Adobe Cloak is Content-Aware Fill for Video

Adobe demoed a number of technologies at Adobe MAX 2017 yesterday, including something called Cloak. It’s basically Photoshop’s Content-Aware Fill for video — you can easily remove unwanted things from video, as you can see in the 6-minute demo above.

“[Cloak] enables removing unwanted things from a video by imagining what would appear if these unwanted things were removed,” Adobe says.

After creating a mask that selects the object/area in your video you’d like to remove, the system will intelligently fill in that area in each frame.

Selecting a pole that’s obstructing the video of a building in a video.

The results are impressive.

Cloak can remove people entirely from a panning shot.

Or you can even narrow things down and only remove a small portion of the scene, like the chest strap from a guy’s backpack…

A handy use case for Cloak could be removing action camera tripods and mounts from shots. No word yet on if or when we’ll actually see Cloak arrive as a feature in a software release.

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Phottix’s New Juno Transceiver Flash Works with All Cameras

Phottix has released a new Juno transceiver flash, an affordable competitor to Yongnuo and other third party brands. It’s completely manual and will work with any major camera brand.

It has 8 stops of power and can be adjusted in 1/3 stop increments, with a guide number of 58. A zoom range of 20-200mm is as expected, and the single pin is compatible with most major camera brands, be it Nikon, Canon, Fujifilm, Pentax, Olympus, Panasonic, or Sony.

It has a built-in Phottix Ares II transmitter and receiver, as well as a backlit LCD screen to control it and make easy adjustments.

This video runs through the main features of the flash:

The mounting screw threads, positioned for vertical and horizontal use, are great for flexibility and versatility.

There are no high-speed sync capabilities, so the Juno is usable until 1/250th. It’s compatible with the Ares II and Stratos II trigger systems.

The Phottix Juno flash is available for $130 from the Phottix website, as well as in some combo packages.

(via Phottix via The Phoblographer)

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US Urging Airlines to Ban Cameras in Checked Bags

The U.S. government is urging airlines around the world to ban cameras, laptops, and other large personal electronic devices from checked luggage, citing the risk of batteries causing catastrophic fires.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the recommendation was made in a paper that was recently filed with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), an agency that’s part of the U.N.

The FAA conducted tests that involved placing a heater against a fully-charged laptop’s lithium-ion battery, causing the battery’s temperature to continually rise. The agency found that overheating batteries and aerosol cans in close proximity to one another can cause fires and explosions in less than a minute — events that could bring down a passenger plane.

Lithium-ion batteries are used in cameras and photo equipment.

“[I]t was concluded that if a [portable electronic device] is packed in a suitcase with an aerosol can and a thermal runaway event occurs, there is the potential for an aerosol can explosion,” the FAA writes. “The explosion itself may or may not be strong enough to structurally damage the aircraft, but in a Class C cargo compartment it will most likely compromise the Halon fire suppression system […]

“The fire suppression system of the aircraft is then compromised, which could lead to the loss of the aircraft.”

Batteries packed with other permitted items such as rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer, and nail polish remover also caused large fires. These fires can burn up to 1,100 °F (594 °C), close to the melting point of aircraft aluminum, and are responsible for 3 cargo jet crashes and 4 pilot deaths since 2006, the Associated Press says.

As a result of these findings, the FAA is recommending that electronics larger than a smartphone should be banned from checked luggage unless they’re specifically approved by the airline. Other major agencies and companies, including the European Safety Agency (the FAA’s European counterpart) and Airbus, agreed with the recommendation.

The ICAO is responsible for creating global airline safety standards, which may then be adopted by member countries and airlines. This proposed ban will be considered during an ICAO meeting within the next two weeks.

Here’s the full paper and proposal that was submitted by the FAA:

If the ban goes into effect for international flights around the world, it could cause issues for photographers who need to transport large amounts of camera equipment in checked baggage. One possible solution, however, might be to separate your lithium-ion batteries from your cameras and equipment and bring them into the cabin with you in carry-on baggage.

Transporting camera equipment on flights has become much more regulated in recent years due to safety and terrorism concerns. The US temporarily banned cameras in the cabins of planes from a number of Middle Eastern countries earlier this year, and the TSA recently started requiring a separate screening of cameras in security lanes.

(via Chicago Tribune via Gizmodo)

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Video: How to Post to Instagram From Your Computer

Here’s a quick 2-minute video tutorial by photographer Travis Transient on how to post photos to Instagram using the browser on your desktop computer. The trick involves using the Developer Tools feature in your browser and using your browser as a mobile browser.

This video may be helpful for those of you who enjoy learning things in video form. If you’d like a more in-depth step-by-step tutorial on this same technique, we published our own tutorial earlier this year. There’s also a new app called Windowed that’s designed to help you upload photos from Windows and Mac computers.

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Brexit-era Britain in Simon Roberts’ Merrie Albion

Arriving in London on an early morning flight from Berlin, I jump straight onto the train to Hove railway station. Starved of sea, I walk diligently, sniffing my way through the town centre towards the beach as if returning to my primordial ancestors. Confronted by an array of frayed Union Jacks flapping in the wind, I stand before a magical sunlit view of the English Channel stretching out towards a Europe hidden beyond the horizon. To the left, the burnt-out skeletal silhouette of the once-magnificent West Pier etches out into the glistening water.

