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Roll up, roll up for the Martin Parr Foundation membership scheme

Reading Time: 5 minutes Would you want Martin Parr to take your portrait? You might say its a brave soul who goes in front of his penetrating lens, but it’s part of a portfolio of benefits the Martin Parr Foundation is launching in its Membership Scheme.

Parr set up the Bristol-based Foundation in 2014 to house his archive, but in October 2017 it opened to the public in a purpose-built space, offering free access to much more – a rolling programme of exhibitions, a large photobook library, and a growing collection of prints. Parr’s used the opportunity to hone in on British and Irish photographers, as well as work taken in the British Isles by others, and put the focus on their documentary work – an area which he believes is still underrated.

14 November 2018

Creative Brief: Andrea Kurland, Huck

Reading Time: 4 minutes When the first issue of Huck went to press in 2006, it was quite different to what it is today. Started by a team of friends passionate about the skate and surf scenes, and formed soon after the closure of Adrenalin magazine, where many of them had worked, it championed the personal stories of the sports’ icons and surrounding culture, rather than the action. Though still passionate about radical culture, Huck is now decidedly less niche.

“Over the years, the voice we’ve always had as an alternative to the mainstream became more relevant to more people,” says Andrea Kurland, who has been part of the team from the start, and became editor-in-chief in 2010. “As we’ve grown, the generation that grew up with us has become more socially and politically engaged. This is now very embedded in the magazine, so we’ve been bolder and braver with this particular world stance.”

13 November 2018

Nadia Arroyo will be the new cultural director of Fundación MAPFRE

Reading Time: 2 minutes As of 2019, Nadia Arroyo will be the new cultural director at Fundación MAPFRE in Madrid. She will be replacing Pablo Jiménez Burillo, who announced at a press meeting last week that he would be retiring after 30 years and over 500 curated exhibitions at the museum.

 Jiménez was the first to bring a permanent exhibition space for photography to the museum, and championed the once-undervalued world of nineteenth century Spanish painting, bringing the gallery to the forefront of the art world in Spain. Arroyo is currently Head of Exhibitions at the Fundación MAPFRE.

12 November 2018

Pixy Liao’s Experimental Relationship charts a decade of love

Reading Time: 5 minutes Last year, after 10 years of creating hundreds of images for a project about her relationship, Pixy Liao decided it was finally time to create a book. “I’m not a very productive photographer, so I always felt like I didn’t have enough images” she says, “but ten years felt like the right time”.

As a woman brought up in China, Liao always thought she would end up with an older man who would look after her and protect her. But while studying for an MFA in photography in Memphis, Tennessee, she met Moro, a Japanese musician five years her junior. Being with Moro challenged her own views on how a man or woman should behave in a heterosexual relationship, and so she began to explore this through photography with a project titled Experimental Relationship.

9 November 2018

Partying on the edge of disaster

Reading Time: 3 minutes In 1919, a year after the end of World War One and the start of the Weimar Republic in Germany, $1 was worth 48 Marks. By early 1922, $1 bought 320 Marks; by late 1922, $1 bought 7,400 Marks. By 1923, $1 bought 4,210,500,000,000 Marks. “Lingering at shop windows was a luxury because shopping had to be done immediately,” said the artist George Grosz at the height of this hyperinflation.

“Even an additional minute could mean an increase in price. One had to buy quickly. A rabbit, for example, might cost two million marks more by the time it took you to walk into the store. The packages of money needed to buy the smallest item had long since become too heavy for trouser pockets. I used a knapsack.”

7 November 2018

Q&A with Nataal: the media brand championing contemporary African culture

Reading Time: 6 minutes Nataal.com was born in 2015 as a platform to communicate the creativity coming out of Africa. It was launched by Sara Hemming, former art director at AnOther, Helen Jennings, former editor at Arise magazine, and Senegalese actor and director Sy Alassane. Focusing on fashion shoots, long form features and visual essays, Nataal collaborates with emerging artists around the world who are shaping global narratives around African culture.

This year, Nataal published its first annual print magazine, built around the theme “Future Gaze” and containing 336 pages of photography by well-known artists such as Viviane Sassen, Lorenzo Vitturi and Ayana V Jackson, as well as commissions by up-and-coming photographers such as Arielle Bobb-Willis. The photography is accompanied by in-depth editorials covering a range of topics including fashion, visual arts and music, as well as a short story by American-Ghanaian writer Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond, and articles about contemporary African culture and business.

BJP spoke to creative director Sara Hemming and editorial director Helen Jennings about Nataal media and why photography is so integral to their magazine.

7 November 2018

The rise and rise of Mimi Plumb

Reading Time: 5 minutes Born in Berkeley but raised in the East Bay suburb of Walnut Creek, Mimi Plumb has been a lynchpin in the network of photographers and educators who keep the region grounded in socially engaged documentary traditions. In her own photography, she has remained close to her roots, shooting long-term projects all over northern California. Many of those projects are only now beginning to see the light of day.

One of the reasons why her archive has lain dormant for so long is that she has been teaching photography most of her adult life at local institutions such as San Jose State University and San Francisco Art Institute, where she herself gained an MA, and which has played a key role in educating many photography students in the region. In 2014, her first body of work, Pictures from the Valley, was exhibited at City Hall in San Francisco. These pictures, taken in her early 20s when she was still a student, were a campaign for trade union rights among the Hispanic field workers of California’s farmlands.

5 November 2018

Salt Ponds by Peng Ke

Reading Time: 7 minutes “I like objects that don’t have much of a style. Like patterns in colouring books, clean black lines, and primary colours. Things that aren’t trying to sell you an ideology or concept,” says Peng Ke, who calls from her home in Shanghai, where she has just closed her first solo exhibition in the city, I Have Seen Many People Although They Have Not Seen Me. “Most visual languages are so coded, so if I see things that are almost innocent, they really stand out to me.”

Peng Ke’s exhibition coincided with the launch of Salt Ponds, her first book published by Jiazazhi. The project has been ongoing for five years now, but only became a solid body of work after her friend and graphic designer Pianpian He approached her to collaborate on a book. It began in the cities where Peng’s parents grew up, and quickly expanded to other fast developing, smaller cities in China. Though they are shot hundreds of miles apart, her photographs are anonymous; you can never tell which city she is in. So the project became less about her own hometown, and more about the collective experience of Chinese people who live in these places, “because in a way, everyone comes from the same city”.

2 November 2018

Beyond Paris Photo – a wealth of photo shows

Reading Time: 4 minutes Feeling all shopped out? Take refuge in a photo show – though many are being hosted by private galleries in Paris next week, meaning you can still buy prints if you want to. Photo Saint-Germain is a huge umbrella under which 36 exhibitions and events are taking place, for example, including the Polycopies and Shakespeare & Co book events and several cultural institutes, but also smaller, commercial galleries.

31 October 2018

Beyond Paris Photo – alternative photofairs

Reading Time: 2 minutes Paris Photo is the big one, but it isn’t the only photo fair in town next week. Held in a private mansion, a pp roc he makes a virtue out of its bijou size, hosting just 14 photographers in a private mansion in “a salon devoted to experimental photography practices”. Designed as an exhibition, this fair is accessible by reservation only, and includes celebrated photographers and galleries such as Ruth van Beek, brought by The Ravestijn Gallery; Daniel Shea, brought by Webber Gallery; and Maya Rochat, brought by Seen Fifteen. In addition, it includes “the a pp roc he sector”, a section showing two artists under the age of 40 not currently represented by a gallery (this section includes Thomas Sauvin & Kensuke Koike working together as a pair).

31 October 2018