Tag: portraits

Portrait(s) festival returns to Vichy

Reading Time: 4 minutes From the star-studded hills of Hollywood, to Ukraine’s military camps, Russia’s Caucasus region, and the gloomy streets of Thatcher-era England, the programme for this year’s Portrait(s) festival covers a wide breadth of both geography and context. The French photofestival dedicated to portraiture returns to Vichy for its seventh edition this summer, with exhibitions by Philippe Halsman, Tish Murtha, Michal Chelbin, Bastiaan Woudt, Turkina Faso, Benni Valsson, Ambroise Tézenas, and an intriguing show about selfies, curated by Olivier Culmann.

Selfies, Equal/Egos presents a mixture of amateur photography and artists who explore the phenomenon in their practice. Both serious and offbeat, the exhibition examines the mechanisms of virality, and the repetitive nature of the image economy in a digital age.

25 March 2019

Martin Parr’s Only Human

Reading Time: 5 minutes When the Portrait Gallery was established in London in the mid-19th century, its role was envisioned “to consist of those persons who are most honourably commemorated in British history”. Opening in an era when photography was still a new and untried technology, the National Portrait Gallery (as it later became known) was intended to be the national repository of the images, chiefly paintings and drawings, of those men and, much later, women who represented what was best among the British hierarchy of achievements, skills and aptitudes. Its function was to hold up a mirror to Britain that reflected its qualities back to those who came to observe them, as object lessons about how to aspire to, or more simply respect, the qualities and moral standing of the great and the good.

This conception of the NPG may still be widespread in the public mind, as even Martin Parr thought his work would be an ill-fit for a contemporary exhibition along these lines. “I never thought of myself as a portrait photographer,” he says, “and when I first met Phillip Prodger [NPG’s former head of photographs], I told him I had only a few celebrity portraits. I just put a lightbox together and sent them to him, though I was quite surprised at what I had.” Prodger, however, had other ideas, seeing in Parr the work of a social observer who could also offer a portrait of a nation at a key point in its history. So it is that the NPG put together Only Human, on show from 07 March to 27 May, bringing together some of Parr’s most famous photographs alongside a number of works never exhibited before.

4 March 2019

When you have to leave with Nina Röder

Reading Time: 3 minutes After losing both grandparents in the space of a year, Nina Röder and her family were faced with the challenging task of sorting out and selling their house – and with it, the inescapable matter of letting go. Röder’s project, Wenn du gehen musst willst du doch auch bleiben, takes its name from a sage observation made by her nine-year-old nephew, Luis, while they were packing up the belongings. Roughly translated, it means: ‘When you have to leave but you still want to stay’.

The unresolvable question of how to grieve is one that follows every death. For many, the photographic act can be a way of thinking through and processing difficult times. During the two-week period before her grandparents’ house was sold, Röder photographed her family in it – sometimes posing in their clothes and with their belongings – archiving its distinct aesthetic before it disappeared forever. “I wanted to show a different way of dealing with grief and loss,” she explains. “By staging absurd scenes with my mum, cousin and brother, we found a strategy of how to say goodbye.”

26 February 2019