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Katharina Hesse August 20, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.
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Katharina Hesse holds a graduate degree in Chinese & Japanese studies from the Institute National des Langues et Civilizations Orientales in Paris. She initially worked as an assistant for German TV and later freelanced for Newsweek from 1996 to 2002. In 2003 and 2004 she covered China for Getty photos. Hesse is self-taught in photography and her work has  appeared in Der Spiegel, Le Monde, Marie-Claire, Stern and Vanity Fair among others. Hesse participated in the ” A day in the Life of the American Woman ” project in 2005, and won a NPPA 1st prize award in 2003. Her work has been featured at photography festivals including Visa Pour l’Image, the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, the Angkor Photo Festival  in Cambodia and LOOK3 (USA).

About the Photograph:

“I took a small number of portraits of the Beijing petitioners in late December 2007 as I thought they’d certainly not be allowed to stay around during the Olympics due to China’s obsession with ” keeping face” and showing off as a perfect host city. Many of these people have struggled for years in their native provinces to seek justice, therefore Beijing’s petitioner’s offices are their last recourse. Sadly, most are detained and then sent back to their native provinces. In the days leading up to the Olympics, houses were still being demolished. Recent news from a petitioner describes his situation as follows: ‘our neigborhood has been dismantled… more than 10,000 of us including homeless people live on one bowl of vegetables a day. Some of us have been beaten by officials dressed up as petitioners.’ “

8.8.88- 8.8.08: Twenty Years On August 8, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Burma, China, Tibet.
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Cyclone Nargis , Burma, 2008

Editors note: Today is both the anniversary of 8.8.88 as well as 8.8.08, the opening of the Beijing Olympics. Twenty years ago the Burma military junta killed tens of thousands of innocent Burmese on the streets of Rangoon. Unfortunately we are not in a position to name the photographer for the reasons above.

About the Photograph:

“Hhaing The Yu, 29, holds his face in his hand as rain falls on the decimated remains of his home in the Swhe Pyi Tha township, near Myanmar’s capital of Yangon (Rangoon), on Sunday, May 11th, 2008.  Cyclone Nargis struck southern Myanmar a week ago leaving millions homeless and has claimed up to 100,000 lives.  Experts have warned that Myanmar now runs the risk of a public health crisis that could take an even greater toll, as the country’s military government has been slow to allow in international aid.


Tibetan Monks. Kathmandu, Nepal

Brian Sokol was born in the late 1970’s in the American Midwest where he grew-up pouring over back issues of National Geographic.  At university he studied writing and education before heading overseas.  After being awarded a small grant from the University of Wisconsin, Brian purchased his first camera and 100 rolls of slide film a few days before heading to Nepal for a year that elapsed into a decade.  In July 2008 Brian moved from Kathmandu to New Delhi, India in to better cover South and Southeast Asia.  He work appears regularly in publications including The New York Times, Time, Stern, l’Espresso and Der Spiegel.  He is the recipient of National Geographic Magazine’s 2007 Eddie Adams grant and was recognized as one of PDN’s 30 Emerging Photographers to Watch in 2008.

About the Photograph:

A Tibetan monk, rosary beads hanging from his hand, covers his face while sitting in solidarity during a hunger strike at a Tibetan refugee camp in Kathmandu, Nepal on 18 March 2008.  Eleven hunger strikers have been fasting in the Nepalese capital since 11 p.m. on 16 March in protest against conditions in Tibet.

Kosuke Okahara July 8, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.
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Abandoned Leprosy Village. China, 2007

Born in 1980, Kosuke Okahara began his professional career at age 23, after his college graduation. Since the beginning of his career, he has been devoting himself to the theme of “Ibasyo” which refers, in Japanese, to “People’s physical and emotional space where they can exist”, or “Inner-peace of the people.” His  recent work  deals with people who are involved in illegal activities at the bottom of society in Colombia, and young Japanese people who are struggling with self-injury. He has covered stories in Asia, Africa, and South America. His works have been published in TIME.com, Newsweek Japan, PHOTO, AERA, Playboy Japan, Photografica, ASAHI Camera, among others. His photos have also been exhibited at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Nikon Gallery, Tokyo, and the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand. He is a member photographer of Agence VU.

About the Photograph:

“This is a photo story of the daily life of former leprosy patients who exist in the shade of China’s recent economic boom. Though leprosy is an old disease that is 100% curable by medicines, there are over 600 leprosy villages in southern provinces of China housing over 40,000 ex-leprosy patients. In the villages, some people remain disabled but they are not effected by leprosy anymore. When multi-drug therapy became available in China in the 80’s, people recovered from the disease. However, these people still live in villages isolated in remote areas because of the long-lasting discrimination against the the disease. In many villages people do not have an access to clean water and electricity, and live in very difficult conditions. They earn between nothing and $50 per month from the government. Like the poor farming villages they remain outside of China’s recent visable economic growth.”

Holly Wilmeth June 25, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China, United States.
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Kisses from Rhode Island and China

Holly Wilmeth was born and raised in Guatemala. As the daughter of a farmer, she spent half her time in the city and the other half in the dense jungles and agricultural landscapes of Guatemala. A freelance photographer based in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, she holds a degree in Political Science and Languages. She has traveled to over 45 countries as a cultural observer and avid hiker, living with nomad families in the Tibetan mountains as well as remote corners of East Asia and the far north of Mongolia. Her work has been published in National Geographic Adventure, Houston Chronicle, CARE, USAID, PBX, Christian Science Monitor and Time Magazine.

