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Justin Partyka December 26, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in England.
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Farm Sale in Norfolk, England 2008

Editors note: I will be taking the following week off. Verve Photo resumes on January 5th. Best wishes for a healthy and happy new year. Geoffrey Hiller/ Dhaka Bangladesh.

Justin Partyka (b.1972. England) is a self-taught photographer inspired by the Folkways LP Mountain Music of Kentucky made by photographer and musician John Cohen, Partyka trained as a folklorist at Memorial University, Newfoundland, Canada. He received his MA in 2001. In 2003 he abandoned a PhD in folklife studies and left Newfoundland to return home to Norfolk to concentrate on his work as a photographer. He is also a regular contributor of book and exhibition reviews to the photography magazine Source. Partyka is currently working on three long term book and exhibition projects: The East Anglians, The Carnivalesque of Cádiz, and Saskatchewan. Partyka’s photographs have been exhibited at Tate Britain, the Jerwood Space, Belfast Exposed, and the Norfolk Rural Life Museum, among others. Publications include the Guardian Review, the British Journal of Photography, and Granta.

About the Photograph:

“I have been photographing East Anglia’s agrarian culture for eight years now.  Small scale farmers, reed cutters, and rabbit catchers:  they are the forgotten people of the flatland’s; upholders of the traditional rural ways of working the land that were once widespread throughout this region, but which are now all but gone. Farming appears to be typically misunderstood by the general public in Great Britain, where farmers are often seen as rich land owners who ride around in their expensive four wheel drives complaining about the price of crops.  Perhaps some are, but people forget about the small family farm where life has never been easy.   At one time hundreds of these family farms populated the East Anglian landscape, but now they are the minority.   Those that remain struggle to make a living under the shadow of the agribusiness which surrounds them; constantly having to fight against the effects of a global economy, a forever growing mountain of bureaucratic regulations, and the increasing impact of climate change.   As one old-time East Anglian farmer told me: ‘It’s just one big tractor now and a thousand acres, there is nobody on the land today.’  In 1950, the number of people in agricultural employment in East Anglia was 142,225. By 2000 it had fallen to 56,819. ” (more…)

Jesco Denzel December 24, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in France.
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New Year’s Eve, St. Jacques, Perpignan, 2006

It was only after his degree in Political Science that Jesco Denzel decided to follow his passion for photography, and  went on to study photojournalism at Hannover University of Applied Sciences and Arts. He finished his studies with a six-month internship as staff Photographer with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in 2005 and became member of Visum photo agency in 2006. Jesco is now based in Hamburg, Germany, as a freelance photographer and continues to work for Frankfurter Allgemeine and other publications. His photographic travels took him to South Africa, Chile or New Caledonia. His main interest is social documentary photography, and he is happy when he can work on free projects that enable him to get to know the people in his photographs without rigid time limitations.

About the Photograph:

“This picture of a five year-old gypsy boy was taken on New Year’s Eve 2006 in the gypsy community of St. Jacques, Perpignan, Southern France. For Christmas and New Year’s Eve, the men would gather in the Café in their best suits to drink and dance while their wives would prepare dinner at home. It is quite common in St. Jacques for little boys to smoke. Gypsy children are taught astonishingly early to be men or women rather than boys or girls – and men smoke, women don’t. St. Jacques, the old medieval neighbourhood right in Perpignan’s city centre, holds one the biggest sedentary gypsy communities in Western Europe – thousands of photojournalists zig-zag through it every summer for the Visa Pour l’Image festival. Contrary to what I first expected, there were not many photo stories about St. Jacques, so I started working there in 2004. It took me a little while to get some people to trust me, and to figure out – a little bit, anyway – how things work in St. Jacques. It went much easier when I came to visit St. Jacques for the second and third time, bringing back piles of photographs, so people could see what I had been doing, and they started to invite me into their homes.”

Toni Greaves December 22, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Dominican Nuns, Summit, New Jersey

Toni Greaves is a documentary photographer with a passion for storytelling. Born and raised in Australia, Toni has lived in the United Kingdom and the USA, and has traveled within Europe, Asia, and Africa. She has an extensive background in having worked for over a decade as an Art Director and Creative Director in both the USA and Europe. Her photographic clients include The New York Times, TIME Magazine, The FADER, Sports Illustrated and The New Jersey Star Ledger. Toni holds a Masters degree in Visual Communication Design, and is a graduate of the Documentary Photography and Photojournalism program at the International Center of Photography, in New York City. She also has degrees in both Graphic Design and Journalism. Most recently she was awarded a New York Times Scholarship for her photojournalism work, was a finalist at the New York Photo Awards, and was the recipient of a fellowship by the Johnson & Johnson Foundation.

