All posts filed under: Documentary

From the series Bright Days © Maryam Khastoo & Jonathan Clifford

A different side of Iran by Maryam Khastoo and Jonathan Clifford

In October 2016, Maryam Khastoo and Jonathan Clifford went to Iran to work on Khastoo’s ongoing project on her mother. Born to Iranian parents in Wales, Khastoo has visited the country regularly since she was a child, and lived there from 2010-2014; her mother now lives in Tehran, and Khastoo and Clifford spent ten days with her, Khastoo taking photographs and Clifford shooting film. After they’d finished work in the capital they “felt the need to get out” says Clifford, who was raised in Australia, and headed north for the quiet towns between the Caspian Sea and Alborz Mountain range. “Everyone we spoke of our plans with insisted that we go south to Isfahan, Shiraz or Yazd, which are the most common destinations for visitors to Iran due to their historical importance,” says Clifford. “But although these places certainly appealed, the idea of heading north, where Maryam has family, and staying with them on their orange and kiwi orchard, seemed a much better way to unwind after the hustle and chaos of Tehran. “We’d also discussed …

2017-02-23T16:35:48+00:00

The Critic, 1943. Image © Weegee/International Center of Photography, courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

On show – Weegee’s iconic images of New York’s seamy underbelly

Born near Lemburg in what’s now the Ukraine, Usher Fellig emigrated to the US in 1909 when he was ten. There he acquired a new, Anglicised name, Arthur, and started working as a photographer just three years later. In 1924 he was hired as a darkroom technician by Acme Newspictures (later United Press International Photos), and by 1935 – “spellbound by the mystery of murder”, as he put it – he had left to become a freelance news photographer. Centring his work around Manhattan’s police headquarters, his seemingly uncanny ability to get to crime scenes early earned him another new name – Weegee, inspired by the Ouija board (though another account traces it to his time as a darkroom “squeegee” boy). His talent for prescience was actually down to a portable police-band shortwave radio, which he got permission to run in 1938 – the only New York reporter to do so. Adding a complete darkroom in the boot of his car, Weegee was able to get his sensational images to newspapers such as the Herald-Tribune, Daily News, Post, The Sun, and PM Weekly long before anyone else. …

2017-02-23T12:57:39+00:00

From the series Playground © Julien Lombardi

Images hit the streets in JaipurPhoto festival

The term ‘travel photography’ may call to mind generic holiday snaps, but a festival in Jaipur is raising the bar for a more probing approach. Founded by the team behind GoaPhoto, artistic director Lola Mac Dougall and filmmaker and producer Nikhil Padgaonkar, JaipurPhoto returns to from 24 February to 05 March, following a successful inaugural edition in 2016, to explore what wanderlust can tell us about our times. Describing the relationship between travel and photography as an “endless conversation”, the festival spotlights the many ways photography has shaped how we experience the world. London-based curator and founder of The Photocaptionist, Federica Chiocchetti, this year’s guest curator, pinpoints the relevance of this conversation in our image-saturated culture as a starting point for putting together the 2017 edition. “I am fascinated by how the evolution of society and of photography has impacted on the very notion of travelling,” Chiocchetti says. From the pre-internet days of the travel agent selling a place through promotional images to the more recent way we filter our travel experiences through multiple devices, she notes that our experience …

2017-02-22T15:25:29+00:00

Tooting, London, 1975. From the series Family Units © Edward Barber

Obituary: Edward Barber 1949-2017

It’s a terrible shock and great sadness to be writing about Ed in the past tense. He was a great friend of mine for nearly 40 years, a man who believed passionately in the power of photography to show how people live, how they protest against the powerful and how people create things that counteract the corporate machine. We worked together on many projects for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and at the Half Moon Gallery and its magazine Camerawork. Ed was one of the original members of the collective at the Half Moon in Alie Street, Whitechapel, with fellow photographers Jenny Matthews, Mike Goldwater and Paul Trevor. This was to prove to be incredibly dynamic and brilliant group who curated numerous influential photographic exhibitions, many of which were by photographers who have continued to produce important work, as they have themselves. Ed had the idea of laminating the exhibitions, at first because the roof leaked in Alie Street and plastic lamination made them waterproof. He began touring the laminated exhibitions, sending them by …

2017-02-21T17:09:29+00:00

Iraqi refugees in a low income housing community in Portland. The area is home to several thousand Iraqi refugees. One of the main community organisers is Dr. Baher Butti, who fled Baghdad in 2006 after his community activism made him the target of local militias. A psychiatrist, activist, and writer, Dr. Butti spends much of his free time helping the recent immigrants adapt to life in America. Many of them don’t speak much English and don’t understand their rights within the web of bureaucracy. Although he is constantly overworked, he sees it as his responsibility to help his people get on their feet as fast as possible. Portland, Oregon. 2015 © Peter van Agtmael/Magnum Photos. From the book Buzzing at the Sill

Q&A: Peter van Agtmael on his new book, Buzzing at the Sill

Born in Washington DC in 1981, Peter van Agtmael studied history at Yale before moving into documentary photography. Largely focusing on America, his work considers issues such as power, race and class; he also works on the Israel/Palestine conflict and throughout the Middle East. He has won the W.Eugene Smith Grant, the ICP Infinity Award for Young Photographers and many more, and joined Magnum Photos in 2008. His book Disco Night Sept 11, a study of the USA post-9/11, was published in 2014 and named a Book of the Year by titles such as The New York Times Magazine and Time Magazine. His latest photobook, Buzzing at the Sill, is the sequel.  BJP: Where does the title Buzzing at the Sill come from? PvA: It’s from a Theodore Roethke poem called In a Dark Time. I heard an excerpt of it in a play called The Nether and afterwards looked it up. I was profoundly moved. The poem made me feel like it was somehow related to me and the work I’d been doing, and so I kept it in the back of …

