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Kathryn Obermaier March 10, 2010

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Ashray School. Varanasi, India 2009

Kathryn Obermaier (b. 1978, USA) is a freelance photojournalist currently based in New York. She is a graduate from The International Center of Photography’s program in Documentary and Photojournalism, and has a Bachelors in Fine Art from The University of New Mexico.  Kathryn attended the Eddie Adams Workshop in 2007, and was chosen for the Associated Press award for her project on Cheerleaders. During her time at ICP she interned for both Suzanne Opton and Lori Grinker.  Before moving to New York she worked at the Santa Fe Photographic workshops, working with a variety of photographers, such as Sam Abell, Steve McCurry, and Dennis Keeley.  Kathryn is currently working with an NGO in India documenting the lives of the students at the Ashray School in Varanasi, as well continuing her personal project documenting various athletes throughout the world.

About the Photograph:

“This portrait is part of a series of class portraits taken at the Ashray School in Nagwa, a small village near Varanasi, India. Nagwa is home to migrants and “caste-less” families, a place where poverty was the only option. The Ashray School was created to give these families the opportunity for an education. Part of going to school in the United States was the yearly act of getting individual portraits, documenting that time in a young child’s life, the photographs were usually contrived and cheesy, but they were a record of that child, at that moment in time. I choose to focus mainly on their faces eliminating distraction, or clues to their surroundings, leaving only the details of their faces to tell their stories. Through portraiture and documentary work I focus not only on individual stories, but also the stories of this village as a changing community witnessing the lives of these young children change with the simple act of receiving an education.”

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Asim Rafiqui October 26, 2009

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Ayodhya, India

Asim Rafiqui (b. 1966, Pakistan) is an independent photographer based in Stockholm, Sweden. He has been working professionally since 2003 and began by focusing on stories from Afghanistan and Pakistan while also pursuing personal projects that focused on issues related to the aftermath of conflict. This focus has led him to produce work from Iraqi Kurdistan, Haiti, Israel and the tribal areas of Pakistan. He has also regularly shot assignments for magazines like National Geographic (France), Stern (Germany), The Wall Street Journal Magazine, Newsweek, and Time (USA, Asia). He authors the blog site called The Spinning Head, and also the essays that accompany his later India work at The Idea of India.

Editors Note: Asim was the 2009 grant recipient of the Aftermath Project, a yearly grant competition open to working photographers worldwide covering the aftermath of conflict. The deadline for the 2010 cycle will be November 2nd. Check the web site for details.

About the Photograph:

“The project, called The Idea of India, is a personal attempt to, as Walter Benjamin once said to articulate the past not to “…recognize it ‘the way it really was’ [but]…to seize hold of a memory as it flashes up at a moment of danger.” I spent over a month in Ayodhya and this photograph was taken on the famous Ram Ki Pairi – a series of steps that lead to now unused bathing pools. Sitting outside a shop selling Hindu literature this mahant was subjected to the shrill rhetoric of a Hindu revisionist who owned the stall. At a moment when exasperation, perhaps despondency, seemed to take over his and my soul, I clicked the shutter.”

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Jan Banning September 28, 2009

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Surinder Kumar Mandal, tax inspector, Bihar India

Jan Banning (b.1954, Netherlands) was born from Dutch-East-Indies parents. He studied social and economic history at the University of Nijmegen and has been working as a photographer since 1981. His documentary work, rooted in both art and journalism, has been exhibited and published widely in books, magazines and newspapers. The central concern in his work is the theme of state power; Banning has produced series on the world of government bureaucracy (which received a World Press Photo and several other awards) and the long-term consequences of war. Currently he is working on a portrait series of World War II “comfort women” in Indonesia.

