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The Journal of The Royal Photographic Society

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“What I’m photographing is the final iteration of globalism. This is it” Edward Burtynsky HonFRPS

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November / December 2020 Vol 160 / No 9 rps.org

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EDWARD BURTYNSKY HonFRPS

The Journal of The Royal Photographic Society

November / December 2020

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Vol 160 / No 9 rps.org

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Opening shot KEEP IN TOUCH WITH THE RPS

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Contact the editor with your views rpsjournal@thinkpublishing.co.uk

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A SALUTE TO FORMIDABLE IMAGE-MAKERS

ART PRODUCTION DANIEL MCFADDEN/UNIVERSAL PICTURES/AMBLIN ENTERTAINMENT

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Each year the RPS Awards offer us a chance to celebrate some of the world’s finest and most innovative image-makers. This year is no different, with recipients including Chuck Hull, the father of 3D printing; Linus Sandgren, the Oscar-winning cinematographer behind the lens for the 25th James Bond film; and Iran-born Shirin Neshat, who explores what it means to be an artist in exile. The fascinating line-up also includes the scientist Dr Igor Siwanowicz, whose microphotography opens up a world invisible to the human eye; Daniel Castro Garcia, a film-maker and photographer based in the UK and Sicily who illuminates real lives behind the issue of migration; and Steve McQueen, the acclaimed British director and video artist whose feature films include 12 Years a Slave and Hunger. You will meet some of these formidable talents in this special awards issue of the RPS Journal. We look forward to introducing you in future editions to others, including German photographer and director Ellen von Unwerth; American curator and educator Professor Deborah Willis; and Sally Mann HonFRPS, whose haunting portraits and landscapes have left an indelible mark on contemporary photography. Although a physical awards ceremony is not possible this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, you will see some of the recipients taking part in online talks and events in the coming months. Image-making of all genres, from science to documentary and art to natural history, has the power to tell stories and change lives. This year’s awards transcend social, national and cultural boundaries, opening our eyes to worlds we might be unfamiliar with or find difficult to comprehend. What unites all this year’s recipients is their commitment to innovation and excellence, whichever arena they work in.

KATHLEEN MORGAN Editor

Linus Sandgren operating the camera during a shoot with actor Ryan Gosling for First Man. The interiors of the rockets were photographed in Super 16mm to enhance the intimacy of the scenes. Turn to page 704

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Cinematographer Linus Sandgren won an Oscar for his work on La La Land (2016) – now he’s crafted the visuals for the new James Bond film, No Time to Die

We speak to Sir Steve McQueen ahead of the release of his new anthology series, Small Axe, based on the experiences of black people in Britain

CINEMATIC PRODUCTION AWARD

LUMIÈRE AWARD

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Presenting a selection of the Best Shots from award-winning macro photographer Dr Igor Siwanowicz, whose colourful pictures reveal a hidden world

Daniel Castro Garcia’s deep commitment to the subjects of his documentary photography helps to refute received narratives around migration

Iranian artist, photographer and film-maker Shirin Neshat explores feelings of exile and displacement in her visually striking work

VIC ODDEN AWARD

SCIENCE IMAGING AWARD

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HONORARY FELLOWSHIP

DR IGOR SIWANOWICZ; LINUS SANDGREN; DANIEL CASTRO GARCIA; COLLECTION CHRISTOPHEL/ALAMY; SHIRIN NESHAT

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Celebrating the achievements of Chuck Hull, known as the father of 3D printing, among other imaging innovations

A trio of RPS members – Lakshitha Karunarathna, Brian Morgan and John Kay – demonstrate their mastery of monochrome photography

3D SYSTEMS; DAVID OSBORN FRPS; LAKSHITHA KARUNARATHNA FRPS; EDWARD BURTYNSKY, COURTESY FLOWERS GALLERY, LONDON/NICHOLAS METIVIER GALLERY, TORONTO

PROGRESS MEDAL AND HONORARY FELLOWSHIP

DISTINCTIONS

Cover story HONORARY FELLOWSHIP

‘Nickel Tailings #30, Sudbury, Ontario, 1996’, by Edward Burtynsky, bears witness to the devastating impact of humanity on a beleaguered planet

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RPS INTERNAL AWARDS

Profiling three recipients of the Fenton Medal – David Osborn, Armando Jongejan and Dr Tony Kaye – and Member’s Award recipient Judy Buckley-Sharp

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THE ROYAL PHOTOGRAPHIC SOCIETY RPS House, 337 Paintworks, Arnos Vale, Bristol BS4 3AR, UK rps.org frontofhouse@rps.org +44 (0)117 316 4450 Incorporated by Royal Charter

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Patron The Duchess of Cambridge ART

President Dr Alan Hodgson ASIS FRPS

Editor Kathleen Morgan rpsjournal@thinkpublishing.co.uk 0141 375 0509

President Elect Simon Hill FRPS

Contributing Editor Rachel Segal Hamilton

Treasurer John Miskelly FCA FRPS

Design John Pender Sub-editor Andrew Littlefield Editorial Assistant Jennifer Constable

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Chief Executive Officer Evan Dawson Director of Education and Public Affairs Dr Michael Pritchard FRPS

Advertising Sales Elizabeth Courtney elizabeth.courtney@thinkpublishing.co.uk 0203 771 7208

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Published on behalf of The Royal Photographic Society by Think, Red Tree Business Suites, 33 Dalmarnock Road, Glasgow G40 4LA thinkpublishing.co.uk

Group Account Director John Innes Circulation 10,963 (Jan-Dec 2019) ABC ISSN: 1468-8670

The Journal of The Royal Photographic Society

November / December 2020

Vol 160 / No 9

Š 2020 The Royal Photographic Society. All rights reserved. Every reasonable endeavour has been made to find and contact the copyright owners of the works included in this publication. However, if you believe a copyright work has been included without your permission, please contact the publisher. Views of contributors and advertisers do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Royal Photographic Society or those of the publisher. All material correct at time of going to press.

CONTRIBUTORS

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Gavin Bell (page 684)

Lucy Davies (pages 694 and 704)

Tom Seymour (page 722)

A former foreign correspondent for Reuters and the Times, Bell is now an award-winning travel writer for the Telegraph and Wanderlust magazine.

A writer and editor for the Telegraph and a contributer to arts and lifestyle magazines, Davies specialises in articles about photography, art and the history of fashion.

An arts journalist and curator based in London, Seymour has worked for titles including the Guardian, the FT, Wallpaper, the Art Newspaper and Wired.

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Kolkata, India, 2018

BY STEVE McCURRY HonFRPS

In almost 50 years of travel, Steve McCurry HonFRPS has illuminated cultures across the world, making the unfamiliar seem strangely familiar. A sense of shared humanity is the common thread, writes the novelist and essayist Pico Iyer in his foreword to McCurry’s new book, In Search of Elsewhere: Unseen Images. “Of course he’s famous for his faces, and colours that jump out at us to enliven our dull days ... but wherever he goes he’s showing us regular folks doing the things we all do.” In this photograph, a Hindu priest prepares for evening puja, best begun just before sunset. In Search of Elsewhere: Unseen Images is published by Laurence King on 19 November at £50 662

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In focus NEWS, VIEWS AND EXHIBITIONS

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WHAT’S IN STEPHEN DALTON’S KIT BAG?

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MEET TWO RPS BURSARY RECIPIENTS FOR 2020

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FIVE QUESTIONS FOR KAREN KNORR

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From the series LS IX: Vistas Paradossales by Luca Tombolini, one of 43 photographers exhibiting at RPS House from January 2021 as part of IPE 162

NEW HORIZONS FOR IPE 162 A striking showcase of international talent heralds the reopening of RPS House

The RPS is to reopen its headquarters and gallery in January 2021 with a showcase of 100 images by 43 photographers from across the globe. The RPS International Photography Exhibition 162 (IPE 162) is to have an extended run, allowing visitors a second chance to see work selected following a

worldwide open call. Included are bold, minimalist landscapes by American photographer Cody Cobb, who received the IPE Award; a study of lava caves hidden beneath Auckland, created by the Under 30s Award recipient Chirag Jindal, who is based in New Zealand; and images from the series LS IX:

Vistas Paradossales by Italian photographer Luca Tombolini, whose work plays with ideas of time and space. The return of IPE 162 on 23 January 2021 will allow visitors to Bristol to add RPS House to their day-trip itinerary, along with other arts venues such as the Martin Parr Foundation and Arnolfini.

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‘Paria 2’ from the series Strange Land by Cody Cobb

IPE I62 is at RPS House, Bristol, 10am-5pm, Thursday to Sunday, 23 January to 5 April 2021. rps.org/ipe162 and info@rps.org

“We are all looking forward to welcoming visitors back to the gallery” PRODUCTION CLIENT

From the series Into the Underworld/Ngā Mahi Rarowhenua by Chirag Jindal

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Evan Dawson, CEO of the RPS, anticipates an exciting year at RPS House following a period of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. “We are all looking forward to welcoming visitors back to the gallery and education spaces at RPS House,” he says. “We’ve introduced systems to ensure we’re Covid-compliant, and the team have an exciting programme of exhibitions and projects for 2021.” Watch out for a call in January for submissions to the RPS International Photography Exhibition 163 – and a chance to exhibit at RPS House.


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‘Resort 1, Family, Thirsty’, 2011, by Anna Fox HonFRPS

RPS AWARDS

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Nominations are open for the RPS International Awards, offered annually to individuals who have made significant contributions to photography. To nominate, go to rps.org/awards2021 or email Jo Macdonald at jo@rps.org

From my kitbag Power packs, power supplies, flash heads, quartz halogen light sources, high-speed shutters, ‘magic wand’ for rapidly discharging high voltages ‘by hand’, sensor control unit with delay circuit, junction box for up to four 12v devices, infrared transmitter and sensor, Leicaflex SL camera and 100mm Macro Elmar and bellows, Nikkor 200mm Macro, selection of sundry cables, multimeter tester

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IN THE BAG

HAPPINESS PHOTO PROJECT

Artist Daniel Dale is building a publicly sourced photo collection exploring what happiness means in a world with Covid-19. Submissions can be made anonymously through the project website until the end of 2020.

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Stephen Dalton is a pioneering wildlife photographer

Your latest book, Capturing Motion, reveals how your approach to photography has evolved. Tell us more Capturing Motion follows my long journey, starting in 1972, to capture on film for the first time the hitherto invisible highspeed activities of animals, particularly insects that were too quick to be seen by the human eye or recorded by conventional photography. Nowadays, with ultra-high-speed digital cameras and video, it tends to be taken for granted, but up to 1971 no one had a clue what insects did with their wings when flying.

whatishappiness.co.uk

GROUNDBREAKER

All existing photographs were of insects just sitting about, yet flight is the main reason why, apart from microbes, they are the most successful terrestrial creatures on the planet! At the time, the thrill of seeing for the first time how these little creatures moved their wings and manoeuvred through the air with such rapidity and instinctive skill – captured at high speed, in exquisite detail and in full colour – was frankly overwhelming. Capturing Motion: My Life in High Speed Nature Photography by Stephen Dalton is published by Firefly Books. fireflybooks.com and stephendalton.co.uk

An exhibition of work by pioneering 1930s photographer Helen Muspratt is at Bodleian Libraries, Oxford, until 29 November. Learn about Muspratt’s innovative techniques and portrayal of life in Soviet Russia. ANNA FOX HonFRPS / JAMES HYMAN GALLERY, LONDON

STEPHEN DALTON HonFRPS / FIREFLY BOOKS LTD

What did you last photograph using this gear? A high-speed shot of a brimstone butterfly flying over buddleia. It was my latest attempt at high-speed insect flight; I have done little of this specialist work recently. The picture, taken with the Sony A7Riv, is among the first high-speed images taken with this highresolution camera. I only used about half the frame, without any practical loss of detail – one of the main advantages of this camera’s high pixel count sensor.

bodleian.ox.ac.uk

CAFÉ ART CALENDARS

Café Art empowers homeless people through photography. Their usual programmes are currently suspended, but you can still buy calendars and cards online. cafeart.org.uk/shop

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IN FOCUS


What to see, 1

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What to see

Catch these exhibitions online and in person

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PHOTO VOGUE FESTIVAL: ALL IN THIS TOGETHER Online and Milan From 10 November

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JULIA FULLERTON-BATTEN; OSCAR MARZAROLI COLLECTION, COURTESY OF STREET LEVEL PHOTOWORKS; EVGENIA ARBUGAEVA/THE PHOTOGRAPHERS’ GALLERY; DORNITH DOHERTY; RICHARD LEAROYD

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A selection of the best images from the Photo Vogue Festival’s open call, this virtual exhibition will celebrate community, empathy and solidarity in the wake of Covid-19. The fifth edition of the annual festival will be online and at outdoor venues in Milan.

vogue.it/en/photovogue and photovoguefestival. vogue.it

‘Zewdi, Yabsra and Ehiopia, lockdown day 57’ by Julia Fullerton-Batten FRPS, as featured in the Photo Vogue Festival

HYPERBOREA – STORIES FROM THE RUSSIAN ARCTIC The Photographers’ Gallery, London Until 24 January 2021

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UNEARTHED: PHOTOGRAPHY’S ROOTS Dulwich Picture Gallery, London 21 November 2020 – 9 May 2021

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In over 100 images, this exhibition traces the rich shared history between botany and photography, with work by William Henry Fox Talbot, Imogen Cunningham, Anna Atkins and Robert Mapplethorpe.

