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Diego James Robles July 30, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Beauty Pageant, Ohio 2009

Diego James Robles (b.1985, USA) is a staff photographer at The Denver Post. He recently left the Navajo Nation where, with a partial grant from the Alexia Foundation, he was living and doing a documentary on its people and culture. Diego discovered photography while deployed in Kosovo with the U.S. army. Upon the completion of his contract, he enrolled in Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication. Diego is a Chips Quinn Scholar and alum of The New York Times Student Journalism Institute. He has interned for El Deber-Diario Major (Bolivia), Democrat & Chronicle and The Orange County Register. This school year he won the Award of Excellence in College Photographer of the Year and was named White House News Photographers Association Student Photographer of the Year.

About the Photograph:

“This image is from a series I did about three little beauty queen contestants in Southeast Ohio. Hanna, Heidi and Tomi wave and blow kisses to empty streets in the last leg of their parade through McArthur. During the two to three mile parade route, due to the small size of the float, I squatted on the trailer hitch and almost fell several times. There were supposed to be four little girls attending this particular parade but I felt very lucky when only three, the girls I was covering, showed up. I had a difficult time holding the viewfinder to my face as I needed one hand at all times to keep me from falling in between the tow vehicle and the float. In the end, I only made pictures when I could see all three girls doing something similar at the same time. During those moments, I braced myself, used both hands on the camera, prayed I got the shot and if I didn’t fall that was good too. In the end I don’t think it was quite successful but good enough.”

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Goro Bertz July 28, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Japan.
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Tokyo 2008

Goro Bertz (b.1980, Sweden) was born and raised in Stockholm and is a self-taught photographer. When he turned 25, he moved to Tokyo in order to devote all his time to photography, especially around areas such as Shinjuku, Kabukicho, Golden Gai and Shin-Okubo. He is also shooting a lot in the countryside north of Tokyo, around a place called Iwama,  a small village and the place where his mother was born and his grandmother and some relatives still live. Goro has been published in various magazines in Sweden and was recently interviewed on the 591 Photography site. He is currently working various part-time jobs in Tokyo that allows him the time to make photographs. Goro is member of the Swedish image bank Folio. This summer he will have an exhibition in Nishiwaki (near Osaka).

About the Photograph:

“For me the art of photography begins with chance and not planning anything in advance. It’s certainly the case with these two photos. The one of the curtain was shot in a small town a few hours by train from Tokyo. This image was meant to be deleted in order to save space on my memory-card. Unfortunately, I deleted the wrong picture just because I was in a hurry. I was pretty inexperienced with digital cameras back then and deleted images quite uncontrollably. For a long time I didn’t care about this picture at all. But after two years I went back and took a saw it again. I started to like it but in some way I didn’t really know how to explain. It just exists and feels disarming. Today it is absolutely one of my favorite pictures.” (more…)

Jessica Hilltout July 26, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ghana.
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Tawfig, Kusawku, Ghana, 2008

Jessica Hilltout (b. 1977, Belgium) has been traveling ever since her parents exposed her to the world and this sparked her fascination with images. As a young woman, she attended Art College in Blackpool, England and later worked briefly (and unhappily) in commercial photography. In 2002 she traveled through Central Asia and Africa photographing the seemingly unimportant, the apparently hidden and finding beauty in both. Jessica’s work is proof positive that beauty can be found anywhere, especially in those unique imperfections that mark our individuality.

About the Photograph:

This is one of my favorite images. This young footballer is called Tawfig. I spent six days in his village. The main activity here is farming. Everyday around 4pm the boys gather on the field and play football after farming. Football is a way of getting ridding of stress after a long day in the fields. Football is precious, its a necessity. The heat of the day is disappearing, the field is surrounded by spectators, the boys play with an amazing energy. No rules just fun and fair play. You hear giggling, laughter, oooooing aaaahhhing, the chickens and the goats wandering or grazing off the edge of the field, a young girl sells nuts… Then the light falls and within minutes the field is empty, everyone goes home, relaxed, exhausted, smiling, ready to eat, sleep and start a new day. In this image, I made group shot of Tawfig’s team. A magical moment came and went. I saw Tawfig through my lens, eyes closed, hand to heart… a spontaneous gesture. For me this image breathes belief, passion, love, happiness and that special pulsating energy which is unique to the African continent.” (more…)

Magda Biernat July 23, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Singapore.
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From the series “Units of Separation”. Singapore 2008

