All posts tagged: Breakthrough 2016

Breakthrough Awards: 2016 winner Simone Sapienza has a spectacular year

Simone Sapienza won the Undergraduate series prize at the Breakthrough Awards 2016 with an astonishingly assured debut, Charlie surfs on Lotus Flowers. Shot in Vietnam, it explores a country that effectively defeated the US in an exhausting war, then adopted unbridled capitalism to become a new Asian tiger. “Vietnam was all built in my imagination but just thanks to the cinema, through movies like Apocalypse Now,” Sapienza explains. “I was curious to see what the country that defeated the US looked like.” It was a precocious start for someone just leaving university, but then Sapienza had already made inroads into the photography world the year before, launching the Gazebook Sicily Photobook Festival in 2015. It’s now in its third year, and has hosted photographers as well known as Martin Parr. After graduating from Newport, Sapienza returned to Sicily, where he joined the Minimum photo studio, which he runs with our other members. It’s an “atypical and transversal” place, he says, through which the photographers organise events and create new photo projects individually and collectively; it’s also based in …

2017-04-27T14:21:01+00:00

Breakthrough Awards: Jan McCullough one year later

It was while leafing through a 1950s manual for military wives she’d found in a secondhand shop that photographer Jan McCullough came up with the title for Home Instruction Manual. The innovative project, which explores the concept of the ideal home, scooped the Northern Ireland-based photographer first prize in the Graduate – Series category of last year’s BJP‘s Breakthrough Awards. Renting an empty home for a month, she decorated it according to contemporary DIY advice she found online and photographed the results in a deadpan, deliberately amateurish style. For the Breakthrough group show in East London’s Truman Brewery, McCullough decided to include a huge roll printed with this advice alongside her pictures. Showing her work in this way kickstarted an interest in more experimental exhibition strategies, and McCullough has discovered “an enthusiasm for the possibilities of a physical installation in a gallery context”. “I’m interested in developing this aspect of my practice, considering new ways to present my work specific to its subject,” she continues. “I want to play around with how my installations could …

2017-05-08T15:30:24+00:00

Tales from the contemporary American farm

What happens when the landscape of your childhood starts to disappear? American photographer Alexandra Hootnick grew up in rural upstate New York, but when large swathes of farmland near her old home were sold off to property developers, she realised how little she knew about the people living off the land. These tight-knit communities, self-reliant and resilient, became the subject of The Sixth Day, Hootnick’s ongoing series exploring “the beauty, challenges and interconnectivities” of life on these small, family-run farms. Over two years, she would photograph families who had recently moved to the area, with little to no farming experience, to join the established Amish community. We spoke to her about the challenges of photographing insular communities and why she chose to frame the series through the perspective of children:   How did you come across small-scale farm life in upstate New York in the first place? Upstate New York is my home. I grew up in a rural area and agriculture is part of the visual identity of my childhood. The majority of the surrounding farms are small, family-owned and …

2016-07-29T15:43:02+00:00

BJP Breakthrough 2016: Presenting the Single Image runners-up

SAM IVIN What does it mean to be an asylum seeker in the UK? The question first struck Sam Ivin in 2013, after seeing news reports of a high volume of asylum applications and a UK border agency struggling to get a handle on the situation. A Documentary Photography student at University of South Wales, Newport at the time, he decided to visit drop-in centres and actually get up-close with the human beings behind the headlines. The resulting series, Lingering Ghosts, published by Fabrica earlier this year, gives a visceral insight into the inner lives of the dispossessed. The series has recently been exhibited at Athens Photo Festival, will be shown at Rome’s Galleria del Cembalo in September and features in our next issue of BJP, which focuses on photographic responses to migration. Ivin would listen to their stories, take their portrait and then radically intervene in the image – defacing the photograph with a Stanley knife and sandpaper, evoking their sense of loss, confusion and dislocation. His portrait [above], taken in a South London drop-in centre for …