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SEEDSCAPES: FUTURE-PROOFING NATURE Impressions Gallery, Bradford Until 12 December

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Using photograms, lenticular photography and electron micrographs, five artists explore plant diversity. The touring exhibition, curated by Liz Wells in association with the Dick Institute and Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery, also documents the battle to save seed species from extinction. impressions-gallery.com

Since 2013, Russian photographer Evgenia Arbugaeva has documented people and places in the remote Arctic land where she grew up. This is a magical world, populated by lonely lighthouse keepers and ghost towns illuminated by the magnificent aurora borealis. thephotographers gallery.org.uk

OSCAR MARZAROLI Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow Until 20 December

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The gallery reopens this exhibition of one of Scotland’s finest documentary photographers. Noted for his sensitive portrayal of the Gorbals in the 1960s, Oscar Marzaroli captured the shifting landscape of post-war Glasgow as slums made way for new social housing.

streetlevelphotoworks.org

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‘Mullahs observe the burning port of Faw from the Iran-Iraq border’, 1983, by Manoocher Deghati

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FIVE HEAD TURNERS TO WATCH

‘Phuldhani’ (Flower in a vase) by Nilupa Yasmin

‘Sandra Gould Ford’ by LaToya Ruby Frazier

Manoocher Deghati

Arseniy Neskhodimov

LaToya Ruby Frazier

Sabiha Çimen

PHOTOJOURNALIST

PHOTOGRAPHER

ARTIST AND ACADEMIC

PHOTOGRAPHER

The remarkable life of renowned IranianFrench photojournalist Manoocher Deghati has been dramatised as a biographical novel by his wife, Dr Ursula Janssen. Eyewitnessed takes in historical events documented around the world since 1978. manoocherphoto.com 670

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Prozac – a series of surreal self-portraits exploring Arseniy Neskhodimov’s lifelong depression – won the Russian photographer the Wellcome Photography Prize 2020. This year’s prize also included a commission for Hood Medal winner Siân Davey on mental health and poverty. wellcome.org

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Published to accompany a solo show at Mudan, LaToya Ruby Frazier’s eponymous monograph explores family and identity against a backdrop of post-industrial decline in the United States and Europe. She is the winner of the prestigious annual Kraszna-Krausz Best Photography Book Award. latoyarubyfrazier.com

One of the new cohort of Magnum nominees, Turkish-born, self-taught photographer Sabiha Çimen has now won the Canon Female Photojournalist Grant. The €8,000 award will allow her to complete her project Hafiz: Guardians of the Qur’an, to be exhibited at Visa pour l’image 2021. magnumphotos.com


Head turners, 1 ‘Self-portrait with a tennis racket’, by Arseniy Neskhodimov

Nilupa Yasmin ARTIST

Nilupa Yasmin weaves photographic prints to create handcrafted backdrops to her portraiture, inspired by her south Asian heritage. Thanks to a ReFramed bursary sponsored by Slanguages and Kala Phool, Yasmin will be documenting women from Soho Road, Birmingham. reframed.uk

‘Elif (9), a new student at a Quranic school, wearing a hijab for the first time. Rize, Turkey’, by Sabiha Çimen

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Two international image-makers exploring belonging and identity are each to receive an RPS bursary. Meet Ngadi Smart and Brook Andrew

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Their work is rooted in different continents – Africa and Australia – but the recipients of two separate RPS bursaries are united by the desire to highlight issues of identity and belonging. Born in Sierra Leone and now based in London, visual artist Ngadi Smart will receive the The Photographic Angle/ RPS Environmental Bursary to document the N’zima community and culture of Grand-Bassam, a UNESCO World Heritage site, through an environmental lens. Her work will take a creative

documentary approach using coordinated colour, texture, clothing and objects to explore how indigenous culture persists despite a lack of funding for the town’s infrastructure, while exploring new narratives about what it means to be African. RPS Postgraduate Bursary recipient Brook Andrew is a multidisciplinary artist based in Melbourne, Australia, of Wiradjuri (Australian First Nations) and Celtic ancestry. His bursary will go towards ongoing research into dendroglyphs – detailed Aboriginal

tree carvings that mark significant life ceremonies. Over the next few months, Andrew intends to explore historical colonial images of the practice from the 19th and early 20th century, held in museum and library collections across Europe and Australia, and then produce a body of new photomedia works as a way of reclaiming the ancestral histories taken from First Nations People. ngadismart.com brookandrew.com

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NGADI SMART Far right top and bottom From the series Longing and Belonging; From the series The Faces of Abissa

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NAMILA BENSON

BROOK ANDREW Above and right The Space Between, an installation of two artworks, ‘Seeing I-IV’ and ‘Inconsequential I-VI’; ‘Resident and visitor’

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Talent TAKE NOTE Name: Lewis Khan Age: 29 Base: London High point: Having his graduate film Georgetown shown at the Photographers’ Gallery, London USP: Revealing the beauty in otherwise difficult environments

Even in life’s toughest moments, there is beauty to be found. Lewis Khan should know. He spent four years photographing on the frontline of the NHS as artist in residence at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London. Published as a limitededition book, with 100% of the profits going to the NHS, Theatre draws attention away from the obvious drama of a highly charged hospital environment, instead focusing on smaller details that resonate with you long after you look away: the crumpled sheets of an empty hospital bed, blood spatters on the floor, a plastic apron tied neatly behind someone’s back, a child’s foot painting stuck up on a cot. Given the way Khan’s images speak to the viewer

Untitled, from the series Theatre by Lewis Khan

on a sensory level, it is fitting that the 29-year-old south Londoner describes his approach to the medium in terms of touch. “Taking photos for me is a way of being tactile with the world,” he says. “It’s as if you are walking around with your arms out and your eyes closed and you’re kind of feeling your way around.” He started shooting photographs as a teenager, experimenting with an analogue SLR given to him by his dad. “I was first drawn to the literal and immediate nature of photography, engaging in the world ‘out there’, but in a way that’s often very introspective.” Khan has been gaining recognition for his work since he graduated from The University of the West of England, Bristol in 2014. His

graduate film, Georgetown, a sensitive portrait of Khan’s friend and neighbour George, was awarded first prize by director Danny Boyle at the Shuffle Festival. Commercially, he has worked with Patagonia, Virgin Records and Richard Rogers Architects, and this year, as well as publishing Theatre, he signed with photography agency At Trayler. “I feel like I’m always being both the personal ‘I’ and the professional ‘I’ at the same time,” he says. “Professional experiences are led by personal interests, and photography is the vehicle for exploring them.” Theatre: Second Edition is published by The Lost Light Recordings. lewiskhan.co.uk

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My place, 1 VERSION

My place By Peter Dazeley FRPS

Sondheim Theatre, London

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The actors’ view of the auditorium in the Sondheim Theatre, London, by Peter Dazeley FRPS

The immaculately restored Sondheim Theatre in London’s West End offers the perfect backdrop for some scene-stealing photography “The extraordinary thing about London theatres is that we never really see the beauty of them,” says Peter Dazeley FRPS, whose recently updated book, London Theatres, reveals hidden corners of iconic venues around the capital. “Creating this book allowed me to discover the buildings themselves – the actors’ view from the stage, fly floors, above and below the stage, orchestra pits, dressing rooms, backstage – and record them as they stand in the 21st century.” Of the 47 theatres he photographed, the one that made the strongest impression on Dazeley was Cameron

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Mackintosh’s immaculately restored Sondheim Theatre, previously known as the Queen’s Theatre. It was followed closely by Wilton’s, the world’s oldest

Ceiling the deal at the Sondheim Theatre

surviving music hall, in London’s East End. Looking at these images of ornate but empty spaces, you can’t help but wonder what the future holds for these institutions in the world of Covid-19. “There is an awful uncertainty for everyone who works within the theatre industry at the moment,” says Dazeley. “Right now, there will be some very difficult decisions for theatre owners. The last thing I would want is for my book talks to turn into history lessons.” London Theatres by Michael Coveney and Peter Dazeley FRPS is published by Frances Lincoln

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RPS TEAMS UP TO LAUNCH DEGREE

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New partnership delivers training for young people

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The RPS is uniting with leading arts educational provider boomsatsuma to launch a BA honours degree in documentary photography and print. Beginning in September 2021, the three-year course – to be taught at RPS House, Bristol – will focus on developing technical, creative and professional skills in the fields of publishing and documentary photography. The degree will combine traditional visual storytelling with contemporary photography, print design and production, and will offer a unique opportunity to learn from leading photographers, educators and experts. Liz Williams, RPS education manager, says: “We’re thrilled to give students exclusive access to our resources and to encourage engagement with our diverse exhibition and events

“We’re thrilled to give students access to our resouces ... This project will bring a new energy to our building”

‘I thought I would sit here and look out over the fjord for the last time’, by Samuel W J Fordham

programme. This mutually beneficial project will bring a new energy to our building and team, and we look forward to supporting a new class of inspiring photographers.” Samuel Fordham, programme lead for boomsatsuma, says: “We are incredibly excited to be in partnership with the RPS. The programme has been designed as a direct response to the modes of dissemination in contemporary photographic practice, as evidenced by BOP (Books on Photography) and the Bristol Photo Festival – both of which take place within the walls of the RPS itself.” Applications are open to all. rps.org/BAdegree

‘Folly’, by Jamie E Murray

Showstopper

Success for adventurer and image-maker German adventure photographer Nicholas Roemmelt has won the Aurorae category in the Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020 competition for this breathtaking shot of the elusive ‘green lady’, encountered on a journey to Norway to view the Northern Lights. You can see this image, alongside the overall winner by Nicolas Lefaudeux and the other successful entries, at the National Maritime Museum, London, until 8 August 2021. ‘The green lady’, by Nicholas Roemmelt

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Five questions

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Karen Knorr HonFRPS, photographer

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Solarised image of the disused Parisian Art-Deco department store La Samaritaine, from the series Questions (After Brecht) by Karen Knorr HonFRPS

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What makes you get up in the morning?

Waking up near my partner Geoff and starting a fresh new day developing more opportunities to mentor women in photography, and thinking about new work and ways of working in the time of Covid-19.

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What’s been your toughest moment as a photographer?

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has made any travel for photography even more risky.

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New projects brewing with so many wonderful emerging and talented women photographers. Being part of Fast Forward: Women in Photography and giving white male privilege and entitlement a welldeserved kicking!

Which image makes you most proud?

An iPhone photograph taken of a beautiful older Puerto Rican woman waiting for the bus in Cataño, Puerto Rico, last October 2019, while in the company of my childhood friend Lorraine Fletcher.

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Where would you most like to be photographing right now?

What’s next?

From the series Questions (After Brecht)

On Route One, USA, with Anna Fox HonFRPS, somewhere between Baltimore and New York in order to complete our road

trip project, retracing the life and work of photographer Berenice Abbott, during Donald Trump’s presidency.

Questions (After Brecht) by Karen Knorr HonFRPS is published by GOST Books. gostbooks.com karenknorr.com

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Wildlife Worldwide

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Bookshelf

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INTO THE ARCTIC ICE Esther Horvath, Katharina Weiss-Tuider and Sebastian Grote Prestel (£45)

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Climate change in its most tangible form is seen in the Arctic – the temperature here is warming at a rate twice that of the rest of the planet. Markus Rex, expedition leader of the Multidisciplinary Drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC), has been back and forth to study the Arctic since the 1990s. When he first arrived he found “a hard-frozen landscape of glittering white snow crystals and deep-blue blocks of ice”. Today, “in the middle of winter liquid water splashes at my feet. The fjord has not frozen over for more than a decade, and waves play merrily in the wind where once there was solid ice.” Modelling predicts that within 25 years the Arctic will be completely ice free during the summer season.

Over the course of a year, between the autumns of 2019 and 2020, the MOSAiC expedition – led by Rex and involving 600 scientists from 20 countries – sent a ship, the research vessel Polarstern, further north into the central Arctic than any vessel had gone before. Conservation photographer Esther Horvath accompanied the mission, documenting scientific research in action, the harsh, majestic landscapes and the beautiful polar bears they encountered, along with the hardships and joys of everyday life in an extraordinary setting. Born in Hungary and based in Germany, Horvath is a science photographer for the Alfred Wegener Institute. Her work has been published in National Geographic and the New York Times. Since 2015, she has dedicated herself to documenting the polar regions. The vital data – ice samples, atmospheric, terrain and ocean measurements –

ON PHOTOGRAPHS

Esther Horvath has documented scientific research on the MOSAiC expedition

collected by the MOSAiC expedition will shape the climate policy of the future. Horvath’s images, accompanying texts by science communicators Katharina Weiss-Tuider and Sebastian Grote, offer an in-depth, insider’s view into this unique and timely expedition.

THERE’S ALWAYS DEATH TO FALL BACK ON John Moore, Brian David Stevens Silverhill Press (£10)

LATENT BLOOM

David Campany Thames and Hudson (£25)

The latest book by writer and curator David Campany, recipient of the 2014 J Dudley Johnston Medal, alludes to On Photography, the classic work of photographic theory by Susan Sontag. While Sontag worried that photography as a medium induced voyeurism and inaction, though, Campany has a more hopeful take. He argues that, through close analysis of individual images, the meaning of a photograph is shifting and always open to reinterpretation.

This new writer-photographer collaboration takes the reader back to a difficult period during 2018 when the musician John Moore, diagnosed as type 1 bipolar, was struggling with mental ill health. Formerly with Black Box Recorder and The Jesus and Mary Chain, Moore’s poetic, often painful words combine with the stirring black-and-white images of Brian David Stevens to create a powerful and intimate portrait.

British photographer Jack Latham, who exhibited the project Sugar Paper Theories at RPS House, Bristol, in 2019, is acclaimed for his experimental approaches to documentary photography. His latest book offers a playful exploration of algorithmic imagination. The series, which won the Heidi.news Prize – Reportage from Grand Prix Images Vevey in September, involved Latham running images of flowers and art theory through an algorithm to re-imagine something strange and new.

