October 2019

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The October Issue

Our Portrait Issue returns this month, featuring a pick of the shortlisted images from our fourth annual photography exhibition, Portrait of Britain. As the country lurches towards the extended Brexit deadline of 31 October, during this final countdown, Portrait of Britain makes a timely return, offering an alternative view of nationhood, defined not by the discord of fiery political rhetoric, but the everyday circumstances of its citizens in all its diversity. 

Our cover photograph is of Franko-B, a London-based, Italian performance artist whose work is confrontational, provocative and challenging. The portrait was taken by James Tye, who is just one of the shortlisted entries to our annual, nationwide exhibition Portrait of Britain, which celebrates its fourth edition this year. 

For nearly 40 years, Roger Ballen has been an outsider, operating on the margins with his fellow art brut artists. Now a book and exhibition, featuring a life-size “alter ego” of Ballen called Roger 2, the project offers a glimpse inside the workings and processes of his dark mind – a world, he says, that, “reveals itself through itself”. 

We also feature Michael Jang, who spent four decades building a vast archive of photography documenting the streets of LA, from underground artistic communities to adorned celebs. But it wasn’t until 2001 that SFMoMA discovered his hidden talent, now compiling a selection of in a new book and his first major retrospective.

In Projects, we feature three more photography graduates from British colleges – our pick of Class of 2019.

Elsewhere, Laura Pannack’s social documentary work takes her to The Cracker, a stretch of land between two estates in Tipton, in the Black Country, where she meets the community of young adolescents who call it home. She talks us through the project, revealing that through getting to know her subjects, she was reminded of the challenges of childhood that she too experienced growing up.

Exploring Trevor Paglen’s new exhibition on show at The Barbican’s Curve gallery, Tim Clark investigates the changing landscape of “politics, prejudices and epistemological assumptions” driven by the rise of artificial intelligence. Elsewhere in our Agenda selection, Moroccan-born, London-based Hassan Hajjaj gives the Maison Europeene de la Photographie a colourful makeover. Plus we bring you our pick of the best exhibitions launching this October, and Damien Demolder shares his verdict of the new Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L lens.

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