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Mark Edward Harris March 3, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in North Korea.
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Traffic Officer, Pyongyang, North Korea 2008

Mark Edward Harris (b.1958, United States) began his professional photography career after receiving his Masters Degree in Pictorial/Documentary History from California State University, Los Angeles. His editorial work has appeared in publications ranging from Life, GEO, Stern and The Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, to The London Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Wallpaper, Conde Nast Traveler, and Playboy. He is the recipient of numerous awards including a CLIO, ACE, Aurora Gold, and Photographer of the Year at the Black & White Spider Awards. His books include Faces of the Twentieth Century: Master Photographers and Their Work, The Way of the Japanese Bath, Wanderlust, North Korea, South Korea, and Inside Iran. North Korea was named Photography Book of the Year at the 2013 International Photography Awards.

About the Photograph:

“In 2008 I was given the opportunity to document the New York Philharmonic’s historic concert in North Korea’s capital of Pyongyang. I had been to the reclusive country twice before but this was the first time I would be in the country with a large contingent of Americans, the largest in fact since the Korean War.  I had noticed the colorfully dressed traffic officers before but had not been able to do an up close and personal environmental portrait of them. Though my escorts were very friendly, my requests to stop and let me out to photograph the traffic officers had not been accepted. Finally during one of the orchestra’s rehearsals I was able to go out for a little stroll and came face to face with the woman in this photo. She didn’t seem too thrilled about being the subject of my impromptu photo session but she was busy directing traffic. I held my Nikon speedlight with a ¼ CTO on it high and off to my left to reduce the harsh shadows and took a few quick shots with my Nikon D3. I made it back into the auditorium just in time to here the last bars of Rhapsody in Blue. Now my traffic officer in blue is on the cover of North Korea which was named the Book of the Year at the 2013 International Photography Awards.”

Fatemeh Behboudi February 27, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Iran.
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Anniversary of Ayatollah Khomeini’s Death, Tehran 2011

Fatemeh  Behboudi (b.1985, Iran) studied photography and, after graduating in 2007 worked for several Iranian news services including the Iranian Quran News Agency (IQNA), student news agency Pana, Bornanews and Mehr (MNA) and the Fars News Agency. She has participated in severail exhibitions including the Angkor Photo Festival 2013, the Ashura Picture Exhibition 2012 and the Photo Festival Revolution and War 2012 Tehran. In the 2010 Doorbin.net symposium she won second prize in the documentary competition.

About the Photograph:

“June 4th is the death anniversary of Ayatollah Khomeini, a time when many Iranians travel to Tehran from all over the country to mourn in the mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini. The bodies of about 150 ‘unknown martyrs’ of Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) were found three years ago which were buried on the same day, the 4th of June. These women who are mourning in the mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini for the soldiers bodies that are found after three decades. They are mainly their relatives, mothers, or sisters.”

“I believe in power of images over words; it means that images could be strong enough to take the words place, specifically for the purpose of showing the general atmosphere of a society. While taking this photo, I was thinking of the clergies position in governing and controlling life of many Iranian women. The dominance of clergies over women’s life could be traced in various aspects: in their personal life, work, studying, and religious believes. I have always been  interested in photographing religious women, as I believe that under their covers and within their multi-layered complex life there exists many stories waiting to be discovered.”

Lottie Hedley February 24, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Hilty family in Maine over the course of the four seasons in 2011/2012

Lottie Hedley (b. 1979, New Zealand) began her photographic journey in 2010 in Maine after seven years as a corporate lawyer working in New Zealand, the UK and Russia. Lottie attended the Eddie Adams Workshop in 2011, was selected for Center’s review Santa Fe in 2012 and has had her work included in the Catherine Edelman Gallery’s “Ctrl+P” exhibition series for emerging photographers. She is currently based in New Zealand where in addition to freelancing she edits a photography magazine called PRO Photographer.

