Thursday, 3 April 2014

1000 Words Workshop with JH Engström in Marseille, 13-17 July 2014

1000 Words is delighted to announce a workshop with internationally renowned Swedish photographer, JH Engström. The workshop will take place between 13-17 July 2014 in the port city of Marseille, immediately after the opening week of Les Rencontres d’Arles.

Marseille is France’s second largest city. Located on the southern coast, it is a wonderfully exciting and vibrant metropolis alive with a heady mix of cultures, nightlife and Mediterranean verve. During 2013 it served as the European City of Culture. An extremely visual and diverse locale, it is the perfect environment for creative exploration.


JH Engström is a leading Swedish photographer who lives between Värmland and Paris. He is best known for his influential photobooks, most notably the highly collectable monograph Trying to Dance, published in 2003, as well as From Back Home, a collaboration with Anders Petersen for which he won the Author Book Award at Les Rencontres d’Arles 2009. Engström is represented by Galerie VU in Paris and Gun Gallery in Stockholm. He was shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize in 2005.

His photography is marked by a distinctly subjective approach to documenting his surroundings. Born out of emotional encounters, at the heart of his work lies both an intimate connection with his subjects and expression of his own self. Critic Martin Jaeggi has spoken speaking of Engström’s pictures as having “the impression of looking at memories”.


1000 Words Workshops will take place in the heart of Marseille at Le Percolateur atelier in the Longchamp district. The workshops will be an intense and productive experience lasting five days but numbers are limited to a maximum of 14 participants. 


The cost of each workshop is £800 for five days. Once participants have been selected they will be expected to pay a non-refundable deposit of £400 within one week. Participants can then pay the remaining balance on a case-by-case basis. Participants are welcome to arrive the day before the workshop begins for a welcome dinner. The price includes:

-tuition from JH Engström (including defining each participant’s project; shooting; editing sessions; creating a coherent body of work; creation of a slide show; projection of the images of the participants.)
-a welcome dinner
-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 Marseille can be considerably cheap for the week. We can advise on finding the accommodation that best suits you. 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.


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 JH Engström (approx. 200 words total). Submissions are to be sent to with the following subject header: SUBMISSION FOR 1000 WORDS WORKSHOP WITH JH ENGSTROM.

31 May 2014: Final deadline for applications
12 July 2014: Arrive in Marseille for welcome dinner with JH Engström
13 July 2014: Workshop begins
17 July 2014: Workshop ends



1000 Words Deputy Editor, Michael Grieve, catches up with JH Engström ahead of the workshop for a quick discussion about one of a number of his recently released photo books, Sketch of Paris, published by Aperture Foundation. Enjoy, and see you the other side of Arles in Marseille!

Michael Grieve: Your new book Sketch of Paris is part of a fine photographic, literary and filmic lineage of representation of that city from Brassai, Henry Miller, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Christer Stromholm, Robert Frank, to name but a few. How do you regard your work in this history?

JH Engström: These names have inspired me and influenced me. Then it’s later now, it’s another era. All those people have done their job. I’m still working.

MG: Why is the book a ‘sketch’ of Paris? Why a sketch?

JHE: Because a sketch is the only way I could in any way represent Paris with photographs… Paris is really ungraspable to me… Also a sketch is unfinished. It’s a first tryout. I like tryouts and unfinished expressions. The attempts... A sketch is also something that is linked to spontaneity, which I also like.

MG: The photographs in Sketch of Paris are very grounded. We never look up and it is devoid of sentiment. You appear to be consumed in it. Do you think the book is a portrait of you or of Paris?

JHE: Its both I think. But of course very much a portrait of me, of me in Paris. And yes I am totally consumed by Paris. I could of course have that feeling of being consumed anywhere on this planet, because of the dry fact that I exist. But in Paris that feeling often hits me very strongly. Sometimes I wish it was less like that. 

MG: Is your work honest?

JHE: I hope so. I want it to be.

MG: Your work generally deals with spontaneity, chance encounters, and you seem to be guided by your unconscious. What do you think it is in your early life experience that has steered you to work in this way?

JHE: That is of course impossible to answer. I believe a lot in things that cannot be explained. I believe in having the courage to stay in the ungraspable.

MG: You once said to me that what is more interesting about the work of Nan Goldin is not so much the diaristic aspect but more how she inadvertently documents her time. We can observe fashion, décor; In this regard your work this same form of documentation?

JHE: It’s not only the question of time that’s so strong with her work of course. It’s also her fantastic way of making photographs that talk about deeply existential, human issues. To me her work is quite painful and talks a lot about our mortality.

MG: So far your photography represents lived experience from your own experience. Love, loss, joy, melancholy, uncertainty, hope and the banal constantly permeate throughout your oeuvre. What is the need to share this to an audience?

