All posts tagged: Documentary

Don McCullin talks war and peace

An interview with Don McCullin is never going to be a dull affair – he is a complex man who has told the story of his life many times before. He is unfailingly polite and gentlemanly, but one detects a slightly weary tone as he goes over the familiar ground. He often pre-empts the questions with clinical self-awareness.

The story of McCullin’s rise from the impoverished backstreets of Finsbury Park in north London is one of fortuitous good luck, but it didn’t start out that way. Born in 1935, he was just 14 when his father died, after which he was brought up by his dominant, and sometimes violent, mother. During National Service with Britain’s Royal Air Force, he was posted to Suez, Kenya, Aden and Cyprus, gaining experience as a darkroom assistant. He bought a Rolleicord camera for £30 in Kenya, but pawned it when he returned home to England, and started to become a bit of a tearaway.

Redemption came when his mother redeemed the camera, and MccCullin started to take photographs of a local gang, The Guvners. One of the hoodlums killed a policeman, and McCullin was persuaded to show a group portrait of the gang to  The Observer. It published the photo, and kick-started a burgeoning career as a photographer for the  newspaper.

2018-12-11T10:09:37+00:00

Tom Wood: Women’s Market

Almost every Saturday between 1978 and 1999, Tom Wood travelled from his home in New Brighton by ferry and bus to Great Homer Street market, just outside Liverpool city centre in the North West of England. He would spend the morning there photographing the mothers and daughters, kids dressed in matching blue and lilac tracksuits, teenagers chatting away with their curly hair swept up into side-ponies, and grandmothers haggling for of a string of pearl necklaces or a second-hand coat. In the afternoon he’d travel on to either Everton or Liverpool football ground, then back on the bus and ferry, taking pictures every step of the way.

”God knows how many photographs I took,” he says. “When I first began photographing in Liverpool I was just overwhelmed by the people and the place. It was an exciting place to be, I fed off the energy there.”

2018-12-04T11:35:25+00:00

Portrait of Humanity: Alessandra Sanguinetti on youth and portraiture

Alessandra Sanguinetti was born in New York, but grew up in Argentina, where she lived for over 30 years. She began taking pictures during her childhood holidays spent in the Pampas, which are sprawling grasslands covering much of Argentina. It was here that she undertook her first photographic project, On the Sixth Day, a documentation of farming life and the way people interact with the animals they rear for slaughter. But perhaps her best-known project is The Adventures of Guille and Belinda, a series of portraits of two young local cousins, which has expanded as the girls have got older. Sanguinetti is now preparing to judge our inaugural Portrait of Humanity award, in partnership with Magnum Photos. In this interview, she discusses some of her best-known projects, including The Adventures of Guille and Belinda, as well as what interests her about photographing youth, and why it’s important to stay true to yourself. She also offers her advice to aspiring portrait photographers, who are showing us the world through their lens. The Adventures of Guille and Belinda is probably your …

2018-11-26T10:59:52+00:00

Portrait of Humanity: Meet the photographer exploring a New African Identity

Sarah Waiswa is a Kenya-based documentary and portrait photographer, whose key interests are people and their stories. Much of her work focuses on identity, and explores themes surrounding isolation and belonging in her native Africa. In particular, she is concerned with documenting what she calls the New African Identity – a term she coined to describe a new era of cultural freedom on the continent – and what this might mean for Africa’s future. Born during Idi Amin’s dictatorship in Uganda, Waiswa and her family were forced to flee to Kenya shortly after her birth. This formative experience has affected both Waiswa’s worldview, and her photographic aims; exploring her connection to place is still a central theme in much of her work. Waiswa’s photographs are pioneering in the way that they illustrate social issues in Africa in a contemporary and non-traditional way. She focuses on every aspect of African culture; from religion, to the isolation of people with albinism. Through her work, Waiswa has reclaimed her narrative; she is able to document Africa from an …

