Thirteen out of the hundred emerging photographers were shown in a public space exhibition in front of the Altonaer Museum. September 24, until October 03, 2021 at Platz der Republik in Altona.
The 13 exhibited positions are representative of topics and discourses that currently determine our global political and social situation. Topics such as LGBTQIA+, the role of women in Iran, the global climate catastrophe or political resistance in Belarus are shown in the exhibition. The selection of the exhibited photographers also reflects the diversity and internationality of the first Hamburg Portfolio Review. Next to this exhibition in public space there will also be a screening inside the Museum of Altona with all the works of the 100 selected photographers.
Public Space Exhibition 2021
Platz der Republik, Altona Hamburg
Across, in Between and Beyond
I've been photographing Brazilian trans women and transvestites for my project ‘Abaixa Que é Tiro’ for over 3 years. While doing it I got in touch with many layers of the LGBTQI+ community (I’m part if this community myself) and by far what really got me were the non-binaries and their lifestyle, especially how they relate to each other, the networks/chains of affection created between them. It’s precisely these networks I’m documenting for my ongoing project “Across, in Between and Beyond” for over a year now and that I intent to continue to do so with the help of this grant. I realized the existence of these chains of affection when I started talking to them about photographing them and they started suggesting me people to photograph and wanted to be photographed with these people, so I photograph them in pairs, with people they suggest and repeating characters to show the network, always in a home environment and with natural light, I’m also photographing some of theirs tattoos, once they have the tendency of expressing themselves this way and some solo portraits. There are also few cisgender girls that are part of these chains of affection and I’m photographing them as well, at the beginning I was reluctant to include them, but I realized there is no reason to not to do so. It is necessary to take into consideration that Brazil is the country that kills the most transgender people in the world, the number of transphobia murders has already increased by 90% in 2020, the situation here is very difficult at this moment, we have an extremely limited, homophobic, racist, transphobic, misogynist and chauvinist president that is doing everything he can to make the lives of these people even harder, but we have no choice but to resist, and I believe that in times like this, strengthening ourselves with those we love is an act of resistance.
No Man‘s Land
The project „No Man‘s Land“ deals with the conflict over the extraction of lignite in the Rhenish mining area, where the energy company RWE operates the open-cast mines Hambach, Garzweiler and Inden. Together they are the largest source of CO2 emissions in the whole of Europe. For the expansion of the mines, fields had to give way, forests were cut down and entire villages destroyed and resettled. But since 2012, resistance has been forming in the environmental movement, which uses methods of civil disobedience against the industry and occupies the Hambach Forest, which was planned to be cut. The conflict culminated in the eviction of the forest in 2018. As the remainings of the forest were then presumably saved by environmentalists‘ efforts, inhabitants of the last villages, which are in the process of resettlement, gained hope they could stay, too. This conflict over space is used in the project to examine the current struggle in Germany between environmental and economic interests and to document the beginning of the end of the coal age in Germany.
All over the world, the coastline has always been in constant transformation. The difference in contemporary times is the speed with which this occurs. In some places, erosive processes that used to take hundreds of thousands of years can now be witnessed in just one generation. Most of the rapid transformation we see today is related to human exploitation. Atafona, a small town located in the delta of the Paraíba do Sul River, is one of those places where time seems to run faster. With a continuously changing environment, the city unveils the action of time in contemporary society and the crisis between humans and nature. In the past decades, the sea has been rising and submerging the small town producing hundreds of environmental migrants. Its dunes conceal about 400 buildings, including public spaces, residential blocks, a hotel, a gas station, and a church. A group of factors that include sea level rising and the disastrous human interventions along the river, made Atafona the most significant case of coastal erosion in Brazil. The river supplies Brazil's largest cities (around 14 million people, including myself) and the hydric deficit at the estuary caused by human exploitation is a main factor behind the erosion as the weak water flow is no longer able to secure the balance with the ocean, replenishing sediments and counteract the invading sea. Eustasy is the result of 6-year documentation of the complex relationship between a community and its environment, that is at once intimate and ruthless, defined by dependency, melancholy, and starring characters either coming to terms with what has passed or awaiting the next deluge. It is also a visual exploration of time passing, disappearance, and an acceptance of the transience of existence, as many of these photographs are visual documents of a landscape that no longer exists, confirming the rapid and disturbing transformations in contemporary society. The project was idealized to become a book.
