Tag Archives: london

Keep Photofusion Moving: support the crowdfunding campaign now

Anthony Carr, Big Bar Lake Ranch Revisited, 2014

Anthony Carr, Big Bar Lake Ranch Revisited, 2014

Today I want to point readers to a crowdfunding campaign for Photofusion photography centre in Brixton London that is very dear to my heart. To date, the campaign is currently at £28,185 of a target of £40,000 with 29 days but we still need to push for more as it’s an all-or-nothing-campaign and ends on 2 June at 16.25.

There have been 212 backers so far including renowned photographer Wolfgang Tillmans who pledged an amazing £1,500 last week. If the momentum keeps up at this rate Photofusion’s campaign should meet its target but we need to keep letting people know. So please share this post and the campaign link: Keep Photofusion Moving.

Today I’m going to Photofusion to be filmed on camera regarding why I think Photofusion is important. That’s easy to answer, particularly as I have been involved with the organisation in a variety of capacities over the last decade.

I judge the annual Hotshoe Photofusion award—now in its seventh year— and via this have supported a number of emerging photographers who are also members of Photofusion. The winners from 2010-2015 are:

Anthony Carr (2015)
Lucia Pizanni (2014)
Katerina Mudronova (2013)
Liane Lang (2012)
Chloe Sells (2011)
Odette England (2010)

Photofusion is a hub, a place to meet, to take risks, to experiment, to discuss and to create. It has a mentoring and professional programme, SELECT and has hosted numerous exhibitions by many, now well-known, photographers in the early days of their career. I have also delivered and chaired talks, have been writing for its website and use the darkroom and digital scanning facilities to create personal work.

Please spread the word, share this campaign and Keep Photofusion Moving.


Impronta series, 2103 by Lucia Pizanni, Collodion wet plates on aluminium



Interview Antony Penrose and Hilary Roberts Lee Miller: A Woman’s War on show at IWM London

Irmgard Seefried, Opera singer, singing an aria from 'Madame Butterly', Vienna Opera House, Vienna, Austria 1945 by Lee Miller Lee Miller Archives, England 2015. All rights reserved

Irmgard Seefried, Opera singer, singing an aria from ‘Madame Butterly’, Vienna Opera House, Vienna, Austria 1945 by Lee Miller
© Lee Miller Archives, England 2015. All rights reserved

web Fire Masks, London, England 1941 by Lee Miller (3840-9)

Fire Masks, Downshire Hill, London, England 1941 by Lee Miller. © Lee Miller Archives, England. All rights reserved.

Last week, I attended the morning press view for the opening of Lee Miller: A Woman’s War at the Imperial War Museum (IWM) in London. The show runs until 24 April 2016 and is accompanied by a book of the same name. I cannot recommend the show highly enough; it is a comprehensive, carefully considered exhibition that puts women firmly at the centre of the story of the Second World War. I have long been a fan of Lee Miller’s work, since I visited a show at The Photographers’ Gallery in the mid 1980s when I was searching out work by women photographers and artists. I also saw and reviewed the last major show of Miller’s work, The Art of Lee Miller, curated by Mark Haworth-Booth with the help of her son Antony Penrose, at the V&A in 2007 for Hotshoe magazine.

I was fortunate enough to grab 15 minutes last week to talk to Antony, who looks after the Lee Miller Archives at Farley Farm in Sussex, and also Hilary Roberts, Curator of Photography at IWM, to talk about the exhibition. The interview is transcribed below. I will post a Photo Stroll through the exhibition in a subsequent post for those who cannot see the show.

Miranda Gavin (MG): How long has it taken to get to this point, since you first decided to put this exhibition together?

Antony Penrose (AP): Four years. We were riding a bus through Jordan admiring camels and sand…
Hilary Roberts (HR): … on the way to a conference.
AP: Yes and we started talking and the thing that intrigued us both, instantly, was the idea of looking at women at war and that’s something that Hilary knows a lot about and this is one of a series of photographic exhibitions that she has done on that theme. Immediately we began talking and realised the potential, and she took it on and this is what we have today, four years later.

MG: We can see the end result here, but what has the process involved?

HR: For me, it’s involved spending a lot of time at Farley Farm where I was made most welcome, and literally going through everything.

MG: And we are talking about how many negatives?

HR: About 60,000 I believe.

MG: How does one go through 60,000 negatives?

