Month: November 2014

Valerio Polici – the global graffiti community

With its roots in New York ghetto subculture, modern graffiti has long been viewed as an outsider art associated with law-breaking youths. Over the years the graffiti community has become increasingly international, yet a life lived outside of the law is far less romantic than it sounds. Italian-born Valerio Polici started documenting members of the graffiti movement two years ago. “I was in a subway station in Lisbon and noticed a group of guys who were changing their clothes and covering their faces while hiding from surveillance cameras. They walked along the platform and entered the tunnel. My first reaction was a mixture of adrenaline and curiosity; then I saw their bags were full of spray cans. I spotted security guards running towards the tunnel so I told the lookout. Before long I began hanging out with them and photographing their missions.” Following the graffiti writers across Europe to South America, Polici became part of their cocoon-like community, documenting their every move. “Living, running, sleeping together, I found myself in the weirdest places and situations,” …


Laurent Millet – Translucent Mould of Me

In his recent project, Translucent Mould of Me, Laurent Millet, who lives and works in Rochefort, France, takes the traditional self-portrait as his starting point, although what he creates is far from conventional self-portraits. In keeping with his interest in the manipulation of space and his exploration of the links between photography and sculpture, Millet created these images by choosing a space and using wire to construct shapes before improvising moves and poses in front of his view camera. The final images created with a degree of chance have the feel of performance art, and it is unclear which elements exist in the physical space inhabited by the photographer and which in the pictorial space of the image. “The idea for the project came from a desire to experiment with the possibility of creating self-portraits in a weird space that would be in between the two-dimensional and three-dimensional,” he says. “The body seems to be diluted in time and space, and the corners of the room and the wire seem to pass through it, just …


Dominic Hawgood wins BJP’s International Photography Award

“I want people to think about what is being presented to them, and to ask questions: where were these images taken? Is this a studio setup or a documentation of real life? I want people to make up their own minds,” says Dominic Hawgood of his project Under the Influence, which has won the series category of BJP‘s International Photography Award. Inspired by the evangelical Christianity popular amongst African communities in London, Hawgood’s series mixes photography, lighting design and CGI to create a highly stylised take on deliverance and exorcism – that hints at the theatricality that accompanies these rites. Strikingly different to current trends in photography, it was selected the winner from 733 entries by Erik Kessels, curator and founder of KesselsKramer creative agency; Brett Rogers, director of The Photographers’ Gallery; Emma Bowkett, photography director of the FT Weekend Magazine; Bruno Ceschel, director of Self Publish, Be Happy and SPBH Editions; and Hannah Watson, director of TJ Boulting gallery and Trolley Books. [bjp_ad_slot] “The winner and runners up of this year’s BJP photography competition show …


Jane Hahn wins the single image IPA prize

With clients such as the New York Times, Time, the International Herald Tribune and Washington Post Magazine, Jane Hahn knows what makes a good story, and what makes a striking single image. Her winning single image in the BJP’s 2014 International Photography Award shows her talent for both – depicting a woman returning home after bathing in the Badia East informal community, it’s taken from her on-going work in Lagos. “This image is part of a personal long term project I began earlier this year, photographing those who have been affected by the forced evictions that have been taking place in Nigeria, especially in Lagos, all in preparation for its mega city status,” Hahn told BJP. “Unfortunately I don’t have more information on the woman as she was just passing by when I was speaking to those on the edges of the photo. She wasn’t willing to speak as she was in a hurry, so I took this shot as she was walking away.”[bjp_ad_slot] Hahn took the shot in February, one year after Badia East’s residents woke …


Tiago Casanova – Madeira

Tiago Casanova’s interest in photography is wedded to his love of architecture. “I usually say that being a photographer is my own way of being an architect,” he explains.  He studied the latter at Portugal’s Porto School of Architecture, and uses image-making “as a medium to talk about important architectural issues.” Casanova now lives in Portugal but was born and raised on Madeira, and decided to train his lens on the island for his recently-completed project of the same name. The series came about after he was invited to join the group project Visual Narratives: European Borderlines, supervised by Vanessa Winship and George Georgiou, which saw twelve young photographers from Latvia, Turkey, Iceland, and Portugal embark on a year-long documentary project on the theme of ‘borderlines’. “I decided to explore Madeira and the notion of the borderline between nature and construction,” says Casanova. “I chose this topic for several reasons, including the fact that the local government was being investigated for spending billions in unneeded infrastructures, and modifying the face and landscape of an island …