2016-07-21T11:50:07+00:00

By the water: Photographing the mysterious power of the Dead Sea

There’s something Biblical about the Dead Sea. Quite literally – passages and passages of scripture references and prophesies about the salty lake in which no living thing can flourish or grow. The Greeks and Romans noted the mysterious power of the water, which, bordered by Israel, Palestine and Jordan, has played host to history throughout the centuries. Today, stories of myths and legends have quieted to whispers, and its expensive, mineral-rich mud is sold to tourists eager to procure some semblance of the lake’s reviving properties. But in recent years the Dead Sea has come under threat, thanks to declining sea levels and the recent appearance of sinkholes. The Dead Sea’s siren-like call attracted Danish photographer Kasper Palsnov, whose series Salt depicts the reality of a region between states; history and modernity, fertile and barren. His interest in the region came from a study trip to Israel and Palestine in 2013, travelling with interns at the Danish daily newspaper Berlingske. “From the first second we arrived I was fascinated by the place. It was a place of beauty and …

2016-07-13T17:51:07+00:00

Documenting the American family from the other side

When Swedish photographer Alice Schoolcraft visited her relatives in America for the first time she encountered a gun-owning American family, who held beliefs, interests and ideas completely contrary to her own but treated her with love and affection. In her cousins, aunts and uncles she began to see herself reflected back, and the University of Westminster graduate imagined an alternative personal narrative: is this what her life would have been like had she grown up in America, not Malmö? Schoolcraft’s series The Other Side explores this question, pushing the boundaries of familial ties and personal identity while documenting an America we don’t often see on TV. We talked to Schoolcraft about connecting with documenting family, being an outsider and working on Fridays:   What prompted you to explore this ‘unknown path’ of your American family? Growing up in Sweden, we had a portrait of them in my house so I’ve always known about this side of my family, but I had never met them. I finally met my dad’s cousin Myles very briefly a couple years ago, …

2016-07-12T17:08:54+00:00

Growing Pains: Things we’ve learned at the Breakthrough Sessions

As part of BJP Breakthrough, we hosted the Breakthrough Sessions at the Free Range graduate shows – a series of free talks and workshops for emerging photographers where leading figures share their experiences, mistakes and advice. We heard from fantastic speakers coming from different parts of the industry – here’s what we’ve learned: Always be nice “I’ve Del Boy-ed my way through the last four years, but I’m nice to people – that’s why they work with me,” said Max Barnett, with no little modesty. The editor-in-chief of photography magazine PYLOT was born in his bedroom as a photography student at University of Westminster, and has grown from a DIY zine to a beautifully produced, biannual all-analogue magazine with a growing team, working with the likes of Roger Ballen and Jane Hilton. Having pulled in numerous favours to get PYLOT to where it is today, Barnett said that treating collaborators well was crucial to developing long-term relationships and working with the best possible people.   “It is never too late to be what you might have …

2016-07-19T10:18:49+00:00

Breakthrough’s past winners explain how the award propelled them to the next level

BJP

The Breakthrough Awards offer an invaluable opportunity for emerging photographers – with winning work being showcased to some of photography’s most influential figures at the Free Range Graduate Shows, featured in British Journal of Photography’s print and online channels and displayed worldwide on leading file-transfer website, WeTransfer. We caught up with the inaugural crop of Breakthrough winners – Felix von der Osten, Adama Jalloh, Tanya Houghton and Tim Pearse (Undergraduate Series Award, Undergraduate Single Image Award, Graduate Series Award and Graduate Single Image Award winners, respectively) – to ask how Breakthrough has winning the award has pushed their career and artistic practice to the next level. How did the Breakthrough Award help advance your career? FELIX VON DER OSTEN: It exposed my work to all different kinds of people [in the UK]. Breakthrough really helped get my name out there as a new emerging photographer. ADAMA JALLOH: It definitely helped with my work being acknowledged by more people and them showing interest in other projects I’m working on. Emma Bowkett, the photo editor of the Financial Times Weekend Magazine, saw …

2016-05-11T10:57:31+00:00

BJP Staff