grozny is alive – to me it is a monument of destruction but also a powerful symbol of survival 8
The Lost Decade Heidi Bradner
In Chechen culture, men and women mourn separately. A mother (2nd from left) together with her daughters and daughter-in-law (2nd from right) bid a final farewell to the man who was their son, brother and husband as the men of the village take his body away for burial . Blackened trees and burned-out buildings (left) are the legacy of years of war. But residents of Grozny also salvage the bricks to sell or to rebuild their own homes in the destroyed city
Chris de Bode
Watch Over Me
The new year did not descend gently on the children of Uganda. Peace talks between President Museweni’s government and rebel groups to end the 18-year-long civil war broke down on 31December. The most feared fighters are the Lord’s Resistance Army, led by Joseph Kony, who claim to want to govern the country according to the Ten Commandments. In practice, they have abducted at least 20,000 children from villages across northern Uganda, and terrorised them into joining their ranks. Many of the children have been orphaned; their parents killed by the LRA, or separated from their families in the massive internal displacement that has seen 1.6 million people – 80 per cent of the region’s population – forced to flee. Chris de Bode travelled through the worst-affected areas with Médicin Sans Frontières, which provides basic medical care and clean water at several camp sites for displaced people where malnutrition levels are high and life expectancy, especially among children, is low 8
Heavyweight boxing, once the purest expression of American machismo, is in danger of going the way of the buffalo. The two most cherished titles in sport have long been “the fastest man on the planet” and “heavyweight champion of the world”. But that was before performance-enhancing drugs began to poison the world of athletics and before politics clambered inelegantly into the boxing ring. The Olympic 100 metres sprint is now seen by some as an exercise in manipulation – a syringe fired out of a gun. In that hallowed 10-second dash, non-drug users are racing against vehicles for anabolic steroids and possibly human growth hormone. The “clean” ones are wasting their time. After the Balco laboratories scandal on the West Coast of America, which ensnared a generation of allegedly cheating athletes, the public will surely watch Olympic sprints through a fug of cynicism. Dwain Chambers, Britain’s fastest man – and the quickest since Linford Christie – is serving a two-year suspension after testing positive for the previously undetectable steroid, THG. Track and field, that simplest of sporting pursuits, is widely thought to be awash with banned substances. The sport’s credibility is like a snapped hamstring. Boxing has a different stack of problems. Make that heavyweight boxing, to be accurate, because prize-fighters further down the weight scale are merrily knocking each other about without needing to wonder where all the talent went. A world heavyweight title fight is boxing’s marquee event. For primeval reasons, the fightwatching public reserve their loudest roars, their biggest reservoirs of adrenalin, for the behemoth species that gave us Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, George Foreman, Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier, Larry Holmes, Mike Tyson and Britain’s Lennox Lewis, who recently surrendered the premier heavyweight belt. With Lewis rumbling into retirement, his World Boxing Council (WBC) title was picked up by an amiable Ukrainian, Vitali Klitschko, who lately demolished Danny Williams, from Brixton, London, in eight one-sided rounds at the Mandalay Bay arena in Las Vegas – or Fight Town as it was rechristened in a marvellously evocative book by Tim Dahlberg, the boxing correspondent for Associated Press. In a coffee shop at the Mandalay Bay resort a few hours before Williams dropped to the canvas four times, a midwestern couple looked up at a TV screen showing a trailer for the bout. “Who’s fighting?” asked the woman. “Some Russian and a Brit” her husband replied. This was a far cry from the days when Frank Sinatra had to pose as a photographer to get a ticket for an Ali-Frazier fight at Madison Square Garden. A far cry, also, from the time when Ali was arguably the planet’s most recognisable celebrity; or when the young Tyson was stalking the world’s imagination with his ferocity in the ring. That lineage survives, but not even the most myopic aficionado would try to pretend that heavyweight boxing today can compare with the golden era of the 1960s and ’70s. Institutional pessimism is not new. When Ali deposed the seemingly invincible Liston, the New York Times declared the virtual end of boxing. Prize-fighting, the paper’s leader writer asserted, could not survive Ali’s lust for self-promotion, his garrulousness, his clowning around in the ring. Ali, of course, turned out to be the most charismatic and the most praiseworthy sportsman of his or any era. Boxing, however, exists in a constant state of anxiety about where its next big circus night is coming from. This time the evidence of decline is real. How many passers-by, in a poll in London or New York, could name any of the serving heavyweight champions? There are currently four recognised sanctioning bodies – and plenty more we sportswriters habitually scoff at. For the record, the four foremost heavyweights are Klitschko, Chris Byrd (the International Boxing Federation [IBF] champion), John Ruiz (World Boxing Association [WBA]) and Lamon Brewster Paul Hayward
On Its Knees 28
(World Boxing Organisation [WBO]), whose manager was one of the early inspirations behind The Simpsons. And yes, when the public see boxing dividing like amoeba into so many acronyms they think: D’oh! A few years back I argued that heavyweight boxing was conning itself to death. Spectators abhor dilution. They refuse to grapple with the idea that there are actually four world heavyweight champs – none of them worthy of comparison with the likes of Joe Louis or Ali. In New York recently, Don King, the most Machiavellian of boxing promoters, organised a night of world heavyweight title fights, and sold a paltry 120,000 pay-per-view subscriptions. Even King cringed. In Las Vegas for the Klitschko-Williams fight, stewards ushered spectators at the back of the hall to empty seats at the front, to trick TV viewers into thinking the arena was full. If the American boxing community sulked when Lewis took the title back to Britain, they lost interest altogether when Klitschko moved the WBC belt on to the Ukraine. In the days leading up to the fight, Dahlberg’s book arrived in the shops while Williams was attempting to persuade himself that it was possible to defeat the Ukrainian. The swelling lacerations and welts that disfigured “Dynamite” Danny’s face the morning after the fight told a different story. Sure, he got paid a handsome fee for putting himself through such a brutal ordeal, but what motivated him to find out how much he could take in pursuit of a place in history is less tangible. This might seem perverse to those who argue that prize-fighting is inherently futile. But in all my time of writing about sport no group of athletes could ever hold a candle to boxers, for their honesty, their humility and their physical courage. The business of inflicting and absorbing pain destroys many fighters. Either that, or a selfdestructive tendency was there all along. In the 1980s, a succession of heavyweights succumbed to the lure of crack cocaine. When the final bell rings, there is often nowhere for all that aggression and adrenaline to go. In Klitschko we witness a bright, dignified heavyweight champion, with a PhD and an awkward, even robotic, style that renders him devilishly hard to beat. Yet he is unlikely to draw the global village back to the big heavyweight title fight, in the manner of Tyson or Ali. In America, it looks like boxing’s traditional new blood – young black men – are now saving their aggression for the NBA (basketball), NFL (American football) and baseball, where they can secure multi-million dollar contracts without having to punch each other in the head. If you had seen Danny Williams’ face after Klitschko had finished with it, the appeal of the home run and the slam dunk would seem understandable. The hand-to-hand combat of these giant gladiators that once encapsulated the spirit of the nation might just be out of time 8
Britain's Danny Williams (previous page) slumps against the ropes after being knocked down by the Ukraine's Vitali Klitschko in the eighth round of their WBC heavyweight championship bout at the Mandalay Bay Arena, Las Vegas, on 11December 2004. Williams lost the fight that round by a technical knockout. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)
Paul Hayward is Chief Sports Writer for the Daily Telegraph. He asked that the fee for this article be donated to a charity working in Sudan.
