All posts filed under: Photobooks

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 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

D is for Deconstruct. Photos are often reliable documents that show things as they truly are. But just as you cut and paste with paper, scissors and glue, so too can you deconstruct and rebuild a photo – snipping, clipping and nipping as you please. Image from the series “I want to be...”, 2014, Kid’s Wear magazine, vol. 40 © Achim Lippoth, taken from the book ABC Photography

Making photography as easy as ABC

ABC Photography, a children’s guide to photography featuring images by Martin Parr, Wolfgang Tillmans, Nan Goldin, Alec Soth, Sebastiao Salgado and many more, opens at the V&A Museum of Childhood this weekend. Inspired by the recent book edited by Jan von Holleben – who also shoots children’s books himself – the project takes one photographic concept per letter to explain ideas such as deconstruction, composition, exposure and perspective. The text, by Monte Packham, is child-friendly and witty, and draws on the images to make a satisfyingly holistic whole. An exhibition by Tom Hunter called Searching for Ghosts also opens at the V&A Museum of Childhood this weekend, featuring work made with children living on the Boundary Estate. ABC Photography is free, and is open until 11 June in London’s V&A Museum of Childhood. ABC Photography, ed Jan van Holleben, is published by Tarzipan Books. Searching for Ghosts by Tom Hunter is open until 21 January 2018.

2017-02-09T13:54:22+00:00

From the series Manhattan Sunday © Richard Renaldi

Richard Renaldi reflects on shooting Manhattan Sunday

It’s Saturday night, and darkness has spilled across the city, transforming Manhattan’s sidewalks into a catwalk of bacchanalia, spotlighted by street lamps and neon piping. Clusters of sinewy figures in tank tops lean on metal railings outside favourite haunts such as Studio 54 or Paradise Garage, hips cocked, smoking cigarettes. A wall painting of a large, fleshy tentacle reaching out of a rolling wave frames a set of black doors with signs indicating ‘General Admission’ and ‘VIP Only’. Stepping into a hidden world, you head downstairs and join a steadily expanding crowd of bodies swaying to tribal house beats, swirling in artificial mist and the odour of hormone-spiked sweat laced with chemical stimulants. Faces blur. Everything begins to lose focus. It’s just past midnight when we join photographer Richard Renaldi’s journey through the night. The timestamp [00.07] captions the first image – a shiny, half-full dance floor – in his new photobook, Manhattan Sunday, published by Aperture. Shot over five years, the book delineates a night out on New York’s gay clubbing scene, celebrating its …

2017-02-16T13:39:12+00:00

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Joel Sternfeld on his classic American Prospects – and his new work

The hardened, wary faces of a family crammed into a beat-up car in a tent city outside Houston, Texas are gripping – and timeless. Photographed by Joel Sternfeld in 1983, they could easily be mistaken for the desperate, jobless Rust Belt voters who helped send Donald Trump to the White House. The family had headed south to seek out work in the oil patch – unsuccessfully it turned out – and were shot on one of the epic treks across the US Sternfeld took between 1977-1988. Photographing what he saw found on a 10×8 camera, he ruthlessly edited his images to make his legendary photobook, American Prospects, first published in 1987. The shot of the family didn’t make it into the original, but is now on show in London’s Beetles + Huxley gallery in an exhibition of 30 vintage dye transfer and chromogenic prints that includes both iconic and previously unseen work. There’s a photograph of a Christ Family religious sect member in a pastoral trench, for example, which the two-time Guggenheim fellow edited out for very personal reasons. …

2017-02-09T17:15:34+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

From the series Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink - 1972-1973, Six Mile Creek, Hillsborough County, Florida. Image © Bill Yates

The Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink, Tampa, Florida, 1972-73

“I believe a lot of photography is luck,” says Bill Yates. “But that depends on you putting yourself in a place where something is happening.” That’s just what he did back in September 1972, when he spotted the Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink. Driving around the rural Six Mile Creek in Hillsborough County, Tampa, in Florida, with a brand-new medium format camera, he saw the 1930s, wooden building out of the corner of his eye and, turning back for a better look, happened to meet the owner. “I never have a problem starting up a conversation so we started talking,” says Yates. “He took a liking to me and invited me to look inside. As soon as I walked in I said ‘Oh boy! This could be neat’. “I squeezed off a few frames of the interior and asked if I could come back, and he said ‘Sure, the place is going to be jumping’. When I returned, I could barely get in the car park.” What he’d stumbled on was the Studio 54 of its community, …

2017-02-16T13:40:42+00:00

Arno Roland, from Survivor: A portrait of the survivors of the Holocaust © Harry Borden

Harry Borden’s intimate portraits of elderly Holocaust survivors

In Harry Borden’s portrait, Arno Roland is seated at his kitchen table. The photograph, for Borden’s book Survivor: A portrait of the survivors of the Holocaust, published by Cassell Illustrated, shows walls covered in art and Roland looking towards the light that shines into his home in New Jersey, where he settled in the 1960s. He was 92 at the time of the picture and, although he was active in community theatre and served on the town council, he had remained unmarried and without children all his life. He died just a few months after Borden took his photograph, on 8 August 2015. In 1938, Roland was 15 years old and his brother Ulli a year younger, when their mother checked into a hotel and took an overdose of barbiturates. The Berlin police report noted that many Jewish women had recently taken their lives in such a way. On Kristallnacht the same year, when Nazis torched synagogues and killed almost 100 Jews, their father was on a business trip to Holland and managed to bring his sons …

2017-01-31T12:02:23+00:00

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Guy Martin shoots The Parallel State in Turkey

On 20 April 2011, Guy Martin was seriously injured in a mortar attack while covering the conflict in Libya. Two fellow photographers, Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros, were killed, and it was a year before Martin could walk again. It was another six months before he wanted to take pictures again. By the end of 2012 he had moved to Istanbul to start a new photographic project but his experience had fundamentally changed him. Until then enjoying a burgeoning career in photojournalism, shooting conflict in Egypt, Libya, Ramallah and Georgia for The Wall Street Journal, Time, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, Der Speigel and many more, he decided to take a step back. “To not learn from that event in April 2011, I couldn’t do that to myself,” he says. “I couldn’t justify it to my family, I couldn’t be put in that same situation again. The starting point was to take control of my photography, to use my photography instead of letting it use me. “I come back to this thought again and again – until …

2017-02-16T13:42:10+00:00

BJP Staff