All posts filed under: Portrait

From Ultra-Orthodox Jews Celebrate Purim in Mea Shearim 2014 © Gili Yaari

Gili Yaari photographs the Purim celebration in Ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem

When Gili Yaari was a child having a kickabout with friends, and his father walked past after a long day’s work and patted the top of his head with those giant hands, coarse from the hours spent mending leather goods in a workshop, the sadness that engulfed him wasn’t always apparent because, as a young boy, what Yaari saw was his Dad’s sweet face, his tender gaze. The fact that his father was a Holocaust survivor wasn’t immediately apparent because he was, after all, a survivor – a provider, a worker, a lover, a Dad. “I grew up in what seemed like a ‘normal’ house. My parents emigrated to Israel from Hungary, and they integrated into society, worked for their living and managed to raise a family. It was only when I grew up that I understood I was actually raised in a house where there was no happiness, where joy was illegitimate, where fear and survival were a driving force,” says the Israeli photojournalist of his upbringing in Beit-Shmesh, a suburb of Jerusalem. That …


Amalia, a resident of Casa Xochiquetzal, puts on makeup before going out to work on the streets of the La Merced neighborhood of Mexico City on October 15, 2010. Amalia, 66, is from Michoacán and came to Casa Xochiquetzal when it first opened its doors. She wears a wig and pads her bra. She is very animated; words and songs come easily to her. She has also suffered from schizophrenia for 22 years, but despite hearing voices, she works hard not to lose touch with reality. As a way of earning a little money, she gathers plastic bottles to recycle and also helps to sell clothes in a stand operated by her boyfriend of 31 years.

What happens to Mexico’s sex workers when they grow old?

For Tough Love (Las Amorosas Más Bravas), Bénédicte Desrus and Celia Gomez Ramos created a photography story about Casa Xochiquetzal, a sparse building in a rundown neighbourhood near Mexico City’s historic quarter – the only shelter for elderly sex workers in the world’s most populous city. There, in relative peace and quiet, 26 elderly women live out their end days. They write poetry, do yoga, embroider. They read trashy novels or the Bible. They gossip, share stories and reminisce, argue and occasionally fight, dredging up grievances from decades back. They try, often forlornly, to find and connect with lost children or estranged relatives. Sometimes they talk about their childhood. These women were – and some still are – sex workers. Their working lives were spent, day on day, hour on hour, in backstreet motels, “selling love” to men who likely don’t know the word. When they grew old, when their bodies started to fail them, they wound up sleeping on the streets. The shelter began decades ago, when Carmen Muñoz, herself a former sex worker, found a …


© Olivia Rose

Olivia Rose’s Boy London

“This is one of my good friends Dapper,” Olivia Rose points out, as we pore over the many strikingly wistful close-ups that fill her portfolio. “He was arrested for carrying a corkscrew, for which he was going to open a bottle of wine. He went to prison for that! Oh, and this is Terry. Look at his double grill. His son’s name is Terry, and his dad’s name is Terry; he’s such a sweetheart, you know. He likes dancing to Haim.” Rose is not one to shy away from the complex realities that exist within her work. The male-orientated portraits feature not the faces of your typical pin-up, agency model, but real lads and men, fresh off the street. Her repertoire of male muses originate from all walks of life; drug dealers, gang members, young London lads off of the local council estate – you name it. They have all been captured by Rose’s lens. She is leading a new wave of photographic talent who, frustrated with the fashion industry’s stagnant stereotypes, are breathing life …


© Anastasiya Lazurenko

Anastasiya Lazurenko: Pearly Gates

Perched on the end of a bench in her gymnastics class in Lugansk, enjoying a moment’s reprieve from her daily, four-hour-long lessons, a five-year-old Anastasiya Lazurenko, in leotard and tights, eyes locked on the succession of “beautiful young girls from that small Ukrainian town” doing perfect aerial flips, wondered “why people go to all the trouble of living when in the end all they’re going to do is die”. “I remember feeling very alone at the time,” says the 28-year-old photographer. Existentialist thoughts have always consumed Lazurenko: “Had I not had a strong education, my brain would have blown out my head and I wouldn’t be here today. I also wrote poetry from an early age – that saved me too.” Lazurenko sees beauty in everything and says that ‘thinking’ is what she does best. A shaman once urged her to spread beauty to the world – suggesting she should do it with words, for they are entry points to the emptiness. But Lazurenko’s entry point to the emptiness comes by way of a viewfinder. …


