Sarah Maple: You Could Have Done This


I wish I had a penis
I wish I had a penis

Since we last spoke…ah, won’t bother getting into it, check this out, Sarah Maple, you may have heard of her before, good on you, I am just catching up.  If you heard of her before, why didn’t you tell me?

Her father is white British, her mother is an Iranian Muslim, and she went to a Catholic school in Eastbourne. “I always found it difficult culturally knowing where I fit in,” says the 30-year-old artist, who lives in Crawley. “I wanted to be a ‘good’ Muslim, but I was an immediate outcast for being mixed. And I felt guilty about that.”

She has found her way, and aren’t we glad?  Well, no, not everybody is, to the point of throwing bricks through her window.

The opposite of a feminist
The opposite of a feminist

“I was at university and we’d go round doing crits, talking about each others’ work. Every time a man got up to speak, we’d be really supportive. But every time a woman spoke, we’d berate her. I realised I was complicit – subconsciously, we’d all taken on that conditioning. It was the first time I realised I might be held back by being a woman. The phrase ‘I wish I had a penis’ just came into my head. So I did that work based on it. When I took it into uni, although all the tutors liked it, everyone else berated me. Then I put it on MySpace and got all these amazing responses. People started sending me their own. That’s the moment I realised that, through humour, I could really communicate something.”

She has a book coming out, titled You Could Have Done This, which for me is the point of art, especially when people say “Oh, I coulda done that!”  But you didn’t, that person did, regardless if you like it or not.  Be inspired to move, even with something that rubs you the wrong way.  More power to you.

More on Sarah Maple here via the Guardian.Her webpage is here


Sony World Photography Awards

How time flies, it seems like only yesterday….

The Guardian present the winners of this years Sony World Photography Awards.  Here is a selection, more winners here.

Molotov cocktails have been the weapon of choice for the EuroMaidan protestors in Kiev. Using fire to their advantage, the protestors were able to defend their barricades, extend their lines and fortify their positions. To set fire to tanks, armoured vehicles, buses and tyres in opposition to local cops, Kiev’s protestors used thousand and thousands of Molotov cocktails, calling on people all over the city to collect as many bottles as possible.

Untitled_Donald Weber
Untitled_Donald Weber

Aerial photographs of the Adriatic coastline between Ravenna and Rimini, Italy, photographed in August 2014. The colourful umbrellas create amazing geometric patterns which contrast dramatically with the golden sand

Untitled:Bernhard Lang
Untitled_Bernhard Lang

In the depths of the Great Liangshan mountains in southwest Sichuan province, which has backward economic development, the ethnic Yi people are living a self-sufficient farming way of life – one of the best preserved among ethnic minorities in western China.

Ethnic Yi woman_Fan Li
Ethnic Yi woman_Fan Li

Gordon Parks



Gordon Parks, one of the most celebrated African American artists of his time, is the subject of this exhibition of groundbreaking photographs of Fort Scott, Kansas—focusing on the realities of life under segregation during the 1940s, but also relating to Parks’s own fascinating life story.

In 1948, Gordon Parks (1912–2006) became the first African American photographer to be hired full time by LIFE magazine. One of the rare African American photojournalists in the field, Parks was frequently given magazine assignments involving social issues that his white colleagues were not asked to cover. In 1950, Parks returned to his hometown in Kansas to make a series of photographs meant to accompany an article that he planned to call “Back to Fort Scott.”

Fort Scott was the town that he had left more than 20 years earlier, when after his mother died, he found himself—a teenager and the youngest of 15 children—suddenly having to make his own way in the world. He used this assignment to revisit early memories of his birthplace, many involving serious racial discrimination, and to reconnect with childhood friends, all of whom had attended the same all-black grade school as Parks. One of the most visually rich and captivating of all his projects, Parks’s photographs, now owned by The Gordon Parks Foundation, were slated to appear in April 1951, but the photo essay was never published. The exhibition at the Boston Museum of Fine Art, represents a rarely seen view of everyday lives of African American citizens, years before the Civil Rights movement began in earnest.



More photographs from the exhibition can be seen here

World Press Photo Awards

A selection of the award winners ladies and gentlemen for it is that time again.

johnstanmeyer_djiboutiThe photo of the year winner, by John Stanmeyer, shows African migrants on the shore of Djibouti at night, raising their phones in an attempt to capture an inexpensive signal from neighbouring Somalia. The picture also won first prize in the Contemporary Issues category, and was shot for National Geographic. Photograph: John Stanmeyer

Netherlands World Press PhotoThe first prize in the Spot News Stories category shows Syrian rebel fighters taking cover amid flying debris and shrapnel after being hit by a tank shell fired towards them by the Syrian army in the Ain Tarma neighbourhood of Damascus, Syria. Photograph: Goran Tomasevic

brentstirton_westbengalThe first prize in the People category by Brent Stirton shows a group of blind albino boys in their boarding room at the Vivekananda mission school for the blind in West Bengal.

