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Ethan Knight July 30, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Thailand.
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Pattani, Southern Thailand 2012

Ethan Knight (b.1980, New Zealand) is a freelance documentary photographer, who currently divides his time between New York and South East Asia. In the past nine years, Ethan’s work has taken him to many different countries covering various humanitarian crises including the aftermath of the Pacific tsunami in Western Samoa, and the post civil war effects in Sierra Leone and Northern Sri Lanka. His images have appeared in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Sydney Morning Herald, Australian Geographic, New Zealand Geographic, Lonely Planet Images, and The Samoa Observer.

About the Photograph:

“This image was taken on assignment in Pattani, the deep south of Thailand. Since 2004, there have been over 4,000 fatalities due to the conflict between local Malay Muslims and the Thai authorities. In the three provinces of Pattani, Narathiwat and Yala, local Malay Muslims present a mirror image of national demographics, with ninety-five percent of the population identifying as Muslim and five percent as Buddhist compared to the national statistical average of 95 percent Buddhist and five percent Muslim. These statistics help us understand the ongoing conflict as a problem of identity and social cohesiveness. This particular image was shot in a segregated Malay-Muslim area outside a girls school. For me it conveys a sense of isolation of a closed world between these two ethic groups.”

Mathieu Young July 27, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Del Mar County Fair, California 2010

Mathieu Young (b. 1981, United States) splits his time between commercial photography, mainly entertainment advertising, and reportage projects. His photojournalism has been seen on CNN, The New York Times Lens, and in Rolling Stone, Newsweek, the Wall Street Journal, and Time Magazine, amongst many others. He continues to shoot commercial assignments for Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., FOX, The CW, A+E, and Dreamworks Animation. He was a student at the 2011 Eddie Adams Workshop, awarded 1st Place in the International Photography Awards, and chosen for American Photography 28. Mathieu is based in Los Angeles and represented by Weiss Artists, Inc.

About the Photograph:

“The Pledge of Allegiance, moments before the destruction began. This was from an assignment for ESPN The Magazine covering a demolition derby on July 4th at the Del Mar County Fair in California. It was a true slice of Americana: The pit area was filled with loud engines, American flags, Coors Light, and arc-welders. One young man took a hard hit in the arena and got taken away in a stretcher, but his relatives got vengeance, teeming up on the perpetrator until his car was upside down and on fire. Afterwards, they all shared some turkey legs, cotton candy and whiskey while they towed their demolished vehicles onto flatbeds to drive them home and get them prepared for the next’s month’s derby. God Bless America.”

Magdalena Solé July 25, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Italy.
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Barbiere Figaro in Venice, Italy 2010

Magdalena Solé (b.1958, Spain) graduated with a Masters of Fine Art in Film from Columbia University in 2002.  She was the Unit Production Manager on the film “Man On Wire”. Her current work includes: Kamagasaki: a photo documentary on the shunned elderly day laborers of Japan. Cuba: communities on the brink of change, where the past is still visible, but the future not yet in focus. Japan | After the Water Receded, an exploration of the aftermath of the great 2011 Tohoku disaster. Most recently her photographs of the Mississippi Delta have been selected as a PDN Photo Annual 2011 Finalist. Her book “New Delta Rising”, published by the University Press of Mississippi, has just been released. It has won the Silver Award in 2011 at PX3 Prix de la Photographie. She is also winner of the Silver Prize at Slow Exposures in 2011. Her work has been exhibited in Asia and the US.

About the Photograph:

“As I always do when I photograph, I wander the streets for days. One of the most beautiful places to do that is Venice. I remember visiting Piazza San Marco when I was six years old with my parents and getting lost, which was both a thrilling and very scary experience. I also spent my 20th birthday there, surrounded by its decaying beauty. The barber in the photo was called Barbiere Figaro, he loved opera. His real name was Umberto. I went to look for him again, when I returned to Venice, with his picture in hand. The labyrinth of walkways didn’t make it easy to find him. It was evening and already dark. I asked about him at the little bodega that was just closing across the way. They told me the sad news that he had suddenly passed away in 2010, just a few months after I took his picture. Barbiere Figaro has become an inspiration for my new project: “Barbers”, a visual journey through barbershops and their cultures around the world.”

