The second installment in our regular pick of photography includes Conflict, Time, Photography at the Tate Modern; Joan Fontcuberta’s Stranger Than Fiction at the National Media Museum; Paddy Summerfield’s new publication Mother and Father; Devils Eye Spring by David Doubilet; Sylvie Huet’s new book A Story of Bears; and some beard’s made from ferrets by Troy Goodall…
Conflict, Time, Photography
(Tate Modern, London)
This extensive exhibition at the Tate Modern until March 15, presents the work of photographers from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, organised into sections depending on when they were taken in relation to when the conflict occurred – moments later, weeks later, 100 years later, for example – to consider the ongoing effects of these traumatic events. Various conflicts reappear at multiple points in the exhibition, and the broad range of work reflects the many different ways conflict – and in turn time – effects people’s lives.
From a shot of a soldier’s shadow left as a trace on a wooden wall in Nagasaki after the atomic bomb hit, to Japanese photobooks from the 60s, to photos capturing the image of the ‘Molotov Man’ across murals in Nicaragua, to empty landscape shots set up using research around the locations of WW1 soldiers shot at dawn – the vast selection of work is haunting but essential viewing, presented through a framework of memory and the presence/absence binary.
Pictured above: (from moments later) Shellshocked US marine, Vietnam (1968) by Don McCullin; rom 92 (from 92 years later) 25-36 (2010) by Agata Madejska, showing an enormous limestone monument to Canadian troops; (from weeks later) Shadow of a soldier remaining on the wooden wall of the Nagasaki military headquarters (1945) by Matsumoto Eiichi, taken approx.. three weeks after the atomic bomb exploded over Nagasaki; (from 37 years later) Hiroshima korekushon (1982-95) by Hiromi Tsuchida
Stranger Than Fiction, Joan Fontcuberta
(National Media Museum, Bradford)
On now until Feb 5 at the National Media Museum in Bradford, Stranger Than Fiction (formally at the Science Museum, London), brings together six bodies of work by photographer Joan Fontcuberta, exploring reality and fiction in photography and its connection to histories of illusion, fakery, hoaxes, superstition, religion, science, the nature of faith.
His work plays on our desire to believe what we see in a photograph, whilst questioning the authoritarian context of the museum space. Work includes stuffed specimens of myth-like, ‘new species’ along with extensive documentation, sound recordings, and field notes; exotic plants constructed from rubbish with Latin classifications; mermaid fossils installed into the land as part of a site-specific project; epic photo-realistic CGI pieces transformed from landscape paintings; and his own often amusing performance as a priest who performs miracles.
An explanatory film that sits alongside, an important element relating to how the viewer reads the work; aiming to encourage doubt and a sceptical attitude towards the convincing power of photography.
Pictured above: Braohypoda frustrata from the Herbarium series, 1984; cercophitecus Icarocornu from the Fauna series, 1987; Miracle of Ignition, 2012
Mother and Father by Paddy Summerfield
“I looked out onto my parents and, by photographing them, I wished I recorded my mother’s loss of the world, my father’s loss of his wife and, eventually, my loss of them both.”
Photographer Paddy Summerfield’s moving visual journal of his parents’ 60-year marriage was taken over a period of ten years from 1997 to 2007 in and nearby to their home on the Welsh coast. Through the very human impulse to snapshot family and capture precious moments, the series is charged with emotion and a palpable sense of our relationship to time and love.
Mother and Father is available now for £30 from Dewi Lewis Publishing
Devils Eye Spring by David Doubilet
National Geographic photographer and underwater photo specialist David Doubilet shot this image as part of his Human Elements series, of a snorkeler crossing Devils Eye Spring in Florida.
Doubilet’s surreal image captures a point where the spring’s crystal clear waters mix with the tannin rich waters of the Santa Fe River, in a chance shot of an ethereal figure swimming overhead.
A Story of Bears by Sylvie Huet
A delightful new book by photographer Sylvie Huet, A Story of Bears, came about after Huet rediscovered her own childhood teddy at the age of 49 in a Paris fleamarket some 30 years after it was given away.
With bears from 44 to 98 years old, worn, stitched and loved, the book explores the personal stories of teddy bears and other soft toys as the lifelong companions of various people, mostly told under the owners first names, but with few familiar names including Jean Paul Gaultier and Grayson Perry. Accompanying her portraits – set against various backdrops, posing in the mirror, or upon cushions – are archive photos, accounts of meetings and other stories.
A Stroy of Bears is availabe now for £16.99 from Dewi Lewis Publishing
Into the Umbra by Julia Bennett
This curious series of images captured in-microscope depicts plankton, framed in a way to create beautiful patterns as found in nature in Bennett’s abstract compositions. By presenting these organisms in this way, Bennett hopes to engage an audience beyond traditional scientific study, to inspire a newfound respect for ocean life.
Beard ferrets from Troy Goodall
In case you didn’t catch these amusing shots earlier this year for New Zealand shaving company Schick’s Free Your Skin ad campaign, here are Troy Goodall’s beards created from ferrets of various colours and shapes. From agency Y&R New Zealand, Goodall created these images of hipsters in collaboration with animal photographer Stephen Stewart and retouching experts Electric Art.
Supposedly we reached ‘peak beard’ earlier this year, so perhaps these images are part of a new wave of anti-facial hair encouragement in visual culture, urging guys to shave off the ‘little beasts’.
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