Author: Sarah Roberts

Hungary’s military-themed summer camps

“I’m a pacifist,” says Máté Bartha of his views on the military. “I don’t think violence is necessary, but it does interest me.” For a year and a half, Bartha has photographed summer camps organised by the Hungarian NGO Home Defence School, an institution committed to teaching discipline, patriotism and camaraderie to teenagers in a society that they believe has become slothful and disconnected. Last week, Bartha’s series Kontakt, won the annual Louis Roederer Discovery Award for emerging photographers at Les Rencontres d’Arles.  “There is a lot of discussion in Hungary about the military and obligation,” explains Bartha. Since 2016, the question of conscription has been at the forefront of public conscience, and is heavily debated by Hungary’s right-wing Conservative government, but according to Bartha, the organisers of these military camps attempt to resist politics. “They say they don’t want to get involved in politics,” says Bartha. “They believe that the younger generation is undisciplined, and that young people don’t appreciate basic values. This military approach is what they believe is missing from education.” As …

2019-07-15T09:05:52+01:00

OpenWalls Arles: Inside our first exhibition in Arles

As part of OpenWalls Arles 2020, we are highlighting photographers whose work is connected to this year’s theme: Growth. Find out how your work could be exhibited alongside Les Rencontres d’Arles 2020 at openwalls.co. The start of July marked the opening week of the 50th anniversary of Les Rencontres d’Arles, the world’s biggest photography festival. To coincide with the commencement of the festival, the very first OpenWalls Arles exhibition opened at Galerie Huit Arles, France, a central gallery near the town’s Roman amphitheatre. As one of Arles’ spotlight locations, the gallery attracts visitors from around the globe, particularly during the busy opening week of the festival.  The exhibition brings together 50 shortlisted images responding to the theme Home & Away. From the 47 photographers featured in the exhibition, 20 were in attendance at its opening. Among them were Jasper White and Jocelyn Allen, whose photographs encapsulate aspects of identity that are tied to our concept of home. White’s photograph, entitled Wall, was taken on Palestine’s West Bank. The image is from his project of the …

2019-07-17T13:01:07+01:00

OpenWalls Arles 2020: The 13th Spring

As part of OpenWalls Arles 2020, we are highlighting photographers whose work is connected to this year’s theme: Growth. Find out how your work could be exhibited alongside Les Rencontres d’Arles 2020 at openwalls.co. “I’m incapable of sitting in a place of pure joy,” says Aaron Hardin. “I don’t think it’s within me.” Looking at Hardin’s series The 13th Spring, you would be forgiven for not realising that the work is about the birth of his daughter, and his new journey as a father. Photographs of new life often lend themselves to symbols synonymous with purity and excitement, but Hardin chose the cyclical motif of cicadas to explore the anxieties of new parenthood. “I saw this glimpse of a magic and tragic world that my child has to exist in,” he explains, “that I have to explain and interpret to this new human.” The 13th Spring began as a project at graduate school. Hardin had started attending Hartford Art School in Connecticut, US – a big move away from his home in Jackson, Tennessee – …

2019-07-17T13:01:43+01:00

OpenWalls Arles: Garden Street

Poland-based photographer Urszula Tarasiewicz has been announced as the winner of the very first OpenWalls Arles award, with her photograph of an empty flat in Lodz. The image forms part of the series Garden Street, a body of work documenting these ex-homes in Lodz, Poland, following the forced eviction of 150 families in 1991. Initially a residential complex for textile workers, Garden Street was constructed in 1880. Poland-based photographer Urszula Tarasiewicz has been announced as the winner of the very first OpenWalls Arles award, with her photograph of an empty flat in Lodz. The image forms part of the series Garden Street, a body of work documenting these ex-homes in Lodz, Poland, following the forced eviction of 150 families in 1991. Initially a residential complex for textile workers, Garden Street was constructed in 1880. The area was built by Izrael Pozna ski, a 19th century textile owner working within Lodz. His factory became a city within a city, with amenities and streets created to house the almost 7000 people who lived and worked there. In …

2019-07-17T13:02:10+01:00

As It Was Give(n) to Me

Stacy Kranitz has spent the last ten years photographing Appalachia, US, an area devastated by the coal industry, which took valuable resources from the land and left its inhabitants impoverished. By the 1960s, the War on Poverty was declared by the US government, and Appalachia was its poster child. “The region has this history of photographers coming in and dramatising the poverty,” explains Kranitz, “photography has created this open wound in the area”. The publicity afforded to the area and the image it perpetuated became what Kranitz describes as ‘poverty porn’, and its effects have continued to haunt the Appalachian people. “Documentary photography is a slippery slope,” says Kranitz. “You go from doing good to perpetuating stereotypes and dramatising or fetishising the problems.”  During her time shooting As It Was Give(n) to Me, Kranitz has become aware of her role as a photographer working along this slope. “One of the things I tussled with was subjectivity and objectivity,” she explains. “There were times when it felt more honest to reveal myself as a person with …

