All posts filed under: Documentary

IRAQ. Albu Ajeel. February 2, 2016. 10-year-old Sara Adnan Mohamed, draws in a room in the partially burned down house that she shares with her family in the predominantly Sunni village of Albu Ajeel, on the outskirts of Tikrit. Albu Ajeel was under the control of the Islamic State until their retreat from Tikrit in the Spring of 2015.. 

Sara and her family recently returned to Albu Ajeel after being displaced to Kirkuk for almost two years. Upon their return, Sara's family found their village mostly destroyed and their home partially burned down.

In order to help Sara and other families cope, the International Committee of the Red Cross distributes food parcels to returnees and has also rehabilitated the water supply to Albu Ajeel residents.

Moises Saman on Iraq’s civil war

Moises Saman is one of the leading conflict photographers of his generation. In recent years, he has worked in Afghanistan, Egypt and Libya. But the Spanish photographer is best known for his ongoing ability to photograph the war in Iraq, first the American war with Saddam Hussein, and then their occupation of the country, and then the ongoing civil war that still besets Iraq. In 2016, 13 years after the invasion, Iraq is no closer to being a settled, secure nation.  Following the “surge” of American combat troops in 2007, a fragile ceasefire seemed to descend over the majority of the country, a peace which sustained until the last soldiers departed in December, 2011. But, when the Americans left, they also left behind unresolved problems that, after a period of relative calm, have reared again. Now he has returned to Iraq, on commission for The Red Cross, to show displaced families unable to access the most basic sanitary needs, due to their failed state and total lack of local governance. Photographing on commission for The New Yorker (for whom he has also covered the Arab Spring and …


Muhammad Ali – Fighter’s Heaven

In October 1974, Muhammad Ali would attempt to regain the world heavyweight boxing championship title that was stripped from him when he refused the Vietnam draft seven years earlier. He faced the undefeated George Foreman in Zaire, Africa, in the fight dubbed ‘The Rumble in The Jungle’. Only weeks before, on August 24-25, photographer Peter Angelo Simon was invited to experience the private world of the iconic boxer as he prepared, mentally and physically, for the biggest fight of his life. “Forty-two years ago, I photographed Muhammad Ali in the rural Pennsylvania sanctuary he called ‘Fighter’s Heaven’ as he prepared for the greatest contest of his career,” says Peter Angelo Simon, who has photographed on commission for the New York Times magazine, as well as exhibiting in museums and galleries internationally, including the Smithsonian. “Here was the most famous and contentious personality on the planet in his private retreat – the eye of the public hurricane – which was most of his life. While a global audience was fixated on his fate, I was able to record aspects of Ali …


Havana, Cuba 2015. Book 'Cuba, La Lucha'.

Carl De Keyzer’s Cuba – From Communist to Capitalist Country

“I have come here to bury the last remnant of the Cold War in the Americas,” President Barack Obama said in Havana. With the speech, President Obama became the first US President to visit Cuba in almost 90 years, following the reinstatement of the diplomatic relations between the two countries. Before President Obama’s speech, which saw the relaxation of a trade embargo between the two countries that lasted 56 years, the British photographer and Magnum member Carl De Keyzer had already began to explore Cuba’s transition from a regime communist to a capitalist system, and the consequence of this change on the country’s population. The images from de Keyzer’s new book, Cuba, La Lucha, capture the unique character of the Cuban people struggling to survive in an outmoded, authoritarian system. Through crumbling buildings, we see the residue of a bygone era, as well as a population ready to open a new chapter in its history. Carl De Keyzer shows the ambivalence of a changing country, torn between the desire to preserve its traditions and the desire to improve its economy, …


