All posts filed under: Portrait

Border Towns: Living with the Cartel

Alex Webb, an active member of the international photographic cooperative Magnum, published his border photography in the 2003 book Crossings: Photographs from the U.S.-Mexico Border. Webb, a regular contributor to the New York Times, Life and National Geographic, first visited the border in 1975, long before the drug-related violence that has erupted in the past decade. “On that first trip I became interested by the notion of the border as a kind of third country, neither the United States nor Mexico, a place with its own rules, its own traditions,” he tells BJP. Last year, Webb’s photography came to the attention of Academy-nominated cinematographer Roger Deakins, who claimed it was a key inspiration to shooting Sicario, the unflinching feature film from 2015, set amongst the Mexican drug cartels, and starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro. Although initially shooting in black and white, it was Webb’s saturated colour photography that caught Deakins’ eye.   Subscribe to the British Journal of Photography for the best stories in contemporary photography delivered to your door every month.

2016-02-10T17:55:09+00:00

Exclusive: Tales of Beauty from Sicily’s Nigerian refugees

The number of refugee and migrant arrivals in the EU surpassed one million in 2015 – discounting the thousands that died en route. In recent months, Italy, Greece and Turkey have come under scrutiny as the main points of entry for people from Africa and the Middle East. The situation is perhaps most felt in the Mediterranean’s coastal towns, where over 300,000 have made the perilous crossing to Europe by sea in the last year, according to the UNHCR. “The topic is high on the agenda now,” says Sicily-born, London-based photographer Salvatore Di Gregorio. “But this has been in the news for twenty years in Sicily. To the people, it has always felt like, ‘this is your problem, you deal with that.” His home is very much on the frontline: half of Italy’s migrants currently reside in the island’s temporary centres, increasingly met with hostility from locals amid growing economic and political insecurity. Di Gregorio’s latest series of portraits, Project Mirabella: Tales of Beauty, is a reaction to this climate. “When you have a crisis like …

2016-02-08T19:06:10+00:00

Kate Moss © Mario Testino

Vogue at 100: A Century of Style

British Vogue, the most illustrious and influential magazine in the world, synonymous with enduring style and an unfaltering position at the forefront of fashion, will unearth it’s archives to the public with a new exhibition to mark the launch of Vogue’s centenary celebrations. “Fashion and portrait photography are Vogue’s lifeblood,” says Robin Muir, curator of Vogue 100: A Century of Style. Muir faced the momentous task of sifting through the British fashion bible’s entire visual history to date. “After looking through the nearly 2000 issues, I can say with all honesty, that every time I find something new, something unexpected, something magical; and that I think is the power of photography.” The exhibition, which opens 11 February 2016, displays over 280 prints from the Condé Nast archives and beyond. “We wanted to go right back in time and find the original prints,” says Muir, adding, “and if these prints show tears and cracks, then so much the better, for these are objects with a story to tell.” Launched in 1916, when the First World War …

2016-02-05T16:39:13+00:00

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BJP #7845: The Icons Issue

What goes into creating an icon? Our latest issue scrutinises the muses, photographers and designers that go into creating unmistakable images that speak to the culture of the time – from early 20th century Soviet agitprop to a working-class lad from east London who somehow became one of the most recognisable faces on the planet. BRAND BECKHAM: THE MAKING OF A MODERN ICON “He makes it look so simple…but believe me, it is not.” – Graham Taylor “He is such a big celebrity, football is only a small part.” – Sir Alex Ferguson “It is rare a man can be that tough on the field and also have his own line of underwear.” – President Barack Obama For most figures of popular culture, the acute gaze of the lens is part of the job – to be captured for public consumption, to create a personal iconography that relates to your art. We expect our musicians, our artists and our actors to transform themselves, we demand a visual flair. But from a midfielder from Leytonstone? Not …

2016-02-10T16:43:06+00:00

Showing the Lives of Cameron’s “Bunch of Migrants”

The Sun leads with “Anarchy near the UK: Brit Activists behind ferry stampede”. The Daily Mail goes with “Migrants Chunnel Stroll to Asylum in Britain”. The Express gets nihilistic: “No End to Migrant Crisis”. Just a couple of miles across the English Channel, the Calais refugee camp now known as ‘The Jungle’ has become a focal point of the current refugee crisis. Each day produces new miseries; from refugees freezing in the bitter cold; the deployment of teargas and rubber bullets by French police, and now clashes between refugees and authorities as bulldozers arrive to scrub what’s considered a national embarrassment from the face of the earth. Austrian photographer Stefano Kleinowitz visited the camp three times in the latter half of 2015, observing as it expanded in size, in population and in the minds of the countries on whose doorstep it lies. BJP asked him about the experience: “I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know if people spoke English, if they’d be friendly, what I would eat or where I would sleep “Fortunately …

