All posts filed under: Documentary

Exclusive: Tales of Beauty from Sicily’s Nigerian refugees

The number of refugee and migrant arrivals in the EU surpassed one million in 2015 – discounting the thousands that died en route. In recent months, Italy, Greece and Turkey have come under scrutiny as the main points of entry for people from Africa and the Middle East. The situation is perhaps most felt in the Mediterranean’s coastal towns, where over 300,000 have made the perilous crossing to Europe by sea in the last year, according to the UNHCR. “The topic is high on the agenda now,” says Sicily-born, London-based photographer Salvatore Di Gregorio. “But this has been in the news for twenty years in Sicily. To the people, it has always felt like, ‘this is your problem, you deal with that.” His home is very much on the frontline: half of Italy’s migrants currently reside in the island’s temporary centres, increasingly met with hostility from locals amid growing economic and political insecurity. Di Gregorio’s latest series of portraits, Project Mirabella: Tales of Beauty, is a reaction to this climate. “When you have a crisis like …

2016-02-08T19:06:10+00:00

Bob Dylan on tour in 1975, shown for the first time

It has been said that Bob Dylan – the character – predates Bob Dylan the musician. Certainly the wandering minstrel is a concept as old as Christendom, but there’s more here. Dylan occupies a unique space in the American cultural idiom: Though his lyrics are not poetry, he is undoubtedly a poet. Though he speaks constantly and articulately, he seems profoundly reticent. His ubiquity is underscored by a kind of divine absence – as though he’s not really there. A silent troubadour. A walking paradox whose words cover everything and nothing. A voice of the times, or maybe a voice for every time. Little wonder perhaps, that photographic collections of Dylan are a key component to understanding his enduring appeal. And a new book of images by Ken Regan showcases that enigmatic persona during his 1975 Rolling Thunder Revue. It’s certainly a revealing collection. Said Regan: “I had total access. I could walk into his dressing room at any given point and photograph anything he was doing.” Indeed, many of the photographs appear here for the first time since they were taken forty …

2016-02-09T13:30:44+00:00

Blood and Rose, Tokyo, 1969 Albertina, Vienna; permanent loan of the Austrian Ludwig Foundation for Art and Science ©  Matsu Estate, courtesy | PRISKA PASQUER, Cologne

Between Protest and Performance – Unseen Photographs of Japan’s 60s New Wave

Japan’s most influential photographers – including Daidō Moriyama, Yutaka Takanashi, Shōmei Tōmatsu, and Nobuyoshi Araki – are shown together for the first time in Provoke, a new exhibition at The Vienna-based Albertina museum, which explores the significance of the short-lived and revered magazine of the same name. Seen from today, Provoke is an expression of the massive social turbulence in Japan’s recent history, a country uniquely scarred by the Second World War, and in the throes of creating a new national identity. The 200 works on show therefore represent an expression of this political transformation and new ways of using photography as a form of protest; to express, or even inspire, such fundamental change. In the 1960s, Japan started to see the first great wave of protests against renewal of diplomatic ties with the USA, to the illegal actions of large corporations and the despotism of the neoliberal Japanese state. As the protest movements intensified, so a series of photographers, with the ability to publish their work, began to emerge. As well as expressing the social unrest of their generation, these photographers were also …

2016-02-01T17:28:31+00:00

Flavinia - Miss Africa Dream Picture

Sistaaz of the Castle: fashion dreams of Cape Town’s trans sex workers

Dutch photographer Jan Hoek and fashion designer Duran Lantink have always shared an interest in working with models that are different. In his documentary photography, Hoek’s subjects range from homeless people who “look like kings” to heroin addicts with a modelling dream. Lantink uses amateur models in his shows, while employing unconventional design techniques and recycled fabrics to symbolise the different layers of society. Discovering the powerful, unique looks of South Africa’s transgender sex worker community was a coincidence, but one that instantly captured both their imaginations. In Sistaaz of the Castle, Hoek and Lantink zoom in on six girls from transgender support group Sistaazhood, part of the Cape Town sex workers’ organisation SWEAT. Shot under a bridge beside the capital’s castle – the closest thing to a home for most of the girls – Hoek’s photographs show the realities of their lives in parallel with the extraordinary inventiveness that goes into creating their customised outfits. The images express a different story, one that focuses on the girls’ intuitive sense of fashion, rather than the hardships …

2016-01-28T14:15:43+00:00

Showing the Lives of Cameron’s “Bunch of Migrants”

The Sun leads with “Anarchy near the UK: Brit Activists behind ferry stampede”. The Daily Mail goes with “Migrants Chunnel Stroll to Asylum in Britain”. The Express gets nihilistic: “No End to Migrant Crisis”. Just a couple of miles across the English Channel, the Calais refugee camp now known as ‘The Jungle’ has become a focal point of the current refugee crisis. Each day produces new miseries; from refugees freezing in the bitter cold; the deployment of teargas and rubber bullets by French police, and now clashes between refugees and authorities as bulldozers arrive to scrub what’s considered a national embarrassment from the face of the earth. Austrian photographer Stefano Kleinowitz visited the camp three times in the latter half of 2015, observing as it expanded in size, in population and in the minds of the countries on whose doorstep it lies. BJP asked him about the experience: “I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know if people spoke English, if they’d be friendly, what I would eat or where I would sleep “Fortunately …