About the Photograph:

“This photo is from the self-initiated project Bureaucratics, resulting in a book (published by Nazraeli) and travelling exhibition of 50 photographs: the product of an anarchist’s heart, a historian’s mind and an artist’s eye. It is a comparative photographic study of the culture, rituals and symbols of state civil administrations and its servants in eight countries, selected on the basis of polical, historical and cultural considerations: Bolivia, China, France, India, Liberia, Russia, the United States, and Yemen. In India I visited hundreds of offices of members of the executive. The visits were unannounced and the accompanying writer, Will Tinnemans, by interviewing kept the employees from tidying up or clearing the office. That way, the photos show what a local citizen would be confronted with when entering.”

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Dai Sugano September 9, 2009

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Mumbai, India, 2009

Dai Sugano (b. 1976, Japan) is a photojournalist and senior multimedia editor at the San Jose Mercury News. He co-created Mercury NewsPhoto.com whose interactive story telling has been judged among the world’s best two years in a row in the Pictures of the Year International contest.  Sugano covers wide range of assignments which have included: Hmong refugees’ immigration to the United States; the California Recall; former Japanese Internment camp survivors and number of stories in politics.  In 2008, “Uprooted,” which looks at displacement of a group of mobile home residents in Sunnyvale, won an Emmy Award. His other work have been nominated for an Emmy Award and a Pulitzer Prize in photography; and have received international and national recognitions. Dai also teaches multimedia to graduate students at Stanford University. Dai recently edited a beautiful short video on India shot by Ami Vitale.

About the Photograph:

“India’s rising prosperity is a remarkable story. Millions of peoplehave been lifted from poverty in recent years. But the new glitter ofIndia’s cities can’t hide the grim reality that remains daily life for hundreds of millions of its citizens.  The U.S. news media in the United States often carry stories about India’s economic development, praising it as the next economic next super power. But rarely do the media touch upon the reality that behind India’s economic development — a reality in which, hundreds of millions people are struggling and failing to escape from poverty.”

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David Butow July 17, 2009

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Bangalore, India 2008

David Butow (b. 1964, United States) has been a photographer since his high school days growing up in Dallas. After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Government he moved to California where he worked for a few years as a newspaper photographer before starting his current work as a freelance magazine photographer.  David specializes in news, social issues and travel photography, and has covered assignments from Baghdad to Shanghai. He is a member of Redux pictures and was a contract photographer with US News and World Report for over 10 years. He’s won various awards from World Press Photo, POY, and Communication Arts among others. As a photographer working in the journalistic field he hopes his craft contributes to an understanding of the impact of public policy on ordinary people, social evolutions, and the connections that exist between people around the world.

About The Photograph:

“This picture was taken in Bangalore, India in 2008 when I was on an assignment about Americans who go to overseas hospitals to save money on elective surgeries. One evening, after I’d finished shooting at the hospital, I took my camera as I wandered around some neighborhoods, including this park in the middle of the bustling city. These guys were just hanging around. I’m not going to speculate what they were doing, and it doesn’t really matter anyway. Having spent most of my career working as a photojournalist, where the point is to present a clear message about what’s happening in the picture, I’ve lately been drawn to scenes that are more ambiguous. Even in the context of taking pictures to go with a assignment, I like to find some complexity or mystery that makes the viewers project some of their own ideas about what’s happening. These pictures don’t often get published with the original story, but I think sometimes they’re more true to life.”

Dhiraj Singh July 8, 2009

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Pushkar Camel Fair in Rajasthan, India

Mumbai-based photojournalist, Dhiraj Singh, (b. 1980, India) is a graphic designer by profession. He turned to photography to explore the world around him. His work has been published in Newsweek, Vanity Fair, The Wall Street Journal, MSNBC, L’Espresso, Respekt, The National Post, The Age and others. Dhiraj recently won the third place in  the ‘war and disaster’ category at the China International Press Photo Award-2009 and third place in Spot News at “The Asia Media Award” which was held in conjunction with IFRA’s Publish Asia 2008. His work has  been exhibited at Global Gallery in Sydney, Australia and The National Maritime Museum in Finland. His pictures of the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008 were also part of a group exhibition titled, ‘Bearing Witness’ held in Mumbai in 2009.