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Jack Latham HERE Press (£25)

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‘Manfria, Sicily, Italy, September 2018’ by Daniel Castro Garcia

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“I got really into macro photography of things not normally considered cuddly or cute”

“My foundation year was amazing. It was the first time I felt I belonged. It revealed to me what art could be”

DR IGOR SIWANOWICZ

STEVE MCQUEEN

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“I’m interested in experimenting and pushing the boundaries of these forms in new ways”

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“Cinematography is there to help tell the story via mood and emotions, like music”

“I've met many top inventors and persistence seems to be the common trait”

LINUS SANDGREN

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“Being the son of migrants has had a huge effect on defining my motivations” DANIEL CASTRO GARCIA

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The Royal Photographic Awards 2020

Congratulations to this year’s recipients – from film-makers to curators, scientists to publishers, academics to artists

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PROGRESS MEDAL AND HONORARY FELLOWSHIP

For scientific or technological advancement of photography Charles Hull CENTENARY MEDAL

For a sustained, significant contribution to the art of photography Sally Mann HonFRPS OUTSTANDING SERVICE MEDAL AND HONORARY FELLOWSHIP

For sustained, outstanding and influential advancement of photography Professor Deborah Willis HONORARY FELLOWSHIPS

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Edward Burtynsky Richard Mosse Tracey Moffatt Rut Blees Luxemburg Melanie Manchot James Barnor Sunil Gupta Shirin Neshat Gideon Mendel

AWARD FOR PHOTOGRAPHIC CURATORSHIP

AWARD FOR CINEMATIC PRODUCTION

AWARD FOR EDITORIAL, ADVERTISING AND FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY

For outstanding achievement or sustained contribution in the production, direction or development of film for cinema, television, online or new media Steve McQueen COMBINED ROYAL COLLEGES AWARD

For contributions to Medical Photography Pankaj Chandak

For excellence in the field of photographic curatorship, through exhibitions and associated events and publications Aïda Muluneh

For outstanding achievement and excellence in these fields Ellen von Unwerth AWARD FOR PHOTOGRAPHIC EDUCATION

For outstanding achievement or sustained contribution in this field Professor Andrea Liggins ASICI FRPS


Roll call, 1 Clockwise from top left From the Fervor series, 2000, by Shirin Neshat; No Time to Die, shot by Linus Sandgren; ‘Madonna, New York’, 2014, by Ellen von Unwerth; ‘Front foot (tarsus) of a male diving beetle’, by Dr Igor Siwanowicz; ‘Uranium Tailings #12 Elliot Lake, Ontario, 1995’, by Edward Burtynsky

FENTON MEDALS

For outstanding contributions to the work of the RPS Dr Tony Kaye ASIS FRPS Armando Jongejan FRPS David Osborn FRPS

MEMBERS’ AWARD

Judy Buckley-Sharp LRPS HOOD MEDAL

For a body of work promoting or raising awareness of current issues Poulomi Basu J DUDLEY JOHNSTON AWARD

For major achievement in photographic criticism or photographic history Professor Elizabeth Edwards

LUMIÈRE AWARD

For major achievement in the field of cinematography, video or animation Linus Sandgren PHOTOGRAPHIC PUBLISHING AWARD

For outstanding achievement or sustained contribution in the field of photographic publishing in its broadest sense Lesley A Martin AWARD FOR SCIENTIFIC IMAGING

For a body of scientific imaging which promotes public knowledge and understanding Dr Igor Siwanowicz SELWYN AWARD

Recognising successful

science-based imaging work made by a researcher in the early stage of their career Dr Maria Castaneyra-Ruiz VIC ODDEN AWARD

For achievement in the art of photography for those aged 35 or under Daniel Castro Garcia THE PHOTOGRAPHIC ANGLE/RPS ENVIRONMENTAL BURSARY

To support a photographic project that will promote environmental awareness Ngadi Smart RPS POSTGRADUATE BURSARY

For a postgraduate student on a course – or undertaking research – in photography Brook Andrew NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020

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The award-winning macro photographer takes us on a fantastic voyage into the invisible worlds of plants and insects WORDS: GAVIN BELL IMAGES: DR IGOR SIWANOWICZ

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Barnacle “This is a tiny barnacle, which has the largest penis in the animal kingdom relative to its size. Darwin spent much of his career studying barnacles and concluded that they are animals because the larvae are able to move. This image is a composite of six stacks because of the restrictions of the field of view of the lens I was using. I had to scan it six times and stitch the images together. Magnification 100x.”

The creatures seem to be from another world. Weird and wonderful, they dazzle the camera with bizarre shapes and vibrant colours like alien life forms. Yet they are all around us, largely unseen until the advent of the confocal microscope and digital camera. The intricate beauty of insects and plant life is revealed in spectacular fashion by a Polish neurobiologist with a passion for nature who says he takes photographs for fun. Dr Igor Siwanowicz, who is to receive the RPS Award for Imaging Science, was 26 when he bought his first camera and taught himself to use it. Years later his science and art converged in images of microscopic life that have won the Olympus BioScapes Competition and placed 14 times in Nikon’s Small World competition. “Before I started taking images through the microscope I got really into macro photography of things not normally considered cuddly or cute,” he says. “My approach was to show people that those things can be beautiful too, that you can find beauty in a snail’s mouth if you know what to look for, and that a praying mantis can have personality.”

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Fern sporangia “This is a cluster of specialised hairs around spores on the underside of a leaf of a tiny fern designed to protect the spores from the environment, from drying out and so on. I was confused by this image at first, thinking there was some kind of fungal infection going on, until I learned otherwise. These are not false colours, they are how the microscope sees the example with fluorescence and binding dyes. Magnification 100x.”

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Species of freshwater green algae, desmids, shown to scale “I tried to arrange them in the form of a symbol from Sanskrit and Hinduism representing the top projection of a temple with four entrances and seven or eight levels and you’re supposed to meditate on that. Digitally I wouldn’t be able to stack the desmids like that so I did it in post-processing with Photoshop. I think there are eight species here. Magnification 400x.”

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In a telephone interview from Virginia, where he is carrying out research at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Siwanowicz says he uses some of the same techniques as wedding photographers – the illuminations and backgrounds and so on, as well as the way he takes his subjects out of their natural context of muck and greenery and puts them in a studio, or what he terms “meeting them on the same level”. There is no doubt his photography assists scientific research,

but he insists: “This part of my work I do purely for fun, and to show viewers the beauty of natural forms. It’s a great tool to open viewers’ eyes to the multiple facets of natural design.” Siwanowicz’s first camera equipment cost €4,000 almost 20 years ago, which he says was pretty ridiculous for someone who didn’t know how to take photos, but he knew exactly what he wanted to achieve.

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Inner side of a moth proboscis “The colours represent varied affinity of the moth’s exoskeleton to chitin-binding dyes from the textile industry. You can see the mechanosensors that cover its tongue. It’s a good example of never knowing what you’re going to get when using three channels on the confocal microscope and adding them together – red, green and blue. Sometimes you can get this golden effect, although it doesn’t look like that in real life. Magnification 100x.”

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Moth antenna “This is the antenna of a tiny grey male moth covered in olfactory receptors designed to detect females. It’s very lightweight but covered in a huge number of these receptors that are like an ultra-sensitive nose. This sample was perfect because it was tiny and had complex-looking antennae. The problem when samples get too big is that you cannot image the whole thing, you just have to focus on one part. Magnification 250x.”

“I wanted to give insects kind of human characteristics, or to coerce the viewer’s brain into seeing human characteristics in them. The textbook macro photography I was exposed to was very technical, it showed all the bits and pieces of anatomy and morphology, but it didn’t convey emotions in any way. I wanted to avoid clichés, so instead of relying on commonly-used models, such as fluffy or feathery warm-blooded animals that humans instinctively resonate with, I focused on creepy-crawlies.” Born in 1976 in Krakow, the son of two biologists, Siwanowicz began his career as a molecular biologist but lost interest in studying proteins. Photography played a key role in his switch to neurobiology after he focused his lenses on insect morphology and anatomy. “At the same time I think I started having depression, which runs in the family,” he says. “That got me really interested in the workings of the brain and psychology and so on, and I decided to jump tracks and ended up changing my field to neurobiology, using insects as models. It was curiosity and learning new things. It’s the best coping measure ever because it literally rewires your brain – it’s a great therapy.”

“The textbook macro photography I was exposed to was very technical, but it didn’t convey emotions in any way”

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Confocal stack projection of an aquatic carnivorous plant, the humped bladderwort “The four bright elements visible above the mouth-like entrance to the trap are the bases of trigger hairs. This image won first place in the 2013 Olympus BioScapes Competition. That year I was invited to be on the jury for the contest but I said sorry, I think I have good material this year. I also won third place with the desmid mandala (see page 687). Magnification 100x.”

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“You have to take lots of shots to find one that is in focus because your model doesn’t behave and do what you want it to do”

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Siwanowicz can now tell you all you could ever wish to know about the jumping mechanism of planthoppers and how the mechanosensors of dragonfly wings may have applications in aviation. He has also found that the film industry’s perceived wisdom about never working with children or animals applies equally to insects. “Digital photography is perfect for macro because your success rate is pretty low. You have to take lots of shots to find one that is in focus because your model doesn’t behave and do what you want it to do. Insects are hard-wired to act in a certain way and you have to work with that. “But you can also learn to induce certain behaviours, like the threatening display of a praying mantis when it really shines and raises those arms and legs and looks like a superhero, or a hybrid between an alien and a fairy. It makes them better models of course.” His success rate with insects varies – sometimes he captures what he’s looking for in three or four frames, sometimes it is closer to 30. “It’s part of the macro photography game that you work with a very limited field of view,” he says. “The plane in which the object is in focus is paper thin and so you want to image all the bits of anatomy that are important to you. I never


The radula or tongue of a freshwater snail “This depth colour-coded projection of a confocal stack looks like chain mail. The array of tiny chitinous teeth is used to scrape algae from surfaces like windowsills. When you use polarised light these snail tongues light up in iridescent rainbow patterns. In this case these are false colours meant to show the three-dimensional depth of the sample. Magnification 400x.�

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PROFILE

Dr Igor Siwanowicz

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Renowned for his science-informed art, Siwanowicz was born to biologist parents in Krakow. He began his career as a biochemist but a love of nature led him to switch to neurobiology. He is a researcher at Howard Hughes Medical Center, USA.

close the aperture completely as that degrades the image quality because the physics of light are in the way. You get more focus at the cost of detail.” While microscopy of dead and processed samples can appear more predictable, Siwanowicz never knows what final effect he might achieve, especially with colours. This is because he uses a fluorescent confocal microscope to excite the sample with light of certain wavelengths that are recorded in several channels. “Confocal is essentially a scanning laser microscope that works like a 3D scanner. These are not false colours, this is how the microscope sees the sample. To our eyes it would be just pale yellow. It doesn’t look like that in real life. It’s how a microscope processes visual information, very differently from us.”

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Hind legs of a planthopper Bruchomorpha jocosa “Movement of the hind legs of this champion jumper is one of the fastest in nature and is accomplished by mechanical means such as functional gear wheels on each propulsive hind leg. They can accelerate to 600 times the force of gravity – we pass out at six g-force. Magnification 250x.”

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Mouthparts of a brown dog tick and a lone star tick “The colours represent the varied affinity of the insect’s exoskeleton to chitin-binding dyes. Ticks are a bit of a problem on campus so finding them is not difficult. This is a composite of two images. They look medieval and you can immediately see that those mouths are designed to embed in the skin and stay in with a lot of barbs. Magnification 100x.”

“Photography is a great form of occupational therapy for me” Making photographs for pleasure has been rewarding for Siwanowicz, and he believes he has much in common with professional photographers. “Photography is a great form of occupational therapy for me because it grounds you in the moment when the magic happens in five milliseconds. It teaches you humility because your success rate is not so high and it teaches you patience,

because you work with living creatures that are very delicate. They do their own thing and you have to respect that, so you learn to respect nature and life forms in all manifestations. “In my line of work in science, I’m applying the same rules that photographers and I guess artists use in their work. I’m always trying to convey beauty through workrelated images.” NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020

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EDWARD BURTYNSKY HONORARY FELLOWSHIP

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Acclaimed for his majestic views of our fragile planet, this renowned photographer has stared deeply into the natural world during lockdown WORDS: LUCY DAVIES

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‘Tsaus Mountains #1, Sperrgebiet, Namibia, 2018’

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Little did Edward Burtynsky think when he invested in a state-of-the-art, 150 megapixel, Phase One camera system last year that he would be using it to make pictures of brambles and lichen. The Canadian photographer, now 65, is more usually to be found 1,000ft up, creating majestic, giant’s-eye views of industry and its devastating effect on the environment. Views that have earned him, among many other

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‘Phosphor Tailings Pond #2, Polk County, Florida, USA, 2012’

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awards, eight honorary doctorate degrees, a TED Prize and now an RPS Honorary Fellowship. In his practised hands, hulking tankers, quarries, dams, bitumen sands and freeway intersections are turned into spectacular arrangements of shape, space, pattern and perspective. Look at what we’re losing, his pictures say, even as we lose it. In mid-March 2020, with 10 days to spare before a trip to Ethiopia and


‘Natural Order #33, Grey County, Ontario, Canada, Spring, 2020’

Kenya, Burtynsky drove to his country house in Georgian Bay – two hours north of Toronto – intending to fine-tune his travel plans. Of course, he would never make the trip. Canada closed its borders on 16 March and entered mandatory lockdown two days later, whereupon Burtynsky, like the rest of us, found himself confined to a very small piece of the world indeed. “I thought, okay, I’ll use this time to go deep into my new camera,” he tells me.

Every day, he got up, went out. “It was still almost winter. There was snow around, but with the leaves gone, the structure of the brush and trees was beautiful. I began seeing them as fractals of our own being: our vascular system, our neural net, the complex weave of life. Plus, it seemed to make sense to be staring into the eye of the natural world at this point. I mean – nature had the whole planet pinned down.”