2016-01-27T16:11:01+00:00

01_ Press Image l Saul Leiter, Snow, 1960 copy

Ordinary Beauty: Revisiting Saul Leiter’s pioneering images

During his lifetime, Saul Leiter (1923–2013) was something of the ignored artist of American photographic history. While his career spanned a time when quintessential New York street photography was defined as swift, sharp and precise, Leiter’s leisured, impressionist style went against the grain. Leiter was a pioneer of colour photography, adventurously using Kodachrome colour slide film well before the likes of William Eggleston and Joel Meyerowitz. As the Guardian’s Sean O’Hagan wrote in Leiter’s obituary, “[his photographs] are as much about evoking an atmosphere as nailing the decisive moment.” A retrospective of the late photographer’s work has just began at The Photographers’ Gallery; the first major public show of his work in the UK features more than 100 works, including early black-and-white and colour photographs, sketchbooks and related materials.     While Leiter’s early black-and-white images were published in LIFE magazine and exhibited in New York and Tokyo, he quickly moved into fashion photography, shooting for Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, British Vogue, Esquire and more. When I speak to Brett Rogers, director of the Soho gallery …

2016-01-27T14:16:44+00:00

Map of Displacement: Iraqi Exiles Tell Their Own Story

To Western eyes, Iraq is a nightmarish hurricane of blood, bullets and bombs. We see it through the lens of a news media that still uses the motto “if it bleeds, it leads”. Editors salivate at shots of mutilated corpses, masked men committing horrific acts of violence and apocalyptic threats about the end of civilisation. Yet amidst this carnage there’s a story going untold, one that could have broader consequences on the world than these acts of violence. It’s a tale of mass population displacement, of how conflict percolates into everyday life, of the consequences and reverberations beyond the news headlines. Map of Displacement showcases collaborative photographic projects between the Kurdish Iraqi photographers of Metrography, Iraq’s first internal photography agency, and international journalists. The website covers topics as disparate as a Christian and Sunni family learning to coexist under the same roof; barbers threatened with having their fingers cut off if they keep cutting hair in Western styles; and Yazidi women kidnapped and sold into sexual slavery. “In Iraq, the ISIS crisis doesn’t only mean death and destruction, …

2016-01-22T15:02:12+00:00

68389_2500 px

Delivering Life: New Mothers in the World’s Poorest Country

When I ask Jenny Lewis to recount her experiences of photographing her most recent project, One Day Young Malawi, I brace myself. Malawi is officially the poorest nation in the world. According to the World Health Organisation, Malawi has the highest fertility rate in the world, with the average woman raising 5.7 children, and “a critical shortage of capacity in institutions implementing development programmes.” Lewis travelled there – in an extension of her viral One Day Young project – to capture the most intimate moments of a mother and newborn arriving home in the first twenty-four hours after birth. The odds on this tale being anything other than bleak seem slim. “I was next to the delivery room when Efrida was giving birth” Lewis tells BJP of one of the first new mothers she photographed. “Twenty minutes later, they needed the delivery room, so they shoved her out and put her in the room I was in, where I was taking a picture of Miriam, who was bleeding very heavily at the time. “So Efrida was bleeding all over the …

2016-02-08T13:04:48+00:00

The attempt to block Parliament of Ukraine (Verhovna Rada). The police burned the Trade Union Federation of Ukraine – those still in the building were burned alive. 20th February 2014

Culture of the Confrontation: live from the Ukrainian Revolution

As winter approached in late 2013, the rumblings of political, social and civil discontent in Ukraine was growing louder by the day. When Viktor Yanukovych, the nation’s president, rejected a deal with the European Union for a $15bn aid package from Russia, many citizens were furious. Promising greater political integration and closer cultural ties, lots of Ukrainians saw the EU deal as a new path for the country, whose economic predicament was worsening.  On the 21st November, up to 20,000 protesters gathered in Kiev’s Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) after spreading messages on social media. By the 24th, their numbers had swelled – somewhere between 50,000 and 200,000, depending on who you asked. As pro-EU demonstrators chanted and marched, a small group attempted to storm the Government Building. That’s when the trouble really began. The wave of civil unrest flooded the streets, fuelled by a heady mix of Cold War-era hostilities, far-right opportunism and pan-European democratic idealism. What became known as Euromaidan led to the Ukrainian Revolution, with President Yanukovych being ousted from power in February …

2016-02-04T18:18:31+00:00

Barricade made from barrels, 1916

Historic photojournalism depicting the growth of Irish nationalism

“The Irish can’t forget their history because the English refuse to remember it,” says Luke Dodd, quoting renowned academic Terry Eagleton. If that’s true, it’s something Dodd hopes to change with an exhibition at The Photographers’ Gallery devoted to Ireland’s rebellion against British rule. The Easter Rising 1916: Sean Sexton Collection depicts the growth of Irish nationalism, the uprising of 1916, the subsequent emergence of the Irish Free State, and how it all played out in images. Dodd, who has just edited a book of Jane Brown’s photojournalism, has drawn the images from a private collection of more than 20,000 prints put together by Sexton over the last 50 years. Including press and military photographs, amateur shots and postcards, Sexton’s archive is outstanding, says Dodd, because it’s so comprehensive, but at the same time so personal. “He’s a slightly eccentric character and has searched everywhere – he’s been to every car boot sale, and voraciously collected anything Irish,” he says. “That means there’s a lot of obscure stuff, but that’s also its great strength. “There aren’t …

2016-01-12T17:34:56+00:00

BJP Staff