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Andres Gonzalez May 4, 2009

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ohio University, Ukraine.
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Truskavets Sanatorium, Western Ukraine

Andres Gonzalez (b. 1977, United States) is currently based in Istanbul, Turkey. He is originally from California where he pursued a degree in writing from Pomona College in Claremont, California – but after a two year stint in Namibia teaching environmental education and snapping pictures along the way, he realized that photography was a much more natural way for him to express his world view. He is the recipient of the Canon Italia Young Photographer’s Award in 2009, was a Fulbright Scholar in 2008. He was selected as one of PDN’s Emerging 30 photographers in 2006. His work has been published by W Magazine, Monocle, and Wallpaper among others.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph was taken in the resort town of Truskavets in Western Ukraine from a project I started back in 2006 called Sanatorium, which looks at the culture of health and healing in Ukraine. I was initially drawn to how Ukrainians who visit the springs  embrace the water’s healing qualities, but after I started making pictures I became fascinated by their history and legacy in Ukrainian culture. The history of sanatoria in the former Soviet Union goes back to the conception of the USSR itself, when mansions were seized by the Bolsheviks and converted to hospitals and clinics for the poor. Later sanatoria played an important role in healing a war-torn nation – after the Second World War the Soviet government encouraged its citizens to look inwards, both figuratively and literally through domestic travel, to explore the far-flung parts of the Union in hopes of cementing its commonality.” (more…)

Noah Rabinowitz March 16, 2009

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ohio University, United States.
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Santiago Family, New Plymouth, Ohio 2008

Noah Rabinowitz is currently studying photojournalism, the history of cultural radicals and the framework linking gender and environmental development at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. He has interned with The Denver Post, The White House Photo Office, The Concord Monitor and The Free Lance-Star. He has been recognized by College Photographer of the Year, The Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar, The Southern Short Course, The Society of Professional Journalists and the Ohio News Photographer’s Association. Noah also contributed to a multimedia project that was recognized by Pictures of the Year International and Best of Photojournalism. Noah was awarded an internship with The White House Photo Office and an assignment from The New York Times for his work at the 2007 Eddie Adams Workshop.

About the Photograph:

“The Santiago family lives in the impoverished Appalachian region of Ohio, a few miles from my home, and many miles from any economic opportunity. I started documenting Grace and her family in 2007. In this image, Grace is melting copper wire that the children collected from an abandoned trailer. The family is supported fiscally by welfare and trash collection alone. With this collection of images centering around Grace Santiago, I hope to show the genuine love and support that exists within the family despite their dire circumstances. These images are an attempt to take “the other” out of rural poverty, by making their humanity my central focus. Grace, suffers from crohn’s disease, and also cares for seven of her grandchildren as well as her mother.”

Zach Wise February 4, 2009

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Multimedia, Ohio University, United States.
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Reckless Willie. Orleans Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada

Zach Wise (b. 1979, USA) is currently a multimedia producer for the New York Times. Before coming to the Times, Wise was the senior multimedia producer for the Las Vegas Sun. He oversaw the implementation of multimedia in terms of workflow, presentation and technology. He was also a multimedia storyteller for the Sun who shot and produced stories in multiple formats ranging from video to panoramas. Wise holds a master’s degree in photojournalism from the School of Visual Communication at Ohio University and won several CPOY awards for his multimedia photojournalism projects there. In 2005, he won the Gold 2005 Horizon Interactive Award for “Spit It, Quit It”. In 2006 he was awarded Yahoo! site of the day (May 2006) for Losing Louisiana: Land Loss on the Coast, which was also a featured site on BBC Science and won the Talking Hands Award.

About the Photograph:

“I left the Las Vegas Sun after completing two large projects I felt very passionate about. This is one of them. Reckless Willie is a short documentary on a boxer who is arguably at the end of his career. Willie Chapman has ten children in three states and he’s forty years old. Professional boxing matches are still his main source of income and also the only way he can pay child support to see his kids. Because of his age and losing record, Nevada may not license him to fight anymore. Willie also shows signs of dementia, most likely caused from continued brain trauma caused by boxing.”

Editors Note: Photographer and multimedia producer Zach Wise has been at the forefront of combining photojournalism and  interactive media work on the web. He was part of the team that produced Soul of Athens, a watershed project as well as Thirst in the Mojave for the Las Vegas Sun.


