In 1997, a document titled A Study of Assassination was released by the CIA as part of the Freedom of Information Act. It is believed to have been created in 1953 with the purpose of instructing agents on how to kill, and was released with a collection of files relating to the 1954 CIA-backed overthrow of the-then newly-elected leader of Guatemala, Colonel Jacobo Arbenz Guzman. The operation in Guatemala was lobbied for by United Fruit Company, an American corporation that traded in tropical fruit, mainly bananas, and which wielded huge power in Central America at the time.
When he found out about these documents, George Selley was instantly captivated, and his new project, A Study of Assassination, combines pages from the manual with archival press images, banana advertisements and Cold War propaganda. BJP caught up with the recent London College of Communication MA graduate to find out more about this project and his approach to images.
“There is a term to describe the cultural ache that Koreans go through: Han. A complex intermingling of historical, collective and personal sorrow, acceptance of a bitter present, and a hope of a better future.” Introduced to the term by a North Korean defector, Herman Rahman decided to adopt it as the framing concept for his project of the same name.
Han traces the collective history of the notoriously closed regime of the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea, relying largely on archival imagery and found text to probe at the borders of a near-impenetrable subject. The work is an interrogation, not only of the secrecy of the North Korean state, but also of the nature of photography itself.
It’s show time for a new batch of graduates, with photographers and artists around the UK showing off the last work they’ve completed as students. The BA Photography and BA Photojournalism & Documentary Photography shows have already taken place at the London College of Communication, for example with strong portfolios by Herman Rahman and Freya Clayton-Payne, among others; the University of Westminster’s MA Documentary Photography and Photojournalism and MA Photography Arts students are showing their work at Ambika P3, London from 23-28 June, meanwhile, with new graduates including Cheryl Newman, former photography director of the Telegraph Magazine.
Free Range at London’s Old Truman Brewery, meanwhile, offers institutions based outside the UK’s capital the chance to show work in it, taking over the East London warehouses for two photography weeks – 22-25 June, and 29 June-2 July. Exhibitions are free and open from Friday-Monday both weeks, and institutions taking part include Falmouth University, Arts University of Bournemouth, and University of East London. Here BJP picks out our selection of the works that will go on show.
Completed in 1974, London’s Heygate Estate was once a symbol of triumph over destruction, housing some 3000 people on the site of Victorian tenements destroyed by World World Two bombing. The estate was also home to an ‘urban forest’ planted in the 1970s, which included the best part of 500 mature trees by 2011, when Matthew Benjamin Coleman started to photograph the site.
But by 2011 Southwark Council, which owned the estate, had also already moved out many of its tenants and leaseholders, starting a process which culminated in it selling the land in 2013 to the Lendlease property developer. As the estate depopulated, “guerrilla gardeners, graffiti artists, skateboarders and parkour enthusiasts, as well as photographers, film-makers, and other assorted ruin-tourists” moved in, says Coleman; he adds that, of the 406 trees on the estate in 2013, 286 were felled to make way for building work.
Unexploded landmines are responsible for the deaths of 15-20,000 people every year, and currently contaminate 78 countries worldwide. Nagorno Karabakh, a landlocked, mountainous region in South Caucasus, Eastern Europe, has one of the highest per capita incidences of landmine accidents in the world, and a third of the victims are children. Eva Clifford, former online writer at BJP, spent a week with the world’s largest mine clearance organisation, HALO, and their first female demining team in Nagorno Karabakh. Since employing its first female demining team in 2015, HALO now employs 11 women, with more undergoing training this year.
Born in Naples, Italy in 1988, Lorenza Demata was raised in Florence and took her first degree in International Cooperation and Conflict Management in the city. She went on to study photography for three years at the Fondazione Studio Marangoni in Florence, graduating in 2016 and moving to London to study for an MA in Photography at the London College of Communication. She recently graduated from the LCC with a final project called It all started when some of us left the country, which compares the movements of people and food – linking the fact that approximately 40% of London’s population is made up of expatriates, and almost 50% of the total consumption of food resources relies on imported fruit and vegetables. BJP: Your BA is in International Cooperation and Conflict Management, why did you switch to photography? Or do you feel you’re still working on similar issues? Lorenza Demata: I have always been interested in social and political issues. When I started my first BA, almost ten years ago, I wanted to understand what was happening …
It’s a spectacularly beautiful early morning in December and the traffic is rolling past indifferently on one of North London’s less than silent streets. I’m standing in front of a large red door, having come to visit David King and his world-famous collection documenting the extraordinary visual history of the Soviet Union. King has been assembling the collection for almost five decades and now it is in the process of being transferred to the archives of Tate Modern. The collection has always run in parallel to his work as a graphic designer, photographer and author – work, it is fair to say, that shows influence from the Bolshevik-era material he has discovered on his many visits to the former USSR, and which he has often drawn from in his books, posters, photographs and graphic work.
How can art contribute to our understanding of justice in a time of global conflict? Award-winning photographer Edmund Clark considered the question with former Guantanamo detainee Moazzam Begg and human rights lawyer Cori Crider at the IWM London – home to his ongoing show, War of Terror
Back in February 2015, BJP flagged up Cemre Yesil as a One to Watch – and now her series For Birds’ Sake, made with Maria Sturm, has won a Prix Levallois nomination. We revisit our article on this series and her hands-on approach to photography
The International Photography Awards 2016 exhibition will be showing from the 25th February to the 12th March 2016 at London’s TJ Boulting gallery. Juno Calypso won the Series Award for Joyce, a collection of performative self-portraits that reflect on “modern rituals of seduction and the laboured construction of femininity.” The 26-year-old graduate of London College of Communication was chosen from over 1,500 entrants by a judging panel including The Guardian’s photography critic Sean O’Hagan, Self Publish, Be Happy founder Bruno Ceschel, TJ Boulting’s Hannah Watson and BJP’s Executive Editor Diane Smyth. As a photography student, Calypso spent her loan to fly to “the middle of nowhere in Pennsylvania,” alone, to picture herself in the state’s honeymoon hotels. “I began staging these photographs three years ago, using my grandma’s bedroom as the set, or a room found on Airbnb,” Juno tells BJP. “The idea always starts with the location – finding somewhere with a time-warp feel. This year I went to stay alone at a couple’s honeymoon resort in the US to continue the project. So it begins with an appreciation …