Chernobyl: 30 Years After the Disaster

At 1:23 am, on the morning of 26 April, in 1986, in the Ukranian town of Pripyat, an explosion tour through the sky. The explosion took place at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, under the jurisdiction of the Moscow authorities of the Soviet Union. The plant was derelict, and operators had botched what should have been a routine safety test. The reactor went into meltdown, they couldn’t contain it, and Chernobyl spewed radioactive particles high into the  atmosphere. The nuclear waste, with a half-life of hundreds of thousands of years, spread over much of the western USSR and Europe. Even sheep on the remote islands off Scotland were found infected with radiation from Chernobyl. Long-term effects on the local and global environment are still being investigated. Today, the Chernobyl Power Plant sits fenced inside a 30 kilometre Exclusion Zone. The reactor itself remains encased inside a 24-story concrete and steel sarcophagus, one erected in a few hours after the accident. Chernobyl is the subject of $2.2 billion clean-up. Workers, wearing protective suits and breathing respirators, can still only work one 15-minute shift …


With Floris

A Year in the Life of a London Priest

Kit Gunasekera is the Vicar of St James Church in Clapham, South London. Born in Chiswick in 1972, Kit is of Sri Lankan descent and spent his early childhood in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Kit found God when he was 17 at a Sunday church service in Holy Trinity, Hounslow.  He was ordained in 2006. Of things not seen, the series by local Clapham photographer Jim Grover, which is exhibiting at the Oxo Tower gallery in South London now, shows Gunasekera’s role as a priest in a church community, juxtaposing the calling of his faith with the everyday challenges of running a church, ministering to a diverse group of parishioners while trying to increase his congregation. We speak to Grover about the creation of a series, over a calendar year in 2015: How did the project come about? I had been challenged by a photographer friend to find a local story here in Clapham, South London.  Being local was important to me.  From a very practical perspective, I needed to be able to effortlessly dip in and out of it so …


Alex Majoli and Paolo Pellegrin go deep into Congo

In presenting Congo, a large-scale project published in book form by Aperture and realised as a spectacular exhibition at the Rencontres d’Arles festival in July 2015, Alex Majoli and Paolo Pellegrin deliberately avoided credits and captions, bringing their individual perspectives together to create a single “meta voice”. At no point are we told who took which image, but, somehow, this adds to rather than takes away from the collective strength of the work. The goal of the project, which has its roots in Off Broadway, the first work the Magnum photographers collaborated on 10 years ago, was to have fewer constraints and therefore greater freedom of expression, says Pellegrin. “By removing the captions, you’re asking the viewers to make an effort to engage, hopefully in a deeper way, with what’s in front of them.” Majoli echoes this sentiment, saying: “Providing contextual information is very much related to photojournalism and the idea of ‘documenting a place’ “We wanted to leverage photography to create a place where the viewer is free to make his or her own …


Obituary: Peter Marlow

Magnum described Marlow, who joined in 1980 and became a full member in 1986 as “part of the essential glue that has held us all together.” Along with Chris Steele-Perkins, Marlow founded Magnum’s London office in 1987, living in a penthouse above the office in London’s Old Street area. Stuart Franklin, the Vice President of Magnum Photos, paid tribute to Marlow, saying he was an integral member of the world-famous agency. “Peter was a quiet, calm man, a peace maker amongst us,” Franklin said. “I have no memory of him ever raising his voice, quite remarkable for a man who’s been Magnum’s President twice and Vice President on numerous occasions. He internalised his frustrations, and lately his pain. “We have lost a very good friend to all of us. Our feelings reach out to Peter’s family at this terrible time.” Steele-Perkins, a lifelong friend as well as Magnum contemporary, said of Marlow: “I saw Peter at the London Bridge Hospital on Wed 10th February and he was tired, bored in hospital and optimistic. He had been ill …


Hasaka, Syria - August 1, 2015. A doctor rubs ointment on the burns of Jacob, 16, in front of a poster of Abdullah Ocalan, center, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, at a YPG hospital compound on the outskirts of Hasaka. According to YPG fighters at the scene, Jacob is an ISIS fighter from Deir al-Zour and the only survivior from an ambush made by YPG fighters over a truck alleged to carry ISIS fighters on the outskirts of Hasaka. Six ISIS fighters died in the attack, 5 of them completely disfigured by the explosion (c) Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

