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Spring Among the Trees, in your photos

On 4 March, we opened the doors to Among the Trees, our group exhibition exploring our relationship with trees and forests. Within two weeks, we sadly had to make the decision to close the exhibition due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since then we’ve been sharing all that we can of Among the Trees online. But exhibitions are nothing without you, our audience. So we called on you to get involved. Using the hashtag #SpringAmongtheTrees, we asked you to share your own images of trees – from quick pics snapped during your daily exercise, to photos from pre-lockdown travels. Your response has been uplifting and inspiring.

We’re delighted to share some of our favourites, below, as part of a celebration of Earth Day 2020, marking 50 years of the global environmental movement. 

Where better to start than first thing in the morning, and this tree of St James’s Park captured in the early light by Andrea Murray-Slinn.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Andrea Murray-Slinn (@andreamurrayphoto) on

 

Tom Miller has also been enjoying morning walks, here are three images of trees in varying stages of spring from his early strolls Hampstead Heath.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Tom Miller (@tmillerlite) on

 

Spring is of course the time when many trees move away from their tertiary colours of the harsher months, sometimes spectacularly so.

 

From the bright white flowers of Grounded Impressions’ photo above, to the near luminous pinks of Miranda Westwood’s picture below, we’ve had some beautiful pictures of trees in blossom.

 

We’re not the only ones enjoying the blooming flowers of the season, Phil Chappel spotted a little visitor hovering along to do the same in his back garden.

 

Those of you, like Phil, who are lucky enough to have your own green space will no doubt be enamoured with the trees that greet you every day. Many institutions too have a fondness for their nearby foliage. Brixton Windmill shared this photo of the lime trees which abut the path to the mill.

 

Not all trees are a riot of colour at this time of year, but that doesn’t make them any less spectacular, as Elmo Relzig’s photo shows.

 

Kim Van Russelt’s photo also gives a great perspective on the remarkable structure of trees; their branches climbing upwards towards the light.

 

For many of us right now, a glimpse of green through a window is as close to the trees as we can be. So this photo from kathezine is one that’s certainly indicative of spring 2020.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Kate (@kathezine) on

 

And it's not just humans that are feeling confinement during lockdown, Alan James spotted this tree in London’s Bedford Square attempting to edge beyond its nearest boundary.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Alan James (@alanjames9925) on

 

That wasn’t our only photo of the arboreal and the human world merging as one; Jan Risba’s submission captured two different forms of human shadows left on a tree trunk. 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Joker journal (@jatunrisba_jokerjournal) on

 

On the subject of shadows, a timely reminder from Dr Katy Barrett here that you don’t always have to look up to see the trees.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Dr Katy Barrett (@spoonsontrays) on

 

Though our own lives may seem in stasis right now, the same cannot be said of nature. Chris Hamer’s submission documents the remarkable change in appearance of the great oak of Tottenham’s Bruce Castle Park over just one week in April.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Chris Hamer (@hamer_the_framer) on

 

The trees you’ve sent us haven’t been limited to London; Janey was inspired to share this wonderful black and white image from a pre-lockdown trip to Sri Lanka.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by @janeygirl43 on

 

And, ‘Feeling very grateful to have this as our quarantine backyard after having to leave the UK unexpectedly,’ says Tania Ritchie of her photo, looking up among the branches.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Tania (@tania.r.r) on

 

OK, go on then, let’s have a couple more stunning photos of trees in blossom. Here’s a beautifully layered shot from Hannah Platts.

 

And we’re also big fans of the colours in this photo from Olga Hart-Antoniadou; the pinks of the blossom and the brown hue of the leaves offering a nice soft contrast.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Olga Hart-Antoniadou (@elleestviolette) on

 

And lastly, but not least, it was great to see the Arts Council Collection also get involved in our spring Among the Trees celebration, by nominating two pieces from their collection.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Arts Council Collection (@artscouncilcollection) on

 

The photo above is Charlie Meecham’s Forest of Dean 5 (2018), part of an ongoing project that investigates how we relate to our immediate and surrounding environment. Whilst the image below is Edward Burra’s 1942 painting, Blasted Oak.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Arts Council Collection (@artscouncilcollection) on

 

Among the Trees at Hayward Gallery reopens to the public on 1 August. 

The exhibition is open on Wednesday – Saturday, 11am – 7pm and Sunday, 10am – 6pm; and closed on Monday and Tuesday. You must book online before visiting.

find out more

As a charity, we rely on ticket sales for a huge chunk of our income. Though Hayward Gallery may now be reopening, our auditoriums remain closed. We all need the escape of art and culture; it can inspire and unite us. So please – if you can afford to – consider a donation to the Southbank Centre today, to help us be there for you in the future.

Nevin Aladag on Fanfare and the transitory nature of music

Nevin Aladağ often uses music, sound and rhythm to explore differences and tensions between cultures. Her first solo show in the UK, Fanfare, is at HENI Project Space, Hayward Gallery until 13 April. The exhibition includes Session (2013) – a video featuring drums, bells and other percussive instruments from Pakistan, India and Iraq – and Traces (2015), a musical portrait of the urban landscape in Stuttgart, Germany.