Women of the Isle
"There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish" Michelle Obama. Despite the breathtaking natural beauty of the southern islands of Iran, what captured my attention the most during my recent travel there was the feminine face of their economy. Based on the data published by World Bank, the average female labor force participation rate in the world was 52.6%, while this number was only 19% in Iran. There is a strong preconception engraved into the thought of women that they do not need to be involved in economic matters ife. Statistical Center of Iran has studied the time spent on housekeeping for employed women and men in 2015 and demonstrated that women spent 3.5 times as much as men in housekeeping chores. In the small island of Hengam, trading handcrafts in their small booths at the tourist market is women’s main occupation in winter. While in summer, when tourists are scarce, fishing becomes the leading trade for the women. However, unfortunately, the Iran fisheries organization does not recognize them as professional fishers and, thus, they cannot benefit from subsidized fuel and insurance. A challenge that puts them in serious danger. Soghra Arbabi and her sisters saw their boat torn apart in their encounter with smugglers and struggled for hours for their life. When they reached the shore and survived, they could not get any compensation for their loss. Lately, there have been promises from Iran's fisheries organization to grant fishing authorization to these women. The fact that women in a small and remote island can participate in the economy as many women in a developed country, despite preserving their traditions such as local clothes and burqa, shows that the paradox between female labor force participation and traditions is an imaginary one. Moreover, the picture of these capable women as a symbol can alter the preconceptions against women's employment in developing and conservative societies like Iran.
Roma Romance- The Kalaidzhi and the brides market
In the Old Continent paying to marry a young woman is not a practice that belongs to the Middle Ages. In today’s Europe, facing as it is various problems of integration and immigration, silent and mysterious, the Gypsies remain hidden between the folds of history, the vestige of an ancient world modern civilisation has marginalised and made difficult to understand. Their ethnic group, one of the most numerous in Europe, is composed of a multitude of subgroups, present mostly in the Balkans. Among them are the Kalaidzhi of Thrace in Bulgaria, a seminomadic minority of around 18000 people whose ethnonym is that of their traditional craft of wandering tinkers, which nowadays has all but disappeared. This patriarchal clan is distinguished from others by the so called “brides market”, held four times per year in different towns in Bulgaria. These days are often the only occasions when the young men and women of the clan are allowed to meet in person. They are also occasions for newlywed couples to present themselves before the group. The rite of engagement consists of bargaining between the aspiring groom and the young woman’s father over the price to be paid. The young woman’s complexion and hair length are factors which raise the price but the main thing to be taken into account is her chastity. The aspiring brides are often very young and have rarely competed the 12-year of school legally required in Bulgaria. For a Kalaidzhi man, marrying a woman who looks as Caucasian as possible is a way to by himself out. The use of smartphones and social networks together with emigration in search for work are bringing changes even in a relatively closed and marginalised community as this endogamous Roma subgroup. Whether this will lead to anything like the emancipation of Kalaidzhi women remains to be seen.
Life of Venus
In Roman mythology Venus was the goddess of love, sex, beauty and fertility. Not only does Venus embody sex, love, beauty but also enticement, seduction, and persuasive female charm. She has become the symbol of femininity itself. How can I portray Venus in my imaginary world? A world where kitschy fabric with pattern and color speak in volumes? What will be the most significant stages of that Venus? Can those stages represent the life of women I see everyday?
Brotherhood Social Club
Brotherhood Social Club ‘Behave like a gentleman’ .Fascinated by human power to generate change I was intrigued by a group of men and women who fight in a remarkable way against the omnipresent crime in their communities in a country with more than 50 murders a day and a rising gender based violence rate. Dressed up in exquisite fashion outfits, referring to the good old days - when respect was a high value amongst black South Africans – the members of the Brotherhood Social Club parade around their townships to beat back the attitude of crime and to reintroduce good manners. In an original and positive way, they approach their brothers and sisters demonstrating empathy and fellowship to tackle the problems from within. Together with the use of social media, their physical presence in the community makes them the real influencers in today’s South Africa.
"Die Verzauberten" (engl.: "the enchanted") are an inclusive theatre group from Rostock, founded by and for people with disabilities in 1992. The portraits show the actors in their favorite roles, and recall that there is still a long way to go on the road toward equality for disabled people in the acting world. Taken together with historical material from the archives, the portraits produce a living record that honors a theater troupe deeply entwined with its roots, and committed to its unique mode of expression.
“The Scars” is a record of what is now known as the largest anti-government unrest in the history of Belarus. Massive protests started in August 2020 and left deep traces on Belarusian society. President Alexander Lukashenko, who has been in office for the last 26 years and his state apparatus, responded with extreme brutality to the Belarusian resistance. The protests against Lukashenka's regime became violent on the night of August 9-10, 2020. It was then that the preliminary election results were announced, which stated that Lukashenko had won the election with a huge majority of votes. The scars left from these events, which are also the subject of this story, vary in sizes and shapes. There are physical scars - bruises, abrasions, fractures. But there are also psychological scars - traumas. What is now happening in Belarus will also leave deep scars in the social fabric - this division into two Belarusian states is already emerging. The protagonists of these photos are protesters beaten by the regime, families whose relatives have been tortured by the security services or citizens who oppose violence and want freedom. But also teenage soldiers dragged into the middle of a conflict that was never their aim.