Andy Warhol (left), is shown photographing Muhammad Ali, his infant daughter, Hanna, and wife, Veronica, on 18 August 1977 at Ali's training camp in Deer Lake, Pennsylvania. (AP Photo) Cassius Clay's handlers hold him back (facing page) as he reacts after he is announced the new heavyweight champion of the world on a seventh round TKO against Sonny Liston at Convention Hall in Miami Beach, Florida 25 February 1964. (AP Photo) America’s Mike Tyson sits on the canvas after being knocked out by south Londoner Danny Williams in Louisville, 30 July 2004. (Reuters/Peter Jones)
On the pages of our newspapers, we have become accustomed to seeing violent death in all its guises. The disembodied heads of Saddam’s sons displayed as trophies of war; thousands of corpses piled in mass graves, as evidence of genocide. We are familiar with images of chemically induced disfigurement, of public execution, of dead babies and dismembered limbs, brought to us by courageous photojournalists, published by editors of integrity. More recently, via a different route, we have borne witness to the ritual humiliation and torture of prisoners of war at the hands of the same soldiers who took the pictures. Such are the horrors of this world that derive from the state of war. But one core element of war that remains all but invisible is the depiction of rape. As a strategy of war, rape is extraordinarily effective. Whether as a pure expression of power, or more deliberate policy of racial propagation, rape subjugates, humiliates and terrorises like nothing else. Its abject horror – and our natural revulsion to it – play a part in its lack of visual representation. Although it has become a journalistic cliché to talk of “the last taboo”, everyone I spoke to while researching this harrowing subject used the phrase. Added to this, there are many other difficulties, ethical and logistical, which are contributory factors to the absence of images. There is always a gap between what we know happens and what we see. When we think of images from WWII, it is likely to be Robert Capa’s D-Day landings that spring to mind, a devastating image from Belsen, or maybe an explosion at Pearl Harbor. All valid memories. But there’s something missing. As Antony Beevor’s important book Berlin states, an estimated two million German women were raped during the last six months of the war by marauding Soviet troops. The Red Army soldiers also raped Russian women after their release from Nazi slave labour camps in Germany. Even as we try to assimilate such shocking statistics, the distance between words on a page and the invisible psychological torment of those women, and the thousands of children born of rape who might be parents now themselves, is vast. Would images from the time make the horror resonate more? And if so, what images? As became apparent with the Abu Ghraib pictures, in cases of such extreme horror the only people likely to be pressing the button are the perpetrators. When Japanese troops entered Nanking, China, in 1937, they raped some 80,000 women in a dedicated campaign of sexual brutality and mutilation. It is not solely for metaphorical reasons that this particular invasion is universally known as the “Rape of Nanking”. A book of the same name by James Yin and Shi Young documents this shameful chapter of history, using many images taken by Japanese soldiers as souvenirs. Traditionally, rape happens in seclusion, behind closed doors or in deserted fields, when men are away fighting or have already been killed by enemy soldiers, thus negating any possibility of capturing it on camera, even if a photojournalist had the stomach for it. But recent Amnesty International reports from Darfur tell of public rape to better humiliate the women, and, in so doing, undermine the men: 32
The Atrocious Image
© Jenny Matthews/Network
We have become accustomed to images of death and brutality but one universal weapon of war goes undepicted and that is rape. Max Houghton examines how we represent the last taboo
“Women have been summarily or indiscriminately killed, bombed, raped, tortured, abducted and forcibly displaced ... girls have, like women, been the particular target of rapes, abductions and sexual slavery... In many cases the Janjawid have raped women in public, in the open air, in front of their husbands, relatives or the wider community.” So, perhaps, now it is possible to document this dirty truth of war. But, could a photojournalist bring him or herself to capture such a scene on camera? When I asked renowned war reporter Anthony Loyd this question, a long silence, as eloquent as any words, preceded his response: “I don’t know. If you asked me if I’d photograph a public execution with someone kneeling on the ground, hands tied, bayoneted, I’d say yes. I don’t know how I’d react [to seeing a rape take place]. It’s such a taboo. Even if it was taking place publicly, the chances of a westerner being allowed to record it – it’s very unlikely that situation would arise. You’d be punched and kicked out of the way. “It’s a form of torture, and I think that’s why I’d have more severe reservations about photographing it. I hope I would be able to, but I’m not sure.” If we accept that the chances of photography being able to carry out its usual role as provider of evidence are slim, can it function as a tool of representation? Can a woman with hollow eyes convey the act of rape or its consequences? Photojournalist of 20 years’ experience, Jenny Matthews, has worked with women’s projects from Bosnia to Congo that provide medical, emotional and practical assistance in the aftermath of rape in war. She believes it is vitally important to draw attention to these women, and the long-term consequences of being raped: “Quite often when people are photographed, you end up with rather bad portraits. It’s hard to represent the enormity of what’s happening, of what’s happened and the consequences of that. I was able to take pictures in the Congo because the women said they wanted to be photographed. Then I feel bad because I don’t know if they know what the implications are. I try to explain but it’s a different world. As a western journalist, you quite often walk into situations and people automatically respect you, and you’re given instant access. Often people think you’re a doctor, so they want to talk and they want you to photograph. That puts a lot of onus on the recorder, the photographer.” What is missing from these unquestionably relevant images is the violence of the act of rape. Like the psychological damage, it has become invisible. Two images that go some way towards bridging what John Berger called “the always present gap between words and seeing” are published here. Matthews came across the surgical doll in the grounds of a teaching hospital in Rwanda directly after the massacre in the summer of 1994. The doll had been mutilated in the same way as the women, whose bodies lay beside this incongruous plastic, blue-eyed, blonde-haired simulacrum. Matthews was engulfed by the stench of decomposing corpses, which she also photographed but will not publish. “I photographed dead women, brutalised women who had been raped 33
as well. That was horrible. I could hardly bear to look at the pictures. They weren’t published, and I didn’t try to get them published. But, yes, I took them. I thought it was important to record that this happened.” In the absence of those images, the dislocated doll seemed to give an insight into the mindset of the perpetrators. Yet there was another reason why its macabre features were haunting: it looked like a sex doll. During research, an unexpected avenue of information on the subject presented itself: hardcore porn sites, which specialised in rape in war images. Here were the images that didn’t exist and – I couldn’t look, or at least I haven’t yet. It was not the graphic content that prevented the looking, but the sickening context; the idea of looking at such images for pleasure. The existence of these websites might even provide a good reason never to publish a picture of rape, lest its ultimate destination be there. Yet the right picture in the right place could serve as a powerful anti-war image. Context is everything, as Matthews illustrates with the following story: “If I chose to go to Rwanda and put myself in that situation, I’m a bit prepared for it, whereas when you’re looking at pictures on a page, you don’t necessarily have the right context. Last year I was at one of the massacre sites, where there is a museum of bodies. There are tables with the remains of bodies which are all very white, very ghostly, because all the flesh has decayed. There is one woman’s body with her hands tied behind her back – she’d been raped. Her partner is a survivor of the genocide and he now works at the museum. “You have to be so careful about how you show these sorts of pictures and where you show them. That’s why I think tangential pictures are best a lot of the time.” Issues related to the identification of the rape victim are the same the world over. Such is the concomitant shame of rape, even in countries where the victims are not ostracised or beaten by their families, lifelong anonymity is guaranteed by law. What right has the western press to identify a woman whose husband will divorce her, and whose family will disown her, as a victim of rape? In the pre-Internet age, it would have been highly unlikely that an image of a raped woman in Africa published in a British or American newspaper would find its way back to the community in question. Now, dissemination of images is relentless – which is why we won’t be publishing the excruciatingly poignant image, described here by Anthony Loyd, who took the picture in Bosnia in 1993, on our website. “It was a summer morning, but it was raining. The Serbs were disgorging the camps as they did from time to time, pushing Muslim refugees through the line. So there was one of these dismal columns of people, carrying plastic bags of possessions – or carrying nothing because they had nothing – about to be taken to a refugee centre. Then I saw this woman. “She was alone, in her late 30s, maybe early 40s, with dishevelled hair, wearing a very colourful but ripped dress. She was absolutely mute with shock, in another world. She was lying on the verge, staring into the ground, holding a cigarette, but not smoking it. I asked what had happened to her and the reply came back that she had been multiply raped. 34
‘This was the moment where they reach out and try to help her. I don’t know her name. No one did, and she couldn’t tell us’
© Anthony Loyd
“You can see the young Muslim soldiers wanting to help her. They’re only young guys in their 20s, but they realised her trauma. This was the moment where they reach out and try to help her. I don’t know her name. No one did, and she couldn’t tell us. I think it’s the most poignant shot I took in Bosnia.” It is since Bosnia that rape as a war crime has become widely reported. International Criminal Court Tribunals have prosecuted crimes of sexual violence from Bosnia and Rwanda. We have read about the rape camps, about the women now living with HIV as a consequence of rape and about the unwanted children born of rape. But, in the absence of the image, how well will we remember it? While the mythological rape of the Sabine women – as immortalised on canvas from Poussin to Picasso – still resonates from antiquity, do we remember the 400,000 women raped during the Bangladesh war for independence in 1971, which led to 25,000 pregnancies according to International Planned Parenthood? We know there is continued conflict in Congo, but do we think of the “hundreds of thousands of women who are thought to have been raped since 1998,” as recorded by the UN Fund for Women. What about the fate of the Algerian women at the hands of the French between 1954-62, or the French women at the hands of the German army in WWI? If it is true that the media shapes what we care about, and that, as Susan Sontag has argued, an event known through photographs becomes more real than if the photos had not been seen. We need to be made uncomfortable by images that depict the truth of war. As Colin Jacobson comments in the introduction to his book Underexposed: “If we are not disturbed by certain aspects of our nation’s visual history, we are either extremely complacent or we are looking at the wrong pictures.” A 37-year-old eyewitness, from Mujar in Sudan, gave the following testimony to Amnesty International for their latest report from the region: “They raped women; I saw many cases of Janjawid raping women and girls. They are happy when they rape. They sing when they rape and they tell us that we are just slaves and that they can do with us how they wish.” Picture that. In the words of the irreplaceable Sontag: “Let the atrocious images haunt us.” 8
© Gary Knight/VII
We may think of war photography as always reporting war horrors but, bar some notable exceptions, this has only been attempted in the last 40 or so years. Until then war was mostly photographed in ways that glorified it. Attempts to change this occurred during America’s late 20th century wars in Southeast Asia and Latin America. These wars saw photographers and journalists move away from serving government public relation demands towards covering war’s “real” face. Since then, a few enlightened photographers have continued to turn away from the bang bang on the front line of conflict to look at the main victims of war – the poor children and women. A century ago, 90 per cent of war casualties were male soldiers. Today, 90 per cent of casualties of war are civilians, 75 percent of whom are women and children. Rape is one element of violence used against civilians during conflict. Although rape in war is widespread – and has been throughout history – it is a criminally underreported aspect of violent conflict. In war it is women who are left picking up the pieces. Whether at home or as refugees, they maintain their families in the face of terror, hardship and total insecurity. Even at the best of times, women are often second-class citizens. War amplifies and confirms that status. In peacetime they have fewer human and legal rights; the chaos of conflict removes even these. And, even when conflict stops, her community or even her own family can often shun a wartime rape victim. The fact that the act of rape in war still seems such a taboo for most journalists and for photojournalists is inexcusable. This is one taboo that needs to be broken. While the value of images of the horrific act itself are, indeed, questionable, it is crucial that the use of rape and its long-term effects as a weapon of war are reported and published. That use of rape in war has not been reported more is endemic of the choices that we as photojournalists, journalists and editors have made in the way war is reported. We have to revise those choices, especially in the current climate when the media is becoming ever more friendly with the military. As a visual community we can indulge ourselves in debates about how to tackle the socio-sexual taboos around rape in war effectively and sensitively but what must be remembered is we should not fail to find a way to report these “visually difficult” subjects. It is worth remembering that 20 years ago HIV and Aids was an unphotographable taboo. A difficult visual journey has been taken by photographers who felt it was important to break this taboo. By reappraising their photographic language and the way their work was presented some very important stories were told. Surely it is time to smash another taboo 8 Dear Jon
© Jenny Matthews/Network Laurence Watts is Picture Editor at ActionAid. In many countries ActionAid works with communities hit by emergencies to rebuild their lives and prevent the risk and likely impact of conflicts and disasters in the future.
