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Melissa Golden November 28, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Saudi Arabia Cultural Mission Graduation Ceremony, United States 2012

Melissa Golden (b.1984, USA) is a Washington, D.C. based editorial photographer. She enjoyed a nomadic childhood courtesy of the U.S. Military and her photography is directly influenced by her stints on both American coasts, the Deep South, and the Middle East. After graduating from the University of Georgia with degrees in International Relations and Journalism, she transitioned from newspapers to the wires to the magazine work she does today. Melissa’s photography has been recognized by American Photography 29, the White House News Photographer’s Association, and the Eddie Adams Workshop and has been shown at exhibitions in DC, LA, Stockholm and Cape Town. She is a contributing photographer with Redux Pictures and her clients include Parade, Fast Company, Bloomberg Businessweek, ESPN Magazine, Esquire and Marie Claire among others.

About the Photograph:

“The Wall Street Journal called me up to document a graduation ceremony at National Harbor outside Washington, D.C. for a story about Saudi nationals seeking higher education in the United States. The ceremony was sponsored by the Saudi government, as was the university bill for every single one of the students there. They were the all part of a program that subsidized the foreign education of the country’s best and brightest in an effort to groom them for leadership roles both in Saudi Arabia and globally. The enrollment of Saudi students at U.S. institutions has jumped dramatically since a precipitous falloff after 9-11 when tough restrictions were enacted.”

“As a child, I lived in Bahrain for two years and while I haven’t been back, shooting this ceremony was a bit of a nostalgic sensory overload experience for me. I gravitated toward the women in particular during the day for a few reasons. I found them visually distinctive, in that even though both male and female graduates wore the same cap and gown uniform that day, the women (with a single exception I noticed immediately) remained observant to various degrees with hijabs and veils. I also was surprised to see the sheer number of female graduates in attendance, a far larger contingent than I had expected. This photo was shot prior to the ceremony as the graduates began to stream in and take their seats, separated by gender, of course. The Saudi greens versus the pinks of lipsticks on bare faces, a scarf, and the one woman’s cell phone cover were particularly striking to me. There were still women sporting veils though and the image strikes me as a gentle collision of old world and new world values.”

Ula Wiznerowicz November 25, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Poland.
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From a project about Alcoholism in Poland 2012

Ula Wiznerowicz (b. 1986, Poland) received a BA Hons Degree in Photography at Middlesex University (2010). Her photographs have been exhibited in solo shows in Italy, England and Poland. Her careful handling of subjects and their emotive stories has won her acclaim with most recently a FotoVisura Grant, along with Ideas Tap Portfolio Award in 2012 and Channel 4/Saatchi Gallery Prize and D&AD Best New Blood Prizes in 2010.

About the Photograph:

“This image is part of the series called Behind the Curtain, focusing on the effects of alcoholism in a small rural community in Poland, where I grew up. The cycle of images depicts a personal journey through individual stories of men and women dealing with alcoholism. Although not every person in my pictures suffers from alcohol dependency, each one has, in his or her own way, encountered this problem through their relatives or circle of friends. Over the course of one year, I gathered relevant information, researching medical data, and interviewing alcoholics, their families and doctors who specialize in treating the addiction. I believe that this was essential, as it enabled me to fully understand the problem that plays a major role in my country.”

“The woman in this picture is my neighbor’s mother-in-law, who lives in Palmowo, a village of 120 inhabitants, where I grew up. She made me a coffee and started telling a story about her daughter, whose husband went to prison for domestic violence. While serving his sentence, he had gone through alcohol treatment and now hasn’t been drinking for more than seven years. Irena tells me: ‘When he came back from prison he never even said he was sorry for what he’s done. He doesn’t talk to me anymore and he stopped coming over since he finished that bloody house. In court they asked if I forgave him. I said alright, but who will pay for all our grief?’ The story she told me was was very moving and in that moment it didn’t feel right to take pictures, but she said that it’s all right…She fixed her eyes full of tears at the window and that was when I took the shot.”

Jagath Dheerasekara November 21, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Sri Lanka.
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Rosarians,Ragama, Sri Lanka, 2008

Jagath Dheerasekara (b. 1965, Sri Lanka) is an Amnesty International Human Rights Innovation Fund Grant recipient for the Manuwangku: Under the Nuclear Cloud project. His activism led to his exile in France as a political refugee. He returned to Sri Lanka in the mid 1990’s after regime change. On returning home, Jagath began a career in telecommunications and involvement in photography. His work has been published in: Artlink, the South Asia Journal for Culture, PIX Photography Quarterly and Time Machine Magazine. In Australia his photography and is mainly about Aboriginal and refugee rights. Jagath lives in Sydney.

