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Elijah Hurwitz January 30, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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The Amish shooting hoops in Goshen, Indiana 2012

Elijah Hurwitz (b. 1979, United States) is a New York City based documentary photographer, but has only been calling himself that since 2012. Previously he worked in tech marketing for ten years but left to pursue photography more seriously. He has traveled in over 40 countries and is currently couch surfing his way across the United States working on different stories. He keeps a running photo journals on both Tumblr and Instagram and is represented by Zuma Press.

About the Photograph:

“This photo was made on the last day of shooting for my project about basketball’s imprint across Indiana which Mother Jones published. I sought a broad range of locations to illustrate the game’s far-reaching influence; especially places where I felt the sport offered an escape from the confines of everyday life. I’d visited the state prison, inner cities, trailer parks, expensive high school gyms, college season openers, and abandoned farms, but realized I’d overlooked the Amish communities. I didn’t know if basketball was allowed in most Amish households, but decided to spend a day exploring around Goshen where I found this hoop behind a horseshoe blacksmith. The woman of the house kindly invited me to take pictures, and when a few of her nine children overheard our conversation they ran outside to shoot around. I found the framing I wanted with the laundry hanging, then watched Justin, Suzanne and James play a game of horse while speaking a mix of English and Pennsylvania Dutch.”

Elie Gardner January 28, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Peru.
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Puno, Peru 2011

Elie Gardner (b. 1984, United States) received her Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri and currently freelances with INTI Media, a multimedia collective that she co-founded with Oscar Durand in Lima, Peru. Prior to that she worked as a multimedia editor and photographer at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Elie has also taught for National Geographic Student Expeditions in Bar Harbor, London and Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands. She was awarded scholarships to participate in the Summer Fellows Program at the Poynter Institute in 2006, the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop in Buenos Aires in 2011 and the Missouri Photo Workshop in 2012. She now produces multimedia stories for NGOs and  magazines  related to health, the environment and social inequality.

About the Photograph:

“In January 2011 I was still adjusting to the food, language and culture in my new home, Lima, Peru, when INTI Media landed a gig in Puno – 3,800 meters above sea level – to tell a story for a North American NGO. I boarded the plane with nerves, flu-like symptoms and hoped the altitude wouldn’t make things worse. It was my first freelance job in Peru. Just as the sun was coming up our first day in the field we stopped along the side of the road for breakfast. On one side of the road I could see the shores of Lake Titicaca. On the other side I noticed this young shepherd with her alpaca. We exchanged a few glances, and I lifted my camera to make a few frames. We both smiled and there was something about her that reminded me of myself as a little girl on the North Dakotan prairie where I grew up. Everything foreign slowly became more familiar. My nerves, headache and butterflies in my stomach were gone.”

Jesse Neider January 25, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Morocco.
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From a project about Autism. Rabat, Morocco 2012

Jesse Neider (b. 1981, USA) holds a Master’s in Photojournalism from Syracuse University. He has collaborated with various domestic non-profit organizations as well as NGO’s in South Africa and Haiti. In 2012, Jesse partnered with an anthropologist from Columbia University and was awarded a grant to begin a documentary about autism in Morocco. A frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal, his clients have also included NPR, The New York Times, Inc. Magazine, The Weather Channel, ESPN, and Bloomberg Magazine. Jesse previously ran international workshops for Pulitzer Prize winning photographer David Turnley. He was selected for Eddie Adams XXII in 2009, and was named a 2010 Artist Fellow by the Connecticut Board of Culture and Tourism. He is based in Connecticut.

About the Photograph:

“In 2010, a medical anthropologist conducting research on autism in Morocco contacted me to see if I would be interested in documenting his work. Having personal experience with an autistic aunt, and a firm belief that autism is one of the new millennium’s most significant global public health issues; I was excited to pursue such an important project. Morocco is the site of an important experiment in global autism activism. Since 1999, there have been increasing efforts in raising public awareness, training of experts, and creating an infrastructure for detecting, diagnosing and educating children as autistic.”

“I made this picture of Yehya, a beautifully spirited nine year-old boy with autism, as he used his fingers to “dance” with the beam of sunlight streaming into his bedroom window in the capital city of Rabat. Despite his inability to form cohesive sentences and days filled with extreme mood swings, I was always touched when I witnessed the moments it seemed Yehya felt a sense of inner peace or joy. I am looking forward to returning to Morocco this year to continue documenting this complex and personal story.”

Juan Herrero January 23, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Yemen.
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Huthi wedding in Old Sanaa Yemen, 2012

Juan Herrero (b. 1984, Spain) received his BA in International Economics and Development from Universidad Complutense de Madrid in 2010. After a two month course in documentary photography at the CEV School of Image in Madrid he started working on development projects in Cuba and Indonesia, while also contributing to the Cordon Press agency. In the summer of 2012 he relocated to Sanaa, Yemen. He covered the ongoing hunger crisis in the west and Yemeni daily life after the Arab Spring which nearly became a civil war. His work has been published in Paris Match and Der Spiegel, among others.

