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Maja Daniels June 29, 2011

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Denmark.
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Christiania, Copenhagen, Denmark 2009

Maja Daniels (b. 1985, Sweden) is a freelance photographer currently based in London. Having studied journalism, sociology and photography, she produces work that focuses on social documentary and portraiture with an emphasis on human relations in their contemporary environment. Her work has been published in the Guardian Weekend (UK), Les Inrockuptibes (FR), Vagabond (SWE) and she has collaborated with various french institutions as well as the European Commission. Her recently completed series “Into Oblivion” was shortlisted for the 2010 PhotoVisura Grant for an Outstanding Personal Photography Project. Maja is represented by Picturetank in Paris.

About the Photograph:

I went to photograph the community of Christiana  in the build-up of the 2009 climate summit. Ruled outside of conventional law and order, Christiania is a self-proclaimed Freetown, governed by its own organization. The Freetown attracts around one million visiting tourists every year since it has become a pertinent and rare example of an alternative domestic organisation. It is the longest existing alternative society in the western world. Founded in 1971 by a group of hippies, its inhabitants of around 900 people are currently facing an existential and property rights crisis. This social experiment will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2011 but the The Danish Eastern High Court recently decided that the government is within its powers to re-assert control over the area. This might mean that great changes are due to be enforced on the Christianites who might have to face having their houses demolished or be forced to purchase their residencies at current market values.”

Michele Borzoni June 27, 2011

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Pakistan.
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Christian Wedding, Islamabad, Pakistan

Michele Borzoni (b. 1979 , Italy) graduated  from the International Center of Photography in the Documentary Photography and Photojournalism Program in 2006. He attended the Eddie Adams Workshop, Barnstorm XIX. His work has been awarded with the First Prize Yann Geffroy Award 2007 with his work “Srebrenica, struggle for justice”, the New York Times Scholarship for ICP students, and in 2009 he received the Tierney Fellowship. In 2010 he won the first prize of the World Press Photo in the People in the News singles category. From 2006 he has been working with Italian and international magazines among with D della Repubblica, Vanity Fair, Magazine, Elle, Io Donna, Newsweek, Marie Clair France, Newsweek, Internazionale, L’Espresso, Financial Times Magazine, Amica, Le Monde2, Geo and others.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph is part of a series about the Christian minority in Pakistan. In particular, people are celebrating a Christian wedding in the “Hundred Quarter” Christian colony, one of the seven Christian ghettos of Islamabad. Relatives hang money on the bridegrooms head as a sign of happiness. What interested me was the mixture of  Christian and the Punjabi traditional culture. In the big cities of Pakistan most of the Christians live in ghettos called “colonies”. As a consequence of the cast system legacy, the majority of Christians work in the cleaning and sanitary field. Kind of like untouchables.”

Mary Beth Meehan June 22, 2011

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Irish Politicians on Election Night. Brockton, Massachusetts 2007

Mary Beth Meehan (b. 1967, USA) is a Providence-based documentary photographer who explores issues of culture, immigration, and community. Her goal is to create a connection with the people of those communities, whose identities are often obscured by economics, politics, or race. Images from her series City of Champions recently won Onward 11’s Juror Award, selected by Larry Fink. Her work has been exhibited and published widely, including in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and the Washington Post, and has been honored by Pictures of the Year International and The National Conference for Community and Justice. Her weekly photo-and-text column in the Providence Journal was one of the first to attract national acclaim, and was nominated twice for the Pulitzer Prize. Meehan teaches Documentary Photography at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

About the Photograph:

“My current series, City of Champions, is a look at my hometown of Brockton, Massachusetts, an effort to personalize the changes there of the last century, and to convey the emotional charge of so much change. The Irish were among the first to settle in Brockton, building the city with shoe-factory income, and amassing political power. They still dominate politics, even though the majority of residents are people of color, new immigrants come from the world’s poorest and most war-torn countries, and the city is beset by housing foreclosure, economic decline, and crime. This photograph was made in a bar on election night, when the Irish-American mayor with a 10th-grade education barely squeaked out re-election over an African-American man, who held advanced college degrees and had promised political reform. Here, the mayor’s supporters celebrated the close call, surrounded by idealized reminders of their own heritage.”