Dana Romanoff January 5, 2009

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ghana, Ohio University.
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Emilia, Ewe Region, Ghana

Dana Romanoff is an award-winning photographer freelancing outside of Denver, Colorado. She recently completed a project for National Geographic Magazine entitled: No Man’s Land about the changing roles of women in left behind in Mexico due to immigration. Before working freelance, Dana worked as a staff photographer at newspapers including The Charlotte Observer, The Free Lance-Star and The Oregonian. As a journalist, Dana combines her passion for cultural studies, social issues and photography. She believes that photographs have the power to break down barriers and build bridges whether it be across oceans or between backyards. Raised in New York, Dana received her BA in American Cultural Studies at the University of Rochester and MA in Photojournalism from Ohio University. Dana has worked and lived around the globe as a photographer and outdoor and cultural guide.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph was made while working on a project about women in a controversial practice of African Traditional Religion in the Ewe region of Ghana, West Africa. There, women and girls are sent to shrines to atone for the crimes of their ancestors. Christian NGOs say the females are slaves to the shrines and have called world-wide attention in attempt for funding to “liberate and rehabilitate” the women and girls. The practitioners say the females are the queens of their towns and that Christians are trying to eradicate traditional religion. I spent six months studying and photographing the people of the town and their religious practice. I saw no human rights abused and feel the controversy truly is an attempt to exploit a traditional practice and people to spread Christianity. This particular photo is of Emilia whose father’s family helped establish some of the shrines which serve as a moral and educational institution in the town helps to prevent premarital sex and crime. Emilia, 15, is heartbroken because her father prohibited her to see her boyfriend. She sits along the main road in town clutching a fake flower.”

Jenn Ackerman November 12, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ohio University, United States.
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Correctional officer comforting inmate during a psychotic episode

Jenn Ackerman has a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and social research from James Madison University and recently completed her master’s degree from Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication. She has a completed an internship at the Desert Morning News and plans to intern at the Lexington Herald-Leader, The Roanoke Times and The Dallas Morning News. Her work has been published in PDN, USA Today, New York Times and The Washington Post. Jenn’s awards include : Southern Short Course: Student Photographer of the Year, 2008. NPPA Best of Photojournalism: 1st Place – News Video, 3rd Place – News Video, 1st Place – Sports Video, 2008. White House News Photographer’s Association, 2008.

About the Photograph:

The goal when deciding to publish Trapped: Mental Illness in America’s Prisons was to uncover the mental health crisis in America. “The system is trapped with treating this growing population and the mentally ill often find themselves trapped in the system with nowhere else to go”. In order to show this struggle, she went inside the Correctional Psychiatric Treatment Unit, the largest mental facility in Kentucky. While prison might not be the best place for the mentally ill, this program at the Kentucky State Reformatory is adapting to the meet the needs of this growing population in the prison system.

Chad Stevens November 5, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ohio University, United States.
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Victoria, nursing home resident, Kentucky

During the past five years, Chad A. Stevens has been a faculty member in the photojournalism program at Western Kentucky University, a master’s degree candidate in the School of Visual Communication at Ohio University, a nomadic photographer and multimedia producer in Africa. He is currently director and  multimedia producer at Mediastorm and working on a documentary about mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia. While teaching at Western Kentucky University, Stevens created an annual documentary photography workshop, the Appalachian Cultural Project, and won the University Faculty Award for Public Service in 2006. He has won awards in the POYI, NPPA, and is currently nominated for an Emmy in the 2008 Awards for News & Documentary. Chad graduated from Western Kentucky University and Ohio University, and he interned at National Geographic, The Hartford Courant, the Muskegon Chronicle and the Jackson Hole Guide. During his time at Western, he traveled to Palestine and other Middle East countries, followed by some blind wandering of the Mediterranean coast of Spain. He was named 1997 College Photographer of the Year.

About the Photograph:

“For my final project as an undergraduate photojournalism student, I worked on a photo essay on loneliness, trying to define it, see it, and, in the end, feel it. Loneliness is one of those universal truths that all of us feel at least at some point during our lives. In this project I photographed many people all experiencing loneliness in their way. Some were brought to loneliness by mental illness. Some had chosen it. Others had love taken from them. And then Victoria, a resident of a nursing home in rural Kentucky, found the cure to her loneliness in a child’s doll. In this moment I saw the parallels of the beginning of life and the end of life, between death and birth.”

Amy Toensing September 22, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ohio University, United States.
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Harry and Doug Odom. Monhegan Island, Maine

American born photojournalist Amy Toensing has worked on assignments for publications such as National Geographic Magazine, The New York Times, Newsweek, Time Magazine and The Boston Globe. She  began her career in 1994 as a staff photographer at her hometown paper in New Hampshire and later worked three years in Washington D.C. covering the White House and Capitol Hill for The New York Times. In 1998, Toensing left D.C. to receive her Master’s Degree in Photography at Ohio University. Since 2000, she has been freelancing for editorial publications and private organizations. In 2003 Amy was named the Photographic Alumni Fellow at the SALT Institutute for Documentary Field Studies in Portland, Maine where she continued a long-term project on Muslim teenage girls living in western culture. She recently finished her ninth story for National Geographic.