View from the nose of a Russian transport plane above the rainforest between Goma and Kisangani, Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
Leopold and Mobutu Guy Tilim
The fallen statue (right) of the explorer Henry Morton Stanley, that in colonial times overlooked Kinshasa, rests on an original steamboat that belonged to the African International Association. A statue of a miner (below) which dates from Leopold IIâ€™s reign is on display in the Central African Museum in Brussels. A Russian cargo plane (middle) loads goods on the runway at Goma. The derelict swimming pool (bottom) at Mobutuâ€™s looted residence at Gbadolite
Tim Hetherington Reviews Leopold and Mobutu Published by Filigranes Editions
Trying to encapsulate, or say anything meaningful about the Congo is a venture not to be undertaken lightly. This huge heart of a country has been dying for more than a century. Not so much from the clash of huge armies, but rather from the quiet slaughter and starvation of innocents. It is no wonder that very few photographers have worked effectively here. The sheer scale of the country and the scope of its hardships make meaningful work a remote possibility. Just trying to navigate Kisangani airport without losing your underwear is a task in itself. That Guy Tillim was able to produce a body of work like this, and that it has become a book, is testament enough. It was here explorer Henry Morton Stanley, best known for his discovery of the missing Livingstone, cut his reputation, and in the process introduced local tribes to European weaponry. Using Stanley’s knowledge of the terrain, King Leopold of Belgium marked his indelible stamp on the place. Driven by the frenzy of empire building, he formed Congo into a country-state and began a rapacious reign that led to as many as 10 million people dying in the name of civilised commerce. Post-colonialism spelled the birth of Zaire, and its overlord Mobutu. Schooled well by his colonial masters, Mobutu continued in the tradition of theft and subjugation. The disintegration of contemporary eastern Congo marks a new chapter whereby militia groups vie with one another and with the government (a large gang by another name) to control the precious resources that end up literally in and on our hands. Three million people have died in the last decade. Tillim, a South African photographer, works within the traditional arena of conflict photography and yet here he has evolved a lyrical voice that places his work in the realm of documentary rather than the stricter confines of photojournalism. Although the burden of history is his subject, he does not attempt to overwhelm the viewer with profound statements or dry historical information. Rather, his broad brush strokes and open images allow the viewer space to think, as he deftly pulls the strands of his story together. Mobutu’s destruction encompassed the palace at Gbadolite, the remnants of Stanley’s presence, idealistic colonial statues, civilians caught up in the maelstrom of history, and young soldiers who have become the unwitting pawns in a new chapter. As images are entwined, relationships begin to form in the imagination of the viewer, and the continuum of history is evoked. The dummy of a Force Publique soldier (Leopold’s local colonial force) from a military museum in Brussels is compared to a modern camouflaged Mai-Mai soldier, his identity masked by palm leaves. Tillim has also captured some wonderful unexpected moments: a young boy pissing on the original steamboat used by Leopold’s African International Association, on-top of which lies a felled statue of Stanley. It is in such a moment, that Tillim conjures up a history before this, before Stanley, before Leopold and Mobutu. Perhaps peace reigned. Perhaps people lived a simple life. Perhaps there was no heart of darkness 8
A soldier of the Force Publique (left) is on show at the Military Museum in Brussels. Planted in colonial times (right), trees lining the eastern edge of Lake Kivu, near Bukavu, have been stripped of their branches
These images, taken in Germany over a two year period, are about people for whom daily life is a struggle – while often their work life remains unaffected, it is in their home environment that their obsessive-compulsive tendencies manifest. In a country that prides itself on order and cleanliness, here are people who live surrounded by chaos, possessions piled haphazardly around them, where nothing can be thrown away. Overwhelmed by society’s demands, they retreat from it and give expression to their fears. Sometimes known as “messies”, they are unable to create a sense of harmony between themselves and the outside world, or between the conceptual ideas of “inner” and “outer”. The literal translation of the German word “uneins” is “not one” and in its other – related – meanings, we learn the subtleties of an unquiet mind: “not considering oneself to be a unit”; “to be undecided”; “to feel uneasy”; “to feel broken”; “to feel divided” 8 Sibylle Fendt
The Amazon basin is home to some 350,000 indigenous Indians, including the Mayoruna and Huitoto tribes, for whom the river and its tributaries are an integral part of daily life. The Mayoruna tribe did not encounter â€œcivilisationâ€? until the late1960s, when their decorative cat-like whiskers attracted much attention. Their children are proficient in the skills their environment dictates: fishing, hunting, swimming and keeping an everwatchful eye on livestock. Even as the ancient South American rainforest falls into the rapacious hands of loggers, cattle ranchers and gold miners, the mighty Amazon river cannot be so easily tamed.Though its relentless force carries thousands of people annually through Peru,Colombia and Brazil, at its source, on the Peruvian mountain of Mismi, the headwaters of the great river are so narrow that it is possible to cross it in one small step 8 Alvaro Leiva
Crossing the Amazon 50
CJ: That’s a salutary lesson. Many young people going into photography now seem to want fame and fortune overnight without working their passage. What attracted you to the job at the Photographers’ Gallery? It must be a change from the V&A. CC: I was at the V&A for 12 years and I’d just been there long enough. It’s a very large institution and I noticed I would telephone people and say, “Hello, I’m Charlotte from the V&A”, and it was just time to find out which bit was Charlotte and which bit was the V&A. CJ: So you felt you were becoming institutionalised? CC: Well, I always resisted it. I never wore cardigans and as I knew what was going on in the outside world, I was allowed to be a bit opinionated.
CJ: Is it very different at the Photographers’ Gallery? CC: A large part of my job at the V&A was developing the Collection, often invisible, longterm work. There’s no Collection at the Gallery – there’s a different momentum and the turnaround of exhibitions is much faster. CJ: How do you see the role of photography in contemporary culture? Where is photography at? CC: It’s at a lot of places – it’s not for me to say this is the one particular way to view photography. You have to try to go beyond personal taste and I think I have brought this to the Gallery inasmuch as some of the projects are very much about the subject within the photographs; others raise issues about the medium itself. We don’t just put on exhibitions, we have public debates and an educational programme and so on, covering a lot of different perspectives. We don’t see ourselves as being the arbiters of photographic taste in contemporary art practice. CJ: Do you have a personal ethic or approach to exhibitions – a curatorial philosophy, perhaps? CC: I’ve been very fortunate because I’ve never had to do a project that was ultimately about what will sell. So I can concentrate on interpreting a body of work in a way I think is truthful. I never put books on walls; if something should be a book or an article, then that’s what it is. If it will work as a show, I
© Julie Ganzin. The Mediterranean
CJ: Charlotte, how do you come to be working in photography? CC: I studied History of Art at Sussex University and was heavily influenced by lecturers to consider the complexity of looking at photography. I began to see photography as something that would intrigue, nourish and make me curious. Afterwards, I wanted to find a place to be within photography but I realised I was unemployable; so I approached the V&A to see if there was any voluntary work available. I worked for eight months as a volunteer in the Print Room – an excellent kind of free education – and eventually I got a paid job working on the catalogue there.
© Donovan Wylie/Magnum. The Maze Prison
Colin Jacobson talks to Charlotte Cotton, a self-confessed photo fiend and an influential voice in the world of photography. Formerly Keeper of the Collection at the Victoria & Albert Museum, she took over as head of programming at the Photographers’ Gallery in 2004.
think of it as a physical experience, and this is something I clearly enjoy, thinking about photography in a threedimensional space. CJ: Can you say a little about how you see the role of the Photographers’ Gallery, who is its audience and so on? CC: It has many roles and many constituencies. You can’t do everything for everyone all the time so it’s a matter of getting a balance. For instance, this year we have events in the spring and autumn explicitly aimed at higher education, addressing issues in the current debate about photographic practice. But in the summer, we get a lot of visitors whose first language is not English, so we’ll provide the more physical experience of
installations, which is not reliant on words. I think that’s the responsibility of curators, to find the appropriate way to communicate. It’s not just about prints on walls. Sometimes just a single statement in a debate can trigger an exciting train of thought, changing the way you see things. CJ: What’s the overall strategy at the Gallery for exhibitions? CC: When I started here last June, one of my first jobs was to propose a two-year programme. I was lucky in that nothing was confirmed beyond January 2005, but I didn’t come in thinking I was going to put all my friends on the wall. I wanted to support the ethos of the Gallery. CJ: The impression I get from many observers, especially perhaps the readers of this
© Mark Rader. The Mediterranean
taken into account in the planning of exhibitions at the Gallery? CC: No, we don’t have a problem getting people through the door, people walk in off the street because of our great location. But it’s well established that if you show a seminal figure in the history of photography, it will probably be your most popular show. I don’t think it’s the burden of responsibility of the Gallery to relate to historical photography unless it literally spells out what is its relevance to contemporary practice today, or provides a new take on a well-known body of work.
