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Stephan Vanfleteren’s powerful black and white photographs provide an intimate and emotional portrait of these legendary sportsmen and the sport which dominates the social and cultural life of Flanders, the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium. The unremarkable landscape breeds this particular type of rider who thrives in the driving rain and the bitter cold and on cobbled streets and treacherous inclines.

Free admission. Opening times: Monday – Friday 10am – 6pm Saturdays 11am – 4pm

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20 June – 31 July 2007 Stephan Vanfleteren Flandrien: Hard Men and Heroes

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20 June – 31 July As London gears up to host the Tour de France, the world’s most famous cycle race, a new photography exhibition at Host gallery pays tribute to the Flandrien – a generation of Flemish cyclists who make the athletes of the Tour de France look like amateur enthusiasts.



HOST Gallery Photojournalism in London

VOL.6 NO.1  SUMMER 2007  £10  WWW.FOTO8.COM 9-771476-681000-21

© Stephan Vanfleteren/Panos Pictures




Editor Jon Levy Deputy Editor Lauren Heinz Features Editor Max Houghton Picture Editor Flora Bathurst Editorial Assistant Lally Pearson Interns Greg Funnell, Josh Lustig Columnists Robert Bevan Paul Hayward Tim Minogue John Vidal Contributing Editors Sophie Batterbury, Ludivine Morel Reviewers Ken Grant, Bill Kouwenhoven, Jeremy Leslie Design Phil Evans & Rob Kester Special Thanks Maurice Geller, Leo Hsu Reprographics John Doran at Wyndeham Graphics Advertising Print Stones the Printers Paper By M-real: Cover – Galerie Art Silk 250gsm Features – Galerie Art Silk 130gsm Reviews – Era Print 90gsm Distribution Specialist bookshops & galleries – Central Books 020 8986 4854, Newstrade – Comag 01895 433800 ISSN 1476-6817 ISBN 90-5330-561-4 Publisher Jon Levy Subscription/Back Issues 8 issues, 2 yrs: £60-UK, £68-EU, £82-ROW 4 issues, 1 yr: £35-UK, £39-EU, £46-ROW Back issues available More Information W: T: +44 (0)20 7253 8801 F: +44 (0)20 7253 2752 E: Advertising Rates Disclaimer The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily the views of EI8HT or Foto8 Ltd. Copyright © 2007 Foto8 Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be copied or reproduced without the prior written consent of Foto8 Ltd EI8HT is published by Foto8 Ltd 1– 5 Honduras Street London EC1Y 0TH United Kingdom

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Genc Kadriu João Kehl Represented by Cia de Foto. Yannis Kontos Represented by Polaris Images. Red Utopia is published by Kastaniotis Editions. Mads Nissen Charlotte Oestervang Olivier Pin-Fat Represented by VU. Mark Simpson Stephan Vanfleteren Represented by Panos Pictures. Flandrien is published by Luc Derycke & Co. Available from Monique Yazdani

Photojournalism is dead. >Foto8 is a force for individuals to address the collective. We choose photography to inspire and engage the viewer. >Foto8 questions, we do not aim to offer answers. We support those who confront, reflect on and interpret their surroundings. >Foto8 lives in the present, we are concerned with the now. We embrace stories that are a reflection of their time. >Foto8 doesn’t proclaim the truth, we tell true stories. We are curious about humanity and other perspectives. >Foto8 seeks new ways of telling. We are unafraid to experiment with all forms of photography and look beyond the frame. >Foto8 believes the personal is as powerful as the political. We aim to convey feelings as effectively as facts. >Foto8 makes no apology for the sad, and the depressing. We remain hopeful and open to the uplifting. >Foto8 believes in storytelling that awakens compassion. We don’t expect to change the world, but we won’t be silent.

Long live photojournalism!


> Contents Summer 2007

> > Volume Number 6 1


 06 >Features >06 Yaba Yaba Olivier Pin-Fat >16 Jisatsu Kristian Haggblom >24 Travelling in my Mind Mads Nissen >44 Means to Win João Kehl >51 Shallow Sun Genc Kadriu >57 Kentucky Portraits Charlotte Oestervang >Columns >32 Eyes Like Kurtz John Vidal >34 The Enemies of Architecture and Memory Robert Bevan >37 Meet Thy Doom Tim Minogue >50 Means to Win Paul Hayward 44 >Moments >38 Jesus in Siberia Monique Yazdani >40 May Day Yannis Kontos >42 Psychogeography Mark Simpson >Off the Wall – HOST Gallery >62 Flandrien Stephan Vanfleteren >Inside >68 Val Williams 62  >Reviews >70 Domestic Landscapes, The Nature of Photographs, War and Love, Human Rights Watch Film Festival, The Sacrifice, Inside the Photograph, World’s Top Photographers, Tokyo Love Hello, Is Britain Great?, Istanbul, A Couple of Ways of Doing Something, Gonzo, Tim Gardner exhibition, Zoo, Inconvenient Stories, Dateline Israel, Angola >84 The Magazine Report by Jeremy Leslie >Listings >86 Picture agencies, professional resources, media associations, university courses >On My Shelf >98 Martin Conway >Cover © Olivier Pin-Fat 24



These images were taken during Thailand’s extremely violent ‘war on drugs’, a campaign in which some 2,000 people were killed as government authorities appeared to endorse what Amnesty International has called ‘lethal force’. Photographer Olivier Pin-Fat was swept along on the crest of the crystal methamphetamine wave that was engulfing parts of Bangkok. This is his diary…










The notion of suicide as an honourable, noble cultural practice is largely alien to western culture. Yet in Japan, its status as a way to die can be traced back to the samurai warriors of the 12th century. After defeat in battle, it was necessary to perform seppuku,, a highly ritualised self-disembowelment, known to gaijin as hara-kiri. Minamoto Tametomo, a celebrated archer, was the first person recorded as having committed seppuku. As it became apparent he was on the losing side in the battle of Uji, he wrote a poem for posterity. It was this act, along with his efficient self-disembowelment, that provide the model for the deathly ritual through the ages. The use of suicide as a military tactic proved devastating to the American onslaught in the Second World War, as some 3,000 kamikaze pilots willingly surrendered their lives for a ferocious nationalism. The most recent phenomenon in Japanese suicide culture is that of group suicide (although even this has its historical precedent) in which those who feel their time on earth is up advertise for someone to die with. The advent of the internet has facilitated this process. Often the pair, or group, will drive to a remote spot and kill themselves by carbon monoxide asphyxiation. Many of those who choose to die alone head to Japan’s spiritual epicentre Mount Fuji, to its labyrinthine forest Aokigahara Jukai, known as the blue sea of foliage. Of those who enter, only those who intend to leave cast a length of string along their path – a lifeline. Strewn along the paths people follow are the decaying remnants of those whose journey ended there 8 Max Houghton Jisatsu Kristian Haggblom

Like a fossil tree From which we gather no flowers Sad has been my life Fated no fruit to produce. Minamoto Tametomo


Mads Nissen feels at home in the Amazonian rainforest, which he finally photographed, after many visits, in late 2006. He likes the flirting, the salsa, the humour, the Spanish wordplay. It could hardly be more different from his native Denmark – or from Shanghai, where he currently lives and works. When he gets homesick for any of his favourite habitats he logs on to Google Earth and transports himself for a while

An air freighter crashed outside of the Colombian village San Sebastian de los Lagos (above left). Six people died. It was caused by a combination of technical difficulties in the plane and bad weather. Hundreds of locals came to the area to gather pieces of wreckage that could be of use to them. This is the foot of the dead pilot

Iquitos (above centre and right), the biggest city in the Peruvian Amazon, cannot be reached by vehicle The houses in the shanty town of Belen Bajo, in Iquitos, are built on rafts or tall poles because of the ever-changing water levels of the Amazon, which floods the area by several metres for four months every year Walter Morales (right), a Huitoto Indian, fishes with the help of small balls of poisonous leaves. When the fish eat the leaves, they get sick and therefore become easy for the fisherman to pick up from the water and eat




Workers ‘at leisure’ (above left), in the small port of Belen Bajo Inside the nightclub (centre) ‘Las Gatas Salvajes’ – The Savage Cats

A moment’s reflection (above) – missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), Brazil

Gay nightclub (left) ‘La Mariposa’ – The Butterfly – offers alternative pursuits


I had walked for days through the rainforest when I reached a clearing. There are probably numerous clearings like this one in the Amazon, but the feeling which, back then, made my knees buckle under me was unbeknown to me. The rainforest lay there as a dense green wall around the clearing. All the plants – those at the top and those at the bottom – fought for light and nourishment. Thick lianas, juicy leaves in every shape imaginable and small delicate flowers hoping not to be devoured. Bugs crawling under every single leaf. That was the rainforest. And I had seen all of it before. But then again – maybe I hadn’t. Because something happened inside of me at that exact spot in the clearing. For one moment the humidity absorbed all sounds. They simply disappeared. The air swallowed them so they never reached my ears. I stood there, isolated and silent. Part of a greater being. I felt dissolved. I sat down on a tree trunk and let go. I was nothing anymore, and I felt that if I died right then and there it would be okay. Beautiful, even. That was seven years ago. I have gone back to the Amazon many times since then. Coming from many different countries, but more than that travelling in my mind. I close my eyes, hold my breath, taste the hot thick air and fly over my big green friend. I try not to let it worry me that we are destroying it. Because I know it will win in the end. I’ve see its plants rise from greasy oil puddles – like after the plane crash – and I know that cockroaches can survive more plutonium than any man. That eases my mind. This is my journey into the Amazon. From the former cocaine capital, Leticia in Colombia, where a blind, paved road leads into the jungle, past the site of the plane crash, where the pilot’s foot is still stuck in the mud… to one of Peru’s biggest cities, Iquitos, where hard-working people are forced to use the river as both their drinking water and as their lavatory in a floating shanty town. Iquitos, isolated in the jungle, is also a place of exile for homosexuals and transsexuals and anyone who doesn’t fit in with the prevailing machismo further inland. And right in the middle of all this is Walter Morales, a Huitoto Indian who tries to find a balance between his life in the rainforest, his 14” TV, and the culture he must pass on to his three sons, otherwise it will vanish. This is a return to the Amazon that stole my heart seven years ago. The Amazon which I love, fear and fear for  8

Travelling in my Mind Mads Nissen


A Huitoto Indian makes ‘Mambe’ – a traditional green powder made from coca leaves


> Eyes like Kurtz > John Vidal Joseph Conrad set his novel Heart of Darkness in the dead centre of Africa on the river Congo at a place that 100 years ago was called Stanleyville but is now Kisangani. It is a terrifying tale of a colonial trader’s psychological collapse – how the mind of a man who dominated the local people disintegrated in the equatorial heat and the wilderness of an unknown continent.

But it was also a story about the ruthless pursuit of power and profit. When Conrad first went up the river Congo as a seaman in 1890, the country was, literally, owned by King Leopold of Belgium who claimed this vast white empty space on the map as his personal domain. In the king’s mad mind, it was somewhere that could be ruthlessly exploited for its minerals and timber, ivory and people. Huge concessions were handed out to colonials to use as they wanted. It led to a terrifyingly brutal pursuit of profit – the very worst form of colonialism. Not much changes. Last month I got to Kisangani, precisely where Conrad set his trading station and his deranged colonial agent Mr Kurtz in Heart of Darkness. Like Conrad, who had seen the empty map of Africa as a nine-year-old and had longed to go there, I, too, had imagined that place many times from my youth. The great walls of forest; the great grey river sweeping north and then west; the pygmies; the forest elephants; the diamonds; the second greatest swathe of forest in the world. Kisangani today is a hole, the intact forests are miles away and Conrad would recognise nothing of what is now another desperately poor town in the centre of Africa 32

apart from its setting on the great bend of the river Congo, the nearby rapids and the mile-wide sheet of water passing silently through the immensity of the jungle beyond. Belgian missionaries built a massive cathedral on the river banks and laid out an elegant model city for 5,000 colonials in the 1920s, but for a decade Kisangani has been shot up by successive armies and militias, occupied by warlords, and is now like a Wild West town. It’s still a great centre though, a vast market where almost anything can be found. There are streets of diamond dealers buying from the 40,000 people thought to be digging in the forests, and there’s a small ivory market and a cloth factory. But the formal economy has collapsed, and weirdly the third largest town in the whole of this country the size of Spain, Portugal and France together is more isolated than it was in Conrad’s day. There have been three years of peace, but instead of the 10 or more river boats leaving each day for Kinshasa, the capital, more than 800 miles away, there are none and the roads are impassable just 10 miles away. One group of people, though, is thriving. Congo is the last frontier for the global logging industry. Its forests have been more

Yafunga, Democratic Republic of Congo, 23 March 2007. Children of a logger of Afrormosia, a highly valued tropical hardwood waiting to be transported by the river Lomami, tributary of the river Congo. Industrial logging is done by the lumber company Safbois

or less protected both by geography and war, but now peace has come the rampant industry is moving east into the heart of the Congo basin. And just as in Conrad’s day, it is exploiting the people as hard and fast as possible. Then, the colonials were given vast concessions by the king, and their companies gained control of the local area with “cloth and trinket” treaties. The chiefs thought that they were signing friendship treaties; in fact, they were selling their land. These days, the loggers get concessions from the government – at least 80,000 square miles of forest has been handed out, an area roughly the size of the UK – and the companies from Belgium, America, Singapore, Germany and elsewhere offer bags of salt or sugar, or perhaps a rudimentary building to be used as a school or a pharmacy in return for permission to log. I went with a man from Greenpeace, two local MPs and a small Congolese ecology group. We travelled by pirogue – dug-out canoe – from one community to the next. Everywhere we found villages which said they had been exploited by the companies. The chiefs, ignorant of the value of the wood, had signed away the right to log as much as 7,250 square miles of forest in

in the rainforest surrounded by small communities including Yafunga. DRC has the second largest rainforest in the world, after the Amazon, which supports the local population with their basic needs, from firewood to medicine © Greenpeace/Jiro Ose

exchange for a few hoes and machetes, and the promise of schools and pharmacies. The contracts were pathetic. Some, said the communities, were signed under duress, with the government looking on; no one had any idea that one tree could be worth more than all the gifts given to a community. The chiefs were distraught. The young people of the communities were angry. The result was devastation. To take out just one valuable Afrormosia or Sapele tree with industrial logging methods can require the felling of hundreds of others. To exploit a whole concession may mean building 100 miles of road and large camps to house workers in. Into the logging concessions inevitably flood slash-and-burn farmers who take out more trees to plant a few crops for a year or two before they move on. We found graveyards destroyed, rivers polluted, vast areas wrecked and people in despair. The logging companies are meant to pay a tax to central government which in turn should hand 40 per cent of the money raised to the provinces where the trees are logged. But the money isn’t all collected and nothing gets to the provinces. The loggers hated us. Word travels faster than pirogues in the Congo, and even as we arrived in places, they set out to intimidate 33

us. They tried to tip over our canoe with the wash of their speedboat; they exploded in rage during our meetings; they photographed us; accused us of being rude, aggressive and intimidatory; they said the villagers were happy with the few gifts they gave them; they appealed to the people who they regularly bribe. But their best argument was that the forest would be improved by what they called the “sustainable development” they were practising. Their words made no sense and their eyes were as mad of those of Mr Kurtz  8 John Vidal is Environment Editor of the Guardian

> The Enemies of Architecture and Memory > Robert Bevan From Bosnia to Tibet, it is not just lives which are lost in conflicts. The collective identity of people as a group is also under assault when their material culture, especially their architecture, is targeted for destruction.

