Issue 108 — Summer 2022
The last thirty years have seen a transformation in photography. We have spoken to three photographers, Trish Morrissey, Jon Tonks and Heather Agyepong, who each started their career in a different decade during this period, and asked them how these changes have affected them. This period has seen the switch from analogue to digital, the advent of social media as well as a host of social and cultural changes. As the conversation reveals, this has created some common experiences – like a weariness with Instagram – and some unexpected differences, like varied attitudes to the long-term preservation of work.
Source was reintroduced to Tom Merilion’s work through the portfolio review days at this year’s Format Festival, having previously reviewed his work in 2001. We are publishing images from his latest two projects Waiting Room and Unwise Exposure with an essay by Julia Tanner, who was shortlisted for the 2021 Source prize for new writing about photography. The work documents his mother’s final illness and records his father’s life without her.
Doug Sobey’s ‘career’ as a photographer began in the early 1970s in Belfast when he became unofficial chronicler of the newly-established Gay Liberation Society at Queens University, and Cara- Friend, the information and support network. He covered their social outings and formal dinners but had to be cautious about photographing at Gay Liberation Society meetings due to people not wanting their picture taken in a gay venue. In 2017 as he approached his 70th year Sobey donated his archive of photographs to the Ulster Museum Collection considering "what happens to your possessions after you’ve gone and being happy for it to rest in the Museum along with Takabuti, the Egyptian mummy, and the treasures of the Girona the Spanish galleon!" Declan Long introduces the work which he says, "Assists in expanding and unsettling the recognised public history of everyday life during the Troubles years, contributing to the necessary evolution of a more complex, inclusive regional story".
Generations by Julian Germain is a collection of family group portraits, made across the UK since 2004, documenting four and five generation families in their homes. Recently, Germain has been focusing his efforts on Birmingham and the Black Country as part of a public space commission by GRAIN Projects and Multistory for Birmingham 2022. Both groups put out public calls for participants and it’s fitting that the work is going back into the public arena on 48 billboards sites across West Midlands as we go to press. Josh Allen talks to Germain about this new work and its connections to earlier projects.
Zula Rabikowska’s project Nothing But a Curtain explores gender identity in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe documenting, through images and interviews, the legacy of their former communist regimes. Uschi Klein discusses the work and its personal starting point, Rabikowska’s reaction to the stories she heard of Poland’s communist past.
— The Editors