Monday 20 August 2012

Announcing the winners of The 1000 Words Award

1000 Words is proud to announce the results of the inaugural 1000 Words Award for European photographers.

Having attracted considerable interest from a diverse spectrum of committed and passionate photographers, the standard of the open submissions was exceptionally high. And while the deliberations were difficult, the judges selected in their opinion, four photographers who could most benefit from the mentoring and workshop experience and go on to produce interesting and innovative bodies of work from having the time to focus on their practice.

In total, 348 submissions were received from 24 EU member countries.

The winners are: Henrik Malmström (b. 1983, Finland), Lucy Levene (b.1978, United Kingdom), Tereza Zelenkova (b. 1985, Czech Republic) and Virgílio Ferreira (b. 1970, Portugal).

At the core of my practice I seek to destabilise different subjects by reassessing their potential as metaphors for broader questions surrounding photography’s capability for representation and its relationship with the real. My latest work is an installation that comprises of a series of black and white photographs and several objects from my personal collection. This work can be understood as a metaphor for the night as a time associated with both inspiration and imagination, but also melancholia, solitude and isolation. The darkness of the night, like the darkness inside a camera, is a space where images are conjured. Here I am not really interested in the images brought to us by dreams but rather by that point of insomniac vigilance when one can no longer recognise what’s a dream and what’s reality; when familiar objects start to take on shapes of something else, undergoing a sort of metamorphoses. Tereza Zelenkova

A series of un-staged images taken in an Edinburgh nightclub. The title is from the poem by Maya Angelou; Come, And Be My Baby.
Lucy Levene

This series deals with ideas of intangibility related to states of being, by capturing candid moments of anonymous people in the streets of London. In these pictures I attempt to evoke those feelings of vulnerability, bewilderment, impermanence and solitude, which are related to the uncertain times that we live in. They are haunted depictions of our world, and maybe they reflect us.

In these photo-chemical experiments the use of light has a double function: it both records and destroys the information in the picture, denying any secure reality. These manipulations are made on the moment of capture, and all the process of image transformations happens inside the apparatus. Virgílio Ferreira

My work up until now has always been connected to home and identity. I like to challenge myself into finding new perspectives and angles in a search for how things can be represented. Sometimes it can appear as fiction, but still there is always a deeper social aspect to it.
Henrik Malmström  

The 1000 Words Award for European photographers is a major initiative in collaboration with The Other European Travellers, a project co-ordinated by Cobertura Photo and co-organised by Atelier de Visu1000 Words and Festival Voci di Foto in partnership with Magnum Photos. It is part-funded by The Education Audiovisual and Culture Exchange Agency (EACEA) under the auspices of the EU Culture Programme.

Photographers were invited through open submission to apply for an opportunity to realise a new body of work with the supervision of several high-profile photographers and industry experts.

The 1000 Words Award includes:

• £1,000 cash prize
• 18 month mentorship programme
• 3 workshops with Jeffrey Silverthorne, Antoine d’Agata and Patrick Zachmann in London, Marseille and Seville respectively, including financial assistance with accommodation and travel
• Travelling group exhibition through the UK, France, Spain and Italy
• Catalogue and DVD
• Feature in 1000 Words Photography Magazine.

The 1000 Words Award selection panel were:

• Simon Baker, Curator of Photography at Tate
• Brett Rogers, Director of The Photographers’ Gallery, London
• Dewi Lewis, Director at Dewi Lewis Publishing
• Tim Clark and Michael Grieve, Editors at 1000 Words Photography Magazine.

The 1000 Words Award and The Other European Travellers have been supported, in part, by The Education Audiovisual and Culture Exchange Agency (EACEA).

Wednesday 15 August 2012


© Boris Mikhailov

1000 Words is greatly honoured to announce our next workshop with the Ukrainian artist/photographer Boris Mikhailov in Fez, Morocco (5-9 November 2012). This is a very rare occasion to learn from one of the most highly-regarded contemporary photographers from the field of art and documentary.

