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July 18, 2014

Friday Round Up - 18 July, 2014

This week on Friday Round Up new exhibitions for Edmund Pearce and Blackeye Gallery, Awards and Finalists and the Picture of the Week. Plus photographs from three iconic documentary photographers – Diane Arbus, Garry Winogrand and William Eggleston. And check out the Danube Revisited: Inge Morath Truck Project, which is currently underway.

Picture of the Week:
In Beijing the parents of Internet addicts are sending their children to military style boot camps to try to combat their online obsessions. There are more than 250 of these boot camp programs in China. Photo: Kim Kyung-Hoon

Exhibition: Melbourne
Out of the Closets, Into the Streets
Gay Liberation Photography 1971-1973

(C) Phillip Potter

This group show presents works that document the early rising of the gay liberation movement in Australia. These photographs not only record the societal shifts of the time acted out in public rallies and protests, but also capture private moments as seen in the intimate portraits of photographer Barbara Creed. The show features a number of photographs by John Englart that capture 1973’s Gay Pride Week in Sydney. 

 (C) Barbara Creed

(C) John Englart

At a time when Australia is debating the issue of gay marriage, this exhibition demonstrates that many of the phobias around sexuality and gender that existed in the 1970s are still present now. Yet it also shows the power of a united voice, and reminds us that the protests of the 1970s, and the courage of those who were prepared to stand up for their rights, directly impacted the lives of many who identify as GLBTI.

Out of the Closets, Into the Streets features work from Barbara Creed, John Englart, Phillip Potter, Ponch Hawkes and Rennie Ellis.

Edmund Pearce Gallery
Level 2 Nicholas Building
37 Swanston Street

Exhibition: Sydney
Stephen Dupont – White Sheet Series

(C) Stephen Dupont

This week photojournalist Stephen Dupont’s “The white sheet series No. 01” exhibition opens in Sydney at Blackeye Gallery. This exhibition, which was shown earlier in the year at Edmund Pearce, Melbourne, features a series of portraits Dupont took of visitors and pilgrims to Kumbh Mela, the most important Hindu Festival held in India four times every 12 years.

With this series Dupont, who is best known for his hard-nosed photojournalism work, has used Indian textile stamps to decorate the borders of the images, creating intricate patterns that frame the portraits in rich reds.

Until 3rd August
Black Eye Gallery
3/138 Darlinghurst Road
Darlinghurst (Sydney)

Looking Back
Diane Arbus, Garry Winogrand and William Eggleston

As I dive into research for my PhD I’ll be sharing snippets of information on the world of photography, both past and present. This week while we look at the new work that is being showcased in galleries and competitions, I thought it pertinent to share images from three iconic photographers who challenged documentary tradition in the 1950s and 1960s - Diane Arbus, Garry Winogrand and William Eggleston.

(C) Diane Arbus

(C) Diane Arbus

(C) Garry Winogrand

(C) Garry Winogrand

(C) William Eggleston

(C) William Eggleston
The Bowness Photography Prize – Finalists

Forty-eight photographers have been named as finalists in the 9th annual Bowness Photography Prize valued at $25,000.

Both emerging and established photographers can enter this competition, which is considered one of Australia’s “most open prizes for photography” as it has no thematic restrictions either. As such the finalists’ works are truly diverse with classic portraiture styles up against conceptual and abstract work.

Some of the finalists’ works are from larger series or bodies of work. In my opinion, often single images do not translate when they are removed from context and there are several images in this collection that fall into that category. But hats off to the judges – artist Siri Hayes, MGA Director Shaune Laikin and National Portrait Gallery Director Angus Trumble - for being able to whittle the entries down to only 48 – having been a judge this year for Head On Photo Festival I know what an enormous task it is to critically assess thousands of images.

This week images from four of the finalists are featured to give readers an indication of the breadth of work submitted for this coveted prize. 

