All posts filed under: Documentary

From the series The Canary and the Hammer © Lisa Barnard

Festival review: what’s hot at Format

In August of 2016, at the International Geological Congress in Cape Town, one of the world’s leading scientists declared we were living at the dawn of a new geological epoch – the human-influenced age. This new era, termed Anthropocene, replaces the current epoch, the Holocene, the 12,000 years of stable climate since during which all human civilisation developed. Format International Photography Festival in Derby, the UK’s largest photography festival, opened this weekend for its eighth edition, aiming to explore this notion of the Anthropocene by asking photographers to respond to the word “habitat”. Featuring more than 200 international artists and photographers across 30 exhibitions, the biennial is situated across independent cinema and exhibition spaces such as Quad, University of Derby and the Derby Museum and Art Gallery. The festival’s flagship exhibition, titled Ahead Still Lies Our Future, is on show at art space Derby Quad, and features work by ten photographers, brought together by curators Hester Keijser and festival director Louise Clements. “I wanted to offer up experiences concerning the complexity of our existence on …

2017-03-28T11:46:25+00:00

Y61 6,000km from the river source 19 Nov 2013, Mother River series, 2010-2014 © Yan Wang Preston

Exhibition: Mother River by Yan Wang Preston

Yan Wang Preston’s Mother River is both a physical odyssey through China and a metaphor for its evolution, travelling from the traditional culture still seen to be seen at its source through to the rampant modernisation approaching its mouth. “Modernisation is reaching everywhere in China, although in Tibet the degree of modernisation is not the same as in Shanghai,” Wang Preston tells BJP. “I wanted my pictures to document this gradual change along the river’s journey.” Born in China, Wang Preston originally studied Clinical Medicine in Shanghai – a family choice which she had never felt passionate about, she says. She worked as an anaesthetist for three years after graduating, but eventually quit took a break to go rock climbing. “During this process, I met a British climber and ended up marrying him,” she says. “I knew that I’d come to live in the UK at some point.” Making the move in 2005, she found that “the prospect of living a new life in a new country presented itself as an opportunity to choose my own destiny”. A keen …

2017-03-27T14:26:18+00:00

Face Off, 2010, Roger Ballen, courtesy of Hamiltons

Q&A: Roger Ballen’s new show The Theatre of Apparitions

The photographer of the psyche, Roger Ballen, is in London to show his latest work, The Theatre of Apparitions, the first time he’s exhibited the series. Based in South Africa since the early 1980’s, the New York-born photographer has worked in photography for over thirty years, starting with ‘straight’ documentary but latterly moving into more abstract forms representing the relationship between human and beast, and harking back to the ancient shamanistic visions and symbols which he believes are embedded in us all.  The Theatre of Apparitions is inspired by hand-drawn carvings he saw on blacked-out windows in a women’s prison in South Africa. “The images occupy a perceptual realm – a fragmented world of part – objects where fears of annihilation and chaotic perceptions merge reality and fantasy, self and other,” says Ballen. “These silhouettes are flickering archetypes originating from the collective unconscious of human kind.” BJP: This work is quite different to what you have done before, what inspired it? RB: At the beginning of 2005, I was making a video in a women’s prison in South Africa, in Johannesburg. I went into one of the cells, and …

2017-03-22T13:05:44+00:00

From the series Cargo © Jon Tonks

On show at Format – Jon Tonks’ Cargo

On the eve of the First World War, the British Empire accounted for over 23 percent of the world’s population: some 412 million people spread across nearly a quarter of Earth’s land area. At its very furthest reaches, the map of the Empire showed what looked like a scattering of tiny dots on the great blue expanse of the Pacific. Named Vanuatu, they make up a one-nation archipelago of more than 80 islands stretching across 800 miles of the South Seas. Located more than a thousand miles northeast of Australia, it has a population of less than 300,000 people. It’s a place few Britons have heard of but in Vanuatu, independent since 1980, the idea of ‘Britishness’ has weaved itself into the islanders’ ancestral, and even spiritual, beliefs. “Stories flourish in isolation,” says Christopher Lord, the Istanbul Bureau Chief for Monocle magazine, who has been collaborating with photographer Jon Tonks since the pair worked together on a story in Algeria as the Arab Spring was erupting. The island country has long been a source of …

2017-03-22T13:02:02+00:00

Sadie Wechsler-Eurption

Format Festival – the low down

This year’s edition of the biennial photography festival Format foregrounds work that describes the world around us at a specific moment in history. Habitat is a broad and yet provocative theme, one that is designed to interrogate not only our physical surroundings such as land, sea, plants, other humans and wildlife, but a range of less tangible and often more visually evasive things – the digital and political worlds, for example, or mass migration – which nevertheless have considerable repercussions on our lives. “I wanted to offer up experiences concerning the complexity of our existence on the planet,” says festival director Louise Clements, interviewed for the March 2017 issue of BJP. “Climate, migration, technology: they all seem to be accelerating and the consequences are quite momentous. We are impacting the geology of Earth. It was important to me to do something vital. As a festival, we’re not just here to celebrate the achievements of the artists; we also want to have some kind of impact.” Work by more than 300 artists and photographers will be …

2017-03-21T16:51:43+00:00

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Daniel Castro Garcia’s first solo exhibition FOREIGNER opens

