All posts filed under: Interviews

Clement Cheroux © Michael Grieve

Any Answers: Clément Chéroux

With 40 books and 20 exhibitions to his name, a doctorate in art history from Panthéon Sorbonne, 10 years teaching the history of photography, and another decade as curator at the Pompidou, Frenchman Clément Chéroux is the ideal replacement for the legendary Sandra Phillips at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. BJP caught up with him in an interview first published in issue #7853 The work of a curator functions on a principle of association between images and ideas. The greatest pleasure is when you introduce a tension between these two poles and a spark appears. I worked at the Centre Pompidou for 10 years. It is an extraordinary place, located in the heart of Paris and in the heart of people. It will stay in mine. I am very excited to discover San Francisco, its people, its sun and its fog. I will miss the gargoyles up on the Saint-Jacques tower that I used to greet every morning on my way to work. Photography is not merely a passion. It’s a life. I met photography on …

2017-02-24T11:03:31+00:00

From the series Bright Days © Maryam Khastoo & Jonathan Clifford

A different side of Iran by Maryam Khastoo and Jonathan Clifford

In October 2016, Maryam Khastoo and Jonathan Clifford went to Iran to work on Khastoo’s ongoing project on her mother. Born to Iranian parents in Wales, Khastoo has visited the country regularly since she was a child, and lived there from 2010-2014; her mother now lives in Tehran, and Khastoo and Clifford spent ten days with her, Khastoo taking photographs and Clifford shooting film. After they’d finished work in the capital they “felt the need to get out” says Clifford, who was raised in Australia, and headed north for the quiet towns between the Caspian Sea and Alborz Mountain range. “Everyone we spoke of our plans with insisted that we go south to Isfahan, Shiraz or Yazd, which are the most common destinations for visitors to Iran due to their historical importance,” says Clifford. “But although these places certainly appealed, the idea of heading north, where Maryam has family, and staying with them on their orange and kiwi orchard, seemed a much better way to unwind after the hustle and chaos of Tehran. “We’d also discussed …

2017-02-23T16:35:48+00:00

Iraqi refugees in a low income housing community in Portland. The area is home to several thousand Iraqi refugees. One of the main community organisers is Dr. Baher Butti, who fled Baghdad in 2006 after his community activism made him the target of local militias. A psychiatrist, activist, and writer, Dr. Butti spends much of his free time helping the recent immigrants adapt to life in America. Many of them don’t speak much English and don’t understand their rights within the web of bureaucracy. Although he is constantly overworked, he sees it as his responsibility to help his people get on their feet as fast as possible. Portland, Oregon. 2015 © Peter van Agtmael/Magnum Photos. From the book Buzzing at the Sill

Q&A: Peter van Agtmael on his new book, Buzzing at the Sill

Born in Washington DC in 1981, Peter van Agtmael studied history at Yale before moving into documentary photography. Largely focusing on America, his work considers issues such as power, race and class; he also works on the Israel/Palestine conflict and throughout the Middle East. He has won the W.Eugene Smith Grant, the ICP Infinity Award for Young Photographers and many more, and joined Magnum Photos in 2008. His book Disco Night Sept 11, a study of the USA post-9/11, was published in 2014 and named a Book of the Year by titles such as The New York Times Magazine and Time Magazine. His latest photobook, Buzzing at the Sill, is the sequel.  BJP: Where does the title Buzzing at the Sill come from? PvA: It’s from a Theodore Roethke poem called In a Dark Time. I heard an excerpt of it in a play called The Nether and afterwards looked it up. I was profoundly moved. The poem made me feel like it was somehow related to me and the work I’d been doing, and so I kept it in the back of …

2017-02-21T12:16:15+00:00

From the series Talcum © Seba Kurtis, courtesy Christophe Guye Galerie

Seba Kurtis’ new work on migrants goes on show

It was discarded by the side of the road in Austria – a poultry lorry seeping human decay. When the authorities entered in August 2015, they found 71 bodies collapsed in a heap of necrosis, among them children, one a baby. All had died of asphyxiation. Beyond the horror, the discovery pointed to a complex global network of traffickers and asylum seekers. Some of the dead were confirmed as Syrian; others were harder to identify. The owner of the lorry, which had set off from Budapest, was a Bulgarian of Lebanese origin. Shortly after, the Hungarian police detained three East Europeans and an Afghan, all likely “low-ranking members of a Bulgarian- Hungarian human-trafficking gang”. A week later, a photo of three-year-old Alan Kurdi’s body washed up on a beach near Bodrum, went viral, putting an innocent human face on the migration crisis in Europe, which by now had become a deeply divisive political issue. The lorry in Austria was different. The victims remained invisible. The descriptions of the discovery forced you to make your own …

2017-02-20T13:14:43+00:00

From the series Fade Like a Sigh © Rana Young and Zora J Murff

Fade Like A Sigh

“Collaboration is a comfortable way of telling our stories in the company of someone else, as this content is too heavy for each of us to revisit alone,” says Rana Young, a Masters student at the University of Nebraska, who’s worked with fellow student Zora J Murff to make a series called Fade Like A Sigh. Initially thrown together by sharing a studio, the pair got talking and soon realised they had much in common. Both come from the Midwest and take a similar approach to photographing “imagery that describes home, or place generally”; both grew up with an absent parent. “Our personal experiences of that are unique, but through conversation we found a commonality,” says Young. “It’s easy to assume that your exposure to a shared experience is different to someone else’s.” Working together felt like a natural next step but they didn’t start to do so until last Autumn, when they were offered a two-person show. Finding images that didn’t quite fit into their other projects, they compared them and “began to notice how …

