No matter what stage a photographer is at in their practice, exposure to informed guidance and critique is of vital importance for shaping projects of all kinds. For the second iteration of Magnum’s Long Term Mentorship, Matt Black and Susan Meiselas gave their support and feedback to 14 photographers over the course of seven months. Here, we take a look at some of the projects these artists produced.
7.025 radiance — blinded by the night
The Netherlands has the highest level of artificial light at night per square kilometer of any OECD country.
In 2020, satellites measured an average radiance (rad) in the Netherlands of 7 rad with a maximum of 10,596 rad. In perspective, New York state, USA has an average radiance of 2 rad and a maximum of 411 rad.
Artificial light at night affects both humans and animals. Our melatonine hormone levels change, increasing the risk of cancer. As for animals, evolution made them trust the brightness of the day to determine the time of the day. Now, with bright skies at night, they are blinded.
Through this work Anton Bossenbroek investigates the surreal landscapes that artificial light at night produces.
Somewhere I Belong
Suicide is an epidemic that is geographically-linked and at its deadliest in the West, with all of the most severely impacted states lying across the 100th meridian. These are the same Western states in which I grew up - the places that my family still call home - and this project seeks to examine the relationship between these acts of self-violence and the environments in which they occur. How does the land and its history influence the psychology of its occupants? How do cultural themes inspired by Manifest Destiny and Rugged Individualism continue to influence the mental health crisis ravaging the West?
Accompanied by over twenty hours of interviews, this portfolio of images aims to shed light on these questions by focusing on one of the most heavily impacted counties in America. For the past decade, Catron County has experienced the highest rate of death by suicide in the contiguous United States, at more than four times the national average. The faces of this project are those of people who have been most directly impacted by the suicide epidemic - loss survivors, attempt survivors and their immediate families. Through their stories and experiences I hope to give viewers an empathetic window into this urgent and far-reaching issue.
Formed in 1753, Bokortanya is a special kind of settlement, situated between a hamlet and a dwarf village near my hometown, Nyíregyháza. The plain is a rich farming ground for crops and domestic animals. It used to be the pantry of the town.
In the beginning the farmers lived in town and only went there to plough from spring to autumn. Later they moved with their families and relatives using it as a permanent quarter. In the old days these farms were thriving with live agriculture and economy, more and more came to settle down in Bokortanya.
Settlements such as Bokortanya lacked any kind of services; inhabitants had to travel into town in order to attend church or the market to sell their goods. Much later schools were built and the priest’s basement was transformed into a church, but most of the Bokortanya community is long gone. During Communism in the 1950s, settlements started declining, the youth left and now only the elderly remain with a memory of the good old days.
My grandma used to live in one of these settlements and she often told me about the old days. I have collected photographs from family archives to track down my personal history which led me to explore the area and the people who still live there.
México Máxico is an open window to a fantastic, but also real, world called México. A world of imagination where real comes unreal and the long shadow of death is always present.
It is a visual journey throughout Mexico as a geographical background, but a journey throughout its magic, its mysteries, its contradictions, its injustices, its spirituality, its beauty…
A personal tribute to the land that has been home for the last 15 years and that has taught me and confronted me equally.
In short, a walk on that thin line that separates life from death; an attempt on capturing that magical and subtle quality that permeates the reality of this place.
This project is a representation of the anxiety, and the vulnerability experienced by a family that is trying to accomplish the seemingly simple task of "growing" a daughter. Much like the eggshells and coffee grounds that make up the fertilizer in a kitchen garden, it's the people and place that inform the parents and the child all through the journey to adulthood.
We as a family are stumbling through life, work and responsibility, hoping that in the end we don't make choices that might have fateful consequences for the future.
The place is Silicon Valley, and the task: survival. It's funny how survival means such different things to different people.
