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 …
“The culture and mythology of Bigfoot is something that has always interested me growing up and now as a grown man,” says Harry Rose. “How can people be so convinced? What real evidence is there?” Rose is BJP’s creative campaign manager, but he’s also the founder of Darwin Magazine and a Newport graduate, whose work has appeared on sites such as Self Publish, Be Happy, Vice and Photoworks. His ongoing personal project, Looking for Bigfoot, uses photography, archive images, found objects, sighting accounts and interviews with believers to try to build a picture of the mythical British giant, who is also known as the Wildman, Green Man and Yeti. Now he’s discussing his work and the human desire to create mythologies at Miniclick’s next outing, at Temple Bar Brighton on 28 March. Joining Rose will be fellow Newport graduate Hannah Saunders, who is currently studying for an MA in the History of Art at the Courtauld Institute, focusing on The Supernatural Middle Ages. Her project Allegorical or Historical explores the lives of three Medieval Saints through self-portraiture, and …
Charlie surfs on Lotus Flowers, which addresses the control of the one-party Communist government, and United States of Vietnam, which looks at the slow victory of capitalism over communism and its consequences for Vietnam’s economy. Using a combination of a staged, typological form of photography in United States of Vietnam, and a more autonomous, naturalistic style for Charlie surfs on Lotus Flowers, Sapienza intends to leave something for the viewer to work out. “They have to try to put their feet in the author’s shoes,” he says. “They just need to get the leitmotiv of your project, not the full, descriptive content. In that exchange lives the real core of the project.”
“Throughout human history the depiction of the human body has been curiously investigated,” writes BJP‘s assistant editor, Izabela Radwanska Zhang. “In its rawest form, artists have dedicated their lives to perfecting it on paper – god and icons of religion and spirituality rendered in perfect anatomy. This changed with the arrival of the camera, and gradually our viewpoints of the figure became manifold.” We contemplate some of these viewpoints in this issue, which looks at the depiction of the human form and the ways in which contemporary image-makers are pushing its representation. From Amsterdam, we have Carla van de Puttelaar and her compelling work on the female nude, which takes inspiration from the Old Masters. Photographing female figures of the art world, Van de Puttelaar creates portraits that are both elegant and empowering in her ongoing project Artfully Dressed: Women in the Art World. Elsewhere, we feature a new three-part project by co-curators Holly Hay and Shonagh Marshall titled Posturing: Photographing the Body in Fashion, which explores the changing representation of the body in the ever-morphing fashion world. “It’s about …
Photography is often considered a solitary pursuit, but the Ryerson Image Centre (RIC) in Toronto, Canada hopes to overturn this conception with a research project led by artists, scholars, and curators such as Ariella Azoulay, Wendy Ewald, Susan Meiselas, Leigh Raiford, and Laura Wexler. Now an exhibition at RIC called Collaboration: A Potential History of Photography is putting their work on view. Featuring approximately 90 photographic projects the work on show demonstrates some of the many ways photographers have collaborated with their subjects and other participants. It includes Wendy Ewald’s Reciprocating in Arabic installation, which combines image and text in an attempt to show the experience of walking through the Arabic language, and WEB Du Bois’ The Potential of the Archive I, a look into the history and present challenges of black America, among many other projects.
In the late 1980s, while studying, David Moore made a series of colour photographs depicting the everyday lives of working class communities in Derby. In Pictures From the Real World, since published as a book by Dewi Lewis, we meet married couple Lisa and John, among others. Intrigued by the notion of returning photographs to the contexts from which they came, Moore had the idea for a new imagining of the work as a piece of verbatim theatre (drama derived from unedited spoken transcripts), through which the photographs could be ‘returned’ to the couple. Moore invited Lisa and her now ex-husband John to work with him on what he calls an “archive intervention” – to create new dialogues from the photographs. From this The Lisa and John Slideshow was born, a 45-minute play written and directed by Moore, assisted by Gavin Dent, where actors played the couple.
“Gurgaon is a paradigm for the new Indian city: entirely privatised with no public space, managed by a few companies which cater to the needs of the middle class. It’s an image as much as a place,” explains Arthur Crestani. In his series, Bad City Dreams, image and place are fused to construct a paradoxical and layered portrait of the rapidly expanded city, which lies 30km outside the capital, New Delhi. Borrowing from the Indian tradition of studio photography, Crestani photographed migrant workers, security guards and other Gurgaon locals outdoors against a mobile backdrop decorated with real-estate advertising imagery.
Carolyn Drake first visited Ukraine more than a decade ago, as part of a year-long Fulbright fellowship investigation of changing notions of gender in the former USSR. Coming of age at the end of the Cold War, and with preconceptions about the region, she “saw it as a chance to step out of my present frame of reference, as a way to look at the malleability and impermanence of beliefs,” she recalls. Searching for expressions of female identity in the West of the country, she met the hosts of a church-run orphanage, who directed her to an older institution nearby called Petrykhiv Internat. Tucked away in a forest on the outskirts of Ternopil, it was a state-run boarding house, where around 70 girls marked as ill or disabled had been sent to live. Labelled abnormal, they had been deemed unfit to live beyond the home’s towering walls. That first trip took place in 2006; eight years later, she returned, eager to find out what had become of the girls and their home. “I expected to show up and ask someone on the staff how I could find the girls,” she says. “But when I arrived, I found most of them were still there, now in their twenties.
“They’re all driven by motivations that are both personal and political to a degree, and they are all self-initiated projects,” says curator Alona Pardo of the photographers in the show Another Kind of Life: Photography on the Margins. “Some may have started as commissions, but very early on took on a life of their own. It was interesting to think about the role of the photographer, because often the photographer hides behind the camera as a facade. There is also an interesting subtext of the photographer occupying the position of an outsider within mainstream society. They are there, assertively documenting the world.”
“It is a very progressive, very independent festival. It’s not part of the city’s art establishment. It’s dynamic, because the organisers are working way out on a limb,” says Susan Bright, ‘godmother’ of the Circulation(s) festival of young European photography, which takes place in Paris from 17 March-06 May