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Ooshot Award: an exhibition of commissioned photography

One winter night at a charity shop in Paris, a young Afghan refugee named Zaman arrived at the store. He had travelled for sixteen months from Kabul in a flimsy pair of flip flops, and was looking for a new pair of shoes. When presented with the selection of footwear on offer, Zaman said, “Not ugly sneakers – sneakers like Jay-Z”. This anecdote was the starting point for photographers Ambroise Tézenas and Frédéric Delangle, leading to a project that questions the social function of clothing for refugees. Sneakers like Jay-Z was commissioned by the charity Emmaüs Solidarity – who currently run over 600 second-hand shops in France – and is the winning project of the inaugural Ooshot Award. The Ooshot Award is the first photographic prize dedicated to commissioned photography. Valerie Hersleven, founder of the award, wants to break the boundaries between art and commercial photography, pointing out that some of the greatest photographs in history were made under a commission. One of her favourite images, Tears by Man Ray, for example, was created for the mascara brand …

2019-06-05T10:12:26+01:00

Those who eat fish from the cyanide lake improve their sex life

In 2013, a proposal to initiate Europe’s largest gold and silver mining project in Roșia Montană, Romania, sparked a series of anti-government protests in dozens of cities across the country. The proposal is still awaiting a parliamentary decision, but among its many contentions are the long-term health effects ofcyanide poisoning – a potentially deadly chemical used to extract gold – and the suspicion of fake documentation, prompted by vested interests within the government. Belgian photographer Tomas Bachot travelled to Romania in 2015, intending to create a documentary project about the state of the mining conflict. After months of travelling through several cities, one of his couchsurfing hosts reacted negatively to his photographs, and said she was unable to support his vision of her country. “I was shocked, because as an image-maker you’re always open to hear feedback, but you’re also scared,” says Bachot. “I realised what I really needed to do, rather than just observing the place and the situation. I realised that what I was doing was a very limited way of meeting people …

2019-03-19T15:33:36+01:00

The 2019 Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize goes on show

Now in its 22nd year, the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize is awarded each year to image-makers who’ve made the biggest contribution to the medium in the previous 12 months in Europe. This year the shortlisted artists are: Laia Abril, for her publication On Abortion; Susan Meiselas, for the retrospective exhibition Mediations; Arwed Messmer, for his exhibition RAF – No Evidence / Kein Beweis; and Mark Ruwedel, for the exhibition Artist and Society: Mark Ruwedel. The winner of the £30,000 prize will be announced at The Photographers’ Gallery on 16 May 2019.

2019-06-05T10:28:03+01:00

Female in Focus: Alys Tomlinson’s Ex-Voto book is out now

Alys Tomlinson’s Ex-Voto book is the culmination of a five-year journey across Catholic pilgrimage sites in Ballyvourney in Ireland, Grabarka in Poland, and Lourdes in France. “Placed anonymously and often hidden from view, ‘Ex-Votos’ are offerings left by pilgrims as signs of gratitude and devotion,” she explains. Since being shortlisted for the BJP IPA in 2018, the series has been recognised across the industry, also making the shortlists for the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize and the Renaissance Photography Prize. Most recently, Ex-Voto won first prize in the Discovery section of the 2018 Sony World Photography Awards. The eagerly anticipated release of the Ex-Voto book coincides with several exhibitions of the work; at HackelBury Fine Art in London from 7 March to 18 April, at Chichester Cathedral from 2 March to 23 April, and at SIDE Gallery in Newcastle from 6 April until 9 June 2019. Included in Ex-Voto are essays by experts Dr Rowan Cerys Tomlinson, Professor John Eade, and Sean O’Hagan, each detailing some of the history of the sites photographed and the ex-votos …

2019-03-07T17:32:19+01:00

Persecuted/Persecutors: People of the 20th Century by August Sander

“Nothing seemed to me more appropriate than to project an image of our time with absolute fidelity to nature by means of photography… Let me speak the truth in all honesty about our age and the people of our age.” These are the words of August Sander, one of the most poignant figures in the history of photography, best-known for his ambitious, lifelong project, where he sought to create a comprehensive photographic work that faithfully represented the physiognomy of German society.

