Close Enough: New Perspectives from 12 Women Photographers of Magnum at the International Center of Photography Presents Pivotal Projects from 12 Contemporary Photographers
Close Enough: New Perspectives from 12 Women Photographers of Magnum
NEW YORK, NY (August 23, 2022) — This fall, the International Center of Photography (ICP) will present the exhibition Close Enough: New Perspectives from 12 Women Photographers of Magnum, which offers unique viewpoints on the extraordinary relationships that photographers forge with global situations, communities, and individual subjects. As part of the exhibition, each of the contributing photographers openly reflects upon their intentions and practices, creating a timely chorus of creative voices responding to enduring and urgent human experiences. On view from September 30, 2022, through January 9, 2023, Close Enough takes its title from Magnum Photos co-founder Robert Capa’s well-known quote “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.”
The ICP exhibition presents distinct vantage points that are shaping the scope of the pioneering photography collective Magnum Photos, with pivotal projects by 12 emerging and established contemporary women photographers: Olivia Arthur, Myriam Boulos, Sabiha Çimen, Cristina de Middel, Bieke Depoorter, Carolyn Drake, Nanna Heitmann, Susan Meiselas, Hannah Price, Lua Ribeira, Alessandra Sanguinetti, and Newsha Tavakolian. Together, they move and challenge the photography collective’s boundaries, deepening Magnum’s photographic quest to explore the human realm.
Close Enough features more than 150 works, each telling diverse, unexpected, and personal visual stories. Taken together, the works encompass an array of highly relatable accounts of the artists’ individual perspectives, their relationships with their chosen subjects, and, in the context of this exhibition, their relationships with each other. Showcasing three generations of Magnum women, each revealing a point on her own creative journey, the exhibition includes the first showing of newly completed photographic projects; reflections on and re-animations of earlier projects drawn from the photographers’ own archives; and installations that reveal the working processes within long-term and ongoing personal projects. Curated by Charlotte Cotton, Close Enough coincides with the 75th anniversary of the founding of Magnum Photos.
“Close Enough presents a selection of critical projects by a truly extraordinary group of Magnum photographers spanning multiple generations and cultures,” said ICP executive director David E. Little. “Each project points to the contemporary evolution of concerned photography around the globe and reflects on the complexity of politics and representation today.”
On view concurrently at ICP is Death in the Making: Reexamining the Iconic Spanish Civil War Photobook. This marks the first major monographic exhibition to tell the story of Robert Capa’s 1938 photobook about the Spanish Civil War, a touchstone in the history of war photography that resonates today. Both Close Enough and Death in the Making explore how photographers embed themselves in their subject matter to document people, places, daily life, and world events through compelling images that ask audiences to reflect on gender, war, and history.
“These two projects bring into focus the many foundational links between Magnum Photos, its founders, and ICP, including the significance of pioneering photojournalist Gerda Taro, who inspired generations of photographers, especially women making their way in the field,” said Little. “For Magnum member and ICP founder Cornell Capa, it was important to preserve the legacy of his brother Robert Capa as well as that of Taro, who worked alongside Robert and David “Chim” Seymour during the Spanish Civil War, and whose contributions to the book Death in the Making are being recognized anew.”
“Collectively, the 12 photographers’ work in Close Enough presents inspirational narratives about the practice of photography, with surprising turns in each artist’s deliberations and actions in response to the challenges they navigate,” said exhibition curator Charlotte Cotton. “I commend all of the contributing photographers for being open and honest about their working practices and speaking intentionally and directly to their fellow photographers who will come to see this exhibition about the practices of humanist photography today. Through the combination of newly made work, reflections on previous projects, and works-in-progress in this exhibition, we gain insight into this group’s determination, urgency, and resourcefulness, with each photographer taking account of her practice, inviting us to get close enough.”
Susan Meiselas reflects upon her 2015–2017 project A Room of Their Own and its participatory process, which included working with an illustrator and a writer in collaboration with survivors of domestic abuse living in shelters in the Black Country. Set within the context of a postindustrial region in the United Kingdom, the stories create a resilient testimony of survival—a multilayered, visual narrative incorporating photographs, firsthand accounts, and original artworks.
