All posts tagged: British

Playing between the lines of fashion, photography and art

Benjamin Whitley only completed his BA in photography at Camberwell College of Art last year, and already he has already been featured in the Telegraph and Vogue.co.uk, shot the SS14 campaign for Mako, and shown work at the South London Gallery. Born into a family of image makers – his mother, grandfather and aunt have all been photographers at some point, and his other grandfather is a painter – he has a sophisticated approach that he applies to fashion, film and photography, and the juncture at which it meets art.           “Fashion is interesting due to its construction in terms of image,” he says. “It has a likeness to real time but inherently it’s completely hyperreal. There’s an element of performance that is really exciting; it allows for a collision of style and roleplay that is unique to the medium. I’m interested in how clothing can take on its wearer and vice versa, and how fashion imagery can create completely unrealistic and opulent scenarios. The fantasy of it all is really glamorous.” Attracted to “the way …

2015-11-18T16:05:14+00:00

Portraits of remembrance: glass plate photographs of British service personnel

By 1915, the scale of the horror of the First World War was becoming abundantly clear. This was the year of the Battles of Gallipoli, Ypres and Loos. In Benjamin Reeves’ photography studio in Lewes, Sussex, young sergeants, sailors, privates and lieutenants were preparing for battle in their own, deeply personal way – by having their portrait taken. These photographs were often presents, tokens to pass to mothers, fathers and loved ones in their absence. But they were also a proof of existence, of a life that might be extinguished too soon. 100 years have now passed. But in the same studio, using the same camera and even the same hand-painted backdrop, British Service men and women are having their portrait taken for the Royal British Legion’s 2015 Poppy Appeal  – and by a Reeves man, no less.  Alex Bamford, Art Director of the project, tells us that researching old portraits from the era led them to Edward Reeves Photography, the world’s longest established photographic business (founded in 1855, a year after British Journal of Photography). …

2015-11-05T13:14:28+00:00

The squatters, ravers and travellers who exported British festival culture to Europe

In 1992, thousands of New Age travellers, ravers and gypsies converged on Castlemorton Common in Worcestershire for a week-long free festival. Widely reported in the press, the event attracted an estimated 20,000 to 40,000 people and became impossible for the police to close down. Tom Hunter, then a student at the London College of Printing, was involved in the free party scene but somehow missed the event; he soon realised he’d let a seminal moment pass him by and vowed not to do so again.     Castlemorton led directly to the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, however, which outlawed outdoor parties that included “sounds wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats” in the UK. So, three years later, Hunter and a squad of fellow squatters were on their way to Europe in a decommissioned double-decker bus, complete with sound system and provisions. Over the ensuing months, the group travelled to folk festivals in France, hippie gatherings in Austria and beach parties in Spain, with the bus – Le Crowbar – doubling …

2015-11-03T12:47:05+00:00

Finding birth, death and true equality in NHS waiting rooms

On average, a new patient arrives through the swinging doors of the Accident and Emergency department at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport every six minutes, every single day of the year. Sam Peat, a graduate at the University of South Wales’ highly rated documentary photography course, spent months in Gwent’s A&E, capturing in colour the people who wait in those long, institutional hallways and, in intense monochrome, some of the situations and casualties they deal with. The project, says Peat, aims to explore the challenges facing the NHS. “Sometimes people would stop me in the corridors and ask me to get the doctor to hurry up,” he says on a phone call from his home in Newport. “We have the longest waiting times for a decade, and a lot of A&E departments across the whole of the NHS are understaffed.” In the small hours of the morning, Peat shows nurses working in unspoken unison, as a man with a fractured leg bares his teeth with pain. In another, he shows the streaks and swirls of plaster residue on …

2015-11-03T12:50:44+00:00

The Joy of Essex: Lucy Sparks’ unusual images of Britain’s most stereotyped county

Returning to Theydon Bois on the outer borders of London after a four-year stay in Berlin, Lucy Sparks embarked on a project about her birthplace. “I felt it was the perfect time to explore what I perceived as an Essex renaissance,” says the 31 year old. “The stereotype has been enjoying a revival, thanks in part to cult reality TV show The Only Way is Essex. A stereotypically Essex lifestyle has become even more decadent since the 1980s and early 1990s, so I wanted to investigate this.” Essexland, which Sparks made into a book for her photojournalism and documentary photography master’s course at London College of Communication, looks at the county as “an aesthetic phenomenon”. “I didn’t want to avoid the stereotypes; the project definitely reiterates many of them,” she says. “The images play on a sense of hyper-reality. The new story Essex has been telling about itself is loud, brash and in HD. Of course it’s an unsettling characterisation for some as not everyone in the county fits such a generalisation. But I hope the work …

2015-10-19T10:45:59+00:00

The rural mythologies of English country life

It took Andy Sewell five years to photograph the fragment of green that is Hampstead Heath, and given that its “ancient trees, tall grass and thickets dense enough to get lost in” cover just a couple of square miles, it was some investigation. For this British photographer, endgame is long in the forging. Instead, he begins with “an attraction; something I feel confused about, and making the work is the process of finding some coherence within that”. For his latest undertaking, he has set about unravelling the myths, histories and impressions encircling the English countryside. Once again the venture took five years, and once again it will be published initially as a special edition book – an approach that worked well with The Heath, which won the International Photobook Award in 2012 and plaudits from both Martin Parr and Robert Adams, the latter stating that it had rekindled his dwindling faith in photography. Both bodies of work engage with landscape, but where grand, sweeping views might have been an obvious source of inspiration, Sewell hones in on the particular. …

2015-09-30T11:45:32+00:00

Julian Germain photographed classrooms in 19 countries all over the world

“It doesn’t matter whether it’s Ethiopia or Germany”, says Julian Germain, the British photographer who has spent the last 11 years photographing children in their classrooms at school’s all over the world. “Each school is instantly recognisable,” Germain says. “A teacher standing in front of rows of children in an oblong space, with a blackboard at one end is the template of education throughout the world.” This universal experience is something that Germain has captured in his aptly named series Classroom Portraits, that will have its UK premiere at the Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne at the beginning of October. After starting the series in the north of England, Germain photographed in 19 countries across the world, including Russia, Taiwan, Bangladesh, the USA and Saudi Arabia.    The project began when his when his own daughters first started their education.  He realised that, despite this experience being universal, there were hardly any depictions of schooling in the photography world. “The way it worked was pretty random,” Germain says. “If I was travelling somewhere, I’d ask people I knew …

2015-10-06T09:25:11+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

BJP Staff