About the Photograph:

“I come from farming stock in New Zealand and have a keen interest in how we look after the land and the next generation of farmers. While I was photographing another local organic potato farming family the farmer, Jim, had mentioned how he was inspired in some of his practices by the local Amish farmers. After an introduction and some letter writing and meeting with the Hilty family in person they decided I could come and stay with them and photograph their practices as it relates to sustainable living.

Life in the Hilty household works in circles. Food at meals is passed around the table in a clockwise circle; while questions regarding the morning’s bible reading come around the table in an anti-clockwise direction. The seasons impress their own circular influence on the family’s market gardening business and their method of farming cycles the soil through a process that ensures the soil is enriched rather than stripped. Perhaps most importantly, the family’s philosophy on farming for the future generations is according to an over-arching cycle. Their philosophy is to work with the land instead of against it. They don’t want their children to have to deal with problems they’ve created by farming the land to excess.

This picture is a reminder to me that there are little things that we can do to live more sustainably. Even in my own family we would always pick peaches and mum would preserve them. If this project lead to one person looking at their own lifestyle and seeing what they could plant in their own backyard, what they could preserve when produce is in abundance or just what they are doing in general to make things better for the next generation, whether that relates to food and the land or otherwise, the project will have been successful.”

Arief Priyono February 20, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Indonesia.
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Lirboyo Islamic boarding school. East Java, Indonesia 2012

Arief Priyono (b. 1982, Indonesia) studied photography at the Antara School of Journalism in Jakarta. His work has been published in The Independent, The Telegraph, Sydney Morning Herald, Der Spiegel, The Wall Street Journal and ABC News among others. In 2010 he was commissioned by Human Rights Watch International to document political prisoners in the Republic of the South Molucas (RMS). In 2013 he received a scholarship to attend Training of Trainers at Erasmus Huis, Dutch Cultural Centre in Jakarta. Arief  is currently working on an ongoing project about former migrant workers in Indonesia. His work is distributed by Getty Images and Zuma Press.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph is part of my project Indo Islam. Indonesia is the world’s most populous Islamic country where about 85 percent of the country’s almost 200 million people are Muslim. This religious school teaches students moderate Islam in an attempt to reduce radical Islam in the country. Since the Bali bombings and the September 11 tragedy, Indonesia as a Muslim country has been in the spotlight because of terrorism. Islamic boarding schools have been accused of being terrorist training centers. In fact, it is only a small part of Indonesia. Lirboyo Islamic boarding school, is one of the largest traditional Islamic schools in Indonesia. They teach a peaceful Islam, and are strongly opposed to terrorism. They have at least 10,000 students. Every year about 1,000 students are sent to various regions in Indonesia to conduct de-radicalization.”

William Eckersley February 17, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.
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Boy playing, Chengdu Airport, China 2011

William Eckersley (b.1980, England) is a London-based photographer who studied at The London College of Communication and St. Martins, and recently began an MA at Westminster. His projects include Left London (2006), a review of derelict sites around his home city; U.S. 80 (2010), which focused on the landscapes and people surrounding America’s first coast-to-coast highway and Orwell (2012), which traces some of the locations of the renowned author’s life. His work has been published in The Guardian, The Telegraph and Creative Review as well as being held in the Nike and Sir Elton John collections.

About the Photograph:

“This photo was taken while in China filming a documentary on AIDS. Attitudes have now changed but many sufferers, as well as doctors, recalled traumatic early experiences in trying to get official recognition and help from the state. I shot a personal essay as we traveled the country with these thoughts in mind. The photos found a parallel with how people and nature were often struggling against the voracious, state-sponsored growth of the built environment. This image is of a young boy playing in the constructed pastiche of a traditional, rural landscape – euphemistically labelled as Home. He saw nothing unusual in the scene, a place to enjoy and explore; but I wondered how his parents nearby felt. Were they from a small village in the Szechuan hills? Had it, like many others, been demolished for urban expansion? Did they recognize the artifice in the modern environment their son now thought of as home?

