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Editor’s Introduction Shooting on Assignment

Last month we launched a new-look BJP, promising an “undesigned” approach, more pages, expanded Agenda, Projects, Intelligence and Technology sections, and more insights from the people who commission photography. This month we’ve made good on all four commitments, and in particular on the latter, by devoting features to work made on assignment – be that fashion advertising and editorial, a corporate commission or a series produced on a residency. In the Intelligence section we’ve followed up by asking two collectives how they fund documentary work and quizzing the editor of Rough Trade’s new magazine on her approach to images. In doing so we hope to reflect on some of the wealth of this kind of work, whether it’s fully financially supported or just guaranteed a home once it’s made. Many of the projects that gain kudos in contemporary photography are self-assigned, personal projects, self-funded by photographers who then bear the brunt of placing them. But it doesn’t have to be like that – and working on commission doesn’t have to mean selling out either. In fact, in the right hands, it seems quite the opposite can be true: that those commissioning work can be actively seeking out and pushing creativity. Photographer Klaus Pichler certainly believes assignments help stretch his practice. “When you are doing personal projects, you tend to stay in your own boundaries,” he says. “You do what you are capable of.” For KENZO’s creative directors Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, commissioning gives them the chance to seek out individuals with a strong personal vision. As they point out, “if we didn’t let their style come through then we would take the pictures ourselves”. Diane Smyth, editor of the May issue

Cover Lara Stone, Self Service, 2011. © Alasdair McLellan. 14-15 Rituel de Chasse 3 by Yves Gellie. 34-36 Image © Magdalena Świtek. 40-49 Shot from KENZO’s autumn/winter 2013 campaign by Toiletpaper © KENZO. 50-60 Image © Max Pinckers. 62-66 Shot from Schock brand book by Klaus Pichler © Klaus Pichler, courtesy Schock. 68-80 Arizona Muse photographed for Self Service magazine, 2011 © Alasdair McLellan 83-85 Karabash, Chelyabinskaya Region, Russia. 22 October 2009. Image © Yuri Kozyrev/ Noor. 96-98 Fujifilm X-Pro2.

Introduction: May 2016







Featured: May 2016


40 – 49 Rebirth of a brand KENZO’s creative team Carol Lim and Humberto Leon have breathed new life into the French brand with the help of both up-and-coming photographers and established names

62 – 66 Schock Treatment The brandbook for a kitchen-fittings maker may not be an obvious home for brightly-coloured creativity but Austrian Klaus Pichler pushed commercial – and personal – boundaries for the project

50 – 60 Two Kinds of Memory and Memory Itself Max Pinckers’ open-ended residency in Japan was an opportunity to explore the country’s myths and realities. In fellow photographer Munemasa Takahashi he found not just an assistant but also a willing model

68 – 80 Northern Soul Alasdair McLellan has made it in the fashion world on his own terms, propelling the visuals of his youth in Yorkshire into international fashion magazines. Having stayed true to his northern nature, he knows how to play the game

To your door. Buy the next issue of BJP direct from us and have it delivered straight to your door. Intelligence: Robbie Cooper



32 Léo Delafontaine delves into life on Barentsburg, one of the world’s northernmost permanently inhabited settlements 34 Magdalena Świtek defines her world and her photographic process as she transitions into motherhood Features 40 French fashion label KENZO enjoys a revival, with an array of photographers helping to shape its new identity 50 Max Pinckers draws on outsiders’ fantasies of Japan’s otherness to unpick the nation’s own self-image 62 Klaus Pichler’s brandbook for Schock’s kitchen-fittings range pushes the boundaries of conventional catalogues 68 Alasdair McLellan talks about fashioning his visual identity in Yorkshire and how to pitch for specific jobs

