21 December 2014
A Magazine about Photography
Issue N° 07
Ben Alper • Lisa Barnard • Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin • Philippe Chancel • Gianni Cipriano • Salvi Danés Simone Donati • David Favrod • Gary Knight • Aaron Law • Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs • Igor Ponti Laurence Rasti • Émilie Régnier • Erica Scourti • Tim Smyth • Joël Tettamanti • Jeanne Tullen • Maurice Van Es
21 December 2014
A Magazine about Photography
Issue N° 07
Ben Alper • Lisa Barnard • Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin • Philippe Chancel • Gianni Cipriano • Salvi Danés Simone Donati • David Favrod • Gary Knight • Aaron Law • Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs • Igor Ponti Laurence Rasti • Émilie Régnier • Erica Scourti • Tim Smyth • Joël Tettamanti • Jeanne Tullen • Maurice Van Es
From “You know it when you see it”: a conversation with Gary Knight. by Luisa Grigoletto
“Frankly there is no ‘best picture of the year’. That is too finite a definition and too subjective a choice. I like to think of it as being an image that the jury selects as being an ambassador for all the rest.”
YET sme on paper Or your prin
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PUBLISHER Yet magazine, Editorial offices Lausanne, Switzerland Lugano, Switzerland T +41 (0) 78 838 25 17 email@example.com www. yet-magazine.com YET MAGAZINE #07 Editor-in-chief Salvatore Vitale Deputy Editor Paola Paleari INSIDE ISSUE 07 Art director Nicolas Polli Photo Editors Salvatore Vitale Elena Vaninetti Graphic designer Nicolas Polli Web designer Davide Morotti Sales Manager Davide Morotti Team coordinator Giulia Giani Translations Zoe Casati Elda Cassetta
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COPYRIGHT Yet magazine, Lugano, 2014 All rights reserved. FONT Suisse Int’l www.swisstypefaces.com New Fournier François Rappo 4
Front Cover Laurence Rasti AUTHORS Ben Alper Lisa Barnard Nicolas Bourquin Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin Philippe Chancel Gianni Cipriano Salvi Danés Simone Donati David Favrod Aaron Law Colin Jacobson Gary Knight Grazia Neri Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs Igor Ponti Laurence Rasti Émilie Régnier Erica Scourti Tim Smyth Joël Tettamanti Jeanne Tullen Maurice Van Es
CONTRIBUTORS Nicoletta Barbata Sarah Carlet Mariachiara Di Trapani Chiara Fanetti Luisa Grigoletto Francesca Orsi
Photography is the ultimate democratic media. This assumption is often repeated, increasingly, ever since the very beginning of the photographic medium. We can all take a picture nowadays without particular technical skills. And we can all take a good photograph, or at least socially (in the social media sense of the term) beautiful. But there is an underlying discourse that undermines this assumption, an argument that is located in the intentions of photography. The question to ask is: what do I want my photograph to be? A very subjective question that is. But let’s take a step back for a moment. As mentioned in a previous issue of YET magazine, photography is, for many, the medium that is closest to the real. Not surprisingly, it has now assumed the contours of a means for reality documentation. A great genre, one of the highest genre I dare say, in photography, is documentary photography. The word document is key here. What exactly is documented? Reality. However, can reality not be filtered? And the perceived reality in looking at a photograph or a photographic project in its entirety, is that reality as it is presented really? It is not my intention to philosophize, but it is crucial to understand that there is a thin line between the scene and the situation from its representation. After all, photography, as well as many other practices, is a cut and sew work, an editing, a sequence that has the purpose of saying something – or at least it has in the field of documentary. In this issue of YET magazine we wonder what it means to document today and what are the practices for documentation. To get to the bottom of this research we went on to consult various names in photography, with very different approaches, stories and experiences.
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Comment & notes
Issue 07 Often the association between documentary photography and photojournalism comes naturally. Document, right in the essence of the term, holds a much broader meaning in my opinion; it could mean telling a fact, a story, a side of the world by manipulating reality itself in order to push a message through. With this, I’m not saying that everything can be read as a documentation, what I’m saying is that it may, in some cases, use techniques and escamotages that can help documentation itself. The works that you will see in this issue are beyond what, spontaneously, you can expect from a research-based documentary photography. We are presenting contemporary approaches to documentary. These are real stories, with real implications that, through a constructed method, help describe a certain reality. An approach that uses fiction to enhance, investigate and document reality. This way it is possible to find out and learn about personal stories with real consequences, real as in lifechanging for those telling and bringing their experience into play. Real because it really influences the reality of the narrator. We can study an actual phenomenon like urban planning and real estate speculation through a well defined reality check that highlights few key points. It is also possible to enter in extreme intimacy with people living in situations of isolation and marginalization by creating photographs that respect their will not to be put on display. In short, we find ourselves in front of photographs that don’t actually photograph a scene that is taking place at one precise moment in space and time, but have the same purpose, which is to illustrate, investigate and introduce a piece of the world to others. An interesting trend that is developing in an ever more constant way, a mix between real and staged that enhances the storytelling and narrative of a photographic project by giving several references that help the photographer to represent the deeper meaning of a story. In this regard, one might consider the need of using fiction to convey a message, to be able to communicate a story. Is reality not enough as it appears?
Such question can have multiple answers, even conflicting ones, but to me, i’d have to go back to what was mentioned earlier on: the photographic task and, therefore, the subjective intervention of the photographer on the real is already, in a broad sense, an operation on reality which can result in fiction. In the end what matters should be the story that it is being documented. And if in such case the manipulation (not intended as photo manipulation) helps the intent, is it necessarily unethical? I firmly believe that what it is more important at the deepest level, is the sensibility which we approach that fragment of reality that we are or want to document. Since the early ‘900 to date (almost simultaneously with the birth and development of the photographic medium), our recent history has shown how the human being can be self-destructive. And for the first time a large portion of people could see with their own eyes the horrors of genocide, war, environmental disasters and discrimination. This implies a radical change in the collective perception of the world and the meaning of life and of the human being itself. I think today, those who decide to document a story, personal or not, have a duty to put into their work a certain sensibility that refers to a historical collective memory. The content is essential and aesthetic must be a worthy support. The works presented in this issue, just as the insights, deliberately feature different methods which are set exactly in a narrative documentary perspective, wherein the visual plays a key role conveying the content in a more or less direct way. I associate myself openly with that school of thought where an image doesn’t have to shock to move one’s thinking, doesn’t have to show everything to stir up a conscience and shouldn’t be aesthetically beautiful or special to be remembered. After all, one can also say that the images that remain impressed the most are those containing multiple layers of meaning, many of which, often, are only hinted.
Salvatore Vitale 5
In this issue
Lisa Barnard Constructions Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs
Editorial pp. 12—29
Review on Lisa Barnard’s Hyenas of the Battlefield, Machines in the Garden
Book review p. 30
Gary Knight Q&A with Gary Knight
Interview pp. 38—45
Editorial pp. 31—37
Whiplash Transition Lisa Barnard
Igor Ponti There are no homosexuals in Iran Laurence Rasti
Editorial pp. 46—65
Review on Igor Ponti’s Looking for Identity
Book review pp. 66—70
INDEX Looking for Identity Igor Ponti
Editorial pp. 71—85
Blackcelona Salvi Danés
Editorial pp. 86—101
Essay by Luisa Grigoletto
Focus On pp. 102—117
Joël Tettamanti Review on Joël Tettamanti’s Works 2001–2019
Book review pp. 118—125
Works 2001–2019 Joël Tettamanti
Editorial pp. 126—137
Datazone Philippe Chancel
Editorial pp. 138—173
Womb Jeanne Tullen
Editorial pp. 194—215
Grazia Neri Colin Jacobson A day with Grazia Neri and Colin Jacobson
Interview pp. 174—185
Project A glimpse into Gianni Cipriano pp. 186—193 and Simone Donati’s work on Italian elections
Garry Winogrand HIKARI David Favrod
Editorial pp. 216—231
Photography Classics: Garry Winogrand at Jeu de Paume, Paris
Exhibition pp. 232—237
Artists’ Biographies Ben Alper www.benalper.com Ben Alper is an artist based in North Carolina. He received a BFA in photography from the Massachusetts College of Art & Design in Boston and an MFA in Studio Art from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Alper’s work has been shown widely, including exhibitions at the NADA Art Fair in Miami, the Luminary Center for the Arts in St. Louis, Le Dictateur Gallery in Milan, Italy, Meulensteen and Michael Matthews galleries in New York and at Johalla Projects and Schneider Gallery in Chicago. Alper also curates an online site entitled The Archival Impulse, an archival project dedicated to his personal collection of vernacular photography.
Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin www.choppedliver.info Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin are artists living and working in London. Together they have had numerous international exhibitions including The Museum of Modern Art, Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool, The Gwagnju Biennale, the Stedelijk Museum, the International Center of Photography, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, The Photographers Gallery, Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art and Museo Jumex. Broomberg & Chanarin are Visiting Fellows at the University of the Arts London. Their work is represented in major public and private collections including Tate Modern, The Museum of Modern Art, the Stedelijk Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Musee de l’Elysee, The International Center of Photography, and the Art Gallery of Ontario. In 2013 they were awarded the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize for War Primer 2, and most recently they were awarded the ICP Infinity Award 2014 for their publication, Holy Bible. Upcoming and current exhibitions include Conflict, Time and Photography at Tate Modern and the Shanghai Biennale 2014.
Maurice Van Es www.mauricevanes.nl Maurice Van Es is a Dutch visual artist who works with photographs. In 2013 he graduated from the Royal Academy of Arts in the Hague with his graduation project Now will not be with us forever, a book cassette containing seven different books. His work has been published by Lodret Vandret, Mister Motley, Subbacultcha and featured in blogs such as It’s Nice That and Self Publish Be Happy. His work has been exhibited in New York, Paris, London and Amsterdam.
Aaron Law www.smokerubbleindex.org
Simone Donati www.terraproject.net/en/photographers/ simone-donati
Aaron Law graduated from the University of Brighton with a BA (Hons) Photography. His practice concerns inquiring and interrogating contemporary visual culture and its intersection with current digital imaging technologies. Much of Law’s work employs appropriation of imagery, and requires direct engagement from the viewer through online interactive pieces. Between the modes of new media, fine art photography, and internet art, he engages with digital technology and interaction as a means of reassessing those very cultural practices of viewing images.
Simone Donati was born in Florence, 1977. In 2005 he completed the three-year course in photography at the Fondazione Studio Marangoni in Florence. After an internship at the Magnum Photos agency in New York City, in 2006 he started working in the field of documentary photography. In the past years his attention has focused on the political and social situation of Italy. He is a member and co-founder of TerraProject, an Italian collective of documentary photographers operating in the field of social, political and environmental issues in Italy and abroad.
Tym Smith www.timsmyth.co.uk
Erica Scourti www.ericascourti.com
Joël Tettamanti www.tettamanti.ch
Tim Smyth was born in Bristol, UK. Graduated from London College of Communication with a Photography Bachelor of the Arts, with honours in 2007. He subsequently won the Hotshoe Student Award 2007 and was awarded a residency in 2011 in Spoleto, Italy by the Anna Mahler Foundation. Smyth also contributes to editorials such asBJP, FT, Guardian Weekend, Hotshoe Magazine and Huck Magazine. His debut publication Defective Carrots, Bemojake 2013, was shortlisted for the PhotoEspaña Photo Book of the Year Award 2014.
Erica Scourti was born in Athens, Greece and now lives in London. She utilises social-media networks as raw material, probing and testing their data-processing alogorithms to create self-portraits for a hashtagged age. ‘Ultimately, all of Scourti’s work asks a series of fundamental questions. How do institutions seek to define forms of representation? How has technology, and specifically social media, affected our understanding of identity and subjectivity? Where does our agency reside in an online environment where our data is tracked and our behaviour is persistently manipulated?’ Her work in video, performance, online and with text has been shown recently at Hayward Project Space, The Photographers’ Gallery, Brighton Photo Biennial, Kunstverein Munich, Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, Museo Reine Sofia, Kunstmuseum Bonn, IMPAKT Festival, Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art, Banner Repeater and Grand Union. She has presented performances and talks at the ICA, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, DRAF and the Southbank Centre.
Joël Tettamanti was born in 1977 in Efok/ Cameroon and is a graduate of écal, Lausanne. Based in Zurich and Lausanne, he has worked from Asia to the Arctic Circle on assignment for magazines and commercial clients such as Wallpaper, Victorinox, Clariant, and Gigon Guyer. His work has been the subject of three monographs and numerous exhibitions in Europe. Although his photographs are often unpeopled, the focus of his work is the human presence in the landscape and the people who are uplifted and sometimes defeated by the land they inhabit. This contradiction of human frailty and resilience, and the continuities people form with the land, are embedded in Tettamanti’s photographic vision.
GRAZIA NERI Jeanne Tullen www.jeannetullen.com Jeanne Tullen is Swiss photographer graduated from écal (University of art and design, Lausanne). Her scholarship involved an Erasmus in KABK (Royal Academy of Art, The Hague). The starting point of her work consists on her family, especially its past. Her work looks diary like but rather than a documentation it is recalling performance art. She performs self portrait. She says: “The camera is the witness, it allows me to exist.”
Grazia Neri was born and studied in Milan, where in 1966 she opened her photographic agency, the first in Italy, which for more than forty years has been the point of reference for several photographers and for the major international newspapers. Regularly invited to be part of the contest jury of the most important photographic prizes in Italy and abroad, she currently deals with teaching and curating exhibitions. In 2013, Grazia Neri published La mia fotografia (Feltrinelli), an autobiographical book about friendship, her love for photography and the story of the passion for her work.