Three world-class runners-up in IPA’s series category

This year BJP‘s International Photography Award – series category attracted 733 entries from all over the world; faced with the difficult task of whittling this down to a single winner, the judges asked if they could honour some runners-up. After a day of deliberation, Erik Kessels, the curator and founder of KesselsKramer; Brett Rogers, director of The Photographers’ Gallery; Emma Bowkett, photographer director of the FT Weekend Magazine; Bruno Ceschel, director of Self Publish, Be Happy and SPBH Editions; and Hannah Watson, director of TJ Boulting gallery and Trolley Books, picked out three photographers for special notice – Mariela Sancari, an Argentinian living in Mexico, was awarded Highly Recommended for her project Moises, while Spanish photographer Alberto Lizaralde and Peter Watkins were Commended for their projects, everything will be ok and The Unforgetting. [bjp_ad_slot] All three projects work with deeply personal, heart-felt topics. Sancari’s project, which won the PHotoEspana Descubrimientos prize earlier this year, reconstructs an image of her father, who died many years ago; placing small ads in a local paper, Sancari found men of a similar …


Ali Kate Cherkis – Freedom Towers

Returning to New York after a three-year stint living and working in Buenos Aires, photographer Ali Kate Cherkis embarked on an unlikely series of images – Speedos-clad men sunbathing on Christopher Street Pier, also known as Pier 45 – alongside the Hudson River in Lower Manhattan. In the background of the images lies the 1776ft, 104-storey One World Trade Center, also known as the Freedom Tower, built on the site of the former World Trade Center. The juxtaposition between the bronzed bodies and the building, which is America’s tallest, instantly captivated Cherkis. “As summer approached I began to notice the men of the neighbourhood gathering on the pier to sunbathe and strut with a magnificent backdrop of the Financial District and the rising One World Trade Center,” she explains. “Their Speedos revealed a different kind of freedom tower. They were also showing off, asserting their own power.” The project became a response to readjusting to life in the United States, explains Cherkis, who says she finds humour a helpful way to work through personal difficulties. …


Gerry Badger’s tribute to Lewis Baltz


“It is possibly useful to think of creative photography as a narrow but deep area lying between the cinema and the novel,” Lewis Baltz once said. The life and work of the New Topographics photographer, who died in Paris on November 22 at the age of 69, is recalled by his close friend, the photography critic Gerry Badger. The first thing to be said about Lewis Baltz is that he was one of the most intelligent of photographic artists. To say that may seem redundant, because any artist in the premier division – and Baltz was certainly in the premier division, up near the top of the table – is going to be intelligent. But there are different kinds of intelligence. Eugène Atget was undoubtedly intelligent, but it is unlikely that it was of the order of Baltz’s, which was prodigious, both in terms of his art, of his artistic milieu, of the other arts, and most importantly, of the world around him, which he regarded with a degree of healthy scepticism. Baltz was a leading figure in …


Best of the rest – the IPA single image runners up

With just shy of 1000 entries to the single image category of BJP’s International Photography Award this year, the three runners-up did exceptionally well. Erik Ahman was selected for a shocking shot of a Golden Dawn victim in Athens; Jennifer Bruce for a tense photograph of hostel residents being strip-searched in Johannesburg; and Federico Floriani for an unusual black-and-white image. “The final four images selected are really strong, and importantly they show variety in terms of their style and content,” commented Bruno Bayley, editor of UK Vice and a member of the judging panel alongside Sean O’Hagan, photography critic for The Guardian and The Observer; Alexia Singh, editor-in-charge of the Wider Image Desk, Reuters; Sarah Thomson, head of art production, Fallon London; and Hannah Watson, director of Trolley Books and the TJ Boulting gallery. “For me, Jennifer Bruce’s photograph stood out for being one of the most engaging in the selection, full of awkwardness and humiliation, and covering a relatively under-reported situation,” Bayley added. “It was moving without being as confrontational or viscerally shocking as Ahman’s photograph from Greece …


Sputnik Photos: a portrait of Europa


It is one of those sweltering, sunny days in Warsaw – Poland is surprisingly hot in the summer, the polar opposite of the severely depressing, minus-degree winter. I’m meeting up with members of the photography collective Sputnik, which specialises in similar contradictions. Like its namesake, it’s a small blip in space in the grand scheme of things, but it manages to transmit around the globe. Focusing on substantial social, cultural, political and economic dispatches from Eastern Europe and the countries that were, until relatively recently, satellites of the USSR, its work speaks of the complexities of the exciting – and traumatic – transformation from communism to capitalism, and the ways in which these countries struggle with their newfound identities. There are nine photographers in Sputnik – Andrej Balco, Manca Juvan, Andrei Liankevich, Michal Luczak, Justyna Mielnikiewicz, Rafal Milach, Agnieszka Rayss, Adam Pańczuk and Jan Brykczyński – and I am joined by the last four, all based in Warsaw. My first impression is that they are a focused and diligent group of serious-minded, smart individuals, but …


BJP Staff