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Burtynsky was struck, too, by how similar the pictures he was taking were to those he was making 40 years ago with his 4x5 view camera. He singled out a particular photograph from 1981 – a tangle of grasses and stalks reflected in a lake – which still did something for him. The new photographs – their title is Natural Order – are created by focus stacking, whereby multiple images with different focus distances are combined in processing to produce one image

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‘Dandora Landfill #3, Plastics Recycling, Nairobi, Kenya, 2016’

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with a greater depth of field. Burtynsky has published some in a new book with Steidl, and exhibited them at Nicholas Metivier, Toronto, and online with Flowers Gallery, London. He considers the series a “tip of the hat” to abstract expressionism. “Because they have that all-overness of a [Jackson] Pollock drip painting, where the layers that were first laid down are still as sharp as the drips that go on top. You can just dig in with your eyes.”


‘Oil spill #13, Mississippi Delta, Gulf of Mexico, June 24, 2010’

Burtynsky, who was born in 1955 in the city of St Catherine’s, often refers to painting when talking about his photographs. Indeed, he has described himself previously as “a painter, but I use a camera” and tells me that, when he was little, he used to sit by his father while Burtynsky senior – a Displaced Person from Ukraine – painted. “I had such curiosity about how colours come together to make something.” When his father gave him a camera though, aged 11, “that was a more natural fit, because I could make

images almost instantly. I guess I wanted to run around with my friends, but I’ve never stopped thinking of taking pictures as a faster way to paint. I’m interested in colour and light and composition, and when I make an image I want the viewer to be captivated by the thing that they’re standing in front of.” Burtynsky also draws on the work of early expeditionary photographers such as Carleton Watkins (1829-1916), Francis Frith (1822-1898) and Samuel Bourne (1834-1912).

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“They are kind of heroes for me,” he says. “There was something really honest about the way they saw and captured the world and I’ve learned something from that: how do I transmit what I see in a way that’s very powerful and tells the story?” He tends to start, he says, with an image in mind, “then work towards getting myself in front of it”. It can take a long time. For instance, in the early 1990s, he decided he wanted to make a picture of a stone quarry.

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‘Clearcut # 1, Palm Oil Plantation, Borneo, Malaysia, 2016’

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Being pre-web, that required a reference library. Hours of reading later he went to a quarry convention (who knew!), where he learned that he could find the specific type of quarry he was looking for in Vermont. Even then, the first pictures he made, “were not interesting to me at all. I had to figure out the particular visual language the quarries needed.” He enjoys the research; going deeper and deeper into an idea. “It’s the core of my work,” he says. “It’s a lot easier now,


‘Uralkali Potash Mine #4, Berezniki, Russia, 2017’

with Google, but there’s still a lot of work to be done in terms of: ‘Why here, not there; why this, not that?’. Those are the questions I’m always trying to answer.” You must know an awful lot about nichey things, I say, preparing to provoke him into revealing the weirdest conventions he’s attended. “I will say that there’s a society for everything,” he replies, carefully. “I did end up hanging out with a group concerned with the preservation of ship side launching. That was pretty out there, pretty niche, yep.

“But all these things have one thing in common, which is that this is the world that is necessary – in the background, humming away – to allow us to live the lives we do. When you buy that new thing, where does the stuff it’s made out of come from? And where does it go when you’ve thrown it away? Because there’s no such place as ‘away’.” He must be weary, given all he has seen. “That part hit me 20 years ago,” he says. “It’s like working in palliative care: you’d better build some resistance

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or you’re going to be in trouble.” The thing that worries him now, “is what we’re leaving behind, and that time is running out. Because it’s not beyond the realm of possibility to solve the problem, but is there the will?” The trips that were in Burtynsky’s diary to Ethiopia and Kenya this year were to gather the final few images for his next series, Africa. It concerns the continent being the last stop on the line for globalism, and makes for grim listening.

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‘Natural Order #14, Grey County, Ontario, Canada, Spring, 2020’

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“Globalism works by finding the cheapest labour and the lowest tax rates and the most advantageous places to produce goods,” he says. “And now China, for a long time the world’s top exporter, has become a little too expensive. The environmental degradation there is – well – people are dying. They are getting sick. China is looking at how much air, sky, land and water have been laid to waste in pursuit of being the manufacturer for the planet and it has thought: ‘this is not sustainable’.


‘Oil Spill #5, Q4000 Drilling Platform, Gulf of Mexico, June 24, 2010’

“So, about four years ago, they started offshoring 75 million manufacturing jobs to places where it’s cheaper and where environmental regulations are low – places like Kenya, Senegal and Ethiopia, who now have these vast economic zones and factories. But here’s the thing. There is nowhere to go after this. There isn’t another population who can go cheaper. What I’m photographing is the final iteration of globalism. This is it, the last lurch.” edwardburtynsky.com

PROFILE

Edward Burtynsky Edward Burtynsky’s works are included in the collections of more than 60 major museums. Among his touring exhibitions are Manufactured Landscapes (2003), Oil (2009), Water (2013) and Anthropocene (2018). Film collaborations include Manufactured Landscapes (2006), Watermark (2013) and Anthropocene: The Human Epoch (2018). Among Burtynsky’s distinctions are the first TED Prize in 2005, the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts, the 2018 Photo London Master of Photography Award and the 2019 Lucie Award for Achievement in Documentary. He holds eight honorary degrees.

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No Time to Die For the 25th James Bond film, Linus Sandgren and the crew recreated Santiago de Cuba in the backlot of Pinewood studios, London

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LINUS SANDGREN LUMIÈRE AWARD

Already acclaimed for his work on First Man and La La Land, shooting the latest Bond film was a dream come true for this skilled cinematographer WORDS: LUCY DAVIES

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No Time to Die A special effects explosion shot at dusk from a helicopter

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No Time to Die Sandgren and key grip David Appleby set up an IMAX camera at dawn in Matera, Italy

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Imagine what it might be like, having watched all 24 of the James Bond films – and been so thrilled by the underwater scenes in For Your Eyes Only (1981) that, at the age of 11, you learned to free dive – to walk on set for the first time as cinematographer for Bond number 25. Nerve-racking would not be the half of it, especially as the very first scene that Linus Sandgren was charged with realising for No Time to Die involved a frozen lake in Norway that wasn’t, when the time came to it, actually frozen. “We’d wanted white and cold,” Sandgren tells me, “but the trees were black and the snow was wet, not crisp. Production had built a house that was meant to sit on the frozen lake, but the surface was melting. It was weakening. I had to send the cranes and cherry pickers out on to the ice without me.


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No Time To Die Daniel Craig in his fifth outing as 007

Honestly, we could have had an easier start.” Even so, making that scene happen against the odds was “a great adventure”. As was, Sandgren adds, the entire production – 12 months of filming, six of post-production, for which Sandgren had untold resources at his disposal. “Whatever I might have dreamed of as a young cinematographer, when I had all these ambitious ideas but no money to realise them with, I had it now. I could do it.” This month Sandgren, who is 47, will receive the RPS Lumière Award, which recognises major achievements in cinematography, video or animation. Previous winners have included the director Ridley Scott, and fellow cinematographers Roger Deakins (1917; Fargo; Skyfall) and Rachel Morrison (Black Panther; Fruitvale Station). Sandgren, who was born in Spånga, Sweden, and now lives in Santa Monica,

“Production had built a house that was meant to sit on the frozen lake, but the surface was melting. It was weakening”

No Time to Die New Bond villain Safin, played by Rami Malek

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Los Angeles, with his wife and two daughters, was nominated for his work on such films as La La Land (2016) – for which he won an Oscar and a BAFTA – American Hustle (2013) and First Man (2018). For the latter, he impressed industry and audiences alike with his unusual and intelligently targeted use of IMAX cameras. No Time to Die is next to get the treatment: the first Bond film ever to be shot in IMAX, in fact, though still only in parts. Sandgren tends to mix and match his mediums, as we shall see. What makes a movie? The miracle of light and movement recorded on film, yes, but to that the cinematographer adds a thousand nuances through depth, rhythm, the careful placing or absence of light, shadow and colour. “To me, cinematography is there to help tell the story via mood and emotions, like music,” says Sandgren. “It’s not important for me to show what is going on literally, but to express what a character feels, or what we are meant to feel.” It can be hard to establish, in judging a film’s ‘look’, where a director’s

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“It’s not important for me to show what is going on literally, but to express what a character feels, or what we are meant to feel”

La La Land Ryan Gosling in a final light adjustment by gaffer Brad Hazen

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La La Land Damien Chazelle directing Emma Stone

contribution ends and his or her cinematographer’s begins. That’s because, essentially, the cinematographer is charged with realising the director’s vision, even if the level of input therein can vary greatly. “Usually the director is the one who makes me want to do the film,” Sandgren says. “Hopefully the script triggers me emotionally and presents interesting challenges, but it isn’t

always even written at that stage, so to be able to fully understand the potential of the film, a conversation with the director is critical.” Sandgren likes to begin by asking the director to come up with words that represent “perhaps the story, a character, a feeling. We can then transform these into visual metaphors or rules. Soon the visual story takes its shape.”

In the case of First Man, which follows NASA pilot Neil Armstrong in the run-up to the 1969 moon landings, “it was, life and death, solitude, hidden feelings, stoic persona, grief, intimacy, humanity. These words made us work with black shadows in Neil’s domestic scenes, which would represent both solitude and death. We also had space itself be black and not filled with stars, to reflect the same.” NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020

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First Man Sandgren operating a shot of Ryan Gosling in the Lunar Landing Training Vehicle set built on a motion gimbal rig

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“Personally I feel that movies shot on film connect me to the story better”

No Time to Die was a special case. The film’s director, Cary Joji Fukunaga, told Sandgren he “wanted to find the heart of Bond, the essence. So action and suspense, as well as wit and humour. He also had a strong idea of movement and about drastic changes between scenes. We agreed that the best way to tell the story would be with a large canvas and rich images with heightened environments. The challenge, for all of us, was to find the variation between the scenes, and the glue to merge it all together.” Fukunaga, who used to be a cinematographer himself, also agreed with Sandgren that, in the name of “rich and epic”, they should shoot on film rather than digitally. “Personally I feel that movies shot on film connect me to the story better – it’s like with music, where even though you can make a synthesiser sound like an acoustic violin, you still need the real one, because its sound has human flaws and other intricate detail.” Finding the right format, says Sandgren, “is a huge part of my job.

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First Man NASA Headquarters photographed in 35mm 2-perf and push processed for richer colours and higher contrast

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First Man All the interiors of the rockets were photographed in Super-16mm to enhance the intimacy of the scenes

I test and compare, but those tests are emotional rather than technical. For example, 16mm feels more intimate to me than 35mm, but it could also feel too indie, or too documentary, if it’s handheld. So on First Man we put astronauts in a capsule and shot it in 16mm, 35mm and 65mm. We all felt that 16mm felt intimate, raw and real. 35mm felt like a movie. And 65mm was just too clean. So we went for 16mm in those scenes.” Processing is equally important: “So First Man’s 35mm footage is push processed [where the sensitivity of the film is increased to obtain a higher contrast], for a raw feel, whereas in La La Land we pull processed [decreasing the sensitivity] for finer grain and smoother colours. The La La Land test also looked beautiful when push processed, but it boosted the colours, too, and we wanted to work with colours in the sets and costumes. The extra contrast could have been a bit too much.” Ah, the colours. Anyone who watches La La Land is entranced by them – the NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020

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evanescent traces of green in magichour skies; Mia (Emma Stone) dancing in a daffodil yellow dress against the rich blue of evening. “[Director] Damien [Chazelle] and I thought that the city should feel romantic,” Sandgren explains, “so for the skies at night our palette was always blue, purple, pink, rather than black, and for the street lamps we used mercury vapour bulbs, which give more of a cyan/green tone, rather than sodium, which is more of an orange colour, and ugly. I mean, yes, LA can be an ugly city – it has a grittiness – but near the coast it has the most beautiful skies. Plus, it was important to me that, in the film, the reality never felt too realistic, because you don’t want to be thrown from realism into a musical. I wanted the city to feel as if it could turn magical at any given moment.” Photographs by Gregory Crewdson, Ernst Haas and Todd Hido were each influential in creating La La Land’s look. Flipping through photography books is often how Sandgren begins

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First Man Sandgren operating the camera in a white suit for reflections of Ryan Gosling’s helmet

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“We have a lot to learn from the old masters. What I love most with filmmaking is the craftsmanship, the artistry”

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First Man The exterior of the moon was shot in IMAX 65mm to give a stark contrast to the intimate 16mm of the interior in the lunar lander. This scene was filmed at night in a quarry dressed as the moon’s surface. The set was lit by a 200,000W light specially built for this film

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First Man Claire Foy at NASA Headquarters. This scene was photographed in 35mm 2-perf and push processes for higher contrast and richer colours

when he starts work on a film. William Eggleston, Saul Leiter and Joel Meyerowitz were on his mood board for American Hustle, plus Hido, who seems to crop up every time. “He is closest to my soul,” admits Sandgren, though he also returns often to 19th-century Romantic paintings. “We have a lot to learn from the old masters,” he explains. “I think what I love most with film-making is the craftsmanship, so the more handcrafted solutions I see in-camera when I shoot a film, the more I enjoy it.” Can he tell on set whether the visual language he has conjured into being is working? “It should feel great at that moment, yes,” Sandgren replies, “but film-making is also compromising, so it can be worrisome. I enjoy standing on a set watching brilliant actors perform in our light. And watching the final cut with music and sound, it’s like, mission complete. It can be hard to judge my own work but I can always enjoy the work of others.” No Time to Die is due to be released worldwide on 2 April 2021 NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020

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Catania, Sicily, Italy, August 2017. After hours spent swimming in the sea, Fanguidou rests on the shore. I was drawn to this moment because of the connotations of a fallen angel; Fanguidou spent a long time sitting like this, contemplating the waves. After looking at the image together, he told me he had been remembering how tired he felt during his Mediterranean crossing.

