Jacky Chapman

Grenfell Tower Remembered -Three years on.

Three years ago on 14 June 2017, in the early hours of the morning, a fire broke out in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower block of flats in North Kensington, West London. The world woke up to the devastating images of that Tower block engulfed in flames. As soon as I could after dropping my son off at school, I raced across London  and joined the throngs of people from every aspect of the community coming together to help in anyway they could. I spent three days at the site, documenting the aftermath of the fire, then days photographing the consequential protests and then Memorial service held at St Pauls in December 2017.

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On 16 November 2017, following months of forensic investigations inside the burnt out shell of the tower, the death toll was confirmed at 72. This included Logan Gomes, who was stillborn on the day of the fire. Her heavily pregnant mother, escaped from the 21st floor, but suffered severe smoke inhalation on her way down.

 

The Westway Sports and Fitness Centre became one of the focal points for clothing donations.

 

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The slide show above documents the scenes immediately after the fire.  Donations had been pouring in non-stop for about 24 hours. Volunteers sorted the clothing – boxed them up and loaded them on to awaiting vans. However the vans had nowhere to take them as warehouse space was in short supply and none of the local community centres had capacity to take any more donations.

 

Mixed emotions of the community – shock, grief, anger but most of all resilience.

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United in grief, all faiths gathered to pray for those who had perished, on that catastrophic day.  Two outdoor services occurred on Sunday 18th June in temperatures above 30C.  One, underneath the blackened shell of the tower block, conducted in both English and Arabic and despite being in the middle of Ramadan, Muslims came out to honour the dead. The second, a Christian gospel service, underneath the Westway, took the form of thunderous singing and praying and the release of balloons into the cloudless summer skies.

 

Just one of the many protests held in London.

 

Grenfell memorial service at St Paul’s.

On 14th December, exactly six months after the fire, mourners gathered on the steps of St Paul’s after attending a memorial service. Some held white roses, other clutched onto photographs of loved ones who had lost their lives.

“Today we remember with sorrow, with grief, with tears. Today we ask why warnings were not heeded, why a community was left feeling neglected, uncared for, not listened to. Today we hold out hope that the public inquiry will get to the truth of all that led up to the fire at Grenfell Tower…and we trust that the truth will bring justice.” Graham Tomlin, Bishop of Kensington.

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“Gone but not forgotten, you are so dearly loved by us all and will be sadly missed by many. May you rest in eternal peace, with love always” Raymond Bernard’s family, known as Moses to his friends, died in the fire aged 63.

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Update 14th June 2020. 

According to the survivors, nothing has changed.

An estimated 246 buildings still have Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding and the public inquiry has yet to come to a conclusion (hearing stopped due to Covid-19 but will resume 6th July).

2019 International Photography Awards

I’m a happy bunny! I’ve just received an honorable mention in the International Photography Awards 2019 for my set of images on ‘The Great Strahov Stadium – architectural remnants of Prague’s Communist past’ (Categories: Architecture, Historic).

IPA CLICK HERE

13th Annual Black & White Spider Awards

A great way to start 2019 with the news that two of my images from Bosnia/Croatia have won awards! The images were taken yonks ago…way back in 1998, two years after the war had ended.

In this year’s Black & White Spider Awards there were 6,404 entries from 77 countries so very honoured to have been selected!

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Honorable Mention in the Photojournalism category. “The Aftermath of War” Medic’s (MSF) helping the elderly & vulnerable, Croatia. Two years after the War had ended, 1998.

 

Bird woman

Nominee in the People category. “Bird woman” Feeding the pigeons, Bascarsija square in the old town, Sarajevo. 1998.

To view other images from the series CLICK here

The live online gala was attended by over 17,000 photography fans around the globe who logged on to watch the climax of the industry’s most important event for black and white photography.

“Once again, another stunning collection of high quality entries both professional and amateur. It’s always inspiring to see this classic medium being stretched into new and interesting directions.” Said juror Marcel Wijnen, Creative Director at Anthem Worldwide/Marque Branding in Sydney. Cultural Heritage Consultant Andrea de Polo from Fratelli Alinari Photography Museum in Florence added “The quality of work is incredible and for the jury selecting the best images is very hard work.”

“It’s an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 6,404 entries we received this year” said Basil O’Brien, the awards Creative Director. “Jacky Chapman’s images entered in the Photojournalism and People categories, represents black and white photography at its finest.”

BLACK AND WHITE SPIDER AWARDS is the leading international award honouring excellence in black and white photography. This celebrated event shines a spotlight on the best professional and amateur photographers worldwide and honours the finest images with the highest achievements in black and white photography.

http://www.thespiderawards.com

The ‘B’ word …… in pictures

Saturday 20th October 2018. Central London, UK. Thousands swarmed central London for the People’s Vote march.

