Author: Gemma Padley

Tiago Casanova – Madeira

Tiago Casanova’s interest in photography is wedded to his love of architecture. “I usually say that being a photographer is my own way of being an architect,” he explains.  He studied the latter at Portugal’s Porto School of Architecture, and uses image-making “as a medium to talk about important architectural issues.” Casanova now lives in Portugal but was born and raised on Madeira, and decided to train his lens on the island for his recently-completed project of the same name. The series came about after he was invited to join the group project Visual Narratives: European Borderlines, supervised by Vanessa Winship and George Georgiou, which saw twelve young photographers from Latvia, Turkey, Iceland, and Portugal embark on a year-long documentary project on the theme of ‘borderlines’. “I decided to explore Madeira and the notion of the borderline between nature and construction,” says Casanova. “I chose this topic for several reasons, including the fact that the local government was being investigated for spending billions in unneeded infrastructures, and modifying the face and landscape of an island …

2014-11-29T16:28:06+00:00

Ali Kate Cherkis – Freedom Towers

Returning to New York after a three-year stint living and working in Buenos Aires, photographer Ali Kate Cherkis embarked on an unlikely series of images – Speedos-clad men sunbathing on Christopher Street Pier, also known as Pier 45 – alongside the Hudson River in Lower Manhattan. In the background of the images lies the 1776ft, 104-storey One World Trade Center, also known as the Freedom Tower, built on the site of the former World Trade Center. The juxtaposition between the bronzed bodies and the building, which is America’s tallest, instantly captivated Cherkis. “As summer approached I began to notice the men of the neighbourhood gathering on the pier to sunbathe and strut with a magnificent backdrop of the Financial District and the rising One World Trade Center,” she explains. “Their Speedos revealed a different kind of freedom tower. They were also showing off, asserting their own power.” The project became a response to readjusting to life in the United States, explains Cherkis, who says she finds humour a helpful way to work through personal difficulties. …

2014-11-29T16:28:17+00:00

Hemya Moran: The Commonlanders

An interest in archives and vernacular images led Royal College of Art graduate Hemya Moran to pursue a project in which she immersed herself in the lives of her subjects and videotaped her experiences. After spending anything from a few hours to several days in the company of her subjects – people she came across in her daily life – Moran restaged scenes from the video footage she collected, sometimes suggesting she and her subjects switch roles. “I tried to re-enact intimate moments that occurred spontaneously during our mutual encounter,” she says of The Commonlanders, which features both the restaged images she made, and stills from the video footage. “Through fictive and documentary visual sources I extract what I perceive as images of idealised intimacy.” The work touches on the private and public nature of digital images, which are sometimes blurred, and issues of intimacy and authenticity. “In each of these captured encounters lies a tension between existing romantic imagery, reality and re-enactment,” says Moran. “As my photographs go on to have a life of …

2014-11-26T21:50:25+00:00

Daragh McDonagh: The Modern Pagan

Daragh McDonagh grew up in Ireland but spent years living and working as a professional photographer in Manhattan. But eventually he became disillusioned by the fast pace of life in New York, and decided to go home. Feeling the need “to reconnect with the natural world” after his time in NY, the Belfast School of Art graduate turned to a book that would have a profound effect on him. “The Modern Pagan by Brian Day laid out practical methods for a more natural lifestyle in our current modern times,” explains the 46-year-old. “What struck me most was that I was already practising 80 percent of Day’s advice. I began to trawl the internet to see if others were doing likewise, and made contact with druids, pagans, white witches and shamans, with whom I felt very comfortable. When you feel this connection, I believe you should follow your instincts and go with it.” The Dublin-based photographer began to research shamanism in Ireland, establishing links with people who would become the subjects for his MFA photography project …

2014-11-26T21:50:42+00:00

Travis Hodges: The Quantified Self

“I’m fascinated by our changing relationship with technology,” says 33-year-old photographer Travis Hodges. “I began to explore this in my project about Twitter, Follow Me, which looks at how social media influences the way we build and maintain relationships. The Quantified Self came about as a result of my research into the new ways we are using technology. I noticed the growth of wearable technology and decided to turn my camera towards the people who are embracing this data-driven future.” Hodges’ project includes a wide range of people using self-tracking in many different ways; in each case he’s carefully lit and shot the person involved, and combined these portraits with charts of their data. One image shows a man recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes who uses technology to track his blood sugar levels, for example; another a weight lifter who has been digitally recording his progress for three years. “The growth of smartphones, apps and wearable tracking devices has made it possible for anyone to gather and use data about an area of their …

2014-11-26T21:51:00+00:00

Miguel Ángel Tornero: “Photography is a living being”