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DANIEL CASTRO GARCIA VIC ODDEN AWARD

The young British-Spanish artist is recognised for his startling portraits of migration and lives in limbo Reacting against mass media portrayals of migrants and refugees as large groups of anonymous people, Daniel Castro Garcia focuses in his work on the human stories behind the headlines. Often collaborating closely with individuals over long periods of time, this British-Spanish artist develops complex and nuanced portraits of people who have fled their homes, usually suffered traumatic experiences on their journeys and find themselves in disorientating new surroundings. On the following pages Castro Garcia talks about the origins of his work, what motivates his visual style, and how his practice has developed in recent years.

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“My parents were economic migrants who came to Britain from northern Spain in 1970. Although on the surface I look like a white British person I grew up living a double life – at home I was in a very different environment, in terms of cultural values and language, to the one I was in at school. From that perspective I had an enriched understanding of the working-class migrant experience.

“In 2013 and 2014 I became increasingly aware of the disconcerting images coming from the Mediterranean Sea showing people travelling in overcrowded boats. “The turning point for me on a personal level came in April 2015, when two migrant boats capsized, claiming an estimated 750 lives in the space of a week. I was extremely disturbed by the

subsequent response in sections of the British media. Famously, in one article migrants were referred to as ‘cockroaches’, while elements in the political leadership were using words like ‘swarms’ to describe them. “At the same time, the images illustrating media stories reinforced these ideas by showing migrants as crowds of faceless people.

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Kolda, Senegal, February 2018. Soon after our arrival at a village in Kolda, the mother of this 12-year-old explained that the young girl wanted to travel to Europe to be with her brother and find work to provide for her family. At such an age, it was strange to find a child worrying so much about her future.

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Catania, Sicily, Italy, June 2017. Enoch, 16, from Eritrea, arrived at the Port of Catania two days prior to this photograph being taken. I found him in a bus shelter with two other underage boys. After talking for a while, Enoch showed me his tattoos and the message was clear. The love for his parents is juxtaposed with a tear-filled eye on the palm of his hand.

“The situation required work that was prepared to bring a closer proximity” “I felt the situation required work that was prepared to bring a closer proximity to the individuals experiencing these injustices, and one that counterbalanced the mass media imagery that is ethically problematic. Trying to develop a language in which the individual in question can bring a

level of control and expression to the image being created was a massive motivation and consideration for me. “The work started officially in May 2015, when I travelled to the island of Lampedusa with my partner and producer, Jade Morris, and my former creative partner, Thomas Saxby.

“When we arrived there were no migrants on the island because rescue operations had been diverted to mainland Sicily and southern Italy. As a result the work immediately took on a different tone, whereby we searched for the traces of the people that came through the island. This resulted in a NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020

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quiet and nuanced element to the work and a more spiritual dynamic. “Having self-initiated this project I really wanted to get out there and continue, so in October 2015 I managed to head out across Europe again, with Jade Morris, and went to witness and document the migration and refugee hotspots highlighted in the media. We travelled for six and a half weeks, driving from London to Calais, across the Balkans and down to Greece and the island of Lesbos and back across to Sicily to catch up with the collaborators I had met in the summer.

“That’s where the foundations for the long-term consideration of my work were really implemented – the idea of revisiting locations and developing relationships beyond a first encounter. We ended the trip by visiting people in Germany and Calais, enabling a rich understanding of the socio-political reaction across Europe. “Subsequently the images also became charged and political; they’re not impressionistic, traditional photojournalism images in which there’s a ‘them and us’ perspective. I’m more motivated by the ‘us’ element of image-

making and how together we can explore and push themes that aren’t often considered. That journey led to us publishing a book, Foreigner: Migration into Europe 2015-16. “Following the book I received funding from the Magnum Foundation which allowed Jade and me to move back to Sicily in June 2017. We worked full-time at a reception centre for unaccompanied minors, Casa Zingale, a home for 12 sub-Saharan boys aged under 18. What was supposed to be a three-month assignment lasted until February 2019.

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Calais, France, March 2016. During the destruction of the southern section of the Calais camp, an estimated 1,700 people were evicted by force and provided with alternative accommodation at reception centres across France. For a majority of the camp’s residents, the dream of making it to the United Kingdom was now over. Many residents set fire to their shelters as they left in acts of symbolic defiance.

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Calais, France, November 2015. Abraham, from Sudan, allowed me to photograph his daily prayer ritual, which he conducted in the space next to his shelter in the camp. One of the most fascinating parts of this project was to observe and learn about Islam and how, for the people I met, their faith served as a means of strength, survival and hope – themes not presented or depicted by the mainstream media.

“When the boys come of age or decide to move on, they fall out of the system” “During that period, I also received the W Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography, which was such a blessing as it meant we could expand the ambition of the work and take a trip to Senegal. “We also visited some of the families of the boys with whom we’d been working at Casa Zingale. Creating images with their family members in the locations from which they came meant we were compiling new narratives and exploring how images could start triggering memory and conversations. We were playing with ideas of location and belonging, and asking what are the origins that

people are leaving behind and how significant is that to their lived experience on their journey and in Europe? “Working at Casa Zingale to that depth means the images are layered with meanings and metaphor, while also revealing the more serious consequences of this migratory experience. It particularly motivated a strong focus on the traumatic psychological impact the boys had been going through, as well as the reality of living as a young African male in rural central Sicily with poor access to mental healthcare and infrastructure.

“It also allowed me to see that when the boys come of age or decide to move on, they effectively fall out of the system and become part of this document-less group of people that are again at newer risks of exploitation all over Europe, often working in very poorly paid jobs and in poor living conditions. “Since then I’ve done a few trips to catch up with some of the boys as they have become young adults and to consider their reality now in different locations across Europe. Our approach to the images evolves each time. NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020

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Calais, France, November 2015. North African men thread their eyebrows in the morning sun.

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Kolda, Senegal, February 2018. This village – deep in the desert bush lands on the outskirts of the city of Kolda in southern Senegal – has no access to electricity or clean water. A lake located 10 minutes away provides the villagers with a place to grow vegetables. In this image we can see a local villager searching for fish; yields are low and catching fish in these shallow waters is quite a challenge.

“The aim is to challenge the visual status quo by democratising the content” “In the resulting work, I Peri N’Tera [Feet on the Ground], the aim is to continue challenging the visual status quo defining these human experiences, by democratising the content to allow people to consider issues around migration in a way they hadn’t done previously. We are looking for some dignity and that

idea really does stem from a personal experience. Being the son of migrants has had a huge effect on defining my motivations. “I am still in touch with nearly all the boys and am keen to push on with the work, though it has been interrupted by the pandemic and a lack of funding.

“My role is now beyond photography – I’m almost a mentor to some of the boys, which comes with a great deal of responsibility. This is a life’s work for me.” Daniel Castro Garcia was talking to David Clark. danielcastrogarcia.com NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020

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STEVE

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From 12 Years a Slave to Shame, this director’s films help drive the cultural zeitgeist. He speaks to Tom Seymour ART PRODUCTION CLIENT

Lupita Nyong’o and Chiwetel Ejiofor in the Oscar-winning 2014 film 12 Years a Slave, based on the memoir of Solomon Northup

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Michael Fassbender in McQueen’s 2011 psychological drama Shame

McQUEEN CINEMATIC PRODUCTION AWARD

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Artist and director Steve McQueen, the first black British film producer to ever receive the Academy Award for Best Picture


Steve McQueen remembers sitting on a school bus, crawling from Hanwell to Pimlico to visit the Tate Gallery. He was nine, and the year was 1978. As the kids joked and jockeyed around the gallery halls, McQueen found himself standing in front of a painting by Edward Burra, an English painter known for his depictions of urban black culture, especially in the New York district of Harlem in the 1930s. “The things I was interested in were not given that kind of platform, or a place to be,” McQueen says. “But here was this art.” Today, McQueen is sitting in the corner of the London office of his production company. He’s working on five films concurrently – together forming the anthology series Small Axe – and the commotion of the office is audible in the background during our call. What appealed about that Burra painting, I ask. “It was the colour, the texture, the style, the madness,” he says. “I just engaged with it. And then finding out later that Burra had spent a lot of time in Harlem, painting the scenes there. Sometimes all you need is not even half an idea, a third of an idea, a bit of an idea, and it rollercoasters into something you never imagined. It starts with a hunch. I saw that painting and I had a hunch.”

The first Small Axe film, Mangrove (2020), is to raise the curtain on the London Film Festival in October. This is the second time that McQueen has opened Britain’s biggest film festival in three years. Meanwhile, a short walk from the festival’s BFI headquarters, McQueen’s retrospective at Tate Modern continues to draw sell-out crowds. It’s difficult to think of many other living artists as prolific, influential or diverse as McQueen. And it’s impossible to think of any British artist who, over the course of the last three decades, has driven the cultural zeitgeist as successfully as McQueen. And yet, early in the interview, I make a crucial mistake. “I’ve read you didn’t feel you were suited to school,” I say. He immediately corrects me. “No no no no no no no, not true,” he says. “School wasn’t suited for people like me. It was racist. I’ve been saying that for the last 20 years. It was racist, and classist as well. These schools were invested in black failure.” McQueen was born to parents of Grenadian and Trinidadian descent in Hanwell, West London. He is dyslexic and, as a teenager, had a lazy eye – a condition now corrected by his trademark thick-rimmed glasses. He drew all the time, but only in private. “That was my

BBC / McQUEEN LTD / PARISA TAGHIZADEH

“Sometimes all you need is not even half an idea, a third of an idea, a bit of an idea, and it rollercoasters into something you never imagined”

Lovers Rock (2020), one of five films in McQueen’s new anthology series Small Axe, revolves around a West Indian ‘Blues’ party in 1979 London

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freedom,” he says. One of the few things he gained praise for at his school, Drayton Manor High School, was his abilities on a football pitch. “I’ve been dealing with a frame all my life, like most people,” he says. “You deal with perspective, scale, all kinds of stuff.” It’s not clear whether he’s referring to creating art, or living in Britain as a working-class black man. Perhaps he is using one as a metaphor for the other. McQueen took A-level art at Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College, then studied art and design at Chelsea College of Arts. At Chelsea, McQueen focused on painting – “the most direct form of art making,” he says. “My foundation year was amazing,” he says. “It was the first time I felt I belonged. I was able to experiment, explore, investigate. It revealed to me what art could be, and it was a real baptism.” Growing up, McQueen didn’t spend much time at the cinema. “You would never go to the cinema by yourself in my neighbourhood,” he says. “People would laugh at you if you did. You went to the cinema to meet girls, to have a laugh with your mates. That was it. The films were secondary.” While at Chelsea, McQueen formed a relationship with a “very important girlfriend of mine, still a great friend”. She was cinema-mad and together the pair spent much of their time in London’s darkened arthouse cinemas. “That’s when I

discovered cinema from all over the world,” he says. “Asia, North America, Europe. All these places, all these film-makers. I was discovering cinema in the late 1980s and early 1990s. We used to get Time Out magazine on a Thursday and we’d mark out what movies we were going to see. We’d see two or three movies a day. And at that time there was a real resurgence of New Queer Cinema, which was really important to me. It was a different way of looking at things.” After Chelsea, McQueen decided to continue his studies at Goldsmiths. Here he discovered the then still-emergent medium of video art, and decided over the course of that year to go full tilt as a video artist. His first major work, Bear, was released to acclaim in 1993. Clocking in at ten minutes, Bear depicts two naked men – one the artist himself – aggressively tussling and then tenderly teasing each other. The film is silent, and yet a clear dialogue is built between the men through stares and glances, gestures and winks. The exchange continues even as their bodies clash and limbs writhe. Bear announced the arrival of a major new voice. Within that same decade McQueen had won a Turner Prize and represented the UK at the Venice Biennale. Over the years McQueen has developed a probably unfair reputation as being notoriously difficult to interview. That’s partly, I get the impression, because he’s been asked

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McQueen on the set of his debut feature film Hunger (2008), discussing the role of Bobby Sands with actor Michael Fassbender


Mangrove (2020), another film in the Small Axe cycle, focuses on the trial of black activists the Mangrove 9 in 1970

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“I’ve been dealing with a frame all my life, like most people. You deal with perspective, scale, all kinds of stuff”

so regularly about the colour of his skin – of being asked to describe and define “the frame” as he calls it. This is, in part, inevitable, for McQueen has explored the iniquities of class and race more successfully than perhaps any filmmaker alive. The 2013 film 12 Years a Slave, winner of the Best Picture Oscar, faithfully dramatised an overlooked classic of American literature, Solomon Northup’s memoir of being forcibly abducted and sold into bondage in the American South between 1841 and 1853. In 2018 McQueen released Widows, in which an affluent black woman is forced to navigate the depths of corrupt Chicago politics in order to right the wrongs of her late, white husband. And now Mangrove explores the 1970 trial in London of black activists, which resulted in the first judicial acknowledgment of behaviour motivated by racial hatred within the Metropolitan Police. Few contemporary works of cinema have been debated as much as McQueen’s, yet comparatively little is known of his first works, many of which are left out of the Tate retrospective. How would he describe his early process? “I’m still in the process,” he says. “I never stopped having that process. There was always a process. I didn’t just get serious then, no. I’m still trying. I’m still experimenting. I’m still trying to do stuff.” NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020

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Is it as easy to experiment now as it was back then, I ask. Do you feel it takes more effort now? “No. I don’t think there’s actually a choice as far as I’m concerned, do you know what I mean?” He laughs. “It’s every time I walk on a movie set. And I had never walked on to a movie set in my life before I walked on to my own, with Hunger in 2008. So the fact is, every time I do something, it’s brand new.” This isn’t mere bombast. In just over a decade, McQueen’s movies have explored a stunningly wide range of themes. Hunger’s interest in the way our internal mindset relates to the actions of our body is explored via the depiction of the hunger strike of incarcerated IRA militant Bobby Sands. In his second film, Shame (2011), McQueen pushes such a duality into psychosexual realms, depicting how unspoken childhood trauma drives a pair of siblings to varying forms of intimacy addiction, even as they live an outward life of affluent urban glamour. And in 12 Years a Slave, Northup’s suffering and trauma as a free man made a slave is largely told through sound, light and imagery, with dialogue sparse and often incidental to the narrative, and with Hollywood’s classic three act structure eschewed for a freer form of storytelling more normally found in a gallery setting. For each film, McQueen cast Michael Fassbender, the Irish actor who, before Hunger, was an unknown whose only form of employment was pulling pints in a North London pub.

