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Laura Boushnak February 27, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Lebanon.
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Beirut, Lebanon 2010

Laura Boushnak (b. 1976, Kuwait) began her career covering news for the Associated Press in Lebanon. She later worked as a photo editor and photographer for Agence France-Presse (AFP) at its Middle East hub in Cyprus and its Paris headquarters. Her nine-year wire service experience included covering hard news in conflicts such as the war in Iraq and the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war. Her work has been published in the New York Times, The Guardian, The National Geographic, The Independent, Le Monde and Liberation. Her photos has also been exhibited by museums and galleries in New York, Mumbai, Thessaloniki, Beijing, Cairo, Noorderlecht, Aleppo, Manama, Nicosia, Beirut, Oslo and Sarajevo. She received the Peace Media Award from the Peace x Peace organization (Washington, DC) in 2010. She is a founding member of RAWIYA collective.

About the Photograph

“This photograph is part of an ongoing project titled Out Of Beirut’s Project. It’s about the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and transsexual LGBT community in Beirut- probably the only city in the Arab world where homosexuality is openly discussed and up to a point accepted. I initially started the project for the World Press Photo Organization MENA training program 2010 on the theme ‘active citizenship’. Fortunately a friend of mine provided me with access to some activists, who were willing to be photographed. Most of them wanted to hide their identities and asked for their names to be changed for security reasons as they are faced with discrimination, threats and harassment. Sandy was one of the few who had accepted to show her identity, so during a pro secularism demonstration in Beirut, I kept following her while she was holding a placard which reads in Arabic: Feminism + Secularism = Freedom. “

Olof Jarlbro February 23, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Bulgaria.
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Bulgarian Ataka. Political Party, Sofia 2011

Olof Jarlbro (1978,Sweden) graduated from the Documentary and Photojournalism program at the International Center of Photography  in 2001. After his studies in New York he returned to Sweden and began working on longer photographic projects. In 2005 he attended the BA-program at FAMU  Art, Film and Photographic school in Prague. During his time in the Czech Republic he had a solo exhibit at the House of  Photography in Bratislava, Slovakia. In 2008, he published his first book The Falling Kingdom. His work has been published in Esquire, Style  and other magazine. After the ‘Falling Kingdom’ Olof published two more books:  ‘Stonefactory’ (2009) and ‘Nepal and Mao’ (2011). He is currently based in Bulgaria.

About the Photographs:

“The Bulgarian Ataka party was founded in 2005. They describe themselves as patriotic and nationalistic. I’m interested in people who are politically extreme regardless if it’s the left or right. In either case, I try to gain acceptance from the subjects before making  photographs. I never go in with a political belief or personal standpoint. Part of my success in gaining access in other cultures is my willingness to try and understand other people’s perspective. One would think that the party would just attract skinheads, but they draw support from a large variety of people in Bulgaria: workers, farmers, pensioners and a large portion of people from remote villages.”

Dörthe Hagenguth February 20, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Germany.
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Leonie and Ellen, Hamburg 2010

Dörthe Hagenguth (b.1966, Germany) has been a freelance photographer since 2004. She travels extensively and has been to Brazil, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Mexico, Guatemala and repeatedly to Eastern Europe. While studying economics and geography she worked as a coach in a children’s circus, a travel guide and flight attendent. After studying photojournalism at MAZ, the Swiss School of Journalism, she worked for several months as a photojournalist for Nicaragua’s national newspaper La Prensa”, based in Managua. Her work has been published in Brigitte, Financial Times Deutschland, Greenpeace Magazin, National Geographic Deutschland and Stern among others. Dörthe is represented by Agentur Focus and is based in Hamburg, Germany.