“Commentary on the Apocalypse”
“Commentary on the Apocalypse” is a project about myths within the frameworks of American society and the effects they have upon family and the country at large. Beginning in my home of Tulsa and expanding across the United States I use black and white photographs along with archival images to create a free flowing narrative between current events and those of the past, treating the last several years as being connected in a historical line, rather than being anomalous moments. “Commentary on the Apocalypse” follows in a tradition of using apocalyptic and religious themed imagery to dissect the world around us. Within that framework I attempt to reckon with an understanding of my own past in the church and my family’s current entanglement in the cult-like world of QAnon as a way to explore the way religion and political myth making cause fissures at home and across the country. While we experience the apocalypse together as a society we experience it most intimately at home. “Commentary on the Apocalypse” acts not so much as a work documenting the past, but rather as one providing indicators of what is to come as the United States bends ever more towards collapse.
This project is about vulnerable children and their struggle for mental health and identity development.
I worked alongside The Island, a local charity that offers mentorship for young people regardless of their socio-economic circumstances or life experiences. All the children involved in this project have experienced significant early life trauma or pre-existing mental challenges.
The conceptualisation of this project coincided with national lockdowns. Northern England was particularly hard hit due to pre-existing poverty and a concentration of jobs for which remote working was impossible.
This placed meaningful restrictions on my work and required creative solutions including providing the children with disposable cameras and carrying out my own photo shooting remotely.
The story intertwines with myself and my younger son’s experience of racial discrimination, assault and school refusal that rendered him housebound for several years. This provided a precursor to the isolating experiences during the pandemic. Following Brexit, the UK continues to struggle with rises in racism, anti-social behaviour and hate crimes.
The process was a cathartic one for me to address these feelings. I also began to better understand what my younger son and other children – Generations Z - have experienced during a unique period of history.
I Don’t Know What I Want
This body of work explores the concept of masculinity in western European society.
Composed of a series of photos, intertwined with poems, journal notes and video frames, the work interrogates what it means to be a man. It addresses the traditional male role, currently in crisis, in line with new research on gender equality and fluidity.
Starting from the observation of daily street scenes and places where men gather in England, Spain, Denmark, Italy, Germany, and France, I later turn the camera to myself. I dig through my diaries to reflect on personal struggle and engage in restless research for meaning and purpose in the open world.
Representations of toxic masculinity such as “pack behaviour”, bravado and machismo are shown in opposition with vulnerability, insecurity, and Peter Pan Syndrome. It’s a contradictory mix examining the critical male process of finding individual identity and discovering what men want, in order to learn, take responsibility and be active in the society they live in.
Heart of L.A.
They say the sun is hot, but the city is cold.
Coming to L.A. from Germany not only reignited my interest in Hollywood and my childhood dreams of becoming a film director, but even more so in the city itself. In particular the parts of town that were connected to the music I listened to and films I watched whilst growing up. I made a short documentary film about clown dancing in the streets of South LA a few months after I arrived, which introduced me to new friends from these neighbourhoods. Over the last four years, I have been photographing the lives and struggles of these friends and their communities. We all became family in the process.
Not A Cook Book
Inspired by the author's fondness of both documentary and art, NOT A COOKBOOK is not a run of the mill photo collage book. The work explores the photographer’s friendship with Ralph and Lee-Anne, owners of PALME: a restaurant celebrating their Caribbean heritage in the heart of Montreal’s Village. An Anti Cookbook, which uses humour and anecdotes to recount Ralph and Lee-Anne’s decades long partnership, their passion for merging culture with food, their commitment to balancing work and family life, the struggle to run a business during a pandemic and yes, even a couple of recipes. An energetic book viewing experience, which affirms why one would risk so much to realise their dream.
Tara Juno Rowse
Enter the land. Terra Endins is a portrait of a landscape. This series illustrates a way of life in l’Empordà, the magical, ancient land in the region of Catalunya, Spain, that spreads along the banks of the river Ter and is dwarfed by the Montgrí mountains.
The images together forge a visual language – beyond English, Catalan or Castilian - for us to encounter and reflect on the tender, ancient relationship between man and beast as it lasts and evolves in the present. From dawn to dusk, the photographs tell the story of horse farriers, shepherds, and pig slaughters at work in real time but also through time, an intimate glimpse into a land between modern and pastoral worlds.