Past Artist Talk
Magnum Photos Now: On Conflict Photography
Jérôme Sessini, Thomas Dworzak and Julian Stallabrass discuss the role of photography in covering conflict
Since being assigned to photograph the ongoing conflict in Kosovo in 1998, Jérôme Sessini has covered most of the international current events: Palestine, Iraq (from 2003 to 2008), the conquest of Mogadishu by the Islamic militias and the war in Lebanon (2006), the ongoing conflict in Syria (2011 onwards). From this direct confrontation with violence, Sessini has recognized a state of things which is at the heart of his work, “Ordinary fellows are always those losing, either it being in Iraq, Mexico or France”.
Covering conflicts from the beginning of his photographic career, Thomas Dworzak has since photographed in numerous war zones including Chechnya, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq. His personal publications often contextualise the depictions of conflict by incorporating other cultural or visual material alongside his own documentation, from found studio photographs to screengrabs from social media. Dworzak’s Instagram scrapbooks are a series of 25 artist books (each produced as an edition of five), collating images from a specific hashtag on the online platform in response to a current event, captured via screengrabs on Dworzak’s iphone. One of these books, specifically commissioned for exhibition by Julian Stallabrass, probe 2015’s civil conflict in Ukraine, charting images that have run out of control – the pictures that of atrocities that soldiers have long taken and kept to themselves are now thrown into the digital realm and made public.
Julian Stallabrass is a lecturer, writer, curator and photographer. He teaches modern and contemporary art, including political aspects of the globalised contemporary art world, postwar British art, the history of photography and new media art. He is the author of Gargantua: Manufactured Mass Culture, Verso, London 1996; Paris Pictured, Royal Academy of Arts, London 2002; Internet Art: The Online Clash of Culture and Commerce, Tate Gallery Publishing, London 2003; and Contemporary Art: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, 2006 . In 2013 he edited a book about war and photography, Memory of Fire: Images of War and the War of Images, Photoworks, Brighton, and Documentary, Whitechapel Gallery/ The MIT Press, London 2013. He also writes art criticism for many publications including The London Review of Books, Photoworks, Art Monthly, and the New Statesman. In 2001 he curated an exhibition at Tate Britain entitled Art and Money Online. He also curated the 2008 Brighton Photo Biennial. In 2015, he curated the Magnum exhibition Failing Leviathan: Magnum Photographers and Civil War. His book on war and photojournalism, Killing for Show will be published next year.
This event is part of the Magnum Photos Now talks programme at the Barbican Centre.
Tickets can be purchased from the Barbican Centre here.