Agenda 11  Archivist magazine 12 Any Answers: Giles Duley 14 Photo London and Offprint London are set for round two 16 Punk London kicks off its yearlong subcultural celebration in venues across the capital 18 In his book Discordia Moises Saman shuns traditional photojournalism to reflect the nuances of the Arab Spring Projects 21 Mathias Depardon examines the changing face of Azerbaijan’s landscape in Tales from the Land of Fire 24 In Theory of R Alnis Stakle takes us on a disjointed journey through Riga 28 Tom Johnson captures the unique bond between Welsh friends Kyra and Evie in Merthyr Rising 30 Paul Thulin trawls through a century of family memories and offers his version of the truth in Pine Tree Ballads 6

Index: May 2016

Intelligence 83 Clément Saccomani explains how his member-owned agency, Noor, gives photographers a chance to get their work made 87 Gareth Syvret on creating an accurate photographic record of Jersey – including its finance industry 90 Indie record label Rough Trade brings Liv Siddall on board to boost music magazine presence 92 Léonie Hampton’s touching documentation of her mother’s mental-health issues has been turned into an extraordinary ebook

14 – 15

34 – 36

83 – 85

Technology 95 Camera news from Pentax, Sigma, Tamron and others 96 Fujifilm X-Pro2 on test 101 Four stylish camera satchels 102 The Phottix Indra500 lighting system: it’s lightweight, portable and powerful 105 Leica SL Typ 601, an ideal body for an M lens Archive 114 Peter Marlow’s 1978 portrait of a National Front march

96 – 98

calling students & graduates win a london exhibition & global exposure Deadline for entries: Sunday 1 May 2016

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The Photo London fair returns to the UK capital for its second outing with a bigger public programme, more exhibitors and a slew of fringe activities Photo London

and director of exhibitions at the International Center of Photography, New York), and the fair itself has grown by 15 galleries to accommodate 80 exhibitors. “We’re building a temporary structure in the courtyard to give us a bit more space,” says co-founder Fariba Farshad, adding that despite this extra space more than 50 galleries are still on the waiting list, “which is a good problem to have, but it is a problem”. “We gave our first-year gallerists priority, because they’d been courageous enough to support us,” says Benson. “But we have a very strong list of galleries from all over the world.” Elsewhere in London, galleries and institutions not involved in the official fair are marking the occasion with a series of supplementary fringe events and exhibitions, including Tate Modern. As in 2015, the Offprint artist book fair has been invited into its mighty Turbine Hall, allowing visitors to buy self-made and small-edition books and meet the people and publishers behind them. “The arts community in London is really strong,” says Yannick Bouillis, who founded Offprint in Paris in 2010. “The serious difficulty in independent publishing is that the lifespan is short, because it’s not commercially oriented – people publish one, two, three, five books, and then they go bankrupt or they stop,” he adds. He hopes that recurring events such as Offprint will give the scene a boost “because then the independent publishing scene can thrive”. As last year, Self Publish, Be Happy has been invited to join the action in the Turbine Hall, with SPBH founder Bruno Ceschel this year running a two-day intensive workshop for photographers who want to self-publish. “The “We felt that London deserved its own worldworld of images is changing so much, so we’re class photography fair,” says Michael Benson, trying to bring a new perspective to it,” he says. co-founder of Photo London, shortly before “This year, we’re going to be thinking about the official opening of the event’s second augmented reality, new technology, hacking edition at Somerset House on 18 May. “That’s the image.” why we started it.” The inaugural fair last Elsewhere, Amsterdam-based spring was hailed by The Guardian as “the photographic institution Foam will be UK photography event of the year”, and the exhibiting the winners of its Talent programme second instalment will build on that success in London for the first time, at Beaconsfield over 19-22 May. Gallery Vauxhall. “Foam Talent is a very This year, an expanded public programme, important part of Foam’s activity, and it’s supported by the Luma Foundation, includes becoming more and more the core of what we talks curated by William Ewing (former do,” Foam director Marloes Krijnen explains. director of the Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, “This year, we have 1200 submissions from Words by Maisie Skidmore


