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Editor’s Note- Bangladesh August 14, 2009

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Bangladesh.
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Kurigram, Northern Bangladesh 2008

Geoffrey Hiller: I am taking a couple weeks off and will resume posting on Sept 2nd. During the past eighteen months Verve Photo has showcased the work of close to 300 photographers. In addition to being a source of inspiration, it’s become a resource for photo editors and creative directors in the publishing industry.  Many photographers have sold work or received assignments as a result of being featured on this site. The original concept of Verve Photo has evolved, in that first we presented young photographers who had relocated to foreign countries and were doing photo-journalistic work. Over time I expanded the concept of ‘documentary’ to include more personal images. Finally, ‘new breed’ in the context of this site not only denotes youth but originality and depth.

About the Photograph:

“This photo is part of my new dedicated web site called The Bangladesh Project. Bangladesh is a photographer’s paradise; people actually thank you for taking their photo. Despite the many ills facing the country, poverty, floods, and political corruption, there is a tremendous amount of tenacity and resilience. I lived in Bangladesh for nine months, which gave me the opportunity to become well-acquainted with the pulse of the place. I remember walking the busy streets of the Kurigram one morning. It’s in northern Bangladesh, one of the poorest parts of the country, where people are facing severe food scarcity called ‘Monga’.  I had noticed the horse and the boy, so I decided to plant myself there. The man with the sack went by, and it seemed like more than a well-choreographed event, or a random moment. It was an act of providence.”

Stephen Voss August 12, 2009

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.
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First look at their adopted daughter, Nanchang, China 2007

Stephen Voss (b. 1978, United States) is a Washington DC based photographer. His clients include The Smithsonian, Business Week, Time, Stern and National Public Radio among others. He received the Creative Visions Foundation Grant to document homelessness in Portland, Oregon, with his photos subsequently featured in a national exhibit that continues to tour the country. His documentary work covers environmental and globalization issues worldwide, and U.S. politics. He is currently working on a project about his native state of New Jersey exploring the intersections of development and environment.

About the Photograph:

“Karen and Bob are a couple from southern California who allowed me to document their trip to China to adopt their daughter. The process of adoption is arduous and often is delayed for months at a time by the Chinese government. The little girls all have been abandoned by their birth parents, usually within the first few months after birth. This photo came on the day we flew into Nanchang where they would officially adopt their daughter and meet her for the first time. All of the adoptive parents gathered outside the hotel meeting room where the women from the orphanage held each baby. Once the doors were open, Karen and Bob were the first to be called and they both reached out to this small, crying 13-month old named Gan Xin Tian who they decided to name Kailee.”

Daniel Rosenthal August 10, 2009

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Poland.
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Migrant workers, Plaszkowa Poland 2008

Daniel Rosenthal (b. 1973 Germany), took up photography during his engagement in the antifascist movement in his hometown Heidelberg and quickly realized that it was the perfect means to address ignored  existing problems in a very powerful and satisfying way. Since then his interest for reporting on social and political topics has taken him around the world: US sanctions on Iraq, Chechen refugees, street children in Berlin, forced child labor in  the Ivory Coast, occupational accidents in China etc. His work appeared in GEO, Stern, de Volkskrant, Chrismon, Greenpeace Mag., Sunday Times Mag., Independent Saturday Mag., Vrij Nederland and received the Hansel-Mieth Award 2008 and Lead Award-Picture of the Year 2008 amongst others. He has a diploma in photo and design from Lette-School-Berlin and later  studied photojournalism at London College of Communication.

About the Photograph:

“This is a photograph I shot last year during an assignment for GEO Magazine on demographic changes in Europe due to migrant workers. Poland was the first part of  the story. I arrived in the tiny Polish village of Plaszkowa on Easter Monday (the most important Polish feast day) during heavy snowfall to meet Marian Tarasek for the first time (49 years, on the right). It was the day before he had to travel back to Ireland where he found a job as a construction worker, one of the many thousand Polish migrant workers there.  Marian was very shy and thoughtful and it was obvious that having to leave his loved ones for another month made him sad. We sat down in silence underneath the religious icons on the wall. Suddenly his sons Damian and Mateusz came along and Marians wife served the traditional Polish beetroot soup, that’s when everything fell into place and the situation transformed into a biblical scene, embodying believe, humility and tradition mixed with everyday life. For me it was exactly one of those rare moments that make photography magical and loveable.“

