Industries: Street Level Photoworks

24th May until 22nd June – Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow

Currently showing at Street Level Photoworks is a collective show of photography by Alicia Bruce, Martin Hunter, Charles-Frédérick Ouellet and Normand Rajotte.

Industries

This exhibition features work by artists from Scotland (Bruce & Hunter) and Quebec (Rajotte & Ouellet) whose work exists on the edges between documentary and poetry, and which addresses cultural identity, post-industrialism, and how boundaries of control are reflected in the urban and rural landscape.

Read more about the exhibition here

Images  Top: Charles-Frederick Ouellet, Normand Rajotte. Bottom: Alicia Bruce, Martin Hunter  / courtesy of Street Level Photoworks

 

For those of you that cannot make it, check out their independent websites here:

http://www.aliciabruce.co.uk/

http://www.martinhunter.co.uk/

http://www.normandrajotte.com/

http://www.charlesouellet.com/

 

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2014 Frames: Glasgow

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2014 Frames is a projected photography exhibition taking place at two venues in Glasgow on April 6th-7th and April 10th-11th, which opened at the CCA tonight. The night began with a short talk and screening given by Malala Andrialavidrazana, who discussed her series Echoes from Indian Ocean before continuing onto the projection itself in Saramago Café. It was a hefty amount of work to get through – especially if you didn’t have a seat – but it was a worthwhile experience offering a somewhat condensed glimpse of contemporary international photography. For those of us who like to take our time when viewing works of art, perhaps it was a little too fleeting and transient, each photograph being on display for no more than a few seconds. The joy of the experience however, was seeing such a great comprehensive body of work in one place. The selections were curated by various prominent groups, individuals and collectives such as Document Britain (UK), Hasselblad Foundation (Sweden), Alicia Bruce (Scotland) and Fotogalleriet (Norway) to name a few.

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Screening of 2014 Frames continues at the CCA tomorrow. Full info on the event can be found here: 2014frames.tumblr.com

Images © Alex Hall

Philip-Lorca diCorcia: Photographs 1975 – 2012

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14th February until 1st June 2014 – The Hepworth Gallery, Wakefield

The Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield is currently exhibiting the works of one of America’s greatest contemporary photographers, Philip-Lorca diCorcia. The collection gathers works from four decades of diCorcia’s photography, including works from six major series.

Apart from in book form, this was the first time that I have seen any of diCorcia’s work in print form. Combined with the large format of the prints, the attention to detail he has given each photograph is staggering and awe-inspiring.

One of his most recognised series, Hustlers, is what the collection opens with. For this series, diCorcia paid his subjects to pose for him for a fee of their choice. The central figure of each photograph is a male prostitute adrift in a neon-lit Los Angeles, men bathed in sumptuous light in cinematic locations – which is not surprising since many were shot in and around Hollywood. The title of each photograph notifies us of the details of the subject and of the transaction undertook between photographer and subject, such as Roy, “in his twenties”, Los Angeles, California, $30. (above)

Also on display were photographs from another favourite series of mine by diCorcia, Heads. These gigantic prints adorned a partitioned area of a room all by themselves. The effect of seeing candid photographs executed in this way and in this scale is mesmerising. DiCorcia captured people in New York’s Times Square using powerful strobes rigged to scaffold, resulting in stark and expressive portraits in a void of blackness.

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This is the first survey of Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s work in the UK, on display at a fascinating venue. Go and see it while you can.

All images © Philip-Lorca diCorcia / courtesy The Hepworth Wakefield

 

‘If you have never seen these images in person, I urge you to make the journey to Wakefield.’ – The Guardian

Letizia Battaglia: Breaking the Code of Silence

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Open Eye Gallery presents, for the first time in the UK, the intense work of Sicilian photographer and photojournalist Letizia Battaglia (born 1935 in Palermo, Italy). Featuring a large selection of her iconic black and white images, Letizia Battaglia: Breaking the Code of Silence opens from 22 February until 4 May 2014 and will guide the viewer along a journey into one of the darkest periods in post-war Italian history.

Drawing from Battaglia’s personal archive, which comprises over 600,000 images, the exhibition showcases work spanning from the mid 1970s to the early 1990s, including stark documentation of the Sicilian mafia’s violent reign of tyranny, as well as more recent projects. The exhibition offers a unique opportunity to approach her genre-defining photographic practice (often linked to that of American ‘crime’ photographer Weegee) and reflect on the role of photography as an individual and collective means for taking action, bearing witness, providing evidence and documenting history.

Battaglia took up photography in the early 1970s, when she realised that, as a journalist, it was easier to place her articles in newspapers and magazines if these were accompanied by images. After a short period spent in Milan where she met her partner and collaborator Franco Zecchin, Letizia Battaglia returned to Sicily in 1974. After relocating to Palermo and regularly contributing to the daily L’Ora, she became the pictures editor until the newspaper was shut down in 1990.

Over the years, Battaglia has recorded her love/hate relationship to her home-country with (com)passion and dedication, often putting her life at risk. By alternating stark images of death, graphic violence and intimidation connected to the Mafia with poetic still-life photos and intense portraiture of children and women, Battaglia provides a textured and layered narrative of her country.

Letizia Battaglia worked on the front-line as a photo-reporter during one of the most tragic periods in contemporary Italian history, the so-called anni di piombo – or ‘the years of (flying) lead’, as they say in Italian. “[These were] eighteen years in which the ferocious Corleonesi mafia clan would claim the lives of governors, senior policemen, entire mafia families and two of Battaglia’s dearest friends: the anti-mafia judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.” (Peter Jinks, The Observer, 4 March 2012).

