Portrait Salon

James Robertson

 

James Robertson’s portrait (below) was selected for Portrait Salon 2012 and is from a series of images documenting a group of young Afghans skiing on the slopes above their village in Bamyan. This in turn is part of a larger project documenting the many facets of skiing in Afghanistan, and with the help of the VSCO Artist Initiative has expanded to include documenting two Afghan ski guides who visited Switzerland for training with the hope of competing in the next Winter Olympics.

Ski touring with Untamed Borders in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, 2012. Skiers in Chap Dara valley have been inspired by seeing western skiers to make their own out wood, metal and plastic.

‘This series of images was taken over only a couple of hours: we were skiing down to the lower slopes about to finish for the day when from many different directions guys with wooden skis on their shoulders started walking up towards us.’

Ski touring with Untamed Borders in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, 2012. Skiers in Chap Dara valley have been inspired by seeing western skiers to make their own out wood, metal and plastic.

Ski touring with Untamed Borders in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, 2012. Skiers in Chap Dara valley have been inspired by seeing western skiers to make their own out wood, metal and plastic.

‘Bamyan doesn’t have a history of skiing, however to help the area’s economic recovery there has been a push to reinvigorate the tourism industry and this has included introducing skiing as a form of winter tourism. The local kids have seen westerners skiing and simply bought materials from the bazaar to make their own. There are also programs to introduce as many locals to skiing on modern equipment as well as teaching avalanche safety and training local ski guides.’

Ski touring with Untamed Borders in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, 2012. Skiers in Chap Dara valley have been inspired by seeing western skiers to make their own out wood, metal and plastic.

‘When I came across an article online about skiing in Afghanistan I had no idea it was possible, and it immediately challenged my preconceptions of it as a country. The idea that not only was it possible to travel there, but it was also possible to ski was completely juxtaposed to everything I had seen in the media up to that point. I want these images to have a similar effect with the images so unexpected they force the viewer to reconsider more than just whether it is possible to ski in Afghanistan.’

Ski touring with Untamed Borders in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, 2012. Skiers in Chap Dara valley have been inspired by seeing western skiers to make their own out wood, metal and plastic.

James Robertson is a professional photographer based in Edinburgh. Since being awarded The Guardian Student Photographer of the Year in 2008 for his images of the UK boxing talent, James has continued to produce work across a range of sporting disciplines from road cycling to rowing. As well as commerical and product work for a number of publications such as Rouleaur and Privateer he also spends time on his own documentary projects; including a look at off-piste skiing in the Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan and a recent series following the members of the one of the UK’s only dedicated ski patrols up in the Nevis Range.

jamesrobertsonphotography.co.uk

James O Jenkins

Second Chance Salon

 

We’re very pleased to be featured in this week’s Professional Photo Magazine which is out today. We spoke to Terry Hope about why Portrait Salon was set up and about some of the plans we have for Portrait Salon 2015.

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The magazine has also kindly offered a downloadable voucher for this issue (No.110) which is usually only available to featured photographers. All you need to do is print it out and take it to WHSmiths. Many thanks to Terry Hope and Roger Payne.

Nick Ballon

 

Ezekiel 36:36

“Then the nations that are left round about you shall know that I the LORD rebuild the ruined places, and replant that which was desolate: I the LORD have spoken it, and I will do it”.

Nick Ballon’s portrait (below) was selected for Portrait Salon 2013 and is from his series Ezekiel 36:36*, a documentation of Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano (LAB) which is one of the world’s oldest surviving airlines. ‘Founded in 1925, it took its name from Lloyd’s of London for its image of safety and security. The airline later earned its place in Bolivian history by playing an important role in the Chaco War of 1932, when its aircraft carried the wounded to safety and transported supplies to soldiers on the front line.’

Pilot Captain Zabalaga’s crew went on strike in late 2012, demanding salaries that were owed to them but which couldn’t be paid due to the airline’s growing financial troubles. Captain Zabalaga handed in his resignation days later.

‘In 1994, LAB was privatised and sold off to a failing Brazilian airline. The company has suffered at the hands of successive administrations ever since, becoming gradually dismantled over the years. In 2007, the Bolivian government ordered it to shut down on charges of unpaid taxes and social benefit contributions, leaving over 2000 of its workers out of jobs.’

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‘While all commercial flight operations have been suspended, the airline miraculously survived to the present day. LAB has become a workers’ cooperative which provides a range of aviation services, as well as operating an aircraft on behalf of another local airline. 196 employees continue to work for the struggling company, yet their salaries have been halved, and have even gone unpaid for two whole years following LAB’s collapse. Most of those who remain have continued to work for the company out of loyalty and faith. Their morale is occasionally boosted by small victories, such as their recent crowning as champions in the airport football tournament.’

Flight school – chair and printouts LAB first opened a flight school in 1927, and counts Bolivia’s first civil aviation pilot among its students. Today, the school technically remains in operation, though the classrooms and simulators remain unused, as tutors await news of the airline’s future.

dead bird on seat Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano continues to wait, with resolve and conviction, having endured a long struggle for LAB’s survival. Like the phoenix, he believes LAB can rise up from the ashes and have new life.

‘Once an icon of modernity and progress, there’s something decidedly anachronistic about walking through their headquarters. Stray dogs rest in the security booth at the front entrance. Workers, too, can be found taking midday naps in the engine room. Metallic stairs, which in the past were used for boarding modern aircraft, now lead up to nowhere. A Boeing 767 flight simulator worth $2.5MM has been sitting unopened in a gigantic crate for the past six years.’

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‘Successive self-proclaimed saviours have appeared at their doorstep offering multimillion-dollar investments and ingenious rescue packages, yet the workforce has grown disillusioned at their promises, which have invariably failed to materialise. Headed by an unlikely CEO, the current administration believes it has a master plan to bring the Bolivian phoenix back from its ashes, and take off once again in the following weeks.’

