Shahidul Alam arrested for “provocative comments” in wake of Bangladesh protests

Reading Time: 3 minutes Shahidul Alam, one of the world’s leading figures in photography, and a social activist who has been a harsh critic of the government in his native Bangladesh, has been arrested in Dhaka for making “provocative comments” following mass protests that have brought parts of the country to a standstill over the past week.

According to his partner, Rahnuma Ahmed, at least 30 plainclothes officers entered his home in the capital at around 10pm on Sunday, and sped him away in a car. He was officially arrested  the next day. Alam had posted videos on Facebook and was interviewed by Qatar-based television station Al-Jazeera about the protests, which he said stemmed from anger about widespread government corruption, and not just the bus accident that initially sparked them.

6 August 2018

Dafydd Jones’ The Last Hurrah

Reading Time: 3 minutes “I had access to what felt like this secret world,” says Dafydd Jones, who has worked as a social photographer since the 1980s for publications such as Tatler, Vanity Fair, The New York Observer, The Sunday Telegraph, and The Times. “I was taking pictures of elites that nobody had seen before. It was Thatcher’s Britain, a period of celebration for those that had money. People described it as the ‘last hurrah’ of the upper classes.”

In 1981 he won a photography competition run by The Sunday Times magazine with a set of photographs of “Bright Young Things”, named after the earlier group of hard-partying aristocrats immortalised by novelist Evelyn Waugh and photographer Cecil Beaton. Tatler editor Tina Brown hired Jones off the back of it, commissioning him to photograph the Hunt Balls, society weddings, and debutante dances that were a mainstay of the upper-class publication. Now Jones has put together a collection of his work for Tatler from 1981-89, titled The Last Hurrah and currently on show at The Photographers’ Gallery and put out as a publication by Stanley Barker. 

3 August 2018

Huge Cindy Sherman retrospective goes on show at NPG next year

Reading Time: 2 minutes Cindy Sherman’s first UK retrospective goes on show at the National Portrait Gallery, London from 27 June – 15 September, 2019.

Titled Cindy Sherman, the exhibition will feature around 180 works, including the seminal series Untitled Film Stills. Shot from 1977-1980 in New York, the 70-strong series cemented both her reputation and her approach – manipulating her own appearance to explore the complex relationship between facade and reality. 

1 August 2018

Kenyan tech entrepreneurs star in Janek Stroisch’s .co.ke

Reading Time: 4 minutes Internet penetration in Kenya has grown so rapidly over the past decade that the country has been dubbed the “Silicon Savannah”. In 2009, a submarine fibre optic cable linking Mombasa to the rest of the world was launched, and construction of “Kenya Vision 2030” is now underway – a £11.2bn, 5000-acre technology city expected to create around 60,000 jobs in the IT sector. 

Household tech names such as Google, Intel, Microsoft, Nokia, and Vodafone all have a presence in Kenya, and, says 27-year-old German photographer Janek Stroisch, “young entrepreneurs are seizing this opportunity as a chance to make change”. “Hundreds of youths have used the internet to launch start-up companies to try to create jobs for themselves,” he adds, “because sadly there aren’t enough to go around.”

26 July 2018

An index of inequality in St Louis, USA

Reading Time: 4 minutes “In St. Louis, ZIP codes matter,” says Piergiorgio Castotti, an Italian photographer who lived in the US for three years. “North of Delmar boulevard, 95% of people are black, and life expectancy is 67. A few hundred yards south, 70% of people are white, and there is a life expectancy of 82.”

Index G, a collaborative project he’s made with photographer Emanuele Brutti, explores the harsh reality of this segregation, which is measured with the so-called Gini Index. Where once racial segregation in the US was obvious, and even enshrined in law, it’s now peppered throughout cities on a micro level, from neighbourhood to neighbourhood, and can therefore be easy to miss. “There were unexpectedly very few literal barriers in St. Louis; this meant that our first trip was a disaster,” says Castotti. “I didn’t know what to take pictures of.”

23 July 2018

Frederik Busch photographs German Business Plants

Reading Time: 3 minutes Ute is a daydreamer, Martin only talks about his vacation. Monika gets along on her own very well, but Heike is lonely. Sabine adores going dancing, and Helga likes techno music. To German photographer Frederik Busch, these office plants have personalities just like any other co-worker. “Plants have feelings too,” he says. “They are social beings, just like us humans.”

In 2008, whilst working on a corporate assignments, Busch noticed a row of plants in an office hallway. “It looked like an art space. It was so clean and sterile, and the plants looked like sculptures,” he says. “I have always been interested in how humans adapt to office-life, so I decided to apply portrait photography to plants to discover how they adapt too.”

23 July 2018