Round Up Week August 5th

1) Huge Cindy Sherman retrospective goes on show at NPG next year

 Untitled Film Still #21, 1978 © Cindy Sherman, courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York

Untitled Film Still #21, 1978 © Cindy Sherman, courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York

Cindy Sherman's first UK retrospective goes on show at the National Portrait Gallery, London from 27 June - 15 September.

Titled Cindy Sherman, the exhibition will feature around 180 works, including the seminal series Untitled Film Stills. Shot from 1977-1980 in New York, the 70-strong series cemented both her reputation and her approach – manipulating her own appearance to explore the complex relationship between facade and reality.


 Lottie 1, from the series Two-Spirit, 2014 © Felicity McCabe   

Lottie 1, from the series Two-Spirit, 2014 © Felicity McCabe


2) The Royal Photographic Society has launched a quest to find 100 inspirational contemporary women photographers, in an initiative inspired by the centenary of the vote for Women in Britain

Inspired by the 100-year anniversary of women’s suffrage in the UK, Hundred Heroines invites members of the public to nominate inspirational female photographers. Nominations are open until 30 September, then a panel of judges, chaired by photographer Rut Blees Luxemburg, will pick out the top 100 photographers. An exhibition of their work will go on show next year, and each one will receive a specially-minted medal named after Margaret Harker – the first female professor of photography in the UK, and the first female president of The Royal Photographic Society.


3) How a Model Release Turned Her into a Poster Child for…Everything

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While a university student, author Shubnum Khan signed a model release in exchange for professional portraits as a part of a project by photographer XX billed as “The 100 Faces Shoot.” Unbeknownst to her at the time, the photographer started licensing the images as stock photography, and Khan’s visage started to appear in advertisements around the world selling everything from McDonald’s hamburgers to hyper pigmentation cream to management course materials.

In a Twitter thread, Khan explained how a friend notified her that her face was being used to promote immigration in Canada, and how a reverse image search revealed how widespread the use of the image was.


4) Photography in Search of the Real

 Nan Goldin, “Picnic on the Esplanade, Boston” (1973), Cibachrome print, 11 x 14 in. (27.9 x 35.6 cm) (courtesy of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, The Nimoy Family Foundation)

Nan Goldin, “Picnic on the Esplanade, Boston” (1973), Cibachrome print, 11 x 14 in. (27.9 x 35.6 cm) (courtesy of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, The Nimoy Family Foundation)

Real Worlds invites viewers to consider photography not just as documentation of myriad moments but as a means to more deeply understand lives and interpersonal relationships in Western cities.

The setting is dark, the night accentuated by the rich palette of shadowy black and white. A couple lurks in the penumbra, turned away from the viewer. One wears only a suit jacket, the other only pants as they wrap their arms around one another in camaraderie. It’s the 1930s in Paris, captured by Brass in his photograph “Young couple wearing a two-in-one suit at the Bal de La Montagne Sainte-Genevieve” (c. 1931). World War II is imminent.

Another image, “Streetwalker near the Place d’Italie” (1932): an empty Parisian street in the middle of the night, the passing wind brushing against the trees. A woman is illuminated by a lone streetlight, infinitely waiting. Every detail of the photograph is a pure, frozen moment of daily life. Brassaï’s photographs inspire nostalgia for a bygone era; they elicit wonder at who walks these deserted streets and documents them, and profound feelings of generational displacement and a longing for a world that was on the edge of collapse.


5) Being: New Photography 2018

Every two years, MoMA’s celebrated New Photography exhibition series presents urgent and compelling ideas in recent photography and photo-based art. This year’s edition, Being, asks how photography can capture what it means to be human.

  Aida Muluneh   All in One , 2016  The Museum of Modern Art   On loan

Aida Muluneh All in One, 2016 The Museum of Modern Art  On loan

At a time when questions about the rights, responsibilities, and dangers inherent in being represented—and in representing others—are being debated around the world, the works featured in Being call attention to assumptions about how individuals are depicted and perceived. Many challenge the conventions of photographic portraiture, or use tactics such as masking, cropping, or fragmenting to disorient the viewer. In others, snapshots or found images are taken from their original context and placed in a new one to reveal hidden stories. While some of the works might be considered straightforward representations of individuals, others do not include images of the human body at all. Together, they explore how personhood is expressed today, and offer timely perspectives on issues of privacy and exposure; the formation of communities; and gender, heritage, and psychology.


6) Think All the Photos on Instagram Look the Same? So Does She.


For some photographers, Instagram has been a massive success story, allowing them to build a direct audience of hundred of thousands, if not millions, of followers. The direct publishing platform has created fame and opened up monetization possibilities (from ads to workshops to merchandise) that would otherwise be unavailable.

Savvy photographers are attuned to the types of photos that tend to attract higher engagement. In a sense, a successful Instagrammer’s role isn’t dissimilar from a gallery owner or merchandiser for a poster company – they know what sells and they push those types of images.

But like the movie industry’s obsessions with orange and teal, publishing what people like leads to visual sameness. And because influencers are traveling to the trendy places, the visual sameness often occurs in the same locations.

In reaction to the trend, the @insta_repeat account was created. The account is the brainchild of a 27-year old female filmmaker and an artist living in Anchorage, Alaska who has opted to remain anonymous. Her account has featured some of the biggest influencer names and her stated purpose is to “critique originality in media creation.”