All posts filed under: Portrait

From Denudate 2015 © Neola Loretta McDavid

The female derobed: Neola McDavid’s untainted nudes

“Trust is very important when you ask someone to take their clothes off so you can photograph them nude,” says Neola Loretta McDavid, who will soon graduate from the University of Roehampton with a BA Honours in Photography. “Your subjects need to have confidence in you as a photographer, and they need to feel comfortable in themselves.” McDavid’s series of nude portraits, Denudate 2015, exudes strength – stripped back, it presents women in a state of undress, stoic in their own personal space, the only props being the intimate objects in their homes. Her series, like the meaning of the title itself, bares all – it strips women of the labels imposed upon them by society and returns them to their natural state, as “supreme beings” – equal to men, neither subordinate nor superior. “The women in my portraits signify empowerment. They are not obstructed by the mores of society or media in the way that influences how women are portrayed today. The women aren’t sexualised, nor are their poses meant to be suggestive. I’m not using the female …

2015-06-25T16:30:44+00:00

An Argentinian photographer took portraits of older men she thought might be her father

When Mariela Sancari was 14, her father killed himself. As she tried, often forlornly, to deal with his absence, sometimes denying even it, Sancari began to invent in her mind his personality, his life, his whereabouts. He grew older in her mind. As a professional photographer, Sancari decided to confront this chapter of her life. In her native Buenos Aires, she started placing adverts in local newspapers and putting up posters; she was looking for men in their 70s, the age her father would be now if he were alive. She wanted to meet, and photograph, men who might look a bit like the man she lost, to discover in them a tiny fraction of the relationship so finitely denied to her. The men she found, and whom sat for her, wear her father’s patchwork jumper. In some of the images, she poses herself in the background, or lets a stranger carefully comb her hair. It’s a heart-stoppingly simple evocation of how, through an unsaid understanding, through a sense of transference that can transcend words and gestures, we can find familiarity, intimacy and comfort …

2015-06-24T16:16:37+00:00

Sukhi, Jambur, 2005

On Belonging: Portraits of an ancient Indian community of African descent

“At the entrance of the village, there were four boys playing carrom. As I approached they looked at me with such hostility, almost resentment; I was a complete outsider.” Ketaki Sheth’s first encounter with the Sidi, an Indian community of African descent, was the kind of serendipitous occurrence that sparks photographers to action. Driving through the Gir Forest National Park while on holiday with her family, she caught glimpse of a village enveloped deep within the forest. Her curiosity piqued, she spent the next six years learning about its inhabitants. Her exhibition, On Belonging, is currently on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Even for a country that Muhammed Ali Jinnah termed a “subcontinent of nationalities”, the Sidi defy categorisation.

2015-06-17T14:03:01+00:00

Remembering Mary Ellen Mark

From the 1940s until perhaps the early 90s, an empathic documentation of everyday life appeared weekly or monthly in the world’s illustrated magazines, a medium whose appeal lay almost wholly in its use of outstanding photography, by great practitioners. It was a time, Mary Ellen Mark recalled, when “the magazines really needed photographers, especially documentary photographers. When they flourished you could bring an idea to a magazine and they would do it. Sadly that time is over”. Nonetheless, she worked on very successfully until the end of her life, combining documentary reportage with commercial assignments in fashion and advertising and portraiture. She was as adept in the studio as in the street, and as at ease with a Leica as she was with an ultra-large format studio camera. Faithful to film photography to the end, she never felt attracted to digital: “I’m staying with film, and with silver prints and no Photoshop …[that’s] the way I learned photography. You make your picture in the camera,” she said in 2008. Born in Elkins Park, near Philadelphia, …

2015-05-28T18:02:04+00:00

Gareth McConnell’s young hedonists the morning after a night in Ibiza

“All these fucking photographs,” says Gareth McConnell at the very beginning of our conversation. “What do you do with them? How do you make sense of them?” It’s taken weeks to connect. The Irish-born, London-based photographer has given me the runaround, but he’s so engaging and funny when he finally replies that I find it hard to maintain any strop. “I am gonna look for PDFs now,” he writes. Then: “I have neither copies of the books or money for a courier if I did… why didn’t I pay more attention at school?” He’s much like this in conversation: frequently self-deprecating, easy-going, often cheeky. He also talks nineteen to the dozen, weaving punk bands, AK-47s, Tommy Hilfiger, Susan Sontag and Carl Cox into his conversation as easily as his publishing venture (Sorika), his daughter, and his long-time battle with drug addiction. At the end of it all, I find myself wondering what on earth just happened. McConnell came to international attention with the publication of his first book, a short-lived collaboration between Steidl and Photoworks, …

2015-06-09T11:58:01+00:00

From Ultra-Orthodox Jews Celebrate Purim in Mea Shearim 2014 © Gili Yaari

Gili Yaari photographs the Purim celebration in Ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem

