All posts tagged: frontpagefeature

Good Sick – Jordan Baumgarten’s local vision of a national opioid crisis

When Jordan Baumgarten and his wife moved into the neighbourhood of Kensington in Philadelphia in 2013, they were shocked by what they saw – sex workers, dealers and drug use, all in plain view on the street, with almost no oversight from the police. Faced with these scenes daily on his doorstep, Baumgarten turned to his camera in an attempt to make sense of the area. “Photography forces an interaction and relationship with the world because it demands that you go to a certain place,” he says. Kensington is “a nexus for those in and around the city seeking heroin and all that it entails. It co-exists alongside everyday life in the neighbourhood and its surrounding landscape,” Baumgarten explains. But he adds that while this work focuses on Philadelphia, it addresses a much larger issue: “The city serves as a microcosm to discuss issues tearing apart the fabric of our social landscape.” Born in Philadelphia in 1983, Baumgarten stumbled across photography almost by accident after breaking his leg in 6th grade – keen to keep …


Obituary: Pete James, Curator of Photography Collections at the Library of Birmingham, 1958-2018

Peter James was an instrumental figure in British photography, establishing an outstanding collection of photography at the Library of Birmingham over his 26-year career at the institution, and researching and curating exhibitions at the V&A, National Portrait Gallery, Somerset House, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Ikon Galley, the Library of Birmingham, and many more. He was also a modest and affable man, universally known as Pete and as at home over a curry as in a lecture hall delivering an academic paper. As Hilary Roberts, research curator at the Imperial War Museum, put it in a tribute on James’ Facebook page: “Pete has been a wonderful friend and exceptional colleague for more years than I can remember. His contribution to the world of photography cannot be overstated. It was a privilege to work with him and I will miss him more than I can say.”


AWCA Creatives and a new wave of Nigerian photographers

Based in Lagos, Nigeria, A Whitespace Creative Agency is in the business of “creating narratives for a new vision of contemporary Africa”. It was set up in 2014 by Papa Omotayo after he “saw the need for creatives to have a platform and organisation that aimed to push new ideas being developed by a new generation of visual artists,” says Omotayo. “We sought to bring young dynamic creatives and pair them with local and international brands and organisations,” he continues, “whilst also developing personal projects and programmes that focused on art and culture as a currency and catalyst for change within the city of Lagos.” AWCA works with local and international brands and NGOs, creating lookbooks, campaigns, editorials, documentaries and films; it also works on projects presenting the cream of Lagos’ talent overseas. AWCA’s collaboration with Amaka Osakwe of Maki Oh won Best New Director at the Fashion Film Festival in Milan in 2016, for example; in 2016 AWCA took up a ten-day residency in London, showcasing some of its creatives, giving photographer Kadara Enyeasi a …


Sophie Green turns on the water in Kenya

“Human life at its most basic level needs water to survive. It’s tragic that too much of the world does not have access to a sustainable source of water in order to survive, never mind live,” says photographer Sophie Green of her work with Just a Drop, a charity providing access to sustainable clean water solutions in Kenya. Born in the UK and best-known for exploring facets of British culture such as drag racing and horse fairs, Green isn’t an obvious choice for the charity. But Just a Drop approached her because they were drawn to her aesthetic, she says – and, she points out, she’s spent the last two years documenting African culture in Britain.


International Photography Awards 2018 Shortlist Announced

For the past fourteen years, British Journal of Photography has invited talented photographers from all over the world to enter our International Photography Awards. This year five artists have made the shortlist – Copenhagen-based collective Sara, Peter and Tobias; Polish-born and London-based photographer Paulina Otylie Surys; Indian photographer Poulomi Basu; Harit Srikhao, a photographer from Thailand; and Alys Tomlinson, who lives and often shoots in the UK. Their work ranges from a study of simulated realities, to a complex portrayal of the protracted fight for land and resources in Central India over the last 50 years, and a dreamlike series that draws on idolatry and Hindu cosmology. All five finalists will receive VIP access to this year’s Photo London and Peckham 24, with travel and accommodation provided for those living outside London. The winner will get a professional review and reprint of their portfolio, and a £5000 production grant from Metro Imaging towards a solo show at TJ Boulting, a leading, central London gallery. This year the entries were judged by an acclaimed panel comprised …