Toufic Beyhum February 13, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Germany.
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Berlin U-Bahn 2007

Toufic Beyhum (b. 1974, Beirut) moved to London at a young age. Toufic first showed an interest in photography at the age of 15, refining his skills at Art College over the next few years. At 21, he graduated and immediately embarked on a successful advertising career, plying his trade as an Art Director for multinational advertising agencies in New York, Dubai, London and Berlin. Amidst the flurry of advertising deadlines, Toufic still managed to indulge his passion for photography, at one point taking a year off to travel publishing a photographic book of Berlin’s U-Bahn in May 2007. He is based in London and is currently working on a documentary called After Tomorrow that was filmed in Petra, Jordan.

About the Photograph:

“This is a photograph from my published book, “Emotions in motion” that was published in Berlin. On my first day to work at the advertising agency BBDO I saw something that I have never seen before, especially at 8:30am on public transport. Two intoxicated women feeding each other ice cream and French kissing on the train. I thought to myself, welcome to Berlin and I also promised myself that from now on I would carry my camera with me everywhere. For two years I took photos on the Berlin Underground. It became an addiction, I took photos on the way to work and back, sometimes riding it till it closed. I also spent Christmas, New Years and every chance I got to  capture the fascinating characters of Berlin. I have had the pleasure of riding the New York Subway, the London Underground, the Paris and Tokyo Metro and when it comes to craziness, the Berlin Ubahn beats all of them hands down. This photo was during the World Cup when everybody was advertising. Usually this type of advertising doesn’t always work because either the person isn’t aligned or the body build is wrong but when I spotted this guy sitting there he was spot on.”

Noriko Hayashi February 10, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Kyrgyzstan.
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Bride kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan. 2013

Noriko Hayashi (b.1983, Japan) began taking pictures for a small local newspaper in Gambia, West Africa, when she was still a university student in International Relations. Working in a small place like Gambia, which is rarely the focus of international news but is full of interesting stories, taught Noriko the value of covering the overlooked realities of every strand of society. She won the first prize in 2012 DAYS International Photojournalism Awards and was awarded three Kiyosato’s Young Portfolio Acquisitions Awards (2010, 2011, 2012). Noriko was also finalist for the Alexia foundation professional grant. In 2013, she won The Visa D’or feature awards at Visa Pour l’Image festival in France. Her work has been published in the International Herald Tribune, National Geographic Japan, Newsweek, Der Spiegel and Le Monde among others. Noriko is currently based in Tokyo.

About the Photograph:

I spent five months visiting villages throughout Kyrgyzstan and sometimes I was able to witness the practice. According to local NGO’s, as many as 40% of ethnic Kyrgyz women are married by the process of ala kachuu (‘grab and run’) or bride kidnapping. Though illegal since 1994, the authorities largely turn a blind eye to the practice. Most commonly, the putative groom will gather a group of young men and charter a car to go and look for the woman he wants to marry. Unsuspecting women are then often dragged off the street and bundled into the car which takes them straight to the man’s house where frequently the family will have already started to make preparations for the wedding.”

“Once girls are taken inside the kidnapper’s home, female elders play a pivotal role in persuading her to accept the marriage. They try to cover the girl’s head with a white scarf, symbolizing that she is ready to marry her kidnapper. After several hours of struggle, around 84% of kidnapped women end up agreeing to the marriage. Their parents often also pressure the girls, as once she has entered her kidnappers home she is considered no longer pure, making it shameful for her to return home. To avoid scandal and disgrace they tend to remain with their kidnappers. 

Prior to the Soviet period when the people were living a nomadic life, the majority of the marriages were arranged by parents. Although non-consensual bride-kidnapping occurred rarely, it was not common and was not socially accepted. Marriages resulting from bride kidnapping are also thought to result in significantly higher rates of domestic abuse and divorce and numerous cases of suicide amongst women who were kidnapped have been recorded.”

