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Bryan Schutmaat June 19, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Ellie, Wyoming 2010

Editor’s Note: I will be taking off for a two week summer break and leave you with Bryan’s photograph and backstory to reflect on. Happy solstice. New postings will continue on July 7th. ~ Geoffrey Hiller

Bryan Schutmaat (b. 1983) is an American photographer whose work has been widely exhibited and published in the United States and overseas. He has won numerous awards, including the 2013 Aperture Portfolio Prize, Center’s 2013 Galllerist’s Choice Awards, the 2013 Daylight Photo Awards, and the 2011 Carl Crow Memorial Fellowship, among many others. In 2014 Bryan was selected for PDN’s 30 new photographers to watch; in 2013, Dazed Magazine named Bryan one of Paris Photo’s “breakout stars,” and he was chosen as a Flash Forward Emerging Photographer by the Magenta Foundation. His first monograph, Grays the Mountain Sends, was published by the Silas Finch Foundation in 2013 to international critical acclaim. His photos can be found in the permanent collection at the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and numerous private collections. He lives in Austin, Texas and is represented by Sasha Wolf Gallery in New York City.

About the Photograph:

“The process for this photo was entirely different than all the other portraits in Grays the Mountain Sends, and, in a way, I don’t consider it part of the project. In the book, it comes after the colophon – a sort of coda that comes just before the book is closed. ‘Ellie’ is photo I very much had in my mind before I made it – an homage to both Eggleston and the poet Richard Hugo. I’ve talked a lot about Richard Hugo as an influence, especially his poem, Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg. It’s a somewhat bitter, hopeless poem, but the final few lines are uplifting: The car that brought you here still runs. / The money you buy lunch with, / no matter where it’s mined, is silver / and the girl who serves you food is slender and her red hair lights the wall. So my photo of the red haired girl is borrowed entirely from that last line, and she’s a ray of hope at the end of an otherwise pretty sad series. Like I said, I definitely had this photo in mind. I searched all over the American West for my red-haired waitress, or any waitress who had an illuminative presence.”

“There was a young waitress I found in Wyoming who was wonderful– the way she talked to the guys who came in, laughing and teasing with them. She made their days better. She was beautiful too. I made her portrait, but the picture I took didn’t evoke the right feeling. It was too direct, and she became a protagonist alongside the men, rather than the embodiment of this fleeting enchantment I felt when I imagined Hugo’s redhead. It would be better to have my photo distilled to the symbolic red hair, and I wanted her anonymous – not a portrait of her but what she resembled. I didn’t want her fulfilling happiness, but rather just giving a small taste of it so that the men’s struggle within the narrative would still remain when the book has ended.”

“At any rate, the picture I ended up making that worked was not a real waitress (a fact I try not to broadcast), though she was a stranger to me. I her met her in a bar in the early evening. It was a weekday, and she was alone in the outdoor portion of the bar, reading a book. Of course I was drawn immediately to her hair. We had a short, awkward conversation, and I explained to her that I would love to take her picture. We exchanged numbers and met up some days later at a nearby diner I had scouted out beforehand. The owner let us come in after hours and we borrowed his apron and notepad. This setup was strange to me at the time, because all the other portraits in the series were taken in a relatively rigid documentary vein. In no other instance did I photograph people in places other than where I encounter them (unless if I was invited into their homes, which are always excellent places to make portraits). This photo, however, was so refreshing to make, because I freed myself and imposed my will entirely, and I think it was an instrumental experience to my process moving forward.”

Ismail Ferdous June 16, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Bangladesh.
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Rana Plaza garment factory aftermath, Dhaka, Bangladesh 2013

Ismail Ferdous (b.1989, Bangladesh) graduated with a degree in business from East West University in Dhaka. He was selected for the Award of Excellence with the Alexia Foundation/ student category in 2012 and attended the Eddie Adams Photojournalism Workshop in 2013. His photographs have been published in: The New Yorker Magazine, National Geographic- Germany, The Washington Post, TIME Magazine Lightbox, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today among others. Recent group exhibitions of his work include: 25 CPW Gallery in New York, The World Bank, Washington DC, and UNICEF in Rio de Janerio. Ismail is currently freelancing for the Associated Press based in Dhaka.

