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The Market: An Interview with Mark Curran

Financial Surrrealism (World Trade Center II) Zuidas Financial District, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2015, from THE MARKET – It’s a paradox that one of the great strengths of photojournalism and documentary photography can also be one of its great handicaps. That is the tendency to employ a laser like focus, conducting photographic micro-studies which encompass a very small field in great detail. It’s the approach many of us learn from the start, being advised (with good reason) as students not to overextend ourselves and to restrict our focus. But it’s also an approach many of us continue to use even as we…

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Monsanto: An Interview with Mathieu Asselin

– It’s really, really rare that a photobook speaks to you in a way which feels important beyond the narrow realm of photography, and even does so in a way which feels desperately urgent. This was the precise experience I had the first time I came across Mathieu Asselin’s Monsanto: A Photographic Investigation when it was on display as part of the dummy book table at Bristol Photobook Festival, and again when I saw it at the Rencontres d’Arles Festival this summer. The title of Asselin’s book needs little elaboration, the work scrutinizes the activities of this multinational agrochemical company,…

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Review – Spirit is a Bone by Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin

The Arbitrator from Spirit is a Bone by Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin – One of my aims for this year is to drastically reduce the number of reviews I publish here. For a brief period this way of engaging with work was good for me, and I felt a vague sense of satisfaction when people described me as a critic. Increasingly though I dislike the word with it’s implication of being an all knowing arbiter or judge of what is good and bad in photography. I would much rather use this platform to share thoughts which more generally reflect…

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Interview: Alice Myers, Nothing is Impossible Under the Sun

Nothing is Impossible Under the Sun, Alice Myers – While I recognise that Disphotic’s focus on thinking and talking about photography is a niche interest (and that’s putting it mildly), I think it’s important that these rather specialist discussions are guided by bigger issues in the world. Hence the recent focus over the last six months on the role of photography in Europe’s immigration and refugee crisis, from exposing a fake Instagram account masquerading as that of a Senegalese migrant, to examining Norbert Baska’s questionable refugee themed fashion photographs. From Kiki Streitberger’s still life portraits of the personal possessions of…

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The Blind Eye and the Vision Machine

The Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard Complex, North Dakota, USA. Became operational September 1975, deactivated eight months later. – This text is based on a talk given at a symposium the London College of Communication on January 14th 2016 to mark the opening of The Forest of Things. This talk and draws together a few different ideas I’ve been thinking about over the last year around the status and place of the photograph today, and expands on some of the darker implications of algorithms and photography which I first speculated about in An All Seeing Eye. In The Forest of Things, the…

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Interview – Christopher Nunn

Jewish Cemetery, Kalush, February 2014 Christopher Nunn is a British documentary photography who since early 2013 has been photographing regularly in Ukraine. This period has coincided with popular protests in Kiev leading to the overthrow of the pro-Moscow government, the Russian military annexation of the Crimean peninsula, and hostilities in the east of the country between the Ukranian army and armed separatist groups. For me what marks Nunn apart from many of the photographers making work about Ukraine is that his focus is invariably away from the front-lines, looking instead at the everyday lives of people living (sometimes very distantly)…

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Ukraine: One Year On

  Part of an analysis of purported satellite imagery of a fighter jet attack on Flight MH17, Original image from Russian state TV, analysis by Bellingcat. – The violence in Ukraine has now been continuing in various forms for over a year, in which time its events and actors have both courted and eluded visibility. In turn, journalists and image makers seeking to reveal the conflict’s complexities, or to reduce it to simplicities, have employed a full gamut of visual strategies. For the next few weeks on the blog I’ll be focusing on a number of projects and topics related…

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Ten Books Every Year: Self-Publishing and Print on Demand

War Primer 3 For a while I’ve been meaning to sit down and pen a few thoughts on the subject of self-publishing, and specifically print on demand publishing. My hand has been forced a little by the appearance of a nice interview with the Artists Book Cooperative over on The Photographer’s Gallery blog. ABC’s members have pretty much written the book (excuse the pun) when it comes to this form of publishing and the interview does a great job of outlining many of the things that I think make print on demand books a powerful means of expression and dissemination…

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Interview: Anders Birger

This Damn Weather A new feature on the blog this year will be occasional interviews with photographers and people working with photography. The first of these is with Anders Birger, a Danish documentary photographer based in London. A graduate of the documentary photography master’s program at London College of Communication, his degree project This Damn Weather examined the state of paranoia in Damascus in the early days of the Syria uprising. Since then he has returned to Syria several times to explore the conflict further and in different ways, looking for example at the experience of refugees in Life on…

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