Portrait Salon

Jan Klos

The Photographic Guide to the Pubs of East London.

Jan Klos’s portrait of the people who work at The Nelson’s Head pub in Shoreditch, London (below) was selected for Portrait Salon 2014 and comes from his series ‘The Photographic Guide to the Pubs of East London’. The work will be exhibited during Photomonth London at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club from 7th to 14th October.

Nelson's Head

‘East London is home to some of the oldest and best pubs in the world. Some are historic, steeped in tradition, while others put on popular gay nights or serve locally made beers. There are lots of them, and at the heart of what makes them worth visiting is their staff – the bar men and women who pull pints, keep locals entertained and often become like the closest of families.’

Pub on the Park

Pub on the Park, London Fields

Mahogany Bar (Wilton's Music Hall)

Wilton’s Music Hall, Shadwell

‘Inspired by the 18th century conversation piece and the traditional family portrait, photographer Jan Klos presents The Photographic Guide to the Pubs of East London, a new series of striking group portraits that introduce viewers to the colourful and dedicated teams behind some of East London’s much-loved drinking dens.’

Star of Bethenal Green

Star of Bethnal Green, Bethnal Green

The George Tavern, Stepney, October 2014 - "The Photographic Guide to the Pubs of East London" by Jan J Klos

The George Tavern, Stepney

‘Since 2008 one in five pubs in the UK have shut down in the face of a struggling economy, rising alcohol taxes and smoke-free policies. The Times labeled them an ‘Endangered British Species’ and East London has seen its share of public houses shut their doors for good. Some of them, including The Nelson’s Head and Joiner’s Arms feature in this exhibition. The Photographic Guide to the Pubs of East London serves to celebrate and raise a glass to East London’s public houses and the people in them, but it is also a timely record of what the area has lost in recent years.’

The George & Dragon

George and Dragon, Shoreditch

The Royal Oak

The Royal Oak, Shoreditch

The opening night of Jan Klos’s exhibition at 6.30pm on 7th October will feature short video interviews with landlords on the importance of pub culture, the role pubs play in local communities and what the future might hold for them. Visit www.workersplaytime.net for more details.
Jan Klos is a Polish-born photographer. Specialising in portraiture and documentary, his work has featured in publications worldwide including Telegraph Magazine, Newsweek, Wallpaper*, Metropolitan and N Magazine. His work has been exhibited in solo and group shows at venues across the UK, including MAC Birmingham, Quad Derby, Lighthouse Wolverhampton, cueB Gallery London, Four Corners London, FUSE Bradford, Oriel Colwyn, Wales and Napier University in Edinburgh. He lives in London.

www.janklos.com

James O Jenkins

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

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

Adrian Nettleship

Drowning

Adrian Nettleship’s portrait (below) was selected for the first Portrait Salon in 2011 and he tells us more about the series it belongs to called ‘Drowning’.

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‘I started work on this series, titled ‘Drowning’, towards the end of 2010. It was around the time that the Bush administration had been experimenting with different interrogation techniques and recasting the common definition of torture in order to accommodate them. I’d produced a small piece of work for an activist magazine on the subject, but I was concerned that my approach was too literal and I wanted to try something that touched upon the theme without being limited to it. I’d seen Emma Critchley speak about her series ‘The Fear of Falling’, a beautiful set of underwater portraits, although it’s not immediately apparent how they were shot. I’d been inspired by the idea she’d spoken about, simply of exploring how people react when placed out of their element, how the appearance of the face changes underwater and I was keen to experiment with this myself.’

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‘I’m a strong believer in the idea that in order to create something that satisfactorily expresses a certain idea, it’s important to take action, even if the initial attempts result in failure. Too many of my own ideas have been set aside because I’ve passed through the stages of initial excitement through to questioning the foundations of the idea without ever trying anything out. I think it was Annie Leibovitz who I first encountered talking about the idea of going back, again and again to the same subject, to refine her approach, all the time gaining familiarity. It’s a very different approach to the constraints of commercial work where getting results first time are essential. Through the process, something often emerges which can be carried forward, and so the two motivations above formed a basis for experimentation.’