About the Photograph:

“A woman walks past a make-shift photo studio at the Pushkar camel fair, held each year in the desert state of Rajasthan. What struck me about the picture was the beautifully painted screen depicting a palace in the background while this woman walked past oblivious to the decorated opulence. Perhaps she was deliberately choosing not to even glance at the dream sequence, perhaps she saw it everyday and it no longer fascinated her, perhaps to live in such a palace was her secret desire…the questions tumbled one upon the other in my head as I saw real life intersect with ‘reel’ life before me…one India crossing paths with another India, a slice of time my shutter caught. It would be amiss of me if I didn’t give credit to photographer Raghu Rai for his unintentional contribution to this image. The ornate screen was the backdrop that Raghu Rai had especially made for the project he was working on and I was simply standing there admiring the photographer at work. While Rai went to talk to someone nearby, I saw this woman pass by and simply pressed the shutter.”

Ambroise Tézenas June 26, 2009

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Mumbai, India 5 am, 2006

Ambroise Tézenas (b. 1972, France)  graduated from the Applied Arts School of Vevey, Switerland in 1994. First based in London and then in Paris, his work appears in various publications such as The New York Time Magazine, The Independent Magazine, Newsweek and Le Monde. From 2002, Ambroise Tézenas has essentially devoted his time to the creation of a personal work on landscapes. In 2004, he co-founded Think Pictures, an independent photography agency. He  photographed in Beijing from 2001 to 2005, witnessing the changes taking place before the Olympics, later published as a book that won the Leica European Publisher’s Award for Photography in 2006. His photographs are represented by Galerie Philippe Chaume in Paris.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph was taken at the time I had finished a project on Beijing and had spent quite a few nights walking in the Chinese Capital.  I went to Mumbai for a week not for a particular story but to experience night time elsewhere. I rarely do that as I am usually on assignments or working on a specific  project. I had been to India a few times before but it was my first time  in Mumbai. It was  two o’clock in the morning and I was walking in South Mumbai. It was very peaceful. It  was my first night there, when I saw a taxi driver sleeping in his car with the blue light on. The exposure was about 30 seconds.  I shot it on 4×5 film. The man didn’t wake up. I kept walking till 5 am. Experiencing the silence of megalopolis is therapy for me.”

William Widmer May 11, 2009

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Rupshu Valley, Ladakh, India

William Widmer (b. 1982, USA) is a freelance photographer based in San Francisco, California. He studied sociology and anthropology at Cornell College and earned an MFA in documentary photography from the Academy of Art in San Francisco (2007). He is interested in shifting concepts of community, and much of his work focuses on transient or marginalized populations around the world. He is currently working on a long term project about development and change in the landscape of the American Midwest. His work appears in editorial and news publications within the US and Europe, including Brand Eins (DE), nzz folio (CH), PLANETº (USA), Sonntagzeitung (CH), and Financial Times Deutschland (DE). He recently joined Getty’s Global Assignment roster.

About the Photograph:

“Ring Tsing Chuong nears the end of a 160-mile journey that he makes several times each year to visit his family in the Rupshu Valley, a Himalayan plain averaging over 14,000 ft.  A member of the small Changpa community in Ladakh, Chuong has just returned from the capital city of Leh where he works in the flourishing construction industry.  In recent years, the Changpa and other regional nomadic groups have seen their populations dwindle as Ladakh adjusts to a tourism boom that has been dramatically altering the area’s economic landscape for the last two decades, spurring more nomads to leave the plains and venture into Leh.  In fact, most nomadic groups in Ladakh these days largely comprise elders and young children.  The able-bodied members have left and now return only semi-annually to visit loved ones and deliver what staple goods they can afford to bring along.  Imported commodities such as propane, rice, alcohol, and motorized vehicles have replaced the local resources that were used for centuries in their place and create new dependencies for Ladakh’s oldest inhabitants.  The fine balance that life in Ladakh requires is being tested, and the modernization India has brought to the region is failing those who preceded it.”

