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Brandon Kruse July 31, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Vito Palmere in a nursing home near Philadelphia

Brandon Kruse was born 1985 and currently works as a staff photojournalist at the The Gainesville Sun in Gainesville, Florida. In 2007, he graduated with a degree in photojournalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia’s Missouri School of Journalism. Previously, he lived in Sydney, Australia working as a media researcher for a quasi-autonomous NGO researching minority portrayals in Australian print media. His awards include the National Press Photographers Association, Pictures of the Year International, College Photographer of the Year, Society of Professional Journalists, and Florida Society of Newspaper Editors. As a native of rural Iowa, his interests lie in photographing the life’s of working-class agricultural and industrial America, and pursuing multimedia as a form of storytelling.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph was taken while I was working on a story with Rose and Vito Palmere in a nursing home just outside of Philadelphia. The story was going to be about living the last years together in a nursing home and adjusting to life in a home after the tragic loss of their son and caregiver. At any rate, the story fell through for one of thousands of reasons they do, but in the time I was with them, I photographed much of their daily routine. It just so happened that every Friday, Rose would go downstairs and play bingo, and Vito, not much of a socialite, would catch up on his sleep and listen to the Phillie’s play on the radio. It was during that time that this photograph was taken. The calendar on the wall, which was several months behind, was given to them by their son, before his death. A lot of my people think this is a portrait, and I guess you could call it that, but Vito tended to zone out quite a bit, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t even know I was in the room when this was taken.”

Peter van Agtmael July 30, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Chile.
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Valparaiso, Chile 2007

Peter van Agtmael (B. 1981, USA) has been covering the American wars and their consequences since the beginning of 2006.  He was the winner in 2007 of a World Press award for his work on night raids in Iraq, and was selected for the 2008 World Press Joop Swart Masterclass.  Van Agtmael’s work on the wars won the Critical Mass book award.  He helped organize the Battlespace project, a multi-platform retrospective of largely unseen images from dozens of photographers covering Iraq and Afghanistan. Peter is a recently nominated member of Magnum Photos.

About the Phoitograph:

“This picture is part of a small series of photos that has some significance to me.  It was taken in Valparaiso, Chile at the end of 2007.  I was on a small trip around South America with my girlfriend at the time.  I had lived in Valparaiso in 2002 as an exchange student, which turned out to be a very important experience.  It was the first time that I really dedicated myself to picture taking, and at the end the experience I knew definitively that I wanted to be a photographer.   This was my first time back, and while my girlfriend worked I would go on long walks around the city to take pictures and think about all that had happened in the five years that had passed. At the time I took this picture, I had spent much of the previous two years photographing war in Iraq, Afghanistan, and their consequences at home.  It had been a really intense period, and I wasn’t taking many pictures for pure pleasure.  My few weeks in South America really gave me a shot in the arm, and although many of the pictures were failures, it felt like a small evolution in my way of seeing.”

Abir Abdullah July 29, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Bangladesh.
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Cyclone Survivors, Bangladesh 2007

Abir Abdullah (b.1971, Bangladesh) began his photography career in 1996 at Drik Picture Library in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is currently working with the European Press Photo Agency as a Bangladesh correspondent. His photographs have been published in Time, Newsweek, Der Speigel, New Internationalist, The Guardian, International Herald Tribune, Asiaweek, Stern and Geo. Abir won the Mother Jones award for his documentary project about the War Veterans of Bangladesh in 2001.

About the Photograph:

Bangladeshi people who lived beside the sea move towards safe shelter before cyclone Sidr hits at Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh in November 2007. The cyclone crossed the coastal areas causing strong wind, pounding rain and tidal waves. Disaster shelters on stilts housing refugees plus early warning systems and timely evacuations appear to have greatly reduced the fatalities from Sidr. The cyclone killed over 3,000 people and left  over 20,000 homeless but was much less than the 140,000 that died in 1991.

Farah Nosh July 28, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Iraq.
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Canadian-born photographer Farah Nosh graduated in 2002 from the Western Academy of Photography in Victoria, British Columbia. In September 2002 Nosh moved to Iraq where she was based for 11 months. Nosh has also worked in Lebanon, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria. In 2005, Nosh began a large format photography project documenting the remaining fluent speakers of the threatened Haida language in northwestern Canada and southeast Alaska. Nosh’s 2006 Iraq work was published in TIME, The New York Times, American Photo and The Independent Magazine. Nosh is currently represented by Getty Images. Her awards include: Overseas Press Club of America, 2007, (POYi) 2007, PDN Nikon Storyteller Award, 2007, National Press Photographers Association, 2006, National Geographic Grant, 2006 and PDN “30 Under 30″ 2005.