An Enigmatic Desire
I am currently working on two ongoing bodies of work, the first ongoing project. I've been working on it for over three years in Mexico where I want to photograph the things that have always interested me. For example, the difference between social classes; the privileged and the unprivileged the beautiful and the ugly, the rich and poor, etc, l. But, miraculously, sometimes life puts us in front of these surreal encounters with our subjects. The second is a street project that I've been working on, for a year in Los Angeles documenting human activity. Moreover, I created this incoherent portfolio of two ongoing bodies of work that they feel is almost finished but yet haven’t found a solution to edit and sequence the work altogether or as an individual single project. So, I edited this portfolio of images to align my two projects into one; and to create a narrative where reason will intervene as little as possible. Lastly, all the photographs you’re about to see in this body of work are true and are taken only from life’s imagination. If they seem enigmatic or absurd to understand “so is life”. Because I try to concentrate on finding what the naked eye is unwilling to see the crossing from the mysterious to the real. To conclude, I am simply a humanist who looks at everything with penetrating sight, the ugly and the beautiful, the pure, and the impure, therefore, I’m just an observer with a little bit of imagination and some luck. ps It's one single project please view all the twenty images in their selected order.
It is often said that we live in a post-truth era, in which large groups of people have lost trust in science. At the start of this project, I wondered if there is an actual gap between science and society. Fifty years ago, in the so-called space age, optimism about scientific progress seemed endless. The first human reached the moon and techniques from the space industry found a way into our daily lives. But at the same time, the world of science and the everyday world grew increasingly apart. It is incredibly complicated for everyone who is not an expert in a specific research field to interpret scientific results.This -among other factors such as the rise of social media and populism- for some people, reduced trust in scientific institutions and led to the idea that science is 'just another opinion'. In the past year, the scientific process gained more attention than ever before. Quoting Dutch Philosopher of Science, Jeroen de Ridder: "This time of a pandemic is unique. Due to the pressure to increase our knowledge of the virus, we do not only see the final results of scientific research. But we also get an insight into the process itself. And what do we see? That science is a temporary and uncertain activity.' This thought fascinates me. Could we see science as a metaphor for life itself? Just as unpredictable and unsure? Failing Forward connects images of little and big mysteries encountered by me, and archival photos from NASA of scientists working on spacecraft models. The archival images -made to clarify and describe complex matter are breathing a sense of control. However, they are riddlesome in their own way. This project, which revolves around truth-finding, wonder and human control, navigates the two parallel worlds of our scientific and daily reality. While shifting between the enigmatic and the specific, between the clear and the ambiguous, it makes tangible that the thought that we humans will ever be in control in this world, is a self-delusion.
Climate change is an urgent issue that sooner or later will affect everyone on the planet; for millions of people, its consequences are already a reality. In Morocco, the oases are among the ecosystems most affected by climate change, resulting in enormous poverty, rural exodus, and deterioration of natural resources. Morocco has already lost two-thirds of its 14 million palm trees over the last century, according to official figures. As a result, the oases are now "threatened with extinction," as Greenpeace recently warned, due to the impact of high temperatures. "WAH'A واحة" is an essay that captures the consequences of climate change and exodus on the oases ecosystem in Morocco, North Africa. Through intimate documentation and coverage of local communities' lives, I intend to echo their despair in the face of the environmental and economic hardships that endanger their lands, subsistence, and heritage. Through the power of visual storytelling, I shed light on the rapid deterioration of these ecosystems and contribute to these unique environments' safeguarding efforts, with the ultimate hope that these efforts will help shape environmental and social policy. But how can one not fall into the orientalist and Eden-like image of the oasis ? How can one reproduce the reality of the deterioration of oases through images? For this reason, I wanted to explore and experiment with new processes and visual narratives to extend the metaphor of degradation. My photographic series involves external and organic elements (such as dry dates, dead skin of palm trees, soil ...) that are intimately linked to the spaces I chose to photograph. Hence, contextual layers were progressively and experimentally added to the photos, making my photographic series a work that is both documentary and conceptual, taking us back and forth between the reality of the present and the deterioration to come.
The Children of Carrowbrowne
Childhood is of fundamental importance for everyone. But how does this change when external conditions are more hostile to life? How much earlier do children grow up and how much childhood is lost? In my work I deal with questions around growing up. As Ireland’s largest minority group Travellers are often ostracized from the Irish society for their nomadic way of life and pushed to the periphery of urban spaces. On the outskirts of Galway situated right next to the city dump is the Carrowbrowne Halting Site, home to eight Traveller families and their children. The long term project The Children of Carrowbrowne offers a glimpse into the environment and daily life of young Traveller children.