EXHIBITIONS: 8 Great Photography Exhibitions to See – January 2019

Intoxicated by the Moonlight, Obai-in, Kyoto © Karen Knorr

Once Only, Only Once
Karen Knorr

Once Only Only Once was made in Kyoto this year and exhibited in the Daitoku-ji complex in Obai-in temple in April 2018 as free standing Byobu screens made of cedar wood, mulberry, rice paper and silk, and combined with photographs printed on rice paper. These traditional screens were made by Heiando, in Kyoto  in collaboration with Karen Knorr.

Karen Knorr will be showing in London at White Conduit Projects for the first time standing screens made in Japan this year from her series Monogatari, which she has worked on since 2012.

Knorr was invited into Obai-in by artist calligrapher and head priest Tagen Kobayashi. The title evokes a dedication written by Kobayashi upon meeting Karen Knorr during November 2017.

The titles of the photographs allude to Buddhist precepts of peace, harmony and the pursuit of happiness and to a 16th century teamaster Sen-no Rikyu. “Ichi-go ichi-e” describes a cultural concept of treasuring meetings with people. The term is often translated as “for this time only”, “never again”, or “one chance in a lifetime”. The term reminds people to cherish any gathering that they may take part in, citing the fact that many meetings in life are not repeated. Even when the same group of people can get together again, a particular gathering will never be replicated, and thus, each moment is always once-in-a-lifetime. The concept is most commonly associated with Japanese tea ceremonies “wabi cha”.

At its heart – the practice of tea creates a kind, generous, gentle, loving heart. Soshitsu Sen XV, the head of the Urasenke Foundation (one of the 3 major schools of tea and a descendent of Sen-no Rikyu – zen master who formalised the practice of tea ceremony,) believes that practicing tea is a means to create world peace.

White Conduit Projects, 1 White Conduit Street, Islington, London N1 9EL

18thJanuary 2019 – 29thJanuary 2019


The Right Honourable Margaret Beckett, MP for Derby South © Kate Peters

209 Women Exhibition

One hundred years after women first gained the right to sit in Parliament as MPs, the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art will host the ‘209 Women’ exhibition from 14 December 2018 to 14 February 2019.   Unveiled in time for the anniversary of the first election where some women could cast a vote, the exhibition includes portraits of female MPs, all photographed by female photographers in an all-female initiative.

February 6, 2018 marked exactly 100 years since the Representation of the People Act, with Parliament starting a year-long series of events and exhibitions commemorating the women and men who fought to achieve electoral equality.

November 21 marks 100 years since the passing of the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act, which allowed women over 21 to become MPs on equal terms as men for the first time. The third centenary falls on 14 December, a hundred years on from the 1918 General Election when some women over 30 and all men over 21 were able to cast their first vote.

‘209 Women’ marks this significant moment in history whilst also highlighting the ongoing need for further gender equality across society.   A collective of women photographers from all across the UK formed, volunteering their time to make and mark history, celebrating the centenary of women’s suffrage and championing the visibility of women, particularly in environments that are still largely male-dominated.

The exhibition is curated by Hilary Wood (Founder/Director of ‘209 Women’ and photographer), Tracy Marshall (Director of Development and Partnerships at Open Eye Gallery), Cheryl Newman (Artist, curator and former Director of Photography of the Telegraph magazine), and Lisa Tse (Brand Consultant, TV Producer and founder of women’s club The Sorority), and supported by Ambassador Rosemary Reed, Executive (Executive Producer and Founder of Power of Women series).

Portcullis House, ‎Bridge Street; London; SW1A 2LW. Free tickets are available on Parliament’s website.

18thJanuary 2019 – 29thJanuary 2019


Girls Playing in Tyre, Edinburgh, 1966 © Robert Blomfield

Robert Blomfield: Edinburgh Street Photography
An Unseen Archive

Robert Blomfield practised street photography across the UK from the 1950s to the 1970s, beginning in Edinburgh, where he studied medicine. He adopted an unobtrusive fly-on-the-wall approach, seeking interesting or amusing scenes in the rapidly changing post-war period. An engaging manner and healthy disrespect for authority allowed him to get close to a myriad of subjects, taking photographs that are in turn tender, bold and humorous.

A subsequent medical career meant that Blomfield’s vast collection of striking images – which carry echoes of Henri Cartier-Bresson and Vivian Maier – remained largely unseen, until a stroke forced him to put down his camera in 1999. Timed to coincide with his 80th birthday, this first large-scale display of his photographs will provide an opportunity for Blomfield to receive the recognition he rightly deserves.

The exhibition displays a selection of this stunning private archive, documenting the dramatic shifts taking place in Scotland’s urban landscape during the 1960s. It includes candid portraits and group shots, children playing amongst crumbling tenements, public gatherings, student life and evolving architecture, offering a rare opportunity to reappraise our understanding of Scottish culture at that time.

