Geoffrey Hiller/ Daybreak in Myanmar Book Launch December 11, 2014Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Burma, Myanmar.
Tags: Burma, Myanmar
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Editor’s note: I’ll be out of the country this January in Myanmar and will resume showcasing new photographers on February 2, 2015. Hard to believe that Verve Photo has featured close to 1,000 photographers from over 80 countries during the past seven years. Happy New Year to all of you out there!
Listening to a transistor radio in a Yangon tea shop, Myanmar 2013
These images are from my new book Daybreak in Myanmar. I’ve returned to Burma several times since my first trip in 1987. The country was frozen in time until a few years ago when the government announced a democratic opening. Most of the visible economic and social changes have occurred in Yangon, but in the villages change is slower. On-going trouble in the border areas with ethnic minorities (including the Rohingya) continues to flare. The Burmese people know that there is still a lot of political uncertainty going forward.
Students near the university, Yangon 2012
The book is 192 pages with 170 color photographs printed on 157 gsm matte art paper. Trim size is 18.5 x 25.5 cm. It’s sequenced by time of day showing Burmese daily rhythms and includes six short interviews with leading Burmese writers and activists by UK journalist Francis Wade. Order a copy of the book here $29.95 + shipping. Thanks for supporting this project. By doing so you are supporting documentary photography and all of the work that has gone into creating Verve Photo.
River shrine, Hpa-an 2000
Vincent Catala December 8, 2014Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Brazil.
Central do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro 2014
Vincent Catala (b. 1975, France) lives and works between Europe and Brazil. In 2000 he graduated from McGill University with a Masters Degree in Intellectual Property. He became a photographer in 2006 after having various jobs. Vincent often photographs for urban planning and architecture clients. He also does portraits for music labels and the press. Since 2012 he has been involved in a personal research focusing on the evolution of the city of Rio de Janeiro. His work has been the subject of various exhibitions in Paris, Amman, Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, Tbilisi, Braga and was awarded several prizes and has been published in Le Monde, Télérama and The Sunday Times Magazine. He is represented by Agence VU.
About the Photograph:
“This picture was taken in April 2014, next to the bus station Central do Brasil, in Centro. It was raining and this guy looked lost and a bit crazy. Normally I do my personal work with a large format camera, but in this situation I took the photograph with a 6×7 camera. It’s part of my current work about Rio de Janeiro because (contrary to what many people think) I feel there a lot of loneliness/emptiness here. There is probably in that vision a lot of my personal story, and this is why I always shape my work taking into consideration the space as well as the individuals, trying to extract from their interaction a common sense (place in the world, freedom). I love to work in Rio when the weather is gray and rainy (also because in color, when it’s sunny, the light proves often too harsh for me). There is no sadness in this kind of picture for me, rather a quest about oneself and the place surrounding us, searching a sense and an order.”
Elena Chernyshova December 4, 2014Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Russia.
Norilsk , Russia 2012.
Elena Chernyshova (b.1981 USSR) is a self-taught photographer who after two years of work as an architect left her job and bicycled from Toulouse to Vladivostok and back again: 30,000 kilometers, 26 countries and 1,004 days. The trip led her to decide to become a photographer. In 2011 she received a grant from the Lagardère Foundation to create the photo documentary ‘Days of Night – Nights of Day’ about the daily life of the industrial city of Norilsk, located 400 kilometers north of the polar circle, in Siberia. Elena’s work has been published in National Geographic, Le Monde, Internazionale, Days Japan, A/R magazine, Newsweek Russia, and Ecology and Life. Her awards include: World Press Photo 2014; Days Japan Awards and others.
About the Photograph:
“I was attracted by this couple and wanted to do a photo without disturbing them but at the last moment the girl noticed me and glanced in my direction. We spoke a bit after. They were both born in Norilsk. Their parents came in the 1970’s, attracted by high salaries and economic advantages. They planned to work for five years and leave, but ended up staying. A typical Norilsk story. Now the young are dreaming of leaving Norilsk to build their own lives in other parts of Russia. There are no green areas in Norilsk so people have to travel 30 kilometers by bus and walk for about four kilometers to reach nature.”
