The Messy Truth - Conversations on Photography podcast

The Messy Truth - Conversations on Photography

Gem Fletcher

Photo Director Gem Fletcher hosts The Messy Truth, a podcast dedicated to the world of contemporary photography featuring exclusive interviews with emerging and leading artists, curators and critics. Listen in to these candid conversations that unpack photography and why it connects us all in such transformational ways. Follow Gem’s Instagram @gemfletcher for images of photographs discussed in each episode.

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41 Episodes

  • The Messy Truth - Conversations on Photography podcast

    Brea Souders - On Chance

    37:01

     In this episode, Gem Fletcher chats to artist Brea Souders. Brea is known for disrupting our assumptions of what photography is. She does this through a multifaceted practice that defies categorisation. She is constantly shifting tools, processes and strategies, creating images that are unfamiliar and unfixed.  In Eleven Years, her first monograph published by Saint Lucy Books, six bodies of work evoke a sense of wonder while grappling with the enduring challenge of climate change, technology, trauma and belonging. Here, we experience the decisions that form her distinct visual language from fleeting materiality, a seductive use of colour and how she allows chance to infiltrate her rigorous process. In this conversation, we discuss Brea’s creative process and how chance plays a critical part in everything she does. We discuss performance, experimentation, how practice evolves over time and how life and art intertwine.  Follow Brea on Instagram @breasouders Follow Gem @gemfletcher on Instagram. If you've enjoyed this episode, PLEASE leave us your feedback and maybe five stars if we're worthy in the Apple Podcast store. Thank you for listening to The Messy Truth. We will be back very soon. For all requests, please email [email protected] See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
  • The Messy Truth - Conversations on Photography podcast

    Emily Keegin - On Photo Direction

    41:41

     In this episode, Gem Fletcher chats to Emily Keegin, Freelance Photo Director. She has created images for The Fader, No Man’s Land, Time, Bloomberg Businessweek, IBM and many more. As a prominent editor, she understands how the physical, human and cognitive need to blend to make a great photograph. Emily is constantly thinking about how images come into being and how they influence what we see, think and believe. During the pandemic, she began to share her research and reflections on Instagram  - an enlightening experience for anyone fascinated by photography's omnipresent role in our lives. In this kind of casual visual anthropology, she invites us into her particular way of seeing the world with care, humour, joy and endless curiosity. In this conversation, we discuss Emily's relationship to photography and how she thinks about commissioning and working with photographers to support them in doing their best work. We talk about the impact of photography and its relationship to culture and power. We talk about money, the challenges facing editors and photographers in the current climate and much more. Follow Emily on Instagram @emily_elsie Follow Gem @gemfletcher on Instagram. If you've enjoyed this episode, PLEASE leave us your feedback and maybe five stars if we're worthy in the Apple Podcast store. Thank you for listening to The Messy Truth. We will be back very soon. For all requests, please email [email protected] See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
  • The Messy Truth - Conversations on Photography podcast

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  • The Messy Truth - Conversations on Photography podcast

    Rose Marie Cromwell - On Relationships

    48:15

    Gem Fletcher chats to Rose Marie Cromwell. The Miami-based artist whose work is rooted in the language of documentary photography but subverts many of its tropes by creating tension between the real and the fabricated, the autobiographical and the political to convey lyrical stories about contemporary life, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean. While her photographs critically address issues of politics, economic injustice, and environmentalism, she takes a sidelong approach, revealing how these powerful forces subtly manifest in the built environment or the human body. Though they depict everyday objects and commonplace scenes, her photographs often verge on abstraction to express dreamlike states and a sense of disorientation in the face of globalization. Throughout the episode we traverse three bodies of work including El Libro Supremo de la Suerte - a portrayal of Cuba created over eight years that continues defying expectations and interpretations. King of Fish, a ten-year project about a community living alongside the Panama canal and Eclipse, a study of the physical, psychological, and spiritual changes of motherhood. In the episode we talk about everything from visual strategies, the role of place and time, building long term collaborations, authorship and the role of photobooks in her practice. Follow Rose on Instagram @rorosiemarie on Instagram and website. Follow Gem @gemfletcher on Instagram. If you've enjoyed this episode PLEASE leave us your feedback and maybe 5 stars if we're worthy in the Apple Podcast store. Thank you for listening to The Messy Truth, we will be back very soon. For all requests, please email [email protected] See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
  • The Messy Truth - Conversations on Photography podcast