Zackary Canepari February 27, 2009

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Honey collector wearing mask to confuse tigers, Sunderbans, India

Zackary Canepari (b.1979, USA) is a freelance photographer specializing in editorial and documentary photography. His career began in 2003 shooting portraiture for American culture magazines such as XLR8R, RIDES and the SF Guardian. Before that he studied photography in Paris at the SPEOS photographic institute and  later entered the Masters Program at the Academy of Art in San Francisco. He has been still photographer for two documentary films, My Blood My Compromise, about the struggle for Independence in Kosovo and REBORN, about rebuilding the New Orleans school system after Hurricane Katrina. For the past two years he has been based in New Delhi working with clients that include the New York Times, The Guardian, Newsweek,  TIME Magazine, and The Chicago Tribune.

About the Photograph:

“Unofficially there are three stages of tiger personality when it comes to human interaction and hunting. The normal tiger generally will shy away from people and will only attack if threatened. Often, this will happen and the tiger will kill in self-defense. This sometimes will lead to a tiger becoming a man-eater, meaning it will hunt humans for food. Man-eaters almost always attack from behind, usually aiming for the victim’s right shoulder/neck. In the Sunderbans, the honey collectors often will wear human masks on the back of their heads, hoping to confuse or discourage their predator. But the tigers aren’t easily fooled, and the honey collectors twice a year enter the forest and risk an attack. For these poor people, the money earned is essential for survival. Finally, the most fearsome and rare of the tiger man-eaters is the man-killer. Man-killers have stopped fearing humans and no longer hunt in the classical manner from behind. Man-killers come from the front. With a man-killer, the mask is useless.” (more…)

Viviane Dalles November 14, 2008

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Tibetan refugees in Dharamsala, India 2007

French photographer Viviane Dalles graduated from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie  in 2002. She traveled to Mali to work for the African Photography festival in Bamako. Back in France she refined her approach to photography while working at the Foundation HCB in Paris where she set up the print archive of Henri Cartier-Bresson since 1920. Then she was hired by the Magnum photo agency where she worked on editing the photographer’s archives. Since 2005, she works has worked a photographer and  is based in New Delhi. Her publication credits include: Le Figaro, Paris-Match, The Guardian, Marie Claire and Le Monde.

About the Photograph:

“I made this photo of Dawa, 32 who arrived five months before to rejoin her husband who is studying in India. The Tibetan center welcomes the refugees for a period of about six months. They then have to find a place to live and work. The Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso was forced to flee the Chinese army in 1959,. More than 150,000 Tibetans have crossed the Himalayas to settle in Dharamsala India. Every year more than over thousand Tibetans cross over the Himalayas illegally.”

Danny Ghitis and Celia Tobin July 9, 2008

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Danny Ghitis and Celia Tobin, both 25, are documentary photographers and multimedia producers who believe in journalism as a catalyst for social change. They met at the University of Florida where they recently earned their journalism degrees. After completing various newspaper internships, they traveled to India in 2007 to collaborate on social issue stories, including a project on Indian public health care through a burn ward in Varanasi. Though they value pursuing individual freelance projects, they look forward to combining their efforts again in the future. Between them, they have been recognized by the Hearst Photojournalism Awards, the Northern Short Course, College Photographer of the Year, Associated Press and NPPA clip contests. They will soon be based out of New York City.

About the Photograph:

Dr. A.K. Pradan moves on to the next patient after briefly checking 13-year-old Chandni Gupta (in bed) as her mother, Suroj, looks for more answers to her questions. With the hospital understaffed and overcrowded, Pradan moves quickly in order to see approximately 150 patients in various wards. Though his specialization is plastic surgery, he works to cover other specialist staff vacancies, such as neurology. While India’s private health care improves, government spending on public health is among the lowest in the world: about $4 a year per person. Shri Shiv Prasad hospital in the ancient city of Varanasi is overcrowded and short on resources, like most government-run medical facilities in India. Every day, poor families from surrounding villages come seeking care for relatives that have suffered severe burns. Most victims are women burned in kitchen accidents. Others are victims of dowry-related violence.