(C) Lee Grant

(C) Georgia Metaxas

 (C) Matthew Newton

(C) Darren Sylvester

The winner will be announced on 4th September. In the meantime you can check out the finalists’ images at the Monash Gallery of Art website –

Finalists for the 2014 $25 000 Bowness Photography Prize:

Todd Anderson-Kunert, John Bodin, Jessica Brent, Ross Calia, Andrew Chapman, Danica Chappell, Rowan Conroy, Nici Cumpston, Tamara Dean, Shoufay Derz, Marian Drew, Lesley Duxbury, Cherine Fahd, Sean Fennessy, Gerrit Fokkema, John Gollings, Lee Grant, Mike Gray, Janina Green, Kristian Häggblom, Petrina Hicks, Shane Hulbert, Ingvar Kenne, Mark Kimber, Aldona Kmiec, Katrin Koenning, Christopher Köller, Annika Koops, Agata Krajewska, Ashlee Laing, Owen Leong, Georgia Metaxas, Graham Miller, Sarah Mosca, Harry Nankin, Matthew Newton, Zorica Purlija, Clare Rae, Kate Robertson, Julie Rrap, Emily Sandrussi, Vivian Cooper Smith, Darren Sylvester, Salote Tawale, Claudia Terstappen, Justine Varga, Anne Wilson and Yiorgo Yiannopoulos.

San Francisco:
Kellicut International Photography Show
2014 Winner – Goran Jovic

The Kellicut prize was established in 2008 on an open call basis. This year more than 1200 entries were received from across 15 countries with the winner Croatian photographer Goran Jovic for his work “Home Alone” (below). 

Started by photographers Jeff and Kirsten Klagenberg, the Kellicut International Photography Show prize and exhibition are designed to promote the concept of photography as art to new audiences and to introduce new artists. To date the Kellicut trophy and cash prize ($US2000) has been awarded to photographers from Australia, Italy, Spain, Croatia and the US.

Kellicut International Photography Show
Exhibition Until 31 July
Coastal Arts League
300 Main Street
Half Moon Bay
San Francisco

To find out more about the prize and exhibition visit the website here

Other Exhibitions worth seeing:

Michael Prideaux
Sea & Sky


Until 2 August
45 Flinders Lane

The Sievers Project
Group Show

Centre for Contemporary Photography

(C)  Zoe Croggon    

Until 31 August
404 George St

Project Update:
Danube Revisited
Inge Morath Truck Project

Last month Friday Round Up featured an interview with Australian photographer Claire Martin, one of the winners of the Inge Morath Award, about the Danube Revisited project. To quickly recap, this project involves the nine recipients of the Inge Morath Award who are now travelling along the Danube River from the Black Forest to the Black Sea in a large truck that has been converted into a mobile photography gallery. Along the route they will host artist talks, photo forums and cultural exchanges with local institutions and organisations. Following the tour they will embark on the creation of new works to be exhibited in 2015. 

(C) Inge Morath 

To follow the progress of these nine inspirational women photographers visit their blog here

July 11, 2014

Friday Round Up - 11 July, 2014

This week on Friday Round Up an extended interview with Roger Ballen, former UN photographer Martine Perret's new book, Gregg Segal's garbage portraits and Picture of the Week.

Picture of the Week:

Sri Lankan fish vendor(C) Ishara S. Kodikara

Roger Ballen - Asylum of the Birds

“There are infinite possibilities to follow; that is what makes photography so difficult, there is no limit to the possibilities” Roger Ballen 

When ‘Asylum of the Birds’ was released I was eager to review this latest offering from American photographic artist Roger Ballen, who in my view is one of the most boundary-pushing image-makers practicing today. A native New Yorker, Ballen has lived in Johannesburg, South Africa for 15 years. ‘Asylum of the Birds’ builds on his earlier bodies of work that are set in and around the same residence; Boarding House (2009) and Shadow Chamber (2005).

Born into what could be considered New York’s high court of photography – his mother worked at Magnum in the sixties and opened one of the first photographic art galleries in the United States with André Kertész and Henri Cartier-Bresson - Ballen was exposed to photography and photographers at an early age. Yet as a youth his passion was drawing and painting, photography would come later and when it did it would become the heartbeat of his artistic self.

