Sunday 1 February 2009

Vanessa Winship-Sweet Nothings @HOST Gallery, London

Vanessa Winship and I have been in contact a lot recently in the run up to her eagerly anticipated show Sweet Nothings at HOST gallery which opens this Tuesday. I´m just so excited about seeing this work in a gallery and feel compelled to spread the word about her fantastic project. Her photographs of rural schoolgirls from the borderlands of Eastern Anatolia,Turkey are simply stunning so what better way to help illuminate her imagery than have her discuss it. I´ll hand over to Vanessa now. She explains:

“I wanted to make a series of portraits of these girls on the borderlands. Knowing their status I wanted to give a small space for these small girls to have a moment of importance in front of the camera. I hoped the symbol of the uniform, the distance in repetition, and the austerity of the landscape would represent one thing, but I also hoped that in the expressions of the girls’ faces to draw attention to the idea of these young girls poised at the moment “just before”, The moment where possibility lies, a time where the presentation of self teeters into consciousness.”

Vanessa studied Film, Video and Photographic arts at the Polytechnic of Central London. She has lived and worked in the Balkans and Turkey for almost a decade. In her imagery she focuses on the junction between fiction and reality, exploring ideas around the concepts of border, land, memory, identity and history. She is interested in how stories are told.

Her work has been recognised internationally: She is the recipient of two first prize World Press Photo Awards. In 2008 she received the Godfrey Argent prize at the annual Portrait Award from the National Portrait Gallery, London. She is current holder of the Iris D’or, Photographer of the Year, from the Sony World Photography Awards. In 2008 she was invited to show Sweet Nothings at the Rencontres D’Arles festival of photography in France. Mare published her first book, The Black Sea, in 2007. Sweet Nothings is published by Foto8.

Reading from the foreward of the book, here is Max Houghton´s lovely, poetic description of the work:

“As we linger over Vanessa Winship’s photographs of rural schoolgirls in Eastern Anatolia, it is as though a thousand faces appear, from generations past, present and future. The face of this child’s grandmother, that child’s sister, the faces of their children’s children, faces from our own childhood, faces from the work of Arbus, Mark or Disfarmer, faces from a fairytale, faces we know and faces we could never comprehend. We are disturbed by their proximity, we mourn their distance.”

I´ll be heading to the private view this Thursday evening around 6 so hope to catch you all there!

©Vanessa Winship

Vanessa Winship
Sweet Nothings
HOST Gallery
3 February — 5 March 2009