All posts filed under: Documentary

Senta Simond’s Rayon Vert on show, in print, and in BJP

“Tu sais qu’est-ce que c’est le rayon vert?” Marie Rivière’s listless character Delphine asks, her legs swinging, in Éric Rohmer’s 1986 film Le Rayon Vert [The Green Ray]. The film – a portrait of its main character’s halting search for summer romance – was based on Jules Verne’s 1882 novel of the same name. While in theory its title refers to an optical phenomenon – in which the appearance of the sun as it rises or falls beyond the horizon creates a brief flash of green, and with it a supposed moment of mental clarity for all those who see it – in reality its subject matter is far more elusive. “I related the ‘rayon vert’ phenomenon to the process of photography – this special and quick moment that happens rarely,” Swiss photographer Senta Simond explains, referring to her project of the same name. Her series, which will be published by Kominek and shown at London’s Webber Gallery soon, adds a new, compelling layer to the meteorological event/Jules Verne/ Éric Rohmer mix of references. Indeed, Simond, a former student of ECAL, University of Art and Design Lausanne, from which she graduated last summer, first encountered the concept via the 1986 film.

2018-04-19T13:09:44+00:00

Announcing the 2018 Joop Swart Masterclass participants

“The stories that grabbed my attention were those created through unique personal approaches with a clear vision and a rich visual vocabulary,” says Noriko Hayashi, a Panos Pictures photographer who was a Joop Swart participant in 2015, and a judge for this year’s competition. Established in 1994, the Joop Swart Masterclass aims to reward the most talented emerging visual journalists and is designed to boost diversity in visual journalism and storytelling. This year 219 candidates from all over the world were nominated, and the 12 participants are: Mustafah Abdulaziz (US), Sharon Castellanos (Peru), Sabiha Cimen (Turkey), Samar Hazboun (Palestine), Alexandra Rose Howland (US), Katinka Hustad (Norway), Ksenia Kuleshova (Russia), Philip Montgomery (US), Léonard Pongo (Belgium), Ashfika Rahman (Bangladesh), Tasneem Alsultan (Saudi Arabia), and Cansu Yildiran (Turkey). There are also two runners-up, Alfredo Bosco (Italy) and Marie Hald (Denmark).

2018-04-19T11:02:08+00:00

August Sander: Men Without Masks

Born in 1876 in the German mining town of Herdorf, August Sander discovered photography while working at a local slagheap. Serendipitously meeting a landscape photographer working there for a mining company, he went on to assist the image-maker, and by 1909 had opened his own studio in Cologne. Around this time he also started taking portraits of his fellow-Germans, deliberately eschewing the then-prevalent pictorialist approach in favour of recording as much detail as possible. “Nothing seemed to me more appropriate than to project an image of our time with absolute fidelity to nature by means of photography,” he stated. “Let me speak the truth in all honesty about our age and the people of our age.”

2018-04-18T11:43:09+00:00

Arko Datto’s study of the Indian pik-nik phenomenon

Indian photographer Arko Datto (b.1986) completed two masters degrees in theoretical physics and mathematics before deciding to take a “leap of faith into photography”. After studying photography at the Danish School of Journalism in Aarhus, his long-term projects have since been published in leading international publications, such as TIME and National Geographic. For PIK-NIK, Datto spent the last five winter seasons photographing picnic spots across eastern India, primarily in West Bengal but also in Jharkhand and Orissa. Here, families and colleagues converge for a day of food, drink and revelry before departing at sunset, leaving piles of rubbish in their wake. “Vats of freshly slaughtered chicken, sacks of vegetables and an arsenal of pots, pans and gas cylinders are lugged along, taking cooking en plein air to a whole new level,” says Datto.

2018-04-17T12:00:09+00:00

Chloe Dewe Mathews goes In Search of Frankenstein in the Swiss Alps

In 2016, Chloe Dewe Mathews was invited to do an artist’s residency at the Verbier 3-D Foundation in the Val de Bagnes, Switzerland. The chosen theme was the so-called ‘Year Without a Summer’ of 1816, which followed the eruption of Mount Tambora volcano in Indonesia. The eruption, which emitted a vast cloud of ash blocking sunlight across much of the world, caused temperatures to plummet, the dramatic weather changes leading to crop failure, starvation and mass migration. Two centuries later, while researching the area’s history, Dewe Mathews came across the story of a local disaster that happened because of these weather changes. Between 1816 and 1818 the Giétroz Glacier built up to form a great dam of ice, which then burst its banks and tore up the valley below, leaving a trail of destruction all the way to Lake Geneva. She went on to discover that Mary Shelley had also been in the area during that summer-less year, staying on the shores of Lake Geneva with her husband Percy Bysshe and fellow Romantic poets Lord …

