Author: effiep

Harry Flook on shooting a compelling portrait

Harry Flook is a Bristol-based writer and photographer, whose photographic work is rooted in his personal experiences. Having left his own religious faith, he embarked on ‘Apostate’, a project photographing those who had done the same, and he stumbled across a vast community of ex-religious individuals while doing so. Making this work then culminated in another project, ‘Beyond What is Written’, set in the heart of ‘bible belt’ America and addressing the subject from a different perspective. Both series explore the concept of community outside religion, for people whose sense of community was once constructed by the religious groups they were a part of. Harry entered a portrait from ‘Apostate’ into Portrait of Britain last year, and it was displayed across the country as part of our nationwide exhibition. We spoke to Harry about the value of awkwardness, choosing the perfect subject, and creating a compelling portrait. How did you create your selected portrait, and what was the story behind it? This portrait was shot as a test for a project I’m still working on, …

2018-07-23T12:04:13+00:00

We wanted to question whether the world we’re living in could actually be a simulation: Copenhagen-based collective Sara, Peter and Tobias on their IPA-shortlisted series

Peter, Sara and Tobias met while attending the Fatamorgana School of Photography in Denmark, where they now share a studio. They made a name for themselves with their first project and photobook, Phenomena, in 2015. This debut project, an anthropological study of UFOs and extraterrestrials, was exhibited in 2016 at Rencontres d’Arles and nominated for Prix de la Photo Figaro. Since their initial collaboration, the collective has developed a conceptual and subjective approach akin to documentary, which considers issues founded on theories and first-person accounts, rather than fact. How did you come together as a collective? Sara: We’ve all shared an office together for the last six years, and we came together to start our first series, Phenomena, three years ago. We all struggled doing our own personal work alongside our businesses, so collaborating was a way of shaking up our professional lives. Coming together gave us room to experiment. It’s about finding the space and projects that let us do things the way we want to, instead of being governed by other people’s interests …

2018-06-04T17:23:56+00:00

Lauren Forster on her Portrait of Britain People’s Choice portrait

Lauren Forster is a photographer and lecturer in Lens Based Media at The Arts University Bournemouth. Her work addresses sociological issues and the human condition. Many of her projects have maintained a particular focus on religion, illness and disability. Her most personal series, ‘Ground Control to Mother Hen’, documents family life since her mother’s secondary brain cancer diagnosis in 2016, which has now been rendered inoperable. The series captures strength and fragility during dark moments of pain, struggle and loneliness. The resulting images offer an intimate insight into this period of loss and transition. Forster’s portrait was selected by BJP’s editorial team as one of their favourite weekly Portrait of Britain entries. It was then voted as the People’s Choice favourite by Facebook users, becoming our first weekly winner. The portrait depicts Forster’s father in his Salvation Army uniform. Since his wife’s diagnosis, he has given up his life’s work serving as a missionary in Africa to care for her in the UK. This portrait reunites him with the sense of purpose and identity that …

2018-07-23T12:04:51+00:00

Often, western media institutions are only interested in recognising work that reflects their own culturally appropriated view of the east: Poulomi Basu on being shortlisted for the International Photography Awards

The series draws on contemporary documentary practices to reflect the bewildering atmosphere of the region, using pictures of foreboding landscapes and festivities alongside images of locals uncovering crime scenes. Basu hopes the project will shed light on real narratives from the east, and force western viewers to see India without their cultural preconceptions. Basu has become known for documenting women’s experiences in isolated communities and conflict zones. In 2017, her series A Ritual of Exile was shortlisted for the Tim Hetherington Trust Visionary Award, and also earned her the Magnum Emergency Fund grant in 2016. Last year, Centralia was shortlisted for the Mack First Book Award.          Can you tell me about your IPA shortlisted series Centralia? Centralia is the tale of a fractured landscape in extremis. It’s about the shifting planes of reality: an India of the mind, a place both hyper real and metaphorical; familiar yet alien. Centralia is a passage deep into the forests of central India where a little known and under reported conflict between a Maoist guerrilla army and the …

2018-03-09T10:20:04+00:00

I had to go back to vaults of difficult memories that I would have gladly put behind me: Paulina Otylie Surys on her IPA shortlisted series

The nightmarish series delves into the phantoms of her early childhood, growing up during the Polish People’s Republic. Using archival photographs of family scenes and portraits taken during the period, Surys combines Communist motifs, like ornate Soviet rugs, with unnerving images of red meat. The project marries nostalgia with fear, alluding to the memories of hardship experienced during the occupation through the eyes of a child. Surys is a multi-disciplinary artist who merges the boundaries of photography, painting and mixed-media installation. Her projects are often autobiographical in nature, maintaining a focus on womanhood, memories and the development of society. Dreamatorium merges many of Surys’ interests and methods, using collage and digital manipulation to corrupt familial scenes. Can you tell me about your IPA shortlisted series, Dreamatorium? Although most of my projects have a slight autobiographical element to them, Dreamatorium is a particularly personal, cathartic project for me. It presents a hazy, oneiric, distorted world seen from the perspective of a child. To make this happen, I had to go back to vaults of difficult memories …

