One evening in early December 2021, I met a woman named Yaco at Akio Nagasawa Publishing in the Ginza area. At the time, I was a little tired of putting only street snaps into the Record journals, and had begun to think about doing things like female portraits. That was when Mr. Nagasawa introduced me to Yaco-san. We spent a while chatting about this and that, and as the conversation went on, as if by accident, she displayed a unique kind of sensitivity, and that instantly helped me make up my mind. The next volume of Record was going to be all about Yaco-san!
Once I had made the decision, things quickly fell into place. Without further discussion, I took her around the dusky Ginza and Yurakucho neighborhoods, and took pictures of her in the rough coat that she was wearing. It was the season when Christmas illuminations were turning every street corner into a gorgeous setting, and as Yaco-san moved around freely and flexibly in front of the camera, we were done with the shooting and returned to the gallery in less than two hours.
After a short break, we did some nude shots on the floors under and above the gallery. Yaco-san undressed without hesitating, and began to strike some casual poses quite naturally before I could even start giving instructions. So all I had to do was to keep releasing the shutter, and once again, the entire session took less than two hours. I was sure that the records and the memories of that evening, of the photographer and the photographed alike, would casually manifest themselves on the pages of Record.
Even when taking into account my motivation this time, making an entire issue of Record into a Yaco-san special was an exception to the rule I guess. Not that this is something terribly important, but it is issue number 50 after all, so with this one being a special case, from here I’m going to return to my usual pace. Walk, watch, and shoot. This is my rhythm, and this is all that I do. When I met Mr. Nagasawa in a coffee shop in Kamakura the other day, he lightly said to me, “Let’s make it to Record No. 100,” and I lightly said thank you. His commitment to the publication made me very happy. Nevertheless, I can only do one at a time, so next is number 51, and after that, number 52.
Anyway, at this point, Record is the lifework and the lifeline of my photography…
In 1990, a year before the Zapatistas’ armed revolt, Wendy Ewald was invited to conduct photography classes for Mayan, Ladino, and Tzotzil children living in Chiapas, the southernmost province of Mexico. The sponsoring organization was the Mayan writers’ cooperative, Sna Jtz-ibajom (The House of the Writers). While cameras and camcorders were hardly novelties in Chiapas, they were generally used by tourists whose picture-taking reinforced their own cultural biases. Ewald did not take pictures; instead she guided her students in taking their own pictures of their daily lives, dreams, desires, and fantasies. These briefs resonated with the importances held by dreams in Mayan culture, which considers them as real as waking life. The resulting project, The Devil is leaving his Cave, is a unique insight into the everyday realities of life in Mayan communities just before the devastation of the Zapatista uprising. This book brings together Ewald’s original project with new work made in collaboration with fifteen young Mexican Americans living in Chicago, coordinated with the help of Centro Romero, an immigrant service organisation. These images respond to many of the same subjects as those by Ewald’s 1990s students, with an emphasis now on capturing inner lives and dreams as a way of reckoning with the unvoiced experiences of immigration. The themes of restriction and self-reflection that emerged from this new work were intensified by being made in part under COVID lockdown. Together, the Chiapas and Chicago projects trace the differences between growing up in different Mexican geographies with diverse histories, while holding on to the universal joys and sorrows of childhood.
With essays by Wendy Ewald, Abigail Winograd, and Edgar Garcia.
This new limited edition object, includes twelve photographs produced by photographer Robbie Lawrence in his home nation of Scotland over the past five years. Together they form a meditation on the relationship between people and place, and create an affirmation of life north of the border against an increasingly fraught political landscape across the UK.
Released to coincide with an exhibition at Stills Gallery, Northern Diary draws inspiration from classic Valentine’s sets that in years gone by, one would purchase while away from a loved one to attempt to share an experience of their travels.
“I have never thought of myself as a Scottish photographer. But a growing interest in my cultural heritage led me to begin documenting my trips home to see my family. The phrase Northern Diary appeared several times in my notebooks over the years and became a kind of totem for the work.” - Robbie Lawrence
Embossed case containing 12 heavy weighted cards, size 200x150mm.