AP: One at a time.
HR: Yes, you do. The IWM has a huge collection of photographs, 12 million, and so you develop techniques to view and assess them, so it’s not as formidable a task as it might seem. Obviously, what one was looking for was not only to get a sense of how Lee Miller photographed the subject, but also the sense of the subject itself. How could one put a story together? What should one do to make sure that it would work as an exhibition, and also as a book. In my case, after going through the photographs, there was a period of wrapping a towel round my head, sitting in a darkroom, pacing the floor and thinking through: how does one distil the essence of what I had seen and then present it on the wall?

web 5848 28, Lee Miller in steel helmet specially designed for using a camera, Normandy, Unknown Photographer, 1944

Lee Miller in steel helmet specially designed for using a camera, Normandy, France 1944 by unknown photographer. Photographer Unknown. © The Penrose Collection, England 2015. All rights reserved.

MG: And were you in conversation with Antony about that in terms of the thread that runs through the exhibition?

HR: Yes, we’ve been talking for four years now and Antony’s expertise and knowledge has been absolutely invaluable and we couldn’t have done it without his input and the team at Farley Farm because they know Lee like nobody else could possible do so. The melding of that knowledge with the broader subject area is one of the outcomes of the collaboration.

MG: I think I am right in saying that this is one of the most comprehensive exhibitions since the V&A exhibition in 2007?

AP: I would say definitely.

MG: Does it complement that exhibition for anyone who has seen the show?

AP: Absolutely. The V&A exhibition was looking at Lee as an artist and it was called The Art of Lee Miller and I think that it succeeded in doing that absolutely admirably. What we are looking at here is her reportage and photojournalism, which is done with art naturally, but it’s also the way that she portrayed the events around her and told the story of what was going on, that was one of the essential things—she was a story teller par excellence, and she used images and words with great skill. We had her as an artist and now we have her as a photojournalist and a storyteller and part of her own story is in there too; it is one more huge piece of information in the totality of what is understood about Lee.

Woman accused of collaborating, Rennes, France 1944GÇÖ by Lee Miller (5925-335)

Woman accused of collaborating with the Germans, Rennes, France 1944 by Lee Miller. © Lee Miller Archives, England 2015. All rights reserved.

MG: Thinking about the show, there is a narrative thread running through the exhibition and a chronology to the events, yet it is also has a thematic thread relating to the body and women’s place in war, and also, for me, the subtext of what happened in Lee’s life and the theme of an internal battleground and war zone and the way she tried to deal with that. On an external level, there is the surface of her body, her beauty, and how she was portrayed by others in paintings and photographs, as well as in the rather disturbing stereoscopic nude photograph taken by her father, Theodore. Then one starts to unravel internal aspects and the way these may be manifested, for example, her later alcoholism and the horrific fact that she was raped (probably by a family friend) and contracted gonorrhoea when she was seven. How does this tie in with the show?

HR: I will let Tony talk about the symbolism of the artworks, but we all know that there has been a long-standing tradition of judging women by their appearance, so if you happen to be a beautiful, photogenic person, you have an instant celebrity, an instant appeal and there is a temptation to define you by that. One of the things that I think Lee fought against was being defined entirely by her appearance. It was definitely a means to an end and it was important to her, but she didn’t want to just be defined as one of the most beautiful women of her age.
AP: I think you’ve put that with customary elegance and accuracy. There was always a – you used the word battleground – and I think that is absolutely right – there was this dichotomy in her life. Being beautiful gave her access, gave her her first career (as a model), but she also got fed up of being objectified as being a sex object and this very much came forward when she was with Man Ray. One of the most salient photographs that she ever took was the severed breasts on a plate and it was almost as if she was saying, ‘You like breasts so much, well, have one, eat it.’ You tend to forget that behind that breast is a woman with a heart and a soul and a mind of her own.

MG: Yes, and weirdly when she got into gourmet cooking wasn’t there food that looked like a breast?

AP: Yes, the pink cauliflower—it reprises all the way back to that and I’m jolly glad that I hadn’t seen the severed breast image when I was trying to eat the pink cauliflower.

MG: In some of my reading about Lee, I read that she was looking for a ‘raison d’etre’, a ‘reason to be’, do you think that towards the end of the Second World War she came into a space where she felt that her body receded, someone (quoted in this exhibition) commented that she looked like an ‘unmade bed’.