“I had never walked on to a movie set in my life before I walked on to my own in 2008. So the fact is, every time I do something, it’s brand new”

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Daniel Kaluuya and Brian Tyree Henry in the heist thriller Widows (2018)


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John Boyega stars as real life Metropolitan Police officer Leroy Logan in Red, White and Blue (2020), the third film in the Small Axe series

The pair knew nothing of each before a casting director invited Fassbender to an audition. “In the first audition, I didn’t think much of him,” McQueen says. “And then, in the second round, we threw him back into the mix, and he suddenly seemed to get the situation. We offered him the job right there and then.” Delighted, Fassbender asked McQueen if he fancied a drink. The director clambered onto the back of Fassbender’s motorbike, “and we zoomed off to some pub somewhere and got pissed”. From playing Bobby Sands, which included a 23-minute duologue shot with a single, continuous take, Fassbender went on to be the lead in Shame, playing sex-addicted Wall Street banker Brandon Sullivan, and then, in 12 Years a Slave, as the demonic slave-trader Edwin Epps, a character based on a real-life plantation owner. In the space of a decade, McQueen has also created one of cinema’s most in-demand and widely-known movie stars. In that time McQueen has given plenty of interviews. Reading through them now, it’s apparent he has not always enjoyed the experience. Perhaps one of the reasons why McQueen has had to deal with the race question so regularly, and why he has reportedly been riled on occasions past, is it remains highly unusual for a black Londoner from a working class background, and with the accent to match, to have so

successfully managed to navigate the onion-like maze that is the British art industry and, subsequently, the American movie business. This is, McQueen says, because the film industry has a class problem, one that, on a structural level, stops it from welcoming in the heirs of McQueen’s legacy. “I don’t think the film industry has changed much at all,” McQueen says. “People laughed at me when I said I wanted to be a filmmaker. People would look at me in such a way that I clearly felt they were judging me before I had even opened my mouth. So you can imagine the environment of film and TV. It’s extremely classist. So let’s not play. We have lost a generation of black talent. It’s gone.” In the wake of the murder of George Floyd, organisations from across the cultural industries have published statements of solidarity with the protests that defied lockdown to take to the streets. Promises were made to listen and change, to open up and embrace the many voices who have been denied the chance to represent themselves, and to tell their cultural histories. Both film and art history have been at the forefront of what, at best, may be remembered as a critical and sustaining attitudinal shift and, at worst, will be seen as little more than a fleeting moment of virtue signalling before a retrenchment of the status quo. What does McQueen think will happen from here? “We’ll see,” he says, after a long pause. “Let’s move on.” NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020

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‘Untitled’, 2016, from Roja series

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SHIRIN NESHAT HONORARY FELLOWSHIP

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Rapture, video still, 1999

Exiled from Iran, this visual artist uses video and photography to shine a light on her birth country WORDS: RACHEL SEGAL HAMILTON

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‘Rebellious silence’, 1994

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‘Salah (patriots)’, from The Book of Kings series, 2012

An Iranian photographer goes from house to house around rural New Mexico, documenting the people she meets and asking them to tell her their dreams. Her name is Simin, and she is a fictional invention of Shirin Neshat, the acclaimed Iranian visual artist who is to receive an Honorary Fellowship. Simin appears in Neshat’s latest project Land of Dreams (2019), a portrait series and two video installations that were exhibited at Goodman Gallery in London earlier 732

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this year. Her first show in the UK in two decades, it followed Shirin Neshat: I Will Greet the Sun Again, a major retrospective at the Broad in Los Angeles that is due to tour in 2021. “We were playing with the idea of America being the land of dreams and how that has shifted,” Neshat explains. “In one of the videos there is a colony of Iranian people tucked inside a mountain. They are the ones who are really collecting people’s portraits and dreams and processing them.


‘Yvette Johnson’, from Land of Dreams series, 2019

‘Divine rebellion’, from The Book of Kings series, 2012

“Simin is a kind of spy. It was a parody of the absurdity of the antagonism between the US and Iran at the time and how the subconscious could be of interest politically ... but also about how she found their dreams and nightmares were not so different to her own. We have two opposing cultures in conflict but what is in common is people’s humanity.” Neshat, who was named Master of Photography at Photo London 2020, was born in Qazvin in 1957. She has

“We were playing with the idea of America being the land of dreams and how that has shifted”

lived in New York since the 1980s, and since the 1990s has been in exile there. She originally came to the US to study fine art at the University of California, Berkeley. After graduating she dedicated herself to working at the Storefront for Art and Architecture, a non-profit arts organisation, putting her own practice on the back-burner. It was only when she visited her home country in 1990 that she felt compelled to start making art again herself. Difficult relations between the US and NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020

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The Colony, video still, 2019

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Iran following the Iranian Revolution and the Iran-Iraq War meant this was the first time she’d been back to her home country in 11 years. “I started to get very interested in the transformation that had taken place,” she recalls. “Without having a career in mind, I took an interest in researching the very foundation of the Islamic Revolution, some of the ideological and philosophical concepts behind the idea of martyrdom, the obsession with death, how it was promoted and 734

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institutionalised and was even popular with women at the time.” She started to collect images of women she found in newspapers and posters, layering Persian calligraphy over them. “All over the city of Tehran, all over the country, there were these pictures of women holding arms, with flowers behind their ears. It was such a paradox for me that the image we have of Muslim women is that they are passive and submissive to men and here they are armed, feminine, beautiful.”


“Part of me is rooted in Eurocentric contemporary art history and another part in a deep nostalgia to reconnect with the Iran that I’d been away from for so long” The Colony, video still, 2019

Although she hadn’t been trained in photography, the realism of this subject matter drew Neshat to photography rather than painting or sculpture. “It developed organically,” she says. “In New York I was living among a wonderful underground community of artists. I was influenced by other artists, the Pictures Generation, Cindy Sherman, people who were taking self-portraits. Part of me is rooted in Eurocentric contemporary art history and another part in a deep nostalgia

to reconnect with the Iran that I’d been away from for so long. I didn’t think about where this was all going – at the time it was really about playing around and being curious.” From these early photographic series, titled Unveiling (1993) and Women of Allah (1993–97), Neshat expanded into moving image, with acclaimed video pieces such as Rapture (1999) and Fervour (2000). In 2009 her film directorial debut, Women Without Men, won the Silver Lion Award at the NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020

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‘Alfonso Garundo’, from Land of Dreams series, 2019

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‘Simin’, from Land of Dreams series, 2019

Venice Film Festival and in 2018 she was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery to make a portrait of the Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai for their permanent collection. Throughout her career, Neshat has continued to explore questions of gender, religion, modernity, her relationship with Iran, and the idea of home. The approach she adopted for Land of Dreams can be traced back to her 2015 series The Home of My Eyes, commissioned by YARAT Contemporary 736

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Art Space in Baku in Azerbaijan. She photographed more than 60 people of diverse ages, genders and backgrounds to create a portrait of a nation. Each citizen was photographed against a plain black background with their hands held as if in prayer – a gesture inspired by the paintings of El Greco. In addition to photographing them, she interviewed them at length about the idea of home. “Being a homeless person I don’t even know any more what it’s like to be in a place where everyone looks the same or


‘Roja (patriots)’, from The Book of Kings series, 2012

‘Untitled (Women of Allah)’, 1996 (photograph by Larry Barns)

“I don’t even know any more what it’s like to be in a place where everyone looks the same or speaks the same language”

speaks the same language,” she says. “But for them it was the smell of their mother’s food, or walking in the park in their town, or seeing their friends. It was nothing overly profound or complicated, it was about their attachment to their immediate surroundings. And I loved that.” Despite the pandemic, Neshat continues to exhibit and work, with upcoming shows in New York’s Gladstone Gallery, MOCA Toronto and a video installation currently

screening at Tate Modern’s The Tanks. At the time of writing she is back in New Mexico to shoot a feature film of Land of Dreams, with Simin as the protagonist. “I’ve never done a project where the still photography, the video installations and a full feature film all collapse into one project,” she says. “If you look at my videos, every frame is a photograph. My films are so visual. I’m interested in experimenting and pushing the boundaries of these forms in new ways.” NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020

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CHUCK HULL PROGRESS MEDAL AND HONORARY FELLOWSHIP

Back in 1983 Chuck Hull created the first 3D print – a tiny cup. He had no idea then that the technology used would prove to be world-changing. Meet the father of 3D printing 738

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You came up with your revolutionary idea for stereolithography or 3D printing in the early 1980s. How did you first consider using UV light to ‘print’? I was at a company that made UV lamps and other products utilising UV light. We were involved in making lamps for UV ‘curing’ applications, which were new back then. Certain materials transform or cure from liquid to solid when exposed to UV, and the applications included things like hard plastic coatings for furniture, screen printing, even nail polish. The advantages are that the process is fast drying and, because the materials are solvent-free, environmentally friendlier. I looked at these hard-plastic coatings and I viewed this differently – more as the instant formation of thin plastic sheets – and I wondered if it would be possible to form plastic sheets as images, stack the images and adhere them together to quickly make plastic parts. As an engineer, I knew how difficult and time-consuming it could be to produce prototype plastic parts. Traditionally parts were designed, and then a tool with the inverse shape was designed and machined from metal, and hot plastic was injected into the tool to mould the


Far left Twins Anias and Jadon McDonald before the 27-hour surgery to separate them Left Multiple 3D printed models of the twins’ heads were produced by 3D Systems to help surgeons prepare for the operation

Left Staff at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, NYC, use 3D printed models of Jadon and Anias McDonald’s conjoined skulls to prepare for surgery on the twins Right Anias and Jadon McDonald recover from the landmark operation

COURTESY OF NICOLE McDONALD

part. It could take weeks or more before the designer had the first article produced. Typically, a design is never quite right, and the design-tool-mould procedure was often repeated, further increasing the time. How did your early ideas and experiments develop into the technology we know today? Over time the experiments successfully demonstrated that the concept worked well, and we got the first patent. I wanted to commercialise it and agreed with the company that I would spin out a new company and license the technology. A partner and I formed a startup company, and in about two years we started marketing the first-ever 3D printers. Automotive companies, as well as companies in other industries that utilised plastic parts, became early adopters of 3D printing. Over time more and more applications emerged, such as medical models for surgical planning based on anatomical data from tomography and other medical imaging methods; tools and fixtures for manufacturing; metal casting patterns; and direct part production, among others.

Early on, competitive 3D printing technologies emerged and the field itself became competitive. This helped expand the industry to what we know today. Do you think a tendency to be an inventor comes with a particular personality type? Invention means something that did not previously exist, that will change things. When you set out to do this there is a tremendous amount of resistance to change, and it takes lots of persistence to carry an idea forward and make it successful. I’ve met many top inventors, and persistence seems to be the common trait. Why did it take 30 years for the world to really catch on to 3D printing and its uses? 3D printing has been more or less ‘buried’ inside manufacturing companies – well known by mechanical and manufacturing engineers, but not by others. In recent years a couple of things happened. The ‘maker’ movement started both making and using 3D printers for their projects and this NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020

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Below Chuck Hull, founder and CTO of 3D Systems, is inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in Virginia, USA, 2014

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“As a society, we constantly adjust to the changes brought on by technology and we seem to do pretty well” quickly popularised 3D printing at the hobby level. Additionally, many healthcare applications, such as complex surgical planning, gained wide notoriety. These things brought greater awareness, to the point that almost everyone has heard of 3D printing. There have been some incredible applications of this technology – from models, to helping with organ transplant surgery, to printing whole houses. Which have made you most proud? Every new use of the technology amazes me, especially in the field of healthcare. 3D printing is an integral part of 3D Systems’ VSP® offering which has helped surgeons to plan and execute surgeries more effectively and efficiently. One great example of this was the separation of onceconjoined twins Anias and Jadon McDonald in 2017. Another application of 3D printing I’m very excited about is for regenerative medicine to print replacement human tissue. The work done in this field to date has been nothing short of remarkable, and the potential is tremendous. 740

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New technologies always bring with them cultural anxieties about how they’ll be used, and by whom. Are there any potential negative impacts of 3D printing that worry you? I don’t have much anxiety about this. As a society, we constantly adjust to the changes brought on by technology and we seem to do pretty well. This is by no means your only invention – your name is on 85 patents – and at the age of 81 you continue to work as chief technology officer of 3D Systems. What new possibilities are you excited about? I’m just one contributor in the growing field of 3D printing. These days I have the opportunity to work on many amazing projects with many very talented people. As hinted above, we work on tissue engineering projects for regenerative medicine. We work on advanced metal printing projects, forming highperformance alloys into complex shapes. We work on advancing basic materials science for 3D printed plastics. And many other things.

