Month: February 2017

#BJP 7858, cover shot by Daisuke Yokota

#BJP 7858: Scratching the Surface

What do Daisuke Yokota and Thomas Mailaender have in common? On the face of it very little, with the Japanese artist specialising in ethereal, fine art installations, and the French provocateur in deliberately jokey tattoos, pottery and chicken runs (complete with live chickens). “Society puts too much pressure on us to be perfect when in fact everybody smells bad in the arse,” says Mailaender; “If you look around there are so many extraordinary artists and, when I compare, I have done nothing,” says Yokota. “If I burn out now, I was not good enough.” But if you look a little deeper, the two artists are both concerned with the fragile materiality of the photograph, and the alchemic process that transubstantiates mundane subjects into the sacred and the profane. So we’ve put their work together this issue, and added images by artists with similar concerns. Alejandro Guijarro’s Lead, for example, which uses an x-ray machine to illuminate the hidden layers of Old Masters; or Raphael Dallaporta’s Chauvet – Pont-d’Arc, L’inappropriable, a study of prehistoric cave sketches which …

2017-04-04T11:39:52+00:00

A 33-year-old cam model in a room of the "Studio N2" after his day shift, Bucharest, Romania, April 2016. The adult webcam industry is worth $1 billion annually, and is growing fast as the technology becomes better and cheaper. Collectively, the sites are estimated to be visited daily by some 5 percent of the web's global users and the number of models performing live online shows from private apartments or from specialised studios is increasing worldwide. Romania, a country with one of the highest rates of youth unemployment in the EU, is now the undisputed world capital of studio-based cam operations, thanks to widespread wireless broadband access. From the series Live chat studio industry © Lorenzo Maccotta, Italy, shortlist, Professional, Contemporary Issues, 2017 Sony World Photography Awards

Shortlist revealed for the 2017 Sony World Photography Awards

“There was a truly global reach to the Sony World Photography Awards judging this year – the images were more diverse and broad ranging than I have ever seen before,” said curator Zelda Cheatle, who was chair of the professional jury of the competition this year. The Awards, now in its tenth year, has just announced the shortlisted photographers, who between the represent 49 countries; the shortlist was drawn from some 227,596 images entered from 183 countries, including – for the first time – Armenia, Cuba, Iceland and Saudi Arabia. The winning photographers will be announced on 20 April, with the overall Photographer of the Year scooping a $25,000 cash prize plus Sony kit. Along with Zelda Cheatle, the 2017 professional competition was judged by Aida Muluneh, (founder/director of Addis Foto Fest), Allegra Cordero di Montezemolo (curator and head of exhibitions at Mexico’s Centro de la Imagen), Denis Curti, (an Italian curator and journalist), Russ O’Connell (picture editor of The Sunday Times Magazine) and Françoise Callier (program director at Angkor Photo Festival & Workshops). The winning, shortlisted and commended images will go …

2017-02-28T14:06:04+00:00

Image © Ren Hang, courtesy Stieglitz 19 gallery

An interview with Ren Hang

BJP

“I do not think nudity is challenging – nudity is common, everybody has it,” says Ren Hang. “I like people naked and I like sex; I use nudity so that I can feel more realism and sense of presence.” But whatever his view, his work has proved controversial in his native China, where galleries have found it difficult to show his images and “no Chinese fashion magazines let me make images”. Even so, he’s exhibited in China, Italy, France, Russia, Israel and Sweden, published his work in magazines around the world, and published several books, with organisations such as the respected Editions Bessard. “Ren Hang’s images challenge conventional codes of morality in a still highly conservative society,” states another of his publishers, Editions du Lic. “[…]The artist’s homeland remains harshly censorial against any material it deems immoral and Hang’s work certainly plays with fire.” Editions du Lic claims Hang is part of a new breed of 21st century Chinese artists, “riding the wave of modernisation and cultural reawakening in China”; Hang sees things more simply, …

2017-02-27T16:01:52+00:00

From the series Farang © Francesco Merlini

Ones to Watch: Francesco Merlini

BJP

“I was 13, standing on the balcony at home holding the first digital camera my family had ever owned. I was staring into the viewfinder trying to frame a flower, my eyes wide at its reproduction on the small screen,” says 30-year-old Francesco Merlini of the first picture he ever took. “I was struck by the immediacy of the photographic medium, the ease with which you can create something visually pleasing.” Merlini studied industrial design at Politecnico di Milano, and though photography featured in his life from an early age, he never considered dedicating himself to it. Like many of his generation, he used his camera for little more than documenting his life – his mates, girlfriends, trips. “Some photos worked but there was no meaning behind them, there was no purpose,” he says. “They were snaps. “The turning point came in 2010 when I started working at Prospekt [the agency of which he is now a member] as a photo editor and sales manager. I started doing scans and photographing events, developing my own …