    Coco Capitán - On Imagining

    48:30

    Gem Fletcher chats to Coco Capitán, known for her genre-defying work that straddles fashion and fine art. Coco is known for her hybrid practice that is constantly evolving. She has crafted an incredible career across fashion and art in which she uses photography, painting, writing, design to animate her ideas which are often rooted in personal experiences. She is a committed exhibition and bookmaker and has shown her work around the world. Her practice is one that is truly intuitive and lives free from the boundaries of genre and expectations. In this episode, we discuss how writing and language is the foundation of her practice, her approach to making commercial and fine artwork, her love of creating spaces to display her work and the genesis of her latest work Naïvy. Coco Capitán was born in Seville (Spain) in 1992. Based in London, she completed her MA Master of Fine Arts with honours in the field of photography at the Royal College of Art, London, in 2016. Her art practice straddles the fine art and commercial art worlds and includes photography, painting, and prose. She has produced editorial and commercial collaborations with Gucci, Paco Rabanne, Maison Margiela and her work has appeared in magazines including the New York Times Magazine, Dazed, M Le Monde, Document Journal, and Vogue. She has been a guest speaker for Cambridge University Photographic Society (2016), a member of the Jury for Hyères Fashion & Photography Festival (2016), and was awarded the Photographers Gallery FF+WE Prize (2015).Most recently Capitán was the subject of a solo museum show entitled Is It Tomorrow Yet? at the Daelim Museum in Seoul, South Korea 2018 and participated in a group exhibition alongside Ren Hang at La Maison européenne de la photographie (Paris, 2019).Follow Coco on Instagram @cococapitan on Instagram and website. Follow Gem @gemfletcher on Instagram. If you've enjoyed this episode PLEASE leave us your feedback and maybe 5 stars if we're worthy in the Apple Podcast store. Thank you for listening to The Messy Truth, we will be back very soon. For all requests, please email [email protected] See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
  • The Messy Truth - Conversations on Photography podcast

    Catherine Opie - On Belonging

    52:15

    Gem Fletcher chats to Catherine Opie. Known for her powerfully dynamic photography that examines the ideals and norms surrounding the culturally constructed American dream and American identity. She first gained recognition in the 1990s for her series of studio portraits titled Being and Having, in which she photographed gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals drawn from her circle of friends and artists. Opie has travelled extensively across the country exploring the diversity of America’s communities and landscapes, documenting quintessential American subjects—high school football players and the 2008 presidential inauguration—while also continuing to display America’s subcultures through formal portraits. Using dramatic staging, Opie presents cross-dressers, same-sex couples, and tattooed, scarred, and pierced bodies in intimate photographs that evoke traditional Renaissance portraiture—images of power and respect. In her portraits and landscapes, Opie establishes a level of ambiguity of both identity and place by exaggerating masculine or feminine characteristics, or by exaggerating distance, cropping, or blurring her landscapes. Catherine has just released a new monograph – published by Phaidon, the book is organised in three themes: people, politics and place – the core tenants of her artistic investigation. It’s presented non-chronologically, a curatorial strategy she has been experimenting with for the last decade., which teases out connections between seemingly incongruent bodies of work. The result is a book with such a dynamic visual narrative, you can return to it again and again and see something new. In the episode we talk about everything from visual strategies, audiences in the digital age, self-doubt, road trips, bearing witness, empathy, belonging and so much more. What is remarkable about Catherine is the ways in which she has the ability to shapeshift as an artist, to show a multiplicity of inquiry, queering the medium over and over again. Follow Catherine on Instagram @csopie on Instagram. Follow Gem @gemfletcher on Instagram. If you've enjoyed this episode PLEASE leave us your feedback and maybe 5 stars if we're worthy in the Apple Podcast store. Thank you for listening to The Messy Truth, we will be back very soon. For all requests, please email [email protected] See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
  • The Messy Truth - Conversations on Photography podcast