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House ad, 1 VERSION REPRO OP SUBS ART PRODUCTION CLIENT

‘Soap bubble structures’ from the Colour Clouds series by Kym Cox ARPS

SCIENCE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR with Climate Change category FREE ENTRY Call for entries by 5 December 2020 Exhibition opens February 2021 at the Science and Industry Museum, Manchester, in conjunction with Manchester Science Festival

For further details go to rps.org/spoty

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Meet four RPS members being honoured for their achievements SUBS ART PRODUCTION CLIENT

‘Mycena polygrammaÕ

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‘Atlantic grey seal’

David Osborn FRPS FENTON MEDAL

I first picked up a camera more years ago than I care to remember to photograph aircraft on my regular ‘spotting’ days at Birmingham Airport. To this day I still photograph aircraft, but as a lifelong naturalist it wasn’t too long before I turned my attention to the wonderful array of wildlife subjects – and the diversity and challenges of the natural world. Although I have a great fondness for birds, I tend to turn my hand to whatever is around at the time rather than specialising within the genre of wildlife photography. This offers

a wider variety of subject matter and leads to more skills being acquired. Birds, mammals and a host of macro subjects all come within the scope of the lens, while landscapes and aircraft are never too far away either. After years in the aviation industry and as a serious amateur, I am now a professional wildlife photographer based in Norfolk, England. For many years I organised and led my own photographic tours, specialising in trips to the Falkland Islands and north America.

I am a selector for national and international photographic exhibitions, and a registered PAGB judge. I hold the Distinctions of Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society (FRPS), and EFIAP and BPE5. I am a former chair of the RPS Natural History Distinctions panel, and of the RPS Nature Group – the body responsible for producing and issuing the highly acclaimed Nature Photographers’ Code of Practice. davidosbornphotography.co.uk

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‘Easter vigil, St Adelbert’s Abbey, Egmond-Binnen, the Netherlands’

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‘Suzhou, China’

‘Xi’an, China’

Armando Jongejan FRPS FENTON MEDAL

Born in Egmond aan Zee, the Netherlands, I studied photography at the University of Applied Photography in Apeldoorn and now work as a freelance photographer. My work is characterised by a thematic approach. As a documentary photographer, I like to make contact with people in their own environment, curious as to how they live and work. Besides the photography, this also yields nice conversations.

Since 1990 I have exhibited work at institutions including FOAM Photography Museum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Comenius Museum, Naarden, the Netherlands; Städtisches Museum, Halberstadt, Germany; the Photography Museum of Lishui, China, and during the 2019 FotoFestival Naarden. Published photo books include Villagers of Egmond

(1996), From the Inside (2000), Switch off the Light, Close the Door (2001), A Quest (2004), Coming Home (2011), Monks’ Life (2018) and Made in China (2020). My work has been published in various photography magazines and books, and is included in the collections of the Regional Archive, Alkmaar, the Netherlands, the Photography Museum of Lishui, China, and in private and corporate collections. NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020

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‘Photography north of the Arctic Circle’

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Dr Tony Kaye ASIS FRPS FENTON MEDAL

My interest in photography started when I was 13 with a Johnsons of Hendon developing kit. I had always wanted to work in the scientific side of photography and imaging, and was fortunate enough to do a PhD on detecting faint light, and to work for Kodak in a research and development capacity for 28 years. Following retirement, and not wanting to lose my involvement with photography, I discovered the RPS. My technical experience meant I was able to apply

‘Rainbow boat’

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for, and receive, the ASIS qualification. Shortly after becoming an RPS member I joined the committee of the Imaging Science Group, on which I still serve. I was a trustee for five years, and have also been chair of the Imaging Science Committee and of the Science Committee. I have been a regular speaker at the Imaging Science Group series of Good Picture Symposia and have spoken at various other RPS events. I visit external camera clubs and try to spread the word about the RPS.


Judy Buckley-Sharp LRPS MEMBER’S AWARD

Brought up in the northeast of England, I came to London to train as a nurse. Post-registration training took me to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge as an operating theatre sister in the trauma and neurosurgery unit, before returning to Middlesex Hospital to work in other specialities. I joined Harrow Camera Club in 1990. After assisting at a local Distinctions assessment, I worked towards LRPS, gaining this in 2002 with a print panel

primarily of people. I then joined the Thames Valley Region committee, along with my husband Mark, at the invitation of the newly appointed regional organiser. For the next 15 years we three were the core organising group for all events run by Thames Valley, including Distinctions advisory days, Fellowship Distinctions workshops and annual exhibitions. My own photography includes work in the street genre and travel documentary in Turkey.

‘Fun in white feathers’

‘Devotion’

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© Cody Cobb Liminal State

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INTERNATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION 162

Free Admission Thurs – Sun 10:00 – 17:00 RPS Gallery 337 Paintworks Bristol BS4 3AR rps.org/IPE162 #IPE162

The world’s longest running photography exhibition Discover 100 contemporary images by 43 photographers

23 Jan – 5 Apr 2021

Visit our website to book talks, workshops and activities that explore the exhibition’s themes @the_rps @royalphotographicsociety @royalphotographicsociety

IPE162 is kindly supported by theprintspace

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PRESIDENT’S AGM REPORT

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SOCIALLY DISTANCED EXPOSURE COMPETITION

THE MAGIC OF MONOCHROME

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ENGAGEMENT – WITH MARGARET MITCHELL Thu 12 Nov, 6.15-7.45pm In this free talk, award-winning Scottish documentary and portrait photographer Margaret Mitchell will discuss her long-term projects Family and In This Place, both of which focus on personal and political issues. rps.org/engagement-talkMargaret-Mitchell

OF THE BEST SOCIETY EVENTS

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LONG EXPOSURE PHOTOGRAPHY – BRIGHTON Sat 14 Nov, 11am-4.30pm Professional photographer Nigel Wilson will teach you how to create dream-like long exposure images with the use of neutral density filters. You will need a camera, lenses and ND filters. £104/£78 RPS members rps.org/long-exposure-14nov

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HOW TO (SPEED) LIGHT – DAVID NEWTON Mon 16 Nov, 10am-5pm Get an introduction to the principles of using speedlights for indoor and outdoor portraiture. You will need a camera, notepad and pen. £155/£116 RPS members rps.org/speed-light-16nov

From the series Merrie Albion by Simon Roberts HonFRPS

THE BEST OF BRITISH

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Simon Roberts HonFRPS discusses the themes of identity and belonging that are found in his work

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IDENTITY AND THE BRITISH LANDSCAPE – A TALK BY SIMON ROBERTS Tue 24 Nov, 7-8.15pm

British photographer Simon Roberts HonFRPS is renowned for exploring notions of nationhood and belonging, often against the backdrop of some sweeping landscapes. In this virtual lecture he will discuss a number of his series including We English, created during a year’s journey across England; The Weeds and the Wilderness, focusing on ancient wooded sites that depict a primordial state; as well as his

GO TO

work as the official British artist for the 2010 rps.org/whats-on UK general election. for the latest updates Roberts works with a large-format camera to produce expansive pictures that illuminate the details of British culture. His work features in major public and private collections, including the George Eastman Museum and the V&A Museum in London. rps.org/events/north-wales/ simon-roberts

IT’S JUST AN ILLUSION – MARIA FALCONER Fri 20 Nov, 10am-5pm Professional photographer Maria Falconer FRPS will encourage you to find new ways to create visual magic. You will need a camera, basic editing software, a WIFI connection and a device with webcam and microphone. £75/£56 RPS members rps.org/illusion-20nov

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HOLLYWOOD LIGHTING INTENSIVE WORKSHOP – JON GRAY Sat 5 Dec, 10am-5pm This intimate workshop will show you how to create simple yet stunning beauty lighting techniques. You will need a DSLR camera with a 24-105 zoom lens; or prime 24mm, 50mm, 80mm, 100mm lenses. £175/£131 RPS members rps.org/hollywood-5dec

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Pankaj Chandak, the 2020 recipient of the Combined Royal Colleges Award, uses 3D printing for complex organ transplantation in children PRODUCTION

Professor Afzal Ansary ASIS FRPS celebrates the Combined Royal Colleges Award Behind the glint of the prestigious Combined Royal Colleges Award medal lies a fascinating history. The award was established by the Society in 1958 in collaboration with the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. In 2018, the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Royal College of Ophthalmologists also joined with the Society to collaborate on this award. The main purpose of the medal, awarded annually, is to stimulate widespread interest in medical imaging and to afford recognition to workers making a specific and original contribution to the advancement of imaging in medicine. The recipient of the 2020 award is Pankaj Chandak, in

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recognition of his innovative work using patient-specific 3D printing for complex organ transplantation in children. The award recipient is expected to give a lecture at one of the five Royal Colleges in London during November or December of the following year. The 2019 recipient, Professor Reza Razavi, will deliver his lecture on 8 December via Zoom. For details see rps.org/crclecture The original citation inscribed on the medal awarded from 1958 read “for the outstanding example of photography in the service of medicine and surgery”. In 2015 it was changed to “for an outstanding example of imaging in the service of medicine and surgery”. Changing the criteria in 2015 to “for an outstanding contribution to the advancement

and/or application of medical photography or the wider field of medical imaging” in practical terms means that the medal can now be awarded not only for medical photography but also for images produced by the wider field of medical imaging for diagnostic or non-diagnostic purposes. The number of nominations for this award has increased as a result. Anyone, member or nonmember of the Society, can nominate any person whether a member or non-member of the Society and of any nationality. Professor Afzal Ansary ASIS FRPS is chair of the Combined Royal Colleges Award committee. For more details and to download a nomination form see rps.org/CRCmedal

Above The Combined Royal Colleges Award medal honours innovation in medical imaging

FRANCESCO GUIDICINI; MEDICAL ILLUSTRATION DEPARTMENT, ROYAL LONDON HOSPITAL

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THE IMAGE OF ACHIEVEMENT

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ALAN HODGSON ASIS HonFRPS President, The Royal Photographic Society

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VOICEBOX

The AGM and President’s address are given an international platform

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The AGM this year was successfully delivered as an online event, which gave the RPS some significant benefits. It allowed for the participation of our international membership, who turned up in significant numbers, and enabled those for whom travel or attendance could be a significant issue to be involved. For me this was a deliverable in terms of inclusion and diversity of thought. More than 100 members registered for the event before the published deadline and around 55 participated in the voting process. All four agenda items were passed successfully, and the report of the meeting will be published soon. We have now conducted an EGM and an AGM online, which bodes well for the use of this platform in the future. Unfortunately we had a number of members attempt to register after the deadline. In keeping with the published rules for the meeting we had to deny them entry. This is to give our staff time to check their membership is in good standing and they are

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thus eligible to propose, second and vote on any of the agenda items. They were, however, allowed in for the second part of the event, the President’s address. The RPS by-laws stipulate: “The President shall deliver an address to the Society during the term of office.” The 2020 AGM was a good opportunity for this as it marks the mid-term of my Presidency. The RPS Journal archive revealed some interesting parallels with the address that H Trueman Wood delivered in 1895. In the Journal of 1895 Wood’s address was printed in full, but here we offer you a more compact summary. My address gave an account of the previous year, presented in detail in the trustees’ annual report that was accepted at the AGM just beforehand. I then went on to describe the key tasks for the year ahead, the diversity, governance and strategy review processes. More on these to follow in the coming months. It was my pleasure to report on our progress and plans.

REBECCA FAITH PHOTOGRAPHY; SHUTTERSTOCK

“We have now conducted an EGM and an AGM online”

The auditorium at RPS House

RAISE A SMILE FOR THE RPS WHILE YOU SHOP

Many of us will shop with Amazon at some time, for everything from photography equipment to books and music. You can now support the RPS when you buy through Amazon – and it won’t cost you anything. AmazonSmile is an initiative to support charitable organisations, donating 0.5% of your net purchase price to a nominated charity. All you need to do is go to smile.amazon.co.uk and select the RPS. You can find AmazonSmile on your web browser or activate it on the Amazon shopping app on your iOS or Android phone. Millions of products on AmazonSmile are eligible for donations. You will see eligible products marked “Eligible for smile.amazon.co.uk donation” on their product detail pages. Once you have chosen the RPS, AmazonSmile will remember your selection, then every eligible purchase you make through it will result in a donation. Thank you for helping to support the objectives of the RPS. rps.org/smile and smile.amazon.co.uk

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SOCIETY


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Exposure

Supported by

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Enjoy the results of the bimonthly online members’ competition, themed around ‘Socially distanced summer’

NEXT COMPETITION

Submit your photography on the theme of ‘Local wildlife’ by 14 November at exposure.rps.org for the chance to win a Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera

WINNER SUBS

My dear Watson by Anindya Majumdar

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This image is a part of my ongoing self-assigned project, Kolkata Graffiti, which captures daily life in Kolkata with graffiti in the backdrop. The location is an abandoned warehouse, infamous for criminal activities. Years of neglect led to a collapsed boundary wall, missing doors and windows,

and untamed bushes growing everywhere. It might have been just another dilapidated building in the city. But unknown graffiti artists had painted its walls with prismatic colours, transforming it into a contemporary art gallery. Police forces are occasionally posted in the

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vicinity for security reasons. A police officer, at my request, agreed to accompany me into the warehouse for a short time. With just two of us, the place was too deserted for any human-interest photography. Suddenly my eyes fell on the graffiti of Sherlock Holmes with his legendary hat, pipe,

magnifying glass and the real-life policeman talking over his walkie-talkie. Instantly the connection clicked in my mind’s eye. Two people from a different time and space, bonded by a passion for detection – a meaningful coincidence that stirred my soul and I captured it through my lens.


COMMENDED

Covid cabbage

by Sylvie Domergue

THE SELECTOR Mandy Barker FRPS on ‘My dear Watson’

Internationally recognised for her work illuminating the issue of marine plastic debris, Mandy Barker FRPS has exhibited at RPS House, Britsol, and in more than 30 different countries. In June 2019 she joined the Henderson Island Expedition, creating images using litter collected at the UNESCO World Heritage site.