London, UK. 20th October, 2018.People's Vote march for new Brexit referendum.

Which way will the wind blow? 

An estimated 700,000 demonstrators marched from Park Lane to Parliament Square in a bid to persuade the British government to hold a referendum on the final Brexit deal.

London, UK. 20th October, 2018.People's Vote march for new Brexit referendum.

Tearful father with young daughter listening to the speeches in Parliament Square.

Down with this sort of thing.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan addressed the crowds at Parliament Square along with representatives from the main political parties. Celebrity speakers included Steve Coogan, Delia Smith and Deborah Meaden.

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Even the pooches came out in force to demand a ‘Wooferendum’……

London, UK. 20th October, 2018. People's Vote march for new Brexit referendum.

People's Vote march for new Brexit referendum.Brexit reading

To view more images click here

The British public voted to leave the EU by a margin of 51.89% to 48.11% in June 2016. The UK is scheduled to leave on 29 March 2019, under the terms of the two-year Article 50 process.  On 14th November, Teresa May published a 585 page draft withdrawal agreement agreed with the EU at negotiator level,  creating mayhem and almost leading to a vote of no confidence.

People's Vote march for new Brexit referendum.

People’s Vote march for new Brexit referendum. London, UK. 20th October, 2018.

In just over a weeks time, the PM’s Brexit deal will be either approved or rejected by parliament.  Many think the deal will be rejected leading to further chaos and even a constitutional crisis. All eyes are on Westminster, although an EU Summit on the 13th and 14th of December may put the EU leadership in the limelight.  No final act in this extraordinary soap opera is apparent, only the daunting date of departure, 29th March 2019.

 

Rebuilding life in war-torn Bosnia and Croatia 1998.

Bird woman

Bird woman, Bascarsija square in the old town, Sarajevo. 1998.

In January 1998, I was fortunate to accompany a small group of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) – Doctors without Borders, as they carried out their work in Bosnia-Hercegovina and Croatia. Despite the fact that this was two years after the war had ended, the images still depicted a country ripped apart by war.

 

Throughout the war in the former Yugoslavia, MSF ran surgery programs, distributed medical supplies and drugs to hospitals and clinics, operated mobile clinics and worked in refugee camps.

Croatia

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The Médecins Sans Frontières mobile team at a make shift doctors surgery in Ostrovo, Croatia.

MSF provided health care to elderly and vulnerable populations in approximately 12 remote villages in the region until March 1998. The patients were mainly elderly Serbs.

 

A Catholic Croat, praying outside his bombed out home, Ostrovo, Croatia. He describes his place as “not fit for a dog to live in” 1998.

 

Vukovar

The Balkan conflict left its mark on the town of Vukovar — nicknamed ‘Croatian Stalingrad, the martyred city’. The nickname originates from being devastated by Serb-dominated army forces in the early days of Croatia’s war for independence from the ex-Yugoslavia. It suffered a three-month long siege before being captured by Serb forces in November 1991 (AKA Battle of Vukovar).

Vukovar was once proud of its ethnic diversity.  In a 1990’s survey from before the war, statistics show that roughly 23 or so ethnic groups then lived in the town. Mixed couples made up 34 per cent of all marriages. From my recent online research (2018) it is a different story, it’s a divided city. Croats and Serbs now live separate social lives.  Schools, cafes, restaurants, sports clubs and even radio stations have been re-established according to their ethnicity.

 

 

Living in a mixed family.

Vukovar, Croatia,1998

 

Bosnia-Hercegovina

Sarajevo

Vrbanja Bridge, Sarajevo. Re- named the Suada and Olga Bridge. On April 5, 1992 two anti-war protesters, Suada Dilberović and Olga Sučić, were killed on this bridge. They are believed to be the first victims shot at the beginning of the Siege of Sarajevo.

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Romeo and Juliet Bridge, Sarajevo.

On 19th May 1993, Admira Ismić and Boško, were also killed by snipers while trying to cross the Vrbanja bridge to escape the war torn city.  Boško (Bosnian Serb) was shot by sniper fire, and died immediately.  Despite being wounded, Ismić (Bosniak Muslim) managed to crawl over to Boško before dying next to his body.

Their story was told worldwide as Serbs and Muslims argued over who was responsible for shooting them and which side should venture out on to the bridge to recover them. The couple’s bodies lay side by side on the bridge for eight days, until finally the Serbian side went in under cover of night to drag the bodies away. Muslim prisoners later claimed they were tethered by their Serbian captors and forced to go out on the bridge to drag the decaying bodies back.