About the Photograph:

Nosh is also Iraqi, but she had never known her family in Iraq before the conflict began. When the U.S.-led war against Iraq began in March 2003, she made the difficult decision to leave the compound of western journalists, working under the watchful eye of the Iraqi regime, and live isolated in a small house in western Baghdad with her family. She spent the war having hardly a sense of what was going on outside their home. Instead, Nosh has returned to Iraq repeatedly, covering both the Iraqi civilian side and embedding with American military forces.

Danilo Balducci July 25, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Azerbaijan.
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Garbage Dump Near Baku. Azerbaijan, 2007

Danilo Balducci (Italy, b.1971) has always been fascinated by photography and the communicative power of images. He seeks a human presence in his photographs. Danilo has worked as a professional photographer since 1996. He graduated from the High School of Photography in Rome specializing in social reportage. Danilo contributes regularly to Italian and foreign photo agencies such as Sintesi, Zuma Press and Das Fotoarchiv. His photographs and stories have been published in National and International newspapers. He has worked in various African countries covering major events as a stringer for Agence France Presse. Danilo has also worked in Romania, Azerbaijan, Serbia, Kosovo, Bulgaria and Israel, among others. He has received two Orvieto photography bronze awards in Italy as well as various national and international prizes.

About the Photograph:

“I took this picture in the village of Balaxani, close to Baku. At the end of the day I saw the man coming out from the city dump. This man, who lives inside the dump was searching for food and didn’t even notice me.” A century of oil production and negligence have left the Republic of Azerbaijan on the brink of environmental disaster. Current environmental problems including air, water, and soil result in part from the economic priorities and practices of the former Soviet Union. The UN reports that Azerbaijan ranks among the 50 nations with the world’s highest level of carbon dioxide emissions. Oil rich Azerbaijan is at a critical point of its post-soviet history.

JR July 24, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Sierra Lione.
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Woman are Heroes

At only 25 years of age, JR owns the largest art gallery in the world. He exhibits freely in the streets of  Europe, Africa and the Middle East, catching the attention of people who are not normally museum visitors. His work mixes “art and act and  explorers commitment, beauty, freedom, identity and limit.” In March 2007, together with Marco, he did Face 2 Face, the biggest illegal photo exhibition ever in eight Palestinian and Israeli cities, and on both sides of the security fence. They posted huge portraits of Israelis and Palestinians Face to Face.

About the Video

In the third stage of JR’s “28 millimeter project”, Women Are Heroes (project link) he went to post-conflict zones in Africa to photograph the women who wished to share painful stories and testify of their desire to live. Their portraits have already been pasted on the walls of Sierra Leone and Liberia. In 2008-2009, JR will develop this project in India and in Asia. Call it documentary or conceptual art but even  old school “masters” such as William Klein and Marc Riboud have been inspired by JR’s work. Well worth the time of the download.

Kevin Benedict July 23, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Spring Fling Ball for the Midland Daily News

Kevin Benedict has been a staff photographer at the Midland Daily News in Midland, Michigan, for over two years. He received an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2005 before doing an internship at The Virginian-Pilot in the fall of the same year. Kevin prefers to view photojournalism as a major component in writing the first draft of history. I have met people well advanced in age who have never had their stories told, and who never would were it not for my intervention. It is not as much a “red badge of courage” for me as it is a directive. If I do not pursue these stories, they may never be recorded, never be told, and never have the capacity to influence, inspire, or simply affirm an appreciation in others. Approaching my work as a photojournalist with this frame of mind gives it meaning and purpose beyond the simple pleasures I get from revealingly and creatively documenting my world.

About the Photograph:

Sonja McCartney, 49, left, and her husband of 27 years, Bob McCartney, 50, share a moment on the dance floor toward the end of Tendercare’s Spring Fling Ball at the facility recently. Bob was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1985 and has lived at Tendercare since March 2007. In the preface to his book of memories, entitled “If The Ride Is Over Why Can’t I Get Off?”, Bob wrote the following: “I believe I was dealt a pretty good hand in life, and I tried to make the best of what I had.” He also wrote: “I felt like Bob Seger had me pegged in his song, “Beautiful Loser.”

