All posts filed under: Portrait

Peace Moves. Greenham Commom, Berkshire 1982 © Edward Barber

Obituary: Edward Barber 1949-2017

It’s a terrible shock and great sadness to be writing about Ed in the past tense. He was a great friend of mine for nearly 40 years, a man who believed passionately in the power of photography to show how people live, how they protest against the powerful and how people create things that counteract the corporate machine. We worked together on many projects for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and at the Half Moon Gallery and its magazine Camerawork. Ed was one of the original members of the collective at the Half Moon in Alie Street, Whitechapel, with fellow photographers Jenny Matthews, Mike Goldwater and Paul Trevor. This was to prove to be incredibly dynamic and brilliant group who curated numerous influential photographic exhibitions, many of which were by photographers who have continued to produce important work, as they have themselves. Ed had the idea of laminating the exhibitions, at first because the roof leaked in Alie Street and plastic lamination made them waterproof. He began touring the laminated exhibitions, sending them by …

2017-03-01T17:32:12+00:00

From the series “Mädchenland” © Karolin Klüppel, winner Portait category and Gold Award, Felix Schoeller Photo Award 2015

Kingdom of the Girls: The alternate reality where women rule the world

That world exists, if you know where to look. Berlin-based photographer Karolin Klüppel’s pictures of rare matriarchal communities in India and China – which won the 2015 Felix Schoeller Photo Award – invite us to do exactly that. Born in 1985, Klüppel developed an interest in alternatives to patriarchy while studying photography at the School of Art and Design in Kassel, where her final project deconstructed gender through soft, fragile portraits of the male nude. On graduating in 2013 she embarked on a self-financed trip to India, where she had a residency lined up with the Vice-Versa Foundation in Goa. Initially the plan was to stay half a year in India before heading to China, to photograph the Mosuo, a matriarchal society in the Himalayas, but she ended up spending nine months in Mawlynnong, a Khasi village in the State of Meghalaya, northeast India. The photographs she shot there became the portrait series Mädchenland (Kingdom of Girls), for which she won the prestigious 2015 Felix Schoeller Photo Award. Klüppel had read about the Khasi while …

2017-02-23T16:46:32+00:00

Woman in White Fur, from the book ZZYZX by Gregory Halpern

Sean O’Hagan’s Best of 2016 and 2017

BJP

1. Gregory Halpern’s ZZYZX, published by Mack A book that merges documentary, portraiture and a strange heightened sense of mystery that keeps you guessing about what it is he is evoking. I think it’s a work of the imagination as much as anything: a California of the mind that carries an undercurrent of anxiety and unreality. 2. Diane Arbus: In the Beginning at The Met Breuer, 12 July-27 November Wonderfully-curated show about Diane Arbus before she became the Diane Arbus we know. Grainy photographs from the NY demimonde of Times Square peep shows and Coney Island freak shows, but also some moments of dark melancholy. You sensed very strongly from this show that she was always a loner with a camera, searching for other outsiders to connect with however fleetingly. 3. Provoke: Between Protest and Performance at Le Bal, Paris from 14 September-11 December An intriguing look at the 1960s Provoke generation that placed them in the social and political context of the time, but also within the tradition of Japanese photography and the influences …

2016-12-20T16:19:06+00:00

Fran © Jack Davison

Jack Davison – an interview from the BJP archives

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 gives a short thanks and he’s gone, walking down the street, briefly checking his new portrait. Davison turned up at 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 photographer and, like any 24-year-old, is still trying to work stuff out, to get his head around the complexities of making a …

2017-01-09T16:26:51+00:00

Irene, Orpington, from the series Hen. All images © Bex Day

Bex Day photographs gender fluidity in the UK’s older trans community

‘Hen’ translates as a gender-neutral pronoun in Swedish, and is intended to move beyond the binary for those who identify neither as male or female. Hen is also the title of photographer Bex Day’s forthcoming project, which focuses on the older generation in the UK’s trans community. Featuring 50 subjects over the age of 40, Hen tells personal stories and investigates the common themes of loss and discovery that unite its subjects. A deliberately empowering study of individuals often placed at the fringes, it records both light-hearted and disquieting experiences they have had. “When I was younger everyone thought I was a boy and my brother was a girl,” says Day. “My parents never told me ‘You’re a girl so you should dress in pink’; I really wasn’t a stereotypical girl, I was quite boyish and as I got older I felt more and more displaced. “I think, particularly within the trans community, that feeling of displacement can be quite prevalent as well. There’s something about not fitting in, and not succumbing to stereotypes.” Day found potential participants for Hen through online forums, and formed close friendships …

2016-11-24T16:10:41+00:00

Lutz & Alex sitting in the trees, 1992

Wolfgang Tillmans – an interview from the BJP archives

On first sight, Wolfgang Tillmans’ east London studio has a relaxed feel, verging on the messy. But look closer and you notice the meticulously organised files of invoices, alongside boxes of letters and out-of-date films. The objects around this studio are often the subject of his photographs, and in many respects it helps explain his work. With their informal aesthetic and seemingly loose approach to subject matter, Tillmans’ photographs have been mistaken for casual snapshots. Don’t be fooled. He has deliberately abandoned “the language of importance”, but his images are carefully thought out and are often partly staged. “I guess there is a tendency for any artist in any field to want their work to be noticed,” he laughs. “But the artists who are a little bit more interesting go beyond that and realise that of course it’s much cooler to make it all look effortless.” Despite the apparent ease of style, Tillmans’ work is instantly recognisable, and he’s become one of the most celebrated artists of his generation. A decade ago he was the …

2016-11-23T16:38:21+00:00

BJP Staff