All posts filed under: Interviews

Laura Morton’s Wild West Tech

In Dave Eggers’ novel The Circle, recent graduate Mae Holland joins a highly successful social media corporation in California. The Circle, as the company is named, demands 24/7 loyalty from its staff but, seduced by its power and glamour, Holland is quickly drawn in and starts sleeping at the on-site dormitory and almost exclusively hanging out with its employees. By the end of the book things have taken a dystopian turn, and The Circle has morphed into a totalitarian regime, governed by slogans such as ‘Privacy is Theft’ and ‘Secrets are Lies’, poised to take over the world.

It’s a compulsive read, and is currently being turned into a film starring Emma Watson and Tom Hanks, so you’d think it would be required reading for young entrepreneurs relocating to San Francisco to set up their own tech businesses. Photographer Laura Morton agrees, but says most of them have never heard of the book. “You have to understand, most of them are completely dedicated to their work,” she says. “They have to launch faster than the next guy, quickly scale up their business… They’re not looking outward a lot.”

2018-09-03T14:25:27+00:00

Brian Kanagaki’s Golden Persimmons

“You should get into the habit of looking above eye-level while walking,” says American photographer Brian Kanagaki. “It’s much more beautiful than looking down at the dirty street and trash.” Golden Persimmons, shot over a period of six years, captures geometric subjects in ambiguous environments; spanning over eight countries (though predominantly New York), the brutally black and white images take inspiration from the graphic, organic shapes found in cities globally.

The project began when the design director got lost while taking a shortcut in his hometown, San Francisco. “It was funny to get lost in a city that I thought I knew so well,” he says. “I ended up driving around and finding so many new things that got my mind working.” One of which was decorative trees in people’s front gardens, the original basis for the series. But after moving to New York and spending time travelling, the idea quickly evolved to focus on tying the world together by capturing its mundane similarities.

2018-08-30T15:32:59+00:00

Meet this month’s OpenWalls Editor’s Pick photographer, Gustavo Tavares

Gustavo Tavares has spent many years exploring the arctic, photographing the landscapes as a way to understand the climate’s harshness, and the relationship between man and nature. For Gustavo, the arctic embodies a fractured sense of home. It is not where he lives, but where he finds his spiritual and emotional balance, calling into question what actually defines our notion of home. His OpenWalls Editor’s Pick photograph is an image taken in Pyramiden, an abandoned Soviet coal mining city, with a population of just six people. Gustavo is based in Aveiro, Portugal, a colourful town set along the Ria de Aveiro lagoon, often described as the Venice of Portugal – a far cry from the sparseness, and coldness, of Pyramiden. But these deserted, freezing landscapes are where Gustavo finds his sense of belonging. We spoke to Gustavo about his father’s photographic influence, protecting himself from polar bears, and his series ‘La Camera du Flaneur’, a project inspired by the words of Susan Sontag. Can you tell me about your background as a photographer? How and …

2018-08-23T16:48:07+00:00

Bobby Doherty scales back the hyper-real for the raw simplicity of Seabird

When you Google Bobby Doherty, staff photographer at New York Magazine, the words “film,” “35mm,” and “vertical” repeatedly come up. But since being commissioned for editorial, the New York based artist has focused his time on producing digital still life photography. “Now I’m known for doing super digital studio stuff, which is cool because I like making that kind of work; but it’s nice to be able to step away from the studio and live outside,” he says. “I like taking photos all the time – it’s nice not to have to worry about the technical aspect and just go out with a camera and film.”

2018-08-24T10:09:39+00:00

Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin: Bandage the Knife Not the Wound

In October 2017, Oliver Chanarin, a photographer professor at the University of Fine Arts in Hamburg, printed an archival photograph onto cardboard in his office, and left it on display for his job share partner Adam Broomberg. The next week, his colleague printed an image on top of the photograph. This exchange happened several times, ultimately creating unprompted photomontages. “I left a sample for Adam, as a little gift,” says Chanarin, who was born in London but grew up in South Africa as a child to South African parents. “That’s how it began; as a conversation in images printed on cardboard.”

2018-08-23T10:16:55+00:00

Vincent Ferrané’s Visitor

Has anything improved since Linda Nochlin’s 1971 essay Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists? The fact that women make up just 15.5% of the artists’ files on Wikipedia suggests not. According to L’Observatoire de l’Egalite, only 30% of the artists exhibited in galleries are women, even though more than 60% of art students in France are women.

Even so, there is some cause for optimism – as French photographer Vincent Ferrané points out. “Of the top 500 contemporary artists in 2017 [in France], only 14% of women,” he says. “But 30% of those were born after 1980.”

2018-08-17T14:26:35+00:00

Josh Adam Jones’ XO

Titled XO, Josh Adam Jones’ graduation project investigates expatriate communities in Oman. “I had informed myself about Middle Eastern culture and the social landscape in the country before visiting, so upon arrival I was eager to embrace everything I was presented with,” he says. “The atmosphere was hugely welcoming, albeit stiflingly hot.”

Born in Cheltenham in 1995, and a recent documentary photography graduate from the University of the West of England, Jones says his inquisitive nature pushed him towards social documentary photography. “I like meeting people, so looking outwards, as opposed to photographing my own ‘backyard’, always felt natural,” he says. “Images have a wonderful potency that other mediums cannot quite match.”

2018-08-16T15:02:52+00:00

Q&A: Txema Salvans on his new book, My Kingdom

Born in Barcelona in 1971, Txema Salvans is still based in the Catalan capital, and specialises in making documentary work about Spain and the Spanish people. He is best known for his book The Waiting Game [2013], which showed lone women, presumably prostitutes, waiting by the sides of roads along the Mediterranean coast. Salvans spent six years shooting this project, and recently published The Waiting Game II [2018], a series showing fisherman on the Mediterranean coast, waiting for the fish to bite. In 2010 he published Nice to Meet You, also shot along the Mediterranean, a book of ‘family photos’ in which some of those shown weren’t family.

His new book, My Kingdom, recently published by Mack Books, originally grew out of Nice to Meet You, and shows Spanish people and families relaxing on the Mediterranean coast. Its title is taken from a speech by King Juan Carlos I, however, who ruled Spain from 22 November 1975 – 19 June 2014, and extracts from his speeches run throughout the book. It is, says Salvans, a book about power rather than about Spain, the Spanish, or King Juan Carlos I. BJP caught up with him to find out more.

2018-09-12T10:04:44+00:00

Tracing the collective history of North Korea

“There is a term to describe the cultural ache that Koreans go through: Han. A complex intermingling of historical, collective and personal sorrow, acceptance of a bitter present, and a hope of a better future.” Introduced to the term by a North Korean defector, Herman Rahman decided to adopt it as the framing concept for his project of the same name.

Han traces the collective history of the notoriously closed regime of the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea, relying largely on archival imagery and found text to probe at the borders of a near-impenetrable subject. The work is an interrogation, not only of the secrecy of the North Korean state, but also of the nature of photography itself.

2018-08-16T15:02:16+00:00

Tom Roche: Black Blood

Growing up, photographer Tom Roche learned about his Romani Gypsy heritage only through fragmentary stories and speculation. “My great, great uncle was stabbed in the heart with a wooden stake because he owed money for land,” says Roche, a recent University of the West of England graduate. “Then I had one aunt, aunt Liz, who used to pick crops, one aunt that made baskets, and another who sold pegs – or so I’m told; I don’t have any images, records, or concrete facts of my ancestors.”

2018-08-23T10:25:01+00:00

BJP Staff