All posts tagged: 1970s

Homer Sykes’ social commentary, from Lewisham riots to Burberry shows

“I believe that the great strength photography has, and in particular documentary photography, is content. So much of what is published today, seems to me to be content less. I hope my photography illuminates and resonates with viewers and tells how British society was. And, of my more recent work, of how society is,” says Homer Sykes. he has been photographing British society for five decades, including major social and political events, such as The Battle of Lewisham. Now, some of his work is set to be featured in a Burberry show this month.

2017-09-15T14:33:34+00:00

Deprivation and community in Thatcherite Britain with Tish Murtha’s Youth Unemployment

“Tish believed that photography was an important form of visual communication that could stimulate discussions about real life situations and captured accurate records of the world we live in. She was trying to force people to look at the truth and learn from it,” explains Ella Murtha, the daughter of the documentary photographer. In honour of her mother’s memory, Ella has put together a new photobook, Youth Unemployment, which gathers Tish Murtha’s work photographing poverty-ridden communities in Newcastle in the 70s and 80s. Raw, powerful and emotional, Murtha has captured youngsters trying to survive turbulent economic times, when they had limited prospects – something which has recently come full circle as a new generation has had to deal with the global financial crisis.

2017-10-05T12:12:41+00:00

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 …

2016-03-24T12:42:58+00:00

Evolving attitudes towards women shown through vintage adult memorabilia

Hannah Farrell’s project, Close Your Eyes and Think of England, uses images found in vintage pornography magazines to explore notions of sexuality. “They are taken from early 1970s’ Penthouse magazines and other adult memorabilia, which I have collected over the past few years,” she explains. “What started out as an interest in the aesthetic of the photographs turned into a fascination with how the magazines comment on social movements of the time, particularly attitudes towards women. It’s interesting to explore the relationship between the evolution of photography and  how this is linked with changes in the female body.”     A graduate of Blackpool and The Fylde College, Farrell deliberately picked out images with earthy tones and natural light to play up a sense of nostalgia, but says this aesthetic also suggests a connection to the natural world and animal instincts – factors she emphasises in the still lifes she sets up. As such, her images feed into her ongoing exploration of nature versus culture, and how women in particular are socialised.         “I guess it …

2015-11-25T13:59:59+00:00

A Small Guide to the Invisible Seas

For the thousands of migrants entering Europe, the journey of making a home in a foreign place has just begun.   The work of Aikaterini Gegisian, 38, is especially relevant for those of such placelessness. Her surreal multi-national collages form a seven-chapter narrative in her 2015 book A Small Guide to the Invisible Seas. Gegisian was one of 18 artists to exhibit in the Armenian pavilion at the Venice Biennale this year, which won the Golden Lion at the Biennale’s awards for Best Country. The exhibition, Armenity, is set apart from the main body of the art festival, on an island called San Lazzaro degli Armeni, a 20-minute boat from the mainland across the lagoon. Its distance from the bustle of Venice neatly reflects the exhibition’s theme of a diasporic people – those who have been forcibly moved from, or have had to flee, their original homeland and scattered across the globe.     Being situated in the island, inside a monastery, compounds the exhibition’s overriding sense of being adrift. In the Middle Ages, the Mekhitarist Monastery …

2015-11-17T15:37:09+00:00

Peter Beard’s landmark work documenting man-made destruction done to Africa’s wildlife

“The deeper the white man went into Africa, the faster the life flowed out of it, off the plains and out of the bush…vanishing in acres of trophies and hides and carcasses” proclaimed renowned photographer and artist Peter Beard in his 1965 seminal publication The End Game, a tome highlighting the atrocities of man made destruction done to Africa’s wildlife in the National Parks of Kenya’s Tsavo lowlands and Uganda.     And in 2015, deeper the white man goes. July saw online outrage erupt over the merciless killing of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe, poached by US dentist Walter Palmer for a sum of $50,000. Meanwhile as the world mourned Cecil, five of Kenya’s endangered elephants were quietly slain in Tsavo, to the absent furor of almost no media attention. This devastating poaching incident echoes The End Game’s haunting images and text that fill its 292 pages, which chronicle the same ruthless fate these endangered elephants were subject to half a century ago as they are today.     The 50th anniversary edition of …

2015-11-18T13:22:01+00:00

Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band, forty years ago, on the tour that made them

Forty years ago, in the months leading up to the release of Bruce Springsteen’s seminal Born to Run, photojournalist Barbara Pyle documented a band of young men on tour across America, unaware they were about to be catapulted from left-field obscurity to the forefront of American rock music. Pyle photographed Springsteen and The E Street Band in their native New Jersey habitat of Asbury Park to the Cajun splendour of New Orleans – where the band were touring the new material. She photographed them in her own family home in rural Oklahoma, and gives a broad mix of studio portraits, performance shots and travelogue images. “I first saw Bruce and the E Street Band by accident,” Pyle says. “I was blown away by their music. For the next year, I drove to as many of their gigs as I could reach. They jokingly started calling me their ‘official unofficial photographer’. I was just expected to be there, and I almost always was – on my self-imposed mission to document this little known New Jersey band. “I had the remarkable good fortune to spend most of …

2015-10-20T17:18:46+00:00

Susan Meiselas: Carnival Strippers

“It’s getting near show time!” the voice would boom out over the cheers of the punters. Susan Meiselas would hover at first near the back of the tent. “Don’t be shy, take your hands out of your pockets, take your money out of your wallets. Rest your elbows on the stage and look up into the whole, the whole goddamn show. Show time! Where they strip to please, not to tease!” Susan Meiselas was 24 when she started Carnival Strippers. It was the summer of 1972, and her photography experience was limited to portraits of her housemates in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She had just completed an MA from Harvard, yet she still was shy and unsure of herself – very unlike the direct intellect of today, who treats Magnum’s offices like a second home. But in the earliest of these early pictures, she had not yet been invited into the showgirls’ dressing room. [bjp_ad_slot] Meiselas has seen some terrible things, but rarely – if ever – has she flinched. When they exhumed Saddam Hussein’s mass graves, …

2015-01-28T12:23:27+00:00

BJP Staff