Take the ferry from Hyères, on the French Riviera, to Porquerolles island, walk past the beach where Jean-Luc Godard shot the film Pierrot le Fou, wander through the government-protected, sculpture-dotted pine forest, remove your shoes and then descend to a subterranean gallery illuminated by sunbeams shimmering through a transparent swimming pool.
Here, in Fondation Carmignac’s newly opened private museum, you will find a portrait of Rita. Rita was 17 when the photojournalist Lizzie Sadin photographed her. A year before, she was living with her family near the foothills of the Himalayas. A friend told her of a life of opportunity lying in wait in India, just a few hundred miles away. After crossing the border from Nepal, Rita was captured, imprisoned and forced into a life of sex work for visiting tourists. Rita’s eyes blaze into the airy calm of Porquerolles island.
In 2017, Sadin, a former social worker in Paris’s périphérique, was the Carmignac photojournalism awards’ eighth winning laureate. On the basis of a two-page pitch, she received a €50,000 (£45,000) grant. She used the money to embed herself, with her camera hidden beneath her coat, in the shady dance bars of the Nepalese borderlands, capturing stories of modern-day slavery.
Sadin is one of 10 photojournalists to receive such backing over the course of the last decade. To mark this milestone, Fondation Carmignac is exhibiting each laureate’s work in a retrospective titled 10 Years of Reportage, on show until 1 November 2020.
With Rita’s eyes at its centre, the show is curated to urgently explore some of the biggest existential questions we face – the hidden truths of modern slavery, the cost of endless conflict, the consequences of habitat loss and the quest of freedom for those living under authoritarianism.
“I came to Libya to document the humanitarian crisis of migrants trying to reach Europe through Libyan territory,” says Narciso Contreras. “But, actually, what I found is a market.”
From February to June 2016, the Mexican photographer travelled through Libya after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi.
He captured how Libya has become a human marketplace in which destitute migrants are bought and sold as they attempt to make their way to Europe.
Contreras uses the exhibition to show the first images – taken on his iPhone – of a transaction taking place between traffickers, which helped NGO groups affiliated with Carmignac prove modern slavery was taking place in Libya.
Contreras concluded that, far from trying to resolve the situation, “Libyan authorities were running, and profiting from”, the trafficking of people.
Arctic: New Frontier – Yuri Kozyrev and Kadir van Lohuizen, 2018
If you’re planning to visit the north pole, it might be a good idea to get a move on. On the basis of all authoritative forecasts, the ice of the Arctic will be gone by 2030, to be replaced by a water world created by anthropogenic global warming.
Never before have two photojournalists simultaneously covered the irreversible changes that are taking place in the Arctic. That is until Yuri Kozyrev and Kadir van Lohuizen, working in coordination, created Arctic: New Frontier in 2018.
Kozyrev followed the routes of the Russian Arctic ports, from the city of Murmansk to the Taymyr peninsula and the islands of the Russian Arctic. Van Lohuizen, meanwhile, started in the Svalbard Archipelago and followed the northern Arctic route through Greenland, Canada and the northern tip of Alaska. Each captured the expansion of the region’s ports, industrial forces and military sites – “a process that will change the map of the world forever”, Kozyrev says.
Mbare, Harare, Zimbabwe, 2011. A poster celebrating the 88th birthday of Robert Mugabe in the most populated and unstable suburb of the country, synonymous with disease, fear, crime and political violence.
The New Zealand-born photographer Robin Hammond calls Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe “a garden of Eden that became a hell to many of its inhabitants”. In the processing of taking portraits of Zimbabwe’s pro-democracy activists, Hammond was imprisoned twice. “They wanted to show me the terrible living conditions they have to endure,” he says. “But some were afraid for me, and warned me of the danger.”
His portraits include the face of the activist Masvingo, staring out from a pool of darkness. Hammond hides his body, severely burnt after soldiers threw a can of lit petrol into a campaign office for Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change.
In 2015, Tavakolian became the first female photographer from the Middle East to join Magnum, the photography collective. The year before, she was the Carmignac laureate for a body of work that explored, via moving and still image, the personal stories of her own generation – the Iranian millennials who have grown up in Tehran after the 1979 revolution and the country’s bloody war with Iraq.
As a self-taught photographer, and when still a teenager, she took to the streets to photograph the 1999 student uprising in Iran, “spending a week scaling trees with a zoom lens” while militia marched through the streets.
Her series here captures nine men and women, shot in and around Tehran, as they communicate the tension of “being marginalised by those speaking in their name”, Tavakolian says. In Iran, “they try to fit into a landscape they regard as not being their own. They, like many of the others they represent, adapt.”
Gaza Beach, 2009. A destroyed container, probably used as a Palestinian police station. © Kaï Wiedenhofer for Fondation Carmignac.
Seen together, the Carmignac Foundation’s retrospective is a stark reminder, in the midst of the bucolic beauty of the French Riviera, of the first world’s increasing responsibility to the poverty, oppression and vulnerability that is the daily reality for most people in this world.
Carmignac Photojournalism Award: 10 Years of Reportage is on show until 1 November 2020 at Villa Carmignac, Porquerolles
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