Danielle Mericle’s enigmatic book of photographs takes as its subject an elusive herd of white deer that roams a deactivated cold war-era army depot in upstate New York. Through a compelling mix of photographic empiricism and poetic stream-of-consciousness, this book becomes a reflection on our limited ability to access and engage the political past through personal experience. Seneca Ghosts, via its inability to fully articulate the white deer (thus its failure as a useful document), exudes instead the notion of linear history as mere illusion.
Display copies with rubbing to corners and light ageing/marking to cover. Out of print.
‘Although the dream is a very strange phenomenon and an inexplicable mystery, far more inexplicable is the mystery and aspect our minds confer on certain objects and aspects of life.’ Giorgio de Chirico
Stephen Shore’s Modern Instances: The Craft of Photography is an experimental new memoir from one of the world’s most prolific artists — an impressionistic scrapbook that documents the rich and surprising touchstones that make up over half a century of ground-breaking work. With essays, photographs, stories, and excerpts that draw on Shore’s decades of teaching, this is an essential handbook for anyone interested in learning more about mastering one’s craft and the distinct threads that come together to inform a creative voice. As much as offering meditation on the influences of a single artist, Modern Instances proposes a new way of thinking about the world around us, in which even the smallest moment can become a source of boundless inspiration — if only we pay attention.
At the top of Carlotta di Lenardo grandparents’ house in Italy there is a room which houses the library. A hidden door amongst the bookshelves opens into a secret attic, a large room dominated by an enormous model railway, which her grandfather built and added to throughout his life.
Significant though it was for her relationship with him, one day during a family lunch he revealed her another of his not very secret passions – his enduring love for photography – and shared with her his archive of more than 8,000 photographs: a body of vernacular work capturing over half a century of life in vivid colour.
Unknown in his lifetime, Alberto di Lenardo’s work offers a precursor to some of Italy’s best-loved photographers, from Luigi Ghirri to Guido Guidi, with work made across Italy, the USA, Brasil, Morocco, Greece and beyond. In Carlotta’s scrupulous sequencing, An Attic Full of Trains shows us a joyous cross-section of life in the 20th Century: one of beaches and bars, mountains, road trips, lovers and friends.
Swiss-bound paperback with flaps. Bilingual text (English, Italian).
Decorated trucks, called DECOTORA. Drivers decorate the trucks that carry the things that are essential to our daily lives with their rich ideas and decoration skill. The decorations themselves were also drivers' way of life.
Masaru Tatsuki made his debut in 2007 with his series of photographs of decorated trucks and drivers, "DECOTORA." Since then, he has rarely photographed DECOTORA, but has instead photographed various parts of the Tohoku region and related things such Jomon pottery pieces, tracing the connections that began with DECOTORA series.
Hachinohe in Aomori Prefecture, Japan is said to be the birthplace of the DECOTORA (there are various theories about its origin), and it is also the place where Tatsuki photographed the series "FISH-MAN." This time, Tatsuki, who started his career as a photographer with DECOTORA, decided to photograph DECOTORA again for the reopening exhibition of Hachinohe Art Museum.
In the 14 years that have passed since the start of Tatsuki's career as a photographer, the world has changed and the decoration of DECOTORA has changed a lot with strict regulations. However, the fact that decorating trucks is a way of life for the drivers has not changed. And the fact that drivers support our daily lives will never change.
Through DECOTORA, Tatsuki has continued to see many things that we overlook, and this society itself. "DECOTORA Hachinohe" is different from "DECOTORA" released in 2007 in the way it is shot and the distance between Tatsuki and the drivers. However, what Tatsuki sees is the same.
This book contains 12 photographs and an essay by Tatsuki, who has never written about DECOTORA before, entitled "DECOTORA – A way of life."
Some time ago, I came across a book entitled The Seasons, written in the 18th century by James Thomson. I have created the texts in this book by translating, deleting, adding, combining words and writing new ones, inspired by the poems I found.
I started taking photographs inspired by these texts and looked for connections between the words and the things I saw in my time, in my life. I cruised between the fall of kings and gods, roaring floods, a beauty that may be stupid in the heart, drowning people, an I, a we, a conversation with a you, the memory of a first derailment, the small life going on, and the big one, the apocalypse, a rattling gaze that holds what you look at in the threads, a howling child, and a song.
