BJP, Ones To Watch

Ones to Watch: the new magazine from British Journal of Photography

Synapse © Matt Kay, just one of the hundreds of new photographs exclusively in the new issue of BJP

Ones to Watch 2015, British Journal of Photography's global survey of new talent, is out now.

We’re welcoming in 2015 with ‘Ones to Watch’, our annual survey of global talent, showcasing 25 photographers we believe are on the verge of something big.

To discover the next generation of photography, the magazine will be available at all good newsagents from the first week of January, or available to buy direct here.

Put together from more than 300 nominations by photography experts from around the world, we’ve devoted 50 pages to emerging talent drawn from Tokyo to Mexico City. Over the next 12 months, these are the photographers we are betting on to make the breakthrough from recognition in their homelands to international success.

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This issue is all about helping them on their way and, hopefully, putting them in front of the people who can help them realise their dreams, and bringing their work to wider attention. Our aim, as ever, is to make this a truly worldwide search. However, we can’t yet say that it’s truly representative (either in terms of the world, or the major centres of photography). Among the 25 photographers we’ve selected, 16 of them are European (including four Russians) and four are Asian. There are three Africans, one Australasian, and there is just one from the entire American continent (an Argentinean who lives in Mexico City), and none from the US – although a few have made New York their home in recent years, just as London is the hub for so many photographers from different lands.

So there’s plenty of work to be done to find nominators from under-represented corners of the globe (suggestions welcome). But I also think our selection points to the strength of European photography right now. I believe this owes something to the waning popularity of documentary lyricism in favour of the fashionability of a more conceptual approach, and the shift of balance from printmaking to artist books. These tendencies can be seen everywhere across the world, but seem to have been taken up as a call to arms in Europe, while storytelling traditions remain stronger elsewhere.

These trends were already discernible, though less pervading, in our first talent issue, ran in July 2011, featuring Sohrab Hura, Ricardo Cases, Adam Panczuk and Erik Madigan Heck among the chosen 18. In our following two ‘Ones to Watch’, we published such disparate talents as Max Pinckers, Daisuke Yokota, Jamie Hawksworth, Ren Hang, Synchrodogs, Hanna Putz, Ruth Van Beek, Jerome Sessini, Charlie Engman, Sim Chi Yin, Paulina Otylie Surys, Txema Salvans, Jun Ahn…

Contrary to the doomsayers obsessed with photography’s stuckism, all this points to the vitality of the medium right now. Often accused of being narrow-minded, obsessed with image over idea, the diversity of current practice proves just how elastic photography is – inventing, assimilating, appropriating and testing visual culture to a different agenda than the wider art world and its market schew.

What our survey shows, and what makes it important, is the best of a medium in creative flux. These are all photographers with something to say, regardless of their artistic allegiances, presented before the next chapter of photographic history is written, leaving out that which falls foul of fashion or the artistic hegemony of the day.

To find out who they are, order the new magazine now.