All posts filed under: Portrait

Q&A: Nelson Morales’ very personal look at Mexico’s third gender

Nelson Morales was seven years old when he saw a Muxe for the first time. Seeing an individual he didn’t identify as a woman proudly wearing a tiny swimsuit, fluffy feather boa and glistening sequins at a local festival, he was “shocked”, he says.

But Morales was growing up in the city of Oaxaca, central Mexico, where the Muxes are regarded as a third gender – assigned male at birth but interested in codes of dress and behaviour associated with femininity, often from a young age. Asked to photograph the Muxes community, Morales soon found himself liberated by them. 

He continued to photograph the Muxes – and himself – for eight years, hoping to capture the complexity of their lives and to confront his own identity as he joined their community. His book, Musas Muxes, is published by Mexican collective Inframundo.

In the city of Oaxaca, the Muxes are regarded as a third gender. They are assigned male at birth, but from a young age they dress and behave in ways associated with the female gender.

One day, Morales was asked by a friend to photograph this gender-fluid community, and soon he found himself liberated by them. Over eight years he photographed them, and himself, hoping to capture the complexity of the Muxes lives, while confronting his own identity in the  sensual and challenging space of the Muxes.

2018-12-18T11:03:41+00:00

Meet Hossein Fardinfard, our Portrait of Humanity People’s Choice Winner

Our followers voted Iranian photographer Hossein Fardinfard’s image as their favourite of the recent Guardian Editor’s Pick gallery of the best Portrait of Humanity entries so far. Taken in Tbilisi, the image depicts a scene from a national holiday in Georgia, with girls dressed in traditional costume. It captures a moment of togetherness and community, values at the heart of Portrait of Humanity. Fardinfard, now based in the Netherlands, found photography via an unconventional route. Having studied cartography, Geomorphology and IT, he pursued a career as a web developer before discovering his aptitude for the art form at the age of 30. Initially interested in street photography, his focus eventually shifted onto documentary photography and portraiture. He’s currently undertaking photography research at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, Holland. What are your key interests as a photographer? Social observation, human rights, and identity. I’m currently working on some long-term projects, like the Post-Soviet Generation project I’m doing in Georgia, which is about changes that the collapse of the Soviet Union has spelled for …

2018-12-17T17:40:22+00:00

You don’t look Native to me by Maria Sturm

The paradox of otherness is at the core of Maria Sturm’s You don’t look Native to me. Her subjects belong to the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, the largest tribe in the region with around 55,000 members, with their name taken from the Lumber River of Robeson County. Starting in 2011, Romania-born, Germany-raised Sturm spent time in Pembroke, the economic, cultural and political centre of the tribe, photographing their daily lives. It opened up questions about visibility, identity and stereotype in the US, where Native Americans are romanticised yet often dismissed. Many tribes remain officially unrecognised, though the sense of identity within the communities is very strong.

On her first visit, Sturm was struck by two aspects. “One was that almost everyone I talked to introduced themselves with their names and their tribe. The other was the omnipresence of Native American symbolism: on street signs, pictures on walls, on cars, on shirts and as tattoos.” She attended powwows (where leaders pray to Jesus, another surprise to Sturm) and spent time with locals.

2018-12-11T10:32:28+00:00

Meet BJP International Photography Award 2019 judge Russ O’Connell, Picture Editor at The Sunday Times Magazine

In the first of our interviews with BJP International Photography Award 2019’s judges, we meet Russ O’Connell. His impressive career has seen O’Connell in editorial roles at celebrity weekly Heat, music magazine Q, and men’s lifestyle guide British GQ. He is currently Picture Editor at The Sunday Times Magazine – which, as the UK’s first colour supplement to a national newspaper, has long been leading the way with editorial photography. O’Connell has worked with superstar photographers from David Bailey to Nadav Kander, and regularly direct shoots with Hollywood actors, world-class musicians and prominent politicians, including – among many others – U2, Rihanna, and Hillary Clinton. When pushed for a career highlight, he can cite memories that most can only dream of: joining Bruce Springsteen on his private jet, and hanging out with Daft Punk in Paris. We spoke to O’Connell about the benefits of entering photography awards, and what he’s looking forward to during BJP IPA 2019. What are the most exciting things happening in photography at the moment? And what trends do you think we’ll see …

2018-12-07T11:14:45+00:00

Roger Melis’ images of East Germany

“This book….does not – and this I must emphasise – document life in the GDR [German Democratic Republic]. Rather, it shows how I saw this country and the people who lived here,” writes Roger Melis in the introduction to his book In a Silent Country, now published for the first time in an English edition.

