Inside the latest edition of British Journal of Photography: The Portrait Issue

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Take a peek inside the new issue of BJP – featuring Sasha Huber, Kalpesh Lathigra, Eva O’Leary, Samuel Fosso, and more – plus photos from the launch event at Autograph Gallery

A couple of Thursdays ago, the BJP team, our featured artists, and contributors gathered at Autograph gallery in Shoreditch to celebrate the launch of issue 7911 of British Journal of Photography: The Portrait Issue. Four years have passed since BJP last dedicated an entire issue to portraiture. And in that time, questions surrounding ethics, authorship, and intention have been brought further to the fore. Inside this special issue of BJP, we ruminate on the power, and problematic history, of the portrait, through the work of Kalpesh Lathigra, Eva O’Leary, Samuel Fosso, and more.

The cover image, which wraps around the magazine, is made by Sasha Huber. It depicts Jack and Drana, two of seven enslaved individuals who were first photographed in 1850 on the Edgehill Plantation in South Carolina, USA. The original daguerreotypes were commissioned in 1850 by Louis Agassiz (1807-1873), a prominent glaciologist and one of the pioneering thinkers of 19th century’s ‘scientific racism’. Huber reproduced the images onto wood and used a staple gun to ‘redress’ Jack and Drana in garments inspired by abolitionists. The image was commissioned by Autograph, and is currently on display as part of Huber’s exhibition, YOU NAME IT, until 23 March 2023. 

Samuel Fosso reflects on trauma, history, and performance.
A Q&A with Brian Piper, curator of the exhibition: Called to the Camera: Black American Studio Photographers.

Elsewhere in the issue, we continue to interrogate the medium’s prejudiced history, and how the genre of portraiture has been reclaimed. In an interview with New Orleans Museum of Art curator Brian Piper, we trace the significance of Black American studio photographers from the 1800s to today: “The camera has historically been used in negative ways towards Black people. Taking control of that was a powerful thing that these photographers were engaged in,” he says.

We also interviewed Kalpesh Lathigra, who has spent a decade collecting the ubiquitous passport photo to question issues of egalitarianism, hierarchy and privilege. Meanwhile, Eva O’Leary turns her lens on the young female students in her college hometown in Pennsylvania, while recalling her own disturbing adolescent experiences. Plus we feature work by Aneesa Dawoojee, Jialin Yan, Genesis Báez, Anne Vetter, and an interview with a master of the self-portrait: Samuel Fosso. 

Our selection of the best new releases.
Meeting Matca: and online journal, gallery, and community space based in Hanoi.
David Campany remembers the late William Klein.

In our regular features, we visit the bubble-wrapped studio of Neo Matloga in Amsterdam, and in Cool & Noteworthy, we find out about the censorship and resource challenges faced by Matca, an online journal and gallery based in Vietnam. Brett Rogers, the departing director of The Photographers’ Gallery, is our Any Answers, and we are on location in Rio with photographer Igor Furtado.

Issue 7911: The Portrait Issue is available to purchase now at thebjpshop.com

Marigold Warner

Deputy Editor

Marigold Warner joined the British Journal Photography in April 2018, and currently holds the position of Deputy Editor. 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.