All posts filed under: Portrait

Youth club emceeing session, East London, 2005

Boys in the corner: Simon Wheatley’s images of Britain’s most exciting music subculture

It’s 2012 and in East London, the long-awaited Olympic Games are underway. Stratford, home to the new £537 million Olympic stadium and Westfield shopping centre, is heaving. Tourist money pours in. London, the UK and the world beyond, gets into the spirit of celebration. Simon Wheatley is in a living room in Maryland, a poor residential area less than a mile away from the Olympic Village. He’s recording this historic moment in time through the eyes of Chronik, a veteran grime MC. Through a haze of smoke, Chronik talks about the challenges of raising his family: “Now you want to make it a nice, white area, but what happened to the last ten years?” While he talks, he taps a Playstation controller, firing gunshots at clay targets on an Olympics video game. “That’s exactly it.” Wheatley says, pointing at the crisp symbolism playing out on his iPad screen three years on. “He was so near. Yet the only way he could gain access to the Olympics was in a video game – in virtual reality.” The …

2015-07-30T15:50:07+00:00

Spain’s lost generation of young women partying like there’s no tomorrow

BJP

“The project started in 2007 when the economic crisis started in Spain,” says Bree Zucker about Girlfriend, her project on the apocalyptic partying of a group of young recession-battered Spanish lesbians. “The project follows one group of women, this lost generation. They call them the ‘nini’ generation in Spain; ‘ni estudia, ni trabaja’ (not studying, not working). My specific interest is one circle of women, but in the larger context it’s about this lost generation of young women.” At a time when 26 per cent of the Spanish population was unemployed and 56 per cent of those under 24 without a job, this lost generation represented a ticking time bomb of frustration, boredom and anger for Spain. Many young Spaniards have emigrated to other European countries to escape the lack of opportunity. But for those without the skills, training or linguistic ability, there was another solution; to stay in Spain and party like there’s no tomorrow. This was the side of Spain that Zucker focused on after attaching herself to a charismatic young woman called Boli. “I met Boli …

2015-07-24T13:26:00+00:00

Sofia

Charting the emotional journey of a young broken-hearted woman

“There was this weight and urgency of needing to express what was happening,” says 37-year-old photographer Laura Stevens, recalling the familiar feelings of pain and confusion following the end of significant relationship two years ago, which inspired her series of portraits, titled Another November. “I was paralysed with feelings of loss, and it was as if this project was my escape route, a way to navigate me back to myself,” she says. “The series is a visual narrative on life after the end of a relationship, exploring how one copes with heartbreak and the loss of love.” Rather than placing herself in the images, Stevens chose to cast other women – friends and occasionally people she’d met – and directed them to “portray the gradual emotional and circumstantial stages along the well-trodden track of the broken-hearted”. She decided straightaway that she would only photograph women of a similar age to her who were living in Paris, her home city, “to create obvious parallels”; women who could ultimately be seen as just one woman, she says. …

2015-07-23T15:33:10+00:00

10-year-old Eliola. Her father was killed in front of the door of their home. Since then she has dreamt of taking revenge. From 2/7 Shkodra © Guillaume Herbaut

The Albanian children imprisoned in their homes because of a 15th century death law

“Emine was a peacemaker,” says Guillaume Herbaut. “His job was to pacify families at war.” But the families Emine sought to help were not in a warren, but living quiet lives in the north of Albania. Yet certain family members, the French photojournalist discovered, were shut away in their homes, never seeing the light of day for fear of reprisal by fellow Albanians – neighbours, former friends, even other family members – seeking revenge for being slighted, insulted, besmirched – or, in the extreme, the murder of one of their kin. “I was able to get in touch with some of the families affected by this tragedy through Emine,” Herbaut says. “But he was murdered a few months after I shot 2/7 Shkodra, the series of photographs I took in 2004.” Herbaut didn’t learn his craft in the traditional sense, at art college, putting theory into practice. Instead, it was more visceral. He was born and raised in the suburbs of Paris, in a block of flats perched on the edge of a highway opposite an industrial …

2015-07-22T13:07:55+00:00

Emily Blunt

Jason Bell’s star portraits

As the Royal Family grows in size, two of Britain’s three monarchs in waiting have effectively been rebranded by one of the world’s very best portraitists. Images, and particularly portraits (as we are reminded by those of princesses past), can imply a great deal.  And in the case of the British royal family, an institution that by long-established tradition under no circumstances ever discusses itself, they remain of paramount significance. So who is Jason Bell, and how did he reach this position in the hierarchy of British portraitists? London-born Bell, 44, has come a very long way since graduating in politics, philosophy and economics from Oxford in 1990. Known today as one of the world’s top ‘go to’ celebrity portraitists, he came up through the ranks, cutting his teeth shooting portraits of prominent speakers for the university newspaper, working early on for the art director Wayne Ford, at the time at XYZ magazine, for Sue Steward, then on the Sunday Times Culture section, and for Wendy Hinton during her years at the London Evening Standard’s …

