Month: February 2015

VIDEO: Dominic Hawgood – International Photography Award Winner

“Staging is not the same as faking.” That phrase, from photography academic David Campbell, was the bedrock for Dominic Hawgood’s Under the Influence, a highly conceptualised look at faith and meaning in a world of images. The series scooped the series category of BJP’s International Photography Award, last year, and Campbell’s phrase is now helping shape the 34-year-old’s approach to the exhibition he won, which opened late last year London’s TJ Boulting Gallery. The series examines human behaviour in contemporary African churches in London, “and the merchandising of these modern rituals”; inspired to start it after witnessing an exorcism first-hand, he also explores “the theatrical practice of deliverance”. These techniques suggest a certain cynicism about religion but Hawgood says that wasn’t his intention. He’s simply considering whether we can experience something authentic in a knowingly constructed environment – or via carefully crafted imagery. “Ideas are formed through the imagery presented to us, removing us from actual life experiences, adding another layer of distance that evokes a desire to experience the real, close up,” he wrote …

2015-08-28T11:03:35+00:00

Rotimi Fani-Kayode – The Art of Exile

In January 2014, Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, signed a new law that allows his courts to punish same-sex “amorous relationships”, along with a raft of other anti-gay legislation that carries penalties of up to 14 years imprisonment. Gay organisations – from advocacy groups to nightclubs – are now banned, and “aiding and abetting” a gay man or woman can carry the same punishment. Landlords, family, neighbours, fiends and employers of gay people are now seen as criminals in the eyes of Nigerian law. And in those areas to the north of the country that have adopted some form of Shari’a law, corporate punishments have included whippings, and could extend to execution. He may not be as outspoken as Simon Lokodo, ‘ethics and integrity’ minister of Uganda, who recently responded “why would I eat my own feaces?” when asked whether he would every consider kissing another man, but Goodluck is clearly a homophobe. However, these remorseless measures were not likely passed out of a sense of conviction, rather it’s because they’re popular. Because Nigeria is not …

2015-03-03T12:50:49+00:00

BJP International Photography Award Launch – In Pictures

Dominic Hawgood’s International Photography Award exhibition Under the Influence kicked off at the packed-out TJ Boulting gallery in Fitzrovia, central London last night. Thank you to everyone who came down – it was a great night. The BJP would also like to thank Dominic Hawgood, who worked tirelessly in the week leading up to the show to create a genuinely atmospheric photography exhibition. The judging panel included Brett Rogers, director of The Photographers’ Gallery; Emma Bowkett, picture editor of the Financial Times’ award-winning FT Weekend Magazine; Hannah Watson, director of Trolley Books, Sean O’Hagan, photography critic of The Guardian, and Bruno Ceschel, founder of Self Publish, Be Happy. They selected Dominic Hawgood from over 700 photographers to enter the competition. Diane Smyth, BJP’s deputy editor (pictured at the centre of the second image above), was chair of both judging panels, and she organised the entire contest. “There was a huge sense of relief that everything came together; the printing, fabrication, set build and light installation,” Hawgood told BJP on the night. “It was ten days solid work installing the …

2015-04-17T14:07:44+00:00

On its 25th birthday, how did photoshop change photography?

Photoshop, which is celebrating its 25th birthday today, began because Thomas Knoll liked to procrastinate. In 1987, Knoll was working on a doctoral thesis in computer vision at the University of Michigan. He developed the early stages of the software almost by accident; pioneering a tool that democratised photography for a generation of people, while spawning a debate in photography, and particularly photojournalism, about the validity and authenticity of imagery that continues today. For now, in the age of Photoshop, any photograph can be manipulated by anyone. Knoll grew up using a darkroom in his parent’s basement, and was a keen amateur photographer. As a way of wasting time, he began creating a collection of image-processing utilities for his brother John, who worked as a digital-effects specialist. The program, which he called Display, was soon being used by many of John’s friends at his company, Industrial Light & Magic. It started to get passed around by word of mouth, and the Knoll brothers started to pitch the product. A number of companies thought about it, …

2015-04-17T14:08:01+00:00

Ones to Watch: Danila Tkachenko

BJP

Danila Tkachenko is just 25 but has already won a World Press Photo – the Russian was awarded first prize in the Staged portraits stories category last year for a series called Escape, about men who have withdrawn from society to live as hermits. Exploring human identity and the impact of globalisation, the story picks up Tkachenko’s favourite theme, “the conflict between the little man and the global machine of progress, which is ready to smash everything in its path”. He’s now working on a new series which looks at “the death of Russian villages and mass urbanisation”, and why “humanity is actively trying to break apart from nature”. Another near-complete series, Restricted areas, documents Russia’s “secret cities”. Deserted places that were once sites of national importance, the abandoned buildings and machinery are now relics of the past. “I feel like I am an archeologist encountering the traces of a past civilisation in order to understand the reasons [why we] create these objects,” he says. Tkachenko has just won the Lensculture Exposure award, and was …

