All posts tagged: Portrait

Female in Focus: Jess T. Dugan’s empowering portraits of the ageing transgender community

When photographer Jess T. Dugan was 13, she started to question her identity. Over the next few years, she came out as queer – a process which, at the time, was isolating; there was nothing in the mainstream media that reflected her experience. In fact, she had never seen an image of a queer or gender nonconforming person at all, until she stumbled across one in a photography book – a discovery she describes as having a profound influence on her. We spoke to Dugan, who identifies as non-binary (but uses the female pronoun), in light of Female in Focus, a new award seeking to elevate exceptional work by female and non-binary photographers. Our aim is to take steps towards a more diverse and inclusive photography industry. Dugan’s work, which focuses on the untold stories of marginalised groups, encompasses the values at the heart of Female in Focus. “I think that representation – and seeing oneself represented in the larger culture – is incredibly important,” says Dugan. “Images can function as possibility models, validating an …

2019-03-14T13:43:46+01:00

A Portrait of Queer Britain

Britain, for all its charms, can be dominated by grey skies and gloomy headlines. So it’s uplifting to come across the work of Charley Williams, whose portraits of drag queens and LGBTQ party-goers show Britain as the joyful and free place it can be. Her work is rooted in Bristol, where she lives. This small city, in England’s West Country, is famous for being progressive, and it has a vibrant and liberating spirit that abounds in Williams’ work. Dominique Fleek, the image that made the Portrait of Britain 2018 shortlist, captures a drag artist transforming into character. Williams tends to find her subjects in nightclubs and at festivals, and as such, her portraits explore a queer and carnivalesque world. Ahead of Portrait of Britain 2019, we spoke to Williams about how photography can tackle intolerance and can move us towards becoming a more open and accepting society. What did you want to capture about your subject, and about modern Britain, with the portrait that you entered into Portrait of Britain 2018? The subject of my …

2019-03-04T13:00:54+01:00

Handsworth Self Portrait: 40 Years On

When Derek Bishton, John Reardon, and Brian Homer set up a photography and design agency in the late 1970s in Handsworth, a multicultural, inner-city district of Birmingham, they were viewed with suspicion. “I lived in Handsworth and walked to work with my camera, and I felt people were looking at me as if to say ’Who is this white guy, is he working for the police?’” says Bishton. “As I started to take photographs I was aware of this problem.”

Their agency, Sidelines, had been set up to work with community groups on issues such as social justice housing, unemployment and immigration though, so the photographers were keen to win the locals’ trust. Discussing it in their office, a converted terraced house on a busy shopping street in Handsworth, Bishton happened to find a photograph in Camerawork Magazine, showing a Ukranian woman who had photographed herself in a portrait studio set up by American photographer David Attie. It was, he realised, the perfect solution – and one which their office was seemingly built for. 

2019-03-04T09:31:38+01:00

Portrait of Britain: Carly Clarke on documenting a life-changing journey

Documentary photographer Carly Clarke has shot a remarkable array of subjects. One of her projects explores the modern epidemic of India’s ‘forgotten elders’, a generation neglected and abused by their adult children. An earlier project, in contrast, explores the lighter topic of a Sussex brewery, while a third gives a behind-the-scenes view of a group of UK fishermen at work. Though her subjects differ hugely, the common thread is Clarke’s fascination with the way communities live across the globe. Clarke creates her most compelling portraits, however, when she turns the camera on herself. Last Day of Chemotherapy, the image that was shortlisted for Portrait of Britain 2018, is part of her series Reality Trauma. Clarke started the series after being diagnosed with cancer, and the result is an unflinchingly honest stage-by-stage account of her chemotherapy treatment. This deeply personal, contemplative work, is proof of Clarke’s absolute dedication to photography, the art form that gave her hope during an extremely challenging time. The image that was shortlisted for Portrait of Britain 2018 is a self-portrait taken …

2019-04-11T11:45:36+01:00

Felicia Honkasalo’s portrait of her late grandfather

When Felicia Honkasalo’s grandfather passed away in 2009, he left behind boxes full of rocks and minerals, and stacks of notes, sketches, and fading photographs. “No one else in the family wanted them,” says Honkasalo, who never got the opportunity to meet her grandfather, “I was really intrigued by it all, but I didn’t really know what to do with it at first”.
Honkasalo’s debut book, Grey Cobalt, is an attempt to construct imagined memories of her grandfather, who was a metallurgist during the Cold War in Finland as well as an avid cosmologist. Published by Loose Joints, the book release accompanies an exhibition at the Webber Gallery in London, which will run till 15 February.

