All posts tagged: America

Andrew Moisey shoots The American Fraternity

“I’ve waited a long time to bring this book out and between Donald Trump and #MeToo, I don’t see how it could possibly be a better moment,” says Andrew Moisey from his office at Cornell University, New York, where he is an assistant professor in art history and visual studies. The book, The American Fraternity: An Illustrated Ritual Manual, is published by Daylight, and is looks at the secretive, ultra-masculine worlds of the fraternity houses that dominate US university life.

The image we now have of fraternities is very different from how they were when they first set up in the late 1700s. The initial male collegiate organisations were literary societies, where university students gathered to debate politics. Many had mottoes and names in Greek lettering, such as the first and perhaps more poignant Phi Beta Kappa in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Over the years these gave way to social societies in more universities around the US, recruiting members according to their race, religion and social status. Their exclusivity, need to differentiate and tradition of privacy were traits that gradually reached extremes in the modern day, and have now earned them a reputation of encouraging misogyny, bullying and elitism.

2018-10-18T10:19:30+00:00

OpenWalls: Christopher Bethell on his complex relationship to home

Christopher Bethell’s work comes from a desire to explore his identity, making his personal reflections universal. His complex relationship to home comes from his dual American and British citizenship. Despite never having visited America, he has always thought of it as a home, and so embarked on his major MA project, The Duke of Earl, last year in the US, as a way to document his understanding of this new but familiar place. What followed was a struggle between cliche and authenticity, as Christopher came to terms with the stereotypes that had informed his perception of this fractured home. Christopher’s interest in photography was first sparked at the age of 19, and he quickly threw himself into the medium, studying at Mid Cheshire College, Staffordshire University, and finally at London College of Communication, where he received a Masters in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography. He cites his most valuable lessons as those about the foundations of photographic theory, and the ethics of representation, which have changed the way he approaches projects and commissions. Since graduating he …

2018-08-08T15:56:10+00:00

Lakewood: A modern day utopia

Meet California will give four photographers the opportunity to road trip across the Golden State on a 10-day British Journal of Photography commission, in partnership with Visit California. To introduce the competition, BJP is profiling a number of photographers who have created work in the state. Twenty years ago, if you told photographer Tom M Johnson that Lakewood – the Californian city where he was born, raised and continued to live for much of his adult life – would be the subject of one of his most compelling bodies of work, he would have not believed you. Growing up it seemed as if there was nothing particularly special about the Los Angeles County community. Its leafy streets, single storey houses, and perfectly manicured lawns were the norm. It was only upon returning from his travels that Johnson began to see his neighbourhood in a new light. “It was necessary to leave Lakewood in order to appreciate it,” he says. “Growing up, it was just so normal but it seems special now. All the little things – …

2018-06-26T10:02:32+00:00

Philadelphia’s horsemen reclaim their heritage in Cian Oba-Smith’s shots

“It was also about reshaping that American icon: everyone thinks of the cowboy as this white American hero who has come to slay Native Americans. Actually the word cowboy is a racist term. It comes from when slave masters called all their slaves ‘boys’ and so the cow boy was the boy who looked after the cows and the horse boy was the boy who looked after the horses.” Cian Oba-Smith journeys to Philadelphia at a politically charged time during the 2016 U.S. election to meet with an infamous group of horsemen dealing with this ingrained racism on a daily basis.

2018-04-24T10:55:43+00:00

Jack Minto finds the grit behind the glitz of Las Vegas

From vacant parking lots to intimate street portraits via expansive stretches of the Mojave Desert, the Las Vegas of Jack Minto’s project, Maryland Parkway, is somewhat unfamiliar. Bypassing the glitzy lights, flamboyant buildings and raging commerce that characterise the famous Strip, the 21-year-old photographer turns his lens on a nondescript parallel road, two miles east of the action and home to many “misplaced” local residents, in a bid to expose the harsh reality of a city divided by economic inequality.

2017-08-01T13:02:55+00:00

Bodyhacking and tech implants in Hannes Wiedemann’s Grinders

Grinders, which was nominated as a runner-up in this year’s British Journal of Photography Breakthrough Awards, focuses on a community of body hackers who undergo operations to add technology into their body. Like something out of a sci-fi novel, the group hope that slicing their bodies open will enable them to solve mankind’s problems through machine. The combination of man and machine is no longer futuristic fiction.

2017-08-01T10:29:56+00:00

Is America great again? Peter Dench goes beyond the red, white and blue to document the “land of the free”.

Over the years he’s created a huge archive of images documenting ‘Britishness’, covering topics such as Brits abroad and alcohol consumption in England. Now Peter Dench has his sights set on America. In the summer of 2015, commissioned by Olympus, Dench travelled to Dallas to record his first instalment in documenting the daily life of the people who live there. He photographed everything from a bikini contest to Buddhist monks, baseball fans and Sunday worshippers, capturing in his images the essence of what it means to be American in the 21st century. He’s also photographed in Miami and San Francisco, all part of his quest “to challenge what I thought I knew of the country.” Dench, a pro photographer for more than 20 years, has long been fascinated by America. As a teenager in the 1980s he remembers how he “voraciously consumed the American soap operas Dallas and Baywatch”, and when he was studying photography he read books by Diane Arbus, Walker Evans, Robert Frank and Tony Ray-Jones. These photographers “alerted me to the fact …

2017-03-03T11:07:22+00:00

BJP Staff