Author: Susanna D'Aliesio

Photobook: Giancarlo Ceraudo’s Destino Final

“They were unconscious: we undressed them and when the captain of the flight gave us the order we opened the door and threw them out, naked, one by one,” says Adolfo Scilingo, a former Argentine naval officer. Over 5000 people were killed in this way by the Argentinian dictatorship during the so-called Dirty War of 1976 to 1983, in which it attempted to wipe out all opposition. Suspected dissidents and subversives were sedated and put on planes for so-called Death Flights; their journey ended when their unconscious bodies were thrown into the Rio de la Plata or the sea. Argentina’s desaparecidos – or “disappeared” – have stories that are almost beyond belief, and it’s only thanks to the testimony of survivors that justice has started to be done. Miriam Lewin is one such witness. A political activist who fought the dictatorship, she was just 19 when she was kidnapped and taken to a detention centre, where she stayed for one year. She was then transferred to the infamous ESMA facility – originally the Navy School of Mechanics (“Escuela …

2017-05-09T14:27:28+00:00

Awards: The White Man’s Hole by Antoine Bruy scoops D&AD Next Photographer

“The White Man’s Hole is a work about the town of Coober Pedy, in the South of Australia, and is the second chapter of an ongoing project called Outback Mythologies, about the Australian Outback and its importance for the Australian identity.” So Antoine Bruy describes his latest work, which won the Next Photographer Award at the D&AD Festival 2017, run in partnership with Getty Images. “Choosing a winner was difficult, but Antoine Bruy showed a level of originality and technical expertise that raised the bar for the competition,” commented Andy Saunders, one of the judges and senior vice president of creative content at Getty Images. Coober Pedy is a sun-drenched town in South Australia, better known as “the opal capital of the world”. The precious mineral was first found there in 1915 and extracting it remains the major source of income for the locals – who, to protect themselves from the extreme heat of their location, live mostly underground. Bruy went Coober Pedy after spending a year in Australia, and says he was “astonished by the surreal landscapes” the first time he went, adding “it …

2017-05-09T10:18:14+00:00

Photobook: 36 Views of an ecological disaster by Fyodor Telkov

“The first time I was in Degtyarsk in 2012, I was mesmerised by this spectacle – a huge yellow ‘blade’ among the green trees around,” says Fyodor Telkov. “After some time, three or four trips, the idea of the project began to crystallise. I realised that these magical mountains were for me as Mount Fuji was for Hokusai.” Telkov scooped the first edition of the Fotocanal photography book Competition, organised by the Autonomous Region of Madrid and Ediciones Anómalas, with 36 Views. In it he shows 36 views of Degtyarsk, a Russian city in Sverdlovsk Region which was once a prosperous mine town. Today it is dependent on regional subsidies, and two huge slag piles tower over it. When the copper mines shut up shop, they left an environmental disaster behind. Liquid waste from the mines are still poisoning soil and water supply, and the waste piles release a high level of radiation. Few of the former miners are left, due to the extreme health problems caused by their work, but even so, the slag piles are viewed with affection. “For …

2017-05-25T10:39:24+00:00

BJP: Open call for Portrait of Britain 17

“Portrait of Britain is a celebration of photography as much as the country’s people. We want to encourage self-expression, and to show the public the many approaches used by photographers to describe their worlds,” says BJP‘s editorial director Simon Bainbridge. “Portrait of Britain comes at a time of uncertainty and self-examination for the UK. But our exit from the EU provides an opportunity to reflect on our identity and think about our place in the wider world. Portrait of Britain provides a chance to quietly reflect on that through portraits, capturing the unique heritage and diversity of our people, free of a divisive rhetoric of politics.” He’s discussing BJP‘s annual portrait competition, which is open to any photographer with a picture of a person shot in Britain. From the entries, 100 images will be selected for a  nationwide public exhibition, showcased on JC Decaux digital screens on the streets and in transport hubs the length and breadth of Britain in September 2017. From casual snapshots and selfies to documentary projects and street photography, BJP takes an open-minded …

2017-08-31T10:36:08+00:00

Interview: Salvatore Vitale, winner of PH Museum 2017 Grant, on How to secure a country

How to secure a country investigates the abstract concepts of border and security in one of the most heavily armed countries in the world. It’s a striking, forensic series, and it won Salvatore Vitale the first prize in the PH Museum 2017 Grant. Vitale started work on the project back in 2014, after Switzerland voted against mass immigration – resident in Switzerland for ten years, he was originally an immigrant from Italy. During his research, the word ‘security’ started to jump out, along with ‘border’ and ‘protection’ , he says, so he decided to try to visualise the concepts; it took him a whole year to get access to the security system, and when he did, “fate wanted it to be a border guard”. His images are clean and often deliberately devoid of people, an aesthetic that deliberately suits the topic and the country. It’s “an aseptic, almost clinical language that is part of Swiss culture”, he says, adding: “I rarely show people, because it was more important for me to show the dynamics of how the system works. It was …

