All posts tagged: archive

Disaster strikes in John Kasmin’s postcard collection

“Before photographically-illustrated magazines or newspapers, before television and Facebook networks existed, in the first decade or so of the twentieth century, picture postcards were sent by the hundreds of millions worldwide,” writes John Kasmin, introducing his series of five photobooks on postcards published today. Kasmin is an art dealer who most notably works with 20th century abstract painters, but he’s also an avid collector of early postcards. First popularised in the late 19th century, postcards were an early way to send “images of peoples, places and events to inform and entertain the recipients”, and their use peaked in the early 20th century as printing costs reduced. Some of the subjects may surprise contemporary viewers, and the five volumes of Kasmin’s photobook series are divided by unexpected theme – Elders collects postcards detailing the older generation around the world; Scrub focuses on washing rituals in various societies; Meat is a bloody volume showcasing slaughterhouses and the butchers who worked there; Size shows people of all shapes and sizes going about their lives. The fifth volume, Wreck, shows intriguing, sometimes tragic, …

2017-09-20T10:08:10+00:00

Martin Parr’s Foundation opens to the public

Martin Parr has found a permanent home for the foundation he set up in 2014, giving visitors access to his archive and to his formidable collection. “I’ve been very lucky,” he told BJP’s Gemma Padley. “I have secured a very good living from doing this, and so the foundation is a great way to feed some of that back into the system.”

2017-09-19T12:08:28+00:00

From the archive… the long-simmering feud over housing Britain’s photography

News that the National Media Museum is losing the world-class RPS Collection to the Victoria and Albert Museum had us delving into our archives for some background. There is history between these two, as our 4 March 1982 edition attests, reporting open warfare between the museums long ahead of the Bradford opening. In our leader, ‘Whither Bradford’, published more than a year ahead of the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television’s opening, the unnamed writer (most likely then-editor, Geoffrey Crawley) charts a public spat that contrasts sharply with the cloak-and-dagger spin employed today. “Since the formal announcement of the go-ahead of the Bradford Museum was given last year, the Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Sir Roy Strong, has been sounding off in the public prints with objections based on the belief that the new museum would be overlapping unnecessarily with the V&A photographic collection. His criticisms were particularised to the point of maintaining that the V&A was deliberately kept out of the picture until after the press conference 130 Archive at which …

2016-05-19T15:38:26+00:00

Spot the ball: Robin Maddock’s uncompromising, ambiguous vision of California

From the title of his photographic blog, Ugly Moments Strung Together, you sense that Robin Maddock is prone to critical self-analysis and distrust of aesthetic purity. Despite having two well-received photobooks already published by Trolley (or maybe because of it), Maddock says that he felt disoriented and perplexed when it came to finding inspiration for a new project or approach to work towards. His third book, III, also published by Trolley and shot largely in the harshly-lit urban topography of Los Angeles and San Francisco, is the culmination of this period of introspection and points to a future direction of enquiry that seems at odds with his documentary roots. His first book, Our Kids Are Going To Hell (2009), resulted from his work following police on raids in Hackney. The second, God Forgotten Face (2011), shot in his home town of Plymouth, was already more introspective, even if it remained recognisable as a documentary project, capturing the city as a kind of microcosm of Little England. Or so Maddock thought when he started, thinking of it as a kind of …

2016-01-13T14:44:56+00:00

Patrick Willocq went from corporate multinationals to the DR Congo to photograph the land of his childhood

As a child, Patrick Willocq spent seven years in the Democratic Republic of Congo; with a camera given to him by his father, he recorded the people and places he encountered. In 2009, 27 years after leaving, he returned, and the trip proved a revelation. “I totally reconnected with myself,” he says. “My passion for photography revealed itself stronger than ever. This helped me face the fact that I was fundamentally not happy with my life.” Willocq had been working for corporate multinationals in Asia for nearly two decades, but he abandoned his successful career to resettle in DR Congo. “I feel at home in the remote villages among the locals,” he says. “I have always been struck by the beauty, simplicity and dignity of daily life there. I want to go beyond the images that stigmatise the nation; for instance, I wish to bear witness to the peace that prevails in the Western part of the country.” His first series, On the road from Bikoro to Bokonda, bears testimony to the everyday challenges faced by the Batwa …

2015-09-07T11:10:50+00:00

Found in a Beijing recycling plant: “A weird and slightly fucked up tradition.”

“It was very unusual. I’ve been to a few Chinese weddings, but I had never seen this before — neither had most of my Chinese friends.” As a collector and editor for the UK-based Archive of Modern Conflict, Thomas Sauvin’s pursuit of intriguing images often takes him to odd places, but when he discovered a trove of forgotten images depicting a bygone wedding ritual, even he was surprised. “I thought negatives might be an interesting trail because it’s something people tend to neglect. I got in touch with a seller specialising in recycling trash that contained silver nitrate. I bought 35mm negatives by the kilo, without knowing what I would do with them.” Confronted with this vast stack of images, Sauvin started to look for unifying qualities within the images. He found a picture of Chinese newlyweds smoking a handmade wedding bong, a gesture – apparently – of good luck for newlyweds. Struck by the incongruity, he revisited his growing cache of negatives. “I thought it was interesting because it’s related to more youthful practice in Europe. …

2015-07-28T19:29:16+00:00

Tod Papageorge – Studio 54

Bianca Jagger rode a white horse through it on her birthday. On Andy Warhol’s special day, the owners gave him bin full of dollar bills for his. New York’s Studio 54 opened in 1977 and closed less than three years later, but it’s gone down in history as the most glamorous, most louche, best nightclub in history. It was also one of the most photographed. Populated by celebrities and party people, decorated with literally tonnes of glitter and an illuminated, coke-snorting man-on-the-moon, Studio 54 was a treasure trove for image-makers. Tod Papageorge was one of them, first arriving at the new year’s eve party of 1977/78 and going back again and again until it closed. But while most of the photographers were shooting on assignment, or shooting celebrities with a view to selling them on, Papageorge was working for himself, free to capture the whole scene on his own terms. “I was on my own kind of self-assignment,” he tells BJP. “It had nothing to do with celebrity, and all to do with making what I hoped would be …

2015-04-17T18:45:00+00:00

BJP Staff