All posts filed under: Portrait

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 …

2015-05-05T13:25:07+00:00

L'abat jour nue

Elene Usdin – the ‘mockification’ of objectification

“I was terrified of my dolls when I was little. I used to think they came alive at night, that they’d open their eyes and come at me. I used to have nightmares,” says French photographer Elene Usdin of the time she and her family lived in Quebec. “I was four and we were living in a house in Canada; my father is a doctor, and whenever he worked late and my mother found herself alone in this big house with the three of us, she’d start to worry about prowlers and vampires and other fantasy creatures that just aren’t real. “That’s probably why I had so many nightmares about my toys – I think I felt all her fears. But it’s also how I learned to create my stories.” Featuring her naked self in her carefully staged shots, Usdin takes the notion of “woman as object” and transforms it into a farcical representation. Many of her self-portraits can perhaps best be described as the ‘mockification of objectification’, a piss-take of the tiresome consumerisation of …

2015-05-06T14:41:20+00:00

© Jessica Fulford-Dobson

Jessica Fulford-Dobson – Skate Girls of Kabul

BJP

In 2007, an Australian skateboarder called Oliver Percovich decided to give girls from the most autocratic and repressive societies the opportunity to skateboard. He took Skateistan to Kabul, Afghanistan, using the urban street sport as a tool for empowerment, and a hook to get children aged 5 to 18 from poor and displaced Afghan families into full-time education. It now works with over 400 children per week. Pictures of them are now on display at London’s Saatchi gallery. In a country where girls aren’t allowed to ride bikes, and where only 20 percent of women aged 15 to 24 are literate, Skateistan has made skateboarding the most popular sport for girls. “I think initially when Oliver the founder turned up in Kabul with three skateboards, he was like the pied piper – he’d lend them to children and have to wrestle them back because they were enjoying it so much,” explains Jessica Fulford-Dobson. Since its beginnings, Skateistan has established the two largest sports centres in Afghanistan and opened centres in South Africa and Cambodia. Fulford-Dobson, the celebrated British portrait photographer, heard of Skateistan one lazy …

2015-04-17T15:55:12+00:00

Sipho Gongxeka – Skeem’ Saka

“He’s a a typical black gangster,” Sipho Gongxeka says. “Rings, cigarette, dark-skinned, and with a dope-ass suit.” Sipho breaks into peels of laughter. The 24-year-old South African, who grew up on a Soweto township, is describing an image from his series Skeem’ Saka of a black man – his friend, it turns out – with bleached hair and a dapper double-breasted suit, smoke curling from his fingers, a separate chunk of precious metal on each. Gongxeka, a former making-it footballer for South Africa’s lower leagues, identifies himself as a ‘fashion-documentary’ photographer. For motivation, he does not look much further than the streets of Soweto. Gongxeka’s photographs are meditations, he says, on the “circular relationship” between the reality of black male life in township South Africa, mediated images of black culture (and how often they are associated with remorseless violence) and the insinuations of clothes. “A certain dress code does not necessarily accompany a certain mode of behaviour or personality,” he says. Skeem’ Saka loosely translates as ‘Homeboys in the Township,’ an attempt, Gongxeka says, to capture relationships that go beyond friendship.  His …

2015-04-17T18:41:36+00:00

Harley Weir – fashion’s hottest property

“I discovered Harley on a blog shortly after she’d left university,” says Chris McGuigan, who founded photography agency Mini Title three years ago. “She hadn’t been commissioned much and her portfolio was still quite raw, but I could tell she’d be a star.” He’s talking about 26-year-old Harley Weir, one of the agency’s earliest signings and now fashion photography’s hottest new talent. Weir graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2010 but really broke through in 2014, with back-to-back commissions from big names such as AnOther, i-D, Pop, Arena Homme+, Dazed & Confused, Bottega Veneta, Armani and Maison Martin Margiela. She’s been working so hard, in fact, she’s thinking about taking time out to “get back to what I first fell in love with”. “It can be difficult to keep sight of yourself when so many other people come in to play on commercial jobs,” she says. London-born Weir studied Fine Art and taught herself photography, using Flickr to showcase her work and initially dipping her toe into music photography before the fashion world came calling. …

2015-04-17T18:43:34+00:00

Sanibal Island. 1976. An outtake from the session for the record Black and Blue. Photo by Hiro. ©The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones – 53 years in photography