About the Photograph:

“In the days after the US embassy riots in Sanaa, Yemen, which arose in reaction to the American-made Islamic video that swept the Muslim world in September 2012, a friend invited me to a Huthi wedding in Old Sanaa. The Huthis are a Zaidi Shi’ite insurgent group based in northern Saada, where they have fought six wars with the government since 2006. They are considered a violent opposition to  western policies. I was a bit unsure how my presence was going to be received, as anti-western sentiment had become more than noticeable in Sanaa since the embassy attack. I received several threats to my face walking around the streets during those few days. As always, at Yemeni weddings there are lots of guns and khat (leafy plant chewed as a drug). In the end, it all turned into a warm welcome. Everyone was happy, and so was I.”

Darron R. Silva January 21, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Double B Rodeo in Granite Falls, North Carolina 2010

Darron R. Silva (b. 1974, USA) studied photojournalism and Latin American studies at Western Kentucky University. He has worked as a staff photographer most recently at The Naples Daily News, but also at The News-Press in Fort Myers, FL, and the Tribune-Star in Terre Haute, Indiana. While in college he interned at The Palm Beach Post, The Ann Arbor News, The Grand Forks Herald, and his hometown paper, The Tallahassee Democrat. He currently works as a freelance photographer, teaches photography at Western Piedmont Community College in Morganton, North Carolina and is a member of Aurora Select.

About the Photograph:

“This is a photograph of Doug Brinkley as he carries the flag down to the arena to give to a cowgirl, who parades it about on horseback while the national anthem is played. I shot this at the rodeo he puts on at his farm in Granite Falls, North Carolina. Doug’s son started rodeo when he was in high school, so Doug built a small rodeo arena on his farm for his son to practice. That was many years ago, and these days his son has taken over most of the work of the rodeo, but Doug still helps out. It’s from a personal project about local cowboys and cowgirls. I was surprised to discover that the rodeo is quite popular in the foothills of North Carolina when I moved here five years ago. I have always been fascinated with cowboys, so I go to the rodeo a few times each summer and shoot photos for myself. The rodeos here are very small, and usually family run. It’s just local folks that enjoy riding and getting together on a summer evening. The whole thing is very old-school Americana.”

Jennifer Osborne January 18, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Colombia.
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Beauty Queen. Cartagena, Colombia 2009

Jennifer Osborne (1984, Canada) was raised on Vancouver Island in small-town Courtenay. Her career as a photographer started with a  year long work contract at Fabrica, the United COLORS of Benetton Research Center in 2008.  She has exhibited in group shows at various venues including: Arles 2010, Aperture Gallery, The Museum de l’Elysée, Studio La Città, Azzedine Alaïa, Art Basel Miami, Catalog Gallery and CarréRotondes. She was named one of Canada’s top emerging photographers in both 2010 and 2011 by the Magenta Foundation. Jennifer is also a part of the ReGeneration2 book publication and traveling exhibition. In 2012, she shot a worldwide campaign for Nikon cameras and was the recipient of the Pride Photo Award under the “Chameleons” category for her work in Vancouver, Canada.

About the Photograph:

“At the annual Reina de la Independencia beauty pageant in Colombia, young women from Cartagena’s poorest neighborhoods vie not just for a glittering crown but also for the chance to win money, scholarships, rich men, and even jump-start a career. Beauty, for Colombia, is a natural resource. During my time in the barrios of Cartagena, I was living in the small house of the candidate from Blas de Lezo. I paid her family to rent a room there, and was also able to attend all of the smaller pageants she competed in as well. We would take public transport everywhere we went and in this case were on one of the famously decorated South American buses. The candidate sat towards the back and I asked her to go farther towards the religious decal on the window of the bus. It’s interesting to see how these girls are often parading themselves around like pieces of meat, in bikinis, on catwalks, yet they are often deeply religious. It’s an interesting combination of beliefs to me.”

Matilde Gattoni January 16, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Lebanon.
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From the project “The Swallows of Syria,” Lebanon 2012

Matilde Gattoni (b.1974, Italy) decided to follow her passion for the visual arts becoming a photographer. Her work has been featured in TIME, The New York Times, Der Spiegel, The Observer, Die Zeit, Foreign Policy, Neon Magazine, Geo, The New Yorker, The Guardian, Vanity Fair and Elle magazine Her book Uzbekistan, ten years after independence; published in 2002 was made in collaboration with the Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid, one of the major experts of Central Asia and Afghanistan. Matilde is based in the Middle East.

