All posts filed under: Portrait

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How to Shoot the Perfect Portrait: Rosaline Shahnavaz

Portrait of Britain is inviting photographers to submit images that reflect the unique heritage and diversity of our country and show the face of modern Britain. 100 winning portraits will be selected for a public exhibition showcased nationwide in September 2016. We’re asking portrait photographers what goes into making the perfect portrait – this week we hear from London-based photographer Rosaline Shahnavaz.  In your view, what makes a compelling portrait? I think there are so many elements to a compelling portrait. It could be the pose, the expression, the colours, the lines, the eyes. But I think what is most important to me is when a photograph captures someone’s essence.     How do you connect with your subjects and gain their trust? Just like most relationships, trust is something that builds with time. When I edited my book Aleko, I had all my prints laid out in chronological order on my studio floor. It was fascinating to see the difference in my relationship with Aleko. There was a clear distance between us in the first photographs …

2016-07-20T10:59:11+00:00

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The Private Moments of Marilyn Monroe

In 1945, De Dienes was the first professional photographer to photograph a model named Norma Jeane Baker before she became Marilyn Monroe. One of Marilyn’s first lovers, de Dienes photographed Monroe privately in 1945, 1946, 1949 and 1953. In doing so, he captured a young and ambitious woman in the early stages of becoming maybe the most iconic star in the history of American cinema. And the sensitivities, as well as the darker, more troubled nature of the star, who died of a Barbiturate overdose in 1962 after suffering from mental illness and substance abuse for several years. In November 1945, de Dienes, a successful New York fashion photographer, moved temporarily to Hollywood. His first task was to find a model for his experimental, often nude photography. De Dienes called numerous modeling agencies until an agency sent over a young lady who had been camping out in the office, eager to get her start in Hollywood. It was Norma Jeane Baker, a 19-year-old “miracle”, as de Dienes wrote in his 1983 memoir. De Dienes didn’t take any nude photographs of young Norma Jeane, …

2016-05-18T14:03:12+00:00

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Rasha Kahil’s Anatomy of a Scandal navigates the virtual domain to reclaim the female form

Online trolling occupies not only the darkest corners of the Internet, but occurs daily on both the public and private spaces of social media. It is so widespread that last year in the UK alone, 694 individuals – the equivalent of two a day – were found guilty of offences under the Malicious Communications Act, which states that it is an offence to send a threatening, offensive or indecent electronic communication with the intent to cause distress or anxiety. On finding herself target of such trolls, Kahil’s own personal experience naturally became an invigorating stimulus to generate new work, building on previous themes of intimacy, the body and what it is to be a woman she explores through her photography. “Anatomy of a Scandal actually started with the series that I exhibited quite a few years ago, In Your Home,” explains Kahil. Generated over three years, the 2011 series encompassed spontaneously composed semi-nude self-portraits in acquaintances and friend’s homes across the world, without their knowledge. In Your Home was subsequently shown in Kahil’s hometown of …

2016-05-13T12:45:01+00:00

Wild animals in created sets: “What does it mean to be indigenous?”

“Looking at the work of artist like Stubbs made me interested in the disconnect between animals and their habitat,” Carnegie says, as his work goes on display at the John Martin Gallery in London. George Stubbs’ painting of a Zebra, created in 1763, was based on an animal he saw in a private menagerie, is placed in what looks like a north European woodland. “The painting appears perfectly balanced and correct although the animal is in a habitat with which it is not normally associated,” Carnegie says. “Reflecting on these historical works led to thoughts about native and alien species, and what it means to be indigenous. There is an assumption that where things are, is where they belong, and a belief that native is good and alien is bad,” writes Carnegie. “Sometimes people appear to interpret the terms, native and alien, to suit their own particular prejudices. Somewhere I imagine a voice saying, ‘Surely if it is attractive and there aren’t many of them it must be native?’” All the animals in Carnegie’s series, titled  Long Ago and …

2016-05-06T11:40:39+00:00

Samuel Bourne - 'Ladies in Kashmir', India, c. 1865, Albumen print

Early British Colonial Travellers Show Earliest Images of India

The first half of the 19th-century was a tipping point for British imperial presence in the Indian subcontinent. No longer preoccupied with the chase of conquest, the focus had moved to colonial rule. This led to the opportunity for increased geographical and cultural exploration, and with it scope for understanding the diverse landscapes, languages, buildings and religions of India in greater depth. It is this context that Tripe, Murray, Bourne: Photographic Journeys in India 1855-1870, an exhibition of rare prints on display at Prahlad Bubbar’s Mayfair gallery, brings to life. “The journey is what ties these photographers together,” Bubbar says. “Tripe, Murray and Bourne…the greatest British photographers working out of India in the 19th century.” The significance of this period in photographic history is difficult to overstate. With the camera arriving in India in 1839, shortly after its invention, the sheer technical ability required – aeons away from the simple touch of a smartphone screen – made travel photography a grueling practice. “Can you imagine? It’s forty degrees, it’s raining, you’re up in the mountains. …

2016-05-09T15:10:35+00:00

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Hunter Barnes’ 15 Years Finding American Subcultures

