All posts filed under: Fine Art

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

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 …

2015-04-17T14:14:44+00:00

Smoke and mirrors

With just a couple of weeks until his exhibition opens at TJ Boulting Gallery, Dominic Hawgood is hard at work finalising the prints. His project, Under the Influence, is a deliberately stagey look at the theatrics of modern-day Churches, so he’s creating a carefully controlled, immersive installation to show it off. “The priority is finding a way to control the lighting in the room, to make sure we can create atmosphere for the work to sit in,” he told BJP earlier this month. “It’s about using a few elements in the space, just to change it enough to create a certain feeling.” Hawgood won the show after scooping the series category of BJP‘s International Photography Award, and is working with competition sponsor Spectrum Photographic to create it, making two lightboxes and five large black-and-white vinyl prints that will be stuck directly to the wall. “I’ve worked with LED panels, dim reflectors and bounce light, to try and contrast the glossiness of the screens and the matt finish of the vinyl,” he explains. “Hopefully, when all …

2015-04-17T14:12:56+00:00

One Year for Japan

In 2011, after the Fukushima disaster, Laurence Vecten launched a 2012 charity calendar. A Parisian photo book collector, self publishing adept and director of photography at Glamour, she called on four young Japanese photographers and produced the publication via her mini-publishing house Lozen Up. The title, One Year for Japan, was the logical offshoot of her photo book blog One Year of Books. Two years and a second calendar on, she’s back with a 2015 edition featuring leading lights, rising stars and emerging talents of the Japanese photography scene, including Daido Moriyama and a hot name from 2014, Daisuke Yokota. For photo buffs, what’s striking is the opportunity to discover or rediscover these photographers out of their usual context – Moriyama, for example, is usually celebrated as a black-and-white street photographer, but is here seen in a haunting, colour self-portrait shot outside the city. The calendars are put together by Midoka Rindal, a Japanese graphic designer living in Paris, and Vecten says she’s attracted to Japanese photography and design – especially Japanese photobooks – because of their contemplative nature. Many …

2015-04-17T14:16:03+00:00

Angela Strassheim’s nude pregnant woman – is it porn?

A photograph of a nude pregnant woman on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Jacksonville, Florida, has been described as “pornographic” by the local council. City Council president Clay Yarborough is lobbying Jacksonville’s mayor, Alvin Brown, to withdraw a $230,000 grant the museum receives from the city’s Cultural Council, such is his revulsion at the photograph. The museum has stood firm, releasing a statement pledging not to remove the photograph from its public entrance area, part of an exhibition called Project Atrium, by photographer and artist Angela Strassheim. A patron for the museum described Yarborough as “ridiculous and sad” in a comment reported by news4jax. Yarborough became aware of the photograph during a lunch meeting at the museum’s restaurant. As part of a statement, he said: “While we may all differ on the definition of art, the real question is, ‘Should an adult and/or children who wish to eat at Café Nola be forcibly exposed to the picture upon entering the public, taxpayer-owned building if they do not wish to see it?’” Councilman Don Redman …

2014-12-02T17:07:00+00:00

Taylor Wessing Portrait Photograph of the Year: Konrad Lars Hastings Titlow, June 2014 © David Titlow

David Titlow wins Taylor Wessing portrait prize

This year I think the jurors got it right. The winner of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2014 goes to David Titlow for his picture of his baby son. Shot on the morning after a midsummer party in Sweden, little Konrad was introduced to a young dog and some assembled friends, while held (I presume) by his adoring mother. Despite the clutter of empty beer cans, it captures a beautiful moment, brought into sharp focus by the dappled light and the fixed attention of the group within this Pre-Raphaelite scene. For some, it might be a bit of a stretch to call it a portrait. But I can’t agree. Without being at all mawkish or overly sentimental (not easy when you’re photographing a mother and child), the feelings of love and joy and pride are clearly translated in the photograph. I also very much like Blerim Racaj’s Indecisive Moment, which along with Titlow’s picture and two others – Skate Girl by Jessica Fulford-Dobson, and Braian and Ryan by Birgit Püve – was shortlisted for the £12,000 prize. Taken from his series, …

2014-11-26T21:52:48+00:00

BJP Staff