All posts filed under: Documentary

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 …


Tulip: Quiet Images of a Mother’s Struggle with Cancer

“I like the fact that it’s very delicate,” says the London-based photographer as she leafs her newly published photobook. “The white cloth gets dirty and scuffs very easily, which says something about the book. It’s a delicate project.” She closes it, passes it over the table, and returns her hands to her lap, nuzzling them into an oversized forest green jumper. A minute ago they were covered in the oil of a broken bike chain. We are sitting at one of the clusters of rickety tables and chairs in a cafe in Dalston, just below her studios, which the photographer shares with a host of artists and architects. To our left, an empty stage; a roaring baby to the right. Tulip, so-called after her mother’s favourite flower, is a collection of 84 images. Each is powerful, yet also quiet, disinterested in bombast. On each page, the eye is drawn to a detail, as subtle as a strand of hair or as prominent as a half-eaten plate of food. Together, the images gently develop into a deeply emotional …


Inside The European Union Theme Park

In 2012, Lewis Bush travelled around Europe, trying to document the effects of the global recession and the Euro crisis. “I found myself continuously getting caught up on what seemed to me to be the major role being played by the past in the problems of the present,” he says. On his travels, he found a small theme park, one made to celebrate the harmonious idyll of The European Union – “a bizarre vision of an idealised Europe.” The park contained the national landmarks of each EU member states, reproduced as scale models. From the French Arc de Triomphe, to The British Houses of Parliament, from the Channel Tunnel to the Brandenburg Gate. “I had this really strong feeling that one of the great mistakes being made in Europe was the way difficult histories hadn’t really been resolved or laid to rest,” Bush says. “But had often been brushed aside in the rush towards economic prosperity and closer union between member states.” Bush captures how the nature of the park created unintended juxtapositions, like national landmarks positioned by litter bins, with the logos …


REVIEW: HBO’s new documentary on the turbulent life of Robert Mapplethorpe

“Perfection. That’s the Mapplethorpe characteristic,” says Robert Mapplethorpe’s younger brother Edward Maxey as he leans back in his chair, his chin piercing catching the light. He, along with artist Sandy Daley, singer Debbie Harry and art critic Carol Squiers, are just some of the host of artists and friends interviewed in a compelling new film available to view in cinemas from 22 April. The film’s directors, Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, follow Mapplethorpe’s life from his Catholic childhood upbringing through to his final days in New York, charting how the bisexual man from Queens, NY, became perhaps the most controversial photographer in history. We begin in Los Angeles, 1989, amid the violent protests provoked by Mapplethorpe’s deeply controversial erotic imagery he displayed at his self-curated final show, The Perfect Moment, at the city’s Museum of Contemporary Art. We then cut to the present day, to the serene J. Paul Getty Museum. There, curator Paul Martineau and Britt Salvesen, head of photography and curator at LACMA, delicately unwrap Mapplethorpe’s archived black and white prints in preparation for the two retrospective exhibitions of …


LIBYA. MISRATA. April 20, 2011. 16:38:05. Photographer Michael Christopher Brown at Hikma hospital after being hit by the mortar.

After Libya, understanding war

A record of Michael Christopher Brown’s life both inside and outside Libya during that year, this new photobook details is about a young man going to war for the first time and his experience of that age-old desire to get as close as possible to a conflict in order to discover something about war and something about himself, perhaps a certain definition of life and death. Brown, who is represented by Magnum Photos, worked as a freelance photojournalist for seven years prior to photographing in Libya. When he learned about developments in Libya, he felt a strong attraction to know more about a country that was, until that point, largely closed to the world. In Libya he was injured twice and lost colleagues, including the celebrated photojournalist Tim Hetherington, while they tried to photograph the violence. The experience  “caused him to search for meaning and the relationship between Libya and his home in the United States.” The book reveals the physical and emotional toll on the storyteller and their loved ones. As a follow up …


BJP Staff