In not one project but a selection of different works from recent years, Olivia Arthur brings human intimacy and bodily presences into close view. Starting with In Private (2016–2018), Arthur uses photographs drawn from her recent work as well as her archive to create a visual “mind map” about physicality and intimacy in both private and public spaces. Together, the works also invite discussion about technology and how it can be used to enhance our bodies or create physical connections over long distances.
Myriam Boulos’s tender accounts of the private lives and lived experiences of friends and strangers are set within the context of the collective losses and traumas that emerge amid economic instability, violent revolution, and the devastating Port of Beirut explosion in 2020.
Mirroring the extremes of hedonism and nihilism embodied in the emerging trap and drill music scene in Spain, Lua Ribeira’s ongoing series Agony in the Garden (2022) is a close encounter with young people involved in a global and diverse cultural wave as it unfolds uniquely at the local level.
Nanna Heitmann publicly presents her ongoing work made in Russia and Ukraine for the first time since the current conflict began. In an accordion “ribbon” of images, Heitmann begins to visually interweave the militating factors and consequences.
When Cristina de Middel placed an ad in Rio de Janeiro newspapers offering to pay male clients of sex workers for an hour of their time, the response was overwhelming. She began photographing and interviewing clientele in local hotel rooms. She claimed the position of the “client” that the men traditionally occupied—booking a hotel room for an hour, then paying the men the same amount that they would pay a sex worker. Her ongoing project Gentlemen’s Club (2015–2022) moves between global locations and cultures, providing intimate encounters with the men who responded to de Middel’s invitation.
A collaboration with Agata Kay, whom the artist met in a chance encounter in a strip bar in Paris, Bieke Depoorter’s multiyear, multiform project Agata (2017–2020) examines friendship and trust, biography and introspection, fact and fiction, and the complex relationship between photographer and subject, including the negotiation of creating public engagements and exhibitions. These intertwined narratives are threaded via a combination of images, letters, and notes, but what defines the dialogue is the ever-present reflex of self-awareness and self-reflection. The result is a project that never lands on any sort of conclusive truth, highlighting the slippery nature of truth in situations where power, responsibility, and control are in a constant state of flux.
Alessandra Sanguinetti’s 24-year collaboration with Guille and Belinda, cousins who live in a rural province near Buenos Aires, is an episodic and ongoing photographic project that crystallizes the cousins’ rich and unattended world as they move through childhood and youth toward womanhood. As Sanguinetti embarks on the next, potentially final, chapter of this incredible story, she reflects upon the creative work that she and her closest collaborators have yet to do.
Hannah Price’s 2009 series City of Brotherly Love comprises portraits of men on the streets of Philadelphia who had catcalled her on her daily travels. By turning her camera on these men, Price reconfigured the act, creating a series specific to her everyday encounters as a woman newly arrived in the city.
Revealing a world unknown to many, Sabiha Çimen’s Hafiz (2017–2020) explores the lives of young Islamic women in Turkey. The series weaves an emotional narrative that calls forth Çimen’s own personal experiences, through collected vignettes of the daydreams, quiet rebellions, and melodramas of students at all-girl Qur’an schools.
Carolyn Drake’s Knit Club (2012–2020) is a meditation on the mythologies and evocative presence of Southern Gothic culture that emerged from Drake’s collaboration and friendships with an enigmatic group of women and girls, which the work represents as a cross between a gang, a cult of mysteries, and a group of friends bound by secrets only they share.
Newsha Tavakolian’s haunting film For the Sake of Calmness (2020) centers on the experience of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and the more severe premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), drawn from four years of research and interviews with over 100 women.