"Inudorino me toujitsuni sadamarazu" (On a winter day, the hunter struggles to take aim.)
This haiku by the late photographer Seiryu Inoue is a phrase that I particularly like. That’s because I think the visual scene it evokes is reminiscent of Inoue himself, and the countless street photographs that he made all seem to be condensed in this one line. Inoue was a documentarist who vividly portrayed with his hand-held camera the everyday life of people in the “skid rows” of Kamagasaki (Nishinari-ku) in Osaka in the 1950s, and the image of his captivatingly intrepid style is still very much alive in my mind.
It was more than sixty years ago that Inoue taught me, a newbie who had just plunged into the world of photography in Osaka, on the spot what street photography was all about. It didn’t happen in the form of verbal lectures though. Simply following and watching him as he swiftly captured the sceneries of Kamagasaki, produced a stencil of sorts, that left such a deep impression that the street inevitably became my own hunting ground.
After moving to Tokyo, I worked as Eikoh Hosoe’s assistant for three years, before eventually embarking on my own career as a photographer at the age of 24. Throughout the six decades that followed, I remained in the field of “street photography” – in fact the only one I have ever worked in. The extremely real and charming experience of bygone days, following on the heels of Seiryu Inoue, was what initially got me there when I was a young lad.
"Ikuninka ashiotokieshi shimokuren" (Magnolias, still there after the streets have gone silent.) by Seiryu
Volume 49 of Record contains photographs taken in the streets of Shibuya. I have taken quite a lot of snapshots in Shibuya up to now, because for some reason I’ve been arrested by that desire to grab my camera and mix with the Shibuya crowd, be part of the hustle and bustle. I would just wander through the streets, driven by the urge to point my camera at the motley bunch of people who pass by. So I kept walking around Shibuya for three days straight until I was satisfied, at least for the time being. This is how you do it, right, Inoue-san?
A fragmented diary of black & white photographs made after a period of becoming disillusioned with photography projects. Rather than focusing on one subject or theme, the works here have a loose, associative relationship with no set chronological or thematic order. These pictures present a bid for freedom and propose a deliberate departure from the descriptive. The photographs reflect an instinctive approach to their creation, whether at the moment of capture or through the developing and selection process – these works are ones that Österlund identifies with, the ones that hit a nerve with him both in content and form.
Duotone on Munken Lynx Rough with 8 tipped-in images on Curious Metallics paper
Limited edition of 200 signed and numbered copies with a 120x165mm print
Dark Mirrors assembles sixteen essays by photographer and critic Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa focusing on contemporary fine art photographic and video practices that are principally, though not exclusively, rooted in the United States, written between 2015 and 2021. Wolukau-Wanambwa analyses the image’s relationship to the urgent and complex questions that define our era, through the lens of artistic practices and works which insightfully engage with the ongoing contemporaneity of disparate histories and the ever-changing status of the visual in social life.
The book sets out an argument that one of the most dynamic sites of artistic invention in photographic practice over the past decade has been the photographic book, and thus many of the essays in the volume assess artistic works as they are bodied forth in that form. Among the recurrent themes that emerge from these rigorous, probing essays are the complex interrelationship of anti-blackness and visuality, the fragility and complexity of embodied difference in portraiture, the potency of verbal and visual media as social forms, and the politics of attention.
With essays on Deana Lawson, Dana Lixenberg, Paul Pfeiffer, Arthur Jafa, Katy Grannan, and Robert Bergman among others.
With Family Car Trouble, Gus Powell plays with the form of the novel, both as material object and as narrative vehicle for expressing interior life. The work records and reckons with the arrival of children, the departure of a father, and the maintenance of a difficult 1992 Volvo 940 station wagon.
A new classic of the Automotive Bereavement Parenting genre.
New softcover edition (first edition was hardback).
