‘I do not take photos/I give them/as I always give/in love’, the protagonist of Christine Sloan Stoddard’s poetry/photography collection Heaven is a Photograph declares, a characteristically bold admission of vulnerability. These lines, taken from the poem ‘Unrequited Pixels’, evoke an overarching theme of the collection: the emotional intensity of the protagonist’s relationship with photography. Charting the protagonist’s journey, from a childhood as the daughter of a photographer to becoming a photographer herself, Stoddard’s brief and beautiful collection explores the power of both photography and photographer – through a deft and deeply meta combination of verse and photography itself.
If you’re passing through Brixton Market, exploring the vintage clothing stalls or lamenting the overpriced pints designed to rip off tourists, it’s easy to miss the Brixton Recreation Centre, tucked away and accessible only by a remote entrance. But this abandoned-looking building is in fact one of two homes of a fascinating local photography exhibition. The Lost Legacies of The British Black Panthers provides a vital insight into the anti-racist activism of the Windrush generation which is often overlooked in our understanding of twentieth-century British history.
by Jonathan Lee
I am probably not the image most people have in their mind when they think of a Gypsy.
My mother is of mostly Irish-American stock – which gives me a few ginger wisps in my beard, and a smattering of freckles across my nose and cheeks. My hair is dark brown, not black. I don’t wear a lolo diklo (red scarf) around my neck, or a staddi kali (black trilby hat) on my head. Most of the time I wear jeans and t-shirt, I rarely ever dance on tables, and I have no piercings or tattoos. I live in an apartment in the centre of a European capital with a woman whom I am not married to, and I travel only about 20 minutes maximum by foot every day to go to work.
If I ask you to close your eyes and picture a Gypsy in your mind’s eye you probably see someone with bangles and gold hoop earrings, floral patterned clothing, long hair, and dark flashing eyes. They may or may not have a tambourine, and may or may not be wearing a turban with a little gem in the centre holding it up. Maybe you see a fortune teller, or a travelling metalsmith? Perhaps a musician? If you are European, more likely you also see a beggar, a thief, a criminal.
content warning: mentions of death, abortion
The last exhibition of Emin’s I had been to was probably She Lay Down Beneath The Sea at Turner Contemporary in her hometown of Margate. For me, what this current exhibition at White Cube lacked in comparison to the previous one was more context to frame the concept of the artwork. Whilst there was an A4 sheet about the exhibition overall, it felt like the viewer was being pushed to form their own meanings. Whilst formulating the meaning of the work is part of the joys of conceptual art, it is always interesting to read or listen to more, particularly for those who are not as familiar with Emin’s work as fans will be able to infer the meaning and links to past work that newcomers can’t access. I also enjoyed the work in Margate more for its skill of embroidery where the stitched looked like paint from afar, whilst pieces in this exhibit lacked this sense of innovation.
by Hannah Rose
Finding the right home for his pictures was a feature of Larry Sultan’s early career. Museums and galleries dismissed his satirical images—which played out an ironic commentary on modern American life—and found themselves on billboards scattered across America instead. Striking and immediate, perhaps they made more of an impact outside gallery walls.
Now Sultan’s photographs can be viewed in galleries including the Solomon Guggenheim Museum and SFMOMA, where his collection Here and Home is on view until July 23rd.
by Hannah Rose
Vote only once by putting a cross (X) in the box next to your choice. My ballot paper reads like a lover’s ultimatum: Leave or Remain. There is no room on my ballot paper to explain, negotiate with, mediate between. All dialogue between us has ended. Now there is only silence lingering like the smell of damp coats.
by Hannah Rose
Art Fair East (AFE) is an annual contemporary visual art event showcasing emerging and established artists from East Anglia and around the globe, hosted by artists, galleries and dealers in St Andrews Hall – Norwich. 2016’s event was a hive of curiosity and arty repartee, with artists and agents on hand to engage and interact with visitors.
by Jess Howard
Content warning: this article contains upsetting images.
In 2015 I wrote an article on an image of a Syrian child’s lifeless body being lifted out of the sea on a beach close to a Turkish resort. The photograph shocked people around the world at the time. It demonstrated the severity of the Syrian conflict, as the child in the photograph, and his family along with him, had been attempting to travel to Greece to seek refuge. September sees the anniversary of the photograph being taken, but how have our attitudes to photography and conflict changed in the past year?
by Jess Howard
(Note: Some links NSFW.)
I’ve written articles focusing on body hair before, with my previous article specifically discussing pubic hair. I was questioning why we, as a twentyfirst century audience, have such a problem with modern day depictions of perfectly natural hair growth in a way that, historically, viewers haven’t always had a problem with. Since then, Sarah Louise Bryan has gone a step further, and designed and produced an outfit consisting of a bra and floor length skirt, both made entirely out of pubic hair.
Bryan created the dress after spending six months collecting pubic hair, in a bid to create an item of clothing more shocking and scandalous than the infamous meat dress that singer and performer Lady Gaga wore to the MTV video music awards in 2010. “I really wanted the world’s most unique and disgusting design” said Bryan “so when someone sees a design they know it was me instantly”. But should we consider the creation an act of attention grabbing media fodder, or address and analyse what the creation, and the media’s reaction, says about our attitudes to body hair as a whole?
As the dust continues to settle on soon to be post-EU Britain, I’ve been thinking a lot about the place I call home. Norwich has been my city for quarter of a century now, and as my Granny says of such milestones, “You get less time for murder.” Norwich is infamously disconnected from the world, with visiting football fans often singing “there’s only one road in Norfolk” to Guantanamera at Carrow Road – and as much as it pains me to admit it, the isolation is a real problem.
The fact we’re so cut off from outsiders rubs off on our city’s attitudes towards culture in particular – with a quintessentially Little England village-mentality that boasts of being an UNESCO City of Literature in a town perpetually threatening its libraries with cuts, and renders us fiercely defensive of our ‘doing different’ status-quo, who year on year wheel out the same tired Lord Mayor’s procession, Castle firework display, and cover-band music festival, while remaining collectively suspicious, and sometimes even hostile to new ideas.