Dijana Muminovic October 17, 2013Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Bosnia.
My friend Tanja on the train to Sarajevo 2008
Dijana Muminovic (b.1983, Bosnia) moved to America 1997 and earned a BA in photojournalism at Western Kentucky University. In Bowling Green, she began exploring the stories of some of the six thousand other Bosnian refugees who still wait for their loved ones to be found and identified from the many mass graves that still exist in Bosnia. That work was exhibited in the US Congress Building. In 2011, she organized and hosted the American workshop, Truth With A Camera in Bosnia. Dijana was a finalist for the Photo Philanthropy Activist Award. She was awarded two grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women. In 2013, she was a 2nd place winner from the Alexia Foundation. She currently teaches photography at The Athens Photographic Project to those with mental illness.
About the Photograph:
“I was visiting my native Bosnia from the United States when one morning I took a train from my hometown Zenica to the capital of Sarajevo with a childhood friend. Tanja is special because during the Bosnian war in nineties, we were separated for four years. She went to live in Italy and I stayed in Bosnia longing for her return. When the war ended my family applied to go to US. In 1997, we fled. The day after I left, Tanja returned from Italy and came looking for me.”
“She sat across from me on the train, and glanced through the window every so often. Behind her sat a woman traveling to sell things on streets to survive. Her expression and the veil in the window’s reflection drove me to capture this moment. The morning sun and the fog outside made it possible for a better reflection through the window, but as the train was moving, it was difficult to catch the good light. I hoped that the fog would remain and waited to capture the expression of both women. When I look at this photograph I think of how the faith of so many young women in this region was altered by the war. And it made me think of my own too.”
Zakaria Zainal October 14, 2013Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Nepal.
Retired Singapore Gurkhas, Dharan and Pokhara Nepal 2011
Zakaria Zainal (b. 1985, Singapore) graduated from the School of Communication, Nanyang Technological University in 2010. His work has been published in The Straits Times, Nepali Times and The Invisible Photographer Asia among others. His photographs have also been exhibited at the 3rd Singapore International Photography Festival, Valentine Willie Fine Art Gallery, The Philanthropic Museum and the upcoming Dali International Photography Festival. In 2012, he published his first monograph: Our Gurkhas: Singapore Through Their Eyes, an anthology of portraits and anecdotes of the retired Singapore Gurkha and also organized a traveling exhibi in Nepal of the work.
About the Photograph:
“These two photographs are part of a series titled “Our Gurkhas”. In 2011, I spent three months visiting three states in Nepal searching, interviewing and photographing Singapore Gurkhas. When people talk about the Gurkhas, they mainly refer to those from the British or Indian army. Little is known about the stories and memories of those Gurkhas who have served in the Singapore Gurkha Contingent. Working with the Singapore Gurkhas Pensioners’ Association (SGPA), I would refer to a telephone list of the Gurkhas. There were some numbers I could not call, because some were already dead or have moved overseas with their families. Both Mr Youm (left) and Mr Bhabindra (right) were kind enough to share with me what they could remember from their time in serving Singapore. Through their foreign eyes, they witnessed the rapid pace of change of this small island they once called home. In their current homes, both in Dharan and Pokhara respectively, they adorn their houses with tangible memories of Singapore — especially photographs of them in uniform.”
Sasha Rudensky October 10, 2013Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Russia.
From the project ‘Brightness’. Kiev, Ukraine 2010
Sasha Rudensky (b. 1979, Russia) studied Studio Art and Russian Literature at Wesleyan University where she received a BA in 2001. She received her MFA in photography from Yale University in 2008. Her work has been featured in American Photo and PDN and exhibited at Aperture Gallery, Musee de l’Elysee, Lausanne, Switzerland and Les Rencontres d’Arles, France. Sasha is currently an Assistant Professor of Photography at Wesleyan University. She resides in Brooklyn.
About the Photograph:
“This is an image that is part of a four year project called Brightness. I was visiting my friends’ hip new store called Пюре, which in Russian means mashed potatoes. They were being interviewed by a journalist and had no idea I set up my camera and tripod. I couldn’t decide what I loved more the gummy bear linoleum or the amazing royal blue curtains. Instinctively I assumed the bust to be Lenin, only to marvel at the fact that it was a plaster Hannibal Lecter, making it the perfect post-Soviet set. That kind of theatricality found in every day life is what I gravitate towards consistently, which perhaps explains my ongoing love affair with the East.”
