All posts tagged: Christopher Bethell

OpenWalls Home & Away: How does sense of place impact your work?

For our very first OpenWalls award, we are inviting both emerging and established photographers, from all over the world, to submit work responding to the theme ‘Home & Away’. Up to 50 photographers will then be selected to exhibit their photographs as part of a group exhibition at Galerie Huit Arles in July 2019, to coincide with the 50th edition of Les Rencontres d’Arles. The theme of the exhibition, ‘Home & Away’, is open to interpretation. We want to see images that capture a sense of belonging, escapism or identity, and play with notions of home or freedom. Do you find your inspiration at home, by photographing your loved ones, or do you seek inspiration further afield? For one of our featured photographers, Brandon Dare, home is at the heart of all his work. “There is a lot of emotion to be found in your home environment, in one way or another,” he explains, “through the people there, or shared memories of either sad or happy times.” Brandon’s projects have so far explored a range …

2018-08-13T16:40:18+00:00

OpenWalls: Christopher Bethell on his complex relationship to home

Christopher Bethell’s work comes from a desire to explore his identity, making his personal reflections universal. His complex relationship to home comes from his dual American and British citizenship. Despite never having visited America, he has always thought of it as a home, and so embarked on his major MA project, The Duke of Earl, last year in the US, as a way to document his understanding of this new but familiar place. What followed was a struggle between cliche and authenticity, as Christopher came to terms with the stereotypes that had informed his perception of this fractured home. Christopher’s interest in photography was first sparked at the age of 19, and he quickly threw himself into the medium, studying at Mid Cheshire College, Staffordshire University, and finally at London College of Communication, where he received a Masters in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography. He cites his most valuable lessons as those about the foundations of photographic theory, and the ethics of representation, which have changed the way he approaches projects and commissions. Since graduating he …

2018-08-08T15:56:10+00:00

Announcing OpenWalls, Your Invitation to Arles

“Hosting OpenWalls is an exciting opportunity to create an outstanding curated exhibition in an unusual setting,” says Julia de Bierre, who is opening up the walls of her internationally renowned gallery, Galerie Huit Arles, to exhibit 50 shortlisted images for a month in July 2019. Launching to coincide with the 50th edition of Les Rencontres d’Arles, the world’s first and foremost photographic festival, OpenWalls is an awards initiative that gives emerging and established photographers the chance to exhibit in reputable locations around the world. For our first exhibition we are inviting work responding to the theme ‘Home & Away’, with the aim being to capture a sense of belonging, escapism, or identity. “I hope that the response to the theme will reflect all the qualities, and possibly contradictions, of British Journal of Photography’s readership,” says Julia. Which are? “Talented, informed, curious, conventional, cutting-edge, international or home-grown, and numerous!” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Galerie Huit Arles is located in the centre of Arles. Once used as a remarkable 17th century mansion, its classical …

2018-06-21T15:32:15+00:00

Christopher Bethell traces his grandfather’s wayward steps across the US

The medium of photography is inherently entwined with memory and nostalgia, especially when it relates to family history. For Christopher Bethell, the recollections of his American grandfather, Joseph ‘Joey’ O’Donnell, were shaped by the few photographs he saw of his relative while growing up in the seemingly unglamorous northern town of Stockport, England. Joey passed away when Bethell was a baby, and the photographer developed a fiction around him – that of a jazz musician who had left his family for a doomed second shot at his career, before falling for the temptations of Las Vegas and ending up in an early grave. Yet when he eventually sat down with his grandmother to find out what she remembered of Joey and their life together in the US, he uncovered “a story that was far more complex and much less cinematic”. In an attempt to deconstruct his own romanticised timeline of his grandfather and – as a dual citizen of the UK and the US – to discover America for himself, Bethell took a six-week road trip taking in Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Reno and Seattle in 2015, ending the journey in Clarkston, Washington, where his grandfather had settled at the end of his life. The subsequent series is affectionately titled The Duke of Earl, a reference to the song by Gene Chandler, which Joey had sung to his future wife the first time they met. Divided into four chapters, Bethell’s images are prefaced with a family photograph of Joey, each followed by its inscription on the back, penned by Joey.

2018-01-23T13:55:06+00:00

BJP #7868: Group Projects

In BJP’s latest issue, we focus on forms of collaboration. Collaboration in photography can be controversial, say the Danish collective Sara, Peter & Tobias, as “in school you’re told that you have to find your own personal interest and motive”. Yet collaboration – whether in an ad hoc duo or formalised collective – is a powerful tool to combine voices and perspectives, and create rich, multi-faceted work. In our featured projects we share work from Carlotta Cardana, for example, who teamed up with writer and tribal member Danielle SeeWalker on a 15,000 mile journey across the United States. In the resulting The Red Road Project, the dialogue between image and text paints a picture of contemporary Native American identity, and counters reductive stereotypes often fuelled by the media. Over in Europe, Belgian photographer Kevin Faingnaert entered a rural protest camp in France, where – despite initial resistance – he managed to gain his subjects’ trust and develop a deeper understanding of their alternative lifestyle. Christopher Bethell sought to capture his grandfather’s gaze in his series on memory and …

2018-04-10T09:34:52+00:00

BJP Staff