Agenda: Events

some 67 countries.” The exhibition of 21 emerging photographers opened on 21 April but runs until the end of Photo London, and will feature several talks and curatorial tours during the weekend. For Krijnen, Photo London has helped put the UK capital on the map in the international photography scene. “There are several important spaces for photography in Europe at the moment,” she says. “It’s great that there are moments throughout the year for the international photography family to meet and discuss and see important new things.” As for Farshad and Benson, the fringe events are a welcome addition to what they’re able to bring to London with the fair. “We want Photo London to be a hub around which a lot of activity spins,” Benson explains. “We’ve always believed it’s been important to work very closely with both the big organisations and the smaller ones. A lot of people obviously will do things off their own back, so we’ve been collecting information about what’s going on and publicising that.” “It’s important to remember that we came to this through developing major art projects and cultural initiatives – not from a corporation,” Farshad adds. “We want Photo London to be an educational space as well as a fair.” “It’s about raising the profile of photography in London as high as we possibly can,” Benson concludes. “We recognise we have a job on our hands, but we’re delighted that the rest of London is supporting our vision.”

1 2 3 4

Image © Noé Sendas An image from Adriana Lestido’s series Imprisoned Women. Call to Faith by Carmen Mitrotta. Offprint London 2015 at Tate Modern.





Agenda: Events


Drawing from his own experiences to create a unique take on fashion photography, Alasdair McLellan has slowly but surely risen to the top of his game. Words by Diane Smyth


Shooting on Assignment: Alasdair McLellan

Commissioned Work: Alasdair McLellan




Shooting on Assignment: Alasdair McLellan

Commissioned Work: Alasdair McLellan





Shooting on Assignment: Alasdair McLellan

“You really need to put yourself in the pictures so you can draw from your experiences – to differentiate yourself from everyone else, because only you can do that”


Shooting on Assignment: Alasdair McLellan



Commissioned Work: Alasdair McLellan


Shooting on Assignment: Alasdair McLellan



My take-home impression of Alasdair McLellan is that he’s really, really nice. Despite his stellar career in fashion photography – shooting all 18 of i-D’s covers for its 35th anniversary issue, working for clients such as Louis Vuitton and Margaret Howell, represented by the mighty Art Partner – he spends the first 10 minutes of our conversation asking me about British Journal of Photography, then peppers the rest of the interview with self-effacing asides. When he mentions he’s had lunch at St James’s Palace, he laughs at the very idea. When he recalls breaking into fashion, he freely admits he found the industry extremely intimidating. He says he got into photography because it made him more popular as a teen. “I’d go to parties at the weekend and take loads of photographs and, suddenly, come Tuesday, 76

Shooting on Assignment: Alasdair McLellan

when I got the pictures back, I’d be everyone’s best friend,” he laughs. “It was a device!” But if he’s self-deprecating, his modesty is underpinned by a steely sense of selfbelief, evidence of which also runs through our conversation. He thought those frosty magazine receptionists he met early on were idiots, he says, because he couldn’t understand why they weren’t friendly. He doesn’t get it when people “are scared to say what they like” or, worse, say they like something “just because they think it’s cool”. He bypassed assisting altogether – the standard route into fashion photography – and he readily knocked it back a few years later when he was advised to change his aesthetic. “They were like, ‘You’re not an influential photographer, you’ll get more work.’ And I was just really adamant because

I thought, ‘I’m not going cold.... I can’t change that, I’m not true to myself if I do’.” He also says he got into fashion photography because he realised “you could do anything you wanted, as long as you get some clothing in it” – and he’s stuck to that idea ever since.