“The East’s yearning for Brightness has an extensive aesthetic cultural history, but its Post-Soviet manifestation is set apart by its own brand of showiness, depravity, garishness, and melancholy. It is as if that Brightness can reverse the historic dislocation and atone for frustrated expectations and unfulfilled claims, the very materiality of fabrics, objects, gold providing security of tangible progress. If you can’t draw well, draw richly is an old Russian saying, a quip denoting deep awareness of the tactics of self-staging and delusion. The subject of these photographs is an orphan generation of Russians, Ukrainians, Belorussians that came of age in a social vacuum, having disowned their past but lacking any means of orientation within the present. They are part archetype, part invention, as much a projection of their own fantasy as they are of mine.”
Geoffrey Hiller / Burma in Transition October 7, 2013Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Burma, Myanmar.
Today we made our goal- it’s been quite a trip in Kickstarterland, working 24/7 to spread the word. Looking at the data, the progress was a slow and steady climb. Midway there was a lull and I did wonder if we were going to make it. But backers rallied…together we did it. I can’t wait to get started on the production, to sit down with the designers and start laying out the book.
There are three days left, and now we are in ‘stretch’ goal territory. Even though we have the minimum funds to publish, any further pledges will go directly into the project. It’s not over till it’s over: if you haven’t yet made a pledge, you can still do so. The deadline is Wednesday, Oct. 9 midnight EST.
What is really exciting is that a Burmese friend from Yangon emailed me last night to say he’s eager to help distribute the book. I interviewed him in January 2012, a remarkable time when political prisoners were being released, and pent-up emotions were surfacing. He was part of the 1988 opposition movement, and now runs a non-profit that works on education issues. Less than two years ago, this would have been unthinkable.
David Maurice Smith October 3, 2013Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Australia.
From the series ‘Living in the Shadows’. Wilcannia, New South Wales, Australia, 2012.
David Maurice Smith (b. 1973, Canada) is a Canadian documentary photographer based in Sydney, Australia whose photography is informed by a previous 10 year career in social work supporting individuals in disadvantaged communities. In 2013 David was named Australian Emerging Documentary photographer of the year as well as being named winner of the $10,000 POOL Grant for his ongoing project in Wilcannia, a rural Aboriginal community. He joined Australia’s Oculi photographic collective in 2012 and in 2011 he was awarded the LIFE Magazine Grant at the Eddie Adams Workshop in New York. His work has been published by The New York Times, CNN, Monocle Magazine, Hufﬁngton Post, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Telegraph, The Australian, SBS, VICE, Hemispheres Magazine and The Surfer’s Journal.
About the Photograph:
“I have been photographing the Barkindji Aboriginal community of Wilcannia, New South Wales, Australia since 2010. Like so many indigenous people around the world, the Barkindji are caught in a cycle of disparity caused by a dark history of colonization, institutionalized racism and harsh socioeconomic realities. Despite being the traditional keepers of one of the most prosperous nations on earth, they endure conditions comparable to a third world nation. The average male life expectancy in their community is approximately 35 years of age, less than half the national average.”
“The scene depicted in this image is familiar in many communities: carefree children, lost in play. However the reality is that for these Barkindji girls life is far from carefree and their future, like the abandoned lot in which they play, looks very different to that of their non-Aboriginal counterparts. (from L to R) Ariah Jones aged 4, Rhianna Harris aged 5, Shania Mills aged 7 and Whitney Harris aged 7 have the odds stacked against them. Sisters Rhianna and Whitney are being raised by a relative as their mother (who stood just out of frame) is unable to care for them due to her alcoholism and frequent incarceration. Several days into a drinking binge she was clumsily trying to engage with her daughters to no avail. It was difficult to watch as they made fun of her as children do when struggling to understand or accept someone. Despite being their mother, she was a stranger to them. They ignored her attempts at connection as if to shield themselves from the hurt of abandonment”
Uliana Bazar September 30, 2013Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
Tags: United States
Ukrainian Church during the Baptism ceremony. Brighton Beach, Brooklyn 2012
Uliana Bazar (b.1986, Ukraine) recently graduated from the Corcoran College of Art and Design with a Masters in New Media Photojournalism. While in school Uliana completed a 6-month internship with the National Geographic Book Division and now works with them regularly as a freelance photo editor. Her work has been published by National Geographic Books, The Washington Post, NPR, Hemispheres & GO magazines, and exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. In 2013, she was recognized by both FotoDC and the Magenta Foundation. She is based in Washington, DC.
