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Teresa Eng, Conditions for Living, 2008























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Nadav Kander, Chongqing XI, 2007

This issue of Portfolio is the first devoted entirely to contemporary documentary photography, featuring an international range of photographers and an introduction by David Bate that discusses the ways in which documentary photography now embraces a broad range of strategies and styles. It is a pleasure to present the work of these photographers, each having made a unique contribution towards our understanding of culture and contemporary events.

Nadav Kander, Chongqing IV (Sunday Picnic), 2006

Nadav Kander’s award-winning three-year project to photograph the Yangtze River from estuary to its source in the mountains of Tibet explores the consequences of the pace of development in modern-day China. Simon Baker discusses the ways in which Kander’s work presents the reality of economic growth. Focussing on the phenomenon of European-themed model towns built around Shanghai, Dave Wyatt’s architectural photographs of China’s suburban revolution question our imagined vision of China.

Edward Burtynsky, Kiss Concert Parking Area, South Dakota, USA, 2008

For over a decade, Edward Burtynsky has travelled the world to document the production, distribution and uses of oil. His photographs, in a major new exhibition and book, reveal the devastating effects of oil on our culture and landscape, and are described here by Francis Hodgson as an epitaph for the consumer society. On a related theme, Ed Kashi’s series Curse of the Black Gold takes a graphic look at the profound cost of oil exploitation in West Africa. Michael J Watts’ essay describes the environmental degradation and community conflicts that have plagued the region, and recounts Ed Kashi’s heroic role in bringing these issues to light.

Ed Kashi, Armed Militants with MEND, Niger Delta, 2006

In his series Avenue Patrice Lumumba, Guy Tillim’s photographs of public places in Angola, the Congo and Mozambique mark the decolonisation of the 1960s and 70s. In a thought-provoking essay, Kobena Mercer discusses the architecture of post-colonial Africa. Through his inter-connected series of photographs of Johannesburg, Ilan Godfrey has documented the post-apartheid era and the prevailing issues of crime, housing and unemployment.

Guy Tillim, Library, Sports Club, Kolwezi, DR Congo, 2007

In its exploration of the temporary enclaves of displaced migrants in Northern France during their attempts to enter the UK, Teresa Eng has created a work that distances itself from traditional documentary practices. And, finally, travelling to the town of Bacau, Dana Popa has photographed youth culture in her native Romania, and finds that in their search for a western European lifestyle, this generation has no memories of the country’s communist past.

Gloria Chalmers

Ilan Godfrey, Sanctuary of Exile, 2008


The Real Aesthetic Documentary Noise
David Bate Essay

Nadav Kander Yangtze, The Long River
Simon Baker Essay

Dave Wyatt 
Thames Town: China’s New Suburbia

Edward Burtynsky Oil
Francis Hodgson Essay

Ed Kashi Curse of the Black Gold: 
50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta
Michael J Watts Essay

Guy Tillim Avenue Patrice Lumumba
Kobena Mercer Essay

Ilan Godfrey Urban Democracy in South Africa

Teresa Eng Conditions for Living

Dana Popa Europeans: 
Untouched by Communism 























Dave Wyatt, Thames Town: China’s New Suburbia, 2008








































Dana Popa, Europeans: Untouched by Communism, 2009