‘When you see the rare excellent story published in today’s magazines, what’s your response?’ ‘A big round of applause that it’s happening at all’
magazine, is that the Photographers’ Gallery is not really interested in reportage photography or photojournalism. Is this impression justified? CC: Obviously, you would expect us to address photojournalism from time to time but given our broad base, I’d say we fare better in raising the issues around photojournalism than almost anywhere else. We’re not an establishment institution and don’t have to shy away from exhibitions about politics or social issues. Maybe you don’t see photographs on the wall that reflect a particular style associated with photojournalism but if you’re suggesting the Gallery doesn’t have an ongoing commitment to address the concerns of photojournalism, I wouldn’t agree. CJ: But apart from the Robert Capa retrospective and Enrique Metinides, the Mexican press photographer, I can’t think of a recent exhibition that you might call specifically photojournalistic. CC: Where would you put Donovan Wylie on The Maze, the South African pictures of Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin , the Mediterranean show about the politics of North Africa, or the Cultural Revolution images from China? CJ: Perhaps they’re more documentary, but maybe we’re getting into semantics here. The Capa show was by all accounts amazingly successful – almost record attendance figures. Is this
CJ: Contemporary photojournalists get very little opportunity to be exhibited. It’s a growing issue for reportage photographers that there’s nowhere to take their work. So in your two-year plan, is there any place for a show of what we might call classic photojournalism, in content or style? CC: No, but would you say that this constituency of exhibitions is the major vehicle for their work as opposed to the printed magazine? CJ: That’s the whole point. The possibilities in print media hardly exist any longer. In the past, the vehicle was there to support photojournalism. The magazines created photojournalism, it wasn’t photojournalism that created the magazine culture. Now there’s a lost constituency, so where can they go? CC: But why would you want the Gallery, if you feel that somehow it isn’t already fulfilling its role, as a context for your photographs or when you can see it doing other things? Should we be expected to support photojournalism just because the traditional magazine context is disappearing? The commissioning structure will not be replaced by exhibition agreements, it’s too broad a terrain. There will never be a time when photojournalism is the most popular thing on the gallery wall. Most of the approaches I get from photojournalists are when they come saying, “I’m having a book published, can you do me an exhibition?” Why would I have any interest in putting on such a secondary mode? It makes a great book but it may not make a great exhibition.
CJ: How do photographers get to see you? How do you like to receive proposals and ideas? CC: First of all, they must know why they want to see me. I had the funniest thing just before I left the V&A – someone rang to say they were here for two days and could they see me. I asked, why now especially, do you have a finished body of work? “Oh, no, you’re on the list” was the response – it’s as though you’re on a tourist circuit. Often, you’ve only got the one chance to show your work so it’s not helping your chances if you turn up with a completely unsorted box of prints. I’m not a picture editor and I’m not prepared to make choices for the photographer. I have walked out on a couple of portfolios when the photographers confessed they’d never been to the Gallery before. I’m often asked for advice on what other galleries to approach but this is part of the research they should be doing themselves. So, you’ve got to know why you’re doing the work and be certain that an exhibition is the primary context for the work. Exhibitions can be extremely powerful but they’re not a marketing tool. CJ: Finally, can I ask you about your personal view of photojournalism. Do you think it’s a dead or dying medium, as so many people seem to agree? CC: It’s a genre, not a medium. It’s up to the practitioners to find a new context for photojournalism – let them bring it on if they can. I seriously doubt if it’s a winning strategy to expect gallery curators to receive photojournalism with open arms in the way that picture editors or magazines did – curators have their own agendas and it’s a different physical experience. CJ: But when you see the rare excellent story published in today’s magazines, what’s your response? CC: A big round of applause that it’s happening at all 8
>Reviews >Diary >Listings >Scene
Magnum Stories Published by Phaidon www.phaidon.com £45 (512pp Hardback) This mighty tome demands to be taken seriously. Magnum are the originals, the auteurs, the most committed of the photojournalists, and they demand respect. As our appetite for dramatic photographs of world events in our morning newspapers gives way to the paparazzo’s snatch – at editors’ behest – Magnum have had to reinvent the channels through which their images and messages reach viewers.
© Thomas Dworzak/Magnum
Despite a sense of veneration for the world famous members of the historic photo agency, the appearance of another Magnum volume, (and volume is a word to be emphasised; this is an epic) is also tinged with a feeling of burden and estrangement that is perhaps the consumers’ version of the newspaper editors’ weary
cynicism. Looking at the images feels dutiful rather than urgent; the increasing distance – despite and yet due to globilisation – engenders a sense of powerlessness over the life and death issues framed by Magnum’s photographers. Compassion fatigue has set in. What do we do with these images? What are the Magnum photographers to do with their images? Magnum Stories is the formidable agency’s latest attempt at reinvention, successfully transforming an ailing practice into a magnum opus of history, a high art, and in so doing, shifting the
With the passage of time the practices of Magnum have also widened in their form and scope. We have Martin Parr’s formative subjective documentary on New Brighton, the Last Resort for Britons by the sea, contrasted by the equally bleak but formal The Maze by new recruit Donovan Wylie. These two British photographers extend the scope of the traditional worldview from Magnum and considerably enhance the aesthetic appeal of this richly produced book. We are reunited with the critical judgment of Philip Jones Griffiths reminding us of “24 Hours in Grenada” and review the extraordinary iconic work of Stuart Franklin in “Tiananmen Square 1989” with a welcome chance to see the set of slide contacts that include one of the most memorable images of all time: the lone protester holding up a line of tanks. Eve Arnold
– one of the recent greats of photographic publishing. An exception to the backward gaze is Marc Riboud’s revisitation of his classic subject of China 45 years later and juxtaposing the results. As new practices arise and established traditions of the photographic document shift, it is to be hoped Magnum chooses to engage with the possible avenues of the future. Meiselas herself recently voiced the impact of such changes in a seminar on Robert Frank at Tate Modern, London. When asked what is to be the future of the documentary photograph she cited the cameraphone and the power of the images from Abu Ghraib, photographs of such power, impossible for the Magnum professional to garner, that could only emanate from the ‘taking I’ of the operative, grinning into their own trophy snapshots, produced for a world suffused with reality TV and a new enablement of the individual. The 21st century will certainly be less deferent to the heroes of the analogue era, and for the most part this volume appears as a requiem for a heroic age, its A-Z construction additionally serving to memorialise the photographers.
© Ian Berry/Magnum
site of reception from the newspaper page to the coffee tables of our new found conscientious consumption. We are presented with a doubling of biography and autobiography in the edited extracts from 61 photographers choosing their own most significant photo story, in addition to a first person account of their practice. To them we delegate the courage of their commitment to the battle zones and the disputed territories, the natural and political crises. In return we receive the integrity of the image-makers who resisted the facile by-line or the arbitrary crop. And where once this precision and purity of photography served as guarantor of accuracy in the news columns, in a changing world with the legacy of the decades of their tireless production, the result is no less than a set of authentic images from history, a history that increasingly will be remembered in the realm of the visual: Iran 1986-9, Jean Gaumy’s penetrating study of the Iran Iraq War; another war we would do well to remember. Who else will remind us? Or ‘The Black Triangle, Czechoslovakia’ 1991-3, in which Josef Koudelka’s magical realist panoramas of the despoliation of landscape and environment transform our photographic understanding of the surface of this earth and its representation.
presents us with the stark contrasts of US Nazis attending a Black Muslim rally addressed by Malcolm X in 1961. It is inevitable that some of the quieter corners of the world represented to us sit uneasily with the harrowing stories from the war zones we all too easily forget, nevertheless the masterful editing of Chris Boot has kept a coherence and integrity to each photographer and project. There is much here to learn for the aspiring photographer or the art historian of that very 20th century phenomenon – the photojournalist. The history of these visual events stops short of the fuzzy televisual frame grabs that have displaced the integrity of the single shot except in the work of Harry Gruyaert from 1970-2, work which presages the blank generation of the endless simulacrum that rules the present.
The weakest points in a strong and challenging selection are the contributions from Ferdinando Scianna, “Marpessa, Italy 1987”, wet t-shirt fashion shots sit uneasily with the epic stories from our recent history as do the somewhat flat and aestheticised portraits of the US navy personnel pictured by Peter Marlow in his “Sixth Fleet, Adriatic Sea 1999”.
Finally in this book we are reminded that the overarching theme is the broad biography of the complete Magnum output from early Robert Capa on the beaches of D-Day to the most up to date images by Luc Delahaye in Afghanistan and Baghdad, in an encyclopaedic exploration of the Magnum vision, so comprehensive you should not forget your shopping trolley to carry this £45 masterwork home. Graham Evans
In a year that saw the passing of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Magnum Stories appears like a record of the latter half of the 20th century rather than a vision of a future for photography. The inclusion of so many photo essays from the past rather than contemporary work suggests something of a swansong. In Susan Meiselas’ case the work in black and white from El Salvador in 1983 is shown in preference to her important colour images from Nicaragua or her path-finding work in Kurdistan
Why Mister Why? Geert van Kesteren Published by Artimo Euro www.artimo.net £24.95 (544pp Softback) Prime Minister Thatcher and the British Ministry of Defence changed the face of war coverage during the 1982 Falklands conflict. In Vietnam, journalists had been relatively free to report and roam at will, and could usually persuade some friendly military transport to take them where they wanted to go. In the Falklands, journalists were totally dependent on naval transport and military communication systems to get any story out at all. Moreover, those allowed this privileged access were handpicked; of the two official photographers, one was from the quasi-establishment Press Association and the other from the pro-Thatcher Daily Express. Don McCullin, the most influential and independentminded war photographer of his generation, was refused permission to go. George Bush senior learnt a trick or two from the British when he embarked on the first Gulf War. Images from that war present a squeaky clean, high-tech and laser-accurate campaign in which civilians didn’t get hurt and all the
right targets were eliminated. When George Dubya resumed hostilities against Saddam in Iraq, there appeared to be a fundamental change in policy towards the press. Sure, you can send along your reporter, your photographer, your TV crew but they’ll have to be “embedded” with us for their own protection and, oh yes, they’ll have to sign a document agreeing to abide by military controls.
the basic principle that war reporting is about capturing the essence of the conflict. The impact of the book is reinforced by a succinct, hugely intelligent, perceptive and painfully honest introductory text by Michael Hirsh, a senior editor at Newsweek. If ever we needed reminding that lasting photojournalism is not just about great images but about context and meaning, Hirsh’s words ram home the message.
