All posts tagged: BJP Breakthrough

Sure shot – César Dezfuli’s portrait of Amadou, a refugee crossing the Mediterranean

“This image documents a transcendental fact in the life of the person portrayed: Amadou had just been rescued from the sea by a European vessel,” says Dezfuli. “Apparently his dream is fulfilled. However, fear, mistrust and uncertainty are present, as well as determination and strength.” For his series, Passengers, photographer Cesar Dezfuli took a sequence of 118 photographs in 120 minutes as a boat load of refugees were rescued just off the coast of Libya. These people had journeyed from different countries looking for a better future in Europe.

2017-08-31T10:36:14+00:00

Awards: Daragh Soden wins the Grand Prix at Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography

“Dublin is the city I grew up in, I wanted to make work about me but also about the youth in Dublin today,” says Daragh Soden. “I approached young people in the streets of Dublin and asked them if I could take their photograph, and allowed them to stand as they wished. The idea was to champion the youth of Dublin today, to celebrate them and also revisit my own youth.” It’s a deceptively simply premise for a project that’s already brought him international success – last year the single image prize in the undergraduate category of BJP‘s Breakthrough Awards, and now the Photography Jury Grand Prix at the Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography. Judged by a prestigious panel including photographer Tim Walker, gallerist Michael Hoppen, agent extraordinaire Camilla Lowther, and curator Robin Muir, the win means that Soden will stage a solo exhibition of his work at next year’s festival, a €15,000 grant from Chanel, plus a €5000 grant for the Janvier photo lab. Soden was selected from a shortlist of ten photographers, which also included …

2017-06-13T15:15:42+00:00

Breakthrough Awards: 2016 winner Simone Sapienza has a spectacular year

Simone Sapienza won the Undergraduate series prize at the Breakthrough Awards 2016 with an astonishingly assured debut, Charlie surfs on Lotus Flowers. Shot in Vietnam, it explores a country that effectively defeated the US in an exhausting war, then adopted unbridled capitalism to become a new Asian tiger. “Vietnam was all built in my imagination but just thanks to the cinema, through movies like Apocalypse Now,” Sapienza explains. “I was curious to see what the country that defeated the US looked like.” It was a precocious start for someone just leaving university, but then Sapienza had already made inroads into the photography world the year before, launching the Gazebook Sicily Photobook Festival in 2015. It’s now in its third year, and has hosted photographers as well known as Martin Parr. After graduating from Newport, Sapienza returned to Sicily, where he joined the Minimum photo studio, which he runs with our other members. It’s an “atypical and transversal” place, he says, through which the photographers organise events and create new photo projects individually and collectively; it’s also based in …

2017-04-27T14:21:01+00:00

Breakthrough Awards: how to impress judges Diana Markosian, Juno Calypso and Hayley Louisa Brown

“I like it when you can tell they had fun making it, that they did it for themselves before anyone else,” says photographer Juno Calypso. “That criteria probably doesn’t apply well to documentary projects but I take pictures of myself in wigs and tacky lingerie, so what do I know?” She’s a fast-rising star in photography who launched her career with a series of self-portraits playing a fictional character named Joyce, but she’s also helping out as one of the judges of this year’s BJP Breakthrough Awards. She likes underdogs and “a photographer or a subject that isn’t already over-represented in the history of photography”, she says but, having been on the other side of the fence, adds that she knows how scary it can be to enter a prize. ”I know how it feels to place all your hopes into a single competition,” she says. “I don’t want to make lazy decisions [when judging]. What I will say though, is even if you do get rejected – keep applying or just do your own …

2017-04-26T10:44:43+00:00

Breakthrough Awards 2017: getting the inside track from the judges

“A good project could be one of many different things,” says Vivienne Gamble, director at Seen Fifteen Gallery and Peckham 24. “Sometimes it will be the story that the photographer is telling that sets their project apart. The storytelling power of photography is one of the reasons that I’m most drawn to the medium. “I’m drawn to experimental projects, and to artists who are playing with or pushing the boundaries of photography,” she continues. “When it comes to choosing projects to show in the gallery, I look for ones that are going to expand beyond the confines of the gallery walls.” Gamble is one of the judges for this year’s BJP Breakthrough Awards, along with Emma Lewis, assistant curator at Tate Modern, Diana Markosian, photographer at Magnum Photos; Emma Bowkett, director of photography at FT Weekend Magazine; Maisie Skidmore, online editor at AnOther; Juno Calypso, artist; Hayley Louisa Brown, founder and editor of BRICK magazine and Lisa Farrell, head of exhibitions and events at British Journal of Photography. Now in their third edition, there are …

