All posts filed under: Archive

Unseen London, Paris, New York, 1930s-60s

Today, London, Paris and New York are so familiar that it is hard for a modern viewer to imagine them afresh without the visual expectations fostered by art, film and advertising in the digital age. Yet when each of these photographers arrived at their respective destinations, they found cities that were strange and new. They responded by photographing them without prejudice or expectation. The photographs reveal three cities defined, in many ways, by social division and political tension, but also capable of a unique and characterful beauty. The exhibition, Ben Uri Gallery and Museum began life as an Art Society founded by émigré Jews in Whitechapel’s ghetto in July 1915. , includes many works never previously exhibited in the UK, and each series presents an opportunity to view an aspect of the work of a renowned photographer in real depth. Wolfgang Suschitzky was born in Vienna in 1912 and arrived in London via Amsterdam in 1935, fleeing Nazi persecution. Suschitzky had trained as a photographer in his native Vienna and was already adept at both …


Stomping Ground: London subcultures in the 70s and 80s  

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, New Romantics began to hang out at the Blitz club in Covent Garden, Rockabillies lined the pavements of Elephant and Castle, wrestling matches enlivened Battersea Arts Centre, punks scared the well-to-do passers by on the Kings Road. In a new exhibition at the Museum of London, titled Stomping Grounds, life in London is reflected through its ‘scenes’ and subcultures. Despite being a freelance photographer for over 30 years, Richard Scott-Stewart’s work is relatively unknown. The exhibition brings to light 38 of his best personal photographs from the time. Anna Sparham, curator of the show and Curator of Photographs at the Museum of London, said: “Dick Scott-Stewart was an accomplished professional photographer who mastered the challenges of black and white film image-making. “He held great respect for his subjects, recognising and identifying with people on the periphery Mog Scott-Stewart, Dick’s wife, said: “Dick’s work is part of the bigger 18th and 19th century photographic project of humanising London and the people who live here. Drawing his inspiration from some of the great European and American …


From the archive… the long-simmering feud over housing Britain’s photography

News that the National Media Museum is losing the world-class RPS Collection to the Victoria and Albert Museum had us delving into our archives for some background. There is history between these two, as our 4 March 1982 edition attests, reporting open warfare between the museums long ahead of the Bradford opening. In our leader, ‘Whither Bradford’, published more than a year ahead of the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television’s opening, the unnamed writer (most likely then-editor, Geoffrey Crawley) charts a public spat that contrasts sharply with the cloak-and-dagger spin employed today. “Since the formal announcement of the go-ahead of the Bradford Museum was given last year, the Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Sir Roy Strong, has been sounding off in the public prints with objections based on the belief that the new museum would be overlapping unnecessarily with the V&A photographic collection. His criticisms were particularised to the point of maintaining that the V&A was deliberately kept out of the picture until after the press conference 130 Archive at which …


Rare Victorian photography acquired by London’s National Portrait Gallery

The scarcity and remarkable condition of the album, which was sold by a Yorkshire auction house after lying undiscovered in a family collection for more than 140 years, make it one of the most significant 19th century British photographic objects to have come to light in recent decades. The album was acquired in November 2015 following receipt of a grant from the Art Fund after a temporary Export Bar was placed on it in March 2015. This prevented the album from leaving the UK after it was sold to an overseas buyer last year. Anticipating Photoshop by more than a century, Rejlander is best known for his pionering work combining multiple negatives in the darkroom to create new, articifial compostions. He was a noted influence for photographers such as Julia Margaret Cameron and Lewis Carroll and who also collaborated with Charles Darwin and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The National Portrait Gallery album is one of a small set of private albums Rejlander put together to showcase his portrait work. Previously unseen photographs include several self-portraits, comprising …


Early British Colonial Travellers Show Earliest Images of India

The first half of the 19th-century was a tipping point for British imperial presence in the Indian subcontinent. No longer preoccupied with the chase of conquest, the focus had moved to colonial rule. This led to the opportunity for increased geographical and cultural exploration, and with it scope for understanding the diverse landscapes, languages, buildings and religions of India in greater depth. It is this context that Tripe, Murray, Bourne: Photographic Journeys in India 1855-1870, an exhibition of rare prints on display at Prahlad Bubbar’s Mayfair gallery, brings to life. “The journey is what ties these photographers together,” Bubbar says. “Tripe, Murray and Bourne…the greatest British photographers working out of India in the 19th century.” The significance of this period in photographic history is difficult to overstate. With the camera arriving in India in 1839, shortly after its invention, the sheer technical ability required – aeons away from the simple touch of a smartphone screen – made travel photography a grueling practice. “Can you imagine? It’s forty degrees, it’s raining, you’re up in the mountains. …


The history behind Bradford’s loss of the Royal Photography Society archive to London’s V&A