About the Photograph:

“Harry and Doug Odom turn in beneath each other’s portraits while their dog Taxi keeps watch. It’s a good life, says Harry. The Odoms have been Lobstermen, merchants, and island benefactors for some 60 years. Monhegan Island, home to lobstermen and painters and a popular destination for tourists is twelve miles off the coast of Maine. Ringed by high, dark cliffs, its interior a mix of meadows, marsh and spruce groves, Monhegan is one of just 14 true island communities left off the coast of Maine. The island has a 65 permanent, year-round residents and the population grows to around 200 in the summer, with day-trippers adding several hundred more. “

Yoon S. Byun August 13, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ohio University, United States.
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The Fagan Family, Ohio

Yoon S. Byun (b 1979, Korea) discovered his calling after switching majors for the 4th time as an undergrad at NYU to journalism, and by chance took a photojournalism course in his senior year on 9/10/01. “The aftermath of 9/11 in New York was something I felt an important need to document. As I learned the definitions of f-stops, shutter speeds and film ISO, I simultaneously tried to document both sides of the peace/pro-war movement. I eventually landed my first internship at the Daily Press (Newport News, VA). Dennis Tennant, the photo editor there, took a chance on me based on my weak portfolio of images. Alex Burrows at the Virginian-Pilot also took another chance in taking in a fairly inexperienced freelancer. I would say that the 9 months at the Pilot was where I first learned how to “see.” Yoon is a staff photographer at the Boston Globe. He also works with Aevum Photo.

About the Photograph:

“This project started when I went to a women in agriculture meeting advertised in the Athens News when I was in grad school.  I decided to localize the story of women in agriculture, or women owned farms by focusing on farms in Southeast Ohio.  This was during a documentary class taught by Bruce Strong – a wonderful professor who challenged much of my thinking during the class.  I found Linda Fagan, the mother of the family, with the help of a woman who was at this meeting.  Upon my first visit to the farm, I realized that there was more of a story with this family than just the women who worked there.  I asked if I could continue to photograph them, and they agreed.  I didn’t really know what I was photographing as I continued my visits.  I just knew something drew me to them.  It was toward the end of my time at OU that I realized what I so admired about this family – it was their independence.  I realized their values and lifestyle was really based upon their own definition of a purpose filled life.” (more…)

Jim Korpi July 11, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ohio University, United States.
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Grave Digger. Cheshire, Ohio 2007

Jim Korpi started his path in photography during his university years when he worked part time as a writer/photographer at the Portsmouth Herald in Portsmouth, NH. Following his graduation from the University of New Hampshire with a degree in English/Journalism, Jim served as a Visual Journalism fellow at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida. He later joined the Valley News in West Lebanon, New Hampshire as a photography intern. In addition to Jim’s work with community newspapers, he has done freelance assignments for the The New York Times, The Washington Post and Associated Press. In September of 2005, Jim received a Fulbright Scholarship to Jordan where he worked on a documentary photographic project and studied Arabic. His photographs were exhibited by the city of Amman, Jordan, in a large installation at the city’s cultural square. Presently, Jim is working on his master’s degree in the School of Visual Communications at Ohio University.

About the Photograph:

Dave Stanley has been digging graves at the Gravel Hill Cemetery in Cheshire, Ohio, for the past year. He was laid off from the Community Action Center and was asked to take the cemetery job. The town of Cheshire has been bought out by the Gavin Power Plant. Some older community members will stay until their end. Stanley says once the older folks die off in the town the cemetery will die with them. This photograph is part “Coal and Consequences”, Jim’s long term personal project about coal and it’s effects on the environment, people and communities.

Susana Raab May 16, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ohio University, United States.
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Watching the Battle Royal, Medieval Times, Kissimmee, Florida 2005

Susana Raab is a documentary photographer who began her career as a photojournalist in Washington, DC covering politics. She worked for the New York Times Washington bureau for four years before attending graduate school at Ohio University’s School of Visual Communications. Her two long-term projects: Consumed: Fast Food in the US; and Off-Season: America at Leisure have received recognition from the White House News Photographers’ Association, The Ernst Haas/Golden Light Awards, PhotoLucida’s Critical Mass, American Photography 28, The Santa Fe Center for Photography and Photo District News. Her work is widely exhibited, both nationally and internationally, most recently at the Arts Club of Washington, the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo in Madrid, and the Noorderlicht Photofestival in the Netherlands.