City Art Centre, 2 Market St, Edinburgh EH1 1DE

24thNovember 2018 – 17th March 2019


© J A Mortram

Small Town Inertia
Documentary & Portraits by J A Mortram

Jim has been photographing the lives of people in his community who, through physical and mental problems and a failing social security system, face isolation and loneliness in their daily lives. His work covers difficult subjects such as disability, addiction and self-harm, but is always with hope and dignity, focusing upon the strength and resilience of the people he photographs.

Amber Film & Photography Collective, 5-9 Side, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 3JE

12thJanuary 2019 – 24thMarch 2019


Burning effigy of David Cameron with Nick Clegg as his puppet, Cliffe Bonfire Society, Lewes, Sussex © Sara Hannant

Women in Focus

Women in Focus is a year-long exhibition that explores the role of women in photography, both as producers and subjects of images. The exhibition draws on works from the permanent photographic collections at Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum Wales.

The exhibition celebrates the role and contribution of women throughout the history of photography, from the first pioneering women photographers in Wales, to emerging contemporary practitioners including Chloe Dewe Mathews, Bieke Depoorter, Clementine Schneidermann and Shutter Hub member Sara Hannant. It also explores the way in which women have been represented as subjects in photography, from intimate and playful 19th century staged family portraits by Robert Thompson Crawshay, through their depiction in the field of war by eminent photographers such Phillip Jones Griffiths, to contemporary portraiture, fashion and journalism. The work invites us to examine how photography has been used to mis-represent women through objectification and idealisation, an issue that has particular currency in today’s climate.

Women in Focus has been programmed to coincide with the centenary of the Representation of the People’s Act 1918, which enabled some women over the age of 30 the right to vote for the first time. This Act marked a key moment in the fight for universal suffrage.

National Museum Cardiff, Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF10 3NP

5thMay 2018 – 28thJanuary 2019


Untitled © Rinko Kawauchi

Prix Pictet | SPACE

The most recent edition of the Prix Pictet – the global photography prize – was won by the Irish artist Richard Mosse. An exhibition of his winning work, and that of 11 other leading international artists has thrilled audiences on its extensive global tour and will open in Ireland at the Gallery of Photography.

The exhibition presents a unique opportunity to view artworks of outstanding quality that tackle burning global issues of our time.

Work from ‘Heat Maps’, the winning series by Richard Mosse, is shown for the first time in Ireland. Mosse’s epic panoramas of refugee camps and staging sites in Europe are made using a military-grade thermographic camera designed to detect and identify humans from their body heat from as far away as fifty kilometers, day or night. The work is sinister and objectifying, while also being deeply empathetic and strangely intimate. It provokes powerful and complex responses in the viewer.

The Prix Pictet is an award of 100,000 Swiss Francs (approx €92,000) and is unique in its commitment to harnessing the power of photography to deepen our understanding of changes taking place on a global scale. Taken together the finalists’ works present a powerful testament to the fragile state of our planet.

Prix Pictet – Space features work by the twelve shortlisted photographers:

Mandy Barker [b. 1964, UK], Saskia Groneberg [b. 1985, Germany], Beate Gütschow [b. 1970, Germany], Rinko Kawauchi [b. 1972, Japan], Benny Lam [b. 1967, Hong Kong], Richard Mosse [b. 1980, Ireland], Sohei Nishino [b. 1982, Japan], Sergey Ponomarev [b. 1980, Russia], Thomas Ruff [b. 1958, Germany], Munem Wasif [b. 1983, Bangladesh], Pavel Wolberg [b. 1966, Russia], and Michael Wolf [b. 1954, Germany]

Gallery of Photography – the national centre for contemporary photography in Ireland, Meeting House Square, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, D02 X406

16thNovember 2018 – 20thJanuary 2019


© Alexis Hunter

Sexual Warfare
Alexis Hunter

Sexual Warfare presents key work by Alexis Hunter (1948 – 2014) made between 1968–86. The first solo presentation of Hunter’s work in the UK since 2006, and in London since 1981, the exhibition brings her acerbic critique into dialogue with the contemporary moment and reinforces her importance both as an artist and a feminist.

An influential figure in the Women’s Art Movement in Britain in the 1970s, Hunter is best known for her staged photographic works in which she used the medium as a tool to manipulate normative power dynamics within society through gender role-play and fetishised objects. Her images draw upon the violence within capitalism’s abuse of gender stereotypes and sexuality for the pursuit of profit. As feminist discourse is reactivated with new concerns, and victims are presently afforded a visible platform, revisiting Hunter’s work after some four decades highlights a corresponding energy, anger and strength.

