Rarely seen photos of Amy Winehouse on the cusp of fame, street cast models in NYC and London, girls and golden showers and actual dicks dressed up as world leaders
Last month, Magnum announced the 10 recipients of their Graduate Photography Award, and Emma Gruner was one of them. In our current climate of photography, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Gruner makes work about body positivity and feminism, but she doesn’t. She doesn’t at all. Explaining: "It's not about being brave, not for one second. It might have been difficult showing the first naked pic but it's really nothing. It's not because I love every single bit of my body. I just really like how revealing my comfort might make other people awkward. It has absolutely made me comfortable with my body image.” There’s no deep analysis to be had here – and that is so refreshing.
I’ve long been a fan of Ivar Wigan’s photography. His documentation of places like Miami, Atlanta, and New York – capturing the street hustlers, girls and good times of a community often closed to outsiders. On until the 19 June at LA’s Little Big Man Gallery, we had already spoken with Wigan about his series The Gods – albeit something I could happily do again but for repetition’s sake so he kindly offered us a glimpse into his upcoming work, shot in Jamaica’s ghetto and told us the story behind this striking image.
Dafy Hagai isn’t the only photographer out there shooting portraits of girls, but there’s a signature side to her work that marks it as undoubtedly hers, think dreamy girls lazing about in cute pastel beach towns or poolside in Israel. However, for her second book with Perimeter Editions, Hagai flips cute on its head. Having been two years since her sold out and now out of print book Israeli Girls was published, Golden Showers is a development in her work, telling us she has “grown to feel comfortable being awkward.” Adding, “it’s about the option to express yourself without the need to be ‘perfect’ or ‘cute’.”
An archive feature from Dazed’s May 2001 issue made its way onto Digital last month. Revisiting Jeff Burton’s porn set still lives, the photographer explains that while he was employed to capture images that could be used as production stills, he would occasionally turn his camera away from where the action was occurring and instead capture a naked backside here or the leg of a 'tennis instructor’. By neglecting the actual sex itself, Burton explained: "I started to get interested in disrupting the narrative," he says. "I felt that was the way of making a naughty picture, as opposed to what you would assume I would be doing."
“We can be simultaneously loud and soft, hairy and shaved, gross and cute. We can be multidimensional and multifaceted because we are people too. We’re in control now.” That’s what Ashley Armitage said when we premiered her latest series. Her portraits played with light and colour, but instead of dreamy and pretty, she taps into – what would probably be called in the mainstream media as – ‘unconventional beauty’ with a serious message, that women aren’t taking up enough space – hence the series’ title Taking Back What’s Ours.
When you think of world leaders you typically associate the word ‘dick’ with them. This photo series by Soraya Doolbaz is a literal take on that… seriously, she dresses up dicks in wigs and little blazers in the style of Donald Trump. Simple, effective and, in my opinion, pretty accurate.
“I like to turn masculinity into an object the same way femininity has been objectified for so long”, said Montreal-based photographer and Coven Collective founded Laurence Philomene when we caught up with her about her new book Dreamboats in which she aims to destabilise the power structures surround gender.
Photographer Al Vandenberg’s book On A Good Day is a collection of images he shot of street cast models in the 70s and 80s. As he passed them fleetingly in cities such as New York and London, Vandenberg immortalised the freedom of youth with black and white film that feels like they could be shot today.
It’s been almost five years since Amy Winehouse tragically passed away, and yet her impact and influence is yet to falter. Most recently, photographer Charles Moriarty successfully Crowdfunded his book Before FRANK, set to feature rarely seen or unseen images that shine a light on a young Amy on the cusp of fame. Moriarty met Winehouse on east London’s Commercial Street for the first time when he was tasked with shooting the cover for her name infamous debut album, FRANK. On his wishes for the soon-to-be-released book, he revealed to us, "I hope they see the person she was at heart, a bright-eyed, vivacious and intelligent girl, on the road to becoming a star. I hope they see my friend."
From Larry Clark in NYC to Scot Sothern amongst the LA underbelly, Scarlet Muse at Daniel Cooney (New York) is a photography exhibition that traces our fascination with documenting the gritty world of prostitution. Last month we shared a selection of the intimate images featured.