About the Photograph:

No one quite understood what I was trying to do, driving from Athens, Ohio to Orlando, Florida to explore tourist venues that market history, perhaps least of all myself. But this is often part of the process of any journey. At the Medieval Times, I enjoyed a leg of mutton-type repast with the P.R. lady, who waxed poetic about the queries she received from prospective patrons of the dinner theatre, which recreates a medieval battle for damsels’ virtue and knights’ honor. “Once someone called me and wanted to know if we actually killed people, ” she said, non-chalantly, while taking a sip from her stein of ale. As the crowd roared at the theatrics on the floor below, I got up to discover the allure of the battle. I was reminded of a girl I interviewed at a NASCAR event who said,” I love the smoke, the gas, the noise, the danger. Everyone loves it when they crash. Except, of course, when it’s Junior.” More about Off-Season: America at Leisure (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.”

Samantha Reinders May 7, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ohio University, South Africa.
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Port Elizabeth, South Africa 2006

Samantha Reinders (b.1977) is a freelance photographer based in her native Cape Town, South Africa. She moved back to South Africa after completing her MA at Ohio University, and interning, in 2005, for US News & World Report magazine. She is not 100% certain when her career actually began – but thinks it was either somewhere in the hills of Appalachia, or sandwiched between two other photographers in the press pool in the Oval Office. Either way, she’s glad it did because it has, among other things, allowed her to chase penguins, fly on Air Force One, swim with sharks and meet a collection of interesting people – from business men to homeless men, and from grannies at a bake-sale to a triple murderer behind bars. In this way she thinks the profession of photojournalism is a privilege. Some of Samantha’s clients include: US News & World Report, Time, The New York Times, L’Express, Der Spiegel, Park Avenue, The Chicago Tribune, SLAM, National Geographic Books, Smithsonian, Readers Digest and The London Financial Times.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph is from a larger essay on Township Tourism in South Africa – a phenomenon with increasing popularity since the countries first democratic elections in 1994. What is today a million-dollar industry has been the center of much controversy over the years. Is it a voyeuristic, making poverty into a theme park – or does it do much to bring money, jobs and opportunities to areas that need them most? This 2006 image shows a Dutch couple that had visited New Brighton Township in Port Elizabeth in 2000. Overwhelmed by what they encountered, they spent the next few years fundraising back home and sent several ship container loads of furniture and school equipment back to the township. Here they visit one of the schools and meet some of the students. “

Krisanne Johnson April 15, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ohio University, United States.
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German Baptist Community, Ohio

Krisanne Johnson (b 1976) is a freelance documentary photographer based in New York City. She completed her BS from the University of Colorado and her MA from Ohio University. Her clients include: US News and World Report, The New York Times, Comedy Central and Politiken. Johnson’s work has been awarded by World Press Photo, Pictures of the Year International and the Best of Photojournalism. Her photo essay on Kwaito culture in South Africa is featured in the March 2008 issue of The Fader.

About the Photograph:

“I grew up near the community and started work on the German Baptist project during grad school. I still visit them whenever I return home to Ohio. This photo was taken after a game of touch football on a beautiful summer evening. I was already lying in the grass and then everyone sort of joined me.

Rich-Joseph Facun April 8, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ohio University, United States.
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Dads Return Home from Deployment, Virginia Beach

Rich-Joseph Facun is a photographer based in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Originally a student of philosophy and religious studies, Facun shifted gears and studied photography at the School of Visual Communication at Ohio University, receiving his degree in 2001. Facun’s work has won awards in the Best of Photojournalism, the Annual Unity Awards in Media, the William Randolph Hearst Foundation Journalism Awards Program, and a nomination in PDN’s 30 New and Emerging Photographers. Currently, he is shooting a book project entitled “Rollin’ Revival,” a documentary that explores the resurgence of roller derby in the United States. His work has been published both nationally and internationally in various news and journalism mediums ranging from The New York Times to The FADER magazine.

About the Photograph:

Evan Burgoon, 5, watches his father Lt Cmdr. Ian Burgoon of the VFA 211 land at the Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach, VA, Tuesday, December 18, 2007. The squadrons returned home to Hampton Roads following a six-month deployment aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise. The strike group has spent 13 of the last 20 months at sea supporting troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I strongly encourage you to read Facun’s account of what transpired before he made the photograph. (more…)

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