Ying Ang August 7, 2009

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Malawi.
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Mtsiliza, Malawi, 2009

Ying Ang (b. 1980, Singapore) is an ardent believer in the poetry of visual language and a photographer of stories, journeys and contemporary quirks with a post-grad background in political science and conflict resolution between religious groups. She spent her formative years growing up in a small Australian town by the sea. A voracious consumer of pop and sub cultures, Ying’s work is centrally focused on the themes of hope, modernity and ultimately being a witness to our world. She has recently won the Women in Photojournalism Award by the NPPA and is beginning a certificate in Documentary and Photojournalism at the International Center of Photography this Fall. Ying is a member of Brooklyn-based MJR collective.

About the Photograph:

“I spent June  2009 in the village of Mtsiliza, Malawi. The girl in the photograph is 8 year old Ivy Phiri. Both her parents died of AIDS when she was one. This photograph was taken at the clinic where Ivy was being tested for HIV for the first time. Negative. The nurse insisted that it was God’s will that “spared” her. Back at the village, God’s will did not shine so brightly on some others. Vincent, age 15, who was HIV positive from birth but left untreated because of the shame of his surviving mother, died one day after I took this photo. This community struggles with the burden of its orphans and the clay red landscape echoes with wailing sorrow after every death. They endure the virus in addition to the deep aversion to open dialogue that comes with the social stigma of a condition that still suggests immorality and ungodliness. I was a witness to the sweetness of their humanity and the backbone of a religious community that supports as much as it condemns. “

Joni Sternbach August 5, 2009

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Gillian, Montauk, New York in 2007

Joni Sternbach (b. 1953, United States) graduated from the School of Visual Arts with a BFA in photography and completed her Master of Arts degree at New York University and the International Center of Photography in 1987. She has taught for many years and is currently a faculty member at ICP teaching wet plate collodion. Sternbach’s solo museum exhibition SurfLand  opened at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA in May, capturing portraits of surfers in tintype. SurfLand  was recently at the String Room Gallery at Wells College in Aurora, NY and will also be at Blue Sky Gallery in Portland, OR in November 2009 . Her first monograph SurfLand was published in May by photolucida.

About the Photograph:

“I met Gillian earlier that summer when I photographed her with a friend.  For me the success of this picture is in the subtle lighting- early morning overcast, and also her expression–she is gazing into the camera calmly and openly. Because of the low tide all the rocks are exposed and she appears to have either just emerged from the sea or appears to be returning to the sea. The board is an icon of her warrior status rather than a prop. This image is an 8×10 inch one-of-a-kind tintype made with the wet collodion process. Better associated with the Civil War than surf photography, the collodion process is instantaneous and processed on location with a portable darkroom. This way of shooting is integral to the picture making process as it invites conversation as well as collaboration. The series SurfLand consists of several hundred images shot on America’s east and west coast.

Micheal Robinson Chavez August 3, 2009

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in El Salvador.
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San Salvador, 2006

Michael Robinson Chavez (b.1969, USA) has been a photographer at The Los Angeles Times since 2007. Prior to that, he worked for The Washington Post, The Boston Globe and the Associated Press. In addition to photographing local stories and events, he has covered wide-ranging international assignments in over 45 countries. Michael won the Scripps Howard Foundation National Award for Photojournalism in 2008 was featured in the 2009 PDN  Photography Annual. He has twice been named Photographer of the Year by The White House News Photographers’ Association and received an Award of Excellence as Newspaper Photographer of the Year in 2008 by Pictures of the Year International. His work has been exhibited widely, including the Visa Pour l’image festival in France, the Newseum, the Corcoran Gallery in Washington DC, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

About the Photograph:

“I was on assignment for The Washington Post working on a series of stories about El Salvador. We were mainly focusing on the horrific violence that has gripped the city for the last few years as gangs wage war in the eastern barrios of the capital. The city center is an amazing place: a beehive of activity during the day and empty and dangerous at night. Around twilight I was walking the streets looking for photographs when I came across the woman dressed in a shawl adorned with this gold crown. I made a few frames, including this one, and then asked her why she was wearing it. “For the glory of God,” she told me. A devout evangelist, she is indicative of a major movement in Latin America: the exodus from the Catholic church to evangelical faiths. I ended up working on a story about an evangelical church in San Salvador, the second largest in the world.”

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