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Verve Photo Continues on September 5th August 22, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Burma, United States.
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Waiting for a ferry on a pedestrian bridge over the Yangon River. Burma 2011

Editor’s Note: I’ll be taking a couple of weeks off and resume posting on Sept 5th. During the past four and a half years Verve Photo has showcased the work of close to 700 photographers. It’s an amazing archive and resource for our online community as well as the photo editors and creative directors looking for talent. A number of photographers have received assignments or sold work as a result of being featured here. I just glanced at some of the past years posts and was bowled over by the quality and freshness of the images.

Besides my work here as editor of Verve Photo, I am on the road photographing for part of the year. Last winter I was teaching in Cambodia and then went back to Burma to cover the dramatic changes taking place there. With all that, I plan to expand Verve Photo in the coming months. Stay tuned.

Mathieu Young July 27, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Del Mar County Fair, California 2010

Mathieu Young (b. 1981, United States) splits his time between commercial photography, mainly entertainment advertising, and reportage projects. His photojournalism has been seen on CNN, The New York Times Lens, and in Rolling Stone, Newsweek, the Wall Street Journal, and Time Magazine, amongst many others. He continues to shoot commercial assignments for Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., FOX, The CW, A+E, and Dreamworks Animation. He was a student at the 2011 Eddie Adams Workshop, awarded 1st Place in the International Photography Awards, and chosen for American Photography 28. Mathieu is based in Los Angeles and represented by Weiss Artists, Inc.

About the Photograph:

“The Pledge of Allegiance, moments before the destruction began. This was from an assignment for ESPN The Magazine covering a demolition derby on July 4th at the Del Mar County Fair in California. It was a true slice of Americana: The pit area was filled with loud engines, American flags, Coors Light, and arc-welders. One young man took a hard hit in the arena and got taken away in a stretcher, but his relatives got vengeance, teeming up on the perpetrator until his car was upside down and on fire. Afterwards, they all shared some turkey legs, cotton candy and whiskey while they towed their demolished vehicles onto flatbeds to drive them home and get them prepared for the next’s month’s derby. God Bless America.”

Sally Ryan July 18, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Line Dancing, Montgomery, Illinois 2000

Sally Ryan (b. 1976, USA) received her Bachelor of Journalism degree in 1998 from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She worked for several newspapers before launching her freelance career in 2006. Sally is a frequent contributor to national and international publications and also works with a variety of private and non-profit clients throughout the United States. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Spin, Time Out Chicago, Time, Inc., MSNBC.com, The London Times, and The Onion A.V. Club, as well as overseas publications. Sally is currently teaching a graduate level photojournalism class at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Chicago and is is represented by Zuma Press.

About the Photograph:

“Linda Pasetti, a Harley motorcycle owner and Ladies of Harley member, was the featured speaker that night with plans to teach the other ladies the finer points of country-western line dancing. The initial focus of my shoot was on another woman, an ovarian cancer patient I had been photographing for a few weeks, who was also the president of the Fox Valley LOH chapter. Walking into the Veterans of Foreign Wars community room, the plastic musical notes above the wood paneling immediately caught my eye. Hoping a moment would unfold in front of that backdrop, I began photographing the meeting. After the business portion of the meeting concluded, Linda Pasetti walked to the small stage in front of the musical notes and started her line dancing lesson.”

“At the end of the meeting, I sat down with Linda to learn more about her love of line dancing. She began line dancing a couple of years earlier, and said it completely changed her life. Joining the line dancing crowds at local bars, Linda says the activity helped her lose 40 pounds. She also said instead of drinking beers at the bars, she started drinking more water to stay hydrated so she could dance longer. Linda’s photo and story eventually became the first feature in a photo column I wrote for Copley newspapers. Meeting her and learning her story inspired me to seek out other residents of the western Chicago suburbs to feature in the weekly column.”