While photography has been at the core of his practice for decades, it wasn’t until Ballen was in his fifties that he left behind his professional life as a geologist and plunged headlong into his art. The bold move paid off and collectors, institutions and galleries worldwide now seek his work, eager for a glimpse into Ballen’s world, for it is wholly his aesthetic.

“My photographs are meant to straddle the strange vague line where illusion become delusion, fact is fiction and the conscious merges with the unconscious,” he says.

‘Asylum of the Birds’ is not an easy work. You can’t flick through this book and scan images. These images demand you stop and not just glance, but take time to look at the story as it unfolds before you. Birds, rats, frogs, dogs and human beings are props in Ballen’s works, elements that come together with the sketches, costumes, masks, drawings, paintings and broken furniture, all found objects that Ballen mixes in his photographic cauldron. In Ballen’s hands these separate pieces form synergies in scenes that defy explanation. And that is exactly his intention.

“My best photographs are the ones that I do not understand,” says Ballen. “These photographs (in Asylum) comment on various aspects of the human condition…my condition. I am not able to be precise about the meaning of any of the photographs in this book”.

“This is Roger Ballen’s aesthetic you are looking at as well as the physical space so it is an aesthetic transformed by Roger Ballen. It is a space that Western society has repressed. In some ways it is part of a primeval space. If you think about mankind, we spent millions of years in caves with animals, with darkness, with water. All these things are part of our archetypal history.”

He continues. “We’ve created science and we’ve built these antiseptic cities and created so much technology around us that we are totally alienated from the natural world. It’s an obvious consequence what we see in the world, it is an obvious reaction to our fundamental insecurities, or it is obvious to me. It won’t stop, because we are dealing with instincts here so this spread of science and technology to defend itself is sublimated in endless complex ways and is part of an instinct”.

In ‘Asylum of the Birds’ the reawakening of Ballen’s passion for painting, which presented itself in 2003, is celebrated in the photographs that also include his own paintings. “Since 2000 my images have been increasingly dominated by drawings, paintings and graffiti, sometime created by one or more inhabitants, by myself or by unknown passersby. It is quite ironic that many of the people that I have worked with on this project have the same style of drawing as me”. 

Ballen’s aesthetic is even more surreal when you consider these photographs are as is, straight out of the camera with only minor tweaking in the darkroom; he still shoots on film with the Rolleiflex he’s used since 1982. There is no post-production, no collage work, no Photoshopping. Each shot is a self-contained artwork featuring found items as well as the human and animal inhabitants of this labyrinthine house that is somewhere in Johannesburg; Ballen has kept the location secret, although he admits those in South Africa have little interest, it is the international media who want him to disclose its location. “You know a magician never reveals his tricks”, he says.

In describing the house he tells me it is like a “Salvation Army place you’d find in Melbourne”. I’m not sure about that, but I understand the correlation; the inhabitants here are largely displaced people, living communally out of necessity. The fact that they live in such numbers, and with such a population of animals – chickens, pigs, dogs, rats and birds – is as Ballen says par for the course in the densely populated areas of South Africa.

I ask him if he goes into each shoot with a preconceived notion of what he is hoping to achieve. “I never have any ideas before I start,” he says matter-of-factly. “The pictures are an evolutionary process. I‘m going to take pictures in a few hours from now and I have no idea and no interest in thinking about what I am going to do. I just go there because this is visual reality I am relating to and a lot of it revolves around the instantaneous, which is what photography is about in so many ways.”

Ballen says this project began to take form, if only in thought, back in the mid-2000s when he took an image of a disoriented dove. ”From this time on birds were no longer confined to the heavens, but to a space dominated by chaos, ambiguity, violence and death,” themes his photographs have conveyed since Shadow Chamber was released in 2005.

“I would say that what you see in the Asylum of the Birds series is a more sophisticated, more personal aesthetic refined in all sorts of ways, but it’s still linked to many similar themes. It is very important to understand that in my mind good photography is about visual concepts and when you start putting too many variable analogies to the work it tends to get lost. I always say the best pictures are the ones you don’t have any words for. And that shouldn’t be used as an excuse to show bad pictures.”