2018-04-16T11:06:27+00:00

Q&A: Ronaldo Schemidt, World Press Photo of the Year winner

“Normally people don’t get set on fire during the protests, but there were many barricades on fire and the demonstrators use Molotov bombs,” says Ronaldo Schemidt. “I got the photo when a National Guard motorcycle exploded during a clash between demonstrators and government forces. It was lying on the floor, on fire, surrounded by young people. One of the protestors hit the tank, generating an explosion. Then the guy in the photo caught fire. I was standing a few meters away with my back to him, but when I felt the heat of the flames, I got my camera and turned around to start shooting whatever had just happened. It all took just a few seconds, so I didn’t know what I was shooting. I was moved by instinct, it was very quick. I didn’t stop shooting until I realised what was going on. There was somebody on fire running towards me.”

2018-04-17T11:56:04+00:00

Ronaldo Schemidt wins World Press Photo of the Year 2018 award

Ronaldo Schemidt has won the World Press Photo of the Year award for an arresting image taken during an anti-government protest in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas. The chosen picture shows 28-year-old José Víctor Salazar Balza ablaze amid violent clashes with police after the gas tank of a nearby motorbike exploded. Miraculously, Salazar survived the incident but with first- and second-degree burns. Schemidt’s image was among six nominated for the award, including by Patrick Brown (Australia) for his photograph of the Rohingya crisis; Adam Ferguson (Australia) for his image of a Boko Haram survivor; Toby Melville (UK) for his photo following the immediate aftermath of a terror attack in London; and Ivor Prickett (Ireland) for two images from the Battle for Mosul. Of the winning image, jury member and deputy director of photography at National Geographic, Whitney C Johnson said: “It’s quite symbolic. The man, he has a mask on his face. He’s come to represent not just himself and himself on fire, but this idea of Venezuela burning.” Bulent Kiliç, another jury member and chief photographer …

2018-04-13T12:42:52+00:00

Foam hosts retrospective of Malian photographer Seydou Keïta

When Seydou Keïta (1921-2001) was given a Kodak Brownie Flash by his uncle in 1935, his career path took a new route. Originally an apprentice carpenter for his father, Keïta spent the following years teaching himself the technicalities of photography and eventually opened an outdoor studio in 1948 in Bamako Koura. As word quickly spread, it wasn’t long before Malians began flocking to his studio to have their portrait taken. “My experience taught me the positions that my customers liked best,” Keïta said. “You try to obtain the best pose, the most advantageous profile, because photography is an art, everything should be as close to perfection as possible.” As well as ornate backdrops, Keïta kept an array of props in his studio – from paper flowers to Vespas – and occasionally sitters would bring their own. In the black-and-white images he took during the late 1940s and 1950s, Keïta captures members of Malian society radiating with confidence, dignity and grace, epitomising Mali’s emerging freedom from colonialist rule and portraying them how they wished to be …

2018-04-17T11:56:34+00:00

BJP #7871: Hamburg Triennial of Photography

In a first for BJP we have partnered with the Hamburg Triennial of Photography this issue, catching up with the festival’s artistic director Krzysztof Candrowicz and examining the festival’s theme Breaking Point: Searching for Change. “For Krzysztof, photography provides a pertinent tool for examining these big subjects,” writes BJP’s editor Simon Bainbridge, “not just as a visual document of environmental emergency or hi-tech Armageddon, but as a tangible, thought-provoking exploration of transition.” From the 320 artists included in the festival’s open submissions, we bring you our favourites – including Salvatore Vitale and his project on Switzerland’s obsession with security, which scrutinises the ways in which it shapes not only the environment, but also the Swiss mentality. Sarker Protick draws our focus towards Bangladesh’s Padma River, offering a stark warning of rising water levels, while Gábor Arion Kudász’s Human is a study of mankind via the metaphor of a humble brick.   We highlight more of the thought-provoking work on show in Hamburg in our Projects section, including Carlo Lombardi’s series on an endangered loggerhead sea turtle. Gretje Treiber’s …

2018-04-10T09:31:14+00:00

Sparks from Ukraine by Wiktoria Wojciechowska

When Polish photographer Wiktoria Wojciechowska first heard about the ongoing Ukrainian conflict she was in China, shooting a project titled Short Flashes, which went on to win the 2015 Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award. “I was cracking the internet but everything was so blocked I couldn’t get any information,” she says. “I was asking all my friends, then I realised not many people knew about it, even though it’s so close [as Ukraine borders Poland]. I was really inspired to go by fear, by wondering how I would react if the same thing happened in my country.”

2018-04-04T14:43:31+00:00

BJP Staff