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‘I borrowed a small fish tank and asked for volunteers, and it quickly became apparent that the total internal reflection that arises from shooting a subject in the denser medium of water allows for a great deal of control if the lights are placed in the less dense medium of air. The sidewall of the tank became a large soft light source and anything not in the water received very little light at all. It also became quickly apparent that I would need seriously to consider a risk assessment. Water, electricity, glass and people all in one place carry considerable possibility for problems. We went through a good many revisions of the instructions we gave our subjects to get the desired result – variations on asking people to hold their breath repeatedly, taking in only the air they needed. I had quickly abandoned the somewhat reckless idea of jumping on an unwitting subject while their head was submerged, in an attempt to capture their resulting panic. There are limits.’

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‘The final step once we were satisfied in principle was to build a fish tank large enough to give space around the subject for the shot, ordering panes of glass cut to size, fixed together with silicon sealant. I was very fortunate to be able to call upon a wood turner friend with considerable carpentry skill who built an over engineered stand to hold the tank, with a window in the bottom to shoot through. As a tank of water gets larger, the weight grows exponentially, which proved to be a limiting factor on how big we could build. We eventually settled on an estimated weight of 150kg for the water alone.’

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Adrian Nettleship is a photographer based in East London. He has been working professionally in stills and video since 2005 and clients include The Wire Magazine, RWD Magazine, Tate and Lyle, and Christian Aid.

adriannettleship.com
@anettleship

James O Jenkins

Laura Dodsworth

Marriage

Laura Dodsworth’s portrait of ‘Debbie’ (below) was selected for the first Portrait Salon in 2011 and is part of Laura’s photographic series ‘Marriage’ about the significance of the wedding dress.

"Marriage"

Debbie

‘Marriage is a series of portraits of women in their wedding dresses in their homes. Women are to some extent defined by marriage, as wives, homemakers and mothers. The portraits are taken in their homes to contrast the ‘fairytale’ of a wedding day, epitomised by the dress, with the domestic reality of marriage.’

"Marriage"

Bella

"Marriage"

Reshma

‘A wedding day is romantic, full of optimism and the bride and groom are poised on the brink of their journey through life together. The wedding dress is the single most significant item of clothing a woman will ever wear – it’s more than a dress, it says so much about the wearer, and evokes ‘forever’, ‘love’ and your hopes for the rest of your life. Dreams, expense, effort, time are invested in a wedding day. Yet all this is for one day, and bears little relation to the day to day domestic reality of marriage.’

"Marriage"

Rhiannon

"Marriage"

Cath

‘What does marriage mean for women? There are so many answers. The series as a whole de-romanticises the dress, raises questions about the wedding day as fairytale and imparts a common experience married women can relate to. At the same time each photograph in Marriage tells a story unique to the subject and provides a window into their domestic world.’

"Marriage"

Lucy

"Marriage"

Jackie

‘Marriage prompted me to take a longer more intimate view through the window of women’s lives, and I went on to spend two years photographing and interviewing women about their breasts, bodies and lives for my first book, ‘Bare Reality: 100 women, their breasts, their stories’.’

"Marriage"

Chantal

Laura Dodsworth is an award-winning people photographer and her work is a personal enquiry as much as it is an exploration of people, their loves, their lives and their place in the world. While the human body and human relationships are important current inspirations, her art/social projects are often driven by deeper socio-political as well as spiritual questions.

Laura has just published her first book, ‘Bare Reality: 100 women, their breasts, their stories’. See more at barereality.net

lauradodsworthphotography.com

James O Jenkins

Travis Hodges

Tim Andrews

Travis Hodges’ portrait of Tim Andrews (image on the right of the diptych below) was selected for Portrait Salon 2013 and is part of Tim’s photographic project ‘Over the Hill: A Photographic Journey’. Tim was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2005 and subsequently left his job as a solicitor and set upon a journey turning himself into a photographic project and has now been photographed by over 300 photographers.

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‘This portrait is part of an unusual set, unusual in the sense that the subject is the curator of the series. Some viewers will recognise Tim from other photographer’s portfolios and even from the walls of the Taylor Wessing Prize itself. Some 350 fellow photographers have created a portrait of Tim making a fascinating insight into both his life and the work of so many photographers.

Beginning in 2007, when he answered an advert in Time Out from a photographer looking for a nude model, Tim has journeyed through the photographic landscape offering to model for known and unknown image makers. The project has become a way for Tim to collaborate with artists and be part of the process, it also charts his life with Parkinson’s Disease. This is something that I, like many photographers, have touched on in the image.