Ahead of Fanfare’s opening, we caught up with the artist to find out more about the exhibition, and her longstanding interest in sound and music.

The artworks in this exhibition contain sound, and rhythm as well as musical instruments and notation. How did your interest in music develop into a strand of your artistic practice?

Music has been part of my life since my early childhood, when I was introduced to musical training. Although I never became an expert in any single instrument, I’m sure that my interest in rhythm, in a sculptural context, emerged from that time. Beyond the purely formal aspects of music, I’m still fascinated by the way that it can operate independently of borders and territories. Also, music and sound can trigger movement, which offers a performative aspect that I also enjoy working with. 

 

I’m fascinated by the way that music can operate independently of borders and territories
Nevin Aladağ

The two videos in this exhibition, Session (2013) and Traces (2015), are shot in and around Sharjah, United Arab Emirates and Stuttgart, Germany respectively. How important is the location of each of these works, and how does it impact each film? 

These works are part of a series of multi-channel films that I have produced over the past few years. In both films, a selection of instruments are ‘played’ by the urban environment. There are some key differences between the films, which come about partly because of their settings. In Session – which was filmed in Sharjah – some of the instruments are not ‘native’ to the place, but arrived there with the area’s immigrant population, who came from places that include Pakistan, India and Iran. 

A few of the same instruments can be seen in both films, although they behave differently in each setting: the same tambourine claps on the water of the Bosporus, rolls down a sand dune in the United Arab Emirates, and jingles as it travels down the thick green wine hills of southern Germany. 

 

Nevin Aladağ, Traces, 2015 (film still), courtesy the artist and Wentrup Berlin

 

You have made a series of works, including Fanfare (2015), which explore music composed for military pageantry, the battlefield and the circus. Do these works have a different tone than your films? 

A fanfare is a very short piece of music played in certain ceremonial contexts to introduce, conclude or emphasise performances by soloists or conductors. In this installation, the notes are cannonballs, which have undergone a kind of musical reinterpretation of their original military purpose. It still leads us back to the idea of the projectile, however – a fanfare is also played at the circus before someone is shot out of a canon. There are lots of different ways that this artwork can be read, some of them are political, others are more lighthearted. 

 


 

Nevin Aladağ: Fanfare is at HENI Project Space, Hayward Gallery, 12 February – 13 April.

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Header image: Nevin Aladağ, Traces, 2015 (film still), courtesy the artist and Wentrup Berlin © Nevin Aladağ

 

Liz Johnson Artur on London Is Love

Liz Johnson Artur is an acclaimed photojournalist and photographer whose work has appeared in fashion magazines and been commissioned for record labels the world over. Johnson Artur’s work, which largely focuses on themes of self-presentation and issues of representation, has previously been exhibited in the Brooklyn Museum and David Nolan Gallery in New York, and The Photographers Gallery, London.

A resident of London for three decades, Johnson Artur has now turned her lens on her home city for a striking new commission which reveals the ordinary, vibrant and subtle nuances of South London life, highlighting family, friendship, love and vulnerability. London Is Love is to be displayed on a large scale across our Royal Festival Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall this December, and before it opened, we caught up with the photographer to get her view on the city and its people.

What was it that first got you interested in photography? 

I got hooked on photography when a friend introduced me to the darkroom; discovering that I could print my own photographs. This is something which is still very important in my work.

 

Are there any particular stand out moments for you from your career to date?

I remember cycling over Battersea Bridge; a car passed me and the man sitting next to the driver leaned out of the window and shouted 'Hey! Picture Lady!' It was a proud moment for me.

 

Tia from Ebony Horse Club. 'London Is Love', photographed by Liz Johnson Artur and commissioned by Southbank Centre

What did this particular project, London Is Love, mean to you?

London Is Love gave me a great opportunity to represent what I love most about the city – 'people'. Whether it's my friends, neighbours, my favourite book shop, or kids riding horses in Brixton. I also love London parks and it was wonderful to meet some of the people who look after them because they love them. Everyone I met and photographed has strengthened my belief that the best thing in London is it’s people.

 

You’ve photographed South London in particular throughout your career, what has continued to draw you to the area?

It is people that draw me to any place. South London is full of choice, it has been my base for nearly 30 years and it covers everything, from good to bad. But it also feels like a warm place, I like my neighbours.

 

South London is full of choice; it covers everything from good to bad, but it also feels like a warm place.
Liz Johnson Artur

 

You worked closely with the people and communities you photographed, and the works displayed have been chosen by you and the groups together. What was that curation process like for you?

It was a joint effort to find people and also to choose which photographs to show. I am used to working on my own and also choosing the pictures, doing it with everyone involved was, I think, very good and also important.

 

George, Effra Hall Tavern. 'London Is Love', photographed by Liz Johnson Artur and commissioned by Southbank Centre

London Is Love will be displayed in large scale dynamic display all across our site. Did the scale and public nature of the exhibition inform your work at all?

