Month: May 2015

Fifa, The UN, The French Communist Party: Luca Zanier goes inside the corridors of power

A visit to the United Nations in New York is what first provided the spark for Luca Zanier to begin photographing the buildings that appear in his series Corridors of Power. Now numbering over 30 images, the series captures the dramatic interiors of the buildings around the world where political decisions are made. Zanier shoots the buildings empty of people, so the focus instead is on the architecture: the rooms therefore seem paused, with the chairs waiting to be filled, braced for the debates and the decision-making to take place. “I’m interested in politics,” says Zanier of his reason for being intrigued by the spaces. “You see the news all the time, and the people are changing all the time, the really important people that make the decisions. I realised that there are a lot of organisations around the world where they make decisions, and you know about the decisions, you know what’s going on, but you don’t know about the places where they make them.” Zanier has photographed buildings in New York, but much …

2015-05-29T17:27:01+00:00

How Adama Jalloh won the undergraduate single award 

Breakthrough 2016 is open for submissions – enter our search for the world’s best student and graduate photographers. Deadline: Sunday 8th May. For the judges of the BJP Breakthrough undergraduate awards – Gemma Padley, Lewis Chaplin and Sebastian Richter – it was the boy’s expression in Adama Jalloh’s image that caught their attention. Staring straight at the camera, the boy, who is around 13-years-old according to Jalloh, looks confident, almost defiant, and is standing tall; but his expression also betrays a hint of wariness and vulnerability. Jalloh, who is in her final year of a BA photography degree at Arts University Bournemouth, took the image on a street in south London, close to where she lives in Peckham. The image is part of a series, You fit the description, that looks at young black and Asian men in London who are likely to be stopped, questioned and searched by police, Jalloh explains. “I randomly approached young men on the street and asked whether they’d ever been stopped and searched, and how they felt about it,” says Jalloh. “It’s one of those things they have to go along with – they’re given weird, vague reasons as to why they’re being stopped, and aren’t allowed to say how they feel. This boy told me that lots of his …

2016-05-05T17:00:10+00:00

The only documentary photography festival in the Balkans launches Kickstsarter campaign

In only its seventh year, Organ Vida has become one of the most intriguing contemporary photography festivals in Europe. Founded as an non-profit NGO in 2009, it is the only documentary photography festival in the Balkans, taking place annually in Zagreb, Croatia, this September. While it has grown in stature—Roger Ballen, Rob Hornstra and Hannah Starkey are among the jury members this year—the team hasn’t forgotten its lo-fi roots. “In Croatia, photography wasn’t recognised as art,” says Marina Paulenka, co-founder and director of the festival. We weren’t part of an international community, we didn’t have many exhibitions, we didn’t have the platforms; we just want to make something here.” The team is frighteningly young—the oldest member hasn’t even turned 30—and draws from a pool of Croatian photographers, graphic designers and artists. The central focus of the program is the exhibition of the main finalists, but also includes lectures, round-table discussions, artist talks, creative workshops, portfolio reviews, film screenings, music and theatre performances. The Klovićevi Dvori Gallery, one of Zagreb’s largest galleries, will be the focus of …

2015-07-23T12:59:58+00:00

A vision of urban decay in Johannesburg wins the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2015

Mikhael Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse were awarded the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2015 at The Photographers’ Gallery this evening, Thursday 28 May 2015. The £30,000 award was presented by previous prize winners Oliver Chanarin on behalf of the artist duo Broomberg & Chanarin. Subotzky and Waterhouse won for their publication Ponte City (Steidl, 2014), which depicts a 54-floor apartment block in Johannesburg, built in 1976 for a white elite under apartheid rule. After the end of Apartheid, it became a refuge for black newcomers to the city and immigrants from all over Africa, and it came to be seen as the prime symbol of urban decay in the city – the epicentre of crime, prostitution and drug dealing. Subotzky and Waterhouse began their project in 2007 after a failed regeneration project. Working with remaining residents and using photographs, architectural plans, archival and historical material, they created an intimate social portrait of the building’s community of residents. An accompanying sequence of seventeen booklets containing essays and personal stories complete the visual and spatial narrative of this …

2015-06-09T11:57:39+00:00

How Felix von der Osten won the undergraduate series award 

Last summer, German photographer Felix von der Osten made a road trip to the US, travelling through places such as South Dakota and crossing the border into Montana. It was here, towards the north of the state that he came across the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, home to two Native American tribes – Gros Ventre and Assiniboine. This is where he would make his series, The Buffalo that could not Dream, which has won the undergraduate series category in BJP’s Breakthrough Awards. “I had never seen anything like this before, nor did I know anything about this place,” says von der Osten, who is studying a BA in photography at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Dortmund, Germany. “My idea of Native American people was a very romanticised one, from books I’d read. [After arriving at Fort Belknap] I became interested in this place.” Von der Osten explains how he ended up living on the reservation for a month towards the end of 2014, and says that his images reflect what he saw while he was there and the people he met. The two tribes are historically enemies he explains, but were forced to …