New Zealand born, Hunter moved to London in 1972 where she was an active part of The Women’s Workshop of the Artists Union, the founding of which recognised that “Women in art are subject of conscious and unconscious discrimination and the artworld in all its manifestations from gallery system to educational system is based totally upon a masculine identity…Women need to massively redress the massive disbalance which history has created…” The context of the 1970s for female artists was a challenging one. Hunter complained that she struggled to find photographic printers who would print her images, simply because she was a woman. Nonetheless, she achieved recognition for her ‘narrative sequences’ and was part of landmark exhibitions that fought to make space for the serious consideration of work by female artists; such as ‘Both Sides Now’, curated by Lucy Lippard, and the Hayward Annual 1978, which was the first to be curated by women and featured almost only female artists.

Hunter worked across painting and photography throughout her life, but during the 70s was specifically drawn to photography as a means for transmitting politicised feminist messages to a wider audience than that of the art world. Her images militate the commercial language of magazines and advertising. This is most directly felt in the Approach to Fear (1976-77) series which picture hands – nails red lacquered – perform various actions that confound gendered expectation. Compositionally, these could be your own hands, directly implicating the viewer in the work. The exhibition includes a presentation of lecture slides found in Hunter’s archive. She collected images of magazine pages advertising commodities aimed at women, most of them feature the same immaculate red finger nails. Other’s show how misogyny was a key strategy in advertising targeting men.

Items from Alexis’s archive and the Women’s Art Library are shown alongside the artworks. These include sketches for the staging of photographs, contact sheets, notes, slides, articles, books and illustrations that outline Alexis’ process of composition, sense of humour, and investment in the professionalisation of women’s art and its preservation. Both of the latter points are highly politicised acts when viewed with a regard for the context within which women were making art at the time – against a male dominated canon and with very little opportunity for exhibition or museum acquisition. Also shown are feminist magazines, and flyers for events Hunter visited, the latter of which demonstrate a solidarity between the perceived predominantly white feminist movement, and women of colour.

Goldsmiths CCA, St James’, New Cross, London SE14 6AD

23rd November 2018 – 3rd February 2019


Joni Mitchell © Norman Seeff

Proud Central Exhibition
Sessions in Sound: Photographs by Norman Seeff

Proud Galleries is pleased to announce Sessions in Sound: Photographs by Norman Seeff, an intimate collection of Seeff’s acclaimed photographic sessions featuring influential 20th Century musical icons. From Johnny Cash and Patti Smith to Joni Mitchell and the Rolling Stones, Norman Seeff’s perceptive lens captures thought-provoking images of iconic artists session after session. The exhibition explores the sensitive collaboration between photographer and musician; whether photographed mid-smile or deep in contemplation, Seeff’s subjects are effortlessly captured in moments of spontaneity. Famed for emotionally engaging with his subjects, Seeff’s photographs in Sessions in Sound are intimate, lively and authentic.

Norman Seeff was born in South Africa, 1939. After working as an A&E doctor in Soweto, he moved to New York aged 29, eager to explore his creative passions. His break into the industry occurred when introduced to the renowned album cover designer, Bob Cato, who gave him his first major assignment – to photograph Robbie Robinson and The Band for the liner notes of their album ‘Stage Fright’. After getting lost on his way to Woodstock and arriving hours late, Seeff was disappointed with his own work. Embarrassed by the results, he simply pushed the only image he liked in an envelope under the door of Cato’s brownstone. When Seeff finally gathered the courage to contact him some weeks later, Cato exclaimed “where have you been? I don’t have your number! They love the photograph and they want to use it for the album cover.” This project and its immediate recognition catapulted Seeff into prominence.

In 1973, Seeff opened his own studio on Sunset Boulevard, constantly evolving his sessions through an exploration of the creative process. His distinctive method of focusing on an authentic connection allowed Seeff to break down barriers between himself and his subject. Throughout his career, Seeff developed creative alliances with an incredible range of musicians, revealing the intimacy and vulnerability of the artist in the act of creation.

In 1985, Seeff photographed musician Ray Charles and later recalled how “Ray was testy at the start of the session. Ultimately, he loved the process and ended up calling me ‘brother’. It was a seminal session.” The exhibition also features a selection of unpublished photographs, including a portrait of Patti Smith from Seeff’s 1969 acclaimed photoshoot with Patti and Robert Mapplethorpe. This session has arguably become one of Seeff’s most well known, with the photographer describing that “after Robert’s death, Patti told me these shots come closest to her remembrance of the profundity of the love between them.”

Sessions in Sound: Photographs by Norman Seeff aims to give an insight into the photographer’s process as he searches for spontaneous authenticity in his work. Remaining popular to a modern-day audience, Seeff’s images have a timeless quality, perhaps reflective of an uncanny ability to connect emotionally with each of his subjects. His distinctive stylised approach to session photography has certified his enduring legacy in both the music and photography industries. The work on display in Sessions in Sound demonstrates Seeff’s creative ethos; to constantly seek “a place with my subjects that defines pure presence, where we can stand and just look at each other without any filters.”

Proud Central, 32 John Adam Street, London, WC2N 6BP

23rd November 2018 – 13thJanuary 2019