The selected works on show at Open Eye Gallery illustrate this period and document Battaglia’s attempt to come to terms with that history and reconcile the love for her country with the memory of these dramatic events.

Over the last two decades, Battaglia has persevered in her struggle against the mafia, a fight that she has pursued not only by means of her photographic work, but also as a politician and public figure, a publisher and as a woman.

Image © Letizia Battaglia / courtesy Open Eye Gallery.

Open Eye Gallery

Contemporary Photography in Scotland: Gracefield Arts Centre

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Currently on show at Gracefield Arts Centre in Dumfries, Scotland is a programme of contemporary Scottish photography.

Those who have not been able to see the finalists of the Jill Todd Photographic Award in Glasgow have the pleasure of viewing it in Gallery 1 from the 14th February until the 8th March.

The images on display in Gallery 2 are by established photographers produced during the last 35 years, and have been accessioned into the Scottish National Photography Collection since 1980. Photographers include Fay Godwin, Thomas Joshua Cooper, Wendy McMurdo and Murray Johnston. Also on display by Scottish photographer, Alicia Bruce, is a photograph from ‘Menie: A portrait of a North East community in conflict’, a project she began in 2010 documenting the local response to the development of the Trump International Golf Links on the Aberdeenshire coast. Gracefield has a strong collection of photographs and works using photographic techniques, such as the works here by Philip Braham, Norman McBeath and Raymond Moore which explore various themes and imagery.

An exhibition talk with Robin Gillanders will also be taking place in Gallery 2 at Gracefield Arts Centre on 15th February.

Image © Alicia Bruce ‘Mike & Sheila Forbes: Mill of Menie’ 2010

A programme of events can be downloaded here

www.aliciabruce.co.uk
www.faygodwin.com
www.wendymcmurdo.com

Having a word with… Blazej Marczak

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Blazej Marczak is a Polish photographer living in Aberdeen who specialises in portrait and documentary photography. Since 2012 he has been working on a long-term project entitled Neighbours in which he interacts with the locality around him and creates beautiful portraits of individuals and families in their own homes. He began his project in Edinburgh and has continued in Aberdeen since moving there. The series reflects contemporary life in Scotland and a multicultural society that has been in place for generations. He also continues to document Aberdeen and its people in his most recent project, The Grey City. Marczak’s photographs reflect his acute awareness of his surroundings and document contemporary life and landscapes at a pivotal time in Scotland’s history.

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Where did you study photography?

I studied at Stevenson College, Edinburgh and received my BA from the University of Abertay, Dundee.

What format do you like to shoot in and why?

I use full frame digital as this is a format that I can afford at the moment. I also love digital for its accessibility, and the low cost of use after the initial investment in a camera. I think all formats are good; it all depends on what you want to use them for. I would love to move to large format in the future as I like the rigour, the flow of working with the format and the possibility to print large without losing quality. I am using a D800 at the moment as this camera is the best body available to me for large prints from digital files.

What inspires you to take your photos?

It could be anything from a book, a chat with someone I know or someone who I just met on the street. It could be a word in a dictionary, a link to an article which I discovered in Google by coincidence. A turning to a street that I wasn’t on before. A statistical data sheet, or a painting.

How do you feel about the photography scene in Scotland today?

I know many photographers that are making excellent work and are in love with the medium. Of course, I don’t know about all of them as I am just at the beginning of my career. We have some amazing exhibitions in Scotland from time to time for sure, but I think photography as an art form is unrepresented. This is a general trend, not only in Scotland.
Unfortunately the majority of photographers have to be careful and watch the terms & conditions all the time with their pictures, as many galleries, organisations and publications are constantly trying to take advantage of their love and dedication to the medium.
Unfortunately this comes from both lesser and more established organisations. Many of them are shouting about being dedicated to photography and to being supportive for photographers, but at the same time they are relying on unpaid internships, which are mostly targeting recent graduates who can’t afford to work for free.
We can only influence the photography scene by doing the things we love and by taking a part in the activities we believe in.
By refusing to undertake unpaid jobs – falsely described as “opportunities” – and pointing out our reasons so that we can help ourselves and others in the creative industries.

My favourite place to enjoy photography is the National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh which is really getting better and better, but I think we need more independent places. They seem to pop up from time to time and are offering great shows but unfortunately some of them don’t stay around for long. I used to love The Institute in Edinburgh but it is gone now.
Street Level Photoworks in Glasgow is great and Peacock Art Centre in Aberdeen is also featuring some good photographic shows time to time.

I am often getting the impression that photography as an art form is still undervalued, especially by private galleries and it is not treated as an independent art form.

It is also hard to convince the owners to show photographic prints to their audience and make them buy them.
The possibility of unlimited photographic reproduction could be behind their decisions but we have to remember that even art work in bronze, prints etc. were possible to be reproduced in many quantities over centuries. On the other hand, I am very happy to see that the independent book scene is flourishing. I think that, despite all of the challenges, we are fortunate to live in a golden age of photography. Rapid change in technology has made a huge influence on how photography is published and distributed, but we – the young photographers – have to find our own place in this constantly changing photography environment.

bmarczak.com

Ones to watch: Yasmin Soliman

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This is the first post in a regular feature looking at young and undergraduate photographers in Scotland and the North of England. I hope that the series will offer a glimpse of photography that is to come, while at the same time giving young photographers the exposure they deserve.

Glasgow-based Yasmin Soliman is currently studying a BA Hons in Photography at the University of West Scotland. Yasmin specialises in fashion, documentary and portraiture photography; her work has been featured in numerous international magazines including Vogue Italia and iMute Magazine. Over the years she has developed a vast skill-set along with a strong network of Glasgow’s most talented creatives whom she has had the pleasure of working with.

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ysphotography.co.uk