2015-05-29T21:24:20+00:00

Remembering Mary Ellen Mark

From the 1940s until perhaps the early 90s, an empathic documentation of everyday life appeared weekly or monthly in the world’s illustrated magazines, a medium whose appeal lay almost wholly in its use of outstanding photography, by great practitioners. It was a time, Mary Ellen Mark recalled, when “the magazines really needed photographers, especially documentary photographers. When they flourished you could bring an idea to a magazine and they would do it. Sadly that time is over”. Nonetheless, she worked on very successfully until the end of her life, combining documentary reportage with commercial assignments in fashion and advertising and portraiture. She was as adept in the studio as in the street, and as at ease with a Leica as she was with an ultra-large format studio camera. Faithful to film photography to the end, she never felt attracted to digital: “I’m staying with film, and with silver prints and no Photoshop …[that’s] the way I learned photography. You make your picture in the camera,” she said in 2008. Born in Elkins Park, near Philadelphia, …

2015-05-28T18:02:04+00:00

Gareth McConnell’s young hedonists the morning after a night in Ibiza

“All these fucking photographs,” says Gareth McConnell at the very beginning of our conversation. “What do you do with them? How do you make sense of them?” It’s taken weeks to connect. The Irish-born, London-based photographer has given me the runaround, but he’s so engaging and funny when he finally replies that I find it hard to maintain any strop. “I am gonna look for PDFs now,” he writes. Then: “I have neither copies of the books or money for a courier if I did… why didn’t I pay more attention at school?” He’s much like this in conversation: frequently self-deprecating, easy-going, often cheeky. He also talks nineteen to the dozen, weaving punk bands, AK-47s, Tommy Hilfiger, Susan Sontag and Carl Cox into his conversation as easily as his publishing venture (Sorika), his daughter, and his long-time battle with drug addiction. At the end of it all, I find myself wondering what on earth just happened. McConnell came to international attention with the publication of his first book, a short-lived collaboration between Steidl and Photoworks, …

2015-06-09T11:58:01+00:00

Sebastião Salgado: “I had travelled to the dawn of time.”

Sebastião Salgado has created some of the twentieth century’s most iconic photography. From war zones to famine, genocide to exodus, Salgado has documented many of the world’s major events of the last 40 years in crisp black-and-white pictures. He’s also won countless prizes, including being named last week as a Master of Photography at Photo London this weekend. Now, in homage to the great photographer, the German filmmaker Wim Wenders and Salgado’s Paris-based son Juliano Salgado have collaborated on a documentary about the photographer’s life and work. The film, The Salt of the Earth, has already won a host of accolades, including an Oscar nomination, and will be released this July. In the film, Sebastião discusses some of his most famous photographs. When talking of the captivating images of 50,000 gold-grubbers scaling ladders like ants into an the Serra Pelada mine in Brazil, he says: “Every hair on my body stood on edge. The Pyramids, the history of mankind unfolded. I had travelled to the dawn of time.” He discusses his hellish images of burning oilrigs in Kuwait …

2015-05-27T12:34:52+00:00

How Tim Pearse won the graduate single image award  

This image may look simple, but a lot of time and craftsmanship has gone in its creation. It is a lith print, made by Tim Pearse, a former BA photography student at Plymouth College of Art. And it is with this image that Pearse won the singles prize in the recent graduate category of the BJP Breakthrough Awards, which was judged by BJP editor Simon Bainbridge, photography curator Leo Scott, and photographer Laura Pannack. Working exclusively with analogue and alternative photographic processes, Pearse crafted the image as part of a longer untitled series of lith prints. “I wanted to create a discourse on constructed memory through the perception of ambiguous form,” says Pearse. “I wanted to illicit the asking of questions of self… we can look at any object or place and it generate something intangible within ourselves.” Pearse took the image on a Mamiya RB67 camera loaded with Ilford Delta 100 film, and printed it as a lith print using lith developer, which gives the image its soft, hand-drawn quality, he says. “I learnt this process while I was at university and have worked with it ever since. I like being part of every point in the making of the photograph, and being able to have …

2015-05-26T16:00:03+00:00

Timothy Prus on The Whale’s Eyelash

It’s not particularly easy to locate the Archive of Modern Conflict. It lies behind a side-door, down an unmarked path, tucked back from one of the more modest streets of Kensington. Holland Park lies just to the north, with its open-air opera nights, Japanese gardens and lining of grand mansions. To the east is High Street Kensington and then Sloane Square, the most affluent of playgrounds. It’s likely many of Timothy Prus’ neighbours won’t know him from Adam, or have a clue that one of the most eclectic photography collections in the world nestles in their midst. You can understand the aura of hushed discretion and hearsay when you stand inside the archive. But for the standard issue Apple computers, the building and its decor could be from any year after World War II. Photographs are crammed into every available space of this homely office; performing, posing or caught unawares, the stories of countless people, the world over, lie in rest here. I’m here to discuss the archive’s latest creation; perhaps its most strange and …

2015-06-01T11:08:17+00:00

BJP Staff