Struck by how beautifully melancholic this vista is, it dawns on me that Hove is the perfect home for Simon Roberts. The British documentary photographer is renowned for his large format photography of socio-political landscapes and he has recently recorded the tremors of Britain’s self-expulsion from Europe. Not unlike a Roberts photograph, the beach provides a wide panorama from land to sea; a reminder of our identity as an island nation.

At his Hove studio, Roberts’s assistant, Joe, is busy adjusting proofs for a new book, Merrie Albion: Landscape Studies of a Small Island, to be published by Dewi Lewis and launched at Paris Photo, where Flowers Gallery will present the work ahead of a show in London next year. The precision in adjusting the hues of the final prints demands fine concentration, as the deadline for delivery looms.

It is impressive that Roberts makes a living and supports his family from his documentary work. His galleries, Flowers in London and Robert Morath in Berlin, ensure healthy sales and he is often able to secure backing for long-term projects, such as the recent Sight Sacralization: (Re)framing Switzerland, commissioned by Musée de l’Élysée and Fotostiftung Schweiz. That particular project explored the phenomena of viewing platforms from which tourists are able to experience vistas of natural beauty, often taking selfies like performers in some grand theatre.

We move from the studio towards the industrialised seafront to talk over a full English. I’m interested in what makes him tick as much as the work itself. Although Roberts has travelled and made projects around the world, the thematic foundation of his practice is rooted in questioning national identity – in particular, British identity. With his acclaimed book We English, published by Chris Boot in 2009, and now Merrie Albion, he holds up a mirror to the nation’s psyche – and, importantly, he includes himself in that reflection, revealing why he’s drawn to the subject matter to which he dedicates so much of his time.

Penshaw Monument, Houghton-le-Spring, Tyne and Wear, 28 July 2013. From the series Merrie Albion: Landscape Studies of a Small Island © Simon Roberts

Roberts was born and brought up in “an ordinary and very uninteresting upper-middle-class part of Surrey, in the commuter belt,” he says. “My father was from a well-to-do family and my mother came from a working-class background, and it was her influence of politics and social awareness that swung the entire family, including my Conservative dad, more towards the left way of thinking.”

His father was a keen amateur photographer who, in his youth during the 1960s, embarked on a road trip around the United States, photographing his journey all the way. “My dad worked in the corporate world but I have very fond memories of him showing his Kodachrome slides that, now when I think about them, were unknowing Eggleston-style images.

“I was fairly average at school and preferred to be outdoors on my bike. It wasn’t until I discovered photography that I found a passion, when my dad took the family on a business trip to San Francisco and we visited the Yosemite National Park. It was here that I was amazed by an exhibition of Ansel Adams, who photographed the spectacular natural landscape of Yosemite, and how these photographs – these two-dimensional objects – suddenly gave incredible details and theatricality to the clouds, which seemed very different to my actual experience.

“The important thing is to not regret your background, as it becomes part of who you are. The important thing with anything you do, but particularly when it comes to a visual art form of self-expression, is that you have to question where you come from and ask how it has created the person you are, and how you use that as an extension of what it is you want to express. That takes a long time to understand and it’s been a long journey for me to see that all my background, growing up, has made me the photographer and communicator I am now.”

Towards the end of his studies in geography at the University of Sheffield, Roberts began meeting his good friend the photographer Greg Williams, “usually down the pub”. Roberts was seduced by Williams’ enigmatic character and his stories of adventures as a photojournalist, travelling around the world on assignments. Roberts jokes as he distinctly remembers, “Here was me, spending my time looking at rock formations for the past three months, while in front of me was someone who was really living life to the full.”

In that moment, Roberts decided to take photography seriously, move to London and study at the London College of Printing – before realising that it would be too expensive, and moving back to Sheffield to study at the National Council for the Training of Journalists. “The course was taught by Paul Delmar, who was a big figure in the newspaper industry at the time,” he says.

“Essentially, it taught me how to be an efficient photojournalist. In many respects I hated it but I really valued how it taught me to be self-disciplined and professional, how to research stories, to know my copyright. It also showed me that I was not interested in news photography, which was obvious to Delmar, who would tell me that I needed to work on long-term stories.”

Gordon Brown (Labour Party), Rochdale, Greater Manchester, 28 April 2010. From the series Merrie Albion: Landscape Studies of a Small Island © Simon Roberts

Roberts won the Ian Parry Scholarship in 1998 for a project on a young lightweight boxer who was also a dancer. It conveyed a sensitive young man being pushed for greatness as a fighter, and it was this nuance of vulnerability that Roberts was interested in capturing – the human story. Shot on 35mm black-and-white in a boxing gym, it followed the aesthetic of the ultimate stereotypical reportage story. And yet Roberts learned a great deal from this one-year experience.

“Every story has been told but every story is different and can be told a different way,” he says. “I realised that I enjoyed being a storyteller and this first real project was important for this realisation.”