Hundreds of embedded photojournalists accepted this poisoned chalice and virtually no images emerged from the professional phalanx that could be said to be revealing, challenging or even questioning of the nature of this conflict. Most wars throw up some iconic images. What will we remember from Iraq? A militarycontrolled mug shot of the captured Saddam Hussein looking like a Camden Town dosser, blood trickling down the lens of John Simpson’s stricken cameraman and perhaps most memorable of all, the trophy pictures taken by amateurs on mobile phones at Abu Ghraib.
Van Kesteren’s photographs communicate with an awful closeness and directness the felt life of ordinary Iraqis, confronted with a degree of random violence that neither they nor, perhaps, even the US perpetrators can begin to understand. We experience this conflict as much as is ever possible through the eyes of the “liberated” civilians and get a visceral feeling of what it is like to be occupied by an unheeding and uncomprehending army.
In the midst of deep despondency at the inability of contemporary photojournalists to take on the USBritish war machine, along comes a book that does just that. Why, Mister, Why? is a truly remarkable publication because it resurrects
There’s something filmic about the sequencing of the pictures, a kind of relentless build-up through the war, the victory and the inevitable resistance to what is undoubtedly the core of the book, a hardedged elegy for a situation that is completely out of control. Hirsh was persuaded to accompany van Kesteren for 48 hours into Samarra, a hotbed of insurgency
in the Sunni triangle. Van Kesteren had seen it all before but Hirsh was appalled. They witnessed US soldiers bursting into civilian homes, their massive size and menacing appearance terrifying women and children; arrested men trussed up like chickens as soldiers’ boots thumped into their backs; troops casually rifling through private family photo albums and male soldiers ostentatiously body-searching women civilians. All this had a profound effect on Hirsh: “I realised the Bush administration truly had no clue what it was doing in Iraq. Like a hidden generator, the occupation itself, I realised, was sustaining the insurgency.” He concludes: “[Yet] it is by now quite clear to anyone with a clear mind and honest heart that the US fought a war with Iraq that simply did not have to be fought.” Van Kesteren stayed for seven months in Iraq but was embedded for only about six weeks on assignment for Newsweek. In Samarra, he gained the trust of the soldiers on the ground, who
effectively controlled him since the official military press officers never went on these dangerous raids. These soldiers had been in Iraq for 10 months without a translator, and had no way of knowing who were the suspects, so they adopted the simple solution of arresting almost every male they came across. They saw all Iraqis as the enemy and since they thought they were doing nothing wrong, they allowed van Kesteren to photograph everything. Just occasionally, they would stop beating a civilian and tell him: “You’re lucky, Newsweek is here tonight.” Both Hirsh and van Kesteren retain an element of sympathy for the troops on the ground. They were expected to carry out a counterinsurgency role they were not trained to do. The raids witnessed were, as Hirsh puts it, the soldiers’ “only interludes of empowerment ... ‘Geneva Convention’ was not a term often heard at 3am in Samarra, not when you think everyone is against you.” One US officer had made an effort to learn
Arabic and understand the Iraqi mind, but after many months, even he concluded: “The Iraqis will never like us, so they better fear us.” There are some legitimate criticisms to be made about the presentation of Why, Mister, Why? The picture editing is too indulgent; many repetitive images communicate the same visual meaning. Most photographs are presented as double-page spreads but sometimes an important part of the image disappears into the centrefold. The chapter headings and anecdotal texts are irritatingly placed in the centre of a double page photograph, tempting you to rip them out. The lack of individual captions does not always help overall understanding of the work. On the plus side, the physical feel of the book is decidedly anti-coffee table, more like an extended magazine, smaller than A4, with quite flimsy paper that has serrated edges. All the text is in both English and Arabic, adding a sense of seriousness.
The book finishes on a despairing note with a horribly graphic series on the Baghdad car bombings: “The man was drenched from head to toe in his son’s blood. ‘My life is over,’ was all that he said,” relates van Kesteren. Michael Hirsh, the writer, acknowledges his debt to van Kesteren, the photographer: “[But] too often the reporters tend to take the lensman for granted, as if they were there merely to add art to their words. This was one case where a photographer saw what was happening first and led one reporter to the well and bade him drink.” Why, Mister, Why? restores one’s faith in the capacity of photojournalism to engage, reveal and comprehend. It should be compulsory viewing for anyone who still believes in the American Dream. As many ordinary Iraqis declared to van Kesteren: “If this is democracy, then they can keep it”. CJ
choose to witness. While the raging debate over Palestine and Israeli control of the territories is undoubtedly the most pressing issue in Palestinian life, it is not the sole definer of being Palestinian.
Cycl’es Ilkka Uimonen Published by Trolley Ltd www.trolleynet.com £30 (60pp Softback) The unresolved conflict in the Middle East between Israelis and Palestinians has been the chosen subject of many a photographer in recent years. Following on from the classical journalistic approach employed by Don McCullin and Jonathan Dimbleby in their1970s’ book The Palestinians and the highly acclaimed Gaza and Then Palestine by photographer Larry Towell, young photojournalists are increasingly choosing to depict the conflict and suffering of Palestinians in personal terms. Far from being a descriptive tool for greater understanding or an attempt to add constructive argument to the debate, photographers-a-plenty are today producing books that record an almost lyrical perspective of the violence they
In the two years 2000-02 that Ilkka Uimonen travelled to Gaza and the West Bank it appears that he has focused almost entirely on acts of violence, violation and horror. Arriving in the region to work on a personal project about Jerusalem, he was drawn to the outbreak of a new Intifada that accompanied Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The frequent recurrence of conflict in the shape of bombs, incursions and occupation that he has documented are brought to us as punctuation marks in a neverending cycle of events. Indeed in his choice of title Uimonen alludes to this repetition of events, a state of affairs that he as a photographer has plunged into head-first without providing a structure with which to read and understand them. For Uimonen the cycle is the event and the events are instances that demand no analysis. As with many books published by Trolley, a great deal of thought seems to have gone into its design, or should I say nondesign. Printed without a separate cover the small paperback opens up straight into the story with a double page image of a chair at the Western wall in Jerusalem. This is followed swiftly by scenes of uprising, martyrdom and grieving. Words are entirely relegated to the back
pages and even there the brief one word names of towns as captions… Jenin, Jerusalem, Ramallah, Ramallah, Gaza, Jerusalem… seem superfluous. The result is a cleverly constructed understated, unargumentative book. With its white paper cover, easily marked and scuffed, the book feels delicate and not inviting to handle yet the content matter is far from frail. The images are printed full bleed across every double spread drawing the reader in to a fast and furious portrayal of the cycle. It would appear that Uimonen did not shoot one vertical image, or think to include it. While this is not remarkable in itself it becomes troubling when one considers whether the edit has been ruled by ease of design considerations. Knowing Israel and Palestine may well help the reader distinguish between Israeli and Palestinian victims, but it is not necessary to gaining an overall impression of claustrophobia. Uimonen’s photography is close, perhaps closer than one has been before, in its attempt to bring the reader right into the battle. He makes us feel fear as we sneak a look through the bombed-out hole in a wall to glimpse Israeli soldiers chasing a suspect; or feel shock as we witness soldiers and civilians alike cowering from an explosion; or feel revulsion at the sight of a woman, clothes torn from the blast of a bomb staring ghost-like into the mayhem. Beyond all else he makes us feel helpless and hopeless as the cycle plays itself out only to begin again, as emotion and reason melt into one. JL
When We Were Young Derek Ridgers Published by Photoworks www.photoworksuk.org £14.95 (160pp Softback) ‘I’m the dandy highwayman who you’re too scared to mention/I spend my cash on looking flash and grabbing your attention,’ sand Stuart Goddard aka Adam Ant, in what might have been a mission statement for the ‘Blitzkids’ of 1980s London. Adam Ant does not appear in this epoch-defining collection of portraits but gender-busting beauties like Boy George, Steve Strange and Marilyn stand and deliver alongside Spandau Ballet
dancers, Sigue Sigue Sputniks, and an array of unknown faces, striking poses in Soho clubs by night and on the Kings Road by day. The fashion-conscious, curatorial eye of Val Williams has presided over a huge collection of images taken over a 10-year period, as the tail end of punk segued discordantly into the New Romantic movement, captured on film by Derek Ridgers, an escapee from West London suburbia. And without the net curtains, neat gardens and nice cardigans of the ’burbs, a whole generation of Bowie-inspired poseurs may not have dredged the charity shops or scoured the style magazines for the definitive fashion statement to be seen in on Saturday night. In the ’80s, style was substance, and, moreover, it was currency. It bought a ticket out of suburbia straight to the land of cool, through the doors of Heaven, Hell and the Blitz club.
These ‘insider’ pictures document the exotic creatures of the night as they would like to be seen: immaculately made-up – in both senses – and in formal portraiture poses. Look closely and the layers of deftly applied war-paint don’t quite succeed in concealing a certain shyness, vulnerability or even the very ordinariness they are seeking to camouflage. What we don’t see here is the descent into heroin addiction or whatever other worldly troubles were to follow these heady times. In true 80s fashion, we only see the surface, and we don’t, in this collection, need to look any deeper. It’s a style thing. MH
The Corportaion Film by Jennifer Abbott, Mark Achbar, and Joel Bakan Produced by Big Picture Media www.thecorporation.com Book by Joel Bakan Published by Constable & Robinson www.constablerobinson.com £9.99 (228pp Softback) A new documentary to hit the big screen, following in the footsteps of Michael Moore, this film challenges one of the major evils of our times, while only slightly touching upon the subject of Bush. Supporting the hypothesis that the modern multi-national corporation shares the character traits of a psychopathic person, Abbott, Achbar and Bakan take us through two and a half hours of facts, footage and testimonies from corporate professionals and political thinkers. Any film of this length can seem daunting, much less one with such a powerful target. However, it could have gone on much longer and only still just skimmed the surface. Firstly, we are visually assaulted with hundreds of major corporations’ names and logos, just to give us an idea of what we are dealing with, and of course all of them are recognisable. Interviews are interspersed with amusing archival footage of educational programmes and commercials from the ‘50s, demonstrating the innocence that corporations were able to get away with, and narration by a strange computerised voice. Not relying too heavily on in-your face visuals, graphics are simple and kept to a minimum. Starting with the history of corporations, their inherently devious “personality” is established from the onset. Seizing the opportunity found in the wording of civil rights laws intended to protect newly emancipated slaves, corporations are legally defined as “persons”. This has noticeably carried through the legal system to general public opinion. In street interviews large corporations are described with human adjectives. Apparently Nike is young and lively.
