PHOTOGRAPHY IS AN ACCIDENT. Not as suggested by the photo by Jeff Wall on the front cover of the magazine. But more like a fire, such as this, rifling through the files of filmmaker and photographer Jorge Bodanzky. From journalism to art, from scientific researches to social media, satellites to mobile phones, photography has taken unexpected twists and turns over time and has spread like wildfire.
ZUM is a biannual publication by the Instituto Moreira Salles dedicated to the world of photography. The magazine will bring unpublished or little known visual essays, as well as articles, interviews, and important texts on the history of photography. ZUM also provides a forum for debate on contemporary photography, which is open to everyone and anyone who believes in critical reflection on photography, and that is enriched by other fields such as cinema, literature and the visual arts. Commentaries will contribute to the better thinking on images, as presented in the table lamp of Authentication or in the chandelier of Ivan Sayers, in two photographs by Jeff Wall shown here for the first time.
With an intellectually refined universe, Jeff Wall has firmly rooted himself in the contemporary art photography scene. A counterpoint to him in this issue is the brutal reality of images of prisoners in Cambodia, scanned from the original negatives. As presented in this horrific documentation of the Cambodian genocide, photography here has to face a fundamental ethical issue.
In Brazilian paths, we see Luiz Braga’s new green forest, Miguel Rio Branco’s luminous intimacy, and swim buoys in the Piscinão de Ramos, a huge outdoor salt-water “swimming pool” in Rio de Janeiro photographed by Julio Bittencourt. Geoff Dyer talks about a series of images originally taken by Google cars that received a award on photojournalism; on the other side of the world, Japanese Kohei Yoshyiuki steps into a new kind of voyeur. Robert Frank, who withdrew from the world and from the idea of a perfect image after publishing The Americans, displays his late style in delicate polaroid photos of daily life.
Photography is also spoken words. The interview with Bernd and Hilla Becher is a frank lesson on the motivations of this couple that still gives the tone of contemporary photography. From the pages of history, Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibits his talent as a writer. In a good-natured fashion, he claimed to be responsible for providing information to a cacophonic and frenetic world, full of people who seek the company of images. Sixty years ago or so, he was already talking about us.