Born in 1974 in Tickhill, a relatively affluent farming town near Doncaster surrounded by pit villages, he recalls the effects of the miners’ strikes on his schoolmates: “A lot of people were on their knees.” Then came rave culture, with Manchester at its epicentre, spreading across northern England. It and the “Madchester” bands that followed had a lasting impact. “I remember thinking all the ravers used to dress really well. It was a youth movement, the likes of which there hasn’t been since.” McLellan began DJing himself while still at school, and the style of the era – which has its roots in 1980s casuals culture – remains an influence. When we meet, he’s wearing a Stone Island jacket, and he named his first book, published in 2013, Ultimate Clothing Company after the shop he and his friends bought jeans from in Doncaster. When he got his first big break, a shoot for L’Uomo Vogue, he proposed he do it in Yorkshire. “I thought my friends dressed really well, but I didn’t see it in magazines,” he says. “At the time, everyone just seemed to constantly refer to rock’n’roll icons like David Bowie and The Rolling Stones. I thought, ‘Well I just want them to look like the mates I grew up with just walking around the village, because there was nothing else to do.” He laughs now, saying he can’t imagine how he got the magazine to agree, and chuckles at the idea of “a bunch of scallies wearing, I don’t know, Naf Naf, or whatever everyone was wearing”. But he’s as adamant as ever that these clothes, and the way they were worn, were as credible and interesting as more revered designer clobber. “I always liked the haircuts and the fashion,” he says. “Yes, it could be a tracksuit, but in my day it wasn’t a hoodie, it wasn’t joggers, it was Umbro or Sergio Tacchini. It was very specific, and it was almost as important as a woman going into Dior and picking the perfect dress. It had to be the perfect tracksuit. I just always saw the similarities in that.” He’s returned to Yorkshire many times to shoot since, getting British Vogue to agree to a story by coming up with a strong concept and visual references drawn from 1960s kitchen sink dramas and two record covers by The Smiths showing football pools winner Viv Nicholson dressed up to the nines – one picturing her in front of a pit head, the

And so if it’s up to him, that may mean other on a desolate terraced street. “I had to going to Yorkshire; on a commission, however, come up with a concept, how this could be it can also mean drawing on what he’s seen or an aspiration for a normal woman reading read, or his own aesthetic or favoured colours. the magazine who wants to escape,” he says. When i-D asked him to shoot a story about [Nicholson became tabloid fodder in the film director John Waters, he was happy to 1960s when she told the media she would do so “because I grew up watching his films”. “spend, spend, spend” after her husband Keith If he’s working on a commercial shoot, and won big on the football pools.] it’s “the world of the designer, and that’s very “I feel a lot of the images in Vogue are in important when you’re working for a brand”, places like St Barts on a beach, and everyone then he’ll make it his in terms of the look and is having a lovely time. Of course people feel. “Then you need to get your light, in order want to see that, but how I saw it in my head to make the picture your own,” he says. was sort of in a DH Lawrence way, like Lady But if finding your own style is key, that Chatterley’s Lover – she’s going out with a miner and he’s a bit of rough. I thought maybe doesn’t mean writing off other influences, he says – it’s just a matter of taking those it’s a bit of escapism in a slightly different way. influences and making them your own. He I showed it to the editor and she loved it.” was inspired to get into photography by Herb He also shoots people on the street Ritts and Bruce Weber after seeing their work back home for fun. His exhibition at 032c on 1980s album covers and pop videos; later Workshop in Berlin, Never Gonna Give You Up (which later evolved into Ultimate Clothing on he saw David Sims and Corinne Day’s photography and it “helped me think my Company), was a series of portraits of young photography could exist” in a fashion context. Brits he’d “just found, out and about” – men “You can’t help but be influenced by a lot of who typified a kind of masculinity becoming people, because you grow up with it but… redundant because “there is less manual even with someone like David [Sims], you see labour”. “I’d never seen pictures of builders he’s influenced by Avedon or Mapplethorpe, [in a gallery], so I thought that would make but essentially it’s just him,” he says. “You take an interesting exhibition,” he says. these things and they become you.” “But sometimes it’s nice to control what you’re photographing so you can pick the Mental images person you put in that location,” he laughs. “Sometimes the lads I want to photograph will He’s happy to stand by his influences, even be like, ‘Why do you want to do that? Piss off!’.” those others might find embarrassing. In McLellan also likes to shoot the Yorkshire fact, he’s pretty scathing about those who landscape, particularly at dawn and sunset, sheepishly follow trends, wondering aloud and often heads out on his own when he’s why they don’t have the courage to be back home visiting family and friends. He themselves. “I’m very influenced by Sims and enjoys working alone, “without 30 people Day, and people like that with the rock’n’roll standing behind me”, but also feels they “help thing, which is obviously very cool, but I’m break up the fashion” and has long included also very much influenced by pop culture,” he them in his editorial work between pictures of says. “I grew up with it, so it’s what I respond the models. Initially, he had to talk his editors to. I think you can see the worth in the styling into including them, but it’s helped kickstart of, say, early Take That, where you’re just something of a trend, and he has even been looking at it and thinking, ‘That’s mental!’. commissioned to do something similar for And I think that should be in magazines, too, Louis Vuitton. “I was amazed they went for it, because it’s different.” because usually the bag is in every picture.” It’s one of the reasons why he rates The Vuitton campaign was shot in fashion writer Jo-Ann Furniss, who he’s Patagonia, not Yorkshire, however, and of known since his early days in London course none of this is to say that McLellan is after graduating from Nottingham Trent stuck on photographing his hometown, or a in 1996. “She’s got a similar take on things certain kind of style. By this stage in his career to me,” he says. “She understands the he’s shot all over the world, photographing greatness of something like Shakespeare and everyone from Vivienne Westwood to something like Coronation Street; she’s got a Beyoncé, wearing everything from high high-and-low culture thing going on.” fashion to skater gear. But it does say It’s also what’s drawn him to the stylist something about his approach to photography, Olivier Rizzo, who he started working with in which is always personal in some way. “I think the early 2000s when he got his first gigs with you really need to put yourself in the pictures i-D. “I can describe a guy’s hair for a fashion so you can draw from your experiences,” he shoot and he’ll go, ‘Oh, like so-and-so from says, “to differentiate yourself from everyone [American sitcom] Saved by the Bell?’ And else, because only you can say that.” I’ll be, ‘Exactly, like that!’,” he laughs. “I love Shooting on Assignment: Alasdair McLellan





