All posts filed under: Documentary

Max Pinckers, Will They Sing Like Raindrops or Leave Me Thirsty, 2013_20

Max Pincker’s Indian couples running away from their family’s honour-based violence

How do you communicate, through photography, what it’s like to live in a city like Mumbai? A city of such variety, ethnically and economically, one of total poverty for so many and free of want for a few. Traditionally, Western photographers have approached the city from a humanitarian perspective, using people – their expressions, gestures, moments of clarity – that might  symbolise the social realities of the city Max Pinckers, the 27-year-old Flemish photographer newly invited into the Magnum Photo Agency, found a new way to visualise Mumbai. In The Fourth Wall, Pinckers photographed, with a careful, cool composition, how human beings apply their creativity, how they problem solve, how, in the most basic ways, they use ingenuity to  survive and overcome the hardships of their environment. First released in 2013, The Fourth Wall caused huge waves in photography world. The Europalia International Arts Festival, in its 24th biennial, quickly commissioned Pinckers to continue his India work. The Brussels-based festival highlights the artistic and cultural output of one country. In 2011, the featured country was Brazil; in 2013, it was …

2015-07-24T16:55:12+00:00

10-year-old Eliola. Her father was killed in front of the door of their home. Since then she has dreamt of taking revenge. From 2/7 Shkodra © Guillaume Herbaut

The Albanian children imprisoned in their homes because of a 15th century death law

“Emine was a peacemaker,” says Guillaume Herbaut. “His job was to pacify families at war.” But the families Emine sought to help were not in a warren, but living quiet lives in the north of Albania. Yet certain family members, the French photojournalist discovered, were shut away in their homes, never seeing the light of day for fear of reprisal by fellow Albanians – neighbours, former friends, even other family members – seeking revenge for being slighted, insulted, besmirched – or, in the extreme, the murder of one of their kin. “I was able to get in touch with some of the families affected by this tragedy through Emine,” Herbaut says. “But he was murdered a few months after I shot 2/7 Shkodra, the series of photographs I took in 2004.” Herbaut didn’t learn his craft in the traditional sense, at art college, putting theory into practice. Instead, it was more visceral. He was born and raised in the suburbs of Paris, in a block of flats perched on the edge of a highway opposite an industrial …

2015-07-22T13:07:55+00:00

From 1800 Millimètre © Emi Anrakuji

Emi Anrakuji – ‘1800 millimetres. It’s the size of my bed’

The elusive Emi Anrakuji. Her work seems to have exploded onto the photography scene in early 2000, attracting the attention of Daido Moriyama in 2004. “He was very much impressed,” says Emi, whose body of work is a series of self-portraits in which she often focuses on the most intimate details of her anatomy while simultaneously concealing her identity. It’s this contradiction that obfuscates the viewer. Legs splayed, crouched on a bed on all fours, a finger inserted into her vagina – the self-portraits in 1800 Millimètre, Emi’s latest body of work, “are not erotic at all,” she says. “1800 millimetres is just the size of my bed.” A bed to which she was confined, which came to represent her world – the very world from where her work originated. “It’s work that came out of my sickbed.” In 1800 Millimètre, Anrakuji poses nude, in solitude, in close shadowy settings – the confines of her bedroom staged for the gaze of a lens. She describes herself as “an alchemist of images”, blurring the contrived and the authentic …

2015-07-17T12:48:37+00:00

Edmund Clark photographed Afghanistan’s Bagram Air Base, home to more than 40,000 people

Our impression of war is shaped by images of soldiers on patrol or in combat. Actually, points out photographer Edmund Clark, the vast majority of the 40,000 people who were stationed at Bagram Airfield – America’s largest enclave in Afghanistan – never left it. Protected, but also confined, by perimeter walls that are secured by daily patrols, they lived in mess halls, meeting rooms, sleeping quarters, a supermarket and a gym. Their experience of Afghanistan is restricted to the landscape they can see over the walls, images of the country on murals in the meeting rooms and paintings in the dining facility, a weekly bazaar and 7000 security-screened local workers who provide cooking and cleaning services. Some of the personnel may also meet locals in the Parwan Detention Facility, the on-site jail whose treatment of prisoners has attracted Amnesty International’s attention. Insurgents based in the mountains also sporadically take pot-shots at the camp, launching rudimentary missiles that may or may not go off. Clark has previously shot the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base and a British control …

2015-07-07T16:58:35+00:00

Holding room. From Corrections, 2015 © Zora Murff

Kid criminals: tagged, tracked and cast off by society

“My dad left us when I was four or five, and I’ve been estranged from him ever since. Things were rough for my mum trying to raise two boys on her own,” says 28-year-old Zora Murff, whose series Corrections is informed in no small part by his experiences growing up disenfranchised, with a family diminished by low income, lack of opportunity and alcohol abuse. Born and raised in Des Moines, where one in three children live below the poverty line, Zora could easily have become a write-off. His mother was forced to take jobs out of town at weekends to provide for her two boys, often leaving them unsupervised for many hours. “My brother and I were very close when we were young, and I spent a lot of time following him around, until he got to the age where it wasn’t cool to have your little brother tagging along any more. When that happened, I had to learn to be alone – I started to read a lot and draw.” As Zora got older – with …

