All posts filed under: Festivals

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

Monica Allende @ Mauro Bedoni

Any Answers: Monica Allende

The London-based curator, producer and educator is currently the director of Format International Photography Festival (providing maternity cover for Louise Clements) and artistic director of Getxophoto in Bilbao, where she grew up. Previously she was the photo editor at The Sunday Times Magazine where she launched Spectrum, the award-winning photography section. This interview was first published in the BJP’s March 2017 issue. I have always been quite self-reliant. I’m a low-consuming, low-impact individual who strongly believes in the social contract, which are values passed to me through my family and my upbringing in the Basque Country. I loved this city from the moment I arrived. Every day I feel excited to be in London; every day there is something new to see, hear, talk about or investigate. There is room to be who you please but as long as you use good manners. I’m just devastated that after Brexit, I might have to leave my life here. Do I miss being on a picture desk? I wish I was working as part of a team on …

2017-03-22T13:16:11+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

Garage, 1975 © John Myers.

The World is Not Beautiful – But It’s There, by John Myers

“I believe photographers have got to come to terms with the world we live in, not the world journalists like, which is spectacular and exciting and makes good copy,” says John Myers. “Photographers and sub editors and journalists, all kinds of journalist want a story. They want to sell papers, and what sells is something unusual. ‘Man with three legs marries 86 year old widow’, it makes a terrific headline. They’re not so interested in what’s going on down the road at number 83.” With photographs of garages, TVs, electricity substations, new builds and his neighbours, Myers’ images of urban life bear him out. Shot within walking distance of his house in Stourbridge between 1973-1981, his archive was part-funded by an Arts Council award, when he was an emerging photographer who’d also just shown at the Serpentine Gallery. But then it lay almost forgotten for 30 years – until Pete James, then-curator of photographs at the Library of Birmingham, came across it, and helped get Myers solo exhibitions at the Ikon Gallery in 2011, and the …

2017-03-02T16:05:28+00:00

Alnis_Stakle_Theory_of_R_06 copy 2

Alnis Stakle’s Theory of R shows Riga’s dark underbelly

When Alnis Stakle first took up photography, he was faced with a rigid conception of what it could and couldn’t be. In Latvia in the 1990s, photography was largely considered a commercial craft, he says, with any more artistic ambitions restricted to banal nudes and sunsets. But for Stakle, photography is “a kind of religion” that has the power to change our relationship to the world. “Photography is a wonderful medium that makes me look at mundane things and events from another perspective, and enables me to grasp the essential in the meaningless,” he explains. Most of his work is driven by the desire to record his surroundings in a deeply personal way, and his new project – Theory of R – marks an important transition in his life. Moving to Latvia’s capital, Riga, in 2011, he found the global economic crisis was creating a grim urban environment beneath the “shiny veneer” of the city’s tourist attractions. “Half of the people of Latvia reside in Riga, and individuals who suffer from poverty and social exclusion are by no means an unusual …

2017-03-01T12:25:13+00:00

From the series Farang © Francesco Merlini

Ones to Watch: Francesco Merlini

BJP

“I was 13, standing on the balcony at home holding the first digital camera my family had ever owned. I was staring into the viewfinder trying to frame a flower, my eyes wide at its reproduction on the small screen,” says 30-year-old Francesco Merlini of the first picture he ever took. “I was struck by the immediacy of the photographic medium, the ease with which you can create something visually pleasing.” Merlini studied industrial design at Politecnico di Milano, and though photography featured in his life from an early age, he never considered dedicating himself to it. Like many of his generation, he used his camera for little more than documenting his life – his mates, girlfriends, trips. “Some photos worked but there was no meaning behind them, there was no purpose,” he says. “They were snaps. “The turning point came in 2010 when I started working at Prospekt [the agency of which he is now a member] as a photo editor and sales manager. I started doing scans and photographing events, developing my own …

2017-02-27T15:02:00+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

New Age of Walls © Washington Post

Washington Post’s Age of Walls wins WPP’s Innovative Storytelling Prize

Donald Trump’s Mexican wall may have got the headlines over the last year, but walls – in a very physical sense – are being built between nations all over the world, at a pace and urgency under-reported by the world’s most viable media organisations. “In many ways, the barrier-building is being driven by fear,“ The Washington Post wrote in the introduction to New Age of Walls, a multimedia investigation detailing each of the 63 border walls and barriers, many of them newly constructed, that are now dividing nations across four continents. New Age of Walls was the winner of the Innovative Storytelling category in World Press Photo’s Digital Storytelling contest, an award for a piece of journalism designed specifically for the online space. “Most of the new walls are being erected within the European Union, which until recently was nearly borderless,” The Post wrote. “Britain is going further, rolling up its bridges to the continent by voting to exit the E.U. “Intended to counter migrants and terrorist attacks, these moves are not limited to Europe. In the Middle …

2017-02-16T13:02:33+00:00

Kaja Rata 1_670

Mining the cosmos in Kaja Rata’s Kajnikaj

Kaja Rata lives in the Silesia region of Poland, a place where “nothing unusual happens”. “People are working hard as a miners, or drinking hard while they’re looking for the next job,” she says. “But the mines are slowly disappearing, because it’s an unprofitable industry right now. Basically, I can tell that I live in vanishing location.” She’s opted to break up the experience by making Kajnikaj, a series whose title means “here and there” in the local dialect. Documentary but also somehow fantastical, it focuses in on the “grey destroyed monuments of the Soviet era” and a celestial colour palette to create something that looks cosmic. “When I look at the sky over the decaying town, and when I build rickety contraptions, I am trying to find means to escape from the place I was born and raised,” she says. “Even though I know that it is a futile attempt.” Born in 1987 , Rata has been studying photography seriously for eight years; she graduated from the photography BA at University of Arts in Poznań in 2015, …

2017-02-10T09:32:30+00:00

half awake and half asleep in the water half awake and half asleep in the water by Asako Narahashi, scenography by ECAL, Arthur Desmet, Marie Millière and Arthur Monnereau. © Diana Martin/Festival Images Vevey 2016

Innovative installations rule at the Festival Images Vevey

Festival Images Vevey is known for its innovative photography installations, but in 2016 it outdid itself, placing images on the bottom of Lake Geneva, hiding them behind peep-holes, and much more. “The festival is interesting because it uses photography so unconventionally,” says Erik Kessels, the Amsterdam-based artist and art director who has shown his work and been a regular visitor at the biennial, and who recommended it to BJP. “It’s experimental, unafraid of risk.” The Swiss festival has been going since 1997, but when Stefano Stoll was asked to take over in 2008, it was in the doldrums. “It was a festival pretty much as any other,” he says. “You bought a ticket, entered a couple of galleries and discovered framed images on the walls. It wasn’t attracting many visitors, and the sponsors weren’t happy. I was tasked with coming up with a more innovative concept.” Stoll had previously co-founded a more conventional festival so he wasn’t interested in repeating himself, and felt there was little point trying to replicate what others were already doing so successfully …

2017-02-04T10:01:08+00:00

BJP Staff