All posts tagged: America

George Byrne uses Los Angeles to study loneliness

“Photography is a funny game,” says LA-based photographer George Byrne. “It’s a lonely sport – you’re on your own, on an obscure mission to capture something and you don’t often know what you’re looking for but you know when you see it.” Byrne moved from Sydney to Melbourne, then experienced New York for one year before settling in Los Angeles – without much money or knowledge of the city – in 2011. The alien quality of his photographs stems from this personal distance from LA. “A lot of the time I’m shooting in LA I feel like I’m at war,” he says. “It’s like a desert. I’m a very white person and I get burned. I get so much satisfaction out of making pictures that beautify this bizarre landscape because it’s quite difficult to do it. People will keep their window up and the pedal pressed.” Byrne documents the LA streetscape, driving and shooting in sweltering temperatures in search of shadows and symmetry. He frames a pastel narrative of the sun-blasted walls lining the roads. Few …

2015-08-28T13:35:02+00:00

How did a Scottish photographer get inside America’s strip club scene?

How did Ivar Wigan, a Perth-born, London-based photographer, infiltrate feared gangs and Atlanta strip clubs? “I lived in this motel and went to the club every night for eight or nine weeks,” he says of his series The Gods, recently exhibited at P-A-M, “until I knew all the dancers, all the security, I knew the management, the bar staff, I was the guy who was there every night.” The Gods focuses on the street culture of America’s southern cities; Atlanta, Miami and Los Angeles. The communities depicted — largely black, often deprived of resources and driven to alternative sources of income — represent a side of America that inspire fear and fascination in equal measure among many of its inhabitants. There is a charged dynamic implicit in a middle-class, European photographer documenting their lives for consumption in the cosy environs of a west London art gallery. Wigan distances himself from a grander, societal interpretation of his photos and stresses that his motives were relatively simple: “I was really looking to see what made this scene tick, …

2015-08-14T12:16:24+00:00

One Stephen Shore student is setting Paris alight

“I choose to work without limits. I follow my instincts and allow my subconscious to be in control. By neither having a theme nor a structured project, I am able to keep my photographic process as natural and intuitive as possible,” says 27-year-old Louis Heilbronn. His first exhibition, Meet Me On The Surface, at the Galerie Polaris in Paris in February 2013, was a revelation for many. Brigitte Ollier, art critic for the French daily Libération, described his images as “gifted, with a captivating power”, while Claire Guillot of Le Monde wrote that their charm came from their elusive nature. Heilbronn’s large-format photos, which were shown as small 23×30cm prints, flowed like an organic stream of consciousness, mixing portraits of loved ones such as his girlfriend with shots of strangers, images of everyday objects, and an array of varying landscapes. With no indication as to when or how far apart they were taken, the images created a quiet riddle to which each spectator found his own answer. The Brooklyn-based photographer graduated from the photography programme …

2015-08-28T13:37:27+00:00

Jack Davison drove through America’s highways for 10,000 miles, taking portraits along the way

He’s only 24, but English photographer Jack Davison is already carving out a promising career for himself. Essex born and London based, he taught himself how to take pictures after picking up a camera at 16; studying English at Warwick University, he spent most of his time at university taking pictures. Photographing his family, friends and the countryside around him, he says the internet was his major influence and “a tutor”. “The internet introduced me to communities of photographers [and] Flickr, in its heyday, was unparalleled for introducing like-minded artists and creators to each other’s work,” he says. “There were huge swathes of images available to me to take in. I was driven to shoot pretty much non-stop from then on. “I studied English Literature at university [but] despite all the reading and essays there was plenty of time to take pictures,” he adds. “My tutor described my degree as ‘the loyal, drab wife’ that I’d spurned for photography – my exciting mistress.” Nominated by gallerist and curator Zelda Cheatle, who describes Davison as “a …

2015-08-10T11:18:57+00:00

Allyson Anne Lamb – Beefcakes

“In America, cattle are seen as food,” says 26-year-old Allyson Anne Lamb. “People don’t see them as anything other than burgers. But there is a lot more that goes on with animals. I wanted to create a fantasy world where cattle aren’t just food. I wanted to show a relationship between the animal and human.” In Beefcakes, Lamb, who graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York four years ago, photographed herself naked with cattle at ranches in Texas, Maine and Maryland in the US. “I was already making self-portraits to explore my identity as a young woman, and wanted to have the same conversation about cattle and identity,” she explains. “Cattle are much more rigidly purposed than I am – cows are used for breeding or for their milk their entire lives, for example. I wanted to show a woman physically on or next to a cow to say, ‘Look, here they are at the same time.’” Currently based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Lamb worked on the project from July to December last year. “I looked …

2015-10-19T10:50:01+00:00

Alec Soth – Songbook

BJP

On my way out from interviewing Alec Soth, navigating the stairs from his publisher’s office, out into the rainy late-November evening outside, it seems appropriate – significant even – that it happened on London’s Denmark Street. This tiny diagonal lane on the flanks of Covent Garden has been a draw for musicians since Dickensian times, when the music halls and theatres nearby bought sheet music in bundles from the terraced shops on its route. Later, in the 1950s, it was host to a flourishing music publishing industry, becoming known as the British ‘Tin Pan Alley’, and later still The Rolling Stones and David Bowie sang into microphones in recording studios on their upper floors. These days, most of what’s left of that illustrious, sing-song past is a clutch of guitar shops and specialist music retailers – all under threat of redevelopment – the brassy-yellow light from their windows reflecting in the sheen of wet, gum-dotted pavement. Soth is here in London to lay the ground for a retrospective of his photography opening at Media Space …

2015-10-06T14:54:03+00:00

“Ma’am, could you back up please? Could you give him some air?”

BJP

When I started thinking about this article, my focus was set to be on Oscar Grant, the 22-year-old black Californian who was shot to death — while unarmed, and held face down — by a white transit cop on New Year’s Day, 2009. The fictionalised story of Grant’s final day was turned into an award-winning film, Fruitvale Station. It’s a powerful work, confidently directed by first-timer Ryan Coogler, and it boasts a moving turn from Michael B. Jordan as the tragic Grant. Fruitvale Station is notable for opening with real, raw cameraphone footage of the incident, sourced from one of the many bystanders who made use of lightweight, mobile technology to capture this instance of appalling institutional dysfunction. This directorial choice casts a dark shadow over the remainder of the film, and seems to acknowledge the importance of authenticity over fictional reconstruction. It’s a bold move from a young filmmaker making his “calling card” picture, but it reflects a key truth at the heart of the matter: Oscar’s slaying was one of the first such …

2015-04-17T18:47:41+00:00

BJP Staff