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SPBH Ten Questions

Tim Clark

The curator and editor talks to us about the photo magazine of the future, the challenges facing cultural institutions, and shares something you haven’t seen from Taryn Simon.

1. Show us a sample of your work.

1. From a forthcoming book that I’m editing with Greg Hobson about press photographs drawn from the Daily Herald newspaper archive, entitled English Murders

2. Gathered Leaves: Photographs of Alec Soth at Media Space, the Science Museum, October 2015

3. A Lexicon of Crime: Russian Criminal Tattoos as part of Photo Oxford 2017

4. An essay on Chris Steele-Perkins The Teds for Another Kind of Life: Photography on the Margins, published by Prestel to coincide with the forthcoming exhibition at the Barbican (February 28th – May 27th 2018)

5. Interviews page on 1000 Words Photography Magazine:

2. What research is currently most informing your practice?

To celebrate the tenth anniversary of 1000 Words in 2018, I am currently in the throes of planning a special print version, which is due out later in the year. This has got me thinking about what a magazine of the future might look like; its role and value within this digital phase of photographic culture and how my ideas and strategies will need to translate from online to print and then back again – so it’s not an alternative but an addition. Notions of editing versus curating, to be looked at versus to be read. Whether or not it will have a thematic focus or a unifying subject, and so on. For now I’ll leave you with something Friedrich Tietjen said in his paper, Some Notes for the Genealogy of the Photo Magazine at a wonderful symposium in Liepzig that I was fortunate to be part of in 2013: “Photography magazines could resemble a catalogue for an exhibition that never took place.”

3. Which photograph are you obsessed with right now and why?

Books from the destroyed library of the Fridericianum in Kassel being dried after the Allied air raids of September 8th and 9th, 1941.

4. What video can you not stop watching?

5. Can you give us five links to things you think we should know about?

What is curatorial activism? by Maura Reilly

John Berger in conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist

Okwui Enwezor: ‘I have always had… a Change Agenda’

Zadie Smith on Bookworm (2006)

Taryn Simon – Cutaways

6. How many photos do you have right now on your phone? Please share one

…and feel free to give us some context if you feel like it.

1,372. I pass this tree while jogging in Victoria Park, east London most days – I love it. I think it should be considered worthy of devotion.

7. Can you send us a pic of your desk/workspace?

8. What is the most coveted photo book you own and why?

For me the value of a book, like a work of art, should be completely independent from its rarity or market status. I place the worth of a book on how many times I reread it, or in the case of photobooks, its ability to call my return to that act of simply spending time leafing through and losing myself in its visual worlds. For those reasons, I’m going to suggest Tod Papageorge’s Passing Through Eden (Steidl, 2007). His black and white photographs of Central Park are just such a beautiful dance with life and every time I look at the work contained on its pages I see something new.

9. What concerns you?

Violence. Both towards the environment and the individual. So, for example, the ecological ruin that our planet is facing; the appalling migrant crises; the fact that Grenfell Tower fire absolutely needn’t have happened; Trump’s assault on virtually everyone bar his capitalist cronies; the ignominious cock up that is Brexit, to name but a few big political concerns.

Professionally, one of the things I have pondered in the last few years of my career is the extent of the challenges facing certain photographic institutions in the UK. Questions of how responsive they are in dealing with today’s rapidly-changing world while being progressive as an institutional entity; the pressure they are under to increase audiences and income yet also with real-term reductions in funding in the same breath; whether they are effective in actually checking their own biases in terms of programming, so on and so forth.

10. What makes you happy?

Well, thank goodness for my girlfriend, family, friends, irony, Milan Kundera, the smell of freshly cut grass, cats, restaurants, cheap flights, fountain pens, the feeling of the sun on my back, flea markets, slow walks, the capacity to be alone, writing as a shape for meaning, found photography, rituals, symbols, people watching, French food, Italian culture, cities that are still to be discovered and artists with whom I am yet to collaborate either in the magazine or on other projects – all of those offer up signs of hope and affirmation.




About Tim: Tim Clark is a curator, writer and editor based in London. Since 2008 he has been Editor in Chief at 1000 Words Photography Magazine. Previously Associate Curator at Media Space, The Science Museum in London, exhibitions he worked on included Julia Margaret Cameron: Influence and Intimacy (2015) and Gathered Leaves: Photographs by Alec Soth (2015-2018). He has also organised many exhibitions independently, most recently Peter Watkins: The Unforgetting at Webber Gallery (2017) and Rebecoming: The Other European Travellers at Flowers Gallery (2014). Together with Greg Hobson he curated Photo Oxford 2017, which featured numerous solo presentations by Edgar Martins, Mariken Wessels, Martin Parr and Sergei Vasiliev and Arkady Bronnikov from The Russian Criminal Tattoo Archive. His writing has appeared in FOAMTIME LightboxThe TelegraphThe Sunday TimesPhotoworks and The British Journal of Photography, as well as in exhibition catalogues and photobooks. He is also a visiting lecturer on the MA in Photography at NABA Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti Milano.

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