Irish-born documentary photographer Ivor Prickett dedicates his time to completing long-term photographic projects, whilst at the same time carrying out editorial assignments for a wide range of international clients. Prickett has worked on numerous projects, and is particularly interested in post-war areas dealing with the aftermath of conflict. Currently, Prickett is based in the Middle East where he has been documenting th revolutions in Egypt and Libya.
Amongst his documentary photo-stories, Prickett carries out many commissioned portraiture shoots for various magazines, newspapers and journals – including the Sunday The National, the Saturday and Sunday Telegraph, and Fader magazine. The majority of these portraits are shot on medium format.
This is one of my favourite portraits by Prickett. It is of top Syrian Jockey Bourhan Sallah after winning a race at Latakia racecourse in North-Western Syria as part of a body of work commissioned by The National magazine. I think that this is a very simple but brilliant portrait, with a spacious frame and ambient light. The use of colour by Prickett picks up on the brightness of the jockey’s yellow uniform, which immediately catches the eye amongst the more conservative hues. There is a great sense of direction in this photograph, too, even though it is a static shot – the lines cut in to the sand to form the racecourse are emphasised by the white fence which runs adjacent to it, leading the eye inwards towards the subject. This is all contained in the square frame of the medium format exposure, which helps to give a sense of equality and completion which makes the portrait that more compelling.
The Libyan uprising started in mid-February 2011, at the peak of the ‘Arab Spring’, following the example of countries such as Tunisia and Egypt. Prickett travelled to Libya twice during this time, witnessing brutal fighting and its aftermath, as well as the “eerie normality” that descended on the country as it became clear that Col Gaddafi would not go down easily.
As with his portraiture, Prickett documented the Libyan conflict with a medium format film camera, capturing the events in stunning clarity and colour. I chose this shot of rebel forces – reacting to incoming shells fired by Gaddafi’s loyalists – as an example because it shows the extremely dangerous and difficult conditions Prickett would have been working under – especially when using a medium format film camera. The results, however, were definitely worth the effort, as what ensued are a fantastic set of images that document the uprising in a whole new way. The decision to use medium format film instead of a 35mm digital SLR shows the conflict in stunning quality and colour, picking up on the details and hues that are abundant in the Libyan landscape: the arid desert sand and rock; the dark hues of the weaponry and vehicles; the deep blues of the immaculate Middle Eastern skies. The above shot is in fact not my favourite image of Prickett’s from the set, but it is the best example of his dedication and talent as a photojournalist to shoot with medium format in extremely dangerous conditions – for that, I respect Prickett a lot and I look forward to seeing more work of house in the future.