“The implied objective of this line of thought is a nightmare world in which the Leader or some ruling clique controls not only the future but the past. If the Leader says of such and such an event, ‘It never happened’ – well, it never happened... This prospect frightens me much more than bombs – and after our experiences of the last few years, that is not a frivolous statement.” George Orwell (in “Looking back at the Spanish Civil War”, in 1943). “There never were any mosques in Zvornik.” Branko Grujic, Serbian mayor of Zvornik (after its Muslim population had been expelled and its mosques destroyed). There is both a horror and a fascination at something so apparently permanent as a building, something that one expects to outlast many a human span, meeting an untimely end. As an architecturally obsessed child I was often absorbed in film footage of the destruction wreaked on Europe’s built heritage by the Second World War. Yet it felt wrong even to be considering the fate of inanimate art objects and architecture in the face of the contemporaneous footage demonstrating the perverse suffering inflicted on people in the Holocaust. Dwelling even for a moment on the shattered remains of museums and churches felt, at best, self-indulgent and, at worst, an indication of warped priorities. The levelling of buildings and cities has always been an inevitable part of conducting hostilities and has worsened as weaponry has become heavier and more destructive, from the slings and arrows of the past to the Daisy Cutters of today. Continents rather than cities can be devastated. This damage may be the direct result of military manoeuvres to gain territory or root out a foe, or a desire to wipe out the enemy’s capacity to fight. The division of the spoils also plays a part. But there has always been another war against architecture going on – the destruction of the cultural artefacts of an enemy people or nation as a means of dominating, terrorising, dividing or eradicating it altogether. The aim here is not the rout of an opposing army – it is a tactic often conducted well away from any front line – but the pursuit of ethnic cleansing or genocide by other means, or the rewriting of history in the interests of a victor reinforcing his conquests. Here architecture takes on a totemic quality: a mosque, for example, is not simply a mosque; it represents to its enemies the presence of a community marked for erasure. A library or art gallery is a cache of historical memory, evidence that a given community’s presence extends into the past and legitimising it in the present and on into the future. In these circumstances structures and places with certain meanings are selected for oblivion with deliberate intent. This is not “collateral 34

damage”. This is the active and often systematic destruction of particular building types or architectural traditions that happens in conflicts where the erasure of the memories, history and identity attached to architecture and place – enforced forgetting – is the goal itself. These buildings are attacked not because they are in the path of a military objective: to their destroyers they are the objective. Such was the purpose of the Nazi destruction of German synagogues on Kristallnacht in 1938: to deny a people its past as well as a future. More than this, Kristallnacht can be seen as a protogenocidal episode – an act of dehumanisation and segregation and a further step down towards the limitless dark cellars of barbarism. The erasure of architecture is a crazed and dusty reflection of the fortunes of people at the hands of destroyers. During the 1990s the wars in the former Yugoslavia, with the torture, mass murders and concentration camps of Bosnia on the one hand and the razing of mosques, the burning of libraries and the sundering of bridges on the other, made me realise that my childhood guilt at considering the fate of material culture was misplaced. The link between erasing any physical reminder of a people and its collective memory and the killing of the people themselves is ineluctable. The continuing fragility of civilised society and decency is echoed in the fragility of its monuments. This cultural cleansing, with architecture as its medium, is a phenomenon that has been barely understood. Buildings gather meaning to them by their everyday function, by their presence in the townscape and by their form. They can have meaning attached to them as structures or, sometimes, simply act as containers of meaning and history. Each role invokes memories. We are not talking a Proustian subtlety of scent, taste and texture here, although architecture can certainly have these evocative subtleties. But it remains true that the mere sight of a building – a former home, an old trysting spot, or a hated workplace – can be an instant memory-jerker. Equally, the sheer familiarity of a street, an unconscious sense of a particular degree of enclosure, its sunny side, a familiar turn, can create a rootedness in a place and an affiliation with the locale and its community. Both individual memories and collective memories are in play. Here, collective memory is considered as a bundle of individual memories that coalesce by means of exchanges between people and develop into a communal narrative about its architectural record. This is not a narrative independent of the generations of people who create and re-create the memories but it is independent of any individual within

that group. In part, we recognise our place in the world by an interaction with the built environment and remembering these experiences and by being informed of the experiences of others: the creation of social identity located in time and place. Memories clearly remain within people’s heads, or are discussed and written down as history. The built environment is merely a prompt, a corporeal reminder of the events involved in its construction, use and destruction. The meanings and memories we bring to the stones are created by human agency and remain there. These memories are, of course, contested and they change over time. It is a process that is always unfolding and remains ever unfinished. However, a continuity of successive experiences, setting down layers of meaning, can, I suggest, result in an especially strong power of place – a psychogeography, an “awareness” of the past (rather than an architectural avatar of a petrified spirit) that is dynamic, handed down by people rather than recorded on the very stones, and is specific to a particular historic and political context. The worth of such places increases where efforts to destroy them remind communities of this value. If the touchstones of identity are no longer there to be touched, memories fragment and dislocate – their hostile destruction is an amnesia forced upon the group as a group and on its individual constituent members. Out of sight can become, literally, out of mind both for those whose patrimony has been destroyed and for the destroyers. The “how” of the precise psychoanalytic mechanisms at work – whether things are truly forgotten or still present and repressed and therefore unavailable to conscious thought – is best left to physiologists and psychologists. The French historian Pierre Nora has argued that such lieux de mémoire (realms of memory), be they places, rituals, symbols or texts, have become increasingly important to societies as the “real”, “living” memories communicated face to face in peasant cultures (where the past is part of their everyday life) have vanished in the mass culture of modern, industrial societies where memories are, by contrast, both distanced from the individual and artificial, bureaucratised and institutionalised. Memories, like history, however, will always be partial and problematic. Historian David Lowenthal has argued: “No absolute historical truth lies waiting to be found; however assiduous and fair-minded the historian, he can no more relate the past ‘as it really was’ than can our memories.” Indeed, there are contradictions, inconsistencies and a myriad of local subtleties to the meanings brought to buildings and the actions taken against them; these in themselves change over time. There is no unity of process and purpose but

a cluster of interwoven vectors. And in conflicts there will always be a confusion of motives and responsibilities. But there are facts to be pursued. Gathering these facts is important because the destiny of buildings in war is often evidence of crimes against humanity, including ethnic cleansing and genocide, and is slowly being recognised as such. “Who today speaks of the massacre of the Armenians?” Hitler was able to say of the Armenian genocide, accompanied as it had been by the systematic levelling of the Armenians’ built heritage. The architectural evidence of a people, and the crimes committed against it, had largely vanished. The trials being held at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia at The Hague where charges against defendants include the wanton destruction of towns and of cultural heritage (if not counts of cultural genocide per se) are crucial in this respect. The prosecution of those responsible is one way of protecting the remaining architectural heritage of those targeted for domination or elimination. It helps ensure that peoples such as the Armenians can never be erased entirely from history despite the determined efforts of their persecutors and destroyers. I would also argue that there is a case for creating a specific crime of cultural genocide – recognising it for what it is – an assault on the collective memory and identity of a people as a distinct group. The levelling of architecture has realworld consequences for the future wellbeing of communities, especially those suffering repression: “The struggle of man against power,” wrote Milan Kundera, “is the struggle of memory against forgetting”  8 This is an abridged excerpt from Robert Bevan’s The Destruction of Memory, published by Reaktion Books


The Aladza (‘multicoloured’) mosque (left) in the once majorityMuslim town of Foça was one of the glories of Bosnian Ottoman architecture. In 1992 Serbian militia ‘ethnically cleansed’ the town, raping, murdering and expelling its Muslim inhabitants; they destroyed about 20 historic mosques in and around Foça, renaming the town ‘Srbinje’ In August 2004 the bulldozed remains of the Aladza mosque were found dumped in the nearby Cehotina river (top) along with the bodies of many Muslims missing from the town since the war. The remnants were identified by the distinctive stone columns

One casualty of Germany’s Kristallnacht was the vast synagogue at Essen (below). Its interior was largely destroyed by fire, but the structure survived and was used after the war as a design museum before becoming a Holocaust memorial in 1979. A recent attempt to begin Jewish services there once again had been resisted by politicians in the city, who argued that this would upset the ‘neutrality’ of the memorial space

Zhang Huan. Triptych Skin (eyes, cheek, nose), 1998. Colecci贸n de Fotograf铆a Contempor谩nea de Telef贸nica.


Madrid. 30 may - 22 july


> Meet Thy Doom > Tim Minogue Earlier this year the charity Christian Aid ran a hard-hitting series of ads in national newspapers. One photograph featured an African farmer squatting in front of the desiccated corpses of two cows, victims of drought. Another showed a woman wading through a flooded field. Below the accusing stares of these victims of extreme weather conditions, the text asked whether such distressing images might persuade readers to “Be a love and switch your computers off at the end of the day”. Drought in Africa and floods in Bangladesh, the message was, are caused by global warming. And global warming, dear Western reader, is your fault, because you consume too much energy and emit too much carbon. Self-evident. Christian Aid wants the UK to cut its carbon emissions by 5 per cent a year. “From changing what you do at home and in the workplace to lobbying the government and companies, find out what you can do to make a difference. If we don’t, it’s the world’s poor who will pay the price,” it declares. Fortunately, because the ads were produced for a Christian charity, salvation and redemption are at hand. Turn down the central heating a notch and write a cheque to Christian Aid and you, too, can purge yourself of environmental guilt and join the ranks of the saved. Praise the Lord! Never mind the fact that there always have been and always will be droughts in Africa, and that you and your thermostat have nothing whatsoever to do with them.

My neighbour’s 14-year-old daughter approves of Christian Aid’s campaign. Zoe has seen Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth and is convinced that we are all going to meet a very nasty end very soon as the world is consumed by flood, fire, famine, disease and war – and it’s all our fault. Many people attributed the floods that in 2000 caused millions of pounds worth of damage in my home town, Lewes, to the effects of global warming. It is no good trying to point out that the town has been flooded every 40 or 50 years for as long as records have been kept, and the valley for thousands of years before that. Every once in a while a chance combination of heavy rainfall and high tides coincide, at a place where the River Ouse squeezes through a narrow gap in the South Downs, to send more water down the river than it can cope with, and it bursts its banks. Building houses and factories on low ground beside rivers that are prone to flooding is, of course, stupid, but it doesn’t cause the floods. Zoe’s list of scary but actually random weather events caused by global warming also includes Hurricane Katrina, the Boscastlew flood of a couple of years ago and, er, this year’s agreeably mild winter and early spring. When you are 14, of course, you tend to see a lot of subjects in black and white. But Zoe is not being helped to think for herself by the mainstream media. How does she know that such unrelated weather events as African droughts, Caribbean hurricanes and floods in Sussex are “caused” by global warming? Because the link is made, and rarely questioned, in the reports she sees daily in broadsheet newspapers and on the BBC. Let’s not be too hard on an idealistic 14year-old who cares about the future of the planet. Better that she should be lecturing her neighbours about low-energy lightbulbs than going out shoplifting or bingedrinking. But what should we make of the contributions of journalists such as Rosie Boycott, 56, founder of Spare Rib and former editor of the Independent, who wrote a paean to the early spring in the Daily Mail on 19 April. Boycott waxed lyrical about how, in the week after Easter, at her country cottage, “spring was relentlessly on the march” with primroses, clematis and wisteria in full bloom and blue tits and swallows in evidence earlier than usual. “While it was wonderful, it was also worrying,” wrote Boycott. “What we were witnessing was a demonstration of how fast global warming may be happening. The effects we will feel in this country will, in many respects, be more than welcome: shorter, warmer winters and longer summers, which curtail our spring. It sounds wonderful. But elsewhere, the story will not be so pretty: droughts in Africa will mean starvation for millions. Sea level rises will drive millions from their homes… we mustn’t be lulled into thinking that all this 37