AP: Yes, she looked like a total wreck.
HR: When she started working for British Vogue in 1940, she got her colleagues talking because she consistently wore trousers. You can see that in the Picture Post shot. It’s important, from her point of view, to manipulate all these lights, scramble up and down and sort out the staging and wearing trousers make the most sense. If you look at the film clip in the exhibition, you can see women looking as if they are going out as if to a cocktail party, wearing hats; it started from the point that she became a professional working women, and from that point her mind seemed, to me, to be focused on the job. When she was required to put on a polished presence for the cameras, she absolutely could do it. The photograph of her with the other women correspondents in the case. Look at that line up.
AP: Can you pick her out?
HR: Spot the model! When she wishes to use her appearance to make a point, she was perfectly capable of doing so, but at that point in time for her, her appearance and standards of dress would have been a problem rather than an asset, and would have got in the way of her being accepted by the soldiers that she photographed. Again, in the film clip, David Sherman makes that point that she very much became one of them and that helped her enormously in doing the job she did during that period.

MG: The show opens with a couple of paintings one by Roland Penrose and one by Picasso. It feels to me that this leads from the V&A show into this one. Why these two paintings?

AP: It is Hilary’s show, she chose them, but to me I think they are there to show Lee’s position among the surrealists as a revered icon of surrealist women. She was different from the other surrealist women in the fact that she refused to be subordinated and, mostly, the great beauties like Nusch Eluard and Ady Fidelin they were talented and beautiful women but they allowed themselves to be second placed by the men at the time. Lee wasn’t going to have that and I think that the surrealists were a bit surprised by that aspect of her character. I know that she nearly drove Man Ray nuts.

MG: How would this manifest itself? Was it in the way she behaved, as some would call women like this ‘difficult’?

HR: It infused her entire lifestyle. One of the reasons why her relationship with Penrose worked so well in those years was that he completely accepted that aspect of her, that she was a free spirit. The paintings reflect that evolving perspective of her. The two painted in 1937 by Roland and Picasso were created weeks apart, or months at the latest. They both see Lee Miller at this point in the life and there are some similarities and some contrasts. So Picasso (L’Arlesienne) sees her spirit as dark and unknowable, Roland (Night and Day) sees her— it’s clouds and sky.
AP: If you look in Picasso’s painting, yes, she’s got the sun face, but if you look in her chest there’s Man Ray’s metronome ticking away. It just rolls. Look at the pink background. If that’s not erotic, I don’t know what is.
HR: Roland’s later painting (Good Shooting/Bien Vise, 1939) shows her pinned down and chained to a wall; there’s all sorts of readings of that painting that are possible, but one is that it’s her gender and war that has actually pinned her down and she’s chained to the wall by what seems to be a chastity belt. The golden head is missing and is replaced by a peaceful scene from the Norfolk broads, so there is an evolution there that is set against a background of war.
AP: That’s a very interesting point as at that time there was the Spanish Civil War not the main war and Roland was very closely emotionally connected to that, he went there as a reporter. The wonderful think about that painting is the absence of her head, and in a way, I feel that Roland is saying that she is giving him her body but he will never have her mind.

MG: It looks like the book complements the exhibition further, is that so?

AP: Yes, I think it takes it further and it will be on the bookshelf for many years to come, and will be such a good reference.
HR: It obviously captures the visual but also allows people to drill down further into some of these aspects that we have been talking about.

MG: Last question, I have to ask you, Antony, is it true that Kate Winslett is going to be playing Lee Miller in an upcoming film about her life?

AP: If this news is true, it is very good news indeed because she is exactly the person I really hoped for and I think she will be absolutely brilliant. We have a whole new team now on the production; we have a new writer and a new producer, and they are mostly Australian and I love them because they are so direct and so funny. It’s Hopscotch productions and they are just the most wonderful bunch of people I could wish to work with.

MG: Yes, and I think it will help in making Lee Miller become a household name and not just known as a photographers’ photographer.

A book Lee Miller: A Woman’s War by Hilary Roberts with an introduction by Antony Penrose has been published to coincide with the major exhibition at the Imperial War Museum London. It tells the story beyond the battlefields of the Second World War by way of Miller’s powerful photographs of the women whose lives were affected. It is published by Thames & Hudson and is available for £29.95 hardback with 156 illustrations.

The second year of START Art Fair at Saatchi Gallery London gets the thumbs up

I’m delighted with the second edition of START and the response of collectors and critics. The gallerists’ presentations combined with START Projects has made for a unique platform and we all look forward to taking this onto the next level for the third edition which will take place from 22 to 25 September 2016. Niru Ratnam, Director of START

A quick post about the response from the Second edition of START from the press release issued today. I was so pleased to see that teamLab was a hit with the press, audience and collectors alike—although, to be honest, it’s no surprise that teamLab’s ‘Flutter of Butterflies beyond Borders’ presentation “received a tremendously positive critical response and was the subject of much press attention, including the Evening Standard during the run of START. As a result, it has been given an extended run from Tuesday 15 to Thursday 17 September with START and the Saatchi Gallery throwing open the doors free of admission.”