Pierfrancesco Celada December 1, 2014Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Japan.
Shibuya Station, Tokyo 2011
Pierfrancesco Celada (b.1979, Italy) has a PhD in Bio Mechanics but is currently working as a freelance photographer. In 2011 he interned at Magnum Photo and won the Ideastap and Magnum Photographic Award for his project Japan, I wish I knew your name, his current book project. Pierfrancesco’s work has been exhibited internationally and published in Newsweek, Times Lightbox, Amica, D-LaRepubblica. He is currently working on the second chapter of Modern Megalopolis: People Mountain People Sea about life in Chinese Mega-cities.
About the Photograph:
“The Japanese megalopolis is a strip of land that stretches on the east side of Honshu Island through Kobe, Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo. More then 80 million people live in close contact, making it one of the most densely populated regions in the world. This photo was shot outside Shibuya station in Tokyo, a few hundreds meters away from the well-known Shibuya crossing. Behind the glass is a smoking area where thousands of commuters stop for a cigarette. The space is narrow and the chances for interaction are high, but people choose not to interact.”
“My goal was to look at the difference between rural societies where people have more of an active role, with multiple connections and greater effect on the community compared to cities where people often struggle to communicate with each other. The aim of the project is trying to answer questions such as: Is it still important to be, or feel, part of a group? Are we alone in the crowd? My book project Hitoride is currently being featured on the crowd funding site indeastap”
Phil Moore November 27, 2014Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Congo, DR Congo.
Tags: Congo, DR Congo
Congolese army soldiers celebrate immediately after recapturing the town of
Bunagana from M23 rebels, DRC 2013
Phil Moore (b. 1982, U.K.) studied Computer Science at the University of Sheffield, specializing in Artificial Intelligence. Having worked for a year as a research associate in AI, and then three years as a web-designer in Paris, France, he set-out to make a career in photojournalism. His first work was covering the South Sudanese referendum for independence in 2011, and since then has covered the Arab Spring in Libya and Syria, the M23 rebellion in the DRC, and various elections across the African continent. He has worked extensively with Agence France-Presse (AFP), and contributes to magazines such as Der Spiegel and Vanity Fair (Italy), as well as daily newspapers, including the Times of London, the New York Times, the Guardian, Le Monde and Libération. He is currently based in Nairobi, Kenya, predominantly covering East Africa.
About the Photograph:
“I had been documenting the rise, and subsequent fall, of the M23 rebel group in eastern Congo since their inception in April 2012. The early days of the rebellion were marked by rapid advances and victories over what was seen as a demoralized and disorganized national army. In July last year, the tide shifted, and the army started recapturing rebel-territory, pushing them back to the hills around the Ugandan border. When I took this photograph on October 30, 2013, I was with an advance party of government soldiers as they retook Bunagana, the last rebel strong-hold.”
“The previous year, I had spent weeks in Bunagana as it shifted from government control to rebel hands, crossing the border every night to sleep in neighboring Uganda. The town—and its few hotels—had emptied due to the fighting. I remember a United Nations commander coming and telling the remaining townspeople that his troops would “never let Bunagana fall to the rebels”. Two months later, I stood in the same spot as M23 militia men milled around. It took fifteen months for the army to recapture it. On my early trips to Bunagana, it was very difficult to document the conflict. The government had formally prohibited journalists from crossing over into rebel territory, which we therefore did surreptitiously. I remember one morning, when the army had been caught off-guard by an early raid. They raised their rifle butts at me as they filed past, infuriated by the sight of my cameras documenting their defeat.”
“The soldiers recapturing Bunagana were a world away from this aggression that I had previously experienced. The group pictured above were part of a Chinese-trained group of commandos. They had recaptured the town maybe 45 minutes earlier, and were now singing and celebrating with break dancing and Karate demonstrations as gunshots rang out in the surrounding hills, all the while chanting ‘Commando Chinois!’ (Chinese commandos, in French.) The residents of Bunagana flooded back over the border from Uganda, where they had taken refuge. At first glance, this image is one of aggression: soldiers and fists. The expression of the guy on the ground is slightly ambiguous, but his fake cry was shrouded in delight of their victory.”