Jeff Rich July 13, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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From the Watershed Project, Erwin Tennessee 2011

Jeff Rich (b. 1977, USA) documents water issues ranging from recreation and sustainability to exploitation and abuse.  He explores these subjects by using long-term photographic documentations of very specific regions of the United States. Jeff received his MFA in photography at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia. His project “Watershed: The French Broad River” was recently published as a monograph by Photolucida as part of the 2010 Critical Mass Book Award.  His work has been featured in Fraction Magazine as well as Photo-Eye’s Photographer’s Showcase. Jeff was recently named as one of the winners of the Magenta Flash Forward 2011 Emerging Photographers Competition. He has shot assignments for Oxford American Magazine and The New York Times.

About the Photograph:

“This photo is of Steve Harris, at the confluence of North Indian Creek and the Nolichucky River. This is a spot on Steve’s land where he goes to commune with nature. Steve’s property is along the Nolichucky River and is less than a mile from the Nuclear Fuel Services Plant. The company processes used radioactive materials, mostly Uranium and Plutonium from reactors. Nuclear Fuel Services (NFS) has a record of accidents and spills over the past 50 years of company operations. Recent water and soil testing revealed evidence of Uranium and Plutonium pollution up to 50 miles down the Nolichucky River. He is considered an MEI, or maximally exposed individual. In other words because of his close proximity, he is exposed to the highest dose of radiation from the NFS pollution. Radioactive pollution is completely invisible and detectable only by special instruments.”

“Steve has owned his property for over 40 years. The land was reclaimed from a pit mine operation, and he created a community on the 20-acre property and has hosted numerous festivals and gatherings. Steve had plans on turning the property into an  organic farm and artist community. This project seeks to capture what Steve’s land was like before the discovery of the pollution, one man’s Arcadia along the river. The project also shows what his property has become, an empty landscape, devoid of the community that once thrived here.”

Erin Siegal July 9, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Mexico, United States.
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Border fence into the USA, Playas de Tijuana, Mexico, 2012.

Erin Siegal (b. 1982) is an Ethics and Justice Journalism Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, and a Redux Pictures photographer. Erin was a 2008-2009 fellow at the Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She is the author of two books, Finding Fernanda, which examines a dramatic case of international adoption corruption between the U.S and Guatemala, and “The U.S. Embassy Cables: Adoption Fraud in Guatemala, 1987-2010.” Finding Fernanda was issued a 2011 Overseas Press Club Award Citation for Best Reporting on Latin America, and earned a 2011 James Madison Freedom of Information Award. Her photos have appeared in TIME, Newsweek, the New York Times, and various other outlets. Erin is currently based in Tijuana, Mexico.

About The Photograph:

“This is where the border meets the sea, the place where México and the United States cease being separate countries. The man looking through the fence is looking at the United States. Since the U.S. Congress passed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, a record number of people have been deported. Under the current law, every non-citizen convicted of an “aggravated felony”offense is subject to permanent, mandatory deportation. There’s no fighting it, and no prosecutorial discretion. The list of crimes qualifying as ‘aggravated felonies’ and trigger automatic deportation is lengthy, and includes non-violent drug offenses and even some misdemeanors. Human rights advocates as well as the Inter-American Court of Human Rights have criticized the mandatory nature of deportations under this law. In the first three years of his presidency alone, Barack Obama has removed approximately 1.2 million immigrants, more than any other president in U.S. history.”

Thilde Jensen June 25, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Jess at School, Syracuse, New York 2009

Thilde Jensen (1971, Denmark) attended the  European Film College and K.U.B.A. School of Fine Art Photography. After moving to New York, she attended the School of Visual Arts. Her work has been exhibited at the Society of Contemporary Photography in Kansas City, the New Century Artist Gallery and The Back Room Gallery in New York City, and the Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Copenhagen. A solo exhibition of Canaries was previously represented at Light Work in Syracuse in July, 2011. Thilde’s photographs have appeared in: The Observer, Contact Sheet, The New York Times Sunday Review, Double Take Magazine, Newsweek Magazine, Details Magazine, and Blender Magazine among others.