I am curious to know how Ballen has created his images and he generously agrees to walk me through three images - Alter Ego, Liberation and Ritual.

Alter Ego

“There was a man there and underneath his bed was a dead owl. He really didn’t want his picture taken, but he wanted a picture of his owl. So I said okay that’s fine, let’s take a picture on this side of the Shadow Chamber building where there are a lot of drawings on the wall. There are people staying in that room and so I asked some of the people to make some more drawings so in this picture you have at least 10-15 peoples’ drawings in the background. The man didn’t want his face photographed, but there was a paper mask on the floor so we hung that up and then he stood behind the paper mask. Before he did that he grabbed two doves that were flying around the house – and I think a lot of people like the idea of holding animals when you take their picture, they almost feel you are not taking their picture. So he grabbed these birds and went behind this mask and held out his arms. I was watching him carefully and there was a point where he just got a little curious and his head popped out and I took the picture. And it feels like a discontinuity that picture, it feels like his head, his body is behind another body and that is why that picture really works well.”


“One man sitting in there is not alive and the other is. There are birds perched all over the page and when we made the picture somebody stuck the bird in the dead man’s – the mannequin’s chest – I guess out of fun. I was watching the whole event take place and as the bird flew out I took the picture.”


“There is a bathtub in the house, and it is full of ducks and this is where people take baths. The drawings on the wall aren’t mine they are from different people in the house and these people aren’t artists. I don’t think one of them, out of the couple of hundred people who have lived there over the years, have ever been to an art gallery, I could bet a million dollars on that. You are not looking at artists, or people influenced by art, they are people from the street making drawings. So someone said I’m in the bath now so give me the duck and so somebody gave her a duck and we took the picture.”

The collective imagery of Asylum of the Birds evokes an ambience that is edgy, at times menacing, and disturbing. My analytical brain questions each image methodically, while my imagination soars like some of the birds in Ballen’s photographs, not sure where to perch, or for how long to stay.

There is danger here, and intrigue. It is a place where anything can happen.

Ballen has spent years getting to know residents and building trust, but it is an unstable environment to work in and Ballen is not foolhardy. He made friends with the burly building super, an ex-boxer, and that gave him protection. “But you have to watch your stuff and you don’t confront people and you don’t ask the wrong questions, you are just pleasant. I am not a social worker, but I am a veteran at doing this”.

He says often he’ll leave his camera in the car when he first arrives. “You have to have a sixth sense. South Africa is a violent country and if you do things wrong in these types of places then you will be in serious trouble. So you have to be able to understand how to go forward and sometimes you just slow down and don’t do anything and at other times you can go ahead and try to take pictures. It is not a place for everybody and that’s why I never take anybody other than my assistant and sometimes my son, as there are just too many problems”.

Ballen’s body of work has evolved over a long period of time and his articulation rings with the authenticity of a committed artist. “It has been a long process, a lot of hard work, struggle, concentration, a lot of time and money, and a lot of passion,” he says. “All these things have contributed to what I do. I don’t do work for other people, I don’t think about other people. I hope other people are affected in a positive way, but I’m not trying to out guess the market, or figure out what will sell, what will do this or that. I just do it for myself…I am not creating art for commercial purposes. I think the day I do that I will quit”.

While shooting Asylum of the Birds, Ballen and film director Ben Crossman also made a short film, which you can view here.

Asylum of the Birds
Roger Ballen
Published by: Thames & Hudson 
All images (C) Roger Ballen

Book Launch:
Martine Perret - From Above

Photographer Martine Perret is enjoying a sea change. Having finished her tour with the UN in East Timor Perret has settled in Margaret River, amidst the beautiful wine country of Western Australia and tomorrow (12 July) she will launch her new book, "From Above,"which captures the majestic scenery of this region. Here she shares her thoughts on why she's chosen to create this book:

"When you work alone photographing in the field you really have to step back and think clearly about what you are doing and why? Sitting in front of the screen editing my body of work on the region has given me a better understanding as to why I recently chose to live in Margaret River

Before coming to Margaret River I had spent a decade working as a photographer for the United Nations, documenting life in conflict zones such as South Sudan, Timor-Leste, DR Congo, and Burundi.

