Author: BJP

Ones to Watch: Danila Tkachenko

BJP

Danila Tkachenko is just 25 but has already won a World Press Photo – the Russian was awarded first prize in the Staged portraits stories category last year for a series called Escape, about men who have withdrawn from society to live as hermits. Exploring human identity and the impact of globalisation, the story picks up Tkachenko’s favourite theme, “the conflict between the little man and the global machine of progress, which is ready to smash everything in its path”. He’s now working on a new series which looks at “the death of Russian villages and mass urbanisation”, and why “humanity is actively trying to break apart from nature”. Another near-complete series, Restricted areas, documents Russia’s “secret cities”. Deserted places that were once sites of national importance, the abandoned buildings and machinery are now relics of the past. “I feel like I am an archeologist encountering the traces of a past civilisation in order to understand the reasons [why we] create these objects,” he says. Tkachenko has just won the Lensculture Exposure award, and was …

2015-04-17T14:08:18+00:00

Come to Dominic Hawgood’s Private View

BJP

The BJP’s International Photography Award series category attracted 733 entries from all over the world. The winner is a young British photographer, Dominic Hawgood. Dominic’s prize is a major solo exhibition at TJ Boulting gallery, the respected gallery in Fitzrovia, London. Hawgood has spent all week in the gallery, creating a “3D experience” – a new floor, new walls, and the most remarkable light show to showcase his photography. The British Journal of Photography are hosting a private view of the exhibition on Thursday 19th February, from 6pm to 9pm. There will be free wine. And you’re invited. Details are here. “The winner and runners up show that an idea or a story together with a strong execution become more and more crucial in the practice of a photographer,” commented curator and communications specialist Erik Kessels, one of the judges who’d picked him out. “This made the selected works stand out from the others.” Hawgood’s winning project, Under the Influence, is an off-centre exploration of evangelical Christianity, which uses the visual tropes of advertising to create a bold, …

2015-02-18T16:12:41+00:00

Vivian Maier – Secret Photographer, Oscar Contender

BJP

She cradles a Rolleicord camera to her breast, her eyes staring into her reflection. Until recently, the woman behind the camera was unknown, living a quiet life as a nanny in Chicago and dying, alone in a nursing home, in 2009 at the age of 83. When Vivian Maier’s cache of 100,000 images were unearthed, her work was compared with the greats of street photography. A film was made, Finding Vivian Maier, which introduced a new generation to her photography. But Maier herself was the draw; who, exactly, was the mysterious French nanny? What drove her relentless imagery, and why did she keep it so resolutely hidden? On Sunday night, at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles, Vivian Maier’s film will keep for an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature – and she will stand at the centre of the world’s eye. How would she feel about this? Maier was a private but eccentric, Mary Poppins-like figure who spoke with a delicate French trill and was never without her medium format camera. She took thousands of photographs from the 1950s to 70s, …

2015-04-17T14:09:26+00:00

Daily life, or what remains

BJP

What Remains, which won 2nd Prize in Daily life, Stories in World Press Photo announced today, is a touching portrait of a Bangladeshi couple struggling with old age. Sarker Protick, their grandson, relies on subtlety, simplicity and visual minimalism to draw the viewer into their realm and elicit sympathy. The outcome comes as an inevitable shock. “I find it intriguing how things change with time in our life – relationships and surroundings as well as how we live on with death, loss, disappearance and all that remains,” says Protick. “By default a photograph stores the past, but it also has the ability to project itself in the future. Somewhere there’s a point where time doesn’t work linearly anymore. Timelessness, that’s the point I want to reach.” Protick didn’t set out to be a photographer but in late 2008, while he was studying for a BA in marketing, his mother gave him a cell phone with a built-in camera. He started taking pictures of anything and everything, especially his friends, and once he graduated, enrolled at Pathshala, the South …

2015-04-17T14:10:53+00:00

Gerry Badger’s tribute to Lewis Baltz

BJP

“It is possibly useful to think of creative photography as a narrow but deep area lying between the cinema and the novel,” Lewis Baltz once said. The life and work of the New Topographics photographer, who died in Paris on November 22 at the age of 69, is recalled by his close friend, the photography critic Gerry Badger. The first thing to be said about Lewis Baltz is that he was one of the most intelligent of photographic artists. To say that may seem redundant, because any artist in the premier division – and Baltz was certainly in the premier division, up near the top of the table – is going to be intelligent. But there are different kinds of intelligence. Eugène Atget was undoubtedly intelligent, but it is unlikely that it was of the order of Baltz’s, which was prodigious, both in terms of his art, of his artistic milieu, of the other arts, and most importantly, of the world around him, which he regarded with a degree of healthy scepticism. Baltz was a leading figure in …