‘warming business’ will mean only a better time ahead.” There was, amusingly, a useful corrective to this nonsense just a few pages later in the same edition of the Mail. Science editor Michael Hanlon wrote: “Yes, global warming may eventually melt the Greenland ice sheet, but this will take hundreds, if not thousands, of years… If every time the wind blows, or it is a bit hot, or a bit parky and they shriek ‘global warming’, we – the public – will simply start to switch off our attention. The majority of reasonable people will say that this is just the weather.” Indeed, in 2006, we had a notably late, chilly spring. Most people put that down to “just the weather”, although perhaps Rosie Boycott wrote a worried piece somewhere about the advent of a new ice age. Boycott is no more than typical of scores of writers who have signed up to the new conventional wisdom about global warming. In an age of instant communication we ought to be better informed on all sorts of subjects than ever before. But it seems that more is really less, because we simply can’t get our heads around it all. Scientists issue their cautious assessments of subjects such as global warming, hedged around with ifs and buts, then environmental groups and charities such as Christian Aid seize upon the worstcase scenarios and trumpet them to further their own agendas. And who can blame them, in a way, since that is what governments and multinational corporations do on the “other” side? Journalists hate doubt, uncertainty and ambiguity, so they big up the scare stories. The truth is, no one really knows what is going on. Danish scientist Bjorn Lomborg, in his book The Skeptical Environmentalist, argued that as we have no real idea what is happening to the climate or why, or whether we can do anything about it, it is folly to commit billions, and completely change our way of life, when the results are so uncertain. It would make more sense, he argues, to spend money on things that we know we can do something about and which would have measurable benefits, such as providing cheap retroviral drugs for HIV sufferers in poorer countries, preventing malaria, or providing clean water for the villages in India and Africa where thousands of children die of dysentery every day. But then doing something about diarrhoea will never provide the same thrill as worrying about the contemporary version of that very old favourite – Prepare to Meet Thy Doom  8 Tim Minogue writes for Private Eye


>Moments Jesus of Siberia Monique Yazdani Sergei Torop was a traffic cop in the small Russian town of Minusinsk until 1989, when he announced that he was the son of God. Vissarion, as he now calls himself, has since acquired thousands of international followers, mainly Russians and Bulgarians, but many others throughout Europe – and as far as Cuba, even. Among them are intellectuals, musicians, actors and former officers of the Red Army. Together, these disparate people made their way out of the chaos of the cities to follow a loved-up version of communism in the Siberian Taiga. The community priest, also called Sergei, was a colonel in the army; he now writes religious songs as well as preaching the word of Vissarion. Vadim, a former singer from the well-known Russian pop group Integral, is now Vissarion’s dedicated amanuensis, a job which can find him lurking in bushes (right), taking copious notes. Vissarion has already written several books, all of them thicker than the Bible. Today about 5,000 people live in the zone they call Sun City, in 18 villages, under primitive conditions, without money or heating. They believe they live directly beneath a hole in the ozone layer through which radiation seeps, as Vissarion discovered. It is Vissarion himself who occupies the loftiest peak, however. He lives with his two wives and children high in the mountains, a twomile walk away from his devoted followers  8


>Moments May Day Yannis Kontos A man rides a fairground dodgem during May Day celebrations in a nation where the population are exhorted to “spontaneously express their enthusiasm”. The man is North Korean and the fairground is in Pyongyang. Yannis Kontos took the picture during one of his trips to the world’s most isolated country, where the party line on photography permits only the recording of official monuments and ceremonies. Cameras are forbidden altogether in most places. “One of socialism’s core virtues is that through it, freed from exploitation and repression, the worker nation can spontaneously express its enthusiasm for its work, its country, its society and its well being, while taking creative initiatives to further enhance all four.” Party edict 1965  8



>Moments Psychogeography Mark Simpson This image was taken at Cane Hill, a sprawling asylum in Coulsdon, Surrey, which has lain derelict for over 15 years. It shows a room off one of the main corridors. All signage had been removed from the hospital so the room’s previous use is not known (but if you look carefully, you can see a phone to the left of the desk). It had been sealed off for several years, but an act of vandalism created an opening small enough for me to crawl through and photograph the desk. I’ve always been deeply unsatisfied by others’ photos of dereliction (black and white banalities, eye-rolling clichés of lone chairs in rooms, etc) and I set about trying to capture something of these locations’ extraordinary atmosphere (hoping also to bring to this the ambiguity of a former patient). I have always been drawn towards those on the margins of society; and these buildings seem, to me, twice removed from life – communities recoiled from them while in use; they are even keener to ignore them when derelict. In part, photographing these buildings feels like an act of reclamation, recognition  8



Garrido’s boxing gym is located under a viaduct in the centre of São Paulo, a city of 20 million people and one of the most violent in Latin America. Photographer João Kehl found the boxers live in extreme conditions but hold the belief that boxing is a way towards a more dignified life




Garrido’s gym (previous pages) is carefully installed under two viaducts in the centre of the city of São Paulo Jaílton (left) is 19 years old and has lived in São Paulo for three years. He started training in his home town where he was raised by his grandparents, having been abandoned by his parents. His biggest dream is to be recognised so that his father may one day be proud of his son


Jack Welson, 26 (below top), a security guard, won the belt of the Paulista Boxing League and also the Brazilian title. He holds the fastest knock-out of the century – 10 seconds of boxing and 10 seconds of counting – in the fight for the Brazilian title that happened there, in Garrido’s arena. He is a role-model for the young fighters of the academy, such as Jaílton. He has a self-made tattoo on his face. The word Deus – God

Group training (centre). Some of Garrido’s methods are unconventional: Jaílton beats a tyre while a friend practices scaling a rope moored to the viaduct After long weeks of expectation, exhausting training sessions and a lot of tension, Jaílton (below) receives the bitter notice: he cannot fight. His opponent’s weight was a little above his own. ‘I’m not taking the risk of burning my fighter,’ insisted Garrido

Jaílton (right) rests after a training session Last meal before a fight night (below, top) Garrido (centre) was born in Pernambuco, northeast Brazil, and is 50 years old. He lives alone under the viaduct where he created his gym. City hall let him use the spot but now threatens to take it back if Garrido does not co-operate in political campaigning by candidates for the house of representatives

Garrido calls his girlfriend, who is on her way to visit her family in the country side. ‘I get worried when she travels alone,’ he says. ‘The roads are very dangerous’ Jaílton assists Garrido (following page) in preparing ‘Hulk’. He will begin the seventh fight, in a night of eight matches



> A Means to Win > Paul Hayward > Photographs João Kehl Before the prize-fighter can conquer his opponent, he must achieve the daily miracle of defeating himself. That is, the boxer is punching against the tide of human instinct. Where the rest of us recoil from mortal danger, the fighter confronts it: giving and receiving pain for money, and sometimes glory, if success has freed his mind to turn to such lofty abstractions. Sport’s most dysfunctional and inexplicable endeavour is a trial of the spirit as much as technique – the “sweet science” of ringcraft, as defined by the great American boxing writer A J Liebling. Most lose this struggle, because the beaten fighter enters a vortex of selfdoubt, of physical insecurity that renders each new trip to the ring a secret ordeal.

Britain’s first undisputed heavyweight champion in 100 years, Lennox Lewis, boxed with noticeably more caution after being knocked almost cold at the Wembley Arena by a low-ranking adversary called Oliver McCall, later a victim of rampant chemical addiction and brushes with the law (in their rematch, McCall suffered an emotional breakdown in the ring, weeping and trying to cuddle his baffled opponent). From the Wembley moment on, Lewis was motivated as much by the fear of another humiliating defeat as the quest for belts and cash, and attracted much scorn in America for his aversion to risk. Here’s why Lewis was so deeply scarred by the indignity of having his senses scrambled, his body knocked into a jackknifed heap on the floor. Whether under a São Paulo flyover or in the tenements of Manhattan or Detroit, the boxing gym exists to promote a self-image of invincibility, of inviolable machismo. The young hopefuls who are encouraged (and sometimes forced) to learn its disciplines are seduced by the notion that the speedball and the heavy bag offer a means to win in life, to physically dominate other men in a way that everyday life seldom allows. Even the gyms of world champions are never luxurious. They smell of sweat and grease and peeling linoleum. Their furniture is old buckets, discarded tape, tinny boogie boxes and broken equipment. Windows are often boarded up and ceiling panels are always missing. Only the old fight posters crudely taped to the walls around the ring offer a glimpse of life beyond the rigours of sparring, skipping, sit-ups and the endless, intricate shadow boxing that fighters practice to improve hand-eye coordination, agility and balance. An old truism is that there was never a middle-class world champion, and looking at the pictures in these pages, the men, and boys, are unlikely to have chosen the sulphurous light of an outdoor gym in preference to a job at the bank. Many are already fathoms-deep into a life of violence before the Marquess of Queensberry Rules open up a whole new world of legalised aggression. Sports writers almost have to stifle a yawn of recognition when some pretender to a crown confesses to a history of armed robbery, membership of a gang, or a turbulent home life that taught them to settle disputes not with their tongue but their fists. One fighter of my acquaintance, the extraordinary and tortured Johnny Tapia (dominating tattoo “Mi Vida Loca”– my crazy life) could trace just about all his problems outside the ring to the experience of seeing his mother kidnapped by a man who later raped and murdered her, when Johnny was only eight. Tapia was a good fighter and a gentle soul, who was habitually being pulled in by the police or rushed into 50

hospital after a binge. He emanated pain. His demons were so fierce that you wondered how he could survive another hour. The latest news on him was that he was nearly dead after a cocaine overdose. In the 1980s, when Mike Tyson rattled through the marquee weight division with his personal brand of unchecked malevolence, a generation of heavyweights succumbed to the crack cocaine epidemic sweeping America’s cities. My first assignment to a world heavyweight title fight, at New York’s Madison Square Garden in 1993, brought me into contact with a shuffling challenger called Michael Dokes, who arrived at the gym for his final work-out in carpet slippers and sniffed and sweated his way through the pre-fight press conference. In their minds, most fighters face a daily reckoning with potential chaos. Society is telling them that channelling violent urges into sport is noble, socially respectable and potentially lucrative. It then asks them to become model citizens when the punching has stopped. The ones who never make it to the cauldrons of New York or Las Vegas leave the gym with the extra luggage of failure. For them, night time voices in the head are not conducive to peaceful reassimilation to the world of families and wage slavery. The ex-champion takes another kind of fall. Gone are the physical potency, the money and the sense they had of being prime-time warriors. “Getting beat is no skin off my back, and besides it’s easier to meet sympathetic chicks when you lose,” a fighter called Bruce “The Mouse” Strauss once famously said. Gallows humour has always been one of the best defensive skills of the boxer. And here we should acknowledge their other uniting feature: the fraternal bond that transcends the forced enmities of the ring. Outsiders marvel at the bloodied embrace at the end of 12 rounds of deathdefying hand-to-hand combat. True, it seems anomalous for two men to assault each other for 36 minutes and then kiss each other’s cheeks, and hug. But instinct tells them they are on the same dark ride to a place where most of us never want to go, and this makes them fellow travellers, not enemies. They peer beyond the hot lights and see what boxing really is: a performance, a means of making a living for the combatants and a guilty pleasure for the audience, who ask themselves: “Why. Why would a man (or woman, increasingly) do such a thing, voluntarily.” For respect. For pride. To get back at the world. To conquer fear. To escape a deadend. Most of all, to make money, for as long as the spirit can endure its trial by fire  8 Paul Hayward writes on sport for the Daily Mail

Slobodan Milosevic’s sustained campaign to ethnically cleanse Kosovo of its majority Kosovar Albanian population in the late 1990s succeeded in killing 10,000 and displacing close to one million people. Immediately after the war, 5,206 people were reported missing, according to the UN mission in Kosovo, UNMIK. In 2003, Vetevendosje, an outspoken pressure group (the name translates as “selfdetermination”), installed a series of laminated photographs of the missing on the railings of the Kosovo Parliament. Passers-by couldn’t fail to see them, especially at night when the streets were deserted and they became eerily illuminated by the yellowish light of the streetlamps. It was during one of his frequent visits to his parents’ home that Genc Kadriu first saw the images: “It’s impossible to avoid them. They stare at you as you walk past. What they stand for really gets to you.” As a Kosovar Albanian who left the province in 1992 as Yugoslavia began to unravel, Kadriu is all too aware that, had he stayed, his own face might be haunting those who have passed through the Old Town over the last three years. In that time, the photographs have never been updated or repaired, resulting in a slow, creeping corrosion. The laminate has swollen and bubbled. The surface of the photographs has aged like skin does, becoming rough and lined by the hand of time. It is the sun, giver of life, that has now robbed these faces of their eyes or mouths. Rendered blind and dumb, they cannot tell their families where to find them. “They possessed a certain aura,” says Kadriu, who photographed the atrophied portraits in 2006, “a sort of unmediated tautology with what they stood for. And that’s what they were in the end – disappearing photographs of the disappeared people and of the disappearing hopes of their families and friends. I took the pictures as an act of trying to preserve the memory of these people. At least I will have them; I can archive them.” 2,150 people are still unaccounted for  8 Max Houghton Shallow Sun Genc Kadriu







Travelling to Appalachia in Eastern Kentucky was a learning experience for Charlotte Oestervang. Taking inspiration from mountain photographer Shelby Lee Adams, with whom she visited the region for two weeks, Oestervang set herself a challenge to synthesise the vast array of new images from an unfamiliar culture into single images which would stand alone as portraits, inviting the viewers to make up their own mind... 58