2019-07-19T11:58:15+01:00

OpenWalls Arles 2020: China’s replicas of Western towns

As part of OpenWalls Arles 2020, we are highlighting photographers whose work is connected to this year’s theme: Growth. Find out how your work could be exhibited alongside Les Rencontres d’Arles 2020 at openwalls.co. Over the last fifteen years, a large number of settlements have been built on the outskirts of cities like Shanghai and Hangzhou in China, to replicate Western metropolises. In one, Venice’s canals are reconstructed between Venetian-style buildings. In another, the Eiffel Tower has been reproduced in the centre of a network of mock Parisian streets. Elsewhere, the Western features are more subtle; the odd red phone box or Roman pillar nestled among Mandarin street signs.  “China has this culture of imitating and taking inspiration from different places around the world,” says Cian Oba-Smith. The photographer explored this copycat architecture, for his series Shanzhai. “I wanted to look specifically at Western copies of architecture, which have been imported to China,” he continues.  Shanzhai explores this phenomenon in the wider context of globalisation, and the resulting collision of cultures. When these Western-style settlements …

2019-07-17T13:02:28+01:00

Light and Shadow: Dr. Paul Wolff & Tritschler

Light and Shadow is the first comprehensive retrospective of the work of Dr. Paul Wolff and Alfred Tritschler. Tracing their photographs from 1920 to 1950, the book explores Wolff and Tritschler’s roles as pioneers of the Leica, as forerunners of illustrative photography, and as creators of an extensive archive of work that documents several chapters of German history.  Wolff and Tritschler are known for photographing the years of the Weimar Republic – Germany’s government from 1919 to 1933 – through to the rise of Nazi Germany, and in the devastation of the Second World War. Encompassing around 70,000 images, their work has established them as the two most significant photographers of this period in German history. Light and Shadow features 1,000 of their photographs shot during this time, and in the years following the war. Although now considered pioneers of the artform, the pair did not approach photography in a way that was typical of the time. Wolff formally studied medicine and became a physician in Strasbourg, but when his practice was restricted by the …

2019-06-26T13:03:41+01:00

BJP International Photography Award: Jack Latham is our 2019 winner

“The idea of a context vacuum is a fascinating one,” says Jack Latham of his BJP IPA winning series Parliament of Owls. “I think it’s only natural that we would want to fill these voids with theories.” Focusing on Bohemia Grove – an elite men’s club in California – Parliament of Owls explores the dangers of conspiracy theories and fake news. The club’s antics during its yearly retreats – often shrouded in secrecy – have become subject to allegations of devil worship and mock human sacrifice. “They say ‘conspiracy theories make sense of a senseless world’, and I would largely agree with that,” adds Latham. The photographer’s winning series concerns itself, in particular, with the actions of a far-right conspiracy theorist named Alex Jones, who runs the infamous website InfoWars, largely based off the profile he built for himself when he broke into Bohemia Grove to expose “the new world order” in 2000. Jones subsequently released video footage from inside the club, which provoked a bizarre attack on Bohemia Grove and introduced him to a mainstream …

2019-08-21T10:07:30+01:00

Birgit Jürgenssen. Ich Bin

Birgit Jürgenssen belongs to a circle of Austrian women artists who were prominent in the 1970s for work that explored gender identity and the reclamation of the female body. Inspired by the work of Louise Bourgeois and Meret Oppenheim, Jürgenssen helped create a space for sharp feminist commentary, in opposition to the male Viennese Actionist movement that was dominant at the time. She is now remembered as one of the leading figures of the Austrian avant-garde. In the latest edition of an exhibition series, the Copenhagen-based Louisiana Museum of Modern Art is bringing Jürgenssen’s photographs and drawings to the fore. Born in Vienna in 1949, Jürgenssen died prematurely at the age of 54. Although her work received scant attention during her lifetime, in recent years, Jürgenssen has garnered significant posthumous recognition, drawing support for her humorous compositions that focus on the destruction of rigid gender roles and freedom of choice. Rebelliousness runs as a thread throughout her extensive works, interrogating the notion of normalcy and traditional gender constructs. In one piece, entitled Housewives’ Kitchen Apron, …

2019-06-13T15:32:02+01:00

BJP Staff