Guest Reading Shortlist 3.13.15: Helen Trompeteler

From Via Vauxhall © Niall McDiarmid

The Reading Shortlist is an occasional post with an eclectic listing of recommended sites, readings and links. A recommendation does not necessarily suggest an agreement with the contents of the post. For previous shortlists, please visit the site links page.

Today's guest for Reading Shortlist is Helen Trompeteler.

Helen Trompeteler is a curator and writer based in London. Her exhibition projects at the National Portrait Gallery, London include Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon (July 2015) and previously Man Ray Portraits (2013). Recent major displays include Snowdon: A Life in View (2014), Michael Peto Photographs: Mandela to McCartney (2013) and Fred Daniels: Cinema Portraits (2012). Helen has written on photography for a variety of print and online publications including Aesthetica, Of the Afternoon and Photomonitor.

Nataly Castaño helped organize this post.

Harold Feinstein: Gene Smith, James Karales and me: Remembering the Pittsburgh Project
I have always had a deep interest in the history of LIFE magazine and twentieth century photojournalism, and this frequently informs my work.  The story of Eugene Smith's "Pittsburgh Project" has fascinated me for a long time. One of the most ambitious photo-essays ever undertaken, photographer Harold Feinstein's personal reminiscences and photographs of Smith working on this project is a great read.

David Campany: William Klein 'Into the Light'
In recent years there has been such a wonderful renaissance of photographers returning to traditional historical techniques including camera-less photography. Like so many, I first fell in love with photograms through the work of Man Ray and Moholy-Nagy. However David Campany's recent essay discussing William Klein's photograms made during 1952 was a new discovery.

Autochromes from the Te Papa Collection
Within the history of colour photography autochromes are one of my favourite mediums, from their distinctive colour palette, to the little thrill I still get when viewing examples by photographer Olive Edis, by using the photographer's original diascopes in which the glass plate is held in place and the image reflected onto a mirror. Here curator Lissa Mitchell shares highlights from the collection of the Museum of New Zealand.

Hackney Flashers Collective
In 2009 I was lucky enough to work with Maggie Murray and Michael Ann Mullen on a display celebrating the work of Format Photographers. Both photographers were previously members of the pioneering women's collective Hackney Flashers, whose work during the 1970s is discussed in this recent article by Liz Heron for Photoworks.

'David, sat in his kitchen waiting for the SARA to be turned on for the very first time' from Small Town Inertia © J A Mortram

Jim Mortram: Small Town Inertia
Since 2006, Jim Mortram's long-form documentary project Small Town Inertia has given a voice to the marginalised individuals living in and around his home town of Dereham, Norfolk. Shown here is a portrait of David, whom Jim has been photographing since 2013 in order to tell ongoing stories about David's life with blindness. (David is shown with a SARA scanning device which enables him to hear his books, following a successful fundraising campaign in 2013.) Mortram's unswerving commitment to tell these stories and his empathy as a photographer has resulted in one of the most powerful photo-essays currently being produced in the UK.

Dmitri Kasterine: A Photographer's Journal
Dmitri Kasterine and I worked together in 2010 on a display of his portraits of twentieth century cultural figures. For over sixteen years Kasterine has documented the community of Newburgh, New York, and a selection of this work was published in 2012. It is always a delight when his occasional newsletter arrives in my inbox. I love the warmth of his writing, and the observations he shares. He once said in a talk "To fear to take a picture usually means you want to take it," and these words often pop into my mind when considering any new opportunity.

Niall McDiarmid: Via Vauxhall
Niall McDiarmid's latest project Via Vauxhall follows on from his previous book Crossing Paths. Collectively his street portraits often represent a celebration of individuality, and I love the playful use of colour and pattern evident in so many of his photographs. The photograph shown here [top image] is one of my favourite images from Via Vauxhall which will be published on 20 March 2015. It's a beautifully observed fleeting moment of a little boy lost in his own adventure, the kind of moments we often miss in the everyday.

Chris Floyd: A Triptych of Confrontations
I've been following Chris Floyd's work for several years now. However in addition to his photography, I also want to recommend exploring his blog. His writing is always tremendously engaging and insightful, and he speaks particularly honestly here about the inherent challenges and opportunities involved in portraiture.