Frederic Lezmi June 20, 2011

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Turkey.
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Istanbul 2008

Frederic Lezmi (b. 1978, Germany) grew up in Dakar, Geneva and the Black Forest. Due to his mixed roots, born to a Lebanese father and German mother, his work focuses on topics in the Middle East. His long term project “Arabian Prospects” has been awarded the Kodak Young Photographers Award 2004 and the Epson Art Award in 2007. His graduation series »Beyond Borders« has received the BFF-Promotion Award as well as the Reinhard-Wolf Prize 2009 for best final degree work in photography. “Beyond Borders” has been published by White Press/Schaden.com and has been nominated by Gerry Badger as his favorite photo book for the Kassel Photo Book Awards 2010. Frederic is represented by the Empty Quarters Gallery in Dubai and is a member of the German photo agency Laif.

About the Photograph:

“I took this picture in Istanbul in late summer 2008 while working on my Beyond Borders project. I was en route from Vienna to Beirut by car to see where the west ends and where the orient begins. This picture is taken from the bar of the Marmara Hotel on central Taksim Square. During the first days in a new city I often try to get on a high point, a hotel or business tower to have a view of the town, to see where it ends and where it would be interesting to go. I usually do not take pictures from the top as this kind of view does not interest me and I prefer to take my pictures from street level. But on that day, entering the bar of this hotel there was a window cleaner blurring the whole city behind him and just doing his final stroke. What a lucky moment.”

Bharat Choudhary June 17, 2011

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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From the project “The Silence of ‘Others”. Chicago 2010

Bharat Choudhary (b. 1978, India) is a documentary photographer currently based in London. He spent his first 14 years in Nigeria before moving back to India with his parents. After a degree in forestry management, he spent five years working with non-governmental organizations, on issues of rural poverty and education. Things changed when his father gifted him with an old Asahi Pentax K2 and a Minolta X-700. Bharat realized that his photography could be the voice of many socially marginalized communities. He gave shape to his photography under the mentorship of Magnum photographer Raghu Rai and received an MA in Photojournalism from the University of Missouri in 2010. Presently, he is working on a project about young Muslims and Islamophobia in England, supported by the Alexia Foundation for World Peace grant.

About the Photograph:

“I was walking towards downtown Chicago with Kaiser when we both saw this busy beach next to an equally busy road. It was hot, we were tired and so we decided to rest there for a while before resuming our march towards the Millennium Park. Kaiser took out his sketchbook and the famous winds of Chicago added wings to an already interesting situation. I saw a lot of things in a few seconds. But what made that moment special to me was the sight of a ‘salad bowl’, instead of the so-called ‘melting pot’ that everyone loves to talk about. I do not see this as a visually delightful image that entertains, but I feel that it comes close to my idea of an image that forwards a reason for an informed debate. No single element in the image alone would’ve worked. But here every single unit serves as an equally relevant part of a very important whole. When I look at this image, I try to connect all these units and believe that together they honestly articulate the thoughts and feelings of Kaiser.” (more…)

Shinya Arimoto June 15, 2011

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Tibet.
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From the Series “Why Now Tibet”, 2009

Shinya Arimoto ( b. 1971, Japan) graduated from Osaka School of Visual Arts 1994. Since then Shinya has photographed in India, Nepal and Tibet where he spent more than 18 months. In 1998, he won the 35th Taiyo award for his photography book Portrait of Tibet. He opened the Totem Pole Gallery in Shinjuku, Tokyo in 2008. Shinya has published Portrait of Tibet (Visual Arts, 1999) and ariphoto selection vol. 1 (Totem Pole Gallery, 2010). His work has been published in Asahi Camera and Kaze no Tabibito, among others. Shinya also teaches at various photography schools including the Tokyo Visual Arts Center.

About the Photograph:

“This image was taken in the Tibet Autonomous Region of  Sichuan Province. Outside the restaurant, this nomadic father and son in tribal robes were peeking at a Tibetan language TV show. The robe represents a sense of ethnic identity, especially strong during youth. Tibetans in this small town in the middle of vast grasslands have made their living trading with other nomads for many years. I revisited this town in the summer of 2009 for the first time in 10 years. Although Tibet is often called a hidden land, significant economic development in China during the past 10 years has brought changes to the lives of many. I saw few horses in the grasslands and instead watched many nomadic Tibetans speeding by on motorcycles. I saw people with cell phones walking through the renovated town, which showed no signs of my previous visit. However, there are traditions that the people have kept by fighting new trends. I wanted to witness what they had gained, what they lost, and to learn about my own changes over the past 10 years.”

