After the economic crisis in Argentina in 2002, Sebastián Bruno’s family moved to a small town in Castilla La Mancha in central Spain. It was then that the photographer decided to re-read Don Quixote, the iconic 17th-century novel about a traveller who slowly converts from hero to bandit. The tale was foremost in Bruno’s mind when he returned to the region years later to retrace the 2500km route of the fictional legend, while studying for a BA in Documentary Photography at the University of South Wales in Newport.
“I thought it was a beautiful metaphor to re-interpret,” he says. “I was walking, cycling and hitchhiking, but no one ever really stopped. The landscape was very flat, the sun was hot and there was not a single tree to hide under.”
“South Africa is a deeply religious country,” says Giya Makondo-Wills, whose work-in-progress, They Came From the Water While the World Watched, maps out the interplay between Christianity and ancestral religion in the region. With four trips to the country under her belt so far, the 23-year old has travelled as much into the past as in the present, tracing the indelible repercussions of 19th-century European migration as they resonate through South African culture today.
Makondo-Wills, who is British-South African, became interested in her African grandmother’s faith while shooting another project. “She’s very Orthodox Christian but she also still practises ancestral religion, and that’s a core part of who she is. She prays to a God and the gods,” the photographer explains.
This duality got her thinking about the intersections of belief systems and how they were brought into contact. How did Christianity become so influential? How does it co-exist with indigenous religions? Building on her interests in race and identity, these questions soon elicited many others, spawning a long-term project that has carried her from a BA to an MA at the University of South Wales.
Since graduating from the documentary photography course at the University of South Wales last year, Lua Ribeira has gone from strength to strength. In addition to the Firecracker Grant, which she was awarded in 2015 while still a student, her work was recently selected by Susan Meiselas to appear in Raw View magazine’s Women Looking at Women issue. She is also making a name for herself commercially and with editorial clients such as Wired; her images have been shown at international festivals, including Photo España in 2014 and Gazebook Festival in 2015, and she has also been awarded a Jerwood Photoworks Grant for future projects in 2018. Thus far, Ribeira is best known for Noises in the Blood, an ongoing investigation into Jamaican dancehall culture,
Charlie surfs on Lotus Flowers, which addresses the control of the one-party Communist government, and United States of Vietnam, which looks at the slow victory of capitalism over communism and its consequences for Vietnam’s economy. Using a combination of a staged, typological form of photography in United States of Vietnam, and a more autonomous, naturalistic style for Charlie surfs on Lotus Flowers, Sapienza intends to leave something for the viewer to work out. “They have to try to put their feet in the author’s shoes,” he says. “They just need to get the leitmotiv of your project, not the full, descriptive content. In that exchange lives the real core of the project.”
Inspired by personal identity, the natural world, and the fear of dying, the three young artists in this year’s Jerwood/Photoworks Awards exhibition are presenting very different work. Picked out as winners in January 2017, all three have received a year of mentoring on their work from industry specialists such as photographer Mitch Epstein, publisher Michael Mack, and gallerist Maureen Paley. They each also received a bursary of £5000 and access to a production fund of another £5000, to make new work which goes on show in London’s Jerwood Space from 17 January-11 March then tours to Bradford and Belfast.
Venezia graduated from university in 2016; starting life as his end-of-year project, Nekyia demonstrates the research-based direction he moved into, drawing on classical literature to explore the complex economic and political situation of modern Greece. It focuses on the river Acheron, which flows through Epirus in northwestern Greece, and is featured in classical epics such as The Odyssey, Aeneid and The Divine Comedy as the boundary between this world and the underworld. Its name literally translates as the ‘river of woe’.
For over four decades, the documentary photography course has forged a reputation as one of the UK’s leading photography teaching destinations. In fact, the very first photography class can be dated back even further to 1912, when it was introduced by the head of the school of art at Newport Technical Institute. The course, however, was set up in 1973 by Magnum photographer David Hurn as a 12-month Training Opportunities Scheme to ‘re-skill’ miners and steelworkers.
In our third annual edition focusing on photography education, BJP visits schools around the world to discover what it takes to “see photographically”. From one of the oldest photography schools in the UK, to pioneering institutions in Germany and Denmark, tutors stress the need to appreciate the mechanics of a photograph – light, shape, space and perspective. “Our bodies learn to adapt to the camera that is shaping our experience,” explains Thomas Sandberg, photographer and co-founder of the Ostkreuz School for Photography in Berlin.
“All of my sessions require a tribute, but a good slave knows that tribute in itself is not enough,” Mistress Jezabel writes on her wish list. “A submissive who goes out of their way to please Mistress is one who is remembered affectionately by Her. Expensive is often good, but what’s more important is to find something that pleases Her.” Mistress Jezabel, a London-based dominatrix (willing to travel to America and across Europe), is one of many women 23-year-old Sophie Skipper, from Long Melford in Suffolk, photographed for her collection entitled He wants to see my Amazon Wish List. Speaking from her Cardiff home – she graduated from the documentary photography course at the University of South Wales last year – she tells of being interested in gift-giving and “whether it can ever be a selfless thing”. She noticed women using a hashtag on Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest – #myamazonwishlist – with a link to a list of exclusive items on the shopping website Amazon. “I realised the wish list idea is …
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 …