Another result of winning the award was that he met Aidan Sullivan, then the picture editor of The Sunday Times Magazine. “When I look back, there are significant people who you meet who are real turning points in your life, and Sullivan was one of those hugely significant characters whose influence and support I still value,” he says. “Now I see part of my role as someone who can help others – such as my assistant Joe, in whom I see tremendous potential – and I hope I can do something to be one of those moments in his life and career, that helps take him on his personal journey.”

Greg Williams had given up working as a war photographer, and when he started his London-based agency Growbag, he asked Roberts to be part of it. The venture, which also included Simon Norfolk, Tom Craig, Britta Jaschinski and Poppy Berry, quickly blossomed by dealing directly with magazines and cutting out foreign agents.

For a time, while the publishing industry was still buoyant, it propelled Roberts in a productive direction, working on interesting stories and getting them sold. Shooting a story called Snowbirds, about the migration of thousands of elderly people from the north to the south of the US during the winter months, he began to see the virtue of using larger format photography. He predominantly used 35mm cameras with lots of different lenses, capturing a ton of transparencies, but for the first time he also took a Bronica and shot five rolls.

“When I arrived back in London, Aidan Sullivan went through all the transparencies on the light box, shoved them to one side and said there was nothing particularly interesting,” he says. “But when he looked at the five contact sheets of medium format he said that was the beginning of the story, and to go back and re-shoot it this way: with one camera and one lens, and not be burdened by equipment and the choices of which lens to use. This liberation has pretty much been my mantra for shooting ever since.

“To photograph with a 5×4 field camera [to which Roberts later progressed] is to simplify the process, and the consequence of utilising this equipment is the act of slowing down, being much more in the moment and actually thinking about the picture and framing. It demands a lot of anticipation and I have learned to be very patient.”

Eid al-Fitr Celebrations, Jamia Mosque, Green Street, Bristol, 08 August 2013. From the series Merrie Albion: Landscape Studies of a Small Island © Simon Roberts

Roberts cites a 19th-century painter, William Powell Frith, to describe how he works these days. The artist’s The Derby Day, first exhibited at the Royal Academy in London in 1858, is a large tableaux depicting mini narratives featuring a variety of colourful characters at this famous horse-racing fixture. Frith commissioned a photographer, who would have been using an 8×10 camera, to record various scenes at the racecourse and then selected and painted details from each photograph to add to his overall composition.

With Sight Sacralization, Roberts was given what he would consider a short period of time to complete the project. Partly as a result of this constraint, and with the camera in a fixed position, he approached the work like a modern Frith, making composites of the same scene and adding people to the setting.

“I shoot in a similar way to Frith by adding moments of theatricality and creating scenes,” he explains. “I am more interested in making composites and I feel, in a sense, that I am directing the situation. In front of me people are still doing their thing and I shoot on the tripod in the same way, except that I make perhaps four or five exposures of the same scene over a few minutes, as different elements enter into the frame. And so in Photoshop I select these elements and add them into the overall composition.

“It is partly about time and partly about control, and I have no problem composing the image this way, as I do not consider myself to be a journalist but rather someone who wants to communicate an idea.”

Merrie Albion: Landscape Studies of a Small Island is a concise compendium of Britain over the past few years and is an excellent visual survey of the run-up to Brexit. The book includes six essays from notable writers such as David Chandler, Carol Ann Duffy and Ian Jeffery. The photographs examine rich and complex variations of Britain that are now even more poignant after last year’s vote. Images of election campaigning in clean and tidy suburbia, protests, the aftermath of riots in London, diamond jubilee celebrations, rock concerts, a family enjoying Brighton beach, computer screens of the trading floor of Lloyds – the list goes on.

Roberts has managed to capture all the major events in juxtaposition with minor situations that are large with meaning, from the dead of the Iraq war being saluted by Army veterans through Wootton Bassett to an depiction of impoverished mothers and children at a youth club in Blackburn. Contained within each photograph are mini dramas, cheap-looking high streets with pound shops set against Victorian architecture. Roberts shows a Britain at odds with itself. Rather than a harmonious society, we sense fragmentation and awkwardness and a yearning for a glorious past that never existed.

Willy Lott’s House at Flatford, East Bergholt, Suffolk, 20 July 2014. From the series Merrie Albion: Landscape Studies of a Small Island © Simon Roberts

Before I leave Hove, Roberts wants to pick up his son, Elijah, after his first day at primary school. As we wait outside, mothers and fathers converge in a hive of activity as children begin to emerge dressed in uniform, scuffed new shoes, carrying homework and emptied lunch boxes. To the left of the school is a playing field and to our right are suburban homes.