About the Photograph:

“I took this picture 20 days after the Rana Plaza collapse in Savar, a suburb of Dhaka. I had been covering the event and aftermath for nearly three weeks, but it was a very unusual moment for me when I saw tears rolling down the cheeks of a Bangladeshi army soldier while praying for the 1,134 people who died in the garment building collapse. I had seen thousands of people crying around me over the past weeks but in that moment nobody could hold in their emotion and pain, for this was the last day (14 May 2013) of the painstaking search for bodies among the rubble in the worst tragedy in the history of the global garment industry.”

“Photographing the Rana Plaza collapse was the most traumatic event I have ever experienced. Smelling dead bodies every morning felt like being in a war zone. It haunts me to this day. I covered the rescue mission for 15 hours a day. A few months after the collapse when I went through my images it gave me an emotional breakdown. It took me awhile to process but eventually I channeled my trauma to the strength of this issue and I wanted to make the public aware of this global issue with my Cost of Fashion project.”


 

Andy Freeberg June 12, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Spinello, Pulse New York Art Fair, 2010

Andy Freeberg (b.1958 New York, NY) graduated from the University of Michigan. He began his photography career in New York taking portraits for such publications as Rolling Stone, Time, and Fortune, photographing the likes of Michael Jackson, Bill Gates, and Neil Young. Andy has recently emerged on the contemporary art scene as a wry commentator on the art industry itself. His series Guardians, won the Critical Mass book award and was published in 2010. He is represented by the Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles and the Andrea Meislin Gallery in New York. His work is in many collections including SFMOMA, MFA Boston, and the George Eastman House. He currently lives in the San Francisco Bay area.

About the Photograph:

This photograph was taken at the Pulse New York art fair in 2010. It’s from a project on the big art fairs and the pictures focus on the dealers and gallery workers in their booths. The guy on the left is the Miami gallery owner Anthony Spinello and he’s sitting with the artist Zachari Logan. I was walking through the fair and went into Spinello’s booth and noticed the larger than life size nude paintings. When I came back 20 minutes later, there they were sitting and talking at the desk. Their positioning was quite a gift. I took a few frames and moved on, they didn’t notice me. The pictures were taken between 2009-2011 at the big contemporary art fairs in Miami and Basel, Switzerland and also in New York during the Armory Show. Most of the photographs in the series are completely candid. I was trying to document the scene, the styles the market, the current technology of this crazy art world. The series was recently released as a book titled, Art Fare by Sojourn Books.”

Peter de Krom June 9, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Netherlands.
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Prince Jocus Carnival in Venlo, The Netherlands 2014

Peter de Krom (b. 1981, The Netherlands) graduated from the St. Joost art school in 2010. He moved back to Hoek van Holland, a small town trapped between the North Sea, the Westland greenhouse area and the channel to the Rotterdam harbors. Here Peter decided not to find happiness, but subjects and inspiration that cannot be found where most photographers look. His work has been published in: Süddeutsche Zeitung, NRC Handelsblad, Volkskrant Magazine, de Standaard. Peter’s photographs have been shown at Summerexpo, GEM, The Hague, 2013, ICN Gallery, London (ISPA Awards), 2013 and Gallery LHGWR, The Hague, 2012.