People of the 20th Century, as it was eventually named, is an attempt at a social portrait of the everyday German man and woman living in the 1900s – a period of time which, unbeknownst to the photographer at its inception, would give way to two world wars, the largest migration of people in human history, and ethical, economic and political hysteria.

2019-01-10T11:47:31+01:00

Portrait of Humanity: Can photography change the world?

Can photography change the world? It seems like a lot to ask, especially in our age of over-saturation; as of 2018, a staggering 95 million photos and videos are uploaded onto Instagram every day. It’s more difficult than ever for a photograph to have an impact –  we’ve all seen it before, and we’ve probably taken a picture of it too. Yet, despite this, certain photographs still have the power to astound. In September 2015, one image dominated newsstands. The picture, which has come to be known as ‘Death of Alan Kurdi’, showed the dead body of a three-year-old Syrian refugee washed up on a Turkish beach. Publications rushed to post it on their front pages, and it spread at lightning speed online. Suddenly, the devastation of the Syrian war was visible, in a way it hadn’t been before. There’s no formula for measuring a picture’s impact, but there was a discernible shift. The image stirred empathy and urgency among both politicians and the public. The refugee crisis became a central focus in the 2015 …

2019-01-10T13:14:51+01:00

Jimei x Arles puts Chinese photography on the map

In November this year, Jimei x Arles International Photography Festival, the sister festival to the renowned Rencontres d’Arles, celebrated its fourth edition in Xiamen, in China’s Fuijan province. With an overall view to “serve as a cultural exchange between France and China”, the annual event hopes to also raise the profile of photography in China by providing a meeting place for professionals in the field and providing a platform for emerging photographers to showcase their talent.

“It is a matter of promoting an idea of culture and art, that is both creative and popular, open to greater audiences but also a site for encounters between creatives,” explains Victoria Jonathan, one half of the creative direction team alongside Bérénice Angremy. “It is also an opportunity to nurture an artistic dialogue between Chinese and European artists and audiences. Ideas travel with exhibitions and art projects. For Arles, it is also an opportunity to have a foot in China and grow a deeper knowledge of the Chinese and Asian photography scenes.”

2019-01-04T12:16:24+01:00

Meet Leander Varekamp, our Portrait of Humanity People’s Choice Winner

Portrait of Humanity provides photographers with the chance to share portraits of everyday life around the world, with the world. The aim is to explore and celebrate the many faces of humanity. That’s also the aim of Holland-based documentary photographer Leander Varekamp, whose image was selected by The Guardian editors as one of their favourite Portrait of Humanity entries so far, and voted by our followers as their favourite of the picks. The image, a crisp black & white portrait, is part of a series on Burrneshas – Albanian women who have chosen to live their lives as men. With only a few dozen Burrneshas left, the tradition is quickly dying out, and Varekamp is using portraiture to ensure that this little-known phenomenon is not forgotten completely. Since Varekamp discovered a talent for photography at the age of 17, he has used his camera as a means of investigating communities – such as Burrneshas – that intrigue him. As he puts it, ‘the camera opens doors that would otherwise remain closed’. We spoke to Varekamp …

2019-01-10T13:11:23+01:00

Portrait of Humanity: The Anonymous Project is restoring our collective memory, one colour slide at a time

When filmmaker Lee Shulman bought a box of vintage slides from Ebay, he was hoping for some blurry snaps to flick through on a Sunday afternoon, and maybe a picture or two to keep. But when they arrived, ‘I nearly fell off my seat.’  What he saw amazed him: here were hundreds of snapshots of strangers’ lives. The poses were instantly recognisable: children grinning over birthday cakes, couples squinting on the beach – the simple magic of unstaged life, captured in rich Kodachrome colour. The price of colour photography plummeted in the early Fifties, allowing people to snap away with newfound freedom. But the chemicals that produce the slides fade over time. If the photos were to disappear, then with them so would the memories of our collective human experience – and Shulman didn’t want to let that happen. With the help of a friend, photo publisher Emmanuelle Halkin, Shulman created The Anonymous Project. A Paris-based nonprofit, its aim is ambitious: to collect, scan and catalogue all colour slides produced since the Fifties. Since starting …

2019-01-10T13:09:57+01:00

BJP Staff