COLIN JACOBSON Colin Jacobson is a British freelance photo editor, columnist and critic. He is the founder of Reportage, a quarterly magazine on photojournalism, and worked as photo editor for The Economist, The Observer and The Independent magazines. He taught Photojournalism at the University of Westminster. His book Underexposed: Pictures Can Lie and Liars Can Use Pictures is a must to read. 9
Artists’ Biographies Lisa Barnard www.lisabarnard.co.uk
Salvi Danés www.salvidanes.com
TaIyo Onorato & Nico Krebs www.tonk.ch
Lisa Barnard’s photographic and film practice is placed in the genre of contemporary documentary. Her work discusses real events, embracing complex visual strategies that utilise both traditional documentary techniques with more contemporary forms of representation. Barnard connects her interest in aesthetics, current photographic debates around materiality and the existing political climate. Of particular interest to her is the relationship between the military industrial complex, new technology, and the psychological implication of conflict. Barnard receives regular funding, exhibits frequently both nationally and internationally, and has portfolios of her work featured in contemporary photographic publications. She is senior lecturer on documentary Photography at The University of South Wales.
Salvi Danés’ interest towards photography starts with the search for a means of physical expression that in turn is a means of representations of reality. Understood as a tool that adapts to the capture not only of the palpable and thus of the physic, but also of that which is intangible, of difficult capture due to its subtle and immediate nature, the capture of irrefutable moments in a concise way. Using a narrative tool to interpret and suggest through fractions of an own look. His work has been exhibited in Spain, France, Japan, Greece, The Netherland. Among the others, he won the Foam Talent 2013.
Both born in 1979, Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs met whilst studying photography at the University of Zurich. Typical of their oeuvre is the interplay with the twodimensional character of photography. They carefully construct their photos as sculptors do, moulding them until the final result is perfect - often paired with a subtle feeling for humour. This playful approach was developed during their studies, in reaction to the influential but strict and rigid documentary style of the Düsseldorf School of Photography. Their work is exhibited and published worldwide. Their work is included in various collections in Switzerland, including Fotomuseum Winterthur.
Gianni Cipriano www.giannicipriano.com
Igor Ponti www.igorponti.ch Igor Ponti (born in 1981) lives in Lugano, Switzerland. In 2013, he obtained support from the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia whose aim was to promote new talents in the field of photography. His images have been part of both personal and private exhibitions. His first book Skate Generation was published in 2009. 10
Gianni Cipriano (b. 1983) is a Sicilian-born independent photographer based between New York, Geneva, Rome and Palermo. His work focuses on contemporary social, political and economic issues and his interests lie in the relationship between individual identity and the influence of mass culture. Gianni regularly works for The New York Times and has been documenting the ongoing upheaval in Italian politics for L’Espresso weekly magazine. The oldest of two children in a family of immigrants, Gianni grew up between Brooklyn, Geneva and Palermo. After studying aerospace engineering and architecture, he graduated from the Documentary Photography and Photojournalism Program at the International Center of Photography in New York in 2008 and interned with photojournalists Ron Haviv (VII) and Christopher Anderson (Magnum Photos). In 2008, Getty Images selected him as one of its “Emerging Talents” of Reportage. He was also selected for the XXI 2008 Eddie Adams Workshop in New York. Between 2009 and 2012 Gianni has been part of Reflexions Masterclass. He has also been nominated to participate in the Joop Swart World Press Photo Masterclass.
Émilie Régnier www.emilieregnier.com
David Favrod www.davidfavrod.com
Laurence Rasti www.laurencerasti.ch
Emilie Regnier spent most of her childhood in Africa, mainly in Gabon. After studying Photography in Montreal she returned to Africa, where she now works as a freelance photographer covering West Africa. She has also worked in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, the Carribean and South Africa. She has worked with various magazines and press agencies, including Le Monde Magazine, Der Spiegel, International Courier, Jeune Afrique, AntiSlavery International and Médecins Sans Frontières. She attended the Joop Swart Masterclass 2014.
David Favrod is a Swiss-Japanese photographer, living and working in Switzerland. He graduated from École cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL) with a master’s degree in art direction and a bachelor’s degree in photography. He has won the Aperture Portfolio Prize, the Work in Progress Award at Les recontres del la Photographie in Arles, France in 2009, and has been included in reGeneration 2, a book and touring exhibition showcasing emerging photographers. He has had solo and group exhibitions around the globe, including: Center for Contemporary Art (CCA), Santa Fe, USA (2013), La Petite Poule Noire Gallery, Paris, France (2013) or Aperture Foundation, New-York, USA (2011).
Laurence Rasti was born in 1990 in Geneve, Switzerland. She graduated from École cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL) with a bachelor’s degree in photography. Her work is a research on the topic of identity and beauty. She was born from an Iranian family and raised in Switzerland. This double culture led her to reconsider the costumes and codes defined by both sides in order to understand the power of the equality in our society. Her work has been exhibited, among the others, in Switzerland, France and Italy.
Philippe Chancel www.philippechancel.com
Gary Knight www.garyknightphotography.com Gary Knight is a photographer, founder of the Program for Narrative & Documentary Practice at the Tufts University Institute for Global Leadership, and co-founder of the VII Photo agency. He has been a member of the World Press Photo contest jury on three occasions. His entry into photography came in the late 1980s, when he moved to South East Asia, portraying conflict within a region coming to terms with the end of the Cold War. From 1999 to 2009, he photographed the invasion of Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, Darfur, and other significant world news events for Newsweek. He currently lives in the USA and divides his time between academia and long-term photography projects.
Over the past twenty years Philippe Chancel’s photography has explored the complex, shifting and fertile territory where art, documentaries and journalism meet. His is a constantly evolving project, focusing on the status of images when they are confronted with what constitutes “images” in the contemporary world. Born in 1959, Philippe Chancel now works and lives in Paris. He was introduced to photography at a very young age, took an economics degree at the University of Paris (Nanterre) followed by a postgraduate diploma in journalism at the Cfpj in Paris. Philippe Chancel’s work has been widely exhibited and published in France and abroad in a number of prestigious publications. These include «Regards d’artistes» – portraits of contemporary artists –, «Souvenirs » – a series of portraits of great capital cities (Paris, London, New York, Tokyo, Brussels) glimpsed through shop windows - produced in collaboration with Valérie Weill, and, lastly, his North Korean project, which brought him international recognition. 11
Constructions Photographs by Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs
Less Is a Bore
Text by Paola Paleari
Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs Pages 12â€”29
Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs
Robert Venturi is an American architect, one of the leading exponents of the postmodern trend. The author is the proponent of a complex and contradictory architecture: his most famous statement is “Less is a bore!”, which rebuts to the even more famous Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s quote.
doing so the camera turns into a “super-instrument” with amplified and almost miraculous potentials.
In 1966 Venturi published his manifesto, Complexity and contradictions in Architecture. More generally, starting from those years the culture has introduced contradiction as an existential condition. The impossibility of reaching a comprehensive and perfect synthesis of reality has manifested in each sector: even mathematics seems to have lost its rational foundations, as already emerged from Gödel’s incompleteness theorem, according to which each sufficiently complete system is internally inconsistent.
The project Constructions is emblematic in this sense. The series, which begun in 2009 in Berlin - the city elected as the artists’ headquarters - is based on an optical trick which combines, on the same photographic plane, two conceptually distinct and spatially distant levels: on the background, never completed buildings under construction, on the foreground, wooden structures created by the artists themselves that seem to complete the buildings’ missing parts, thanks to a precise calibration between the human and the mechanical eye. The series was expanded in 2011, when the duo applied the same process to unfinished architectures abandoned in Lucania, Italy.
In this context, photography - by its nature a twodimensional art, subject to the existence - does not stop in front of the need for documentation, goes beyond the possibility of denunciation and acquires a proactive value, to the point of covering a job which is not its own - like, indeed, to solve the unfinished architecture. This is because, along with the order of space, the cognitive structure which regulates the comprehension of the represented context is also undermined: the notions of motionThe production of the artistic duo formed by Taiyo less and ephemeral, heavy and precarious are confused and reversed, and we are forced to rethink the Onorato and Nico Krebs roots in this movement, but it comes to results that go beyond the art’s denial categories of meaning through which we interpret not only the images but also the reality. and the image’s deconstruction as a preferred method to interpret complexity, in favor of an expanThe classic and rationalist cut of the photographs sion of the photographic medium. Supported by the attempts made by their predecessors, Onorato & and the strict black and white, which immediately recall the industrial archeology images of the BechKrebs respond to the same “crisis of representation” of that time with greater accuracy and less intransi- ers, are the elements that close the circle. Onorato & Krebs create a value out of the limit, a door to a gence, aware that photography cannot get totally new multi-faceted vision towards which they direct rid of it. us with grace, precision and irony. Starting from the axiom that photography as a finished product acquires importance only through the mental and physical process that created it, the Swiss duo puts the misleading arbitrariness of perception in the middle of the game and they let this latter driving the mechanism they cleverly designed; at the same time, the attention devoted to the technical instruments and to the procedures adopted for the realization of their images brings the instantaneous and truthful nature of photography into question. The medium’s limits are overcome through their acceptance and demonstration, and in With reference to pictures, this historical period coincided with the evolution from photography to the photographic art, which has given birth to a series of studies that were grouped under the term “photo-conceptualism”: these are years of experimentation, of photojournalism’s parody (Robert Smithson), of the first artist’s photo books (Ed Ruscha) and of the introduction of automatism as a form of expression.
A virtual mediation for an actual perception by Nicoletta Barbata
Lisa Barnard has been concentrating on the relationship between the military industry, new technology and the psychological implication of conflict since 2008. Virtual Iraq 2008 and Whiplash Transition 2010-2013 are projects which explore the disturbing liaison between reality and staged reality. With her latest book, Barnard keeps on using traditional documentary techniques and more complex visual strategies of representation. Hyenas of the Battlefield, Machines in the Garden is a composite, clever and educational book that describes in depth the way in which war, media and industry relate each other to the real by the virtual. Barnard studies the everyday life of pilots of RPA's (Remote Piloted Aircraft) who follow and destroy targets, miles faraway, from a desk, behind a screen. The same screen that train and support them in their virtual duty that has got an hotly impact somewhere in an unknown place and for nameless people. Her research broadens out to every aspects of the military industry, considering the masterly exploitation of the visual to reach economical and political purposes. The book recalls a school-exercise book, starting from the blue cover crossed by a geometrical flight pattern. There is an index with underlined titles. Inside each chapter, abstracts and interviews are presented as notes between the pages. The design and format reflect Barnard's approach to the themes she examines, methodic, indepth, that opens new windows of considerations page after page. 30
Beyond being an original archive of almost unknown aspects of the military industry, The Hyenas of the Battlefield, Machines in the Garden is an intriguing survey of the ambiguous disorientation generated by the overlap of reality and staged reality. Far from being a boring textbook, it's a unique book that presents virtuality, the screen, as a pivotal way to experience the real world. It's one of those books that needs a slow and careful reading and that pushes the reader to research more and more.
Lisa Barnard Hyenas of the Battlefield, Machines in the Garden GOST Books, London (UK) Limited edition of 750 copies 216mm x 280mm 192 pages Portrait Softcover ISBN 978-0-9574272-9-7 Essays by Julian Stallabrass and EugĂŠnie Shinkle
[p. 31] Triggers in Every Day Life #2 [p. 32] Head Gear [p. 33] Primitive Pieces #3 [p. 34] Faux UAV Operating Station [p. 35] Too Thin Too Blue #4 [pp. 36â€“37] House, North Las Vegas
by Luisa Grigoletto
Gary Knight describes himself as a “Media Entrepreneur, Educator and Photographer” in his LinkedIn profile. That’s putting it modestly.
In a more than 25 years career span, he has produced seminal photojournalistic work, co-founded the leading photo agency VII, launched training programs and a photo festival (Angkor Photo Festival), and chaired international competitions, such as the World Press Photo Award in 2014. A Brit now based in the United States, Knight has been working with photography since 1988, when he shot the war in Cambodia. Since then, has covered a vast number of conflicts all over the world, from Africa to Latin America, the Middle East and the Far East. In 2002, after spending six years in war-torn former Yugoslavia, he published ‘Evidence: The Case Against Milosevic’, together with reporter Anthony Loyd. This pivotal work has been widely credited for documenting how war crimes and crimes against humanity were perpetrated in Kosovo in a systematic way. Knight’s coverage of the Iraq war in 2003, on assignment for Newsweek, proved to be a turning point in his career. His shots showed the bodies of both Iraqi civilians and American soldiers. Newsweek refused to publish most of them, prompting Knight to move away from more traditional forms of photojournalism and towards in-depth storytelling. His recent work ‘Inmigración Topografia. The Incineration of Migrant Dreams’, addresses the hardship of undocumented migrants at the USMexico border through looking at the physical traces they leave on the Mojave Desert with aerial photography. In 2009, Knight received a Nieman Fellowship from Harvard University. A year later, he co-founded the Program for Narrative and Documentary Practice at Tufts University, where he currently teaches narrative non-fiction storytelling. This year, he co-founded The GroundTruth Project, specifically designed for cultivating young journalists in the digital age. Despite his busy schedule, Gary Knight was gracious enough to have a conversation with YET Magazine about the current state of photojournalism, as he sees it.
Mr Knight, thank you for your time, we’re honoured to have you at YET Magazine.