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—–

* The title refers to the name of the only aircraft LAB currently have in operation, on hire to another domestic airline (crew included). It captures the quasi-religious faith the remaining employees have in the airline, which to most outsiders would appear to be a lost cause.

“Then the nations that are left round about you shall know that I the LORD rebuild the ruined places, and replant that which was desolate: I the LORD have spoken it, and I will do it.” (from King James 2000 Bible).

Words by Amaru Villanueva Rance ([email protected]).

Nick Ballon is a documentary and portrait photographer based in the UK, whose Anglo-Bolivian heritage is an important source of subject matter and inspiration in his work, exploring socio-historical ideas of identity and place, the concept of ‘foreignness’ and belonging.
He graduated with a BA (hons) from Berkshire School of art and design in 2001, and since then has worked editorially for a number of respected international publications, including the Sunday Times Magazine, The Guardian Magazine, the Financial Times, the New York Times, El Pais and Der Spiegel.

His work has been exhibited internationally including at Rencontres d’Arles, Beijing Triennial, Guernsey Photography Festival, KK Outlet, Wellcome Trust, and NCM/Foyle Foundation. He has been shortlisted for the Taylor Wessing Portrait Photography Prize four times, and received an honourable mention for the Photographic Museum of Humanity grant.
In 2013 he self-published his first book Ezekiel 36:36 which looked at the curious and precarious existence of Bolivia’s national airline, which received much critical acclaim and was one of TIME’s best photo-books of 2013. His second book ‘The Bitter Sea’ will look at land-locked Bolivia’s painful longing to reclaim back its sea lost in a war to Chile over 129 years ago, and will be published by Trolley Books.

Nick Ballon’s book Ezekiel 36:36 is available to buy here.

nickballon.com
[email protected]
@nickballon

James O Jenkins

Lydia Goldblatt

Still Here

Lydia Goldblatt’s portrait (below) was selected for Portrait Salon in 2011 and is from her series Still Here, an intimate body of work about her parents. ‘Goldblatt’s series, Still Here (2010-2013), takes as its point of departure the family home, focusing on the transitional experience of the artist’s parents as they age. The work stems from a desire to address the inevitable changes wrought by her elderly father’s approaching death. Her image making combines close observations of the human form with still lives, portraits and abstract works resonant of planets and origins.’

Father, from the series Still Here

Father, from the series Still Here

‘Marked with tenderness, the work is far removed from the haste and public face of contemporary family self-representation. It offers instead a concentrated meditation on mortality, time, love and loss, in which corporeal scrutiny courts metaphysical wonder. Still Here explores the indefinable thresholds that mark out individual existence, and the subtle process of erasure that returns us to the state from which we emerge.’

Mother in the Garden, from the series Still Here

Mother in the Garden, from the series Still Here

After Image, from the series Still Here

After Image, from the series Still Here

‘While the work is about the artist’s family, it is equally a means to contemplate the nature of life and the invisible bonds of love.  It engages with the shifting nature of time, and the potential of photographs to open up the realm of experience via their poetic as well as indexical reality. In making work about a personal experience of mortality, Goldblatt explores the cyclical scope of existence that sees nature’s fingers unpick our fragile yet insistent efforts to build, construct and create.’

Mother, from the series Still Here

Mother, from the series Still Here

Spent Time, from the series Still Here

Spent Time, from the series Still Here

‘Photographing, for me, is a means of giving expression to both the internal and external processes that shape our experience of life. My work considers transitional human states and is tied to concepts of identity and belonging. These images are from a series about my parents, focussing on my elderly father’s mortality, and stemming from a desire to address the inevitable changes wrought by his approaching death.’

Untitled, from the series Still Here

Untitled, from the series Still Here

Threshold, from the series Still Here

Threshold, from the series Still Here

‘I am witnessing human fragility, the physical and psychological boundaries of a human essence. I am interested in the indefinable thresholds that mark out our individual existence, and in the subtle process of erasure that returns us to the state from which we emerge. While the work is about my family, it is also a means to contemplate the nature of life and the invisible bonds of love. It engages with the constantly shifting nature of time, and the potential of photographs to open up the realm of experience via their poetic as well as indexical reality. In making work about a personal experience of mortality, I am exploring the cyclical scope of existence that sees nature’s fingers unpick our fragile yet insistent efforts to build, construct and create.’

Wedding Ring, from the series Still Here

Wedding Ring, from the series Still Here

Window, from the series Still Here

Window, from the series Still Here

Lydia Goldblatt trained at the London College of Communications, receiving a Masters Degree in Photography with Distinction in 2006. She lives and works in London. Her work has been exhibited and published internationally, with group and solo shows in the UK, France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Greece, China and Malaysia.

Her series, Still Here, is the subject of a solo exhibition at the Felix Nussbaum Museum in Germany from November 2012 – January 2013. She has also exhibited recently at Galerie Huit during the Rencontres d’Arles International Photography Festival, the Hereford Photography Festival, the Daylight Photography Awards, Prix de la Photographie and International Photography Awards.

Interviews and features of her work have been published in Photomonitor, Hotshoe, British Journal of Photography, PLUK, the Guardian, Sunday Times, Telegraph, and Wallpaper*, among others.
In 2010 she was nominated for the Sovereign European Art Prize, and in 2011 was awarded the Fundacion Botin Residency Award with Paul Graham. This year she is the recipient of the Magenta Flash Forward Award and International Jewish Artist of the Year award. Anne Braybon, curator of photographs at the National Portrait Gallery, recently nominated her for the Vic Odden Award, recognising significant achievement by a young British photographer.

lydiagoldblatt.com
@lydiagoldblatt

James O Jenkins