All posts filed under: Portrait

Peter Watkins’ photographic exploration of his late mother

BJP

“I had no revelatory introduction to photography,” says Peter Watkins. “I used to walk around the streets photographing people and detritus just like anyone else with a camera, until eventually I got bored making photographs in this way. The revelation really came for me when I realised that photography was essentially about everything: philosophy, sociology, history, language, religion and politics.” The London-based photographer completed an MA at the Royal College of Art, following a degree at university of Westminster, which he says, “knocked him into shape”, with its emphasis on writing and theory. “I suppose what attracts me most to Peter’s recent work is the way it engages with some elemental questions about photography and the relationship between part and whole, form and expression,” says one of his lecturers at Westminster, Eugénie Shinkle. “As single images – formal studies – his photographs have a kind of monumental clarity about them. Bound together in a series, they’re transformed into something lyrical and occult. This tension is compelling.” In 2013, Watkins finished working on the series The Unforgetting, a project relating to his …

2015-08-27T17:34:42+00:00

Photographing the people of Burma as the country opens its borders for the first time

“I wanted to document life in Burma by capturing a visual time capsule of the country, a country largely closed off from the outside world and largely untouched, but not for much longer,” says Clarisse d’Arcimoles of her new series Myanmar to Burma: Portraits of Change. In 2012, after half a century of repressive military junta rule, Burma reopened its borders to the outside world. A rapidly changing country about to have its first democratic election in November, d’Arcimoles, a French documentary photographer and fine artist, immersed herself in its culture to produce images of a people presenting itself to the outside world for the first time in decades.   She first travelled to Burma in the spring of 2014, when she organised an art competition to sponsor Burmese art through social media and exhibitions. In 2015 Clarisse decided to return in order to pursue her own photography project. “I immersed myself into the Burma of today, inside the homes which until recently were shut to outsiders, and in border towns amongst hill tribe villages and their …

2015-08-28T13:34:33+00:00

Louise, Jacksonville, 2012

One Stephen Shore student is setting Paris alight

“I choose to work without limits. I follow my instincts and allow my subconscious to be in control. By neither having a theme nor a structured project, I am able to keep my photographic process as natural and intuitive as possible,” says 27-year-old Louis Heilbronn. His first exhibition, Meet Me On The Surface, at the Galerie Polaris in Paris in February 2013, was a revelation for many. Brigitte Ollier, art critic for the French daily Libération, described his images as “gifted, with a captivating power”, while Claire Guillot of Le Monde wrote that their charm came from their elusive nature. Heilbronn’s large-format photos, which were shown as small 23×30cm prints, flowed like an organic stream of consciousness, mixing portraits of loved ones such as his girlfriend with shots of strangers, images of everyday objects, and an array of varying landscapes. With no indication as to when or how far apart they were taken, the images created a quiet riddle to which each spectator found his own answer. The Brooklyn-based photographer graduated from the photography programme …

2015-08-28T13:37:27+00:00

Shooting Stars: Capturing the “arrogance and vulnerability” of the famous

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Mathieu César’s aesthetic may be classic, but the approach is resolutely contemporary, and that mix has seduced some of the biggest players in the fashion world – from the former editor of Vogue Paris, Carine Roitfeld to Christian Lacroix, the woman behind the French fashion label. “Referencing past masters of the fashion image in the simplicity of his contrasted composition, Mathieu César subverts the classical genre by capturing a contemporary generation of beautiful and damned subjects in sometimes surreal scenes that somehow manage to feel uncontrived,” says another fan, Anne Bourgeois-Vignon, creative content director at Nowness. “His photographs of models, musicians and assorted cool kids flirt with emotion and raw beauty, and his subjects blend arrogance and vulnerability.” A former hairdresser, César got his break with a short film he made of his brother, the ballet dancer Jean-Sébastien Colau. For two months, the French cinema chain MK2 showed the documentary before every feature. He quit his job, joined a production company, and within six weeks was in Mongolia on assignment for Louis Vuitton. “They asked me to shoot videos and photos. …

2015-08-28T13:36:35+00:00

His Excellency Nigel Haywood CVO, Governor of the Falkland Islands, Government House, Stanley

Images from the faded and forgotten last outposts of the British Empire

For six years, Bath-based photographer Jon Tonks worked on a long-term personal project, culminating in the book Empire, published in December 2013 by Dewi Lewis. He travelled to a series of remote British Overseas Territories in the South Atlantic Ocean, which included St Helena, Ascension Island, Tristan da Cunha and the Falkland Islands, documenting the people and places from these last remaining pockets of the empire. “On each of the islands, I would spend the first week not taking many pictures, discovering who and what was most interesting, and getting to know people so they would understand why I was there,” he says. “This was particularly important on Tristan da Cunha, a remote British territory in the South Atlantic with a population of 259. They were a little shy and wary of random people turning up on their island with a camera.” Tonks would drive around the islands looking for locations to shoot, and arranged times to take people’s portraits. Yet within this self-imposed structure, he also allowed himself to record what he stumbled across by chance. “Studying photojournalism …

2015-08-28T13:36:39+00:00

Jack Davison drove through America’s highways for 10,000 miles, taking portraits along the way

He’s only 24, but English photographer Jack Davison is already carving out a promising career for himself. Essex born and London based, he taught himself how to take pictures after picking up a camera at 16; studying English at Warwick University, he spent most of his time at university taking pictures. Photographing his family, friends and the countryside around him, he says the internet was his major influence and “a tutor”. “The internet introduced me to communities of photographers [and] Flickr, in its heyday, was unparalleled for introducing like-minded artists and creators to each other’s work,” he says. “There were huge swathes of images available to me to take in. I was driven to shoot pretty much non-stop from then on. “I studied English Literature at university [but] despite all the reading and essays there was plenty of time to take pictures,” he adds. “My tutor described my degree as ‘the loyal, drab wife’ that I’d spurned for photography – my exciting mistress.” Nominated by gallerist and curator Zelda Cheatle, who describes Davison as “a …

2015-08-10T11:18:57+00:00

Bedroom studio. Isle of Dogs, East London

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 …

2015-08-11T14:30:51+00:00

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

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“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. …

2015-08-05T17:11:20+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

BJP Staff