About the Photograph:

“The kiss series started with one picture of Russell Monk blowing a kiss that I sent to Peter Dennen at Aurora Photo and then to Susan Welchman at National Geographic. They were all a huge influence and motivator for the series. I did this because of the light subject as opposed to the other stories I always tend to work on. I knew I would also be traveling to over 13 countries in three months so it would be something I could shoot on the side. They are beautiful close-up shots of people from all over the world and different ethnicity’s.” Holly’s words about the project echo my exact same reasons for selecting this series.

Justin Guariglia June 20, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.
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Two Portraits from “Planet Shanghai” © Justin Guariglia

Born in 1974 in Maplewood, New Jersey, Justin Guariglia has lived and worked in Asia for nearly a decade before returning to live in New York City in 2006. He is the author of the critically acclaimed photography book SHAOLIN: Temple of Zen, which the Aperture Foundation has turned into a 100-piece internationally traveling photography exhibition. Guariglia is a regular contributor to Smithsonian magazine, and is a photographer and contributing editor to National Geographic Traveler magazine. He has been nominated for the International Center of Photography’s Young Photographer Infinity Award, selected as a Fotofest Discovery of the Meeting Place, received several photo of the year awards, and was named one of the “30 Young Photographers under 30″ by Photo District News. His book Planet Shanghai was recently published by Chronicle Books.

About the Photograph:

“While I love Beijing, the cultural capital of China, I quickly became enamored with the character, and characters, of Shanghai’s back streets. There seemed to be a greater sense of pride, joy , and cohesion among the inhabitants here than elsewhere-as if they knew they were part of the club- the club of the real and everlasting. Like the artwork in Venice’s churches and pallazi, here the Shanghainese seem to be art in its original setting. The setting is the streets, and the art is the people themselves, living life in an urban alfresco, and often clad in silk to boot.” (more…)

Carolyn Drake May 12, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China, Ohio University.
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Traditional Uyghur Home, Western China

Carolyn Drake is a documentary photographer based in Istanbul. Her work has been supported through grants from the Fulbright Program, Duke University, and National Geographic and honored by UNICEF, World Press Photo and POYi. She was chosen as one of Photo District News’ 30 emerging photographers to watch in 2006 and as one of the Magenta Foundation’s emerging photographers in 2007. Her photo career began at the age of 30, when she decided to leave her multimedia job in New York’s Silicon Alley to learn about the world through personal experience. She studied history and media culture while in college at Brown University and later learned photography at ICP and Ohio University.

About the Photograph:

“The photo was taken at prayer time inside a Muslim home in Xinjiang, the autonomous Uyghur region in western China, where traditional life has been in decline for the last 100 years. In Xinjiang, many Uighurs still hold fast to rural traditions, working family farms, and traveling between vast stretches of mountain and desert to trade and mingle, but this lifestyle is quickly deteriorating under China’s vigorous modernization policies. The world’s powerful empires fold together here, influencing ethnic cultures that are among the world’s oldest. I traveled to Xinjiang at the end of a two month journey through the former Soviet Republics of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. It was fascinating to step over the border into China after spending so much time thinking about the region in relation to the Soviet Union.”

Boris Svartzman May 6, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.
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Old and New Shanghai. China 2007

Boris Svartzman is a French-Argentinian freelance photographer based in Shanghai. He has lived in China for seven years, including two years studying at the university in Chengdu and Shanghai. He graduated in France with a degree in philosophy and sociology. Photography and social studies are two complementary ways for him to describe the world. His series on China’s demolition has been selected in the Paris Match Students Photojournalism Competition (2005), in Visa pour l’Image Photojournalism Festival (2006), and published in Foto 8. He is represented by Prospekt Photo Agency in Italy.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph is part of a series about the demolition of old neighborhoods in Shanghai which I considered the first chapter in the urbanisation of China. It took time to gain access and trust to photograph the living conditions of the underpaid workers.. They weren’t used to having human relations in a city where they are forced to hide from the public. They are recycling materials of the demolished traditional houses in this photograph. After talking and showing an interest in their work some of them opened their doors and invited me to dinner.”

Sean Gallagher April 1, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.
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gallagher_beijing.jpg
From the series: Bye Bye Beijing

Sean Gallagher is a British Photojournalist, currently based in Beijing, China. His work focuses on highlighting various social and environmental issues throughout Asia, with specific emphasis on China. Gallagher has worked for various international clients including BBC News, The Globe and Mail (Canada), Die Zeit (Germany), The Ecologist (UK), Channel 7 News (Australia), NEED Magazine (US) and the British Journal of Photography. His work is represented by Grazia Neri and in January 2008 Sean was the first recipient for the David Allan Harvey prize for emerging photographers.

About the Photograph:

On every city street corner in Beijing, the city’s traditional alley- way and court yard based homes or Hutongs are being destroyed. The destruction of Hutongs has been taking place for a number of years, however since Beijing was awarded the 2008 Summer Olympics, the rate at which they are now being cleared has increased exponentially.

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