2017-02-27T15:02:00+00:00

Clement Cheroux © Michael Grieve

Any Answers: Clément Chéroux

With 40 books and 20 exhibitions to his name, a doctorate in art history from Panthéon Sorbonne, 10 years teaching the history of photography, and another decade as curator at the Pompidou, Frenchman Clément Chéroux is the ideal replacement for the legendary Sandra Phillips at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. BJP caught up with him in an interview first published in issue #7853 The work of a curator functions on a principle of association between images and ideas. The greatest pleasure is when you introduce a tension between these two poles and a spark appears. I worked at the Centre Pompidou for 10 years. It is an extraordinary place, located in the heart of Paris and in the heart of people. It will stay in mine. I am very excited to discover San Francisco, its people, its sun and its fog. I will miss the gargoyles up on the Saint-Jacques tower that I used to greet every morning on my way to work. Photography is not merely a passion. It’s a life. I met photography on …

2017-02-24T11:03:31+00:00

From the series Bright Days © Maryam Khastoo & Jonathan Clifford

A different side of Iran by Maryam Khastoo and Jonathan Clifford

In October 2016, Maryam Khastoo and Jonathan Clifford went to Iran to work on Khastoo’s ongoing project on her mother. Born to Iranian parents in Wales, Khastoo has visited the country regularly since she was a child, and lived there from 2010-2014; her mother now lives in Tehran, and Khastoo and Clifford spent ten days with her, Khastoo taking photographs and Clifford shooting film. After they’d finished work in the capital they “felt the need to get out” says Clifford, who was raised in Australia, and headed north for the quiet towns between the Caspian Sea and Alborz Mountain range. “Everyone we spoke of our plans with insisted that we go south to Isfahan, Shiraz or Yazd, which are the most common destinations for visitors to Iran due to their historical importance,” says Clifford. “But although these places certainly appealed, the idea of heading north, where Maryam has family, and staying with them on their orange and kiwi orchard, seemed a much better way to unwind after the hustle and chaos of Tehran. “We’d also discussed …

2017-02-23T16:35:48+00:00

The Critic, 1943. Image © Weegee/International Center of Photography, courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

On show – Weegee’s iconic images of New York’s seamy underbelly

Born near Lemburg in what’s now the Ukraine, Usher Fellig emigrated to the US in 1909 when he was ten. There he acquired a new, Anglicised name, Arthur, and started working as a photographer just three years later. In 1924 he was hired as a darkroom technician by Acme Newspictures (later United Press International Photos), and by 1935 – “spellbound by the mystery of murder”, as he put it – he had left to become a freelance news photographer. Centring his work around Manhattan’s police headquarters, his seemingly uncanny ability to get to crime scenes early earned him another new name – Weegee, inspired by the Ouija board (though another account traces it to his time as a darkroom “squeegee” boy). His talent for prescience was actually down to a portable police-band shortwave radio, which he got permission to run in 1938 – the only New York reporter to do so. Adding a complete darkroom in the boot of his car, Weegee was able to get his sensational images to newspapers such as the Herald-Tribune, Daily News, Post, The Sun, and PM Weekly long before anyone else. …

2017-03-28T11:52:10+00:00

Image © Maisie Cousins

Francesca Allen and Maisie Cousins celebrate strong women

“In a society that profits from your self-doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act,” say photographers Francesca Allen and Maisie Cousins, the photographers behind KKOutlet’s first joint show I Feel Sick/Hot Flush. Allen, who’s a regular for publications such as Riposte, Noisey and The Fader, has taken one room and is showing portraits of “powerful, fearless women at the height of their sexual freedom”. Cousins, who featured in the Creative Review Photography Annual and Vogue Photo Festival last year, has devoted the second space to darkly humorous collages. “They’re taking what has traditionally been a male gaze and making it into something of their own,” runs the gallery press release. “However, they’re not just rehashing pseudo feminist versions of bygone erotic photographs; there’s flesh and sexuality, but their images are more than that. There’s a huge sense of fun, rebelliousness and unashamed hedonism.” The exhibition is open until 27 February at KKOutlet – London’s very own KesselsKramer outpost, which also features a well-stocked bookshop. www.kkoutlet.com www.maisiecousins.com www.francesca-allen.co.uk  

2017-02-22T16:30:24+00:00

From the series Playground © Julien Lombardi

Images hit the streets in JaipurPhoto festival

The term ‘travel photography’ may call to mind generic holiday snaps, but a festival in Jaipur is raising the bar for a more probing approach. Founded by the team behind GoaPhoto, artistic director Lola Mac Dougall and filmmaker and producer Nikhil Padgaonkar, JaipurPhoto returns to from 24 February to 05 March, following a successful inaugural edition in 2016, to explore what wanderlust can tell us about our times. Describing the relationship between travel and photography as an “endless conversation”, the festival spotlights the many ways photography has shaped how we experience the world. London-based curator and founder of The Photocaptionist, Federica Chiocchetti, this year’s guest curator, pinpoints the relevance of this conversation in our image-saturated culture as a starting point for putting together the 2017 edition. “I am fascinated by how the evolution of society and of photography has impacted on the very notion of travelling,” Chiocchetti says. From the pre-internet days of the travel agent selling a place through promotional images to the more recent way we filter our travel experiences through multiple devices, she notes that our experience …

2017-02-22T15:25:29+00:00

BJP Staff