In a digitalized age, the endless stream of images stored in the cloud fills the gaps of what might be forgotten. In her past projects, Michaela Putz was dealing with these implications of technology and virtual image storage and remembrance. The artist's own image archive from different phases of her life, stored on computer and smartphone, serves as the raw material for this. In a kind of digital retrospect, these are photographed and documented directly from the screen, whereby fingerprints and remains of dust on them are also recorded, as well as the mouse pointer and digital artifacts that are created by zooming into the images. Sometimes, they are digitally retouched and smudged, other times, they have been taken several times with the camera of the smartphone, making them pixelated, slightly dissolving the original image. By this, the works aim to visually sound out the gaps between human and digital memory, bringing the digital images consisting of raw data closer to the ephemerality and imprecision of human memory. Doing a publication with these images not only draws a connection between them but also to think about the way we deal with analog and digital image material. Even though digital images seem to be only data, they are constantly being touched: We are wiping and swiping, zooming and tapping on them through the screen. The book tries to take into account these different qualities and connecting the digital and analog processes of looking at images from our past.
A few days ago in the evening, I suddenly felt the urge to take a train to Yokosuka. It was already after 8 PM when I arrived in the ”Wakamatsu Market” entertainment district behind Yokosuka Chuo Station on the Keihin Line, but due to the ongoing pandemic, the lights of the normally crowded shops were all switched off. The streets at night had turned into a bleak, dimly lit place, with the usual drunken crowd nowhere in sight. I eventually held my camera into the darkness and shot a dozen or so pictures, while walking quite naturally down the main street toward the “Dobuita-dori” district. However, most of the shops here were closed as well, and only a few people passed by. It was a truly sad and lonely sight.“Little wonder,” I muttered to myself, considering that more than half a century had passed since the time I wandered with the camera in my hand around Yokosuka, right in the middle of the Vietnam War.
It was here in Yokosuka that I decided to devote myself to the street snap style, so the way I captured the Yokosuka cityscape defined the future direction of my photographic work altogether. I was 25 at the time, and was still in my first year as an independent photographer. I remember how determined and ambitious I was when I started shooting, eager to carry my pictures into the Camera Mainichi office and get them published in the magazine. It was a time when I spent my days just clicking away while walking around with the camera in my hand, from Yokosuka out into the suburbs, from the main streets into the back alleys.I had been familiar with the fact that Yokosuka was a US military base since I was a kid, and it also somehow seemed to suit my own constitution, so I think my dedication helped me overcome the fearfulness that came on the flip side of the fun that was taking photos in Yokosuka.
These are the results of a mere two days of shooting, but somewhere between the changing faces of Yokosuka, and my own response from the position of a somewhat cold and distant observer in the present, I think they are reflecting the passage of time, and the transformations of the times.
David Luraschi’s Ensemble is a gradual, sensual yet tender series in which bodies mingle, fuse, and eventually are absorbed by the landscape that surrounds them. Luraschi evokes the spirit of the windswept Provençal wetlands of the Camargue: Europe’s largest river delta, to the west of Marseille and south of Arles, an area of salt flats known for its wildness: untamed by nature, flat and desolate, but punctuated with apocryphal myths, vagabond settlers, flamingoes and wild horses. Luraschi builds on this wildness with his choreographed nudes, interlocked beyond individuality, always turned from the camera, fused in an oblique embrace; charged, tender, uncomfortable, intimate yet anonymous.
As is typical of Luraschi’s practice, these images are the result of collaboration and friendship – between the artist, designer Simon Porte Jacquemus, who commissioned the work, and dancers Claire Tran and Paul Girard.
The exhibition of works by Shomei Tomatsu and Daido Moriyama at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie (MEP) in Paris, which was repeatedly postponed for reasons related also to the spread of Covid-19, is finally opening.
When Tomatsu first approached me asking what I’d think about “the two of us doing a ‘Tokyo’ themed exhibition together,” I was shooting and doing other stuff in Okinawa. I had done quite a few exhibitions, but that would be my first one together with Tomatsu. Hearing his plans, I couldn’t think of any reason for turning the offer down, so I replied, “Yeah, sounds good. Would be great if we could make it an impressive show of our works – maybe in a shuffled style?” However, we eventually had to scrap that plan due to the totally unexpected event of Tomatsu’s passing about a year later. For me, a joint exhibition with him was a most desirable prospect, so it was highly regrettable, and also a bit discouraging. But then, another couple of years later, things took again some unforeseen turns, and now it seems that there has come a time and a place to not only realize that plan, but in my view, to do so under the best conditions we both could have asked for in terms of exhibition space and scale.