About Magnum Photos
Magnum Photos is a cooperative of acclaimed, independent photographers who share an ongoing commitment to documenting world events, people, places, daily life, and culture. Founded in 1947, Magnum Photos has been telling stories of the past, defining the present, and shaping the future through photography for over 75 years, united by its values of uncompromising excellence, truth, respect, and independence. With more than 6.6 million followers across the internet, and a rolling program of museum shows, exhibitions, and events across the globe, Magnum photographers continue to inspire a growing worldwide audience. In 2022, Magnum Photos celebrates its 75th year with the launch of a special anniversary program highlighting the agency’s historic legacy, community, and photographic practices.
About the Curator
Charlotte Cotton is a curator, writer, and creative consultant who has explored photographic culture for over 25 years. She has held positions including curator of photographs at the Victoria and Albert Museum; head of programming at The Photographers’ Gallery, London; curator and head of the Wallis Annenberg Photography Department at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and curator-in-residence at the Katonah Museum of Art, NY. She has also held positions at ICP and the California Museum of Photography, Riverside. Her book, The Photograph as Contemporary Art, has been published in more than 10 languages and has been a key text in charting the rise of photography as an undisputed art form in the 21st century. The fourth edition was published in September 2020.
About the Artists
Olivia Arthur (b. 1980, England) is known for her in-depth photography examining people and their personal and cultural identities. Much of her work has illuminated the daily lives of women living in places as varied as Saudi Arabia, India, and countries across Europe. Her work has been shown in publications including The New Yorker, Vogue, and TIME; selected commercial clients include British Airways, Alexander McQueen, and BNP Paribas.
When Myriam Boulos (b. 1992, Lebanon) was 16, she started to use her camera to question Beirut, its people, and her place among them. She graduated with a master’s in photography from the Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts, Beirut, in 2015. Boulos has shown her work in national and international group exhibitions, including Infinite Identities, Amsterdam; the 3ème Biennale des photographes du monde arabe contemporain, Paris; and C’est Beyrouth, Paris. Today, she uses photography to explore, defy, and resist society. In 2021, the year she joined Magnum, she was awarded the ISEM Grand Prize.
Sabiha Çimen (b. 1986, Turkey) is a self-taught photographer, focusing on Islamic culture, portraiture, and still life. Her work explores the experiences of young Islamic women in Turkey. She seeks to give wider recognition to Islamic women who are underrepresented in the media. Çimen’s work has been published by the New York Times, TIME, National Geographic, M le magazine du Monde, and Geo. She is the recipient of a W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund grant, a Light Work residency, a World Press Photo Award, a PhMuseum Photography Grant, and a Canon Female Photojournalist Grant, among other distinctions. Her first book, Hafız, was published in 2021 by Red Hook Editions.
Cristina de Middel’s (b. 1975, Spain) work investigates photography’s ambiguous relationship to truth. Blending documentary and conceptual photographic practices, she plays with reconstructions and archetypes in order to build a more layered understanding of her subjects. With more than 13 books published, de Middel has exhibited extensively internationally and has received numerous recognitions for her work, including ICP’s Infinity Award, Spain’s National Photography Award, the Prix Virginia, and finalist status for the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize. In addition to her acclaimed personal projects, she has worked on commission for clients including the Nobel Peace Foundation, Christian Dior, Vanity Fair US, Vogue US, and FC Barcelona. Cristina de Middel lives and works between Mexico and Brazil.
Bieke Depoorter’s (b. 1986, Belgium) relationships with the subjects of her photographs lie at the core of her artistic practice. Accidental encounters are the starting point, and how these interactions naturally develop dictates the nature of her work. She has published five books and won several awards and honors, including the Magnum Expression Photography Award, the Larry Sultan Photography Award, and the Prix Levallois. Depoorter has had recent solo shows at C/O Berlin, Fotomuseum Antwerp, and NRW-Forum Düsseldorf.
Carolyn Drake (b. 1971, United States) works on long-term photo-based projects that seek to interrogate dominant historical narratives and creatively reimagine them. In exploring the barriers and connections among people, places, and ways of perceiving, her work embraces collaboration, and it often intersects with non-photographic media such as sculpture and textile art. Drake is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Henri Cartier-Bresson Award, among other honors. Her fifth book, Glorify Yourself, will be published in 2023.
