All posts filed under: Studio 1854

“Courage in the face of overwhelming odds”: Star Wars Families in South Africa

The last few years have been testing for Lillo and Robyn-Lee Bergh and their nine-year old son, Eli. Following an extended period of strain on both sides of the extended family, their marriage ended up isolating them even further. “When my husband and I got married, he was disowned by his family for choosing a dark-skinned girl,” Robyn says. “I fell pregnant very quickly, at a time when life fell apart for us. In addition to that, my family also turned their back on us. We were both young, scared, and without any support.” It was also around this time that Robyn, a self-proclaimed “Star Wars geek”, introduced Lillo to the Force for the first time. For Robyn, the films had played a major part in her childhood; raised by a single mum, her Star Wars video tapes were a prized possession. “Star Wars babysat me,” Robyn says, “[My mum] had to go work, and wake up early in the morning, while I was still asleep. She drove to Jo-burg, came back, and I was already in bed. So I …

2019-12-04T17:34:13+00:00

The four-year-old fighting Kylo Ren: Star Wars Families in Germany

“Anybody can be anything,” says Benjamin Bedeman, talking about a subject close to his heart: Star Wars. “There’s a princess that becomes a general; there’s a young boy that becomes a Jedi; there’s a smuggler that becomes a war hero. It doesn’t matter where you come from, and it doesn’t matter what your family is, because family bonds will just form somehow. I think that appeals to a lot of people around the world.” Bedeman lives in Blieskastel, Germany, with his partner Caroline and her daughter, Ylva. The three of them describe themselves as a “patchwork family.” “I’m not Ylva’s biological father, but when I started dating Caroline it was clear that to have a successful relationship with her, I needed a successful relationship with Ylva as well,” Benjamin describes. “Maybe she doesn’t yet get the concept of having a Dad. But she knows what I am [to] her… We are a family. We are not blood-related, we’re not married, but that’s not important. It’s how you feel about it.” Benjamin and Caroline realised early …

2019-12-04T17:32:29+00:00

“In our philosophy, the Force is very strong”: Star Wars Families in India

“This is a really interesting commission for me because I’ve spent most of my career travelling the world and photographing global landscapes,” says photographer Jason Koxvold. “This is the first time I’ve gone to a place like India to make portraiture.”  Koxvold’s subjects are the Tewari family — Shiv, Karen, Anishka and Arav — who live in Goa. Anishka and Arav enjoy art, drawing, and reading; Shiv spent years in the Indian Navy and now runs his own consultancy; and Karen is an ex-teacher who runs Kid Venture, a series of camps for children that encourages them to “get off their devices” and go trekking, fishing, and playing games in the outdoors. Between them, the Tewari’s share a love of Star Wars that has only grown as the years have passed. The origin story of the Tewari’s fandom begins with Karen, who was born in 1977, the same year  A New Hope was released. When Karen was seven, her father came back from months away in Malaysia, serving in the army, with a VHS cassette …

2019-12-04T17:30:58+00:00

Rey, Leia, and finding strength in womanhood: Star Wars Families in Brazil

On the 19th of December (20th of December in the US), the Skywalker saga will reach its epic finale with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Ahead of its release, Star Wars Families presented by eBay, in collaboration with Lucasfilm, sees 10 photographers document families around the world as they each share their own Star Wars story.

2019-12-03T15:51:17+00:00

“I want my son to understand that it’s ok to cry”: Star Wars Families in the UK

On the 19th of December (20th of December in the US), the Skywalker saga will reach its epic finale with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Ahead of its release, Star Wars Families presented by eBay, in collaboration with Lucasfilm, sees 10 photographers document families around the world as they each share their own Star Wars story.