Shooting on Assignment: Alasdair McLellan


the fact that Saved by the Bell is the reference, and not Mick Jagger or Keith Richards. I’d rather reference the completely, utterly diluted version of it that’s ended up on Saved by the Bell or Grange Hill because it feels fresher. It’s not the same thing that people just constantly want to photograph.” By the same token, McLellan’s interest in pop culture means he’s happy to photograph mainstream stars such as Justin Bieber, shot for Fantastic Man, rather than their more cult equivalents. He’s photographed Adele twice for The Gentlewoman, and one of his portraits of her was used on the cover of her album 25. “In photography you can get quite snobby, but someone like Adele is a phenomenon,” he says. “People remember photographs the same way you hear a song on the radio and it takes you back to an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, or it

reminds you of a moment in time. It even brings out an emotion. “As a photographer, you get to record the people who are a part of that time. Someone like Justin Bieber – I think there’s something there to be photographed, and I think it’s important to capture that. Fashion people photograph figures like Tilda Swinton and Björk all the time, and as much as I like them [he’s shot both], pop culture is very important. I remember growing up with Smash Hits.” Similarly, he likes magazines for “their ability to feel of-the-minute” and has often played on this. Ten years ago, he shot a story for Arena Homme Plus on the British Army’s ceremonial guards, for example, taking the Queen Mother’s state funeral and the war in Iraq as his cue. He was keen “to have something about real men, not to create this

crazy fantasy with the fashion of the season” because of it. The work was published as a book earlier this year, titled Ceremony. And while McLellan always wants to put himself into his work, he’s also a shrewd operator in the fashion industry. He keeps up to speed with designers’ collections because “you’re hoping they’ll agree on the casting of the model – it’s important you look at the collection and think about what is actually going to work on that model”. If he’s working for a magazine, he’ll angle his story to fit its brand identity, and can sum up those values in just a few words. “It’s very important when you work on a fashion magazine – or any magazine – that you do pitches for that magazine. If I’m doing pitches for i-D, even if they’re coming from me, they have to be i-D pitches,” he says. “You have Shooting on Assignment: Alasdair McLellan


