Ton Koene March 11, 2013Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Turkey.
Ton Koene (b. 1963, Netherlands) holds a degree in Humanitarian practice from Oxford University. After graduation, he worked for sixteen years (1989-2006) for Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF), primarily as Head of Mission in twelve conflict areas including Afghanistan, Somalia, Bosnia, Chechnya, Angola and Sudan. In 2006, he resigned from MSF and began working as a freelance photojournalist. He has covered prostitution in Nigeria, coal mining in Bulgaria, malnutrition in Somalia, Genocide in Darfur, the Inuits of the North Pole and police training in Afghanistan. Ton has produced five photo books and one textbook. He is based in Afghanistan and freelances with De Volkskrant. In 2012 he won the World Press Photo award for his Afghan police portraits.
About the Photograph:
“I was on assignment for the travel magazine TRVL to shoot a photo documentary on Istanbul. Each neighborhood has its own character. There is the eastern and more boring site across the Bosporus. There is the touristic center where you can photograph the diversity of people hanging around, all buying the same useless souvenirs. But there are also many local areas across the city where tourists don’t go because they feel uncomfortable with these unknown areas. They are scared to leave their safe touristic habitat. These are the living quarters of average Turkish families. In the evening, when the sun goes down and the city cools down, families gather outside in front of their houses to chat, smoke and laugh. This picture was taken in one of these neighborhoods. A mother is playing a ball game with her kids, the mullah was praying in the mosque which you can see in the background, people relax in front of the houses and share the latest urban gossip. There wasn’t much light beside the yellow streetlight but it was enough. This is the real Istanbul when you go off the well know path and let yourself be surprised with the unknown.”
Shannon Taggart March 7, 2013Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Haiti, United States.
Tags: Haiti, United States
Haitian Vodou Ceremony, Brooklyn, New York 2009
Shannon Taggart (b.1975, USA) is a photographer based in Brooklyn. Her images have appeared in publications including Blind Spot, Time, Tokion, New York Times Magazine and Newsweek. Shannon’s work has been recognized by the Inge Morath Foundation, American Photography, the International Photography Awards, Photo District News and the Alexia Foundation for World Peace, among others. Her photographs have been shown at Photoworks in Brighton, England, The Photographic Resource Center in Boston, Redux Pictures in New York, the Stephen Cohen Gallery in Los Angeles and the New Gallery in Houston.
About the Photograph:
“This photograph is part of a long term project about Haitian Vodou ceremonies that happen in a basement Hounfor (temple) in Brooklyn, NY. The host is Rose Marie Pierre, a third generation Mambo originally from Haiti. It was the first night that I witnessed a possession, the centerpiece of Vodou ritual. Possession may look frightening but it is actually a meaningful, sought after experience. The purpose of possession is to allow a personal interaction with the Loa, a pantheon of gods that are archetypal representatives of natural/moral principles. Possession is not an opportunity for self-expression, it is a blessing and a reward for service. It is also a gift one gives of themselves to their community so that others may consult the Loa for intercession, guidance and healing. The analogy used for possession is as if one’s body is being mounted like a horse, with the Loa as the rider. One cannot be man and god at once, so the individual needs to surrender their ego to the experience. A temporary amnesia then takes place and the events that occur remain a mystery to the person possessed.”
Chris Harrison March 4, 2013Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in England.
River Don, Jarrow, England 2011
Chris Harrison (b. 1967, England) received his Masters from The Royal College of Art in London in 1999. His first exhibition was based on his junior school class photo (1978), where he traced everybody including his best friend in jail for murder. His personal work has been exhibited in museums and galleries throughout Europe. Highlights include “Under the Hood” being selected to represent British photography at Arles and his work on WW1 Memorials in Britain “Sites of Memory” that was part of the show “How we are” at the Tate in London. His monograph I Belong Jarrow was recently published by Schilt Publishing in Amsterdam. Chris is currently the National Media Museums Bradford Fellow in Photography doing a project about the machine his father worked with in his factory job.
