All posts filed under: Q&A

WFH #1: Bruno Ceschel in Milan

In the first of a new series talking to visual creatives about life in lockdown, BJP editor Simon Bainbridge talks to the founder of Self Publish, Be Happy at his Airbnb in Milan – and how he came to launch his sell-out series of online masterclasses focusing on photobooks A decade ago, I was living in a studio flat in Clerkenwell. I moved in after Jodi Bieber moved out. And there were plenty of other local photography connections too: Adam Broomberg and Emma Blau both had studios in the block; Magnum Photos was around the corner; and my friend and neighbour, Bruno Ceschel, had recently given up working for Chris Boot. Sensing the emerging zeitgeist, he had just started receiving sacks full of mail after issuing a call out for self-published photobooks. Trying to make some sense of the flourishing independent photobook scene, Ceschel established Self Publish, Be Happy, showcasing the new titles – from books by long-established artists to teenagers producing zines from their bedrooms – on his new website, and running his first …


Nail polish and polaroids: Charlotte Schmitz collaborates with sex workers

Located in the city of Machala, La Puente is southern Ecuador’s largest brothel. It has been operating as a family business for 45 years, employing 170 women who are paid $10 per client. Charlotte Schmitz, one of BJP’s Ones to Watch in 2019, first heard about the brothel while she was studying in Machala, aged 18. Returning a decade later as a photographer, Schmitz immersed herself into the brothel, befriending regulars and employees alike, and collaborating with the women to produce her first photobook, La Puente, a dazzling collection of polaroid photographs. Schmitz gave the women full agency over their images: they posed how they wanted, and had the option to anonymise or embellish their images using nail polish: “A great material, to paint, to cover, to enhance.” These bright and colourful images are accompanied by Schmitz’ rather sobering diary entries. “The men at the urinal lean on the wall with their lower arms casually. One man pees freehand and looks at his mobile,” she writes. Collaborative, inclusive, and impartial, La Puente is an antidote …


BJP Staff