All posts filed under: Portrait

Million Mask March: Anonymous white collars on their lunchbreak

Jonathan Meades, one of our great commentators on the built environment, once wrote: “We are surrounded by the greatest of all free shows. Places.” This idea drives Nicholas Sack’s Lost In The City, a new photobook published by London’s independent publishers Hoxton Mini Press, the eighth instalment of the publisher’s ongoing East London Photo Stories. “This is an ongoing, long term adventure for me really,” Sack says in a bar in the Square Mile, the heart of London’s financial industry, and the locale for his photography series. “I’ve been walking around this area for 30 years taking pictures,” he says. “What attracts me to the Square Mile is this collision of architecture, the old and the new; 17th century Wren churches slap bang next to a modern tower of glass and steel. That’s the joy of London to me, it wasn’t planned in the way that Paris was.” The work of Richard Rogers and Norman Foster, two of the heavyweight architecture triumvirate in the building boom of the 1970s and 80s, can be spotted amongst these arrangements. But Sack …


Susie Howells

Buying items off an Amazon Wish List in exchange for a portrait

“All of my sessions require a tribute, but a good slave knows that tribute in itself is not enough,” Mistress Jezabel writes on her wish list. “A submissive who goes out of their way to please Mistress is one who is remembered affectionately by Her. Expensive is often good, but what’s more important is to find something that pleases Her.” Mistress Jezabel, a London-based dominatrix (willing to travel to America and across Europe), is one of many women 23-year-old Sophie Skipper, from Long Melford in Suffolk, photographed for her collection entitled He wants to see my Amazon Wish List.       Speaking from her Cardiff home – she graduated from the documentary photography course at the University of South Wales last year – she tells of being interested in gift-giving and “whether it can ever be a selfless thing”. She noticed women using a hashtag on Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest – #myamazonwishlist – with a link to a list of exclusive items on the shopping website Amazon. “I realised the wish list idea is …


Five Girls 2014 by David Stewart © David Stewart

Winner of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2015 announced


David Stewart is this year’s winner of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2015 for his group portrait of his daughter and her friends. The National Portrait Gallery presented the £12,000 award to the London-based photographer last night at the awards ceremony. The winning portrait Five Girls 2014 depicts the distance between a seemingly close group of friends, and mirrors a photograph he took of them seven years ago, which was also displayed in the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize in 2008. Stewart says about the photograph: “I have always had a fascination with the way people interact – or, in this case, fail to interact, which inspired the photograph of this group of girls. While the girls are physically very close and their style and clothing highlight their membership of the same peer group, there is an element of distance between them.” Second prize has been awarded to Hector, Anoush Abrar’s photograph of a young boy, inspired by Caravaggio’s painting Sleeping Cupid; third prize has gone to Nyaueth, Peter Zelewski’s photograph of a woman …



Portraits of remembrance: glass plate photographs of British service personnel

By 1915, the scale of the horror of the First World War was becoming abundantly clear. This was the year of the Battles of Gallipoli, Ypres and Loos. In Benjamin Reeves’ photography studio in Lewes, Sussex, young sergeants, sailors, privates and lieutenants were preparing for battle in their own, deeply personal way – by having their portrait taken. These photographs were often presents, tokens to pass to mothers, fathers and loved ones in their absence. But they were also a proof of existence, of a life that might be extinguished too soon. 100 years have now passed. But in the same studio, using the same camera and even the same hand-painted backdrop, British Service men and women are having their portrait taken for the Royal British Legion’s 2015 Poppy Appeal  – and by a Reeves man, no less.  Alex Bamford, Art Director of the project, tells us that researching old portraits from the era led them to Edward Reeves Photography, the world’s longest established photographic business (founded in 1855, a year after British Journal of Photography). …


Revisiting the characters of her childhood by getting up close and personal with strangers

Street photographer Michelle Groskopf’s images let us know what fascinates her right away. “Street photography acts as a time machine for me. It has this funny way of allowing me to revisit the characters and tone of my childhood. “Even though I’ve spent my life trying to get as far away as possible from the small Canadian suburb I grew up in, when it comes to my work it seems clear to me that I’m just trying to make my way back home.” Teen culture, femininity and suburbia all feature heavily in her work, which has been featured in the likes of Vice, Fotografia Magazine and Conde Nast Traveler. “I’m interested in the places where the suburbs intersect with the city,” Groskopf says. “The sorts of attitudes, fashion and geometry these spaces tend to inspire in the people traversing them. I have a desperate desire to get as close up to these details as possible. For that reason my world tends to be one full of tension. People tend not to like being scrutinised.”  Now represented by international photo agency INSTITUTE, …