About the Photograph:
“This image is from my book I belong Jarrow. I have forgotten the language of my fathers and not yet learned the language of my children. I was born and brought up in Jarrow, a tough industrial town in the south bank of the river Tyne. It’s where I call home. I have lived abroad for more years than I care to admit. My Mother and Father are getting old and moving out of Jarrow, cutting me adrift with now way back. Finally, I have been forced to think about who I am and where I belong. I never wanted to leave Jarrow. I always imagined that one day I would make it my home. I realize now that I can never return. Somehow I traded knowledge of the outside world for some vital piece of me. With this realization, I have returned home in order to try to establish how much of where I am from determines who I am, and to begin to understand why I can’t seem to let go.”
“This shot is of the River Don which flows quietly and when I was younger toxically through Jarrow. When I was a kid the only thing that was ever fished out of the river were bikes and shopping trollies. Now since we are in a postindustrial age we have small fish, Kingfishers, Otter and even Salmon. I find myself struggling with my nostalgia for a harsher time and place. Hopefully, by photographing the places I know intimately I can show something we all instinctively recognize; that, as L.P. Hartley said so eloquently “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.“
Ian Bates February 28, 2013Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ohio University, United States.
Tags: United States
Club-goers leaving after a fight broke out and guns were fired, Greenwood, Mississippi 2012
Ian Bates (b. 1992, United States) grew up in North Brunswick, New Jersey. In elementary school he received a cheap point and shoot film camera to bring on a field trip to the zoo, but didn’t realize his love for the photograph until later began taking photography classes in his sophomore year in high school. The images became a way to store memories with truth and without them fading away. He is now a junior at Ohio University working on his bachelor of science in visual communication with an emphasis in photojournalism and a Specialization in Sociology. He recently was awarded a Silver in both the General News and Feature categories in the 67th College Photographer of the Year awards. He has worked for The New York Times, Reuters, The Athens NEWS and The Asbury Park Press. Ian resides in Athens, Ohio
About the Photograph:
“I was lucky enough to have an opportunity to spend my summer working with freelance photographer Matt Eich over the summer of 2012. One of the first times I got to make pictures was the night this picture was made. Matt got invited to go to the club for one of the Baptist Town resident’s birthday party so I tagged along. The club was a metal, warehouse type building with mixed color lights out front. The inside was dark with back lights and a mirror across one wall of the dance floor. People were drinking, dancing and having fun as you would assume they would at a birthday party.”
“Then, all of a sudden, there was a weird tension throughout the whole room. Something was up and in less then a minute a fight broke out. Most didn’t want to get involved and backed away to where the tables and chairs were and some went outside. The security guards broke the fight up and kicked the participants out. Minutes later there were gunshots outside in the parking lot. People ran inside the club screaming, knocking over tables and chairs and then the lights were turned on. During the next five to ten minutes everyone stood around waiting to see what would happen next. Two weeks earlier the club had been shot up by the same crew that started the fight with the Baptist Town boys. We were soon ushered out by security guards into the parking lot where there were police officers waiting outside. The image above was from when people were being ushered out of the club. Just as the night began, in an instant, it was over.”
Dirk-Jan Visser February 25, 2013Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Kosovo.
Kosovo Independence Demonstration, Belgrade, Serbia 2008
Dirk-Jan Visser (b. 1978, The Netherlands) is an independent documentary photographer based in Rotterdam. In 2005 he photographed the people of Kosovo on the brink of transformation, which resulted in the book Brave New Kosovo. For his photo book Zimbabwe Exodus he won a number of awards, including Dutch Photojournalist of the Year 2007 and a special recognition in the POYi World Understanding Award. The Human Rights Watch lobby used the book to help bring about a change of asylum policy in South Africa towards Zimbabweans. Besides his photographic adventures he is curator at Atelier aan de Middendijk, an artistic initiative in the Northern part of the Netherlands. Dirk is represented by Hollandse Hoogte.
About the Photograph:
“For me personally, this picture epitomizes a very intense period of one and a half month around Kosovo Independence, running in the field shooting this ‘new born’ state from a grass root perspective, from exploited women in illegal brothels to the top end of the victorious politicians who made this independence possible. The image is taken during a protest in Belgrade that was organized by some of the main Serbian political parties on February 21st 2008, four days after Kosovo declared independence. The peaceful demonstration in front of the parliament building later turned to chaos, as hooligans looted embassies of western countries, McDonald’s restaurants and local shops. This image is the last picture I shot in this period before ending up in hospital after I was attacked and seriously hurt outside the U.S. embassy by youths who were breaking into the building.”