About the Photograph:

The Dominican Nuns of Summit, New Jersey are a Roman Catholic cloistered monastic community. Their primary mission is to pray for the salvation of souls, and to support the preaching mission of the Dominican friars. The 21 Nuns lead a hidden life of Eucharistic prayer, adoration, thanksgiving, and intercession. At the time of taking this photo, 21-year-old Sister Lauren Franko had been a Novice Nun for two months. Now 22, she recently had her “clothing ceremony” –her official engagement to God– where she received the Dominican habit and took a new, holy, name of her choosing… Sister Maria Teresa of the Sacred Heart.

Shawn Baldwin December 19, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Saudi Arabia.
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Riyadh, Saudi Arabia  2008

Shawn Baldwin (b. 1979, USA) is a based in Cairo, Egypt. His photographs regularly appear in The New York Times. For the past ten years he has covered major news events in the U.S., Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East including the past several years covering the war in Iraq. His work has recently been exhibited in New York and has been published in most major publications including Time, Newsweek, US News, the Guardian and Le Monde.In addition to editorial work, past corporate assignments include leading Fortune 500 companies J.P. Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, HSBC and Nike.

About the Photograph:

Young Saudi men shop for mobile phones at a store in Riyadh. For many young Saudi men and women, who have few chances to meet members of the opposite sex, mobile phones and Bluetooth technology allow them the ability to safely flirt in malls, restaurants and traffic signals. The photograph was taken as part of a series I’m working on for the New York Times called ‘Generation Faithful’. The series examines the lives of young people across the Muslim world at a time of religious revival. The first article focused on the ‘Stalled Lives’ of Egypt’s young people and the issues that affect them: delayed adulthood, the pressures of trying to get married, the rise in religious observance. The article on Saudi Arabia focused on two cousins Nader al-Mutairi and Enad al-Mutairi and the difficulties they face regarding love, tradition and life in Saudi Arabia.

Matt Lutton December 17, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Statue of Liberty seen from the Staten Island ferry. 2007

Matt Lutton (b. 1984) is a Seattle-based photojournalist specializing in documentary projects examining the politics and individuals of underrepresented issues in our modern world. He expects to graduate later this year from the University of Washington with a degree in Comparative History of Ideas, and has further background in Eastern European and Russian studies and language. Matt has completed work from New Orleans to Kosovo and in his hometown of Seattle, is soon to photograph stories in Siberia and Moldova, and plans to relocate to Belgrade, Serbia in the near future. His project “Homeless in Seattle” was recognized by the Alexia Foundation for World Peace in 2007, and was displayed at Seattle City Hall in July 2008, one of four exhibitions he has shown this year. He was also selected as an ELEVATION 2008 winner by the Photoshelter Collection.

About the Photograph:

“This picture was shot in November 2007 as part of my ongoing three-year project in New York City, called ‘I See A Darkness’, which is inspired by the music of Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and the book ‘The Master and Margarita’ by Mikhail Bulgakov. The first pictures were shot in 2005 when I was an intern at Black Star photo agency. After that summer I realized I had a set of photos that I wanted to grow and have since made four trips back to work on this project. It’s about my reactions to the city and imaginary narratives between all the characters and places there. This photo was taken on the Staten Island ferry looking out at the Statue of Liberty. There has been a lot of reaction to this picture for political overtones, but I see it in the context of the alienation, distance and ‘mystery’ that I feel in so much of New York. While I do lots of documentary and photojournalism work, this project of street photography has some of my favorite pictures and is always a joy to work on.”

Stefan Rohner December 15, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Morocco.
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Tangier, Morocco

Stefan Rohner (b. 1962,  Germany), is a self-thought photographer,whom’s first artistic love was free style painting. In the mid -eighties, he was inspired by the neo expressionist movement called “Junge Wilde” in Berlin, to work on big oil paintings. After a couple of years he moved to Ibiza, Spain, where he still lives, producing his first photografic work in his home laboratory in 1999. Over the years, Rohner has perfected the art of hand made printing on baryta paper, he inherits a passion for structure, grain and feel, along with his obvious knack for precise composition in black and white, from his experience as painter. Remaining true to his principles which inspire his photographic work, the respect of the human being in fron of the lens, lately he has moved to a different, more distant  approach, in colour, documenting the change within societies.

