California Redux, BJP’s September 2015 issue, is dedicated to the documentary photographers unheralded by their generation, and now rightfully considered as greats. It’s available in print and digital download now.
San Francisco photographers from the 1980s. James Ellroy’s raid of the LAPD archives. An Iranian photographer, a Magnum legend in the making. Each is featured, exclusively, in the new issue of British Journal of Photography, available to buy now.
BJP September 2015 is a documentary issue dedicated to shining a light on the photographers forgotten by their generation, unrecognised by their native culture, but creating acerbic, politically-charged and revealing documentary photography works.
We’ve featured these photographers for the fact that photographic canons, the pantheons of accepted greats, can feel pretty permanent while they last.
But the celebrated photographer of today can easily be a historical footnote of tomorrow, and the obscure images lost in the archive one day can easily take centre stage the next.
This, we think, is what’s happening to the three photographers profiled in this month’s cover image – Mimi Plumb, Janet Delaney and Michael Jang, all of whom hit their stride in California in the 1970s and 80s. Making acute documentary work with a historical or political bent, they never quite got the critical acclaim they deserved – until now. Now institutions such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and publishing houses such as Mack Books are getting behind them, giving them a place alongside the better-known photographic greats of their time with monographs and solo shows.