Editors Note: Thanks to Kayo Lackey for translating the bio and interview with Shinya.

Susan Worsham June 13, 2011

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Lynn and Max, Virginia 2009

Susan Worsham (b. 1969, USA) took her first photography class while studying graphic design in college.  In 2009 Susan was nominated for the Santa Fe Prize For Photography, and her book” Some Fox Trails In Virginia” won first runner up in the fine art category of  the Blurb Photography Book Now International Competition. In 2010 Susan was awarded the first TMC / Kodak Film Grant, and was an artist in residence at Light Work in Syracuse, New York. Her work is held in private collections, and has been exhibited at the Corcoran Museum during  FotoWeek D.C, The Photographic Center Northwest, Silver Eye Center for Photography, And Dean Jensen Gallery. She was recently named one of PDN’s 30 Emerging Photographers To Watch in 2011.

About the Photograph:

“The image shown here  Max With Black Plums, is from my personal project ” Some Fox Trails In Virginia” Through this series I photograph, the landscape of my childhood, but through the lens of my adult self. I use two women from different generations as my muses. Margaret Daniel, my oldest neighbor, and Lynn, the first stranger that I ever asked to pose for me. I have been photographing Lynn for over 19 years now. The image above is of Lynn and her son Max. The plums she holds in her lap are still close, echoing the mother and son bond at this age. I think the trust in our relationship comes through in the picture. There is a quiet intimacy that I have found while shooting Lynn and her family that I now look for in all of my subjects. We have grown into women together, and I hope to photograph her family for years to come.”

Sanjit Das June 10, 2011

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in India.
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Uttar Pradesh, India 2010

Sanjit Das (b. 1976. India) is a self-taught photographer living between New Delhi and Kuala Lumpur.  His photography attempts to document the country’s rapid transformation from rural economy to global superpower, with a focus on the people – especially women and children – who are living through the change.  His work is published internationally in, amongst others, Atlantic, Businessweek, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, Wall Street Journal, NYT, Newsweek, TIME. In 2007, Sanjit was featured in a book showcasing contemporary Indian artists, ‘Made by Indians’ published by Gallerie Enrico Navarra. Sanjit is represented by Panos Pictures Agency.

About the Photograph:

“I made this picture while working on a project about insufficient health services provided to the poor in rural India. As soon as we arrived, the villagers gathered to discuss their problems and wanted us to take up the issues to the government officials. I pushed myself against the wall and quietly stood there, waiting for the right moment. The picture in front of me was not only beautiful but miserable. The frame and the bright colors through my viewfinder were beautiful, but the content in front of me was a sharp reminder of a class based society that India is struggling to get rid of- a slice of which one sees here where the women from the lower caste sits on the floor while the upper caste boys stand and stare in the background doing nothing. While claiming to be the fastest growing economy in the world with a seven percent growth rate, India, ironically is struggling to answer that dilemma.”

Alexander Aksakov June 8, 2011

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Russia.
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Epiphany Night, St.Petersburg, Russia 2011

Alexander Aksakov (b. 1986, Russia) is a freelance photographer based in St. Petersburg. He started photographing life in cities and roads of Russia in 2005 during his first experience as a hitchhiker. While studying at the university he decided not to work as a marketeer, but would concentrate on photography. In 2007 he was invited by several Syktyvkar (Komi Republic, Russia) newspapers as a freelance photographer. After graduating in 2009 he was put into the army and served for a year as a fireman in Plesetsk, the space launching site. He lives and works in St. Petersburg shooting mainly for St. Petersburg and making personal documentary projects and essays.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph was made on my way home from an assignment. I saw large group of people swimming in the Neva river covered with ice. Somebody fired a flash in front of me at the moment I pressed the shutter. It’s believed that sinking into cold water for three times helps wash away your sins and become closer to God. In Russia it’s a very popular ritual and sometimes even people who don’t really believe in God take part in it. It doesn’t matter what the temperature is outside. People sink even if it’s -30C outside or colder. Those who have tried it say they feel lighter and better and their problems disappear.  That’s the idea of epiphany: people washing off their sins and getting closer to heaven.

