All posts filed under: Interviews

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

Haley Morris-Cafiero’s The Bully Pulpit

In 2010, US photographer Haley Morris-Cafiero set up a camera to take a self-portrait in Times Square, NYC. When she got the film developed, she noticed one of the images had captured a passerby, looking at her with what looked like a sneer. Believing it to be body-shaming, caught in the flesh, she set out to capture more, hoping to illustrate the social condemnation that polices body size in America (and beyond). Her resulting book, The Watchers, was published in 2015 to acclaim, and the images went on to be widely exhibited, and shown online.

As soon as the images went public, however, Morris-Cafiero encountered another wave of social control – negative images posted online or emailed to her, with vicious comments on her body and what was apparently read as her audacity in highlighting peoples’ responses to it. “The major problem is she’s disgusting,” read one such reaction. “Normal people are never going to want to fuck you, regardless of how much you complain,” read another.

Again, rather than being hurt, Morris-Cafiero was amused – and inspired. Immediately deciding she’d use the comments to make a project, she experimented for two years with her response.

2019-04-23T10:27:50+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

BJP Staff