All posts filed under: Photobooks

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

Women dominate in the 2019 Kraszna-Krausz Book Awards

The shortlists are out for the Kraszna-Krausz Book Awards and the result for the photobook prize is striking: this year, all three shortlisted books are by women, with Laia Abril’s On Abortion (Dewi Lewis Publishing), Deana Lawson: An Aperture Monograph, and Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness by Zanele Muholi (Aperture) all making the grade.

But says chair of the Kraszna-Krausz, Brian Pomeroy, that fact shouldn’t stand out as remarkable. “We’ve had female winners before,” he says. “It just shows talent is equally distributed, and you wouldn’t expect anything else. There have been very strong female photographers since the beginning of photography, I don’t think it’s something new.”

Liz Jobey, associate editor of the FT Weekend Magazine and a member of the photobook jury along with Chrystel Lebas, photographer and Kraszna-Krausz Book Award Winner 2018, and Anne McNeill, director of the Impressions Gallery, agrees, adding that the jury wasn’t deliberately looking out for books by women. But, she says, it’s an interesting time in which photography – and society and culture more generally – is opening up to other perspectives, and that was naturally reflected in this year’s shortlist.

2019-04-16T10:04:10+00:00

The Pillar by Stephen Gill

Stephen Gill’s practice is driven by a fascination with his immediate surroundings. From the longing to engage with the hidden wildlife that surrounds his home in rural Sweden, to the years he spent cycling through Hackney Wick, scouring its vast markets and narrow towpaths; it goes way back to his initial obsession as a child, to collect insects and bits of pondlife to inspect under his microscope. “My hobby morphed into what I do for a living,” he reflects, “making this new work took me right back to those early years, as if completing a full circle”.

2019-04-08T10:28:10+00:00

Massimo Vitali: Short Stories

“For me the beach is the perfect place to observe people,” wrote Massimo Vitali on his blog back in July 2018. “In other words, we go to the beach to take pictures of people, not to take pictures of the beach. The beach is the most suitable place to observe human beings’ behavior, the existence of us human beings. How do people share the space on the beach, how are they staring at each other, or are they looking the other way? This is more important than geographical elements.

His new series, Short Stories, features plenty of beach scenes, often shot in his native Italy. Born in Como in 1944, Vitali studied photography at the London College of Printing and worked as a photojournalist in the 1960s and 70s before becoming a cinematographer for TV and film in the early 1980s. He started to shoot large format photographs in 1993, finding fame with his work Beach Scenes in 1995. He’s also shot crowds in other landscapes though, including in nightclubs, and the new portfolio includes these other social spaces as well as beach scenes.

2019-03-22T13:25:22+00:00

Those who eat fish from the cyanide lake improve their sex life

In 2013, a proposal to initiate Europe’s largest gold and silver mining project in Roșia Montană, Romania, sparked a series of anti-government protests in dozens of cities across the country. The proposal is still awaiting a parliamentary decision, but among its many contentions are the long-term health effects ofcyanide poisoning – a potentially deadly chemical used to extract gold – and the suspicion of fake documentation, prompted by vested interests within the government. Belgian photographer Tomas Bachot travelled to Romania in 2015, intending to create a documentary project about the state of the mining conflict. After months of travelling through several cities, one of his couchsurfing hosts reacted negatively to his photographs, and said she was unable to support his vision of her country. “I was shocked, because as an image-maker you’re always open to hear feedback, but you’re also scared,” says Bachot. “I realised what I really needed to do, rather than just observing the place and the situation. I realised that what I was doing was a very limited way of meeting people …

2019-03-19T15:33:36+00:00

Seeing leafy New England askew in Aaron Schuman’s Slant

Think of a horror or thriller, and you may think of the happy first half hour or so when everything seems to be going just fine. The Stepford Wives’ town initially seems like it’s perfect; The Vanishing opens with a couple going on a holiday. It’s only later that the tone takes a turn for the worse, before descending into something more substantially scary. That shift is something the residents of Amherst, Massachusetts seemingly live in fear of, because – while on the face of it their small town is an idyll – they’re constantly on the alert.

“7.32pm – Residents at The Boulders complained about a man yelling out the window in a foreign language,” reads a police report published in the local paper, the Amherst Bulletin. “The man told police he was just stating his excitement for the dinner he was about to eat.” “5.53pm – A woman called police after being approach by a photographer in downtown who asked if he could take pictures of her feet,” another reads. “The photographer was not located.”

2019-03-07T12:39:00+00:00

Arctic: New Frontier

The Arctic circle is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, for the past five years Arctic air temperatures have exceeded all records since 1900. If temperatures continue to rise, scientists expect that the North Pole will be ice-free in summer by 2040.

Ice reflects sunlight while water absorbs it, so less ice means even higher temperatures. But the consequences of disappearing sea ice in the Arctic are more complicated than the obvious impact it has on our global climate. Less ice provides new routes for maritime shipping, and opens up new areas for the exploitation of fossil fuels, transforming the region into a strategic battleground for countries with vested interests – not to mention indigenous villages whose livelihoods are threatened by rising sea levels.

Photojournalists Yuri Kozyrev and Kadir van Lohuizen, who are both represented by NOOR, travelled through the Arctic circle, documenting the startling, and often complicated, effects of Arctic climate change. Arctic: New Frontier is the product of the ninth edition of the Carmignac Photojournalism Award, which each year funds a new investigative photo reportage on a humanitarian and geopolitical issue. An exhibition of over 50 photographs and six videos will be displayed at London’s Saatchi Gallery from 15 March until 05 May.

2019-04-09T11:33:28+00:00

Female in Focus: Jess T. Dugan’s empowering portraits of the ageing transgender community

When photographer Jess T. Dugan was 13, she started to question her identity. Over the next few years, she came out as queer – a process which, at the time, was isolating; there was nothing in the mainstream media that reflected her experience. In fact, she had never seen an image of a queer or gender nonconforming person at all, until she stumbled across one in a photography book – a discovery she describes as having a profound influence on her. We spoke to Dugan, who identifies as non-binary (but uses the female pronoun), in light of Female in Focus, a new award seeking to elevate exceptional work by female and non-binary photographers. Our aim is to take steps towards a more diverse and inclusive photography industry. Dugan’s work, which focuses on the untold stories of marginalised groups, encompasses the values at the heart of Female in Focus. “I think that representation – and seeing oneself represented in the larger culture – is incredibly important,” says Dugan. “Images can function as possibility models, validating an …

2019-03-14T13:43:46+00:00

BJP Staff