Tag Archives: London

Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2017

Featuring works from Dana Lixenberg, Sophie Calle, Awoiska van der Molen, Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs

Exhibition on view: November 16, 2017–January 11, 2018
Opening reception: Wednesday, November 15, 7:00–8:30 p.m.

Aperture Foundation, in collaboration with The Photographers’ Gallery and the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation, is pleased to present the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2017, featuring works from the shortlisted artists: Sophie Calle, Awoiska van der Molen, duo Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs, and this year’s winner, Dana Lixenberg, who was awarded the prize, worth £30,000 GBP, in May of this year. This marks the first exhibition of the prize in the United States.

The twentieth iteration of the prize, one of the most prestigious international arts awards, celebrates established photographic narratives alongside experimental and conceptual approaches to documentary, landscape, and portraiture. The four finalists investigate questions of truth and fiction, doubt and certainty, what constitutes the real and ideal, and the relationship between observer and the observed.

The opening of this exhibition at The Photographers’ Gallery in London, began an international tour of the show that went on to exhibit at the Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main, and subsequently at Aperture Foundation, marking the first exhibition in the United States of this prize. This year’s exhibition is curated by Anna Dannemann, Curator, The Photographer’s Gallery.



Featured Artists

Dana Lixenberg (b. 1964, the Netherlands) won for her publication Imperial Courts (Roma, 2015). In 1992, Dana Lixenberg traveled to South Central Los Angeles for a magazine story on the riots that erupted following the verdict in the Rodney King trial. What she encountered inspired her to revisit the area, and led her to the community of the Imperial Courts housing project in Watts. Returning countless times over the following twenty-two years, Lixenberg gradually created a collaborative portrait of the changing face of this community. Over the years, some in the community were killed, while others disappeared or went to jail, and others, once children in early photographs, grew up and had children of their own. In this way, Imperial Courts constitutes a complex and evocative record of the passage of time in an underserved community.


Sophie Calle (b. 1953, France) was nominated for her publication My All (Actes Sud, 2016), which finds the artist experimenting with yet another medium: the postcard set. Taking stock of her entire oeuvre, this set of postcards functions as a beautiful portfolio of Calle’s work, as well as a new investigation of it, in an appropriately nomadic format. Over the past thirty years, Sophie Calle has invited strangers to sleep in her bed, followed a man through the streets of Paris to Venice, hired a detective to spy on her before providing a report of her day, and asked blind people to tell her about the final image they remember. In her practice, she has orchestrated small moments of life, establishing a game, then setting its rules for herself and for others.

Calle’s Exquisite Pain is an installation in two parts that unfolds stories of devastating personal experiences as a means of reexamining and, ultimately, exorcising grief. The first part of the project presents Calle’s journey preceding “the unhappiest moment of [her] whole life,” told through collected photos and ephemera of ninety-two days that the artist saw as a countdown to romantic rejection. Each photograph or document is stamped with a number indicating the remaining amount of “days until unhappiness.” The second part of the exhibition pairs Calle’s story, told repeatedly from several different angles, with others’ recollections of their own pain and heartache. Through recursive recitation and empathy, the project explores the universality of pain and resilience.


Awoiska van der Molen (b. 1972, the Netherlands) was nominated for her exhibition Blanco at Foam, Amsterdam (January 22–April 3, 2016). Van der Molen creates black-and-white, abstracted images that revitalize the genre of landscape photography. Spending long periods of time in solitude and silence in foreign landscapes, from Japan to Norway to Crete, she explores the identity of the place, allowing it to impress upon her its specific emotional and physical qualities and her personal experience within it. With this intuitive approach, Van der Molen aims to find a pure form of representing her surroundings, by focusing on the essential elements in and around her. Her work questions how natural and man-made environments are commonly represented and interacted with.


Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs (both b. 1979, Switzerland) were nominated for their exhibition EURASIA at Fotomuseum Winterthur (October 24, 2015–March 14, 2016). EURASIA playfully draws on the iconography of the road trip, constructing experiences drawn from memory and imagination. Onorato and Krebs’s journey begins in Switzerland, continues through the Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Russia, and ends in Mongolia. Throughout their travels the duo encounters landscapes and people in a state of ongoing transition from ancient traditions and post-Communist structures to modernity and the formation of an independent identity. Using a mix of analogue media and techniques including 16 mm films, large-format plate cameras, and installation-based interventions, Onorato and Krebs compose a narrative that is as much fiction as documentation.

