From the Arctic to the Rio Grande

I’ve visited 5 photo exhibitions all over London yesterday. Here’s a few words about the ones i found most interesting. Starting with ‘Last Days of the Arctic’…

0Dog_CNT_09Jan11_pr_b.jpgDog on a Chain, Sermiliqaq, East Greenland, 1997

0Horns_CNT_09Jan11_pr_b.jpgHorns, Uummannaq, West Greenland, 1998

0Man-with-puppy_CNT_09Jan11_pr_b.jpgLittle Bent with puppy, Kap Hope (Itterajivit), East Greenland 1995

0Icebergs_CNT_09Jan11_pr_b.jpg16 Icebergs, Ilulissat, West Greenland 2002

0Storm_CNT_09Jan11_pr_b.jpgGlacial Storm, Ittoqqortoormiit, East Greenland 1998

0Dog-in-a-windowb.jpgDog in a window, Sermiliqaq, East Greenland 1997

The exhibition on view at Proud portrays a disappearing landscape and the Inuit people who inhabit it. Because much has changed since Ragnar Axelsson‘s first visit to Greenland’s remote regions 35 years ago, the photos capture what might be the last moments of an ancient culture that has contributed the least to cause climate change and yet is the one suffering the most visibly and acutely from its effects.

0o8philwoldf84upload.jpgZed Nelson, Phil Wolf, used-car dealer and member of the ‘birther movement’. Wheat Ridge, Colorado

Next in line is not an exhibition but a magazine i picked up while visiting a rather disappointing photo show. Vignette is a free paper magazine you can grab in various bookshops and art galleries across the UK. I’ve seen many photo magazine but Vignette is The One for me. It’s a broadsheet without any glossy page you might spoil with greasy fingers, but each issue is so beautifully and simply designed that you’d want to hold on to it. Vignette contains the usual: information about photo book, photo products, exhibitions, list of events, spotlight on online resources for photo enthusiasts, list of competitions and other opportunities, etc. Each issue has a theme and the current one, the “travel Issue”, presents a couple of photo essays, the most striking is probably Right Wing Along the Rio Grande – a journey along the Rio Grande River through four states of America, reflecting on the American Right TEA Party movement.

Zed Nelson followed the flow of the river through three states two years after the election of America’s first black president. On the way, he met people who claim that Obama is ‘a radical Muslim’, are afraid of ‘Marxism’ and believe that fences and guns are the best way to deal with illegal immigration.

0o5maigrelet11.jpgGeorge Sprankle. ‘Minutemen’, border ‘vigilante. Hereford, Colorado

0oi2ladygun11.jpgBabbi Girl. TEA Party member. Hereford, Colorado

0o1geant03.jpgMobile home RV dealership

0ofencesolda22.jpgThe border fence between USA and Mexico, patrolled by the US Border Patrol agent David Hurtado. Nogales, Texas

0o4lafence14.jpgBorder fence between USA and Mexico. Arizona

0aaexplosig8938.jpgThe White Sands missile range. The site of the world’s first atomic bomb explosion

The second exhibition i should mention is the solo show of Hisaji Hara at Michael Hoppen Gallery. Hisaji Hara used his camera and a few delicate Japanese schoolgirls to recreate paintings by Balthus (1908-2001). Hara creates his images through multiple exposures, all done in-camera without computer manipulation, which coupled with the use of smoke machines and cinematic lighting lends them a wistful, timeless quality akin to the paintings he has referenced.

0hisaji-hara-001.jpgHisaji Hara, A Study of ‘The Salon’, 2009 (the painting)

0-Study-of-The-Happy-Days-007.jpgA Study of ‘The Happy Days’, 2009 (the painting)

Last Days of the Arctic remains open at Proud til 11th March, 2012.
Hisaji Hara is at the Michael Hoppen gallery until 31st March, 2012.