In the midst of this quintessential English situation, I imagine stepping back to view the entire scene, standing on top of a motor home with a large format camera fixed firmly on a tripod, as Roberts has done so many times in places such as this. The value of his photography is to remind us that in order to understand and connect with who we are, we sometimes need to step outside of ourselves and see the bigger picture.

simoncroberts.com Merrie Albion: Landscape Studies of a Small Island by Simon Roberts, published by Dewi Lewis and priced £45 will be launched at Paris Photo, and Roberts will sign copies of the book at 4pm on 10 November. Signed copies of the book can be pre-ordered for £37.50 plus P+P from Roberts’ website. dewilewis.com

Prints from this project will be at the Flowers Gallery booth in the Grand Palais at Paris Photo, and Flowers will host a major exhibition of the work in its London gallery from 17 January 2018. flowersgallery.com

This interview was first published in the November issue of BJP, available via www.thebjpshop.com

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New show Catharsis makes the private public

“Her project talks about the identity that the state wants women to project in public,” says Vivienne Gamble, director of Seen Fifteen and now curator of the show Catharsis for Belfast Exposed. “She comes from a family where they didn’t have those rules behind closed doors at home. She was conflicted about having this public-facing image, and this different, much more relaxed and liberal, private existence.”

She’s talking about Shenasmenah, a project by Iranian-born photographer, filmmaker and curator Amak Mahmoodian included in the three-person Catharsis show. Held in a “tiny, delicate and beautiful” book wrapped in a headscarf, it’s a collection of portrait photographs and fingerprints from Iranian women’s birth certificates (also known as Shenasmenah). These portraits must be kept updated throughout each woman’s life but always comply with state imposed standards for her appearance – hair must be covered, for example, and almost no make up may be worn. For Mahmoodian, they signified a rift she felt compelled to explore.

“By asking other women to give her their portraits from the Shenasnameh, she entered into a dialogue with them and listened to each of their stories,” explains Gamble. “It became not just about her identity but the identity of many women. It made the project really immense, and required that she take a big personal risk. It’s not only an emotional process in processing her own upbringing and the public versus private conflict there, but also the fear of returning to her home country. It required a lot of bravery.”

From the series Shenasmenah © Amak Mahmoodian

From the series Shenasmenah © Amak Mahmoodian

And bravery is at the core of all three of the series in Catharsis, according Gamble. Buenos Aires-born photographer Mariela Sancari displayed great personal bravery in tackling the lingering trauma and grief following her father’s suicide in Moises, for example, while Sarah Davidmann opened up a closely-held family secret in Ken: To Be Destroyed, which explores her aunt and uncle’s marriage, and Ken’s transgender identity.

“They have each stuck to their gut instincts that these are stories that need to be told,” says Gamble. “All three of them are, in their own ways, showing real courage in these projects.”

Sancari was just 14 when her father died and neither she nor her twin sister were allowed to see his body, partly because of Jewish customs surrounding suicide. The experience left her with an unresolved grief for a long time so, returning to it years later, she used newspaper ads to find men who would have been her father’s age, set up impromptu photo studios outside, and photographed them.

“She’s trying to understand her father and what kind of a man he was,” says Gamble. “She wanted to understand how he might have aged, what kind of life he might have had. She asked the men to put on some of his clothes. It brought ghostliness to the project.”

From the series Moises © Mariela Sancari

From the series Moises © Mariela Sancari

Sarah Davidmann, meanwhile, only found out that her uncle had been transgender after she and her siblings inherited a collection of letters after their mother died. At home Ken had lived as a woman; in public it was very difficult to do so in the deeply conservative Britain of the time. In The Dress, the most recent chapter of Davidmann’s ongoing project on the letters, she has used a series of photographs that Ken took of Hazel on a day out, showing her wearing a long and elegant dress. Davidmann has used correction fluid to mask Hazel’s face in the faded black and-white shots, suggesting that the identity is ambiguous, and that we could perhaps put Ken in her place.

“By using this correction fluid on top of the photographs, she is trying to understand what this couple were going through,” Gamble explains. “She was trying to get into Ken’s mind and imagine what he was thinking when taking those beautiful photos of Hazel, out in public in that dress, knowing that he perhaps would have wanted to be in her place, in that same dress, behaving as he truly felt in public.”

“Davidmann has also taken photos of the archived bundles of letters themselves,” Gamble continues. “They’re poignant in their own way once you know the story of what’s inside them and what unfolds. Ultimately it’s a love story. At the end of the book there’s a very sad letter written by Ken to Hazel from a few years before they died, where Ken says that if they could turn back the clock and know everything about what their marriage would be, he would still marry her because on a personal level, despite everything, he was still very much in love with her.”

Given the series on show, Catharsis was a natural title for the exhibition – and Belfast Exposed seems a natural home for it too, given that one of the gallery’s founding principles was to tell “true stories from people who understand something the rest of us might not”. “We want people to go on the same emotional journey as the artists did,” says Gamble.

“Hopefully you’ll walk away with a broader understanding of people, areas, and customs you might not have understood before. To know that the version of a person you see walking down the street always has their own story.”

Catharsis is on show at Belfast Exposed from 27 October – 23 December 2017 http://ift.tt/11VfjZV http://seenfifteen.com/

From the series Ken: To Be Destroyed © Sarah Davidmann

From the series Ken: To Be Destroyed © Sarah Davidmann

From the series Ken: To Be Destroyed © Sarah Davidmann

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A sense of the strange in Zhao Qian’s Offcut, the edge

When Zhao Qian arrived in San Francisco back in 2014, he immediately felt disorientated. It was a feeling that arose from a combination of jet-lag, a new culture, and a sense of being the outsider. He immediately started to detail these experiences in his diary, and it wasn’t long before he transposed those feelings to photography.