Photo © Alexa Hogar

All text below is from the press release:

The second edition of START, presented by Prudential, closed its doors at the Saatchi Gallery on Sunday 13 September with exceptional gallery presentations, increased attendance figures and extremely positive critical response. START will take place again at the Saatchi Gallery in 2016 from 22 to 25 September.

Galleries were delighted with the response of collectors, press and the public alike. Established collectors who visited the fair included Anita Zabludowicz, Fatima Maleki, Maryam Eisler, Catherine Petitgas and Charles Saatchi. START was also attractive to younger collectors including Kaimar Maleki, Will de Quetteville, Philippe Piessens and Arianne Levene. Other high-profile visitors included Middle Eastern financier and art patron Dr. Ramzi Dalloul, celebrity chef Lorraine Pascale and television presenter and choreographer Jason Gardiner.

START Projects received unanimous acclaim for its presentation of non-commercial exhibitions by teamLab, Chim↑Pom and Prudential Eye Zone, which featured contemporary Singaporean artists.

Many galleries reported robust sales of artists new to London’s collectors. Hafez Gallery (Jeddah) were delighted to report sales of Saudi photographer and Goldsmiths’ graduate Nora Alissa whilst +MAS Arte Contemporáneo (Bogota) placed the works of Pilar Vargas into one of Europe’s most important collections. Alludo Room Gallery (Kitzbühel) sold a number of works by New York-based artist Rachel Libeskind, whilst Gallery SoSo (Seoul) placed a number of delicate ink on paper works by Kim In Kyum. Skipwiths (London) enjoyed great success with Korean artist Kwang Young Chun.

The inaugural START Museum Acquisition Prize was awarded to Roman Road (London) with the New Art Gallery Walsall acquiring works by Aida Silvestri.

Marisa Bellani, Director of Roman Road said, “I’m really happy with the institutional support that Aida’s work received. In addition to the acquisition by the New Art Gallery Walsall, her work was also bought by a Tate Patron and we are now starting to get major interest from a number of collectors.”

Nelly Alegre from Osage Gallery which presented the solo exhibition of Au Hoi Lam said, “We are really happy and delighted to have participated in START. It is a good platform for us to know more about the European market. There’s a great level of energy here at START and we’ve had some really good exchanges with both collectors and visitors to our booth.”

Carl E. Smith from CES Gallery (Los Angeles) said, “I think START is amazing. It’s been a great interaction with a new client base. Collectors are extremely interested in the work, the location is beautiful and I’m honoured to be here.”

Kristin Hjellegjerde, owner of Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery said, “I am very happy that I have been part of START. I’ve met some of the biggest collectors in London and several of my own collectors who visited thought it was a high-quality event. The space is fantastic and I believe the fair has a great potential in the future.”

Heejin No, Director of Skipwiths said, “As a young gallery, we’re delighted to have had the opportunity to exhibit with START in such a beautiful environment as the Saatchi Gallery. The space is amazing and the quality of collectors has been very good.”

Carlos Vargas from +MAS Arte Contemporáneo said, “We are a returning gallery and have really enjoyed growing with the fair. The second edition was wonderful and it is a delight to exhibit at the Saatchi Gallery.”

Ludovica Rossi Purini, Director of Alludo Room Gallery said, “We would love to come back to START next year! In the last few days, we’ve met the most interesting collectors ever and we’ve made some really great sales!” The gallery was exhibiting new pieces by Rachel Libeskind, whose work was placed with a number of collectors.

Positive Critical Response
The critical response was overwhelmingly positive. Louisa Buck said in The Art Newspaper, “’START Art Fair is a truly global affair… There are galleries from Bogota to Budapest via Colombo and Cape Town, Jeddah, Lagos, Riga and Seoul which combine a high level of quality with some genuine surprises….Is there room for another art fair in London? In the case of START, the answer has to be a resounding YES!”

Grace Banks, writing for Forbes.com, described the fair, “START offers collectors, writers, curators and art lovers to see some of contemporary art’s most exciting and ground breaking new art all in one place….START [is] one of London’s fastest growing global art fairs.”

Jan Dalley, writing in The Financial Times Weekend said, “The pieces that teamLab creates are beautiful all right, giant immersive works in stunning colours; a cloud of butterflies defies their apparent boundaries.”

