For people working at the Yuri Gagarin Training Centre, a military complex where all cosmonauts have been trained since the 1960s, Gagarin remains a hero while space is the only reality they know, almost blending with the surreal machines they work with, they seem to be trapped in a window of time. In the shadow of faded dreams, thus sheds the light on a close-knit community of space-lovers, still clinging to the decaying legacy of the 1960s Space dream

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I must have been pretty desperate for distraction the day i went to see Island Stories: Fifty Years of Photography in Britain at the Victoria and Albert Museum. This Summer now seems like it was a long, relentless photo exhibition dedicated to London, England and/or Great Britain. I thought that even an anglophile like me wouldn’t stomach yet another exhibition celebrating the joys and wonder of the country. But Island Stories: Fifty Years of Photography in Britain is such a gem of a little show, i’m on my way to see it for the second time

The show is no postcard pictures party. It is less about the parks and monuments than it is about the Londoners. The photographs selected in the exhibition depict the social history of the city in black and white. I guess i’ll never cease to be amazed by the photos of Shoreditch before the hipsters and by the sartorial audacity of Londoners (though i can’t imagine anyone nowadays loitering around town with ‘Destroy London” written on the back of their leather jacket)

Sebastian Stumpf’s photo documentation of his performances in the ‘gaps’ of Tokyo architecture. The artist is literally filling in the hiatus in the dense architectural structure of the city, squeezing himself in the overlooked spaces between the buildings. The action makes us suddenly aware of this ‘urbanism interrupted’, and calls our attention to what is in-between, behind, or beyond

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Foto8 is my go-to gallery for documentary and photojournalism. Whatever they have up, i go and see it. Right now, the gallery is presenting the 159 photo works selected for its fifth annual Summershow. There are portraits of homeless people, of Palestinian girls dreaming of peace, documentation of the Libyan civil war, stories from some of the coldest parts of the globe, disorder in the streets of London. Mundane moments and dramas

The nine eyes are the cameras mounted on the pole on top of each vehicle that Google sent around the world 5 years ago. The technology of Google Street View has sparkled moments of deep humiliation, interest from the press photography community, privacy concerns and brilliant artistic reactions.

Jon Rafman was one of the first artists who spent hours looking at the images collected by the cars and searching not just for the amusing, the ridiculous and the fortuitous but for postcard perfect moments. And does he have an eye for stunning images…

Reframing Photography is a broad and inclusive rethinking of photography that will inspire students to think about the medium across time periods, across traditional themes, and through varied materials. Intended for both beginners and advanced students, and for art and non-art majors, and practicing artists, Reframing Photography compellingly represents four concerns common to all photographic practice: vision, light/shadow, reproductive processes, editing/ presentation/ evaluation

For some reason, London’s festival of photography is probably not getting all the attention it deserves. Hence this first hasty story to try and convince you to flock in droves to some of its exhibitions before they close. If i had to recommend just one venue it would be the Fitzrovia Community Centre. All the artists exhibited in the show are new to me and their work is of the ‘documentary and heavy in urgent-social-issues’ genre, just my kind of photo show!

object to paying £7.50 to see and exhibition which title starts with the name of a brand. I feel cheated when the show closes with a shop selling goods manufactured by the above-mentioned brand and i don’t look kindly to being forbidden to take pictures (which i do purely for documenting reason) because that would mean that i won’t shell more ££ to buy the booklet of the exhibition. That said, the photos selected and exhibited are so remarkable that i still feel like recommending that you go and see the World Photography Awards if you’re in London

The museum of photography in Antwerp has a number of fascinating show right now. One of them is an installation by Zoe Beloff that takes as its point of departure America’s longest running comic strip to explore the influence of cinema on the movement of the body and the mind.

Beloff’s exhibition contains a number of historical documents. Some of them show intriguing photos of sportsmen and factory workers in movement. They are called chronocyclegraphs. I had never heard of the chronocyclegraph before…

Two photo series that made me smile at the Biennale of Photography in Liege… Jean-Claude Delalande creates bitter family albums in which the protagonists never look at each other, perform the most mundane tasks, go on holiday with the same torpor that’d show on a supermarket trip, and lead a joyless family life. Meanwhile, Miyoko Ihara follows the relationship between her 85 year old grandmother and her cat, Fukumaru

You might never have heard of Abkhazia and that’s probably because only a handful of countries regard it as an independent state.

Abkhazia broke away from Georgia after a short, violent civil war in ’92-’93 and only Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua and the atoll of Nauru recognised it as independent state in 2008.

