Month: October 2015

François Hébel – after Arles, Bologna

“Whenever you see an exhibition here, make sure you look up first,” says François Hébel. We’re in the heart of one of the many Renaissance-era public buildings in Bologna. Frescos line the walls and ceilings, Madonnas and bambinis touching gods through partings in the clouds. The former director of Les Rencontres d’Arles has spent months in these lavish surroundings overseeing his latest venture, the second edition of the Foto/Industria Biennial of Industrial Photography. “The city is very special,” Hébel says. “My job is to try to match the work of the photographers with places such as this, and to provide a great variety of presentation with these incredible venues.” Hébel is artistic director of the biennial and his involvement with it is quite a coup. He has a bulging contacts book and an outstanding knowledge of contemporary photography – earned through his longstanding engagement with it – and has helped attract world- class talent. A huge projection of Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky’s large-format Manufactured Landscapes plays out in a huge, cathedral-like hall. Kathy Ryan, photography director of The New York …

2015-10-30T17:16:26+00:00

IPA 2016: We speak to Hannah Watson, director of TJ Boulting gallery

BJP

Now in its 10th edition, British Journal of Photography’s International Photography Awards are one of the world’s leading showcases for contemporary photographic talent. One of the marquee prizes IPA winners will receive is a two-week exhibition of their work at TJ Boulting, a central London gallery with a reputation for hosting daring, challenging art of all disciplines.  Hannah Watson is director of TJ Boulting Gallery and publishing house Trolley Books, and is also on the elite IPA judging panel. She has worked with some of the best photographers in the world, including Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Alex Majoli and Philip Jones Griffiths, and has a reputation for publishing exceptional stories in photography, photojournalism and contemporary art. TJ Boulting is a gallery that works with all disciplines and not just photography, so how does she see photography in relation to other kinds of work? “I think of photography as any other medium. I’m looking forward to seeing work which is not prescribed photography. I think photography can restrict itself, if you start thinking like that. In art …

2015-10-30T13:01:02+00:00

Heading to the Northern Lights in search of true believers of magic

Two years ago, while attending a residency in northern Iceland, 32-year-old Catalan photographer Bego Antón came across an unusual course. “I stumbled across a website for the Icelandic Elf School,” she says. “I was amazed to find that you can actually graduate in elf issues. So I started investigating this hidden world.” So began The Earth is Only a Little Dust Under Our Feet, a project exploring Icelanders’ steadfast belief in magic. According to Antón, who was selected for last year’s Joop Swart Masterclass, 54 percent of people on the island believe in elves, trolls, fairies, monsters and ghosts. “The people here would never throw a stone in the air in case they hit an elf,” she says. “They are known to build roads with a deliberate kink to avoid bulldozing a rock where elves live. I wanted to find these magical beings and see them with my own eyes.” Antón met dozens of Icelandic people across the country who have “the gift” – the ability to see and communicate with these creatures. “Icelanders are really open and …

2015-11-03T12:52:22+00:00

Unseen Polaroids from the heyday of Andy Warhol’s Factory

Last summer archivist, editor and curator Dagon James was finishing up a book he was working on about Billy Name’s black and white photographs of Warhol’s Factory. Brigid Berlin, Warhol’s best friend and staunch member of The Factory, was contributing some text to the book when Dagon asked her about her famous collection of Polaroids, and whether or not she would ever consider publishing them. She agreed, and a short while later Dagon found himself sitting at a large table in her apartment sorting through nearly 4000 previously unseen snaps that had been crammed into boxes in her house and in storage for decades. “They were just scattered around her life, so we had to pull them all together and organise them and figure out what was there. That was kind of the adventure,” recalls Dagon. “She hadn’t even looked at them in years. We would pass Polaroids around and talk about them, figure out what should be in the book and why. It was very collaborative.” The Polaroids themselves are more artefacts than photographs. …

2015-11-10T17:43:58+00:00

The morning after the night before: inside Germany’s techno clubs

Long-time fans of electronica, André Giesemann and Daniel Schulz decided to combine their love of the German techno scene and photography in a joint ongoing project. The pair began collaborating in 2009 on Vom Bleiben, which features ghostly images of the insides of clubs after the ravers have left. Their images, taken on a large format camera with a 75mm lens, seek to record the emptiness of these spaces just after the club nights have ended – “the moment when the traces of the event become visible”, says Hamburg-based Giesemann. “Most of these clubs we know, and have experienced. In a way, this series is like an archive of clubs for me and Daniel, who is based in Berlin, since some of the buildings aren’t around any more. Sometimes they only exist for a while as temporary spaces.” In these images, the harsh light, made even more intense by the long exposures used by the pair (sometimes of several minutes), reveals the debris from the activities of the night before. Used beer bottles overflow on bar tops; discarded cigarette packets lie strewn …