“I had the idea for the project after the first week of living in San Francisco,” explains Qian. The Chinese photographer, a runner-up in the graduate series category of this year’s BJP Breakthrough Awards, instinctively felt that the culture clash was a fertile subject for his photoseries.

“Throughout the photographs, keeping a distance from the city I’m living in is part of the idea about Offcut, the edge. When I took photos, I was an outsider to these objects and places. However, it can’t just be about a culture shock,” he says. “The starting point is exploring the weird feeling about experiencing jet-lag, something that is really universal, and makes people have a deflected cognition or reaction to normal things.”

From the series, Offcut, the edge ©Zhao Qian

From the series, Offcut, the edge ©Zhao Qian

Qian spent over two years photographing San Francisco and its residents for the project, and says he got to know the United States as he did so. “The characteristic of the States is in every detail of the life,” says Qian. “I can’t explain it.

“At first I followed my curiosity, and combined this with my imagination and daily life to capture these off-kilter photos. In 2016, I started to do the editing to make the project much more logical.”

As a foreigner in the US, Qian sometimes felt that the cultural differences led to him walking through the streets in a slight haze: certain things didn’t match up between expectations and reality. This sense of recognising and rejecting is something he hopes to communicate through Offcut, the edge.

“I hope the project can make the audience feel like they walking through a cloud of mist,” he says. “The central theme is the context of storytelling about San Francisco. In this project, it has a fog.”

www.zhaoqian.co Offcut, the edge is published by Jiazazhi Press, priced $45 http://ift.tt/1NNzaCm

From the series, Offcut, the edge ©Zhao Qian

From the series, Offcut, the edge ©Zhao Qian

From the series, Offcut, the edge ©Zhao Qian

From the series, Offcut, the edge ©Zhao Qian

From the series, Offcut, the edge ©Zhao Qian

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Paris Photo and more, from 09-12 November

Clément Cogitore’s Braguino or The Impossible Community, winner of Le Bal’s first Award For Young Creation, realised as an immersive exhibition of photography, film and sound. The second edition of the Biennial of Photographers of the Contemporary Arab World at M.E.P. and seven other venues across the city. Noémie Goudal’s latest series, Telluris, created last spring in the Californian desert, complete with an on-site installation at Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire. Raymond Depardon’s Traverser retrospective at the Fondation Cartier-Bresson, Albert Renger Patzsch at the Jeu de Paume, Malick Sidibé’s Mali Twist at Fondation Cartier…

With so much to see condensed into one city over the course of five days during Paris Photo (09-12 November), you’d be tempted to skip round the 149 galleries lining the elegant, glass-topped halls of the Grand Palais in a couple of hours, or even miss the main event altogether, as many do. That would be a mistake. You won’t get a better snapshot of what constitutes saleable photography in 2017, from the blue-chip North American dealers such as Gagosian, Pace MacGill and Howard Greenberg, to the work of younger artists championed by the likes of Project 2.0, Trapéz and Taik Persons. And eavesdropping on the sales patter can be a real an eye-opener.

The galleries are selected from around 300 applications, chosen on the strength of what they propose showing at the fair, the Paris Photo directors Florence Bourgeois and Christoph Wiesner tell me in an interview in London in mid-September, and their determination “to show the entire production of the existence of photography, from the beginning until now”. The historical scope takes in everything from Lewis Carroll and Hill & Adamson at Hans P Kraus, to the fair’s collaboration with the Picto Foundation and SNCF to show the work of four recent European graduates  – two of which, William Lakin and George Selley, are from British colleges.

From Telluris, 2017 © Noémie Goudal, courtesy Galerie Les Gilles due Calvaire Paris Photo

‘Vintage modernes’, from the likes of Alexey Brodovitch at Howard Greenberg, Edward Weston at Edwynn Houk, and Ilse Bing at Karsten Greve – though they are no longer the bargain they were when the fair began 21 years ago. The geographical spread includes strong representation from Asia, with galleries such as Tokyo’s NAP gallery selling key works from Shomei Tomatsu and Mao Ishikawa, or M97 from Shanghai, who’ll be bringing over Wang Ningde’s remarkable, process-driven Forms of Light series created with the aid of projection software, which is quite a departure from Some Days, the 10-years-in-the-making work he’s best known for, capturing the tension and detachment wrought by the rapid changes in his birthplace in Liaoning province.

And there are the galleries that you can always turn to to find something interesting: South Africa’s Stevenson gallery with new work from Guy Tillim; Zurich dealer Christophe Guye showing Rinko Kawauchi’s latest series, Halo; Doha’s East Wing with Katrin Koenning.

Rather than retreating against the encroachment of the digital sphere, not to mention economic and socio-political strife (the 2015 edition closed in the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks), the fair is thriving. “Last year we had 62,000 visitors in five days,” says Bourgeois, Paris Photo’s director in charge.

But why do we even need fairs in this day and age, where all these works can be seen online, and collectors already have close relationships with the dealers? “It is a place to meet. You can see that Paris Photo is an international rendezvous,” she answers.