Joseph Vitone November 24, 2014Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
Tags: United States
Grandmother, Sandra Vitone; mother, Arathea Booth; and granddaughter, Elizabeth Dunn,
with pool and palm tree backdrop. Marshallville, Ohio 2009
Joseph Vitone (b.1954,USA) is a documentary fine art photographer and educator living in Austin, Texas. His work consists of large format portraiture and landscape in the United States as well as panoramic and other views examining cultures abroad. He is Professor at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas where he has lived with his family since 1991. In 2001 he was a senior Fulbright scholar in fine art teaching and working on a photography project centered around small scale family based agriculture in Costa Rica. His work has been exhibited at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, Instituto Cultural Peruano-Norteamericano in Lima, Peru, Blue Sky Gallery in Portland, and the Houston Center for Photography in Texas. His work is held in a number of collections including the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Center for Creative Photography, the Museum of Fine Art, Houston, and the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History.
About the Photograph:
“Arathea’s mother, Sandra, is a creative person who loves putting together a good party. By profession a cook, a baker, and a caterer and by avocation a thrift store shopper, she supplements well-considered but inexpensive props with items gleaned from Goodwill and other second hand stores to assemble themed parties near birthday time of her daughter, Arathea. The annual events occur when Sandra is able to make a summer visit to Ohio from her residence in Austin, Texas. This year they are having a luau among the corn and soybean fields of Wayne County.”
Maija Tammi November 20, 2014Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Kyrgyzstan.
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan 2013
Maija Tammi (b. 1985, Finland) is currently working on her doctoral thesis in photography at Aalto University. Her photographs and sculptures converse on topics around disgust, fear and abnormality. In 2011 she won the Fotofinlandia award (the largest photography award in Finland) and the Photojournalist of the Year 2010 award. Her work has been exhibited at Photographic Gallery Hippolyte in Helsinki and one at Gallerija Makina in Pula, Croatia and in group shows at the New York Photo Festival and at the gallery Bar Floreal in Paris. Her photographs have appeared in OjodePez and Polka magazines. Maija is member of the Finnish documentary photography collective 11. Her first book Leftover/Removals ( Kehrer Verlag) was recently published.
About the Photograph:
“The people in this photograph are hoping for someone to see them. It was made in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in the spring 2013 while on assignment for the Red Cross. These local people are looking for their long lost relatives. They are holding photos of their relatives for the videographer in the hope that someone will see their photographs. I was taking photos close to the cameraman and was misidentified as part of the Russian TV crew, although I am wearing a Red Cross badge. I had no way of correcting the mistake while they were filming. The people were pushing each other trying to get to the front of the crowd holding photographs of sons, daughters, brothers, mothers, and uncles. Most of the photos were decades old. One showed a niece, who moved to Kazakhstan when she was 21, another showing a husband’s brother, who left to find work in Uzbekistan over 20 years ago.”
Amanda Mustard November 17, 2014Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.
Cheng Yun, 75th Anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre. Nanjing, China 2012
Amanda Mustard (b. 1990, USA) is a freelance photojournalist based in Cairo. Born and raised on a Pennsylvania Christmas tree farm, she has worked on stories in Mid-East, China, and across Southeast Asia for Redux Pictures, Wonderful Machine, ZUMA Press, and Polaris Images. Amanda is a member of the Kōan Collective, Makeshift Magazine Editorial Board, and the Frontline Freelance Register Board. In 2013, she attended the New York Times Portfolio Review, Eddie Adams Workshop XXVI, and RISC (Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues) Training. She is one of Photo Boite and the Telegraph’s 30 Under 30 Women Photographers for 2014.