About the Photograph:

“The Canaries series is a personal account of life on the edge of modern civilization – as one of the human canaries, the first casualties of a ubiquitous synthetic chemical culture. Since World War II the production and use of synthetic petroleum derived chemicals has exploded. We live in a world today where man-made chemicals are part of every breath we take and where electromagnetic emissions are beaming at us from every corner. As a result it is believed that more than ten million Americans have developed a disabling condition referred to as Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) or Environmental Illness (EI). MCS is a condition in which the immune and central nervous systems go into extreme reactions when exposed to small amounts of daily chemicals like perfume, cleaning products, car exhaust, printed matter, construction materials and pesticides.” (more…)

Antonio Bolfo May 24, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Police Officer on Vertical Patrol, New York City 2010

Antonio Bolfo (b.1981, United States) attended the Rhode Island School of Design. He majored in Film/Animation/Video and became the senior animator at the video game development company Harmonix.  After leaving the video game industry he attended the ICP Photojournalism program in 2009.  He is the recipient of the New York Times Foundation Scholarship, 1st place winner in the 2011 NPPA Best of Photojournalism, winner in the 2009 World Wide Photography Gala Awards, and 2011 participant in the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass. Antonio’s work has been published in the New York Times, Time Magazine, Newsweek, MSNBC, American Photography, and Communication Arts. He is based in New York City and is represented by Reportage by Getty Images.

About the Photograph:

“I made this photograph of a rookie cop sizing up a housing project that he is about to enter, also known as a Vertical Patrol. As standard operating procedure, the NYPD puts the newest, most inexperienced cops in the city’s most crime ridden neighborhoods. With only six months of Police Academy training, these rookies hit the streets running and learn the ropes through a trial by fire. I have been working on this photo project since the autumn of 2008. As a former police officer, it has been a personal journey and a means of closure for a period of my life. It’s a story that I lived and something I feel that needs to be told. I hope this project will offer a glimpse into the reality that is often veiled behind the curtain of TV shows and action films. It was not the politics, or the social statements, or the action that attracted me to this project, but the story of the people who learn to be police officers at one of the most pivotal stages in New York City’s history.”

Ken Schles Invisible City iBook May 19, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Chazz and Melanie, East Village, NYC 1985

A Special Weekend Post: Photographer Ken Schles and Matthew Johnston from the Photobook Club present the iBook version of Invisible City. You can download it for your iPad from the link below. It contains all of the original photos and text plus additional material. 

DOWNLOAD – Ken Schles: Invisible City from the iBook store.

Ken Schles (b.1960, United States) studied photography at the Cooper Union graduating in 1982. His books include: Oculus (Noorderlicht 2011), A New History of Photography: The World Outside and the Pictures in Our Heads (White Press 2008), The Geometry of Innocence (Hatje Cantz 2001) and Invisible City (Twelvetrees Press 1988). A reprint of Invisible City is forthcoming from Steidl. His work is included in private and public collections such as MoMA, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Brooklyn Museum and The Art Institute of Chicago, among others. Ken is an adjunct teacher at ICP and is currently a blogging correspondent for FOAM, the photography museum in Amsterdam.

About the Project:

“In 1978, when I was still 17, I moved to NYC’s East Village where I went to art school. The neighborhood was a hotbed of sociological and cultural change and we were witness to cultural phenomena that eventually would transform and dominate the larger world: AIDS and performance art; punk and hip-hop; the no-wave and new-wave movements; squats; the gay-rights movement; the downtown art scene. Upon graduation, I found my home deep within the ghetto, on Avenue B, an avenue that was dominated by a huge heroin trade. There was an insanity to the nihilistic abandon we were all feeling and trying to make sense of at the time. It was a world my friends and I embraced as our own. I struggled to come to terms with this reality I desperately needed to make sense of—if only for survival’s sake. And it was there, in that struggle, that I found my invisible city.”