I took the photographs in the way I always work; how the photographs will be displayed, is of no consideration for me at that point. The moment I take someone’s photograph is an intimate moment, it’s the only way I can take photographs. How it will look when displayed? I’ll have to wait and see, I can’t really imagine it.

 

Is there anything you would particularly like viewers to take from London Is Love?

It shows people from South London – different ages, different backgrounds, different talents and all genders. They also represent London as a whole, and it is the best thing London has to offer.

 


 

London Is Love can be seen across Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall from 6 December until 5 January

find out more

Throughout December we've a host of diverse, free events here at Southbank Centre to help you feel festive. Whether you fancy celebrating the season at Caribbean Christmas or with Drag Syndrome, heel-stomping at our Legends and Legacies Ball, or laughing along to The LOL Word's Christmas LOLS. From live music and choirs to jumping and jiving or an afternoon of queer tango, we'll help you get in the holiday spirit this winter.

find out more

 

John Fleetwood on the work of Thabiso Sekgala

Tarini Malik, Assistant Curator at Hayward Gallery, discusses the work of the late South African photographer Thabiso Sekgala with photography curator and educator John Fleetwood, Director of Johannesburg’s Market Photo Workshop between 2002 and 2015. 

Tarini Malik: Thabiso Sekgala was a student at the Market Photo Workshop from 2007 to 2008, during your tenure there as director. Could you briefly introduce the organisation and its role in contemporary African photography? 

John Fleetwood: The Market Photo Workshop is a school for photography, as well as a gallery and project space. The photographer David Goldblatt established the Workshop in 1989, and since then it has played a critical role in creating opportunities for young photographers. Over the years, it has created a community of practitioners inspired by the possibilities of photography and the role that it can play in our conflicted and constantly changing societies. I was the director of the Market Photo Workshop between 2002 and 2015. During this time, there were a number of photographers whose work started to define itself in relation to ‘post’-Apartheid. These photographers were interested in identity politics and were moving away from the ‘struggle’ photography that had defined documentary practice before then, but were still very much engaged in critical social issues. 

 

What were your first impressions of Thabiso as a photographer, and how did he come to study at the Market Photo Workshop?

There was something about Thabiso that immediately commanded attention. As a 26-year-old student, he was a bit older than the rest of his class. Perhaps it was this maturity that made him a particularly attentive student – although I suspect his thoughtfulness actually came from long before then. His work dealt with issues that he thought about a lot – things that had directly affected him when he was growing up. Before starting at the Market Photo Workshop, Thabiso had worked in a fast food outlet, and he continued to work there part-time during his studies in order to make ends meet. He completed his Foundation and Intermediate Courses at the Workshop, but didn’t continue with an advanced course. Instead, he joined the ‘Borders’ Masterclass in 2009, one of the Workshop’s public programmes that questioned parallel and divergent political and social boundaries in South Africa. In 2011, he was awarded the prestigious Tierney Fellowship, and was mentored by the photographer Mikhael Subotzky. 

 

When Thabiso spoke about his work and his development as an artist, he often referred to his peer group from the Market Photo Workshop. What was Thabiso’s relationship with his peers, and what made his work distinct? 

The Photo Workshop had small courses; a maximum of 12 students per class. The intimate size of these classes built strong bonds between the students – vulnerabilities and strengths, and internal and social struggles were all exposed. 

Around that time, documentary photography was shifting fast to look at the self, rather than at others. For Thabiso, this meant that he wanted to speak about growing up in-between KwaNdebele, one of South Africa’s homelands, and Johannesburg. He would regularly travel to stay with his grandmother and then with his mother, the one to the other, from the city to the rural. He often spoke about this sense of in-betweenness, ‘this place of being in one and thinking about the other’. His practice was informed by this, as well as by his street conversations with people who had real stories to tell, and by his street smarts. More than anything, he was a great listener, and his experiences allowed him to find empathy and engagement. The people he photographed felt they could speak to him as a person, not just as a photographer. 

 

More than anything, he was a great listener, and his experiences allowed him to find empathy and engagement. The people he photographed felt they could speak to him as a person, not just as a photographer.
John Fleetwood

Thabiso used square-framed medium format film for his photographs. How did he settle on this approach? 

Even though the majority of the syllabus was in digital photography, many young photographers at the time chose to work with film. It became a trend. I don’t know why. Certainly, it was not my plan! As the Director of the school, I wanted photographers to play with new technology. I think it had something to do with the ritual of it – working with film meant that you had to prepare more for what you were planning to do. For Thabiso, I think it also had to do with the fact that this type of camera did not get in the way of or dictate the conversations he had with these young people, waiting for taxis in wide open landscapes.

 

Here Is Elsewhere includes a large body of work from Homeland, an early series that Thabiso completed at the Market Photo Workshop in 2011, a few years after he graduated. What was it like to see this work in development?

Thabiso always made photography look easy. I remember a time when the series was nearing completion and the exhibition was coming up, but he needed some more pictures to tie it all together. We discussed the need to show another aspect, another dimension, and considered how the manifestation of bureaucracy could add to the series. Thabiso came back the following week with dozens of new images that suddenly made our job of editing even harder. Not only did he manage to get into the most obscure places, but his images were informed by incredible conversations.