You’re one of the most promi- I like to think of it as being an image that the jury nent and proactive figures in selects as being an ambassador for all the rest. contemporary photojournalism. Besides being a photographer, you How was the overall quality of the work? [*The 57th WPP of the started a number of initiatives, Year 1st prize winner was John such as VII photo agency, The Stanmeyer, a founding member of GroundTruth Project, and the Program for Narrative and DocuVII] mentary Practice at the Institute for Global Leadership (Tufts Uni- What I considered to be the best of the work was versity). What are you currently very very good. The work by Tanya Habjouqa, Robin Hammond, Julius Schrank and Fred Ramos working on? for example. I felt that below the best work there My first responsibility is that I teach at Tufts Univer- was little work of great merit and that is a little difsity. In addition to that I am working on three multi- ferent to previous years in my view. I think that disciplinary research projects. One investigates the the limited access to resources photographers have transformation confronting indigenous people on the access to is evident in the paucity of good work. South Asian Massif, another is a project on urbanism and the re-emergence of the city state and the What are the characteristics of a third is on Peace as a prelude and aftermath of War. successful photograph for you? In your career, you’ve also been There are no characteristics or measurements that I a jury member of many interna- have. You know it when you see it. tional photography competitions, When does a photograph promote as well as a member of several social change? boards, committees and trusts. In 2014 you sat as chair of the World Press Photo award, which counted When society changes? more than 98,000 submissions. What was that experience like? Photography is dead, photojournalism is in crisis: we’ve heard these claims countless times. It’s I enjoy being on juries. It represents a rare opportunity to see the breadth and ambition of work proundeniable that funds are shrinkduced from every continent over a year, and to see ing and journalism and the media how photographers choose to represent the world. I market are transforming. How is photojournalism doing in this enjoy immensely engaging in thoughtful discourse time of rapidly changing technolwith other jurors. ogy, both in terms of production What criteria do you follow to and distribution? decide which is the best picture of the year? I think that times are tough economically but I think that good work is being produced. In many Frankly there is no ‘best picture of the year’. That ways, contests such as World Press cannot accomis too finite a definition and too subjective a choice. modate and are not the best showcase for the 41
US Marines of the 3rd Battalion 4th Marines attend to a colleague badly wounded by artillery fire at Baghdad Highway Bridge Gary Knight/VII 7 April 2003 This photograph is part of a sequence taken during three days when the 3rd Battalion attacked and captured the Diwanya Bridge, also known as the Baghdad Highway Bridge, prior to driving into Baghdad and pulling down the statue of Saddam Hussein. 42
US Marines clean up their dead and wounded after a 130mm shell exploded in a direct hit on one of their armored vehicles during an attack on Dyala Bridge during the invasion of Iraq. Photo by Gary Knight/VII 43
When society changes?
work that is now being produced. That is because the evolution in the means of production has changed the outcomes the photographers produce. For example many photographers are working closer to home on self financed documentary projects over a longer period of time. Many of them are working in the advocacy space or using new tools that are not reflected in the awards etc etc.
It is vernacular and accessible, it needs no translation, it is immediate and it can reach a wide audience who can – if they are so moved – respond and react. There is nothing elitist about photojournalism (which makes it distinct from some other genres of photography). One of its great strengths is that there is a certain ambiguity to it, meaning is extracted by the viewer and not imposed by the author, at its best it provokes questions and challenges preconceptions (at it’s worst it is reductive and clichéd). *
Are citizen photographers a threat to professional photojournalists? As much as citizen artists are to artists I suppose. Which means - no - both are useful, both can produce interesting work, but they can exist side by side. I don’t understand the hysteria around citizen photographers. The more citizens that engage in photography the better as far as I am concerned, it makes everyone better informed and (hopefully/possibly) more engaged. For decades, photojournalism has been the target of a range of criticism: it oversimplifies reality, aestheticises and dramatizes suffering, expresses a Western (Christian and colonial) perspective, produces decontextualised icons, sanitizes war, anaesthetises the viewer, depends on the written text, and is a form of porn. Where do you stand in this on-going debate? Are any of these claims ever true? Perhaps you have an example of a perfect act of photojournalism, one that should make the naysayers eat their words.
What do you teach your students and what suggestions would you give a young photojournalist? Be open minded, make few assumptions about others, don’t reinforce stereotypes. Why do we still need photojournalism and what do you see in its future? See above.* I cannot see into the future.
Scrutiny and criticism is useful, how else would we grow? Some of it is intelligent and thoughtful, some of it is really just a parody and not worth spending time reading. I think journalists of any stripe need to think carefully about how they represent the world, and understand that they have to answer to criticism. Good motivation is not enough. I think Eugene Richards’ work, War is Personal for example, is exemplary. As a photographer, academic, and judge, what do you identify as photojournalism’s strengths? 45
There are no homosexuals in Iran Photographs by ECAL / Laurence Rasti text by Ahoura
There are no homo Pages 46â€”65 46
September 24, 2007 at Columbia University, former We are afraid of everything. We used to swim against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, the flow and continually end up in the precipice.
â€œIn Iran, we do not have homosexuals like in your country.â€?
I still do not know why I am here. Did I flee or did I look for something new. Only God knows how the changes are difficult, this the reason why himself cannot change.
While today some Occidental countries accept gays and lesbians marriages, in Iran, homosexuality is still punishable by death. This sanction prohibits He put however all the cards in our hands in order to help us and relieve us. homosexuals to live their sexuality. Their only options are to choose transsexuality, practice tolerated I do not want to wait anymore, because by dint by law but considered as pathological or to flee. In Denizli, a small town in Turkey, hundreds of gay of waiting, I am afraid that my life passes. refugees Iranian transit: they put their lives on pause waiting to join one day, a host country where I would have no more fear, and trust in life. Because I feel this very same fear even when my they can freely live their sexualities. In this context of uncertainty where anonymity is the best protection, pockets are full and when I eat my fill. this work questions the fragile identity and gender concepts. It tries to give back to those people a face Today, I lost everything. By coming here, I lost everything. I think that life does not always offer that their country has temporarily stolen. us all what we need. Past days are gone, and the next, I do not know where they will be. But right now, even here, I have learned to love again the walls surrounding me, the trees and the sky. I imagine having a house. My life would be simple. I would have a job and the weekends to relax. Here, I am never late, nor early. Nobody is waiting for me. I spend my days gazing at the sky. A low and deep blue sky. I stare at this pure blue sky with clean clouds.
sexuals in Iran 47
Schweizer land YET magazine
by Chiara Fanetti
Igor Ponti Looking for Identity
Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern (DE) 3000 copies 280 mm x 240 mm 136 pages Clothbound ISBN 978-3-7757-3925-2 Inside the book Texts by Pietro Bellasi and Giovanna Calvenzi
Switzerland has been recently discussed extensively at international level. Political and social choices have created a media coverage, especially in relation to the popular vote of last February relevant to mass migration, which caused many difficulties in managing the relations with the European Union. The external gaze on Switzerland at this moment in history is more critical and curious than in recent years, yet in the popular imagination a stereotypical established depiction persists, to which a sense of closure and protectionism is possibly added, dictated in fact by the recent positions taken by the people. Igor Ponti’s (b. 1981) project is inserted in this rigid system of cultural and national definition as a brave element of questioning, with a definitely explanatory title: “Looking for Identity” published by Hatje Cantz.
A search of identity personally required by the author himself, who began this project five years ago simply for personal reasons: “I wanted to leave Switzerland. To migrate, to reach those urban centers that I thought could allow me to gain a deeper cultural, creative and working development. But at that time the question that I asked myself was “from what do I go away?”. I became aware that I did not know exactly what I would have left. I slightly inspected where I came from, what does it mean to be a Swiss or a citizen from Ticino, what bounded me to this land”. A definition of yourself through the land. Before an analysis linked to political movements, before cliché, almost before the very idea of nation and state. To strip off from the preconceived imagery that binds to a place and also to avoid the exact opposite, that is a kind of stupor, Igor Ponti completed the first two journeys through Switzerland, a stage that he defined as a “prologue”, in order to cover a more objective view of what he later shot. From this preparatory phase, some subjects and specific elements to be found in order to represent a search for identity were afterward defined, clearly leaving freedom of action to the fate and to the situation.
At this point the real journeys began, where the pictures that we find in “Looking for Identity” were taken. Images taken with a view camera, format 20x25 cm, which is a permanent feature for Ponti: “I need to be able to see the picture as a whole. How the proportions work. But above all, it is a format that implies slowness. It is a procedure where you have to stop, choose carefully the views. Place the tripod, assemble the camera, choose the perspective. It is an exercise of observation, of gaze. It is a ritual that also reflects my personality: to shoot under a cloth, closed inside it, reflecting and talking to myself, and reasoning out loud.” The images collected by Igor Ponti have the ability to show the everyday - of the people and especially of the places – without having to resort to the picture of the activities or tasks that mark a day and are therefore more easily placed under the label of “traditions”. Of course some typically Swiss elements, which are related to customs and traditions or eating habits, appear, but they are shown in the book just as objects or entities normally present in the territory, which later became distinctive at the international level. 67
Most of the shots actually return a land that could be described as a panorama of passage, of transit. Some pictures would never even remind you of Switzerland. In any case, the places are mainly the protagonists of “Looking for Identity”: “In this project, I focused on the land, but I also included some portraits. I like to relate with people when I photograph them, and then all those being there have a reason to be a part of the project. The best example is Elvezio. The name of a person which is also the name of a territory. A strong demonstration of belonging to a land.” And it is the picture of Elvezio which is used as the cover to the book. Furthermore Igor: “If in the project there is especially land and landscape is because I believe that as human beings, as a human race, when we settle in one place, we build something and what we build reflects who we are. The land is an enlarged view of our identity. This is also why we have a certain type of construction that is different from the one in the German-speaking or French-speaking Switzerland.” In Igor Ponti’s project, in fact, we must also consider this: it is being sought to search for the identity of a country that consists of multiple cultural identities derived from neighboring countries. Influences from Italy, France, Germany, beyond the obvious language issue, are clear and undeniable. The author of the search is furthermore part of a cultural and political minority, in other words he comes from Ticino, from the Italian Switzerland. “In Ticino, it most often happened to find anonymous places. I do not know if it’s because we had a land management which is different from that of other cantons. Let’s say that many cantons have preserved more their identity construction which is linked to the past. In fact, in central Switzerland the risk of making a “postcard” photo was constant. In Ticino is more difficult to fall into a stereotypical image because there are several landscapes. You easily pass from a metropolitan view, for example looking at Lugano, to very mountainous situations, just at short distance from the city. But taking pictures of where you live is the hardest thing to do. Your eye is so inured and accustomed to what’s around you that you need a big effort to have the ability to alienate and reflect on what you have in front of you. It is an exercise you have to do, you have to impose it to yourself ”. Among the differences that Switzerland has within it, Igor Ponti’s eye has a both internal and external virtue, but in any case he always aimed
to seek for an investigative and interrogative gaze, respecting the truth of the places as much as possible. A country that revealed itself as equally honest, in five years, a long enough period of time to establish both continuity and breeches: “I saw a real Switzerland, I met real people, even those that I have not photographed or even those who at the end I have not included in the final work, they all gave me something. I did not perform this work in order to quantify or define the current state of affairs in the country. I rather have an open conclusion that makes me think that there is no a real Swiss common identity, because each language region of the country is different. There is the Swiss identity based on the experiences that you can pick up in the land where you live. There is a sense of belonging, but I think it’s innate wherever you grow. The belonging not only to a nation, but to a land.” “Looking for Identity” by Igor Ponti, published by Hatje Cantz, was presented at Paris Photo 2014 and it is among the finalist for the New York Photo Festival in the category Photographic Book.
[p. 72] Schweizerland, Kreuzlingen, Thurgau, 2010.
[p. 73] Elvezio, Calpiogna, Ticino, 2012.
[pp. 74–75] Stone House, Sierre, Wallis, 2014.
[p. 76] Hearts, Ulrichen, Wallis, 2014.
[p. 77] Devil’s Stone, Göschenen, Uri, 2013.
[pp. 78–79] gotthard Pass, Uri, 2014.
[p. 80] Rhonegletscher, Furkapass, Wallis, 2012.
[p. 81] Andreas, Fontana, Ticino, 2011.
[pp. 82–83] Lindt, Central Zürich, Zürich, 2013.
[p. 84] Sasso, gotthard Pass, Ticino, 2014.
[p. 85] Bunker, Monte Ceneri, Ticino, 2014.
Looking for Identity Photographs by Igor Ponti
“In this project, I focused on the land, but I also included some portraits. I like to relate with people when I photograph them, and then all those being there have a reason to be a part of the project. The best example is Elvezio. The name of a person which is also the name of a territory. A strong demonstration of belonging to a land.”
Igor Ponti Pages 71—85
Looking for Identity www.igorponti.ch
This is a song to Barcelona, to its most morphological sense, to its framework, to its polymorphism, its polychromy, its repetition of aspects and to its numerous tentacles which somehow wrap themselves around all the inhabitants. For their safety, their shelter, their daily journeys, their work, their leisure, and elsewhere, their isolation, their anxieties, their loneliness, their failures.
Photographs & text by Salvi Danés
Talking about the city in any way, means talking about the humans who inhabit it. Each level of the city’s hierarchical structure leaves its own mark on the inhabitants, with a particular register. However, the images of one place or another, of one city or another, are useful, in essence, to establish a unique paradigm, to determine and establish the constants of a reality.
