Author: BJP

“Ma’am, could you back up please? Could you give him some air?”

BJP

When I started thinking about this article, my focus was set to be on Oscar Grant, the 22-year-old black Californian who was shot to death — while unarmed, and held face down — by a white transit cop on New Year’s Day, 2009. The fictionalised story of Grant’s final day was turned into an award-winning film, Fruitvale Station. It’s a powerful work, confidently directed by first-timer Ryan Coogler, and it boasts a moving turn from Michael B. Jordan as the tragic Grant. Fruitvale Station is notable for opening with real, raw cameraphone footage of the incident, sourced from one of the many bystanders who made use of lightweight, mobile technology to capture this instance of appalling institutional dysfunction. This directorial choice casts a dark shadow over the remainder of the film, and seems to acknowledge the importance of authenticity over fictional reconstruction. It’s a bold move from a young filmmaker making his “calling card” picture, but it reflects a key truth at the heart of the matter: Oscar’s slaying was one of the first such …

2015-04-17T18:47:41+00:00

Dead on a sidewalk, martyred online

BJP

On 17 July 2014, Eric Garner was choked to death by a New York Police Officer. Footage of the event, shot on the camera phone of Ramsey Orta, Garner’s friend, was shared online millions of times within a handful of hours, and Garner’s death energised a nationwide debate about police brutality and institutional racism that continues today. In the days following the video’s circulation, Deputy Photo Editor of TIME magazine Paul Moakley managed to track down Orta, 22, who still held the last moments of his friend, an unarmed father of six, in his hand. “Since I started at TIME, it’s been ingrained in me to get the full story behind any picture,” Moakley says. “I realised no one had talked in depth to Ramsey, so I thought it would be useful to let him tell the story.” Moakley, who lives a few blocks away from where the tragedy took place on Staten Island, encouraged Orta to recall the event, editing his words over sections of the Garner footage and two other videos of aggressive police behaviour Orta had …

2015-04-17T13:45:50+00:00

Tim Matsui – The Long Night

BJP

Between one and three hundred thousand women are being trafficking in the USA today. Many of the girls started on the streets at twelve or thirteen. Around 85 per cent ran away from home. This is the subject of Tim Matsui’s The Long Night, which won the 2015 World Press Photo’s Multimedia competition for best feature documentary this month. As one of the oldest and most respected photojournalism and documentary photography competitions, World Press Photo’s award is testament to the subtlety and strength of Matsui’s film, and the years he spent researching the subject. Although the film began life with a grant from the Alexia Foundation, Matsui first began looking at sexual violence and victimisation fifteen years ago, before creating a non-profit organisation that tries to engage communities in the tragedies taking place in their midst. “As a result, I think I’m able to bring a fairly deep understanding of the issue and its root causes,” Matsui tells BJP. Set in Seattle, The Long Night explores a street-view perspective of sex trafficking, following the police charged with trying to limit it, and the …

2015-05-01T14:26:55+00:00

Paul Kooiker – Nude Animal Cigar

BJP

Paul Kooiker’s latest project, Nude Animal Cigar, is a wild array of variations on the three themes revealed in the title. It’s as if the weirdest and most beautiful nudes, mournful animals and mysterious still lifes built from cigar butts have been picked out from photography’s 176-year history – but although the images look old-fashioned, they have all been made within the past five years by this contemporary Dutch artist. Applying digital sepia filters to all the images, he lends the series a vintage and melancholy feel, and by virtue of the sepia treatment knits this motley trio of themes together. “My work is successful if it is about looking, and about photography,” says Kooiker in his studio, located in a quiet street on the southern periphery of downtown Amsterdam. “Ultimately, my work is about looking, and looking is the ultimate act of voyeurism. “It makes the work accessible, as everybody is able to recognise himself in this act,” he says. “It also leaves the viewer confused. What I want to achieve is to make …

2015-04-17T13:46:51+00:00

Jiehao Su – Borderland

BJP

Chinese photographer Jiehao Su started taking photographs when, at the age of 18, he suddenly lost his mother. “It was the first shock in life,” he says. “It led me to realise the impermanence of the world.” Around this time, a friend gave him his first camera, which became “a way to escape the painful reality.” He quickly became obsessed with photography. He set out on a nomadic journey through Asia and Southern, Eastern and Western China. The aim of the trip was simple, to “seek comfort in [his] heart.” After revisiting familiar and nostalgic places from his past, the series Borderland was born in 2012. The series has two themes: “On one hand, the series is an intimate work,” explains Jiehao. “On the other, it is my perspective of a contemporary China in its process of urbanisation.” Now aged 26, he has since trained at the Beijing Film Academy, and is still working on the project, which he plans to finish this year. He’s already exhibited it internationally; last year it was shown in China and …