 

Homeland, Road divide Guateng and Northwest province, Hamaskraal, former Bophuthatswana (2011) Thabiso Sekgala. Courtesy of the artist and Goodman Gallery

 

The photographs in the exhibition Here Is Elswhere were taken in the South African homelands as well as in Berlin, Amman and Bulawayo, but there seems to be an uncanny sensibility that ties all of these images together, or at least points to shared experience. 

For me, Thabiso’s work is characterised by tenderness – towards people, places and even objects. This tenderness stands in stark contrast to the harshness of the world. Away from the mega-narrative of structures and strictures, what strikes me is his ability to communicate with individuals about everyday hopes, without ignoring the fact that photography writes and makes history.

 

Lastly, what do you think Thabiso’s legacy will be?

Photographers carry many stories. It can become very heavy. They deal with vulnerability, and all of those big things that young people constantly have to negotiate – love, independence, material conditions, prejudice. Perhaps Thabiso's legacy is that we are more aware that it’s not just about the photographs but about what happens around the camera. I think Thabiso’s work also shows us that you can look at things that appear to be simple, in order to understand more complex things.

John Fleetwood (b. 1970, South Africa) is a photography curator, educator and director of Photo:, a platform that develops and promotes photography projects and photographers. As a curator and educator he is interested in the developing modes of documentary photography, questions of representation and positionality, and visual cultures.

 

Thabiso Sekgala: Here Is Elsewhere was at Hayward Gallery’s HENI Project Space, 8 August – 6 October, 2019

From internationally acclaimed artists at Hayward Gallery, to pop-up installations, showcases and immersive experiences, an engaging and inspiring array of art and exhibitions can be found across Southbank Centre.

current & upcoming exhibitions

 

Main image: Homeland, Nklele Machika or Mary Koketse, Sehoko, former Bophuthatswana (2010) Thabiso Sekgala. Image courtesy of the artist and Goodman Gallery

 

Boy stepping off the curb, N.Y.C. 1957–58, by Diane Arbus

Diane Arbus | Boy stepping off the curb | Works in Focus

Jeff L. Rosenheim, Curator in Charge of the Department of Photographs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and curator of Hayward Gallery’s diane arbus: in the beginning introduces us to one of the photographs in the exhibition.

According to Rosenheim, Boy stepping off the curb, N.Y.C. 1957–58 shows how Arbus’ approach to documentary photography differed to that of her peers. Rather than act as a ‘fly on the wall’, Arbus used her camera as a way to connect with her subjects.

Arbus wanted to be seen, she wanted to be implicated in her work.
Jeff L. Rosenheim

 

This exhibition is organised by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.


 

diane arbus: in the beginning was at Hayward Gallery from 13 February until 6 May.

From internationally acclaimed artists at Hayward Gallery, to pop-up installations, showcases and immersive experiences. Engaging and inspiring art and exhibitions can be found across Southbank Centre.

current & upcoming exhibitions

 

Lady on a bus, N.Y.C. 1957, by Diane Arbus

Diane Arbus | Lady on a bus | Works in Focus

Jeff L. Rosenheim, Curator in Charge of the Department of Photographs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and curator of Hayward Gallery’s diane arbus: in the beginning gives a short introduction to Arbus’ photograph, Lady on a bus, N.Y.C. 1957. 

They’re having a non-verbal dialogue. It’s very strong. It’s very much about generational communication.
Jeff L. Rosenheim

 

This exhibition is organised by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.


 

diane arbus: in the beginning was at Hayward Gallery from 13 February until 6 May.

From internationally acclaimed artists at Hayward Gallery, to pop-up installations, showcases and immersive experiences. Engaging and inspiring art and exhibitions can be found across Southbank Centre.

current & upcoming exhibitions

 

Jack Dracula at a bar, New London, Conn. 1961, by Diane Arbus

Diane Arbus | Jack Dracula at a bar | Works in Focus

Jeff L. Rosenheim, Curator in Charge of the Department of Photographs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and curator of Hayward Gallery’s diane arbus: in the beginning, gives a short introduction to Arbus’ photograph Jack Dracula at a bar, New London, Conn. 1961.  

It’s like a Rembrandt to me, it feels timeless.
Jeff L. Rosenheim

 

This exhibition is organised by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.


 

diane arbus: in the beginning was at Hayward Gallery from 13 February until 6 May.

From internationally acclaimed artists at Hayward Gallery, to pop-up installations, showcases and immersive experiences. Engaging and inspiring art and exhibitions can be found across Southbank Centre.

current & upcoming exhibitions

Inspired by Arbus: celebrating emerging photographers

The early photographs of Diane Arbus – currently on display at Hayward Gallery (diane arbus: in the beginning) – are among the most intimate, surprising and haunting works of art of the twentieth century. Working almost exclusively in New York City, Arbus captured the spirit of post-war American society and her work inspired a generation of photographers.

Inspired by the spirit and themes of Arbus, we partnered with University of the Arts London – currently ranked number two in the world for Art and Design in the QS World University Rankings by Subject – to invite emerging photographers to share their own work which they felt best captured the zeitgeist of London and its population in our post-Trump/post-Brexit society.