Salvi Danés Pages 86—101
The Debated Index
by Luisa Grigoletto
Thoughts on Seven Works [ Ben Alper ] [ Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin ] [Aaron Law] [ Emilie Regnier ] [ Erica Scourti ] [ Tim Smyth ] [ Maurice Van Es ] 103
The discussion on photographyâ€™s nature and its physical, causal relationship with reality, or indexicality, has proved to be one of the most inexhaustible and divisive topics in photography theory. Establishing the implications and consequences of this connection in an unquestionable and definitive way would be like the squaring of the circle, as photographyâ€™s complexity is irreducible to a singular assessment. While indexicality as a claim of evidence and truth has been under heavy critical scrutiny since the 1970s with the institutionalization of art photography, digital technologies and social media have introduced other layers to the discourse, modifying the way we make, perceive, use and distribute photographs. 104
Through the work of seven contemporary photographers, we explore a variety of possible interpretations of the index. While other contributors in this issue present more orthodox declinations within photojournalism, here we look at the intersection between documentary, artistic and conceptual modes, with varying degrees of technology. The results attest to dynamic and articulated approaches that problematize the classic notion of the index as an evidence and knowledge provider. Many also employ the word’s other meanings, which hint both at quantitative and spatial qualities, referring, among other things, to a logically ordered system to organize and retrieve information, and a number in the mathematical realm. From the series Passeport, © Émilie Régnier, Courtesy of the artist
Starting in the 1860s, American logician Charles Sanders Peirce conceived the index as part of a triad, including also the icon and the symbol, in a broad semiotic system to classify signs. While continuously reframing his proposal, Peirce saw the index as having causal, direct, factual relations with the object it referred to, despite showing no analogy or resemblance to it. As many authors have pointed out, photography theory discourse lifted it from this context and borrowed it loosely. From the 1970s onwards, it has been loaded with much philosophical and art historical weight. Rosalind Krauss’ Notes on the Index: Seventies Art in America and Roland Barthes’ Rhetoric of the Image and Camera Lucida are regarded as capital landmarks, starting what François Brunet calls an “indexical vogue”. But many argue how, from the very official beginning, photographs have been described as “traces”, “imprints”, and pure transcriptions of nature (Talbot), and perceived as visual records of the physical existence of an object before the lens. The stress on the mimetic and realistic qualities that the medium was thought to provide mechanically and automatically guaranteed the use of photography in scientific, juridical, evidentiary fields. According to Andre Bazin, photography’s perceived objective nature satisfied “our obsession with truth”. With Krauss, Barthes, and others the concept of indexicality entered the philosophical and academic fields, as photography was becoming more and more present also within museums and the art
market. At the same time, it was going under the severely scrutinizing lens of postmodernism, which framed its objectivity as ideological, institutional and cultural constructs or mise-en-scene. Yet, the general consensus was still with the idea that photographs had a documental value. The introduction of computer-generated images in the 1980’s radicalized the thoughts about the future of photography: while for some digital technology embodied a “revolution”, for others it meant the “death of photography” and the beginning of a “postphotographic era” or a “post-medium condition”. The ease with which pixels could be added, removed and changed provoked, over time, a general distrust in photographic truth and its indexicality. If analogue photography is defined as being both iconic and indexical, electronic images were thought to be only, or mostly, iconic or representational. While for some theoreticians silver-based photography is a completely different species from digital, in recent years we’re witnessing a shift in the controversy towards fusing the fracture. As photography has always been deceitful, analog and digital photographs are perceived to have the same social functions. Whichever the stance, it’s undeniable that the ubiquity of digital devices has deeply modified the distribution and consumption of electronic imagery. 105
As mentioned, the evidentiary quality culturally perceived through photography’s indexicality is exploited in administrative documentation as a way to identify people. Passeport is a work-in-progress by photojournalist Émilie Régnier, a Haitian-Canadian who was raised in Gabon. It employs the ID photo format to represent identity among different communities. After having covered and witnessed the harsh violence of the northern Mali conflict, backed by the French intervention in 2013, a bureaucratic necessity to extend her visa gave start to this project. In need of more passport pictures, Régnier visited a local photographer in Bamako. He took her photographs using a Polaroid camera, which instantaneously printed four images on the same photosensitive sheet. She bought the same camera herself and started photographing people as a way to counterbalance the ugliness of war. So far, the majority of the photographs have been shot in West Africa, between Mali, Senegal, Ivory Coast, and Guinea, some of the most troubled and conflict-ridden countries in the region, where multiple political crises have sparked or have been fomented by critical questions about citizenship, social and ethnic belonging, and sense of community within unnatural borders. Régnier is continuing the project in Paris’ 18th arrondissement, focusing on the African community living in Château Rouge. As time passes, it incorporates more and more information on the person portrayed, such as name, age, country of origin and reason of the trip. If the previous chapters of the work have developed on investigating different identities of young peoples living in post-colonial, artificial states, with the new French branch the aim remains unaltered, as she strives to reject any folkloristic, primitive and naive depictions of “the other”. It can be seen as a reaction to the stereotypical representation in Western media of Africa as a whole; as an indistinct continent, only plagued by disease and war, and ruled by inconsiderate, authoritarian elites. Through photography, an ideal, collective, intercontinental and growing community is thus created, which is at once cohesive and very differDamascus 2008 # 06, entiated. The photogra© Tim Smyth, pher admittedly chose her Courtesy of the artist
Comment Index & Notes
subjects because of some details that captured her attention: not beauty necessarily, but some form of eccentricity. Despite using the passport photography scheme, the iconography and the intentions are pretty divergent from a standard ID photo. There is no neutrality or uniformity in the expressions, poses, lighting and background. For instance, one subject has her eyes closed, another turns the head to the camera, showing only the hairstyle. The surveilling purpose, implicit in this kind of institutional, bureaucratic photography, is less evident than the ethnographic one, as the final use and destination is completely different from creating an official document. Also Tim Smyth’s Damascus 2008. The Al-Assad Campaign is centered on portraits, identity and sense of community, but on a different, mediated level. It’s a collection of shots, assembled in July 2008, showing the omnipresence of Bashar Al-Assad’s image throughout the city of Damascus. Billboards, posters, postcards and framed paintings, coming in all sizes, dot the city’s walls and corners, storefronts, recreational halls, restaurants, offices, and even car rear windows. The leader’s face lurks over each aspect and activity of everyday life, as a constant affirmation and reminder of who is in control of power. Yet, their omnipresence is not always blatantly evident in these pictures. Sometimes the portrait can go unnoticed, as it is relegated in the background. But this is where the perverted nature of Assad’s politics emerges, despite the relatively positive regard in which the international community held him at the time, as he was propagandistically promoting himself as a reformer for Syrian society. Even more so, these photographs look eerie in light of subsequent political developments in the country. The 2007 referendum that re-confirmed his presidency with an unbelievable 97.6% saw only one candidate: himself. These data, matched with the skillfully crafted institutional portraits showing an idealized figure, convey a precise idea about the head of state: an all-seeing, all-knowing paternal figure, who demands total obedience, a dictator peering down on his subjects. This is the face the ruler wants his citizens to identify with and to remember. The constructed political iconography is used to symbolically manipulate and surveil the population, through autocratic intimi107
dation. Tim Smyth samples a series of circumstances in which the cult of personality focuses on Bashar Al-Assad but extends also to his family members, namely his late father, Hafez Al-Assad, becoming a cult of dynasty. His project indexes these occurrences as he encounters them, but the ordering method is not severely homogeneous, as they’re approached from different angles and assume different weights within the series.
While all these data might help us reconstruct the subject matter, its meaning escapes us. Despite what the project’s title, Index, might suggest, the method’s semblant scientificity in systemizing and conveying information about scenes and objects extracted from the time flux is only seemingly satisfactory. Resembling a mosaic, the narration is built on fragments. In Alper’s hands, it accounts for photography’s failed attempt to construct accurate and exhaustive chronicles of personal experiences and encounters. This flaw is assimilated to memory’s discontinuity, fallacy, unreliability and malleability. Our recollection of facts and people can be altered and manipulated. Outsourcing the remembrance to photographs can be equally tricky: their perceived transparency and trustworthiness can actually be used to create false memories. Alper’s approach to space echoes that of a geographer, but his cartography renders a double portrait: of himself and of the place he inhabits. The act of indexing his surroundings and taking notes photographically points both to who’s in front and behind the camera. On one hand, looking elevates what’s seemingly ordinary and monoto-
Sequence and seriality are key features of Ben Alper’s An Index of Walking, a visual calendar where each day is identified with a photograph. Covering a yearlong period, from September 5th, 2013 to September 4th 2014, the shots show the daily walk the photographer took along the same route in Carrboro, North Carolina. The 30-minute suburban itinerary developed along a triangular section, where starting and ending points overlapped, creating a sort of cyclical ritual, based on repetition and routine. The images focus on a number of different details. Many of them allude to the road itself, like street corners at different angles, street cones and signs, lampposts, manhole covers, and pavement scribbles. Some items are collected from nature (trees, leaves, branches, bushes, grass, flowers, pots 5:21 pm, December 21, 2013 of dirt, broken pots, pots Latitude: 35N 54’ 41” with plants, mushrooms), Longitude: 79W 5’ 0” 68°, 78% humidity, and architecture (brick © Ben Alper, walls, house facades, metal Courtesy of the artist and wooden geometrical structures). Other photos have a more distinct patternlike appearance, featuring wires tight in straight or oblique lines or tangled up, snapped and dangling, and nets. Some pictures refer more directly to the act of photographing and its connection with memory, death, absence and the perception of presence: frames, shoe prints on concrete, snow, dirt and sand, a snowman, self portraits as shadows, a dead deer, gravestones. Pale grey rectangles stud the composition, marking the rhythm and interrupting the images flow. They represent those days in which the photographer didn’t take his daily walk, leaving us wondering what happened and what we’ve missed. Each of the actual 308 photographs is accompanied by a caption listing date, time, GPS coordinates, and weather conditions at shooting. 108
nous in everyday life. Everything, even the smaller bits, however partial, becomes remarkable, because part of what’s experienced on a personal level. On the other hand, this process underlines how the act of framing, or isolating a portion of space in time and excluding all the rest, is highly subjective, and not necessarily factual. Alper’s approach is indeed more representational than strictly or straightforwardly descriptive. In other words, by framing something, he transforms it. The pulse and the meaning of the project emerges from the series taken as a whole, rather than from the single shot. This is just one of the features of conceptual documentary photography, which, as Melissa Miles has argued, has risen as a new trend in recent years, and is linked to the archival drive so pervasive in our contemporary culture.
him either from the side or the back. At times, all we’re presented with are tiny portions of his appearances: a shoe, a calf, or just the bicycle’s back wheel. Van Es’ attempts to photographically capture his brother right before he disappears to some “secret” place, inaccessible to the rest of the family, denote a keen curiosity, which will not be satisfied by the magic mirror. Freezing time seems like a stratagem to better understand him. But no matter how many pictures the artist shoots, Alexander still remains unknown to him, and to us. For Van Es, photography embodies a tool to approach environments and situations that are personally meaningful, although it seems to remain ill-suited to disclose information and produce knowledge.
The obsessive repetition of a simple scheme or idea as a way to produce order and sense is trimmed down in Maurice Van Es’ work New Life (2011-13) and combined with the family snapshot impulse. The roughly 30 pictures seem like a response to the mechanism described in a passage in Barthes’s Camera Lucida: “Show your photographs to someone —he will immediately show you his: ‘Look, this is my brother; this is me as a child, etc.’” The project was born out of the photographer’s need to get closer to his 16-year-old brother, Alexander, who was going through adolescence and refused to share details about his personal life and to be photographed. The Dutch artist decided to immortalize him as he was leaving the house, right before he disappeared behind the corner. A pathway arranging a brick facade with a window on the right and bushes and trees on the left guarantee that the settings always remain the same. On this homogenous background, novelty is introduced by the changing of the seasons, with different light conditions, vegetation, windowsill decoration, and color palette. Accordingly, also Alexander’s outfits vary, going from thick down jackets to t-shirts and bare feet. Sometimes he’s carrying a backpack on his shoulders. Other times he’s walking his bike, or wearing earphones. Although we get a glimpse of his profile, no picture [p. 110] From the series New Life, ever shows his face © Maurice Van Es, entirely. In fact, we see Courtesy of the artist
[p. 111] 9:26 am, August 29, 2014 Latitude: 35N 54’ 46” Longitude: 79W 4’ 46” 81°, 72% humidity, © Ben Alper, Courtesy of the artist
Erica Scourti’s So Like You focuses on how technology and online platforms interact and modify authorship, authenticity, identity, and selfrepresentation. The publicness of personal images, in an age of omnipresent camera-phones and constant Internet access and photo-sharing opportunities, is investigated as well. With her personal archive as a starting point, she selected a number of items and created a digital copy, to be entered in Google’s image search tool. The system returned images that, according to algorithmic recognition reading, were somehow similar to the one she had uploaded. She created a tumblr page, similarselves, through which she started contacting the people who had posted such photographs, who were not necessarily the person portrayed. As she asked them to participate in the creation of tags, a collaborative work was born. But the resulting archive, presented as a video, doesn’t include any of Scourti’s own photographs, which remain in the shadow, as hidden traces. Each photograph is shown for 30 seconds, accompanied with details such as date of shot, camera used, title and descriptive tags. But so much detailed information doesn’t account for a scientific method. Neutrality is here labeled as a myth. A number of the tags sound meaningless, as they don’t necessarily match the image they’re associated with, and instead may refer to Scourti’s own original upload. The procedure with which she selected her own photos wasn’t objective either: she picked 109
those that resonated the most with her personal story, and were sort of the highlights of her life. The mere fact that the Web re-created a similarlooking set of photographs is completely detrimental to the idea of an authentic experience and of an original shot: a personal, familial archive is reassembled with photos of strangers to which we’re electronically associated by similitude. With the exponential advance of technology, images themselves have become search entries. Once uploaded to Google’s ‘Search by Image’ application, they enter the cloud, and become common goods available to anyone. There’s an astonishing and discomforting resemblance in our photographic memories, in how we visually frame what we consider picture-worthy. Scourti’s work targets how self-representation is shaped after the image industry and how consumerism levels out differences and experiences: looking at these photos, one might feel as if we were all living the same lives, or at least recording them in the same manner: similar poses, lighting, filters. Platforms such as Instagram and Facebook act as homogenizers, literally framing our pictures in the same way. A work on commission for the Brighton Photo Biennial, So Like You, also raises questions regarding copyright issues with online sharing and, more broadly, concerns with surveillance, privacy, and big data usage, as it itself relies on personally connecting with complete strangers via email, and gaining their trust.
rubble. The events and contexts are thus conflated into a hybrid, composed of images extracted and appropriated from the Internet, which operates as a sourcing archive. As we proceed through the timeline, the photo sequence visualizes how the smoke and rubble compositions accumulate, month after month. All of them are accompanied by online-generated information, regarding their original virtual (news article links) and physical provenance (locations). As the title might imply, the intent is to suggest a scientific and technical approach to image analysis, storage, classification and presentation pursued by an imagined organization, modeled after underground, conspiracy-theory groups. The index becomes the way in which the imagined organization managing the website systematizes and re-creates a context for all the data provided by the Internet. At the core of the project are questions regarding how the media cover catastrophic events, what kind of imagery is produced to represent them, and the modes of image dissemination. Law identifies smoke and rubble as tropes in such news depictions, deeply affecting our own understanding of facts. Despite all the information provided for each online photograph, he argues, these images appear to be highly vulnerable as virtual objects floating and multiplying on the web.
