As photographers, at some point most of us will shoot something personal. About ourselves, our life experience, our partners, family, parents, or children. But how do you conceptualize a project that is so personal, whilst still making it accessible to others? How can you make work that is truthful, but not cliché?
For the last 9 years, my work has turned inwards. From 'Days with my Father' and 'The Reluctant Father', to 'Kim Jong Phil', ’When I was six’, and ‘Maybe’, I have examined myself and my relationships in different ways, using different voices. I have learnt how to have a dialogue with myself, to use photography as a means of making sense of the incomprehensible. You can not make personal work unless you are ready to be exposed in front of the others. You have to present yourself unflinchingly. The moment you turn away, the work diminishes in strength. Personal work only works when you are unafraid.
During the Masterclass, we will get truly personal with your personal work. I want to see projects that are half finished, projects that are stuck, projects that you can't seem to finish. Together, we will take them apart. We will try and understand what's being said. What's being left out. Working together throughout the year, we will figure out how to make them true, how to make them powerful, with the aim of ending up with strong, clearly conceptualized series.
Born in 1968 in London to a French Moroccan mother and an American father, Phil Toledano is one of the most well known conceptual artists working with photography today. After working in advertising, he made a shift to photography. His work ranges from the sociological to the political, to the deeply personal. It has been exhibited worldwide, including three major retrospectives, as well as being published in 7 monographs: Bankrupt (2005), Phonesex (2007), Days with my Father (2009), A new kind of beauty (2010), The Reluctant Father (2012), When I was six (2015) and Maybe (2015). Toledano does not believe that photography is always the answer, and consequently works across diverse mediums - video, photography, installation, and sculpture.
For the last years, Phillip has taught photography at ICP in New York and been invited as guest lecturer at various international events.
He lives and works in New York City.
One of photography’s most interesting challenges is uncovering the histories that surround us. Visualising these invisibles is just about the one useful task left for photography. Setting out with a visual medium to photograph what is not visible would seem, on the surface, to be foolishness, but when it's well done squaring this circle produces work which sparkles and intrigues.
Many of these hidden histories are painful and for 20 years I've been interested in this 'hiddenness' 'unsay-ability' and the wreckage the past leaves behind. For me, landscapes are archaeology sites as much as they are crime scenes. But we could also look at personal/family histories. Or histories which are joyful and worthy of celebration. I'd especially welcome any projects that look at the history of your country, but I'd be equally interested in research in any part of the world and any period of history, as long as you your interest can be explained.
Good photography begins with good research. Before and during the Masterclass, the participants will work on finding, uncovering and displaying the historical events or processes they wish to reveal or comment upon. By the time of the first session, you are expected to spend time researching your interests and formulating the approach for the 'field work', which will be finetuned and pursued throughout the year. I will offer guidance during different stages of the process and share my way of working and why I make photographs the way I do.
Born 1963 in Lagos, Nigeria, a landscape photographer whose work over a dozen years has been themed around a probing and stretching of the meaning of the word 'battlefield' in all its forms. He has photographed in some of the world's worst war-zones and refugee crises, but is equally at home photographing supercomputers used to design military systems or test-launches of nuclear missiles.
Described by one critic as “the leading documentary photographer of our time”, Norfolk’s work has been widely recognised internationally. In 2003 he was shortlisted for the Citibank (Deutsche Böurse) Prize and in 2012 won the Prix Pictet Commission. He has produced four monographs including 'Afghanistan: chronotopia' (2002); 'For Most Of It I Have No Words' (1998) about the landscapes of genocide; and 'Bleed' (2005) about the war in Bosnia. The most recent is 'Burke+Norfolk; Photographs from the War in Afghanistan' (2011) with a solo show at Tate Modern.
Simon Norfolk lives and works in Hove and Kabul.