    Charlie Engman - On Context

    45:22

    Gem Fletcher chats to Charlie Engman. Charlie originally trained as a movement artist as well as studying Japanese and Korean Studies before arriving at photography as a form of visual notation. Now working between commercial and fine art, he is focused on pushing the scope and visual possibility of the world around him. His first monograph, MOM, a collection of images of his mother made over the course of a decade, was recently published and explores ideas of categories, roles, power dynamics, performativity, the expectations and codes of society as well as the relationship they share as collaborators and mother and son. In this episode we talk about the dynamics in photography, the role of context and positionality, performativity and so much more.  Charlie’s commissioned work has appeared in publications such as AnOther Magazine, Dazed, Garage, POP, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, Unemployed, and American Vogue and has been used by clients such as Prada, Marni, Adidas, Hermès, Kenzo, Nike, Opening Ceremony, Pucci, Sonia Rykiel, Stella McCartney, and Vivienne Westwood. Charlie has expanded his talents to both styling and design, most recently collaborating with Collina Strada Resort on the design for the 2020 collection. His first monograph, MOM, a collection of images of his mother made over the course of more than a decade, will be published by Edition Patrick Frey in Spring 2020. This body of work was also exhibited as a solo show at Scrap Metal, Toronto. Charlie is based in Brooklyn, New York. Follow Charlie on Instagram @charlieengman on Instagram and visit www.charlieengman.com to see his work. Follow Gem @gemfletcher on Instagram. If you've enjoyed this episode PLEASE leave us your feedback and maybe 5 stars if we're worthy in the Apple Podcast store. Thank you for listening to The Messy Truth, we will be back very soon. For all requests, please email [email protected] See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
  • The Messy Truth - Conversations on Photography podcast

    Lesley A. Martin - On Publishing

    44:38

    In this episode, Gem Fletcher chats to Lesley A. Martin, creative director of Aperture. She has edited over one hundred books including collaborations with Zanele Muholi, La Toya Ruby Frazier, Richard Mosse, Hank Willis Thomas, Rinko Kawauchi, Antwaun Sargent, and Sara Cwynar to name just a few. She is also the publisher of The PhotoBook Review, a newsprint journal dedicated to the evolving conversation surrounding the photobook. Her writing on photography has been published in Aperture, Ojo de Pez, FOAM, and IMA magazine, among other publications, and in 2012, she co-founded the Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards. She is currently a visiting critic at the Yale University School of Art.In this conversation, we discuss Lesley’s personal relationship to the platform of the book and the wider community. We reflect on the current state of photobook publishing and what it can offer a body of work. We talk about audience, the impact of self-publishing, how to decipher the most compelling pathway through a body of work and how to shepherd a project through a constantly shifting context. We talk about methodology, commitment as well as the rich history of the photobook.  Follow Lesley on Instagram @la.martin_ Follow Gem @gemfletcher on Instagram. If you've enjoyed this episode PLEASE leave us your feedback and maybe 5 stars if we're worthy in the Apple Podcast store. Thank you for listening to The Messy Truth, we will be back very soon. For all requests, please email [email protected] acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
  • The Messy Truth - Conversations on Photography podcast

    Ekow Eshun - On Curation

    38:18

    In this episode, Gem Fletcher chats to writer and curator Ekow Eshun. His writing has appeared in publications including the New York Times, Financial Times, The Guardian, Granta, Wired and Aperture. He is Chair of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group, overseeing London’s most significant public art programme, and the former director of the ICA. In this conversation, we discuss how his upbringing in London informed his creative work. We discuss what he is looking for in emerging artists and his devotion to Black culture. We unpack his latest book Africa State of Mind that gathers together the work of an emergent generation of photographers from across Africa, including both the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa. It is both a summation of new photographic practice from the last decade and an exploration of how contemporary photographers from the continent are exploring ideas of ‘Africanness’ to reveal Africa to be a psychological space as much as a physical territory – a state of mind as much as a geographical place. Dispensing with the western colonial-era view of Africa in purely geographic or topographic terms. The book is presented in four thematic parts: Hybrid Cities; Inner Landscapes; Zones of Freedom; and Myth and Memory. We move on to talk about his role as a guest curator in the Barbican’s Masculinities: Liberation through Photography exhibition. We talk about the camera as an ally or enabler in addition to a tool of violence and oppression. We talk about motivation, unlearning and the constant commitment to the work. Africa State of Mind By Ekow Eshun is published by Thames & Hudson and is available now.Follow Ekow on Instagram @ekoweshun. Follow Gem @gemfletcher on Instagram. If you've enjoyed this episode PLEASE leave us your feedback and maybe 5 stars if we're worthy in the Apple Podcast store. Thank you for listening to The Messy Truth, we will be back very soon. For all requests, please email [email protected] See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
  • The Messy Truth - Conversations on Photography podcast