JHE: I have of course asked my self that. I don’t know to be honest. I have a necessity to do it. Maybe it’s simply a way to deal with things you mention in your question.

MG: Many contemporary photographers and artists seem to want to produce conceptualised projects. What do you think about this?

JHE: I think all photography is conceptual per definition. Therefore conceptual photography can not be defined as different from the rest of photography. But I think maybe some artists tend to lean very much on the concept. 

MG: To what extent should contemporary photography practice be aware of itself, by that I mean, should it have a critical awareness contained within itself? Does your work have a critical awareness of itself and if so how?

JHE: I don’t really like to talk about what photography “should” or “should not”. Or what art “should” or “should not”.

MG: What does the aesthetic of a photograph mean to you? Is the meaning of a photograph contained within the aesthetic more perhaps than the subject/object depicted. Is it about expression rather than content?

JHE: It’s impossible to separate the two.

MG: You speak often of the emotional aspect of photographs, that your spontaneous attitude is brought about by an unconscious rather than conscious decision-making process. Do you regard a photograph of a street as equal in relevance to a sexual act or a portrait?

JHE: Yes, if you talk about “equal” in some kind of hierarchal way of thinking.

MG: I am often reminded by your work with someone like Bob Dylan, in the sense that your work is introspective, and it is both real and romantic. Therefore it collides to reveal a fundamental uncertainty. Is it fair to say that work is really about the space and tension in between the beautiful and the ugly?

JHE: You could say that it deals with tensions and the dynamics being created in those tensions.

MG: Your photographs tend to work on the level of the senses, by which we can almost taste the dust in the atmosphere, and the stale smell of bars. Is your sensory perception heightened as a result of your photography?

JHE: I don’t know if it’s heightened. But I know my sensory perception is high. And as I touched in an earlier question I would maybe sometimes like that it was a little less active…

MG: Considering your work is eclectic and on the verge of chaos how do you keep control. I imagine you take control at the editing stage? How do you edit and then sequence? Is the association between images made at this point?

JHE: I don’t think it is control, maybe more an illusion of control. And that is as you say very much done at the editing stage. My process of editing is strongly based on intuition. Once something is finished, like printed in a book, the cards have been laid out on the table and then you cant take them back.

MG: Given the increasingly sterile nature of contemporary what do you feel is the future of the more subjective approach and really what is your definition of ‘subjective’ photography?

JHE: I think there will always be an interest for the subjective approach. The subjective photography is a method among others. And in that method the photographer uses very much of him/herself as a starting point and tool.

MG: How has your relationship to Paris changed over the years?

JHE: I’m still amazed by the city. Maybe I go to bed a little earlier now a days but it is sure that it is a lifelong love story.

All images © JH Engström, from the series Sketch of Paris.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Maciej Pestka

All images © Maciej Pestka

Brad Feuerhelm rubs shoulders with Maciej Pestka’s self-published photobook The Life of Psy and gets a glimpse into a hilarious case of mistaken identity.

Maciej Pestka’s The Life of Psy is a brilliant navigation between the borders of fame, photography, and the complexities of credence sought through images. During Barcelona Fashion Week in 2013, Korean-born, French-raised Dennis Carre attended a whole host of parties and events in which people throughout the fashion and beauty industry wrongly identified him as K-Pop singer, Psy of ‘Gangnam Dance’ fame. Quick to capitalise on the doppelganger syndrome he represented, Carre’s appearance takes on a surreal façade as he tangos and kisses his way through a bevy of fashion mavens at various parties, where his image or rather the image of an international superstar administer Carre attention to acts of debauchery and trickery.

Maciej Pestka’s photographs themselves are event-type images where the rules of composition and pictorial photographic systems are reduced to a pop-and-flash candid mimicry much en vogue in fashion circles at present. But the point is not really about the quality of the photograph itself, but that of the embrace of spectacle and fame. Clever not to present Carre’s audience as too vacuous or vain, the photographs become a totem of celebration and “I was there” type of infamy. Brilliantly paced throughout the book are shots of Carre at work, partying and living up someone else’s life. Added ephemeral documents such as ‘cease and desist’ letters from Psy’s management add further umpf to the joke and bestow added value to the book as spoof and document of the existential trauma of where belief and need reside.
Brad Feuerhelm

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Kuba Dąbrowski @ Zachęta – National Gallery of Art, Poland

Piotr Drewko drops in on Kuba Dąbrowski’s solo exhibition at Walsaw's Zachęta – National Gallery of Art, Poland.

Kuba Dąbrowski’s exhibition titled A Drama Feature Film of Polish Production is a vibrant attempt to create well-structured visual correspondence based on artist’s long and fruitful escapade with photography. Entering the gallery we are faced with a chaotic, yet pleasurable space filled to capacity with a vast number of snapshots and portraits from Dąbrowski’s past.