Magda Biernat (b.1978, Poland) obtained her BFA in Photography from Wielkopolska School of Photography. In 1992 she moved to the United States and started working at Magnum Photos. Surrounded by great photo-journalistic works at Magnum she turned her interests towards a different specialty, and begun photographing architecture and interiors. She worked as a Picture Editor at Metropolis Magazine and in 2007 decided to take off for a year long trip around the world. While traveling to more than 17 countries she worked on her personal projects concerning urban landscape and habitat. She is currently enrolled in an MFA program at the Transart Institute. Magdat has exhibited internationally since 2001 with solo exhibitions in Poland, Belgium and United States. She is a recipient of the TMC/Kodak Grant and a Lucie Award among others.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph was taken in Singapore, where I photographed several apartment complexes. Visiting each floor, I documented the small personal items left outside of otherwise identical homes: bikes, shoes, shrines and drying laundry of all different colors. It was fascinating for me to see the ways the occupants had personalized their exterior spaces to separate themselves from other units. Apartment blocks became a worldwide phenomenon in the 1960’s as city planners cast off design based on human scale and began construction on a future of managed density. Units of Separation is an exploration of the way people maintain their individuality while being part of a collective and how units of space meant to foster communal harmony can actually threaten our sense of community. While a resident may come to know their immediate neighbor, it is possible they may never meet the person living directly above them.”

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Rian Dundon July 21, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.
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Huang Ping and Mao Mao in their dorm room at the ‘Night Cat’ in Changsha, China, 2007

Rian Dundon (b.1980, USA) earned a B.F.A. in Photography and Imaging from New York University in 2003. Rian’s photographs and writing have been featured in publications including The Irish Times Magazine, Newsweek, OUT, Time, Stern, and Swindle Magazine. He is a contributor at New America Media, the leading national advocate for ethnic media in the United States. In 2007 he received a Tierney Fellowship in support of his work on fringe youth culture in interior China. Rian has exhibited in solo and group shows at Beijing Photo Spring, The Camera Club of New York, The New York Photo Festival, and The Angkor Photography Festival. He has lived in Mainland China since 2005 and is currently based in Beijing.

About the Photograph:

“This is a picture of Huang Ping (sitting) and Mao Mao in the employee dormitory of the underground gay nightclub where they worked in Changsha, Hunan province, China. Huang Ping was unsuccessfully attempting to wake Mao Mao for a rehearsal of their nightly dance routine. The club was called the ‘Night Cat’ and was Changsha’s first gay bar to open after homosexuality was decriminalized in 1997. Huang Ping, who I followed for about a year as part of a larger project on young Chinese, was at the time a pre-op transsexual. Six months later, after the bar had been closed, Huang Ping reemerged with a new, male identity complete with short hair and fashionable boys clothes. I think this story is an apt illustration of the transience in Chinese society. The kids who worked at the ‘Night Cat’ were all migrants, rural youth who had traveled to the city to find work as dancers or wait staff. They were also gay, which made staying in their hometowns unbearable. In the city they could be somewhat open with their sexuality. They could be free.”

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Anders Hansson July 19, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Spain.
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Young Bullfighters, Spain

Anders Hansson (b.1979, Sweden) began working as a full time photographer in 1998 after studying sociology and languages in addition to working as a journalist during the nineties. Since 2000 he has been covering social issues around the world. From the Congo and Benin in Africa to Svalbard in the Arctic north – always with the common man in focus. His work has been published in most of the major Scandinavian newspapers and magazines including Politiken(DK), Berlingske(DK), Aftenposten(NO), Suomen Kuvalehti(FI), Hufvudstadsbladet(FI), DN(SE), SVD(SE), Aftonbladet(SE), Ordfront(SE), ETC(SE), Focus(SE) among others. Anders is a member of Kontinent, a photography agency based in Stockholm.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph is part of a story about young bullfighters in Spain. Antonio Molina, 17 years old, in his white ‘Traje de Luces’, is seen here getting ready to enter and take on the first of two bulls at the Plaza de Torres in northern Madrid. ‘The fear is a natural part of bullfighting’, says Antonio. Even though I have a critical view bullfighting, I can’t help being fascinated by the young boys dreaming of a future as a celebrated Torero. I was following a few boys 13 to 16 years old during a Fiesta on the outskirts of Madrid. It was often bloody and cruel, but the pride and courage of these boys still fascinates me. Antonio was one of the most talented “Novilleros” at the bullfighting school in Madrid.”