A man in a white uniform framed by an abandoned empty black space mirrors the silhouette on the wall of Sherlock Holmes, the fictional private detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1887. Dr Watson worked alongside Sherlock Homes as his assistant and friend. In this photograph the two men work oblivious of each other, yet still reflect a partnership and connection.

Mask, glasses and visor protect from the real and current crisis, in comparison with fiction from the past. Back then Holmes was known for his keen observation combined with forensic science, and in some way both of these skills are required for this current pandemic. Connection between the two is broken by a half-hidden face looking directly at the viewer from an open door.

While inviting us in, at the same time the expression of sadness or worry leaves us rooted to the spot. Horizontal bands of colour on the wall reflect a rainbow, which has become a symbol of support for work done by the NHS and key workers during the ongoing crisis of Covid-19, displayed in windows and on walls all over the country. Holmes examines the situation with a magnifying

glass, the police officer communicates on his radio, both implying a larger narrative, investigating in differing worlds. Perhaps it is our face at the door as the world competes in the search for a vaccine. Distinctions Talks Live: Mandy Barker FRPS is online on Thu 19 November, 18.50pm. rps.org/mandy-barker

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Right Masai giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchii)

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Fellowship Natural History

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Lakshitha Karunarathna I have been inspired by wildlife and nature from a young age and photography has given me the opportunity to express the way I see my surroundings. It turned into a hobby and a very addictive one at that. By profession I am a teataster. This allows me to travel a lot on business trips and I always allocate a few extra days to capture shots of wildlife. The RPS is the oldest photographic society of its kind and the Fellowship is not only seen as very prestigious but also very difficult to achieve. I have always been [keen] to challenge myself through the way I capture images. This is what got me to take images and convert them into monochrome – I believe it helps add more substance and character to the photograph. The vast majority of wildlife photographers prefer to work with colour and use less 754

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Learn from portfolios at three levels, all created in monochrome


Working for a Distinction takes you on a personal journey which will improve your technical skills, develop your creativity and broaden your understanding of photography

LICENTIATE (LRPS)

Applicants must show photographic competence in approach and techniques

ASSOCIATE (ARPS)

Requires a body of work of a high standard and a written statement of intent

FELLOWSHIP (FRPS)

Requires a body of work of distinguished ability and excellence, and a written statement of intent

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WHAT ARE RPS DISTINCTIONS?


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“This body of work demonstrates that with skill and a ‘seeing eye’ something special can be achieved” monochrome. Noticing this, I wanted to do something different. I look forward to capturing more amazing shots, while in the near future I hope to collate a solo exhibition of my work as well as a coffee table book showcasing some of my most iconic images. WHY THIS PORTFOLIO WORKS By Michael Durham FRPS, chair, Natural History panel Gaining a Fellowship can be one of the best achievements for any photographer. Is it easy? No – it takes skill, perseverance, research and in-depth knowledge of the subject matter.

Left Gray crowned cranes (Balearica regulorum)

Above Plains zebra (Equus quagga)

Above top African buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

In Natural History we are not only looking for the very best of photographic technique, but also a great deal more. The photographer needs to present a body of work that is distinctive and distinguished. We normally expect wildlife to have colour and vibrancy rather than a monochrome approach, but this body of work demonstrates that with skill and a ‘seeing eye’ something special can be achieved. Lakshitha has used a range of approaches – high-impact close-ups that show only a part of the subject, right through to an image of the wide-open plains where

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the main subject forms only a small part of the image. In each image the photographer has chosen a perspective that forces the viewer to look and look again. The image of the plains zebra [below] is a wonderful abstract of zebra stripes with the addition of the ‘not abstract’ roller sitting on its back. With the image of the African buffalo [on page 757] there is hardly any detail, but the mud-covered buffalo is a whole story in a single image.

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The Masai giraffes [on pages 754-755], though, stand out above the rest for me. Here we are presented with the wideopen plains of the Masai and those huge skies that are so typical. And then there are three giraffes – two dwarfed by the landscape and the main one walking away from the camera – not normally a compositional choice. But it works. Brilliantly. A stunning portfolio well deserving of a Fellowship.

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Statement of intent Above Lilac-breasted roller and plains zebra (Coracias caudatus and Equus quagga) Above top Olive baboon (Papio anubis)

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Though I have photographed wildlife in many places around the world, no other place amazes me like the Kenyan part of the Great Rift Valley does. Home to more than 2 million animals of various types and sizes, it’s a heaven on earth for wildlife enthusiasts.

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With my portfolio I intend to demonstrate a range of subjects from the vast plains of the Great Rift Valley, and their behaviours, in high-structure monochrome photography. I’m passionate about monochrome, with which I believe it is possible to unearth completely different levels of

mood and expression. I used high structuring to increase the details of subject and environment so that it gives an extra strength to the images. This portfolio also reflects different aspects of wildlife photography, from ultra-close-up, to portraits, to wide-angle shots.


Associate Documentary Brian Morgan

Above Untitled, from the series No Safety Net

No Safety Net is the story of my journeying with a travelling circus. It began with a traumatic loss, a heart attack and an encounter on a recuperative walk in the fields near my home, where I chanced upon a circus tent and Olympia, the circus ring mistress. The encounter was to radically alter my life. I quickly became locked to the tidal momentum of the circus, mesmerised by its pace, people, and the beauty and poetry of their craft. The weekly creation and dissolution of a community the size of a small

village is accompanied always by the clarion call ‘the show must go on’. For someone struggling as I was to come to terms with a traumatic loss, this message of birth and rebirth proved restorative and profound. My creative ambition with this work is to highlight the allegorical significance of the circus story and everything it represents to the modern world, especially in these troubled times – a powerful metaphor for the human condition at its best. It is a condition that depends upon a shared sense of

belonging, community and mutual respect and trust. These qualities are helping the circus to survive the vicissitudes of Covid-19. Latterly I have felt my creative ambition replaced by a creative duty to record these unfinished chapters of the circus story. WHY THIS PORTFOLIO WORKS By Simon Leach FRPS, chair, Documentary panel The documentary genre is, for the RPS, assessed as photography which

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communicates a clear narrative through visual literacy. We start with the statement of intent and here Brian has effectively introduced his submission. He has told us what he has photographed, something of why it gained his interest as a subject and a little of what he hopes we, the viewer, will take away having seen the work. The body of work then depicts all those elements introduced to us in his statement. This is done in a gritty, unpolished, monochrome style which creates an overall cohesion and enhances the feeling of a space which is temporary, disorganised and cramped. It gives us a real feeling of the setting.

Below Untitled, from the series No Safety Net

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The style demonstrates clear aims and objectives, as set out in the statement of intent, to produce an intimate view of this lifestyle. We can see Brian has spent time, gained trust and an understanding, and created his personal vision of the subject. The access to caravans, quiet moments and family intimacy highlights the relationship he has built up with his subject. Technically, the practices he uses are appropriate in the way they direct the viewer’s attention. Remember it is not about whether I, or you, would do something differently – I am sure there may be other choices you might make. Brian’s choices demonstrate his vision. They do not distract from, but enhance,

his communication and our enjoyment of his portfolio. He chose to submit his presentation in a sequence, as an ‘Images For Screen (IFS)’. The difference here is that the images follow one after another, unlike in a print submission hanging plan where all the images hang together. Brian has flowed one element of his narrative to the next so that the story unfolds, moving from practise, to home, to friends, family, personal moments and ending weary after the show, with eyes almost closed in the final portrait. No Safety Net is due to be published in 2021

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“The story unfolds, moving from practise, to home, to friends, family, personal moments and ending weary after the show”

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Statement of intent

Above Untitled, from the series No Safety Net

These images – part of an ongoing project – were taken as I journeyed with a small travelling circus. They were shot during breaks in-between performances; in the changing and warm-up area behind the circus ring, the space immediately outside the Big Top and in the caravans laagered alongside.

Caravans are symbolic of the impermanence of circus life but grouped in this way they also represent the strength of the circus ‘family’ whose bonds extend far beyond kith and kin. In these locations the artistes would rehearse, relax and snatch a few moments with their children. I tried to

impart visual meaning to these brief moments, alongside the pre-performance tension and post-performance fatigue which accompanied every show. Combined, these elements bring into stark relief the story of circus – a story of constant movement, hard work and everpresent danger, bound together by family and belonging.

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Licentiate John Kay My interest in photography started around 1973. I have a friend who is an Associate and I must have asked him all the right questions – he handed me a camera and a roll of Kodak Tri-X black-and-white film, and said come back next week and we’ll develop and print 762

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some of what you’ve taken. He also introduced me to the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson and the like, which sparked my interest in documentarystyle photography. My photography allows me to engage and record day-to-day life across the

full spectrum of society. I aim to portray real people and events across all sections of the community and get the viewer thinking about the subject in the picture, whether that includes empathy, determination or humour.


Left ‘Parallel lines’

Above ‘Cambridge Half Marathon’

Below ‘Badger cull demo’

The images I submitted typify the documentary style I try to achieve. With my final selection I set out to include as varied a choice as possible. As for the future, I will be looking to form a body of work that could be used to achieve an Associate. NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020

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Right ‘Demonstrators’ Below ‘National lottery’

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Opposite page ’Tour guide’

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“It takes a steady nerve to present a panel of entirely monochrome images that are also broadly within a single genre – street photography”

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WHY THIS PORTFOLIO WORKS By Benedict Brain ARPS, chair, Licentiate panel John’s approach to this portfolio is bold and confident. It takes a steady nerve to present a panel of entirely monochrome images that are also broadly within a single genre, in this case, street photography. This excellent portfolio demonstrates that with this approach it is possible to succeed. The key to success is being cognisant of the criteria – presenting images which show off skills and approaches that reflect technical skill, camera craft and ‘seeing eye’ that are all part of the licentiate criteria. The portfolio shows a sufficient 764

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variety of skills and approach without being repetitive. A particular favourite is ‘Parallel lines’ [on page 762]. John’s carefully considered composition is artfully seen and a delight to look at. He’s paid extra attention to the vertical and horizontal lines – a visual nod to the formal geometry and graphic arrangement of the background wall art. If anything was askew it would have upset the visual apple cart. I also love the keenly captured decisive moment as the walker’s feet are synchronised with each other at the exact moment they pass the centre of the background. The small detailing of the stripes on the trainers adds another playful note that echoes the background.


Distinctions successes Congratulations to these RPS members FRPS RESEARCH MAY 2020 Kevin Casha, Malta Terry Flaxto, Somerset Derek Trillo, Cheshire LRPS SEPTEMBER 2020 Christine Bailey, Cornwall Joao Diniz Sanches, Somerset Christopher Evans, Leatherhead Steve Field, Somerset

Stephen Finch, Kent Ann Healey, Cumbria John Law, Somerset Ramesh Letchmanan, Singapore Peter Robinson, East Sussex David Scrivener, Kent Maria Selley, Devon Colin Smith, Shetland Sophia Spurgin, Hertfordshire Bryan Timmons, Australia Andrew Wordsworth, Staffordshire

ARPS EXEMPTIONS SEPTEMBER 2020 Andrew Brown, Essex Ian Butler, Gwent Tony Charles, South Glamorgan Catherine MacBride, Dublin Scott MacBride, Dublin Elizabeth Mills, Worthing Stephen Rendall, Lincoln Tim Tovey, Cornwall

ARPS NATURAL HISTORY SEPTEMBER 2020 Alex Anderson, Merseyside Glyn Fonteneau, Dorset Sarita Sumaria, United Arab Emirates Qasim Syed, Surrey ARPS TRAVEL SEPTEMBER 2020 Tony (Chi Keung) Au Yeong, China Andy Ferrington, London Andrew Flannigan, Ayrshire Saurabh Bhattacharyya, Maharashtra

Loretta Yat Wong, Hong Kong ARPS CONTEMPORARY SEPTEMBER 2020 Nancy Conley Pinkerton, Edinburgh Michael l’Anson, Norfolk FRPS CONTEMPORARY SEPTEMBER 2020 Philip Joyce, Oxford Simon Turnbull, Hertfordshire Alison Webber, Dorset

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‘Envious bodies’, 2020, by Cooper and Gorfer CLIENT

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The artistic duo uses real-life stories to play with concepts of utopia “What does it mean for people to leave everything behind, even the person you think you were? To risk your life and move into the unknown?” This question is posed by the artistic duo Sarah Cooper and Nina Gorfer, whose collaborative project Between These Folded Walls, Utopia, explores ideas of paradise in the age of the new diaspora. The image ‘Envious bodies’ portrays firstand second-generation immigrants now living in Sweden. Shadi, in the centre of the photograph, is of Iranian heritage – her parents migrated to Sweden in the 1970s. The other women are dancers, “avatars for Shadi and her experiences,” as Cooper and Gorfer explain. The visual artists were inspired by choreographer Dorotea Saykaly to work with dancers. “Dorotea helped us to understand dance as a tool for expression, but also what it means to be a dancer in a renowned international dance company where ambitious people from all over the world, 768

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each with their own background and motivation, come together as a group.” As with others in the series, this picture has a colourful, ornate style more usually associated with high fashion or historical portraiture. Although it begins in a studio, the final work is, as the duo explain, “a collage of different elements and backgrounds, both analog and digital, where we physically cut and collage the photograph, sending it through various states of transformation, re-photographing and reassembly. “We extend, supplement, deconstruct and layer our images to portray not only the outer appearance of a person, but also the things we have come to know about her, her stories, her memories, her thoughts and visions and her emotional turmoil.” Cooper and Gorfer: Between These Folded Walls, Utopia is at Fotografiska, New York, until 28 February 2021. fotografiska.com

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Profile for Think Publishing

RPS Journal November December 2020  

RPS Journal November December 2020  

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