Javad Parsa February 6, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Iran, Turkey.
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Iranian refugees in Turkey, Ankara 2010

Javad Parsa (b. 1985, Iran) grew up in Iran, but had to flee in 2009 due to an arrest-order by the Iranian government after his images of the Iranian uprising that year were published abroad. He has since lived in Turkey and in 2010 has been living in Oslo and currently freelances for VG, one of Norway’s largest newspapers. In 2013 he was selected as a participant of the Joop Swart Masterclass organized by World Press Photo. His work has been published in numerous national and international publications including TIME magazine, The Washington Post, Newsweek, Le Figaro, Paris Match, The Guardian, 6Mois and Amnesty International.

About the Photograph:

“Every year large numbers of Iranians travel to Turkey. Of this group crossing the border there are people, who have  political, social, and religious views in conflict with Iran’s government policy. Many feel it necessary to apply to the UN for refugee status. Danika is nine years old and has been living in Turkey for the past two years. Davood and his wife and their two daughters have been living in Turkey as refugees for the last two years. Davood’s wife is from Philippines. They met in Japan and married in the Philippines. Davood was introduced to Christianity through his wife and converted from Islam to Christianity in Iran. His brother informed the authorities that Davood had changed his faith. He had to flee Iran for fear of being prosecuted. In this photo, Davood is getting ready for church where Iranian Christians get together once a week.”

Magda Rakita February 3, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Liberia.
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Boxing club in Monrovia 2013

Magda Rakita (b. 1976, Poland) became interested in photography and storytelling as a way of sharing her experiences as passionate traveler. She now works on documentary projects focusing on issues of health, social problems and development. Magda mostly works with NGOs and aid agencies, including: Save the Children UK, Seeds of Peace UK, TASO Uganda, Survival International, More Than Me, and THINK Liberia. In 2013 she graduated from the MA in Documentary Photography and Photojournalism at London College of Communication. Her MA project “God Made Woman Than He Jerked” was highly commended in the 2013 Ian Parry Scholarship Award. She is based in London.

About the Photograph:

“God made woman then he jerked”, reads a mural on the streets of Monrovia, the capital city of Liberia, a country mostly remembered for its fourteen-year civil war in which an estimated 250,000 people lost their lives. As Liberia celebrated its 10th anniversary of peace in summer 2013, and with a woman occupying its highest political office, I was keen to explore the lived experience of a post-war generation of girls growing up among a war-scarred population. I hoped this might help shed light on the difficulties and challenges, but also on the resilience and determination, evident in the lives of these young girls as they fight to improve their prospects for the future.”

“Despite the presence of some high profile female figures in Liberia’s politics, the everyday realities and possibilities are very different for the majority of women. Relatively few girls are able to attend school as they find it difficult to reconcile their obligations towards their families and the demands of schooling. Many struggle to afford the obligatory school uniforms and registration fees despite education being (at least in theory) free. Sexual and gender based violence remain major issues, including in Liberia’s educational system, and it is not uncommon for students to be subject to sexual harassment when it comes to exchanging favors for grades. To me this image represents the struggle of young girls and women in a male dominated society and how isolating it can be for them to stand up for their rights. Hawa was the only girl attending training sessions in a boxing club in central Monrovia during the holiday season in 2013.”

Marion Gambin January 30, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in India, Kashmir.
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Gulmarg
Gulmarg, Kashmir, India 2010

Marion Gambin (b.1985, France) obtained her undergraduate degree (BFA) in the Beaux-Arts of Toulouse and joined the photography section of the ENS Louis-Lumière from which she graduated with a Masters in Photography in June 2011. She has worked on assignment for Libération, Le Monde, Causette and Internazionale. Her personal work is close to the new documentary photography, with a special emphasis on portrait. It has been showed in the Phnom Penh photo festival and the Pluie d’Images festival at Brest, France. Marion currently lives in Paris.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph shows the view of Kongdoori, in Gulmarg at a small ski station in Indian Kashmir. Situated at 8,500 feet, this town claims to have the ‘highest ski lift in the world. This village scene is popular with Western tourists who like winter sports, and with privileged Indians during summer. Like the former British colonials, the Indian vacationers come to enjoy the cool weather and picturesque setting. Generally these Indian tourists come to Gulmarg as if they were going to Disneyland, staying just a few days to ride the lift, touch the snow and go sledding. The young couple in the photograph is here on honeymoon.”

