All posts filed under: Documentary

Haiti, Port-au-Prince, Cité Soleil. 2015. The densely populated and violent Cité Soleil controlled by gangs is considered to be the most dangerous place of the western world. Absence of economic activity puts its residents below the already low poverty level of Haiti. Cité Soleil has a population of around 400,000 inabitants. Climate change and deforestation dramatically reduced the farmland in the Haitian countryside and led to emigrate into urban areas the environmental migrants with the consequently development of slums area such as Citè Soleil which is considered to be the poorest and most densely populated area in Haiti.

Environmental migration in Haiti a warning to the world – in photographs

Haiti is almost completely denuded of trees. According to the United Nations, the increasing frequency of drought, cyclones, hurricanes and floods will have an amplified impact in one of the most fragile environments already existent anywhere in the world. This isn’t just an issue of wildlife, fauna and flora. It’s an issue of humankind as well, for the vulnerability of the country to natural disasters has triggered waves of internal migration from rural to urban areas. In Port-au-Prince, the country’s capital and largest city, half of the residents were not born there. The city continues to serve as the main destination for thousands of environmental migrants every year. Last Illusion, a multi-chapter photography project depicting one of the main and overlooked consequences of climate change on human populations has just been launched by Alessandro Grassani, an Italian photojournalist repped by INSTITUTE. Haiti can be seen as a prosthetic microcosm for the future. Environmental migration is like an unexploded device: in the not too distant future, the entire planet will have to face the economic and social burden of …



Interview: Clément Saccomani, New Head of NOOR


In 2007, when many prominent voices were lamenting the death of photojournalism, nine award-winning photographers came together to form NOOR. Launched at Visa pour l’image in Perpignan, NOOR – which means ‘light’ in Arabic – was one of the first agencies to be born in the digital era, allowing its members to respond from the get-go. These photographers are at its core because, like other cooperative agencies such as Magnum and VII Photo, NOOR is owned and operated by its members. These currently include founders Stanley Greene, Pep Bonet, Yuri Kozyrev, Kadir van Lohuizen and Francesco Zizola, who were later joined by Jon Lowenstein, Nina Berman, Andrea Bruce, Alixandra Fazzina, Bénédicte Kurzen – and most recently Sebastián Liste and Asim Rafiqui, all of whom pay a monthly fee and have a financial stake in the NOOR agency and foundation. They’re an international bunch, and they have diverse visions, but share a commitment to producing independent visual reports on challenging global issues. Their main goal in starting the agency was to pool their resources, allowing them …



Hunter Barnes’ 15 Years Finding American Subcultures

Hunter Barnes’ black and white silver gelatin photographs, made and hand printed by the artist,  devoted his life to documenting America’s disappearing sub cultures and fringe groups for the past 15 years. The journey, the subject of a new photobook and exhibition at the Serena Morton gallery in London, has been, he says, “a spiritual journey into what is unknown and worlds rarely seen.” The exhibition – spanning fifteen years on the road – documents the people and aspects of American culture and communities who choose to live outside mainstream life, evangelicals, criminals, bikers and nomads whom are “consistently misrepresented in the modern American narrative”. Barnes builds friendships with the people he photographs. He’s willing to spend years gaining their trust, sharing experiences, developing a “meaningful dialogue” before they allow him access to their private worlds, allowing him to frame them as they are. Witness his description of meeting the native American tribute the Ne Mee Poo/Ni Mii Puu. He met and befriended a leader called Uncle Irving at the Tamkaliks Pow Wow at the Lapwai Idaho Reservation reservation in Wallowa Oregon. “Once …


A campesino in Bajo Aguan, where local farm workers are waging a war against big African Palm companies.

Dominic Bracco, the Tim Hetherington Trust Visionary Award winner: “I saw people I love do horrific things”

“I’m just a straight up, ‘shit-kicker’ kid from Texas,” says Dominic Bracco. “I wore cowboy boots every day of my life until I was 20. I was that kid.” Bracco, 29, a photojournalist now based in Mexico City, knew that he wanted to pursue photography from a young age. He grew up in Chapman Ranch, near to the Mexican border. As he neared adulthood, he became acutely aware of the deep-rooted issues of migration, drugs and cultural divides of the region. His mother was a children’s social worker; his great uncle, a human trafficker. When he was still a teenager, he was inspired by  photography series that documented the lives of two lovers addicted to drugs. Yet, even then, Bracco was already tapping into a humanistic perception of documentary photography that would come to define his style and approach. “What resonated with me was that it wasn’t just about them being heroin addicts,” says Bracco of the lovers. “It was about them and how much they loved each other. Drugs have a very charged feel next to the border. …


Photographers from Rio’s Favela on show for the first time

The new exhibition, entitled Favela: Joy and Pain in the City, displays photographs taken by three young Brazilian photographers, each of whom hails from, and attempting to reflect, the experience of living in the biggest favela in Rio de Janeiro, and indeed the whole of Brazil. Their work is presented by the Observatory of the Favelas based in Maré. Photographers Bira, Elisângela and Adriano all come from Brazil’s largest favela, Maré, a favela so troubled and and blighted by violence it was occupied by 2,700 of the country’s troops from April last to the denouement of the World Cup. The series succeeds in enriching and, in some regards, challenging the ideas we have of the more deprived streets of Rio: children playing football, skateboarding and cavorting on the beach, a gaggle of children splashing around in a paddling pool, natives of the city singing and dancing to Rio’s anthem, the Cidade Maravilhosa, yet also the almost ubiquitous presence of the armed forces in Maré, the sheer poverty many children have to live with in the city, the leering, background presence, communicated through something as subtle as graffiti, …