2017-02-21T12:16:15+00:00

From the series Talcum © Seba Kurtis, courtesy Christophe Guye Galerie

Seba Kurtis’ new work on migrants goes on show

It was discarded by the side of the road in Austria – a poultry lorry seeping human decay. When the authorities entered in August 2015, they found 71 bodies collapsed in a heap of necrosis, among them children, one a baby. All had died of asphyxiation. Beyond the horror, the discovery pointed to a complex global network of traffickers and asylum seekers. Some of the dead were confirmed as Syrian; others were harder to identify. The owner of the lorry, which had set off from Budapest, was a Bulgarian of Lebanese origin. Shortly after, the Hungarian police detained three East Europeans and an Afghan, all likely “low-ranking members of a Bulgarian- Hungarian human-trafficking gang”. A week later, a photo of three-year-old Alan Kurdi’s body washed up on a beach near Bodrum, went viral, putting an innocent human face on the migration crisis in Europe, which by now had become a deeply divisive political issue. The lorry in Austria was different. The victims remained invisible. The descriptions of the discovery forced you to make your own …

2017-02-20T13:14:43+00:00

From the series Fade Like a Sigh © Rana Young and Zora J Murff

Fade Like A Sigh

“Collaboration is a comfortable way of telling our stories in the company of someone else, as this content is too heavy for each of us to revisit alone,” says Rana Young, a Masters student at the University of Nebraska, who’s worked with fellow student Zora J Murff to make a series called Fade Like A Sigh. Initially thrown together by sharing a studio, the pair got talking and soon realised they had much in common. Both come from the Midwest and take a similar approach to photographing “imagery that describes home, or place generally”; both grew up with an absent parent. “Our personal experiences of that are unique, but through conversation we found a commonality,” says Young. “It’s easy to assume that your exposure to a shared experience is different to someone else’s.” Working together felt like a natural next step but they didn’t start to do so until last Autumn, when they were offered a two-person show. Finding images that didn’t quite fit into their other projects, they compared them and “began to notice how …

2017-02-16T16:33:28+00:00

From the series A Smiling Man A Hidden Snake © Yurian Quintanas Nobel

An uneasy vision of Sri Lanka in A Smiling Man and a Hidden Snake

Before Yurian Quintanas Nobel went on holiday to Sri Lanka, friends told him how welcoming the people there are. “And they really are,” he says, “but I always felt there was a kind of darkness in this country. “The recent history of Sri Lanka is very painful in human terms,” he explains. “The country suffered a long civil war that finished only eight years ago, and they had a devastating tsunami in 2004. I remember one afternoon I was taking pictures of a ruined house when a man came out to say hello. We talked for a while and then he told me that his wife and his child had died in the tsunami, and he pointed next to us where they were buried. “These kinds of situations shocked me, and influenced me more than other things like the hospitality of the people and the beauty of the country. What I had in mind while taking pictures was that not everything is what it seems. Sometimes things are not as beautiful as you thought and sometimes, …

2017-02-16T14:01:11+00:00

Installation shot of Incoming by Richard Mosse in collaboration with Trevor Tweeten and Ben Frost at The Curve, Barbican. Image © Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Barbican Art Gallery

Richard Mosse – Incoming

“A camera is a sublimation of the gun,” Susan Sontag wrote in her seminal collection of essays On Photography, first published in 1977. “To photograph someone is a subliminal murder – a soft murder, appropriate to a sad, frightened time.” But for Richard Mosse’s latest work, Incoming, his camera wasn’t a sublimation – it was the weapon itself. The Irishman’s rise has been vertiginous. Graduating from an MRes in cultural studies in 2003, a decade later he was representing his home country at the Venice Biennale, by way of a postgraduate course in fine art at Goldsmiths, an MFA in photography at Yale University and dozens of solo and group exhibitions in between. In 2015, the Irish photographer was nominated for membership of Magnum Photos – he was to be one of the youngest members of the prestigious agency, invited on the back of one extraordinary photography series, his Congo-based Infra work, which had won the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize a year earlier. But, even as he was welcomed in by Magnum, Mosse privately harboured an increasing sense …

2017-02-22T11:48:48+00:00

Turkan 2010 © Wolfgang Tillmans. On show at Wolfgang Tillmans: 2017 at Tate Modern 15 February - 11 June

Wolfgang Tillmans: 2017 opens at London’s Tate Modern

“He’s not a prophet, but he sees where things might go because he has an eye for the world,” said Chris Dercon, director of the Volksbuhne Berlin and co-curator of Tate Modern’s Wolfgang Tillmans: 2017 show at its press view this morning. A huge 14-room exhibition it bears out Dercon’s words with installations such as the ironically titled truth study centre, a collection of newspaper and magazine clippings, objects, drawings and images, that reflect on media representation of facts and our propensity to believe what we want despite them; also on show are Tillmans’ pro-Remain posters from the recent British referendum on EU membership. A close-up shot of a car headlight shot in 2012 is accompanied by the thought (in the exhibition booklet) that headlights are more angular now, “giving them a predatory appearance that might reflect a more competitive climate”; shots taken in nightclubs are interpreted in terms of the freedom might experience in such places. Other images show apples, celebrities, static interference; a specially-designed room, The Playback Room, is devoted to sharing recorded music on state-of-the-art equipment. The subject matter varies but …

2017-02-14T19:16:04+00:00

BJP Staff