Spotted at The Guardian while listening to nothing but the slight hum of the computer, and the occasional car passing by.                               More at the world press photo website

Photo highlights


An installation entitled Keeper of Time in front of Berlin Cathedral on the first day of the Festival of Lights. Dozens of the city’s buildings are illuminated with colourful projections during the annual event. Photograph: Britta Pedersen


Photographer Andrey Pavlov gives us a glimpse into the miniature world of ants in a scene cleverly constructed in his garden in Moscow. After placing tiny props in the path of a colony of red forest ants, he waited patiently for the opportune moment for the insects to fall into formation to bring the scene alive

Spotted at The Guardian

Observer’s Photos of the Week

The Observer newspaper displays some of the best examples of photojournalism captured this week. From Bahrain, where demonstrations are continuing; Street performers in Sevilla pulling some crazy ´How they do that´ stunts; Kraftwerk performing at the Montreaux Jazz Festival and the home of 115.000 Syrians at the Za’atari refugee camp near the Jordanian city of Mafraq, five miles from the border with Syria.

A Bahraini protestor holds a Molotov cocktail during clashes with police

A Humpback whale jumps in the surface of the Pacific Ocean in Colombia

Women in traditional Sevillana dresses walk by street performers in Malaga

An aerial view of the Zaatari refugee camp near Mafraq, Jordan

Kraftwerk performs at the 47th Montreux Jazz Festival

The full gallery is viewable here

Ruud van Empel

Spotted at The Guardian this morning…Ruud van Empel, from the Netherlands.


Dawn#1, Ruud van Empel 2008
World#31, Ruud van Empel 2008

Many of the children in your works are black. How did this choice come about?

I grew up in a small Catholic town in the south of the Netherlands. There was only one black boy in my primary school class. In the portrait Generation 1 I expressed this situation. It shows a white class with just one black pupil. With World#1 I decided to work with more black children. It set off a whole new series of work. First I thought of portraying a girl in a dirty, old and torn-up dress, as if she were very poor. I suppose this idea popped up in my head because of the image we westerners are often given. I didn’t really like that idea though, and decided to give them the clothes my generation wore when we were kids, especially because those clothes looked very innocent to me. Later, in 2007, the art historian Jan Baptist Bedaux told me this was the first time a black kid was portrayed as a symbol for innocence in western art. He wrote:

The fact that many of the children in his compositions have a dark skin is a facet that cannot remain without comment. Although it is self-evident that a child’s skin colour is not important, the iconography of the innocent child was traditionally represented by ‘white’ children. The earliest examples of this date from the early 17th century. These are portraits in which children are captured in an idealised, pastoral setting. It is a genre to which the children’s portraits of the German artist Otto Dix, a source of inspiration to Van Empel, refer. In deviating from the standard iconography by giving the child a dark skin, Van Empel inadvertently assumes a political stance. After all, this child is still the focus of discrimination and its innocence is not recognised by everyone as being self-evident.

Full interview here

Ruud van Empel website

The Afronauts – Cristina de Middel

In 1964, still leaving the dream of their recently gained independence, Zambia started a space program that would put the first African on the moon catching up the USA and the Soviet Union in the space race.

Only a few optimists supported the project by Edward Makuka, the school teacher in charge of presenting the ambicious program and getting its necessary funding. But the financial aid never came, as the United Nations declined their support, and one of the astronauts , a 16 year old girl, got pregnant and had to quit.

That is how the heroic initiative turned into an exotic episode of African history, surrounded by wars, violence, droughts and hunger.

En 1964, con la euforia por le recién ganada independencia aún fresca, Zambia lanzó su primer programa espacial. Su objetivo era mandar doce astronautas y diez gatos a la luna, superando así el reto que exhibían Estados Unidos y la Unión Soviética en plena carrera espacial.

Pocas personas apoyaron entonces la ambiciosa iniciativa de Edward Makuka, un profesor de secundaria zambiano que estaba al mando del proyecto y que se encargó de difundirlo y buscar financiación sin demasiado éxito.

Como anécdota la iniciativa constituye un detalle exótico y tierno dentro de la sangrienta historia africana pero también un ejemplo de la grandeza del ser humano y su capacidad de superación.

Como fotoperiodista siempre he tratado de ofrecer una visión excéntrica de la actualidad y por “excéntrica” entiendo, alejada de los canales y las formas asumidas. Así pues mi discurso dentro de la documentación se ha centrado siempre en pequeñas historias cuya reflexión puede ser válida en contextos mucho más trascendentes y documentados.

Cristina de Middel's Jambo from the series The Afronauts, 2012


47-botonguru02-hambaArtist web