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Cedric Arnold November 29, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Sri Lanka.
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Helga de Silva Pereira Blow. Owner of Helga’s Folly Hotel. Kandy, Sri Lanka 2011

Cedric Arnold (b. 1976, France) took up photography and film making while studying history at the University of Paris. After graduating, he began his photography career in 1999 in London and Belfast, joining the Sygma agency. He moved to Asia in 2001 and is currently splitting his time between Bangkok and London. Cedric’s work has been published in The New York Times, Sunday Times Magazine, Stern, Time, Newsweek, Financial Times and many others. Cedric is represented by Novus Select in the New York and Luz Photo in Milan. In 2011 Cedric’s personal project ‘Sacred Ink’, an in-depth photographic study of Thailand’s traditional tattoo culture; was launched in Bangkok with a major photographic and multimedia exhibition. The project has since been featured in the Sunday Times Magazine’s as well as in Newsweek and art publications.

About the Photograph:

“On a break from an assignment, I stayed at the wildly eccentric ‘anti-hotel’, Helga’s Folly in Kandy, Sri Lanka. The owner, Helga de Silva Pereira Blow, is one of those people you know you must photograph as soon as you meet them, someone who not only looks extraordinary but also has fascinating stories to tell. She describes herself as such: “I grew up in a world of colonial tea pots, Hollywood gossip and Marxist revolutions”.  After a tour of the huge family home-cum-hotel, with its wild murals on the walls and ceilings, family pictures everywhere, and a mad mix of furniture, we sat down for a chat, about her intriguing family and personal history, fancy dress and dinner parties and photographers she’s encountered over the years, including Henri Cartier Bresson. Helga, who was celebrated in British rock band Stereophonic’s 2003 hit single “Madame Helga” loves to recount her fabulous stories.

“We set up a portrait session for the next morning. She turned up fashionably late wearing huge vintage 1970s sunglasses, a hat designed by famed British hat maker Philip Treacy, complete with feather. Her dress was a modern take on a traditional hand-woven sari; with a huge collar in the style of 101 Dalmatians character Cruella. The whole portrait session was done while Helga recounted tales from her fascinating life.”

Kuba Kaminski November 25, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Poland.
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From the project ‘The Whisperers’. Podlasie Region, Poland 2011

Kuba Kaminski (b. 1985, Poland) holds a degree in photography from the Lodz Film School. In 2004, he started work as a professional photographer for the “Zycie” daily and since 2005 has been a staff photographer for “Rzeczpospolita” daily newspaper till 2012. Kuba has been working on assignments in Europe, Asia, US and South America. He is also involved in his own documentary projects, such as “The Sobering Chamber”: about post-communist facilities for alcoholics and “Salaryman”: concerning overworked Japanese corporate workers. Kuba participated in the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass in 2011 and won 3rd prize Best Of Photojournalism, Best Published Picture Story (smaller markets), USA. He is part of Emerging Talent with Reportage by Getty.

About the Photograph:

“The picture is part of my Whisperers story. Whisperers are people who believe they possess a gift from God giving them the power to heal all kinds of diseases and physical pain. They claim that they are also able to throw spells and charms and free people from evil possession. The name probably came from the way they treat their believers, whispering special prayers into their ears. Whisperers are mostly elderly women who live in small villages in the Podlasie region in the eastern part of Poland, a few kilometers from Belarus. Their practice is derived from the Orthodox church but today the church don’t want to recognize them, distancing itself from them. They have been part of the local culture for hundreds of years in the Podlasie region, a land of mysticism and symbols that dictate the rhythm of life for many people living there. In the picture a whisperer performs the curing of a young girl by kneeling down under a holy icon of St. Ann during a procession in Stary Kornin village.”

Louisa Marie Summer November 22, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Georgia.
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Republic of Georgia, 2007

Louisa Marie Summer (b. 1983, Germany) received her graduate degree in Photo Design at the University of Applied Sciences in Munich, and her MFA in Photography at the Rhode Island School of Design. Louisa’s work has been displayed in solo and group exhibitions in Europe, the U.S.A., and South Korea. She has received awards and nominations such as the T.C. Colley Scholarship Award for Excellence in Photography, and attended the Eddie Adams Workshop XXIII, and the Missouri Photo Workshop 2012. She is currently featured on the Emerging Talent roster of Reportage by Getty Images. This year Louisa published her first book called Jennifer’s Family with Schilt Publishing, Amsterdam. She is based in New York.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph is part a project called Megobrebi! In Search for the Future. I spent two months in Georgia documenting the diverse lifestyles of contemporary Georgian youth torn between religious and traditional values from the post-Soviet Union versus the promises of Western status symbols. Georgia is located at the boarder of Europe and Asia divided by its own separatist conflicts and afflicted with corruption and poverty. In recent years it has transformed towards a more democratic country, owing largely to reforms induced by Mikheil Saakashvili, who has been the country’s  autocratic president since the non-violent Rose Revolution in 2003. He retains presidential power for one more year after recently losing the majority to sustain his government after his party was defeated in parliamentary elections in October 2012.

