Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up – 9 November 2018

This week on Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up – Double Vision at Magnet, Vivian Maier’s colour work and Hoda Afshar’s documentary film debut at Primavera in Sydney.

Exhibition: Melbourne

Double Vision – David Roberts & Jeremy Rabie

Garden of Delight (C) David Roberts

Black and white photography undoubtedly has its own fanbase, myself included. For its Melbourne devotees a new exhibition at Magnet Galleries – Double Vision – brings together two photographers who shoot exclusively in black and white: David Roberts and Jeremy Rabie.

David Roberts describes himself as a “traditional photographer”. He works with a Kodak Master view camera, which he lugs around the country – the camera, tripod and lenses weigh around 50kg! David says using this equipment “slows everything down and allows a new kind of intimacy.” Roberts’ love for photography developed when he was working in remote northern Canada. A nine week period spent above the Arctic Circle confirmed his passion for the medium. Roberts is also known as a portrait photographer and his work is held in the National Portrait Gallery, the National Library of Australia and other institutions. 

Jeremy Rabie uses a “dedicated digital black and white system” and digital photographic papers that evoke prints from the darkroom. Rabie’s choice of black and white comes from his personal philosophy that “black and white images best reflect the essence of photography.” Born in South Africa during the apartheid years, he says the “remarkable images of the time shaped (my) initial photographic awareness”. While Rabie did not pursue a career in photography, in recent years he has come back to “his first love”.

Oh Man (C) Jeremy Rabie

Double Vision – Magnet Galleries Melbourne, Level 2, 640 Bourke Street Melbourne

15 November to 8 December 

Exhibition: New York

Vivian Maier: The Color Work

©Estate of Vivian Maier, Courtesy Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York

Vivian Maier (1926-2009) took more than 40,000 Ektachrome colour slides in the last decades of her life. Shot on the streets of Chicago and New York, Maier’s fluency in colour is as natural as her black and white work.

Chicago 1962 ©Estate of Vivian Maier, Courtesy Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York

This exhibition coincides with the release of a new book created in partnership with the Howard Greenberg Gallery – Vivian Maier: The Color Work, the first book devoted to her colour images, written by Colin Westerbeck, a former curator of photography at the Art Institute of Chicago. 

Noted photographer Joel Meyerowitz writes in the foreword to the book, “Maier was an early poet of color photography. You can see in her photographs that she was a quick study of human behavior, of the unfolding moment, the flash of a gesture, or the mood of a facial expression—brief events that turned the quotidian life of the street into a revelation for her.” 

New York City 1959 ©Estate of Vivian Maier, Courtesy Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York

Since the discovery of Maier’s negatives and slides by historian John Maloof in 2007, she has become a celebrated street photographer. Although she never sought fame, earning her living as a nanny working mostly in Chicago, a city she photographed continuously over 50 years. Her pictures are an extraordinary record of the city and a unique portrait of everyday life, a running commentary on a society with which she had an intimate relationship.

©Estate of Vivian Maier, Courtesy Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York

November 14 to January 5

Howard Greenberg Gallery 41 East 57th Street, Suite 1406, New York

Exhibition: Sydney

Primavera – Museum of Contemporary Art

Hoda Afshar, Remain (still), 2018, 2-channel digital video, colour, sound, image courtesy and © the artist

Tonight the 2018 showcase Primavera opens in Sydney. Iranian-born, Melbourne-based photographic artist Hoda Afshar is one of eight artists included in this year’s programme that explores the politics of identity, visibility and representation.

Afshar’s documentary film Remain will make its debut at Primavera. Remain was created in collaboration with refugees – and I’m loathe to use that word because it strips people of their individuality and identity – who are being held captive by the Australian government on Manus.

Recently, Afshar won the 2018 Bowness prize for her portrait of Behrouz Boochani, an Iranian writer, asylum seeker and Manus captive for more than five years, who also features in the documentary film.

I’m writing a more expansive piece on Afshar’s work with these men, more on this later.

Until 3 February, 2019

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia 140 George Street Sydney

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