Magnum photographer Olivia Arthur on ‘culture, people and machines’

The Photography Show 2021 at the NEC Birmingham hosts a discussion forum where visual talent views the world via the prism of humanity and technology, imagination and reality

Mark Power Magnum Photos Gma Pom 2015134 G 13397
Harlan, Kentucky. December 2015. ©Mark Power / Magnum Photos
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The Photography Show comes to the NEC Birmingham, 18 – 21 September 2021, and promises a fascinating series of discussions, alongside a chance to explore the latest in photographic technology and kit.

When British documentary photographer and Magnum Photos member Olivia Arthur was commissioned to create a book project about Dubai, her visual journey began not with the city’s towering, mirrored structures and ocean-defying manmade islands, but with the story of a shipwreck.

Making a thoughtful, visual connection between Dubai’s past and its famously rapid, apparently unstoppable development, Arthur used a 1961 maritime disaster to begin a portfolio of images that looks at Dubai’s old Indian community and how their lives continue to impact on the futuristic emirate’s growing community.

Human movement up steps

© Olivia Arthur / Magnum Photos

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Arthur’s Stranger project imagined a survivor returning to Dubai 50 years into the future and what they would see. Through photographs and anecdotes, the viewer is taken on a journey through a city that is both curious and alienating.

This kind of unconventional photojournalistic approach is typical of Arthur. Known for her in-depth examinations of people and their personal and cultural identities, she explores the world via the prism of humanity and technology. Blending imagination and reality, she seeks to make you look and get you thinking.

Olivia Arthur on the Super Stage: ‘Culture, People and Machines: Documenting Humans’

Stories about photographing Dubai, Jeddah, Mumbai and many more destinations are sure to be part of the conversation when Arthur appears on the Super Stage for her discussion session, ‘Culture, People and Machines: Documenting Humans’ at the Photography Show on Sunday 19 September.

Expect insight on work that documents the remarkable ways humans have merged with machines – from bionics and motorised limbs to synthetic muscles and strikingly realistic robots – and wisdom on the complexity, adaptability and resilience of the human body.

Other Super Stage speakers at the The Photography Show 2021 include:

  • Charlie Phillips, the Jamaican-born photographer and documenter of Black London best known for his photographs of Notting Hill during the period of West Indian migration to the capital.
  • Magnum photographer Mark Power, who is renowned for long-term projects including his landmark project The Shipping Forecast (1992 – 1996), and the ongoing Good Morning, America (2021 – present)
  • American Brooke Shaden, a conceptual fine art photographer.
  • Rankin, photographer of icons in culture and beyond.

Staged at Birmingham’s NEC, The Photography Show and The Video Show provide exclusive insight into this year’s film and photography tech and innovations, showcasing cutting-edge equipment to take professionals and amateurs to the next level.

The Piss House Pub 1969

The Piss House Pub, 1969 © Charlie Phillips

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Shaden Intertwined

Shaden Intertwined © Brooke Shaden

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Mark Power Magnum Photos Shipping Forecast

MALIN. Monday, 6 September 1993. Southeast backing easterly 4 or 5, increasing 6 in south. Mainly fair. Moderate or good. ©Mark Power / Magnum Photos

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Relaxing on a small sofa

© Olivia Arthur / Magnum Photos

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Portobello Road 1974 C Charlie Phillips

Portobello Road, 1974 © Charlie Phillips

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The Photography Show + The Video Show, 18 – 21 September 2021, The NEC, Birmingham,