All posts filed under: Exhibitions

Still from A Bout de Souffle

Breathless cool: the enduring influence of the Nouvelle Vague

The Nouvelle Vague began, more or less, with Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless (1960), and it came in a rush. Upstart and “arsehole” Michel (Jean-Paul Belmondo) is a man in motion. On the run and racing off in a stolen car before his female accomplice has time to get in with him, he speeds down the motorway, cursing anyone who dares slow his breakneck pace. Michel embodies a fugitive brand of modernity, too fast and fleeting to pin down, so even Godard’s innovative editing is jumpy and restless – and yet he will come crashing to a halt in Paris, while he waits on his American lover Patricia (Jean Seberg) to decide whether she will move on with him to Rome. Patricia wants to stay and to finish her studies – and yet far from representing the stasis of the past, she is in fact younger than Michel, sports a thoroughly modern hairstyle, and wants her own independence, rather than to play a pre-written rôle in Michel’s story.

2015-07-06T15:25:55+00:00

From Denudate 2015 © Neola Loretta McDavid

The female derobed: Neola McDavid’s untainted nudes

“Trust is very important when you ask someone to take their clothes off so you can photograph them nude,” says Neola Loretta McDavid, who will soon graduate from the University of Roehampton with a BA Honours in Photography. “Your subjects need to have confidence in you as a photographer, and they need to feel comfortable in themselves.” McDavid’s series of nude portraits, Denudate 2015, exudes strength – stripped back, it presents women in a state of undress, stoic in their own personal space, the only props being the intimate objects in their homes. Her series, like the meaning of the title itself, bares all – it strips women of the labels imposed upon them by society and returns them to their natural state, as “supreme beings” – equal to men, neither subordinate nor superior. “The women in my portraits signify empowerment. They are not obstructed by the mores of society or media in the way that influences how women are portrayed today. The women aren’t sexualised, nor are their poses meant to be suggestive. I’m not using the female …

2015-06-25T16:30:44+00:00

David Bailey © Chris Gravett

Hometown America: Chris Gravett’s undiscovered Arkansas

“I Googled myself, as you do, and accidently added an ‘e’ to the end of my name,” says 64-year-old recent graduate Chris Gravett. “The city of Gravette in northwest Arkansas came up. Wikipedia says it has a population of 2300 – 90% white, with 23 churches, in an area of four square miles. I thought it was such a bizarre demographic I wanted to know more.” And so began the making of Gravette The Heart of Hometown America, which is currently on exhibit at the Free Range Graduate Art and Design Show at The Old Truman Brewery in east London – a summer season of shows celebrating up-and-coming graduate talent in the fields of art, design, fashion, photography and architecture. Chris researched further and discovered that the city of Gravette was founded by a man named Ellis Tillman Gravett – without the ‘e’ – in 1893. A further ancestral search uncovered that Ellis Tillman was British, a settler originally from Steyling in Sussex, and that their ancestral lines cross in the early 16th century. Inspired …

2015-06-25T16:27:33+00:00

Victorian photographs of the abandoned Dreamland amusement park in Margate, Kent

At its peak in the 1960s, Dreamland Margate thronged with visitors. Millions of them, young and old, families and couples, piled into the seaside amusement park to laugh, flirt, ride the famous Scenic Railway rollercoaster, try their luck at the coconut shy, and wolf down candy floss and jellied eels. But over the decades that followed Dreamland waned in popularity, changing its name, losing its lustre and eventually shutting in 2003. Now, thanks to a local campaign and a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the park is about to throw open its doors again to the public, reimagined by Hemingway Design as a hip, vintage attraction. In the years between closure and redevelopment, Dreamland was left to rot. From 2013, photographer Rob Ball captured this Dreamland, mainly using the Victorian tintype wet collodion process. Tatty, forlorn but still oddly majestic, the empty park takes on a haunting air in his photographs. The tintypes will go on show at The Photographers’ Gallery. They also feature in a book, published by Dewi Lewis, along with contemporary …

2015-06-15T15:55:52+00:00

FUTURO

Unfathomable: Geert Goiris’ futuristic objects in abandoned landscapes

To create his expansive, understated work, Belgian photographer Geert Goiris journeys to far-flung locations – polar regions, deserts, mountain valleys. There, with a large format camera fixed to a tripod, he brings into stark focus desolate landscapes littered with modernist ruins and futuristic objects. The shots themselves are mundane yet spectacular, familiar yet unfamiliar, as if we’ve entered a not-too-distant future in which people have abandoned their homes because of some natural calamity. Exploring these isolated locations is at the heart of what Goiris does. “I’m very much drawn to open spaces and sites that are hard to live in or colonize or hard for people to domesticate,” he says. “I think these places, first of all, give us a strange mix of calmness and relaxation with anxiety and fear; they also show what existence is without human beings, when there is no infrastructure… it’s very much this detached, alien point of view as well.