“Moreover, this image symbolizes the independence of Kosovo from a Serbian perspective of people fearing the future, feeling victim of an international chess game of geopolitics, power and interests. While Kosovo is burning in the background, the future and the destiny of the country is uncertain. The common people are suffering, forcing them into the ideas of radical politics. Following the incident at the U.S. embassy in Belgrade, I had enough of Balkan politics and decided to focus on daily life in Belgrade. Especially the life I encountered among my friends: a small alternative group of young people”, titled My Belgrade.”
Ben Guez February 21, 2013Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Colombia.
Riverside bar in El Banco, Colombia. 2007
Ben Guez (b.1983, Soviet Union) immigrated to Chicago with his family at the age of nine. His first encounter with photography was in early childhood through his father, a theater and film photographer in Leningrad. After graduating with a degree in history and Latin American studies from the University of Arizona in 2006, he resumed his documentation and research of large metropolises in Latin America and isolated communities in the Mexico and maroon settlements of the Caribbean among others). His work has been published in The City Paper, El Espectador, Need Humanitarian Magazine and has been exhibited in the Erarta Contemporary Art Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.
About the Photograph:
“I took this photograph at a bar on the banks of the Magdalena River in Colombia as I waited for a speedboat to take me upriver. I had just bounced through mud and rain on the back of a 110cc motorbike for hours after leaving the town of Mompos. A forceful Vallenato was blaring from an overhead speaker, my beer was sweating, and the motorcycle driver was menacing me for more money. The scene embodies most of my experiences working and living in South America– heat of all kinds, a hint of violence, a varied rhythm, escape and a dose of hope.”
Marcelo Pérez del Carpio February 18, 2013Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Bolivia.
Evo Morales Re-inauguration, 2010
Marcelo Pérez del Carpio (b. 1982, Bolivia) was raised in Venezuela until 1999 when he came back to his birth country to study architecture. He began photographing in 2007. In 2011 he participated in PHotoEspaña portfolio reviews and in 2012 he was nominated for Joop Swart Masterclass of World Press Photo. Recently, his body of work A Dreadful Situation has been recognized by the Ian Parry Scholarship. His photographs have been published in The Sunday Times Magazine, Telegraph Travel, and other newspapers and publications as books and magazines in Bolivia and Brazil. Nowadays he works as freelance with the International Committee of the Red Cross, with the Embassy of Brazil (both in Bolivia). Marcelo is based in La Paz and is represented by Getty Images for Global Assignment.
About the Photograph:
“The picture was taken during the Aymara ceremony of Evo Morales inauguration where more than 50,000 people attended the event of the newly re-elected president of Bolivia at the temple of Kalasasaya in the ancient altiplano ruins of Tihuanaku on January 21, 2010. Morales won general elections in December 2009 with 64% of the votes and he´s the first indigenous who became president in history of Latin America after winning general elections held in December 2005 and 2009.”
“Many indigenous supporters of Bolivia’s President were dressed in traditional clothing and played native instruments to celebrate Evo as their leader or “Apu Mallku”, but they also asked for energies of the ancestors to guide and give him wisdom and success for the following years of government. Evo is considered as an icon of the Democratic and Cultural revolutionary movement current in Bolivia. The man in the foreground of the picture is one of the ‘Ponchos Rojos’, a radical etnia Aymara of indigenous peasants guardians of Evo Morales. He carries the ‘Wiphala’, a multicolored flag of indigenous peoples and a cross, the symbol of Christianity. Aymara´s culture nowadays takes many aspects of Catholicism and ancestral pre-inca rites”.
Pascal Meunier February 15, 2013Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Borneo, Brunei.
