“Even astronauts will find niggles if they’re in a confined space”
In 1991 I became the first British astronaut to go into space. I had chosen to put myself in a small spacecraft with only a few other people, an event we planned and trained for over many months. The circumstances are different from those under lockdown, but there are similarities too: uncertainty, self-isolation and social distancing.
A lot of my mental adjustment to being in a confined space station involved acceptance. On the Mir space station I had planned for it so I was comfortable with the situation from the beginning, but I’m feeling the same thing right now. It's important to understand why we are doing this, to accept the situation, realise it could always be worse and that it will get better.
Apichatpong Weerasethakul on the future of film in Thailand
Thailand is a country of paradoxes. A welcoming tourist industry sits alongside an increasingly authoritarian military regime, where public gatherings of more than five people remain prohibited and censorship is regularly enforced.
Bangkok-born filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul has spent the last 30 years artfully exposing this repression, through a series of features, shorts and instillations. The multi-platform installation Primitive (2009), for instance, explored the story of an anti-communist ambush by the government in the remote village of Nabua in 1965, drawing parallels to the country’s current political turmoil. Elsewhere, his feature Cemetery of Splendour(2015) was a state of the nation report on the dark reality of the present, using the epidemic of sleeping sickness as an extended allegory.
Meet the Unsung Street Photographer of 1980s New York
To view Richard Sandler’s photographs is to look into the soul of a broken New York. From the pages of his new book, you can almost hear the rattle of the subway cars, the tap of high heels on concrete and the commotion of midtown rush hour. But if the city is the theatre, it’s the people who take center stage.
The Eyes of the City is Sandler’s first retrospective in print. It's an impressive collection, mostly taken between 1977 and 1992 on the streets of New York, with several also in Boston. The title’s meaning is two-fold: while it’s the eyes of a skilled photographer who captured the scene, the eyes of the subjects are just as crucial in formulating the magic potion that creates great street imagery.
Annie Liebovitz on Stephen Hawking
To look forward, Annie Leibovitz looks back. The efficacious, enduring photographer has published a number of retrospective books that not only present a history of our time but offer a record for herself; a way for her to understand her process and purpose going forward.
In her latest offering, Annie Leibovitz: Portraits 2005-2016, she reflects on a “discreet era” defined by the defeat of Hillary Clinton. As she watches “society unraveling” and the role that “relentless” journalism plays in that, Leibovitz has become clear about her own task. “I’ve been doing this for over forty-five years and realized my place and my duty,” Leibovitz tells TIME.
Meet the Unsung New York Photographer Who Has Seen It All
Marvin Newman has always seen things differently. When the photographic world saw in black and white, he saw color. When a street scene appeared flat and grey, he saw shadow and light. “I like to think that I have an expertise that other people don’t have,” he tells TIME. “The ability to fill that frame with something that’s not only balanced but has significance; that says something.”
The native New Yorker is notable for his incredible range, which has in turn led to his relative obscurity. “It’s part of the curse,” Newman says. “Because you can do so much.” He’s been published in Vogue, LIFE, TIME, Sports Illustrated, Playboy (the list goes on) and working since the 1940s but at 89, this is his first monograph.
Harry Gruyaert: Seeing Life on Both Sides
Places can reveal themselves in unexpected ways. The burnt-orange of a car bonnet or the mint-green walls of a shopping mall can say as much about a society as the people who populate it. The world expresses itself through color – and few photographers have learned to speak its language as well as Harry Gruyaert.
In his latest book East/West, Gruyaert turned this sensual intuition to two dramatically distinct countries; Russia and the United States. The pictures were taken in Los Angeles and Las Vegas in 1981 and in Moscow eight years later and are an appraisal of a period where tension and turmoil pervaded. But it is the palette, not the politics, that Gruyaert studied.
Ai Weiwei Reflects on the Sadness of Ren Hang's Photographs
The sudden death of photographer and poet Ren Hang on Feb. 24 shook the art world to its core. His photographs were a radiant celebration of sensuality and the naked beauty of life that he continued to create despite constant censorship from the Chinese government.
But the artist behind the vision had long struggled with depression, writing extensively about his mental turmoil, and was finally driven to take his own life two weeks ago. As Ren Hang's friends, family and fans still come to terms with the loss, TIME spoke to Ai Weiwei, an eminent Chinese artist who has also suffered artistic persecution.