Excess exposed by Cristina de Middel and Bruno Morais

Tackling excessive consumption and its parlous effect on the environment and on mental health, Excessocenus uses brightly-coloured, staged images rather than the gritty photojournalism more familiar in this field. “On one hand we wanted to point out the culture of excess that is driving the planet to a total collapse, but on the other hand we also wanted to make a point about how this dramatic situation is normally presented to the audience,” says its creators, Cristina de Middel and Bruno Morais


Refugees facing freezing conditions in Paris

“Photography is a universally understood language. No matter where you’re from, anyone can read an image and understand what’s going on,” says French photojournalist Michael Bunel. Bunel has been working as a photojournalist for the last five years and is committed to communicating important stories through images. He’s documented the 2013 unrest in Turkey’s Taksim Square, the crisis in Ukraine, and the Calais Jungle. But now he’s turning the lens on a crisis unfolding right on his doorstep in Paris. “For several months, hundreds of refugees have been roaming the capital for lack of a better reception facility,” explains Bunel. Despite the French President Emmanuel Macron’s purported wish to make France ‘the land of the welcome’, refugees continue to sleep rough in the streets, mostly grouped in makeshift camps like those at the Canal Saint Martin in Jaurès and the Avenue of the Porte des Poissonniers. With snow falling in the French capital at the start of February and now again at the end, they’re facing freezing conditions in tents. When he was just starting …


I like to keep my subjects in continuous movement and direction: Rory Lewis on creating a compelling portrait

Rory Lewis is an acclaimed portrait photographer who has worked with a wide range of subjects, from British army generals to famous actors such as Sir Patrick Stewart, William Shatner and Sir Ian McKellan. After embarking on a mammoth project with the British Army in 2016, Lewis entered a photograph from the resulting series, ‘Soldiery’, into Portrait of Britain. The selected portrait of Captain Anani-Isaacs was chosen as a symbol of the modernity and diversity of the new British army. Lewis has since taken the project to new heights, and is now working with Italian army regiments to produce similarly styled photographs that draw inspiration from Napoleonic era artists. While Lewis is still inspired by art rather than photography, his new series ‘Portraitist’ is a sharp turn from the static portraiture of ‘Soldiery’; it dramatically depicts celebrities in the style of Caravaggio. He is hoping to extend ‘Portraitist’ by using groups of actors to create scenes reminiscent of Renaissance art. Lewis believes that the key to good portraiture is being bold and taking risks with …


Jason Evans’ Flower Power celebrates colour and community

“The Garden Gate Project has a reputation in my neighbourhood,” says Jason Evans, who has just published a zine with participants from the Margate-based charity. “Established almost 20 years ago for people with learning difficulties and/or mental ill health, the Garden Gate Project is visited by various members of the community for a range of seasonal activities.” He was volunteering there two years ago when the organisers realised he was a photographer, and invited him to come up with ideas for the programme, which centres mainly on Horticultural Therapy. His first project with GGP was Tool Shed Dark Room, which saw Evans improvising with participants “without mains electricity or an enlarger to make photograms using materials from the garden”.


Rosie Matheson on how being selected for Portrait of Britain 2016 has helped shape her career

London-based photographer Rosie Matheson has worked on a number of editorial projects for clients such as Nike, Adidas and The Financial Times, whilst evolving her own self-initiated projects. Her most recognisable series, Boys, celebrates the diverse and vulnerable beauty of young men. In 2016, she entered one of the photographs from the series, Elliot, into Portrait of Britain, and the image instantly became an iconic marker of British inner-city youth. Since her great achievement for Portrait of Britain 2016, her work has gone from strength to strength. She has begun a new project in LA, whilst also working towards releasing Boys as a book. Rosie has been featured in several publications, including Dazed, i-D and The Culture Trip, garnering national attention with her intimate, documentary-style portraits of young men and women across the world. Can you tell me about the photograph you entered into Portrait of Britain in 2016? I was first made aware of the subject of the photograph, Elliott, through a mutual friend. At this time, around December 2015, Elliott was spending most …


BJP Staff