About the Photograph:

“This photo is of the Sunday morning congregation at the Sister’s section at the Rosarian Convent chapel in Ragama, Sri Lanka. Men are not normally allowed within the inner premises and can have access only up to the parlor, the kitchen store or the section of lay persons of the chapel. Sisters maintain minimum contacts with outside. At the first visit, after a lengthy chat with the Sister Superior I was permitted to go in and photograph the chapel area dedicated only to sisters. The Nun’s lives are a daily routine done in silence, with the least verbal engagement, in reverential service to God. The routine is filled with engagement in cottage industries such as candle, syrup and jam making, cultivation and animal husbandry which provides financial support to the convent as well as providing a service to the community. Established in 1928, the Rosarians were the first entirely Christian congregation not only in Sri Lanka but also in Asia. The Rosarian order of nuns subsequently was established in 1950.”

“When I made a request to photograph their life and the space they live in I was not optimistic about it. A few weeks later came a positive response. It was a novel experience for the sisters to have a man of Buddhist background taking an interest in their Christian way of life. As friendship grew I was warmly welcomed into their space, including the offer of pure vegetarian meals as it was my food preference. The photographing intertwined with many a discussions along themes of renunciation, loving kindness, reincarnation, greed, hatred and delusion, creation and heaven, some of which are common and other exclusive to Christianity and Buddhism.”

Eric Kruszewski November 18, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Rodeo in Pendleton, Oregon 2011

Eric Kruszewski (b. 1978, USA) is a self-taught photographer based in Baltimore, Maryland. His initial education was through engineering school, thus leading to employment dismantling chemical weaponry, securing biological agents and processing nuclear waste. But business trips to sensory-overloaded Central Asia rattled his tech foundation and uncovered a passion for photography. After a 10-year stint in engineering, Eric resigned (March 2012) to practice his photography full-time. Now having traveled to 37 countries, Eric documents social, economic and cultural issues both abroad and in his backyard. His work has been published by organizations such as National Geographic (online), The Wall Street Journal and ABC News. Eric is an executive board member and mentor with the Young Photographer’s Alliance. His work is represented by National Geographic Creative.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph was made while exploring American Rodeo over a two-year period. In the summer of 2011, while driving across the country from Maryland to Washington, I discovered and witnessed my first rodeo in a small Montana town. Instantly, I was intrigued with the sport, and its surrounding culture and pageantry. Some cowboys at this first rodeo told me how the Pendleton Round-Up (held in Pendleton, Oregon) was the top event in the Pacific Northwest. So I went, a city slicker blazing with my Canon double barrels, and attended the Round-Up’s 100-year anniversary. This image, captured from outside the main arena, shows the staircase to the Directors’ Room – a gathering space for the event’s VIP. The stadium’s facade is plastered with signage that preserves past rodeo winners. At the bottom of the staircase, a security guard looks longingly, or perhaps with concern, at the group spilling out of the room onto the staircase. The cowboy in the foreground is a spectator.”

Maxim Dondyuk November 14, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ukraine.
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From a project about Rosh Hashanah, Uman, Ukraine 2010

Maxim Dondyuk (b.1983, Ukraine) began collaborating with Kharkov media as a photojournalist in 2007. The same year he moved to Kiev and worked as a photojournalist in one of the country’s biggest photo agencies till 2010. He  trained at the NOOR-Nikon Masterclass and also  attended Magnum Photos workshop at the Leica Akademie. Maxim freelancers with the World Health Organization, Global Alliance for TB Drug Development, Foundation for “Development of Ukraine”, Kherson charitable foundations Mongoose. His work has been published in PDN, Wall Street Journal , Esquire, Forbes, Russian Reporter, Tyzhden, Focus (Ukraine), The Independent (UK), De Volkskrant (Netherlands), Berliner Zeitung, and Frankfurter Rundschau (Germany) among others.

About the Photograph:

“I went from the old Jewish cemetery to the lake, where the Hasidim usually bathe. Before reaching the lake, I heard the sound of a violin. I didn’t see a soul except a fiddler, so took some photos of him. After a while a lonely Hasid came to swim. I prepared to take a photo as the fiddler moved a little and the sun reflected in the lake. That was a lucky accident when everything coincided and I took this photo. It was during the Jewish celebration of Rosh Hashanah, the New Year.”

“Uman is an ordinary Ukranian town with the population of about 90,000 people which became one of the largest centers of Jewish pilgrimage outside Israel. During this period about 20,000 pilgrims from all the continents come here annually to celebrate Rosh Hashanah and to pray at the grave of the founder of Hasidism Rabbi Nahman from Breslav, who died in Uman in 1810. Before his death Rabbi Nahman swore an unusual oath: If anyone comes to my grave, sacrifices a coin and reads ten chosen psalms, I’ll catch his side-locks and will draw him out of the hells depth. And it makes no difference what he has done before. Every year more and more supporters of Breslav Hasidism gather in Uman, at the grave of their Rabbi. Rabbi Nahman’s charisma is so strong, that Hasids have never chosen his successor. I have been shooting the Rosh Hashanah project for five years and am currently finishing a multimedia version of the story.”