[p. 112] So Like You (production still), 2014, © Erica Scourti, Courtesy of the artist
Also The Smoke Rubble Index, by Aaron Law, is an online interactive project (accessible at smokerubbleindex.org). It consists of a database of images, diagrams, information and charts of disastrous and catastrophic events between December 21, 2012 and December 21, 2013. In particular, the website selects those news pictures that show the events’ aftermath, or the post-apocalyptic outcome. A world map gathers all the images referring to the pertinent month. The visual evidence of smoke and rubble, intended as recurring clichés in the rhetoric of photojournalism, are then isolated and converted into black-and-white images. The final visual result relies heavily on the use of Photoshop as a tool to merge all the different material, corresponding to specific spatio-temporal coordinates, into one picture showing a formation of either smoke or 114
A radically critical approach to the media industry covering war scenarios informs Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin’s The Day Nobody Died. In June 2008 the London-based duo embedded with UK military forces battling in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. The title of the work refers to a day, in the deadliest month of the war, in which there were no casualties: journalistically speaking, a day with no news to report on. The visual outcome of their experience at the frontline is the furthest thing, iconographically, from classic photojournalistic coverage, despite being radically indexical and related to the news system. Yet the emphasis here, thanks also to a video they produced, is on questioning the processes in which images are made, distributed and consumed. Their still pictures deal more with the registration of time than places, objects or people, as what we see is the unfiltered result of heat and light hitting the photosensitive film. The moving images instead present embedding as a well-oiled machinery.
A key “unorthodox” and unconventional factor in their method concerns the gear. In an era in which today’s news loses its value tomorrow, and that prizes and requires fast processes, Broomberg and Chanarin decided to shoot cameraless. Their images are actually photograms. A photographic paper roll was loaded on the back of a jeep turned into a moving darkroom, reminiscent of the 19th century war and landscape photography with wagons. Once at the action scene, they would open the doors to let the sun hit a 6-meterlong strip of film for 20 seconds. This produced very abstract patterns that range from black to white, with a spectrum of different hues in between, from blue to blood red. The viewer is denied any iconic content, which is only disclosed by the captions. The absence of an immediately recognizable and relatable image challenges the concept of photojournalism as a tool to provide evidence of social and political events. The video shows the trip of the cardboard box containing the photographic paper from London to different locations in Afghanistan: the soldiers, carrying the heavy package from base to base, became unwitting actors in the performance that set out to illustrate the collusion between the media industry and the army and the dynamics of such machinery. The severe restrictions that embedded photojournalists have to comply with are taken to the extreme for dramatic effect: the prohibition to show the most violent and brutal aspects of the war here turns into a choice to not show anything at all, as a way to criticize the sanitized depiction of conflicts and the editorial choices that magazines and newspapers follow. Furthermore, they point their finger at the viewers’ voyeuristic approach to war photographs and to what it means to bear witness and produce evidence of events. Strictly speaking, their work The Day Nobody Died is literally indexical, as it’s the result of their presence at the front lines in Afghanistan, but the evidentiary value is not explicit. As it was not also for the picture that inspired the project, the assassination of Benazir Bhutto by John Moore, which won the 1st prize, Spot News, at the 2007 World Press Photo Award. In general, it questions our common reading of photographs as being accurate, transparent and recognizable visual transcriptions of reality. [p. 113] Installation view, Broomberg & Chanarin, The Day Nobody Died Goodman Gallery Johannesburg
[p. 113] Broomberg & Chanarin The Day Nobody Died IV, June 10 2008, 2008 [p. 113] Broomberg & Chanarin The Brother’s Suicide, June 7 2008, 2008
[p. 113] Broomberg & Chanarin The Day Nobody Died III, June 10 2008, 2008
Debate after debate, a sort of mythology or metaphysics has developed around the index, with no agreed solution and much confusion. So much so, James Elkins at the Art Seminar on photography suggested: “Given that the term indexicality is problematic, and the reference to Peirce is problematic, I wonder if we might clarify things by avoiding the term.” But for better or worse, it persists. And according to Geoffrey Batchen, indexicality remains one of the most “abused terms in the photo-lexicon”. Despite the confusion, the concept clearly has staying power, as we’ve seen in these seven works. And regardless of the art world’s inability - or unwillingness - to come to an agreement, we can at least be certain that such tension remains an intellectual and creative influence behind some of photography’s most compelling practitioners today.
[pp. 116–117] From the series Smoke Rubble Index, © Aaron Law, Courtesy of the artist
The Photo Book as YET magazine
Text & backstage images by Nicolas Polli
a Personal Research 118
WORKS 2001–2019 in Conversation with Joël Tettamanti and Nicolas Bourquin
Nicolas Bourquin www.onlab.ch In 2001, Nicolas founded the graphic design studio onlab in Zürich. Moving to Berlin (Germany) the following year, he was working on an international design competition for Berlin’s Museumsinsel (1st prize) and on new commissions for onlab. In the past few years Nicolas has been invited to several international universities and art schools for lectures and workshops. In 2009 Nicolas got a regular assignment at the University of the Arts in Bremen (Germany) and in 2010 he was holding, together with Thibaud Tissot, a visiting professorship at the Bauhaus University Weimar (Germany). In 2003, together with Sven Ehmann and Krystian Woznicki, Nicolas co-founded the independent publishing house etc. publications. 119
“The book – as form, as medium, as technology – has long represented the final testament of its participants at the time of production. Once it is printed and bound, the book is a closed object; there is no going back to make changes to its internal details without efforts so daunting and costly that the best way to “correct” a finished book is to pulp the inventory and start all over. A bound book is a circle complete. The book is always a closed book. One wonders what it would be like if the circle were to somehow remain open, unfinished, until the most propitious factors could come together to apply a final graceful touch.” From Works 2001–2019, Joël Tettamanti book’s Text by Alan Rapp
Works 2001-2019, the last book by the photographer Joël Tettamanti, published by Benteli publishers, starts with this sentence by Alan Rapp. The general idea of the book is that it’s a finished product. A photo book is a project, a journey, a process, for someone it’s the ultimate expression of the troubled work of a photographer, that through the object puts the word end to a personal research and uses this artefact for its sale and promotion to the public. With the advent of digital media, photographers found new ways to promote themselves. Websites and blogs have become the main centres of connection between the photographer and his audience: easy to update, little expense and offering the possibility to reach the entire globe. And the book? The book as a physical object has not diminished in its importance: the Internet has made it possible for everyone to show his work, but for a photographer, to present his own project physically has a special charm and gives it another texture. A good book is always a plus value that enhances the photographer and his work. The relationship between the traditional book and the new media is a subject that sees the 120
book protagonist since the invention of the radio: its obsolescence has been predicted for several decades, but never as in recent years the topic is a source of study and experimentation for many publishers and graphic designers. Why does a photographer still need his own book? Joël Tettamanti
I find that the book is the only object that gives you credibility as an artist. There are exhibitions, there are blogs, there are websites, but they are all ephemeral solutions if compared to the book, which instead can give credibility in the long run. Maybe my vision is old, perhaps for the new generations to be on a blog or a magazine is already a form of respect.
The book is the ultimate form that consecrates your work as an artist. At the same time, however, I find that an artist must realize why he creates a book. Many people make a book because they want to show the works they did with the highest output quality possible; for me, personally, the era in which we have to show the images in a superb way is finished: if a book is made, it is because we are aware of its context. I don’t show the most perfect picture anymore, I don’t care whether it is printed to perfection, because we are not in the category of "fine art". For me, the book is
part of a personal research that can lead me to advance as a photographer. Do you think your current vision is the same as when you realized Local Studies in 2006? Joël Tettamanti
Joël Tettamanti: I think in Local Studies I cared a lot more about quality and image rendering; however, I was already open to experimentation, the deconstruction of my work. Without experimentation in my opinion you can’t created anything really interesting.
“Let me state this for the record: The Internet is not dead. Digital will not disappear. Print will not kill the web. It’s easy to forget that when physical books were invented, news websites ignored them, and then laughed at them as a niche pursuit for geeks. Now we are...” Andrew Losowsky, Fully Booked Ink on Paper, Gestalten, Berlin 2013
The statement of Andrew Losovsky can make people smile, at the same time carries an interesting connotation if you look at the contents of the book the phrase is from, Fully Booked Ink on Paper published by Gestalten. Inside there are a large number of books, which for one reason or the other are different from the classical concept of the book, as if to show that the book is an artefact yet to be discovered, which you can still innovate. It is starting from these impressions that I opened the new book by Joël Tettamanti, a book capable of innovating the very concept of the finished product. In what does this book innovate, in comparison to a traditional photo book? Nicolas Bourquin
Before we talk about this particular book we must say that, together with Sven Ehmann, we have already worked on a previous book by Joël Tettamanti, more precisely in 2006 with Local Studies. Local Studies was already in its
own way an experiment, a complex book both in the concept and in the layout, which deviated from what was a traditional photo book. Local Studies includes my works since 2001. As a photographer, I produce a large amount of images and in a year I travel to different parts of the globe. This makes the editing process extremely complex, because besides to places,
I take also pictures to people, working with several kinds of images that can be very different. Nicolas Bourquin
We therefore decided to categorize the images from A to Z and to create a dynamic layout where you can find more photographs in a double page, a process that was very particular for the kind of images that Joël Tettamanti realizes. But the result is very interesting and thanks to this we were able to make images taken at different moments and places interact, creating a strong cohesion in the complete project. From this first project, after a break, we decided to work together again for the construction of a second book. As in Local Studies, also in Works 2001-2019 the main aim was to create an innovative product experience. We created a book that can walk the reader through a visual journey, mixing images that have been made since 2001 with others that I will keep on creating up to 2019. This is the most intriguing part of the project.
Works 2001-2019 is an open book, an expandable travelogue that mutates over time. Considering the amazing speed with which Joël is able to produce beautiful images, we wondered if it was possible to design a book capable of showing this important productivity and thus, that could be periodically updated to make room for new stories and new places.
Speaking with Joël Tettamanti and Nicolas Bourquin I discover the process of realization of the book. Works 2001-2019 is a particular book, and perhaps the first of its kind. In a first step, photographer and graphic designer selected a base of images taken by Tettamanti over the last fifteen years, which set up the foundations of the book itself. These images will remain unchanged until the end of the project and it will be always possible to find them in the book at any time it is purchased. Some images, instead, will change over time. Depending on the artist’s new realizations, the book will show an evolution, which supposedly will last until 2019. I got interested mainly in the production of the book and how the process of evolution and mutation is possible at the editorial level. The first part of the book, the foundation, is printed in Offset, all copies of the book have already been printed without being bound. Two parts of the book are then subjected to possible changes. The layout envisages some space for the new images that will be printed in a second time, and only in a limited number of copies. In this process, the user can choose to print a single colour image, which will be limited to an edition of six books. The book is thus a union of different printing techniques and is a mix between a traditional and a print-on-demand book. Works 2001-2019 is a work-in-progress, in the best sense of the word. It provides an overview on Tettamanti's work so far, invites readers onto a journey along the long-term subjects he addresses, and also allows for the photographer to include upcoming projects to add new perspectives to this context. The book comes in three different editions: While the Basic Edition presents all photographs in
black-and-white, the Special Edition offers readers the choice to choose their one favourite image to appear in colour. The Premium Edition provides an additional limited edition print on top.
coloured. A technical element that, in my humble opinion, doesn’t limit the evolution of the book. As Joël says, the book is mainly a personal journey that can bring something rather than presenting pretty pictures of places. The book has the ability to tell the world without focusing on specific events, but through the continuous movement of the photographer and his research on the territorial changes and human civilisation.