 


About the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize

Founded in 1997 by The Photographers’ Gallery, and now in its twentieth year, the Prize has become one of the most prestigious international arts awards and has launched and established the careers of many photographers over the years. The Gallery has been collaborating with Deutsche Börse Group as title sponsors since 2005. In 2015 the Prize was retitled as the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize following the establishment of the foundation as a non- profit organization dedicated to the collection, exhibition and promotion of contemporary photography. Past winners include Trevor Paglen, Paul Graham, Juergen Teller, Rineke Dijkstra, Richard Billingham, John Stezaker, and Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin. A jury including Susan Bright, curator; Pieter Hugo, artist; Karolina Ziębińska-Lewandowska, curator of photography at Centre Pompidou, Paris; Anne-Marie Beckmann, director, Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation; and Brett Rogers, director, The Photographers’ Gallery, as the non-voting chair, selected the four finalists featured in 2017.

The Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation is a Frankfurt-based non-profit organization. The foundation’s activities focus on collecting, exhibiting and promoting contemporary photography.
For more information, please visit www.deutscheboersephotographyfoundation.org.


The Photographers’ Gallery opened in 1971 in Great Newport Street, London, as the UK’s first independent gallery devoted to photography. It was the first public gallery in the UK to exhibit many key names in international photography.
For more information, please visit www.thephotographersgallery.org.uk 


Aperture Foundation was created in 1952 by photographers and writers. The not-for-profit foundation, connects the photo community and its audiences with the most inspiring work, the sharpest ideas, and with each other — in print, in person, and online.
For more information, please visit aperture.org.


This story was also published on Medium

Here and Now: Street Portraits of Londoners by Niall McDiarmid

The photo exhibition, Here and Now, is now open at the Museum of London. It runs through till October 15th. The work of London based photographer Niall McDiarmid will be mounted in the Rotunda space outside the museum and is open all day and night. It features 34 large scale prints from across the capital shot over the past 6 years.

Brushfield Street, London — April 2012 © Niall McDiarmid

Two of McDiarmid’s long-term projects, Crossing Paths: A Portrait of Britain, and Via Vauxhall, were published in book format; in addition to publishing the work online in dedicated websites. Both projects are series of portraits made by McDiarmid in his encounters with people throughout the UK over the past six years or so, and specifically for Via Vauxhall in the area surrounding the Vauxhall neighborhood of London. “Individually these photos represent the moment that we crossed paths, but collectively they represent my portrait of London — a confident city, a city of the future, a city I call home.”

From Via Vauxhall © Niall McDiarmid
McDiarmid’s photographic style can be described as ‘straight’, ‘documentary’ or even ‘street photography’. But make no mistake, McDiarmid’s stylistic approach often plays upon subtle use of color or pattern that is never arbitrary; it functions in highly sophisticated ways to connect elements and patterns in his subject’s clothing with their surroundings. In this manner, the people in his portraits are woven into the scene they occupy — an integral part of their surroundings.
Surrey Street, Croydon – January 2016 © Niall McDiarmid
For more info on the exhibit, see the site for Museum of London. To see more of Niall McDiarmid’s work, please visit his website. To read an in-depth interview with McDiarmid, see this article in Vantage, Niall McDiarmid Captures the Faces of our Times

Niall McDiarmid | British Portraits Exhibition – Print Sales Fundraising

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British Portraits Exhibition, Oriel Colwyn, North Wales

The London-based photographer, Niall McDiarmid, has announced an upcoming print exhibition. After five and a half years of travelling,  150+ towns, 2000 or so portraits – he’s pleased to say the first show of his work will be held at the Oriel Colwyn Gallery in North Wales in September. As well as showing a large selection of images from around the country, he will be returning to North Wales to shoot a new series of local portraits to coincide with the opening.

McDiarmid was kind enough to do an interview with Wobneb Magazine earlier this year, which also got wide-spread attention through F-Stop Magazine, Lensculture, and Vantage Photos on Medium.com. He and his work has also been featured in The Independent Magazine, Financial Times Magazine, BBC, and his photobooks from his Crossing Paths and Via Vauxhall series have received several awards.

Everything Niall has done so far has been self-funded. However, to help with the exhibition costs of printing, framing and transport, he is offering a selection of prints for sale over the next month. Your support will be very much appreciated and a list of all those who help fund the exhibition will be displayed at the Oriel Colwyn Gallery, and in any future exhibitions.

As of this posting, he is almost halfway towards the total needed for framing, printing and transport. Prints are on sale through his website HERE Feel free to contact Niall if you have any queries. By purchasing a print or donating, your name will be included in the list of supporters at the exhibition.