Lorena Muñoz-Alonso wrote in artnet.com, “The intimate scale of the fair, which is also peppered with a number of non-commercial exhibitions as part of its Projects section, makes for accessible and pleasurable viewing.”

“Mark Beech wrote in ArtInfo, “There have been lines of people waiting to get in, both because of the quality of the art and the location at the Saatchi Gallery. While there must be a question on how many more fairs the British capital can take, all competing for collectors’ attention and casual browsers, this one is attracting the curious and is spread across all three floors of the gallery.”

START also received coverage during its run in The Evening Standard and on the Robert Elms show on BBC Radio London 94.9FM. London’s audience responded by visiting in very high numbers, complimenting the collectors, critics and curators. The overall audience visiting START was up by 40% from the inaugural edition.

Please visit www.startartfair.com for the latest information on START.

Photo Stroll: Two Top Picks teamLab and Liane Lang at START Art Fair Saatchi Gallery London

The second year of the START Art Fair (10-13 September ) EMERGING ARTISTS NEW ART SCENES at the Saatchi Gallery in London opened to the public on Thursday and runs until tomorrow.

Though photography made up a smaller percentage of the art works, there were some strong, engaging and beautiful works on show.

teamLab’s Flutter of Butterflies beyond Borders is a Top Pick, not least because it is an immersive, enchanting, beautiful, and clever installation It was a hit with so many people at the press opening, including myself. So much so that, I joked with one of the Japanese creators,  a humble self -effacing man, Takasu Masakazu (Catalyst) that I wanted to live there. According to Masakazu less than 20, but more than 10 projectors have been used to create the work. For me, it is a work to be experienced rather than written about. Visit the teamLab website for more.

Liane Lang’s body of work, Saints, shown by LOEWE Contemporary, was selected by START’s Fair Director Niru Ratnamshown as a solo presentation in the This is Tomorrow section of the art fair.  “The section focuses on artists whose work is rooted in the contemporary either through the way they work, their subject matter or the context in which they work.” (from press release).

I have been following her work for years now and gave her the Hotshoe Photofusion Award in 2012, so I was delighted to see her included as one of the 12 solo artist presentations. Visit Liane Lang‘s website for more.

I will post further images tomorrow showing the cross section fo work on display. For now, here’s a taster of my Two Top Picks.


2015-09-09 16.16.16 copy 2015-09-09 16.23.48 copy 2015-09-09 16.17.12 copy 2015-09-09 16.20.56 copy



2015-09-09 15.51.59 copy 2015-09-09 15.57.36 copy 2015-09-09 15.53.39 copy 2015-09-09 15.52.44 copy 2015-09-09 15.52.51 copy 2015-09-09 16.10.24 copy 2015-09-09 15.53.02 copy

Photo Show: theprintspace Photovoice Awards London winner announced tomorrow

Grow Heathrow Jonathan Goldberg

Grow Heathrow © Jonathan Goldberg

As promised, a quick post to wish Jonathan Goldberg, a former Tri-Pod workshop participant, and Zoe Childerley the best of luck at theprintspace Photovoice Awards tomorrow.

Jonathan will be showing work at theprintspace Photovoice Awards exhibition of shortlisted photographers running from 21 August until 1 September at theprintspace gallery in London. The overall winner will be announced tomorrow (Thursday 20 August).

Of his series, Jonathan says: “There is a unique place close to Britain’s busiest airport called Grow Heathrow. What started as a site for activists protesting against runway expansion has evolved into a complex eco-village that is home to 20 or so people. They live off sustainable energy utilizing wind and solar power, and eat food that they have grown or skipped.”

Grow Heathrow

Grow Heathrow. © Jonathan Goldberg

“As I stepped through the gates at Grow Heathrow for the first time, I saw a utopian society in which money is of secondary importance, and the needs of the community are emphasized over individual requirements. Revisiting the site on many occasions since, however, I have become aware of the hardships of living in a place not blessed with central heating in winter, and lacking the comforts of a conventional modern lifestyle. Through my visits I have got to know some of the occupants and tried to document the lives of people that are determined to live in a way which challenges the norm.”

All print sales will raise funds for Photovoice.

Grow Heathrow

Grow Heathrow. © Jonathan Goldberg

Grow Heathrow

Grow Heathrow. © Jonathan Goldberg

Grow Heathrow

Grow Heathrow. © Jonathan Goldberg

Grow HeathrowGrow Heathrow

Grow Heathrow. © Jonathan Goldberg