In his series Photophobia, Madrid-based photographer Miguel Ángel Tornero draws a parallel between the photographic process and the photosynthesis of plants – both rely on light for their development, he points out, and both will eventually degrade and decompose. In this project photography is a “living being” for the 35-year-old, who incorporates faded found images, often from magazines, in his work. “I have always been attracted to these decadent images – damaged, poorly maintained and faded by the passage of time – that are usually found in hair salons, haberdasheries, bazaars and old businesses,” he explains. “The first works I did were collages featuring these images grouped around the patches of colour created by exposed photo paper – a material that is constantly changing and therefore alludes to the passing of time and the transience of life. The collages naturally had a three-dimensional shape so I’ve added other photosensitive and reflective materials to create photographic installations.” Taking these faded images and repurposing them, Tornero gives new life to what he calls a “contemporary aesthetic of …

2015-05-14T21:25:06+00:00

Oliver Eglin’s Old Sicily

“I have long been fascinated by Italy, and Sicily felt like the part of the country I was least familiar with,” Oliver Eglin tells Gemma Padley. “I’d recently finished reading Ernest Hemingway’s Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises [his 1926 novel about a group of ex-pats who travel to Pamplona for the bullfighting festival of Saan Fermín] and was inspired to make a similar journey across an exotic land,” the 26-year-old says. “The novel’s diaristic and modernist style interested me, and influenced the way I went about photographing Sicily. I approached it almost as a blank canvas in terms what I expected to find; my primary intention was to discover the island while making photographs along the way.” Eglin also read Il Gattopardo [The Leopard] by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa for local context – a chronicle of the demise of the monarchy in Sicily, it gave him historical insight and helped inform some of his route. “The pictures were taken in various locations between Trapani on the West of the island and Catania to the South East. …

2014-11-26T21:51:52+00:00

Otto Snoek’s New Europe

Getting close to the action is a pre-requisite for most street photographers, and for Dutchman Otto Snoek, immersing himself in the crowd is at the heart of his approach, writes Gemma Padley. Trying to work out what makes people tick, he spent years photographing his fellow citizens shopping and partying together, focusing on the people of his home town, Rotterdam, the self-styled ‘Gateway of Europe’, before turning his attention to the wider continent. “Eight years ago, when I got my new passport, the first line on the cover read, ‘Citizen of the European Community’, and that fuelled my curiosity,” explains the 48-year-old. “I know who my fellow Dutchmen are, but who are my fellow citizens? I decided the only way to find out about this continent we call Europe was to take a look myself.” Snoek has since travelled to countries from Iceland to Greece, seeking out differing national characteristics through the mass rituals that reveal a nation’s sense of self-identity. Often photographing during festivals or marches or football matches, he has captured people from …

2014-11-26T21:52:09+00:00

Personal utopias

In just a few days’ time, all eyes in the photography world will be fixed on Paris for the 20th edition of the world’s biggest photography fair; but ahead of Paris Photo, which runs from 13 to 16 November 2014, an exhibition in Berlin kicks off with work by three photographers around the theme of ‘personal utopias’, which serves as a pleasant appetiser ahead of next week’s photography feast. Bubble & Scrape – Contours of Personal Utopias, organised by German online magazine Actual Colors May Vary (ACMV), features images by photographers Ed Alcock, Jenny Fitz and Tom Griggs, who have been invited to take part in the exhibition as part of the first Monat der Fotografie-OFF – Berlin’s homage to Paris Photo’s Mois de la Photo-OFF. [bjp_ad_slot] British photographer Ed Alcock, who is based in Paris, will be showing images from his acclaimed series Hobbledehoy, a highly personal body of work that explores the relationship between his wife and their son, over a period of three summers. Themes such as the passing of time, the fleetingness of childhood, and a nostalgia for times past …

2014-11-26T21:53:07+00:00

Rijksmuseum wing opens with 20th-century photography exhibition

With its breathtaking, grand exterior and ornate, lavish interiors, the Rijksmuseum in the heart of Amsterdam is a sight to behold. On 13 April 2013, the museum re-opened amid much pomp and circumstance after a 10-year closure for refurbishment; today [1 November 2014] sees the completion of that process as a new exhibition wing – Philips Wing – opens its doors to the public. The first exhibition in the new 13-gallery strong space, which was designed by Spanish architects Cruz and Ortiz, is Modern Times: Photography in the 20th Century. Featuring more than 400 vintage prints from the museum’s 20,000-strong 20th-century collection, the exhibition explores photography’s social and artistic developments throughout the last century – a century in which photography came of age. [bjp_ad_slot] From its scientific beginnings, to the rise of photojournalism in the 1930s, the boom in amateur photography, development of colour photography, and struggle to be accepted as ‘art’, photography has undergone a huge amount of change in its relatively short history. With this as their guide, curators Hans Rooseboom and Mattie Boom present their print selections under seven key themes, which include: ‘Daily life’, ‘The camera at …

2014-11-26T21:54:12+00:00

BJP Staff