“The photograph shows Elene and her girlfriends on the porch’s swing of her friend’s parent apartment in Vake, Tbilisi’s most prestigious neighborhood. I was introduced to Elene, the girl sitting on the left, and her parents through a mutual artist friend. Her parents lived abroad and decided to send her daughter to a German school in Tbilisi. The three girls on the swing are her school friends and we spent some time together, chilling, and celebrating graduation and birthdays. Beside a solid education, Georgia is not offering many opportunities for adolescents and most of them, such as these girls are influenced by newest fashion trends from the West and have big dreams about starting a model career and living abroad.”

Fabian Weiss November 19, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.
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From a project about the gay community in Beijing, 2011

Fabian Weiss (b. 1986, Germany) received his undergraduate degree in journalism and diploma in photography in Vienna. In 2011 he moved to Denmark for a workshop based course in  Advanced Visual Storytelling and 2012 to London for the postgraduate program Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication. His work has recently been recognized internationally by Getty Images, the Lucie Foundation, the Ian Parry Award, the Pride Photo Award and the Austrian Press Award. His photo series have been featured in different media including Sunday Times Magazine, Private Photo Review, Photojournale and Le Journal de la Photographie and has been exhibited in the Netherlands, Austria, Romania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Fabian is currently based in London.

About the Photograph:

“During my stay in Beijing documenting the habits of finding love in modern China, I came across a strong community of lesbian women, living their sexuality relatively secretive under the public radar. I spent one month following four lesbian women and met Xi, a 21 year old bisexual woman from Beijing, belonging to China’s rebellious post 90s’ generation. On one arm, she has tattooed Maria as symbol of the mother, who still plays the most important role in a Chinese family. On the other arm, she has incised her nickname – Vner – with a razor blade. Even though she is more open about her sexual orientation, being lesbian or bisexual still signifies harsh living conditions in modern China. Expectations of marriage towards a generation of single descendants are now stronger than ever and support for homosexuals is widely lacking. Xi is dating a lesbian at the moment, but to please her mother she will probably get married to a straight guy.”

Pavel Prokopchik November 16, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Russia.
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From the series about alternative Russian youth. Utrish, Russia 2010

Pavel Prokopchik (b. 1982, Russia) grew up in Latvia, a part of the Soviet Union at that time. In 2001 he moved to the Netherlands. After receiving a BA in civil engineering he studied at the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague where he received his degree in documentary photography (2009). His work has been published in De Volkskrant and The New York Times. Pavel has received a number of national and international photography awards including the latest from World Press Photo. In February 2012 Pavel exhibited his series about alternative Russian youth The Tribe at the FOAM photography museum in Amsterdam. He works as a freelance photographer, mainly focusing on long-term personal projects.

About the Photograph:

“This image was taken at a place called Utrish, which is a summer refuge for many alternative people from all over Russia. Utrish is situated on the cost of the Black Sea. It’s a nature resort, which consists of three lagoons between Bolshoy Utrish and Maliy Utrish. Local authorities are trying to get rid of all the hippies and turn this area into a commercial touristic destination. The two people in this picture are Lama and Nastya. Lama is one of the main characters of my ongoing long term project The Tribe about alternative youth in Russia.”

“He earns his living by selling psychedelic drugs, weed and hash living a nomadic lifestyle. The picture was taken upon arrival in Utrish after a sleepless night spent hitchhiking. After Lama left Utrish, Nastya met someone else and in about two months she was already pregnant. Since her new husband never finished higher education he couldn’t find a good job, so they were forced to move in with Nastya’s parents in St Petersburg, where the baby was born in June 2011. Lama was heartbroken when he found out that his girlfriend left him.”

