Powerful pictures

Once again the Foto8 Summershow is upon us and with it comes a chance to view some compelling new work.


Photographs adorn the walls at Host Gallery just off Old Street in London like some weird giant 3D jigsaw.


You can see Sebastian Meyer’s photo of Libyan rebels ducking for cover as an explosion rips in the distance next to a large still life picture by Uri Shapira of chemical reactions.


Shuffle along a little and there’s a picture of a fascist flag by Paolo Marchetti next to a frame from Lydia Goldblatt’s series, All flesh is. There’s something for everyone here.

Photo by Lydia Goldblatt A frame from Lydia Goldblatt’s All flesh is series

The show comprises 150 images that have been selected by the Foto8 editorial team from more than 2,800 entries, and as you can guess by now, there’s no set theme. Photographers were invited to submit recent pictures that engage or challenger the viewer, with the resulting mix of styles and subjects all crammed onto the walls of the gallery.


Oddly enough it works very well. Though it can be overwhelming at times, it’s a treat to pick through the shots and find those that touch a nerve, raise a smile or that are harder to digest. It’s one show you really have to see up close and not just in the brochure or on the internet.


One other advantage of attending in person is that visitors to the show are able to vote for their preferred picture in the People’s Choice award. There is also a select band of judges who are also choosing their best in show, the result of which is announced at the launch party on 8 July.


Many of the pictures on show are part of larger projects. This one by Hannah Jones is part of a series titled, To Happiness, Endlessly. It was taken during a road trip without a planned route, one where the photographer recorded what she calls, “disconnected experiences”. Well worth a look.

Photo by Hannah Jones To Happiness, Endlessly by Hannah Jones

Another single picture taken from a set is this one by Natalie Naccache from her powerful series Kteer Jeune (Very Young), which focuses on the beauty industry in Lebanon, exploring the availability of treatment for young children as well as the growing trend of plastic surgery.

Kteer Jeune (Very Young) by Natalie Naccache-Mourad Kteer Jeune (Very Young) by Natalie Naccache-Mourad

There are also news pictures. Alongside a fair few shots of combat from current conflicts there is this one by Antonio Olmos that attracted my attention. It’s a photograph that when seen as a large print offers so much and is rich in detail. It shows the friends of Negus McClean gathering near the spot where he was murdered on 11 April 2011. He was the fourth teenager to be stabbed to death in London this year. A very powerful picture on many levels.

Friends of Negas McClean gather near the spot where he was murdered on 11 April 2011. Friends of Negas McClean gather near the spot where he was murdered on 11 April 2011

Christopher Capozziello’s photograph in the exhibition is of his brother Nick, who has cerebral palsy. On his website Christopher states: “I would like you to meet my brother. I have been drawn to photographing him for as long as I have been making pictures. The time I spend with him, looking through my camera, has forced me to ask questions about suffering, and faith and why anyone is born with disease.”


He also states: “I want explanations as to why some suffer and others do not. I want to know why some get better while others get worse. Is this fate or is this chance or is it just bad luck?” I hadn’t heard of his work prior to this show, and that’s my loss, but I’m making up for it now.

Nick Capozziello Christopher Capozziello’s The Distance Between Us

Daewoong Kim’s pictures exploring the impact of computer technology on social interaction by Korean students in London could be seen as a tough one to nail visually. Yet his pictures are beautifully lit and this one conjures a feeling of isolation and draws us into a story, though we have to look outside the exhibition to find out more.

Woman using a computer by Daewoong Kim Daewoong Kim series on Korean students in London

A photograph by Chris Craymer that is reminiscent of Richard Avedon’s American West series stands out from those around it, but then his work is always worth spending time with. As you can see the show offers a wide variety of pictures and there should be plenty to to appeal to all palates.

Denim worker by Chris Craymer Denim worker by Chris Craymer

The exhibition can be seen from 9 July to 12 August 2011 at Host Gallery, 1 Honduras Street, London.

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