Stephan Vanfleteren’s project offers an intimate and emotional portrait of the legendary cyclists of Flanders and the sport which dominates the social and cultural life of the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium. The unremarkable landscape breeds a particular type of rider who thrives in the driving rain and the bitter cold and on cobbled streets and treacherous inclines. Tough, determined riders, the Flandrien are the heroes of the Tour of Flanders and the Paris-Roubaix, races which specialise in some of the worst roads and weather conditions imaginable in bike racing. They are so far removed from the glamour of the more widely celebrated Tour de France that it is almost a different sport. Vanfleteren has spent 15 years working on this project, culminating in an exhibition at HOST gallery to coincide with the opening leg of the Tour which for the first time takes place in London




Flandrien, Hard Men and Heroes Stephan Vanfleteren 20 June – 31 July 1 Honduras Street London EC1Y 0TH

Bruno Risi (far left), Gent Nico Vernoeven (above), Roubaix


Sven Nys (next page), Roubaix


> Inside Reviews Listings OnMyShelf 67

Inside For 18 months, Val Williams and Susan Bright have trawled archives throughout the UK to find out ‘How We Are’ – the title of the inaugural photography exhibition at Tate Britain. Max Houghton tracked down curator Val Williams © Percy Hennell/Antony Wallace Archive, British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery

EI8HT: Who conceived the idea for the show? Was it Tate Britain initially? How did it work from there? Val Williams: I made a proposal for the show on the invitation of the Tate. After that, Susan Bright was brought in as co-curator. And it changed – at first the exhibition was much more a history of British photography, because that’s what I’d been asked to do. As we worked on it, this theme of Britishness began to emerge which was much more interesting: the idea of photographing Britain and what that meant. It also made it much easier because it’s very daunting to think of making a show that says it’s the history of British photography – you’d have to miss so many people out. 8: Have you and your co-curator Susan a similar eye? VW: I think we’ve both got a real interest in stories and narrative and the strange corners of photography and that’s been growing between us as we’ve worked (it’s the first time we’ve worked together). We’ve discovered a lot of things together. It’s more than having an eye, it’s deeper than that… 8: There are quite a few titles around in the vein of How We Are – Things As They Are, The Way We Were… I wonder if it has a particular sense of capturing reality? VW: Yes, the original title was inspired by the series of programmes on the BBC Who Do You Think You Are? I loved the first series – it was quite raw. What they were discovering wasn’t always comfortable, and I really liked that. A lot of it was to do with finding photos as well other things. So we suggested Who Do We Think We Are? From that, the Tate took How We Are, which is a really good title because it refers to a very favourite book of Susan and myself which is also called How We Are by Euan Duff, a long-forgotten British photography book, which has never appeared in any of those lists of Great British photography books – I was really keen to bring it back into the discussion. It’s worked out well. 8: Was there an element of a “Who’s Who”, especially with the contemporary photographers vying to be in the show? VW: No, not really. It’s about having a view about what one exhibition can say about the idea of how people photograph Britain, or how some people photograph Britain. And I think we were trying to look sometimes for things that remained current all the way through the different eras of photography, say, for instance, the land. British photographers have always photographed the land. Whenever they photograph it, it’s always full of meaning; it’s not just pictorialism and it’s not done just for beauty. It’s done because the land means something really, really important in British culture. So if you took that example 68

of Britain and the land, that’s kind of what we were looking for, rather than just for virtuoso photos or photographers. Although of course, lots of them are, like Jem Southam, they are virtuoso photographers as well. So it was trying to marry the two, get this kind of partnership between people who were making photographs who were very sure of what they were doing but also had this real need to capture something about Britain. 8: Do you perceive it as a political show, or does it only become political when, for example, it’s playing on or railing against consumerism in Thatcher’s Britain? VW: Kind of. You could say that Homer Sykes or Chris Steele-Perkins were an answer to Callaghan’s Britain or Edith Tudor-Hart was an answer to the political climate of the 1930s. Photographers always react to the culture they live in. What else can you react to but that? 8: Was there ever any danger for you or Susan of being biased towards your own key decades? VW: We tried not to… I don’t think we were because when we had this view of what the exhibition might try to say, those answers were in the material. I think we were looking for a level of obsession or interest in the extraordinary, I think, but the “ordinary extraordinary”. Some of this is intuitive, of course. Sometimes you just know that this is the right thing to have. 8: Is there a sense of this being a consolidation of all the shows you’ve curated before? VW: It’s certainly been very useful, like with the show I did on fashion photography Look at Me, and Who’s Looking at the Family and War Works – it was very good to have done those shows, partly because you know how a big exhibition works. None of them were as big as this but they were big shows in big institutions. A big group show is much more complex, much more balancing, much more thinking about what the show is like. I suppose the things that I’m interested in – fashion, the family, war, death – they do come into this show, but then they’re the big issues of everybody’s lives, aren’t they? 8: Is there a picture of Princess Diana in the show? VW: No there isn’t. We did look at some of the royal photographers – we knew they were there – but in the end, some things fit and some things don’t. You’re never making a decision not to put something in. It just didn’t arise, it wasn’t a debate. 8: Did you actively try to represent Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland? VW: We did. We didn’t have that long to do the exhibition, only 18 months. We probably

could have done more. We have some great pictures of Wales by John Thomas, we’ve got some Scottish photography. But if you set out to say this exhibition’s got to represent each country in the United Kingdom equally, then we haven’t done that, but then we didn’t set out to. We’ve certainly tried: there’s a lot of work from the north of England. But if anyone wanted to make that criticism, they could do so. 8: Because it’s such a mammoth task, have you felt you have to pre-empt the criticism? Have you had to adopt a sort of defensive strategy of curating?! VW: Not exactly, although you’re sometimes aware of where criticism might come from, certainly with a show like this you know there are people who have their favourite photographers, or maybe photographers they’ve promoted in the past, or they’ve invested in emotionally and professionally, and you’re certainly aware of that. But in the end, an exhibition like this one, like all the other shows that you do, it sails out there on its own and it receives whatever criticism or praise. You can’t actually think like that or you wouldn’t be able to do anything, if you tried to please everyone. We’ve tried to stick to our own point of view as far as we can, and to make it really exciting and adventurous, and, hopefully, the kind of show people will really enjoy. It’s for everybody; it’s not for photography people. I hope everybody will get something out of the show and recognise things that they know, things they don’t know, things that intrigue them. I think all photography shows should be for everyone. 8: Why do people see photography as a niche market? If it is, so are words! VW: I don’t know why they do. I’ve never thought of it like that. I think of photography as part of the culture that we live in, and it’s produced because of the culture we live in. Martin Parr couldn’t have photographed New Brighton if New Brighton wasn’t there. He didn’t make it. He just reacted to this place that fascinated him at that time and that’s the way he reacted to it. Photography is just a visual symptom of the world we live in.

8: … to that many… VW: They’re just men and woman like you and I. I don’t like to think of them as a breed apart. 8: It’s mainly British photographers photographing Britain. Are there exceptions to that? VW: One or two. There was a loose rule that we set for ourselves that, apart from a small group of Magnum photographers from the archive, there was an idea that it should be about a culture that in some way was yours or the photographers’. We have got Susan Lipper, an American who was photographing in West Sussex, but she spent a lot of time here, living here on and off. We decided very early on that we wouldn’t try to cope with all the people who had photographed Britain, like CartierBresson for example. That would have made the task even more difficult but also it would have broadened out the focus and made it a different type of exhibition. The show isn’t exactly about being British, it’s about that lurking sense of we’re always trying to find out who we are. There are a few in the Magnum group, Leonard Freed, for example, who did lots and lots of great work here, on long commissions for the Sunday Times, including a great series on sweat shops. He wasn’t someone who just swept in and out [of the country]. The Magnum section is done in a slightly different way because we wanted to get across the idea in a very small way, of this agency that was set up for photographers, and just to show some of their photographs of Britain. That’s as far as it goes. 8: So Magnum get its own section? VW: A little section. One of the ideas behind that is, say you’ve got 20 Magnum photographers who are maybe British and have photographed in Britain… you clearly can’t include all of them in a show like this because that would use up a third of the show, so you have to find some way of saying this is important – without featuring all of the photographers. So those kind of decisions were quite crucial.

8: If – when – photographers do go and see the show, would you like them to be inspired by the standard of work on show? VW: I think of contemporary photographers as being part of the public that you’re trying to appeal to.

8: Do you think Tate Britain will show a continued commitment to photography after this show? I know that’s a question for them, really… VW: It’s very hard for big institutions. They do what they need to do at particular times. Whether that’s the beginning of something or just a one-off, I’m honestly not sure.

8: So it’s not a “photographers’ photography” show? VW: That’s a very intriguing concept. I’m not sure what that would be. Bill Brandt is in the show, Tony Ray Jones, I might think of them as “photographers’ photographers”… but that doesn’t mean that much…

8: What was the most surprising inclusion in the show for you? VW: Definitely Percy Hennell – it was a new discovery, and it was really remarkable to find his pictures at the British Association of Plastic Surgeons, and to find so many of them, very well-preserved. He was a great 69

colour photographer who worked for the Metal Box Company and when the Second World War started he was seconded by the Office of War Information to work for the war effort. He worked with plastic surgeons, documenting the process, from the often terrible, mostly civilian injuries, through to the finished face, which of course wouldn’t be like the original face but would be as near as they could get. We’ve actually got three lots of work by Percy Hennell in the show – a wonderful book called British Women Go to War, another war project he did, all photographed in colour again with this very skilful eye, and we’ve got another project, from after the war, his documentation of a farmhouse which was crumbling away which he did with [the poet] Geoffrey Grigson. Again this was about the idea that Britain had been saved from the Nazis but, on the other hand, we had a heritage that had to be rescued after years of neglect. So he was a photographer for me who always seemed to be doing the right thing at the right time. The pictures of the faces are just haunting. 8: What next? VW: Two research projects. One examining British photography in the 1970s, the independent photography movement. The other is a project all around the “stop the M11 link road” campaign that happened in Leytonstone from the ’80s to the early ’90s. The centre of that was a large artists’ colony, because the compulsory purchase houses had been given to Acme studios, so they were all young artists. It was the time of the republic of Onestonia. 8: Another great British story? VW: Oh, it absolutely is! A story of ordinary people who decided that was enough. It’s a fantastically democratic story. I’ve got a book on Anna Fox coming out in the summer that I’ve been working on with her. And then, well, it’ll always be something to do with archive photography but first I’m going to sit and have a think…  8 How We Are: Photographing Britain is on at the Tate Britain from 22 May – 2 September 2007

Domestic Landscapes: A Portrait of Europeans at Home


Standing in front of his family home, the nine-year-old Bert Teunissen watched as all he had known through childhood was razed to the ground. Security, history, the way time shapes and orders the domestic world had finally made way for a modern replacement. To the young boy, it appeared comfortable and contemporary – but not home. It is perhaps this memory that was drawn upon when rationalising what has become a sprawling, decade-long project, taking in much of Europe. Stretching from Achterhoek, in his own rural east Netherlands, to the more withdrawn regions (both geographically and, it appears, socially) of Great Britain, Teunissen has sought those whose lives had remained entwined within pre-war domestic environments. On first glance, these homes are hardly altered, occupied by the elderly who have known little else. Looking through the pictures, clues appear about their wider lives, through the keepsakes, collections and tokens of spiritual devotion that personalise the properties. Like Delft pottery passing through generations, these are significant details that suggest we have happened upon the later hours of active, ambitious and cultured lives. On occasion, the encroachment of the contemporary interrupts the mood of rural remoteness; a strip light seems a singular addition in a De Panne cottage; storage heaters perhaps relate to a family decision when money was found in the 1970s. Histories become apparent, readable. Indeed most of the photographs that appear relate the imperatives of family life: tables, softened by lace, cotton or oilcloth are important routes into these lives. They allude to the intimacies of mealtimes, of discussion and decision. When Teunissen succeeds, the pictures relate

Bert Teunissen Published by Aperture £27.50 (128pp Hardback)

something of the way in which couples negotiate a space they have shared for decades. In Ruurlo No. 4, a wife sits nearer the sink, ready to act, perfectly framed within the mosaic of cream and black wall tiles. Her husband sits to the right, near the door, crowned by a shelf that, through simple, light-dulled photographs, confirms the generation that follows. The table, which separates them, is small enough to reach across, and holds two kinds of cups, blue and white, two of each. So, in part, these pictures might be about relationships, about how families have grown old in their homes in a manner that Teunissen’s family could not; how sisters (spinsters) have become as symmetrical in their lives as the coats hanging neatly behind them on the wall. But what of those photographed in isolation? Elsewhere, lone dwellers have let such disciplines falter. Tables are topped with carrier bags, or the accumulative creep of objects that are either disposable or simply belong nowhere. Tired timber furniture has been maintained with scotch tape. Calendars are added to, rather than replaced, and become more simple decoration than a schedule to live by. Moving between a loose panoramic format and more abruptly structured frames, the pictures have an unhelpfully broad range of temperaments; from lukewarm interior photography, where we feel nothing for the subject, some pictures belie the brevity of their making, and draw upon tenderness and depth rather than the spectacle of exotic, if charming subjects. The book, over-length as it is, exposes such inequalities. We should be wary of claims alongside the recent London exhibition of these pictures that compare Teunissen’s photographs to the paintings of Vermeer. While a considerable number of pictures show an appreciation of light, 70

it’s an ambitious and lazy claim. There are a handful of very good Vermeers that convey precisely the social tensions of domestic service. Alongside a painter who knew his subject, knew his territory, and returned to it, it becomes clear that Teunissen is still looking for his. KG

