Rarely seen photos of Amy Winehouse taken by her best friend, Ryan McGinley nods to Yoko Ono for his latest show, and remembering the beauty of Alexander McQueen
Photographer Jheyda McGarrell’s Dolce Far Niente opened in Los Angeles last month. Curated by Sage Adams, the exhibition depicted PoC doing revelling in peace and rest, and the sweetness of doing nothing. McGarrell’s subjects are seen reclining on beds, with each other, and amongst nature – dream-like vignettes which peep into private moments. McGarrell told Dazed ahead of its opening, “As a person of colour, being able to give myself and others space to focus on ourselves and loving and enjoying our lives means a lot to me.”
When Life magazine published a cover which showed Patti McGee doing a handstand on her skateboard in 1965, skate photography had officially been welcomed into the mainstream media. Half a century later, skate photography is beginning to gain the traction it should have always had, as skate culture merges into a wider consciousness which crosses high fashion and music. To celebrate, an exhibition called Against the Grain: Skate Culture and the Camera was hosted at east London’s 15 Bateman Street, with photographs and films from key people who helped shape, and further push forward, the medium – from Spike Jonze to Glen E Friedman.
Ten years ago, photographer Blake Wood met a 24-year-old Amy Winehouse at fellow friend, Kelly Osbourne’s, house. They struck up a special bond that took them through the next few years together, until Winehouse’s tragic passing in 2011. During this time, Wood captured Winehouse at her happiest, while spending time in St Lucia on a holiday with family and friends, as well as nights out in Soho and Camden. “With these photos, I want to change the conversation around Amy,” explained Wood, ahead of his book which was released last month by Taschen, and is home to over 100 intimate portraits of the late icon.
Koovagam is the 18-day annual festival held in India in celebration of the country’s huge transgender community. “It’s like Glastonbury, but for transgender people and in India,” explained filmmaker and photographer Jess Kohl, who documented the event in a film titled Nirvana, which debuted on NOWNESS, and with photos shared on Dazed. She added, “I find that the full spectrum of humanity can be found in groups and individuals who live on the outskirts of society, whether they choose to be there, or have been pushed out by the mainstream. I want my work to give a voice to those that might not be heard otherwise.”
Like many of his exhibitions, Ryan McGinley debuted his latest body of work, Mirror, Mirror, in the city he’s called home for more than two decades; New York. Except, one thing was different. McGinley hadn't actually taken any of the images in his show. Instead, he had shipped cameras and mirrors out to a selection of people, who, in turn, photographed themselves in the mirror. Taking inspiration from Yoko Ono and Sol LeWitt, who championed instructional projects and encouraged audience participation.
A meeting at Alexander McQueen’s debut couture collection for Givenchy in late 1996 led to photographer Ann Ray and the designer spending close to 12 hours a day together. Over almost a decade and a half, the pair built on upon a friendship which intertwined their creative pursuits, with Ray documenting McQueen up until his untimely passing in early 2010. In a tribute to not only their bond and McQueen’s visionary talent, but the man himself, Ray launched an exhibition at Rencontres d’Arles this summer, reflecting on Dazed, “Lee was someone I admired immensely.”
In early 2015, the Zika epidemic was wreaking havoc on South and North America. It was around this time that photojournalist Nadira Shira Cohen began to look closely at El Salvador – a country where women have little to no reproduction rights. Abortion is illegal, and, with Zika linked to higher chances of miscarriage and foetus deformation, women who miscarried, had stillbirths, aborted, or gave birth to babies with deformities faced (and still face) lengthy sentences in jail. The photographer wanted to lift the lid on the frightening truth that women live in fear for their livelihoods, explaining, “It’s hard to imagine if it’s not your reality. Even for me, because my reality is ‘I have a choice.”
Last month, 14 emerging photographers travelled to France’s prestigious Rencontres d’Arles to showcase their works in a group show, curated in part by legendary photographer Peter Lindbergh and Simon Baker, the new Director of the Maison Européenne de la Photographie. Hosted by Dior Beauty, the works were included after fulfilling the brief of creating images which celebrated “colour, femininity, and beauty”. The fashion house hopes to usher in a new era of talent by giving them each a major step up – especially winner Yoonkyung Jang, who walked about with a €10,000 grant.
Aperture gallery and magazine’s summer show featured 18 photographers exploring – as the show’s title explained – The Way We Live Now. From the opioid crisis to race, immigration, and gender. Curated by Siobhán Bohnacker, Brendan Embser, Marvin Orellana, and Antwaun Sargent, The Way We Live Now asked, “how do photographs express a moment of rapid change in society, politics, beauty and self-expression?”
Rosie Matheson finally gave us a look into her ongoing, long-term project Boys at the end of July, with an exhibition and film screening in London. “There is definitely a changing idea of masculinity that I’ve seen over the years”, Matheson said, “there is a slow breakdown of ‘what it means to be a man’.” Beginning the series in 2015, Matheson has shot over one hundred young men, her takeaway? “I’ve learned that there’s a lot of hope for our generation.”
The reality that it’s still illegal to be gay in half the world’s countries is shocking – one highlighted in Robin Hammond’s ongoing photo series “Where Love Is Illegal”. Speaking to Dazed last month, the photographer said, “These stories are still relevant because they are illustrations of what still goes on every day”, as he shared striking and poignant images of four brave couples and the stories behind them.