Snow covered cemetery, Sarajevo, 1998

Snow covered cemetery, showing mass killings in 1993, Sarajevo, 1998

Exact figures of casualties during the Siege of Sarajevo (1992-96) are still disputed, but it is estimated that approximately 19,000 people died, 10% of them children.  Some 18,000 Serbian troops, stationed in the hills surrounding city, besieged the 340,000 citizens with constant artillery, mortar, sniper and heavy machine-gun fire. Aside from the human cost of war, the cities infrastructure also suffered greatly – buildings, roads, waterworks, power supplies. A recent report suggests that the Serb forces caused an estimated $18.5billion of damage.

Workers re-cobbling the pavement near Bascarsija square in the o

During the 1992-1995 war, Grbavica was occupied early by the Army of Republika Srpska (Bosnian Serb Army) and remained under Serb control throughout the siege. From the tall residential buildings, Serb snipers targeted the Sarajevo populace along Sniper Alley. The neighbourhood was heavily looted and destroyed.

A country destryed. A man strolls by bombed out buildings near the front line, Grbavica, Sarajevo.

Grbavica, a neighbourhood of Sarajevo was one of the most traumatised neighbourhoods in the city.

 

 

Land mines were used extensively during the war by all sides in the conflict: about 1.5 million were laid across the country between 1991-95.  In 1997, more than 600,000 refugees still remained outside the country; landmines have impeded the return of many.  Those who do return often find that their land has become a minefield.  These returning refugees have little mine awareness and having been away from their communities, they do not know the location of minefields. There are thought to be still between 51,000 and 100,000 mines covering a 310-square-mile area across the country. At least 509 people have been killed and another 1,466 wounded by the devices in Croatia since the war ended.

"Danger-Mines!' Tape warns that homes are still booby trapped with mines. Many refugees have been killed by landmines and booby traps after returning to their homes in Bosnia and Herzegovina

It is feared that the minefields will never be cleared.

The view more images CLICK here

11th Annual International Color Awards

Delighted to be a winner in the 11th Annual International Color Awards 2018.

I took a gamble this year and submitted a rather different take for the ‘Still Life’ category. The image was taken during my time as visiting assistant professor in photography and photographic design at NDU, Louaize, Beirut, Lebanon, in the late 1990’s.

Hospital for the disabled, Beirut, Lebanon

A 15-year civil war and conflicts with neighbours such as Israel have left Lebanon plagued by lasting danger, unexploded land mines and cluster munitions.

Click to see more images

So this was the email that came in late last night!

Press release

LOS ANGELES 13th March 2018

 Jacky Chapman of UK was presented with the 11th Annual International Color Awards Honorable Mention in the category of Still Life at a prestigious Nomination & Winners Photoshow streamed Saturday, March 10, 2018.

The live online gala was attended by over 12,500 photography fans around the globe who logged on to watch the climax of the industry’s most important event for color photography.

11th Annual Jury members included captains of the industry from Christie’s, Paris; Grey Group, New York; The Art Channel, London; Ogilvy & Mather, Amsterdam; Publicis Conseil, Paris; Preus Museum, Norway; Art Beatus, Hong Kong; Netflix, Los Angeles; Whitechapel Gallery, London; and Phillips, New York.

“Photography is more popular than ever. Last year around 1.2 trillion pictures were taken. In this awards show we pay tribute to the top 0.0000000001% of them” said Juror Martijn van Marle, Chief Creative Officer at Ogilvy & Mather, Amsterdam. Joshua White, Presenter and Producer on The Art Channel, London added “Judging this year’s submissions for the Color Awards was challenging. The winning images illustrate the continuing importance of photography as a way of seeing the world around us and understanding human experience.”

“It is an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 5,642 entries we received this year,” said Basil O’Brien, the awards Creative Director. Jacky Chapman’s “Hospital for the disabled, Beirut,” is an exceptional image entered in the Still Life category, represents contemporary color photography at its finest, and we’re pleased to present her with the title of Honorable Mention”

INTERNATIONAL COLOR AWARDS is the leading international award honoring excellence in color photography. 

 

Remembrance, hope and unity. Grenfell Tower fire memorial at St Paul’s.

 

Today, exactly six months after the fatal fire, a memorial service at St Paul’s Cathedral was held.  About 1,500 people attended including the survivors and the relatives of those who died, local faith groups, and members of the emergency services who were there on that devastating night.

