All posts filed under: Portrait

Polly Penrose’s 10 Seconds: “Hammering my body into the landscape”

Penrose began taking photographs when she was a teen. Her first self portrait was taken on a day she was upset with her father. She wrapped a rope around her body, shot a photo of herself and sent it to him. Penrose, now a mother of two who lives close to Victoria Park in East London, studied Graphic Design before going on to work for acclaimed photographer Tim Walker. A Body of Work (self portraits 2007- 2014), her first series as a conceptual photography, was exhibited at Mother Gallery in East London, her first solo show. The series documents the effects of time passing on Polly’s body, her relationship with her environment, and the emotional state she was in at the time of the picture. “Each picture candidly portrays a moment, like marks in the calendar of my life,” Penrose told BJP on the release of A Body of Work. “The tedious despair of temp work in the city laid bare on a boardroom table. A ball of excitement on a yellow chair on my engagement. “The red fabric …


The Secret World of Tax Havens: In Pictures

How can it be that Starbucks paid no taxes between 2009 and 2012, and only changed its tune (slightly) following a customer boycott? Or that in 2014 Amazon paid less than one per cent tax on UK sales of more than £5bn, or Facebook just over £4000 on its UK operations in the same year – little more than the income tax paid by a British employee on the average £26,500 salary? And can it be that they have done so entirely legally? These are the questions Gabriele Galimberti and Paolo Woods sought to answer in their project The Heavens: Annual Report, a series that attempts to put a face to the tax havens used by multinational corporations, among others. “It was 2012, I was living in Haiti and Gabriele had just received his tax bill,” Woods says, speaking from his studio in Florence. “Gabriele had had quite a good year and he realised that he was paying more than 50 percent of what he had earned to the Italian state. And so we were …



Be part of our new nationwide exhibition, Portrait of Britain


Portrait of Britain will be a groundbreaking exhibition reflecting the unique heritage and diversity of our country through portraits of its people. We want to see the people of our country through your eyes. Whether you’re shooting family, friends, yourself or simply those you find interesting, we welcome pictures from every corner of Britain, from casual snapshots and selfies to documentary projects and street photography. We want to see portraits that reflect the unique heritage and diversity of our country. British Journal of Photography will select 100 winning portraits for a nationwide public exhibition to be showcased on JCDecaux digital screens. Visible on high streets, roadsides and in transport hubs across the length and breadth of the country for the month September 2016, the exhibition will be seen by an audience of millions.     “We want diversity in terms of who is being photographed, but we also want to see different ways of photographing,” says Simon Bainbridge, editorial director of British Journal of Photography. Images that don’t abide by traditional definitions of portraiture aren’t just acceptable …


This is what hatred did

Cristina de Middel: Lady Isn’t Waiting

When I contact Cristina de Middel to ask for an interview, she’s in an airport. When we speak on Skype a few days later, she’s preparing for another flight later that day. When she sends us her images, she does so from a departure lounge. Talk to other photographers on the festival circuit, and de Middel is referred to with a lot of affection and a tiny bit of resentment. It’s as if they might be remembering an old friend they haven’t seen for a long time, and can’t help feeling a little rejected, a little jealous. For de Middel was, once, one of them. She was a photojournalist who no longer towed the editorial line, choosing to go it alone and focus on her own work, embracing a more conceptual approach, jettisoning the press for the art world. De Middel was hardly alone in doing this, and she was there, at the festivals, competing for attention like everyone else, necking the free wine at everyone else’s gallery launches, worrying about the bank account. Now …



Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Medium

Robert Mapplethorpe tried his hand at a startlingly extensive range of artistic forms over the course of his 20-year career – from sculpture and drawing to collage and construction – but it was photography, the most instantaneous and intimate of all those he employed, which he found best suited his needs. Now, following the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and neighbouring J Paul Getty Museum’s acquisition of the vast body of work he created in the 1970s and ’80s, the two institutions hold complementary retrospective presentations, together titled Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Medium (showing mid-March to the end of July) to highlight different aspects of his oeuvre. The show, which will tour to Montreal, Sydney and beyond, takes as its underlying theme the ‘inherent dualities’ that characterised Mapplethorpe’s practice, explains Britt Salvesen, LACMA’s head of photography and the curator of the exhibition. “He seemed to enjoy playing with those contrasts between his downtown reputation as a rebel and a provocateur, and his uptown reputation as a maker of beautiful society portraits and floral still lifes. We took that as a point …



Why do we celebrate film stars?