2015-10-28T16:36:50+00:00

Calm before the storm: quiet moments behind the scenes of London Fashion Week

“There’s nothing quite like it – weeks of preparation for fifteen minutes of beautiful, elegant theatre – a moving gallery piece, a graceful veneer over the absolute chaos backstage. And it happens every season,” says Kensington Leverne. In his new photo zine Powerful Morning Energy Volume.2, Leverne gets an intimate look behind the scenes at London Fashion Week. The black-and-white images find the quiet moments before the shows begin – models idling in changing areas, stylists tending to costumes, catwalks being prepped for expectant audiences. Leverne, who studied Contemporary Photography at University for the Creative Arts in Rochester, fell into backstage photography as a seventeen-year-old, while on work experience with a production company. He admits his skills as a production runner left much to be desired, but constantly took pictures on set. Through cultural osmosis, we’ve become more than familiar with the artful tailoring and impossibly beautiful models that showcase these events. Leverne pulls back the curtain to show the industry in its most testing moments, with 5am call times, 2am finishes and a lot of …

2015-11-03T12:48:21+00:00

Reframing the debate around teenage motherhood

When Raphaela Rosella was a teenager, her twin sister became pregnant. “I called her a slut and told her to get an abortion because I thought she could have a better life,” says the Australian photographer, who is now 27 and took part in last year’s Joop Swart Masterclass.     “But what is a better life? On reflection, I realised my reaction framed my sister’s pregnancy as a social problem. Instead of supporting her choice, I assumed that becoming a mother at a young age was irresponsible and irrational. Most public discourses do not consider that becoming a mother at a young age could ever be a rational choice,” she explains.     Years later, after spending time with a young, homeless mother, pregnant with her third child, Rosella was inspired to start the evocatively titled project, You didn’t take away my future, you gave me a new one. Following mothers Tammara, Nunjul and Rowrow, it proposes that teenage pregnancies aren’t necessarily ‘irrational’ or ‘irresponsible’, and can have positive outcomes.     “Tammara was part of my previous project …

2015-11-03T12:49:22+00:00

The squatters, ravers and travellers who exported British festival culture to Europe

In 1992, thousands of New Age travellers, ravers and gypsies converged on Castlemorton Common in Worcestershire for a week-long free festival. Widely reported in the press, the event attracted an estimated 20,000 to 40,000 people and became impossible for the police to close down. Tom Hunter, then a student at the London College of Printing, was involved in the free party scene but somehow missed the event; he soon realised he’d let a seminal moment pass him by and vowed not to do so again.     Castlemorton led directly to the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, however, which outlawed outdoor parties that included “sounds wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats” in the UK. So, three years later, Hunter and a squad of fellow squatters were on their way to Europe in a decommissioned double-decker bus, complete with sound system and provisions. Over the ensuing months, the group travelled to folk festivals in France, hippie gatherings in Austria and beach parties in Spain, with the bus – Le Crowbar – doubling …

2015-11-03T12:47:05+00:00

Only two weeks left to enter the International Photography Awards 2016

BJP

British Journal of Photography’s annual International Photography Award is one of the world’s leading showcases for contemporary photographic talent. This year marks the award’s 10th edition, and the competition has established itself as an important springboard for future voices in photography, providing an opportunity for entrants to get their work in front of the most influential voices in the industry. This year’s judges have been drawn from the worlds of photography, art and media, and represent some of the world’s most prestigious cultural organisations. The panel consists of: Shoair Mavlin (Curator of Photography, Tate Modern), Sean O’Hagan (Photography critic, The Guardian), Kate Bush (Head of Photography, Media Space), Emily Graham (Cultural & Education Manager, Magnum Photos), Bruno Ceschel (Founder, Self Publish, Be Happy), Hannah Watson (Director, TJ Boulting Gallery and Trolley Books), Ewen Spencer (photographer and publisher), James Reid (Photography Director of Wallpaper*) and our very own Diane Smyth (Deputy Editor, BJP). The judges will select an outstanding single image and series of work to be exhibited at TJ Boulting, an innovative gallery in the …

2015-11-03T12:51:48+00:00

Photographing the rapid emergence of modern Azerbaijan

BJP

“I could almost see the shiny new world rising out of the ruins,” says Ukrainian photographer Mila Teshaieva, describing the changes she witnessed on a visit to Azerbaijan in 2010, two decades on from declaring independence from the Soviet Union. “The process of building a new state and a new national identity, something that would normally take many decades or even centuries, appeared to so rapid and so radical. But the ruins were still there, seen most strongly in the souls and minds of people who have grown up with and been educated in Soviet Union ideologies, but who have suddenly had to adapt to new ideas.”   Promising Waters looks at life in the area around the Caspian Sea, specifically Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, countries that have established independence away from the Soviet Union, and that possess rich oil and gas reserves. Teshaieva is most interested in the enormous challenge these countries face in defining themselves as independent nation states. Her project touches on the promise of wealth created by the countries’ natural resources, but also …

2015-11-13T16:28:38+00:00

BJP Staff