Issue #7890: Once upon a time in America

This month’s issue of British Journal of Photography features four photobooks that each focus on a different aspect of American society, from an exploration of mass shootings in US schools to an oblique study of community, and documentation of a decaying landscape. Our latest issue is now available in the BJP shop, or delivered to you every month through 1854 Access, and until 24 November 2019, we are offering new subscribers 50 per cent off newsstand prices plus a £20 credit to spend in the BJP Shop.

Visiting the sites of mass shootings in seven American schools, Andres Gonzalez considers the ways that communities grieve and recover from events that shatter their lives. Through artefacts and portraits, his new book American Origami considers how communities react in the face of unspeakable violence.

American Origami by Andres Gonzalez

In the bland spaces of suburban church basements, Eli Durst discovers people searching for purpose and meaning through their communal activities.  “Church basements seemed like the perfect jumping-off point because they embody a certain paradox,” says Durst, discussing the process behind his book, The Community.

Magazine spread of Eli Durst’s The Community

Our cover photograph is taken from Blackwater River by Robbie Lawrence, who, in setting out to document a southern US state in the first year of Trump’s presidency, found that a greater narrative lay in the Ogeechee River, which runs through it. “We quickly became interested in nature, and the collapse of nature, in a place that seems, at first, so verdant and beautiful,” he says.

Magazine spread of Blackwater River by Robbie Lawrence

It has been two months since Robert Frank’s death on 09 September 2019, and in this month’s issue, Gerry Badger reflects on the continued legacy of The Americans, a book that forever changed the course of photographic history with its acute spontaneity and personal slant.

Gerry Badger reflects on Robert Frank’s The Americans

In Agenda, we talk to writer and curator Antwaun Sargent about his first book, which celebrates a new forefront of genre-bending photographers “using their cameras to create contemporary portrayals of black life”. Plus we preview a selection of the latest books, exhibitions and festivals, including Foto/Industria in Bologna, Italy, and Bamako in Mali.

Elsewhere, in our Intelligence section, we talk to Beth Wilkinson about commissioning for Lindsay magazine, and Damien Demolder test-drives the Fujifilm GFX 100, a mirrorless medium format camera that delivers a 100MP resolution at half the price of its nearest rival. 

1854 Full Access members receive each issue with a unique collectable cover every month, and 1854 Digital Access members can read the magazine ad-free on tablet and iPad.

Marigold Warner

Deputy Editor

Marigold Warner worked as an editor at BJP between 2018 and 2023. She studied English Literature and History of Art at the University of Leeds, followed by an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London. Her work has been published by titles including the Telegraph Magazine, Huck, Elephant, Gal-dem, The Face, Disegno, and the Architects Journal.