Stags, Hens & Bunnies, A Blackpool Story © Dougie Wallace

Dougie Wallace and his urban gutter stars

The first picture in Dougie Wallace’s Blackpool series was of a man – “pissing himself laughing and bollock-naked” – securely wrapped to a lamp post by a few hundred meters of clingflim. “He should know better,” one of the lad’s mates said to Dougie as he framed the shot. “He’s been married three times before.” “Even when photographers are most concerned with mirroring reality, they are still haunted by tacit imperatives of taste and conscience,” Susan Sontag wrote in her essay, On Photography. Dougie Wallace is certainly doing this. Largely self-taught after serving four years in the Army, Wallace calls himself a social commentator, and he isn’t afraid to relate these images to our leaders in Westminster: “It’s a snapshot of our times – a graphic nightmare,” Wallace says of his images of Blackpool, the binge-drinking, stag and hen party capital of the UK. “Blair’s dream of a Continental-style Britain, sipping wine with impunity, has mutated into Cameron’s binge-blighted Britain, with cheap alcohol available around the clock.” Born and raised in the tenements of Glasgow, and influenced by …


VIDEO: Exploring Nelli Palomäki’s portraits of childhood

Have you ever studied a picture of your mother or father when they were children, unaware of their future, oblivious to the presence of you. They are at once so familiar, yet so unknowable; so clearly the person you so intimately love, and then at a remove, happy and free in a context devoid of you. Photography is an existential medium, for it preserves moments that existed before you did. It was only by some abstract, biological constellation of random events that allowed this child in the picture to create and raise you. Here is evidence of life before they gave you life. “While time gnaws away at the faces of us and our close ones, we return to look at the pictures from our past,” Nelli Palomäki says. The Finnish artist’s photography starts from a truism – that beyond beauty, beyond concept, it’s the simple photographs of our loved ones, taken in a time before memory, that maintain the ability to move us the most. And make us question the most. “As beautiful or poignant as an image …


Exploring the beauty of silent solitude

“I was driving in my car, searching for something to photograph, when I saw his home at the end of a gravel pat,” says Norwegian photographer Nils Thune. “It looks similar to my farm, which my parents lived in before me and was built in 1845. I thought no one lived there, it looked deserted. The key was in the door. I knocked and Ola was sitting in the kitchen.” Thune is speaking about how Ola Haugen began, a book that documents the life of an eponymous 73-year-old man who exists in rural isolation in the heart of protected Nordic mountains in the Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park. Thune began photographing seriously at the age of 47 – in September 2010 – when he decided to take his first three-day workshop with the director of Nordic Light festival, Morten Krogvold. This was the first step to becoming the director’s choice photographer at this year’s festival in April. The 44 photographs that comprise the book are accompanied by captions, in Norwegian and English, with snippets of information about the subject’s life: “Ola …


A secret surveillance project of the Vienna Opera Ball

The Vienna State Opera House has a state-of-the-art camera surveillance system. In 2009, for the Vienna Opera Ball, they ceded control of that system to Jules Spinatsch. By repurposing a photographic network designed primarily for security purposes, the Swiss photographer created “a portrait of high society, of the ruling class enjoying itself, in a way unseen anywhere else,” he says. On the evening of the ball, Spinatsch climbed into his hired tux, paid the entrance fee of €250, and mingled with the crowd – “half of the Austrian government, all the big names in business, a few celebrities.” He took control of two suspended interactive digital cameras from the centre of the Opera House’s domed roof and had programmed each to cover, in two full rotations and in tiny increments, the entire interior of the Opera House, a grand neo-Renaissance building first built in 1869 and still, today, a byword for European high society at play. They began recording at 8.32pm and took a picture every three seconds until the ball’s denouement at 5.10am. The …


Taro Karibe: “Any desire can be satisfied in Tokyo”

“I gave Taro the prize because he was honest,” says the Magnum photographer Jacob Aue Sobol of the Japanese photographer Taro Karibe. “Working as a salary man, but longing so much to explore the core of his existence. Karibe came top in a Tokyo workshop with Sobol, run by the Magnum Photos agency for his image exploration of Tokyo, both a “utopia, where any desire can be satisfied, and a dystopia, filled with something threatening.” Karibe says. “Instead of focusing on the great photograph and looking for tricks to improve, he started a search within himself – using the camera as a tool to express his own inner life,” Sobol says. “He started taking pictures to ask questions instead of trying to give answers. He put himself at stake and invited myself and the other students into his private universe. “And he did it with soreness and honesty at the expense of the magnificent.” Taro speaks to BJP about his Magnum workshop: Why did you decide to sign up to the Magnum workshop? I had realized I had some limitations with …


Katrina d’Autremont – If God Wants

“We’d all be in hell if that’s what God wanted.” Katrina d’Autremont’s grandfather used to say that often; he believed life was entirely determined according to God’s will. “I like the notion that we love our family because that’s what God wants,” says the photographer. Born in Denver in 1980, d’Autremont grew up in Montana and then Arizona; she’d spend extended holidays in Buenos Aires visiting her mother’s family, who live in a beautiful, airy old apartment. “I went to Argentina every two years for at least a month when I was growing up because my mom wanted us to know her family. When I think back on it, it was really magical.” As a child, photography was merely an amusement. She’d aim her basic point-and-shoot at random objects without giving thought to composition. Then at 14, while in high school, she used an SLR for the first time and began learning how to process film in a darkroom. “When I was an undergrad at college, I took a few photography classes, but it wasn’t until …


BJP Staff