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OpenWalls Arles 2020: Singapore’s growing population

As part of OpenWalls Arles 2020, we are highlighting photographers whose work is connected to this year’s theme: Growth. Find out how your work could be exhibited alongside Les Rencontres d’Arles 2020 at openwalls.co. “Singapore has extremely little natural resources,” explains Amrita Chandradas. “Its resources are its people.” Several years ago, Singapore’s government pledged to increase the country’s population to 6.9 million citizens by 2030. At the time, Chandradas was studying in London, but these plans to increase the country’s population called her back to her home in Singapore, to document the changes happening there. “My friends and family were telling me about lots of landmarks and places of great historical significance that were disappearing,” says Chandradas. Singapore is nicknamed “Little Red Dot” in reference to its small size. Despite having a very low birth rate, it is the third most densely populated country in the world. When plans to increase the population were unveiled in 2013, there was outrage. “Everyone was asking the government where they were going to fit people into such a …

Q&A: Luca Desienna on shooting My Dearest Javanese Concubine

Born in Italy, Luca Desienna has been a freelance photographer since 1998. One of the co-founders of Gomma Books in 2004, he has produced four Gomma magazines plus two publications devoted to black-and-white photography, MONO volumes I and II, working with image-makers such as Roger Ballen, Antoine D'Agata, Trent Parke, Daido Moriyama, and Anders Petersen. Petersen has described Desienna's personal project My Dearest Javanese Concubine as "a story full of vitamins and warm energy", and the series was shown at the official selection of the 2012 Arles Voies Off. My Dearest Javanese Concubine is now being made into a book by Gomma Books in collaboration with VOID and BlowUp Press, available for pre-order now and due for publication in May.

Hungary’s military-themed summer camps

“I’m a pacifist,” says Máté Bartha of his views on the military. “I don’t think violence is necessary, but it does interest me.” For a year and a half, Bartha has photographed summer camps organised by the Hungarian NGO Home Defence School, an institution committed to teaching discipline, patriotism and camaraderie to teenagers in a society that they believe has become slothful and disconnected. Last week, Bartha’s series Kontakt, won the annual Louis Roederer Discovery Award for emerging photographers at Les Rencontres d’Arles.  “There is a lot of discussion in Hungary about the military and obligation,” explains Bartha. Since 2016, the question of conscription has been at the forefront of public conscience, and is heavily debated by Hungary’s right-wing Conservative government, but according to Bartha, the organisers of these military camps attempt to resist politics. “They say they don’t want to get involved in politics,” says Bartha. “They believe that the younger generation is undisciplined, and that young people don’t appreciate basic values. This military approach is what they believe is missing from education.” As …

OpenWalls Arles: Inside our first exhibition in Arles

As part of OpenWalls Arles 2020, we are highlighting photographers whose work is connected to this year’s theme: Growth. Find out how your work could be exhibited alongside Les Rencontres d’Arles 2020 at openwalls.co. The start of July marked the opening week of the 50th anniversary of Les Rencontres d’Arles, the world’s biggest photography festival. To coincide with the commencement of the festival, the very first OpenWalls Arles exhibition opened at Galerie Huit Arles, France, a central gallery near the town’s Roman amphitheatre. As one of Arles’ spotlight locations, the gallery attracts visitors from around the globe, particularly during the busy opening week of the festival.  The exhibition brings together 50 shortlisted images responding to the theme Home & Away. From the 47 photographers featured in the exhibition, 20 were in attendance at its opening. Among them were Jasper White and Jocelyn Allen, whose photographs encapsulate aspects of identity that are tied to our concept of home. White’s photograph, entitled Wall, was taken on Palestine’s West Bank. The image is from his project of the …