The Palestinian director who earned a fatwa for her first film

When Maysaloun Hamoud first heard about her fatwa, she was shaken. The religious ruling – widely seen as a formalised “death sentence” – seemed like an extreme reaction for a woman who’d just released a Palestinian comedy. “It was pathetic,” the director says, remembering the moment she heard the news. “I wasn’t afraid, but I felt a kind of sorrow.”

The film at the centre of the furore was In Between. Hamoud’s first ever feature, it follows the story of three Israeli-Palestinian women as they attempt to share an apartment in Tel Aviv. It’s a raw and real portrayal of everyday womanhood, with each character struggling to navigate between family constraints, Islamic tradition, and cosmopolitan liberalism.

While it’s true that women’s stories are rarely – … Read the rest

Should we celebrate Uber losing its London licence?

Yes, be glad Uber is over – Abi Wilkinson

Without a doubt, the decision not to renew Uber’s license to operate in London was the right call. What other choice is there when the company shows such disregard for passenger safety and the rule of law, in the UK capital and across the world?

Revelations earlier this year that Uber used specially designed software to “greyball” law enforcement officials in cities where its service violated regulations – so that they weren’t able to hail a car during sting operations – were shocking but unsurprising. Like so many of Silicon Valley’s self-proclaimed “disruptors”, Uber executives seem to believe they’re above the jurisdiction of local and national governments. Technological innovation is part of the picture, sure, but they

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The street photographers blurring private and public

Rico Scagliola and Michael Meier have an unusual way of describing their dynamic.

If they were to put it in terms of movie characters, Michael would be Bette Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? and Rico would be Joan Crawford.

“Rico might have a tendency towards megalomania,” says one, “and Michael sometimes tends towards narrow-mindedness,” says the other. “Together we kinda level out these two extremes.”

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The pair met while studying photography at the University of the Arts Zürich in 2006. Michael focused on homeless people and prostitutes in the Langstrasse district, while Rico devoted himself to the city’s suburbs and inhabitants.

“We were inspired, impressed and depressed by each other’s’ work,” says Rico. “In 2008 we thought it might be a good idea to … Read the rest

Martin Parr opens gallery for UK documentary photographers

The Martin Parr Foundation, set up in 2014 to support and sustain the work of British documentary photographers, will open its brick and mortar location in Bristol next month. The architect-designed space in the Paintworks complex will be home to works from a wide range of British photographers – such as Keith Arnatt, Richard Billingham, Elaine Constantine, John Davies, Paul Graham, Ken Grant, and John Hinde – while also preserving the work of Parr himself, one of the most celebrated documentary photographers of the last 50 years.

The gallery’s first exhibition, Parr’s own Black Country Stories, will open on October 25 and run through to January 2018. That will be followed by Niall McDiarmid’s portraits project, Town to Town, before David Hurn’s Swaps – … Read the rest

Cutting the cost of a degree by a few grand won’t turn young people Tory

What could the Conservative Party do to get young people voting for them? That was the question Nick Ferrari – a right-wing presenter on talk radio station LBC asked me this morning live on his show. I was invited on following speculation that the Tories are toying with the idea of cutting the tuition fee cap by up to £1750 a year, meaning graduates could potentially be spat out into the working world by universities with just over £5000 less of student debt.

With students from the lowest income families currently left with £57k to pay back, it would be far from a transformative policy; one that neglects to reinstate maintenance grants scrapped by the Tories that were a lifeline for students without families to support … Read the rest

The endurance cyclist racing 20 hours a day in the wilderness

Lee Craigie has just scratched out of the Tour Divide, a 2,745-mile mountain bike race that starts in Canada and finishes at the Mexican border.

It requires covering around 20 hours and 140 miles a day with everything you need to eat or sleep strapped to the bike.

But one week into that challenge, Lee’s body began to swell up. “I noticed I was getting shorter and shorter of breath but I was like, ‘Come on, Lee. You’re just tired, push through it.’”

By the time she reached Wyoming, however, her lips were turning blue, her face grey. It was an inexplicable allergic reaction.

Determined not to let a year of preparation go to waste, she hitched a ride to the nearest hospital, took a rigorous … Read the rest

Martin Parr’s visual ode to Scotland

Martin Parr has been taking pictures of Scotland for over 25 years now. As a result, the much-loved photographer has built an incredible body of work; capturing surreal scenes from all throughout the country.

Now, for the first time, these previously unpublished images are being shared in a new book. The publication, titled Think Of Scotland, aims to offer a new perspective on Scottish life, with Parr looking back affectionately at his travels through Glasgow, Orkney and Edinburgh.