From the many entrants, the following six winners were selected.

A portrait of photographer Carlos Alba
@carlosalbaphoto

Carlos Alba

MA Photography
London College of Communication

Carlo’s portraits explore the idea that change is inevitable. “I am questioning the idea of ‘Home’ and how its meaning can change depending on the societies we live in and our personalities.”

William Allen; UAL student and photographer who took part in Southbank Centre's Inspired by Arbus competition
@williamalln

William Allen

Design for Art Direction
London College of Communication

William’s work focuses on the people of London, their activities, attitudes and interaction with the surrounding city. “To some the idea of the day to day seems quite banal, but in such a major metropole, it is never banal.”

Theresa Maria Forthaus; UAL student and photographer who took part in Southbank Centre's Inspired by Arbus competition
@theresa_maria_forthaus

Theresa Maria Forthaus

BA Photography
London College of Communication

Taken on the streets of Southwark, Theresa’s photography is inspired by Arbus’ view for absurdity. “The continuous shift between light and shadow can serve as a symbol for the ups and downs we experience in the socio-political context of today.”

Cocoa Laney a UAL student and photographer who took part in Southbank Centre's Inspired by Arbus competition
@cocoalaney

Cocoa Laney

MA Photojournalism & Documentary Photography
London College of Communication

For her study Cocoa asked guests at a budget hotel near Victoria Station for their portrait. “Hotels are in-between spaces, caught between the public and private. I found that it is in these spaces that people let down their guard.”

Richard Maidment; UAL student and photographer who took part in Southbank Centre's Inspired by Arbus competition
@richardmaidment

Richard Maidment

Fashion Photography
London College of Fashion

Richard cites Diane Arbus as a huge influence on him and his studies. “Her ability to capture the true essence of a person with a beautiful uneasy feeling flowing through her work."

A portrait of the photographer Errin Yesilkaya
@errinyesilkaya

Errin Yesilkaya

BA Photography
London College of Communication

Errin’s submissions were taken on the busy streets of Peckham where he lives. “I always want to photograph everyone I see, the backdrop makes everyone here seem like such characters.”

the photographs

View an image from each of the photographers' submissions below.

 

Carlos Alba's submission for 'Inspired by Arbus' photography competition run by Southbank Centre with UAL. The photograph depicts two teenage women on a bicycle in a park.
Carlos Alba
Student of MA Photography at London College of Communication
Carlos Alba's submission for 'Inspired by Arbus' photography competition run by Southbank Centre with UAL. The photograph depicts two teenage women on a bicycle in a park.

Carlos Alba

Carlos Alba
“As part of a society, we should encounter the potential problems that change can result in and defy them. Change should be seen as an opportunity to grow, not only collectively but as an individual. I believe that objects, artefacts and archive can be used as a tool to address changes and, in particular, integration – making the whole process a positive experience. In my work I am examining the question of how the conscious act of walking can contribute to the discussion of borders as spaces rather than places. I am LAO questioning the idea of ‘home’ and how this meaning can change depending on the societies that we live and our personalities.”
Photograph submitted by William Allen for 'Inspired by Arbus' photography competition run by Southbank Centre with UAL. Photograph depicts two men in traditional Scottish dress, standing on a London bridge.
William Allen
Student of Design for Art Direction at London College of Communication
Photograph submitted by William Allen for 'Inspired by Arbus' photography competition run by Southbank Centre with UAL. Photograph depicts two men in traditional Scottish dress, standing on a London bridge.

William Allen

William Allen
“The main idea behind my work is to capture the purity that is present in the day to day. To some people the idea of the day to day seems quite banal, but being in London which is such a major metropole of the world, the day to day is never banal. My main focus is the people of London, their activities, attitudes and their interaction with the spaces that surround them. Although I am looking to move into street portraiture of the subjects I cross, my main focus has been on street photography.”
Photograph submitted by Theresa Maria Forthaus for the 'Inspired by Arbus' photography competition run by Southbank Centre with UAL. Photograph depicts two young boys standing in a crowd, in Southwark, South London.
Theresa Maria Forthaus
Student of BA Photography at London College of Communication
Photograph submitted by Theresa Maria Forthaus for the 'Inspired by Arbus' photography competition run by Southbank Centre with UAL. Photograph depicts two young boys standing in a crowd, in Southwark, South London.

