All posts filed under: Documentary

© Jessica Fulford-Dobson

Jessica Fulford-Dobson – Skate Girls of Kabul

BJP

In 2007, an Australian skateboarder called Oliver Percovich decided to give girls from the most autocratic and repressive societies the opportunity to skateboard. He took Skateistan to Kabul, Afghanistan, using the urban street sport as a tool for empowerment, and a hook to get children aged 5 to 18 from poor and displaced Afghan families into full-time education. It now works with over 400 children per week. Pictures of them are now on display at London’s Saatchi gallery. In a country where girls aren’t allowed to ride bikes, and where only 20 percent of women aged 15 to 24 are literate, Skateistan has made skateboarding the most popular sport for girls. “I think initially when Oliver the founder turned up in Kabul with three skateboards, he was like the pied piper – he’d lend them to children and have to wrestle them back because they were enjoying it so much,” explains Jessica Fulford-Dobson. Since its beginnings, Skateistan has established the two largest sports centres in Afghanistan and opened centres in South Africa and Cambodia. Fulford-Dobson, the celebrated British portrait photographer, heard of Skateistan one lazy …

2015-04-17T15:55:12+00:00

Lynsey Addario – It’s What I Do

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Photojournalist Lynsey Addario has been kidnapped and beaten. She has also borne witness to the defining global conflicts of our time. Having received the MacArthur Genius Grant for her previous work, her new memoir, It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War, explores the role of the conflict reporter in the contemporary world. “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.” The famous quote by Robert Capa has been a decree for photojournalists, but Addario prefers to get close in a more compassionate sense. For her first comprehensive photo essay, a series on a community of New York transsexual prostitutes for the Associated Press, Addario spent six months gaining their trust before pressing the shutter. “I was thrilled with the idea of trying to penetrate this seemingly impenetrable sector of society, so it took a long time,” she says when we meet in Soho, London. “Most of the photojournalists I meet out in the field are sensitive, patient and empathetic. I think those are all characteristics you need, because ultimately it’s all about the …

2015-04-21T15:15:59+00:00

waplington new

VIDEO: Nick Waplington – Working Process

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Nick Waplington is racing around, negotiating busy traffic on a rainy east London day. He currently lives in New York, but today he and his assistant are preparing and finalising the prints and framing for his upcoming exhibition, Working Process, behind-the-scenes photographs of the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen, which are now on show at Tate Britain. As we drive down Old Street, he points to a building and says: “The first time I met Lee [McQueen] was at a party there in 1995. I was with Phil Poynter, at that time editor of Dazed & Confused, and the stylist Katy England, and we met Lee, Robbie Williams and Kate Moss. “We drank all night and they ended up dressing up Kate with design ideas. Lee and I became good friends, and as a shy man he only really trusted me to photograph him.” Waplington’s exhibition, which is curated by Simon Baker, shows some of the fruits of that friendship. McQueen commissioned Waplington in 2008 to document the preparation for what was to become the Horn of Plenty collection …

2015-04-23T18:11:24+00:00

High Street Kensington from the series On a Good Day

Staying Power: Photographs of Black British Experience 1950s-1990s – Review

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A young girl, speaking on the telephone, stands in a well-kept living room. She smiles to someone outside the frame, yet her posture suggests this isn’t a casual snapshot. As we learn from photographer Neil Kenlock, she’s pretending to speak to her grandparents in Jamaica — the photograph a token of the family’s prosperous new life in Britain, balancing the quotidian with the achingly intimate. This communication between generations, between the motherland and a new home, gets to the heart of Staying Power, a new exhibition currently on display at the V&A. The exhibition is the culmination of a joint project with the Black Cultural Archives, started in 2008, showcasing photographs that respond and relate to the ‘black British’ experience. With a collection spanning 118 photographs and 17 different photographers, black British life is rendered with a comprehensiveness and variety rarely seen in the cultural landscape. Marta Weiss, curator of photographs at the V&A, says: “We didn’t restrict ourselves or depict particular events or particular types of people, in keeping with the V&A’s collecting remit …

2015-04-21T16:11:40+00:00

Cubicle, Arts & Features Desk, 12:23pm, 2011

Will Steacy – Blood and Ink

On a warm Friday evening in the newsroom of The Philadelphia Inquirer, national/foreign editor Tom Steacy was asked to leave his desk. He was led to a conference room, where he found the paper’s executive editor waiting. “The realisation began to dawn as I made that walk,” the 66-year-old says in a slow, halting voice from his home in Philadelphia. “Everyone was nervous. We all knew there was a great shining axe hovering in the sky somewhere. There had been for quite a while.” The editor, Stan Wischnowski, told Steacy that after 29 years on staff the paper was letting him go. “I kept shouting to myself: ‘Silence, silence. Gosh, please don’t let me hear what I’m about to hear,’” Steacy says. “Stan gave me his 10-minute spiel about why it was necessary and why I had been chosen. Then I made him repeat the whole thing. I was in so much shock. When it was over, I left the building and went home,” he continues. “I went back to the newsroom once to sign …