Like much of Parr’s work, the book adds a twist to the country’s classic visual iconography – such as highland games and stunning landscapes – with the photographer reframing each image in a dry, dreamlike way. “I just explore people and things in society, not just in … Read the rest

The grit and glamour of cinematic Los Angeles

Julian Caldwell had a pretty fixed idea of what to expect from the city of his dreams: Cadillacs, palm trees and picture-perfect sunsets.

The 19-year-old British photographer saved enough money to spend a week there on a solo visit: half of that time changing bed sheets in youth hostels, half of it hitting the streets with a camera in hand.

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“It’s a place almost everyone feels familiar with on some level, from memories of films growing up or the music they listen to now,” he says.

“You quickly get the sense, however, that locals have to deal with this constant stream of visitors all searching for the stereotypical signifiers of the city, skimming over anything that doesn’t sit within their preconceived version.”

Those things were hard … Read the rest

Asia’s first major LGBTQ exhibition is opening this week

In a historical move, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei will be the first major-scale public institution in Asia to host an art exhibition entirely focused on the history and struggles faced by the continent’s LGBTQ community.

Spectrosynthesis – Asian LGBTQ Issues and Art Now has been in the works for over two years, and will showcase 51 creations by 22 artists hailing from Taiwan, Singapore, China and Hong Kong, as well as Chinese-American artists based in North America.

The MOCA Taipei website explains: “The exhibition represents the life stories and related issues of the post-war Chinese LGBTQ community as the artworks on view touch upon a profusion of subject matters such as identity, equality, exploitation by mass media, social predicaments, comments on individuals/groups, human desire, … Read the rest

Behind the scenes at America’s new legal cannabis farms

As the daughter of a pot farmer, Kristen Angelo practically grew up in a grow room. The Seattle-based photographer was exposed to cannabis culture at a young age as her family resided on Vashon Island, an enclave of bohemian-living that’s long been associated with guerilla farming. But in the 90s, the Island became swept up in a drug war that ended with Angelo’s father incarcerated in Federal Prison, for what the lead detective considered “the most sophisticated growing operation” he had seen in nearly a decade.

Today, as legislation surrounding cannabis is in a state of flux, Angelo has embraced photography as a way to challenge stigma around the plant. By cutting through the trippy visuals and over-sexed boob/bud shots and instead profiling growers and their … Read the rest

The fabulous NHS nurses demanding to be paid fairly

As the first Prime Minister’s Questions after the long summer recess kicked off inside the House of Commons, just outside the Palace of Westminster this afternoon it was all kicking off too.

Hundreds of nurses converged on Parliament today to demand an end to the 1% public sector pay cap, the latest step in a summer filled with actions led by members of the Royal College of Nursing to have this policy scrapped. The representative body for nurses in the UK says that seven years of tight pay caps have resulted in a real terms pay cut of 14% for the medics on the frontline of the National Health Service.

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On the grass of Parliament Square, healthcare professionals and their supporters piled on the pressure, as … Read the rest

Laura Pidcock is right, Tory MPs aren’t friendship material

Before I start this article properly, here’s the obligatory disclaimer: some of my best friends are Conservative voters. Well, maybe not best friends exactly, but acquaintances I’m happy spending time with. I sometimes find it hard to understand the assumptions underpinning their worldview, but I’ve spent enough time around Tories (including proper, paid-up party members) to know they aren’t all cruel and spiteful people.

Also, my ex-coalminer grandad votes UKIP. I think I actually do understand most of the assumptions underpinning his worldview and some of them aren’t particularly admirable. I still love him, though, because that’s just how it is with family, isn’t it? You don’t get to choose them.

Friends are different. Throughout your life you encounter people in a range of different situations: … Read the rest

Inside China’s brutally cramped ‘home and work’ spaces

It was the run-down, beat-up back streets that first caught Alina Fedorenko’s attention. Hidden behind Beijing’s impressive high rises and new builds, they were leagues away from the tourist traps typically associated with the city. These streets – which were cramped, claustrophobic, stuck in another time – gave the Ukrainian photographer a rarely seen glimpse into the everyday lives of many Chinese citizens.

“In Beijing’s old quarter, named the Hutong area, people still live life like many years ago,” Alina explains. “Surviving and living here is not easy as many people have relocated to high buildings to have proper sanitation systems, which most of the houses in the Hutong area don’t have. Those who are left have created a beautiful symbiosis of working and living in … Read the rest