My image began from the idea of separating the subject from the viewer with a non physical layer designed to mirror an emotional barrier. The pattern projected over Tim becomes both separating and protecting, reminiscent of watching the rain from behind a pane of glass. We experimented with a few different projections but settled on one that reminded us of both star constellations and medical scans.’

Read Tim’s blog about the shoot here.

Travis Hodges is fascinated by people and uses his camera to explore what makes them interesting, from well-documented celebrities to those who have never stood before a professional photographer in their lives. His work, from time-pressed editorial shoots to longer-term personal projects, is people-driven and examines what makes us who we are. His client list includes Adidas, The New York Times and Virgin Media and his images are seen in magazines such as The Independent New Review, Wired and ES. Personal projects allow him to further explore the human condition and consider how people come together in tribes through common interests or habits. His projects Follow Me and The Quantified Self investigate how technology is impacting on the way we live.

His awards include the Royal Photographic Society 155th print exhibition; the Observer Hodge Award and the Jerwood Photography Award. When he’s not behind the camera, Travis organises the monthly Photo-Forum talks in central London, where working photographers can discuss and debate their images, ideas, and approaches.

travishodges.co.uk

@travishodgesuk

James O Jenkins

Adam King

Chip Off The Old Block

Adam King’s portrait of ‘John’ (below) was selected for Portrait Salon 2014 and is from his work ‘Chip Off The Old Block’, a photographic series about father figure influences in his life.

 

 

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John

‘This body of work has been an explorative journey into male roles that have featured throughout my life.  Some of these father figures have been an influence across informative years of childhood or have given further guidance into adult life. The project’s origins started with a construction worker I met in the summer of 2013.  Liviu, a Romanian migrant, was working and living in the UK after moving with his family from Spain.  Working alongside Liviu I got an insight into a man that seemed to be the opposite of what some media representations had labelled him or his culture.  The man I was working with was an educated, sensitive, religious and caring man whose main ambition in life was to provide for his family.’

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Lalo

‘My project took a change of direction when it was suggested that I look further into myself than into the subject I was documenting.  The very notion of documenting another’s life, one which could be deemed the life of a minority, and of hot political debate, could have aroused suspicion of my agenda as a photographer, rather than the project’s subject.’

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Paul

‘Recognising what I admired about Liviu I used this as a catalyst to search into my childhood and specifically that of the father’s role throughout those formative years.  Having a far from linear but also, far from abnormal upbringing, I discovered that these fatherly role models were either given to me or chosen by myself.  Even to this day I have surrounded myself with father figures to guide me into my adult life. The photographs in the series are an examination of not only the individuals and their environments, but also my relationship to those individuals when sitting side by side.  The subtleties of body language may indicate the condition of those relationships, however no intentional references were made to highlight importance or significance to either of the subjects.’

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Mick

‘This series has also been a confirmation of my continuous search for portraits of males.  Discussions of projection into those I seek to photograph will continue to be of importance in my photographic practice.’

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Cliff

Adam King is a British photographer, who graduated from the University of the Creative Arts, Rochester in 2014.  Adam is currently living and working in London and continuing to practice his personal projects. The majority of Adam’s images are a subtle observation of the community around him who inhabit a workplace, social space, or presumed isolation. His interest in masculinity combined with the life he had before photography is often embedded and referenced in his images, however the path his work takes him on is the leading narrative.  Adam’s signature is his portraiture and he is predominantly an analogue photographer, preferring the process and the relationship it can construct between him and his subject.

adamkingphotography.com
@kingadam82

James O Jenkins

Benjamin Haywood

Uckfield Matters

Benjamin Haywood’s portrait of ‘Karen’ (below) was selected for Portrait Salon 2014 and is from his work ‘Uckfield Matters’, a photographic series about his hometown of Uckfield in East Sussex, England.

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‘We’d had dinner and I was in the garden with Karen and her son TK playing with their dog Archie. I took Karen’s portrait there whilst the sun was going down. Karen doesn’t much like having her picture taken.’

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Untitled

‘It is a part of a sweet tale of suburban, middle class Britain centred around the town of Uckfield. A body of work that is ongoing, Uckfield Matters depicts a town that is – all at once – awash with nostalgia and intimacy, introspection and distance. Central to the photographs is a sense of place, memory and belonging. It is a survey of the contemporary suburban landscape.’