Even though those years spent in the field with my camera were truly rewarding, the nomadic lifestyle had taken its toll. I needed to drop my suitcase somewhere peaceful, a place where I could sleep and shower safely. I craved the open spaces and rugged natural beauty that had brought me to Australia in the first place, as a 27 year old seeking adventures far from my European homeland.

Margaret River fitted the bill perfectly. And as I was raised in the French city of Bordeaux, it didn't hurt that I could also eat sensational food and drink world-class wine here.

One of the first things I decided to do on my arrival to the region was to get a bird’s eye view, from a helicopter cockpit. As a peacekeeping photographer I had flown almost weekly on UN helicopters on mission to remote places. I remembered there was no better way of getting an understanding of unfamiliar terrain than to see it from above.

What I discovered on my first flight over Margaret River was a stunning landscape of wild coastline, turquoise bays and green slopes, contrasting with the carefully ordered vineyards. It would be the first of many aerial photography trips that formed the basis of this book, and evolved into a true passion project.

This ethereal interweaving of land, sea and sky has shown me that the Margaret River region is as spectacular from above as its lifestyle is below. Perhaps this was my way of seeking out the beauty in life while cleansing myself of some of the darkness I had witnessed. And the more I settle into this special and diverse community I realised it was also my way of saying - I am home." Martine Perret.

12 July Margaret River Gallery
To find out more visit the 34degreessouth website here
All images (C) Martine Perret

Photo Essay:
Gregg Segal - 7 Days of Garbage

This extraordinary series features individuals and families lying in the garbage they've generated over a period of a week. Segal says some of his "sitters" edited their garbage, while others were happy to bear all. As personal refuse escalates so does the pressure on the environment. Stories like Segal's graphically depict the problems we are facing. Just how much stuff do we really need to consume? To see more of Segal's work visit his website here

All images (C) Gregg Segal

July 08, 2014

Book Reviews

Winter is a great season to snuggle up with a good book. If you're reading this in the Northern Hemisphere then summertime is also an ideal opportunity to relax with a new book. If you're interested in the latest releases in the world of high-end photography books, please check out the book reviews Alison Stieven-Taylor has written so far this year. To read, click on the Book Reviews tab at the top of this blog. Enjoy. I'm sure you'll agree there are some terrific books here to add to your bookshelves.

Nathan Miller - Somewhere in Jaffa
(July 2014)

Stephen Shore - From Galilee to the Negev
(June 2014)

Danny Lyon - The Seventh Dog
(June 2014)

Paul Blackmore - At Water's Edge
(May 2014)

Joel Meyerowicz by Colin Westerbeck
(May 2014)

Chris Hondros - Testament
(April 2014)

Max Pam - Supertourist
(March 2014)

Ormond Gigli - The Girls in the Windows and Other Stories
(March 2014)

Nathan Benn - Kodachrome Memory: American Pictures 1972-1990
(February 2014)

James Whitlow Delano - Black Tsunami
(February 2014)

July 04, 2014

Friday Round Up - 4 July, 2014

This week on Friday Round Up photojournalist Tim Page releases his "21" box set, Nathan Miller's new book Somewhere in Jaffa in review, an interview with Melbourne photographer Rod McNicol, and congratulations to Shannon Jensen, Viviane Dalles and Maxim Dondyuk for their award wins. Plus a quick recap of the exhibitions currently on in Melbourne and Sydney.

Pictures of the Week

(Photo: Library of Congress)

100 years ago the world was at war. The Great War, as World War 1 is known, involved more than 27 nations. More than 16 million people lost their lives and another 21 million were wounded. 100 years on and the machinations that drive countries to war are still firmly entrenched. Who says history never repeats? The top photograph was taken in 1916 in Romania. The bottom in Syria in 2014.