Finally, Tomatsu’s idea for a “two-man show” was to materialize, on the other side of the globe, in the form of an exhibition in Paris. Curated, produced and organized by MEP director Simon Baker and Akio Nagasawa from AKIO NAGASAWA Gallery, it takes the shape of a large-scale exhibition that features a significant number of photographs by Tomatsu and myself, albeit not in a shuffled style. In a word, it is one big “Tokyo” show. With the pandemic still going on, I’m looking forward to seeing how the people of Paris, and the people of Europe at large, will look at our exhibition. Even more than that, though, I wish Shomei Tomatsu could come to Paris to see it as well, considering that it was all his idea…
The photos in this 47th volume of Record show sceneries in the area around Tokyo Tower, which I was inspired to capture after spotting Tokyo Tower the other day, and spontaneously taking a picture of it. Needless to mention, it is again a set of “cityscapes with face masks.”
123 Polaroids is not simply a selection of 123 images from 223’s extensive and fabulous collection of Polaroid work, on which he embarked in the early 2000s from his hometown of Guangzhou, China. It is a deep dive into his intimate memories of dear ones, his inexpensive Polaroid films and his travels across China, Tibet, South East Asia, Japan and Europe. It is a panoply of his love, fashionable nudity, of expressive glaring portraits, of colorful landscapes and people, of embracing bodies in playful melancholy, of eroticism, of a sense of absence and untold more, all fashioned by the touch of the stunning imperfections of this medium and the master’s talent.
223 once told me that labeling or selecting 1, 2 or 3 of his photographs as the best ones would be extremely difficult because each one speaks about a memory, an intimate moment from a period in his life. To those words, I add that the beauty of a photograph is not just the image, with its composition, colors, albedo, and perfection or simplicity –– it is also an entanglement of actual memories, and of the sensations the image can ignite. In that light, 123 Polaroids conveys the intent and breadth of a poet, uniquely giving voice to the intercourse of 223’s intimate souvenirs, ignited sensations and 123 Polaroids.
Available with a choice of grey or pink cover, please specify preference if you have one.
My mother moved to her new partner’s place with me in the middle of the forest called „Bremerhof“ when I was about 14 years old. I really didn’t get along with my stepdad. Not because he wasn’t my real dad or anything, but simply because we were as different as two persons can be. I also have to admit that it probably wasn’t easy for him either. He cared about money and things being organized while the only thing on my mind was skateboarding. We were completely talking at cross-purpose and both of us felt misunderstood like little boys all the time. My poor mother…
One year later my half brother was born, Jascha. It felt awkward to me. Everything felt awkward to me at that time. I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to interact with him. About three years later I moved out and was happy to be on my own.
After a while my mother broke up with my stepdad, so she moved with Jascha to an old farmhouse 200 meters away. I really liked Jascha but the few times I was visiting weren‘t enough to get to know him. He once told me that one day he will own a kiosk in order to make a living, which really impressed me. I gave him a skateboard but he wasn’t too much into it and always left it outside in the rain.
When I was visiting I always took a few pictures of Jascha, but only around easter in 2020 I really started to follow him around and to document him. And it was crazy because only then I realized how good it felt to spend time with him and that my camera was the best excuse for that. His company allowed me to be completely careless and childish. Although he cares more about other beings than anyone else I have met so far. All these things that he loves felt so similar to me. Like, there is nothing that gets him as excited as his chickens. What skateboarding was for me, is tennis for him (wich I don’t really get, but whatever). And somehow he is such a sensitive person, wich doesn’t make things easy, especially as a boy. My mother often says that she is going through the exact same things with him as she already did with me.
Thank you, Jascha. I’m happy that my mother got together with your father when I was one year older than you are now. Honestly. I’m proud to be your brother.
Shown originally as a 30-minute slideshow of over 600 images as part of Nagashima’s survey exhibition And a Pinch of Irony with a Hint of Love at Tokyo Photographic Art Museum in 2017, Self-Portraits by Yurie Nagashima charts the evolution of this major female artist over a period of 24 years from 1992-2016.