“The area is heavily patrolled by the military, with several checkpoints at the entrance to the town. The region has been in conflict since the partition of India from Pakistan at the end of the colonial era 60 years ago, with both countries still claiming rights to the territory of Kashmir. This trouble explains why the construction of the ski lift took such a long time, more than 15 years, interrupted by violence, including the kidnapping of French engineers. But today Gulmarg seems perfectly peaceful, since the Indian government has made a special effort to ensure the security of the area.”

Alessandro Penso January 27, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Malta.
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Migrants inside Marsa welcome center getting a haircut. Malta 2009

Alessandro Penso (b.1978, Italy) studied clinical psychology at Rome’s La Sapienza University. In 2007, he received a scholarship to study photojournalism at the “Scuola Romana di Fotografia”. Since completing his studies, his work has won several awards, including the PDN Photo Annual Award, Px3, the Project Launch Award in Santa Fe 2011, the Terry O’ Neill TAG Award 2012, and the Sofa Global award 2013. Alessandro’s work has appeared in Stern Magazine, The Guardian, BBC, The New York Times, Businessweek, Time Magazine, the International Herald Tribune, Human Rights Watch, L’Espresso, Internazionale, D di Repubblica, Vanity Fair Italia, El Periodico, Le journal de la photographie and Ekathimerini.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph is part of a reportage project entitled Big Prison. In 2009, I traveled to the island of Malta to start a long-term project on immigration in the Mediterranean, which I have now been working on for four years. Malta is not just a small Mediterranean island, but a member state of the European Union. For this reason, it is at the center of routes for migrants, most of whom come from Africa. Many people aren’t aware that Malta does not actually represent a stopping point, but is mainly a place that travelers trying to reach Italy just end up stuck in.”

“As soon as I arrived in Malta, the tragic reality that migrants are forced to endure became clear to me. Newly arrived migrants are transferred to a detention center where, as well as being recorded, they undergo interrogations and medical checks for up to 18 months. After this, those considered suitable are moved to the so-called welcome centers. Here, migrants are checked by the authorities and access is only allowed with a permit. Life is monotonous. It is very difficult to create any alternatives on a small island like Malta, where there is no real integration program. Further, according to European legislation such as Dublin II, these young people cannot leave the island, so they find themselves stuck in what seems, in the end, like a big prison.”

Sebastian Meyer January 23, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Iraq, Kurdistan.
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Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers carry the coffin of an unknown Kurd who had been exhumed
from a mass grave. Erbil, Iraq 2008

Sebastian Meyer (b. 1980, United States) started working as a photographer in his home town of New York in 2004. Later that year, he moved to the UK and worked in Manchester and London till 2009 when he relocated to Northern Iraq where he helped set up Metrography, the first Iraqi photo agency. Sebastian’s work has been published by Time Magazine, Sunday Times Magazine, FT Magazine, Monocle, and other international publications. He’s also made films for National Geographic, Channel 4 News, The Guardian, and PBS. His awards include 1st Place at the Exposure Awards as well as being included in the Magenta Emerging Photographer Flash Forward Exhibition.

About the Photograph:

“I first went to Iraqi Kurdistan in 2008 on assignment for a British film company that was making a series of documentaries about the 1988 Anfal campaign during which Saddam Hussein killed thousands of Iraqi Kurds. My job was to take stills that would eventually be cut into the films and later would be used in a Kurdish history and culture museum which the Kurdish government was building in the capital, Erbil. For six weeks I traveled around the region visiting different villages and meeting and photographing survivors of Anfal.”