Helge Skodvin November 11, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Norway.
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Volvo 240. Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway. 2011

Helge Skodvin (b.1968, Norway) started out as a carpenter, but laid down his hammer and took up the camera instead. He has a degree in photography from the London College of Printing. From 2010 he has divided his time between assignments for magazines such as GEO and in-depth projects in Norway. His images have been book covers for writers such as Ian McEwan, John Banville among others. Helge’s work was exhibited this fall at the Noorderlicht Photo Festival in the Netherlands and at FotoDoks in Germany. He is based in Bergen, Norway and is a member of MOMENT Agency and Millennium Images.

About the Photograph:

“I went to the Svalbard archipelago to hunt. Halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole. Not for polar bears, but for an old Volvo 240 that I knew was there. This day I was having a quick break and a chocolate bar when I saw something in the distance. Could it be? I found my binoculars. Yes it is! A Volvo 240! Parked in the most scenic of places. I ran. I have been photographing these cars for a project called 240 landscape. More than any other car, the Volvo 240 became a symbol of Norwegian and Nordic values. The safe, the sound, the commonplace. Square and homely, yet solid and reliable. Function over form. No frills. Taking you from A to Z. An ambassador for the Scandinavian social democracy. I have been photographing these cars as they are parked. I want to show how we live, how our surroundings look. I wish to portray the everyday landscape.”

Dimitris Michalakis November 7, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Greece.
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Gypsy Settlement from the project “Nato Avenue”. Athens, Greece 2008

Dimitris Michalakis (b. 1977, Greece) studied photography at the Focus School of Photography in Athens. Since 2004 he has been a regular contributor to K Magazine, (Kathimerini Sunday edition). His photographs have been published in Spiegel, Die Zeit and  Rolling Stones Magazine. Dimitris has traveled on journalistic missions to more than 30 countries, mainly in the former Soviet Union. His work has been exhibited at the Coalmine Gallery, Zurich, the LUMIX Festival for Young Photojournalism in Hanover, Germany and the Bursa Photography Festival in Turkey. He is currently based in Athens.

About the Photograph:

“Nato Avenue, in the western suburbs of Αthens, crosses the most degraded part of the city. The area is a puzzle of urban sprawl; factories, refineries, shipyards a military airport and the largest rubbish dump in the country. Right below this dump, gypsy immigrants from North Albania have come and settled. They have built a settlement that grew bigger as more Albanian gypsies kept coming. They make their living in the rubbish dump. The work is divided; men collect recyclable material, paper, plastic and steel, while women gather clothes, carpets or anything thrown away by super markets and food companies. It is fenced and guarded. Police have destroyed the settlement every now and then and are on constant patrol making access to the dump almost impossible.”

“Vassilis, the first immigrant to arrive in this land, is my narrator. Vassilis came here all alone. His children and grand children followed. They all live together in an abandoned barn surrounded the shanty town built around it. The structure of his family, like every other family of this community, is patriarchal. As the oldest man of the family, has the first and the last word. He sells his daily merchandise to the recycling companies of the area, while women collect, wash and sell clothes in flea markets in Greece and Albania. Vassilis an informal leader. They call him detector, not only because he finds good merchandise, but also because he is found this location in 1991. He guided me through this settlement and I’m indebted to him for all his help on my Nato Avenue project.”

Hossein Fatemi November 4, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Somalia.
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atemi_somalia
Mogadisho, Somalia 2011

Hossein Fatemi (b.1980, Iran) began to make photographs in 1997 at the Center of Youth Cinema in Tehran. He has worked in Lebanon, Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Georgia, Russia, India, Somalia, Kenya, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. In 2004, he began his professional career by joining the Fars News Agency. In 2009 Hossein worked with UPI and traveled to Afghanistan and produced a photographic record of that country’s events. His work has been published in The Times, Newsweek, Time, Paris Match, The New York Times, The Guardian and The Washington Post. Since 2007 after the collapse of Taliban he has focused his career on Afghanistan. Hossein was the first Iranian photojournalist to be embedded with American troops in Afghanistan. He is represented by Panos Pictures.

About the Photograph:

“A group of children and young men play with a football in the district of Hamar Wayene. The building in the background shows the scars of a civil war that has ravaged the country since 1991. Somalia has not had a functioning central government since 1991. While northern parts of the country have broken away, setting up de facto states including Puntland and Somaliland, the rest of the country remains in a state of chaos. After heavy fighting in the summer of 2012, transitional government forces were driven back by the Al Shabab from positions previously held causing tens of thousands to flee and making a severe drought situation in the country significantly worse. Those who were able to make their way to the Kenyan border fled in their thousands to the infamous Dadaab refugee camp which has been sheltering Somalis since the early 1990s. International organisations were overwhelmed by the sudden influx and the worsening crisis.”

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