All posts filed under: Portrait

Portrait(s) festival returns to Vichy

From the star-studded hills of Hollywood, to Ukraine’s military camps, Russia’s Caucasus region, and the gloomy streets of Thatcher-era England, the programme for this year’s Portrait(s) festival covers a wide breadth of both geography and context. The French photofestival dedicated to portraiture returns to Vichy for its seventh edition this summer, with exhibitions by Philippe Halsman, Tish Murtha, Michal Chelbin, Bastiaan Woudt, Turkina Faso, Benni Valsson, Ambroise Tézenas, and an intriguing show about selfies, curated by Olivier Culmann.

Selfies, Equal/Egos presents a mixture of amateur photography and artists who explore the phenomenon in their practice. Both serious and offbeat, the exhibition examines the mechanisms of virality, and the repetitive nature of the image economy in a digital age.

2019-06-05T10:15:57+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

A portrait of the real Brexit Britain

Documentary photographer Danyelle Rolla is proud of her roots. That much is clear from her portfolio, which reads like a guide to working-class Britain. Rolla grew up in Norris Green, one of Liverpool’s poorest towns – the type of town, she says, that the press misrepresents as a hotbed of crime and social decay. Out of frustration at this, Rolla has made it her mission to rewrite the narrative of the people and places that have shaped her, by photographing them in a more flattering light. The photograph that won Rolla Portrait of Britain 2018 captures Dotty, an older resident of Norris Green, Liverpool, outside the local pub. She is sporting a perm that might be from the Eighties, with shoulder pads to match. In fact, many of the scenes that Rolla photographs could be from other eras: from kitsch village fetes, to groups of skinheads in bomber jackets. In her playful, sometimes garish, images, she captures a Britain that seems to be longing for the past. This is the same Britain, Rolla’s photographs suggest, …

2019-04-11T11:46:15+00:00

A Portrait of Queer Britain

Britain, for all its charms, can be dominated by grey skies and gloomy headlines. So it’s uplifting to come across the work of Charley Williams, whose portraits of drag queens and LGBTQ party-goers show Britain as the joyful and free place it can be. Her work is rooted in Bristol, where she lives. This small city, in England’s West Country, is famous for being progressive, and it has a vibrant and liberating spirit that abounds in Williams’ work. Dominique Fleek, the image that made the Portrait of Britain 2018 shortlist, captures a drag artist transforming into character. Williams tends to find her subjects in nightclubs and at festivals, and as such, her portraits explore a queer and carnivalesque world. Ahead of Portrait of Britain 2019, we spoke to Williams about how photography can tackle intolerance and can move us towards becoming a more open and accepting society. What did you want to capture about your subject, and about modern Britain, with the portrait that you entered into Portrait of Britain 2018? The subject of my …

2019-03-04T13:00:54+00:00

Handsworth Self Portrait: 40 Years On

When Derek Bishton, John Reardon, and Brian Homer set up a photography and design agency in the late 1970s in Handsworth, a multicultural, inner-city district of Birmingham, they were viewed with suspicion. “I lived in Handsworth and walked to work with my camera, and I felt people were looking at me as if to say ’Who is this white guy, is he working for the police?’” says Bishton. “As I started to take photographs I was aware of this problem.”

Their agency, Sidelines, had been set up to work with community groups on issues such as social justice housing, unemployment and immigration though, so the photographers were keen to win the locals’ trust. Discussing it in their office, a converted terraced house on a busy shopping street in Handsworth, Bishton happened to find a photograph in Camerawork Magazine, showing a Ukranian woman who had photographed herself in a portrait studio set up by American photographer David Attie. It was, he realised, the perfect solution – and one which their office was seemingly built for. 

2019-03-04T09:31:38+00:00

Portrait of Britain: Carly Clarke on documenting a life-changing journey

Documentary photographer Carly Clarke has shot a remarkable array of subjects. One of her projects explores the modern epidemic of India’s ‘forgotten elders’, a generation neglected and abused by their adult children. An earlier project, in contrast, explores the lighter topic of a Sussex brewery, while a third gives a behind-the-scenes view of a group of UK fishermen at work. Though her subjects differ hugely, the common thread is Clarke’s fascination with the way communities live across the globe. Clarke creates her most compelling portraits, however, when she turns the camera on herself. Last Day of Chemotherapy, the image that was shortlisted for Portrait of Britain 2018, is part of her series Reality Trauma. Clarke started the series after being diagnosed with cancer, and the result is an unflinchingly honest stage-by-stage account of her chemotherapy treatment. This deeply personal, contemplative work, is proof of Clarke’s absolute dedication to photography, the art form that gave her hope during an extremely challenging time. The image that was shortlisted for Portrait of Britain 2018 is a self-portrait taken …

2019-04-11T11:45:36+00:00

“Incredible and inspiring”: stories of success from Portrait of Britain

Portrait of Britain 2019 is open for entries. Now in its fourth year, the groundbreaking award has grown an enormous following both at home and abroad; last year, it was featured across international media outlets, from The Guardian to Sky News. Portrait of Britain is now the largest exhibition of its kind in the UK, and each year 100 winning images are displayed on outdoor screens right across the country, with 200 shortlisted images collated into a Portrait of Britain book. Calling for portraits that capture the face of a nation in a historic moment, the award is set apart by both its unique scale and its timely subject matter. The kind of exposure that Portrait of Britain brings is invaluable for photographers. But how does it actually feel to be included in the biggest exhibition of contemporary portrait photography the UK has ever seen? To have your work celebrated in the press and on TV? And to be featured in a hardback book that people across the globe will cherish for years? We spoke …

2019-03-01T10:02:37+00:00

Andy Warhol’s Polaroid Pictures

In 1971 Polaroid introduced the Big Shot camera; featuring an integrated flash, viewfinder and fixed focus lens, it was aimed at shooting portraits – and was enthusiastically taken up by artist Andy Warhol. The camera was discontinued in 1973 but Warhol kept using it until his death in 1987, capturing shots of actors, artists, politicians, clubbers, and Factory hangers-on. He also used it to photograph himself, creating a self-portrait in 1979 in what he called his “fright wig” that measures a whopping 81.3cm x 55.9cm.

BASTIAN gallery is showing this huge self-portrait in an exhibition of over 60 of Warhol’s Polaroids, highlighting “the artist’s prolific capacity as a chronicler of his time”. “Alongside other friends, clients and Studio 54 dwellers, these photographs – initially preparatory works for Warhol’s iconic silkscreen portraits – reveal a lack of pathos or individuation, underlining the artist’s notion of an era where ‘everybody looks alike and acts alike, and we’re getting more and more that way’,” states the gallery.

2019-02-01T12:44:12+00:00

The Pink and Blue Projects by JeongMee Yoon

“The Pink and Blue Projects were initiated by my five-year-old daughter, who loved the colour pink so much that she wanted to wear only pink clothes and play with only pink toys and objects,” writes JeongMee Yoon. “I discovered that my daughter’s case was not unusual.

“In the United States, South Korea and elsewhere, most young girls love pink clothing, accessories and toys. This phenomenon is widespread among children of various ethnic groups regardless of their cultural backgrounds. Perhaps it is the influence of pervasive commercial advertisements aimed at little girls and their parents, such as the universally popular Barbie and Hello Kitty merchandise that has developed into a modern trend. Girls train subconsciously and unconsciously to wear the colour pink in order to look feminine.”

2019-02-05T15:27:39+00:00

BJP Staff