Karen Mirzoyan July 22, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Armenia.
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Yezidis Children Study Ezdiki Language , Armenia. 2007

Karen Mirzoyan (Tbilisi, Georgia b. 1981) relocated to Armenia in 1992. He graduated from the Yerevan State Linguistic University. Karen participated in the photojournalism class organized by World Press Photo and Caucasus Media Institute in 2005 followed by an internship with Panos Pictures Agency and The Independent newspaper in London. He is currently teaching photojournalism in the Caucasus Media Institute. Karen’s photos have been published in: Geo (Italy), Associated Press Ogonyok, (Russia), Russian Reporter CNN.com, CBS news, amongst others. He is currently working with the Anzenberger Agency in Austria.

About the Photograph:

The Yezidis are a minority group in Armenia, part of a population that extends through Turkey, Georgia, Syria and Iraq. Many live a semi-nomadic life, as they have done for thousands of years, tending sheep and spending winter months in their villages, then moving to high mountain pastures in the spring, where today they live in old Soviet military tents. Yezidis practice a secretive and ancient religion, which predates Islam and appears to fuse aspects of Judaic, Zoroastrian and other local beliefs. Some controversy surrounds their identity. During the Soviet era, Yezidis were classified as non-Muslim Kurds. With the rise of national self-consciousness through the region in the 1980s, a revival of Yezidi identity occurred, and in 1989 the Armenian government declared them to be a separate ethnic group. Yet there remain strong divisions on issues of identity among the Yezidi themselves.

Toby Morris July 21, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Iraq War Veteran, Los Angeles, California

Toby Morris is a freelance photographer based in Los Angeles.Toby attended the Art Insitute of Chicago and the University of Texas in Austin. He used to work for newspapers in New York, Chicago and New Hampshire “but then newspapers started to implode, and now he does what he can by making his way through a photo career and spending all of his money working on projects.” His photographs have been published in Newsweek, Le Monde, USA Today among others and his work has been awarded by NPPA and the PDN 2008 Photo Annual.

About the Photograph:

The photo of Wendy is part of a project Toby has completed on  veterans returning from Iraq with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. One of the challenges for Toby in doing this work he says was  “I never really thought of it as just a series of portraits, the thing about mental illness is, for the most part the people look completely normal. So as a photographer you are either stuck trying to make them look “crazy” -which they aren’t- or you have a group of portraits that look like normal guys hanging out, which no one is interested in looking at. I figured the only way to get any depth would be with combining the photos with interviews and I’m mildly pleased with the results. It was the first time I tried my hand at audio and it is a work in progress.”

Jean Chung July 18, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Afghanistan.
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chung_afganisthan.jpg
Maternal Mortality in Afghanistan 2007

After receiving a Master’s degree in photo-journalism from the University of Missouri in 2003, Jean Chung, a native of Seoul, South Korea, returned to Seoul to pursue her goal to be an international photo-journalist. During her three-year stay in Seoul, she covered various news events and generated photo stories extensively in Asia and the Middle East. She spent a year in Kabul, Afghanistan, from Aug 2006 to 2007, focusing on issues such as education, woman’s rights, and social changes. In September 2007 she received the Grand Prix Care International du Reportage Humanitaire at the Visa Pour L’image Photo Festival in Perpinginan, France, for her documentation on maternal mortality in Afghanistan. Her work has been featured in publications such as Stern, Der Spiegel, Newsweek, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Time Asia, French GEO, and Vanity Fair (Italy).

About the Photograph:

“It was the day after Qamar had died in a small hospital room in Faizabad, in Badakshan province, Afghanistan. Azibullah, 30, the husband of 26-year-old Qamar, and his mother, brought the dead body of her back to their home in the remote village and began to weep out of loss of his wife. Qamar, who was a tuberculosis patient who had given a birth to a baby boy by a cesarean section about two weeks earlier. She suffered from severe postpartum complications and later died in the hospital on May 20, 2007 leaving her baby and husband behind. According to the UN and other research data, 25,000 women die from obstetric causes per year in  Afghanistan, or 1 woman dies every 27 minutes. Qamar’s story was one of the examples of how Afghan women suffer from the lack of education, proper health care, information, and infrastructure. It’s a serious human rights issue for mothers and children since giving birth can be a forecast of death.”

Pep Bonet July 17, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Sierra Lione.
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City of Rest (CORE) drug rehabilitation center, Sierra Leone.

“For me it has always been about a step into the unknown and learning through photography. Most of the time I don’t prepare my stories. I just go to a place and try to have time enough to really have an experience so I have no prejudice.”  So says Pep Bonet,  a member of Noor Images. His project ‘Faith in Chaos’, is an ongoing photo essay about the aftermath of the war in Sierra Leone. He was the 2005 winner of the Eugene Smith Humanistic Grant. His work has been published in Newsweek, New York Times, US News and World Report, The Times (UK), MSF (Medecins Sans frontieres), Corriere della Sera, El Pais, EPS Harper’s, Ultima Hora, PDN, American Photo, Zoom and numerous other publications.