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“Our community was devastated on the 14 June 2017. Months on, uncertainty and distress are still what we feel above anything else. Nothing significant has yet changed for the bereaved families and survivors of the fire. However, we hope that by gathering together to remember the tragedy we can begin to heal our community with the support of the whole country. United together, we can help light the way for what will undoubtedly be a long road ahead.  Shahin Sadafi, the chair of Grenfell United

On 16 November, following months of forensic investigations inside the burnt out shell of the tower, the death toll was confirmed at 71. This included Logan Gomes, who was stillborn on the day of the fire. Her heavily pregnant mother, escaped from the 21st floor, but suffered severe smoke inhalation on her way down.

 

 The Westway sports and fitness centre became one of the focal points for clothing donations. 

 

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The slide show above documents the scenes immediately after the fire.  Donations had been pouring in non-stop for about 24 hours. Volunteers sorted the clothing – boxed them up and loaded them on to awaiting vans. However the vans had nowhere to take them as warehouse space was in short supply and none of the local community centres had capacity to take any more donations.

 

Mixed emotions of the community – shock, grief, anger but most of all resilience.

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United in grief, all faiths gathered to pray for those who had perished, on that catastrophic day.  Two outdoor services occurred on Sunday 18th June in temperatures above 30C.  One, underneath the blackened shell of the tower block, conducted in both English and Arabic and despite being in the middle of Ramadan, Muslims came out to honour the dead. The second, a Christian gospel service, underneath the Westway, took the form of thunderous singing and praying and the release of balloons into the cloudless summer skies.

 

On a final note…. Homeless for Christmas

Recent figures just released acknowledge that dozens of families who survived the fire will be forced to spend Christmas in B&Bs. To put it simply, that means that whilst we are enjoying Christmas morning with our family and friends many survivors of Grenfell are facing their Christmas without a family home, cooking facilities, and loved ones. 

Kensington and Chelsea Council blame the lack of available housing as the reason why the process of finding permanent new homes for survivors has been “desperately slow” But without a permanent home how can they even start to rebuild there lives?

Six months after the catastrophic fire only 42 out of 208 families have been moved into permanent homes. Forty-eight are in temporary housing, eleven in serviced apartments, four living with loved ones and one hundred and three are still in hotels. This means that on Christmas day dozens of children will wake up in temporary shelter.

A sobering thought as we all enjoy the festive season……

 

 

 

 

NOMINEE ANNOUNCEMENT – 12th Annual Black and White Spider Awards

Happy to share that in the 12th annual edition of the B&W Spider Awards, my photograph ‘Aftermath. France’s forgotten migrant camp Grande-Synthe’ was nominated in the Still Life category.  The image forms part of a series of photographs covering the six month period before the final evictions from the Calais Jungle refugee camp, Northern France.

Aftermath. France’s ‘forgotten migrant camp Grande-Synthe.

Seemingly abstract images capture the lives of real people, in real time, fleeing oppression. Swathes of sodden clothing and other artifacts remain – shoes, boots, duvets, tents and sleeping bags. The objects look to be awaiting fossilization into future ancient relics and testaments to what may prove to be a forgotten history as the camp could well be eventually buried by new developments in northern France (Dunkirk).

LOS ANGELES October 2017- Professional photographer Jacky Chapman was presented with the 12th Annual Black and White Spider Awards Nominee title in the category of Still Life at a prestigious Nomination & Winners PhotoShow streamed Saturday, October 14, 2017.

The live online gala was attended by over 11,000 photography fans around the globe who logged on to watch the climax of the industry’s most important event for black and white photography. 12th Annual jury members included captains of the industry from The Armory Show, New York; Christie’s, London; McCann, Singapore; GQ, New York; Hot Docs Film Festival, Toronto; Y&R, Malaysia; Sharon Calahan, Pixar Animation Studios, Emeryville; Bloomsbury Auctions, London; and Donald Schneider Studios, Berlin who honored Spider Fellows with 672 coveted title awards and 1034 nominees in 31 categories.

“Spider Awards 2017 proves once again to be a great challenge for the jury to select the best images of the year. Every year this photographic competition increases its quality of content, reputation and prestige” said juror Andrea de Polo, Cultural Heritage Consultant at Fratelli Alinari Photo Archive in Florence.

Curator and Arts Writer Paola Anselmi added “Congratulations to all the winners. A great deal of humanity and soul in this year’s selection, maybe it is a sign of the times and a promise for future awards and photography in general.”

“It’s an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 8,121 entries we received this year” said Basil O’Brien, the awards Creative Director. “Jacky Chapman’s Aftermath. France’s ‘forgotten migrant camp Grande-Synthe’ is an exceptional image  representing black and white photography at its finest, and we’re pleased to present her with the title of Nominee.”

