Month: January 2015

The View From the Train – Patrick Keiller

It was 1977, and Patrick Keiller realised he had spent a decade living in London. To mark the occasion, he decided to document the buildings that most caught his eye. “They seemed to admit the possibility of a more inclusive transformation of everyday surroundings,” he writes in the introduction of his new book A View From the Train, “And I began to think they might be subjects for cinematography.“ In this attempt to understand through film how a city might “replace its built environment,” a remarkable career was born. Keiller, now 63, is one of Britain’s foremost documentary photographers, filmmakers and essayists, a man uniquely capable of communicating the relationship between architecture, photography and film as a way of understanding communal urban life in all its ceaseless complexity. Born in 1950 in the seaside town of Blackpool and raised in Northumberland, Keiller arrived in London a few weeks after his seventeenth birthday to become an architecture student. He went on to work, variously, as an architect, photographer and filmmaker, artist, teacher, journalist and essayist. Perhaps …



BJP #7833: Songbook

British Journal of Photography’s March issue is about the long game, what it takes to spend a life making photographs, and what it means to return to a place that was once home. The issue is on sale in all good newsagents from the first Wednesday of February, or you can pre-order it now, directly from the BJP shop. Last month we featured the Ones to Watch, a celebration of the best emerging talents in photography. Now, we’ve gone in-depth with four photographers who have managed to keep going, even while remaining unsung. And who are, in their endurance, their dedication and their ability to adapt, each remarkable. Fame, or at least recognition, has found each differently, but it never struggled to locate Alec Soth, whose Sleeping by the Mississippi became one of the iconic series of the twentieth century. Now he talks about Songbook, a revisitation of his beginnings as a staff photographer on a suburban newspaper in Minneapolis. “To sustain myself creatively is to not give myself over entirely in one way or another,” Soth tells Lucy Davies. “And I like …


Smoke and mirrors

With just a couple of weeks until his exhibition opens at TJ Boulting Gallery, Dominic Hawgood is hard at work finalising the prints. His project, Under the Influence, is a deliberately stagey look at the theatrics of modern-day Churches, so he’s creating a carefully controlled, immersive installation to show it off. “The priority is finding a way to control the lighting in the room, to make sure we can create atmosphere for the work to sit in,” he told BJP earlier this month. “It’s about using a few elements in the space, just to change it enough to create a certain feeling.” Hawgood won the show after scooping the series category of BJP‘s International Photography Award, and is working with competition sponsor Spectrum Photographic to create it, making two lightboxes and five large black-and-white vinyl prints that will be stuck directly to the wall. “I’ve worked with LED panels, dim reflectors and bounce light, to try and contrast the glossiness of the screens and the matt finish of the vinyl,” he explains. “Hopefully, when all …


The art of perfect coverage

A retired electrical engineer from London started to publish images of himself  ‘fully veiled’ on Flickr, wearing clothes found across the Muslim world, hoodies, headscarfs and more. “This new idea translates the idea of perfect coverage as understood in Afghanistan and Pakistan to the English high street, for anyone who enjoys anonymity, luxury and a sense of drama,” he writes. “It’s easy; all it needs is a sense of adventure and courage.” A selection of these images have now been published by Here Press, the small publishing house behind Edmund Clark’s Control Order House, David Moore’s Pictures from the Real World, Ben Roberts’ Occupied Spaces and Seba Kurtis’ Drowned. Working with the anonymous gentlemen behind the veil, they have produced a slim but thought-provoking book, 2041 – named after the author’s online identity. The book features a small selection of the 60,000+ images the author has made of himself – or maybe other people – swathed in fabric, and was a collaboration between 2041 and two editors, Lewis Chaplin and Ben Weaver. BJP asked Chaplin more about the project. BJP: How did you come across the …


Susan Meiselas: Carnival Strippers

“It’s getting near show time!” the voice would boom out over the cheers of the punters. Susan Meiselas would hover at first near the back of the tent. “Don’t be shy, take your hands out of your pockets, take your money out of your wallets. Rest your elbows on the stage and look up into the whole, the whole goddamn show. Show time! Where they strip to please, not to tease!” Susan Meiselas was 24 when she started Carnival Strippers. It was the summer of 1972, and her photography experience was limited to portraits of her housemates in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She had just completed an MA from Harvard, yet she still was shy and unsure of herself – very unlike the direct intellect of today, who treats Magnum’s offices like a second home. But in the earliest of these early pictures, she had not yet been invited into the showgirls’ dressing room. Meiselas has seen some terrible things, but rarely – if ever – has she flinched. When they exhumed Saddam Hussein’s mass graves, Meiselas …