2017-02-16T16:33:28+00:00

From the series A Smiling Man A Hidden Snake © Yurian Quintanas Nobel

An uneasy vision of Sri Lanka in A Smiling Man and a Hidden Snake

Before Yurian Quintanas Nobel went on holiday to Sri Lanka, friends told him how welcoming the people there are. “And they really are,” he says, “but I always felt there was a kind of darkness in this country. “The recent history of Sri Lanka is very painful in human terms,” he explains. “The country suffered a long civil war that finished only eight years ago, and they had a devastating tsunami in 2004. I remember one afternoon I was taking pictures of a ruined house when a man came out to say hello. We talked for a while and then he told me that his wife and his child had died in the tsunami, and he pointed next to us where they were buried. “These kinds of situations shocked me, and influenced me more than other things like the hospitality of the people and the beauty of the country. What I had in mind while taking pictures was that not everything is what it seems. Sometimes things are not as beautiful as you thought and sometimes, …

2017-02-16T14:01:11+00:00

Installation shot of Incoming by Richard Mosse in collaboration with Trevor Tweeten and Ben Frost at The Curve, Barbican. Image © Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Barbican Art Gallery

Richard Mosse – Incoming

“A camera is a sublimation of the gun,” Susan Sontag wrote in her seminal collection of essays On Photography, first published in 1977. “To photograph someone is a subliminal murder – a soft murder, appropriate to a sad, frightened time.” But for Richard Mosse’s latest work, Incoming, his camera wasn’t a sublimation – it was the weapon itself. The Irishman’s rise has been vertiginous. Graduating from an MRes in cultural studies in 2003, a decade later he was representing his home country at the Venice Biennale, by way of a postgraduate course in fine art at Goldsmiths, an MFA in photography at Yale University and dozens of solo and group exhibitions in between. In 2015, the Irish photographer was nominated for membership of Magnum Photos – he was to be one of the youngest members of the prestigious agency, invited on the back of one extraordinary photography series, his Congo-based Infra work, which had won the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize a year earlier. But, even as he was welcomed in by Magnum, Mosse privately harboured an increasing sense …

2017-02-22T11:48:48+00:00

Out of the Way © Elena Anosova, which won second prize in the Daily Life - Stories categories at the 2017 World Press Photo. World Press managing director Lars Boering says the paucity of women in photojournalism is one of the key issues he wants to debate at the organisation's many new initiatives this year

World Press Photo’s Lars Boering and the fight against “fake news”

Lars Boering, managing director of World Press Photo, joined the organisation in January 2015, just before that year’s prize was announced. It was an award beset with issues, as it emerged that more than 20% of the final-round entries had been disqualified for image-manipulation; then one of the winners – Giovanni Troilo, who had won first prize in the Contemporary Issues – Story category – was disqualified, when World Press found that an image he said had been shot in Charleroi, Brussels had been taken in Molenbeek. Boering countered with a new code of ethics for entrants, which meant that images submitted to the 2016 prize were more thoroughly checked – and were found to be less prone to manipulation. This year the issue with manipulation was at about the same level as in the 2016, he says, which leaves him to conclude that “it is still a very big media challenge”. “It’s not about World Press Photo, it’s industry-wide and we need to debate it,” he tells BJP. “It is something we feel very strongly about – there …

2017-02-13T17:31:06+00:00

A young boy playing with a "pipa" (kite) on the roof of an unfinished condo. It is one of six buildings originally constructed for the middle class about 30 years ago; the mega project stopped after the construction company hit a financial crisis, and squatting started soon after. From the series Copacabana Palace © Peter Bauza

Peter Bauza’s Copacabana Palace wins at World Press Photo

Copacabana Palace is a complex of six concrete shells in Rio de Janeiro’s Campo Grande neighbourhood – buildings left unfinished 30 years ago after an economic crash stalled a housing project. The name comes from the eponymous five star hotel that looks over Rio’s Copacabana Beach, but the complex is also known as “Jambalaya”, the title of a Brazilian TV show, and “Carandiru”, the Sao Paulo prison where more than 100 inmates were massacred by police in 1992. When they were first abandoned, the Copacabana Palace buildings were looted and gutted of pipes, wires and electric cables. The hall floors have collapsed in many places. One building is completely uninhabitable, but the other five house about 300 families, some of whom have been squatting there for decades. German-born photographer Peter Bauza started taking pictures of them in June 2015, often sleeping in their homes. “When I appeared, they were just surprised to see a gringo there,” says Bauza. “I told them that I had an idea, that I would like to document their daily lives – their …

2017-02-14T14:09:10+00:00

Mevlut Mert Altintas shouts after shooting Andrei Karlov, right, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, at an art gallery in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. Image © AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici. World Press Photo of the Year, from a series which won first place in the Spot News - Stories category

Burhan Ozbilici wins the World Press Photo of the Year

Burhan Ozbilici wasn’t even working when he shot his World Press Photo-winning image – he was catching up with a friend, in an art gallery 150m from his home in Ankara. But, as the exhibition was a series of images of Russia, and the Russian ambassador Andrei Karlov was giving a speech, the Associated Press photographer “decided to do my job” and took his camera along. Standing “two or three rows back” with the other members of the press, he started to record the unremarkable moment – then found himself at a murder scene, as gunman Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş shot the ambassador dead, then stopped to proclaim “revenge for Syria and Aleppo” over his body. “I immediately understood it was a very important incident,” says Ozbilici. “Everyone ran away and threw themselves on the ground, or behind walls, or under tables, shouting and panicking. I thought running away was not a solution anyway, and decided to remain calm to risk antagonising the gunman further. I just kept shooting, changing my position to get a better angle, trying to capture this …

2017-02-13T13:02:56+00:00

BJP Staff