About the Photograph:

“I met Leonie and Ellen in Hamburg by accident while I was doing a reportage about a young show jumper for GEOlino at the German equestrian jump and dressage Derby. They came out of the stable with their horses and I liked how they where talking about situations in their competition. They are 13 years old and normally don’t dress equal. But these equestrian sports have very traditional rules. Leonie was a little bit sad because her pony didn’t want to walk backwards for the dressage exam. Right in front of the scoring judge she put herself on the backward legs and Leonie had  to work hard not to fall from the horseback. That was not the plan! Ellen tried to comfort her sister. It was touching to see. They compete against each other but the next moment they cooperate.” (more…)

Philip Gostelow February 16, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.
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From the Series: Shanghai Zeitgeist, China 2005

Philip Gostelow (1962, Australia) has worked with some of the world’s leading magazines including TIME, The Independent on Sunday Review, Figaro and Conde Nast Traveler – while shooting for corporate clients including HSBC and RBS. His photographs has been honored with awards in Australia and exhibited internationally  at the  Noorderlicht Photo Festival. His project Visible, Now – The Fragility of Childhood was published as an e-book in 2006 and his Black Christmas Bushfire Series (2001) is in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia. In addition to photography, Philip has written articles for Cathay’s Discovery, South China Morning Post and The Australian Financial Review, and is currently involved in the production of short film and documentary projects. He is currently based in Shanghai.

About the Photographs:

“These couple images are from my first series on Shanghai. It was also my last time using the beautiful square format of my beloved Hassleblad. I’d never been drawn to China – either culturally or geographically, though on this trip to Shanghai I was fascinated at its vastness and it’s somewhat over wrought attachment to Western style and materialism. The bicyclist caught struggling across an intersection just north of the Suzhou Creek in the Hongkou district, a hodgepodge of traffic and the city’s high-rise looming in the distance, epitomizes Shanghai’s frantic energy and development. The gyrating retiree on the Bund engaging in his early morning exercises shows that, for the moment at least, not all ritual and tradition has been lost to the headlong rush to modernize and develop.”

Stéphanie Borcard and Nicolas Métraux February 13, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Vietnam.
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The Reunification Express. Vietnam 2011

BM-photo is the result of a collaborative work between Stéphanie Borcard and Nicolas Métraux (both of them Swiss and born in 1978) living for the past year in Asian hotel rooms. We work on personal projects, developing calm and poetic images. Through our recent series of photographs, we try to create a set of emotions, rather than to document a specific subject. Human interactions have always been our source of inspiration. We used to get very close to people but now, we appreciate a certain distance. Before coming to photography, Stephanie was a teacher and Nicolas a woodworker and an architect. We are collaborating with swissinfo.ch, a Swiss broadcasting agency and with CIAN Agency.  We always work together and co-sign all our images

About the Photograph:

“The Reunification Express was built by the French in 1936, destroyed during the war and rebuilt in 1976, its tracks link Hanoi to Saigon. It is one of the slowest express trains in the world. We like its slow pace and its name. It evokes both a sad past and a present peace. As the train approaches, the tiny crowd starts to move. The small train station is, for a while filled with life. Our journey begins in Hanoi. We sit on a wooden bench aboard the Reunification Express. A hard-seat-and-fan ticket to South. People sleep all over the train trying to escape the heat. The air is thick. Our eyes wander there, outside on the landscape; what happened here? We were born after the war. It did not concern us, yet it was almost all we knew about Vietnam. How does this land look like today? Who are the Vietnamese? This is our travel journal. The destination is not important; it is the way covered that is.”

Ross McDonnell February 9, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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The Vagabond Inn, Bakersfield California

Ross McDonnell (b.1979, Ireland)) is an Irish image-maker working as a director, cinematographer and photographer. His work has been published by Time, The New York Times, Art in America, The Observer, The Washington Post and Esquire among others. He has received grants and awards from The Jerome Foundation, The Irish Film Board and The Simon Cumbers Foundation. Twice nominated for an Irish Film and Television Award, his film work has been shown around the world, most recently his documentary ‘Colony’ receiving it’s world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and winning the First Appearance Award for best first feature film at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam.

About the Photograph:

“The Vagabond Inn was cheaper than the Days down the street. They had a loyalty scheme too. Tenth night came free. For fifty bucks, it was a pretty good deal. The A/C didn’t work great in the summer when the temperature hit a hundred but beggars can’t be choosers I reckoned. There was a Starbucks Drive-Thru in the same parking lot, next to the Subway. It was better for breakfast than the Fruit Loops and carburetor coffee they had in the lobby. The Wi-Fi worked fast closer to the reception on the ground floor. It was right next to 99: Gateway to the Central Valley. I was living the dream. Photographers love Americana and I’m no different. Bakersfield was my Robert Frank’s road trip. My Eggleston’s South. The Vagabond was my Ground Zero.”