2015-06-17T14:02:37+00:00

An Argentinian photographer took portraits of older men she thought might be her father

When Mariela Sancari was 14, her father killed himself. As she tried, often forlornly, to deal with his absence, sometimes denying even it, Sancari began to invent in her mind his personality, his life, his whereabouts. He grew older in her mind. As a professional photographer, Sancari decided to confront this chapter of her life. In her native Buenos Aires, she started placing adverts in local newspapers and putting up posters; she was looking for men in their 70s, the age her father would be now if he were alive. She wanted to meet, and photograph, men who might look a bit like the man she lost, to discover in them a tiny fraction of the relationship so finitely denied to her. The men she found, and whom sat for her, wear her father’s patchwork jumper. In some of the images, she poses herself in the background, or lets a stranger carefully comb her hair. It’s a heart-stoppingly simple evocation of how, through an unsaid understanding, through a sense of transference that can transcend words and gestures, we can find familiarity, intimacy and comfort …

2015-06-24T16:16:37+00:00

A photographer documented the building of London’s 100km Crossrail Project

As Londoners go about their daily business above ground, unbeknownst to many of them, construction workers below are busy excavating, navigating and building a network of tunnels for the much-anticipated Crossrail. “You pop out of a hole in the middle of Oxford Street and no one knows where you’ve come from,” marvels John Zammit, one of the photographers charged with documenting its progress. “It’s a completely different world down there.” Transport for London subsidiary Crossrail has spent £14.8bn building that world, which will add a capacity of 10 percent to London’s railway network when it opens in 2018, and will be the most extensive addition to the city’s public transport system since World War II. Spanning east to west from Shenfield and Abbey Wood through central London and out to Heathrow and Reading, the subterranean course measures 100km, and Zammit has followed the entire route – carrying an 80lb camera bag, kitted out in safety gear from head to toe – hard hat, protective glasses, industrial boots, and toting an MSA self-rescue breathing unit and …

2015-06-17T14:02:13+00:00

Sukhi, Jambur, 2005

On Belonging: Portraits of an ancient Indian community of African descent

“At the entrance of the village, there were four boys playing carrom. As I approached they looked at me with such hostility, almost resentment; I was a complete outsider.” Ketaki Sheth’s first encounter with the Sidi, an Indian community of African descent, was the kind of serendipitous occurrence that sparks photographers to action. Driving through the Gir Forest National Park while on holiday with her family, she caught glimpse of a village enveloped deep within the forest. Her curiosity piqued, she spent the next six years learning about its inhabitants. Her exhibition, On Belonging, is currently on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Even for a country that Muhammed Ali Jinnah termed a “subcontinent of nationalities”, the Sidi defy categorisation.

2015-06-17T14:03:01+00:00

Pontus, 2012 © Délio Jasse

London exhibition showcases a new generation of conceptual photographers from across Africa

“Photography in Africa is controversial,” says Eva Langret, curator of The View From Here, an exhibition showcasing photography from Africa and its diaspora at Tiwani Contemporary, displayed until the 27 June. The camera, the exhibition posits, has been misused. Photographs have been misrepresented. It has objectified the African experience, and its relationships to past colonies. But, in recent years, the camera has also become a tool of empowerment. The seven African artists exhibiting are aware of this contradiction. They have given up on using photography as a documentation tool and instead adopted personal and subjective approaches that speak, perhaps more accurately, of wider issues. They seek to make sense of their personal narratives through collective history, between memories, the present and the self, in relation to our sense of place and belonging, of how photography can relate to, and comment on, other popular media and practices. The work of Mimi Cherono Ng’ok greets us with shots of a strangely unanimated Dakar, the capital of Senegal. Before arriving in Senegal, she started to become familiar with the …

2015-06-17T14:03:36+00:00

What to see at Belfast Photo Festival

It sounds downright bonkers, but somehow it works. This year, Belfast Photo Festival director Michael Weir oversaw the creation of a to-scale replica of the famous DeLorean car from Back to the Future, crafted from wood and covered with A5 photographs printed onto brushed sheet metal panels. The sculpture, which was inspired by the work of Cyril Hatt but made by carpenter Jonathan Hickey and Robert Anderson, with photographs by Fergus Jordan, forms the centrepiece of the festival, and is on display outside Belfast City Hall. The reason for its creation is to mark the 35th anniversary of the DeLorean motor car, which was manufactured in Belfast, and because 2015 is the year the characters visited in Back to the Future Part II. It is also a fitting way to celebrate this year’s festival theme – photography and convergence – in this case showing how photography can produce interesting results when coupled with sculpture. Three editions in, Belfast Photo is starting to gather momentum. With guests this year including photographers Lorenzo Vitturi and Alec Soth, …

2015-06-09T10:50:57+00:00

BJP Staff