“When selecting the photographs for this volume, I placed no demands on myself, and certainly did not try to comprehensively depict working and living conditions in the GDR,” he later adds. “…they focus on the everyday, and not on the spectacular. In my photographs, I only rarely attempted to capture a decisive, unrepeatable moment. The moments I always searched for were the ones in which whatever was special, unusual or temporary about people and things had dropped away, revealing the core of their being, their essence.”

2018-12-11T10:15:39+00:00

Dawoud Bey, Places in History

For over 40 years, American photographer Dawoud Bey has been photographing people from groups too often marginalised in the USA, seeking out stories overlooked by conventional and stereotypical portrayals.

Born and raised in New York, Bey began his career in 1975 at the age of 22. For five years he documented the neighbourhood of Harlem – where his parents grew up, and which he often visited as a child – making pictures of everyday life. This series, along with three more of his projects, is on show this month at the Stephen Bulger Gallery in Toronto, Canad

2018-12-11T10:10:35+00:00

Portrait of Humanity: Meet our The Guardian Editors’ Pick People’s Choice Winner, Toby A. Cox

For Toby A. Cox, one of our first Portrait of Humanity People’s Choice Winners, photography and travel are inseparable. Having grown up in the US, she only started taking pictures when she travelled as a student. Since then, she has come to use photography as a way of exploring different cultures. The Guardian editors picked her image, which captures two young children waving through a car window, as one of the best Portrait of Humanity entries so far. The picture, taken in Kyrgyzstan, captures a moment of joy. Cox has made it her mission to confront rising Islamophobia by documenting day-to-day life in Muslim-majority countries, tackling what she sees as an ‘us vs them’ mentality. Her photographs show that regardless of race or religion, we all experience the same emotions – making us far more similar than we might think. Can you tell me about your background as a photographer? How and when did you first get into photography? I took photos when I started travelling, but mostly of landscapes and things, not people. Until …

2018-12-04T10:24:04+00:00

Portrait of Humanity: Meet our The Guardian Editors’ Pick People’s Choice Winner, Anna Mia Davidson

US-based photographer Anna Mia Davidson was voted as our People’s Choice Winner, after The Guardian editors picked her image as one of the best Portrait of Humanity entries so far. The image shows a farmer and her grandson harvesting flowers. Bright and rich with colour, the portrait celebrates its subjects. As with many of Davidson’s portraits, the image captures a bond – in this case, between grandmother and grandson. Family is where photography began for Davidson, whose father – a professional photographer – encouraged her interest in the medium from an early age. Davidson has published two photobooks, Cuba Black And White, an eight-year project focusing on life in Cuba during the United States’ embargo, and Human Nature: Sustainable Farming in the Pacific Northwest, a multi-year portrait project about the people behind the sustainable farming movement. Davidson’s chosen topics tend to be weighty and complex, but her photographs are optimistic, and the resounding message of her work is that crisis can be overcome by the power of community. Can you tell me about your background …

2018-12-04T10:24:10+00:00

UK-wide street photography exhibition MyTown shortlist revealed

The shortlist for street photography exhibition MyTown has been revealed. Seagulls, greasy spoons cafes, and Notting Hill Carnival all appear in the shortlist, which captures the eccentricities of street life across the UK. Clear Channel, the outdoor media company behind the exhibition, will display the chosen images on their 3000 digital screens in public spaces across the UK. They will also host a pop up exhibition in London on 5 December 2018, where they will announce the winner. As well as the invaluable exposure of a nationwide exhibition, the winner will receive a X100F, Fujifilm’s premium compact camera, and a UK city break of their choosing. MyTown’s mission is to capture the diversity of street life across the UK, as can be seen in the wonderfully varied shortlist. The chosen images feature recognisable and quirky scenes in towns and cities across the UK, including Newcastle, Notting Hill, Brighton and Blackpool. This year, the competition welcomed thousands of entries from both established and emerging photographers, almost tripling the submissions to its first edition in 2017. The …

2018-11-23T10:20:31+00:00

Out of the Shadows: The untold story of people with learning disabilities in prison

It is estimated that 7% of the prison population in the UK has a learning disability, compared to around 2.2% of the general population. A study by Prison Reform Trust in 2008 found that people with learning disabilities are seven times more likely to come into contact with the police, five times more likely to be subject to control and restraint, and three times more likely to suffer from anxiety or depression, and spend time in solitary confinement.

These numbers are estimates rather than straight statistics because there is no system in place to screen, identify, and record whether a prisoner has a learning disability. In a research paper from 2005, psychologist John Rack estimated that around 20% of prisoners have some form of “hidden disability” which affects their performance in education and work settings. It’s worryingly disproportionate, and it begs the question – if prisons don’t have systems in place to even identify these people, how can they begin to give them the support they need to survive in a prison environment?

2018-11-28T13:57:40+00:00

BJP Staff