All posts tagged: documentary photography

Michelle Sank’s portraits of young people in Britain’s Black Country

When Michelle Sank approached young people on the streets of Sandwell, asking to take portraits of them in their bedrooms, most were happy to be photographed. It was trickier to negotiate with their parents, who were sceptical for obvious reasons. “I had to explain why it was so important for me to photograph them in their bedrooms,” says Sank. “What’s on their walls is a metaphor for their identity and personality”. My.Self is a collaboration with Multi Story, a local charity that works with artists to make work for and about the people of Sandwell. The charity hadn’t produced any work yet on young people in the Black Country – a name for this region of the British West Midlands believed to have come from the layer soot it was covered with in the Industrial Revolution – so with her past experience of working with young people, Sank decided to make portraits of them in their bedrooms, wearing the clothes, and surrounded by the items, which help to confer their identities. The book is dedicated to …

2018-11-16T13:41:40+00:00

Eugene Richards: The Run-on of Time

“You’re always looking for that time where everybody forgets you’re there and becomes themselves. Surprisingly, they do, sometimes to the detriment of what you knew about them,” says Eugene Richards, who has devoted his career to documenting social injustice in America, and injecting himself into intensely personal situations.

Richards’ style is up-close and unflinching, “ironically it’s the process of becoming as not there as you possibly can, if you hang around long enough people don’t care”, he says. Though his photography has been described as poetic and lyrical, he has never thought of himself as an artist. “I went in with some knowledge of photography, but mostly with the idea of providing information,” he says.

2018-10-29T10:13:48+00:00

A Portrait of our National Health Service

Lewis Khan is a London-based photographer and filmmaker specialising in social documentary. Since graduating from UWE in Bristol, where he studied photography, he has won the 2014 Shuffle Film Festival Short Film Prize for his moving portrayal of George, a man living on the fringes of South London. He has also worked on commissions for a number of well-respected publications, including the FT Weekend Magazine. Khan’s photograph that was selected for Portrait of Britain 2017 depicts his subject, Gina, in an operating theatre after performing surgery. The portrait was taken during Khan’s time as Artist in Residence at the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital. During this residency, he produced a series called ‘Our NHS’, which documented the experiences of staff and patients at the hospital. The images seek to capture the emotional impact of a life spent working in the NHS, particularly during this time of difficulty within the service. Gina’s portrait is a compelling insight into the experiences of the doctors and nurses striving to keep the NHS on its feet.   How did you …

2018-04-16T14:11:10+00:00

In Paris: Peruvian photographer Musuk Nolte

“I think politics affects every decision in daily life – it’s hard to remain on the sidelines,” says Musuk Nolte. “For me, photography is a visual element to work on these very complex issues. “With all the problems we have in our country, we have the responsibility to leave a visual document,” continues the photographer, who was born in Mexico in 1988 but is now a naturalised Peruvian.”I felt the desire to leave a document of what was going on, that it could serve as a visual and historical record. It was my way of relating to my country, but it’s important that this work also has an impact outside the community.”

2017-11-10T18:29:01+00:00

Book: Meanwhile Across the Mountain by Jens Olof Lasthein

Jens Olof Lasthein, a Swedish-born photographer brought up in Denmark, has spent much of his career travelling around the European hinterlands, where international boundaries have been shifting for centuries. His new book, Meanwhile Across the Mountain, published by Max Ström, is a stunning survey of the Caucasus – the part of southeastern Europe that used to belong to the Soviet Union, but is now a collection of sovereign states and breakaway regions such as South Ossetia, Dagestan and Chechnya.

2017-07-13T17:06:10+00:00

Q&A: Roger Ballen’s new show The Theatre of Apparitions

The photographer of the psyche, Roger Ballen, is in London to show his latest work, The Theatre of Apparitions, the first time he’s exhibited the series. Based in South Africa since the early 1980’s, the New York-born photographer has worked in photography for over thirty years, starting with ‘straight’ documentary but latterly moving into more abstract forms representing the relationship between human and beast, and harking back to the ancient shamanistic visions and symbols which he believes are embedded in us all.  The Theatre of Apparitions is inspired by hand-drawn carvings he saw on blacked-out windows in a women’s prison in South Africa. “The images occupy a perceptual realm – a fragmented world of part – objects where fears of annihilation and chaotic perceptions merge reality and fantasy, self and other,” says Ballen. “These silhouettes are flickering archetypes originating from the collective unconscious of human kind.” BJP: This work is quite different to what you have done before, what inspired it? RB: At the beginning of 2005, I was making a video in a women’s prison in South Africa, in Johannesburg. I went into one of the cells, and …

2017-03-22T13:05:44+00:00

Kingdom of the Girls: The alternate reality where women rule the world

That world exists, if you know where to look. Berlin-based photographer Karolin Klüppel’s pictures of rare matriarchal communities in India and China – which won the 2015 Felix Schoeller Photo Award – invite us to do exactly that. Born in 1985, Klüppel developed an interest in alternatives to patriarchy while studying photography at the School of Art and Design in Kassel, where her final project deconstructed gender through soft, fragile portraits of the male nude. On graduating in 2013 she embarked on a self-financed trip to India, where she had a residency lined up with the Vice-Versa Foundation in Goa. Initially the plan was to stay half a year in India before heading to China, to photograph the Mosuo, a matriarchal society in the Himalayas, but she ended up spending nine months in Mawlynnong, a Khasi village in the State of Meghalaya, northeast India. The photographs she shot there became the portrait series Mädchenland (Kingdom of Girls), for which she won the prestigious 2015 Felix Schoeller Photo Award. Klüppel had read about the Khasi while …

2017-02-23T16:46:32+00:00

BJP Staff