Author: Diane Smyth

Mathias Depardon on hunger strike against detention by Turkish authorities

On 06 May Mathias Depardon was in good spirits – on assignment in South East Turkey for National Geographic, he updated his Facebook with a post reading “Diyarbakir I m in town. My boots are muddy and I m a bit smelly but can surely be of a good company tonight for a beer.” By 08 May his assignment had turned sour, with Turkish police arresting him in Hasankeyf, Batman Province, and detaining him in a police station for 30 hours. There the police are thought to have come across his images of members of the banned PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) via social media, leading to charges that he had created “propaganda for a terrorist organisation” – charges which Reporters Sans Frontiers’ Turkish representative Erol Önderoğlu has described as “absurd” and “designed solely to justify his arbitrary arrest after the event”. From the police station Depardon was taken to a detention centre operated by the National Department for Migration, an interior ministry offshoot, in the city of Gaziantep – and, despite an order for his deportation issued on 11 May, …

2017-05-25T10:00:29+00:00

Q&A: J A Mortram on his ten-year project Small Town Inertia

J A (or Jim) Mortram was born in 1971, and studied art in Norwich. In his third year of college he dropped out to become the primary carer for his mother, who has chronic epilepsy, in a small market town in Norfolk called Dereham. In 2006 he started shooting people in and around Dereham, focusing on those facing disadvantages and social exclusion, and went to create a blog called Small Town Inertia, featuring his images and their words. The blog was critically acclaimed early one, and in 2013 Mortram was one of BJP‘s Ones to Watch. Mortram has made publications of three of his stories with Cafe Royal Books, and is now finalising a photobook called Small Town Inertia, which will be published by  Bluecoat Press in June. BJP: When did you get into photography? J A Mortram: About seven or eight years ago, in the months before I started the Small Town Inertia blog. It both saved and completely transformed my life. After years of being a carer for my disabled mother, I’d become highly marginalised. Being a carer …

2017-05-25T10:42:29+00:00

Any answers: Hilary Roberts

I saw a rough-and-ready exhibition about events during the Prague Spring. It was 1977, and I was a student visiting the Soviet-controlled Czechoslovakian capital. The show was very basic in its curatorship and design; what we’d now call a pop-up. But it made me realise how photography can transcend language barriers. Photography has the ability to tell a story on multiple levels. The Prague exhibition complied with the state messages of the time, and yet, when you looked at the photographs, there was a subtext telling a very different story. The exhibition was about the reassertion of law and order. But it was also clearly an exploration of popular protest and a demand for democracy and freedom of expression. I joined the Imperial War Museum in 1980 as a junior curator. I’ve worked here ever since. I thought two years would do it, but then The Falklands conflict happened. At that point, the subject leapt off the pages of the history books and into the present day. The role of a photography curator was very …

2017-05-25T12:58:45+00:00

Photobook: Roxane II by Viviane Sassen

“When I unbutton the sleeve of a shirt/Shades of sky under my skin awaken,” read the opening lines of Maria Barnas’ poem You and I, used at the start of Viviane Sassen’s new photobook, Roxane II. Abstract though these lines seem, they possess a subtle symmetry with the images which follow, in which expanses of pale skin sit in stark juxtaposition to graphic, almost blindingly bright streaks of colour. In Roxane II, the human and the organic seem to bleed into one another with captivating results.

2017-05-25T10:44:19+00:00

BJP Staff