Theresa Maria Forthaus

Theresa Maria Forthaus
“Inspired by Diane Arbus and her view for absurdity, my series captures moments and details on the streets of my neighbourhood in Southwark. For me, the continuous shift between light and shadow can serve as a symbol for the ups and downs we experience in the socio-political context of today. It also draws attention to the importance of the cohesion between cross different generations.”
Photograph submitted by Cocoa Laney for the 'Inspired by Arbus' photography competition run by Southbank Centre with UAL. The photo depicts a young woman in a bedroom in a budget hotel by London's Victoria Station
Cocoa Laney
Student of MA Photojournalism & Documentary Photography at London College of Communication
Photograph submitted by Cocoa Laney for the 'Inspired by Arbus' photography competition run by Southbank Centre with UAL. The photo depicts a young woman in a bedroom in a budget hotel by London's Victoria Station

Cocoa Laney

Cocoa Laney
“These images were taken during a night's stay at a budget hotel by Victoria Station, where I asked various guests for their portraits as they entered and exited their rooms. Hotels are in-between spaces, caught somewhere between the public and private, and I found that it is in these spaces that people let down their guards. This city can be isolating, especially for newcomers like me, but for one surreal night London's transitory nature facilitated the making of new connections. We exchanged stories and continued our journeys the next day.”
Richard Maidment
Student of Fashion Photography at London College of Fashion

Richard Maidment

Richard Maidment
“My passion lies in seeking out and photographing interesting people and unique moments taking place in everyday life. I try to capture the emotion and individual personalities of my subjects in a natural and candid way. Throughout my studies Diane Arbus was a huge influence on me, with her ability to capture the true essence of a person with a beautiful uneasy feeling flowing through her work.”
Photograph submitted by Errin Yesilkaya for the 'Inspired by Arbus' photography competition run by Southbank Centre with UAL. Photograph depicts a smartly dressed man standing outside a shop in Peckham, South London
Errin Yesilkaya
Student of BA Photography at London College of Communication
Photograph submitted by Errin Yesilkaya for the 'Inspired by Arbus' photography competition run by Southbank Centre with UAL. Photograph depicts a smartly dressed man standing outside a shop in Peckham, South London

Errin Yesilkaya

Errin Yesilkaya
“Living in Peckham I always wanted to photograph everyone I saw. I think it’s the backdrop that makes everyone there seem like such characters. It’s such a busy and chaotic place, so for me, taking a photo and, even for that brief minute, getting to share the space and time with the person I’m photographing seems to block out all that’s going on around us.”

 

Each of these six photographers will be featured on Hayward Gallery’s Instagram channel during diane arbus: in the beginning, and a selection of their work will be displayed on digital screens across Southbank Centre.

 

diane arbus: in the beginning at Hayward Gallery runs 13 February – 6 May 2019

book tickets   find out more

 

Diane Arbus: An interview with Jeff L. Rosenheim and Karan Rinaldo

Katie Guggenheim, Hayward Gallery assistant curator, discusses Arbus’ early photographs with Jeff L. Rosenheim, the curator of diane arbus: in the beginning and Karan Rinaldo, Collections Specialist, Photographs, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. 

Katie Guggenheim: Jeff, you have curated this exhibition. What can we expect to see?

Jeff L. Rosenheim: Most people know Diane Arbus from her late work, but this exhibition looks at her beginnings. In this exhibition we can see a great artist at work – one of the most provocative picture makers of the period in any medium – and we can see how she started out. It’s extraordinary to see how mature Arbus was when she picked up a camera aged 33 and hit the streets of the city looking for signs of life. She was looking at the world in a pretty special way, and she asked questions that other artists didn’t. Some of those questions were existential: ‘Who am I and how do I become the person I want to be?’ Arbus used photography to explore those questions and she sought out people that she could share that experience with. It is those relationships that are in the pictures. 

 

Karan, you have done a lot of research into the locations and people that Arbus photographed. What are some of the subjects that we can see in these early pictures?

Karan Rinaldo: Arbus spent a lot of time on the streets of New York photographing people: children and women in particular and street characters like the street preacher who features in one of the photographs (Man yelling in Times Square, N.Y.C. 1958). As she found her way and her confidence as an independent photographer she went into different spaces and pursued different ideas. She spent time at Hubert’s Museum in Times Square and at Coney Island, and then she went further into private spaces, such as people’s homes. She photographed inside movie houses, which was not a common practice.

 

When Arbus was making these photographs in the late 1950s and early 1960s what set her apart from her contemporaries?

JR: What distinguishes Arbus’ photographs is not her subject matter, although most people think it is. What most distinguishes it and what makes it so powerful and poignant and emotional is how she worked with the camera – she allowed herself to be implicated in the process. 

Most photographers of her generation and the generation before her – people like Paul Strand,  Walker Evans and Robert Frank (who was a peer) – were very careful to not have any direct interactions with their subjects. Helen Levitt also made pictures on the street but she followed the Henri Cartier-Bresson mode of photography: get in, get out quickly, don’t get hurt. Arbus wanted to get hurt. She wanted that confrontation. 

Arbus was not just an observer, she was an active participant with the subjects in the making of the picture. I believe that as often as she chose her subjects, they chose her and that, psychologically, is extremely interesting. She was patient in a way that almost all of those other photographers were not. For Arbus the experience of engaging with her subjects was what she was looking for. She was not trying to steal a picture. She wanted everyone to know what she was doing. 

 

How and in what ways did she engage with her subjects?

KR: Arbus used the camera as a tool to interact with people. She was interested in engaging them beyond what happened inside the camera. 

JR: She would meet someone in a cafe and make a picture and then the next thing you know is that they are sitting together in an apartment and there is a picture of them there. Arbus is one of the only photographers of her generation who photographed the same individual over a decade-long period.