Hunter Barnes’ black and white silver gelatin photographs, made and hand printed by the artist,  devoted his life to documenting America’s disappearing sub cultures and fringe groups for the past 15 years. The journey, the subject of a new photobook and exhibition at the Serena Morton gallery in London, has been, he says, “a spiritual journey into what is unknown and worlds rarely seen.” The exhibition – spanning fifteen years on the road – documents the people and aspects of American culture and communities who choose to live outside mainstream life, evangelicals, criminals, bikers and nomads whom are “consistently misrepresented in the modern American narrative”. Barnes builds friendships with the people he photographs. He’s willing to spend years gaining their trust, sharing experiences, developing a “meaningful dialogue” before they allow him access to their private worlds, allowing him to frame them as they are. Witness his description of meeting the native American tribute the Ne Mee Poo/Ni Mii Puu. He met and befriended a leader called Uncle Irving at the Tamkaliks Pow Wow at the Lapwai Idaho Reservation reservation in Wallowa Oregon. “Once …

2016-05-12T13:54:34+00:00

Jack Davison’s Street Fashion at Foam

Walking down the street with Jack Davison can be time-consuming. A sharp-suited bloke talking on the phone, a pretty young girl in a hurry, a bored construction worker seated by the side of the road, a balding old soak nursing a pint; Davison approaches each without a moment’s hesitation. After introducing himself and chatting for a few seconds, he’s circling round them, or leaning over them, or down on his knees with his camera, often inches from their face. He keeps talking to them throughout, framing quickly and firing off a few shots. He’s relaxed, composed in the moment, then a short thanks and he’s gone, walking down the street, briefly checking his new portrait. Davison turned up to BJP’s offices on a road bike that had seen much better days, sweating under the sun, wearing a baggy white T-shirt, denim shorts and a cycling helmet. He didn’t look like a fast-emerging fashion photographer. Like any 25-year-old, is still trying to work stuff out, to get his head around the complexities of making a career …

2016-05-03T13:32:42+00:00

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Helmut Newton’s Vintage Prints featured in new exhibition

Helmut Newton was born in Berlin in 1920 to a Jewish family, the son of Klara and Max Neustädter, a button factory owner.  He purchased his first camera at the age of 12, and then worked for the German photographer Elsie Neulander Simon from 1936. The increasingly oppressive restrictions placed on Jews by the Nuremberg laws meant that his father lost control of his factory. Then, in November 1938, Newton’s father was briefly interned in a concentration camp on Kristallnacht, which finally compelled the family to leave Germany. From those humble beginnings as a refugee, Newton rose to become one of the most celebrated fashion photographers of his generation – one credited with moving forward the depiction of women, and particular women’s sexuality, within the photography medium. The majority of the works featured in the exhibition are vintage prints from the collection of the Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin. Women play a central role in Newton’s work. But this is also the reason why his work is often pigeon-holed as simply erotic, and why there’s insufficient appreciation …

2016-04-29T12:02:17+00:00

Now You See Me: Exploring Body Politics at TJ Boulting

A new group photography exhibition at London’s TJ Boulting gallery will explore the diverse use of the body, and primarily the female body, in photography. Coinciding with the opening of Photo London, the exhibition presents a combination of established and emerging photographic artists, each of whom apply a varied range of techniques to explore their body within the medium. American photographer Haley Morris-Cafiero sets up her tripod and takes self-portraits in public places without pre-meditated direction or composition. Only afterwards does the artist select the images. By doing so, she reveals stranger’s faces contorted in disgust or laughing at her size, interactions originally from beyond her eyeline. The photography serves as a fascinating insight into the cruelty of human nature, charting bold territory for a photographer as a way of relating to their own body. The ultimate exploration of the physical self in relation to personal existence is depicted in the work of British artist Jo Spence, who lived with cancer for the last decade of her life. The images in this exhibition are from the series she created from the experience, titled The …

2016-04-28T12:23:04+00:00

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Kalpana’s Warriors: celebrating political activists who fear for their life in Bangladesh

Twenty years ago this month, at the age of 23, Kalpana Chakma was abducted from her home in Bangladesh. She was held at gunpoint by a military officer and two members of the Village Defence Party and driven away. She has never been seen again. Chakma was the organising secretary of the Hill Women’s Federation in Bangladesh, an organisation that campaigned for the rights of indigenous people in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) area of Bangladesh. As she fought to regain the land had been stolen from her community, the Pahari people by the Bagladeshi government through the Bangladeshi army, so she was deemed an enemy of the state. No-one knows if she’s a political prisoner, celebrating her 40th birthday alone somewhere. Or whether she was killed, silently, long ago. This week, photographer and Bangladeshi activist Shahidul Alam launched an installation at East London’s Autograph ABP gallery in memory of Kalpana, and celebrating the work she so fearlessly carried out. The exhibition features portraits of ‘Kalpana’s Warriors’, contemporary Bangladeshi campaigners living in mortal danger in an increasingly repressive environment. The …

2016-04-27T11:59:33+00:00

BJP Staff