Having read the curatorial statement we’re starting to grasp the principle narrative stream, which is a very personal and intimate portrayal of artist’s adolescent experiences, friends, spontaneous situations and palpable borders of now and then. What is emerging from rhythmic visual tensions is a certain diaristic photography. Dąbrowski’s exhibition does not formulate conceptual method, which situates the viewer at the intersection of art, philosophy, semiotics or science. Instead, the material presented is simply fiction-augmented documentary selection of artist’s life experiences, smattered across the white cube.

And while it seems choreographically careless what becomes vital is his ability to effortlessly translate the spirit of experienced situations and events. The viewer does not see anything that is beyond traditional representation but at the same time he becomes hypnotised by on-going dialogue arranged by the artist. We do not see any seeds of revolution in the way he operates the camera - it is rather very conscious and stimulating evolutionary journey through life. Dąbrowski’s work can be described as simply capturing visual coincidences, which happened to occur within his sight. A major facet of Dąbrowski’s practice is the engagement of our memory and collective experience. The sense of superficiality is reduced before the artist presses the shutter, which generates a strong feeling of familiarity in relation to every single depicted situation. By acknowledging that fact we are able to strengthen the relationship with presented images and address ourselves as participants in that particular conversation. Dąbrowski simply changes our positions as viewers: from being a passive audience we’re starting to actively contribute to the story. All the photographs with their synthesis of subjective and objective planes, of past and present articles, of dual and individual creative vision, become an poetic invitation into which new space is created for any individual, who is willing to look. What we see depends on what we look for.
Piotr Drewko

Monday, 24 February 2014

The Advanced Photography Intensive at Columbia University School of the Arts

Our partners at Columbia University School of the Arts have announced its Advanced Photography Intensive, which aims to engages students in all elements of photographic practice and the development of a portfolio. A combination of technical tutorials, individual meetings with internationally renowned artists and art professionals (Thomas Roma, John Pilson, Elinor Carucci, Michael Spano, Susan Kismaric and Vince Aletti), as well as a series of seminars and group critiques, provide students with the tools they need to advance professionally and further develop the core elements of their practice.

The Advanced Photography Intensive creates an exceptional workshop environment where students have 24-hour access to traditional and digital facilities, coupled with daily hands-on assistance from experienced faculty and staff, culminating in a group exhibition at the LeRoy Neiman Gallery. Students are expected to produce work independently throughout the six-week term and fully dedicate their time and efforts to the course.

The course is designed for several distinct types of students: exceptional undergraduates passionate about photography, college graduates preparing to apply for MFA programmes, experienced photographers looking to gain knowledge of the photographic tradition and its advanced techniques, and seasoned artists and teachers wishing to rigorously develop their practice through a critical dialogue with faculty and other students.

For more information on the features of the course, and how to gain admission click here.

Monday, 17 February 2014

FOAM Talent Call 2014

FOAM have announced their annual talent call, which gives entrants the chance to have their work published in the prestigious Foam Magazine and be exhibited in Amsterdam during Unseen Photo Fair. The Foam Talent Call is a springboard into the photography industry, giving young photographers international recognition and acclaim. Previous Foam Talents include Ina Jang, Alex Prager, Jessica Eaton, Shane Lavalette, Sam Falls, Pieter Hugo, and Mayumi Hosokura, as well as 1000 Words featured artists, Taryn Simon, Daniel Gordon, Daisuke Yokota, Melinda Gibson and Esther Teichmann.

Entrants must be between 18-35 years old and the entrance fee is 35 euros. 15 selected talents will receive an eight page portfolio showcasing their series along with an interview by an esteemed writer. The competition is open for entries until the 12 March via their website or through their Facebook page. Click here to apply or watch the video preview below for more information.

Monday, 27 January 2014

1000 Words Photography Magazine #17: New work from Christian Patterson, Doug Rickard, Cristina De Middel and much more!

It is hard to believe that 2014 marks the fifth year of publishing 1000 Words. Yet, we still remain as passionate and committed to the mission of exploring the limits and possibilities of photography, and to stimulating debate around the medium’s myriad of current practices and discourses as ever.

It therefore gives us great pleasure to announce the launch of issue 17, our first release of the new calendar. To view it, please go to

We bring you a new project from Christian Patterson, entitled Bottom of the Lake, made over two days when he was home for the holidays at Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, a small city perched on the southern end of Lake Winnebago in the US. Accompanied here by an essay from Milwaukee Art Museum’s Curator of Photography, Lisa Sutcliffe, the series maintains the emotional distance of his critically acclaimed Redheaded Peckerwood, and is not so much a story about returning home, instead it speaks to transformations in vision and point of view as one evolves as a person.

Elsewhere, the renowned photography critic and former recipient of ICP’s Infinity Award for Writing, Gerry Badger reviews Doug Rickard’s eagerly anticipated new book N.A (National Anthem), which continues the current tradition of American documentary photography, essentially telling stories about the country. But, as Badger notes, is ‘documentary’ the most apt way to describe a publication largely compiled from blurred screen grabs from You Tube videos?

