All posts filed under: Fine Art

3055 - Out My Window, Global Skype, Amsterdam, 2014

Gail Albert Halaban – Out My Window

It started with a stark reality. “My five-year-old son Jonah was in the emergency room for a long-term heart condition which would require surgery,” says photographer Gail Albert Halaban, who was supposed to be in Amsterdam on an assignment, and had to find a way, from the hospital, to continue the project. “I realised all the technology in a hospital is remote. The doctors were monitoring my son’s heart from a different floor. They could look inside his body without being near him. I realised I could look at the world in the same way.” Gail Albert Halaban has made a career taking pictures of, and through, stranger’s windows. The subjects seem to be unaware of the camera as they go about their private, domestic lives. “At first I know it sounds kind of creepy,” Albert Halaban says. “Many people may even think it’s illegal. But I’m a friendly window-watcher.” Looking in such a way at the lives of others should feel voyeuristic; yet these are warm, empathetic images. They’re staged, the photographs taken with the consent of the subjects, yet they remain deeply, nakedly domestic; a …

2015-04-17T18:42:55+00:00

Harley Weir – fashion’s hottest property

“I discovered Harley on a blog shortly after she’d left university,” says Chris McGuigan, who founded photography agency Mini Title three years ago. “She hadn’t been commissioned much and her portfolio was still quite raw, but I could tell she’d be a star.” He’s talking about 26-year-old Harley Weir, one of the agency’s earliest signings and now fashion photography’s hottest new talent. Weir graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2010 but really broke through in 2014, with back-to-back commissions from big names such as AnOther, i-D, Pop, Arena Homme+, Dazed & Confused, Bottega Veneta, Armani and Maison Martin Margiela. She’s been working so hard, in fact, she’s thinking about taking time out to “get back to what I first fell in love with”. “It can be difficult to keep sight of yourself when so many other people come in to play on commercial jobs,” she says. London-born Weir studied Fine Art and taught herself photography, using Flickr to showcase her work and initially dipping her toe into music photography before the fashion world came calling. …

2015-04-17T18:43:34+00:00

Olga Matveeva – Feud

“Our relationship was strong, sophisticated,” says the Russian photographer Olga Matveeva. She had just graduated from Rodchenko Moscow School of Photography when, together with her boyfriend, they decided to move from Moscow to Crimea, for the winter at least, “and probably for longer”.  They were sharing a home, deeply in love. “But suddenly, something changed in the air,” she tells BJP from Moscow. “Everything became serious, frightening. Everyone stopped trusting each other.” The protests began in Kiev’s Maidan Square. Then, with a slow inevitability, Ukraine fell into war with its old master. Matveeva and her boyfriend found themselves sitting on the sofa, watching TV, comparing the news coverage of Putin’s coded invasion of Ukraine and the eventual annexation of Crimea. It was, says Matveeva, “a strange kind of entertainment”. As they flicked from Ukrainian to Russian to European TV channels, she started to come to terms with her situation. “I realised we were not a couple anymore, because we were not willing to give support to each other,” she says of her lover. So began Feud, a photography project …

2015-04-17T18:44:18+00:00

Paul Kooiker – Nude Animal Cigar

BJP

Paul Kooiker’s latest project, Nude Animal Cigar, is a wild array of variations on the three themes revealed in the title. It’s as if the weirdest and most beautiful nudes, mournful animals and mysterious still lifes built from cigar butts have been picked out from photography’s 176-year history – but although the images look old-fashioned, they have all been made within the past five years by this contemporary Dutch artist. Applying digital sepia filters to all the images, he lends the series a vintage and melancholy feel, and by virtue of the sepia treatment knits this motley trio of themes together. “My work is successful if it is about looking, and about photography,” says Kooiker in his studio, located in a quiet street on the southern periphery of downtown Amsterdam. “Ultimately, my work is about looking, and looking is the ultimate act of voyeurism. “It makes the work accessible, as everybody is able to recognise himself in this act,” he says. “It also leaves the viewer confused. What I want to achieve is to make …

2015-04-17T13:46:51+00:00

Gasometer, Aston, Birmingham, Great Britain, 2008

Hilla Becher at the Düsseldorf Photo Weekend

One of the dominant influences in contemporary European photography is wheeled into the restaurant at the NRW Forum, a grand art gallery a stone’s throw from the Rhine. It’s the height of the Düsseldorf Photo Weekend, and people of all ages are passing through the galleries on either side of us. Many of them won’t realise it, but most of the photography here is deeply indebted to this slight and unassuming woman, born in East Germany before the war, and now happily discoursing over pasta and wine in the café. She has now been without Bernd, her husband, for more than seven years, after he died from complications during heart surgery. That straight bob of blonde hair is greying. She is now 81, and sits slightly stooped in her wheelchair. You have to strain to hear what she says, yet she recounts her life with a remarkable wit and poise. Some people start to switch off at this age; Hilla Becher, it seems, could not be more connected to her surroundings. She met her husband in …

