All posts filed under: Portrait

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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 …

2016-03-11T18:45:33+00:00

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 …

2016-03-01T14:04:28+00:00

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 …

2016-02-25T15:39:31+00:00

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.

2016-04-01T10:57:08+00:00

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 …

2016-02-08T19:06:10+00:00

Kate Moss © Mario Testino

Vogue at 100: A Century of Style

British Vogue, the most illustrious and influential magazine in the world, synonymous with enduring style and an unfaltering position at the forefront of fashion, will unearth it’s archives to the public with a new exhibition to mark the launch of Vogue’s centenary celebrations. “Fashion and portrait photography are Vogue’s lifeblood,” says Robin Muir, curator of Vogue 100: A Century of Style. Muir faced the momentous task of sifting through the British fashion bible’s entire visual history to date. “After looking through the nearly 2000 issues, I can say with all honesty, that every time I find something new, something unexpected, something magical; and that I think is the power of photography.” The exhibition, which opens 11 February 2016, displays over 280 prints from the Condé Nast archives and beyond. “We wanted to go right back in time and find the original prints,” says Muir, adding, “and if these prints show tears and cracks, then so much the better, for these are objects with a story to tell.” Launched in 1916, when the First World War …

2016-02-05T16:39:13+00:00

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BJP #7845: The Icons Issue

What goes into creating an icon? Our latest issue scrutinises the muses, photographers and designers that go into creating unmistakable images that speak to the culture of the time – from early 20th century Soviet agitprop to a working-class lad from east London who somehow became one of the most recognisable faces on the planet. BRAND BECKHAM: THE MAKING OF A MODERN ICON “He makes it look so simple…but believe me, it is not.” – Graham Taylor “He is such a big celebrity, football is only a small part.” – Sir Alex Ferguson “It is rare a man can be that tough on the field and also have his own line of underwear.” – President Barack Obama For most figures of popular culture, the acute gaze of the lens is part of the job – to be captured for public consumption, to create a personal iconography that relates to your art. We expect our musicians, our artists and our actors to transform themselves, we demand a visual flair. But from a midfielder from Leytonstone? Not …

2016-02-26T15:59:18+00:00

Showing the Lives of Cameron’s “Bunch of Migrants”

The Sun leads with “Anarchy near the UK: Brit Activists behind ferry stampede”. The Daily Mail goes with “Migrants Chunnel Stroll to Asylum in Britain”. The Express gets nihilistic: “No End to Migrant Crisis”. Just a couple of miles across the English Channel, the Calais refugee camp now known as ‘The Jungle’ has become a focal point of the current refugee crisis. Each day produces new miseries; from refugees freezing in the bitter cold; the deployment of teargas and rubber bullets by French police, and now clashes between refugees and authorities as bulldozers arrive to scrub what’s considered a national embarrassment from the face of the earth. Austrian photographer Stefano Kleinowitz visited the camp three times in the latter half of 2015, observing as it expanded in size, in population and in the minds of the countries on whose doorstep it lies. BJP asked him about the experience: “I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know if people spoke English, if they’d be friendly, what I would eat or where I would sleep “Fortunately …

2016-01-27T16:11:01+00:00

Steve McQueen for Fantastic Man

Ten Years of Fantastic Man – the groundbreaking men’s style magazine

“By now,” writes Gert Jonkers in parentheses, “Thom Browne and I have worked our way through a bottle of champagne at the exclusive Soho House, and we’ve cabbed to Il Cantinori, a swanky restaurant in the East Village, where we’re at a table in less than no time – even though the place is packed.” “Wow. I feel like we’re on a date,” says Browne, who had agreed to be interviewed for the first time for a new menswear magazine launched in 2005, titled Fantastic Man. As reported by Jonkers, the co-founder of the magazine, they had just discussed Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, the importance of a snugly tailored suit, of how one should wear trousers. Their exchanges were, in some respects, the kind of thing you might read in any fashion magazine. Yet this moment, an editor and revered designer slightly tipsy in the close confines of a restaurant, captures the singular achievement of Fantastic Man – a revealing, casual and glamorous confidence that allowed an independent magazine published by two unknown designers …

2016-02-12T11:14:46+00:00

From Laróyè, 1980-2000

Finding transcendence through the image: the work of Mario Cravo Neto

The work of Mario Cravo Neto has long been under-appreciated on British shores. Despite long being a celebrated figure of contemporary Brazilian photography at home and abroad – having exhibited extensively in South America and the United States as well as at the Recontre d’Arles – the photographer, who died in 2009, hasn’t been exposed to British audiences to the same extent. The first UK solo exhibition of his work has recently gone on show at London’s Autograph ABP, under the auspices of the gallery director Mark Sealy and guest curator Gabriela Salgado. I visited the gallery as the show was being installed as Salgado explained what makes Mario Cravo Neto such an essential figure in Brazilian art. “MY IDEA FROM NOW ON IS TO DEVELOP THAT TRANSITION BETWEEN THE INERT OBJECT AND THE SACRED OBJECT. IT IS SIMPLY A RELIGIOUS POSITION IN PHOTOGRAPHY THAT I WISH TO ADOPT.” – MARIO CRAVO NETO Cultural tastes may have had a part to play in his long absence from these shores, with Cravo Neto’s idiosyncratic studio portraits …

2016-02-12T11:14:55+00:00

BJP Staff