Micah Albert July 23, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in South Sudan.
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Displaced South Sudanese children celebrate thankfulness by rehearsing a traditional dance of their tribe. Khartoum 2011

Micah Albert (b. 1979) received his B.A. from Point Loma Nazarene University’s Keller Visual Art Center in Graphic Communications in 2002. Since 2004 Micah has worked on documenting projects including the global food crisis in Yemen, insecurity and unrest in Darfur, refugee camps in Chad, marginalized Kurds living in Syria, undocumented refugees living in Jordan, post-election unrest in Kenya, and overfishing practices in Tanzania. Most recently he worked on a project through the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting documenting the Dandora dump site in Nairobi. His clients include The New York Times, Smithsonian Magazine, Foreign Policy Magazine, BBC, The Washington Times, and many others. Micah is represented by Redux Pictures and is based in Northern California.

About the Photograph:

“I had traveled to the Middle East and Africa during the Arab Spring (Sudan, Yemen, Syria, Jordan) to chronicle the more traditionally marginalized groups of young people that you did not hear about in the news.  I wanted to know about the fringe groups. How were they fairing, what did they think, how were they reacting and I wanted to do it across a diverse ethnic groups. Not just Arabs. That’s what brought me to Khartoum. Brown is the color of Khartoum. There’s some red around, but basically it’s brown. The scorching sun bleaches the color out of most things, and dust manages to get onto and into almost everything. Khartoum is the second largest city in Muslim Africa. The city is not built up like most modern cities, but comprises largely simple, mud-brick, one-storied houses stretching for miles in all directions.”

“Sudan has huge cultural diversity, with over 240 ethnic groups making up a population of 33 million. Khartoum accommodates 12 million of these people, two million of whom are displaced (refugees) from the Nuba Mountains, southern Sudan and Darfur. Most live in refugee areas around the edge of city. International organizations have worked tirelessly to promote basic services such as food relief, water, sanitation, health and education in these displacement areas. Government services such as electricity and roads are now appearing. Others dream of going back to the South or to Darfur if the war stops.”

Alex Potter July 20, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Yemen.
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Checking a voting register in Sana’a, Yemen 2012

Alex Potter (b. 1989) is an emerging photojournalist who has worked primarily in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Yemen. After graduating university with a nursing degree she decided to follow her calling rather than the advice of others and turned to a life in photography. She has been selected as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, shortlisted by the Lucie Foundation Emerging Photographer scholarship, and has been published by Reuters, JO Magazine, Boreal Collective, and a variety of small Midwest features. Alex has been chosen for the 2012 Eddie Adams Workshop.  She is currently in Minneapolis finishing a long term project and hopes to return to Yemen soon.

About the Photograph:

“A Yemeni man checks his name on the voting register in Sana’a, Yemen. On February 21, 2012, after a year of bloody protests and civil conflict, President-elect Abed Rabbo Mansur Hadi took office. A peace spread over the major cities: Sana’a, Aden, and Taiz, but this one-man election was a far cry from democracy. I went to Yemen to document the elections, but was so captivated by the country and the people that I decided to stay. While the influence of the militant Ansar Al Sharia in the south is undeniable, Yemen is so much more than the daily news reports. The south is shouting for separation, thousands are displaced by internal conflict, a famine is looming over the western provinces, and Sana’a may run out of water in less than ten years. Yet through my work in Yemen, I hope to show not only the struggles, but more importantly, the strength and resilience of the country. The driving force in Yemen lies not in the daily news but in the beating hearts of its citizens and their undeniable hope for freedom.”

Sally Ryan July 18, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Line Dancing, Montgomery, Illinois 2000

Sally Ryan (b. 1976, USA) received her Bachelor of Journalism degree in 1998 from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She worked for several newspapers before launching her freelance career in 2006. Sally is a frequent contributor to national and international publications and also works with a variety of private and non-profit clients throughout the United States. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Spin, Time Out Chicago, Time, Inc., MSNBC.com, The London Times, and The Onion A.V. Club, as well as overseas publications. Sally is currently teaching a graduate level photojournalism class at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Chicago and is is represented by Zuma Press.

About the Photograph:

“Linda Pasetti, a Harley motorcycle owner and Ladies of Harley member, was the featured speaker that night with plans to teach the other ladies the finer points of country-western line dancing. The initial focus of my shoot was on another woman, an ovarian cancer patient I had been photographing for a few weeks, who was also the president of the Fox Valley LOH chapter. Walking into the Veterans of Foreign Wars community room, the plastic musical notes above the wood paneling immediately caught my eye. Hoping a moment would unfold in front of that backdrop, I began photographing the meeting. After the business portion of the meeting concluded, Linda Pasetti walked to the small stage in front of the musical notes and started her line dancing lesson.”

“At the end of the meeting, I sat down with Linda to learn more about her love of line dancing. She began line dancing a couple of years earlier, and said it completely changed her life. Joining the line dancing crowds at local bars, Linda says the activity helped her lose 40 pounds. She also said instead of drinking beers at the bars, she started drinking more water to stay hydrated so she could dance longer. Linda’s photo and story eventually became the first feature in a photo column I wrote for Copley newspapers. Meeting her and learning her story inspired me to seek out other residents of the western Chicago suburbs to feature in the weekly column.”

