All posts filed under: Portrait

Portrait of Humanity: ‘I want to make you look at the wonderful people all around you’

Jean-Baptiste Pellerin has been photographing people on the street for over three decades, culminating in his latest project, Backtothestreet, a body of work that encapsulates what it means to make art accessible to everyone. Pellerin uses cement and glue to weld the portraits he takes onto city walls, meaning that all of the photographs taken on the street, and make their way back to the street, where they are exhibited to the public globally and for free. We found Pellerin’s photographs on the streets of Arles, France, during Les Rencontres d’Arles in July 2018. His portraits struck us in their diversity and positivity, showing the individuality, community and unity of the people we encounter in the streets each day, but who we rarely notice. We spoke to Pellerin about his project in light of Portrait of Humanity, a new initiative seeking to prove that there is more that unites us, than sets us apart.   How did you first get into street photography? I started doing street photography about 35 years ago. It was the …

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

Revisiting Alys Tomlinson’s BJP IPA-shortlisted series Ex-Voto

“Placed anonymously and often hidden from view, ‘Ex-Votos’ are offerings left by pilgrims as signs of gratitude and devotion,” explains Alys Tomlinson of the subjects of Ex-Voto, a series exploring offerings of religious devotion found at Christian pilgrimage sites. These small donations of gratitude take the form of handwritten notes neatly folded and hidden in the crevice of rocks, crosses etched into stone, or lengths of ribbon tied around piles of twigs, creating a tangible narrative between faith, person and the landscape. Ex-Voto explores this narrative through formal portraiture, large format landscape photography, and small, detailed still lives of the objects and markers left behind. Last year, the series was shortlisted for the BJP International Photography Award, and it has garnered global attention ever since. “To have my interests recognized as resonating beyond my own curious impulses is both exciting and encouraging,” says Alys of being shortlisted for last year’s BJP IPA, “While to receive recognition from judges with such distinctive reputations is a huge boost for my confidence, and gives me the motivation to …

2018-10-08T10:49:59+00:00

Sabelo Mlangeni’s images of South Africa

“I have still never seen the first work I made as a photographer,” says Sabelo Mangleni, who started his career as a delivery boy for a local photographer in his hometown in Driefontein, four hours drive east of Johannesburg. The photographer he worked for had been asked to shoot a wedding but, unable to attend herself, asked Mangleni to cover it – sending him off with a camera around his neck and a crash course in photography. After the wedding the newlyweds quickly picked out the images they wanted to remember their day with – so quickly, Mangleni never got to see them. 

Still, the experience of looking for a good photograph and working with people from within a community, got him hooked, and in 2001 Mangleni moved to Johannesburg and joined the Market Photo Workshop. Set up by renowned documentary photographer David Goldblatt in 1989, this well-respected organisation supported young black photographers during apartheid South Africa.

It was an excellent start in photography, but arriving in Johannesburg, Mangleni felt alienated. “I couldn’t understand what people were saying,” he says, describing the struggle to communicate with people in English, which he was still learning at the time. To avoid speaking, he channelled his feelings into photographs of the buildings and architecture, which lead to his first, and ongoing, series Big City.

2018-10-29T10:21:01+00:00

Portrait of Humanity: Punk, Love and Kindness

Food Not Bombs is a 30-year-old global movement. Initially based in Massachusetts, US, the grassroots organisation has now spread worldwide, working to unite and care for people by feeding them, and maintaining an ethos of anti-poverty and non-violence. In recent years, the Yangon, Myanmar sector of the Food Not Bombs movement has become well-known. Mohawked, black-clad and silver-studded, the group spends their time recording and performing punk music, and caring for Yangon’s homeless community. Recently, they have also developed plans to set up a school for children living in the city’s slums. Nico Djavanshir’s series Punk, Love and Kindness follows Yangon’s punks through their daily lives, in the hopes that his work can shed light on their own. The series combines our shared values of individuality, community and unity, and embodies the aims of Portrait of Humanity; we see the subjects with their families, singing into microphones, teaching groups of smiling children, and sometimes campaigning for the Food Not Bombs movement. “I wanted to take positive images,” says Djavanshir. “We’re used to seeing tragic work …

2018-10-11T17:23:01+00:00

Portrait of Humanity: ‘Keeping “the other” away is a disaster for our planet’

As we welcome people to submit photographs to Portrait of Humanity, an initiative celebrating our shared values of individuality, community and unity, we also highlight the work of photographers who have done just that. And perhaps no one has embodied this ethos more so than Jimmy Nelson, who has spent the last 30 years photographing indigenous cultures around the world, in the hopes that we might be able to learn from them. Jimmy Nelson’s latest project, Homage to Humanity, has just been released. This time, his work has been produced not only in the form of a book, but also digitally, with an app that has the capacity to scan over every photograph in the book, and to bring them to life with interviews and films. This allows people to see the making of the work, and to understand the process behind it. This new way of bringing people into the closed worlds of these indigenous tribes combines their traditions with our technology. As we increasingly spend more time than ever on our smartphones, Nelson …