The Nature of Photographs Stephen Shore Published by Phaidon £24.95 (136pp Hardback)

Walker Evans, Family Snapshots in Frank Tongue’s Home, Hale County, Alabama, 1936

For more than 20 years Stephen Shore, one of America’s most influential photographers working in colour, has taught a course in “Photographic Seeing” at Bard College in upstate New York. Students are advised they need cultivate only two skills in order to become good photographers. Firstly, they need “interesting perceptions”. Secondly, Shore says, they need an understanding of the “visual grammar” of the medium – the means by which “the world is translated into a photograph”. To assist in the latter project Shore has written and compiled The Nature of Photographs, a primer designed to highlight the formal and physical properties that determine how photography pictures the world. Brief textual summaries are supplemented by generous portfolio sections that feature beautifully reproduced pictures by many of the (often American) canonical figures of photographic history: think Evans, Levitt, Arbus, Friedlander, Eggleston et al. And throw in Atget, Sander, Kertesz, Frank, Brassaï and the Bechers, Gursky and Struth. The result is a fascinating exercise in the formalist analysis of photographs. Shore starts with the brute physicality of the printed image and suggests ways in which the material properties of the print (its flatness, boundaries, tonal range, etc) can shape some of the image’s visual qualities. Moving on to the “depictive level”, he examines how factors such as framing, plane of focus and vantage point form a visual grammar which enables photographers to structure and communicate their perceptions. Two further chapters – the “mental level” and “mental modelling” – provide particularly suggestive and nuanced readings of how we respond to elements within the depicted image, and of how

those responses are functions of the photographer’s mental organisation of the picture. Discussion of the content or possible meanings of the photographs is conspicuous by its absence. But Shore is not proposing that formal properties are more important than content; his claim is that, regardless of subject matter, a photograph must first be “three-dimensional space projected onto this flat thing – a print”. And the formal means by which this is achieved constitute, for Shore, “the inherent language of photography”. Criticism of this sort of approach usually suggests that – by purging both content and consideration of non-photographic factors – it promotes a highly selective, aestheticised understanding of photography. In a sense, Shore’s admittedly intelligent, witty and perceptive choice of pictures upholds such complaints: there is no reportage or bona fide documentary work, for example. Simply put, formalist analysis seems to work best on varieties of art photography that explore formalist concerns. As he says, “I didn’t try in the book to be democratic and… I wasn’t making an attempt to represent all kinds of photography. I think that the formal attributes that I talk about apply absolutely to photojournalism. That the image has edges is as true of a magazine photograph as it is of an Edward Weston. That the image is a monocular projection of threedimensional space on a plane is as true of photojournalism as it is of any photograph. But the exploration of these attributes is not often a concern of photojournalism… And so I tended to go for pictures where the photographer was more clearly demonstrating these concerns.” The great strength of his book is its insistence on the specifically photographic 71

character of the pictures. The images are not used as opportunities for digressions about their subject matter; nor are they treated as unreflexive “windows on the world”. His central point – as the finely honed prose and judicious picture editing make clear – is that all photographers, consciously or not, employ a visual grammar. By making explicit the means and effects of that grammar Shore’s work suggests ways of refining and enhancing “photographic seeing”. Guy Lane

War and Love Henrik Saxgren Published by Gyldendal £35 (272pp Hardback)

The subject of immigration is particularly fraught in Europe. Not merely are immigrants seen as threatening to the local economy, they are considered security risks and potential criminals or terrorists. The arrival of immigrants from Islamic countries has also become a major issue touching not just on fears of terrorism in the wake of 9/11 and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but also on the concepts of religious freedom and integration in the face of “creeping Islamisation” and applicability of Sharia laws in Western societies. Cover features in Der Spiegel, “Mekka Deutschland,” and The Economist, “Eurabia,” do little to address immigration in contexts beyond daily news stories. Henrik Saxgren, a noted Danish photojournalist, has done us the favour of just that. By featuring the stories of new immigrants into Scandinavia, people who have moved for reasons of love or war, Saxgren presents a new take on immigration and how immigrants adapt to life in traditionally closed societies. Commissioned by the Hasselblad Center under the direction of Hasse Perrsons who curated the book and travelling show, Saxgren spent four years researching and photographing the project. In his work he identified approximately 110 ethnic groups that have settled in Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Greenland. His research led him to photograph in refugee centres and in the new homes of people now living in Nordic countries. Saxgren’s work takes off from the point where Sebastião Salgado’s epic Migration project stops, according to Perrsons. It further references August Sander’s legendary People of the 20th Century in its direct approach. Unlike either Sander or Salgado, Saxgren accompanies his portraits of individuals and families with their own

stories. His photography is respectful and restrained. Indeed, in contrast to the brightly hued panoramic images from resettlement centres with their prayer mats and Ikea furniture, the colours in his portraiture seem paler. It is almost as though he were making his non-European subjects “whiter” and thus, demonstrating their assimilation into white, northern European society. Ikuo Oshima was born near Tokyo, Japan, in 1947. He dropped out of society and moved to Siorapaluk, Greenland, the northernmost town in the world, some 30 years later. There he became fascinated by the Eskimo way of life, married Anna, a local woman, raised a family and ultimately took up hunting and fishing like his neighbours. Muhammed Ahmed Ibrahim Ali, originally from Dongola, Sudan, became a doctor in Cairo, and ended up working in Denmark and later marrying a Danish woman and moving to Sisimiut in Greenland where he has become infatuated by mountain climbing. Other families moved from war-torn Sri Lanka, the Middle East or the Balkans. Saxgren’s portraiture allows these new immigrants to Scandinavia to tell their stories, but it also has the broader purpose of normalising immigrants as human beings in European societies often seen as unwilling to accept people “not like them” by reasons of religion or skin colour. In cities such as Copenhagen or Amsterdam where immigrants make up more than 25 per cent of the population, this is no small thing. BK


Human Rights Watch Film Festival 21 – 30 March The City of Photographers Sebastian Moreno Mardones Hot House Shimon Dotan Lumo Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt and Nelson Walker Total Denial Milena Kaneva

This year marked the 11th year of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in London. The schedule offered 22 films from 19 countries. After much deliberation over what to see, I chose four films, really the most one can schedule in one week. From the outset, I was surprisingly impressed with this year’s line-up. The City of Photographers, a Chilean film, was the first one up and its relevance for both the concerns of this magazine and, by chance, its theme of Mind was striking. This documentary tracked down the remaining photographers who formed a collective, Agrupacion de Fotografia Independientes (AFI), during the Pinochet regime to document the atrocities that the government was instigating against its people. The group came together not only to form a photographic system of sharing and representing, as we understand photo agencies today, but also for the need to protect one another from being arrested and singled out by the police. Their devotion to each other and also to the cause of exposing the horror of the dictatorship are authentically depicted here. The archival footage of protests presented along with the black and white images taken by the photographers in the 1970s provides for a visually rich journey through the history of protest against Pinochet’s rule. The recent footage of interviews with the photographers today is, it has to be said, not the best quality and detracts from the film as a whole, visually at least. Perhaps the most intriguing and poignant feature touched upon by the film is when the photographers, almost simultaneously, realise that their role, which had deviated from documenting to searching for crimes, almost as “bloodthirsty vultures”, must come to an end. They all “disarm” and quit their roles as photojournalists. I was immediately curious

if photojournalists would feel similarly enlightened today. The subject matter and archival footage is what has made this film; as for the documentarist himself, who has a vested interest in this topic (his father was one of the photographers in the original group), I can’t image him swaying too far from this subject successfully in later films. Lumo was set in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) at a clinic that takes in victims of rape, most usually gang rape committed by rebel soldiers, to provide counselling and surgery for those who have developed a fistula (which causes incontinence and inability to give birth) as a result of the assault. The two filmmakers, both male, heard about the clinic and travelled there to see how these women were dealing with their newfound situations; in most cases, women who have been raped are disowned by their families. In the case of Lumo (the main character), her fiancé rejected her and the hospital was the only place she had to turn to. The film, although quite slow-moving, was able to capture, in the quieter and more introspective moments with the patients, the full depth of their ordeals and the pain they were experiencing. Although undoubtedly heartwrenching, the film’s main aim – to bring light to the situation in the DRC and also the work of the clinic – is made obvious. The women are given a second chance at life through the work of these doctors. Lumo was finally able to return home, after two years and many failed operations, where she was accepted again by her fiancé. The point here, made by the filmmakers, is that perceptions of these women, once they have been tainted by crimes of war, are in dire need of change. What really made this screening unique was the Q&A following the film. The directors were present along with a doctor from the clinic. To hear these stories 73

first-hand was a humbling experience that put the events of the film into context. The third film, Hot House, set in both women’s and men’s jails in Israel, examines the situation of the Palestinian prisoners in both. It’s certainly an eye-opener, especially for those, like myself, who have little clue to what this world would be like. Interestingly it was the women who were the most extreme; unrepentant for aiding suicide bombers or even for the subsequent loss of contact with their own families, as they serve their multiple life sentences. Total Denial was the final film of the week for me, and did not fare as well as the others. Despite its compelling subject – the near-genocide of the Karen indigenous population in Burma due to the construction of an oil pipeline by a huge US conglomerate (they outsourced their security services to the unpredictable and violent Burmese Army) – this film focused much of its attention on a Burmese human rights activist, albeit a very dedicated one. But not a fascinating enough character to justify the clips from his wedding or his tendency to break into song. Overall, I found this year’s line-up to be superior to last’s. The festival shows a concentrated commitment by Human Rights Watch to educate people about their work through an approachable and popular format. The organisers might be limiting its success by cramming all the films into one week; TimeOut continues to support the event, and therefore it should be able to sustain, or indeed, increase its audience. LH

James Nachtwey, The Sacrifice 401 Projects 17 February – 8 April 2007

On the night of 10 December 2003, James Nachtwey and Time senior correspondent Michael Weisskopf were riding through alAdhamiya in Baghdad in a Humvee with two soldiers, Private Orion Jenks and Private First Class Jim Beverly, when a grenade flew into their vehicle. With great presence of mind, Weisskopf grabbed the grenade and was throwing it out of the vehicle when it exploded. He lost his right arm. Nachtwey and the soldiers were wounded: Jenks seriously in the legs, Beverly in knees and hands, and Nachtwey in knees and abdomen. All were subsequently evacuated to Baghdad and then to Landstühl, Germany, while Weisskopf was later sent to Walter Reed Army Hospital and became its first civilian patient. Subsequently, Nachtwey began to document the chain of treatment received by soldiers and civilians in Iraq from the battlefields to military hospitals and on to rehabilitation in the United States. With writer Neil Shay he was commissioned by National Geographic to produce a photo essay, “The Heroes, The Healing, Military Medicine from the Front Lines to the Home Front,” which was published in the December 2006 issue. As Nachtwey put it elsewhere in an interview, “I had been through this system but I was on the wrong end of the process. Now, this was like a through-the-looking-glass experience for me.” (Ed’s note: Walter Reed Hospital was also subject of an investigation in the Washington Post earlier this year exposing squalid conditions and neglect at the US Army’s top medical facility and leading to a public apology from President Bush.) The 21 images that formed the exhibition at 401 Projects in New York stem from his National Geographic experience of several months with the medics and Combat Surgical Hospital (CSH) personnel in Iraq

and in the hospitals and rehab centres in the US and trace the story of the medical personnel who feverishly work to save the lives of men and women torn apart in a terrible war in a part of the world the American soldiers call “the Sandbox”. It is a war that has so far left more than 3,000 Americans dead, more than 20,000 wounded, and more than 300,000 Iraqis killed. The “sacrifice” of the title refers not just to the soldiers killed and maimed in the course of battle; it also refers to the time and energy the medics put into saving the lives of everybody who comes into their care. As one nurse points out, most of the people treated in the military hospitals are Iraqi civilians. One composite image some 30 feet long containing 60 individual images depicts the everyday hurly burly of a military hospital and presents for Nachtwey “a sense of being on the edge of chaos and control in the emergency room.” The other 20 of Nachtwey’s images, sized approximately 40 x 26 inches are printed with frame numbers and sprocket holes showing a distinctly fine art gesture that nonetheless testifies to Nachtwey’s continuing belief in Kodak Tri-X and the importance of making each frame count. And count they do. The intensity of concentration by navy doctor Mark Hernandez as he checks on a marine wounded by an IED (an improvised explosive device, as the largely “homemade” bombs are known) is reinforced by the image’s sharply triangular composition. Likewise, the image of the men caring for Corporal Tim Jeffers in a military hospital in Palo Alto, California, is respectful in its directness while showing the sacrifices the soldiers and the care-givers have made. Nachtwey’s signature image and the poster for the show is of Derek McGinnis learning 74

to surf in Pismo Beach, California, October 2006. It is an eloquent image of hope in the face of all too easy despair. Ultimately, this exhibition was about bringing home the effects of war, especially this misbegotten one, metaphorically and viscerally. For Nachtwey, “This is one of the costs of this war. The money is the easy part. This, the injuries and the people that are lost, are the real cost. It’s important for the people of our country to understand the nature of the sacrifice being made.” As an ex-marine said at the opening, these images should be shown huge on billboards in Times Square. That way none could miss what is happening in Iraq and elsewhere and that way the true costs of such sacrifices be made public. Nachtwey’s stunning photography only enhances the power of his message, that most time worn yet still apposite: that war is hell. Overcome by the haze of dust storms, the awareness of possibility hovers between anticipation and dread.  BK

