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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+00:00

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+00:00

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+00:00

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+00:00

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+00:00

Meet Portrait of Humanity’s global judges and ambassadors

Portrait of Humanity is a unique photography award. Seeking images that capture life across the globe, it has a singular mission at its core: to unite the global community through the power of photography. By inviting images that capture shared human experiences – be it laughter, joy or love – we hope to prove that there is more that unites us than sets us apart. 1854 Media, publisher of British Journal of Photography, and Magnum Photos, the two teams behind the award, have welcomed photography leaders from countries across the globe to act as judges and ambassadors. We’ve brought together a selection of inspiring people – including photographers, curators, editors, and gallery directors – who represent a cross-section of the photography world. The judging panel will be tasked with choosing the 50 winning images that will tour the world in 2019/ 2020, and the 200 shortlisted images to go in the Portrait of Humanity book, published by Hoxton Mini Press and distributed worldwide. Among them is Sarah Leen, the current and first female Director of …

2019-01-10T13:09:28+00:00

An Infinite Perimeter round Europe?

Michalis Poulas has lived in Crete for much of his life. It was here that he first learned the technicalities of photography from his father, who opened a film-processing shop on the Greek island in 1988, and here that he built a career as a professional photographer. Shooting mostly on digital, in 2014 he decided to revisit the world of medium format, and with all the languidness that such work entails, it seemed natural that the island should serve as his subject.

The result is Infinite Perimeter, an as- yet-unfinished series which looks at a decade of sociopolitical unrest on the island with a cool objectivity. While all the images were taken in Crete – 90 per cent of them within 10 kilometres of Poulas’s home – this is neither documentary photography, nor a series about Greece specifically. Rather, it’s about the instability permeating the Western world today.

2018-11-26T12:11:40+00:00

Frank Gehry’s LUMA Arles centre takes shape

Its opening has been pushed back to 2020, but the LUMA Arles complex is taking shape in the French town celebrated for its prestigious Les Rencontres d’Arles photography festival.

Set on the site of the former SNCF rail yard long used for exhibitions by Les Rencontres, LUMA Arles will be an interdisciplinary arts centre aimed at supporting and producing exhibitions, research, education and archives. It is backed by Swiss collector Maja Hoffmann, whose LUMA Foundation has been involved with Les Rencontres d’Arles since 2013. LUMA Arles will occupy a 20-acre site when it’s complete, and the arts centre will be the centre-piece.

2018-11-26T11:48:11+00:00

If Slovenia Were

“What lies behind this project is my particular, unique attachment to Slovenia,” writes Klavdij Sluban, a French photographer of Slovenian origin and curator of If Slovenia Were. “It is an exceptional project in as much as it was born out of the desire to share a stretch of a photographic journey with a group of young Slovenian photographers, quite apart from any institutional, educational or other structures.”

Stemming from a desire to keep in touch with the country of his roots, Sluban began the project with an open call, selecting 18 young Slovenian photographers to take part. Each responded freely to the theme, and have been working on their projects for the past three years, developing them in meetings with Sluban on his occasional visits to the country. The resulting projects include series on expatriates who have emigrated elsewhere, photographers’ personal interpretations of Slovenian family life, and introspective series dealing with the artists’ private experiences.

2018-11-29T14:16:37+00:00

Q&A: Sole Satana’s From a Bad Place

Although it is Spanish photographer Sole Satana’s latest body of work, From a Bad Place was conceived several years ago, during a difficult time when she was struggling with anxiety and depression.

Closely related to her personal life, Satana’s photography tells a very subjective story about her take on everyday life. Her images will be on show at the Centro Parraga in Murcia, Spain, as part of a collaborative project between the gallery and collective UnderPhoto. Now in its second edition, the project aims to bring together emerging creators who offer a “deeply personal representation of reality”.

From a Bad Place will be exhibited alongside photography from Satana’s partner in life and work JD Valiente, a BJP One to Watch this year. The couple met when they were teenagers and have been together for 14 years. They often now collaborate on joint projects, such as the story Dead Meat, but this show, titled Parentésis, is made up of two solo series.

2018-11-28T13:58:36+00:00

BJP Staff