BLACK & WHITE SPIDER AWARDS is the leading international award honoring excellence in black and white photography. This celebrated event shines a spotlight on the best professional and amateur photographers worldwide and honors the finest images with the highest achievements in black and white photography. http://www.thespiderawards.com

‘Dead in the water’ – 5,083 Gingerbread Refugees (2016)

This year I submitted an uncharacteristically large piece of artwork to the Royal Academy summer show.

I take consolation in knowing that I’m following in the foot steps of great masters like Courbet, Manet and Pissarro, whose works were also rejected for the Great Salon Exhibition in 1863 Paris.

As a result, my installation, along with many others that were refused, is to be shown at the Salon des Refusés at Candid Arts Trust, 3-5 Torrens Street, Islington, London EC1V 1NQ from  1-4 June.

‘Dead in the water’ – 5,083 Gingerbread Refugees (2016)

Dead in the water. 5,083 Gingerbread Refugees (2016)

‘Dead in the water’ – 5,083 Gingerbread Refugees (2016)

The beginning of 2017 was punctuated by the announcement that 2016 had been the deadliest year on record for refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean, with most deaths occurring off the Greek and Italian coastlines.

I’m not a sculptor; I’m a photographer of 30 years. Even though I’ve photographed refugees and migrants in camps in northern France, I felt that my images captured only a small part of the story. In January 2017, I decided to make 5,083 tiny gingerbread men using a 2cm cookie cutter………..

The creation of the art piece 

Using air drying terracotta clay, each man was created taking well over two weeks to complete. The final body count was a family affair and the reality hit home to us all as the ginger bread men, women and children piled ever higher on our dining room table.

Each tiny refugee was individually glued down to a plywood base. This exacting process took an additional two weeks, truly a labour of love!
Dead in the water. 5,083 Gingerbread Refugees (2016)

The last few left to glue down!

The finished floor-based installation, measuring 6ft x 45″ entailed drawing around a very compliant teenage son!
Dead in the water. 5,083 Gingerbread Refugees (2016)
Detail showing the  5,083 two centimetre high figures, each one representing the harrowing number of refugees that died in the Mediterranean in 2016.
Dead in the water. 5,083 Gingerbread Refugees (2016)
Just a final thought…….on average, 14 people died every single day amounting to 5,083 individuals by year end. This year 2017,  Jan 1 – May 3, the total so far – 1,096.

Salon des Refusés

Candid Arts Trust

3-5 Torrens Street

Islington

London EC1V 1NQ

1-4 June 2017

 

In Transit. A photographic exhibition focusing on the daily experience of refugees living in the ‘Calais Jungle’ and the ‘Grande-Synthe’ camp in Dunkirk.

Last week I was truly delighted to have my image of  ‘Shop Keeper in The Calais Jungle’ nominated in the portrait section of the International Color Awards. This has prompted me to post some images from the actual exhibition.

Over the 6 months prior to the final eviction in October 2016, fellow photographer  Janine Wiedel and I documented daily life in the Calais Jungle as well as the Grande-Synthe refugee camp in Northern France.

 

The resulting exhibition ‘In Transit’ had its initial viewing at The James Caird Hall at Dulwich College, London.

 

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Sue Mulholland Director of Art, Dulwich College, records:

In Transit provided us with a platform to engage students across the curriculum in a debate about wider cultural, social and most importantly humanitarian issues that are too often skewed by social media and the press. Jacky and Janine’s sensitive and extremely well observed photos engaged our students from Year 6 to Year 13 in discussions about our national, and their own, responsibility for global problems. 

The exhibition brings the migrant crisis to our doorstep; the powerful visuals evoke and provoke a reaction. These are insights and detail we are not used to seeing, the day to day living in the camps, the true reality of a refugee’s situation. The exhibition opens the door to wider conversations and deeper understanding.  As well as invaluable educational stimulus across many subject areas (Geography, History, PSHE, RT, Art, Architecture, English), it teaches our students about their places in the world.  

The Calais Jungle. All photographs by ©Jacky Chapman

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‘La Linière’ camp, in Grande-Synthe, Dunkirk.  All photographs by ©Jacky Chapman

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I recently returned to ‘The Jungle’ to see what had become of it. The containers are still there…..the rest razed to the ground. Local aid agencies are now reporting that some 400 refugees/migrants are returning to Calais (approx. 15 per day) mainly teenagers and young adults. Police are still patrolling the jungle to prevent its resurgence. According to recent reports the mayor of Calais has banned the distribution of meals by aid agencies in an attempt to stop a new refugee camp starting up again.

Water carrier, The Jungle, Calais, Northern France

The remains of The jungle, 24th December 2016

All that remains of the once famous Calais Jungle. The containers are all that’s now visible.