Adam Huggins June 30, 2008

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Workers in Howrah, India making manhole covers for Con Edison. 2007

Adam Huggins (b. 1981, Canada) became interested in photography in 2000. Since then he has been traveling and taking pictures that document society and the world we live in. His photography has been exhibited at : Centre Pompidou, Paris, La Triennale di Milano, The Shanghai Art Museum, and Shiodomeitalia Creative Center in Tokyo. He has worked with numerous publications including: The New York Times, ELLE, Der Spiegel, COLORS, and the International Herald Tribune. In late 2004 he witnessed the devastation caused by the South Asian Tsunami to numerous fishing communities along the southern coast of India. The theme of fishing developed in his latest exhibited work.

About the Photograph:

In late 2007 The New York Times published Adams story and excellent multimedia piece about how New York City’s ubiquitous manhole covers are made at a foundry in India and soon after, it became a widely debated topic of conversation in numerous newspapers’ commentary and opinion pages around the world. The photo-essay drew attention to the alarming lack of safety protections in place for the Indian workers that endure extremely hazardous working conditions in order to produce manhole covers for New York and other municipalities throughout the United States, calling for State legislatures and prompting Con Edison, one of the private utilities companies that purchases these items, to rewrite their future international contracts to include safety requirements. He was subsequently awarded a Certificate of Special Merit at the 2007 Human Rights Press Awards in Hong Kong for this body of work.

Adam Ferguson June 11, 2008

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Outside a brothel in Manipur, India. 2007

Adam Ferguson was born in Australia in 1978 and graduated from Griffith University with a Bachelor of Photography in 2003. In 2004 he was awarded a Peace Scholarship from Griffith and travelled to South East Asia to document Peace Art Project Cambodia, a European Union public awareness campaign aimed at curbing small arms. After working for regional newspapers in Australia and Mexico, he moved to Paris in 2006 and interned with VII Photo Agency. In 2007 he moved to New Delhi, India, where he is currently based as a freelance photojournalist. Adam’s work has been published in Time Magazine, Newsweek, The New York Times, International Herald Tribune, The Chicago Tribune, Bloomberg News, Courrier International, The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian.

About the Photograph:

With the ‘Golden Triangle’ stretching between Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and China, a porus Indian border leaves India’s northeastern states like Manipur vulnerable to an illegal heroin trade. Ongoing tribal insurgencies, corruption and a disregard for India’s northeastern states from New Delhi, render communities like Churandchanpur in Manipur politically volatile and economically stifled. High unemployment and minimal opportunity cause a high number of youth to turn to drugs to escape poverty. But with Myanmar as a rogue neighbor, and corruption making the stifling of the heroin trade almost impossible, heroin trafficking goes on and little hope is left for any action to stop the free flow of heroin that devastates lives in India’s volatile northeast.

Christian Als May 26, 2008

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Golfing in Mumbai from “India Rising”

“My passion and interest in photography developed in the late nineties after extensive travels in third world countries, where I realized the urge to document my surroundings. I love to undertake social and humanitarian projects around the world, and like the journey a photographic project can turn into over time. Most of all I just love people and love photography.”

Christian Als was born in the countryside just outside Copenhagen, where he is based. Most of his work centers on ‘concerned photography’ and social issues all over the world. In 2006 he graduated from the Danish School of Journalism and soon won several International photo awards including BOP and was a finalist in Visa D’Or 2005 in Perpignan. His work has been published in Der Spiegel, Christian Science Monitor, Bücher Magazine, Urban, ARENA, and Surfer Magazine among others. Christian won the POYI feature story award in 2008 for his project on juvenile prisoners in Latvia and most recently the China International Press Photo Contest for the “India Rising”.

About the Photograph:

The urban extremes can be hard to take in the Indian mega cities. A new golf course has sprung up in downtown Mumbai, while new skyscrapers are being built in the background. Home to 19 million people, Mumbai is projected by 2012 to be the planet’s second most populated city, after Tokyo.

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