When Gili Yaari was a child having a kickabout with friends, and his father walked past after a long day’s work and patted the top of his head with those giant hands, coarse from the hours spent mending leather goods in a workshop, the sadness that engulfed him wasn’t always apparent because, as a young boy, what Yaari saw was his Dad’s sweet face, his tender gaze. The fact that his father was a Holocaust survivor wasn’t immediately apparent because he was, after all, a survivor – a provider, a worker, a lover, a Dad. “I grew up in what seemed like a ‘normal’ house. My parents emigrated to Israel from Hungary, and they integrated into society, worked for their living and managed to raise a family. It was only when I grew up that I understood I was actually raised in a house where there was no happiness, where joy was illegitimate, where fear and survival were a driving force,” says the Israeli photojournalist of his upbringing in Beit-Shmesh, a suburb of Jerusalem. That …

2015-05-22T15:24:32+00:00

Amalia, a resident of Casa Xochiquetzal, puts on makeup before going out to work on the streets of the La Merced neighborhood of Mexico City on October 15, 2010. Amalia, 66, is from Michoacán and came to Casa Xochiquetzal when it first opened its doors. She wears a wig and pads her bra. She is very animated; words and songs come easily to her. She has also suffered from schizophrenia for 22 years, but despite hearing voices, she works hard not to lose touch with reality. As a way of earning a little money, she gathers plastic bottles to recycle and also helps to sell clothes in a stand operated by her boyfriend of 31 years.

What happens to Mexico’s sex workers when they grow old?

For Tough Love (Las Amorosas Más Bravas), Bénédicte Desrus and Celia Gomez Ramos created a photography story about Casa Xochiquetzal, a sparse building in a rundown neighbourhood near Mexico City’s historic quarter – the only shelter for elderly sex workers in the world’s most populous city. There, in relative peace and quiet, 26 elderly women live out their end days. They write poetry, do yoga, embroider. They read trashy novels or the Bible. They gossip, share stories and reminisce, argue and occasionally fight, dredging up grievances from decades back. They try, often forlornly, to find and connect with lost children or estranged relatives. Sometimes they talk about their childhood. These women were – and some still are – sex workers. Their working lives were spent, day on day, hour on hour, in backstreet motels, “selling love” to men who likely don’t know the word. When they grew old, when their bodies started to fail them, they wound up sleeping on the streets. The shelter began decades ago, when Carmen Muñoz, herself a former sex worker, found a …

2015-06-10T10:38:22+00:00

© Olivia Rose

Olivia Rose’s Boy London

“This is one of my good friends Dapper,” Olivia Rose points out, as we pore over the many strikingly wistful close-ups that fill her portfolio. “He was arrested for carrying a corkscrew, for which he was going to open a bottle of wine. He went to prison for that! Oh, and this is Terry. Look at his double grill. His son’s name is Terry, and his dad’s name is Terry; he’s such a sweetheart, you know. He likes dancing to Haim.” Rose is not one to shy away from the complex realities that exist within her work. The male-orientated portraits feature not the faces of your typical pin-up, agency model, but real lads and men, fresh off the street. Her repertoire of male muses originate from all walks of life; drug dealers, gang members, young London lads off of the local council estate – you name it. They have all been captured by Rose’s lens. She is leading a new wave of photographic talent who, frustrated with the fashion industry’s stagnant stereotypes, are breathing life …

2015-05-16T16:00:57+00:00

© Anastasiya Lazurenko

Anastasiya Lazurenko: Pearly Gates

Perched on the end of a bench in her gymnastics class in Lugansk, enjoying a moment’s reprieve from her daily, four-hour-long lessons, a five-year-old Anastasiya Lazurenko, in leotard and tights, eyes locked on the succession of “beautiful young girls from that small Ukrainian town” doing perfect aerial flips, wondered “why people go to all the trouble of living when in the end all they’re going to do is die”. “I remember feeling very alone at the time,” says the 28-year-old photographer. Existentialist thoughts have always consumed Lazurenko: “Had I not had a strong education, my brain would have blown out my head and I wouldn’t be here today. I also wrote poetry from an early age – that saved me too.” Lazurenko sees beauty in everything and says that ‘thinking’ is what she does best. A shaman once urged her to spread beauty to the world – suggesting she should do it with words, for they are entry points to the emptiness. But Lazurenko’s entry point to the emptiness comes by way of a viewfinder. …

2015-06-02T15:40:42+00:00

Stags, Hens & Bunnies, A Blackpool Story © Dougie Wallace

Dougie Wallace and his urban gutter stars

The first picture in Dougie Wallace’s Blackpool series was of a man – “pissing himself laughing and bollock-naked” – securely wrapped to a lamp post by a few hundred meters of clingflim. “He should know better,” one of the lad’s mates said to Dougie as he framed the shot. “He’s been married three times before.” “Even when photographers are most concerned with mirroring reality, they are still haunted by tacit imperatives of taste and conscience,” Susan Sontag wrote in her essay, On Photography. Dougie Wallace is certainly doing this. Largely self-taught after serving four years in the Army, Wallace calls himself a social commentator, and he isn’t afraid to relate these images to our leaders in Westminster: “It’s a snapshot of our times – a graphic nightmare,” Wallace says of his images of Blackpool, the binge-drinking, stag and hen party capital of the UK. “Blair’s dream of a Continental-style Britain, sipping wine with impunity, has mutated into Cameron’s binge-blighted Britain, with cheap alcohol available around the clock.” Born and raised in the tenements of Glasgow, and influenced by …

2015-05-16T16:07:11+00:00

BJP Staff