“For the visitors and collectors and galleries, it is tremendously important to be in a fair, because it is there that they can achieve very high visibility. It’s strange to see that in Paris and elsewhere, like New York, the galleries are empty in the middle of the week… they need fairs for visibility and to meet the public – not only the collectors, but the newcomers. And photography is a very good point of entry for a collection. So, meeting a general audience can also lead to sales.”

From the series Astres Noirs © Katrin Koenning

The move to the Grand Palais in 2011, was a kind of confidence trick, according to former director Julien Frydman, who masterminded the move – a show of confidence to the wider art market that a photography fair could thrive in one of the world’s most prestigious exhibition halls. “We had this switch when we moved to the Grand Palais,” says Bourgeois.

“So now around 60 percent of the galleries are contemporary, with artists who work in many styles and mediums. Of course, when you have contemporary galleries, you have collectors of contemporary [art] coming.”

But it’s a slow process, she and Wiesner, the artistic director, admit. Which is why they’re so focused on improving the fair with an ever-expanding programme. Wiesner’s main contribution towards this, after the pair arrived in 2015, was to introduce Prismes, using the upstairs galleries of the Salon d’Honneur to create a space “dedicated to serial artworks, large formats, and installation and performance projects that open up new fields of exploration of images across all forms”, many nominated by participating galleries.

“It’s not traditional scenography,” says Bourgeois, meaning that it’s more ambitious in terms of scope and curation than conventional fair booths will allow. “We are committed to it, and now it’s positive to see that galleries are presenting projects by themselves.”

There are 14 works or series in total, but there’s one that Wiesner is clearly excited about, presented by Cologne-based Thomas Zander gallery, as he mentions it several times. “US 77 is a key work for [Sheffield-born] Victor Burgin because it’s when he started to introduce text with images, like a glossy magazine. On the opposite side we have a project by Klaus Rinke, a mutation with these 112 faces – a self-portrait. It’s interesting because he was one of the first to introduce photography into his performance practice.

Zürich around 1961 © Karlheinz Winberger, courtesy Galerie Esther Woerdehoff Paris Photo

We also have Jungjin Lee, which is really more conceptual – between documentary and a really aesthetic response to the landscape. Add to that an installation by Aurélie Pétrel, the newly rediscovered work of Grey Crawford, shot in Los Angeles in the 1970s, and a previously unseen selection of portraits of rockabillies from 1950s Zurich by the extraordinary (now deceased) factory worker cum self-taught photographer, Karlheinz Weinberger.

New this year is MK2, a platform for artists’ film and video, screened in a dedicated 120-seat cinema within the Grand Palais, curated by Matthieu Orléan of the Cinémathèque Française. Partly, it’s recognition that artists are using all kind of media within their photographic practice – “we think it’s important to be more open,” says Wiesner.

But the fair has always been keen to exploit the medium’s close ties with cinema in particular, as evidenced by the three-year run of Paris Photo Los Angeles, (which both repeatedly hint may not be a dead duck). “We had the idea to add video,” says Wiesner. “But video is really hard to display at the fair [particularly in a glass-domed building], because you have to make special booths, and it’s really expensive.”

So the cinema space seemed like an opportunity, and “it was more professional to do it this way,” says Bourgeois. The programme includes a film of Vanessa Beecroft’s performance at Palermo’s Church of Santa Maria dello Spasimo in 2008 , titled VB 62, in which living subjects intermingle with stone figurines to create a tableau vivant, uniting “the arts of time [photography, performance] and the arts of space [sculpture, architecture]”.

Other highlights include Noémie Goudal’s 2013 film shot with the crew of an oil tanker; Hao Jingban’s Off Takes from her five-year research project on the golden eras of Beijing ballrooms; Evangelia Kranioti’s ‘documentary fiction’ set in Rio following the path of transexual figurehead, Luana Muniz; and Roy Samaha’s story of a young Lebanese filmmaker on a trip to Cyprus.

Photobooks are centre-stage once again, with the publisher’s section including 31 stands, where you can meet the likes of La Fabrica, Xavier Barral, RM, Mack and Goliga. Meanwhile, the Paris Photo book prize, run with the Aperture Foundation, is the most anticipated announcement of the fair. Be prepared to give over a good hour or two to browse the shortlist, selected by judges such as Kathy Ryan, erstwhile director of The New York Times Magazine, and 2016 winner Gregory Halpern.

Self-portrait © Karl Lagerfeld, courtesy Paris Photo

At The Platform, the fair’s talks programme, three guest curators will lead, beginning with David Campany, who’ll chair a day of wide-ranging discussion on the theme of colour including guests such as Harry Gruyaert, Lucas Blalock and Joel Meyerowitz. And among the various partnership programmes, French-American artist Dune Varela will present the results of her BMW Residency at the Museum Nicéphore Niépce, drawing on its collections to “beckon us to places steeped in mythological or mystical meanings that have become part of our collective consciousness”.

The Leica Oskar Barnack Award returns with its latest laureates, including 2017 winner Terje Abusdal, with his multifaceted work on a Scandinavian minority group who maintain a strong sense of identity, despite the disappearance of their language and most of their practices.