2016-01-27T16:11:01+00:00

Steve McQueen for Fantastic Man

Ten Years of Fantastic Man – the groundbreaking men’s style magazine

“By now,” writes Gert Jonkers in parentheses, “Thom Browne and I have worked our way through a bottle of champagne at the exclusive Soho House, and we’ve cabbed to Il Cantinori, a swanky restaurant in the East Village, where we’re at a table in less than no time – even though the place is packed.” “Wow. I feel like we’re on a date,” says Browne, who had agreed to be interviewed for the first time for a new menswear magazine launched in 2005, titled Fantastic Man. As reported by Jonkers, the co-founder of the magazine, they had just discussed Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, the importance of a snugly tailored suit, of how one should wear trousers. Their exchanges were, in some respects, the kind of thing you might read in any fashion magazine. Yet this moment, an editor and revered designer slightly tipsy in the close confines of a restaurant, captures the singular achievement of Fantastic Man – a revealing, casual and glamorous confidence that allowed an independent magazine published by two unknown designers …

2016-02-12T11:14:46+00:00

From Laróyè, 1980-2000

Finding transcendence through the image: the work of Mario Cravo Neto

The work of Mario Cravo Neto has long been under-appreciated on British shores. Despite long being a celebrated figure of contemporary Brazilian photography at home and abroad – having exhibited extensively in South America and the United States as well as at the Recontre d’Arles – the photographer, who died in 2009, hasn’t been exposed to British audiences to the same extent. The first UK solo exhibition of his work has recently gone on show at London’s Autograph ABP, under the auspices of the gallery director Mark Sealy and guest curator Gabriela Salgado. I visited the gallery as the show was being installed as Salgado explained what makes Mario Cravo Neto such an essential figure in Brazilian art. “MY IDEA FROM NOW ON IS TO DEVELOP THAT TRANSITION BETWEEN THE INERT OBJECT AND THE SACRED OBJECT. IT IS SIMPLY A RELIGIOUS POSITION IN PHOTOGRAPHY THAT I WISH TO ADOPT.” – MARIO CRAVO NETO Cultural tastes may have had a part to play in his long absence from these shores, with Cravo Neto’s idiosyncratic studio portraits …

2016-02-12T11:14:55+00:00

David Oyelowo, actor

BAFTA portraits of the British film industry’s unsung talent

At the end of January, BAFTA will be opening the doors to its historic Piccadilly headquarters to showcase a new photography exhibition. British photographer Phil Fisk was commissioned to shoot BAFTA: For the Love of Film, a series of portraits of the skilled professionals working in the industry today. While the cream of British acting and directing sits for Fisk – including David Oyelowo and Stephen Frears – he digs deeper and pays tribute to the essential cinematic talent behind the camera whose contributions aren’t celebrated as widely. Fisk shoots them in their working environment, giving us an insight into the numerous roles involved in pulling a feature film together. Fisk shoots cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Interstellar, Spectre) with his camera casually slung atop his shoulder; casting director Nina Gold (The King’s Speech, The Imitation Game) is pictured with a pair of pom-poms made from the shredded remains of actor’s headshots; and we see production designer Jacqueline Abrahams (The Lobster, The Look of Love) inside her office, with reference books, magazine …

2016-01-20T16:56:04+00:00

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Delivering Life: New Mothers in the World’s Poorest Country

When I ask Jenny Lewis to recount her experiences of photographing her most recent project, One Day Young Malawi, I brace myself. Malawi is officially the poorest nation in the world. According to the World Health Organisation, Malawi has the highest fertility rate in the world, with the average woman raising 5.7 children, and “a critical shortage of capacity in institutions implementing development programmes.” Lewis travelled there – in an extension of her viral One Day Young project – to capture the most intimate moments of a mother and newborn arriving home in the first twenty-four hours after birth. The odds on this tale being anything other than bleak seem slim. “I was next to the delivery room when Efrida was giving birth” Lewis tells BJP of one of the first new mothers she photographed. “Twenty minutes later, they needed the delivery room, so they shoved her out and put her in the room I was in, where I was taking a picture of Miriam, who was bleeding very heavily at the time. “So Efrida was bleeding all over the …

2016-02-08T13:04:48+00:00

Francesca Woodman, Untitled, 1977-1978
© Betty and George Woodman

On Being an Angel: finding Francesca Woodman in the otherness of her self-portraits 

The American photographer Francesca Woodman is regarded as a defining voice of her generation. Although she was a teenager when the main body of her work was completed, Woodman is now talked of as the Sylvia Plath of photography, both in terms of her cultural attitude and the workings of her art. Yet, unlike the poet Plath, Woodman remained almost completely unrecognised throughout her short, tragic life. Indeed, her rejection from the established industry of the time may have contributed to her horribly sad death. In the autumn of 1980, at the age of 22, Woodman was forced to move in to her parent’s home in Manhattan after surviving a suicide attempt. The adopted New Yorker, who had started her life in the frontier town of Boulder, Colorado, had begun to suffer from depression, in part due to the failure of her work to attract attention. She had sent her portfolio of self-portraits to magazines across New York, and been uniformly ignored. Then, an application for funding from the National Endowment for the Arts was rejected. On January 19, 1981, soon after her relationship to her partner disintegrated, …

2016-02-12T11:15:27+00:00

BJP Staff