Giving a human face to ‘the other side’ at this year’s WPP

“Mauricio Lima’s image of the young Islamic State fighter is fascinating,” says Vaughn Wallace, who was on the Documentary jury of the World Press Photo competition this year. “It’s quite possibly the first time an Islamic State fighter has been portrayed on such an intimate, visual level.” As Wallace says the image, which shows a 16-year-old fighter named Jacob being treated for severe burns, puts a very different face on a figure usually vilified in the Western media – but for Wallace, this is one of the things that helped win it first prize in the General News Singles category. “Mauricio’s image really stands out in contrast to the ways we typically engage with the IS visually, often through propaganda sourced from social media,” he explains. “Mauricio’s image tells a story and gives a human face to ‘the other side’, sitting in the same tradition as Ghaith Abdul-Ahad’s work embedded with Al-Qaeda in Yemen and Kate Brooks’ photographs of government forces during the early years of the Syrian Civil War. Images like Mauricio’s provide context and perspective to multi-dimensional, highly-political conflicts.” Wallace is the deputy photo editor at Al Jazeera America, the international news broadcaster part-funded …


After spending two days and two nights sailing on the Mediterranean Sea on the deck of the M.S.F. (Médecins Sans Frontières - Doctors Without Borders) search and rescue ship Bourbon Argos, rescued migrants - still wrapped in their emergency blankets - catch sight of the Italian coast for the first time soon after dawn. 23 August 2015 In 2015 the ever-increasing number of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea on unseaworthy vessels towards Europe led to an unprecedented crisis. Nearly 120 thousand people have reached Italy in the first 8 months of the year. While the European governments struggled to deal with the influx, the death toll in the Mediterranean reached record numbers. Early in May the international medical relief organization Médecins Sans Frontières (M.S.F.) joined in the search and rescue operations led in the Mediterranean Sea and launched three ships at different stages: the Phoenix (run by the Migrant Offshore Aid Station), the Bourbon Argos and Dignity (c) Francesco Zizola

Francis Kohn, chair of the 2016 World Press Photo jury, on judging the prize

“We had a great number of stories, the majority of stories, were on the migrant refugees in Europe,” says Francis Kohn, photo director of Agence France-Presse and chair of the 2016 World Press Photo jury of the prize this year, after judging the general news, spot news and long term project categories. “There is a big gap between these stories and Nepal – a lot on the earthquake in Nepal – I think third would be….attacks in Paris, Charlie Hebdo in January and then in November. The rest [of the stories] are quite spread out.” Making his comments in a video made by the WPP team, Kohn added he was looking for images that witness an important event, as “this is World Press Photo”, but beyond that “obviously a picture has to be strong, compelling, has to work on so many different levels – being there, witnessing, and then it has to tell me something.” But, he cautioned, it doesn’t necessarily have to be in monochrome – as the eventual winner, by Warren Richardson, turned out to …


American Dreamer: Dennis Hopper’s wildest days, in photographs

Following the breakout success of Easy Rider, Hopper was hot property in Hollywood and had finally secured funding for The Last Movie, a long-gestating passion project about a stunt co-ordinator, played by Hopper himself. “He was emerging as a rebel, a talent, a film maker,” Schiller says of his subject, “A brilliant man for his age.” Easy Rider was an award-winning portrait of counter culture that at the same time managed to storm the international box office. In a 2010 retrospective of his career, The Washington Post called Easy Rider “a movie that would redefine film on nearly every level,” praising it as “a cinematic symbol of the 1960s, a celluloid anthem to freedom, macho bravado and anti-establishment rebellion.” The pressure to find success in his follow-up effort led to Hopper to scrap his entire first cut of The Last Movie film in favour of a more avant-garde edit. The version he eventually released sought to break new cinematic ground by following a disjointed narrative, and employing unconventional filming techniques such as jump cut and rough …


BJP Staff