Robert Mapplethorpe96.43735/31/02Ellen Labenski

Hello from the other side: An interview with the directors of the new Mapplethorpe documentary

“He always said, look at the picture,” says film director Fenton Bailey, jabbing his hands at an invisible print lying on his knees. “It’s not about the fist fucking or the golden shower or the whip. Look at the composition and look at the work.” Bailey and his directing partner, Randy Barbato recline in two, plush velvet armchairs at The Hospital Club’s Bellini Bar in Covent Garden. In a few hours, the filmmakers will be walking into the Curzon in Mayfair, for the premier screening of their new documentary, ‘Robert Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures’. The dynamic duo, known for their portfolio of shows with drag queens and divas at their centre, such as the contest RuPaul’s Drag Race, are also the documentarians behind Inside Deep Throat (2005),  Angelina: Saint or Sinner? (2005) and In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye (2012) to name but a few. When the pair were approached by Sheila Nevins from HBO, they were fascinated by her proposal, but did not anticipate the complexity and intense emotional demand of the film that …


Remembering Malick Sidibé

They’re dressed, fantastically, in white, but they couldn’t be more black. They’re holding hands, in the midst of a dance, and most probably a courtship. It’s late in the night. Music is playing. They look flushed, happy. They couldn’t be more alive. And they are about to celebrate their independence. In Bamako, the capital of Mali, in the late nineteen fifties, where this photo was taken, the boys would form gangs with over the top names. They’d belong to the Wild Cats, or the Black Socks. In a country still under the control of an imperialist French government, in which the natives of what was then French Sudan were afforded virtually no civil liberties, and in which conservative ethnic and religious concerns still exert a powerful pull on the country to this day, these young men would dress snappily, head into the night, and spend it engaging in the joyous pursuit of the opposite sex. Existing beyond closed-doors, Malick Sidibé was the only photographer to capture this new,  revolutionary youth movement. They became zeitgeist images, not just for that specific generation …


Remembering Tim Hetherington, five years on

The film begins with Tim Hetherington trying to describe why he risks his life to tell stories from some of the world’s most dangerous regions. Eventually, he finds the right words: “I want to connect with real people, to document them in real circumstances, where there aren’t any neat solutions.” We then cut to footage he filmed in Misrata, Libya, on the morning of 20 April 2011. The country is in the midst of civil war, and the city is under siege by troops loyal to Colonel Gaddafi. The Bee Gees’ How Deep is Your Love plays on the radio as we’re driven through the city by a rebel fighter in his early twenties, coolly smoking at the wheel, an AK-47 nestled by the gearstick and a grenade hanging from the dashboard. “Which way is the frontline from here?” Hetherington asks him, and he points straight forward. Hetherington and his photographer colleagues, Guy Martin, Chris Hondros and Guillermo Cervera, laugh at the sight of a high-rise building decimated by mortar fire. Later that afternoon, the group would …


The People who Survived Chernobyl

From 1986 to 2000, more than 350,000 people were evacuated from the most contaminated areas of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. The disaster is considered to be the worst nuclear accident in history, with the effects still being felt today. Magnum photographer Paul Fusco has documented the terrible consequences of this disaster in his book Chernobyl Legacy. The story of Chernobyl is, in some respects, a tale of twin cities: Pripyat, the abandoned city purposefully built to house Chernobyl workers. And Slavutych, the city built after the disaster to replace Pripyat, and to provide a home for those that left. On a sunny morning in April, the test on Reactor Number 4 Plant went horribly wrong. It took 36 hours after before the Soviet authorities ordered the evacuation of Pripyat, just two miles from the plant. In under four hours, more than 49,000 people had left their homes, driven away to an unknown location by a fleet of 1,200 buses. The authorities told them they would be gone for two or three days. They were told to leave everything behind, to carry with them only their identity …


Remembering Nicolas Tikhomiroff

Born in Paris, France, to Russian parents, and educated at boarding school. Tikhomiroff joined the French army just after the Liberation of Paris, when he was just 17. Tikhomiroff started his career as a photographer after finding work in the darkroom of a fashion photographer. Using a Rolleiflex, he began to take photographs for magazines like Marie France. In 1956, he met Michel Chevalier leading him to accompany the French journalist  as a freelance photographer. This relationship resulted in long trips to the Soviet Union, Africa, and the Middle East. Tikhomiroff joined Magnum in 1959 and completed numerous photo stories on subjects such as the Algerian War, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. He also contributed to an important Magnum project on World Cinema, meeting and photographing film directors like Orson Welles, Federico Fellini, Luchino Visconti. He developed a close friendship with Welles while photographing the filming of The Trial and Falstaff. Tikhomiroff retired from professional activities in 1987, but he continued working on his personal projects in France. Magnum member Bruno Barbey says of Nicolas: “As well as a very important …


BJP Staff