Two Men on a Bus, moving through the Landscape, 2006. Pastel on Paper, 62.9 x 55.9 cm

Tim Gardener, New Works National Gallery 17 January – 15 April 2007

Tim Gardner’s recent exhibition at the National Gallery, New Works, is remarkable in its appeal. Our interest is generated from the first encounter with the wonder we feel stumbling upon paintings more suited to the mantelpiece of a frat house than the wall of the National Gallery. Gardner can paint tranquil idealism with the best of them. Yet his work is fast-talking and immediately engaging. All his paintings that contain people, feature two lips parted, as if to suggest that the characters in his pictures are speaking to us, that they have a story to tell, a point to make. Tellingly, this is not the case for the artist’s own self portrait, where Gardner paints himself close-lipped. Gardner offers us few easy resolutions to the dialogue sparked by his art. What is all the fuss about Gardner? How do we explain his meteoric rise to fame? Gardner’s style takes its roots from photography – improvisational photography. The best example of which is Yousuf Karsh’s photograph of Winston Churchill. Karsh without warning yanked the cigar from Churchill’s mouth – whipped the carpet from underneath our feet – and just snapped his shutter. The natural emotion captured is memorable. But there is more to Gardner’s work. There are those who have and will inevitably mistake Gardner’s work for photography. Its exactitude coupled with the very realness of his scenes command our attention. I would argue against the description of Gardner as a talented street performer with an eye for replication. Gardner is known to work from photographs, to take photographs of subjects, often friends or family, and then work from composite shots to create the overall heightened sense of grace of movement. It’s true there is an angelic

quality to his art: a greater act of reclaiming innocence and preservation of fleeting movements that is important. Gardner’s tools as well as his craft reflect this kinship to photography. The use of impermanent materials, pastels and watercolours, is an obtrusive element in his work. They are the tools of an artist, who aims to transcend conventions of genre, but, also, more importantly, of class. Distinctions that he says have marooned art: the growing divides between highbrow/lowbrow; workingclass/noble art; auteur, aesthete/hobbyist. In some ways, we may be attracted to Gardner’s work because it so closely resembles a “childish” “paint-by-numbers” exercise; but the characters displayed in his dramas are symbolic figures. We may see Hemingway in the portrait of his father, Jim in the Sun, and imbue a volcanic-like importance to Two Men on a Bus (although that is not precisely configured). This is the kind of artist Gardner is. Nick on the Prairie reminds me of the movie Boys Don’t Cry in its “wind at my back” searching-ness, the saintliness of the pose and its hypermasculinity. Suddenly the landscapes of these pictures do not seem so vast, they become something earthy or organic, even accessible to the touch. Jason Ranon Uri Rotstein


Inside the Photograph

The World’s Top Photographers: Photojournalism

Peter C. Bunnell Published by Aperture £16.95 (288pp Hardback)

Collections of essays tend, by their nature, to be mixed bags. This anthology of 34 articles, catalogue entries and criticisms spanning the career of one of the most accomplished photographic historians of the 20th century proves no exception. From the outset, it’s clear Inside the Photograph is going to be an unashamedly highbrow book – and, rightly, no apology is made for this. In his foreword, Malcolm Daniel, head curator of the photography department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, describes the contents as “plainspoken, insightful discourses about the soul of the medium, not its surface”. This may be so, but as one ploughs into the first piece, an appreciation of US photo-artist Alfred Stieglitz’s time editing the seminal journal Camera Work, it immediately becomes clear the collection is going to be anything but a casual read. Not that it lacks accessible moments. In a mere six pages, Bunnell’s potted biography of Diane Arbus sketches in the highlights of her career in punchy, earthy prose that can’t fail to engage even the most impatient reader. It contains striking insights, too: Arbus, unlike many of her modernist contemporaries, was a “portraitist” rather than a mere “documentarian”, we are told. Such is the clarity of the author’s exposition, illustrated by a single, carefully chosen image – the self-explanatory A Jewish Giant at Home with his Parents in the Bronx, New York (1970) – that we can’t help be convinced. Indeed, the most appealing aspect of many of the writings here is their brevity. The book’s potpourri structure allows one to bypass “chapters” about practitioners in whom one is less interested, and skip to subsequent ones. So, if Ruth Bernhard isn’t your thing, there’s an equally incisive deconstruction of Barbara Morgan’s

Andy Steel Published by Rotovision £25 (176pp Hardback)

work six pages on. Each can be read, and appreciated, in isolation – a “pick and mix” approach which exposes a distinct advantage of the anthology form. For all these pluses, there’s one ingredient the book singularly lacks: photos. In more than 200 pages of text, there are barely 40. Admittedly, most of those used are stunning – from Emmet Gowin’s erotically charged 1978 portrait of his wife, Edith, crouching in a field, to the gothic fairytale imagery of Small Woods Where I Met Myself (1967) by Jerry N Uelsmann. But the book’s stodgier sections are, almost invariably, Bunnell’s academic treatises on the merits of specific publications and exhibitions. Devoid of illustration, they also lack context.   James Morrison


Here’s a book that lists the world’s top photojournalists. What better way to introduce lay people to contemporary photojournalism, than to produce a coffee table book focusing on its leading exponents? Well… although its reach is potentially quite wide, this approach is problematic in its selectivity and in the way that it commodifies its subject. The issues depicted on its pages are alluded to in a perfunctory way and this can only give a superficial impression of what the photography is about. The selection of photographers by editor Andy Steel is necessarily subjective. Among the pantheon of war photographers in the book, which includes Larry Burrows, Philip Jones Griffiths, Don McCullin and W Eugene Smith, there is no room for Robert Capa, Werner Bischoff, Susan Meiselas, James Natchwey and others. This is not just a consequence of the editor’s own taste but perhaps of the format imposed upon him and its trade-off between the politics of photojournalistic practice and its marketing in a consumer’s world. The book is one in a series of “world’s top photographers” that also includes volumes devoted to wildlife, nudes, landscape and portraits. It begs the question, is photojournalism just another genre of what many still consider to be a minor art form? Or is it, as many appear to believe, still one of the more truthful means of reporting on the world we live in? The upside of any well-produced book like this is that it gives images greater longevity than newsprint and magazine publishing allow, while its tactile benefits score very highly in relation to images published on the Web. This allows the reader more time to reflect on the issues and the relationship between a photographer’s

Is Britain Great? Jan Williams and Chris Teasdale Published by Aspex Gallery £10 (112pp Softback)

aspirations and his/her attempts to communicate them. As well as leading name photographers the book introduces its readers to contemporary photographers with whom they may be unfamiliar. While some photographic images appear to transcend the limitations of the written word, few facts are communicated accurately by photography alone. It’s the words in relation to the image that tell us stories of the world we live in. If you can accept the inevitable limitations of a photographic anthology then the range of images and photographers’ words in this volume provide a good primer to recent photojournalism. Though interesting, this barely hints at the wider problem of documentary photography’s attempts to communicate contemporary issues. Added to this is the book’s misleading title. It obscures from view the fine work and bravery of many other equally good photographers. Mark Windsor

A giant penis, scored out on a Southampton school playing-field in weedkiller, was (until recently) visible from space; a schoolboy prank perfect for the Caravan Gallery’s mobile exhibition of snapshot Britain, had it been observable from the ground. For this is one grounded, if sociologically distilled, record of human marks upon the social landscape, whether small acts of resistance or fleeting glimpses of everyday oddness; garden gnomes flashing open their macs in Mevagissey, Hells Angels mingling with grannies at a Fratton fete, a dog peeing against a woman’s leg at a Southsea fair. Jan Williams and Chris Teasdale have spent six years travelling the UK in their Caravan Gallery, anthropologists of the ordinary, conducting participant observation of the fraying edges of culture as it rubs against society’s margins. “Please don’t be shocked by the price of antiques as you stand in your £150 trainers that are six months away from the bin”, reads one hand-written note tacked up to a Cornish shop-front. You quickly gain a sense of being a tourist in your own country. Liverpool is not prefigured as 2008’s European Capital of Culture but as the home of dancing musical bears; Cambridge is pictured as a giant knick-knack shelf of brightly packaged loo rolls. The British landscape becomes a curiously awkward mix of the nostalgic and futuristic: national identity symbolically replaced by retail warehouses, car parks, grey spaces in which nothing happens. But the grey spaces have always coexisted alongside the Union Jack, seaside pier, caravan park, football match kick-out. The British have always picnicked in car parks, stripped off to sunbathe in less-thanpicturesque places. These cultural quirks just stand out when brought into sharp relief with the architecture of consumer culture. 77

Social identity becomes exaggerated when under threat; and it’s that impacted Britishness which here rears into view. This is not purely an exercise in looking; though derivative of Parr or Power, Williams and Teasdale emphasise compassion over mere observation, foreground empathy rather than reportage, comic humour, not irony. They recreate dated snapshots of the bygone and overlooked, visual relics of local pageants and community spirit, addressing what remains of street culture and public spaces. Williams and Teasdale flag up the individuality and eccentricity, the sheer weirdness that’s an integral part of what makes Britain great, restituting the homespun, the kooky, the down-at-heel and downright peculiar. Images that are familiar and yet disturbing; funny but melancholic. These are the postcards you’d send if you could find them. Now you know where to look.  Colette Meacher

Istanbul: City of a Hundred Names

A Couple of Ways of Doing Something

Alex Webb Published by Aperture £27.50 (136pp Hardback)

Chuck Close Published by Aperture $40 (56pp Hardback)

Writing at the close of Alex Webb’s Istanbul: City of a Hundred Names, life-long resident Orhan Pamuk explores the sense of huzun in his native city. He explains it as a deep sense of melancholy that attends the very pulse of a region that bridges Europe and Asia like no other. It’s a searching and respectful coda, touching on the effect of centuries old tides of trade and commerce, and a pervasive Islamic faith in what has become one of the largest cities in the Muslim world. In 1998, Alex Webb returned to Istanbul, a city he had first experienced with his father in the 1960s. Working on the street with a camera, he has continued to photograph regularly there over the last decade. Street photography is currently unfashionable, out of favour, sometimes even outside the law. When undertaken, it often exposes the depth of a photographer’s intuition and belligerence. Photography can all too easily stay on the surface, saying little. When the perimeters become so fluid – in this case, city-wide – there is also an obligation to impose a sense of cohesion, that moves beyond the formal qualities of photography towards a rich and insightful understanding of cultural particularities. Webb has become known for the colour that saturates his work, and this preoccupation continues. Expanses of shadow, glass or architecture cut through these frames, from which citizens emerge into sunlight to go about their business; a café worker takes time out to smoke. Two businessmen move purposefully towards him in the frame through a reflection that will make their lives fleetingly collide. Two young women adorn a bus, advertising a perfect world with Nescafé, as the real world sweeps the floor and stumbles on. But, although there are a number of such considerable pictures in this book, there are not enough. How can pictures so busy

paradoxically be so empty? Children amply fill frames and allow the creation of visual play and formal complexity, but all too often the work moves no deeper, leaving pictures that seem formulaic and simplistic. Let me be clear: this is not a shortcoming of street photography, as the best examples from Alvarez Bravo to Mikhailov extend our understanding bravely and poetically. I regret there are not more photographers working with such energy. Once through the city’s noise, however, there is little to match those images in Orhan Pamuk’s haunting essay. It makes me wonder how an occasional visitor might articulate such a sensibility.  KG


Every pore, every line, every stray hair: the horror of the all-seeing daguerreotype has me frozen in its thrall. Its unforgiving honesty has been chosen with express intent by Chuck Close, best known for his photo-realist paintings, to reveal something about his sitters. Yet the something proves elusive. In revealing everything, nothing is revealed. Faced, then, with nothing, I am forced to compare these faces with a face I know well: my own. I must suddenly confront an uncomfortable truth that begins with the thought that I do not enjoy looking at human skin as it ages and ends with the realisation that it is truly my own skin that I cannot bear to see disintegrating as I peer through the looking glass. In A Couple of Ways of Doing Something – a large-format book of Chuck Close’s portraits printed from daguerreotypes paired with Bob Holman’s personalised praise poems – a variety of sitters, mostly familiar to Close, such as Cindy Sherman, Laurie Anderson and Philip Glass, have allowed themselves to be exposed. Because the daguerreotype process captures a “backwards” image, as Close explains in the interview at the close of the book, the only person with whom the resulting image can resonate is the sitter themselves: it’s what they see in the mirror. And, although Close implies that your face tells the story of your life, to me these strangers’ faces say nothing. I see only the superficial. Yet they succeed in stirring a debate, but it’s a circular interior monologue, not the dialogic interaction I hoped for. The poems by Bob Holman that accompany each portrait follow the tradition of the African Praise Poem. Typographically experimental, these poems sit prettily on the page but in infusing them with the subject’s own speech, the overall effect is a cacophony of words. It’s far from

Gonzo Hunter S Thompson Published by Ammo Books $300 (240pp Hardback)

terrible, but rather it is like that especially discordant jazz that polite people call “an acquired taste”. It is as though the poet has tried too hard to get into the head of these people and, further, it is possible he knows some of them too well to mine them for the secrets we might care to share. As a collaborative venture, uniting my two favourite media – photography and poetry – I really want to like it. But, like the daguerreotype, I can only offer honesty: it leaves me cold. MH