The Corporation takes us through the usual abhorrent list of wheeling and dealings throughout the global market to emphasise the complete disregard for life and environment, if they dare stand in the way of profit. The now dated case of Kathie Lee Gifford sweatshops throughout Third World countries; biosphere degradation as one “reformed” CEO describes as “generational tyranny”; misunderstood chemicals causing diseases; the list goes on and on. While the filmmakers clearly have their own agenda to fulfil, there is still a general attempt to remain unbiased. Interviews conducted, all with the uniform black backdrop, do attest to this as some major corporations are given a voice through CEOs and their proclamation of taking the moral high ground in relation to corrupt business practices, not that we believe them. Take, for example, the commodities trader Carlton Brown, whose clients in gold doubled their money directly after 9/11, “In devastation there is opportunity. It’s all about creating wealth.” Or possibly the advertising executive who established the Nag Factor to hone in on the desires of children and their ability to prey on the weaknesses of parents: “Is it ethical? I don’t know.” Other interesting little facts may shock and disturb, such as first-hand insight into the workings of Fox “news” or the new era of securing profit from human genes. Not to mention some US corporations’ role in supplying products to assist Nazis during the Holocaust. But we should already know this. Although focusing perhaps excessively on US firms and interests and lacking a general opinion from a younger generation, The Corporation is the long waited for dissection of this machine of modern capitalism. While maybe not shocking us beyond belief, possibly it will incite some to become more pro-active and take a stand. By the end of the filme we are given a slight glimmer of hope. Perhaps not all is lost. LH The book on which this film is based is now available. See www.thecorporation.com for more information.
Image: Helga Paris, Berlinische Galerie
1989, now at the Forum Fur Fotografie in Cologne.
Mois de la Photographie Paris, Berlin, Vienna Events: November 2004 www.2004.photographie.com Whoever said too much is not enough probably hasn’t trekked across rainy Europe in winter, in pursuit of all things photographic. In the beginning, in 1984, there was one Mois de la Photographie a Paris, and it was good. Now, thanks to more money from the EU and the ambitions of Berlin and Vienna, three “Mois de la Photo” took place in three different cities at the same time. Two years from now, there are slated to be no fewer than six such events in cities including Moscow, Bratislava, and Rome. These “Mois” compete as well with “off-year” events in Berlin, Bratislava, and Moscow. There must be some point where there will be too many pictures chasing too little money. That does not even begin to address the question that, short of cloning or Star Trek-like teleportation, there is no physical way anybody, the most dedicated professionals and even fools notwithstanding, can catch but a glimpse of what is on offer in any two cities, let alone six. The portmanteau nature of the Mois de la Photo makes it a grab bag of a celebration. It is, per se, uncurated and not bound to a
single theme. There will always be extremely good and surprising work as well as the mediocre or just plain lousy. The thing to do is to try to separate the wheat from the chaff, always a personal take, and to try to come away inspired. What follows are a few highlights from Paris and Berlin.
photographs chosen by advertising agency director Erik Kessels. Featuring the works of Céline Van Balen, Phoebe Maas, Anne-Valérie Gasc, Charlotte Dumas, and Roy Cymbalista, among others, it represented another crossover of art and documentary photography.
In Paris three shows stood out among the retrospectives and solo shows. Agence Vu member Rip Hopkins’ Home and Away, a garish, smart documentary of post-Soviet Uzbekistan, at Galerie Camera Obscura is a perfect example of the intersection of ‘fine art’ and ‘photojournalism’ as currently practised. As for the old school, the show Robert Capa: Connu et Inconnu at the Bibliothèque Nationale was a simply brilliant exhibition with many rare images, magazine layouts, and the contact sheet from his last roll of film. In comparison, the retrospective, Agence France Presse: 19442004, on another floor of the Bibliothèque, was completely mediocre.
Berlin presented a different spectacle. Not surprisingly, with events celebrating the collapse of the Wall 15 years ago, East German photography and vintage work, both very old and from the Germanys of the 1960s and 1970s, was very much in evidence. Galerie Berinson presented late 19th century images of the city from the Atelier Panckow. Willy Römer bridged the centuries with street photography from 1888 to 1938. Gilles Peress’ Wall pictures were on view at C/O Berlin with spaces for commentary by visitors. His Bosnia work was also on display. In a more modernist vein, Marcos Lopez’s Sub-Realismo Criollo at the Instituto Cervantes was a mockumentary send up of Argentine cliches. Classic street photography from the 60s and 70s by Leonard Freed, Made in Germany, was at Galerie Argus Fotokunst whose curator, Norbert Bunge put together a major retrospective, Utopia and Reality: East German Photography 1956-
The intriguing Histoire(s) Parallèle(s) Création Confrontation France/Pays Bas at the Institut Néerlandais counter-posed contemporary Dutch works chosen by French curator Gabriel Bauret and French
Yet it was the work of East German photographers Georg Krause at Galerie M in BerlinMarzahn and this year’s Hannah Hoch Prize winner Helga Paris at the Berlinische Galerie that should be worth remembering. Krause presented, among various travel images, a series of photographs and videos of football fans in one of the last remaining seatless stadia. Paris, who belongs to the generation of great if largely unknown East German photographers, including Arno Fischer and Evelyn Richter, who were active throughout almost the entire history of the GDR, documented workers, women in the bars of Berlin, the city of Halle, and East Berlin’s punk rock culture. It is remarkable work. She is the subject of a major retrospective at the Sprengel Museum in Hannover and is part of the must-see retrospective in Cologne. What all of this tells us is not that there are too many pictures out there clamouring for your eyes, it is that one must pick and choose what one sees and what one may learn from in a limited amount of time. I never made it to Vienna. BK For information about ongoing shows, see the Mois de la Photo website.
That Joel Meyerowitz, one of the pioneers of colour photography in the United States, became a photographer at all is an accident of history. After graduating in Art and Art History from Ohio State University, he went to work at a small advertising agency in New York. One fateful day, his boss told him to go watch a photographer work. Meyerowitz went out and watched the man photographing two girls as they played dress-ups after school. He simply moved around them with his Leica and went click, click, click. Meyerowitz had never seen anything like it before and, as he looked over the photographer’s shoulder, he saw what the photographer saw. It all suddenly made sense to him. “Watching him work changed my life,” he says. The year was 1962, and the photographer was Robert Frank. Meyerowitz went back to his office, borrowed a camera from his boss, announced he was quitting to become a photographer, and hit the streets of New York. What happened next is also little short of amazing. In short succession he ran into Tony Ray Jones while shooting on the street and struck up a friendship as they learned how to photograph by working the parades up on Fifth Avenue in the middle ’50s and discussing the results of their slides in the evenings. Then he met Garry Winogrand in the subway who took him under his wing. Meyerowitz developed his photographic skills and shooting style under their interaction and by reading three key books, Frank’s Les Americains, CartierBresson’s The Decisive Moment, and Walker Evans’s American Photographs. It was, as he puts it, “a thunderbolt kind of start”.
was a kind of simplicity of the frame and a wonderful human activity in it that was joyous and touching or tragic and ironic in some way. It communicated something ... I could do it. My timing was good, I was getting better at it, and I could see these things coming. It became too easy,” he notes in retrospect. Meyerowitz decided to take a step back and literally turn away from the subject matter. He put things out of kilter and made what he calls “non-hierarchical pictures” that have no centre. They represent an energy that derives from the power of colour itself and of the energy of the street. Two key images in the show at Thomas Zander Galerie in Cologne point to this transformation, the one of the fallen man in Paris and the one of the woman with the golden building in the background. Here he “gave up on the fallen man, incident picture, and moved towards an open-ended field picture in which there was no incident”. Meyerowitz was frustrated, though, by the limitations of trying to print from colour slides because of the loss of detail through the necessity of using internegatives. In contrast to dyetransfers, prints from 35mm slides did not satisfy him. From his
experience as a graphic designer he was aware of dye-transfers, but they were prohibitively expensive at the time. He opted for the solution of using a bigger camera, eventually settling on an 8 x 10, to get the print quality he wanted. In 1976 he took the camera to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and learned how to use it and how to make it work for him. Thus was born the Cape Light series of portraits and land and sea-scapes that play on the grainlessness of the big picture and the very texture of the light and colour itself. It was this work that brought him fame and inclusion in the seminal 1981book by Sally Eauclaire, The New Color Photography, with Stephen Shore, William Eggleston, Joel Sternfeld, Helen Levitt, and Jan Groover, among others. The show at Zander traces his trajectory from 35mm to 8 x 10 and from the streets of New York to the streets of Provincetown. It is a fascinating transformation born seemingly by accident and his constant questioning of his approach to the possibilities inherent in the medium.
site, the workers, and the environment with the attention to light and colour that are his tropes, is an awe-inspiring document and memorial to the fallen and to those who are working to reclaim the space for New York. BK A book entitled Joel Meyerowitz will be published by Phaidon in April 2005.
