I was in New Zealand recently, attending the Auckland Festival of Photography, by a kind invitation from festival director Julia Durkin. In its 15th year, the festival is well established and featured over 100 gallery exhibitions, international presentations, workshops and portfolio reviews. The festival center is located at Silo Park, where the specially curated thematic ‘Control’ exhibitions were held, literally in two giant disused concrete silos and a metal gantry in the surrounding open space by the water’s edge.
That was where I met Herlinde Koelbel, the respected German photographer known for her lifelong portraits of Angela Merkel and her series ‘Jewish Portraits’. In Auckland, Herlinde was showing her recent project Targets, part of the Control theme, as noted in the program :
“For years Herlinde Koelbl travelled around the world, and in a total of thirty countries, made photographs of the military targets used in the training of soldiers. As icons with which the various armies of the world learn the craft of war, everyone considers himself to be on the right side. In the reality of war, the soldiers themselves are always ultimately the target. For Koelbl, it was thus obvious that exhibited beside the mechanical targets are portraits of the soldiers – for they are the living targets.”
I spent my first morning in Auckland enjoying a delicious brunch with her in a cafe on North Wharf and snapped this portrait. We chatted about her project and discovered she had traveled to many countries, liaising with their militaries and consulates to gain access to their training and practice locations to photograph. Encountering obstacles and being passed from one department to another she nevertheless obtained permission in many of the prominent nations. ‘Targets’ attempt to show the ultimate futility in armed conflicts, the power play and arms race amongst nations. By portraying and comparing methodologies and practice targets used in various militaries, a powerful insight about the ‘art of killing’ and the soldiers trained to do so, only to discover that they are the very targets that the others are being trained to kill.
Finally, decided to unleash Kipper on a stretch of secluded beach for the first time. He’s a runner and won’t recall easily, even with the temptation of doggie snacks. In the parks, this is not possible unless there are enclosed free run areas.
Spent Sunday afternoon photographing Alana Eissa for an upcoming feature for TransLiving International, a publication about the transgender community. This is the second portrait session I have been involved with the magazine.
Photo : Bare tree, Wimbledon Common, 1st March, 2018
Cold Siberian weather, with snow, blizzards and freezing rain gripped the whole of Britain over the last few days, foiling the start of Spring in the official calendar. The UK can hardly cope with a few inches of snow, since extreme weather like this only occurs about once in a few years and only for a few days, at most, a week.
Thinking of a last minute present? Here’s a print you can have before Christmas. It was taken in the summer of 2015, in Nice, France.
I’m about to make a print order for this image, size 20×16 inches (50cm x 40cm), limited edition 10 only, Price $100 plus postage. I’ll be sending orders to Cambodia, Japan and USA, so there’s 7 prints remain in this edition.
Postage : Asia /USA $25.00, Europe $15.00.
Print on Fujifilm Crystal Archive satin or gloss, or Kodak Endura Metallic paper (nice!)
All prints will be signed, editioned and embossed, by me!
Send me a message on firstname.lastname@example.org
“ How can you talk about photography without talking about desire?” Hervé Guibert, L’Image fantôme. Photography expanded its scope to space and in volume in the 1960s (a development which then sped up during the 1970s).
This evolution gives metaphorical proof of the importance that contemporary art has acquired in the development of photography. Approche puts forward the hypothesis-and even bets on the idea that photography has an articulate and autonomous body whose two feet are firmly anchored to the contemporary scene. Moreover, the exploratory dimension of photography (as it has been written during its protohistory) has paved the way for certain contemporary artistic expressions. “
Art is everywhere. Art is nowhere.
I am in Paris for a couple of nights to visit Paris Photo and also meet up with some photographers and gallerists who are exhibiting over the weekend at the satellite shows. One exhibition I was taken to visit was Approche.Paris which was housed in a multi-level building just off Palais Royal, on Rue de Richlieu. The exhibition showcased 14 contemporary photographers/artists with different approaches using the medium of photography and constructed mixed media materials to challenge the often misconstrued legitimacy of photography as a ‘minor artform’.
‘Contemporary art and photography are not mutually exclusive.’
More about Approche
“The street where dreams are fulfilled and money is spent”. Bond Street in Mayfair is home to some of the world’s top fashion houses, designers, and luxury brands. The Christmas lights will be turned on soon, so I’ll head back there sometime.
This is John Hook, 81, from the Welsh town of Deri, in the Darran Valley. I met him walking his dog, a little pincer, along a path by a stream and we chatted. The Welsh are really friendly, like that. Maybe it’s just the older generation. He had worked as a coal miner in three collieries when he was younger, and also help started steel works in England. Now, retired, he stays outdoors as much as possible, walking and enjoying the countryside.
In the 50-70s these valleys in South Wales were major producers of coal in Europe and there were numerous collieries providing employment to the local population for generations. The beautiful countryside where we met were completely blackened with the spoils, slag heaps and soot from the mines. These were all cleared and the land replanted or regenerated into public space. The last mine which closed here was in the early 80s as the industry collapsed.