An exhibition featuring original photos from Hunter S Thompson is bound to be popular. Just as the accompanying limited edition tome, which serves as a visual biography covering his work and life, will be coveted by many. Gonzo, with a limited print-run of only 3,000, is a larger-than-life, boldly graphic exploration of the life and work of Hunter S Thompson. The small exhibition of his photographs, on at Michael Hoppen Gallery in London earlier in the year, was a great success for the gallery and received much press because, well, it is Hunter S Thompson. His status as cult icon cannot be disputed and his life and writing are put on a towering pedestal by fans of Rolling Stone, Fear and Loathing, etc. The mystery and intrigue surrounding his life and character, that he himself has created, exudes this image of “living the dream” – being sent to exotic locations on assignment only to take copious amounts of drugs while being involved in much debauchery and still coming up with incredible writing. Gonzo pays tribute to his envied, eccentric existence. The introduction to the book, reading like a tribute to his life, is written by Johnny Depp, who played Thompson in Terry Gilliam’s film of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. The remaining pages read as a chronological order of Thompson’s professional life, starting with his first role, in the US Air Force. Not surprisingly his stint as a sports editor of the base newspaper was short-lived. An official news release, sent out after one of his crazed stunts, describes him as “an apparently uncontrollable iconoclast” and “totally unclassifiable”. Quite accurate descriptions, as it turns out. Through the pages, and the gorgeously printed photography, surprisingly enough most taken by Thompson himself, we begin 79

to see his ascent/descent into what we know as the later years of Thompson’s life – the drugs, the outrageous antics, the celebrity status. Which was exactly what he was after, “Life has improved immeasurably since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously,” he writes in 1962. Images documenting the project that was to be his first widely recognised book, Hell’s Angels, are reproduced here along with some of the original marks on contact sheets. So, too, are the Fear and Loathing projects, appearing as surreal as they purportedly happened, with original hand-written notes and posters from the Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs convention he went to Las Vegas to “report” on. Towards the end of the book, Thompson is quoted as saying, “Somehow the author has become larger than the writing. And it sucks.” Almost providing us with the reasons why he chose to take his own life, two years ago. But go out with a bang he did. In the last spread of the book we see the cannon/monument, taller than the Statue of Liberty, in which his ashes were shot out over his land – “It never got weird enough for me.”  LH

Inconvenient Stories: Vietnam War Veterans

Angola: Journey Through Change Sean Sutton Published by Dewi Lewis Publishing £19.99 (143pp Hardback)

Jeffrey Wolin Published by Umbrage Editions £26.99 (112pp Softback)

“We Vietnam veterans are unique. We’re the only Vets that’s been tossed eggs and spat at, the only war veterans that have been treated like a piece of shit.” Charles Brown, US Army Specialist E-4, says from his home, sitting barefoot in jeans and a pink T-shirt with the words “big daddy” faded across the front. Rows of pill-jars line the mirrored cabinet, in which a gold-framed picture of The Last Supper is reflected. He adds, “I try not to think about my war experiences. I’ve got enough medicine to keep me that way.” This is one in a series of 50 portraits of Vietnam Vets by Jeffrey Wolin, accompanied by interviews and a snapshot of their former selves in combat 30–40 years ago. Their “inconvenient stories” recall personal events from the war, but more telling and powerful are their reflections and confessions from the days, months and years since they came home. Insights into the prevalent, ensuing alcoholism and weed-smoking are common. Benito R Garcia Jr, who’s been in trouble with the law since being discharged, talks about the ’Nam nightmares he suffers and how the only way he can get through the night “is when I’m passed out drunk”. Now on parole, he is clean, but when he finishes in 14 months time has plans to “roll a fucking joint the size of a bus and kill it in one drag.” Pain is a part of the stare in all of Wolin’s portraits. There is something in their eyes that links all these middle-aged American men together, across race, location and degrees of hair-line recession. Whether looking directly into the camera or somewhere off into the distance, a certain sadness is not far from the surface. Their trust in Wolin is evident. He has succeeded, with sensitivity, in capturing the longreaching psychological shadows of the Vietnam war. African-American Vets reveal the racial

divides within the army and how the war was played out in tandem with the civil rights movement back home. Simba Wiley Roberts recalls how after returning to the US and picking up the remainder of his pay, he stopped at a bar to be told, “We don’t serve niggers here.” The photographic portraits and written testaments are eloquent. The only frustration is that we are left not knowing enough about the man in the picture: where is he now, what does he do, and how does he feel about his view across the lake, or his strip of golfing green upon his shag-pile carpet? The sanctuary created by each man is fascinating to observe. Many of them wonder, however, about the next generation returning from Iraq: how will they fare into middle age?  Ruth Hedges


“Even though the guns were not firing,” writes photographer Sean Sutton of the Angolan city of Luena in 1995, “the town was under siege by successive rings of minefields”. Until 2002, Angola had been occupied by civil war for nearly 40 years. The legacy of that extended conflict is a land contaminated by landmines that impede access to clean water and prevent agricultural and infrastructure development. A staff member of MAG (Mines Advisory Group), an NGO dedicated to working with local communities around the world to clear remnants of conflict, Sutton has photographed the immediate and ongoing effects of mines in Angola since 1995. Angola: Journey Through Change is a narrative in roughly three acts, presented in an unbroken stream of beautifully printed and laid out black and white photographs. First we are shown, briefly, soldiers and mines being placed, and the lives of the internally displaced among the physical wreckage of war: children playing on a tank full of live ammunition, ruined railways, a downed bomber, and everywhere people walking on crutches. A second section describes weddings and funerals, witch doctors, scenes of the difficult everyday life in a post-conflict social order, and the work of MAG de-mining land and teaching residents how to carry away someone who has exploded a mine. The book ends with the return of refugees who had fled to the Democratic Republic of Congo. The population swells; they are reunited with relatives and given parcels of land on which to build and farm – but which often sits within active minefields. Some of Sutton’s pictures present layers of information, while others are emotionally engaging, often joyfully so. Many are both, such as the serene image of two women in

Dateline Israel: New Photography and Video Art Published by Yale University Press £20 (104pp Hardback)

a refugee camp. These pictures foreground the gestures and details of everyday life in a place where the mines and their effects are omnipresent. Sutton is clearly engaged with his subjects as people attempting to reconstruct their social worlds, not only as the direct or indirect victims of landmines. To his credit, Sutton does not attempt to create an illusion of transparency. He is clearly present, often in situations shaped by his being there, evidenced in the eye contact his subjects make with him or his camera. His remit is to report on the work of MAG, and this includes his own documentary interventions. If anything, the subjects’ engagement with being photographed make the images feel honest. As strong as the pictures are, the combined effect of image and text is devastating. We learn that the 13-year-old boy in the book’s cover image who has lost a leg to a mine was wounded outside of his own house by a mine planted by his father, seeking to protect his family. With this knowledge the picture suddenly transforms from an image of a victim to a symbol of the impossible desperation that war invites.  Leo Hsu

Dateline Israel: New Photography and Video Art is essentially a catalogue for the Jewish Museum’s current exhibition in New York, which focuses on “lens-based art” in Israel since 2000. The museum and the book’s publishers herald the book as a reaction to the rise in tension in Israel and Palestine following the collapse of the Oslo peace process and the beginning of the Second Intifada in September 2000. The book is meant to show “the raw and often unremitting reality of existence” in the country, taken by Israel-based photographers or those artists that have an affinity with the country (such as film director Wim Wenders). Yet one would struggle to find much evidence of such “raw” and “unremitting reality” in the book itself. Issues such as the increase in violence in Gaza, rocket attacks on Sderot, the internecine political rivalry in the West Bank, the plight of Palestinian refugees, the construction of the separation barrier and the curtailment of freedom of movement for Palestinians are conspicuous by their absence. Instead – despite some stock images of the separation barrier – the plates reproduced show pictures of lifeguard towers and empty beaches, Jewish children wandering through a street… and an oven. There are, however, some standout pictures. One, by Gillian Laub, entitled Guy and Ranit, Arad, Israel, 2003, shows a former Israeli paratrooper sitting with his girlfriend on a wall with a desert backdrop. It is only after a couple of seconds that one notices that his legs have been amputated below the knee. The accompanying text explains that his friend Louie also had his legs amputated on the same day though in a different accident. Unfortunately for him, his legs have been amputated above the knee, which means that he is unable to wear prosthetic legs. Dutch artist Rineke 81

Dijkstra’s portraits of young conscripts wearing military uniform and civilian dress and Argentine-born Rina Castelnuovo’s photographs are also noteworthy. Dateline Israel may satisfy those that want to get a taste of Israeli “lens-based art” – whatever that is – but the idea that the book represents the passage of the country since Ariel Sharon’s visit to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount in September 2000 is at best misleading. There is an unfortunate sense that the book has missed an opportunity to try something more daring. Neil Hodge


Tokyo Love Hello

Richard Billingham Published by VIVID £25 (136pp Hardback)

Chris Steele-Perkins Published by Editions Intervalles £29 (222pp Hardback)

Ever since childhood trips to Dudley Zoo Richard Billingham has been fascinated by animals. His latest publication, Zoo, is a sustained, trenchant and innovative examination of the captive lives of putatively “wild” animals. The book includes colour, medium format photographs, still images from video footage, as well as colour and black and white pictures taken with disposable cameras. Given Billingham’s previous output it is not altogether surprising to learn that this is something of a grim undertaking. Morose monkeys, cheerless chimps, bored bears and pathetic pandas scratch, sway, vomit and kill time. Not a book you’re likely to find in the zoo gift shop, then. His early interest in animal behaviour was subsequently informed by John Berger’s analysis of the effects of captivity in the landmark essay, “Why Look at Animals?” Billingham explains: “He talks about the eye of the animal, and how the gaze is different with a captive animal than with a wild animal; you know, it’s kind of dumber. Like if you look at people on a Tube train, they don’t acknowledge you. But as soon as you come to the surface the eyes are different.” The first grouping of (medium format) photographs is a studied exploration of the relationship between the animals and the artificial spaces of their enclosures. “I didn’t want to photograph the animal and I didn’t want to just photograph the enclosure. I wanted both in equal measure”. It was a balance he found hard to strike, working for two fruitless years before achieving satisfactory results. The remarkable video images, which Billingham found easier to capture, focus more closely on the animals’ pacing, jumping and rocking – cycles of repetitive behaviour induced by conditions of

confinement. The final section comprises some of the most potent images in the book: pictures made with cheap second-hand disposable cameras and out of date film. “I wanted them to look artificial or have casts on them… to give them that amateurish feel”. The flare, grain and muddied tonal range seem to add to the tawdriness of the “wildlife” on display. Not least among the achievements of Zoo is the refusal to countenance any forms of photographic sentimentality. Billingham proves to be adept at manipulating the languages of photography – without recourse to cliché or overstatement – to explore the characteristics of lived experience in an enclosed environment. Mind you, he’s had some practice… those familiar with his claustrophobic images of alcoholism and dysfunctional family life in Ray’s a Laugh and Fishtank will observe that Zoo is not the first time he’s turned his camera on patterns of aberrant behaviour in confined spaces.  Guy Lane


In Tokyo Love Hello, Chris Steele-Perkins takes us on a tour through Tokyo and the relationship he has built with the city. And what a peculiar relationship it is. No longer a stranger to the city or to Japanese culture, this book charts his first encounters and the resulting fascination with both. Unlike his earlier Mount Fuji, with its gorgeous, breathtaking landscapes, Tokyo Love Hello gets under the surface of the initial attraction and fixation, as it reveals that the author met and fell in love with his future wife while within the city limits. This book came about organically, as he explains in the introduction. His many observations from wanderings coming together to paint a picture of his –highly subjective – view. The result is one that seems at first disparate in its edit and, at first glance, tells us nothing new about the subject. Nor is it trying to. From the humorous – a small dog slathered in a mud-wrap looking slightly perturbed – to the kitsch – rows of people donning virtual reality helmets in some sort of technology expo. The images that attract the most attention are those that relate to SteelePerkins’ personal life – photos from his wedding and a self-portrait of him and wife, Miyako, projected in the lobby of an office building, as so often happens. “Incongruous” is the term adopted in the opening essay by Donald Richie, who attempts to provide a context for the images by explaining what it means to be Japanese – how they are perceived by the rest of the world and how they see themselves. Perhaps out of place – this book is a highly personal exercise, and thus is not necessarily in need of a cultural history pinned to it – it does, nonetheless, set the scene. Through seemingly unremarkable images, Steele-Perkins takes us on a journey through his Tokyo, the city he discovered

Other new photography book releases

during his many visits and the city that allowed him to fall in love; the Tokyo that is divided between the kimonos and the Godzillas; the über-kitsch versus the serene skyscapes appearing in the most unlikely of places; the fascination with toys and technology and the merging of both; the hardworking “salarymen” in business suits who peacefully sleep on benches alongside the homeless; the anomaly that is Tokyo which has simultaneously confused and delighted one photographer as his intrigue turned to something more enduring.  LH

Photography: A Cultural History (2nd Edition), edited by Mary Werner Marien, is a survey of international photography, examining the full range of photography’s uses, from 1839 to today. The book in its eight extensive chapters looks at the medium through the lenses of art, science, social science, travel, war, fashion, the mass media along with profiles of individual photographers. Not a light read, this hefty bookwith over 500 pages is a useful reference for anyone with an interest in the history of photography. Two books by specialist publisher Serps Press, based in Melbourne, Surprise Tough Times and Westside are small, unique, brochure-like publications that beautifully exhibit the work of their respective photographers. Westside, by Conor O’Brien, showcases his quirky, personal photography in a mere 25 pages. In a slightly larger format, but in only 18 pages, Surprise Tough Times is a peek at the peculiarities of Australian life. Both of these tiny glimpses of books signify great things to look out for from this publisher. The Helsinki School is a look at Finland’s most successful cultural export today: photography. Bringing together the work of over 30 students who studied at TaiK, the University of Art and Design in Helsinki, this book features their work which is being exhibited as a travelling show to be featured in venues worldwide. The work ranges from the experimental to the more documentarybased, all with a strong visual appreciation for composition and use of colour.


