PHOTOGRAPHY: Exhibit comes to an end.

  By Ismail Lagardien This is an old pic, taken two years ago by Gaia Manco. I am placing it online for two reasons; because the exhibit – Between States of Emergency which ‘honours photographers who risked their lives and freedom to expose the brutality of apartheid in the late 1980s’, has come to an end after traveling the country for two years. I am honoured that some of my work was part of this exhibition by the Nelson Mandela Foundation. The other reasons is, well, not for public discussion, suffice to say that nothing can take away or detract […]

PHOTOGRAPHY: On the phone

By Ismail Lagardien It never ceases to amaze me what one can do with a cellular phone. I found these three frames in an ‘old’ file – old is relative in the digital photography age – and was reminded of how easy, how simple, and how terribly nostalgic I am for my D/SLR sometimes. The pictures, below, were made with a Samsung phone in 2013. I should search for better quality pics on one of my storage drives.  

PHOTOGRAPHY: Seeing Simple Scenes Differently

By Ismail Lagardien There are times when the simplest, the most every-day scene, stands out, and presents itself – intact. There were any number of these arrangements (above) at a cafeteria at Schipol Airport. What makes photography special is that the most ordinary, the most banal scenes almost create themselves, and present themselves intact in the photographer’s mind. This, surely, is the power that lies where the creative impulse and the gesture of photography intersect, and when the photographer captures something that everyone looks at every day, but sees it differently and does something more than. On the beachfront, were I […]

PHOTOGRAPHY: First Foray Into Digital Photography

By Ismail Lagardien This picture always reminds me of how ignorant I was when I first used a digital camera in 2000. I had a bag full of film equipment, and entered this new era completely naive. I did not know much about high-res/low-res and large/small format. It was all very new. The picture was taken in the Great Hall on Ellis Island, New York City. It would have looked good mounted and framed on a wall – after some tweaking on a computer, of course. 😎

Craig Calhoun on Pierre Bourdieu and Picturing Algeria

Two of my favourite things: Photography and Pierre Bourdieu… Picturing Algeria A book by Pierre Bourdieu   From the website of Columbia University Press “As a soldier in the French army, Pierre Bourdieu took thousands of photographs documenting the abject conditions and suffering (as well as the resourcefulness, determination, grace, and dignity) of the Algerian people as they fought in the Algerian War (1954–1962). Sympathizing with those he was told to regard as “enemies,” Bourdieu became deeply and permanently invested in their struggle to overthrow French rule and the debilitations of poverty.” Foreword written by Craig Calhoun (@craigjcalhoun) and reposted here […]

The Cruelty of Deliberate Forgetting

I gave a talk at the opening of a photo exhibition on 21 April 2017. The 1980s — represented in the exhibition Between States of Emergency: Photographers in Action 1985-1990 — were a time when the country was terribly divided. The majority of the population looked at the state with fear and anxiety — our faces pinned to the ground by a military jackboot. These photographs remind us of those desperate times. The economy had all but collapsed. The government was in disarray. The ruling elite was fractured. There were protests around the country, and the military and police had […]

Short Takes on Pictures: Morning in an Istanbul Bar

5 January 2017. I recently read a story on the power of a single photograph, published by Time Magazine. The Time story was inspired by an exhibition, One Image, described as a pièce de résistance, featuring just one photograph, a seemingly inconsequential, blurred image of a young girl sat on a deck chair. It recounts how, with the ubiquity of cellphone cameras, we are swamped, daily, by hundreds of images. The writer presents the one image, this particular case, as an experiment to force us to look at one image, and push us to look more closely at the back story […]