Author: Sarah Roberts

Female in Focus Editor’s Pick: Breaking a routine

Our online editor has selected the best entries from last month’s applications to Female in Focus. Juliette Cassidy is the BJP team’s favourite of the Editor’s Pick selection, winning a feature on BJP-online. “I was amazed by Senegal,” says Juliette Cassidy, “the way the light shone on people’s skin, the country itself, and a lot of the clothes people wear.” Cassidy, a fashion photographer, took her second trip to Senegal last year. Shooting her series The Day I Went to Africa, the trip challenged her to step outside of her working routine and  photograph away from her usual environment, which was centred around studios and London’s fashion circuit. “I wanted to be emotionally and physically distant from what I was used to photographing,” Cassidy explains, “but at the same time, I wanted to maintain an element that felt familiar to me, which was fashion.” While in Senegal, Cassidy’s approach shifted. Instead of casting her subjects, as would be the case in London, she photographed  individuals that she met by chance. With no deadline or commission …

2019-04-24T10:41:24+00:00

Female in Focus: Acceptance or resignation?

“I became exposed to this completely different environment,” says Yagazie Emezi, speaking of her experience moving from Nigeria to the US. Having spent her whole life in Nigeria the photographer relocated to the US when she was 16 years old to study. The experience proved formative and has since become the focus of many of her photographic projects. “My work always stems from something personal,” says Emezi. This rings particularly true in the series Process of Re-learning Bodies, an ongoing project in which she explores the process by which people reclaim their bodies after becoming physically scarred. Looking at the fragility and endurance of the human form, and the acceptance of self within African communities, the project seeks to understand the emotional implications of being scarred, and how factors such as community, environment, and socioeconomic class can influence an individual’s psychological adjustment to their new, scarred bodies. “I have a very visible scar on my leg,” says Emezi. “Growing up in my hometown in Nigeria, I wasn’t self-conscious about the scar, because I was in …

2019-04-23T14:07:40+00:00

Portrait of Britain Editor’s Pick: Photographing London’s Kings of Colour

Maria Meco Sanchez originally photographed London’s Kings of Colour drag troupe as part of a commission. The aim of the images was to highlight the role of black drag kings and other performers in the London drag scene, which is a predominantly white space. “The photograph I entered into Portrait of Britain was of a gender-fluid performer named Coco,” Meco Sanchez explains of her subject. “They were very confident in front of the camera, which made the process easy and fun.” Meco Sanchez cites her photographic style as intuitive; she works without following specific rules, leaning towards spontaneity, although she admits that this can sometimes feel slightly chaotic.“I’m really bad at directing people,” she says, “so I try not to take too much control – I don’t want to strip away their persona”. Hailing from Spain, Meco Sanchez is now based in Bristol, where she is studying photography at the University of West England. Her work shifts between documentary, fine art and portrait photography, and her interests lie in people and emotion. “My work has …

2019-04-17T14:11:02+00:00

Bitter Leaves traces the life of a cigarette from leaf to butt

Cigarettes are considered the most marketed consumer product in history. And yet, beyond the normalised images of tobacco – the glamorous Hollywood starlet yielding a cigarette holder, or the health warnings that coat cigarette packets – little is shown of its production. Rocco Rorandelli’s project Bitter Leaves goes behind the scenes, tracing the tobacco industry from provinces in China, where its leaves are farmed, to the ‘cigarette girls’ selling the product at parties and theme parks. The project, which comprises a photo story and research into the devastation caused at every stage of production, is now being published by GOST Books. Among the images are a photograph of a patient seated in a greying hospital room, juxtaposed with a portrait of a malnourished child seated on a bale of drying tobacco leaves, sacks of them stretching out into the warehouse behind him. A Kickstarter campaign has been launched to fund the publication of the book. “I wanted to understand what was hiding behind the cigarette,” says Rorandelli. “Most anti-smoking campaigns are based on the detrimental …

2019-04-16T17:13:35+00:00

Female in Focus: “Let us take the reins of our own narrative”