About the Photograph:
“This photo was taken while I was working on my Masters thesis at the Corcoran College of Art and Design. It’s part of a series for which I spent about one year, on and off, documenting the Little Odessa community in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. The Little Odessa neighborhood has a population consisting primarily of Russian, Ukrainian, and Eastern-European immigrants. Because I am originally from Ukraine I was able to get very intimate access to this community. Eventually I was accepted as family, and my subjects and I could relate to each other on a very personal level.”
“While working on this project I photographed numerous social and religious events for the community. I was always welcomed and my photography was warmly embraced. This particular image was made during a baptism ceremony in a Ukrainian Orthodox church. At the moment I made the image the baptism was taking place and these two boys were standing awkwardly and slightly bored in the back of the chapel. In Little Odessa there are many boys about this age who are eager to serve in their church, much to their parent’s pleasure. These two, however, seemed to mirror my own slightly awkward feelings I was experiencing as I watched this special ceremony unfold. It’s interesting how, after almost five years away from Ukraine, my very own culture starts to feel exotic and far away.”
Michael Hanson September 27, 2013Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Dominican Repepublic.
Tags: Dominican Republic
San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic 2011
Michael Hanson (b. 1981) has been a professional photographer based in Seattle since 2006 after playing shortstop with the Atlanta Braves for a number of years. His documentary work has taken him to over 27 countries. He drove a short school bus around the US for a book on Urban Farming (Breaking Through Concrete, 2011) and recently paddled 542 miles from North Georgia to the Gulf of Mexico for a film about the Chattahoochee River (Who Owns Water, 2014). His clients include The New York Times, National Geographic Traveler, Outside, Patagonia, NPR, and the Gates Foundation. In 2013, he was named one of PDN’s 30 New and Emerging Photographers. He is currently working on projects documenting Dominican Republic baseball players and Amish communities in the US.
About the Photograph:
“The Dominican Braves had just defeated the Dominican Blue Jays as an afternoon storm was approaching. Religion and baseball are on equal footing in the Dominican Republic. After every game, the players meet and pray. This one was sped up a little in hopes of getting on the bus and heading back to the academy before the rain came. After signing a contract with an MLB team, the players move from their homes to live full time at a baseball academy. If they succeed, they take the next step to the United States and start climbing the ladder of Minor League Baseball.”
Geoffrey Hiller Burma Book Project Update September 22, 2013Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Burma, Myanmar.
Tags: Burma, Myanamar
add a comment
About the Project
We are almost halfway into the Kickstarter campaign to publish “Burma in Transition”. The outpouring of support on social media has been wonderful! Great to see momentum building from the international photo community, especially in Europe. It’s a great feeling to see over100 backers supporting the project. Each time someone new pledges, whatever the amount, it’s a huge pat on the back. But the fact is, it will take more than good wishes to pay the printer in Croatia. If you have been waiting on the sidelines, now is the time to contribute. Thank you.
About the Photographs
I made these photographs during my first trip to Burma in 1987. Back then foreigners were only issued a visa for seven days. It was a marathon trip covering the Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan triangle on night trains and buses. The day we arrived in Pagan there were large processions for young boys who were entering the monastery as novice monks. The boys were led into the temple by horse or carried by their families so their feet wouldn’t touch the ground. Inside the boys were blessed by the monks. In Burma it is common for Buddhist men, and many women, to spend part of their childhood as monks or nuns in order to receive a religious education, study Pali, and gain merit. In the mural behind the novices, the white elephants are revered symbols of power and good fortune.
The second photograph is of a snack food vendor outside of the same temple, waiting for customers as the crowd mills around. Bagan is a magnificent site with thousands of Buddhist pagodas built by the kings between 1100 and 1400, spread out on the arid plains. When I was there, the tourist town was a rustic village with dirt streets and thatched huts that served as guesthouses and food stalls. In 1990, the military generals forcibly moved the whole town to another site miles away where they built luxury hotels. Now for a few hundred dollars, visitors can fly above the ancient ruins in hot air balloons.
Aechath Adam September 19, 2013Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Maldives.