About the Photograph:
Morocco is always friendly and colorful to me. Women work, men drink tea… that’s the feeling I get when seeing only men sitting around in public bars and most of the time it’s their reality, men only, playing cards, smoking joints or staring at a big TV screen, they will sit there for hours with one glass of mint tea. You can also spot the most funny decorations, modern Western Hollywood film heros or Western musicians, mixed to pictures of lord Krishna and Shiva decipting Indian religious figures, for example. It is always a pleasure to sit with them, to talk to the customers and bar owners, or only to observe.

Andrea Bruce December 12, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Iraq.
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Dinner in Ramadi, Iraq, 2008

Andrea Bruce (b.1973, American) an alumna of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After shooting as a staff photographer for The Concord Monitor and The St. Petersburg Times, she joined the staff of The Washington Post where she began to chronicle the world’s most troubled areas. She has won awards from the National Pictures of the Year competition, the White House News Photographers Association (where she has been named Photographer of the Year three times), and the John Faber award from the Overseas Press Club in New York. Andrea is currently based in Baghdad. The above photo is from her series called Unseen Iraq published in The Washington Post every week.

About the Photograph:

Sheiks in traditional robes and keffiyehs line the drawn-curtained room on regal chairs and floor cushions. Their deeply lined faces serious, they discuss problems that have come up in their regions of Ramadi, agreeing with slight, controlled nods as they massage prayer beads with flicks of their thumbs. At the end of the long, narrow room, next to a fluorescent light tube on the wall, a door opens onto the kitchen. There, women move, almost run, between a stove behind the house and the furniture-bare room, open to the summer light and heat. Towering reeds, swaying with the breeze, block the view of the Euphrates River. Children are everywhere, crying, playing with cellphones, teasing, testing their strength, while their mothers sit around a large metal bowl on the floor, slicing okra, onions and potatoes. (more…)

Louie Palu December 10, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Canada.
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Louie Palu graduated from the Ontario College of Art in 1991 and moved to New York City where he interned with photographer Mary Ellen Mark. He later returned to Toronto and began working as  a staff photographer for six years at The Globe And Mail. Louie’s work has appeared in numerous publications, festivals and exhibitions internationally, which includes being selected for the photojournalism festival Visa Pour L’Image in Perpignan, France four times (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007), George Eastman House, Fotografia International Festival of Rome, The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, including exhibitions and festivals in Milan, Vancouver, Halifax, Kosovo, His work has also been profiled in Lenswork, PDN and Doubletake and published in Newsweek, Atlantic Monthly, The Washington Post and Forbes among others.

About the Photograph:

“The provinces of Quebec and Ontario are home to some of the world’s richest and largest underground mines and smelters. Many of the communities surrounding the mines have given rise to some of the most militant labour unions in North American history. This body of work examines life in Canada’s geologically enormous hard rock mining belt. The photographs are documents of the people, land and work involved in underground mining and smelting. As the son of immigrant laborers, I have always been fascinated by the politics of work and commerce. By examining the social issues surrounding workers and market economies, we gain a clearer understanding of the symbiotic nature of the global economy we all participate in.”

Michal Chelbin December 8, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Russia.
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Xenia in the Playground, Russia 2003

Michal Chelbin (b.1974, Israel) is currently based in New York City. She has been shown in solo and group  exhibits in the US and Europe, most recently at the Andrea Meislin Gallery in New York. Her recent publications include Art Forum, American Photo, PDN , New York Arts Magazine, Aperture, B&W Magazine, and the LA Times. Her editorial work has been published in the New York Times, The New Yorker and  New York Magazine. Michal’s monograph entitled “Strangely Familiar: Acrobats, Athletes and other traveling troupes” was published in April 2008 by Aperture. Her next monograph will be published by Twin Palms in fall 2009.

About the Photograph:
Like with other subjects I worked a lot with this girl, . She was one of those people who didn’t need any instructions in front of the camera. She didn’t understand Hebrew and I didn’t speak Russian but I felt we understood each other perfectly It was the first color image of this series. I actually shot it in black and white  but when we finished, and started to go back to the apartment something didn’t feel right. So I returned, made the whole thing again, this time in color. It’s entitled “Xenia on the Playground”,  and I’d like to think of my playground as somewhere between the private and the public, between fiction and documentary.

