All posts filed under: Interviews

Photobook: Tokyo is Yours by Meg Hewitt

Born in 1973 in Sydney, Meg Hewitt got into photography after studying sculpture and painting. She’s since reached the finals at the prestigious Moran Prize for Contemporary Photography and the Maggie Diaz Photography Prize for Women, and won a silver medal from the Prix de la Photographie – among other accolades – and exhibited her series Tokyo is Yours at Place M Gallery in Tokyo last year. This year, it will be shown again at the Voies Off, Les Rencontres d’Arles’ fringe festival, alongside work by her mentor, Magnum photographer Jacob Aue Sobol. Shot in Japan over two years, Tokyo is Yours is inspired by manga, surrealism and film noir, and uses a gritty monochrome that Hewitt first experimented with back in Sydney, where she was founding director of the 10×8 Gallery from 2012-2014. “When I started shooting on film I couldn’t afford to process colour, so I would develop black-and-white film myself in the bathroom,” she says. “It was a natural progression to shoot at high ISO with a flash, and pushing the film then created part of the aesthetic. It emphasises …

2017-05-25T12:37:33+00:00

How to shoot a perfect portrait: Dan Wilton, a Portrait of Britain 2016 winner

Dan Wilton is a UK-based portrait and documentary photographer who works with clients such as The Fader, Asos, The New York Times, Adidas, Nike and XL Recordings. His portraits of Dizzee Rascal and Stormzy were both selected in BJP’s Portrait of Britain award last year, and displayed on JC Decaux screens the length and breadth of the country. BJP caught up with Wilton to find out more about his approach. What makes a compelling portrait? Too many things to list, every shoot is different. I realise the importance of patience on my part. Taking my time allows whoever I’m photographing to either engage with the process or to switch off and forget it completely – both of which I’ve found can really work with the way I shoot. It’s all about connection – about finding some kind of dialogue. Sometimes that can be hard – especially with very short shoots – but that’s one of the challenges and one of the reasons I love it so much. When did you fall in love with photography? It’s been a …

2017-05-25T10:10:33+00:00

Q&A: J A Mortram on his ten-year project Small Town Inertia

J A (or Jim) Mortram was born in 1971, and studied art in Norwich. In his third year of college he dropped out to become the primary carer for his mother, who has chronic epilepsy, in a small market town in Norfolk called Dereham. In 2006 he started shooting people in and around Dereham, focusing on those facing disadvantages and social exclusion, and went to create a blog called Small Town Inertia, featuring his images and their words. The blog was critically acclaimed early one, and in 2013 Mortram was one of BJP‘s Ones to Watch. Mortram has made publications of three of his stories with Cafe Royal Books, and is now finalising a photobook called Small Town Inertia, which will be published by  Bluecoat Press in June. BJP: When did you get into photography? J A Mortram: About seven or eight years ago, in the months before I started the Small Town Inertia blog. It both saved and completely transformed my life. After years of being a carer for my disabled mother, I’d become highly marginalised. Being a carer …

2017-05-25T10:42:29+00:00

Any answers: Hilary Roberts

I saw a rough-and-ready exhibition about events during the Prague Spring. It was 1977, and I was a student visiting the Soviet-controlled Czechoslovakian capital. The show was very basic in its curatorship and design; what we’d now call a pop-up. But it made me realise how photography can transcend language barriers. Photography has the ability to tell a story on multiple levels. The Prague exhibition complied with the state messages of the time, and yet, when you looked at the photographs, there was a subtext telling a very different story. The exhibition was about the reassertion of law and order. But it was also clearly an exploration of popular protest and a demand for democracy and freedom of expression. I joined the Imperial War Museum in 1980 as a junior curator. I’ve worked here ever since. I thought two years would do it, but then The Falklands conflict happened. At that point, the subject leapt off the pages of the history books and into the present day. The role of a photography curator was very …

2017-05-25T12:58:45+00:00

Show: Thomas Albdorf’s General View

“The series toys with the question regarding the necessity of travelling to a place that has been photographed innumerable times, the need to record additional photographs,” says the artist. “If countless images of a specific place are readily available, has one been there already?”

2017-05-25T10:25:58+00:00

Show: Behind the Beat, a journey through 60 years of British youth subculture

“It starts with disenfranchised youth and not wanting to do what the generation before has done, but by taking the usual teenage angst and by creating a scene and a music and a language, they turn it into something much more powerful and culturally significant,” says Jim Stephenson, the founder of Miniclick and co-curator of the Behind The Beat show. Featuring work memorabilia collected from the scenes and work by nine photographers – Ken Russell, Gavin Watson, Derek Ridgers, Dean Chalkley (with creative director Harris Elliott), Stuart Griffiths, Paul Hallam, Ali Tollervey, Olivia Rose and Elaine Constantine – Behind The Beat focuses in on the fans and subcultures that have sprung up behind the music in Britain over the last 60 years. Including seemingly disparate groups, such as Teddy Girls, B-Boys, ravers and Skinheads, it draws out parallels between the different scenes, and also includes interviews Stephenson has done with people who were involved with them. “The way they talk is quite similar,” he tells BJP. “Whether they’re talking about [UK grime star] Stormzy or The Clash.” As Stephenson …

2017-05-10T14:45:53+00:00

Project: On Abortion by Laia Abril

Laia Abril is no stranger to themes of distress. Bulimia, coping with the death of a child, the asexual community, virtual sex-performer couples – these are all topics that the Barcelona-based photographer has explored and attempted to demystify with her multi-layered, story-based practice. The subjects she tackles are complex and provocative, but ones she is able to connect with by way of female empathy, “where I can be involved emotionally”, she says. Her most extensive work to date explores the struggle of eating disorders and is divided into chapters, starting with a short film titled A Bad Day. Next came Thinspiration, a self-published fanzine exploring and critiquing the selfie culture used by the pro-ana community; and finally The Epilogue, which follows an American family in the aftermath of losing their daughter to bulimia. Separating the work into sections allowed her to approach different aspects through different platforms, not only in the multiplicity of perspectives but also in a constantly evolving visual stimulation. Her new work, A History of Misogyny, also adopts the use of a …

2017-05-05T13:10:41+00:00

Project: Magnum photographer Christopher Anderson’s Bleu Blanc Rouge

“Everything in France over the last year-and-a-half has given a different context to the pictures I’ve made,” says Magnum photographer Christopher Anderson. “There’s a darkness now that wasn’t there when I began.” We’re discussing his series Bleu Blanc Rouge, an open-ended meditation on French identity and culture he’s currently editing into a book. He started it back 2010, on a residency in South France, but the work has taken on new resonance, after a spate of terrorist attacks in France and the rise of ultra-nationalist Presidential candidate Marine Le Pen. In fact the series now seems timely – prophetic even – but then Anderson’s work often does. He released Stump, a photobook satirising the American presidential circus, back in 2014, two years before the upset election of Donald Trump; and he released Capitolio, a dark vision of the Venezuelan capital, in 2011, two years before the death of President Hugo Chavez and the economic and political crisis now playing out on Caracas’ streets. “I have noticed that,” he says, when I point out his talent for …

2017-05-09T12:46:38+00:00

BJP Staff