The book’s structure clearly requires to make very precise choices in terms of editing. The new images can be inserted only in some parts of the book and the available spaces are delineated from the first printing. But this should not influence Joël Tettamanti in the realization of his new works. Graphic designer and photographer therefore chose to create a visual journey that leads the viewer from the wilderness to the city, showing the different realities that can be found from wild nature to urbanisation. This step acts as a visual search, a process that combines several places completely different from one another, connected by Tettamanti’s eye. The book is thus a continuous journey that is carried on both by the new images themselves, both by their evolution in the book - that ultimately presents the human being and the places where he lives. As described above, the main focus of the book is based on black and white images, in contrast to the modus operandi that normally distinguishes Tettamanti’s photographs, usually
German / English 224 pages 247 monochrome images 25 x 34,5 cm half-cloth binding ISBN: 978-3-7165-1807-6 Release: 11/2014 Inside the book Texts by Alan Rapp and Gianpaolo Arena
Works 2001–2019 Photographs by Joël Tettamanti
Joël Tettamanti Selection from the book
Works 2001 —2019 www.tettamanti.ch
Datazone Photographs and text by Philippe Chancel
Philippe Chancel Pages 138â€”173
An image is essential only if each square centimetre is essential. Michelangelo Antonioni, Les Cahiers du cinĂŠma, 1960
Datazone’s project looks into emblematic territories distributed on the world map that are the theatre of a recurrent reality or relatively hidden from media radars. In my opinion, these areas of tension embody serious civilisation concerns. Datazone explores the complexity of these landscapes and gives them a photographical coherence without ruling out any genre: architecture, landscape, people, street scenes, public and private spaces. Mixed together, these categories nourish a synthetic and dissociated vision of truly mind-blowing situations.
Central Asia, distinguished by the rough display of its wealth and its aesthetics of excess. I went to South Africa for the first time last July. I was astonished to see the harsh reality of the miners of Marikana. Their struggle, their hopes are entirely based on the great movements of the late nineteenth century in France. This journey allowed me to see and record a cruel reminder of things I thought had disappeared, showing how our world still conceals the misery of failed utopias. I immediately thought that I could incorporate this project within the framework of the subjects of study that I put into my Pandora’s box that I call Datazone. Somewhere between the severity of North Korea and the pomp and oil wealth of the Emirates, Astana, Kazakhstan’s new capital, embodies the will to look towards the twenty-first century, establishing itself as a new great power through neofuturist architecture that reminds the splendour of the former Soviet empire. The captures made on site represent tangible signs of these incredibly quick changes through the architecture and the inhabitants of the capital. The accuracy of detail, the unvarying light, the distance, the need for neutrality and detachment, support the aesthetic pleasure of the project which, with its unique writing, describes a distance and a beauty matching with politics and violent subjects. With the aim of keeping up with this work in progress, I wish to explore other places constantly deepening in areas closed from the rumours of the outside world or, on the contrary, proclaiming day after day their stigmas. Some other “Datazone”: Jourdain’s border (running up), Xalapa, Meroe, Tomsk, Ghardaïa,
Inspired from William Burroughs’s novel Interzone and from a principle of fragmentary writing perceived like a way of transgressing mental boundaries through the intricate progression of yet unexplored areas, Datazone highlights the current drift in political and social field – whose sensitive areas, usually inextricable, are symptomatic. Halfway between the truth (the document) and the untruth (the narrative fiction created by the viewpoint), the project was born in 2005, with a work made possible for the first time about the normality of appearances in North Korea and later, with research about the colonisation of reality through fiction, realised in the United Arab Emirates. From then on, I wished to explore further new geographical territories, where major civilisation issues occur. By going to Port-au-Prince, epicentre of the 2010 earthquake that struck Haiti, I decided to expose a different time, not the time of the event itself, nor the time of commemoration, but an intermediate time where the land is still scarred and the people still torn between the havoc of the past and the false promises of the future. On June 7, 2011, less than three months after the tsunami that wreaked havoc in the Tohoku region of Northeast Japan and the spread of the nuclear panic around Fukushima, I headed North from the 20 km marking line exclusion zone around the power plant. The landscape devastated by the tsunami evokes aspects of the effects of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The silent suffering that I saw and felt was that of a hard-hit country questioning its cruel destiny, once again haunted by its dead. In Kabul, I wanted to illustrate the extravaganza of a gangster style, engraved in military leaders’ palaces and malls of the new city. Under the ruins hides another world that, from an architectural perspective, represents the new “hub” of
51°07’ 36.09’’N 71°25’.81’’E
Declaring its independence in 1991 following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan concentrates the utopian visions of a post-Stalinist era. The new capital, Astana, Embodies the drive to look towards the twenty-first century, establishing itself as a new great power through neo-futurist architecture that evokes the splendor of the former soviet empire. Though in a more mystical manner than in the Stalinist era, the cult of personality is reasserted through Nursultan Nazarbayev, the country’s president since 1990. What does the future hold for everyone in this chimera, a mixture of fascination and fear that determines the artificiality of this utopian city? Somewhere between the severity of North Korea and the splendor and the oil wealth of the Emirates, Philippe Chancel captures tangible sighs of these incredibly rapid changes through the architecture and the inhabitants of the capital.
39°01’ 39.17’’N 125°44’51.87’’E
In the hermit kingdom that is North Korea, a flurry of obvious signs attest of the servitude of the individual to an ideology: whilst flags and slogans praise the party, monuments, statues and portraits bear the image of their leaders. As what is hidden is out of reach, it is only by showing everyday life in its gritty reality that is possible to make the levers of power visible and tangible. Such neutrality can be extremely powerful: revealing to what extent this regime operates like an hallucinatory machine hypnotizing an entire people, turning reality into a show.
37°25’ 19.44’’N 141°01’54.76’’E
On June 7, 2011, less than three months after the tsunami that wreaked havoc in the Tohoku region of Northeast Japan and the spread if the nuclear panic around Fukushima, Philippe Chancel heads North from the line marking the 20km exclusion zone around the power plant. The landscape devastated by the tsunami evokes aspects of the effects of the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The silent suffering that he saw and felt was that of a had-hit country questioning its cruel destiny, once again haunted by its dead and wounded. 140
25°05’ 55.86’’ N 55°09’01.88’’E EMIRATES PROJECT (2007-2011)
18°33’03.83’’N 72°20’ 51.04’’ O
Under the banner of pure capitalism, the countries of the Gulf are inventing a new time, more and more rapid, increasingly oriented towards an imaginary future. Desert Spirit is a travel story that bears witness to a boundless extravaganza marked by skyscrapers, artificial islands, and gaudy billboards. The first image that greets the traveller who arrives from the motorway, is certainly a mirage. If Dubai is a city-spectacle, along with Philippe Chancel we access it from behind the scenes. The grand scenarios offered by the desert are both real and highly metaphorical. Visiting Dubai today, with images showing the signs of buildings in progress, means experiencing on a daily basis the split between the real and the virtual city. Chancel plays on this ambiguity, stunning the observer with general images, including real aerial views and visions just sketched out, up to the limit of indecision. Orienting yourself becomes a very difficult undertaking, as there is no reference to human trace. Through Philippe Chancel’s lens, Dubai, created in the desert, remains purely desertlike, uninhabited.
By going to Port-au-Prince, epicenter of the 2010 earthquake that struck Haiti, Philippe Chancel exposes a different time, not the time of the event itself, nor the time of commemoration, two periods that the media is always so keen to portray, but an intermediate time where the land is still scarred and the people still torn between the havoc of the past and the false promises of the future. Today, more than half a million victims still live on the streets of Haiti.
For anyone steeped in the values of human rights and the civil rights, for every individual imbued with the ideals of the Revolution of 1789, ideals that still form the foundations of the French Republic, apartheid in South Africa is seen as an unparalleled injustice. Philippe Chancel went to South Africa for the first time last July. He was amazed to see harsh reality of the miners of Marikana. Their struggle, their hopes are based entirely on the great movements of the late nineteenth century in France, Etienne Lantier, the famous protagonist of Germinal, was there, present, personified in the power of the cry of thousands of workers in the platinum mines. The depth of their refusal is disturbing to witness. The journey allowed Philippe Chancel to see and record a cruel reminder of things he thought had disappeared, showing how our world still conceals the misery of failed utopias. 141
Mrs. GRAZIA NERI
A Day With
by Mariachiara Di Trapani
Grazia Neri by Ruy Teixeira 174
My first encounter with Grazia Neri? An epic fail. The appointment was accorded on the phone, in a short and embarrassed call, in which all I had to do was writing down date and place of the meeting. On the fixed date, three minutes before the agreed time, I knocked at her door, hoping she couldn’t read on my face how eager I was to meet her. When she opened, the very first words she spelled out were “You’re late missy, I have to go now, I am a grannynanny!”. I started to mumble my apologies wishing the ground would swallow me up. She stated all we could do at that point was booking another day and, while saying so, she took me to her studio. She grabbed her agenda and with the most serious face ever seen she fixed our next rendezvous. Just a simple gesture, full of control and conviction, was enough to remind me once again she is the founder of the first photographic agency in Italy. My heartbeat was fast and I couldn’t focus on what was around me, she accompanied me at the door and I suddenly found myself out on the street. After a few hours, a message from her saying: “I wanted to apologize for being so harsh, I’m an old hag!”. With a few simple words, she showed me her kindness and humanity. No wonder she is a real legend of Italian photojournalism. We meet again eventually, and this time I have the chance to absorb all her charm and charisma. Seems like photography is like breathing air to her. She enjoys delighting herself every morning reading her favourite photography magazines, Pro Photo Daily and LensCulture. She sits down in all spontaneous grace, giving smart and bright answers; her captivating beauty comes from an intellectual strength.
Grazia Neri Colin Jacobson
Mr. COLIN JACOBSON
A Day With
My first encounter with Colin Jacobson takes place in London outside the FishBar, an independent gallery founded by Philipp Ebeling and Olivia Arthur. It’s photographer Mimì Mollica who introduces me to this institution in the world of English photography. Colin has a lanky figure and shows a great kindness through his lively eyes and warm voice. Our conversation starts in relaxation while sipping a pint of beer. I’m immediately aware of Colin’s natural familiarity with photography, a human and professional respect for the photographers he has met during his career as photo editor. After hearing about my Sicilian roots, the first question he asks me – with a smile that usually accompanies positive memories – is “How are Franco Zecchin and Letizia Battaglia?” We talk about ‘70s British photojournalists that I’m not familiar with and come to learn through him. I pinpoint a chapter in Grazia Neri’s book where she describes him: “Colin was the last successful photo editor for The Independent, contributing to make such unique newspaper before the tragic decline of the English press. Each day, during Jacobson’s stay at the newspaper, on the front page of The Independent was published an image created by a photographer who had been given work assigned in total freedom. It was something else to buy the newspaper and see the image and the chosen topic. And it was comforting that a newspaper would give credits quoting the photographer and the agency next to the image.”
Colin Jacobson by Witold Krassowksi
I ask Colin the same type of questions I asked Neri, to draw a parallel between two similar personalities yet so unique. 175
How did the craft of photojournalism change with the web and what are the potentialities of the new media in this regard? Grazia Neri
because the photography feels he or she has “got” what they want based on what they can see in the play back? To me, the web encourages lazy and selfindulgent photography and picture editing because of the very ease of taking and presenting multiple selections of images. Analogue photography was expensive – film and processing cost a lot and this led to a much more considered approach to visual storytelling. Now, in theory, a photographer can shoot endless pictures for a story and present an unlimited edit of them for very little cost. I believe this has changed the dynamic of the interaction between photographer, editor and viewer. In the analogue era, photographs and picture stories in magazines and publications were mediated by “professionals”: in other words, there was some kind of consensus as to what the story was about. This was, admittedly, not a very democratic process, but the so-called democratisation offered by the Internet has led to all sorts of challenges and confusions as we drown in an overkill of visual material. Not least of these, I would say, is the sense that it is now down to the individual viewer, the audience, to pick its way through an unremitting visual tornado to interpret the stories on offer and give them meaning. Photojournalists may feel that they have more control over their stories by being able to present huge numbers of pictures on their websites. I believe the opposite; more is not better, if the audience come away with an unreliable and untrustworthy understanding of the story or project their own fictions on to it.
Well, it has been a radical transformation, indeed, which completely changed the way we used to develop a report. I think photographers have a great help from new technologies, which make their job faster. Meanwhile, the agencies that once had the privilege to help the photographer are slowly disappearing. Photojournalists today can control and supervise their job instantly, take a picture and see it in two seconds, fix it with Photoshop, edit it online and make it available on their personal digital archive. Nowadays, the contact between a photo editor and a photographer is quite inadequate. Photo editors most of the time have too much to do and they got only little time to spend with a photographer, working on the development of a project. On the other side, photographers have to go through all the news in order to find a good story to tell. Balance is far to be achieved, photojournalists today lost a lot with the Internet as much as they gained in terms of exposure. Posting pictures online can be great, because gives the chance to make the work available to everybody, but someone can always “steal” your picture and use it without a real control.