“I took this photograph at the Erbil airport during a “repatriation” ceremony. About 50 bodies had been exhumed from a mass grave in southern Iraq and taken back up north for reburial. On that rainy day, each of the 50 bodies had been placed in separate coffins which were then individually wrapped in Kurdish flags. One by one, four Peshmerga (Kurdish soldiers) carried the coffins onto the tarmac and laid them out in rows. In the background, the president (in the grey coat and red turban) and prime minister (tall with a blue mackintosh and mustache) stood shoulder to shoulder with families of the missing. A year later I moved to Iraqi Kurdistan where I’ve been living on and off ever since. Easily the most fascinating aspect of the region is its impassioned historical drive to create its unique identity of Kurdistan. But what makes up that identity is extremely complex. Part of it is geography. Part of it is artistic culture such as music, dancing, and poetry. But part of it is also victimhood. This photograph is part of project that looks at the creation of a modern Iraqi Kurdish identity where wealth, independence, and youth clash with poverty, victimhood, and tradition.”

Linda Forsell January 20, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Rockaway, New York 2012

Linda Forsell (b.1982, Sweden) is based in New York. Her project Cause of Death (with Kerstin Weig and Karin Alfredsson) documenting violence against women was awarded special recognition in the Swedish Picture of the Year. Life’s a blast, from Israel and Palestine, became a book in 2012, at the same time as it was exhibited in Stockholm, Sweden. The series was one of the finalists of Magnum Expression Award in 2010 and was shown at the Noorderlicht photo festival in 2009. Her work has been published in The New Yorker, la Repubblica and most major Scandinavian publications. Linda has received recognition from the Swedish Arts Foundation, the Lead Awards, Flash Magenta Award and a nomination in Magnum Emergency Fund. She is a member of Kontinent and IBL photo agencies.

About the Photograph:

“This photo is from the small community Roxbury on the Rockaway Peninsula just one day after hurricane Sandy hit. The area was one of the worst hit regions and every single house had water flooding their basements and reaching above the first floor. Many were hit even worse, their homes being swept away by the water that rose and crossed over the entire peninsula from the Atlantic side to the bay side. The rare few who defied the evacuation order during the storm tell stories of swimming or surfing from their homes to the nearest safe spot.

Ted Feimer is part of the heart of Roxbury. On this day, he returned for the first time to see the devastation after the hurricane with his own eyes. There was a pressing air of sadness and uncertainty about the future lying like a blanket over the entire neighborhood. Ted did his best to turn his sadness into energy and was determined to fight for the reconstruction of his home. He walked around trying to begin by consoling his friends. In this picture he met one of his neighbors wandering across the beach trying to grasp the magnitude of what happened and without saying a word they just hugged.”

Jonathan Browning January 16, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.
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Tiananmen Square, Beijing 2013

Jonathan Browning (b.1983, England) earned a degree in Photojournalism from the University of South Wales in 2005. Two years later Jonathan went to China on an adventure and he has remained there ever since. He freelances for several clients including: Der Spiegel, Foreign Policy Magazine, The Australian, Financial Times and Harvard University. His work has been exhibited at the Host Gallery FOTO8 Summer show, London, Artisty Gallery, Shanghai and the AM Gallery, Brighton. Jonathan is based in Shanghai and  travels frequently throughout China documenting the massive social changes and economic growth the country has experienced during the last ten years.

About the Photograph:

“This image was shot for a story about pollution in China for Der Spiegel. It  was for the opener and I had been tasked with getting something a bit more original than just traffic jams and smog on Beijing’s ring roads. This was my second visit to the square at dawn, the previous day not resulting in a stand-out scene. For me, the daily flag raising ceremony is one of the must see’s in Beijing. It’s held at Tiananmen Square at daybreak and coupled with thick smog and the flood of red light from the large LED screens it makes for a dark and authoritarian space. I was lucky that all of the children and adults in the image wearing face masks. The assignment was in early 2013 when China suffered from particularly bad air pollution, especially in the capital where the levels of PM 2.5 were between 400 – 800. According to the World Health Organization, anything above 300 is considered hazardous.”

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