If there are any other images on his blog or website that you are interested in, please feel free to contact him!

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(Please note: white gloves & special display easel shown are not included in print prices)

Faces of Our Times – Photographer Niall McDiarmid’s striking street portraits

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Faces Of Our Times – Niall McDiarmid’s striking street portraits show off the best of London and all its diversity


The life of an artist is a long and difficult row to hoe. Niall McDiarmid has been working as a photographer for over 20 years, largely for print publications. Recently, McDiarmid published two books Via Vauxhall (2015) and Crossing Paths (2013) that both feature portraits of people he has photographed on Britain’s streets.

McDiarmid seems to revel in capturing his subjects’ style, confidence and sartorial elegance. To coincide with Fashion Week in London, Vogue Magazine assigned McDiarmid to make portraits of young, dapper, diverse residents of London.

Hertford Street, Coventry - March 2012
Hertford Street, Coventry — March 2012. From Crossing Paths © Niall McDiarmid

Publishing books and Vogue aren’t career moments that emerge overnight. It would be nice to say McDiarmid has gone from dungarees to Dolce & Gabbana; but the truth of the matter reads more like from dungarees to Dickies. Putting subjects as ease and making piercing portraits is a lot of hard work. Here, McDiarmid gives us the scoop on his methods, motives and thoughts as he pounds the pavement.

 

Via Vauxhall, London - 2013/2014
From Via Vauxhall © Niall McDiarmid

Q&A

Cary Benbow (CB): Over your career, and as you’ve grown personally and professionally, have you tailored your work to seek out specific jobs or work — or has the work found you?

Niall McDiarmid (NM): In my teens and early twenties, I sent short news stories to local newspapers and free sheets in Scotland, where I grew up. After I left university, where I studied engineering, I got a full time job as a junior reporter working in trade magazines. I travelled around the UK writing stories, mostly on agriculture and the environment. After a year or so of this, I started to supply photographs to go with the stories. From there I returned to college to study photojournalism for a year.

I’ve worked freelance for magazines and book publishers, since then. I can’t speak for others but I’ve always found making a living from freelance photography tough, so generally I’ve taken whatever jobs I can get. I even photographed someone’s cat once as a commission. Oh, and a dog. It tried to bite me. It’s a long story.

Niall McDiarmid
From Via Vauxhall © Niall McDiarmid

CB: What do you feel makes a successful portrait?

NM: A connection between the viewer and the people in the photograph. If the photographer can add his or her own distinctive style that usually makes the photograph more memorable or successful.

CB: Why do you think people like to look at pictures of people?

NM: I think it’s a basic human trait, most people are interested in other people and a portrait is a way to explore that curiosity — the places we live, our cultural backgrounds, the clothes we wear, our family ties.

Walthamstow Town Square, East London - Dec' 2015
Walthamstow Town Square, East London – Dec’ 2015

CB: Your career has bridged the age of analogue photography dominance into the expansion of digital photography being the current standard. How do you choose to shoot digitally or work with film and film cameras?

 

NM: Most of the photographs I take every day are digital — on my phone, screen grabs, DSLR etc. Film photography is not a medium that suits the modern commercial and editorial photographer any more. Photo labs are few and far between and when images are needed quickly on a limited budget, the old system of developing film and scanning seldom works.

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NM: However, I chose to shoot most of my personal work on film. It’s what I started using as a photographer and what I still get most satisfaction from using. It’s a slower, more considered process. I can also achieve colours with film that I can’t replicate in digital. I also don’t think I’ve fully explored the world of analogue film use yet, so I’ll keep shooting with it till I have.

Niall McDiarmid
From Via Vauxhall © Niall McDiarmid

McDiarmid’s photographic style can be described as ‘straight’, ‘documentary’ or even ‘street photography’. But make no mistake, McDiarmid’s stylistic approach often plays upon subtle use of color or pattern that is never arbitrary; it functions in highly sophisticated ways to connect elements and patterns in his subject’s clothing with their surroundings. In this manner, the people in his portraits are woven into the scene they occupy — an integral part of their surroundings.

As to this aspect of his work, McDiarmid says, “When I started the recent batch of portraits back in 2011, I didn’t have the intention of using colours as a base for the work. However after a few weeks, I realized that it was something I had an eye for. I began to see the way people’s clothing often matched or clashed with the colours that I found on high street shops or billboards and I tried where I could to combine these.”