About the Photograph:

“This photo is from a project about Syrian women who escaped to Lebanon hiding in small villages a few kilometers from the border. They are at the mercy of the Hezbollah and secret service agents allied with the Assad regime. Here Syrian women live in constant fear of being kidnapped or killed, hiding all day long in filthy basements and makeshift tents, consuming their last, meager savings to barely survive in a country that doesn’t want them. This has been one of the most difficult stories I’ve worked on, none of the women wanted to be photographed for fear of repression. They were shaking so much during the shoot that I wanted to be as quick as possible in order not to traumatize them.”

“Faqaa, 56 years old, comes from Talbiseh, a small town on the outskirts of Homs. Seven months ago, her 31-year-old son Ali was arrested by masked soldiers during a raid on her home. Three days later, his severely tortured body was found in a nearby sewage ditch. He had a huge wound in the stomach, one of his arms was broken and both kneecaps had been removed. She now lives in Lebanon with two of her sons, who work as laborers in the nearby fields to raise money.”

New Geoffrey Hiller Website January 14, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Cambodia.
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New World “construction site, Phnom Penh, Cambodia 2011

Editors’ Note: Are websites for photojournalists relevant any more? Yes, I strongly believe they are. In this world of social media we can lose sight of the importance of editing our work. Making photographs seems all too easy these days but an image gains its value from the time spent considering and presenting it as well. This is why I have always required that photographers have a solid website before they are featured on Verve Photo. Facebook snapshots and disposable instagram feeds just don’t cut it. I’d personally like to see photographers put more effort into editing their work and presenting it in the best possible form.

I’m pleased to announce the launch of my redesigned website – 40 years behind the camera. I’ve recently been scanning in prints and transparencies from projects in Harlem, San Francisco, and Eastern Europe, among other places. It’s been a valuable couple months reflecting on my life’s work.

Bio

The photography of Geoffrey Hiller has been published in magazines in the USA, Europe, and Japan including Geo, Newsweek, Mother Jones and the New York Times Magazine. He has completed dozens of photo essays in Asia, Latin America, Europe and West Africa and was on the staff of the Brazilian edition of National Geographic for two years. His award-winning multimedia projects about Vietnam, Eastern Europe, Ghana, Burma, and Brazil have earned recognition from Apple Computer, The Christian Science Monitor and USA Today. He has received grants from the Paul Allen Foundation, the California Arts Council, Regional Arts and Culture Council in Portland, Oregon, among others. Hiller was a Fulbright recipient in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2008-2009. Most recently he has been working as an international media trainer in India, Burma (Myanmar), and Cambodia.

About the Photograph

“This photo was shot at the New World construction site on the outskirts of Phnom Penh last year as part of a story about new housing development in Cambodia’s capital city. A worker from the countryside rests after a ten-hour shift. Most live on site nearby in what look like squatter camps. After illegal evictions and land grabs, developers go on to build suburban-style housing for the growing upper middle class. I was struck by dramatic changes to this once pristine landscape. Most of these plots were recently farm land and rice fields. Now they are beginning to resemble suburban tracts in southern California, complete with Lexus SUVs parked in their garages.”

Conor Ashleigh January 11, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Australia.
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New South Wales, Australia 2011

Conor Ashleigh’s (b. 1987 Australia) passion for social justice was ignited at the age of 16 when he spent time volunteering in a school for students who were crippled from land mines, one of the brutal legacies of the Khmer Rouge regime. Struck deeply by his experience he began to travel and volunteer in communities throughout Asia. After Conor returned to Australia he completed a Bachelor of Development Studies at Newcastle University while also working with homeless youth. His work has been published in the: Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, New Internationalist, Big Issue, Wall Street Journal online and Grazia among others. He has also worked on international assignments for the Asia Foundation, AusAID, UNICEF, Catholic Mission, Red Cross  and Oxfam.

About the Photograph:

“Baby in a chapel is a visual exploration of a family navigating life in rural Australia. Parents Rose and Kai consciously chose to leave the city and relocate their family to the country to live closer to the earth and also to have less distractions or the demands associated with making ends meet in a city. Their two daughters Mali and Persia (Lily) have now grown up in their community since late 2008. Life in the bush is focused more on adapting to the natural environment. Too much rain can lead to the seven bridges into town flooding while not enough solar power to run basic appliances makes basic domestic processes difficult. Living close to the land means the family grows much of their food and has an abundance of clean drinking water. They also have an abundance of time to spend with their daughters free from disruptions. The time Rose and Kai have spent with their girls can be seen in their close relationship as well as their personal confidence and curiosity with the world. Visiting the family for a few days every couple of months I’m able to recognize how the girls change. Baby in a chapel is an ongoing project.”