Lady with her bag for life

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‘Uckfield is my home. I like to photograph there because it is comfortable for me and I know the people there. Part of my work is about understanding what draws a person to photograph something.’

Lashbrooks road, Uckfield

Ian

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‘I am fascinated by the transformative power of photography and art. I am not very interested in photographing, for want of better words, exciting or beautiful things. I am much more interested in taking completely, undeniably ordinary subject matter and making it exciting and beautiful.’

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‘Uckfield is about contemporary everyday life. It’s about how we live, where we live, who we are.’

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Hart Close, Uckfield

Benjamin Haywood received his Batchelor in Photography from the London College of Communication in 2014 and works as a freelance photographer and artist on a range of more and less dignifying projects. ‘Uckfield Matters’ continues to evolve and reshape. Other projects about other subjects are coming up too.

benjaminhaywood.tumblr.com

@benjaminhaywood

James O Jenkins

Noriko Takasugi

Fukushima Samurai

Noriko Takasugi’s portrait, ‘Fukushima Samurai’ (below), was selected for Portrait Salon 2013 and is part of her series ‘Fukushima Samurai – The Story of Identity’.

Takakatsu, 68 the beach for horse racing training  "Soma Nomaoi represents life of Japanese Samurai warriors and my way of living. You need that kind of samurai spirit otherwise you cannot run around wearing that heavy armor in midsummer". When it gets closer to Soma Nomaoi, he practices horse racing every 4am morning with his stable mates in the beach. His house facing the beach, destroyed and some of his horses in his stable next to the house were washed away.  September 2012

Takakatsu, 68. When it gets closer to Soma Nomaoi, he practices horse racing every 4am morning with his stable mates in the beach. His house facing the beach, destroyed and some of his horses in his stable next to the house were washed away. September 2012.

‘Since 2011, I have devoted my time to capturing the survivors of 3.11. While I am listening to their story, I could not ignore the unique spirit emerging in these people. For my project, I especially focused on the people who were once residents in the 20km radius of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. These photos are part of my long-term project that differs from the major news stories about the disaster, having been investigating the evacuees not as victims, but as part of a 1000 years old folk culture of the area and representative of Japanese identity, examining how they are surviving such hard times and fighting their fate to retain their sense of self, both as individuals and as part of a group.’

Shingo, 34 the foundation of his original house  His "favorite house" with an ocean view on a hill was washed away 10-meter inland by the tsunami. "All the belongings including armor for the Soma Nomaoi annual celebration and two horses that we had taken care of as family were washed away." Fortunately no one was in the house when the earthquake and tsunami occurred and all the family members were safe.  September 2012

Shingo, 34. His ‘favourite house’ with an ocean view on a hill was washed away 10-meter inland by the tsunami. “All the belongings including armor for the Soma Nomaoi annual celebration and two horses that we had taken care of as family were washed away.” September 2012.

Kunihito, 40 in front of his parents' house  “I lived here since I was born until the disaster occurred. Roof tiles fell off and walls cracked due to the earthquake, but the house is habitable only if the level of radiation exposure was normal.” Currently he lives in a leased housing in the town near Odaka with his family and has been working since before the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.  September 2012

Kunihito, 40. “I lived here since I was born until the disaster occurred. Roof tiles fell off and walls cracked due to the earthquake, but the house is habitable only if the level of radiation exposure was normal.” September 2012.

‘About 18,000 people have past away or missing due to the disaster. It triggered the nuclear explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant. About 230,000 are still living as evacuees. Related death in Japan is more than 3,000 including more than 1,700 in Fukushima. The majority of people who lived in Fukushima at the time are still living the life of evacuees, devoting a great deal of their time to dealing with the effects of nuclear contamination.’

Yoshiyuki, 59 his former house and small furniture factory in Odaka  His former house was also his small furniture factory. He had lived here since 1948 when he was born and worked locally for more than 35 years. In July 2012, he moved all the equipment from his former home to his new one in the neighboring city, where he evacuated to and live now, to restart the furniture business. September 2012

Yoshiyuki, 59. His former house was also his small furniture factory. He had lived here since he was born and worked locally for more than 35 years. In July 2012, he moved all the equipment from his former home to his new one in the neighboring city, where he evacuated to and live now, to restart the furniture business. September 2012.