“Nearly twenty-five years later I’ve come to revisit the work. Invisible City was a short run photographic book in the pre-internet age. While critically acclaimed in its time, the nature of its limited physicality left few admirers. New technology and new ways of communicating overtook that era, even while incorporating its legacies. So I feel the time is right to find new ways to share this legacy and bring this work to a new generation and a larger audience. The Photobook Club and I found each other and we both share a determination to explore technological possibilities to communicate ideas. The i Book they devised as a study of Invisible City formally presents another piece of that puzzle.”

Pete Pin May 14, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Cambodia, United States.
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Cambodian Wedding, Bronx, New York 2011

Pete Pin (b. 1982, Cambodia/Thailand) is a documentary photographer based in Brooklyn, NY. He was born in a refugee camp on the border of Cambodia and Thailand after the Cambodian genocide and immigrated as a refugee to California in the mid 1980’s. He received his BA at the University of California at Berkeley and later enrolled in the Documentary and Photojournalism Program at the International Center of Photography, where he was awarded the Allan L Modotti Scholarship. Pete purchased his first camera months before embarking on an eight-year PHD program at Berkeley in the Social Sciences and abandoned his doctorate studies to pursue documentary photography. He is a Fellow at the Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund and is an Emerging Talent under Getty Reportage.

About the Photograph:

“The photo above is of the wedding of Molly Sopouk and Todd Prom in the Bronx, New York. The image stood out for me for two reasons. First and foremost is this struggle to maintain one’s cultural identity. The unique circumstances of the Cambodian genocide severed the cultural continuity over generations for members of the diaspora community. However, in spite of this, there is an incredible resilience by Cambodian Americans. Second, and this speaks to me personally, I am interested in the physical and cultural space we inhabit as refugees and immigrants. What’s striking about this image, for me, is the boundary between the wedding couple and others, demarcated via the rug in which they are occupying.” (more…)

Brent Clark April 26, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Civil War Reenactment, North Carolina 2010

Brent Clark (b.1981, United States) is a photographer born and based in North Carolina. Since earning a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2004, he has worked on long term documentary projects depicting various aspects of American culture while also freelancing for magazines and agencies. His work has been recognized by the National Press Photographer’s Association, The International Photography Awards, the Venice International Photography Contest, Jen Bekman Gallery, Travel Photographer of the Year, Burn Magazine, and the New York Times Lens Blog. His clients include TIME, Newsweek, Popular Mechanics, Popular Photography, AARP Bulletin, and Go Magazine.

About the Photograph:

“While visiting my mother in Carolina Beach, North Carolina I heard about a small Civil War reenactment at Fort Fisher just a few miles down the road.  For those who don’t know, Fort Fisher kept North Carolina’s port of Wilmington protected and open to blockade-runners supplying necessary goods to Confederate armies inland.  My niece, nephew and I arrived at the reenactment in time to see the firing of several canons.  It was probably the loudest thing I’ve ever heard, and definitely startled me even though I had been warned.  I have since learned that hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears) are extremely common among veterans of the Civil War and pretty much every other war including the current ones. I made several photos including this one, which I took after the canons had fired. I ended up liking it best because the canon smoke has spread out and filled the frame creating a surreal atmosphere. Next time I’ll be wearing ear plugs, but hopefully any minor hearing loss I suffered was worth it.”

Mike Kane April 12, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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From the series “Gangland USA”. Grant County, Washington 2009

Mike Kane (b. 1976, USA) is a documentary and editorial photographer based in Seattle. In 2004 Mike received a Journalism MA under Donna DeCesare at the University of Texas, and in 2005 was awarded a two year Hearst Journalism Fellowship which lead to an accomplished career in newspapers. In 2009 he became a freelancer and has since been honored to work with investigative journalism nonprofits, foundations, and publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Mother Jones Magazine. Mike’s ongoing documentary work with gangs has been recognized by the Nieman Foundation at Harvard, the Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar, Blue Earth Alliance, the Center for Documentary Studies, and nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

About the Photograph:

This is an early image from “Gangland, USA”, an ongoing project about the proliferation of Latino gangs in rural parts of the United States. For almost two years Creeper was my entrée into the world of gangs in Grant County, Washington. A 20-year old, mid-level gangster with contacts on all tiers of a local Sureño clique, Creeper guided me through his world, a contradictory collision of youth and adulthood, gang life and family ties, rural and urban aesthetics. My purpose has been to document the inner workings of rural gangs and their effects on families and communities, and as such contribute what I can to the public understanding of an under-reported and oft-denied reality: gangs are infiltrating and disrupting rural life in a serious way and are no longer just the problem of large, dense urban areas.