Thilafushi garbage dump, Maldives 2012
Aechath Adam (b.1985, Maldives) graduated from the University of Sydney in 2011 with a masters in Documentary Photography. Her fascination with imagined homelands and perceived identities stems from a childhood split between the UK, Hawaii and the Maldives. She currently works as a freelance documentary photographer with a dedication to long-term projects on social issues. She was recently featured as part of the Asian Women Photographer’s Showcase for her personal project Garbage Men of Eden. Her work has been shown by Private photo review and Time Machine and projected at the Angkor Photo Festival. Aechath is currently based in the Maldives.
About the Photograph:
“I had been walking around the dump yard the whole afternoon interviewing Bangladeshi workers when one of them invited me to have a look at their accommodation block. As I waited for him I noticed a group of men rinsing themselves off right in the middle of the dump. When I asked them about it they told me the plumbing at the accommodation was not working and this was the only alternative for the time being. I like this image because it shows their resilience and ability to adapt to any hardships that come their way. Little has changed for these migrant workers during the past few decades since Thilafushi has been in operation. The facilities are falling apart as more and more waste is being produced. This image is part of my long term project investigating the state of waste management in the Maldives.”
Amanda Berg September 16, 2013Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
Tags: United States
From a project on Teen Binge Drinking, Henrietta, NY 2010
Amanda Berg (b. 1989, United States) is a documentarian based in North Carolina. She graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a BFA in Photojournalism and is currently pursuing an MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts at Duke University. She spent seven months interning at the Fayetteville Observer before going back to school. Her work has been recognized by the Alexia Foundation, Eddie Adams Workshop, Pingyao International Photography Festival, North Carolina Press Association, featured in TIME Online and exhibited at 25 CPW Gallery. Her current projects explore women’s football, the crossroads of military and civilian life and her own familial memory.
About the Photograph:
“This picture is from a project I began during my junior year of college about the gender dynamics of undergraduate binge drinking. The series is meant to question gender-neutral drinking norms by taking into consideration recent studies that have shown an increase in female drinking and higher rates of the negative side effects associated. I took this particular picture early on in the project at a St Patrick’s Day Party my roommates held at our apartment. It was one of the first times I can remember watching a moment unfold behind my camera, waiting for the women’s dancing legs to reveal all three of the men’s faces. I waited so long I ran out of space on my memory card, snuck away to my bedroom to replace it and came back to continue photographing the scene.”
Geoffrey Hiller Burma Book Project on Kickstarter September 9, 2013Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Burma, Myanmar.
Tags: Burma, Myanmar
Editor’s Note: Exciting news, I’ve just launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to publish my book on Burma. My life-long dream has been to see my images in book form, to feel the weight of the pages and to share this experience with viewers.
A wonderful team is in place to help. Professional editors/designers, Natasha Chandani and Lana Cavar have begun working with me to produce a high-quality 192-page book of color photographs. Essays by prominent Burmese writer Dr. Ma Thida, a political activist and herself a former political prisoner, and journalist Francis Wade will accompany the images. The book will be in print by April 2014.
Please check out my Kickstarter page and help to make this project a reality. Your donation will pay for the costs of producing and printing a beautiful book. Among the rewards are limited edition prints and a signed copy of the book. Remember, Kickstarter crowd-funding is all or nothing- we need to raise our entire goal or the project won’t be funded.
Thank you so much for supporting this important work and spreading the word to colleagues and friends!
Troi Anderson September 5, 2013Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Venezuela.
Healing Ceremony, Mount Sorte, Yaracuy State, Venezuela 2012
Troi Anderson (b.1975, USA) is a fine art, documentary and commercial photographer based in Portland, Oregon. Troi began his career working in film for Magnolia Pictures and later as a Merchant Marine sailing throughout Asia and the South Pacific. He is the author of two books, Shadows of Time and Decay (Mark Batty Publishers) along with numerous photographic essays. His work has been published in Geo France, The Oregonian, Communication Arts, Eyemazing, as well as being profiled and featured twice in Black and White Magazine. His commercial clients include Apple, Nike, HP, and T-Mobile. He has worked for the humanitarian organization CARE in Haiti. Troi’s photography has been exhibited in the Blue Sky Drawers program, as well as being held in private collections.