There are many recurring Latin American stereotypes in the mainstream media: from fiery Latinas, sexy senoritas, and coercive lotharios, to violent depictions of the region itself. These two-dimensional portrayals often come from a homogenous Western perspective, and we see far fewer images taken by those who inhabit the continent themselves. Daiana Valencia and Celeste Alonso came together in 2015 to change this. Combining their dual expertise, the pair created Rueda Photos – a collective focusing on “themes with social context, referring to the territory, the gender issues and the current affairs that are specific to it”. Since its inception, the collective has completed a number of immensely successful projects. Their first collaborative work was shot in Haiti, where they covered the presidential campaign of Maryse Narcisse in the 2015 elections. The series, Candidate, follows the Fanmi Lavalas party nominee during a period which saw attitudes towards female politicians change in South America. Since then, three of South America’s biggest powers – Chile, Argentina and Brazil – have been governed by women. The collective’s most recent …

2019-04-09T12:41:14+00:00

A Portrait of Britain’s Pakistani community

Maryam Wahid has been interested in photography since she was a child. The photographer would often spend her weekends perusing galleries with her family, but she was always struck by the lack of diversity on gallery walls. “I saw very little of my community in the art world,” she says. This was a stark contrast to the vibrant multicultural – particularly South Asian – community that surrounded her growing up in Birmingham. Wahid is profoundly interested in multiculturalism, and uses her work to challenge misconceptions of Islam in the UK. Her photographs focus on the mass integration of migrants in Britain. More specifically, she explores her family’s roots in the Midlands, and their personal, yet arguably universal, experience as immigrants. In her series Archives Locating Home, Wahid positions family photographs from 1950s Pakistan among those taken in Britain decades later. Using self-portraiture, Wahid draws on her own identity within the UK’s Pakistani diaspora. Her self-portraits pay homage to those taken of her mother at the time she migrated to Britain in the early 1980s. Wahid’s …

2019-04-05T11:12:49+00:00

Female in Focus: “Dominance is often a characteristic associated with men”

Alice Mann is a South Africa-born, London-based photographer, who was awarded the prestigious Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize in 2018 for her photographs of all-female teams of drum majorettes in South Africa’s Western Cape province. The images that make up Drummies are celebratory and empowering portrayals of young majorettes from some of South Africa’s most marginalised communities. “Winning the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize was confirmation that people were able to instantly access the power these women had,” Mann says, “I’m really pleased that the girls’ confidence came across in the series.” Alice Mann is one of our females in focus; a remarkable photographer making extraordinary work, whose images we are revisiting as part of our pledge to elevate photography by women. Female in Focus is a new award, launched this year by 1854 Media, in which female-identifying photographers are invited to apply to have their work exhibited as part of a month-long group show at United Photo Industries gallery in Brooklyn, New York. Female in Focus is our way of addressing the gender imbalance …

2019-03-22T12:02:24+00:00

Get inspired, get seen and get paid with our new 1854 Access membership

We are delighted to unveil our new memberships platform, 1854 Access. For the first time, photography lovers will have the opportunity to become fully involved with every aspect of 1854 Media. With benefits spanning our editorial, awards and commercial platforms, 1854 Access is an essential tool for anyone who is serious about photography. Members can choose between Full Access or Digital Access memberships. The former includes a print subscription to British Journal of Photography, the world’s longest-established and leading authority on contemporary photography. Full Access members will receive our beautifully crafted and multi award-winning magazine delivered to their door every month, and each edition will come with an exclusive, collectable cover – a perk just for our members and subscribers. Both Full Access and Digital Access members can also enjoy an ad-free digital subscription to British Journal of Photography, meaning they can get the latest stories on their mobile or tablet, on the go. This includes more than five years of back issues from the archive, so members can start building their collection right away. …

2019-03-22T14:19:00+00:00

Female in Focus: “Willingness for change, and honesty, will move the photography industry forward”

Our next Female in Focus is Ngadi Smart. Her portraits, often of subjects with a striking sense of style, examine how people express their identity through both fashion and their surroundings. Combining photography and illustration, Smart’s work is rich with colour, pattern and personality. Ngadi Smart is a West African multi-disciplinary artist who has moved between Sierra Leone,  the UK and Canada. This has given her an international and expansive worldview that radiates throughout her work. However, her West African roots remain at the forefront of her work, and much of her photography interrogates themes of identity, sexuality and feminism through an African lens. By deconstructing mainstream portrayals of the continent, Smart challenges Western perceptions of African cultures. Smart’s work is motivated by the misrepresentation of black people of colour; their varied, vibrant and broad cultures, as well as feminism and gender roles. Through art, she reconsiders what it means to be considered ‘normal’ or ‘beautiful’. We spoke to Smart in light of Female in Focus, a new award that seeks to more bring diverse …

2019-03-18T09:20:20+00:00

BJP Staff