At over 500 pages and weighing 10 pounds, Taschen’s new photographic survey of The Rolling Stones reflects the magnitude of the band’s 53-year-long career. Philip Townsend’s photograph of the band wearing checked suits and slightly awkward smiles on the eve of their first British tour is among the images to document the band’s bright-eyed and blues-obsessed beginnings. Shots from the height of fame follow, such as Michael Cooper’s saturated colour photographs, which capture the band draped in all the trappings of 60s psychedelia. The journey draws to a close with Anton Corbijn’s striking black and white shots of The Stones in 2005, visibly aged but lacking none of the spark of youth. For a publication that boasts the work of several prominent photographers – Cecil Beaton, David Bailey, Ethan Russell and Annie Leibovitz to name but a few – choosing a cover must have been difficult. A photograph taken by British photographer Gered Mankowitz is given the pride of place. Shot during the same session which produced the cover of the band’s 1967 album Between …

2015-04-21T18:41:43+00:00

First Place - Rudoi Vladimirovich - Russian Federation

HIPA Awards – Faces category

The Russian photographer Rudoi Vladimirovich won first prize in the Faces category with a portrait of a teenage girl named Stella-Maria. It’s a classicist picture, taken in a photography studio, with the chiaroscuro lighting actively designed to evoke the Golden Hollywood era. Yet Vladimirovich is from a tiny, remote Russian city, and was unable to get a passport to attend the HIPA event. Stella-Maria herself, one gets the impression, could not be further from Hollywood if she tried. Yet everything about her captures why so much art, and so much of popular culture, remains fixated on the female form. “The shadow covering part of Stella-Maria’s face adds to her intrigue, innocence and youth,” Vladimirovich said in a statement. In second place is Kenneth Geiger’s image of Ma Ngua, a 20-year Karen Burmese soldier, taken in 1989, as she guards her post at a rebel stronghold along the border of Burma and Thailand. The ethnic Burmese ‘Mon’ army was made up of 3000 soldiers, with more than 100 women fighting. Geiger found her at the end of a long, winding dirt …

2015-04-21T18:44:04+00:00

Chris Steele-Perkins – A Place in the Country

BJP

“I liked Holkham because it had a foot in the real world,” says the Magnum photographer Chris Steele-Perkins. “Country estates tend to be very isolated, so they could have politely told me to piss off.” A Place in the Country covers Steele-Perkins’ twelve months photographing the 26,000-acre Norfolk home of the Coke family, whose ancestry have lived in the estate since the mid-18th century. The book is a thoughtful, intimate nod to the traditions and beauty that define the English countryside – a part of life Steele-Perkins felt he had neglected for too long in his longstanding career as a documenter of British culture. “I had touched on country estates around county Durham for my book Northern Exposures,” he says. “But I still always drove past the big walls of the grounds and wondered what really goes on within them. “So I went in with a lot of curiosity, and left any expectations of clichés or stereotypes at the front gate. I made sure Lord and Lady Coke knew that, and they were very open to me being there.” …

2015-04-17T13:59:25+00:00

Jenny Lewis: One Day Young

BJP

You don’t have to look far to find cultural representations of motherhood. The Virgin Mary, with downcast eyes; Heat-era celebrities flaunting impossibly flat, post-baby stomachs. And yet these images all tend to show a particular take: evasive, sanitised, as though to distract from the unseen horror of labour. “Everyone seems to have this fear and anxiety about the birth,” says Jenny Lewis, whose project on new mothers, One Day Young, has just been published by Hoxton Mini Press. The book consists of 40 portraits, selected from 150, of Hackney-based mothers in their homes, within 24 hours of the birth. “After my son was born, I felt this responsibility to tell people I met who were pregnant that it’s going to be OK.” She decided a portrait series could do that job for her. “I put leaflets up in hairdressers, chip shops, corner shops, trying to get a varied demographic of people,” she recalls. The leaflets included a link to her website and as soon as she’d shoot a portrait, she’d publish it online so potential subjects could get …

2015-04-17T14:17:08+00:00

Rotimi Fani-Kayode – The Art of Exile

In January 2014, Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, signed a new law that allows his courts to punish same-sex “amorous relationships”, along with a raft of other anti-gay legislation that carries penalties of up to 14 years imprisonment. Gay organisations – from advocacy groups to nightclubs – are now banned, and “aiding and abetting” a gay man or woman can carry the same punishment. Landlords, family, neighbours, fiends and employers of gay people are now seen as criminals in the eyes of Nigerian law. And in those areas to the north of the country that have adopted some form of Shari’a law, corporate punishments have included whippings, and could extend to execution. He may not be as outspoken as Simon Lokodo, ‘ethics and integrity’ minister of Uganda, who recently responded “why would I eat my own feaces?” when asked whether he would every consider kissing another man, but Goodluck is clearly a homophobe. However, these remorseless measures were not likely passed out of a sense of conviction, rather it’s because they’re popular. Because Nigeria is not …

2015-03-03T12:50:49+00:00

BJP Staff