Lastly, Meyerowitz was the only photographer permitted onto the site of the remains of the World Trade Center in New York, in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. His 8 x 10 images of the
Courtesy Ariel Meyerowitz Gallery NY
Joel Meyerowitz: Early Work Thomas Zander Galerie Cologne, Germany Exhibition: 27 Nov–18 Feb 05 www.galeriezander.com
In contrast to Winogrand, Meyerowitz began shooting colour slides and only later shot black and white. He affected a centre-weighted photographic style that at first played on the felicities of the decisive moments that occur on Fifth Avenue. “There
Blink Published by Phaidon www.phaidon.com £24.95 (448pp Softback) Blink was originally published as a hardback in 2002 and has recently been reissued as a paperback. Ten curators from around the world were asked to select 10 influential contemporary photographers, with contributions from 10 international writers. Fair enough. The trouble is, the 100 chosen few photographers are presented alphabetically, so the overall effect is of a confusing mish-mash of different styles, approaches and attitudes. It ends up as an exhausting roller coaster ride through some highly selective areas of contemporary practice. It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall when future generations come to assess the zeitgeist of the early years of the 21st century. Looking at this publication, there would certainly be some questions about the plasticisation of human beings. A significant proportion of humanity depicted here appear to be highly polished virtual people acting in stilted, robotic fashion, photographed in a deliberately stylised, anti-realistic way in hyper-real colour. Such images are placed randomly by force of alphabet against more conventional photographs, and the overall effect is highly disconcerting – and not in a creative sense, as, one suspects, the curators would have wished. Rather, it is more like walking through an endless exhibition,
bombarded by a kind of “stop me and buy one” mentality. Instead of being persuaded to look at a wide variety of work in a reflective manner, we are drowned in the output of a rather smug, cosy coterie of knowing, in-group selectors who obviously feel they have their fingers on the pulse. These gurus have been done no favours by their publisher and editors, since, as with ParisPhoto, by the time we get to the end, we are just happy to get out unscathed and go to a bar. Blink is the ultimate tribute to a vacuous kind of postmodernism, its eclectic, freewheeling, kaleidoscopic approach undermining any desire we may have had to enter into constructive critical debate about the direction of modern photography. CJ Life Below Christophe Agou Published by The Quantuck Lane Press www.quantucklanepress.com £14.99 (120pp Hardback) Another photographer has chosen to document people on public transport, this time on the subway in New York. Agou spent three years riding the subway with his unconcealed handheld Leica, opting not to use any other equipment, even a flash. The resulting work is a small book of portraits and scenes that hovers between the documentary and fine art genres. You may think these images can’t be too distinct from the vast array of work on this subject, and you’re not wrong. Yet, Agou’s work radiates with a kind of sombre reflection that
allows each individual black and white portrait to rely on their own intrinsic beauty. The people captured on the subway reveal a peculiarity of human nature when forced into tight quarters with strangers, solitude and contemplation deeply in-grained into their faces. Whether it’s the odd details, such as the mannequin folded up inside an abandoned suitcase, or the re-occurring expressions of boredom as eyes glance up to count the number of stops left, Agou’s images remind us that these scenes are common occurrences in all large metropolises in the world. The inclusion of the blurry shots of moving trains draws us back towards Agou’s fine art tendencies and easily could have been left out. Beautifully printed, the images are laid out as to take us on our own journey on the subway. As the title suggests, a completely detached and strange existence goes on under our streets, as much as it is ignored. Taking notice of the tiny details might just lessen the monotony. LH Into the Silent Land Paul Broks Published by Atlantic Books www.groveatlantic.com £6.95 (248pp Softback) Anybody familiar with the work and writing of Dr Oliver Sacks, including his popular book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, will find themselves on similar, friendly territory with Paul Broks’ Into the Silent Land. Like Sacks, Broks’ specialism is neuropsychology, a discipline he has practised for 30 years as a professional clinician. But, as with Sacks’ work, this is no dry tome, beset with academic jargon but a compassionate and deeply human book regarding as one reviewer puts it “the mass of goo inside our heads”, and how psychologically and physically brain injured individuals live (and often enjoy) their lives despite their trauma. However, to say Silent Land is about the brain is akin to saying Moby Dick is about a whale; it is but it is about so much more than its central matter.
Broks’ primary interest in the brain is to understand how people deal with the malfunction of their brain, learning to compensate for “missing” elements that govern their behaviour. Like the man, who through an accident to his left frontal lobe is now so desensitized – unable to empathise – that despite himself he no longer loves his wife. Or the over-sensitized man who through a trauma to his right frontal lobe can’t help himself from hugging everyone he meets. Their histories are told by Broks with great warmth and kindness and if one can’t help but smile at the individuals’ predicaments it is a smile born of the “there but for the grace of God go I” kind. Ultimately, handled with a lightness of touch that borders on the poetic, Into the Silent Land is as much a philosophical meditation on the 21st century human condition as it is a book about neuropsychology. GM
Phil and Me Amanda Tetrault Published by Trolley Ltd www.trolleynet.com £24.95 (192pp Hardback)
Artificial Arcadia Bas Princen Published by 010 www.010publishers.nl £25 (128pp Hardback) Wow Wow Diary Published by Steidl £17.50 www.steidl.de (120pp Hardback) For those people out there who spend too many hours trawling the internet, looking at strange websites and even stranger images, this could be the diary for you. Comprised of images taken from various websites from around the world, including mrblowup.com and jerseydrunks.com, and showing anything from a soggy Persian cat to a teary soldier or two old men hugging, the pictures might make you giggle either with or at the subjects. However there is something slightly spooky about it all, like looking through someone’s living room window. The diary has an image for every week so just as you are despairing at another dreary Monday and an impending meeting with the accountant you can cheer yourself up with the fabulous madness of people and what they deem interesting and worthy of putting on the internet. Produced by Steidl, the diary celebrates the silly and absurd and raises two fingers at expensive arty/travel diaries that only succeed in depressing you with each new image. Who wants to see some deserted beach in the Caribbean in June when you’re stuck in an office, cursing yourself for not bringing an umbrella? Although possibly on the expensive side, this fabric covered, A5-size diary makes for a more interesting year. FB
“I don’t get it” are the first words that come to mind on reading Artificial Arcadia. Seemingly, I’m in the minority as no less than five academics have written complementary essays published alongside Bas Princen’s “awesome and puzzling” photographs of the Dutch at play on reclaimed land. It’s true some are puzzling – memorably, the image of three individuals apparently fishing, their rods cast, but without a stretch of water in sight – but they are only momentarily puzzling, not intriguing and multi-dimensional, and they leave one with a feeling of indifference. One essayist, Bart Lootsma, finds many of the subjects of the images hilarious, for example people driving through the mud at high speed. Again, I don’t get it. Personally, I find none of the humour evident in, for example, Martin Kollar’s work (published in EI8HT V3N2) that demonstrates a keen eye for the surreal in every day life and an even quicker “trigger” finger to capture in a moment the subject of his amused eye. In contrast, Princen’s photographs are laboured, lacking the spontanaiety and intimacy of a snapper truly engaged by his subject matter. Perhaps, as Lootsma says, the photographer’s work is akin to his contemporaries’ oeuvres, including Struth, Ruff and Gursky. If this is the case, perhaps, Princen’s work would be better viewed on a huge scale, hanging in a gallery and not presented in a “small” book. Perhaps, as I said, I just don’t get it. GM
Phil and Me, a portrait of a fatherdaughter relationship blighted by mental illness, is a surprise pageturner. A tapestry of passport photos of the pair, taken over nearly 30 years, sets the scene, providing punctuation marks in a story with no beginning, middle or end. Their cumulative effect is mesmerising; a fragmented history unfolding before our eyes. Photographer Amanda Tetrault has used her camera to get closer to her father and at the same time to hide from him, to protect herself from the unpredictable moodswings that defined his schizophrenia. From 1997 to 2003, she has persuaded Phil to collaborate in the surrealist tableaux and documentary images that, along with his handwritten poems, form the majority of the book. Through these insightful portraits, we gain a sense of the arbitary nature of her father’s good and bad days: the intellectual, writing gentle poetry in a café; the outsider at the party, caged by his own mind. Tetrault frequently appears in the pictures too, smiling, stoic and sad by turns, a voyeur in her own life. In a letter to “Phil, Philop, Flip Flop, Daddy”, Tetrault describes the sorrow, the humiliation, the anger, the shame, the fear that shaped a childhood. Through her pictures, she conveys a powerful and unsentimental love for the man who will always be her father. MH
Digging: The Workers of Boston’s Big DIg Michael Hintlian Published by Commonwealth Editions www.commonwealth editions.com £18.67 (96pp Hardback) Digging documents the construction of an underground tunnel in the heart of Boston. The project, which took nearly a decade to complete, was to revolutionise the city centre, removing a congested, elevated expressway to route the traffic under the city. Hintlian began photographing the site in 1997, after he noticed the early signs of the “big dig” on Boston’s streets. This book is a result of his tenacity and desire to reach the heart of the construction. As time passed the supervisors and workers got used to his presence and Hintlian was able to gain the unrestricted access he needed to portray the workers and the gruelling shifts that they endured every day under the city streets. The black and white pictures are often abstract with intriguing juxtapositions. An overhead view of “Under Dock Square”, showing a minuscule man in a sea of mud, is paired with another image of a worker under a beam. Elsewhere, images of workers bundled up against the winter snow contrast with playful shadows cast in the summer heat. The book is in no way chronological, with the majority of pictures taken in 2000 and later. Overall, Digging is an enjoyable and striking insight into an unseen world beneath a city for which the author obviously feels great affection. SB
