Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up – 3 May 2019

This week on Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up – part two of the Head On Photo festival preview highlighting some of the international exhibitions. Head On opens Friday 3 May in Sydney. If you missed last week’s post on the Australians, check it out here.

Feature:

Head On Photo Festival – Sydney 3-19 May

On Friday 3 May the tenth edition of the Head On Photo festival opens in Sydney. On opening night the winners of the Head On awards, including the prestigious portrait prize, will be announced. I’m writing this week’s post ahead of time so I can spend the opening weekend immersed in the expansive, diverse world of photography that Head On presents.

MARK YOUR DIARY: Don’t forget the Head On Conversations and the panel discussion I am moderating on Truth, Lies and Censorship, which promises to be a robust debate. It’s free, but seats are limited and filling fast. Sunday 1.45pm Imperial Hotel Paddington. Book here.

International artists featured this week: Oded Wagenstein, Roni Ben-Ari, Agata Grzybowska, Chris Cuffaro, and Dina Goldstein.

Oded Wagenstein – Like Last Year’s Snow

 

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In this series Wagenstein captures the lives of a group of elderly women who reside on an isolated peninsula in Northern Siberia. Once part of a nomadic tribe of reindeer herders, age has relegated them to the confines of this small Siberian village stripping them of the only life they’ve known.

Wagenstein says “While men are encouraged to maintain their roles as herders as they grow older, women often face the struggles of old age alone…Over many cups of tea, they shared their stories, lullabies, and longings with me. Listening to their stories felt like walking on a thin line between present and memory, reality and a dream. Using those stories as my map and compass, I went to document the same spaces they thrived in long ago. I created photographs inspired by their memories of the past and juxtaposed them with portraits that reflected their current reality.”

Paddington Reservoir Gardens, 251-255 Oxford Street, Paddington

(C) Oded Wagenstein

Roni Ben-Ari – Ladies in Waiting

 

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Israeli documentary photographer Roni Ben-Ari worked for two years documenting sex workers in various countries including India, Russia, Israel and the Netherlands. Ben-Ari began this project after working as a volunteer in Tel Aviv at a mobile health clinic that provides support to sex workers. 

“After building their trust, many of the women invited me into their homes and intimate spaces,” she says. “I photographed this community while they were between customers, documenting their daily routines, mealtimes, conversations, laughter, and leisurely activities. While creating this body of work, I avoided photographing the women while they were working. Through Ladies in Waiting, I hope to dignify and elevate the lives of these women and reveal the humanity within them.”

Festival Hub, Paddington Town Hall 249 Oxford Street Paddington

(C) Roni Ben-Ari

Agata Grzybowska – 9 Gates of No Return

 

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In this body of work, Polish photojournalist Agata Grzybowska draws focus on the inhabitants of Bieszczady, a town in south-east Poland and the site of forced relocation during WWII. 9 Gates of No Return tells the stories of some who settled here between 1950 and 1980. Grzybowska’s photographs talk of solitude, abandonment, and resignation. But they also convey how this quiet life that is lived often without the comforts of modernisation, may also provide opportunities to embrace the freedoms that come with solitude and living off the grid. 

Delmar Gallery, 144 Victoria Street Ashfield

(C) Agata Grzybowska

Chris Cuffaro – Greatest Hits: Grunge

 

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Veteran American music photographer Chris Cuffaro has photographed some of the world’s most successful musicians over the past 35 years, from groundbreaking bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Jane’s Addiction to icons such as George Michael and Iggy Pop. In this exhibition his 1991 “grunge” images are on show.

Blender Gallery, 16 Elizabeth Street, Paddington

(C) Chris Cuffaro

Dina Goldstein – Gods of Suburbia

 

Award-winning Canadian pop surrealist photographer Dina Goldstein explores the idea of religious faith (Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Scientology etc) within the context of the modern forces of technology, science and secularism placing iconic religious images and characters in contemporary settings. These photographs are highly constructed and stylised to tell complex narratives about subjects that are often taboo. 

Lakshmi

Of the photograph “Lakshmi,” (above) Goldstein says, “Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of wealth, beauty and money. And isn’t the working woman today supposed to embody all these traits? Her four hands are the many responsibilities she shoulders. She must be beautiful and attractive for her partner and bring home at least half of the family income. But she is still in the kitchen, responsible for the running of the household. The black mamba snake slithering towards Lakshmi is highly venomous. If Lakshmi fails in many responsibilities, what happens to her family, her community, her followers?”

Lyons Gallery 248 Glenmore Road, Paddington

(C) Dina Goldstein

Bravo to festival director Moshe Rosenzveig, Anita Schwartz and the festival team for bringing together this amazing visual feast for Sydney-siders and local and international visitors. The time and energy that goes into planning, raising funding and getting the festival up is significant. The Australian photography scene, and more broadly our visual culture, is enriched by their efforts.

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