Month: November 2016

All images from the book You Haven't Seen Their Faces © Daniel Mayrit

Daniel Mayrit’s portraits of the rich and powerful financial elite

“In the past, no government had the power to keep its citizens under constant surveillance,” wrote George Orwell in his novel 1984. But where his work depicts an imaginary dystopian society, a version of the mass surveillance it describes is now an everyday reality in the West. Civil liberties, some contend, are being traded for security. That’s the debate Spanish photographer Daniel Mayrit engages with in You Haven’t Seen Their Faces, a seminal work which won the Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation First PhotoBook Award in November 2015. The book is a bizarre collection of CCTV-style, strongly pixellated and blown-up portraits of “The 100 most powerful people in the City of London”, coarsely printed on Kraft paper and bound together with three gold-coloured screws. Every image is tagged with hand-written notes and a caption, giving the same information about each subject – full name, position, company, reported net worth and/or salary. The basic data that goes with the picture of Christian Levett, for example, reads “Founder. Clive Capital. £13m salary. Net worth £250m”, presented in a font that suggests officialdom. …

2016-11-29T16:07:04+00:00

Fishermen at the mouth of Barking Creek. With raised flood barrier in the background. From the series London Ends © Philipp Ebeling

Philipp Ebeling shoots London’s Ends

“I have always been interested in exploring London, I’ve travelled around London and photographed it for years, but it took me a long time to think of what I was doing as one project because London is so disconnected,” says Philipp Ebeling. “You can pop up out of the tube and be somewhere that looks totally different, and is totally different. “There has never been a grand plan for London – there were attempts after the Second World War, and there was talk of a complete renovation a la Haussmann [who remodelled Paris in the late 18th century], but it has never come to anything. You have Harrow, which was part of the Metroland [the new area opened up by the Metropolitan tube line] then grown by a private developer, then you have the Docklands [which were transformed over the 1980s]. It’s something I very much enjoy, but which makes London a hard subject to put together.” He’s risen to the challenge with his new book, London Ends, which traces a ring around London well out of its better-known …

2017-01-04T17:42:35+00:00

Irene, Orpington, from the series Hen. All images © Bex Day

Bex Day photographs gender fluidity in the UK’s older trans community

‘Hen’ translates as a gender-neutral pronoun in Swedish, and is intended to move beyond the binary for those who identify neither as male or female. Hen is also the title of photographer Bex Day’s forthcoming project, which focuses on the older generation in the UK’s trans community. Featuring 50 subjects over the age of 40, Hen tells personal stories and investigates the common themes of loss and discovery that unite its subjects. A deliberately empowering study of individuals often placed at the fringes, it records both light-hearted and disquieting experiences they have had. “When I was younger everyone thought I was a boy and my brother was a girl,” says Day. “My parents never told me ‘You’re a girl so you should dress in pink’; I really wasn’t a stereotypical girl, I was quite boyish and as I got older I felt more and more displaced. “I think, particularly within the trans community, that feeling of displacement can be quite prevalent as well. There’s something about not fitting in, and not succumbing to stereotypes.” Day found potential participants for Hen through online forums, and formed close friendships …

2016-11-24T16:10:41+00:00

Lutz & Alex sitting in the trees, 1992

Wolfgang Tillmans – an interview from the BJP archives

On first sight, Wolfgang Tillmans’ east London studio has a relaxed feel, verging on the messy. But look closer and you notice the meticulously organised files of invoices, alongside boxes of letters and out-of-date films. The objects around this studio are often the subject of his photographs, and in many respects it helps explain his work. With their informal aesthetic and seemingly loose approach to subject matter, Tillmans’ photographs have been mistaken for casual snapshots. Don’t be fooled. He has deliberately abandoned “the language of importance”, but his images are carefully thought out and are often partly staged. “I guess there is a tendency for any artist in any field to want their work to be noticed,” he laughs. “But the artists who are a little bit more interesting go beyond that and realise that of course it’s much cooler to make it all look effortless.” Despite the apparent ease of style, Tillmans’ work is instantly recognisable, and he’s become one of the most celebrated artists of his generation. A decade ago he was the …

2016-11-23T16:38:21+00:00

4

Evoking the symbolism of seafaring legacy

Over thousands of years, the tattoo has been etched into the global imagination, absorbed into every culture, marking the art form’s innate permanence as the ultimate emblem of pride, identity and rite of passage. In his latest series, Everlasting, photographer Tom Brannigan captures the symbolic spirit of the practice, focusing on the roots of body art in maritime history. The work takes inspiration from traditional sailor tattoo designs, employing a playful and at times tongue-in-cheek approach. Brannigan carefully constructs still-life photographs from objects he has collected, to evoke the imagery adopted by seafarers as mementos and talismans that primarily served a superstitious purpose among those living an unpredictable, and often risky, lifestyle. Images of swallows, skulls, daggers, hearts and roses are constructed predominantly with mass produced, toy-like props to reference the often stylised and cartoon-like nature of this genre of tattoos. “I’ve been fascinated by tattoos ever since I was a kid,” says Brannigan. “I’m interested in the language and symbolism of tattoos, and how a design becomes almost a cultural icon when it is repeated over time.” “Everlasting started out of a love …

2016-11-23T16:45:57+00:00

BJP Staff