2019-12-03T16:45:09+00:00

An antidote to shame and secrecy: photographing Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

“The house was absolutely full of things which were undealt with,” Léonie Hampton describes of the beginnings of her project, In the Shadow of Things. “Part of the practical task was to slowly go through room by room sorting, trying to reclaim space, to get rooms functioning again.” Hampton’s mother has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), a mental health condition which has many different iterations and which, in her case, manifests as contamination phobia and hoarding. The photographer’s childhood home had become overrun by boxes, and she came to an arrangement with her family: that she would photograph the process of the family coming together to go through them all, dismantling and organising. “It felt like things needed to change,” Hampton says of the origins of the project, which began in 2007. “I had a chance to go into that, to find if there was a way to change it, and so photography, and sound, or word, were very much secondary to my preliminary reason to go in, which was as a daughter.” The priority was …

2019-11-30T00:42:51+00:00

Star Wars Families: The photographers

In advance of the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Lucasfilm and British Journal of Photography present Star Wars Families: an immersive photographic and editorial project that sheds light on families who have enjoyed the magic of Star Wars for nearly half a century.  This weekend, the 10 photographers selected for the commission will document the lives of families in 10 countries; Ying Ang in Australia, Carlotta Cardana in Italy, Daniel Chatard in Germany, Josh Adam Jones in the United Arab Emirates, Kovi Konowiecki in the US, Jason Koxvold in India, Piczo in Japan, Camila Svenson in Brazil, Pascal Vossen in South Africa, and Alice Zoo in the UK. Just as the Skywalker story arc echoes through the Star Wars galaxy, so our own family narratives bind us together across generations. Star Wars Families will celebrate the family unit in all its diverse incarnations through a series of images constructing a narrative around the idea of the family portrait. Accompanied by a videographer, the selected photographers will record the personal relationships and stories of …

2019-11-18T14:43:09+00:00

What is it like to live in poverty and struggle with mental health?

“My hope is to bring people into connection, into their heart,” says Siân Davey. “It’s a heart practice. With very real issues.” The photographer, known for her sensitive work documenting her own children, as well as tender reflections on the intimate relationships amongst families and groups of young people, has been selected for the Wellcome Photography Prize commission. Over the coming months, she will be producing a new body of work around the theme of mental health. This new project, entitled Testament, will focus specifically on the relationship between poverty and mental health, documenting the lives of individuals living in Torquay, Devon, and struggling with precarious living conditions and all the associated psychological states this produces. “How is it to be poor and struggling with mental health? And how do we manage that? What informs that?” asks Davey whose work will seek to address these questions by examining the emotional experience of lives predicated by uncertainty, and the toll taken by unstable living circumstances. The initial weeks of the commission have seen the photographer undertaking …

2019-11-11T11:21:41+00:00

Humour, intimacy, and sincerity: celebrating family photography

“I had learned that the best way to make meaningful photographs, as a photographer starting out, would be to document what I knew best, what I loved,” says Emma Hardy, describing the beginnings of her photographic career. “Hence my family.” Images of home and family have always been a compelling theme in documentary photography, from Sally Mann’s poetic black-and-white images of her children to Richard Billingham’s pathos-filled portrait of his parents from the series Ray’s a Laugh. There is the seductive sense of a lid being lifted, or a magnifying glass held over a subject as relatable as it is specific; photographs of families, like families themselves, can take so many different forms and provoke so many different emotions. This is the impetus behind British Journal of Photography’s new collaboration with Lucasfilm, Star Wars Families, a new commission that will see 10 photographers each create a narrative family portrait of 10 different families across five continents. The project will explore these families’ unique dynamics through the lens of Star Wars, and the impact that film and …

2019-11-08T11:15:17+00:00

Conceived by a sperm donor, a photographer travels across the United States to document the 32 siblings he had never met

The Wellcome Photography Prize 2020 is now open for entry, calling for submissions exploring topics of health and medicine. Its ‘Social Perspectives’ category asks photographers to examine these themes as contextualised by society. Eli Baden-Lasar’s work documenting his half-siblings is an extraordinary example of one such project. Eli Baden-Lasar had always known he was conceived using a sperm donor. However, discovering that one of his friends was a half-sibling was a decisive moment. He had always been interested in visual culture and in using a camera to explore ideas, and so he set out on what turned out to be a year-long journey to meet and photograph each of his half-siblings. The resulting project was originally published as the cover story of The New York Times Magazine in June, A Family Portrait: Brothers, Sisters, Strangers, Strangers (though the photographer refers to the work simply as his siblings project). Far from being a straightforward documentary piece about family discovery, the project is a multilayered exposition of an emotional, familial and political enquiry, taking in not only …

2019-10-31T11:34:16+00:00

BJP Staff