Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up – 7 May 2021

This week on Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up – a review of the new book Women Street Photographers and Emmanuel Angelicas’ Marrickville Eikons features in Sydney’s Heritage Week.

Book review:

Women Street Photographers

Often the quotidian is overlooked by photographers, the pursuit to cover important political and social happenings seemingly more important or glamourous, as photographer Ami Vitale points out in the introduction to the new book Women Street Photographers.

Yet as the 100 photographs in this publication edited by Gulnara Samoilova reveal, the everyday is anything but ordinary. In fact, seen through the eyes of 100 artists, representing 34 nationalities, the everyday is fascinating, surprising and evocative.   

Samoilova is originally from Russia and now based in New York. A specialist in documentary and conceptual photography, in 2017 Samoilova established the Women Street Photographers Project, an Instagram feed and annual exhibition that is designed to both elevate and celebrate the genre. Since its inception, the Project has featured 250 women street photographers, literally giving audiences a global view of street photography today.

Gulnara Samoilova (C) Malvina Battiston

In curating the hardcover book Women Street Photographers which is published by Prestel, Samoilova drew on the work exhibited in past shows as well as that posted on the Instagram feed. As she told me, it was a challenging process to narrow the collection down to 100 artists and 100 pictures.

“I feel like we could make 100 books and just begin to scratch the surface of all the incredible photographers working today! I chose the works I found most exciting, compelling, and ground-breaking in terms of their approach to street photography.”

‘Untitled’, 2019 © Birka Wiedmaier
‘Alone’, 2019 © Danielle L. Goldstein
‘Shoulder Birds’, 2018 © Dimpy Bhalotia
‘The Serpentine’, 2017 © Efrat Sela
‘Cloud Eaters’, 2018 © Gulnara Samoilova

“For me, it’s ultimately about a combination of aesthetic and emotional responses to the work, things that move me as a person and an artist. I’m searching for images that resonate on several levels at the same time, so that the formal and narrative qualities of the work combine seamlessly and allow us the pleasure of looking for the sheer joy it brings. To me, that is the magic of street photography.”

Women Street Photographers spans 31 countries and features work by a diverse cohort, from young artists in their twenties to those in their seventies. Samoilova says, “I wanted to include a broad mix of work from contemporary photographers, both established and emerging from all around the world.”

Photographer Melissa Breyer’s essay provides an historical context to the book’s collection and introduces the reader to some of the women who have paved the way: Marianne Breslauer, Alice Austen, Vivian Cherry, Martha Cooper, Mary Ellen Mark, Susan Meiselas, Vivian Maier and Graciela Iturbide amongst others.

The layout sees each photographer afforded a double page: on the left-hand side the artist provides context for the image on the facing page. The pictures are treated with respect, the reproduction of the images and the high quality of the stock underlining the significance of this volume. Importantly, the printed book lends permanency to the transience of digital photography.

‘Young Old School’, 2019 © Dominique Misrahi
‘Untitled’, 2018 © Nina Welch-Kling
‘Women of the Sea’, 2019 © Orna Naor

Drawing inspiration from diversity, Women Street Photographers breaks free from the homogeneity that can afflict renderings of popular visual culture allowing us to see through new eyes.

Women Street Photographers edited by Gulnara Samoilova © Prestel Verlag, Munich · London · New York, 2020. 224 Pages 

Exhibition:

Marrickville Eikons – Emmanuel Angelicas

FROM THE SWEATSHOP SERIES 1984 (C) Emmanuel Angelicas

Often referred to as Sydney’s “Little Athens,” Marrickville in the inner west has been a major centre for Greek immigrants since the middle of the 20th Century. Photographer Emmanuel Angelicas has lived in the suburb for over 50 years and has been documenting his neighbourhood for almost as long. His photographs capture the rhythm of this suburb and in all its ordinariness is the heartbeat of this community.

PERSON WHO WOULD RATHER NOT BE IN MARRICKVILLE 1985 (C) Emmanuel Angelicas
BANKRUPT FISH SHOP 1987 (C) Emmanuel Angelicas
THE BORDER 1987 (C) Emmanuel Angelicas
READY FOR CHURCH 1990 (C) Emmanuel Angelicas
TEA AND COFFEE SELLER 1994 (C) Emmanuel Angelicas
JOY’S FINAL FREWELL 2017 (C) Emmanuel Angelicas

Angelicas’ exhibition Marrickville Eikons is part of Heritage Week whose celebrations also honour the 200th anniversary of Greek Independence. The exhibition features some of Angelicas’ most iconic images with pictures dating from the 1980s to 2017.

Until 30 May Marrickville Library

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