Daniel Hartley-Allen November 14, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Australia.
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Darwin, Australia 2011

Daniel Hartley-Allen (b.1986, Australia) began his career in 2009 working as a photographic assistant in the United Arab Emirates for Etihad and General Motors. He completed a newspaper internship in 2010 and has since shot assignments for Getty Images, Australian Associated Press, The Times (London) and News Ltd Publications. This year he was a finalist for the Walkley Young Australian Journalist of the Year Award. His work has been published in: The Guardian, USA Today, Chicago Tribune and India Times among others. Daniel is based in Darwin, Australia.

About the Photograph:

“Fred Walker , a former champion boxer and WWII veteran now sits on his own, staring blankly at the bed where his wife Phyllis slept before she was taken into compulsory government care. Roaming through his hushed home in Darwin, Australia. Mr Walker said: “She had committed no crime but she has been locked away and forbidden to go home.”  It’s a story of love and loss often seen in an ageing population – elderly people separated from the ones they love because aged care services are concerned for their welfare. Phyllis was taken to Hospital after she suffered a fall in October, 2011. She remained on a secure ward for several weeks before an Aged Care Assessment Team determined Mr Walker was unfit in his capacity to care for her and was transferred to a nursing home. The health department said nobody was kept in a hospital if they didn’t need to be and, in Ms Walker’s case, “the notion of keeping her there against her will was not a factor.”

Linda Dorigo November 12, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Iran.
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Iranian Christian Community, Pataver, Iran 2011

Linda Dorigo (b. 1983, Italy) is a freelance photojournalist based in Beirut. She worked as a photo assistant in a fashion and advertising studio in Lisbon before returning to Italy, where she started working as journalist. She is mostly focused on the female world and its creative force, starting from Iranian managers to the old and new generation of Saharawi refugees, passing through the rights of Lebanese women. In 2010 she realized a short film “Safar- e sabz” — Green Journey — about the meaning of the color green for Iranian people. Her work has been published in Marie Claire Italy, East and Der Spiegel.

About the Photograph:

“I shot this picture inside an old cowshed that the Christian community of Pataver turned into a church. All of the community came to celebrate St. Marie’s day. The Islamic Republic of Iran recognizes religious freedom for Christians but they are in fact a hidden minority. I traveled through Iran living with people and friends, sleeping in churches, sharing their food and their fears. These people carry a strong faith — they dream of a world without borders, without political and religious impositions. I’m a man first of all, one of them told me in his home in Tehran — then, I can be Christian, Iranian or Muslim— all of us belong to the same God”.

“There is something special in their loneliness and spiritual detachment. You can feel the energy coming from nature which paints their honest dialogue with the divine. I gained their trust sitting in silent respect, invisible, becoming the person to whom they could confide hopes, gestures, illusions, prayers. One day a man who converted to Christianity sat in front of me: ‘Can I read you the Bible?” – he asked. He took off his glasses and opened the holy book hidden among the pots and pans in the kitchen. I was waiting to hear some passages, but he just said one word: ‘Eshq’ which means love.”

Paul Taggart November 9, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Lebanon.
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Hezbollah Rally, Lebanon 2007

Paul Taggart (b.1980, United States) was one of the few unembedded western journalists to cover the month-long battle and siege of Najaf, Iraq, in 2004 between the Mahdi Militia and the coalition forces. Other prominent news stories Paul has covered include Benazir Bhutto’s return to Pakistan in 2007, the dual bombing of her convoy after leaving the airport, the 2004 tsunami in Banda Aceh, the 2005 famine in Niger and the 2006 war in Lebanon, the 2010 Earthquake in Haiti, and the 2011 Tsunami in Japan. Paul’s work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, US News and World Report, Boston Globe, National Geographic Adventure, and the Times of London. Paul also shoots video for Bloomberg News, independent documentaries and commercials and is the co-founder of Lantern Fish Media in New York.

About the Photograph:

“The photograph was taken in Lebanon on Jan. 30, 2007. I had been living in Beirut since 2006 and had photographed the month long conflict with Israel in the summer of 2006. A tension was still apparent in the country a year later and Hassan Nasrallah had given very few public speeches since the end of the conflict. This image shows the crowds of thousands that filled the streets in the southern suburbs of Beirut, Lebanon. Ashura is a holy day in Shiite Islam commemorating the death of Imam Hussein in 680 in Iraq. Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah ended the event with a public speech after the march.”