The artists spent four years witnessing and documenting the country’s attempts to repopulate with new immigrants a country that is ravaged by the war, almost empty and in great economic distress

The collaboration between artist Ania Dabrowska and social scientist Dr Bronwyn Parry gives a visibility to the medical research on dementia. The photos demystifies what happens behind the doors of brain bank laboratories, and in so doing actively seeks to rehabilitate, even celebrate, the practice of bodily donation in the public imagination

Last week i found myself in Liverpool to see the exhibition Robots and Avatars, conceived by body>data>space at FACT. Proper report will appear next week. In the meantime i felt like singing the praise of Liverpool. I love that city. I love people’s accent, the architecture, the magnificent Aloha shirt i bought for peanuts in a vintage shop but most of all i love their art galleries

A few months ago, I read there was an exhibition of photos by McCullin at Tate Britain. I thought “That one can wait, it’s going to for ages and everybody knows the work of the award-winning war photographer anyway.” That was very presumptuous of me. I finally went to see the show and it is now clear that i had underestimated the impact his images would have on me. Especially his portrayal of the homeless living around London from the late 1960s to the ’80s

The work of 31 photographers are part of the show. You can never go wrong with the likes of Diane Arbus, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Lee Friedlander, Martin Parr, Thomas Struth Tobias Zielony, Thomas Demand, Andreas Gursky, Thomas Ruff, Wolfgang Tillmans and Jeff Wall. Most of the works exhibited are jaw-dropping. However, i now have the feeling that i have seen this kind of exhibition one time too many

The Nigerian photographer is one of those rare photo-reporters whose work is shown in newspapers as well as in art galleries around the world (you can check his photos right now in the Oil Show at HMKV in Dortmund). He was in London to discuss the Oil Rich Niger Delta series and his new book Delta Nigeria – The Rape of Paradise on the oil exploitation in the Delta region of his country

Pippin’s relentless investigation of the medium of photography is quite brilliant. There’s the camera that photographs its own death of course but the artist also spent years turning mundane objects (a refrigerator, bath tub, wardrobe, etc.) into pinhole cameras. He even spent a 55 minute train journey transforming the train lavatory into a photographic studio. Even more amusingly, he converted a row of 12 front-loading washing machines in a laundromat into as many cameras

As surprising as it may appear, Scarlett Hooft Graafland takes analogue photographs, prints them straight from the negative and never uses Photoshop. The artist is fascinated by remote, unusual and sometimes even inhospitable locations. She went to Salar de Uyunu in the Bolivian Andes, the largest salt desert, she travelled with the Inuit across the sea ice of Igloolik on the Arctic plains of northern Canada, moved around Southern China and the lava fields of Iceland

In his b&w series Demonstrations, Caleb Charland used everyday objects to explore the laws and wonders of physics. The wonderful images are the only traces left of the many exposures, the long trials and errors the artist had to go through before he managed to make the perfect portrait of a physical phenomenon. The admiration for his tenacity and curiosity increases tenfold when you remember that we live in the age of photoshop

It’s Photomonth in East London and i’ll be running around the area this week to catch up with as many shows as possible. My two favourite exhibitions so far are as different from each other as possible.

The first one was at Amnesty International UK’s Human Rights Action Centre. It’s a rather small event, only 5 to 6 photos from the three shortlisted entries in the Photojournalism category at the Amnesty International Media Awards

Keith Arnatt was English but moved to Wales in 1969 and wikipedia doesn’t do justice to his life and talent by reducing them to a scandalously short entry. Arnatt was photographing dog poo decades before Andres Serrano thought it would be worth a look, found photo material in trash, campy tourists and notes abandoned by his wife. Everything he shot was witty and never sarcastic

If you find yourself in Amsterdam too, don’t miss Battered at Melkweg’s photo gallery. For obvious reason, the exhibition has the support of the Finnish Institute of Culture rather than the Finnish board of tourism. The photo series by Harri Pälviranta shows men (and a few women too) in the middle of or after a physical fight in the streets of Turku. The powerful flash leaves nothing to imagination. It’s bloody, messy, a few teeth have probably been lost and the subjects will wake up the day after with ecchymosis all over their face

One of the photos that Catherine Hyland was exhibiting at the graduation show is part of the Wonderland series which documents what is left of an amusement park conceived in 1998 to become the largest of its kind in Asia but left to decay after funding was cut. The other two photos are equally fascinating: one evoke the manufactured landscape of Edward Burtynsky, the other brings you to a much quieter yet somehow uncanny universe

Sorry for being so silent over the past few days. A combination of medicine-proof flu and weak wifi at the hotel have thrown me into the arms of Jo Nesbo again and i’ve only emerged from this lethargy now. So here’s a last and light post about the ongoing London Street Photography Festival where i discovered Anahita Avalos’s tableaux of everyday life in Villahermosa, Mexico

French nanny Vivian Maier relentlessly photographed New York and Chicago. She didn’t show her work to anyone, died in poverty, and left behind 100,000 negatives. Her work was discovered when a young estate agent bought the content of her storage locker. Now, with some 90% of the archive reconstructed, Maier’s work is part of a renaissance in interest in street photography

Watching rows of small portraits on a beige background might not be your idea of an exciting afternoon but Taryn Simon’s body of work provides strong narratives that immerse visitors into the story of feuding families in Brazil, a polygamous Kenyan healer living with his nine wives and 32 children, victims of genocide in Bosnia, South Koreans abducted by North Korean agents, the body double of Saddam Hussein’s son Uday, children living in an orphanage in Ukraine, and the reviled descents of 24 European rabbits in Australia

An exhibition at the German Historical Museum in Berlin marks the 50th anniversary of start of the construction of the Wall. Thomas Hoepker’s work is particularly striking. Hoepker was the first West German photographer to receive an official authorization to live and report from East Berlin when the city was still divided by a wall. He was followed by the constant gaze of East Germany’s secret police but his worked was uncensored