2017-05-02T17:11:47+00:00

Breakthrough Awards: 2016 winner Simone Sapienza has a spectacular year

Simone Sapienza won the Undergraduate series prize at the Breakthrough Awards 2016 with an astonishingly assured debut, Charlie surfs on Lotus Flowers. Shot in Vietnam, it explores a country that effectively defeated the US in an exhausting war, then adopted unbridled capitalism to become a new Asian tiger. “Vietnam was all built in my imagination but just thanks to the cinema, through movies like Apocalypse Now,” Sapienza explains. “I was curious to see what the country that defeated the US looked like.” It was a precocious start for someone just leaving university, but then Sapienza had already made inroads into the photography world the year before, launching the Gazebook Sicily Photobook Festival in 2015. It’s now in its third year, and has hosted photographers as well known as Martin Parr. After graduating from Newport, Sapienza returned to Sicily, where he joined the Minimum photo studio, which he runs with our other members. It’s an “atypical and transversal” place, he says, through which the photographers organise events and create new photo projects individually and collectively; it’s also based in …

2017-04-27T14:21:01+00:00

Photobook: 11.41 by Michal Luczak and Filip Springer

At 11.41pm on 07 December 1988, a cold and snowy day, Armenia was struck by a 7 degree Richter earthquake. Some 25,000 people died and a further 514,000 were made homeless; the city of Spitak was worst affected, with a third of the population killed and all but one of its buildings destroyed. Since then very little has changed in Armenia, but the political landscape around it has been entirely reshaped. The USSR collapsed just a few years after the earthquake in 1991, with the disaster coming to symbolise its failure when Mikhail Gorbachev was forced to call for international aid to handle it. In Spitak the USA and Germany built small wooden houses for those who had been displaced, and the Soviet government promised more permanent homes would follow within two years. In 2013, when Michal Luczak visited, people were still living in the huts. The Polish photographer decided to delve deeper with a documentary project, and was soon joined by the writer Filip Springer. “We don’t ask about that day. They don’t talk,” they write in their resulting …

2017-04-27T14:55:08+00:00

Photobook: Will Sanders’ Full Colour

“The world has become a spectrum of grey. We drive silver cars. We wear black clothes. We paint our houses white. When did we all get so boring? When did we let self-expression take a back seat?” argues Will Sanders in Full Colour, his vibrant new photobook looking at the brighter side of life. “Full Colour is about recognising the beauty in otherwise unnoticed moments and freezing them forever in the hope that other people will appreciate them,” Sanders tells BJP. “I’ve wanted to do a book for years but as time went on all my series kind of morphed into a giant series, so I found it harder and harder to imagine how to channel it into a book.” The solution came via a friend, the photographer, designer and KesselsKramer employee Gijs Van Den Berg, who advised him about a year ago to make a book focussing simply on colour. Sanders loved the idea and paired up with designerVan Den Berg to make it, successfully raising the money to do so via Kickstarter. Sanders is a successful commercial photographer, who’s represented …

2017-04-26T17:06:44+00:00

Frederik Buyckx wins the Sony World Photography Awards

Frederik Buyckx has scooped Photographer of the Year at this year’s Sony World Photography Awards, with a series called Whiteout that explores how nature is transformed by winter.  “I have chosen a series of landscapes so that we may return to the essence of looking at photography,” comments Zelda Cheatle, chair of judges at Sony’s World Photography Organisation. “Landscape is often overlooked but it is central to our existence. I hope this award will inspire many more photographers to take pictures that do not simply encompass the terrible aspects of life in these troubled times but also capture some of the joys and loveliness in each and every environment,” she continues. Buyckx’s work, which was picked out from 227,00 entries by photographers from 183 countries, was shot in remote areas of the Balkans, Scandinavia and Central Asia, where people often live in isolation and in close contact with nature. “There is a peculiar transformation of nature when winter comes, when snow and ice start to dominate the landscape and when humans and animals have to deal with the extreme weather,” …

2017-04-20T23:03:13+00:00

On show: Autophoto at Paris’ Fondation Cartier

By the end of the 19th century, the camera and the car had helped pave the way for a new, more modern perspective – images by freezing time, from multiple perspectives, and automobiles by speeding things up. Now the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Paris is devoting a huge exhibition to the two, showing how they have altered our lives and our visions of them – and how they continue to evolve. As curators Xavier Barral and Philippe Séclier comment: “Over the last few years we have witnessed an industrial, societal and environmental turning point in automobile history. On the other hand, photography has never been shared so much.” With the automobile and the camera, they explain, everyone can be in action in space and in time – cars providing almost everyone, everywhere, with autonomy and movement, and the photography allowing them to record their presence in history. “It was time to unify these two popular techniques, which have transformed the social bond into an artistic journey,” say the curators. “And this is the first time that a photographic exhibition of this magnitude has been organised on this theme.” …

2017-04-20T17:05:34+00:00

BJP Staff