Author: Ameena Rojee

Udacity offers photographers the chance to be Virtual Reality pioneers.

In 2003, the British photographer Robbie Cooper was employed to photograph the CEO of a large business. As they talked between shots, Cooper learnt that the man had recently separated from his wife, and didn’t get much of a chance to spend time with his kids – until he found something called Everquest. Everquest was an early iteration of the 3D fantasy-themed role-playing computer games that cropped up at the turn of the millennium when multiplayer online games were really taking off. Every evening, the businessman would log onto Everquest and, through the game, spend time with his children – or at least the cartoonish, anime-style virtual avatars of his children. As they played together online, the businessman would ask them fatherly things – how their schoolwork was going, what was going on with their friends, how their mother was getting on. He was using his virtual self to compensate for the absence of his real self. Cooper says of the experience: “This emotional exchange, taking place in the fantasy of the game, got me …

2017-06-26T11:55:16+00:00

How to create a ground-breaking photobook

So you’ve thought long and hard about whether the time is right to make a photobook, and you’re sure there is an audience for your project; what’s next? If you want to make a book then you have to start physically making it, says Dewi Lewis, whose experience in publishing stretches over more than 30 years. “If someone is working on a project they are convinced is a book, my view is they should be continually putting together a dummy in its loosest sense – something where the work is sequenced,” says Lewis. “You need to see as you go where the gaps and strengths are. So it’s a case of continually printing out the images, putting them in a sequence, and living with it.” There is a lot to think about when deciding the look of your book, such as choosing which images to show, finding an effective way to translate those images to page, and refining the edit. Photographers should have their final selection of images ready and organised well in advance, advises …

2017-06-26T11:55:49+00:00

Film isn’t dead: The large format revolution is here

Of the many adjectives you could use to describe large-format film photography, affordable isn’t the first that springs to mind. But one Brighton based start-up is on a mission to change that. Hot on the success of their £250 4×5 camera, which they financed through crowdfunding, the Intrepid Camera Company has today launched their Kickstarter for an 8×10 model. Intrepid’s founder-director Maxim Grew had the idea for the camera while mid-way through an undergraduate degree in Product Design at the University of Sussex. He’d become increasingly fascinated by the format beloved of photography greats from Ansel Adams to Gregory Crewdson for its magical, contemplative process and the incredible visual quality of images it produces. However, on finding that his student loan didn’t stretch to the several thousand pounds it can cost to buy a camera, he started experimenting with building one himself. “I was making these really simple things – essentially just boxes with lenses on the end, using instant film and using photographic paper to make paper negatives,” he remembers. Originally Grew’s vision was …

2017-06-26T11:57:43+00:00

On the era of mass appropriation, and inventing new colours

Nick Thornton Jones and Warren Du Preez, the London-based experimental photographers, call their work “the de-familiarisation of surrealism”. In Immortal, their beautifully-produced new series of photobooks, the pair explore this idea with portraits of the human form shot with a dizzying intensity of colour and lights, as if we’re seeing, printed on paper, a fevered dream. “We were fed up of everything being watered down and diluted. It feels like everything’s hyper-referential,” Du Preez says of the genesis of the project when we meet in their Bethnal Green studio. “The editorial and art world can feel like a pool of brown mud to me. There’s a lack of process to a lot of art out there now and for two process junkies, that can feel quite depressing.” “It’s important to make your own stuff,” says Thornton Jones. “People don’t do that anymore; they sample everyone else’s and call it their own. They’re not inventing and making stuff. It’s an era defined by mass appropriation. So this series was born out of a sense of frustration …

2017-06-26T11:58:24+00:00

The first step to making a successful photobook isn’t what you think it is

To mark the launch of the Bob Books Photobook Award, a new competition from Bob Books, the UK based on-demand photobook printer, BJP is publishing a three-part series featuring advice on how to make and promote a photobook. In part one, publishing experts and photographers who’ve successfully made the journey share invaluable advice on what to think about before diving in. Producing a photobook is an important milestone in any photographer’s career, demanding a huge investment of time, energy, and resources. With so many photobooks being published every day and the bar to entry lower than it has ever been, how do you make a book that does your project justice, stands out from the rest, and most importantly sells? Publisher Dewi Lewis, who has been in the industry for more than 30 years and has worked on books with photographers including Martin Parr, Edmund Clark, and Stuart Freedman, says the starting point has to be for every photographer to ask why he or she wants to make a book. “Not enough photographers ask themselves …

