All posts filed under: Documentary

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

Figure Eight, Serra Pelada, Brazil. 1986.

Sebastião Salgado: “I had travelled to the dawn of time.”

Sebastião Salgado has created some of the twentieth century’s most iconic photography. From war zones to famine, genocide to exodus, Salgado has documented many of the world’s major events of the last 40 years in crisp black-and-white pictures. He’s also won countless prizes, including being named last week as a Master of Photography at Photo London this weekend. Now, in homage to the great photographer, the German filmmaker Wim Wenders and Salgado’s Paris-based son Juliano Salgado have collaborated on a documentary about the photographer’s life and work. The film, The Salt of the Earth, has already won a host of accolades, including an Oscar nomination, and will be released this July. In the film, Sebastião discusses some of his most famous photographs. When talking of the captivating images of 50,000 gold-grubbers scaling ladders like ants into an the Serra Pelada mine in Brazil, he says: “Every hair on my body stood on edge. The Pyramids, the history of mankind unfolded. I had travelled to the dawn of time.” He discusses his hellish images of burning oilrigs in Kuwait …

2015-05-27T12:34:52+00:00

From Ultra-Orthodox Jews Celebrate Purim in Mea Shearim 2014 © Gili Yaari

Gili Yaari photographs the Purim celebration in Ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem

When Gili Yaari was a child having a kickabout with friends, and his father walked past after a long day’s work and patted the top of his head with those giant hands, coarse from the hours spent mending leather goods in a workshop, the sadness that engulfed him wasn’t always apparent because, as a young boy, what Yaari saw was his Dad’s sweet face, his tender gaze. The fact that his father was a Holocaust survivor wasn’t immediately apparent because he was, after all, a survivor – a provider, a worker, a lover, a Dad. “I grew up in what seemed like a ‘normal’ house. My parents emigrated to Israel from Hungary, and they integrated into society, worked for their living and managed to raise a family. It was only when I grew up that I understood I was actually raised in a house where there was no happiness, where joy was illegitimate, where fear and survival were a driving force,” says the Israeli photojournalist of his upbringing in Beit-Shmesh, a suburb of Jerusalem. That …

2015-05-22T15:24:32+00:00

Getty and Instagram partner on photography grants worth $10,000

Getty Images and Instagram today launched three new grants, worth $10,000 each, to support photographers using the online photography platform “to document stories from underrepresented communities around the world”. Three winners – judged on a demonstrable body of documentary work on their Instagram account – will be selected by the Getty Images Instagram Grant. Each will be given financial support and mentorship to amplify the project, before Getty hosts an exhibition at the Photoville photography festival in New York City this September. “We are inspired every day by the work shared on Instagram by both established and aspiring photographers,” says Amanda Kelso, director of community at Instagram. “Photographers everywhere are experimenting, stretching their creativity and offering diverse perspectives. This grant captures the global enthusiasm from photographers to continue to push their craft to new levels.” “Photographers in all corners of the world use Instagram to share stories that otherwise rarely come into focus,” says Elodie Mailliet Storm, Getty Images senior director of content partnerships. “We want to reach communities that are outside of mainstream media.” The judges are Kira Pollack, director of …

2015-05-12T17:44:30+00:00

Naoto Akimoto lived in a homeless shelter in poverty stricken Japan

Naoto Akimoto is featured as part of a BJP partnership with Magnum Photos after he came top-of-the-class in a Tokyo workshop with Bruce Gilden. Gilden hosted one of three workshops in collaboration with The Nippon Photography Institute in Shibuya, Tokyo. costing 150,000 yen (£843.71) for each participant, where he provided mentoring to develop students’ storytelling through daily shoots; with the aim of gathering a project by the end of the week. Gilden selected the final portfolio of Akimoto as the best – he won a Fujifilm camera, the Fuji X100T. “Initially Naoto showed me quite pedestrian documentary photographs that I think he took at a homeless shelter in Yokohama,” says Gilden. “I told him that I thought he had to get much closer. When he showed up two days later with new images from the same place, the class and I were astounded. “He had done a masterful job: he was much closer and had exposed the men’s souls. This, combined with his hard work and dedication – he was spending all night at the shelter – make quite …

2015-05-01T16:53:46+00:00

BJP Staff