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Peter Hoffman July 16, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ohio University, United States.
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Tribute to Rachel, Chicago 2010

Peter Hoffman (b. 1984, USA) is a Chicago based photographer. Originally studying advertising, he switched paths and received his graduate degree in photography from Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication. His personal work is split between environmental and issue based explorations, and autobiographical work that began with documenting a stint living an idyllic life of surfing and exploring New Zealand. Recent recognition includes work included in the upcoming American Photography Annual 26, and placements in Px3 (Paris), the International Photography Awards, College Photographer of the Year (General News) and others. Clients include The Wall St. Journal, The National (Abu Dhabi), HIV+ Magazine, Grazia (U.K.), non-profit associations and others.”

About the Photograph:

“Rachel Gilliam was 25 years-old and an employee of Bowman’s Bar and Grill in the north Chicago neighborhood of Lincoln Square. Rachel was well liked by both patrons and the staff, and regularly worked during the Wednesday trivia nights. She often traveled during her time off. On Halloween night of 2009 she was the fatal victim of a hit and run, only two blocks from Bowman’s, for which the perpetrator is still on the loose. This essay, which looks at the space of her employment and friends she left behind, was commissioned by Time Out Chicago Magazine. I made this particular picture  in February 2010 as I left the bar late after photographing the Wednesday night trivia, as I had one frame left on the roll. The harsh Chicago winter was a stark contrast to the warmth of the community inside.”

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Nicola Okin Frioli July 14, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Italy.
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Sardinia, Italy 2008

Nicola Okin Frioli (b.1980, Italy) has been working for several years in the areas of reportage and portraiture. Since 2004 he has traveled through Northern Mexico, India, Pakistan, Kashmir and Sardinia. His work has been published in The New Yorker Magazine, Geo, The Guardian, Internazionale, I Viaggi del Sole (RCS Periodici), Io Donna (Republica), La Jornada, Vanity Fair, Maclean’s Magazine, The Financial Times and others. His photographs were included in the exhibit ‘Resiliencia’ at Photo Espana in 2009. Nicola works with the Anzeberger Photo Agency in Austria and is currently based in Mexico City.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph is from my project ‘The Last Sardinian Shepherds. Being an island, Sardinia has maintained its secret customs. It has done so with an aging population as there are few possibilities this independent region of Italy offers for young people. Sheep rearing has always been the driving force of Sardinia for centuries, but it is dying. There are more than three and a half million sheep, cows, goats in Sardinia- many more than Spain and France. Until recently, a shepherd could support his family and also have savings. They are now unable to survive. Nowadays, Sardinian shepherds must choose between remaining in a state of poverty because of restriction from manufacturers and banks who undersell their livestock, or turn to crime in desperation.”

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Eivind H. Natvig July 12, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Bangladesh.
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Bhola, Bangladesh 2009

Eivind H. Natvig (b. 1978, Norway) graduated with a degree in photojournalism from Oslo University College in 2005. Has has since done assignments for a wide range of national and international publications and received the Norwegian Picture of the Year award. From 2006 Eivind have divided his time between assignments in Norway and an in-depth projects in South Asia financed by a grant from The Freedom of Expression Foundation and Karina Jensens Minnefond. His work has been published in Le Monde, Liberation, MSNBC and Time magazine. He is represented by Moment Agency.

About the Photograph:

“The sun was about to set on the north shore of Bhola on one of the ghats (river banks) near the mainland. This man sat patiently working on his fishing net as life passed by. In some ways he symbolizes the Bangladeshis trapped in a tightening fishing net as the rivers and sea they both depend on eat away the land they call home. Situated by the mouth of Ganges, at the Bay of Bengal the Island of Bhola has been referred to as the ground zero of climate change. Half the island has disappeared in the past forty years, and according to scientists the pace is not going to slow down. People pack up and leave as the water get closer. Some to a nearby embankment, while those with enough money move further inland, but for most life moves on until the inevitable. It’s always about survival for the people in one of the worlds poorest countries.”

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William Daniels July 9, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Kyrgyzstan.
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Osh, Kyrgyzstan 2008

William Daniels (b. 1977, France) began his career by photographing street children in the Philippines in 2004.  In 2007, he won the Lagardere Foundation grant for a long term project on Kyrgyzstan. This story, screened at Visa festival in 2009 and will be published in book form. His long-term work on Malaria, Mauvais Air, was exhibited on the Pont des Arts Bridge in Paris in 2008 and has received several awards including 3rd Prize in the World Press Photo and 1st Prize in the POYi.  His photographs have appeared in Le Monde 2, Newsweek, Elle, La Republica and Der Spiegel. He has collaborated with organizations including Open Society Institute, MSF, The Global Fund and various UN agencies. He is represented by Panos Pictures.