About the Photograph:
“This is a portrait of Cheng Yun, a 92 year old survivor of the 1937-38 Japanese invasion of China’s then-capital of Nanjing. In 2012, I began a Kickstarter-funded project to track down the few remaining survivors of the ‘Rape of Nanjing’, the 6-week occupation that claimed the lives of over 350,000 civilians, 80,000 of which were brutally raped. Cheng sat on his bed in an icy one-room flat in a slum that was, ironically, across the street from the multi-million dollar Nanjing Massacre Memorial complex. Surrounded by photos of his days as a military man in the Nationalist Army of the Republic of China, he divulged the true story of his past, only after learning that my good friend and translator’s grandfather escaped to Hong Kong when the Communist party took power. Unable to escape to Taiwan with his comrades, his subsequent refusal to tow the new party line landed him in a reeducation camp for eight years, and his pension and military merit were stripped from him. Today, he’s paraded as a ‘war hero’ by the party, but agrees to the public showings out of respect to the past, and in the hope he could somehow restore his standing.”
“Cheng took a risk that gave a whole new meaning to the project I had come to work on. Publishing his candid account of the current party’s faults could have had dire effects on him and his nephew, who was his only remaining family member and full time caretaker. In the meantime, I shared Cheng’s story with my Facebook friends and Kickstarter backers, asking for donations that could be given directly to him to help with his living costs and medical bills. In less than 24 hours, we received $1,100. Two years later, I found news that he had passed quietly in his sleep. Media reports surrounding his death are surreal, tailoring, omitting, and editing his statements to the point where his last words aren’t consistent. His suffering will never be easy for me to accept, but his perseverance and devotion to justice and the truth is something I will always carry with me both personally and as a journalist.”
Ramin Rahimian November 13, 2014Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
Tags: United States
Dancing Rabbit Eco-village. Rutledge, Missouri2009.
Ramin Rahimian (b. 1981, Iran) is an American freelance documentary and editorial photographer based in Petaluma, California, north of San Francisco. He received his B.A. in political science and international relations from the University of California, Berkeley. There, he worked on the photography staff of the student-run newspaper for four years. After college, he worked for two years as a staff photographer at the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper. Since 2006, he has been a freelance photographer working for clients such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Education Week, and San Francisco Magazine. He was named Utah photographer of the year in 2007, 2008, and 2009. Some of his work has been recognized by POY and NPPA Best of Photojournalism.
About the Photograph:
“Family members and members of Dancing Rabbit and the nearby Red Earth community celebrate the 60th birthday of Laird Schaub, left, a founding member of nearby Sandhill Farm community and husband of Dancing Rabbit member Ma’ikwe Schaub-Ludwig, in the new mercantile building at the Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in Rutledge, Missouri, on Friday, October 23, 2009. Long time members of Dancing Rabbit, Alline Anderson and her husband Kurt Kessner have built the Milkweed Mercantile that will serve as a community general store, a bed and breakfast, and a center of education for all things Dancing Rabbit for the public.
Established in 1997 through a land trust, Dancing Rabbit is an eco village community located on 280 acres in rural northeastern Missouri. With over 50 visitors, residents, and full members and growing, Dancing Rabbit focuses on community values and strives to limit its impact on the environment by being ecologically and socially conscientious. As much as they can, Rabbits live sustainable lifestyles and strive to demonstrate that to society and inspire others to do the same. While food is bought in bulk from local businesses, the goal is to eventually grow the majority of their own food on the Dancing Rabbit land. Rabbits build their homes using alternative techniques such as straw bale, cob, and recycled building materials and produce electricity through solar and wind power.
This photograph was made during one of my two trips to Dancing Rabbit. It was a birthday celebration and dinner held in the the newly-built mercantile building. I saw it as a great opportunity to show warmth, friendship, and deep connections between not only Dancing Rabbit members, b-t members of other smaller nearby communities. I love this photograph because of each person’s expressions and mannerisms. There is warmth and a comfort that is conveyed by their ease. I felt very welcomed by everyone as they drank and drank bottles of wine that night. There was a relaxed hedonism going on that I think comes through.”