Academic and independent curator, Duncan Wooldridge brings us an essay on EJ Major’s Love is…. ahead of her major solo show at Forum für Fotografie in Cologne, Germany later this year. For this work, Major methodically selected an image from each frame from Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1972 film Last Tango in Paris, printing 7000 postcards. On the verso, she included the prompt ‘love is…’ so that recipients of her cards - strangers, living across the UK - were invited to return them, with or without response, to a freepost address, printed on the right hand side of the card’s reverse.

In a different feature, Michael Grieve takes a look at the recently released title from Max Strom, a survey of the forty-year career of preeminent Swedish photographer, Anders Petersen. Instinctive, unconscious and shot from the gut, Grieves describes Petersen’s photographs as “fragments of a strangeness of reality, the contorted and juxtaposition of expressions, clothes, bodies, objects, stuff, feelings, skin, indeed all that is out there.”

Brad Feuerhelm catches up with Cristina De Middel in London to discuss Party, the follow up to her meteorically successful photobook, The Afronauts. A subversive reworking of Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung, commonly known as the Little Red Book, De Middel combines photographs from a recent trip to China with negations of the original text to devastating and often satirical effect.

And last but by no means least, we are extremely proud to reveal the first of four pieces of newly commissioned photographic work from the 1000 Words Award winners. Here, our Editor-in-Chief, Tim Clark, has penned an essay on Virgílio Ferreira’s Being and Becoming. Couched in a symbolic, literary mode of photography, the series is a subjective and dreamy meditation on the lives and environments of several migrant workers from Portugal, who left their country of birth to start a new life in new lands, principally due to economic reasons. The series will be shown as part of a group exhibition curated by 1000 Words at Flowers Gallery in London during June 2014.

Over in our dedicated Books column, Tom Claxton pulls back the veil on Linda Fregni Nagler’s Hidden Mother published with MACK, an extraordinary collection of predominantly late-nineteenth century portraits of mothers who have modestly sacrificed their own depiction in order to exhibit their precious infants as the centrepieces of the photographic ritual; David Moore considers the limits of allegory in Robert Hutinki’s elegic ATAVISM by Akina Books, which ostensibly shows family archives from Celje in Slovenia, prior to the Nazi holocaust, that are then redacted and excavated; and finally Federica Chiocchetti sits down with José Pedro Cortes’ Costa, a hypnotic new title from the exciting Portuguese imprint Pierre Von Kleist Editions, that drags us on a journey to the pocket of natural and suburban wilderness that lies 14km south of Lisbon.

Thanks to the writers and photographers, as well as their studios, galleries and publishers, who have provided assistance in making this issue of the magazine project possible. Extended thanks to our newly appointed Editorial Assistant, Dominic Bell, for his outstanding work on production and a special mention to Leica who have graciously supported this edition of 1000 Words.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Tina Hillier

All images © Tina Hillier

Every once in a while, there is a major news event that stops the whole world in its tracks with its impact. The passing of Nelson Mandela on 5 December 2013, aged 95, arrested the attention of every nation, with the images of the great man himself and the people he inspired being viewed and circulated globally. When work by Tina Hillier came in to the 1000 Words submissions inbox, it was interesting to see this photographer’s singular way of depicting the mass of people and lives South Africa’s 'Father of the Nation' had touched.

The project, entitled Mandela - The Last Goodbye, documents the funeral and memorial service but from an usual perspective. Hillier opts to focus on the feet of the hoards of visitors, all of whom are making their journey and waiting in line to pay their respects. The images are a cycle, with no clear beginning, middle or end, but a procession of struggle and freedom. Hillier’s statement on the work adds further insight to the pilgrimage made by so many people :

“Over three days, between Mandela’s memorial service and his funeral in Qunu, an estimated 100,000 people visited the Union Buildings in Pretoria to see his body lying in State. Many more people queued for hours but were turned away on the afternoon of the last day, 13 December, 2013. Some 2000 mourners passed his body each hour. The images in this series document the long lines of people waiting. Queues on that scale had not been seen since Mandela was voted in as President on election day in 1994. He was the first democratically elected President South Africa had ever seen. Almost twenty years on, after his death, South Africans came out in their thousands to pay their last respects to the man who set them free.”

Tina Hillier studied Photography at The Arts Institute at Bournemouth. She now lives in London, working on editorial, commercial and personal projects. She exhibits regularly in group shows and has twice been selected for The National Portrait Gallery, Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize Exhibition in 2010 and 2011. Her work has been included in many magazines and publications including the Saturday Telegraph Magazine, Monocle, Sunday Times Magazine, The Guardian and Dazed & Confused.
Dominic Bell