In addition, the directors have invited Karl Lagerfeld as guest of honour, asking him to make a personal selection of the displays, by way of creating “a journey throughout the fair and the thousands of artworks”. It is not, Bourgeois assures me, part of some grander ambition to cosy up to the fashion world, of which Paris remains an undisputed capital.

“The DNA of the fair is really [its focus] on the whole panorama of photography, and fashion is only a tiny part of it,” she says. “Karl is a universal artist; he’s a photographer and a fashion designer,” Wiesner interjects. “He’s loved photography for a long time, he collects books, he’s really a character in himself. What is important for us is to get some sort of cross view of the fair from some other perspective – to give visitors a point of view.”

For photography lovers visiting Paris in mid-November, there is much else – too much else! – to occupy hungry eyes. Step outside the Grand Palais at fair time and you’ll immediately be confronted with Irving Penn at 100, The Met’s juggernaut retrospective showing next door at the Galeries Nationales, alongside Gauguin the alchemist.

Not Miss New Brighton, 1978 © Tom Wood courtesy Sit Down Galerie

The Paris Photo bandwagon has now grown so large that, sensibly, the biannual Mois de la Photo has shifted to spring (and under the artistic direction of François Hébel, widening its scope to the Greater Paris region). Yet there is still room for another photography fair – press.parisphoto, which took up residence two years ago at the Carousel du Louvre, the former home of Paris Photo – and much else besides.

A precursor to Unseen Amsterdam, set up by the granddaughter of French photographer Roger Schall, Fotofever focuses on emerging artists, and has a year-round programme aimed at collectors. Forty-nine galleries were signed up as we went to press, including 18 from France and nine from Japan.

Offprint, at the Beaux-Arts de Paris, 30 minutes walk along the Seine from the Grand Palais, is Mecca for hipster bibliophiles, gathering 120 independent art publishers, with the backing of Maya Hoffman’s Luma Foundation. Along the route, don’t miss Polycopies, another independent book fair (with more focus on socialising and pure photography than Offprint’s mix of trendy graphic design and sometimes poe-faced contemporary art), providing space for 35 publishers across two decks aboard the Concorde-Atlantique.

And in the same neighbourhood, mini festival Photo Saint Germain returns (03-19 November) for its sixth year with more than 40 galleries from the ‘Rive Gauche’, including the Musée National Eugène Delacroix, showing Mohamed Bourouissa, and Atelier Néerlandais, with exhibitions by the Noor collective, alongside Europeans, which puts together Henri Cartier Bresson with Nico Bick and Otto Snoek.

“We are very enthusiastic [about these independently produced satellite events], because it proves the importance of the medium, which is growing,” says Bourgeois. “We think it’s very positive. And on our trend, we are always thinking of expanding our programme, and maybe one day adding other locations.”

Amanita Fulva, 2017 © Viviane Sassen, courtesy of Stevenson, Cape Town and Johannesburg PARIS PHOTO

L.A. is continuously referred to, with regret that it only ran for three editions. “We nearly made the fourth. It was done… We would love to come back…. Probably we arrived too early.”

But there is another challenge ahead, when the Grand Palais closes for refurbishment after Paris Photo 2020. “We’ve all been working on this for a year already,” says Bourgeois, referring to the venue and the other faits affected, such as FIAC and Art Paris. Apparently, the mayor of Paris is committed to finding somewhere very central, and extremely attractive.

“It’s not just going to be a little tent,” says a spokesperson who sits with us for the interview. “It’s going to be somewhere quite spectacular.” There are a couple of options already, says Bourgeois, who is determined that it will provide an opportunity to do something different. “It’s a long process that’s taken very seriously. We’ll keep you posted!”

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Eva Roefs finds everyday magic on the Flemish coast

Eva Roefs has an affinity for capturing bizarre moments in exceptionally mundane situations. The young Amsterdam-based photographer grew up in south Holland in a small town called Loosbroek, and says the monotonous surroundings spurred her search for the absurd as soon as she started photographing at age 13. A decade on, Roefs’ latest series West Flemish Coast applies her signature ethereal stylings to documentary subject matter.

“I started thinking, ‘Why go to Australia, Canada or South America when beauty can also be found at my neighbour’s house?’” says Roefs. “So I decided to go to Belgium, where people have smaller holidays that aren’t particularly fancy. It’s just family, the sea, food – not very good food – and animals, all together. It’s not at all like going to surf in Australia or going to Dubai to see big buildings. It really is the root of holidays and how they began.”

Since Roefs began taking photographs, her visuals have shifted from dramatic colour contrasts to lighter, washed-out hues – a progression she attributes to being more in touch with her themes and subject matter. “There needs to be a bit of silence in my photography because the situations are unexpected and quite absurd. So when the contrast and lighting is intense, it’s too much,” she says.

In West Flemish Coast, this strategy pervades. Pale, candid portraits are paired with images of muted-toned buildings, sandy beaches and stucco siding, playing on the artist’s rejection of saturation while simultaneously reflecting her pursuit of the ordinary. A defining factor of Roefs’ process is her persistent focus and patience – for a number of images in the series, this meant waiting on the street for an hour or so before someone or something finally cruised past. The resulting photographs are organised into diptychs.

