The launch of Issue 10 will bring with it our move to themed content, both in print and online.
Why the change? Because every issue, we see trends in the submission box that reflect wider movements in society. Rather than selectively ignoring these trends, we’ve decided it’s important to spotlight them, sharing varied perspectives around topics that matter.
We’re starting big, with the fraught topic of national identity, the main inspiration for which was Juan Brenner’s Tonatiuh, featured in Issue 9. In this short article I discuss that project, alongside 3 other features from previous issues, all of which reference national identity in unique ways. Together, they offer wide ranging interpretations that are equally relevant and important to a meaningful discussion of national identity.
Exile, the third installment in Vasantha Yogananthan’s series A Myth of Two Souls, was reviewed by Gemma Padley back in Issue 5. The series is a chaptered retelling of The Ramayana, one of two major epics which are foundational to Hinduism. Using the protagonist’s journey to plot his own, Yogananthan travels through contemporary India, finding signs that the myth is still present among Indian society.
Juan Brenner took a similar approach, following a significant historic journey through Guatemala. Tonatiuh uncovers the modern-day scars of a conquest which resulted in over 300 years of colonial rule, shaping the country’s present situation. Though they are different in many ways, both projects consider the contemporary identity of a country through a historical lens.
The same thread runs through Chloe Massey’s graduate series, Heroine, which was our lead feature way back in Issue 3. Massey re-imagined history’s all too overlooked matriarchs, creating styled portraits with women she’d casted from the street. The project celebrates the development of women’s rights in countries across the globe at varying times in history, sharing the early figures who through their own example, attempted to change their nations attitude toward gender equality. Though national identity may not be an intentional theme of the work, we see that the changing culture around traditional roles of men and women in society is inherently bound up in a country’s national identity.
And finally, back in Issue 4 we featured two series by Jasper White. The projects shared aesthetic and thematic parity, with national identity lying at the heart of both. Young Guns displays the bedrooms of young Israeli soldiers, their guns prominent in the frame. Compulsory military service requires soldiers to carry service weapons at all times, making guns an ever-present feature in Israel. In Wall, White references the limitation to Palestinians’ movements, by asking citizens to create a barrier made of personal objects, stretching across their living room. Beyond their metaphorical significance, the objects display the varied wealth and religion of the country’s inhabitants, an often overlooked fact.
National identity can be expressed and understood in myriad ways. Though the topic is often divisive, it’s important that voices are heard and that the subject is addressed.
We’re looking for photography and writing which explores national identity from all sides. If you’d like to submit a photographic project, a photobook dummy, or pitch an article, you can find our open call here.
We look forward to bringing you our 10th issue, which is set to release this October.
Harry Flook is a Bristol-based photographer, writer and editor. You can follow his work and words at www.harryflook.com