The news that the Royal Photographic Society Collection is being transferred from the National Media Museum in Bradford to the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London can easily fit into the narrative of unequal distribution of arts funding outside of London. The reasons for this are structural and historical. And this is the reason why photography has never had a secure place in our museums. It was in the late 19th century that some of our major museums where founded on the fault line defined by either the applied arts or the scientific. It was from The South Kensington Museum founded in 1857 – six years after the Great Exhibition – that the present Science Museum and the V&A would emerge, one taking the scientific and technology route and the other developing into an applied art museum. This is the fault line that still has to be negotiated today. You can see the new Media Space at the Science Museum as one way of dealing with this split with their mix of exhibitions displaying art and …


American Dreamer: Dennis Hopper’s wildest days, in photographs

Following the breakout success of Easy Rider, Hopper was hot property in Hollywood and had finally secured funding for The Last Movie, a long-gestating passion project about a stunt co-ordinator, played by Hopper himself. “He was emerging as a rebel, a talent, a film maker,” Schiller says of his subject, “A brilliant man for his age.” Easy Rider was an award-winning portrait of counter culture that at the same time managed to storm the international box office. In a 2010 retrospective of his career, The Washington Post called Easy Rider “a movie that would redefine film on nearly every level,” praising it as “a cinematic symbol of the 1960s, a celluloid anthem to freedom, macho bravado and anti-establishment rebellion.” The pressure to find success in his follow-up effort led to Hopper to scrap his entire first cut of The Last Movie film in favour of a more avant-garde edit. The version he eventually released sought to break new cinematic ground by following a disjointed narrative, and employing unconventional filming techniques such as jump cut and rough …


Border Towns: Living with the Cartel

Alex Webb, an active member of the international photographic cooperative Magnum, published his border photography in the 2003 book Crossings: Photographs from the U.S.-Mexico Border. Webb, a regular contributor to the New York Times, Life and National Geographic, first visited the border in 1975, long before the drug-related violence that has erupted in the past decade. “On that first trip I became interested by the notion of the border as a kind of third country, neither the United States nor Mexico, a place with its own rules, its own traditions,” he tells BJP. Last year, Webb’s photography came to the attention of Academy-nominated cinematographer Roger Deakins, who claimed it was a key inspiration to shooting Sicario, the unflinching feature film from 2015, set amongst the Mexican drug cartels, and starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro. Although initially shooting in black and white, it was Webb’s saturated colour photography that caught Deakins’ eye.   Subscribe to the British Journal of Photography for the best stories in contemporary photography delivered to your door every month.


400,000 photographs to be moved from Bradford to London to create world’s largest imagery collection

More than 400,000 photographs and related paraphernalia held at Bradford’s National Media Museum will be transferred to the V&A, making the London-based museum the single largest collection of photography in the world  – a move that will see, “in the short term”, the permanent gallery space dedicated to photographs at the V&A doubling in size. The collection being transferred encompasses vintage prints, the world’s first negative, unique daguerreotypes and early colour photographs, as well as important albums, books, cameras and the archives of major photographers. The collection – which includes frontier photographers like William Henry Fox Talbot, Hill & Adamson, Roger Fenton and Julia Margaret Cameron, holdings by classic artists like Alfred Stieglitz, Alvin Langdon Coburn, Gertrude Käsebier, Paul Strand and Ansel Adams, and contemporary photographers like Martin Parr, Sarah Jones, Susan Derges and Simon Roberts – will be made available to the public in a collection titled The International Photography Resource Centre. Rarities in the collection Oscar Rejlander’s 1857  composite The Two Ways of Life, Mervyn O’Gorman’s 1913 autochrome Christina, Yusuf Karsh’s iconic Winston Churchill portrait and Angus McBean’s surreal study of …


Between Protest and Performance – Unseen Photographs of Japan’s 60s New Wave

Japan’s most influential photographers – including Daidō Moriyama, Yutaka Takanashi, Shōmei Tōmatsu, and Nobuyoshi Araki – are shown together for the first time in Provoke, a new exhibition at The Vienna-based Albertina museum, which explores the significance of the short-lived and revered magazine of the same name. Seen from today, Provoke is an expression of the massive social turbulence in Japan’s recent history, a country uniquely scarred by the Second World War, and in the throes of creating a new national identity. The 200 works on show therefore represent an expression of this political transformation and new ways of using photography as a form of protest; to express, or even inspire, such fundamental change. In the 1960s, Japan started to see the first great wave of protests against renewal of diplomatic ties with the USA, to the illegal actions of large corporations and the despotism of the neoliberal Japanese state. As the protest movements intensified, so a series of photographers, with the ability to publish their work, began to emerge. As well as expressing the social unrest of their generation, these photographers were also …


BJP Staff