Best of 2018: Paper Journal

Dave Heath’s Dialogues with Solitude at Le Bal, Paris
An absolute stand-out for us this year, Dave Heath’s Dialogues with Solitudes spoke to us with his beautiful, uncanny black-and-white portraits, in which most of his subjects stare into the void; suspended, as in a movie scene. This type of fiction that Heath has so compellingly constructed somehow echoes our feelings and fears in these terrifyingly uncertain times. 

Self Publish, Be Happy
Bruno Ceschel’s Self Publish, Be Happy amazed photobook lovers this year with highlights including My Birth by Carmen Winant (co-published with ITI), which opened up awareness to a difficult subject with this personal, and important body of work. Alongside this, SPBH again pushed the boundaries of what photography can be and do with In Bloom by Jean-Vincent Simonet, and finally, SPBH produced a weekend-long workshop, the first edition of Photobook Reset at C/O Berlin, with the purpose of questioning, and attempting to understand, how to react to this period of crisis. The creativity, depth and well-executed series of events and photobooks has us excited for 2019 and what Ceschel has planned.

Spread from ‘My Birth’ © Carmen Winant, published by SPBH Editions and ITI Press (2018)
From In Bloom by Jean Vincent Simonet © Jean-Vincent Simonet

Sarah Walker’s Second Sight, published by Perimeter Editions
Sarah Walker, a young photographer from Melbourne, was the recipient of the 2018 Perimeter Small Book Prize with her project Second Sight. The book, cleverly edited by Justine Ellis and Dan Rule, investigates spirituality by turning Walker’s camera on everyday occurrences, searching for meaning in its mysticism. Her use of gesture and pose, combined with strange elements of nature, together convey a sense of mystery and anticipation. There’s something impalpable that lets us pause, and we are left with an urgency for a new type of truth.

Second Sight by Sarah Walker, published by Perimeter Editions

OrganVida Festival: Engaged, Active, Aware – Women’s Perspectives Now
This year’s edition of OrganVida festival addressed the role of women and their self- representation through contemporary photography. This current and overdue shift in empowerment was the focus of the festival, with many exciting photographers taking part such as Peng Ke and Laia Abril. The festival, which has grown steadily since its inception in 2009, set a milestone this year which allowed its audience to examine and reconsider the “female gaze”.

© Peng Ke

Charlie Engman’s Mom at Scrap Metal Gallery, as part of Contact Photo Festival
A ten-year long project capturing his own mother in various poses, costumes and infinite guises, Mom by Charlie Engman was exhibited for the first time in Toronto this year, as part of Contact Photo Festival. Working at the intersection between fashion and art, the series intertwines notions of performance and dance, mixing the familiar with the unfamiliar and combining videos and photographs; as if this wasn’t already enough, Engman added another layer, or we shall say, milliards [billions] of them. The installation of the project was in fact shaped as a multi-faceted, in-progress show with prints of different sizes and framing, sometimes layered on top of each other; other times left on the ground. Some argued that editing was needed, but it was this precarious feeling of seeing it “in the making” and being overwhelmed by it that made it so special. Mom is as beautifully pervasive as only the presence of a mum can be.

From the ongoing series Mom © Charlie Engman
Charlie Engman’s Mom at the Contact Photo Festival in Toronto, 2018
Installation of Charlie Engman’s Mom at the Scrap Metal Gallery in Toronto, 2018, part of Contact Photo Festival