The opening photograph taken while on a backpacking trip is closely followed by her early, much publicized, self-portrait nudes; scenes amongst her peers in Tokyo in the mid-90s through her studies abroad at CalArts in Los Angeles. Returning to Tokyo in 1999 she continued to take self-portraits through her pregnancy, the birth of her son and on during the proceeding years of maturing and motherhood.
From a conversation with Lesley A. Martin, Aperture Foundation’s Creative Director, in the introduction Nagashima talks about her early self-portraits as a form of activism, that by creating a parody of self-portrait pin-ups she found “a way of talking about how the gaze of male society works on the female body.” She goes on “I was angry at the Hair Nude boom, and thought, “Okay, there’s no way men can use and consume a female body for their own agenda” literally claiming the agency of images of her own body on her own terms. “I realized that self-portraiture is an important genre of photography, especially in the context of feminism…. The self-portrait means that you can take on both roles, as a model and as a photographer. When you have a camera on a tripod, you have the space in front of the camera and also the space behind the camera. It’s very symbolic. It’s a way of taking action against the historical roles of the male and female in photography.” While the early work is clearly performative in this way as the sequence moves on, it seems to get more personal and diaristic.
“In this book, I sequenced the images chronologically, so you can see the change. There are often reasons behind my change in camera, lens, or style of shooting. For example, I started using compact-film cameras more, right after I had a child. My subject matter is often changed by my experiences and by the social changes I experienced. I became more aware of feminist issues after having a child, and then the earthquake in 2011 made me face domestic political issues. My personal interests also changed, and aging, too, is just another cause. When I was young, I thought my body was my own property so I could do whatever, but my son changed that idea completely. I think that my photographs——both set-ups and snap shots——are quite personal.”
Book design by Charlotte de Mezamat, Interview by Lesley A. Martin, translation by Akiko Ichikawa
Lauren Tepfer is a 21 year old photographer and director living and working in New York City. Having grown up in southern New Jersey, Lauren is particularly adept at capturing the essence of a teenager living in suburbia. She first began shooting portraits of her friends and family at the age of 13 and has since developed an evolving body of work. Lauren has had her photo work exhibited in both LA and NYC and her films screened in NYC. She is currently studying at Parsons School of Design where she is pursuing a BFA in photography.
“Growing up with a creative mind in the boundaries of a town populated by less than 7,000, I’ve learned to create my own magic and nurture it myself.
To me, capturing my suburban surroundings in photographic form is like a digital love letter. I connect most to genuine and intimate settings and I feel that small towns are where most of that energy blossoms from. Aside from giving me good feelings, I hope that my suburban narratives can provide comfort for those growing up feeling lonely or unaccounted for.”
48 Page softcover 21cm x 16cm book with card wraparound cover in an edition of 350 copies.
Drawing from all three of Myers’ previous books published by RRB Photobooks, The Guide is the best of The Portraits, Looking at the Overlooked and The End Of Industry combined with Myer’s unique prose, providing the only definitive answer to Feuerhelm’s question. Myers demonstrates his remarkable self-awareness with a wry wit in describing his pictures, like the best of teachers he is neither dry nor academic but draws the reader into conversation.
The Guide is very much a photobook, its large format gives Myers’ images the size and space they deserve. Each story stands on its own page among its companion images, allowing the text to be dipped into at will as the eye takes in the rich visuals.
Also featured in The Guide are 5 previously unpublished images, including two rare self portraits contemporaneous with the rest of Myers’ work. The Guide is a window into the man himself, these new images adding visual context to Myers’ words.
In “Stoned in Melanchol” Megan flips small town banality on its head by turning it into its own alternate universe that celebrates youth, subculture, and freedom. The University of Ulster graduate says she uses the series as a form of escapism for herself and her friends.
“Days in Derry are long” says Megan “There’s not a whole lot to do except hang out, wasting time”. Making pictures is her form of escape. “I hated how I had tread every street a million times,” explains Doherty of the reason she first picked up the camera. She was “restless, bored, claustrophobic”. Her friends were her salvation, and the more she photographed, the more people she met along the way. Like all good muses, they brought her into another world, one that was surprising and electric. “Essentially I am imposing my ideas of youth, freedom, beauty and rebellion on to the landscape of small town life.”