Sam Phelps February 6, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Pakistan.
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From the Series ‘Train Portraits’. Pakistan 2010

Sam Phelps (b. 1981, Australia) completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Digital Media at the College of Fine Arts, Sydney in 2003. He worked as an Assistant Photographer on fashion shoots before embarking on his first dedicated endevour into the world of documentary photography in mid 2007. After crossing the Khyber Pass to Kabul he subsequently became embedded with one of the US Coalition forces that was responsible for provincial reconstruction. His most recent story documents Qat production and consumption in Yemen. He has shot assignment and been published with publications including Time, The Times UK, Liberation and Der Spiegel.  Sam recently completed an internship with VII Photo agency Paris and is currently based in Pakistan.

About the Photograph:

“This photo was taken on the Khyber Mail, a Pakistani mail and passenger train that travels from Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and terminates in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city at the southern tip of Sindh province on the Arabian Sea after 35 hours travel. It is the first portrait I took as part of an ongoing series titled ‘Train Portraits’. The subject was the train conductor and somebody good to have on your side when undertaking a project of this nature given he could decide to call the police authorities riding in the carriages at any time and shut down the shoot. His name was Muhammad Baghah Mughal, a 43 year old devout Muslim fasting during the month of Ramadan. I was attracted to his spotless white uniform, a remnant of colonial pre partition India Pakistan and the rail lines that were laid within the sub continent to unify the British Raj.”

  (more…)

Romain Blanquart February 3, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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John’s Carpet House, Detroit

Romain Blanquart (b. 1973, France) studied advertising photography at the Rochester Institute of Technology and for the last ten years he has been a staff photographer at the Detroit Free Press newspaper. He was named Michigan Photographer of the Year twice and received numerous accolades for his photography and video work from Best of Photojournalism, the Emmy Awards, PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris, International Photography Awards and The Society for News Design.  Romain is represented by Giovanna Simonetta Gallery in Milan. His work has been published in The New York Times Magazine, Time, Newsweek, Fader and Vanity Fair among others. He lives in Detroit and for the past year has been working on the video Living With Murder about the effects of homicides on is home town.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph is part of a collaborative project with photographer Brian Widdis called Can’t Forget The Motor City. Every Sunday from May to October around 3 pm ’till dusk, as many as five hundred people gather in an empty field behind the Detroit incinerator to listen and dance to a live jam of some of Detroit’s best blues artists, their instruments powered by a generator. The place is called John’s Carpet House after John Estes who was a junk man and drummer and sometimes singer. Twenty years ago, he built a wooden shack, decorated it with scraps of carpet, and invited blues musicians to play every Sunday. John died about seven years ago and soon after his house burned down. The party has now moved across the street from John’s old shack.”

Anne-Stine Johnsbråten February 1, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Norway.
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Mom & Dad, Christmas Eve. Oslo, Norway 2007

Anne-Stine Johnsbråten (b.1983) has been working as a documentary photographer and photojournalist the past six years, mainly focusing on larger photo essays. She has earned a Bachelor in Photojournalism from Oslo University College, and has also attended The Danish School of Media and Journalism.  She received a grant from The Freedom of Expression Foundation for  project “The Norwegian Roma”. Her work has been exhibited at the Norwegian Cultural Historical Museum and in Germany and Slovenia. In 2010 and 2011, she received recognition from The Norwegian Arts Council and was given several governmental grants.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph was taken one Christmas Eve, as we are sitting down to have Christmas dinner. Mom leans over to dad, exhausted from all the preparations. Most of us capture pictures to remember the big and happy events in our lives. To me, everyday life is just as important. The project has made me have a new and closer look at my own family. I’ve challenged my perception of something so dear and near that I never thought twice about it being different. I’ve seen the joyful faces of my cousins, jumping on the garden trampoline, with new eyes. How my mom always has bits of toothpaste around her face, after brushing her teeth. For the first time recognizing the colors on the 70’s wallpaper in my grandparents kitchen, as they are consuming the dinner of the day, “Faarikaal” and red hot dogs, a most non-traditional combination. The past six years I’ve documented some big and important, but mostly trivial moments in my own extended family.”

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