About the Photograph:
“Espiritismo, the practice of communication with ancestral spirits through trance possession is found throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. In Venezuela, a mythological goddess figure of ancient indigenous legend -Maria Lionza- is the focal point for gatherings in the mist-laden jungle of Mount Sorte. This magico-religious movement is composed in perfect reflection of Venezuela’s own multicultural history. It is a syncretic, mestizo blending of African, Spanish and Indian traditions and beliefs. Theatrical healing ceremonies and colorful pageantry blend wildly to bring forth a knowledge of the esoteric passed down through spiritual caravans, pilgrims, known as the Marialionceras.”
“For the past several years I have embarked on a process to discover and document the religious desire and its elemental expressions throughout the world. This photograph focuses on a group of Marialionceras, who have gathered before a makeshift alter in contemplation and to pay tribute to Venezuela’s national heroes, Simon Bolivar, Jose Antonio Paez and Francisco de Miranda. One of the key elements in the practice of Maria Lionza is the smoking of the cigar. It is both an invitation to the spirits, as well a method to invoke introspection in the participant. There are dozens of these alters throughout the jungle, each created for a specific spirit or power. Before President Hugo Chavez died, I was told by many at this pilgrimage that ‘if he dies, then his Spirit will be here next. It was rumored that Chavez, himself a follower of Maria Lionza, had dug up the bones of Latin America’s great liberator, Simon Bolivar, and was using them in his own magical ceremonies.”
Jeroen Toirkens September 2, 2013Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Mongolia.
Dukha Herders in Mongolia, Hövsgöl Aimag, 2007
Jeroen Toirkens (b. 1971, Netherlands) studied Photographic Design at the Royal Academy for the Visual Arts in The Hague. Since 1995 has been working as a freelance photographer. He has published photo essays in Air France Magazine, Monocle, Le Monde Magazine, De Morgen and several other Dutch and International newspapers and magazines. In 2011 his book Nomads Life was published by Belgian publisher Lannoo. Since 1999 Jeroen made eleven trips Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, the tundras in Northern Siberia and Alaska and to the taigas in Southern Siberia and Northern Mongolia. In 2012 he was awarded the CANON prize for the best innovative photo story for his project Nomads Life.
About the Photograph:
“This picture was taken in Northern Mongolia where the Dukha, a small group of reindeer herders, live under extreme circumstances in the wooded Taiga. During the winter months, the temperatures can fall to 50 degrees (centigrade) below zero. On Baruun (Western) and Zuun (Eastern) Taiga, there are still about forty-one families. They travel along with the reindeer that go in search of food and move ever further into the Taiga. They relocate their camp on average of five to eight times a year. In this picture the young girl called Tool, is holding two fully grown reindeer. It shows how domesticated the Dukha’s reindeer are. They use the reindeer for transport when they move from one camp to another. The picture is taken on the first of June, the night before half a meter of snow fell.”
Carlos Spottorno August 29, 2013Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Spain.
From the project “The PIGS”. Jerez, Spain 2012
Carlos Spottorno (b.1971, Hungry) was raised in Rome, Paris and Madrid. He began his career as an art director and switched to photography in 2001. Since then Carlos has combined long term documentary projects with both editorial and commercial assignments. He has received awards from World Press Photo in 2003, YIPPA in 2011, American Photography 24, 26 and 27 and was a finalist for a Visa d’Or in 2008, the European Publishers Award in 2009 and 2013, and RM Photobook Award in 2012. His photographs have been published in National Geographic España, El País Semanal, D Magazine and Marie Claire France among others. Carlos has published four books: History Seekers (Blur Ediciones), China Western (La Fabrica), Philosophia Naturalis (self published) and La Hora del Recreo – Break Time (Lünwerg). He is featured with Reportage by Getty.
About the Photograph:
“A cow stands on a sidewalk of a newly built dormitory suburb on the outskirts of Jerez, a city that illustrates everything that went wrong in Spain: rapid growth based on seemingly limitless borrowing, which produced a glut of houses and office space that nobody wants, right where the city abruptly ends. This mid-sized city of 212,000 people owes one billion euros; second only to Madrid. Unemployment in Jerez is around 34 percent. I find this image particularly disturbing. Wild or farm animals in an urban context are always a sign that something is not going as it should. That cow seems to be lost; with its neck streched, as if it was looking for the way back to the farm. All that garbage right on the plants… this is truly the frontier where an artificial city clashes with the countryside. Those boxy buildings, the empty street… all that shows exactly what happened: they bought the land from a farmer. They built in a rush, but they went bankrupt before selling everything they built. Now nobody is taking care of anything.”