2015-04-17T14:08:18+00:00

Human Rights Human Wrongs

“I grew up in Newcastle, sat on buses with characters calling me ‘Chalky’,” says Mark Sealy, founder of Autograph ABP. “I still carry the legacy of that. I know what it’s like to be called a n*****r; I had to go through all that shit. And that’s just a simple game, the menace of little kids.” For Sealy, these experiences haven’t stopped, they have simply become subtextual. “We do it on a cultural and political level,” he says. “We create fear in others. Look at the history of the representation of Jewish people before the Holocaust; images can dehumanise us. They can make it easier to kill people.” Sealy has no qualms about recounting such memories to a journalist, describing himself as a “militant nightmare”. But if he is, he’s managed to break the mainstream anyway – born in Hackney in 1960 and raised in Newcastle, he won an MBE two years ago for services to photography and is currently in the midst of a PhD at Durham University, researching the link between photography and cultural …

2015-04-17T14:08:28+00:00

Come to Dominic Hawgood’s Private View

BJP

The BJP’s International Photography Award series category attracted 733 entries from all over the world. The winner is a young British photographer, Dominic Hawgood. Dominic’s prize is a major solo exhibition at TJ Boulting gallery, the respected gallery in Fitzrovia, London. Hawgood has spent all week in the gallery, creating a “3D experience” – a new floor, new walls, and the most remarkable light show to showcase his photography. The British Journal of Photography are hosting a private view of the exhibition on Thursday 19th February, from 6pm to 9pm. There will be free wine. And you’re invited. Details are here. “The winner and runners up show that an idea or a story together with a strong execution become more and more crucial in the practice of a photographer,” commented curator and communications specialist Erik Kessels, one of the judges who’d picked him out. “This made the selected works stand out from the others.” Hawgood’s winning project, Under the Influence, is an off-centre exploration of evangelical Christianity, which uses the visual tropes of advertising to create a bold, …

2015-02-18T16:12:41+00:00

Vivian Maier – Secret Photographer, Oscar Contender

BJP

She cradles a Rolleicord camera to her breast, her eyes staring into her reflection. Until recently, the woman behind the camera was unknown, living a quiet life as a nanny in Chicago and dying, alone in a nursing home, in 2009 at the age of 83. When Vivian Maier’s cache of 100,000 images were unearthed, her work was compared with the greats of street photography. A film was made, Finding Vivian Maier, which introduced a new generation to her photography. But Maier herself was the draw; who, exactly, was the mysterious French nanny? What drove her relentless imagery, and why did she keep it so resolutely hidden? On Sunday night, at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles, Vivian Maier’s film will keep for an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature – and she will stand at the centre of the world’s eye. How would she feel about this? Maier was a private but eccentric, Mary Poppins-like figure who spoke with a delicate French trill and was never without her medium format camera. She took thousands of photographs from the 1950s to 70s, …

2015-04-17T14:09:26+00:00

From Last Stop (c) George Georgiou

George Georgiou’s Last Stop – how he captured London’s streets

A battered old hatchback rolls up outside Folkestone Station, and George Georgiou – with a shy, blokey smile – leans over to pop the passenger door, before driving me through the seaside town he now calls home. He sits in the driver’s seat as if he were in his armchair at home; for a long time, this car was the closest thing he had to a home. He has driven all over the world in it with his wife, the photographer Vanessa Winship, covering thousands upon thousands of miles, from London to Georgia, then Ukraine, Turkey, Italy, and finally America. It has been a long journey, solely motivated by photography. “Welcome to my hotel,” he says in that distinctive North London accent. “It’s a bit like The Shining.” On the edges of the town, Georgiou leads me up the steps and into the heart of a grand, faded old building. It was indeed once a hotel, and the patterned carpets and ornate banisters remain. Now it’s private flats, home to the town’s old timers and young couples …

2015-04-17T14:09:08+00:00

Daily life, or what remains

BJP

What Remains, which won 2nd Prize in Daily life, Stories in World Press Photo announced today, is a touching portrait of a Bangladeshi couple struggling with old age. Sarker Protick, their grandson, relies on subtlety, simplicity and visual minimalism to draw the viewer into their realm and elicit sympathy. The outcome comes as an inevitable shock. “I find it intriguing how things change with time in our life – relationships and surroundings as well as how we live on with death, loss, disappearance and all that remains,” says Protick. “By default a photograph stores the past, but it also has the ability to project itself in the future. Somewhere there’s a point where time doesn’t work linearly anymore. Timelessness, that’s the point I want to reach.” Protick didn’t set out to be a photographer but in late 2008, while he was studying for a BA in marketing, his mother gave him a cell phone with a built-in camera. He started taking pictures of anything and everything, especially his friends, and once he graduated, enrolled at Pathshala, the South …

2015-04-17T14:10:53+00:00

BJP Staff