2019-01-25T10:31:32+01:00

Portrait of Humanity is coming to Clear Channel screens near you

We may have only just finished welcoming entries to Portrait of Humanity, but we are now eagerly preparing for the next steps in its global journey. Following on from our international call for entries, which welcomed thousands of images from photographers across the globe, judges now face the daunting task of whittling these down to the winning entries. There will be 200 shortlisted images, 100 commended, and finally, 50 winning photographs. At each stage, photographers will receive worldwide exposure to the photographic industry, international press and general public. Hoxton Mini Press, who created our first ever Portrait of Britain book in 2018, will be binding together 200 shortlisted images in a Portrait of Humanity book, to go on sale worldwide later this year. And we are pleased to announce that up to 100 commended photographs will also be displayed on Clear Channel Out of Home screens across the globe. Our partnership with Clear Channel gives us access to some of the world’s best placed digital screens, which we will be repurposing for Portrait of Humanity. We …

2019-01-15T15:17:42+01:00

Portrait of Humanity: Can photography change the world?

Can photography change the world? It seems like a lot to ask, especially in our age of over-saturation; as of 2018, a staggering 95 million photos and videos are uploaded onto Instagram every day. It’s more difficult than ever for a photograph to have an impact –  we’ve all seen it before, and we’ve probably taken a picture of it too. Yet, despite this, certain photographs still have the power to astound. In September 2015, one image dominated newsstands. The picture, which has come to be known as ‘Death of Alan Kurdi’, showed the dead body of a three-year-old Syrian refugee washed up on a Turkish beach. Publications rushed to post it on their front pages, and it spread at lightning speed online. Suddenly, the devastation of the Syrian war was visible, in a way it hadn’t been before. There’s no formula for measuring a picture’s impact, but there was a discernible shift. The image stirred empathy and urgency among both politicians and the public. The refugee crisis became a central focus in the 2015 …

2019-01-10T13:14:51+01:00

Kensuke Koike and Thomas Sauvin’s No More No Less

The collages of Kensuke Koike have been one of the purest forms of visual pleasure over the last two years. Videos of his working process on his Instagram account show him making miraculous reinventions of images with a single rip (his smoking woman), with a pasta machine (his dog), and with three-dimensional transformations (his sinking boat). It’s work that attracts because it seems so simple.

Take an old portrait of a loving couple, cut their eyes out, switch them around and the relationship takes a new direction. Cut a circle around the middle of a face, offset it a couple of inches, and you’re left with a pathway to that person’s interior. These are pictures that seem simple, but link up to ideas of image compression, ways of seeing, facial recognition and visual agnosias. It’s The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat in photographic form.

Koike’s work has attracted a loyal following, inspired countless copycat activities at photography workshops around the world, and invited collaborations from parties ranging from Gucci to Thomas Sauvin of Beijing Silvermine. It’s the Sauvin collaboration that resulted in Koike’s latest work, a book launched in November. Titled No More No Less, the publication came about after Koike was invited to work with Sauvin’s archive of old images that he recovered from Beijing silver-recycling centres.

2019-01-24T14:15:18+01:00

Meet Leander Varekamp, our Portrait of Humanity People’s Choice Winner

Portrait of Humanity provides photographers with the chance to share portraits of everyday life around the world, with the world. The aim is to explore and celebrate the many faces of humanity. That’s also the aim of Holland-based documentary photographer Leander Varekamp, whose image was selected by The Guardian editors as one of their favourite Portrait of Humanity entries so far, and voted by our followers as their favourite of the picks. The image, a crisp black & white portrait, is part of a series on Burrneshas – Albanian women who have chosen to live their lives as men. With only a few dozen Burrneshas left, the tradition is quickly dying out, and Varekamp is using portraiture to ensure that this little-known phenomenon is not forgotten completely. Since Varekamp discovered a talent for photography at the age of 17, he has used his camera as a means of investigating communities – such as Burrneshas – that intrigue him. As he puts it, ‘the camera opens doors that would otherwise remain closed’. We spoke to Varekamp …

2019-01-10T13:11:23+01:00

BJP Staff