2015-07-20T15:58:44+00:00

From 1800 Millimètre © Emi Anrakuji

Emi Anrakuji – ‘1800 millimetres. It’s the size of my bed’

The elusive Emi Anrakuji. Her work seems to have exploded onto the photography scene in early 2000, attracting the attention of Daido Moriyama in 2004. “He was very much impressed,” says Emi, whose body of work is a series of self-portraits in which she often focuses on the most intimate details of her anatomy while simultaneously concealing her identity. It’s this contradiction that obfuscates the viewer. Legs splayed, crouched on a bed on all fours, a finger inserted into her vagina – the self-portraits in 1800 Millimètre, Emi’s latest body of work, “are not erotic at all,” she says. “1800 millimetres is just the size of my bed.” A bed to which she was confined, which came to represent her world – the very world from where her work originated. “It’s work that came out of my sickbed.” In 1800 Millimètre, Anrakuji poses nude, in solitude, in close shadowy settings – the confines of her bedroom staged for the gaze of a lens. She describes herself as “an alchemist of images”, blurring the contrived and the authentic …

2015-07-17T12:48:37+00:00

Holding room. From Corrections, 2015 © Zora Murff

Kid criminals: tagged, tracked and cast off by society

“My dad left us when I was four or five, and I’ve been estranged from him ever since. Things were rough for my mum trying to raise two boys on her own,” says 28-year-old Zora Murff, whose series Corrections is informed in no small part by his experiences growing up disenfranchised, with a family diminished by low income, lack of opportunity and alcohol abuse. Born and raised in Des Moines, where one in three children live below the poverty line, Zora could easily have become a write-off. His mother was forced to take jobs out of town at weekends to provide for her two boys, often leaving them unsupervised for many hours. “My brother and I were very close when we were young, and I spent a lot of time following him around, until he got to the age where it wasn’t cool to have your little brother tagging along any more. When that happened, I had to learn to be alone – I started to read a lot and draw.” As Zora got older – with …

2015-07-06T15:26:20+00:00

From the series Patrulleros © Daniele Volpe

Photographing the Patrulleros – the violent vigilantes of Guatemala

“Photojournalism allows me to get close to events on the ground, so that I may better understand them as they unfold,” says award-winning photojournalist Daniele Volpe, who left his birthplace of Priverno, a small town in Latina, south of Rome, and made his home in Guatemala. “This kind of intimacy allows me to share my reportage and maybe draw the viewers in, making them feel closer to the subjects.” Volpe, now 34, started his career as a news photographer but soon felt unfulfilled. “There’s often little continuity in covering news, because news itself doesn’t always allow for follow-ups,” he explains. “As a natural consequence, I felt drawn to reportage, which allows for a more thoughtful approach to image-making, enabling me to tell a story, to create a narrative.” Guatemala is one of three countries in the Northern Triangle buckling from the strain of the gang-related activity that permeates every aspect of society. It has long been besieged by criminality, much of it attributed to two prominent gangs – Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, and Barrio 18 …

2015-07-07T17:02:05+00:00

The New Medium: exhibiting the first photographs ever taken in India

It is a cool midsummer’s evening in Mayfair’s Cork Street – the nucleus of London’s contemporary art world. Number 33 is the professional home of Prahlad Bubbar – collector of Indian and Islamic art – and the location of his new exhibition, The New Medium: Photography in India 1855-1930. The New Medium is a neat survey of the birth and rise of photography as a major art form in the subcontinent. Twenty-five photographs are ordered chronologically around the bright, airy rooms of the gallery, each one chosen to reflect a distinct decisive moment in Indian photographic history. Driven by Bubbar’s background in art history, his recognition of context binds the project together as the beginnings of a technological and artistic revolution in the context of one distinct and, in itself, rapidly evolving culture. In the middle of the 19th century, photography took over from painting as the new mode of representing the world – hence the name, The New Medium. The exhibition frames an era in which the diverse customs of India – the temples, animals and people – could all …

2015-06-19T10:09:02+00:00

Woman Washing Herself

Delicate Demons: do women belong in the home?

Delicate Demons is a collaborative, ongoing project between Finnish photographers Satu Haavisto and Aino Kannisto, in which women are meticulously staged in domestic spaces. The spaces in the photographs are tight, with a room corner in most of the scenes, compressing the viewer and the subject into an uncomfortably proximal relationship and emphasising the sense of home as a potentially oppressive place. The women appear as mysterious characters, deep in thought. They feel heavy and complicated, physically embodying difficult emotions and experiences. The gaze of many of the women is strikingly intense. In one image, Woman on Balcony, her stare out of the frame feels somewhat over-constructed until, with a jolt, we see in a reflection she is in fact gazing directly at the camera. Face on, her look is more vulnerable, more anxious and raw. Props and settings combine to hint at troubling, ambiguous backstories: one figure clutches a kitchen knife, barely visible between her knees. Delicate Demons comes from the same vein as Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s novella The Yellow Wallpaper, in which the apparently innocuous wallpaper …

2015-06-25T16:26:40+00:00

BJP Staff