sweet nothings - Vanessa Winship

blogEntryTopperThe first time I saw Vanessa Winship's photography was when she won the portrait section in the Sony World Photography Awards in 2008. Her entry showed two young schoolgirls from eastern Turkey.


Later that year her second book 'sweet nothings' which was a collection of portraits of 'The Small Schoolgirls of the Borderlands in Eastern Anatolia' was published in the UK by FOTO8. It had a limited run of only 300 copies. A french edition was also published by Images en Manoeuvres Éditions. At time of writing some copies seem to be available from The Book Depository


From the book I learn "Vanessa has lived and worked in the Balkans and Turkey for almost a decade. In her imagery, she focuses on the junction between fiction and reality, exploring ideas around the concepts of borders, land, memory, identity and history"


Windship's photos have a quiet intensity about them. Her technique, in terms of viewpoint and framing, is straight forward and uniform from portrait to portrait. This helps to focus on the subjects and the equality of esteem afforded to each. The small book size book, 18cm x 22cm invites you to handle it closely. There is a photo on every second page printed on heavy matt paper stock which imparts a suitably old look.




Winship says of the work “I wanted to make a series of portraits of these girls on the borderlands. Knowing their status I wanted to give a small space for the girls to have a moment of importance in front of the camera. I hoped the symbol of the uniform, the distance in repitition, and the austerity of the landscape would represent one thing, but I also hoped more than anything, in the expressions of the girls’ faces, to draw attention to the idea of these young girls poised at the moment “just before”. The moment where possibility lies, a time where the presentation of self teeters into consciousness.”
Photos from this collection can be seen on her website

This works comes from a few years back but I see that her latest project based in the USA, titled ‘She dances on Jackson’ has just been published by Mackbooks


Vanessa Winship from Türkiye'de Zaman/Time in Turkey on Vimeo.