Åsa Sjöström July 16, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Sweden.
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High School Students, Malmo Sewden 2012

Åsa Sjöström (1976, Sweden) is a staff photographer at Sydsvenskan and is represented by Moment Agency. In 2002 she graduated from Nordens Fotoskola and has since been working for several major Swedish Daily Newspapers. Her work has been awarded first Prize in the World Press Photo and she has been awarded numerous prizes in the Swedish Picture of The Year Award. Two times she has been nominated for the Swedish Red Cross Journalist Award and received several grants for her commitment when she is documenting the intimacy of people. She has been published in National Geographic and exhibited her work in various galleries. She is based in Sweden.

About the Photograph:

“I took this picture for an assignment after one of many shootings in Malmo a couple of months ago. We wanted to see and hear from the young people whose lives are being effected by the violence and also the recently arrested serial killer who is responsible for killing immigrants. We ended up visiting a local high school in a vulnerable neighborhood and stayed with the youths for four days to cover the story. The first day I didn’t shoot any pictures. Many of the students don´t trust adults but at the same time are also carrying dreams and longing for a steady future. 15 year old Burak Selman gives his youth recreation instructor Py Villablanca a friendly hug. At the same time another student shapes his hand like a shooting gun and points his fingers towards her head. The students like their recreation leader but don’t easily trust their teachers ‘Don’t talk to her, she works for the authority‘, she often hears them say.”

Jeff Rich July 13, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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From the Watershed Project, Erwin Tennessee 2011

Jeff Rich (b. 1977, USA) documents water issues ranging from recreation and sustainability to exploitation and abuse.  He explores these subjects by using long-term photographic documentations of very specific regions of the United States. Jeff received his MFA in photography at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia. His project “Watershed: The French Broad River” was recently published as a monograph by Photolucida as part of the 2010 Critical Mass Book Award.  His work has been featured in Fraction Magazine as well as Photo-Eye’s Photographer’s Showcase. Jeff was recently named as one of the winners of the Magenta Flash Forward 2011 Emerging Photographers Competition. He has shot assignments for Oxford American Magazine and The New York Times.

About the Photograph:

“This photo is of Steve Harris, at the confluence of North Indian Creek and the Nolichucky River. This is a spot on Steve’s land where he goes to commune with nature. Steve’s property is along the Nolichucky River and is less than a mile from the Nuclear Fuel Services Plant. The company processes used radioactive materials, mostly Uranium and Plutonium from reactors. Nuclear Fuel Services (NFS) has a record of accidents and spills over the past 50 years of company operations. Recent water and soil testing revealed evidence of Uranium and Plutonium pollution up to 50 miles down the Nolichucky River. He is considered an MEI, or maximally exposed individual. In other words because of his close proximity, he is exposed to the highest dose of radiation from the NFS pollution. Radioactive pollution is completely invisible and detectable only by special instruments.”

“Steve has owned his property for over 40 years. The land was reclaimed from a pit mine operation, and he created a community on the 20-acre property and has hosted numerous festivals and gatherings. Steve had plans on turning the property into an  organic farm and artist community. This project seeks to capture what Steve’s land was like before the discovery of the pollution, one man’s Arcadia along the river. The project also shows what his property has become, an empty landscape, devoid of the community that once thrived here.”

Varial July 11, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Afghanistan.
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Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan 2011

Varial (aka Cédric Houin, b. 1978, France) is a visual artist living between Paris, New York and Montreal.  Self taught, his work is a constant visual exploration – mix of creative and art direction, photography, video and illustration – inspired by demanding experiences both physically and spiritually which questions our relationship to images. He has received over twenty prizes with photographic and interactive works and has collaborated with the National Film Board of Canada, Telefilm Canada, TV5, Quebec Council for Media and Arts, the Society for Arts and Technology and numerous creative agencies in North America. His recent works about the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan have been published in the New York Times and have been awarded by Exposure and the  PDN annual 2012.

About the Photograph:

“This image was shot in the Kyrgyz lands of the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan, where I traveled last year working on a documentary/art project called Wakhan: Another Afghanistan. The intimacy of this everyday life moment, shot inside of a family yurt, is in total contrast with the harsh environment these nomadic tribes live in. Here a married Kyrgyz woman in a white veil, and her non married daughter (in red veil) are sewing with a machine (The Butterfly) made in China. On the right we notice a television and a sound console. These tribes live weeks away from any village by foot. In spite of being located at an altitude of 4,300 meters in one of the most remote areas of Afghanistan they are equipped with solar panels, satellite dishes and cellphones. Ancestral ways of living, with touches of modernity.”