1 Grimes, i-D, 2015. 2 Lily McMenamy, Natalie Westling, i-D, 2014. 3 Stella Tennant, 032c, 2014. 4 Boy at the St. Leger fair, Doncaster, i-D, 2003/Ultimate Clothing Company, 2013. 5 Wrecked cars, Bawtry, South Yorkshire, Man About Town, 2014/Ultimate Clothing Company, 2013, photographed in 2001. 6 Edie Campbell, 032c magazine, 2012. 7 Vivienne Westwood, The Gentlewoman, 2014. 8 Justin Bieber, i-D, 2015. 9 Shawn Powers, i-D, 2015. 10 Schoolboys in Newport, Man About Town, 2015. 11 Headbangers, Arena Homme+, 2015. 12 Saffron Road, Tickhill, Doncaster, System, 2014, photographed in 2012. 13 Adrienne Jüliger, Self Service, 2014.

All images © Alasdair McLellan.


to do pitches that would make sense in that magazine. Sometimes, I see pictures in magazines and think that doesn’t look right in there – they don’t look like Vogue pictures, they look like Elle pictures or Dazed & Confused pictures, and I’m thinking, ‘How the hell did that end up in that magazine?’ “Street casting works really well in a certain type of magazine, such as i-D and Dazed, whereas Vogue is very much about the Vogue girl,” he adds. “I really like 032c – it’s visually really exciting. I’ve contributed to The Gentlewoman since it started, and I like its approach. It has someone quite glamorous, like Beyoncé, and then it will have the founder of the Patak curry empire. It’s interesting to have that mix. Also, there’s a lot of fantasy in magazines, but The Gentlewoman is more, ‘This is what the clothes are, and the girls are beautiful’. Fantastic Man is the same. I can’t do self-indulgent fashion photographs for them; it’s not what they want.” This clear understanding of brand identity has brought McLellan some long associations with fashion labels. He’s shot several seasons for the British designer Margaret Howell, whose pared-down approach to advertising helped rewrite the rulebook for campaigns, and he’s been working with British skate brand Palace since 2009. Palace was set up by London skater Lev Tanju, who McLellan first found hanging out with his crew, the Palace Wayward Boys Choir, under the Southbank Centre. When Supreme asked him to shoot a story, he suggested using Palace Wayward Boys Choir as models and ended up doing a story with them for i-D. Tanju then mentioned he was setting out on his own, and McLellan started shooting his clothes – a relationship that’s culminated in a book that will be published later this month. “Whenever I think of skating, I think of California, I think of sunshine, I think of a certain aesthetic,” says McLellan. “But the good thing about Palace and Lev is that all his influences are British and kind of similar to the things I reference – it’s football terrace culture. I’ve been photographing that brand and the skaters for six or seven years now, so when Idea Books approached me about doing a book on Palace I said, “OK, why not?’.” It will be McLellan’s third book, and he’s got another planned for next year. I ask why he’s interested in photobooks and he says: “It’s important to put books out as a photographer. When I think of photographers I like, when I look at people’s legacy, it’s to do with their books.” Then, true to form, he gives an almost embarrassed laugh. “That sounds a bit highhanded, doesn’t it?”


Shooting on Assignment: Alasdair McLellan

Next issue June 2016 Our annual talent issue returns with 20 Ones to Watch in 2016, nominated by experts from across the globe, including Martin Parr and Kasahara Michiko, chief curator at Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. We also report back from SXSW Interactive on how technology and visual journalism will further intersect in the months and years ahead. And we go behind the Subscribe for just £39 for the next by Direct Debit; thereafter paying £65.95 annually (still saving 31%). You’ll also receive scenes at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s newly created a free Tote Bag worth £10 with UK orders only, upon renewal John for Photography. (your secondand payment).Lisa PromotedPritzker offer is redeemableCenter by UK subscribers only. Price and savings may vary depending on

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Image © Bastiaan Woudt. Courtesy Kahmann Gallery.

Commissioned Work: Alasdair McLellan Intelligence: New Media

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British Journal of Photography - May 2016  

Issue #7847—Shooting on Assignment. We bring you a selection of the world’s leading creatives to discuss the best in commissioned photograph...

British Journal of Photography - May 2016  

Issue #7847—Shooting on Assignment. We bring you a selection of the world’s leading creatives to discuss the best in commissioned photograph...