Vasantha Yogananthan November 10, 2014Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in France.
Tina, Piémanson, France 2013
Vasantha Yogananthan (b. 1985, France) and lives and works in Paris, France. His work has been exhibited at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, 2012), the Musée Albert-Kahn (Boulogne-Billancourt (2013), and the Maison de l’Image Documentaire (Sète, 2014) among others. In 2013, he was selected for the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass. His photographs have been published in Le Monde, Geo and the New York Times. He was included in the “Top 30 under Thirty” organized by Magnum Photos. Along with his work as a photographer. Vasantha has co-founded a small publishing house named Chose Commune. His first Piémanson book was selected among the 12 finalists of MACK First Book Award and Best Book of the Year at Kassel PhotoBook Festival.
About the Photograph:
“The series “Piémanson” tells the story of the last wild beach in France. In the photograph you can see bed sheets from the hotel that have been cut to make flags on top of the caravan. Her parents first brought Tina to the beach when she was only one and over the years the place has become a second home for her. Every summer I came to Piémanson, I spent time with Tina and her brother and sister, following them in the hundred of activities children always find on the beach during summertime.”
“I took many portraits of her but I felt none was really conveying a sense of who she was. Maybe it was because I was too close, so I started taking a step back in terms of distance. 2013 was the last summer I took photographs for this project. After five summers living with this community I could no longer take pictures without repeating myself. It was the end of the season and people were starting to dismantle their camps. The atmosphere was heavy as every year campers leave without knowing whether they will be allowed to reinvent their enchanted interlude the following year. Tina was picking up her things on the top of the caravan and I immediately saw the whole scene as a perfect match to convey this feeling of melancholia. I carefully set my tripod, composed the frame and then shouted to ask her to stop moving which she did but not as long as the exposure. You can see her head slightly moving. Tina, like a princess in her kingdom, seems to be protecting Piémanson from her fortress.
Jordan Stead November 6, 2014Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
Tags: United States
Sasquatch music festival in George, Washington. 2014
Jordan Stead (b. 1988) is a staff photographer for the Seattle PI.com and graduate of Western Washington University, currently residing in Seattle. Over the years, Jordan worked both internationally and domestically with such outlets as High Country News, ZUMA Press, The New York Times, Chevron and the Seattle International Film Festival. He is an alumnus of the Eddie Adams Workshop and Missouri Photo Workshop, and serves on the board of the National Press Photographers Association. He frequently gives back to the rich photographic community that raised him by regularly returning to schools around the region to speak on the merits of the photographic life.
About the Photograph:
“This photograph was made during the summer of 2014 in the campgrounds outside of the Sasquatch music festival in eastern Washington. A bit of honesty here: I rarely make photographs with the initial intention to portray deeper meaning. I love beauty, and quite simply, I strive to entertain. When viewing my work, nothing makes me happier than to know that someone, somewhere, feels like their eyes just ate a piece of candy, or went out to a movie. Photographers – especially photojournalists – created a glossary of DOs and DO NOTs that when combined together, somehow sum up what we consider to be a good, strong or powerful image; an archetype of our own design. The reality is that 99 percent of viewers do not have a clue what went into creating the image, but if it is truly something gorgeous, they will feel it. Light, shape, color, moment; all are visual gifts given to photographers to capture the world with in our own special ways. Everyone has a special sauce. In the age of millions of photos published per day, you can shoot all you want, and it often does not equate to anything. But to single someone out, grab their attention and hold their gaze for longer than a split second? That’s success.”
Ore Huiying November 3, 2014Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Laos.
The one and only 3.5 km railway line on the Laos/ Thai border 2011
Ore Huiying (b.1982, Singapore) moved to the UK in 2010 and completed her MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication. Three years later she returned to Singapore as her photography is focused on investigating the development of Southeast Asian societies in the global context. Her work have been published in Le Monde, Liberation, The British Journal of Photography, Ojo de Pez and the BBC. Ore was named one of the ten emerging photographers in Singapore and was selected to participate in the First Asian Women Photographers’ Showcase at the Angkor Photo Festival. Last year, she was nominated for the Sagamihara Photo City’s Asia Prize (Japan) and received a Select Award in the Kuala Lumpur International Photo Award. She is currently based in Singapore.