Masaki, 31 the spectator stand of the field where Soma Nomaoi events are held Masaki used to live with his three children in Odaka. After the disaster he decided to stay in the next town instead of evacuating farther afield. “Of course I worried about the radiation effects but I did not want to move too far from my town because it is the place where Soma Nomaoi is held”. September 2012

Masaki, 31. Masaki used to live with his three children in Odaka. After the disaster he decided to stay in the next town instead of evacuating farther afield. “Of course I worried about the radiation effects but I did not want to move too far from my town because it is the place where Soma Nomaoi is held”. September 2012.

‘Soma Nomaoi is an annual celebration of Samurai culture in Fukushima more than 1000 years old. About 2000 people died in Fukushima due to 3.11, most of who were from the area where the Soma Nomaoi is held. Despite the harsh conditions, loss of lives and loss of hundreds of their horses and much of their armory, the majority of the surviving Nomaoi Samurai warriors agreed to hold the gathering in 2011, just a few months after the disaster. It is not just an event but also an embodiment of their identity and fight for survival. Here, the samurai way of life, “Bushido”, corresponds to the concept of chivalry. This sense of identity represents how and why, they live. The Nomaoi Samurai warriors portrayed here were once residents in the area close to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Most of them are no longer allowed to live there but they can enter the area during the day. Each of them stands in the places that had a personal meaning to them in the area in their everyday life, reviving their memories of home.’

‘Although the typical image of current Japan might be still positive with Tokyo’s high-tech buildings, to people outside Japan, the country remains a hidden world. I would like, through my photography, to show this secret part of Japan: the mentality, inner warmth and profound sense of beauty triumphing over adversity, and awe to the nature. Those secrets part are not the extraordinary things for us but accumulation of our choices in our ordinary life. Such qualities are often obscured nowadays in the world as a whole, not just in Japan. My ordinary life and Japanese root came across to these Samurai people while I am taking the light and shadow of them by my camera.’

Hironobu, 44 new horse stable built with his family after the disaster He took me to a horse stable that his family member and he built on his wife's parents’ property after the disaster. “I am now taking care of several horses that did not have anyone to rely one anymore because of the disaster. I wake up every morning before work to take care of them. It is something that is hard to do if you do not genuinely love horses.” The three kids and their parents are living separately in different municipalities as an evacuee life. “It is hard to only see the kids on weekends.”  September 2012

Hironobu, 44. He took me to a horse stable that his family member and he built on his wife’s parents’ property after the disaster. “I am now taking care of several horses that did not have anyone to rely one anymore because of the disaster”. The three kids and their parents are living separately in different municipalities as an evacuee life. “It is hard to only see the kids on weekends.” September 2012.

Kunio, 65 in front of a household altar sacred to Odaka Shrine "I used to stand in front of this kamidana (a household altar) sacred to Odaka Shrine and pray every morning when we were living here before the disaster.” He prayed when somebody in his family got sick, when his daughter-in-law gave birth and also for other occasions. Standing solemnly in front of the kamidana with gratitude as part of his daily routine was such a precious and calm moment for him. He cannot live here anymore but he prays to the kamidana whenever he visits here.  August 2012

Kunio, 65. “I used to stand in front of this kamidana (a household altar) sacred to Odaka Shrine and pray every morning when we were living here before the disaster.” He prayed when somebody in his family got sick, when his daughter-in-law gave birth and also for other occasions. Standing solemnly in front of the kamidana with gratitude as part of his daily routine was such a precious and calm moment for him. He cannot live here now but he prays to the kamidana whenever he visits here. August 2012.

Born in Japan and based in Tokyo, Noriko Takasugi graduated with an MA in Photojournalism & Documentary Photography at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London. Working as an editor for monthly graphic magazines led Takasugi to increase her passion for photography and storytelling. She has always been fascinated with connecting with people whose culture is strongly associated with the land and integrating herself with them through photography. Takasugi’s work has been exhibited widely in UK and published in The Telegraph, Independent, Wired.com. She was awarded the Konica Minolta Foto Premio 2014, selected as a finalist of PhotoQuai 2015 Biennale and a finalist of Critical Mass 2013 (Photolucida).

Takasugi’s hand made self-published photobook, “Fukushima Samurai – the story of identity” has been selected for E Book Show and G Book Show.

norikotakasugi.com

James O Jenkins