Tags: Borneo, Brunei
Sultanate of Brunei, Bandar Seri Begawan, Koranic school 2011
Pascal Meunier (b.1968, France) holds a master’s degree in Political Science. Since 1996, he is a documentary photographer based in Paris. His latest photographic works relate mainly to the culture of Arab-Muslima world. He has reported on cultural traditions from Mauritania to Malaysia, passing through Iran, Libya, Yemen and Egypt on the way.Pascal does not concentrate on current events of a political nature, but prefers to show the intrinsic culture of the country instead. One of his aims is to capture heritage and traditions that are swiftly vanishing. The last public baths of Cairo, the island of Lamu, the oasis of Oualata, and the old town of Harar He published three books about oriental public bathhouses and Turkish baths. His work has been published in Geo, Grands Reportages, Le Monde, L’Espresso, El País, and Newsweek among others.
About the Photograph:
“I shot this picture in a Koranic school during prayer time. In Muslim countries, it is especially difficult to take photos of women, even more when they pray. To obtain permission, I had to convince the director of the Madrasa for several days. It was part of a story for Geo magazine called Brunei Darussalam, the happiness factory. I spent one month in this Sultanate located in the north of the island of Borneo. This micro state with a surface area equivalent to the Palestinian territories rarely makes the news, wallows in petrodollars and obeys the laws of a sultan with absolute power. It’s considered a dictatorship or absolute monarchy. But a recent study gives it the title of the ninth happiest country in the world! Brunei is said to be an oasis of well-being. For us, Westerners, how can we be happy in a dictatorship? Brunei is in fact more a traditional Malay monarchy with an authoritarian and benevolent government. Islam, monarchy and Malay culture are pillars of this conservative society. Seventy-five percent of the people are Sunni Muslims. They practice the strictest Islam in Asia: an obligation to participate in the Friday collective prayers, extremely complicated rules for the halal, and wearing of the veil by women state-employees. An orthodox Islam, but not at all fundamentalist.”
Ian Willms February 13, 2013Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Canada.
Jimmy’s Lunch Diner, Kitchener, Ontario 2010
Ian Willms (b. 1985, Canada) is a founding member of the Boreal Collective and part of the Reportage by Getty Images Emerging Talent roster. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, Village Voice, Foto8, Applied Arts Magazine, PDN, Maclean’s and The Walrus. Ian has also worked with the NGOs Greenpeace and Oxfam. In recent years, Ian’s documentary photography has been supported and honored by the Magnum Expression Photography Award, the Magenta Foundation, the Burn Emerging Photographer Fund and the National Magazine Awards and shown in exhibitions at Pikto Gallery, Bau-Xi Photo, O’Born Contemporary and Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography.
About the Photograph:
“Jimmy’s Lunch is a diner that was established in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada in 1948 by Jimmy George. In 1955, Jimmy died of a brain tumor and his son Jerry took the business over. Jerry has been there everyday since then. For a long time, Jimmy’s was the only 24-hour diner in the city, so they regularly saw a fairly diverse array of clientele. It wasn’t uncommon to see judges sitting at the same bar as homeless people. Rumor has it that even Chuck Berry ate there once. Today, the only patrons consist of the regulars who have been coming there since they were kids. Like the diner, none of them are getting any younger. Every year there are a few more empty bar stools as people pass on.
“I wanted to document Jimmy’s Lunch because I see it as a place that represents the blue-collar culture that used to make Kitchener what it was. Everything today is so sterile and devoid of character. I like the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality that Jerry takes with his diner. It’s a simple place, where nothing has really changed over the years. Even the food is still made the same as it always has been. It feels a lot like a time warp, but not in a cheesy, contrived nostalgia way. Jimmy’s embodies decades past in a very raw and unvarnished way. Ironically, it’s even difficult to get cell phone reception when you’re there. The photo is of Jerry at the grill and one of his long-time regulars sitting at the bar. The man on the left passed away a few months after this photo was taken.
Marco Gualazzini February 11, 2013Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Italy.
Feast day of Our Lady of Polsi, Calabria, Italy 2011
Marco Gualazzini (b.1976, Italy) began his career as a photographer in 2004, with his hometown’s local daily, La Gazzetta di Parma. His recent works include reportage photography on microfinance in India, on the media in Laos, as well as on the discrimination of Christians in Pakistan. He devised and took part in the creation of a documentary for the Italian national TV network RAI on the caste system in India. His photographs have been published in national and international publications including Internazionale, Io Donna, L’Espresso, M (Le Monde), Newsweek Japan, Sette (Corriere della Sera), The New York Times and Vanity Fair among others. Marco is represented by LUZ photo Agency.
