Issue #7887: The September Issue

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For fashion magazines, the September issue is usually the most important of the year, so it is only natural that we turn to one of the most celebrated fashion photographers of the past two decades, with an exclusive interview with Tim Walker.

Walker exploded into the world of fashion in the mid-1990s, shooting his first Vogue cover at the age of 25, and developing an unmistakable signature by letting his fairytale imagination run wild. A quarter of a century on, Diane Smyth meets him on the verge of launching a new show at the V&A alongside a retrospective review of his career published by Thames & Hudson. Walker is in a reflective mood, but is excited by what is to come in the wake of the revolution in communication technology, which he says “has completely disempowered the old guard”.

Taking a very different turn, we talk to Ivor Prickett about his work in Syria and Iraq documenting the battle to defeat Isis, and the aftermath following the fall of the self-styled caliphate. Now published by Steidl, and soon to be shown at Side Gallery in Newcastle, it is a remarkable body of work, and also something of a rarity. Assignments from The New York Times allowed Prickett to spend time reporting on the humanitarian crisis and to operate independently, sometimes as the only Western reporter on the ground.

Elsewhere, we feature work that considers freedom of expression, and different aspects of the body and its representation. For Libuše Jarcovjáková – who grew up in Prague under communist rule – self-expression was a dangerous necessity. At an underground gay club, she found a taste of freedom, began recording her secret world, and her photographs “worked as a mirror” to herself. In Projects, we feature four recent photography graduates from British colleges – our pick of Class of 2019.

Michael Grieve also meets Monika Macdonald, who tells him that her latest series, depicting middle-aged men in various states of undress, is in fact a form of self-portraiture: “In many ways, Sweden is a self controlling culture, where we have problems to express ourselves and show our true feelings freely, perhaps for fear of upsetting other people.” Elsewhere, Taschen republishes Sebastião Salgado’s classic reportage from the Serra Pelada gold mines, and former Magnum Photos London director Neil Burgess recalls his first encounter with the work. 

In our Agenda selection, we preview Live Dangerously, an exhibition that showcases the work of 12 female photographers seeking to portray women embracing nature in a powerful and self-exploratory way. Plus, we bring you forthcoming highlights from Unseen Amsterdam and Visa pour l’Image.

In Intelligence, we meet Anja Charbonneau, the founder of Broccoli, a marijuana-appreciating journal exploring weed culture through the arts and fashion. “Original photography is crucial,” she tells Izabela Radwanska Zhang, “because our interpretation of cannabis culture has never been seen before.” We also profile Brussels-based Die Plek, a gallery with no fixed address or schedule, and Benedict Redgrove tells how his childhood obsession with space led him to the inner sanctum of Nasa for a new project on human achievement. To finish off, Damien Demolder tests the Hähnel Modus 600RT MkII flash unit.

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