Mean streets

On 25 January Greece goes to the polls, for a snap election called when the parliament failed to select a new president at the end of 2014. It looks like Syriza, the far-left, anti-austerity party has the clear lead, and the outgoing prime minister, Antonis Samaras of the centre-right New Democracy party, has described the vote as a referendum on Europe. Whatever the outcome, the economic crisis of the last five years, and the austerity measures put in place in 2010 after the IMF/Eurozone’s €110 billion bailout loan, have radically changed the country. Greece has been in recession for six years and around 3.9m people – more than one third of the population – now live below the poverty line. At the peak of the crisis unemployment stood at 25%, rising to 60% among the young; now an estimated 50% of young people are unable to find work (figures taken from The Guardian’s report). These figures are comparable to America’s Great Depression of the 1930s and have left a visible mark on the landscape, as Georgios Makkas’ series The Archeology of Now shows. “Tens of …


New Japanese Photography at the Doomed Gallery this weekend

What do Daisuke Yokota, Go Itami and Kenji Hirasawa have in common? They’re all showing work at an exciting but fleeting exhibition of emerging Japanese photographers at Doomed Gallery this week. Featuring a photobook showcase, a projection of images by nearly 100 photographers, and installations by Itami and Hirasawa plus Daisuke Nakashima, Hiroshi Takizawa, Mai Narita, Naohiro Utagawa and Yukihito Kono, New Japanese Photography opens with a private view and party from 6pm on 22 January, and closes on 25 January. The gallery is open from 4pm-8pm on Friday and from 12pm-8pm on Saturday and Sunday; Naohiro Utagawa and Yukihito Kono will be at the gallery on the opening night for a book signing. The exhibition is curated by Space Cadet, an online gallery launched by Masayoshi Suzuki in 2011, and Stay Alone, a platform and publishing house for artists launched by photographers Suguru Ryuzaki and Yukihito Kono in 2013. The curators hope to show the vibrancy of the contemporary Japanese photography scene, they say, moving it out of the long shadow cast by the 1960s Provoke movement. Doomed Gallery is based at 65-67 Ridley Road, …


Photographers rally together to protest proposed Library of Birmingham cuts

Little more than a year after unveiling the flagship building to crown Birmingham city centre’s 20-year redevelopment, the local council is proposing swingeing cuts to the running of its new library, which includes a world-class archive devoted to photography, and an accompanying programme that has been widely praised for its important work and innovation in bringing it to the attention of a wider public. Campaigners have until 12 January to contest the cuts proposed by Birmingham City Council, which include making 100 of its 188 staff redundant – among them all those who work with the photography collections – and slashing funding by £1.5m over the next year. The extent of the cuts A budget consultation letter produced by the council outlines the extent of the cuts in plain terms. In the letter, reproduced in a blog post by Financial Times photography critic Francis Hodgson, the assistant director of culture at Birmingham Library and Archive Services, Brian Gambles, writes that the library’s opening hours will be cut from 73 to 40 per week from 01 April, and that …



BJP #7832: Ones to Watch

Ones to Watch, our annual survey of global talent, is now on shelves and available to buy direct. We asked over 80 photography experts from around the globe to nominate emerging photographers; they recommended over 300 and we picked out 25 who are about to make it very big. Hailing from Japan to Russia to West Africa to Mexico, they’re poised for international success, and we’ve devoted over 50 pages to showcasing their work. Sayed Asif Mahmud, a young Bangladeshi photographer, made our cover with a stunning monochrome image; establishing himself with a gritty exposé of his country’s cigarette industry, Mahmud’s work has now morphed into a darkly romantic, deeply expressionistic take on modern Bangledeshi culture which he describes as “a latitude of my observations, realisations and recurrences of the unknown”. Turkish photographer Kürsat Bayhan has captured internal migration in his country; young men from the impoverished towns of east Turkey travelling to Istanbul to live ten to a room, picking up any work they can and sending the money home to their families. Argentinian …


One Year for Japan

In 2011, after the Fukushima disaster, Laurence Vecten launched a 2012 charity calendar. A Parisian photo book collector, self publishing adept and director of photography at Glamour, she called on four young Japanese photographers and produced the publication via her mini-publishing house Lozen Up. The title, One Year for Japan, was the logical offshoot of her photo book blog One Year of Books. Two years and a second calendar on, she’s back with a 2015 edition featuring leading lights, rising stars and emerging talents of the Japanese photography scene, including Daido Moriyama and a hot name from 2014, Daisuke Yokota. For photo buffs, what’s striking is the opportunity to discover or rediscover these photographers out of their usual context – Moriyama, for example, is usually celebrated as a black-and-white street photographer, but is here seen in a haunting, colour self-portrait shot outside the city. The calendars are put together by Midoka Rindal, a Japanese graphic designer living in Paris, and Vecten says she’s attracted to Japanese photography and design – especially Japanese photobooks – because of their contemplative nature. Many …


BJP Staff