    Laia Abril - On Methodology

    1:09:59

    Gem chats to Laia Abril. Laia is a research-based artist working with photography, text, video and sound. She began her career at the iconic Colors Magazine, which left an indelible mark on how she thinks about process, authorship and collaboration. Now, her art practice is centred on creating a dialogue about hidden realities related to sexuality and gender inequality. In this episode, we talk about her long term project, A History of Misogyny. Chapter 1 - On Abortion is a gut-wrenching exploration of the repercussions of not having access to abortion and her latest chapter On Rape, aims to call out institutional rape culture. She looks at why structures of justice, law and policy are not only failing survivors but actually encouraging perpetrators by preserving power dynamics which normalise sexual violence. In this episode, we talk about her methodology and how it evolves over time, how she thinks about audience and how she navigates the emotional weight of the subject matter. For me, Laia is one of the most important artists working today, her work is about starting conversations around urgent issues to play her role in creating a more empathetic and safe world. Laia Abril (1986) is currently based in Barcelona and represented by the Parisian gallery Les Filles du Calvaire. After graduating from college with a degree in Journalism she moved to New York to focus on photography where she decided to start telling intimate stories that raise uneasy and hidden realities related with sexuality, eating disorders and gender equality. In 2009, she enrolled in the artist residency at FABRICA, the Benetton Research Centre in Treviso, where she worked as a researcher, photo editor and staff photographer at Colors Magazine for 5 years. Abril’s projects are produced across platforms such as installations, books, web docs, and films. Her work has been shown widely and published internationally and is held in private collections and museums, such as Musée de l’Elysée and Fotomuseum Winterthur in Switzerland, FRAC in France and MNAC or FotoColectania in Barcelona. Follow Laia on Instagram @laia_abril on Instagram and visit www.laiaabril.com to see her work. Follow Gem @gemfletcher on Instagram. If you've enjoyed this episode PLEASE leave us your feedback and maybe 5 stars if we're worthy in the Apple Podcast store. Thank you for listening to The Messy Truth, we will be back very soon. For all requests, please email [email protected] The content of this podcast could be triggering for some listeners. We discuss topics including eating disorders, sexual violence, abortion, child abuse and trauma. Do take care and if this episode could be harmful to you. Thanks for listening.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
  • The Messy Truth - Conversations on Photography podcast

    Quil Lemons - On Creativity

    53:57

    Gem chats to Quil Lemons, a New York-based artist who has really crafted a distinct visual language which interrogates ideas around masculinity, queerness, race and beauty. His first body of work ‘GlitterBoy’, a tender portrait series of Black men and boys adorned in glitter, examined the shifting notions of gender and beauty as they relate to masculinity in the black community. The project laid the foundation for his bold and daring work that straddles art and fashion.“I got into photography to preserve my existence, to document my family and what it means to be a black American. I think we are going through a really special moment in America when it comes to image-making when you get to see so many black photographers and creators get to rectify the lack of documentation and cement our existence in American history. It's wild to see history be written in real-time. I think about The New Black Vanguard and how my grandmother is pictured in the same book as Beyonce, celebrating a new form of black beauty.” In this conversation we talk about everything from family, community, personal style, art making, speaking out, shooting in a pandemic and how he blurs the lines between art and fashion.  Follow Quil on Instagram @quillemons on Instagram and visit https://quillemons.com to see her work. Follow Gem @gemfletcher on Instagram. If you've enjoyed this episode PLEASE leave us your feedback and maybe 5 stars if we're worthy in the Apple Podcast store. Thank you for listening to The Messy Truth, we will be back very soon. For all requests, please email [email protected] See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

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