Jasna Jernejšek (born 1982) holds a BA in Cultural Studies and an MA in Media and Communication Studies from the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana. Since 2012 she is an editor of radio programme on contemporary visual arts Art-Area at Radio Student. She is a regular contributor to Fotografija magazine. Since 2013 she collaborates as project manager and curator with gallery Photon – Centre for Contemporary Photography and with festival Photonic Moments – Month of Photography. She lives and works in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
The article is a critical analysis of the work of Finnish photographer Iiu Susiraja based on her series Good Behaviour / Perfect Everyday Life and conversation with the author. Susiraja places herself and her personal life at the centre of her work. Her humorous and (self)ironical portraits can be seen as a critical reflection and a sarcastic commentary on socially desirable and to a large extent stereotypical ideas of femininity, beauty ideals, social roles such as being a housewife etc. and the relations of power that are implied in them. Her critique is on the one hand directed at conservative and patriarchal social values, but she at the same time poses a mirror to women who perpetuate these values by obsessively investing into their bodily beauty and who uncritically accept the traditional roles assigned to them. Her work thus addresses the question of the definition of “normality” – which because of her specific humorous approach – is best described as a solo comedy.
Iiu Susiraja (born 1975) is a Finnish photographer whose work is a part of several major Finnish art collections (Helsinki Art Museum, Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Finnish National Museum, Finnish Museum of Photography, Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Arts and Päivi and Paavo Lipponen Collection). She graduated from Turku Art academy and is currently enrolled in a Master of Arts programme at the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki.
In the interview Spanish photographer Joan Fontcuberta reflects upon his diverse photographic practise and his constant playing on the idea of different spaces which photography inhabits. He claims that “Photography by itself doesn’t mean anything,” what makes a difference is managing its uses. He discusses the topics of reformulation of the concept of authorship, notion of the fake as a methodology of art and of political activism, parody and humour as long traditions of Mediterranean thought and a rejection of pleasure as a hegemonic current in contemporary art. He also speaks of his explorations of the relationship between nature photography and nature of photography, the Eden of Adam and Eve as the first botanical garden and the fact that today nature has become a cultural, ideological, economic and political construct. In the end he also touches on the phenomenon of the internet, ideas of post-truth and his concept of Homo photographicus.
Martin Parr (1952) is considered to be one of the most iconic and influential photographers of his generation. Parr, whom obtained a photography degree at Manchester Polytechnic (1970–1973), joined the classics of British documentary photography with a series of black and white photographs of the disappearing folk customs of Northern England. In the 80s he managed to make his breakthrough to the global photography scene (and market). At that time, impressed by American colour photography, he took on photographing on colour film himself. He made The Last Resort (1983–1985), a series of British working class while spending holidays in a coastal resort in New Brighton, which remains one of his most recognizable work to this day. After its first presentation in the Serpentine Gallery in London in 1986, the project triggered turbulence and division of opinions of both professionals and general public. Polarization of opinions became a constant in Parr’s photography career. The polemics he caused by first becoming a member (1994) and then the president of Magnum Photos (2013–2017) are well known. The critics castigated Parr for being cruel and voyeuristic, and that he claimed to only be photographing what he sees, while he benefited from making a mockery of others. His unconventional use of the medium, smooth traversing through different contexts of photography and flirting with obvious commercial interests was deemed controversial and questionable by many (until today).