BJP #7829: Creative Alchemy

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“I love photography passionately, and want to feel it’s a vital and viable medium for today, not an historic artefact. So I struggle to make images that excite me by both exploring the world and the medium itself,” says Paul Graham in an interview with Gerry Badger in the October issue of British Journal of Photography, explaining some of the thought processes that went in to the creation of his latest book, Does Yellow Run Forever?, which follows his acclaimed trilogy, American Night, a shimmer of possibility and The Present.

“I don’t wish to explain this work away, but […it…] approaches head-on some clichés: photographs of rainbows!; and here’s one of my girlfriend! Any thinking person will be aware of the dumb ridiculousness of that proposition, but in fact, the surprise is the depth you can find in something that seems so superficial: dreams; love; hope; magical wonders versus the clear-eyed reality. The alchemy you can work, with a few basic elements.”


This last sentiment sums up the theme of issue #7829, which also features interviews with two lauded young artists whose latest works premiere this autumn. Johan Rosenmunthe talks to Diane Smyth about his new book, Tectonic, which mixes many varied images of stones with a 19th century text on alchemy. The result is somewhat cryptic, but that’s exactly what the Danish artist is fascinated by – the way objects are defined by human interpretation more than anything else – and rocks and stones serve that interest very well.

Rebetez debuted his latest work, arrière-tete (mèchanismes), at Images des Arts Visuels de Vevey (having won a commission from the festival to create it), bringing sculpture and installation to play with his photography in strange and wonderful forms. But as to where they come from, he believes in some kind of magic, “….this old idea that things come to us from outside, that our feelings and emotions don’t just come from our soul, that our imagination doesn’t just come from our brain, but that they connect to something beyond our bodies”.

There’s mystery and intrigue at the centre of another of our October features, for which we talk to the curators of Amore e Piombo [‘Love and Lead’], showing at Brighton Photo Biennial. It’s an exhibition that draws from the archives of a Roman press agency to tell the story of a particularly turbulent period in Italian history, when kidnappings and murder became part of the daily public parade, alongside the actors and socialites captured in all the heady glamour of Rome in the 1970s.

In addition, we take a peek inside photographers’ sketchbooks to find out what they reveal about the artistic process, and we talk to the curators behind a new show devoted to the work on Nigerian-born photographer Rotimi Fani-Kayode, whose artistic output was cut short 25 years ago while he was living in exile in the UK.

In our Intelligence section, Juan Peces visits The PhotoBook Museum in Cologne, and Laurence Butet-Roch discusses the logic behind a new generation of fashion magazines and their approach to photography. David Kilpatrick files a special report on IGBT flash lighting in our Technology section, while in Projects we have new work from around the world, with series by Henry Wilkins, Miguel Ángel Tornero, Carl Kleiner and Mayumi Hosokura. And in Agenda we bring you the most relevant news from Photokina, and previews of Frieze Art Fair, Brighton Photo Biennial and Rich Pickings at the Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg.

This issue is available from the BJP shop or available to download now.

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