In many ways, Stoned in Melanchol is a work of fiction. Yes, these are real people from a very specific place, but they’re also a fantasy, a mirage. “I don’t actually appear in any of the photographs,” admits Doherty, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t there. She’s given us a roadmap to Derry’s underground scene, but she’s also taken us on a tour through her own daydreams: “I suppose this is how I am present in the photographs without actually being featured.”
2nd edition of 450 copies (150 of each cover). 30x15cm Rizla shaped box containing 25 double sided A3 folded colour posters.
A pale yellow glow in the late night gloom illuminating the near deserted street below, the neon sign of a first floor restaurant: Magic Party Place. This is an apt title for CJ Clarke's series of intimate encounters documenting contemporary England through the lives and habits of the post industrial town of Basildon, located 25 miles east of London. A new- town, it was built as part of a massive urban renewal program following the devastation of London in the Second World War. As a constructed community, the town is statistically close to the national average, which makes it the perfect paradigm through which to explore the state of the contemporary English nation. This is Middle England territory, the hearts and minds fought over by political parties for electoral success. Ruggedly individualist in spirit, 73 percent of the town's population label themselves as working class and, in many ways, it epitomizes Thatcher's England, the legacy she left behind and the continuation of such conservative policies which seek to make us consumers first and citizens second.
Growing Spaces by photographer Chris Hoare is a chronicle of urban land cultivation in Bristol. Since April 2020, Hoare has been slowly and methodically documenting the allotment-goers, landscape and seasonal changes across the official and unofficial growing spaces of the city. The resulting photographs, originally commissioned by Bristol Photo Festival, are published in this new book Growing Spaces to coincide with an exhibition of the work at the inaugural festival in summer 2021.
Hoare’s project documents eleven sites across the city from established allotment sites to community gardens and improvised plots on disused lands. The project was conceived pre- Covid-19 pandemic but its timing, coinciding with increased demand for green spaces for cultivating produce, allowed him to capture the formation and energy of a growing renaissance.
The allotment system recognised today originated in the 19th Century. Land was given to the labouring poor to allow them to grow food at a time of rapid industrialisation with no welfare state in place. Allotments were transformed during the famous ‘Dig For Victory’ campaign during World War II and since then their popularity has wavered. Over time, the stereotype of an allotment goer came to depict a middle-class pastime for retirees. However, in recent years this image of urban land cultivation has evolved as an increasing number of economically and environmentally-conscious young people, families and ethnic minorities are claiming plots. In the process, they are transforming the fertile growing spaces with their own choice of produce and farming methods.
With demand outstripping supply, urban dead spaces have been commandeered and rejuvenated and their value realised through the process of growing. The allotment has provided the multiple benefits—increasing sustainable local food production whilst simultaneously providing a haven away from home, and an escape, during the current pandemic.
The Shabbiness of Beauty is a visual dialogue that crosses generational divides with the easy intimacy of a late-night phone call. Multidisciplinary artist Moyra Davey delved into Peter Hujar’s archives and emerged mainly with little-known, scarcely seen images. In response to these, Davey created her own images that draw out an idiosyncratic selection of shared subjects. Side by side, the powerfully composed images admire, tease, and enhance one another in the manner of fierce friends, forming a visual exploration of physicality and sexuality that crackles with wit, tenderness, and perspicacity. Spiritually anchored in New York City – even as they range out to rural corners of Quebec and Pennsylvania – these images crystallise tensions between city and country, human and animal. Nudes pose with unruly chickens; human bodies are abstracted toward topography; seascapes and urban landscapes share the same tremulous plasticity. These continuities are punctuated by stark differences of approach: Davey’s self-aware postmodernism against Hujar’s humanism and embrace of darkroom manipulation. The rich dialogue between these photographs is personal and angular, ultimately offering an illuminating reintroduction to each celebrated artist through communion with the other’s work.
The signed edition includes a slip signed by the artist and bound into the inside back cover.