>Diary Albion Gallery 8 Hester Road London SW11 Andy Goldsworthy, Passage Photographic work and large scale sculpture. Until 31March Alison Jacques Gallery 4 Clifford Street London W1X Robert Mapplethorpe Curated by David Hockney, featuring Mapplethrope’s portraits of leading creative figures. Until March 12 Artist Eye Space 1st Floor, 12 All Saints Road London W11 Marion Lefebvre and Raquel Dias Self portraits rooted in Greek mythology and experiments with various film processing effects. 9 March – 16 April ArtSway Station Road, Sway Hampshire SO416BA Anne Hardy Exploring hidden worlds and parallel realities. Until 17 April Barbican Art Gallery Barbican Centre, Silk Street London EC2Y Tina Barney American photographer who takes an incisive look at class structure in Europe. Until 2 May Blink Gallery 11Poland Street London W1F Dennis Morris, Bob Images of Bob Marley, who would have been 60 this year. Until 11March
The British Museum Great Russell Street London WC1B Weapons of Reconstruction The result of a Christian Aid project in Mozambique, a large sculpture made out of confiscated weapons travels to London, exhibited alongside photos of its creation. Until 6 May Brunei Gallery SOAS, University of London Thornhaugh Street London WC1H Concept and Practice: The Barefoot Photographers of Tilonia Over 34 years worth of images from students of the Barefoot College. 11April – 7 June Dimbola Lodge Museum Terrace Lane, Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wight PO40 9QE Man Ray Some of his most famous images. Until 20 March Margaret MacDonald, The Perceptive Eye Classic photography dealing with tone, light and shadow. 4 March – 17 April Ffotogallery Chapter, Market Road Cardiff CF64 3DM Peter Finnemore, Zen Gardener Staged images merging Welsh culture with world politics. Until 27 March Flowers Central 21Cork Street London W1S Boyd & Evans, Landmarks Following on from the show at Milton Keynes. 7 April – 30 April FOAM Keizersgracht 609 Amsterdam 1017 DS Garry Winogrand and the American Street Photographers Images from the ’60s and ’70s including the work of Joel Meyerowitz. Until 30 March
Below: © Tiina Itkonen, Inughuit/ Michael Hoppen Right: © David Rose, Weapons of Reconstruction/ The British Museum Far right: © Bill Brandt, Their Past Your Future/ Imperial War Museum
Focal Point Gallery Southend Central Library Victoria Avenue Southend-on-Sea Essex SS2 6EX Alec Soth, Sleeping by the Mississippi People and culture in the southern US states. Until 9 April Fotostiftung Schweiz Gruzenstrasse 45 Zurich CH-8400 Helmar Lerski, Metamorphoses of the Face Classic photography focusing on the many facades of expression. 12 March – 22 May Gagosian Gallery 8 Heddon Street London WC1X Philip-Lorca diCorcia Fusing documentary with fiction in these images of exotic dancers. Until 19 March Giedre Bartlet Galerie Linienstr. 161 Berlin 10115 Michael Jochum Revisiting family photos, dealing with memory and age. Until 12 March The Guardian Newsroom Archive and Visitor Centre 60 Farringdon Road London EC1R Graham Finlayson, Early Edition Work from the early years of The Guardian photojournalist’s career. Until 4 March Hayward Gallery Belvedere Road London SE1 Africa Remix, Contemporary Art of a Continent Over 60 artists in mixed media represent the continent. Until 17 April
Hoopers Gallery 15 Clerkenwell Close London EC1R Colin Wilson, Silent Compositions Timeless still life images. Until 4 March Huis Marseille Keizersgracht 401 Amsterdam 1016 EK Contemporary British Photography A selection of recent work by 12 British photographers. 5 March – 29 May Impressions Gallery 29 Castlegate York YO19RN Carl De Keyzer, Zone Reportage on the inmates of Siberia’s forced labour camps. Until 2 April Laurie Long, Undercover Combining two bodies of work fusing elements of humour, feminism and popular culture. 9 April – 11June Instituto Cervantes 102 Eaton Square London SW1W Mallorca Enchanted The beauty of the Mediterranean. Until 31March Kornhaus Kornhausplatz 18 Bern 7 On the other Side of the Soul 13 Cuban photographers documenting religion and culture in everyday Cuban life. Until 20 March Kowasa Gallery Calle Mallorca 235 Barcelona 08008 Kris Scholz, The Silent View Diverse range of landscapes and cityscapes. Until 19 March
London Underground Platform for Art 12 Tube Stations around Central London Anthony Luvera, Stories from Guilded Pavements Documenting homeless and exhomeless people in London. Until 30 April The Lowry Pier 8, Salford Quays Manchester M50 3AZ Paula Keenan, Dinnertime The dinnertime ritual within a diverse range of Salford homes. Until 17 April Michael Hoppen Gallery 2nd Floor, 3 Jubilee Place London SW3 Tiina Itkonen, Inughuit The landscape and lives of the Inuit people of Greenland. Until 24 March Anton Corbijn, 22:U2 The photographer’s 22-year document of U2. 23 February – 31March Milton Keynes Gallery 900 Midsummer Boulevard Milton Keynes MK9 3QA Boyd & Evans, Landmarks Natural wonders in the American landscape. Until 3 April National Maritime Museum Park Row, Greenwich London SE10 National Trust and Magnum Photos, The Coast Exposed Commemorating the beauty and diversity of the English coast. 23 March – 8 January 2006 The National Museum of Photography, Film and Television Manchester Road Bradford BD11NQ Forget me not: Photography and Remembrance Dealing with photography and memory with works of art created by anonymous people. Hans van der Meer, The Other Side of Football Homage to the sport, with new work made in the Bradford area. Until 2 May
National Portrait Gallery St Martins Place London WC2H Lee Miller, Portraits Iconic images of influential 20th century artists and personalities. Until 30 May OpenEye Gallery 28-32 Wood Street Liverpool L14AQ Yto Barrada, A Life Full of Holes – The Strait Project Ongoing project on immigration across the Strait of Gibraltar. Until 2 April Photofusion 17a Electric Lane London SW9 Etienne Clement Constructed scenes of figurines. Until 5 March Chien-Chi Chang, The Chain Images of inmates from a mental asylum in Taiwan. 11March – 23 April The Photographers’ Gallery 8 Great Newport Street London WC2H Deutsche Borse Photography Prize 2005 Showcase of shortlisted entries. 8 April – 5 June Picture House Centre for Photography 3rd Floor, International House 125 Granby Street Leicester LE16FD Room 2.8 A diverse showcase of work from five graduates of the MA Photography at De Montfort. Until 18 March
Scout Gallery 1-3 Mundy Street London N1 William Gedney, An American Outsider Black and white photos of 1960s and ‘70s America. Until 19 March Side Photographic Gallery 9 Side, Newcastle-uponTyne NE13JE Heidi Bradner, A Decade of War in Chechnya and The Lost Boys Thorough coverage of the 10-year conflict, including portraits of young Russian soldiers. Until 30 March Union 57 Ewer Street London SE1 Scott McFarland, Analysing Trapping Inspecting Exploring extravagant gardens in the US and Canada. Until 26 March The Women’s Library Old Castle Street London E1 From Where I’m Standing Photographic exhibition of shoes, created for refugee week 2004. Until 19 March
>Events Imperial War Museum, Their Past Your Future To mark the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII, this 15-month programme of educational and commemorative events will include the digitisation of over 20,000 photographs, selected
PM Gallery & House Mattock Lane London W5 Citizens Bringing together the work of 19 artists and their response to the present-day crisis of citizenship. Until 2 May Proud Central 5 Buckingham Street London WC2N Merri Cyr, A Wished for Song Unique images exploring the myth of Jeff Buckley. 10 March – 23 April
from the museum’s archive of over seven million images. They will be available online, along with over 10,000 other wartime materials and records. www.iwm.org.uk London Book Fair The largest publishing networking forum in Europe in spring, the London Book Fair is a three-day concentrated event focused on trading and education through seminars. London, Olympia 13 – 15 March www.lbf-virtual.com DFOTO The first International Contemporary Photography and Video Fair will be held in San Sebastian, Spain. Featuring 40 galleries from Spain and around the world, including some publishers, the event will be open to the public as well as private and corporate art collectors in hopes of consolidating the market. 15 – 18 April www.coff.es/es/dfoto EI8HT welcomes exhibition listings. Please email: email@example.com Or post to: Listings, EI8HT, 18 Great Portland St, London W1W 8QP. Every effort has been made to ensure that information is correct at time of going to press. EI8HT accepts no responsibility for any changes to dates of exhibitions.
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UK CHARITY AWARDS 2004 BEST NEW CHARITY PhotoVoice, Unit 204, Colourworks, 2 Abbot Street, London E8 3DP. Tel: +44 (0) 207 254 4087 Disabled like my father © Phary / Khmeye / PhotoVoice (Cambodia)
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>Scene Whatever the Weather James DiBiase
Like most people, I had watched images of Brighton swimmers going for a Christmas Day dip with vague bemusement. When I became aware that there was a dedicated group of swimmers who went out every day, whatever the weather, I was intrigued. Brighton Swimming Club (est. 1860) is Britain’s oldest continually running swimming club. The sea swimming section is an eclectic bunch: the roll call includes a website designer, a psychiatric nurse, a 91-year-old stalwart, an air steward and a PhD student. The hardcore group meet at their changing rooms underneath the Arches by Brighton Pier at 7 every morning. Over the next 12 months I fell into their routine. The sea is at its coldest in February, when this photo was taken. Some mornings they’d tug me round the pier in a life buoy while I took pictures of them. That morning the high winds made the ocean look especially menacing and the water temperature was a bitter 5°C. I’d been advised to go in only up to my knees to avoid getting swept away. Being engulfed by a wave, as Keith was here, is known as “getting mullered”– a sensation best likened to being trapped inside a washing machine and then unceremoniously spat out. But why on earth do they do it? “It’s like banging your head against a wall,” one told me. “It’s nice when you stop.” Another, perhaps more accessible explanation, was: “When you come out you know you’re alive. Swimming in the morning heightens your perception – of sights, smells and sounds. Even if the whole moment is then ruined by Brighton Pier blasting out Abba’s “Dancing Queen” 8
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