"As a photographer with unofficial authority I discover, I observe, I clandestinely stalk." Boris Mikhailov

Born in 1938, Boris Mikhailov is one of the most important photographers to have emerged from the former USSR. Starting photography in the 1960’s his work transgressed the moral and political dictates of the Soviet Regime. Although often engaged in the social disintegration affecting his country his work is subjectively rooted, dealing with the profound concerns of vulnerability and mortality. He has exhibited in numerous galleries and museums around the world notably the Tate Modern, Saatchi Gallery, MOMA, and The Photographers’ Gallery, London. His projects Case History, The Wedding, Unfinished Dissertation, Look at Me I Look at Water, have been published as books. Boris Mikhailov was the recipient of the prestigious Hasselblad Award in 2000 and the Citibank Photography Prize in 2001.

The 1000 Words Workshop takes place in an authentically restored riad situated in the medieval medina, at the heart of the beautifully evocative city of Fez, Morocco. The workshop will be an intense experience lasting five days between 5-9 May 2012 and will consist of 12 participants. The medina is a vibrant labyrinth that will permeate all the senses. Surrounded by the Atlas Mountains, it offers a visually stunning backdrop for this truly unique workshop.

We are looking for a diverse range of participants who understand the work of Boris Mikhailov and feel that their own art will benefit from his guidance. 

The cost of the workshop will be £1250 for 5 days. Once participants have been selected they will be expected to pay a non-refundable deposit of £500 within two weeks. Participants can then pay the rest of the fee according to deadlines (see below). Participants are encouraged to arrive the day before the workshop begins for a welcome dinner. The price includes:

-tuition from Boris Mikhailov (including defining each participants project; shooting; editing sessions; creating a coherent body of work; creation of a slide show; projection of the images of the participants.)
-a welcome and farewell dinner
-lunch everyday and snacks during the afternoon
-24 hour help from the 1000 Words team and an assistant/translator with local knowledge.

Participants will be expected to make their own travel arrangements and find accommodation, which in Fez can range from £150 upwards for the week. We can advise on finding the accommodation that best suits you. Remember that most of your time will be spent either at the riad or shooting. For photographers using colour film we will provide the means for processing and a scanner. Photographers shooting digital will be expected to bring all necessary equipment. Please note that for the purposes and practicalities of a workshop, digital really is advisable. All participants should also bring a laptop if they have one. Every effort will be made to accommodate individual technical needs.

The organisations flagship is 1000 Words, an online magazine dedicated to contemporary photography in the UK and beyond. It reviews exhibitions and photobooks and publishes interviews, essays alongside carefully curated imagery, often around a particular theme. We are committed to showing the work of lesser-known but significant photographers alongside that of established practitioners in the aim of bringing their work to a wider audience. Often incredibly diverse in terms of subjects, concepts, styles and techniques, yet whilst always foregrounding the subjectivity of documentary art photography, 1000 Words intends to explore the limits and possibilities of the medium.

Released quarterly, the magazine attracts over 140,000 unique visitors from more than 120 countries every month. In May 2010 the 1000 Words Blog was ranked at number 3 in The Top 25 UK Arts & Culture Blogs as part of a survey carried out by Creative Tourist and was also named as the winner of Arts Media Contacts Photography Blog of the Year Award, 2010.

Yet 1000 Words is much more than just an online magazine. 1000 Words also operates a programme of exhibitions and events including workshops, artist talks, portfolio reviews, prizes and awards. 

1000 Words is governed by its board of directors who play an active role in the direction of the organisation. They are: Camilla Gore, Nicholas Barker, Simon Baker, Aron Morel, Louise Clements, Tim Clark, Michael Grieve and Norman Clark. The 1000 Words Workshops are organised by Tim Clark, founder and editor-in-chief at 1000 Words and Michael Grieve, 1000 Words deputy editor, senior lecturer at Nottingham Trent University and a photographer represented by Agence Vu. 