2017-05-05T11:50:07+00:00

Breakthrough Awards: Jan McCullough one year later

It was while leafing through a 1950s manual for military wives she’d found in a secondhand shop that photographer Jan McCullough came up with the title for Home Instruction Manual. The innovative project, which explores the concept of the ideal home, scooped the Northern Ireland-based photographer first prize in the Graduate – Series category of last year’s BJP‘s Breakthrough Awards. Renting an empty home for a month, she decorated it according to contemporary DIY advice she found online and photographed the results in a deadpan, deliberately amateurish style. For the Breakthrough group show in East London’s Truman Brewery, McCullough decided to include a huge roll printed with this advice alongside her pictures. Showing her work in this way kickstarted an interest in more experimental exhibition strategies, and McCullough has discovered “an enthusiasm for the possibilities of a physical installation in a gallery context”. “I’m interested in developing this aspect of my practice, considering new ways to present my work specific to its subject,” she continues. “I want to play around with how my installations could …

2017-05-08T15:30:24+00:00

Tales from the contemporary American farm

What happens when the landscape of your childhood starts to disappear? American photographer Alexandra Hootnick grew up in rural upstate New York, but when large swathes of farmland near her old home were sold off to property developers, she realised how little she knew about the people living off the land. These tight-knit communities, self-reliant and resilient, became the subject of The Sixth Day, Hootnick’s ongoing series exploring “the beauty, challenges and interconnectivities” of life on these small, family-run farms. Over two years, she would photograph families who had recently moved to the area, with little to no farming experience, to join the established Amish community. We spoke to her about the challenges of photographing insular communities and why she chose to frame the series through the perspective of children:   How did you come across small-scale farm life in upstate New York in the first place? Upstate New York is my home. I grew up in a rural area and agriculture is part of the visual identity of my childhood. The majority of the surrounding farms are small, family-owned and …

2016-07-29T15:43:02+00:00

BJP Breakthrough 2016: Presenting the Single Image runners-up

SAM IVIN What does it mean to be an asylum seeker in the UK? The question first struck Sam Ivin in 2013, after seeing news reports of a high volume of asylum applications and a UK border agency struggling to get a handle on the situation. A Documentary Photography student at University of South Wales, Newport at the time, he decided to visit drop-in centres and actually get up-close with the human beings behind the headlines. The resulting series, Lingering Ghosts, published by Fabrica earlier this year, gives a visceral insight into the inner lives of the dispossessed. The series has recently been exhibited at Athens Photo Festival, will be shown at Rome’s Galleria del Cembalo in September and features in our next issue of BJP, which focuses on photographic responses to migration. Ivin would listen to their stories, take their portrait and then radically intervene in the image – defacing the photograph with a Stanley knife and sandpaper, evoking their sense of loss, confusion and dislocation. His portrait [above], taken in a South London drop-in centre for …

2016-07-21T11:50:07+00:00

By the water: Photographing the mysterious power of the Dead Sea

There’s something Biblical about the Dead Sea. Quite literally – passages and passages of scripture references and prophesies about the salty lake in which no living thing can flourish or grow. The Greeks and Romans noted the mysterious power of the water, which, bordered by Israel, Palestine and Jordan, has played host to history throughout the centuries. Today, stories of myths and legends have quieted to whispers, and its expensive, mineral-rich mud is sold to tourists eager to procure some semblance of the lake’s reviving properties. But in recent years the Dead Sea has come under threat, thanks to declining sea levels and the recent appearance of sinkholes. The Dead Sea’s siren-like call attracted Danish photographer Kasper Palsnov, whose series Salt depicts the reality of a region between states; history and modernity, fertile and barren. His interest in the region came from a study trip to Israel and Palestine in 2013, travelling with interns at the Danish daily newspaper Berlingske. “From the first second we arrived I was fascinated by the place. It was a place of beauty and …

2016-07-13T17:51:07+00:00

Documenting the American family from the other side

When Swedish photographer Alice Schoolcraft visited her relatives in America for the first time she encountered a gun-owning American family, who held beliefs, interests and ideas completely contrary to her own but treated her with love and affection. In her cousins, aunts and uncles she began to see herself reflected back, and the University of Westminster graduate imagined an alternative personal narrative: is this what her life would have been like had she grown up in America, not Malmö? Schoolcraft’s series The Other Side explores this question, pushing the boundaries of familial ties and personal identity while documenting an America we don’t often see on TV. We talked to Schoolcraft about connecting with documenting family, being an outsider and working on Fridays:   What prompted you to explore this ‘unknown path’ of your American family? Growing up in Sweden, we had a portrait of them in my house so I’ve always known about this side of my family, but I had never met them. I finally met my dad’s cousin Myles very briefly a couple years ago, …

2016-07-12T17:08:54+00:00

BJP Staff