2017-06-26T11:59:00+00:00

Wheelies, balaclavas and broken bones: welcome to UK BikeLife

A 13-day coma, four brain haemorrhages, a fractured cheekbone, a broken collarbone, a broken humerus, two collapsed lungs, several broken ribs, a cracked pelvis, a dislocated knee a shattered foot, an amputated toe and a splenectomy. After a near-fatal accident leaves you with this catalogue of injuries, you might consider a more gentle hobby than dirt biking. Not Izzy, one of the die-hard dirt bikers who features in Spencer Murphy’s new book, Urban Dirt Bikers, published by Hoxton Mini Press and launched today. “Izzy got back on [his bike] at the first opportunity – albeit with a newfound respect for safety. He continues to perform stunts and is one of the most controlled and skilled riders I’ve met. That kind of dedication, to me, demands respect,” says Murphy, whose series celebrates the prowess, passion and style of a secret and often stigmatised subculture. “People don’t look back on the career of Evil Knievel and think of him as a menace – nor do they of any extreme sports person that risks life and injury in …

2017-05-11T15:38:02+00:00

Back to the future: This photographer recreates his past to understand the present

One of the first things Thomas Friedrich Schaefer remembers is hiding behind a sofa in his parent’s Sao Paolo apartment, terrified by the cuckoo clock. Or at least he thinks so. It’s hard to say. Schaefer, 33, moved to Brazil from Mainz as a two-week-old baby, returning to Germany five years later. And as a consequence, his memories are a mix of two countries, and two languages. “I’ve always been interested in how memories are formed and built up, and how they change over the years,” he says, highlighting a theme that infuses Experiential Spaces, the series that won him the conceptual category in the 2015 Felix Schoeller Award. The initial inspiration for an image comes from his childhood, but the final scene, meticulously crafted over weeks, takes on a life of its own. “I remember my dad coming home from work and encouraging me to sit at my desk and do my homework, because I was always playing football outside with my friends,” he says of the spark of inspiration for the first shot …

2017-05-19T15:31:18+00:00

Englishman in New York: A young photographer blends old and new techniques

When Owen Harvey arrived in New York last August, armed with his Bronica SQ-A, he wasn’t sure what to expect. Having just left a job to focus full-time on his own photography, he’d set off for America with a not-entirely-concrete plan to shoot a project on a low riders group he’d been in touch with over email. “All they said was, ‘Yeah no worries, give us a call when you’re here’,” he remembers. “I didn’t really know if it was going ahead or not but I thought the worse thing that happens is I make some connections in New York and fly back a few weeks later.” Luckily for him, they stuck to their word. The next three months saw Harvey fully immersed in the world of the Lunatics Lowrider Club: days spent meeting up with them individually to shoot portraits, nights spent cruising around the city in convoys of ten vehicles. Harvey’s recent clients include Time, GQ and the BBC but it’s his personal series on British youth subcultures, Mod UK and Skins and …

2017-05-05T10:50:16+00:00

Why you should study a Master’s degree

When it comes to photography, Aaron Schuman is a man of many talents. A successful photographer in his own right – most notably for FOLK, chosen by both Alec Soth and Jason Fulford as one of the “Best Photobooks of 2016” – he’s also a well-known curator, writer and educator. In 2014 he curated Krakow Photomonth, featuring nine major exhibitions by artists such as Clare Strand, Trevor Paglen and Taryn Simon; in 2016, he curated Indivisible: New American Documents at FOMU: FotoMuseum Antwerp , including work by Gregory Halpern, Sam Contis and Bayeté Ross Smith. He regularly writes for magazines such as Frieze, Aperture, and the British Journal of Photography, has contributed to books such as Alec Soth’s Gathered Leaves and The Photographer’s Playbook, and set up his own online journal, SeeSaw Magazine, in 2004. Recently he became a Senior Lecturer in Photography at the University of the West of England (UWE), and has taken part in live talks and events for Magnum Photos, The Photographers’ Gallery, the National Media Museum and Jaipur Photo Festival. …

2017-04-14T18:11:26+00:00

When does photography stop being photography?

What is photography? Over the past few years contemporary photographers have incorporated sculpture, performance, moving image, analogue processes and digital technologies into their practice, stoking a sometimes-heated debate about where exactly the medium begins and ends. But for Catherine Yass, such experimentation is nothing new. In a conversation with BJP and DACS, the not-for-profit artist rights management organisation, Yass explained that she doesn’t, in fact, consider herself a photographer, but an artist who works with photography. Born in 1963, she’s noted for her vivid, glowing photographs shown against light boxes, as well as her films and installations. Her subjects are often vacant urban spaces, construction sites, monuments of the modern industrial age and the people and institutions who commission her. “The way we are positioned by and position ourselves in relation to our surroundings both reflects and affects our state of mind and our sense of ourselves in the world,” she says. “The built environment is a form of communication and an expression of society.” In her Decommissioned (2011) series Yass photographed a car showroom and …

2017-04-12T10:59:16+00:00

BJP Staff