2014-11-29T16:28:32+00:00

Sputnik Photos: a portrait of Europa

BJP

It is one of those sweltering, sunny days in Warsaw – Poland is surprisingly hot in the summer, the polar opposite of the severely depressing, minus-degree winter. I’m meeting up with members of the photography collective Sputnik, which specialises in similar contradictions. Like its namesake, it’s a small blip in space in the grand scheme of things, but it manages to transmit around the globe. Focusing on substantial social, cultural, political and economic dispatches from Eastern Europe and the countries that were, until relatively recently, satellites of the USSR, its work speaks of the complexities of the exciting – and traumatic – transformation from communism to capitalism, and the ways in which these countries struggle with their newfound identities. There are nine photographers in Sputnik – Andrej Balco, Manca Juvan, Andrei Liankevich, Michal Luczak, Justyna Mielnikiewicz, Rafal Milach, Agnieszka Rayss, Adam Pańczuk and Jan Brykczyński – and I am joined by the last four, all based in Warsaw. My first impression is that they are a focused and diligent group of serious-minded, smart individuals, but …

2015-11-30T16:39:02+00:00

I Witness

BJP

If visual journalism is on the decline, you wouldn’t know it from this year’s World Press Photo competition, the winners of which go on show today at the Royal Festival Hall in London. Selected from 98,671 photographs submitted to the contest organisers, the exhibition showcases the best entries across eight categories. Including individual images alongside photo essays, they highlight some of the major news stories of last year, such as the Westgate Mall massacre in Nairobi and the collapse of Rana Plaza in Dhaka. But they also highlight many of the slow-burning issues that continue beyond the daily news cycle, such as people migration – as portrayed in the overall winning photograph by John Stanmeyer. “It’s a very sophisticated, powerfully nuanced image,” says Jillian Edelstein, one of the jury members of this year’s World Press Photo. “It is so subtly done, so poetic, yet instilled with meaning, conveying issues of great gravity and concern in the world today.” The picture portrays African migrants on the shore of Djibouti City at night, raising their phones in an attempt to capture …

2015-04-17T14:19:38+00:00

Belle Époque

BJP

The hats and scarves are a few steps away from the perfect shade of lipstick; the children’s department is on top of three floors dedicated to cutting-edge women’s fashion. Elegant lingerie, hardy cookware, bestselling books and plush linens – all of these must-haves can be found in the 70,000m2 of the consumer heaven that is Galeries Lafayette, one of France’s best-known department stores. First established in the 19th century, department stores have long inspired creatives. Emile Zola first published Au Bonheur des Dames (The Ladies’ Paradise) in 1883, for example (after its serialisation in the Gil Blas periodical), tracing the rise of a draper’s shop – from humble beginnings to Paris’s number one shopping destination. “By increasing sales tenfold, by making luxury democratic, shops were becoming a terrible agency for spending, ravaging households, working hand in hand with the latest extravagances in fashion, growing ever-more expensive,” wrote the French author. Those words still ring true 150 years later. So when Philippe Jarrigeon was asked to celebrate 25 years of innovation in fashion, the fantastic and …

2014-09-23T16:12:13+00:00

Building Sights

BJP

Gerry Badger writes in this month’s issue of BJP about photography and the built environment, responding to Barbican Art Centre’s upcoming exhibition, Constructing Worlds: Photography and Architecture in the Modern Age  (25 September—11 January), and Phaidon’s book covering similar territory, Shooting Space: Architecture in Contemporary Photography, published 29 September. Here follows an extract of his article: There is too much artsy fartsy in contemporary photography, and architectural photography seems particularly adept at bringing out the portentous and the pretentious. There is much contemporary pictorialism, flights from naturalism and the document into the realms of the abstract and constructed – partly because this is a tendency, and partly because it seems easier, and in some ways more fun, to mess about with Photoshop. Making meaningful straight photographs is extremely difficult. [bjp_ad_slot] It is one of the great paradoxes of photography – the ‘art of the real’ – that so many seek refuge in pictorialism in the desperate desire to make photographic ‘art’ that is seen to be art. For example, are Hiroshi Sugimoto’s soft focus images of modernist …

2014-09-22T13:19:03+00:00

Review: Profoto B1 Off-Camera Flash kit

BJP

I recently worked in a studio that still had the original strobe flash packs dating back to the late 1970s. I was able to explain to my assistant the joy (and fear) of working with these flash generators, which, despite their size and weight, photographers used to take on location. Back then we didn’t have much choice, but flash technology has come a long way and the Profoto B1 Off-Camera Flash kit is a prime example of how a powerful studio flash system can now be made truly portable. The kit featured here consists of two Profoto B1 flash heads, two lithium-ion batteries, a fast charger, car charger, plus backpack. The B1 flash heads have a nine f-stop range, from 2W to 500W, offering 1/10s stop, or full incremental exposure adjustments. The flash recycling time varies from 0.1s to 1.9s, depending on the power setting, and provides a quick burst of up to 20 flashes per second. The lights will still fire even if they are not yet fully charged to the required power level, but this is only …

2014-08-20T16:10:44+00:00

BJP Staff