Photography is a recording medium and a visual art but most often, at least in street photography, it is used as a one-time interaction with a subject. Arbus slows time down and it’s a fascinating thing. I think her photographs make us question what the rules of engagement are and what the camera is for. The other photographers of her generation were making some similar observations but they were hiding – she always accepted the consequences of her actions.

 

Arbus used the camera as a tool to interact with people. She was interested in engaging them beyond what happened inside the camera.
Karan Rinaldo, Collections Specialist, Photographs, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

There are several striking examples of people engaging in direct eye contact with Arbus in this exhibition. I’m thinking particularly of the picture of the boy in the crowd. Could you tell us about that photograph?

JR: It’s a picture of a young boy who is rising above people who are seated (Boy above a crowd, N.Y.C. 1957) – that to me suggests that he chose to separate himself from his surroundings and engage with Arbus who was also choosing to separate herself from her crowd, if you will. There is an exchange there. Karan did some great research as to what that event was. 

KR: We know from adjacent frames on the roll of film – where there is another boy holding a pamphlet that says ‘I am American Day’ – that it was a celebration of new US citizens, which is pretty cool, especially in light of our current political climate.  

JR: This picture is about someone whose status is undergoing transformation. It’s a group ceremony to celebrate a new identity. Arbus’ work has always appealed to young people and people who are transforming themselves in different ways through their bodies, their social and sexual preferences, or how they dress. Arbus honours individuals who are in the process of self-transformation. 

KR: Another interesting example is Lady on a bus, N.Y.C. 1957. There’s so much going on there. Photographer and subject are definitely engaging, there is eye contact: an interaction that is undeniable but it’s a bus, it’s probably moving and it’s not crowded: there’s no escaping Arbus here and this woman gives it back, she’s right there with her.

JR: That directional gaze is pretty aggressive. 

 

Arbus honours individuals who are in the process of self-transformation.
Jeff L. Rosenheim, curator of diane arbus: in the beginning

Arbus is best known for her large square format photographs but almost all the photographs in this exhibition were shot on 35mm. Why did Arbus change formats and what was she trying to achieve?

JR: With 35mm you have to put the camera to your eye and it blocks your face and your expression from your subject. It doesn’t block them from you it blocks you from them: the picture-maker from the subject-person. The larger format Rolleiflex was a camera that you look down into, you don’t put it to your eye – so her expression was never really hidden from her subjects. That seemed to be important to her. 

 

Why do you think that Arbus’ work has been so important for people working with moving image?

JR: Filmmaking is a kind of storytelling – there is a narrative, a constructed relationship created by the cinematographer, the director and the actors. Many of Arbus’ subjects are performers and those who are not performers by training are in a kind of drama with her. She is interested in telling stories that are, at times, quite mythological or existential. She’s interested in identity and how you create a character is a question that every filmmaker has to solve. Arbus answers that question over and over in a very poetic way.

 

The small scale of these photographs is quite striking. I think we’ve become much more used to artists working in larger formats.

JR: Yes – one of the distinguishing things about this show is that most of the pictures are no larger than 6 by 9 inches. Artists today are making works that are cinematic in scope, that occupy space in a different physical way. Sadly, we’ve lost intimacy in the art world.

 

This image and main: Installation view of diane arbus: in the beginning at Hayward Gallery, 2019. Photo: Mark Blower

Could you tell me about the ideas behind the design of the exhibition?

JR: We take great pride in the design of this exhibition, which uses individual walls for each work. One of the things that this does is make these small pictures seem very large, and the connection with those subjects also becomes very large and respectful.

As a result of this exhibition design there is no particular sequence or prescribed route that the visitor makes through the show. It’s open ended. You get to choose your own path and the decisions you make implicate you. The curator does not define your experience, you do. Each visitor has to make their own decisions. Psychologically that puts the viewer beside Arbus, choosing and interacting with her subjects on a one to one basis. It’s a powerful design. With most exhibitions the curator pulls the visitor through the show by an invisible string and you’re supposed to see each work in an order defined by the exhibition design. This show does the opposite. It is daunting and you might not see every picture but that’s ok. It is a very liberating thing. 

 

Were most of the photographs in this exhibition printed by Arbus?

JR: Yes. All of the prints in the main body of the show were printed by Arbus. There is a separate gallery that presents her portfolio A box of ten photographs – those prints are posthumous prints made by one of her students, Neil Selkirk, and they are on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum here in London. All of the other pictures are on loan from American collectors and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Most are a gift or promised gift from the Estate of Diane Arbus – the artist’s two daughters – who chose the Met to be the repository for the life’s work of their mother. This is the first show drawn from the Diane Arbus Archive, which has been preserved and catalogued by Karan. The Archive is an amazing resource consisting of negatives, contact sheets, papers, the artist’s library and her collection of work by other artists. 

KR: The papers importantly include her notebooks and appointment books where she made notes on the people she met and on the places she was going. Her writing is terrific and insightful – really just amazing. Some of her words are peppered throughout this exhibition. It’s a wonderful thing to experience her words alongside these images.