Looking into the eyes of Iraqi detainees

More than a decade has passed since we first saw the horrors of Abu Ghraib, but they remain seared into our collective memory. Piles of bruised, naked bodies lorded over by grinning soldiers, collared men dragged across the floor with dog leashes, triumphant posing over mutilated corpses and, most strikingly of all, a hooded man balanced in a box with electrodes wired to his fingertips. These were tortures explicitly authorised by the US Government. Their aim? To erase the humanity of the detainees. Chris Bartlett chose to address this injustice through photography, using his camera as a tool to restore the humanity and identity of the subject. The result is a powerful series of black and white portraits of Abu Ghraib detainees, accompanied by a brief explanation of the tortures they suffered. The effect is searingly humanising. Bartlett’s photography has the effect of erasing nationality, religion, class, even to some extent, ethnicity. BJP spoke to him about the genesis of the project, it’s intent and how it continues to evolve. How did the project begin? “Back …


Willem de Kooning and Brigid Berlin

Unseen Polaroids from the heyday of Andy Warhol’s Factory

Last summer archivist, editor and curator Dagon James was finishing up a book he was working on about Billy Name’s black and white photographs of Warhol’s Factory. Brigid Berlin, Warhol’s best friend and staunch member of The Factory, was contributing some text to the book when Dagon asked her about her famous collection of Polaroids, and whether or not she would ever consider publishing them. She agreed, and a short while later Dagon found himself sitting at a large table in her apartment sorting through nearly 4000 previously unseen snaps that had been crammed into boxes in her house and in storage for decades. “They were just scattered around her life, so we had to pull them all together and organise them and figure out what was there. That was kind of the adventure,” recalls Dagon. “She hadn’t even looked at them in years. We would pass Polaroids around and talk about them, figure out what should be in the book and why. It was very collaborative.” The Polaroids themselves are more artefacts than photographs. …


Phoebe English A/W 2015

Calm before the storm: quiet moments behind the scenes of London Fashion Week

“There’s nothing quite like it – weeks of preparation for fifteen minutes of beautiful, elegant theatre – a moving gallery piece, a graceful veneer over the absolute chaos backstage. And it happens every season,” says Kensington Leverne. In his new photo zine Powerful Morning Energy Volume.2, Leverne gets an intimate look behind the scenes at London Fashion Week. The black-and-white images find the quiet moments before the shows begin – models idling in changing areas, stylists tending to costumes, catwalks being prepped for expectant audiences. Leverne, who studied Contemporary Photography at University for the Creative Arts in Rochester, fell into backstage photography as a seventeen-year-old, while on work experience with a production company. He admits his skills as a production runner left much to be desired, but constantly took pictures on set. Through cultural osmosis, we’ve become more than familiar with the artful tailoring and impossibly beautiful models that showcase these events. Leverne pulls back the curtain to show the industry in its most testing moments, with 5am call times, 2am finishes and a lot of …


God Listens to Slayer – meet the world’s most committed metalheads

Years ago, a goth I knew recounted a conversation he’d once had. “You goths, you’re so desperate to be different but you all look the same,” someone had said to him. “You don’t get it,” he replied. “We don’t want to be different from each other. We want to be different from you.” I can’t help but think of this while leafing through God Listens to Slayer, Sanna Charles’s photobook about young Slayer fans, which has just been published by Ditto Press. Whether it’s a sweaty, tangled, mosh pit crowd or a pair of pensive, long-haired kids, what comes across is the sense of community. As my goth friend pointed out, subculture is as much about being an insider as it is about being an outsider. Charles first saw Slayer perform in 2003, when she was 23 and covering the Download Festival for NME. “It was a really dusty day,” she remembers. “Slayer’s set was put back by three hours and everyone was restless. Not only that, they’d been moved from the main stage to this boiling tent.” …


Qataris respond to Dougie Wallace’s photographs of Britain’s wealth tourism

“Disgusting”. “Perverted.” “The British Judiciary should hold him accountable for what he’s doing.” These are just a handful of reactions to Dougie Wallace’s new body of work: Harrodsburg. Lauded for his documenting of the puke-tinged hedonism of Blackpool in Stags, Hens & Bunnies,  the “total fucking chaos” of Shoreditch Wild Life and the Bombay cab driver portraits Road Wallah, Harrodsburg finds Wallace on the hunt for richer prey. For Harrodsburg, Wallace prowled the pavements of London’s richest post-codes, flash and camera primed, waiting for a suitable subject. When he spots one, he approaches, snaps a quick close-up and is gone before they’ve had time to process what’s happened. Neatly, the roots of Harrodsburg come from this very publication. December 2014’s Cool and Noteworthy issue mentioned (incorrectly) that you might spot Dougie working outside Harrods. This germ of an idea dovetailed neatly with an existing project that contrasts the people of Knightsbridge, London and Calton, Glasgow. Dougie explained that a resident of leafy Kensington can expect to live to their 80s, whereas in the Calton area of Glasgow, …


BJP Staff