About the Photograph:
“This image is part of a series in progress The Eternal Fatigue of an Incomplete Dream that aims to explore the dichotomy of Laos’ culture that is on the brink of change. It depicts the end of a railway track at Laos’ first and only train station. The existing track is only 3.5km, crossing over the Mekong River from Thailand and ends at the border of Laos. Poor and landlocked Laos harbors a grand ambition to build a high-speed railway line that would connect it to neighboring China in the north. For a country where no train has run except for an abandoned short portage railway built by its former colonial master, this is a mammoth task- one driven by the government’s desire to open up the country and tap into its abundant natural resources.”
“My first trip to Laos was in 2010, where I photographed the same scene in the digital format. I went back subsequently every year. This particular image was taken in 2011, when I had started to shoot the series in the medium format. Nothing has changed over the years. On several occasions, the Laos government were in talks with the Chinese government to come on board the high-speed railway project; yet no deal was made. With a lack of funding and technical knowledge, Laos faces constant frustrations to progress beyond its 3.5km railway track. In my most recent trip to Laos in March 2014, I discovered that construction has started in the land behind the depicted scene. However, the new construction is not due to an extension of the track, it’s for a new road. The ambitious high-speed railway project remains a dream. Yet one thing is for sure, change is coming, even to isolated Laos.”
Frederik Buyckx October 30, 2014Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Brazil.
Favela La Mineira, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 2014
Frederik Buyckx (b.1984, Belgium) received his master’s degree in advertising design at St-Lucas Antwerp and studied photography at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent. In 2010 he became a freelance photographer and has worked on assignments for National Geographic Magazine, The New York Times and the Belgian Newspaper De Standaard. Besides his freelance assignments he also works on independent photo-essays. His latest work Jesus, Make-up and Football about the favelas in Rio de Janeiro won several prizes such as : Honorable Mention in World Press Photo, Belgian Young Promising Photographer Award, Prize Paule Pia from the Photo Museum in Antwerp and the ANI Pix Palace Award.
About the Photograph:
“This photo became one of my signature images for the series I made about the favelas in Rio de Janeiro. I met this guy when I was walking in one of the streets in favela La Mineira and was immediately attracted by the wings he had tattooed on his back. For me it was a combination of two themes that are very present in this community: religion and body culture. The wings of the angels with the words about God obviously show his devotion. On the other hand, it is a magnificent example of how all Brazilians are proud of their bodies, loving to show their muscles and skin and decorating them with tattoos. It’s up to the viewer to decide whether this guy is a real angel or not.”
Bego Antón October 27, 2014Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Spain.
Conil de la Frontera, Spain 2010
Bego Antón (b. 1983 Spain) is a documentary photographer based in Barcelona. She studied journalism at the University of the Basque Country and specialised in documentary photography in Barcelona. Her photographic work usually explores the love-hate relationships humans have with nature and animals. She also shows particular interest in the small groups that seem strange to a part of society. Her work has been published in The Brithis Journal of Photography, Stand Quarterly and Pretty Good Summer, among others. She has been chosen as a participant in the Joop Swart Masterclass of World Press Photo 2014.
About the Photograph:
“Some years ago I suddenly became interested in taking pictures in a campsite. My aunt and uncle had gone camping for years in the same campsite in the south of Spain so I decided to call them and ask if I could join them for the summer. What I didn’t k now (nor any member in our family did) was that the campsite was actually a naturalist campsite. I had a huge freedom to take pictures. I used to walk only holding my Hasselblad in my hands and the light meter hanging from my neck. The girl in the picture had just arrived in the campsite and was mounting her tent. We’d been talking for a while when she went inside to mount the mat, and that’s when I made the photo. Everything seemed to work inside the frame.”