About the Photograph:

“A patient washing himself at the City of Rest (CORE) drug rehabilitation center. The Deliverance Ministry runs the center, which offers counseling and support for recovering drug addicts, alcoholics and traumatized or delinquent youths. The ministry tries to address problems of addiction, delinquency and even cases of demonic possession with rest, food and prayer. My journey to Sierra Leone in April 2002 caused a decisive turn in my professional life and thinking. I saw how faith enabled people to see perspective in even the most inhumane of circumstances, and I started my “Faith in Chaos” project. My explorations in Sierra Leone of the sources and the strength of faith continue, and with even more urgency now that the country is reaching a new milestone.”

Andrew Cutraro July 16, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Venezuela.
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President Hugo Chavez, Venezuela

Andrew Cutraro is a freelance photojournalist based in Washington, D.C. He is represented by the Aurora Photo Agency. He is the recipient of numerous industry awards and photo exhibitions. Cutraro’s work has been published in Newsweek, Harper’s, Life, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. A Native of Milwaukee, he studied documentary photography at the Rochester Institute of Technology and Western Kentucky University. Most recently, as a staff photographer for seven years at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, he was assigned to the paper’s special projects team that covered stories across the U.S. as well as in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Israel, Gaza, and Vietnam.

About the Photograph:

“President Hugo Chavez will no doubt be remembered as one of the great icons of our time. He is great to photograph because he is wildly charismatic, charming, and most importantly for a photographer: totally comfortable with himself. I made this photograph during a four-hours-long news conference at the presidential palace, Miraflores. Chavez is notorious for his long speeches. Reporters at the event regularly left the news conference for smoke breaks while the president was talking. I have seen Castro speak for hours too, but Chavez is different. He is more entertaining, engaging, and aware. He is an incredibly gifted orator. You don’t even need to speak Spanish to be drawn in to his gravity and presence. Moments before this photograph was taken, I was in a brawl with thieves on the subway platform outside the palace. Caracas is a wonderfully strange place.”

Mila Pavan July 15, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Russia.
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Military school cadet waiting alone to return home. Siberia, Russia.

Mila Pavan (b.1977, Italy) studied photography at ICP in New York, USA. She worked in the International Center for communication research and communication development Fabrica in Treviso as a photographer  and for newspapers and magazines such as Die Zeit, Süddeutsche Zeitung, FAZ and Colors. Her work is focused on social and human rights stories. Recent projects include life in Russia, and pedeatric hospitals in the Ukraine. She is currently based in Germany.

About the Photograph:

“I first traveled to Moscow to document the lives of old people living in extreme poverty and it developed into a photography book “Above Zero” a journey into the city scapes and waste lands of Russia, focusing on faces, characters and the human condition in this country. Russia is a country of extremes: its communist past and its turbo-capitalist present, its crowded cities and its vast open spaces, the extremely rich and very poor, the colors of summer and the darkness of winter. There is no socialist regime anymore, but democracy is still fragile. Maybe it’s true that the Russian soul is simply too deep to fathom? All these fascinating contradictions have brought me back to Russia time and time again in order to try to understand this seemingly endless country and its enigmatic people.”

Marizilda Cruppe July 14, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Brazil.
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São Francisco River, Brazil. 2008

Marizilda Cruppe is a Rio de Janeiro-based photographer whose work examines Brazilian social inequality and poverty. She has been working as a full-time photographer for O Globo newspaper, part of Brazil’s largest media company, lately photographing mostly for the newspaper’s Sunday magazine supplement. She tried to change her way of working from news photography to documentary photography and in this new way, in 2005, was introduced to five other women photographers that then created EVE Photographers.

About the Photograph:

Brazil has huge reserves of water and extensive river basins. It has the world’s largest water potential with 17% of the total volume. Despite this abundance, water distribution is unequal. This photo is part of the story “On The Water Front”, EVE’s common 2008 project and was shot on the São Francisco river border at Bahia State. “My story is still in progress and focuses on the water topic that has been mostly discussed in Brazil: the San Francisco River transposition and water distribution for the population from the semi-arid Northeast region. The project have many pros and cons: the government says that the investment of 3.5 billion USD in the first part of the transposition project will benefit 12 million people; opponents say that the transposition will benefit only big farmers and rich producers.

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