Issue #7883: In the Company of Strangers

Reading Time: 3 minutes

In last year’s community issue, Jan Hoek discussed the ethical problems he faced when photographing the Masasai people in East Africa. Strung by criticism of his work, Hoek returned to Kenya and worked collaboratively with his subjects to present their point of view.

For this year’s issue, we look at the work of another Dutch photographer, Nadine Stijns, who, like Hoek, worked collaboratively with the people of Somaliland to promote their own sense of nationhood. The Anarchist Citizenship is produced with curator Amal Alhaag – a child of the Somali diaspora – and presents a  joyous, colourful and multisensory vision of the country. “We are not looking back at them, they are looking back at us,” says Stijns.

Travelling around the US on special occasions such as the Mardi Gras in New Orleans, or St Patrick’s Day in Des Moines, George Georgiou photographs crowds celebrating their tribal identities in his latest body of work, Americans Parade.

Elsewhere, Jonathan Torgovnik returns to Rwanda to photograph mothers with their sons and daughters, conceived as a result of the systematic rape of Hutu women during the genocide 25 years ago. We also feature Cansu Yildiran, a young Turkish photographer whose work explores identity through the places her birth parents grew up, as well as in her adopted community among the subcultures of Istanbul.

Time away from photography allowed Alec Soth to take a more reflective and intuitive approach as he explores his subjects through their homes. Allie Haeusslein meets Soth to discuss his new book, I Know How Furiously Your Heart is Beating, which embraces the ambiguities of photographing strangers, and makes a virtue of them.

This month’s chosen Projects focus on groups with alternative approaches to communal living – from Canada, India, and to a set of islands in the North Sea. For Any Answers, we feature writer and curator David Campany, who argues, “All true learning is really self-taught,” and our Creative Brief is Veronica Ditting, who gives her take on commissioning work for The Gentlewoman.

Elsewhere, we feature interviews with Ángel Luis González – founder of PhotoIreland Foundation in Dublin – and Iain McKell, who discusses his latest book, New Girl Order. For Agenda we preview this year’s World Press Photo Festival, plus we look at a handy new lighting panel from BrightCast, and bring you the latest tech announcements from CP+ in Yokohama, Japan.

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Marigold Warner

Marigold Warner joined the British Journal Photography in April 2018, and currently holds the position of Online Editor. She studied English Literature and History of Art at the University of Leeds, followed by an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London. Her work has been published by titles including the Telegraph Magazine, Huck, Gal-dem, Disegno, and the Architects Journal.