Trolley’s new release, Chernobyl: The Hidden Legacy by Pierpaolo Mittica, traces the result of the nuclear disaster that took place in Chernobyl, in light of the report in 2005 that attempted to minimise the environmental and health affects of the meltdown. The images are supported with maps and various texts, making this a useful historical resource as the world, according to Mittica, has not experienced its last disaster of this kind. Red Utopia is a fat red book of photographs of North Korea by Yannis Kontos, published by Kastaniotis Editions. The book’s great achievement is that it exists at all – photography is frequently forbidden in the world’s most isolated country unless it records official monuments or ceremonies – and, more than that, Kontos’ latent humour and eye for colour hold the reader’s attention.

NEXT ISSUE OF EI8HT: “DIRTY” We welcome your written and photographic contributions on this idea. See for more info on the theme and full details on how to submit your work FOTO8 SPECIALIST BOOKSHOP Buy many of the books featured on these pages and browse our unique selection of out-of-print and rare photography titles.

Magazine Report Carl*s Cars Found Monocle Permanent Food Useful Photography

As I mentioned at the end of last issue’s column, one of the key issues facing independent magazine makers remains how to deal with the economics of magazine production, and in particular how to best distribute the lovingly created publications. This was a key reason behind the setting up of Colophon2007, the first conference for independent magazine creators and publishers, held in Luxembourg midMarch. The three of us behind the event – Luxembourg-based publisher Mike Koedinger, writer Andrew Losowsky and myself – conceived the project to firstly celebrate the growing number of great independent magazines, but also to encourage the exchange of information and experience between those involved in making these magazines. So while a programme of exhibitions, speakers and panel discussions was central to the three-day event, equally as important were the public areas where visitors and participants could interact. The Room With a View area had a café-bar and a magazine store – what more does a magazinaholic such as myself need? – which proved to be the ideal place to meet people and discuss magazines. One of the most common discussion points was a new magazine not present at Colophon2007. Monocle is the new

magazine from Wallpaper* founder Tyler Brûlé, a self-defined “briefing on global affairs, business, culture & design”. Much anticipated, its arrival has split the magazine world. While observers acknowledge it as a genuine attempt to do something new, opinion remains split on how successfully it has achieved that ambition. At Colophon (and online since) the general opinion seems to have been disappointment that a grand ambition has failed in execution so far. As I write there have been two issues published, and perhaps the most striking thing about them is how resolutely similar the two are. Monocle clearly sees itself as a journal rather than a monthly magazine. Content is king and design fireworks are strictly out of favour. In that respect it is similar to The Economist, a weekly magazine that refers to itself as a newspaper. That’s not to say the pages haven’t been designed – in fact quite the opposite. The pages are created using a ruthlessly efficient, templated system of design (again, like The Economist) that seeks to help the reader navigate while appearing “invisible”. The problem is this look becomes very repetitive across the 200-plus pages, not helped by the way that everything has the same weight of presence. There is very little pace through the pages, something that normally photography might be expected to bring. 84

But like the headlines, pull-quotes and other components that make up the pages, the photography is presented in regularlysized boxes that often fail to make the most of the images. This is not only a shame in terms of failing to grab the readers’ attention, but also because there is a lot of commissioned photography in the magazine that fails to register. A similarly sophisticated design process underpinned the much-lauded Guardian newspaper redesign of 2005, yet that made a deliberate nod toward the importance and power of photography with its daily single image centre-spread photograph. For me that remains one of the simple but beautiful highlights of that redesign and one that Monocle could learn from. Meanwhile, back at Colophon2007, there were many magazines that were making the most of the photography they published. Carl*s Cars stands out as a singular example of how a magazine can meld photography into it’s overall mix. The magazine, from Oslo, celebrates car culture in its most ordinary day-to-day sense. This is not a magazine for petrolheads or sports fanatics. Carl*s Cars uses humour and a very idiosyncratic editorial tone to record people and their relationships with cars. This includes those that design cars, car salesmen and car drivers. A shoot in the

latest issue sums up their approach: “Cars in Their Pyjamas” is a series of pictures by photographer Barry Lewis of cars “wearing” protective covers. It is about cars but you can’t see a single car in the pictures, just shrouded silhouettes. Looking at the magazines present at Colophon in a broader sense, one clear theme present was that of found imagery; pictures rediscovered, re-purposed or sourced from non-professionals. This isn’t the first time such material has received attention from publishers – I remember a small paperback book of found passport photo machine images that was published in the 1980s and included a set of four images of me – but it is something that has become more common since the internet has. Dutch magazine Useful Photography is perhaps the most established of the current magazines focusing on this type of content. It takes the everyday image and re-uses them in a magazine context. Images from old catalogues, packaging and manuals are run together (usually without words) to create new, random narratives and meanings. Some themes are light, some heavy. One issue consisted of a gallery of product images shot by sellers on eBay, a carefully edited mix of obscure objects digitally rendered in curious detail. Another featured a series of posters celebrating

Palestinian suicide bombers in which propaganda images that appeared heroic and powerful on their own are rendered tragic by repetition. Useful Photography predates the current obsession with usergenerated content but its editors, who include photographer Julian Germain and advertising guru Erik Kessels, saw this trend coming and anticipated it. Another magazine working in the same area is Permanent Food, from Italy. It reprints pictures collected by artist Maurizio Cattelan from old magazines and books to create a random reflection on the darker side of life. Misshapen wrestlers, paparazzi coverage of car crashes, kids in make up, ’70s building sites – the material sounds familiar, indeed is familiar, but when compiled together in the 200-plus pages of each issue, Permanent Food creates a unique, slightly scary, but almost nostalgiainducing archive of modern life. American project Found magazine presents a lighter reflection of our lives. Based around a website that requests contributions, the magazine publishes collections of found stuff they get sent. Shopping lists, love letters, random pictures, school sick notes, shop signs are just some of the items that have been included. Nothing is too minor – the more inconsequential the better. This is the real 85

everyday; meaningless, mundane and often unintentionally hilarious. The magazine also publishes occasional issues of Dirty Found to cover the vast quantity of graphic sexual material they get sent. These issues are extraordinary records of everyday sex lives. Handwritten adolescent male fantasy stories combine with the photographic attempts of ordinary people trying to replicate the sex of movies and advertising to make you realise how slick the professional image-makers are. The backgrounds of the images alone are enough to justify the name Dirty. These magazines of found imagery are useful reminders that when used in the right context any image can hold weight and importance. In a time when more and more people have access to the ability to shoot more and more imagery, the desire and ability to combine and edit pictures as a series is more important than ever. And where better to do that than within the magazine format? Jeremy Leslie Useful Photography and Found magazine feature in an exhibition (along with Ohio magazine) at The Photographers Gallery, London. ‘Found Photography’ runs 20 April to 17 June 2007.

Contemporary photography since 1970

31 May - 3 June, 2007 Old Billingsgate, London


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ANZENBERGERAGENCY representing photographers in Turkey:

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PHOTOGRAPHERS FOR EDITORIAL AND COMMERCIAL ASSIGNMENTS Alessandro Albert, Marco Anelli, Pablo Balbontin, Alberto Bevilacqua, Giorgio Barrera, Giancarlo Ceraudo, Guglielmo De Micheli, Giulio Di Sturco, Massimo Berruti, Giovanni Del Brenna, Andrea Frazzetta, Marco Garofalo, Gianni giansanti, Alberto Giuliani, Nicola Giuliato, Mattia Insolera, Paul lowe, Max & Douglas, Seba Pavia, Giada Ripa di Meana, Alessandro Rizzi, Filippo Romano, Massimo Sestini

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Distribution Grant The Documentary Photography Project offers a grant for photographers—in collaboration with nonprofit or community-based organizations—to use innovative photography-based advocacy projects to engage audiences and stimulate constructive social change. Deadline: July 6, 2007, 5:00 p.m. EST

Moving Walls Exhibition Moving Walls is an annual documentary photography exhibition series that represents the obstacles—such as political oppression, economic instability, and racism—that society creates and the struggles to tear those barriers down. Deadline: July 6, 2007, 5:00 p.m. EST MANDIA DUNOON/ILISO LABANTU

Through grantmaking, exhibitions, public programs, and training workshops, the Open Society Institute Documentary Photography Project explores how photography can shape public perception and effect positive social change. The project supports photographers whose work addresses social justice and human rights issues that coincide with OSI’s mission.


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> On My Shelf > Martin Conway

I started reading Freud before I went to university, somewhere between the ages of 15-25. I had a funny early history and I found Freud provided great insight. I’ve chosen A Case of Obsessional Neurosis from Volume 10 of the Standard Edition of The Complete Works of Sigmund Freud. This is Freud’s famous case of Rat Man. If you’re going to read it, it’s worth reading the original Freud text, not a brief version. Obsessional neurosis is about trying to bring an order to life that otherwise can’t be brought. Contemporary neurospychology has a lot of time for Freud. He tells the fairy tales of our time and in so doing, massively raises our understanding of ourselves. I was a bit of a hippy in my day so I have singled out a Jack Kerouac novel for my next choice. Desolation Angels was really a reworking of On the Road and Dharma Bums but in a bigger way. It’s great travel writing as he passes through the United States and eventually winds up in Tangiers, where he meets a fictional William Burroughs. As a novel, it doesn’t go anywhere; it’s just a bunch of great characters moving around a landscape. I love the idea of these 1950s dissolute intellectuals and Kerouac captured a snapshot of a whole generation: his generation. It’s about representations and models of experience that go back to Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience. Kerouac captured the experience of a group of people passing through time. Photographs can be points of contact on this temporal journey. That wonderful portrait of Samuel Beckett by Lutfi Ozkok taken in the ’60s is resonant of Kerouac’s time for me: so black and white, so sharply defined. One of the best things I have ever read is TS Eliot’s Four Quartets, a work of poetry. In fact it was the end of his poetry. You can see why if you read it. In many ways it was the end of poetry itself. It’s the ultimate poem of his life, his times, full of great imagery, rhyme, alliteration, insight. Each quartet is a place – Burnt Norton, East Coker, The Dry Salvages and Little Gidding. Particularly memorable is some great sea poetry – he talks of “the vast waters/Of the petrel and the porpoise”. There’s a fantastic link between photography, poetry and memory. A great poet casts an image, sometimes visual, sometimes not, but it resonates. You can’t quite get your head around it, but you feel it, and memories come to mind. It’s not explicable in that you don’t really have a conscious rational insight into what’s going on. People use the word primitive to describe images in the mind, but I don’t use that term; to me they are simply different from verbal representations. Prelinguistic, perhaps, but not primitive. The last poem, Little Gidding, needs to be read aloud. Kick your family out of the room; it’s worth it. For my fourth choice, I think I should go for another great book: The Diary of 98

Samuel Pepys. I’m very interested in being in your historical time period – when you’re in there, doing it. It’s like Leonard Cohen said of the ’60s: “We just thought it was normal time.” Of course, in retrospect, it was anything but normal. Photographs help us think about this and Pepys’ diary entries are like photographs of his life and times (before the camera had been invented of course). He was in the Navy, although I think of him as a sort of Vice Chancellor of his day, moving upwards through a university. He was doing a good job for his country. There were public hangings, the Fire of London, but more interesting to read about was the curious relationship he had with his wife – which was at the same time something he needed and something he did not want. Like a lot of relationships, it was important and significant to him, but when he walked out the door, he was a different man. The book is like a very long, busy photograph of a particular way of living. It makes me think in images. I was wondering whether to choose a record or a movie for my fifth and final choice. I’ve gone for Blow Up, a film that for me is so redolent of the ’60s, by Michelangelo Antonioni, with David Hemmings and Julie Christie. When I was watching it then, in the ’60s, that’s what I wanted to be – a cool photographer. And the film itself is shot so beautifully. There’s a time in your life when you are actively seeking external things that help to define you as a particular type of self in the world. For me it was the period I already alluded to, when I was 15-25. I hitched down to London to see the Dylan movie Don’t Look Back at the ICA – that was a seminal moment for me. I knew people who were passionate about politics, but for me, it was the counter-culture. To be a hippy was to be a truly outrageous radical person. If you want to feel what these times meant, if you want to place them in the context of humanity, you need to take a step back. The photographer is the one who stands back  8 Professor Martin Conway is director of the Institute of Psychological Sciences at the University of Leeds, where he writes extensively on the subject of memory. He was talking to Max Houghton




Stephan Vanfleteren’s powerful black and white photographs provide an intimate and emotional portrait of these legendary sportsmen and the sport which dominates the social and cultural life of Flanders, the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium. The unremarkable landscape breeds this particular type of rider who thrives in the driving rain and the bitter cold and on cobbled streets and treacherous inclines.

Free admission. Opening times: Monday – Friday 10am – 6pm Saturdays 11am – 4pm

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20 June – 31 July 2007 Stephan Vanfleteren Flandrien: Hard Men and Heroes

1 Honduras Street London EC1Y 0TH

20 June – 31 July As London gears up to host the Tour de France, the world’s most famous cycle race, a new photography exhibition at Host gallery pays tribute to the Flandrien – a generation of Flemish cyclists who make the athletes of the Tour de France look like amateur enthusiasts.



HOST Gallery Photojournalism in London

VOL.6 NO.1  SUMMER 2007  £10  WWW.FOTO8.COM 9-771476-681000-21

© Stephan Vanfleteren/Panos Pictures

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Volume 6 Number 1  

Volume 6 Number 1: Mind

Volume 6 Number 1  

Volume 6 Number 1: Mind

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