(Photo: AFP)

Box Collection:
Tim Page "21"

In 2010 British-born photojournalist Tim Page was named one of the “100 Most Influential Photographers of All Time,” by Professional Photographer magazine. Page, who is now 70 years old, has spent more than half a century immersed in the sometimes heady, often uncertain world of the photojournalist. He’s had books written about him, movies made and numerous international exhibitions. But perhaps one of his greatest challenges has been to select a mere 21 photographs from his archive of more than a quarter of a million negatives to create his limited edition boxed set “21”....(to read Alison Stieven-Taylor's story on L'Oeil de la Photographie please click here). (Photo: (C) Tim Page).

Nathan Miller - Somewhere in Jaffa

Israeli photographer Nathan Miller lived in close proximity to the port city of Jaffa for more than 20 years. As a young man in Tel Aviv, Miller rarely gave this ancient city a thought; he was more interested in seeing the world, than exploring his own backyard and spent years traversing the globe photographing cultural histories before ending up in Australia where he now lives.

As is often the case when it comes to creative projects, Miller’s ‘Somewhere in Jaffa’ began completely by chance. On a trip to Israel fate played its hand. Unable to find accommodation in Tel Aviv, Miller bedded down in Jaffa for the first time. “Suddenly a new world opened up to me and I fell in love,” he states...(to read the full review and see more photographs please click on the Book Reviews tab at the top of this blog). (Photo: (C) Nathan Miller)

Rod McNicol

Australian photographer Rod McNicol has made a 36-year career out of a singular vision; to take portraits in the 19th Century ‘stare back’ style. Now a major survey of his work, ‘Memento Mori’, is on show in Melbourne.

McNicol was one of the early students of the now infamous Prahran College of the Arts in Melbourne. In its heyday in the seventies, and under the tutelage of one of the most creative, and unorthodox teaching staff, Prahran encouraged its students to genuinely think outside the box. But after a semester at Prahran McNicol decided the College environment wasn’t for him. “I knew I’d be locked into this obsession and I was right. Three and a half decades later and I’m still there”...(to read the full interview and see more photographs please click on the Feature Articles tab at the top of this blog). (Photo: (C) Rod McNicol).

Awards - The Winners:
Shannon Jensen wins Inge Morath Award
Viviane Dalles wins Canon Female Photojournalist 2014
Maxim Dondyuk win Rémi Ochlik Award

It is tremendous to see photographers that we've profiled on Photojournalism Now take out some of the major awards in our industry. In the last month three major awards have been announced and here are the winners:

Inge Morath Award
American photojournalist Shannon Jensen has won the 2014 Inge Morath Award. Jensen was selected for her photo essay "A Long Walk," which documents refugees fleeing the violence in Sudan through focusing on their footwear. This has been a controversial work for Jensen who has had mixed reviews. But the endorsement of Magnum Photos in naming Jensen this year's winner will enable her to complete her story, which may become a book. To see more of her work click here.

(C) Shannon Jensen

Canon Female Photojournalist
French photographer Viviane Dalles has been named this year's winner of the Canon Female Photojournalist Award from a pool of over 90 applicants from 26 countries. The competition, which is sponsored by ELLE magazine, carries an 8,000€ prize that Dalles will use to complete her project on teen pregnancy in northern France. To see more of her work click here. 

Portrait: Viviane Dalles

Rémi Ochlik Award
Winner of this year's Prix de la Ville de Perpignan Rémi Ochlik Award is Ukrainian photographer Maxim Dondyuk. As part of the prize Dondyuk's work will be exhibited at this year's Visa pour l'Image in Perpignan in September. Earlier this year we featured Dondyuk's intense photo essay on the TB epidemic plaguing Ukraine on Friday Round Up (7 March). To view more of his work click here.

(C) Maxim Dondyuk

Exhibitions: Melbourne

Edmund Pearce - View from the Window until 19 July

(C) Justine Varga

Strange Neighbour - A Window that isn't there until 2 August 

(C) Daniella Gullotta

Centre for Contemporary Photography - The Sievers Project until 31 August 

(C) Jane Brown

Exhibitions: Sydney

Black Eye Gallery - Germinate until 13 July

(C) Eden Diebel

Art Gallery of NSW - Max Dupain Paris until 24 September

(C) Max Dupain