Erin Siegal July 9, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Mexico, United States.
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Border fence into the USA, Playas de Tijuana, Mexico, 2012.

Erin Siegal (b. 1982) is an Ethics and Justice Journalism Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, and a Redux Pictures photographer. Erin was a 2008-2009 fellow at the Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She is the author of two books, Finding Fernanda, which examines a dramatic case of international adoption corruption between the U.S and Guatemala, and “The U.S. Embassy Cables: Adoption Fraud in Guatemala, 1987-2010.” Finding Fernanda was issued a 2011 Overseas Press Club Award Citation for Best Reporting on Latin America, and earned a 2011 James Madison Freedom of Information Award. Her photos have appeared in TIME, Newsweek, the New York Times, and various other outlets. Erin is currently based in Tijuana, Mexico.

About The Photograph:

“This is where the border meets the sea, the place where México and the United States cease being separate countries. The man looking through the fence is looking at the United States. Since the U.S. Congress passed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, a record number of people have been deported. Under the current law, every non-citizen convicted of an “aggravated felony”offense is subject to permanent, mandatory deportation. There’s no fighting it, and no prosecutorial discretion. The list of crimes qualifying as ‘aggravated felonies’ and trigger automatic deportation is lengthy, and includes non-violent drug offenses and even some misdemeanors. Human rights advocates as well as the Inter-American Court of Human Rights have criticized the mandatory nature of deportations under this law. In the first three years of his presidency alone, Barack Obama has removed approximately 1.2 million immigrants, more than any other president in U.S. history.”

Benjamin Drummond / Sara Steele July 5, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Mozambique.
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Editor’s Note: This engaging video about the forgotten topic of eye care in Mozambique is worth checking out. The strong stills and video are well edited, and with the infectious music and lilting Portuguese, the young African characters come to life. Good to see documentary work portraying Africa in a positive light for a change. Love to hear your comments on this piece.

Photographer Benjamin Drummond (b.1979, USA) and producer Sara Joy Steele (b.1978, USA) have been telling stories about people, nature and climate change for almost a decade. They work with a diverse range of editorial, nonprofit and agency clients to tell important stories through photography, video and strategic branding. Benj’s work has appeared in National Geographic, Mother Jones, Orion and PDN and has been exhibited at more than a dozen events and venues including the Houston Center for Photography and the Ansel Adams / Mumm Napa Fine Art Gallery. They are members of Aurora Select and are currently serving as project representatives on Blue Earth’s Board of Directors.

About the Story:

“Joel de Melo Bambamba and Suzete Guina are studying to become two of Mozambique’s first optometrists. After a series of civil wars left their country one of the poorest in the world, the population of almost 24 million is just beginning to recover. Yet, there are zero optometrists in Mozambique, and poverty and blindness are inextricable. The Mozambique Eyecare Project aims to provide a sustainable solution to the problem of avoidable blindness through optometrist education. There are now 56 students enrolled in the project, thanks to a partnership between the Dublin Institute of Technology, Lúrio Univeristy in Mozambique and the International Centre for Eyecare Education.”

Pietro Paolini July 2, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Bolivia.
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Carnival near the city of Potosì, Bolivia 2009

Pietro Paolini (b.1981, Italy) graduated from the Fondazione Studio Marangoni in Florence (2005). For the past eight years he has been working in South America, focusing on the new socialist countries, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador. In 2006 he and four other photographers founded the Terra Project collective. Pietro’s photographs have been exhibited in Italy and abroad.His work has been been published in Le Monde magazine, Geo (France and Germany) and Vanity Fair. In 2009 he won the “Canon Young Photographers Award”. Since 2010 he has been selected to be part of the “Reflexion masterclass” by Giorgia Fiorio and Gabriel Bauret. In 2012 his work “Bolivianas” won a prize at World Press Photo in the Daily Life category.

About the Photograph:

“This picture was taken in Bolivia, near the city of Potosì. I was there to shoot a feature about the miners in “Cerro Rico” mountain, the largest silver reserve in South America. For centuries the silver was grabbed by Europeans using indigenous people as slaves. Today the conditions are not any better. A carnival day parade was happening and as always I had my medium format camera for personal work. I found these dancers getting ready for the parade and was able to make only two frames before the bear left. The bear is one of the most popular masks during the celebration. I think that those characters surrounded by this landscape make this image very surreal. Their posture creates a a kind of ambiguous suspense.”

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