About the Photograph:

“I took this photograph while waiting in my guide’s car during a traffic jam in Osh, the main city in southern Kyrgyzstan. There was this nice winter light  on the lady’s face that was filtered by the trees along the road. I made two frames. She wasn’t looking at me on the first shot and I finally kept this one as I preferred her expression. This image is part of a long term social portrait of Kyrgyzstan called Faded Tulips. The aim of this work was to establish whether the 2005 tulips revolution was a real hope of change and democratization for Kirghize people. I believe that the situation in Kyrgyzstan is now worse than it was before the Tulips revolution. Frustration and anger are growing and another event -a real uprising this time- is about to happen. Lets hope the new leaders will resist to the appeal of the nepotism that is characteristic of so many central Asian countries.”

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Steven Achiam July 7, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Japan.
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Sumo wrestlers training, Japan 2007

Steven Achiam (b. 1976, Denmark) graduated from the Danish School of Journalism. His photo stories have been published in newspapers and magazines in The Netherlands, Italy, France, Germany, Denmark and Norway. In 2009 he followed families living with climate change in DR Congo, China, Georgia and Syria. His video shorts awarded him “TV-photographer of The Year” and the website was prized “Multimedia site of the Year” by the Danish Press Photo of the Year. In 2008 he was honored by the Unicef Photo jury for his long term book project about Sumo boys in Japan He has also won a World Press Photo Award in 2007 for his story on the living conditions of a migrant worker in the Kuwait desert. Steve is based in Copenhagen.

About the Photograph:

“Gaining confidence and being accepted are some of the reasons the boys from the Hirigaya Sumo Club practice Sumo wrestling. At age six Shunsuke is motivated to gain strength and get limber through hard training with older boys, who are both gentle and careful to help the young wrestler. Like ballet, Sumo wrestling is a niche among children’s sports in Japan. You find the strongest interest among middle class families outside the major cities, where the Sumo tradition is kept alive. 50,000 boys between the age of 4 to 14 are introduced to Sumo wrestling by their parents. Young wrestlers usually have an average body build and although obesity is not a structured part of the training program, at a later point being obese comes as a slight advantage. The old Japanese see Sumo as a school of life while the modern Japanese turn their eyes to baseball.”

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Nicola Lo Calzo July 5, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Niger.
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Niger 2008

Nicola Lo Calzo (b.1979, Italy) initially trained as a landscape architect and subsequently obtained a Master of Visual Arts at the University of Turin in his native city where he began his photographic career. Since 2005 Nicola lives and works in Paris. Portraiture and reportage with the focus on identity and socio-cultural considerations of his subjects are his major interests. He was nominated  for the Magnum Expression Award in 2009 and HSBC Photography Award the same year. Nicola is currently working on “Morgante”, a photographic project about “the minorities” in West Africa.”

About the Photograph:

“These photographs are part of a series called ‘Inside Niger, Portraits from Sahel’ commissioned by the Paris City Council and Conseil General de Val de Marne. They were shot in the Tillaberi and Dosso  region of Niger. The photographs compose an eclectic portrait of the Niger river universe where every person searches for identity through their work in one of the poorest countries of the world. In each of the portraits the subjects stressed the value and  identity derived from their work. I spent all my day in the fields talking with the farmers. Bachir was working on a vegetable garden along the river when I passed to visit him and his friends. It was 5 pm and the sun was setting. He brought me to see a part of his field when I noticed his back. His dignity and pride touched me deeply. The way he walked along the path. I shot at that moment.”

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Travis Dove July 2, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Greece.
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Mount Athos, Greece

Travis Dove (b. 1981, USA) received his BA from Wake Forest University in 2004 where he studied communication and studio art.  He later interned on the photo staffs of several American newspapers including The Boston Globe and The Charlotte Observer. While working toward a master’s degree in photography at Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication he was named the 2007 College Photographer of the Year by the Missouri School of Journalism.  In recent years his work has been awarded by World Press Photo, POYi, PDN, the NPPA, and the WHNPA, among others. In the fall of 2008 he completed a prestigious photo internship at National Geographic Magazine. His work has appeared in large and small publications across the globe. Recent clients include National Geographic, The New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.

About the Photograph:

“This image was taken on my second trip to Mount Athos, the spiritual center of the Eastern Orthodox Church. I was there on assignment for National Geographic. Athos is a monastic state within northern Greece that was established more than 1,000 years ago. Just after midnight on Easter Sunday this group of monks gathered outside of a ninth century church and began chanting, ‘Christos anesti—Christ has risen.’ The litanies around Easter transform the generally quiet peninsula and the mood turns celebratory.  The monks of Mount Athos often pray all the way through the night during special celebrations, as they did on this occasion before breaking seven weeks of fast.”

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