I believe the craft of photojournalism changed when digital cameras became more or less universal. With analogue, photographers continued to look around and work around the subject once an image was captured because they were never quite sure what they had got until the film was processed. That was a form of anxiety that encouraged creativity, in my opinion. With digital, the temptation to look down to see what the image is like is overwhelming and the tendency to become easily satisfied and move on is irresistible. How many brilliant pictures are missed during that brief glimpse downwards away from the scene? And how many pictures that could turn a good story into a great story fail to get taken
What do you think of photography schools and prizes? Are they still useful to celebrate the right way to do photojournalism? Grazia Neri
I think running for a prize competition is an actual incentive to give your own best, a good exercise to make things in a proper way. Making an effort in order to edit a story in twelve pictures – as, for example, the World Press Photo requires - is not that easy. Luckily, taking part to these competitions today is not that expensive
Grazia Neri Colin Jacobson
as it used to be, because now the costs of printing a good picture are lower, all you have to do is to be aware of the tricky deadlines of the applications. I estimate something like 365 prizes in a year. Some of them are quite rewarding, for example the Eugene Smith’s, with its 30.000 dollars. It has been awarded to the American photographer Joseph Sywenkyj: in his work, started 15 years ago, he documented the lives of people affected by the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. Prizes are a unique opportunity to get in touch with other photographers, get photo editors and critics to know your work and reach a wider public. Magazines and dailies give a particular attention to the World Press Photo and its pictures are shown worldwide thanks to itinerant exhibitions. The best kind of photography courses aim to work on the students’ hearts and minds as well as their photo skills. It is not enough just to turn out young photojournalists who are technically proficient and well versed in all the new digital skills. Content is king and storytelling is the beginning and end of successful photojournalism. Students need to be taught how to research a story before they even pick up a camera and encouraged to decide if their story has genuine visual potential. If it doesn’t, what is the point of shooting it? The teachers have to push their students to think constantly about whether they are approaching their story in a way that will make sense to the audience. The viewers see only what is presented to them and if they fail to engage with the story or find it dull and uninteresting, the fault lies entirely with the photographer. Another area of supreme importance is discipline in the editing process and teachers have to ensure that their students are utterly ruthless with the story editing, avoiding repetition and confusion, and trying to reduce the selection to the least possible number of images that will support and sustain the storyline. Too many young photojournalists are overindulgent and want to
include far too many images in their final edit, because they believe all their pictures are good. The result is that they end up with several photos that are saying the same thing without adding any value to the overall understanding of the story. Students need to ask themselves all the time “Are my photographs helping to make sense of how we live now?” Finally, photography schools have to underline the fact that photojournalism is not just about producing pictures. It is about the relationship between text and image and it is this combination that provides the all important context of a story and moves it to a third level of meaning greater than the sum of its two elements. Concerning prizes and competitions, I don’t have very strong views. Generally, it seems to me that many prizes around the world get awarded to the same well-established photographers over and over again, often because the judges are also frequently chosen from small pool of predictable experts and seek to validate each other’s choices. I would like to see more unknown photographers going after these prizes and achieving success.
What does it mean reading a photograph? Grazia Neri
Reportage photography shows what the photographers want to tell and his/ her own point of view, and thanks to my experience I am able to understand their photography. Making a picture and being able to read it, requires all your knowledge put into it. Photography doesn’t create anything but stays there to show us what we already know. When I take a look at a picture, especially a reportage one, I want to see all very clearly. I don’t want any fake or adjustment. When it comes to photojournalism, what I expect from a picture is that it contains both the description of the event and the personal touch of the author. That’s why it is so hard to make good quality photography. But that’s why as well we need to be aware that a photographer is never telling 177
â€œNowadays, the contact between a photo editor and a photographer is quite inadequateâ€?
Grazia Neri 178
Grazia Neri Colin Jacobson
â€œStudents need to be taught how to research a story before they even pick up a cameraâ€?
Colin Jacobson 179
all the truth, for as much as he/she tries, other than capturing an instant of the reality that surrounds him/her, which is only a fragment. I reckon this is what I am personally looking for in a photographer, the ability to get as close as possible to reality using ones own perception. Considering the overload of images to which we are subjected nowadays, how to educate the readers to the appropriate way to read (or interpret) a photograph? A basic and simple answer: educate children in visual literacy from a very early age. Reading, writing and arithmetic are important, naturally, but so, increasingly, is an ability to appreciate and understand photographs and the language of photography.
One photojournalistic work of the past and the latest you loved. Grazia Neri
I have been living photography ever since the beginning, when only men photojournalists came to the agency; then, slowly, the number of women increased, with all its active involvement. I’ve noticed that women photojournalists are very good at perceiving social changes. Think of the beautiful photographs of the ‘70s and ‘80s, when they were among the first to grasp the difficulty of the female world, documenting the elderly’s hardships, life in mental asylums, childhood... I am very sensitive to female photography. I’ve always loved all the work by Donna Ferrato, – “Who’s now out with her new book!” she exclaims, excited to see it – her books are beautiful and instructive. To know Living with the Enemy is a great means for anyone who wants to learn how to investigate social issues through the lens. Thanks to her images of real stories and real people, Donna managed to raise awareness, educate and prevent domestic violence against women and children.
Then there’s Jane Evelyn Atwood, she has achieved important goals with her photographs, as well: through her work Trop de peines, she obtained that women could give birth in prison without being handcuffed, as Donna Ferrato managed to make the laws against the mistreatment of women being established in many American States. These are results that are achieved only when a project lasts for years, they both focused on just one issue, like a leitmotif. Among the Italians, but on different themes and with a more detached approach, I think of Giorgia Fiorio. But you see that making names is terrible? I cannot forget Mary Ellen Mark, who also works by choosing a topic; Sally Mann, who was criticized for photographing her children. I think her images on adolescence are exceptional. Nobody will be able to represent it as she did ... Witold Krassowski’s body of work on life in rural Poland in the mid-to-late 1980’s. He was working for the Catholic press and this gave him access all over the country, including some remote areas. The photographs are perceptive, revealing, tender, sometimes acerbic, and often very witty. This work fulfils the much quoted and basic requirement of journalism, both written and visual, that it should inform, educate and entertain. A story by Magda Rakita, a Polish photographer who was a postgraduate student at the London College of Communications. She shot a story on the daily life of women in Liberia for her major project. She took a classical reportage approach but the resulting images seem completely modern with a strong personal style and excellent use of colour.
Grazia Neri Colin Jacobson
At Grazia Neri’s house
An atmosphere of harmony and complicity is now established; with curiosity I ask to take a guided tour of the pictures on her walls, I follow her through the living room, the studio, along the hallway ... framed medium format prints everywhere, black and white is prevailing: Gisèle Freund, Sally Mann, Gabriele Basilico, Paolo Pellegrin, Lorenzo Castore, Lucio Fontana’s cut caught by Ugo Mulas, an unexpected Massimo Vitali, Sebastião Salgado, Antoine D’Agata, Greg Gorman. Among the books of the library, I spot Alexandra Boulat, Letizia Battaglia, Annie Leibovitz, Carla Cerati ...
In the bedroom, the best surprise: a big patchwork of photographs that make up the visual map of her affections, herself as a child while reading a newspaper, with her son Michele. When I notice there are only a few colour images, I see a well-known work by Bianca Brunner, a portrait of a woman from behind while walking into the water at night ... she lights up and smiles with complicity. The girl in the photo advances in a sinuous and elegant way, she seems to move in an uncertain and dreamy world Bianca Brunner, Limbo 5, 2004 Courtesy of the artist and to cross it without hesitation, just like Grazia. and the BolteLang, Zurich 181
Images selected by Colin Jacobson
Magda Rakita God made woman, then he jerked Liberia, 2013 Monrovia, Liberia. Girl plays with a shower cup used during rainy season to protect hair.
Witold Krassowksi After-Images of Poland Poland During the Transition Period, 1989â€“1997 183
Letizia Battaglia The two â€œChristsâ€? Palermo, 1982
Letizia Battaglia Rosaria Schifani, widow of Vito Schifani, the body guard who was killed together with three of his colleagues and with Francesca Morvillo during the deadly ambush to judge Giovanni Falcone. Palermo, 1993 184
Images selected by Grazia Neri
Politico: The Case of Italian Elections YET magazine
by Sarah Carlet
Gianni Cipriano and Simone Donati tell what lies behind their vision of photographing Italian politics
Simone Donati Gianni Cipriano
The panorama of Italian photojournalism is characterized by a particularly prime example. The photographic project born from Simone Donati and Gianni Cipriano is a work that documents the Italian socio-political situation over the last two years, giving us a sharp look on the scenario of our politicians' public life and the reality connected to them. A lucky meeting between the photographer duo and photo editor Tiziana Faraoni of L'Espresso magazine, who believed in the project and had the guts to propose a new method of providing information. From that moment, the two photographers started covering election campaigns of political parties candidates in the 2013 general election, dividing their time between north and south of Italy to investigate the scenario revolving around politics itself: places, characters, situations, small clubs and large institutions. A winning outcome and a sigh of relief in a cultural scene where, for some time now, we discuss the struggle of photojournalism to emerge and differentiate, and the difficulty in finding the right clients for new and interesting project proposals. In the work of Cipriano and Donati, who have very different styles and intentions, the two photographers' authorship clearly stands out. Donati has a somewhat ironic view, he analyses places and situations for long periods and his image comes at a later stage, almost the result of a contemplative investigation. He takes medium format colour photographs. Cipriano photographs are 35mm format black & white. An acute observer, always picking interesting perspectives and managing to capture the moment, expressions and details without interfering. The two photographers manage to be innovative in their own style without intruding the circumstance yet remaining within. The project presents in its entirety an original way of dealing with news within the Italian publishing industry, giving us an overall picture of our contemporary world viewed through the lens of politics. The approach isn't factitious, there is no obsessive search for provocation: the ridiculous, the grotesque and the theatricality that emerge are the mirror images of a manipulation of reality, a ritual that politics enacts the same way all the time. 187
What are you primarily interested in the political scope? Why and how did you choose to investigate it?
Where are your choices of colour and format generated and how were they accepted from the publisher?
I've been following the Italian political scene, especially Silvio Berlusconi, since 2009, but I had never documented a national election. The one with Gianni was a divided and scientifically planned teamwork, we often met in Rome, where sometimes we would operate together. We covered a five weeks election campaign and then we continued to follow other important events of the political scene, until this year. The political arena has always been a personal interest of mine and it seemed natural to bring my photographic eye there as well. When I photograph I usually stay in one spot and observe, then take shots. I tried to reflect my opinion on the scenarios presented before me â€“ often ironic, as shown in the images. The same people that I portrayed, while belonging to very different parties and contexts, seemed to be all the same, in that they emphasize the sense of belonging to an ideology, to a group. I had the desire to participate and witness firsthand the situations and the events of electoral politics that until then I had followed only through the pages of newspapers and TV news. I wanted to see the contexts politicians were placed and form up my own opinion. I was interested in the language of politics and wanted to give an account of what I saw with my own eyes: the surplus in the practice and methods of doing politics, or rather, to campaign, from small towns to the institutions.
I started photographing more in black & white after my return from the United States to Sicily â€“ my homeland and the protagonist of a long-term personal project documenting places of memory, religious holidays and the local reality. This work, commissioned by L'Espresso, is linked to my desire to recount Sicilian politics: I wanted to investigate the cyclical nature of the history of a country that remains unchanged over time. Thus I have chosen to continue to use this same style for editorial work. And having the newspaper's consent, since my stylistic choices were completely respected: the 35mm format, the grainy images, the cut and the type of situations.
I shoot in colour and use medium format in other works. My vision was welcomed by the newspaper and I haven't had to change in any way, so I felt free to work as I was used to. It was a perfect match.
How was working for such challenging client? From the moment the commissioned work went out, we were in complete availability of L'Espresso. Given the disorganization of Italian parties, you never knew what was going on, sometimes the average expectancy of an event was 48 hours. It wasn't easy, but we managed to get coverage. At the same time we were trying to witness this delicate
Simone Donati Gianni Cipriano
moment in history and political development of the country in our own way. The most complicated thing was to understand which of the many events to follow, what was the right time. Sometimes we had to cover various events and then choose the best along with the journalist. It was a work in connection with the newspaper. Simone Donati
Having worked for a long time on a commissioned job, I was prepared enough to work in certain situations. From our side there was an attempt to build a story that wouldn't be too visually repeated, because electoral realities are often very similar to each other and end up like a replica, from town to town, from north to south.
What was the most significant event that you have followed? Which photo or sequence is representative of that event? Simone Donati
There have been many significant events. If I have to choose one, I'd pick the day spent in Senate while Letta cabinet asked the confidence of the government, after Berlusconi's threat to leave the coalition. It was the first time I entered the Parliament. Until then I had lived that part of reality only through television and it was a strong impact to see it "from the inside". That was the last day that Berlusconi entered the Senate, a month and a half later was voted the forfeiture after conviction for tax fraud.
I look back at an event that has a symbolic value on the current state of relationship between politics and electorate and has often tormented me in this path. In June 2013, after ending the commissioned work, Simone and I have decided to continue our project in Sicily following the local election campaigns, from towns with less than 10,000 inhabitants to the provincial capitals. The day before election in the Librino district of Catania, the two main mayor contenders were preparing to close the campaign with two rallies at 500 metres of distance of each other, separated only by large apartment blocks. A symbolic gesture? A politic response to the desire for redemption of an area now become synonymous with degradation, illegality and crime? Or because Librino and its 80,000 inhabitants represent the largest pool of votes of Catania? I was wondering what message, what idea of renewal would be delivered by the candidates to potential voters.
During the closing celebrations of the centre-right candidate and incumbent mayor Raffaele Stancanelli, waiting for the speech, performing on stage were a Neapolitan like singer, a comedian and two little girls performing a Latin American dance. After the dance, I noticed a bit of confusion at the entrance of the square: the mayor had arrived. I followed his path for a few minutes accompanied by handshakes, hugs and selfies, as he walked towards the food stand rather than on stage. Strange, I said to myself. Shouldn't the incumbent mayor make a final speech before Sunday's vote? An informer then took the microphone and, addressing the audience, pronounced: "Ladies and gentlemen, the mayor has come!", after which, without presenting any excerpt of program for the city of Catania or for the district, he invited the citizens to help themselves to meat sandwiches and beverages that were offered, and to not cram because "there is something for everyone." I went myself to assist in the distribution of food, that became the highlight of the evening, and asked one of the volunteers how much meat was ordered for stuffing. "500 kgs of horse meat and 500 kgs of sausage." One sandwich, one vote?
