Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Alexander Gronsky

I meet Alexander Gronsky earlier this year in Latvia and had the pleasure of being at his wedding with fellow photographer Iveta Vaivode. The wedding took place at the end of the ISSP workshop and was the most perfect ending to a great week.

Alexander was the winner of Foam's  Paul Huf Award.
The prize is an exhibition at the Foam museum in Amsterdam which is on until 10th October.
He will be showing work from, "The edge" and "Less than one"

© Alexander Gronsky

A couple of the participants from my workshop in Latvia

A couple of the participants from my workshop in Latvia, working on long term projects.
Masha Osipova, is a Russian woman who grew up in Holland from an early age. She is exploring her relationship to her  home town in Russia, "My Russia"

All photos above © Masha Osipova

Taking a slightly different approach is Janka Husta from Slovakia, who is living in Singapore and photographing her lifestyle and friends.

All photos above © Janka Husta
I will post some more of the participants in the next couple of weeks.

Monday, 30 August 2010

ISSP workshop in Latvia

This years ISSP workshop in Ludza, Latvia, was a great success. An intense week of creativity, energy, debate and fun, carried out in the remoteness of Ezersala boarding school in the East of Latvia. I cannot praise the organizers highly enough for their altruism in bringing 65 participants together from 23 countries from as far afield as Australia, South Africa, India and Canada and a fantastic and diverse group of teachers, who were a real pleasure to talk photography and socialize with.

Shan Rixon from my workshop has made a nice blog about the ISSP experience

©Annegien van Doorn

©Kathrin Holighaus
Teachers at the workshop,
L to R   Roger Ballen, Andrei Polikanov, me, Ville Lenkkeri, Veronique Bourgoin, Julija Berkovica of ISSP and Peter Bialobrzesk.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Fault Lines featured on NYT Lens Blog

George Georgiou in Modern Turkey 
Through a series of haunting architectural and landscape scenes of Turkey’s rush toward modernization — and the resulting tension between the secular and the modern — George Georgiou
has visually put his finger on a kind of listless alienation which at times can seem to pervade globalized society. Turkey, traditionally a bridge between East and West, seemed a logical choice for such a cautionary vision.
His latest book, “Fault Lines: Turkey From East to West” (Schilt Publishing), forces us to consider not so much the emotions that connect us, but rather the spaces that separate us.
A soft-spoken photojournalist best known for searing black-and-white pictures from Kosovo and Serbia, Mr. Georgiou was always curious about Turkey, given its traditional rivalry with and closeness to the countries of his heritage, Greece and Cyprus. His visit in 2003 coincided with the terrorist bombings of a synagogue and of the British Consulate. They sparked a desire to go deeper in his understanding of the country. He spent the next five years living and working there.
The results of his explorations were far different than he expected. “My black-and-white work in Kosovo was more emotional and personal,” he said. “This required a contrast of styles to something landscape driven, and relatively devoid of people.”

The project crept up on him slowly. During frequent drives across the country, especially into Istanbul, he would notice huge and often multicolored apartment complexes springing up as part of the nation’s overall modernization. Many were the work of TOKI, the housing administration of Turkey.
Trying to capture this “alienating landscape,” Mr. Georgiou was drawn to small groups of people interacting — and not interacting — within and against these artificial constructs. It was a visual metaphor for what can be the homogenizing and disrupting effects of globalization.
“I was fascinated by how this sort of swamps all of us, and everyone is lost in their own heads,” he said.
Little by little, the book began to take shape and find its own visual language. “I am drawn to the space we find ourselves in generally as human beings” amid so much change, he said. “The imposition of an urban landscape that has been put upon this mostly rural landscape in Turkey with its hard mountains, 1,000 to 2,000 meters above sea level, allowed me to explore this.”
Mr. Georgiou is also at work on “In the Shadow of the Bear,” about Georgians trying to carve a new world for themselves in the face of rising tensions with Russia. He sees long-term projects as a way to push back against the shrinkage in print journalism. “The longer I do something, the more I understand about it at a much deeper level,” he said, which also allows his work to change and adapt.
In spite of the horrors he has covered and the foreboding quality of many of his images, Mr. Georgiou describes himself as a “strangely optimistic” person.
“I don’t believe that we are all going to end up the same because of globalization,” he said. “When I am in the States, it still feels like the States as opposed to Europe, which still feels like Europe. In general we are always making our lives better with each generation.”
As if to underscore this optimism, the book ends on a refreshingly hopeful note. After pages of bleak urban landscapes, the last few pages are devoted to a series of portraits of young people shot against blue sky. To the photographer, these images of youth — pictured as they walk through Taksim Square, the modern heart of Istanbul — seem to reject much of what has come before, and speak to the power of individuals to create their own destinies. “It is as if they are each saying, ‘We will not allow ourselves to be defined by others.’”

Friday, 13 August 2010

Balazs Gardi

Last night I met up with photographer Balazs Gardi for a catch up.
He has been working on a long term project about water, "Facing Water Crisis" and has just started uploading some of his multimedia works. He is using video and photography in a beautiful, seamless way I haven't seen before.

Due to its extremely hot climate and high GDP, the United Arab Emirates has one of the largest per capita water consumptions in the world. Shopping centers and luxury hotels are built with lavish water decoration. Developers construct apartments with as many bathrooms as bedrooms. Sprinklers pump desalinated water onto golf courses, while underground aquifers are also being pumped dry.

The abundant use of water in desert cities symbolizes life, wealth and progress in the eyes of locals, whose parents still remember a very different, very arid world. In today’s Gulf metropolises there are uncountable water cascades, fountains and decorative pools, which form a dreamlike atmosphere between the shiny new buildings and the sea. Gigantic land reclamation projects are carried out to host some of the most expensive residential resorts on earth. These constructions literally grow out of the sea and build new land into a unique aquatic habitat.