Most of the artist’s past work was created in studio settings, but her experience of moving from photographing indoors to outdoors has sparked a desire to pursue documentary work further. “It doesn’t matter where you are going; you can always find beautiful scenes, beautiful people and beautiful moments,” says Roefs, who’s also a picture editor on Volkskrant Magazine. “That’s the feeling that I get with the west Flemish coast. It’s not a very remarkable place but it is super interesting when you make it beautiful through your own vision.”

http://ift.tt/2yCU8nh Eva Roefs is taking over BJP’s Instagram feed from 23 October – check it out at bjp1854 This article was first published in the November issue of BJP, available via www.thebjpshop.com

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Monica Allende on the art of the photobook

With the deadline for the The Book Dummy Award fast-approaching, we spoke to the director of the judging panel, Monica Allende, about what makes for a unique photobook and the continued importance of the medium. Conceived by La Fábrica, the Madrid-based publisher and gallery behind the annual Photo España festival, in partnership with Photo London and supported by BJP, the award was created to discover a book-worthy project that has been conceived as a dummy.

The winning photographer’s dummy will be published by La Fábrica in a print run of at least a thousand copies, with global distribution, and be presented at Photo London and Photo España next spring.

Allende, an independent photo editor and curator, is a leading figure in the photography world, having developed numerous photography events and workshops internationally in recent years, as well as directing this year’s Format International Photography Festival (covering for Louise Clements on maternity leave) and Getxophoto in her native Bilbao, a role she’s continuing for the next two editions.

Previously, she was the photography director of the Sunday Times Magazine, where she launched the award-winning photography section Spectrum. Allende is also a visiting lecturer at the London College of Communication and has served on photographic juries worldwide, including World Press Photo and the National Portrait Gallery’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize.  

Wannabe by Elisa González Miralles, published by La Fabrica

What makes a good photobook?

The photobook offers an opportunity for photographers to take risks and experiment with narrative structures, new textures and materials. The design and structure of a good photobook should enhance the work in it.

A photobook will not be successful if its subject-matter is not well-executed. The project itself needs to capture the viewer’s attention: they should be drawn in by the photography and then appreciate the book’s aesthetic.

What do you look for in a photobook – what makes something stand out for you?

I look for photobooks that translate difficult and complex stories into book form without losing any of the depth of the original narrative. They should also be beautiful to look at.

Before every great photobook comes the lengthy creative process of putting together a dummy. What should be foremost in your thoughts when creating a dummy?

Balance. The process of creating a dummy offers the photographer an opportunity to discover a design that compliments their photography. It is essential that these two elements work together in harmony. Turning a dummy into a photobook then requires a strong collaboration between an editor, designer and the photographer themselves, with a publisher that believes in the work and is prepared to fight for it.

Is it important to get other people’s views and expertise on your dummy, or just be confident in your ideas?

For photographers, the process of translating a body of work into a photobook can be a very emotional experience. This can often make it difficult for them to look at things objectively and make the kind of decisions that would improve the photobook. Ultimately, creating a strong photobook is a collaborative endeavour, which should involve a variety of skill sets.

What is the importance of entering competitions like The Book Dummy Award?

Working on a dummy is a long and often seemingly endless process, so entering competitions gives you a deadline to work to. It also gets your work in front of a jury, bringing it to their attention and potentially being chosen by them as a contender for publication.  

How has both the output of, and market around, photobooks evolved while you have been working in the industry?

It has completely transformed. When I first started out, photobooks were being produced solely by big publishing houses, who dominated the market. Now there are a multitude of independent publishers and photographers who are self-publishing their own books, which has worked to level the publishing playing field. Photographers who might have previously been unable to get their photobooks published due to market trends, or the taste of a particular publishing house, can now get their work out there through different avenues.

 

Will by Reiner Riedler, published by La Fabrica

What does the future of the photobook look like? Will they become more or less relevant in an increasingly digital world?

Photobooks offer a way of engaging with photography that is completely distinct from the experience of looking at work via a digital platform. In this way, I believe that both can continue to co-exist.There is a timeless pleasure in owning and collecting beautifully crafted books, which the digital realm will never eclipse.

Finally, in a previous interview with BJP you said that the era when in-depth investigative visual-journalism was commissioned and supported by newspapers is gone. Do you think that this reality has made the photobook even more significant as a medium through which to explore subjects and issues more deeply?

They are very different platforms, which are aimed at different audiences. With a readership of millions, the press brought stories to a much wider group of people. The photobook operates in a very different market, which is mainly geared towards a very specific audience, and therefore the extent of its impact is much more limited.

However, a photobook does provide an opportunity for a photographer to construct an in-depth visual story, which will often be published in the mainstream press and thus be projected to a wider audience. So, in a roundabout way, the photobook somewhat fulfils the void left by a reduction in visual journalism, but without the financial and logistical support that photojournalists previously enjoyed.

Photographers from anywhere in the world, of any age, and working with any style or subject matter are invited to submit their projects to The Book Dummy Award. The deadline for submissions has now been extended to October 31st. Learn more about this year’s prize and submit now here.

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