Brushfield Street, London - April 2012
Brushfield Street, London — April 2012. © Niall McDiarmid

CB: The stereotypical “street photographer” aesthetic is often candid, brazen, and raw images. But your images are ones of inclusion, and not taken as if by a passive viewer. Many images have a connection that is perceived between you and your subjects… what do you feel makes your work stand apart?

NM: I’ve taken series of images that are not collaborative, ones that would be considered more conventional street photographs in the past, and I still shoot a lot of those. However, I like meeting people and if I can use that in a way to take portraits that are somewhat collaborative, so much the better.

Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea - June 2014
Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, London — June 2014

NM: When I’m taking the images, I’ll make maybe 2 or 3 shots maximum of each person. It has to be quick. I don’t want people to pose; just be as they come. A little apprehension, a little awkwardness and tension in the portrait often works for me. On a very good day I might photograph, 7 or 8 people. On a bad day, none. None is a bad day.

As regards to photography and uniqueness, I suppose there are plenty of photographers who have done work like me and will do in the future. Whether it is possible to pick out my photographs from the thousands produced every day is hard to say — hopefully a few might might stick out.

I suppose we all strive to have a unique style. Some photographers, artists… call it what you will… get there. Then I suppose editors and gallery owners call them up and say — ‘Oh, I love that thing you do, that ’style’ of work, that ’thing’. Can you do that for me?’ I’m sure plenty of those successful artists then say, ‘I’ve finished that style, can I do something different for you?’ But in the end, people want you to do what you got well known for — certainly for a period. I’m sure the smart ones know when to move on, carrying some of the old style with them and developing it into something new.

Church Alley, Liverpool - May 2013
Church Alley, Liverpool — May 2013. From Crossing Paths © Niall McDiarmid

NM: So uniqueness and my work? — I wouldn’t really know. I guess that’s for others to judge, but it occurred to me that maybe the most successful photographers or artists were the ones who had one simple idea that they stuck to through their whole career and managed to maintain an audience, keep people interested in the work throughout without ever deviating too far from their original path. Maybe in an age where there are so many new images being made, the artists who maintain a steady unwavering course are the real pioneers, the real groundbreakers. Who knows?

Couple, Peckham - 2013
Sumner Avenue, Peckham, South London — May 2013. © Niall McDiarmid

McDiarmid’s list of photography influences includes names such as Diane Arbus, Joel Sternfeld, Vanessa Winship, and British photographer Daniel Meadows. Whether it is the documentary work of Arbus, Daniel Meadow’s work from Living Like This: Around Britain in the Seventies, Richard Avedon’sIn the American West, Robert Frank’s The Americans, or Joel Sternfeld’sStranger Passing — all of these books, all of these photographers, helped define how we remember the people and culture of the times and places they photographed. Niall McDiarmid is no different. His projects have consistently explored the possibility of a collective identity by documenting ordinary people and places throughout the UK.

Rufus, Fitzrovia - Sept 2015
Rufus, From the series ‘A London Weekend’ — Fitzrovia © Niall McDiarmid

 


Two of McDiarmid’s long-term projects, Crossing Paths: A Portrait of Britain, and Via Vauxhall, were published in book format; in addition to publishing the work online in dedicated websites. Both projects are series of portraits made by McDiarmid in his encounters with people throughout the UK over the past five years or so, and specifically for Via Vauxhall in the area surrounding the Vauxhall neighborhood of London.

Via Vauxhall, London - 2013/2014
From Via Vauxhall © Niall McDiarmid

The portraits in his projects largely have no mention of the person’s name, unless included in McDiarmid’s comments. The images are titled minimally by a descriptor of where the portrait was taken. Bodfor Street, Rhyl, or High Street, Poole gives the viewer a marker in McDiarmid’s travels, but also a feeling of the documentary undertow.

Wayne Ford, the British designer and creative director, said in his review of ‘Crossing Paths’:

“The portraits that form ‘Crossing Paths’ make a fascinating and engaging survey of contemporary society in the United Kingdom in the early 21st century, that reflects the cultural vibrancy and ethnic diversity of the nation; and like the work of Meadows in the early 1970s, ‘Crossing Paths’ is a social document that stands to be a significant cultural marker of the times in which we live, both now and in the historical context to follow.”

McDiarmid, albeit humbly, has garnered major awards, including a prize for portraiture in the 2012 International Photography Awards for his Crossing Paths portraiture project. He has been asked to speak at numerous academic and professional lectures, and his work has been acquired by significant photo collections both private and public. The compliments even include a mention from one of McDiarmid’s own influences. In an interview coinciding with a retrospective of Daniel Meadows work, he was asked whose work inspired him as a student, and who inspires him now. Meadows listed past influences of Bruce Davidson, Josef Koudelka, and Sir John Benjamin Stone — and the short list of current inspirations included Niall McDiarmid’s portraits.