2018-10-03T15:20:14+00:00

Breaking Barriers for refugees making a new start

Yuel Elob just saved up to buy a fixie bike, “just for fun, because I love cycling so much”. Daniel loves music and DJ-ing. Bada Yusuf volunteered at Pride’s pop-up shop last year, and met a group of people who are now “all friends, and I have parties at my house”. They sound like typical young Londoners but their stories are anything but – war and persecution meant all three were forced to leave their countries, and start again from scratch in London. Even so all three have found jobs, and Yusuf has nearly finished a Masters.

They feature in an exhibition called Breaking Barriers, which aims to show “the dreams and challenges faced by refugees in the UK”. Co-curated by Rebecca McClelland, who spent seven years as a photographic editor at The Sunday Times Magazine before becoming the New Statesman’s first photographic lead, the show features portraits by world-famous image-makers such as Diana Markosian, Nick Waplington, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin.

2018-10-11T17:46:10+00:00

A new wave of photographers in Africa State of Mind

“This is a unique time for African photography,” says curator Ekow Eshun. “There’s a wave of thrilling, artistically ambitious talent emerging across the continent.”

He’s gathered some of the best of it for a new show called Africa State of Mind, opening this week in New Art Exchange – the UK’s largest space devoted to culturally diverse contemporary visual arts. Including artists such has Emmanuele Andrianjafy, Sammy Baloji, and Musa N Nxumalo, the exhibition shows off talent from a new generation of African artists, exploring how they interrogate the idea of ‘Africanness’ in their work, and ‘Africa’ as a psychological as much as a physical space.

2018-10-16T09:54:51+00:00

La Fábrica and PhotoLondon: Book Dummy Award 2018

The creation of a dummy is an integral process for any photographer with aims on publishing their own photobook. It is a visual mockup for a proposed project, created before being sent to the publishers. Organised by La Fábrica in collaboration with Photo London, the Book Dummy Award selects a entry that is renowned for its quality, uniqueness and international scope, the winners of the award will then have their dummy physically realised. The competition encourages photographers from anywhere in the world to submit a physical copy of their dummy, under the rule that no digital copies may be entered. One winner from 20 finalist dummies will then be selected by an international jury. The winner’s work will be published with a print run of at least 1000 copies, and distributed worldwide. Photographers submit entries from all over the world, as in 2017 there were participants from 45 countries and every continent. The winner of the 2017 edition was Iranian-born, Swiss photographer Arunà Canevascini. Nominated as one of British Journal of Photography’s Ones to Watch …

2018-09-26T17:13:46+00:00

Africa in the Photobook

Only a small percentage of the 400 books that Ben Krewinkel has collected and featured on his website, Africa in the Photobook, are actually African. Many are historical publications, political pamphlets, or children’s books, written, photographed, and published by Europeans – including old colonial texts, which seem to obsess over hairstyles and traditions of scarification. Even the books by contemporary African photographers are mostly published in the West. As a collection that covers more than a century from 1897 to 2018, Africa in the Photobook follows the changing visual representations of the continent through the medium of the photobook – and soon it too will be transformed into a series of photobooks.

Krewinkel, a Dutch photographer, curator, and educator, is working with South African publishers Fourthwall Books on this series, and hopes to publish volume I by the end of 2019. Focusing on Africa under colonialism, it will include a long historical introduction, 40 case studies, and plenty of space to show large spreads from the books. Volume II will sketch a path from the beginnings of decolonisation in the 1950s to the late 1990s, marking the end of Apartheid and also the “re-evaluation of African photography”. Krewinkel then hopes to create a third volume, focusing on contemporary African photo books.

2018-09-26T12:18:53+00:00

Portrait of Humanity: Celebrating São Paulo’s transgender community

The life expectancy of transgender women in Brazil is just 35 years old. They are subject to extensive daily abuse, and around 90% of them work as prostitutes, having been ostracised by family and friends. The country also has the world’s highest murder rates of transgender women; there have been 113 this year alone. With no social visibility, there is very little being done to counteract the epidemic of abuse. Times are changing, thanks to the women leading the fight for their rights, but there is a long way to go. To understand this fractured, but resilient, community, Camila Falcão spent the last eighteen months photographing them in São Paulo. Falcão’s work seeks to elevate and celebrate her subjects, by presenting them as individuals, and not statistics. Through two projects, Abaixa Que É Tiro and Onika, she has constructed an intimate and timely portrait of the community. Given the environment in which these women exist, the response to the work has defied expectation; Falcão has been invited to give interviews for publications such as Brazilian …

2018-10-11T17:26:13+00:00

BJP Staff