2018-11-26T11:08:19+00:00

Introducing Aiyush Pachnanda, EyeEm Photographer of the Year: “I want to portray people as they really are”

Aiyush Pachnanda may have yet to finish his Photojournalism degree, but he’s already taking the photography world by storm. EyeEm, a global photography marketplace and community, recently announced him as their Photographer of the Year, the most prestigious title in the EyeEm Photography Awards. As well as receiving a trip to Berlin Photo Week and a Sony Alpha camera, Pachnanda will act as the EyeEm ambassador during 2019. So what is it that sets Pachnanda apart from the 100,000 other photographers who entered? His winning image, a low angle portrait of a heavily tattooed man with a grey tower block looming behind him, says it all. Flick through Pachnanda’s work and you’ll notice two recurring themes: urban landscapes, and striking people. Splitting his time between London, where he grew up, and Cardiff, where he studies, Pachnanda has an enduring interest both in the city, and in the subcultures that people form there. In his unaffected way (he’s pursuing a rough-and-ready style of photojournalism, often using an old point-and-shoot), he captures the raucous underbelly of urban …

2018-11-02T11:37:53+00:00

EyeEm Photographer of the Year announced

The winners were announced during Berlin Photo Week in Germany (10 – 14 October) where all 100 finalists were exhibited in Supermarkt, a repurposed supermarket and exhibition space. Pachnanda received a trip to Berlin for the event, as well as a Sony Alpha camera. As part of the award, Pachnanda will act as the EyeEm ambassador during 2019. Much of his work centres on bold portraits of unusual people, often in urban areas of London. On receiving the Photographer of the Year title, Pachnanda said, “winning an award with so much calibre from an organisation so pivotal to the world of 21st century photography is amazing”. The EyeEm Awards, run by global community and marketplace for photography EyeEm, currently stands as the world’s largest photography competition. This year marked its fifth edition, and it welcomed a record 700,000 entries from 100,000 photographers, hailing from more than 150 countries across the globe. Covering nine diverse categories – ranging from ‘The Creative’ to ‘The Great Outdoors’ – the award attracts a huge breadth of subject matter. This …

2018-10-31T14:36:52+00:00

Portrait of Humanity: “I wanted to rethink the way we photographed migration”

Chris Steele-Perkins began The New Londoners four years ago, a project reflecting the individuality, community and unity of Londoners today. “The idea behind it was to think of a different way to photograph migration,” he explains. “Migrations have always been photographed very extensively in a dramatic, photojournalist sense, but I wanted to change that.” The project encompasses portraits of families from over 180 countries across the globe, who have all settled in London. Before it’s culmination into a book in Spring 2019, Steele-Perkins hopes to photograph 20 more. “It’s one of those projects that could go on forever,” he says, “But I have to draw the line somewhere.” He chose London as the setting for the series because, in his own words, “London is leading the way as a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural city.” Home to people from every nation on the planet, there are currently around 200 nations listed in the city, according to the UN, making London the most ethnically diverse place in the world. This push to globalisation has occurred over the last 20 …

2018-10-19T17:18:43+00:00

Portrait of Humanity: ‘I want to make you look at the wonderful people all around you’

Jean-Baptiste Pellerin has been photographing people on the street for over three decades, culminating in his latest project, Backtothestreet, a body of work that encapsulates what it means to make art accessible to everyone. Pellerin uses cement and glue to weld the portraits he takes onto city walls, meaning that all of the photographs taken on the street, and make their way back to the street, where they are exhibited to the public globally and for free. We found Pellerin’s photographs on the streets of Arles, France, during Les Rencontres d’Arles in July 2018. His portraits struck us in their diversity and positivity, showing the individuality, community and unity of the people we encounter in the streets each day, but who we rarely notice. We spoke to Pellerin about his project in light of Portrait of Humanity, a new initiative seeking to prove that there is more that unites us, than sets us apart.   How did you first get into street photography? I started doing street photography about 35 years ago. It was the …

2018-10-12T10:00:24+00:00

BJP Staff