Philipp Spalek November 7, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Egypt.
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Tannery Worker. Cairo, Egypt 2010

Philipp Spalek (b. 1984, Germany) finished his masters in Middle Eastern Studies and Modern History in Germany in 2012. He had his first serious encounter with photography in 2010 when he worked as a press photographer for the Egyptian newspaper Al-Shorouk in Cairo. There he learned to speak fluent Arabic and feels addicted to the country since. His work has been published in Zenith, SpiegelOnline, Brand Eins & ZeitOnline. Over the last year he devoted his time to a project about the situation of Egyptian Copts after the revolution, which was awarded a first prize in the Reportage Category at Kolga Photo Festival in Georgia and won the Canon ProfiFoto Award in Germany. He is based in Berlin and Cairo

About the Photograph:

“I still remember that people used to move away from us in the Metro after we returned from taking pictures in the tanneries. Our smell really was obnoxious. But among those staring were people with nice leather jackets or leather handbags. They all seemed to have accusing looks on their faces. It was strange, but this made me want to go back even more and document the working conditions of those, who are not seen, but provide the luxury of our daily lives. When I first entered the tanner’s district, hidden behind Cairo’s old city walls, I was at the same time fascinated by the friendliness of the people and shocked by their working conditions. People were working in a knee deep soup of skin leftovers and smelling flesh. Young men were carrying skin on their head through dark cellars. Children were dragging skin through the burning heat. Transport was organized with horse carts. I felt like having arrived in a time bubble. Some of the tanneries haven’t modernized their technology for decades or even a century. Workers only rely on their muscle power and don’t earn more than a couple of pounds a day”

Andrej Balco November 5, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Brazil.
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From the Project about Domésticas in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2007

Andrej Balco (b.1973, Slovakia) received his  Master’s degree in photography at the Institute of Creative Photography in the Czech Republic. His work has been exhibited at the Prague House of Photography, The Leica Gallery, Prague, The Festival of Photography in Lodz, Poland as well as in England, Australia, Holland, Finland, Brazil and Japan. Andrej  is a winner of the PhotoDocument.sk: grant and Changing Faces of the international program of IPRN. He is a co-founder and member of Sputnik Photos collective. His work is distributed worldwide by the Anzenberger Agency.

About the Photograph:

“This photo is part of the series Domésticas that I made through the residential Changing Faces/ IPRN program. The idea  behind the project was to show the coexistence of two different social classes connected by work and explore how they interact and complement each other. The phenomenon of domestic labor is a natural part of Brazilian society that has persisted since colonial times. I portrayed the masters and their servants in the opulent villas, but also in the simple flats whose area does not exceed 30 square meters. The selected image is of my meeting with Anita Prisco and  her lifelong servant Matilde in Anita’s house. Matilda’s service started when she was twenty and over the years  has become a respected member of the host family.”

John Minchillo November 2, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Greece.
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Sudanese Refugees, Patras Greece 2010

John Minchillo (b. 1985, United States) received his bachelors degrees in English Literature and Philosophy, Politics, and Law from Binghamton University. A lifelong passion for storytelling led him to print journalism with local newspapers. Shortly afterwards he began photographing his stories and found his voice in imagery. He has attended the Eddie Adams Workshop Barnstorm 24, and is regularly published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, TIME Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, The Denver Post, USA Today, Newsweek, and many others. He lives in New York City freelances with the Associated Press.

About the Photograph:

“I wanted to tell the story of refugees in the EU when my colleague suggested Patras, a port city in Greece known for harboring massive shipping vessels. Greece is the middle man for dealing with refugees in the EU. Official protocol states all illegal immigrants found in the EU must be deported to the original country of entry. Greece, with its land border with Turkey, is the main thoroughfare. With nowhere to go, and Greece’s economy in free fall, these refugees found themselves living in abandoned rail yards.”

“I tried to make a photo that shows these men, stuck in circumstances wildly beyond their control, as more than some forgotten, cursed people. They want to be better men and husbands, live better, and achieve. Many speak several languages. Some are teachers, others mechanics, many businessmen. Their families are far away. They left home in search of opportunity to be caught in a socio-political nightmare with no escape, to home or anywhere else. They try for years to covertly board massive shipping vessels behind barbed wire and fences, often risking their lives by climbing up hundred-foot high docking cables, in hopes of making it to the Netherlands for a chance at a new life. And in the process they are caught by authorities, beaten, jailed, and released into the cycle again. No matter the crushing poverty, disdain from locals, and the inability to work legally, they maintain a place to wash, eat, sleep, and take time for a simple things, like a haircut. They maintain powerful but quiet dignity. I believe in my heart that they are no different from me, and despite living in a vermin infested rail yard, with comfortable looking homes overlooking their difficult state of affairs, they keep hope alive.”

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