2018-03-09T09:55:38+00:00

I am always fascinated by how photography and images can construct the truth: Harit Srikhao on his IPA shortlisted series, Mt. Meru

Harit Srikhao is a young photographer from Thailand. His IPA shortlisted series, Mt. Meru, reflects on the political crisis that gripped Thailand from 2007 to 2014, prompting an awakening that called into question long-accepted social norms. The series draws on idolatry and Hindu cosmology, reconstructing discernable Thai imagery of ‘the king’ to challenge social hierarchy. The series recently appeared in Foam Magazine’s annual Talent issue, as well as in an exhibition at the Foam Fotografiemuseum in Amsterdam. In 2016, Harit received the second prize for the Gomma Grant, for his series Whitewash, which was shortlisted again in 2017 for the BJP Breakthrough Award. We spoke to Harit to find out more about his work. Can you tell us about your IPA shortlisted series, Mt. Meru? I am always fascinated by how photography and images can construct the truth. The idea for Mt. Meru has developed since 2014. The function of image in the series is not only to distort remembrance, but also to control dreams and motivate an ultimate desire. I am trying to redefine …

2018-03-09T11:43:43+00:00

This is the project I’ve always wanted to shoot: Alys Tomlinson on her IPA shortlisted series

Travelling to pilgrimage sites in Lourdes in France, Ballyvourney in Ireland and Grabarka in Poland, Alys developed an interest in the hidden markers and offerings left behind by religious visitors. ‘Ex-votos’ are the names of these signs of gratitude and devotion, which create tangible narratives between faith, person and landscape. The series encompasses formal portraiture, large format landscape photography, and small, detailed still lives of the objects and markers left behind. Tomlinson is a London-based editorial and fine art photographer, working across a variety of mediums. Her previous works have garnered international attention, earning her the Hotshoe Award/Renaissance Photography Prize, and a place on last year’s Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize shortlist. Can you tell me about your IPA shortlisted series Ex-Voto? This series explores the relationship between faith, people, and the landscape. Placed anonymously and often hidden from view, ‘Ex-Votos’ are offerings left by pilgrims as signs of gratitude and devotion. ‘Ex-Votos’ can take many forms, including prayer notes hidden in rocks, crosses etched into stone, ribbons wrapped around twigs, and discarded crutches. I shot the series …

2018-03-08T16:45:22+00:00

A Portrait of Britain: I wanted to give a face to the girl I was and the girls who are

Carolyn Mendelsohn is a portrait photographer and filmmaker based in the UK. Her most recognisable body of work, Being Inbetween, is a continually evolving series of portraits of girls aged between ten and twelve. The work arises from Mendelsohn’s own memories of this age, and the desire to give a voice to this undefinable age-group. Using short interviews and powerful portraits, Mendelsohn reveals each of the girls’ identities, telling us stories about the young women of tomorrow. Mendelsohn describes the series as partly collaborative; she lets her subjects choose how they are represented, from picking their outfits to how they should stand. Her selected photograph for Portrait of Britain 2017 depicts 10-year-old Alice, who stares indomitably into the camera, evoking a classical painting. The image is an account of female strength and its many forms. How did you create your selected portrait, and what was the story behind it? The portrait of Alice is from my long-term project Being Inbetween. Before the sitting, Alice had filled out and returned a simple form with questions about her …

2018-04-03T16:55:29+00:00

I like to keep my subjects in continuous movement and direction: Rory Lewis on creating a compelling portrait

Rory Lewis is an acclaimed portrait photographer who has worked with a wide range of subjects, from British army generals to famous actors such as Sir Patrick Stewart, William Shatner and Sir Ian McKellan. After embarking on a mammoth project with the British Army in 2016, Lewis entered a photograph from the resulting series, ‘Soldiery’, into Portrait of Britain. The selected portrait of Captain Anani-Isaacs was chosen as a symbol of the modernity and diversity of the new British army. Lewis has since taken the project to new heights, and is now working with Italian army regiments to produce similarly styled photographs that draw inspiration from Napoleonic era artists. While Lewis is still inspired by art rather than photography, his new series ‘Portraitist’ is a sharp turn from the static portraiture of ‘Soldiery’; it dramatically depicts celebrities in the style of Caravaggio. He is hoping to extend ‘Portraitist’ by using groups of actors to create scenes reminiscent of Renaissance art. Lewis believes that the key to good portraiture is being bold and taking risks with …

2018-04-03T16:31:35+00:00

BJP Staff