An international jury, comprised of Rein Desle, curator and editor at FoMu Photo Museum Antwerp; Andrea Holzherr, director of exhibitions and curator at Magnum Photos France; and Ana Morales, director of programmes at PHotoESPANA, have selected Roger Grasas as the winner of this year’s Descubrimientos (or ‘discoveries’) PHE 18 Award. They have commended Grasas’ “capacity to document a global issue from a personal perspective”, inviting him to exhibit his work at the next edition of the festival. The Catalan photographer has won the award with his series Ha Aretz, an exploration of biblical sites. Created over seven years, in ancient locations across Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria, the series recalls biblical landscapes, photographed in juxtaposition to contemporary conditions, such as globalisation, tourism, consumerism, and the aftermath of war. Aiming to reflect on the possible evolution, or involution, of these ancestral regions, Grasas encourages the viewer to consider these sites in a postmodern world, where they serve as a backdrop for fast-food chains, the invasion of mass tourism, and changes in the landscape caused …
Chloe Dewe Mathews won the series category of BJP’s International Photography Award this year with her lyrical images from Caspian. But unlike many of the other entrants, she’s never studied photography. Instead she graduated in fine art at The Ruskin School of Art, Oxford University, then worked in the film industry for a few years before teaching herself how to use a camera.
“For me, photography became a solution because I could be independent, spontaneous and more creatively engaged,” she says. “In feature films, you always work within a structure and you have to plan every shoot carefully; I liked the freedom you have with a stills camera. Fine art gives you more independence, of course, but it can also become too self-referential, so I was attracted to documentary photography because it felt more outward looking. I was keen to explore what was going on around me, as well as stepping out into the wider world."
It’s said that inspiration can be found anywhere, and revelations from otherwise unremarkable moments. It’s this subtlety that London-based photographer Rick Pushinsky has explored in his new work, Powerful Mantras, a set of 10 image-text postcards.
Pushinsky got into the habit of sharing images of the everyday via Instagram stories, which he uses to upload shots he's taken with his iPhone. “I take pictures of things I find interesting or amusing, and I share them,” he says. “After some time, I started pairing those pictures with slices of text.”
“I’ve spent so many hours on end in the dark, listening to loud music and just watching people, trying to see who I can take photos of and sussing out the environment” says Lionel Kiernan, “my work is a recording of what we can see with the naked eye in these constantly repetitive environments”.
At 21, Kiernan is the youngest photographer, and only Australian, to ever be shortlisted for the MACK First Book Award. After graduating from the Photography Studies College in Melbourne in 2017, Kiernan was nominated this year for his first major body of work documenting Melbourne’s nightlife scene, At Night.
Starting out in his father's carpentry workshop, Ken Grant first pursued his interest in photography through a two-year technical course, studying with unemployed shipyard labourers in the mid-1980s. He's now a respected documentary photographer who also teaches at the Belfast School of Art; as his work on New Brighton goes on show alongside his early mentors Tom Wood and Martin Parr, and BJP caught up with him on his approach to pedagogy