"I have had the most profoundly moving, fascinating, difficult, wonderful week of my life. Thank you 1000 Words. Words can not describe. I have been continuing with my project. It feels different here, of course. And much slower progress. But still shooting with the same or similar mindset. All connected to what I did in Morocco. Really, really missing everyone. I feel privileged, truly, to have been part of it. Have been in the countryside with my parents since getting back and finally showed my mum the slideshow, with music that had been spinning around my head. She cried." Laura 

"The Erik Kessels workshop in Fez has been a fantastic and motivational experience that I will carry with me my whole life." Andy

"The choice of city (Fez) to develop such an educational and inspirational workshop is amazing, since the immersion begins as soon as you arrive. You are induced to leave your comfort zone and search for new references and perspectives, and given that the culture and language are so unique they also become great ingredients in this creative quest. The whole infrastructure offered during the workshop and also the specific venue where the meetings and tutorial activities took place were all part of the environment, serving to create a peaceful and harmonic atmosphere that continuously inspired us all during the workshop." Alan

Antoine DAgata workshop in Fez was a mind shaking experience, and for me that was just what I needed! Antoines repeated question to me was, "but what do you want?" What a simple question it may seem but to truly honestly answer this was one of the hardest things. Antoine struggled with me daily to be truthful to the process of shooting and to my work. Trying to do this as a white woman in a muslim foreign country seemed scary at first. But soon enough this fear pushed me to go farther than I had before. To take more risks and be more bold. In the end, I had allowed myself to befriend men and women who were at first just strangers on the street. My once beautiful but safely intimate portraiture became more real for me, evoking not only the fear of letting myself leap in a strange place but in the process of doing so, being able to see so much more in others.

The workshop venue was such a treat and incredible place to be able to go to every day. A sanctuary to rest and to edit and collect your thoughts. A place to run into your fellow work shoppers and bounce around ideas. The food was more than I had expected and in fact pretty much the best food I ate in Morocco in my three weeks travel. Tim and Michael were so on top of the workshop; they were there managing every detail from accommodations, food, coordinating the class meetings, running film to labs, scanning, and even just being sweet and kind pals to talk with about your day or have a beer with and brainstorm about your project.

All in all, this workshop could not have been better and I feel so lucky to have had such an opportunity. Antoines phenomenal out of the box thinking and honesty is one of a kind. 1000 Words workshops fall into the 'do not miss this' category!” Katie

We require that you send 10 images as low res jpegs and/or a link to your website, as well as a short biography and statement about why you think it will be relevant for you to work with Boris (approx. 200 words total). Submissions are to be sent to with the following subject header: SUBMISSION FOR 1000 WORDS WORKSHOP WITH BORIS MIKHAILOV.

01 October 2012: Deadline for applications
03 October 2012: Successful candidates contacted
12 October 2012: Deposit due (£500)
31 October 2012: Second installment due (£750)
04 November 2012: Arrive in Morocco for welcoming dinner
05 November 2012: Workshop begins
09 November 2012: Workshop ends


Monday 13 August 2012

Tereza Zelenkova and Peter Watkins: Index of Time

© Tereza Zelenkova & Peter Watkins

Launched at Donlon Books in East London last Thursday, and already down to the final few copies, Index of Time by Tereza Zelenkova, Peter Watkins and Oliver Shamlou is an ambitious cornucopia of words and images, musing on the dark mythologies and historiography surrounding the second largest cave structure in the Czech Republic. Here, 1000 Words Associate editor, Brad Feuerhelm, of Ordinary Light Photography fame, gets a first-hand look at the book and offers his reflections on this unique and at times beguiling project.

Index of Time offers an interesting ménage a trois of absurdist literature and cold and ritualistic photographic Gnosticism, with approximately 40 murders by an above average Troglodyte thrown into the mix. If that were not enough to pique your curiosity, the pictures and words are well conceived and patterned, rather tethered to each other in a black and sinking maelstrom of cave-dwelling intrigue.

Not always the easiest of marriages, photography and literature in the context of a small edition of 100 is intimate and somehow eludes arbitrary measure, enabling the brooding photographs that share their pages with a humorous taxonomy of archaeology exemplified by a furrowing shaman named Slogger.  

The historic tale of the collaboration alone relates to a discovery of pre-historic cave dwellings in the Josefovské Valley a vast Moravian Nature reserve. Within this valley lies the open mouth of Býčí skála Cave, which henceforth since its inception has spewed forth plenty of tales. Some tales have been told on its walls as the caves carry the earliest cave paintings from the region. The cave system which is some 13 kilometres long has housed millennia of human inhabitants each gathering and leaving some minor mark on the sweaty surface of the cave interior - glistening and palpitating - waiting for a chance to secrete its histories to future generations of intrepid travellers.