 

What does this exhibition reveal about Arbus that will be new to audiences of her work?

JR: If you know Arbus’ photographs but you haven’t seen the early work then you don’t fully know Arbus’ remarkable achievement with the camera. With this exhibition we are adding many pictures to the canon. 

Arbus only worked for around fifteen years but more than half of all the known prints she made are from these first seven years. This work is so mature; all the themes and styles and methods and strategies were already in place. Most exhibitions have excluded these early photographs. The first retrospective of Arbus’ work in 1972 was at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and although the early photographs were included they were not published in the catalogue. In a certain sense that was volume two and we have finally created volume one. 

 

This exhibition is organised by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

 


 

diane arbus: in the beginning at Hayward Gallery ran from 13 February until 6 May 2019.

From internationally acclaimed artists at Hayward Gallery, to pop-up installations, showcases and immersive experiences. Engaging and inspiring art and exhibitions can be found across Southbank Centre.

current & upcoming exhibitions

 

Space Shifters: Your Instagram images from 'the most Instagrammable exhibition'

‘Is this the year’s most Instagrammable exhibition?’ asked Hettie Judah in her review of our new Hayward Gallery show, Space Shifters, for the i. Two weeks in, and with our Instagram notifications pinging away like an office microwave at lunchtime, there certainly seems to be a strong argument for answering Judah’s question in the affirmative.

Bringing together the work of 20 different artists, Space Shifters features innovative, minimalist sculpture from the 1960s, as well as recent works that extend the legacy of this ‘optical’ minimalism in different ways, and a number of commissions which have been made in response to the architecture of the Hayward Gallery. With many of the artworks constructed from translucent or reflective materials - enabling us to see our surroundings in new and unexpected ways - it’s not hard to see why so many people visiting the exhibition have been reaching for their smartphones to capture their experience.

So, instead of sharing more of our own images of this remarkable exhibition, we thought why not let you convey its appeal for us? Here, for your visual enjoyment, are some of our favourites from your Instagram images of Space Shifters so far.

 

Fred Eversley Untitled (Parabolic Lens) (1971)

The violet, amber and blue Untitled (Parabolic Lens) (1971) was made by Aerospace engineer turned artist, Eversley, using a repurposed turntable originally used by the American military.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by 〰 Silvia 〰 (@silvia.giu) on

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Danielle C (@dscseventytwo) on

 

Ann Veronica Janssens Magic Mirrors (Pink #2 and Blue) (2013-2017)

Janssens's Magic Mirrors (Pink #2 and Blue) consist of shattered panes of 'safety glass' held between sheets of intact glass. A filter between the panes allows light to pass through the panes selectively, with the result that the light they cast and the reflections on their surfaces are different to what we expect.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by @faspinos on

 

Anish Kapoor Sky Mirror, Blue (2016)

Situated on one of Hayward Gallery's outdoor sculpture terraces, this concave mirror achieves the contradictory feat of bringing the sky down to the ground.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Studio Luca Bombassei (@studio_luca_bombassei) on

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by @spacecat_0112 on

 

Monika Sosnowska Handrail (2016-18)

Sosnowska’s Handrail (2016–18) is first encountered by the visitor two-thirds of the way up Hayward Gallery’s back staircase, where it wraps itself, vine-like, around the existing rail before taking off across the gallery wall in an energetic dance.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by markus (@kussmark) on

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by 〰 Silvia 〰 (@silvia.giu) on

 

Richard Wilson 20:50 (1987)

For this installation, first presented in Matt’s Gallery, London, Wilson floods an entire room with used engine oil, leaving only a narrow passageway through the centre.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Tara (@tazanna) on

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Dean Johnson (@deanjohnson0308) on

 

Jeppe Hein 360° Illusion V (2018)

For 360° Illusion V (2018), Hein placed two large mirrored panels at right-angles to one another. As well as reflecting the surrounding environment, each mirror also reflects its twin.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by F•/L•\p (@the.f.name) on

 

Felix Gonzalez-Torres "Untitled" (Golden) (1995)

Exhibited floor-to-ceiling, Gonzalez-Torres’s "Untitled" (Golden) creates a shimmering threshold through which every visitor must pass.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Stuart Carter (@stu_pc) on

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by @faspinos on

 

Alicja Kwade WeltenLinie (2017)

In WeltenLinie, Kwade creates the impression of sudden and surprising material transformations through the use of double-sided mirrors and the careful placement of objects.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Karel (@karel.kies) on

 

Yayoi Kusama, Narcissus Garden (1966-2018)

First staged as a large-scale, unofficial intervention at the 1966 Venice Biennale, Narcissus Garden (1966–2018), consists of hundreds of stainless steel reflective orbs.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Studio Luca Bombassei (@studio_luca_bombassei) on

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Vasko Stefano (@vaskostefano) on

 

Space Shifters was at Hayward Gallery from 26 September ,2018 until 6 January, 2019. 

From internationally acclaimed artists at Hayward Gallery, to pop-up installations, showcases and immersive experiences, an engaging and inspiring array of art and exhibitions can be found across Southbank Centre.

current & upcoming exhibitions

 

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