John Angerson June 6, 2011

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in England.
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Repatriation Procession, Wootton Bassett, England 2010

John Angerson (b.1969 Bristol, England) started his career in the early 1990’s, covering the fall of the Berlin Wall and the changing geopolitical landscape of Eastern Europe. Since then, his practice has continued to explore the different languages of documentary photography, focusing on how specific communities form, shift and develop. His personal projects have garnered critical acclaim and have been exhibited at major art institutions in the UK and overseas. His latest monograph – Love, Power, Sacrifice (published by Dewi Lewis, Manchester) documented the Jesus Army over a twenty-year period and peers into a microcosm of fanatical religion.

About the Photograph:

The small town of Wootton Bassett has become the focus of the regular repatriation processions of fallen servicemen and women from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bodies are transported from RAF Lyneham and pass through the town on their way to the coroner in Oxford. Family members, friends and the local community assemble along the route in silent tribute for the men who all died within six days of each other.” This image is from the  project ‘English Journey’ a contemporary photographic journey that embraces the spirit of JB Priestley’s ‘English Journey’, by using the subtitle of the book: Being a rambling but truthful account of what one man saw, heard felt and thought during a journey through England.

Sarah Wilson June 3, 2011

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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James and Melissa from the series Blind Prom, Texas 2008

Sarah Wilson (b. 1977, USA) received her BFA in photography at NYU, and has returned to her hometown of Austin, Texas, where she works regionally as an editorial photographer for magazines such as The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Time, The Atlantic Monthly, Texas Monthly, Mother Jones, and others. Her series, Blind Prom was awarded the 2008 PhotoNOLA Portfolio Review Prize, and was exhibited in New Orleans at the Photo Alliance Gallery, in New York City at the Foley Gallery, and in China at the Lishui International Photography Festival. Several images from, Jasper, Texas: The Road To Redemption, documented the aftermath of the dragging death of James Byrd Jr., a shocking hate crime have been acquired by the permanent collections at both the University of Texas and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.

About the Photograph:

“For the past four years, I have volunteered as the prom night photographer for the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Starting with hair and makeup in the dorms, through the last dance at midnight, I aim to capture the entire prom ritual. Not only do the images memorialize this rite of passage for the attendees and their parents, but I also hope that the work will serve a larger audience as a medium for consideration of what life might be like as a blind teenager. This picture of James and Melissa is one of my favorite images from the series thus far. They were having one of those sweet, electric, young love moments while the other students were out on the dance floor.”

Nacho Hernandez June 1, 2011

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in New Zealand.
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Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand, October 2010

Nacho Hernandez (b. 1968, Spain) is a freelance photographer based in the Philippines. He graduated from the Washington School of Photography and also holds a Master’s degree in International Relations and Development from Georgetown University. His clients include publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Courrier International and Asian Geographic among others, and institutions such as the World Bank or various NGOs. He has exhibited his work in Europe and the US, including a solo exhibition about the Sahrawi people at the US Congress in Washington DC. He is currently working on a book about the Philippines and on a project about rugby in New Zealand.

About the Photograph:

“This photo is part of my ongoing project on rugby in New Zealand. As a former rugby player, I always wanted to have a close look at the sport in a country where rugby is lived almost as a religion. How can a country of four million people dominate international rugby? Part of the answer is in the photo. It was taken last October at Eden Park, in Auckland, after a game of the local rugby team Auckland Rugby. Eden Park is New Zealand’s biggest sports field and it has hosted rugby games since the early 1900s. It hosted the final of the very first Rugby World Cup in 1987 (won by New Zealand’s All Blacks) and will host the final of the World Cup again, next October. Anything other than a victory by the All Blacks will be a national tragedy. After each game, families and kids are allowed to “invade” the field, hunt for autographs and mingle with their idols, who are happy to oblige. For all these kids who dream of becoming New Zealand’s next rugby heroes, being on the grass on this field is like stepping on hallowed ground. Or like walking in the Garden of Eden.”

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