Via Vauxhall, London - 2013/2014
From Via Vauxhall © Niall McDiarmid

CB: How do you personally process the wide-spread attention your work has garnered? Has it changed the dynamic in your day-to-day?

NM: It’s incredibly hard as a freelance photographer to sustain a career over many years and it’s only getting harder. The money is very tight and there are days when you question your sanity and ask yourself, “What am I doing this for?” But after 25 years as a photographer, I have come to realise, it’s a large part of my life and probably always will be.

Jamie, Southbank, Waterloo - Sept 2015
Jamie, Southbank, Waterloo – Sept 2015

NM: One of the positives of the recent changes in photography is that those coming into the industry know from the start that it’s a challenging way to earn a living. Many photographers now have to earn a living doing something unrelated to taking pictures. In a way, that can be liberating experience, particularly where personal projects are concerned. In the past, I think there was a tendency for photographers to create a series of personal work with a view to how it might be used commercially, maybe in a magazine. Now, although the money is much reduced, the internet has given us all the freedom to do as we like without worrying so much about where the images might be used.

Jessica Road, London - April 2011
Jessica Road, London — April 2011. From Crossing Paths © Niall McDiarmid

NM: I am glad that people enjoy following my journey, but as regards to wide-spread attention, I wouldn’t know. I try to just keep going, keep getting out as often as I can. My life feels like a chaotic mix of chasing around after my children, shooting my personal work and trying to earn a living as best I can — mostly very badly. Professional is not a word I associate with myself too often, but I hope to be professional one day! With so much new photography out there and so many outlets: ­galleries, magazines, newspapers and online — it is increasingly hard to get your work recognised. That’s why I try hard to carve out a style that people can relate to. Hopefully, I’ve gone some way to achieving that. The next challenge for me is to sustain that work and continue to develop it.

Niall McDiarmid
Boys by Three Kings Pond, Mitcham, South London — Dec. 2014 © Niall McDiarmid

CB: The people and the locales in your portrait work have the common aesthetic of your eye and your style, but the people you photograph are very diverse. Is there a shift in the types of people and communities you’ve encountered over the years?

NM: I’m interested in changing population, changing communities, and multiculturalism so, yes, the people in my work are diverse. I am very interested in the idea of a large body of work that covers the whole country in­ an uncomplicated, democratic look at people at this time. I’m very interested in colour and shape and how it is present in our everyday life even though we often don’t notice it. There are noticeable differences between towns across the country I visit; ­different ethnic groups and different economic situations, but I would rather not label them.

Via Vauxhall, London - 2013/2014
From Via Vauxhall © Niall McDiarmid

NM: I’m not specifically trying to create work that defines what it means to be British; or Scottish, Welsh, or Irish for that matter. I would rather people just look at the images and make their own minds up about Britain and how it is changing.

More people from different backgrounds are coming to live here than ever before. I try to show these changes in the people I meet. Whether those who view the photographs pick up on that, I wouldn’t know. But multiculturalism and shifting demographics are at the core of the work, particularly the portraits.

English Street, Carlisle, Cumbria - Oct 2015
English Street, Carlisle, Cumbria — Oct 2015 © Niall McDiarmid

When looking at the sea of faces McDiarmid has captured in his work, it is easy to pick up on all the similarities across our global, and increasingly multicultural society. His growing collection of UK portraits has all the same types of people, whether you are in London, Chicago, Paris, or Indianapolis.

Certain motifs appear and reappear. White earbuds hang around necks, people of all different skin colors travel to and from work. Subjects gaze into phone screens of devices the same the world over, and they carry shopping bags or wear clothes with identical labels. We can point to common threads in McDiarmid’s growing “family album.” We live in a global village and these faces reflect the richness of the fabric of society in London, in the United Kingdom, and in some sense, the world.


Niall McDiarmid is a photographer based in London. His work is primarily about documenting Britain and has been published and exhibited widely. His work has received such recognition as one of Vogue’s Best Spring Photobooks 2015, a number of his prints featured in the Crossing Paths book have been acquired by the Sir Elton John Photography Collection in Atlanta Georgia, and his work has has been featured by Time Magazine, BBC, Vogue Magazine, and The Independent.

Follow Niall’s activities on Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram.


Originally published in January 2016 in Wobneb Magazine and Vantage

All photographs © Niall McDiarmid, used with permission.