Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up – 15 October 2021

This week on Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up – Hugo Huerta Marin’s Portrait of an Artist: Conversations with Trailblazing Creative Women, VII’s Foundry Photojournalism Workshop and the Ballarat International Foto Biennale’s Photobook Weekend.

Book Review:

Portrait of an Artist: Conversations with Trailblazing Creative Women – Hugo Huerta Marin

When this book came across my desk I was intrigued by the intimacy of the interviews with singers, actors, artists, writers and designers some of whom are well known to me like Debbie Harry and Annie Lennox who I wrote about in my book Rock Chicks. There are other global stars like Cate Blanchett, Julianne Moore and Uma Thurman and then those I am not as familiar with such as Iranian photo artist Shirin Neshat and multimedia artist Kiki Smith. I always love discovering new, super talented women, so this book has been a joy to engage with.

Shirin Neshat (C) Hugo Huerta Marin

It is not only the words that convey intimacy, but the portraits of each artist. These polaroids are almost casually scattered throughout, giving pause to the narrative. The portraits capture these women in relaxed moments, offering insights into the person behind the public persona. The interviews and portraits create an immersive experience where the reader is transported to become part of the conversation.

Author Hugo Huerta Marin is a Mexican-born multidisciplinary artist. The idea to interview inspiring, rule breaking women artists began back in 2012 when he was working in New York with Serbian conceptual artist and performer Marina Abramović who was his first subject.

Uma Thurman (C) Hugo Huerta Marin
Yoko Ono (C) Hugo Huerta Marin
Julianne Moore (C) Hugo Huerta Marin

Marin writes that “Marina broadened my horizons on a personal and intellectual level and made my world immeasurably bigger. One late summer night when we were working in upstate New York, I had a strong desire to take her portrait. I wanted to capture her essence through a lens, but also through her words, in the most candid way possible…Out of this experience came the idea or creating portraits of the many other pioneering female artists who have reshaped the creative industries in a significant way.”

Over the next seven years he pursued interviews with 24 women who gave him extraordinary access. The result is an impressive collection that spans over 420 pages and is beautifully designed with a hard embossed cover that has a mock polaroid pasted on the front and crisp, heavy white pages inside. As such it’s a weighty tome in more ways than one.

Annie Lennox (C) Hugo Huerta Marin
Debbie Harry (C) Hugo Huerta Marin
Carrie Mae Weems (C) Hugo Huerta Marin

Portrait of an Artist: Conversations with Trailblazing Creative Women  unmasks the challenges these women have faced and celebrates their talent and tenacity. In these wide ranging conversations, Marin seeks each woman’s opinion on the role of art in society, and her experiences of taking risks and pushing boundaries, yet the interviews are free flowing. While each story is quite unique, all of these women exhibit a strong sense of self and a commitment to living a life true to oneself, no matter how tough that might be. It’s inspirational reading and I know many beautiful, fiercely strong and independent women who will identify with those featured in this book.

Portrait of an Artist: Conversations with Trailblazing Creative Women by Hugo Huerta Marin © Prestel Verlag, Munich · London · New York, 2021.

Cate Blanchett (C) Hugo Huerta Marin

Foundry Photojournalism Workshop 2021 moves online

There are still places for VII’s online Foundry Workshop November 7 to December 12 (various dates). Now in its 13th edition, this year the Foundry Workshop is being offered online which opens up the opportunity for photojournalists who may have been geographically constrained to attend.

Anyone with two years or more of experience as a working photojournalist may apply. Applicants from the majority world and underrepresented communities in G20 countries will be prioritized. 

This year’s tutors are: Ali ArkadyEric BouvetVanessa CharlotMichael Robinson ChavezManoocher DeghatiZiyah GaficMary GelmanNichole SobeckiMaggie SteberDar Yasin, and Adriana Zehbruskas.

This workshop is presented by VII Academy which was established “to promote, teach, and foster high-quality international journalism in the majority world and underrepresented communities in G20 countries,” and PhotoWings, “an educational non-profit organization whose mission is to highlight and help facilitate the power of photography to influence the world.” Apply here. Entries close 20 October.

Ballarat International Foto Biennale Photobook Weekend

Also, the Ballarat International Foto Biennale Photobook weekend is on this weekend – 16 & 17 October – and has been moved online. Check out the program here.

Anne Davies Triangular Book – Anne will be part of the panel discussion this Sunday

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