Whilst the images include the 1993 Space Shuttle Endeavour and Winston Churchill, the collection’s focus on celebrity stills demonstrates that contemporary culture hasn’t lost its obsession with rock ‘n’ rollers and Hollywood superstars. “Pictures of celebrities, or people of note, appeal to our aspirational selves,” ONGallery’s Publishing Director Lance Leman tells BJP. “They are little pictures into what we identify with, or who perhaps we would like to be.” Sourced from both private individuals and international archives and collections, many of the stills are instantly recognisable. They’ve not only become iconic moments in cinema history, but have become synonymous with the stars themselves. Prominent amongst the exhibition are pictures of Dustin Hoffman as Ratso Rizzo in Midnight Cowboy, Michael Caine as Harry Palmer and Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder. Chosen for their visual subjects, the artists that took the photos or simply because of the stories behind the images, the exhibition ranges from on-set photographs to publicity stills to traditional portraits. The collection includes several rare vintage photographs by Terry O’Neill, whose work continues to …


It’s Just Love: Finding beauty and empowerment in the porn industry

“Porn has been done before. Porn has been done a number of times,” professes French-born, Amsterdam-based photographer Sophie Ebrard, the featured photographer for Firecracker this month. “I was very conscious of that, but it was a subject of real interest for me. I was just so passionate, I just wanted to do it, and so that’s how it started”. Ebrard’s photographic exploration into the polarising, multi-billion dollar industry of porn took four years. She spent the time immersed in the background of high-end pornography sets, the results of which created her evocative new series It’s Just Love. The resulting images are shocking, but not in a way you might expect. Each image is so soft and subtle, they almost appear mundane. Ebrard’s photographs exude a graceful stillness and Botticelli-esque quality; she strips away the brash, societal notions the word porn conjures by neutralising and humanising the gaze which usually befall these bodies. Shooting with a medium-format camera, Ebrard has found a way of focusing on the beauty in the twists and folds of human flesh, and the …


Campaigning against honour killings, by Cosmopolitan magazine

On the night she was killed by her parents, Shafilea Ahmed was wearing white stiletto-heeled boots, a T-shirt that clung to her and tight-fitting jeans. She had dyed her hair red. She told her parents she would not marry her cousin. She was 17, in the midst of her A-levels, planning on university and a career as a lawyer. Her proposed husband, a first cousin, was more than a decade older, and had barely left the rural, deeply conservative village of Uttam in the Gujrat district of Pakistan. Without having met her, he had offered her parents a ‘rishta’ – a formal offer of marriage – and they, on her behalf, accepted. Six months earlier, Ahmed was drugged by her parents before being taken from their home in Warrington, Cheshire, to Pakistan. It was meant to be a one-way trip. Once there, her parents took her passport from her. Ahmed realised she was expected to stay, leave her British life and education behind, and become a devoted wife. Late one night, she drank bleach found …


Border Towns: Living with the Cartel

Alex Webb, an active member of the international photographic cooperative Magnum, published his border photography in the 2003 book Crossings: Photographs from the U.S.-Mexico Border. Webb, a regular contributor to the New York Times, Life and National Geographic, first visited the border in 1975, long before the drug-related violence that has erupted in the past decade. “On that first trip I became interested by the notion of the border as a kind of third country, neither the United States nor Mexico, a place with its own rules, its own traditions,” he tells BJP. Last year, Webb’s photography came to the attention of Academy-nominated cinematographer Roger Deakins, who claimed it was a key inspiration to shooting Sicario, the unflinching feature film from 2015, set amongst the Mexican drug cartels, and starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro. Although initially shooting in black and white, it was Webb’s saturated colour photography that caught Deakins’ eye.   Subscribe to the British Journal of Photography for the best stories in contemporary photography delivered to your door every month.


Exclusive: Tales of Beauty from Sicily’s Nigerian refugees

The number of refugee and migrant arrivals in the EU surpassed one million in 2015 – discounting the thousands that died en route. In recent months, Italy, Greece and Turkey have come under scrutiny as the main points of entry for people from Africa and the Middle East. The situation is perhaps most felt in the Mediterranean’s coastal towns, where over 300,000 have made the perilous crossing to Europe by sea in the last year, according to the UNHCR. “The topic is high on the agenda now,” says Sicily-born, London-based photographer Salvatore Di Gregorio. “But this has been in the news for twenty years in Sicily. To the people, it has always felt like, ‘this is your problem, you deal with that.” His home is very much on the frontline: half of Italy’s migrants currently reside in the island’s temporary centres, increasingly met with hostility from locals amid growing economic and political insecurity. Di Gregorio’s latest series of portraits, Project Mirabella: Tales of Beauty, is a reaction to this climate. “When you have a crisis like …


BJP Staff