Marvi Lacar December 5, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Philippines.
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Pampanga, Philippines 2006

Born in 1976, Marvi Lacar is a native of the Philippines and moved to the US at the age of 15. She received a bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences from a liberal arts college in Michigan. Instead of continuing on to medical school, she opted to work in non-profit organizations focusing on migrant and women’s health issues. Her experiences led her to pursue a Master’s in Journalism at the University of Texas in Austin. Marvi has been a nominee for Joop Swart Masterclass and recognized by Communication Arts, PDN and American Photography, Days Japan and Santa Fe Center for Photography Project Competition. Her clients include The New York Times, Time, Newsweek, Reader’s Digest, Paris Match, Fader and Marie Claire. She is continuing her work on a story documenting female genital mutilation and early marriage in Kenya as part of a longer-term project on Women in Poverty. She is also working on a project about depression.

About the Photograph:

Rose Ann Calma, 8, is craddled by her mother, Susan, 46, in Pampanga, Philippines. Roseanne is the youngest of 5. Her mother, Susan, is a fulltime housewife and her father, Herminio is a construction worker who is usually away on out of town jobs during the week. Roseanne was conceived at the former US Airbase motorpool, Clark Airbase Communiations Command (CABCOM) where the family stayed for two years. Roseanne eats a soft diet of oatmeal since she cannot digest solid foods. She cannot walk or talk so she requires constant care and attention from feeding and bathing and is usually in her mother’s arms. Her affliction has not been medically diagnosed because of her family’s lack of financial resources although she is among the children supported by non profit organizations who cater to the needs of individuals who they believe to be affected by the high levels of toxicity inside CABCOM. To this day the US government refuses to clean up the former US bases pointing out a clause in the contract that states that the US government is not required to return the bases to the Philippine government in its original state.

Carsten Snejbjerg December 3, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Egypt.
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Manshiet Nasser, Cairo, Egypt

Photojournalist Carsten Snejbjerg (b. 1966, Denmark) became interested in photography during his 3,400 km bike trip through China and Vietnam in 1997 and in 2000 he entered the Danish School of Journalism. He has won several awards including the 2008 first prize POYI Issue Reporting Story, second prize in Best of Photojournalism and several awards in the Danish Picture of the Year. He works as a freelancer for various magazines, newspapers and agencies worldwide. His images have appeared in Vanity Fair, Newsweek, Marie Claire, Der Spiegel, Stern, GQ , Time and the Smithsonian magazine. He lives in Copenhagen with his family.

About the Photograph:

“This picture shows some of the wealthier men relaxing in front of a café in the Manshiet Nasser neigborhood of Cairo I spend two weeks there trying to capture the feeling of daily life. The men and young boys of Manshiet Nasser collect more than a third of the 10,000 tons of daily garbage produced in Cairo. The Zabbaleen community of trash collectors recycles 80-85% of the garbage they collect. Three hundred fifty thousand people live and work there. The Zabbaleen migrated from rural Egypt in the 1950s during a time of drought. They were Coptic Christian pig farmers who began collecting garbage to feed their animals. The infant mortality rate is around 12 percent, twice as high as rest of Egypt. An extremely high percentage of the children suffer from respiratory illnesses, diarrhea, and infectious diseases. Forty-nine percent of the inhabitants have intestinal parasites.”

Piotr Redlinski December 1, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Butoh dancer Kaori Ito, New York subway station

Piotr Redlinski was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1972. He holds a degree in Architecture from Cooper Union, a unique New York art school, and as a photographer freelances regularly for The New York Times and also works on film productions as a still photographer. He attempts to document fiction with a journalistic approach and capture the reality with a cinematic sensibility. To exercise his optic nerve he draws often and taught drawing and design in KRVIA, a School of Architecture in Mumbai, India.  He was born in then communist Poland, but now lives in New York’s Brooklyn, where he also is a member of a small theater company, East River Commedia. He is represented by World Photographers Network.

About the Photograph:

“As the Butoh dance form grew out of the ashes of atomic bomb landscapes, over the years it has influenced and proliferated many other dance forms and ideas of  performance that  serve to remind the crowd of their anonimity.  I followed the Japanese Dancer Kaori Ito, into New York’s urban spaces of where the definitions of  public and private domains and a silent concensus of acceptable behaviours can be interestingly juxopposed. Like in Butoh, they serve as a reminder and inspiration of individuality. The underground subway in particular is  an ideal territory to explore this premise, where the sense of destination is an overwhelming force and the simplicity of a jump punctuates with such lightness.“

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