2015-04-21T18:29:45+00:00

Werner Amann – Surf Fiction

Surf Fiction is a visual assault, a larger-than-life collision of text and images inspired by comic book culture. Shot during several trips to Miami, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, it’s a melting pot of video stills, close-up portraits, street photography and apparently staged scenes, which German photographer Werner Amann published with White Press Books late last year; featuring larger-than-life characters and fast-paced editing, it convincingly blurs the boundaries between fact and fiction. “The initial idea was to relate photography not only to its history but to other media – TV, film, video, surveillance footage, comic-book culture, typography, and conceptual art – but to keep the heart of the project in the realm of classic photography,” explains the 45 year old. “One theme is how media culture relates to our present social reality. How can we re-appropriate the world – not only the world of images, but the world itself, for ourselves?” The ‘surf’ of the title is a play on words, referencing both surfing the net and, metaphorically, the mediation of everyday life, “like zapping through …

2015-04-17T13:52:19+00:00

BJP #7834: Driven to Abstraction

Analogue photography is undergoing a massive resurgence right now, and the more obscure the process the better, reports Diane Smyth in the lead article for our April issue, which is devoted to process, experiment and abstraction. In London alone, there are two shows (at Tate Britain and James Hyman Gallery) devoted to salt prints made at the very dawn of the medium, and another, Revelations. Experiments in Photography at Media Space, considers early scientific imaging and its influence on contemporary artists. We talk to the curators behind Revelations, and we visit Timothy Prus of Archive of Modern Conflict to hear the thinking behind The Whale’s Eyelash, his ‘re-enactment’ of 19th century microscope slides as a ‘five-act play’ in photobook form. But it’s not just that early photographic practices are being reappraised; as the Media Space show illustrates, contemporary artists are also turning to analogue processes, and many take inspiration from the experiments and investigations conducted by photographers of their grandparents and great-grandparents generation. Smyth investigates this shift towards abstraction, talking to gallery owners, curators and …

2015-04-23T18:05:57+00:00

Images from Dominic Hawgood's series Under the Influence, which has won the BJP's International Photography Award series category. Images © Dominic Hawgood.

VIDEO: Dominic Hawgood – International Photography Award Winner

“Staging is not the same as faking.” That phrase, from photography academic David Campbell, was the bedrock for Dominic Hawgood’s Under the Influence, a highly conceptualised look at faith and meaning in a world of images. The series scooped the series category of BJP’s International Photography Award, and Campbell’s phrase is now helping shape the 27-year-old’s approach to the exhibition he won, which opened today at London’s TJ Boulting Gallery. The series examines human behaviour in contemporary African churches in London, “and the merchandising of these modern rituals”; inspired to start it after witnessing an exorcism first-hand, he also explores “the theatrical practice of deliverance”. These techniques suggest a certain cynicism about religion but Hawgood says that wasn’t his intention. He’s simply considering whether we can experience something authentic in a knowingly constructed environment – or via carefully crafted imagery. “Ideas are formed through the imagery presented to us, removing us from actual life experiences, adding another layer of distance that evokes a desire to experience the real, close up,” he wrote in The Therapeutic …

2015-04-23T18:14:11+00:00

Rotimi Fani-Kayode – The Art of Exile

In January 2014, Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, signed a new law that allows his courts to punish same-sex “amorous relationships”, along with a raft of other anti-gay legislation that carries penalties of up to 14 years imprisonment. Gay organisations – from advocacy groups to nightclubs – are now banned, and “aiding and abetting” a gay man or woman can carry the same punishment. Landlords, family, neighbours, fiends and employers of gay people are now seen as criminals in the eyes of Nigerian law. And in those areas to the north of the country that have adopted some form of Shari’a law, corporate punishments have included whippings, and could extend to execution. He may not be as outspoken as Simon Lokodo, ‘ethics and integrity’ minister of Uganda, who recently responded “why would I eat my own feaces?” when asked whether he would every consider kissing another man, but Goodluck is clearly a homophobe. However, these remorseless measures were not likely passed out of a sense of conviction, rather it’s because they’re popular. Because Nigeria is not …

2015-03-03T12:50:49+00:00

"Sans titre", Cover, 2015. Image © Jeannie Abert, France.

Hyeres looking at you

The shortlist is out for this year’s International Festival of Fashion & Photography in Hyeres, including ten photographers drawn from across Europe and beyond. This year is the 30th time the festival has taken place, and publisher Gerhard Steidl took part in a high-profile photography jury that also included: Anne Cartier-Bresson, director of the Atelier de Restauration et de Conservation des Photographies de la Ville de Paris (ARCP); Jean-Luc Monterosso, founder and director of the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris; and the photographer Sølve Sundsbø. The shortlisted photographers, who were drawn from more than 700 entries, are: Jeannie Abert, France; Sushant Chabria, India; Wawrzyniec Kolbusz, Poland; Evangelia Kranioti, Greece; Sjoerd Knibbeler, Netherlands; David Magnusson, Sweden; Filippo Patrese, Italy; Thomas Rousset, France; Polly Tootal, United Kingdom; and Oezden Yorulmaz, Germany. The shortlisted photographers’ work will go on show at the Villa Noailles in Hyeres from 23 April – 24 May, and will be invited to present their work to the jury in person at portfolio reviews during the festival weekend, 23-27 April. The festival …

2015-04-28T10:07:16+00:00

BJP Staff