Alessandro Gandolfi January 9, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Gaza, Israel, Palestine.
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Khan Yunes, Gaza Strip, 2011

Alessandro Gandolfi (b.1970, Italy) is co-founder of Parallelozero Photo Agency (Milan) and his works have appeared in several Italian, as well as international  magazines including: National Geographic Italia, L’Espresso, Die Zeit, Mare, The Sunday Times Magazine and Le Monde. His photoraphs have been exhibited in the latest four shows organized in Rome by National Geographic. A philosophy graduate, Alessandro attended the IFG– School of Journalism in Urbino. Before working as a photojournalist, he contributed as a news reporter for La Repubblica, both in Milan and Rome. He won National Geographic’s “Best Edit Award” twice (in 2010 and 2011) with two reportages published in the Italian edition of the American magazine.

About the Photograph:

“Mohammed Al Jakhbeer is 23 and lives in Khan Yunes, in the Gaza Strip. Mohammed and his friend Abdallah Enshasi are both children of refugees; they do occasional jobs and are among only a few who practice parkour in Gaza. When I found out, I tried to contact them and arranged to meet at Abdallah’s house. While his mother offered us a cup of tea, they explained to me that parkour is fun and makes them feel free, as well as being good exercise. They also told me, however, that old people in Khan Yunes do not always appreciate this strange sport and that many women are scared when they see them jump from one window to the next. ‘Let’s go, follow us, we’ll take you to our new training ground’, Mohammed told me while taking his rucksack. We walked together to the village suburbs. We arrived at a fence beyond which I could see the large cemetery of Khan Yunes. ‘Every day we train here”’said Abdallah while starting to wrap his hands with cotton bandages. I followed them to the cemetery to watch them, and the jumps were truly spectacular. They climbed two metre high walls and ran above them keeping their balance without safety nets or mattresses. They jumped while doing twirls and somersaults. ‘Here among graves and tombs we have found our true gym’ said Mohammed, and our friends often come here to watch what we do or to try and learn. Are we disrespectful because we do it in a cemetery? No, I don’t think so. Nobody has felt offended until now…”

Thomas Vanden Driessche January 7, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Belgium.
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Halloween in Dampremy, Belgium 2011

Thomas Vanden Driessche (b.1979, Belgium) received his master’s degree in journalism and has been working for the United Nations Development program in Morocco and the Belgium Red Cross. His work has been published in Juliette & Victor, Le Soir, Le Nouvel Observateur, The Guardian and Monocle. Thomas joined Out Of Focus collective in February 2011 and is a nominee photographer in the french photo agency Picturetank. Rewarded with a ‘Parole Photographique’ prize in 2009 and five PX3 awards in 2010-2011, and a ‘coup de coeur de l’ANI’ during the festival Visa pour l’image. His work has recently been exhibited n Paris (MK2 Library, Gare de l’Est, Galerie Dupon, Festival Circulations), in Lille (Transphotographiques 2011), in London (Foto 8 summer show) and in Brussels (Palais des Beaux-Arts, The Egg).

About the Photograph:

“This picture of a local family during the Halloween celebration is part of a larger project called Strangely Dampremy that started in 2011 and is still in progress. Dampremy is a small Belgian town nestled between three waste mine tips, a weird graveyard and a recently closed steel plant. Dampremy is a small town that looks like a movie set. It’s an economic tragedy, a place that’s rapidly declined during the past few decades. In a single image you can feel the poverty, the surrealism and the fight for dignity there. The fact that I’m working with an old and heavy Mamiya RB67 slows down the process of making a photograph. It stops reality and allows me to think in a more formal and universal dimension.”

Nichole Sobecki January 3, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Libya.
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Opposition fighters wake at dawn in a small building at the rebel-held checkpoint near the Ras Lanuf oil refinery. Libya 2011

Nichole Sobecki (b. 1986, USA) is an independent photographer and writer based in Nairobi, Kenya. Nichole studied political science at Tufts University and photography at the International Center of Photography and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. From 2008-2011 Nichole was the Turkey Correspondent for Global Post, based in Istanbul. During that time she also covered the early days of the Libyan uprising, the ongoing war in Afghanistan, developmental challenges facing Nepal, and the aftermath of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. Her work has appeared in publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, The Times of London, The Guardian, Le Monde M Magazine and GlobalPost.

About the Photograph:

“This photo is of a group of opposition fighters in Libya, waking at dawn to another day of fighting at a rebel-held checkpoint near the Ras Lanuf oil refinery. I arrived in eastern Libya soon after the uprising began, and worked as a correspondent for GlobalPost covering the early days of the revolution and its descent into civil war. The night before this photo was taken I had slept at an abandoned hotel in Ras Lanuf, then under the management of a group of rebel soldiers. Around four in the morning I awoke to pounding on the door, and the news that Gaddafi’s forces were on their way to retake the town. I left for a nearby checkpoint to find groups of opposition fighters slowly waking up, making tea, and calling their families before the day’s chaos began.”

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