2015-07-06T15:26:20+00:00

From the series Patrulleros © Daniele Volpe

Photographing the Patrulleros – the violent vigilantes of Guatemala

“Photojournalism allows me to get close to events on the ground, so that I may better understand them as they unfold,” says award-winning photojournalist Daniele Volpe, who left his birthplace of Priverno, a small town in Latina, south of Rome, and made his home in Guatemala. “This kind of intimacy allows me to share my reportage and maybe draw the viewers in, making them feel closer to the subjects.” Volpe, now 34, started his career as a news photographer but soon felt unfulfilled. “There’s often little continuity in covering news, because news itself doesn’t always allow for follow-ups,” he explains. “As a natural consequence, I felt drawn to reportage, which allows for a more thoughtful approach to image-making, enabling me to tell a story, to create a narrative.” Guatemala is one of three countries in the Northern Triangle buckling from the strain of the gang-related activity that permeates every aspect of society. It has long been besieged by criminality, much of it attributed to two prominent gangs – Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, and Barrio 18 …

2015-07-07T17:02:05+00:00

David Bailey © Chris Gravett

Hometown America: Chris Gravett’s undiscovered Arkansas

“I Googled myself, as you do, and accidently added an ‘e’ to the end of my name,” says 64-year-old recent graduate Chris Gravett. “The city of Gravette in northwest Arkansas came up. Wikipedia says it has a population of 2300 – 90% white, with 23 churches, in an area of four square miles. I thought it was such a bizarre demographic I wanted to know more.” And so began the making of Gravette The Heart of Hometown America, which is currently on exhibit at the Free Range Graduate Art and Design Show at The Old Truman Brewery in east London – a summer season of shows celebrating up-and-coming graduate talent in the fields of art, design, fashion, photography and architecture. Chris researched further and discovered that the city of Gravette was founded by a man named Ellis Tillman Gravett – without the ‘e’ – in 1893. A further ancestral search uncovered that Ellis Tillman was British, a settler originally from Steyling in Sussex, and that their ancestral lines cross in the early 16th century. Inspired …

2015-06-25T16:27:33+00:00

A photographer documented the building of London’s 100km Crossrail Project

As Londoners go about their daily business above ground, unbeknownst to many of them, construction workers below are busy excavating, navigating and building a network of tunnels for the much-anticipated Crossrail. “You pop out of a hole in the middle of Oxford Street and no one knows where you’ve come from,” marvels John Zammit, one of the photographers charged with documenting its progress. “It’s a completely different world down there.” Transport for London subsidiary Crossrail has spent £14.8bn building that world, which will add a capacity of 10 percent to London’s railway network when it opens in 2018, and will be the most extensive addition to the city’s public transport system since World War II. Spanning east to west from Shenfield and Abbey Wood through central London and out to Heathrow and Reading, the subterranean course measures 100km, and Zammit has followed the entire route – carrying an 80lb camera bag, kitted out in safety gear from head to toe – hard hat, protective glasses, industrial boots, and toting an MSA self-rescue breathing unit and …

2015-06-17T14:02:13+00:00

Looking up the Core, Ponte City, Johannesburg, 2008

A vision of urban decay in Johannesburg wins the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2015

Mikhael Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse were awarded the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2015 at The Photographers’ Gallery this evening, Thursday 28 May 2015. The £30,000 award was presented by previous prize winners Oliver Chanarin on behalf of the artist duo Broomberg & Chanarin. Subotzky and Waterhouse won for their publication Ponte City (Steidl, 2014), which depicts a 54-floor apartment block in Johannesburg, built in 1976 for a white elite under apartheid rule. After the end of Apartheid, it became a refuge for black newcomers to the city and immigrants from all over Africa, and it came to be seen as the prime symbol of urban decay in the city – the epicentre of crime, prostitution and drug dealing. Subotzky and Waterhouse began their project in 2007 after a failed regeneration project. Working with remaining residents and using photographs, architectural plans, archival and historical material, they created an intimate social portrait of the building’s community of residents. An accompanying sequence of seventeen booklets containing essays and personal stories complete the visual and spatial narrative of this …

2015-06-09T11:57:39+00:00

Remembering Mary Ellen Mark

From the 1940s until perhaps the early 90s, an empathic documentation of everyday life appeared weekly or monthly in the world’s illustrated magazines, a medium whose appeal lay almost wholly in its use of outstanding photography, by great practitioners. It was a time, Mary Ellen Mark recalled, when “the magazines really needed photographers, especially documentary photographers. When they flourished you could bring an idea to a magazine and they would do it. Sadly that time is over”. Nonetheless, she worked on very successfully until the end of her life, combining documentary reportage with commercial assignments in fashion and advertising and portraiture. She was as adept in the studio as in the street, and as at ease with a Leica as she was with an ultra-large format studio camera. Faithful to film photography to the end, she never felt attracted to digital: “I’m staying with film, and with silver prints and no Photoshop …[that’s] the way I learned photography. You make your picture in the camera,” she said in 2008. Born in Elkins Park, near Philadelphia, …

2015-05-28T18:02:04+00:00

BJP Staff