Nanna Heitmann (b. 1994, Germany) is a documentary photographer who is currently based in Moscow. In addition to reporting on current events, particularly in Russia, her work often looks at the way people respond to and interact with their environment. She has documented the effects of climate change and the catastrophic forest fires in Siberia, the peatlands of the Congo Basin, and the lives of people living along the remote benches of the Yenisei river. She has received awards including the World Press Photo Award, the Olivier Rebbot Award, the Leica Oskar Barnack Award, and the Ian Parry Scholarship, and has been listed on “The 30: New and Emerging Photographers to Watch.” Heitmann’s work has been published in National Geographic, TIME, and M le Magazine du Monde, among others, and she works on assignment for outlets including the New York Times, The New Yorker, and Die Zeit.
Susan Meiselas (b. 1948, United States) is a documentary photographer, a member of Magnum Photos since 1976, and president of the Magnum Foundation since its founding in 2007. She is the author of the books Carnival Strippers; Nicaragua: June 1978–July 1979; Kurdistan: In the Shadow of History; Pandora’s Box; Encounters with the Dani; and A Room of Their Own. She has co-edited three collections: El Salvador: Work of Thirty Photographers; Chile from Within; and, most recently, Tar Beach. Meiselas has also co-directed three films: Living at Risk and Pictures from a Revolution, both with Richard P. Rogers and Alfred Guzzetti, and Reframing History. Well known for her documentation of human rights issues for over a decade in Latin America, Meiselas has photographs included in American and international collections. In 1992, Meiselas was named a MacArthur Fellow, and in 2015, she received a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Hannah Price (b. 1986, United States) is a photographic artist and filmmaker primarily interested in documenting relationships, race politics, social perception, and misperception. Price graduated from the Yale School of Art with an MFA in photography in 2014.
Lua Ribeira’s (b. 1986, Spain) practice is characterized by its collaborative nature and immersive approach to her subject matter. She is interested in using the photographic medium as a means to establish relationships and question structural separations between people and communities. Ribeira graduated in graphic design from the BAU School of Design, Barcelona, in 2011, and earned a BA in documentary photography from the University of South Wales in 2016. Her work has received several awards and honors, including the Firecracker Photographic Grant and the Jerwood/Photoworks Award.
Alessandra Sanguinetti (b. 1968, United States) is known for her lyrical, softly drawn photography that explores themes of memory, place, and the psychological transitions of youth. She is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Hasselblad Foundation grant. Her photographs are included in public and private collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Newsha Tavakolian (b. 1981, Iran) began working professionally in the Iranian press at the age of 16, at the women’s daily newspaper Zan. At the age of 18, she was the youngest photographer to cover the 1999 student uprising. In 2002, she started working internationally, documenting the war in Iraq. In 2009, Tavakolian covered the presidential elections in Iran, which ended in chaos and forced her to temporarily halt her photojournalistic work. Instead, she started working on projects involving a mix of social documentary photography and art.
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About the International Center of Photography
The International Center of Photography is the world’s leading institution dedicated to photography and visual culture. Cornell Capa founded ICP in 1974 to champion “concerned photography”—socially and politically minded images that can educate and change the world. Through our exhibitions, education programs, community outreach, and public programs, ICP offers an open forum for dialogue about the power of the image. Since its inception, ICP has presented more 700 exhibitions, provided thousands of classes, and hosted a wide variety of public programs. The International Center of Photography (ICP) launched its new integrated center on Manhattan’s Lower East Side in January 2020. Located at 79 Essex Street, ICP is the cultural anchor of Essex Crossing, one of the most highly anticipated and expansive mixed-use developments in New York City. Visit icp.org to learn more.
Nicole Straus Public Relations
Image: Sabiha Çimen, A plane flies low over students riding a train at a funfair over the weekend, from Hafiz. August 29, 2018 © Sabiha Çimen / Magnum Photos