2015-04-17T13:39:32+00:00

Sanne de Wilde – The Dwarf Empire/Snow White

Belgian photographer Sanne de Wilde focuses on people on the visual outskirts of society. Her Snow White pictures, which show extremely blonde children, their pale palette range highlighting the otherworldly appearance of her subjects, gained her plenty of international attention straight from her Master’s degree in fine arts photography in 2012. But it was her next series, The Dwarf Empire, that really caught people’s imaginations. The Dwarf Empire is about a home for “77 little people” – little people who earn their keep by performing a song and dance routine twice a day in a theme park that combines entertainment and social care.  Founded by “a tall, rich man who was determined to do something good for the little people”, The Dwarf Empire is a place that perfectly fits the 21st century spirit of Chinese capitalism. In her surprisingly light images, de Wilde mixes pictures of the park attractions with interiors. She goes into the kitchens, bedrooms and living rooms of The Dwarf Empire and, in this sense, the series also acts as a study of the world of Chinese interiors. In the …

2015-04-17T13:24:02+00:00

Sam Horine’s New York

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Sam Horine’s photographs seem to breathe New York, but he actually grew up in Maine, the small, rural state in New England. His parents were native to Chicago, but got caught in the “back-to-the-woods movement”, he says. Horine would spend his evenings stuck in his parents’ National Geographic magazines. He started to shoot 35mm film of anything that caught his eye – “interesting patterns, vibrant colours, a great-looking face, good lighting or just plain weirdness”. At 18, he left the woodlands of Maine and moved to Upstate New York, pursuing a degree in religious studies and Eastern philosophy at Hartwick College, a small liberal arts college at the foot of the Catskill mountains. While he continued to shoot 35mm at Hartwick, he started experimenting with instant film: “Polaroid was still relatively cheap in the late 1990s,” he says. Then, in 2002, he made the big move to the Big Apple: “I moved to NY for no real reason other than I had a friend who was moving to Brooklyn and needed a roommate. It seemed like …

2015-04-17T13:26:36+00:00

From the series New Marshfield, Ohio © CK Vijayakumar

CK Vijayakumar – New Marshfield, Ohio

“I don’t consider myself a storyteller,” says the Tamil-Indian photographer CK Vijayakumar. “I photograph primarily because it helps me deal with reality; it helps me to understand how life can be perceived through a camera.” Unlike many photojournalists, Vijayakumar never experienced that moment – a calling – when he suddenly felt moved to document the lives of others. He is not, in the tradition of many photographers, driven to affect a change; rather, photography is a means with which to process a reality, to deconstruct it. And it’s very personal to him. A software engineer from Chennai in India, Vijayakumar was seconded to a software developer in Houston some six years ago, and in that time moved from his job in the most populous city in Texas to a job in the most populous city in California. “I bought a car about a month after I arrived in the US and started driving around by myself, looking out the window and watching the country roll by,” he says. “I think the US does that to you …

2015-04-17T13:29:06+00:00

Rachel Glass – The Domestic Aviary

A streak of neon-bright green files among the domestic clutter of a small British living room. The fancy bird chooses its perch between the sofa, the flat screen TV, the mantlepiece and the closed window. The bird is indigenous to the forests of Venezuela, Colombia and Guyana, but it is here, in County Armagh, Northern Ireland, playing a starring role in Rachel Glass’ series The Domestic Aviary. “Confinement or sanctuary?” Glass asks, as the birds fly through “the looser confines” of the contemporary domestic home, in all its tastes. “How much freedom do we actually have, and how much we can invest in it?” In the corner sits the bird’s cage. She has caught them, wings stretched mid-flight, or appraising their horizons, preparing to fly in a larger cage. “We as people can fly as far as we want,” the 21-year-old Glass says.  “But are we confined or constrained by our own lives and commitments?” In her eyes, these birds are metaphors: “Of our own conscious understanding of freedom, in all its limits and possibilities.” Glass grew up in the countryside around …

2015-04-17T13:29:56+00:00

Tim Hetherington Visionary Award gives £20,000 grant to experimental conservation documentary

Dutch-American filmmaking team Eline Jongsma and Kel O’Neill have been named as the first winners of the new Tim Hetherington Visionary Award. The duo saw off 64 other nominated artists to win the £20,000 prize, which was set up by the Tim Hetherington Trust in 2014, in memory of the celebrated British photojournalist who was killed covering the civil war in Libya in 2011. “We’re still processing the news,” says O’Neill on Skype from California where the couple lives. “It’s something we regard as much a responsibility as an honour. We have such an immense amount of respect for anything done in Tim’s name, [which] carries a resonance, and has to be respected… this is a certificate of validation for us.” Speaking exclusively to BJP before the announcement, Stephen Mayes, executive director of the Trust said: “The true essence of Tim was about moving forwards, innovation, and trying to solve the ‘media puzzle’ – how do we use the media in a way that is really effective? By setting up the award in Tim’s name, we …

2015-04-17T13:30:08+00:00

BJP Staff