1Picture of The Week
by Elif Gulen | Instagram
2Photographer Gives Intimate Look Inside Bedrooms Across America
Inspired by the work of documentary photographer Walker Evans, Peacock captures the small idiosyncrasies that make up the fabric of the American public. Not posed or prodded, her subjects make themselves vulnerable, allowing her to document a wide range of emotions—from childhood joy to intense loneliness.
In many ways, the project is a continuation of her book, Hometown, which contains 33 years of photographs documenting daily life and personal rituals in her hometown of Westford, Massachusetts. Moving beyond New England, she’s aiming to cover the entire United States as the project continues, with her thus far covering parts of the East Coast and South. One year in, she’s learned quite a bit about her process, and her subjects.
3Review: Paul Graham’s “The Whiteness of the Whale”
The names Lewis Hine, Dorothea Lange, Gordon Parks and Walker Evans conjure immediate and iconic images of social issues in America — child labor, Dust Bowl privation, racial inequality in the doleful expression of a woman standing before the American flag with broom and mop, or poverty in the beatific gaze of an Alabama tenant farmer’s daughter in a straw hat halo. Photography has a long history of vivifying social issues. Paul Graham: The Whiteness of the Whale, an exhibition of photographs by the New York-based, British-born (1956) photographer on view in the High Museum’s photography galleries through October 22, continues in that tradition by interrogating “the process and politics of looking while challenging photography’s conventional role in addressing social issues.”
Like Frank, Graham made his pictures while traveling across the United States – from 1998 through 2011 — and like Frank, a Swiss expatriate, he made them as an outsider. How are we to read Graham’s images in light of his predecessors? Are we even to try? Is that even relevant? Wall text would suggest so if, as mentioned earlier, Graham is “challenging photography’s conventional role in addressing social issues,” the same as his predecessors, but Graham furthers his goal by using “photography as metaphors for inequality, invisibility, and the power of photographic images to shape our perceptions of the world.”
4Xavier Portela, Bangkok Glow
Portela takes us around Bangkok at night, along wide roads and railway tracks to streets with the ubiquitous tuk-tuks through to scenes that are more inspired by street photography: people who populate the urban environment, from passers-by to shopkeepers to street food stands. In this case, Portela’s photos also give us a valuable testimony to the situation of street food in Bangkok before Spring 2017, when the local government manifested its desire to regulate street food sales, particularly in the Khao San and Yaowarat districts, by implementing hygienic measures and organizing traffic flow in those areas.
The meticulous reprocessing of his pictures has placed Xavier Portela in the perfect position to become part of the finest tradition of the visual documentation of routine scenes and ordinary people, which began in the 19th century with painters like Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who, not surprisingly, often worked alongside photographers to capture the fleeting impressions of city life. And, like painters who manipulate their medium in order to be able to depict spontaneity and movement in a static, two-dimensional image, the photographer Xavier Portela manipulates the color spectrum of each photo during the digital post-production to share with us the dynamic atmosphere of Bangkok and its people, capturing and accentuating its spirit with pink-drenched splendor.
5These vintage photos capture the lives of young Ethiopians in Addis Ababa 50 years ago
The photography, a selection of curated images taken by Ugandan photographers, shows people going about their lives under colonization, regime changes, and dictatorships. The project was meant to digitize and preserve Ugandan photography, which Schütz drew inspiration from. Along with photographer Wongel Abebe, who documented students at Addis Ababa University last year, and documentary photographer Nafkot Gebeyehu, they started Vintage Addis Ababa in July 2017.
The site allows Ethiopians to submit old photographs of ordinary people in Addis Ababa to a Tumblr page. At first, Schütz and Abebe wanted to sell and market the book to an international audience, but decided to target locals instead.
6Cinema Through the Eye of Magnum, BBC Four review – moving pictures
The linking of its members to cinema was the hook for this fascinating French documentary on BBC Four, written and directed by Sophie Bassaler, with a delicate voiceover by Sharon Mann and evocative music by Harry Allouche. There are wide-ranging interviews with the photographers themselves, some now deceased, and various French historians and essayists, plus Magnum staff, all to illuminate the relationship of cinema from the 1950s to now and photography as practised by Magnum members. This made for an extraordinary capsule history both of changing times in cinema from Hollywood to the nouvelle vague to Tarkovsky, with extraordinary photo essays about actors (the latest feature Kate Winslet by Italian war photographer Paolo Pellegrin, and Jeff Bridges by Peter Van Agtmael). It was also an oblique study of documentary photography, the genre which Magnum more or less invented and which would have an influence on cinema.
7Painting stories through the lens
He believes a good photographer doesn’t necessarily have to be naturally talented. The requisite skills can be learned and developed. For him, what is important is executing concepts well by fully knowing the equipment and maximizing its use. And to be able to bring about the desired image, one should develop a close relationship with the camera.
“I want to make sure my photos connect with the viewer. For me, a good photograph is a combination of a subject’s story, good composition, and good lighting. But it’s not always about the output. It’s not always about the story. The subject should always be treated with respect.”