When the cave was explored by Jindrich Wankel from 1867-1873, its notion as spiritual pre-historic home became layered with the uncovering of what has since been reported to be the remains of 40 women and the potential deputy of their demise. Stories abound of ritual sacrifice and brutal dramas being played out on each of the women by a local nobleman. Conversely, in a less legendary version of the atrocity, it has since been alleged that the butchered group, were actually children, adult males, and adult females suggesting the possibility of a mass execution during WWII, possibly via gas though some were beheaded and chained. 

All of these histories, which inform this photographic body of work, having been inspired by its representations in culture capture the physical environment and remaining elements of these cautionary tales in monochrome form with clarity and presumably a great deal of patience (the photographers’ car and cameras were both stolen). Within the cave’s interior are abstracted and illusory pools of molten and eroded rock surfaces, which pulse calmly with an otherworldly light while the crevices are alive with the swarm and screech of the bats. Dripping stalactites. Low light. Patience.

The works in the book project the viewer into the suffocating dirt, guano, and human remains found along the way. And further juxtaposed with these dire totems are simple, yet effective images of historic tools, blades, and further underground sublimity as intimated by the silky waters of the cistern pools. The images heave, pregnant with a heavy and oppressive air that weighs like a silken paperweight at the bottom of my lungs in this perceived environ sickly unable to breathe, unable to stop. Heat on the back of my neck joined with a cold shiver down my side, rock and gravel crushed and scraping under the sole of a twisting foot. Reverberations. Low light. Patience to venture further.

As a collaboration, the book’s overall aesthetic and supplement create an atmosphere of charged and observed mythical neglect. By photographing in subterranean climates and in capturing the origins of the written word from its pre-historic root cultures of historic abode and gathering, the three authors have crafted a slick and elegantly designed ode to a morbid yet integral part of our collective humanity. One story of many, the photographs serene and playful cavalcade of diffuse light inherit the historical lineage with aplomb. The cold dejected analogue photograph aesthetic in the hands of operators with earnest interest is as fresh as ever and without any abandon I suggest you explore it further.
Brad Feuerhelm

The limited edition self-published artist book is available for purchase here. More images from the project can be seen here.

Wednesday 1 August 2012

Jo Longhurst @Mostyn, Llandudno North Wales

On show at Mostyn, Wales’ leading gallery of contemporary art, is an engaging body of work titled Other Spaces by artist Jo Longhurst. Developed from a selection of sketches and studies made when visiting the Heathrow Gymnastic Club and the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, and by pulling Plato’s Perfect Solids and Popova & Rodchenko’s experimentations with aesthetic form as her well of inspiration, the rich and timely project takes sport as its subject.
In the manner born of many contemporary photographers, Longhurst has attempted to expand or explode the parameters of photography by experimenting with more sculptural displays, in turn fusing a mixture of analogue and digital lens-based processes, performance and installation. With the experience of actually being a former gymnast herself, Longhurst brings to question the ideas of human perfection in her work and highlights the emotional and physical strains this sport has on the lives of elite gymnasts as well as the pleasure and exhilaration of the activity it elicits.
Our very own, Jenna Banat, 1000 Words Editorial intern, attended the 2012 Olympic Gymnastic qualifying rounds in London and witnessed rhythm and aesthetic perfection right alongside painful and embarrassingly messy dismounts first hand. This project, however, shows the sport of gymnastics in a new light. Longhurst set out to “explore the physical and emotional experiences of elite gymnasts through classic portraiture, appropriated photographs, performance and installation.” She manages to capture the athletes’ psychological states during high-speed moves, portraying, for example, a gymnast in mid-flight, perfectly composed, in a state of tranquillity.

To accompany the exhibition, Other Spaces, Ffotogallery in partnership with Mostyn have published a book comprising 128 pages, with an essay by Sara Knelman and an interview with Charlotte Cotton, the launch for which will take place on 26 August 2012 at Mostyn gallery.
This exhibition runs until 30 September 2012, and at Ffotogallery, Cardiff, from October to December 2012.