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Meeting with Lola Mc Dougall and Frank Kalero from Punctum Magazine

The voice of photographers has never been more powerful than today. Throughout the whole genres of art, photography has the largest number of consumers and producers. Photography is riding high, propelled by its strong popularity and artistry.
How does the photography in Asia look like now? Where did the pictures we call "contemporary" come from? In order to figure out how panasiatic contemporary photography can bear such diverse and multiple voices, we need to look into the change of circumstance that surrounds photography.

Hold Up Photo aks few questions to Lola Mac Dougall and Frank Kalero, the two founders of Punctum, a new bi-annual magazine who suggests an unusual point of view about panasiatic photography.

Hold Up Photo: Punctum is a new photo magazine and it is also the first one dedicated to Asian photography. Did you feel there was a void in the « art magazine landscape»? How was the idea of  Punctum born ?

Punctum: Our intention is not to be just an art magazine; we prefer to see ourselves as a magazine that uses art, photography as well as non-artistic photography to explain the Asian socio-cultural and political reality. Yes, there is a lack of representation of Asian photography at the level of global visual consumption. Punctum was born in Delhi, while Frank Kalero (editor) was preparing the 16th OjodePez issue, dedicated to India and picture edited by Devika Daulet-Singh (Photoink). We were wondering where could local photographers find a suitable platform to showcase their works, and the answer was nowhere.

HUP: What is the place of photography in Asia?

Punctum: Photography is a western invention. Therefore, the visual stereotypes and the patterns of lecture are influenced by that. Paradoxically, for many years the biggest producers of photographic cameras have been located in Asian countries. The act of taking pictures is a language, a living language, which evolves according to the context, and this evolution is made official and perpetuated by the acceptation and repetition of the dominant media and institutions. And the western media and institutions have been working by far for a longer period in Europe and America. In consequence, the stereotypes propagated by them have been around longer, and therefore have had many years to be assimilated, creating a collective visual imagery which is extremely euro-centric.

 

HUP: Who are the members of the editorial staff ? Where do they come from (art school, self-taught, artists etc)? How old are they?

Punctum: The members of the editorial team (Frank Kalero, Lola Mac Dougall and Rajni George) have the necessary skills to develop this kind of magazine: love for photography, passion about literature, curatorial abilities and a certain degree of madness.

HUP: What is the specificity of Punctum, apart from the  « Asian » point of view? What do we find inside? You have decided to publish an online and « paper » magazine (which is a great idea). Why and how the website will work ? Will you have a specific theme for each issue? Will the photographers submit to you their work or do you have your own way of looking for artists ?

Punctum: Punctum is not a photo-magazine per ser, but it is a publication on Asia, as seen by its photographers. The way we work is through our network of photo editors who are familiar and involved with the photographic scene in the countries they represent. This way of working helps us to express local points of view while maintaining an overall standard quality.

HUP: How do you finance it? Do you have supporters to help you?

Punctum: It is always a challenge to gather funds for a cultural project of this kind. We have a business model for sustainability. However, we doubt we will become millionaires from Punctum.

 Punctum  224 pages, format A5 size, full color, English, bi-yearly