2015-04-17T13:47:20+00:00

BJP Breakthrough Awards – Call for Entries

BJP

British Journal of Photography is proud to announce our inaugural BJP Breakthrough Awards, a prestigious photography award singularly capable of connecting the next generation of photographers with the established photography industry. We are inviting photographers on undergraduate courses, and within five years of graduating (including current MA students), to submit work to be judged by an influential panel of leading industry professionals. Photographs can be captured in any format – film, digital or mobile – and can be of any style or genre. The competition is open to students and graduates from around the world. In partnership with Olympus, Free Range and theprintspace, winners will have their work exhibited at British Journal of Photography’s dedicated pop-up exhibition space in Shoreditch, East London’s creative hub. The four category winners will have their work presented by our editorial team at an exclusive launch event, and gain international exposure through our award-winning online and print channels. DEADLINE FOR ENTRIES: 12 noon (GMT) on Friday 8th May 2015. For more details go to our dedicated BJP Breakthrough website. 

2015-04-17T13:48:09+00:00

Paul Graham and Gerry Badger – in conversation

BJP

Paul Graham, one of the most prolific and respected photographers in the UK, showed no sign of slowing down last year.  His eagerly awaited photo book Does Yellow Run Forever? was published by Mack Books, with an accompanying exhibition at the Pace/MacGill Gallery in New York. Graham describes Does Yellow Run Forever? as “a modest, intimate body of work, with personal, enigmatic photographs.” The series comprises of three sets of photographs, each relating to the other; rainbows from Western Ireland, a sleeping dreamer, and gold stores in the United States. It touches “the ephemeral question of what we seek and value in life – love, wealth, beauty, clear-eyed reality or an inner dream world?” On the release of the photobook, Graham talked to the renowned photography and architecture critic Gerry Badger for BJP, about ‘straight’ photography, becoming an adopted America, and a life of publishing. Gerry Badger (GB) – Your last three books – the so called American Trilogy of American Night, a shimmer of possibility, and The Present – have firmly established you as one of the leading …

2015-04-17T13:53:02+00:00

Syngenta Photography Award exhibition – Review

BJP

As you walk through the Syngenta Photography Award, its difficult to shake off the feeling that the future looks grim. We know we’re consuming resources at an unsustainable rate. And still we carry on the same. Oddly, the sheer scale of the problem makes it easier to shrug off. Now in its second edition, the Syngenta Photography Award hopes to counter such apathy by highlighting photography that explores global challenges. Last year’s theme was Rural-Urban, this year it’s Scarcity-Waste. On this theme, and currently showing at Somerset House’s East Wing gallery, is winning photo essays by the 2015 winners of the professional award Mustafah Abdulaziz (1st), Rasel Chowdury (2nd), Richard Allenby-Pratt (3rd) and open award Benedikt Partenheimer (1st) Camille Michel (2nd) Stefano De Luigi (3rd). Worrying statistics accost visitors from the walls – “By nearly 2025 nearly 3.4 billion people will face water scarcity”, one reads – and objects in display cases, including a carrot discarded by a supermarket as too ugly to sell, signal an educational intent. Environmental photography can sometimes struggle to engage …

2015-04-17T13:56:26+00:00

Emine Gozde Sevim – Embed in Egypt

BJP

A fortnight after Emine Gozde Sevim arrived in Arizona as a high school scholarship student, two planes crashed into the World Trade Center. “It made me realise how powerful an image can be – how pictures can serve as a record,” she says, by phone from her apartment in New York. “If nobody makes a record, we can’t connect to what happened in the same way.” She took up photography soon afterwards. As a child, Sevim had adored making little films with a video camera but, until 9/11, she’d had no real contact with photography proper, she says. She grew up in Istanbul, “which differs from the rest of Europe – visual culture is not paid much attention”. Born in Turkey, with Afghan roots on her mother’s side, she felt personally as well as intellectually affected by 9/11. “It felt like a big historical breaking point, that the world was separating into East and West, more distant than they had ever been,” she says. “I was being educated in America, and I come from a …

2015-04-17T13:57:18+00:00

Ken Grant – No Pain Whatsoever

BJP

I was in Ken Grant’s MA class when he was teaching Documentary Photography at Newport in Wales. You’d bring out an unedited mess of pictures and Grant would start talking in his mellifluous poet’s voice, his thoughts weaving in and out of the pictures, connecting music, literature and photographers to them. He touched on places where life shone, where soul came through, and left the rest alone; it was never about you, or the images, but about the wider world, the quiet moments, what you might do and what you could do. Then you’d leave the room, never quite sure what had happened, but always knowing that what mattered was the meaning and the rhythm and the soul, and that what you could do was what you hadn’t done. It was the gentlest of eviscerations. The same poetic thoughtfulness infuses Grant’s photography, much of which is based around his hometown, Liverpool. It is work that, through acclaimed shows at the Format Festival in 2013, and the publication of two books last year, No Pain Whatsoever …

2015-05-11T11:05:19+00:00

BJP Staff