All posts tagged: Photojournalism

The life of the Ganges

Shot along the banks of India’s largest river, cast in the pink glow of a low sun, Giulio Di Sturco’s images are calming and hazy. In one of them, a worker from Delhi hoses down piles of white foam, so much of it that at first glance the image is rather surreal. But as with all of his photographs, hidden under this dream-like filter is a devastating story, about the effects of climate change and pollution on the country’s holiest river. The foam is in fact toxic chemical waste, dumped by factories along the river’s tributaries. The Ganges provides water to around 40 percent of India’s population, and bathing in it is said to purify the soul – an important part of Hindu pilgrimage. But now, rising pollution levels from industrial waste and sewage are threatening not only this holy tradition, but the lives of 500 million people who rely on the river as a life source. Di Sturco, a trained photojournalist, started photographing the Ganges 10 years ago, when he was on assignment in north …

2019-05-02T16:54:39+01:00

Bitter Leaves traces the life of a cigarette from leaf to butt

Cigarettes are considered the most marketed consumer product in history. And yet, beyond the normalised images of tobacco – the glamorous Hollywood starlet yielding a cigarette holder, or the health warnings that coat cigarette packets – little is shown of its production. Rocco Rorandelli’s project Bitter Leaves goes behind the scenes, tracing the tobacco industry from provinces in China, where its leaves are farmed, to the ‘cigarette girls’ selling the product at parties and theme parks. The project, which comprises a photo story and research into the devastation caused at every stage of production, is now being published by GOST Books. Among the images are a photograph of a patient seated in a greying hospital room, juxtaposed with a portrait of a malnourished child seated on a bale of drying tobacco leaves, sacks of them stretching out into the warehouse behind him.  “I wanted to understand what was hiding behind the cigarette,” says Rorandelli. “Most anti-smoking campaigns are based on the detrimental effects that smoking has on its users. If we are to become more …

2019-04-30T11:41:58+01:00

80 years after the Retirada

In 1939, Spanish refugees started to flee the country’s bitter civil war, in a movement that’s become known as the Retirada [the ‘withdrawal’]. More than 450,000 men, women, and children crossed the border into France in February 1939 alone, following the fall of the Second Spanish Republic and the victory of General Franco. France, anticipating the mass migration, had started to make provisions for the refugees, but underestimated the sheer numbers. Many ended up on the beaches in makeshift accommodation, and by 1940, some 50,000 had ended up in a series of camps. Diseases such as dysentery were rife, and the mortality rate high.

One of the camps was Camp de Rivesaltes, also known as Camp Maréchal Joffre. Built in 1938, near Perpignan and just 40km from the Spanish border, it had originally been intended as a military base but, following the Retirada, the French government decided to use it as an internment camp. By January 1941 was housing more than 6500 refugees though, as by then World War Two had broken out, half the camp was Spanish – the other half Jews who had fled various counties and French gypsies. In just under two years, the camp housed some 17,500 people, just over half from Spain, 40% Jewish, and 7% French gypsies.

2019-03-29T15:41:29+01:00

Obituary: Yannis Behrakis, photojournalist, 1960-2019

Born in Athens in 1960, Yannis Behrakis was inspired to take up photography after chancing across a Time-Life photobook as a young man. Going on to study photography in Athens and at Middlesex University in the UK, he starting work for Reuters in 1987, and by 1989 had been sent on his first foreign assignment – Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya, where he quickly made his name.

“He quickly displayed a knack for being in the right place at the right time,” reports Reuters’ site The Wider Image. “When Gaddafi visited a hotel where journalists had been cooped up for several days, a scrum of reporters crowded around the Libyan leader to get pictures and soundbites.

‘I somehow managed to sneak next to him and get some wide-angle shots,’ Behrakis wrote. ‘The next day my picture was all over the front pages of papers around the world.’”

2019-03-22T13:50:10+01:00

ICP announces Infinity Awards winners

Dawoud Bey, Jess T. Dugan, Rosalind Fox Solomon, Shahidul Alam, and Zadie Smith have been announced as the honourees of this year’s Infinity Awards, organised by The International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York.

American photographer Dawoud Bey will be presented with the Art award, Jess T. Dugan with Emerging Photographer, and Zadie Smith with Critical Writing and Research, for her piece in the New Yorker titled Deana Lawson’s Kingdom of Restored Glory. This year’s jury was composed of: Erin Barnett, director of exhibitions and collections, ICP; David Gonzalez, co-editor, Lens Blog; Kristen Joy Watts, editor of @design, Instagram; and Rhea L. Combs, curator of film and photography, National Museum of African American History and Culture.

2019-02-27T15:23:46+01:00

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.

2019-02-15T11:00:25+01:00

BJP Staff