About the Photograph:

“I took this photo on assignment for the newspaper NRC Next. I was invited to join the Prince Jocus Carnival for one day during his tour through the city of Venlo. Every year we celebrate Carnival in the lower provinces of the Netherlands. In the province of Limburg they call it Vastelaovend. Every city has it’s own prince that is in charge of the celebrations. In this case it was a young fellow who was accompanied by his council of eleven and protected by his own guardsman. They started the festivities of the day here going from stage to stage through the city where around 30,000 people were assembled to party the entire week. Everyone was dressed up in their most colorful and crazy outfits. The Prince will also set a example and got pretty drunk at the end of each day. His guardsman will led him all the way. “

Jenny Riffle June 5, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Washington State 2011

Jenny Riffle (b. 1979, United States) received her MFA in Photo, Video and Related Media from the School of Visual Arts in 2011 and her BA in photography from Bard College in 2001. Jenny received the Aaron Siskind Individual Photographer’s Fellowship grant in 2013 and the juror’s award at Newspace Center for Photography’s 2012 juried show for her project Scavenger: Adventures in Treasure Hunting. Her work was has been shown at Newspace and will travel to RayKo Photo Center, San Francisco and The Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins in 2014. She is currently living in Seattle where she teaches at the Photo Center Northwest .

About the Photograph:

“This photo is part of a series called The Sound of Wind, a re-appreciation of the northwest through my memories of it and my present experiences. It was shot on Thanksgiving day 2011 when my boyfriend and I were driving from Seattle to his mother’s house on the Olympic Peninsula with our friend in the backseat. Right before we got to Tacoma the car broke down. It was cold and wet outside, so we sat inside the car waiting for the tow truck to come get us.”

“I spent a lot of time in cars when I was a child because my parents split up and lived in different towns that were three hours apart. Time in the car was always a time to switch from one life to another, from mom’s house to dad’s, a time to think, to stare out the window and watch the world go by. After growing up and leaving the Northwest to live elsewhere, I found that once I moved back I appreciated the Northwest with new eyes. All these memories of childhood surfaced and I wanted to drive through the Cascade Mountain Range and run around in the forests of my youth.”

“Photography has the ability to play with memory, and in this case, this photo is of the experience that I went through with my friends waiting for the tow truck, but it also captures the experience of my childhood self riding around in the back seat of the car. In all of my portraits, I like to create a narrative. Not necessarily a specific narrative relevant to the moment captured, instead I like to capture an introspective moment or feeling that invites the viewer into the image, bringing their own memories and experiences to it.”

Nancy Borowick June 2, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ghana.
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A water well at the Triumph International School. Mowire Ghana, 2010.

Nancy Borowick (b. 1985, United States) is a humanitarian photographer based in New York City. She is a graduate of the Documentary Photography and Photojournalism program at the International Center of Photography and holds a degree in Anthropology from Union College. Nancy is a regular contributor to Newsday, amNY, and Corbis and her work has also been featured in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, Lens Blog, CNN, Time.com, Photo District News and the Washington Post. She was recently named one of the 2013 Magenta Foundation Flash Forward Emerging Photographers.

About the Photograph:

“I took this photograph in the village of Mowire, about 230 miles north of Ghana’s capital, Accra. I had been living in this village and teaching at the local school during the spring of 2008 and before leaving, I asked the headmasters if there was something I could give back to the school and its students, as my experience there was truly life changing. A water well was their answer. I spent many mornings waking up before dawn and trekking to the nearby well alongside my students to collect water for the school and I watched as these kids took this journey over and over again, straining their young bodies before a very long day of class and chores.”

“I was determined to give them this gift, this luxury of clean water, and after returning home to New York City I spent the next two years raising funds for the project. After two failed drilling attempts, break downs in communication and many broken hearts, the third time was the charm. We finally hit water. It was clear, clean and safe to drink and many children could be seen filling up empty water bottles to bring home to their families. I shot this image after the official ceremonial unveiling of the well and as I snapped the image of the flowing water, the children flew into the frame, drinking as much of this delicious, safe water as they could during this sweltering afternoon. Access to safe drinking water is a gift that many take for granted and being able to share this with my students and the surrounding community was a truly humbling and rewarding experience.”

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