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British Journal of Photography #7892

The February Issue

We interview six photographers, one from each of the six chapters that make up the Barbican Art Gallery’s forthcoming blockbuster exhibition, Masculinities, including Adi Nes, Karen Knorr and Samuel Fosso. Plus Laia Abril introduces the next chapter of her compelling project, A History of Misogyny: On Rape.

Bringing together 300 works by nearly 60 artists, a timely exhibition at the Barbican explores how masculinity has been coded and performed since the 1960s. We speak to curator Alona Pardo about destabilising and debunking the myths surrounding it.

Growing up in the febrile atmosphere of manliness following Israel’s Six-Day War, Adi Nes never felt he quite fitted in. Until he joined the IDF, embraced his sexuality and went to art college. His subsequent series is an attempt to “challenge stereotypical masculine imagery” and “allow my subjects to be sensitive”.

Granted access to the elite London gentlemen’s clubs of the early 1980s, Karen Knorr exposes the power, privilege and patriarchy that continue to shape society today.

If her images appear unsettling, that’s our own hang-up, says Aneta Bartos, who photographed herself  with her ageing father, a bodybuilder who was much more than a masculine archetype. 

Sunil Gupta captures the flourishing of gay pride in the yearsd following the Stonewall riots, the same years he himself went through a journey of self-discovery.

Adopting a variety of guises and costumes, Samuel Fosso has spent a lifetime subverting cultural stereotypes with his performative self-portraits. And, Hans Eijkelboom explores the notion of the perfect man in his series inspired by the desires of women. 

In Agenda, we speak to Laia Abril who shares the harrowing reality that led to the second chapter of her fascinating work, A History of Misogyny: Chapter Two – On Rape. Plus, a new book and exhibition showing Henry Moore side by side with Bill Brandt, plot the parallel careers of the two eminent British artists. Our Any Answers this month is REM frontman, Michael Stipe.

Our brace of projects this month look at the veracity of historical objects, in Giulia Parlato’s Diachronicles, and outdated archetypes in Alabama in Belle, by Cocoa Laney.

Created as physical expressions of the ‘inner child’, Andrey Zouari’s colourful sculptures ruminate on gender and instinct.  Elsewhere, Damien Demolder test-drives the new, mirrorless SL2 from Leica.