PHMuseum 2018 Grant
£15,000 in cash prizes and a solo show at Cortona On The Move. Learn more and apply.Extended deadline: 28 February
There is something particularly interesting in documentary photographers, and it is the relationship they create with traditions. While the passage of time and advancement in technologies compel authors to reinvent themselves – to use new devices and to try to highlight their photographs among the millions of images circulating – in parallel there is a very traditionalist trait that reproduces certain practices of many documentarians of the twentieth century.
To photograph the reality that surrounds us is something that sooner or later every documentarist performs in his or her career. When that happens, the spectators end up being luxury guests of a generally transcendental event in the life of the author, even though this simply represents the everyday life of that photographer who produces these photos. A catharsis or a respite from the reality that they are living.
As if they were the antithesis of those authors who cross the planet to document a catastrophe or a drama, these photographers decide to look around to tell a story. The two sides of the same coin: of the same conviction and vocation. All the authors exposed in this cycle have found their projects in an almost accidental way, without looking for them but as if they knew that they were going to find them.
Thus, in this exhibition we find different tones of those stories. Some are brighter, such as that of Nicolas Wormull, who one day found himself photographing his children as he was raising them while his wife was working. Others find light in the beauty and end-of-life pain, like Sarker Protick, who captured with his camera the aging of his parents and the deterioration caused by illnesses.
There are more painful stories, as seen with Yael Martinez, who documented the social drama that Mexico has long undergone from his own home, in the face of the disappearance of loved ones. We can also find stories that celebrate the everyday and make it extraordinary, like that of Cecilia Reynoso, who began recording her boyfriend's family, finding plenty of singularities. While for Arnau Blanch, who explored Vilobí d'Onyar, a small town in Catalunya, his village is like the backyard of his own home.
The exhibition is completed by three projects in which the photographers had the ability to discover them while developing other works. For more than 6 years, Zack Canepari documented the Gold Medal winning Olympic boxer Claressa Shields, raised in Flint, Michigan, in an environment of poverty from which it is very difficult to leave. In this context Canepari also found a sub-story in the life of Briana, the sister of Claressa – how she became to be defined. On the other side of the world, Tamara Merino was travelling in a van, touring Australia, when she encountered a community living underground in the Simpson Desert. Her photos tell a story of an subterranean culture. Finally, Tatiana Vinogradova used portraiture to delve into the issue of homophobia in Russia, highlighting how difficult it is for a homosexual to freely express his sexuality there. Its intimate approach generates a connection with the interior of each of the subjects photographed.
All of these universes, where photographers invite us to submerge, are full of intimacy. It is as if they have given us a pass to enter the lives of many people and relate to the most intimate sides of them. That is the greatest merit of these photographers. The themes explored seem like only pretexts to carry out this catharsis and explore the need to photograph their surroundings.
Alejandro is an Argentine photographer, video journalist and photo editor born in 1987, in Buenos Aires. His work is focused on personal documentary long‐term projects in Latin America and has been recognized by different organizations such as World Press Photo, POYi, Magnum Expression Award, Ian Parry Scholarship, PhotoEspaña, among others. Among his clients today include The New York Times, The Guardian and Stern Magazine. He started collaborating with PHmuseum in 2012.