—10 Palermo, Italy, 17 February 2013: A stage with three Italian flags is set up minutes before Gianfranco Fini, former President of the lower house of the Italian parliament and leader of the "Future and Freedom" party in Mario Monti's coalition, delivers a poorly attended speech. —11 Catania, Italy - 7 June 2013: Residents of Librino, a workingclass district and mafia stronghold in the outskirts of Catania, Sicily, wait their turn for a free portion of sausage during the campaign closing party for Mayor Raffaele Stancanelli, the center-right candidate running for re-election —12 Rome, Italy - 25 February 2014: Matteo Renzi, 39, the youngest prime minister in held a spoke to lawmakers before the Lower House approved a confidence vote on his new government in Rome, Italy, on February 25th 2014.
—13 Rome, Italy - 24 January 2013: (L-R) Nichi Vendola (leader of the “Left Ecology Freedom” list and LGBT activist) touches Pierluigi Bersani (PD - Democratic Party, leader running for Prime Minister), after giving a press conference together with Bruno Tabacci (center, Democratic Center)
—1 Rome, Italy - 27 November 2013: The Italian Senate votes in favor of stripping former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of his seat in parliament after the highest court made definitive a tax-fraud conviction against him in August, at the Italian Senate in Rome, Italy, on November 27th 2013. —2 Rome, Italy - 17 January 2013: A detail of the feet of Pierluigi Bersani, leader of the center-left coalition running for Prime Minister, as he meets young voters at the Jovinelli Theatre in Rome before the start of the campaign for the Italian general elections of 2013. —3 Rome, October 2013. The sitting of the Senate, where the government chaired by Enrico Letta asks a confidence vote after threats of Silvio Berlusconi to leave the coalition. After an agitated morning the government gains a confidence vote, even with the support of the PDL. —4 Rome, February 2013. A moment of Ballarò tv show on the national television channel RaiTre. Silvio Berlusconi, leader of the political party Popolo della Libertà (people of freedom), leaves the studio after the interview with Giovanni Floris during the national electoral campaign. —5 Catania, Italy - 7 June 2013: Two young girls dance to a Latin American tune on stage in Librino, a working-class district and mafia stronghold in the outskirts of Catania, Sicily, upon the arrival of Mayor Raffaele Stancanelli, the center-right candidate running for re-election.
Simone Donati Gianni Cipriano
—6 Torretta (PA), June 2013. The celebrations for the election of the new mayor Salvo Gambino, who won with 50.84% of votes.
—7 Pistoia, January 2013. The “Tsunami Tour”, the political campaign of the Movement 5 Stars, headed by comedian Beppe Grillo. Supporters of the Movement attend the speech of Beppe Grillo. —8 Milan, February 2013. A moment of AntiMeeting, the convention of political party FARE, led by Oscar Giannino, at Milan Congress. Oscar Giannino photographed during his speech
—9 Prato, May 2014. The rally with Matteo Renzi for the closure of the electoral campaign for the European elections 2014. Matteo Renzi greets the supporters at the end of the rally.
Simone Donati Gianni Cipriano
Womb Photographs and text by ECAL / Jeanne Tullen
Jeanne Tullen Pages 70â€”83
My work is very personal and intimate, therefore it needs to be linked to my own life to be understood. I was about 9 years old when my parents broke up. I lost all my memories of them as a couple. My brain erased them all. The only thing left for me were their old pictures, my father being really into photography, there were a lot of them. Portraits of my mother, over and over. I was confused, their past disappeared so easily, as if it never existed. Confusion turned into obsession. I was looking at their old pictures over and over. The idea of them both together, happy. The smile of my mother on these pictures... I needed to get it back. I needed these pictures to get real again, to somehow witness it. So I started to steal the role of my mother, within the photographs. My aim was to look like her, so I could be her. I could feel what she felt. And their old romance would be back. Doing so, I was suggesting a visual incestuous relationship in between my father and I.
our pictures and theirs. Between our story and theirs. Slowly, they got strongly linked and became only one story.
But at some point this was no longer enough. It didn’t seem to be real enough. I had to find another way to bring back their old romance to life, in order to believe that it once existed. So by the use of collages and montages, I recreated the memories I lost. If I couldn’t remember anything of them, I needed at least a picture, something that would remain. I was trying to save something that was long gone. I brought them back together that way. In the meanwhile, I found myself in an intense relationship. My obsession turned from the past to the present. My lover, MIHALY STEFANOVICZ, is also a photographer. We started to take pictures of each other, as much as we could, as close as we could. The camera held a central role in our relationship. According to my past, this was the only way that we could become real and last forever. We, as a couple, would become concrete only trough the camera. It was always around, standing in front of us, or between us. Taking these pictures with MIHALY, I felt free from their past. Finally, I wasn’t my mother anymore. I could be myself, living my relationship.
Together with my boyfriend I was trying to repeat the past. To give a second chance to the old romance of my parents, trough us. The only couple pictures I had from them, where they would both appear on the picture together, were their wedding pictures. So we decided to recreate their wedding. It turned out to be a catastrophe. Maybe because we both knew what the outcome would have been. The only way we could photograph each other was trough complete honesty. I understood that and took a step away from the past. I didn’t want to repeat it anymore, I wanted to twist it. To make it my own. So instead of a wedding, we decided to perform a ritual in order to become the same. If we look the same, then we are the same. If we are only one, nobody can take us apart. It is a carnal union. My parents broke up, so we decided to merge. The only concrete border between him and I was our skin, so we went as close as we could, with the desire to penetrate each other with the camera. Entering the body, consuming it. We were seeking for the image that would form one wholeness out of our two separate bodies. Womb illustrates the unreachable. Womb is a timeless love story, an extreme and carnal wish for completeness. It is the testimony of an ended story that I have transformed in a never-ending story.
But on the other hand I could finally understand the urge of picture my father felt towards my mother, back in the days. This need of taking a picture, and another one, and another one... because you can never get what you want. You can never get your lover. I started to realize the similarities between 195
HIKARI Photographs and text by David Favrod
David Favrod Pages 70â€”83
This work represents my compulsion to build and shape my own memory, in order to recreate some facts which I have not personally experienced, but which unconsciously influenced me while I was growing up.
But after that night, we never talked about it again. It seemed as if my grandparents offered me their memories as a whisper through the air before they disappeared from their minds.
My grandparents witnessed the war; as survivors who finally passed away and whose memories will soon be a part of history.
In some way, I would say that I borrowed their memories. I use their stories as a source of inspiration for my own testimony.
We spoke about their experiences during the war only in one occasion. They told me how illness can take away your sisters; the shame; the relief after the war; and the watermelons ...
 Le tombe au des lucioles Grave of the Fire flies is a 1988 Japanese animated film written and directed by Isao Takahata and animated by Studio Ghibli. It was based on the semi-autobiographical novel with the same title by Akiyuki Nosaka.
 Mishiko Mishiko was my grandfather’s sister. She got sick during the war, the doctors diagnosed poor hydration. In Japan, watermelon is a very popular fruit and it contains lots of water. Therefore her parents gave it to her regularly. But the diagnosis was wrong; it was a salt deficiency and she died shortly after.
 BAOUMMM The sounds of the explosions and of the B-29s are very important parts of my grandparents’ war memories during WWII. Baoummm, as painted on the print, is the onomatopoeia of an explosion.
 Raid B-29 du 18 Juin 1945 sur Kobé On June 18, 1945, 25 B-29s laid naval mines in waters near Kobe.
 Pika Don Pika Don is a word that has been integrated into the Japanese vocabulary as a result of the atomic bombs. Translated, PIKA means the flash (brilliant light) and DON means the explosion, representing what was seen and heard when the bombs were detonated. After taking a picture of a flash, I scanned the negative and I blew the grain of the image with Photoshop. Then I painted the «sound/explosion» result on the print.
 Pixel camouflage In May 1942, to preserve the Himeji castle, the dungeon was camouflaged. In December 1943, the towers and walls followed.
 Pour Sadako Sadako was a young girl living in Hiroshima when the bomb dropped. Years later, she developed leukemia. She died in 1955, aged 12. An old Japanese story says that whoever folds 1,000 origami cranes will be granted a wish. Sadako didn’t manage to fold 1,000 cranes while she was alive, but her friends folded the remaining ones and buried them with her.
Garry Winogrand Stolen Moments Jeu de Paume, Paris Until February 8th 2015
By Francesca Orsi
Diane Arbus praised his irony and ingenious rendering. A master of the ‘60s and ‘70s street photography, Garry Winogrand was able to add something of his own to the significant photographic legacy left by Robert Frank and Walker Evans. Exponent of a social photography glimpsing at an America made of faces in a crowd, he pursued the same “photographing the moment” that was typical of Henri CartierBresson, to which he added his personal characteristics. He was able to delineate a face’s instinctive perception, a detail that made everything around blur, based on the philosophy that “Photography is not about the thing photographed. It is about how that thing looks photographed.” It wasn’t the context he was aiming at, nor what he wanted to tell, but the catching of an expression, lightly and without rhetoric. At the Jeu de Paume (Paris) until February 8th 2015, an exciting retrospective of his meaningful black and whites, a large documentation both on paper and video, recreates step-by-step his becoming “Winogrand” in the history of photography. In many of his shots, we find a multitude of faces developing like a framework around a single subject – the one that, according to Winogrand, could make the story. His intimate and personal way of telling America’s economic recovery used to leave the scenario on the background – at the first glance casually framed and photographed at a tilted angle – focusing on the verticality and centrality of the content. The reading of the American society taken through his work isn’t a mere social documentation: he added an emotional charge to the traditional ambition of capturing the street’s collective reality, a moment that tingles eye and soul. Garry Winogrand and William Eggleston (on show in Paris at the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation until December 21st) grew – photographically speaking – with the same “photo-genetic” heritage and during the same years, but they narrated America in very different ways. Time and its depiction were a dividing line. In Winogrand’s case, we have the clear impression he managed to steal, in its relentless course, an instant, a fragment in time; that moment he could skilfully reproduce through the use of a seemingly random composition. Eggleston’s scenes, on the contrary, all appear confiscated into a bubble, a space where there is no “before” and “after”. His photography – both black and white and his later colour shots – is clean, following a well aligned Garry Winogrand, and vibrant aesthetic. New York, around 1955
William Eggleston’s American scenarios actively participate with the subject, they aren’t a simple frame. America is overtly presented in its shining icons of consumerism, a vision that also belongs to Stephen Shore. A clear reference to the pop culture, entirely distant from Winogrand’s curtness, who instead looked at photography as “the perfect biographer of life, which is grotesque, funny, weird, beautiful, horrific, joyous and macabre”.
—1 Garry Winogrand, Richard Nixon Campaign Rally, New York, 1960 —2 Garry Winogrand Democratic National Convention, Los Angeles, 1960 —3 Garry Winogrand, New Haven, Connecticut, 1970 —4 Garry Winogrand, Fort Worth, Texas, 1974–1977 —5 Garry Winogrand, Central Park Zoo, New York, 1967 —6 Garry Winogrand, New York World’s Fair, 1964 —7 Garry Winogrand New York, 1969 —8 Garry Winogrand, Los Angeles, 1964
FOR ALL THE PICTURES, COURTESY: Garry Winogrand Archive, Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona. © The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco 233
ISSP International Masterclass
lic ati on s!
LABYRINTHS: NAVIGATING PHOTOGRAPHIC PATHS
Yuri Kozyrev & Andrei Polikanov BEYOND PHOTOJOURNALISM
Practice-based programme for emerging photographers
MARCH 2015 â€“ MARCH 2016 Apply by 15 January 2015
COMMITTED TO PHOTOGRAPHY
From Works 2001–2019, Joël Tettamanti book’s Text by Alan Rapp
â€œA bound book is a circle complete. The book is always a closed book. One wonders what it would be like if the circle were to somehow remain open, unfinished, until the most propitious factors could come together to apply a final graceful touch.â€?
YET magazine is a triannual photography publication which showcases editorials and photographic series from artists worldwide. Our aim is to feature several different styles of photography, without any restriction in genre, medium, or theme. We showcase both emerging and well-known international photographers – our work is basically characterized by the quality of the submitted project, from its concept to the shoot, up to the final editing. Since it has been produced and managed by people operating in the photographic sector, YET wants to show “the image” from other perspectives, starting from the photography itself. The whole working process in YET magazine is based on the firm conviction that a photographer’s work must be shown as it is: for this reason, all the photographic projects are published without any graphic or text insertions, not cut down and free from any form of further editing. Each selection is curated in collaboration with the guest artist. Along with the photographic series, we also publish reviews, in-depth articles and interviews with the key players of the sector, with the aim of giving an updated look on the international contemporary photographic field.
The word document is key here. What exactly is documented? Reality. However, can reality not be filtered? And the perceived reality in looking at a photograph or a photographic project in its entirety, is that reality as it is presented really?
This issue aims to give an in depth view on the evolution and consequences of documentary photography today, with a particular eye on the ca...
Published on Dec 21, 2014
This issue aims to give an in depth view on the evolution and consequences of documentary photography today, with a particular eye on the ca...