Our projects so far
One of the main reasons for the existence of the BPPA is to promote news photography and one of the best ways to do that is to give pictures a chance to be seen in their own right. In the late 1980s the Association produced a series of three books and exhibitions called "Assignments" and when we became active again at the beginning of 2003 one of our priorities was to revive that tradition.
The association's members were deeply involved in shooting and documenting the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton. In conjunction with the World Photography Organisation's festival at Somerset House The BPPA ran a series of presentations before and after the wedding to showcase the work that press photographers were doing.
The three presentations went down well and you can see an edit of the pictures that we have licenses to show here.
In 2004 our ground-breaking retrospective book and exhibition Five Thousand Days underlined our commitment to bringing outstanding photography to the public. Since then we have been constantly working on new projects, and new ways to showcase our members’ work. UNSEEN is the culmination of one such project. It highlights one of the Association's every day frustrations: that huge numbers of brilliant pictures never see the light of day through too tight deadlines, design limitations or editorial indifference. The images in UNSEEN were selected by a jury of BPPA members, and offers a glimpse of the variety and extraordinarily high standard of the members work.
After spotting that the author Jilly Cooper had written a letter to The Times in June 2008 highlighting the lack of proper photographers bylines, the Association wrote to her to ask that she write a foreword for Unseen, and was delighted when she accepted. Here is an except:
"Thank goodness for Unseen. "The sweetest songs,” wrote Shelley, "'sing of the saddest thought", and these photographs are so beautiful yet compassionate that, despite their appalling images of death, loss, mutilation and destruction, one feels an overwhelming elation and relief that someone has drawn attention to such suffering. Without photographers invading the worse troublespots, armed only with their cameras, so much tyranny and brutality would go unrecorded."
Unseen - Photographs from The British Press Photographers' Association is published on 25th March by Skateboarding Duck and the project was sponsored by Canon.
It is a cloth bound 170x240mm book with 176 pages and 108 photographs (both colour and duotone) and was designed by Stuart Smith (Five Thousand Days - The BPPA, Personal Best - Elliot Erwitt, Inferno - James Nachtwey) the ISBN is 978-0-9561801-0-0 and has a RRP £19.95
In May 2003 we were handed a chance to hold an exhibition in a central London Gallery at very short notice. In a little under three weeks we had formed an exhibitions sub-committee, called for and received a large number of submissions and put the exhibition together. UNSEEN featured 90 photographs that had never been seen before. Many of them had been overlooked by picture editors, some were shot as part of private projects and others had been too late for deadlines. All of the images were top class and the exhibition opened on time with not one but two private views and an impressive catalogue. Versions and edits of the show have since been seen at Focus on Imaging (2004), on The SS Robin in London's Docklands, at the offices of PR company BORKOWSKI and at the Xandra Rhodes Gallery of The Kent Institute of Art & Design.
Shortly after UNSEEN closed at Inside Space we put out a call to members saying that "UNSEEN was just a warm up" asking them to dig back through their archives to the time when the last of the three Assignments books was published. That date coincided with the fall of the Berlin Wall and we were working on a major retrospective covering just over fourteen years. Members submitted over 3,500 pictures which were edited, re-edited and pared down to just a few hundred. Five Thousand Days was born. Under the guidance of the Books and Exhibitions sub-committee the project became one of the most impressive and best selling photographic books of the past few years and an outstanding exhibition in The Lyttleton Foyer of the Royal National Theatre - running from the 11th of October 2004 until the 4th of December. The show was specifically designed for the space but in January 2004 it succesfully transferred to Bradford's Museum of Industry for a one month stay.
Five Thousand Days was an epic project which, by it's very nature, we cannot hope to repeat for a few years and so the BPPA is commited to producing further projects on a wide range of topics and exploiting every medium. The first collaborative project to follow Five Thousand Days is New Years Day. Members were invited to submit up to five pictures taken in the first twenty four hours of 2005 to form a timeline web gallery - a kind of snapshot of who was where doing what as the new year began. The photographs form a fascinating document with images ranging from the tragedy of the immediate aftermath of the Asian Tsunami to the spectacle of fireworks over the BA London Eye and the mundanity of family life in the UK.
The general election of May 2005 was one of the most stage managed, spin driven and least visually interesting elections in modern times. Press photographers faced a month of ten minute photocalls and long frustrating waits whilst trying to find interesting and journalistically significant images. The British Press Photographers' Association decided to put this web gallery together to show the world that good pictures were taken.
A 40 image edit of the project called "Never Mind The Ballots" is showing on board the SS Robin in Docklands during October 2005.
This web gallery is a small edit of the hundreds of images submitted by members of The British Press Photographers' Association from the month of July. Some are fun, many others are distressing and the rest reflect the mood of the time. Published six months after the events that it features, this gallery is dedicated to the professionalism of the photographers and to the memory of those whose lives were lost or tragically altered by those events.
When this project was conceived we spent a long time debating the question "exactly what is a portrait?" In the end we decided to leave it up to the members submitting their work to come up with their own definitions. Over 950 photographs were eventually submitted and this web gallery is the result of a very difficult edit.
Portraiture forms a large part of the work that newspaper and magazine photographers do and the creativity and inventiveness shown in this web gallery is a testament to the approach that BPPA members take to their work.
Celebrities, politicians, sportsmen and women, people "enjoying" their fifteen minutes of fame or infamy as well those who will probably never know that their image has been seen by an audience in another part of the world are all included in this BPPA project.
We have a number of project ideas "bubbling under" and we intend to mix up the formats and subject matters of the projects that we undertake. It won't be long before we announce something new.