Amani Willett March 26, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Chinese New Year Parade, New York 2006

Amani Willett (b. 1975, Tanzania) was recently featured in the books “Street Photography Now” and “New York in Color” and is a long-term member of the iN-PUBLiC collective of street photographers. His photographs have been widely published in print including in National Geographic Traveler, Newsweek, and The New York Times. Amani’s photographs have been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, among other spaces. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn.

About the Photograph:

“For a time, I was frequenting public events with the specific purpose of photographing anything but the event itself. I found these occasions to have all the ingredients for great image making: crowds, energy and a constant dose of the unexpected.  On this particular occasion, I was photographing the Chinese New Year parade in Manhattan’s Chinatown.  I hadn’t made any images that excited me and I was just about to leave when I got thrust into the middle of a very packed crowd on the street. I looked over and saw the boy framed perfectly through the balloon and knew immediately it was the image I had been looking for all day.”

Ross McDonnell February 9, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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The Vagabond Inn, Bakersfield California

Ross McDonnell (b.1979, Ireland)) is an Irish image-maker working as a director, cinematographer and photographer. His work has been published by Time, The New York Times, Art in America, The Observer, The Washington Post and Esquire among others. He has received grants and awards from The Jerome Foundation, The Irish Film Board and The Simon Cumbers Foundation. Twice nominated for an Irish Film and Television Award, his film work has been shown around the world, most recently his documentary ‘Colony’ receiving it’s world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and winning the First Appearance Award for best first feature film at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam.

About the Photograph:

“The Vagabond Inn was cheaper than the Days down the street. They had a loyalty scheme too. Tenth night came free. For fifty bucks, it was a pretty good deal. The A/C didn’t work great in the summer when the temperature hit a hundred but beggars can’t be choosers I reckoned. There was a Starbucks Drive-Thru in the same parking lot, next to the Subway. It was better for breakfast than the Fruit Loops and carburetor coffee they had in the lobby. The Wi-Fi worked fast closer to the reception on the ground floor. It was right next to 99: Gateway to the Central Valley. I was living the dream. Photographers love Americana and I’m no different. Bakersfield was my Robert Frank’s road trip. My Eggleston’s South. The Vagabond was my Ground Zero.”

Romain Blanquart February 3, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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John’s Carpet House, Detroit

Romain Blanquart (b. 1973, France) studied advertising photography at the Rochester Institute of Technology and for the last ten years he has been a staff photographer at the Detroit Free Press newspaper. He was named Michigan Photographer of the Year twice and received numerous accolades for his photography and video work from Best of Photojournalism, the Emmy Awards, PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris, International Photography Awards and The Society for News Design.  Romain is represented by Giovanna Simonetta Gallery in Milan. His work has been published in The New York Times Magazine, Time, Newsweek, Fader and Vanity Fair among others. He lives in Detroit and for the past year has been working on the video Living With Murder about the effects of homicides on is home town.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph is part of a collaborative project with photographer Brian Widdis called Can’t Forget The Motor City. Every Sunday from May to October around 3 pm ’till dusk, as many as five hundred people gather in an empty field behind the Detroit incinerator to listen and dance to a live jam of some of Detroit’s best blues artists, their instruments powered by a generator. The place is called John’s Carpet House after John Estes who was a junk man and drummer and sometimes singer. Twenty years ago, he built a wooden shack, decorated it with scraps of carpet, and invited blues musicians to play every Sunday. John died about seven years ago and soon after his house burned down. The party has now moved across the street from John’s old shack.”

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