“It’s time to leave! If you must die, die in the open sea! You must not return. If any of you come back you’re dead. If any of you come back and report me, you’re dead. If you have to die, you die all together! Now go!” With these words, Aly Gadiaga, one of the migrants portrayed in Daniel Castro Garcia’s Foreigner project, describes his journey from the Libyan coast to Italy. Gadiaga tells his story in a long interview recorded by the artist and included in his exhibition at London’s TJ Boulting, his prize for winning the International Photography Award 2017. The work on show is delicate and sensitive, a far cry from the sensationalised accounts often offered up in the press. “We are all foreigners,” says Castro Garcia, adding that he hopes to inspire respect rather than pity. “It’s not just about respecting those in the photographs – the audience also deserves respect,” he says. “At the heart of this work was the desire to create a dignified response to this humanitarian crisis, …

2017-03-20T15:23:30+00:00

made in chelsea-ten spot 3

Dougie Wallace goes live and direct on BBC4

The inimitable Dougie Wallace comes out from behind the camera on 16 March, in a 30-minute documentary screened on BBC4 at 8.30pm. Part of the mini-series What Do Artists Do All Day? the programme follows Wallace on the streets of Chelsea and Knightsbridge as he shoots the images for his forthcoming book, Harrodsburg; it also shows him at work in Blackpool, and includes walk-on parts for photographer Martin Parr (who collects his work), and Dewi Lewis (who is publishing Harrodsburg). Born in Glasgow and serving in the army before getting into photography via selling used camper vans and backpacking, Wallace started Harrodsburg after reading that a man born in the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea has a life expectancy of 84.4, the longest average lifespan of anywhere in the UK; boys born in Calton in Glasgow – near where Wallace grew up – have a life expectancy of just 53.9. Harrodsburg won the inaugural Magnum Photography Award in 2016, and the series will be exhibited at the printspace in Shoreditch, where the book will also be launched at 7.30pm on 21 …

2017-03-16T11:54:16+00:00

From the series My Danube, 2014 © Lurdes R. Basolí

Danube Revisited: The Inge Morath Truck Project goes on show

During her life, she encouraged photographers to realise their photographic ambitions. In death, the former Magnum photographer’s legacy lives on in the Inge Morath Foundation, established in 2003 – a year after her death – to preserve her archive. Central to the foundation is the Inge Morath Award, a $5000 grant designed to help women photographers under the age of 30 finish a long-term documentary project. “When Inge died, Larry Towell and a group of Magnum photographers created the award in her memory,” John Jacob, director at the foundation, told BJP in an article first published in our April 2014 ‘Women Only’ issue. “The Inge Morath Foundation co-administers the award, but it’s very much driven by the Magnum Foundation.” Every year, Jacob and a jury of Magnum photographers name an overall winner and up to two finalists. Entrants submit between 40 and 60 images from an ongoing personal project. “Each year we look at 80 to 100 submissions and then select a number to present to the Magnum photographers at their AGM,” explains Jacob. “There was …

2017-03-28T11:51:15+00:00

Kolobrzeg, Poland, July 26, 1992 © Rineke Dijkstra

Rineke Dijkstra wins the 2017 Hasselblad Award

“Rineke Dijkstra’s photographs and films speak brilliantly to the intricacy of the portrait image: its embodiment in time; its capacity to reveal history; the contingency of the act of exchange between sitter, photographer and spectator; and, ultimately, photography’s revelation of the self. “At a moment when the portrait image dissipates itself in an economy of narcissism and fractal celebrity, Rineke Dijkstra reminds us of the photographic portrait’s public potential,” says Duncan Forbes, chair of the jury for the Hasselblad Award 2017, which has awarded the Dutch photographer the SEK1,000,000 prize [just over £90,000]. Born in 1959 in Sittard, The Netherlands, Dijkstra attended the Gerrit Rietveld Academy and first came to prominence in the 1990s, with a series of photographs of mothers and their children moments after birth, and with portraits of bullfighters just after leaving the ring. In the series Beach Portraits [1992-2002], she showed children by the sea in Europe and the USA, picking out youngsters on the cusp of adolescence. Dijkstra is known for working on long-term projects, such as her series of images of …

2017-03-09T14:52:09+00:00

Forest #6, 2011 © Yan Wang Preston

Yan Wang Preston wins the Syngenta Photography Award

The British-Chinese photographer topped the Professional Commission category with a long-term project titled Forest, which explores the relationship between urbanisation and nature, via China’s tree-dealing business. She’s received a US$15,000 cash prize, plus up to $25,000 to expand the project. Preston’s work will go on show at Somerset House from 09 March – 28 March, alongside the other winners and a curated selection of other work from the competition, which was themed Grow-Conserve this year. Preston is also showing work at Impressions Gallery from 31 March – 24 June – a solo show called Mother River, which was shot over four years along the Yangtze River. The river measures some 6211km from source to delta, and Preston used a strict system and large-format camera to make images every 100km along its length. Second prize in the Professional category in the Syngenta award went to San Francisco-based photographer Lucas Foglia for his series Frontcountry – a project previously featured in BJP. First prize in Sygenta’s Open competition went to Kenneth O’Halloran for a photograph depicting rice production in Tonte, Togo. Matt …

2017-03-09T11:28:39+00:00

BJP Staff