About the Photograph:
“This picture was taken last year in Calabria during the solemn feast day of Our Lady of Polsi while I was developing a reportage about 12 journalists that were threatened by the Ndrangheta between 2010 and 2011. In Italy the so-called Mafia has different names in each region. In Sicily it is called Cosa Nostra. In Campania: Camorra, in Puglia: Sacra Corona Unita, and in Calabria: Ndrangheta. The Ndrangheta is considered the most dangerous criminal organization in Italy, but it is also among the most powerful in the world.”
“Last year when I read about the 12th journalist threatened by the Ndrangheta, I decided to take the portraits of these 12 colleagues of mine who were risking their lives to do their job. Soon I realized that I had to contextualize those portraits. It wasn’t enough to tell the story. So the idea was to show not only the faces of the journalists but also the newsrooms where they worked. To complete my report I decided to add some Ndrangheta landscapes that might be familiar for Italians, to remind us of the lands where these journalists are used to working. It was important to photograph the annual meetings, called Crimini, at the sanctuary of Polsi, so on the 2nd of September I went to the solemn feast day of Our Lady of Polsi. I was photographing in the rectory just before the Mass, when I saw this bolt of light reflected on the priests. I couldn’t not have taken this picture.”
How Hwee Young February 8, 2013Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China, Mongolia.
Tags: China, Mongolia
Shaman brothers, Ulan Bator, Mongolia 2012
How Hwee Young (b. 1978, Singapore) joined The Straits Times in 2001 as one of the few female photojournalists. In 2004 she joined the European Pressphoto Agency (EPA) to cover Singapore and Southeast Asia until relocating to Beijing in 2010. She is primarily drawn to covering events involving the human condition like the 2004 Asian Tsunami or the 2009 Indonesian Padang Earthquake. She earned an Award of Excellence by Communication Arts 46th Annual photography exhibition in 2005 for her work on the Asian Tsunami. Her photographs have been published in: The International Herald Tribune, LA Times, The Sydney Herald, The Telegraph, New York Times, TIME magazine, Der Spiegel, and GEO Magazine among others. Young is based in Beijing.
About the Photograph:
“This photo is part of a series about a pair of Shaman brothers in Ulan Bator, Mongolia as they prepare to talk to me about their Shamanistic lives. Shamans are priests or mediums that act as vessels for spirits, gods and demons to communicate with the human world. In Mongolia, they adhere to the ancient beliefs of Tengrism, where spirits live in all of nature, in the sun, moon, lakes, rivers, mountains, and trees. This ancient faith predominated the land in the 13th century during the time of Genghis Khan or Chinggis Khan but was brutally suppressed under decades of communist rule from 1924 to 1990. Lately, this ancestor worship has seen a resurgence, as many sought to fill a spiritual void in a fast-urbanized landscape dominated by the burgeoning mining industry.”
”Gankhuyag and his brother Batgerel became Shamans only two years ago where before they were only ordinary construction workers. Illnesses and misfortunes plague them and their family members, causing them to seek the advice of a Shaman. It was revealed then that they had been chosen by spirits to serve as Shamans. Only by doing so will their lives improve and avoid further miseries. Batgerel said ‘When I first heard that I have been chosen to receive the spirits, I did not believe it and was angry and ignored the calling. But my life became worse and I began to believe. After receiving the spirits, my life and health became better and now I live in happiness. I am very thankful to the spirits and this way of life’. The two brothers do not charge a specific amount for their Shamanic services which range from channeling advice from spirits to ‘curing’ diseases. Worshippers are asked to donate any amount they please. However, they warned that not all Shamans are genuine and many fake it for the money. For Gankhuyag and Batgerel, living with the spirits and their rituals, celebrating a connection to nature unique to their culture, is a way of life in the vast changing grasslands of Mongolia.”
Andrew Quilty February 6, 2013Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Australia.
Maxwelton Races. Central Queensland, Australia 2007
Andrew Quilty (b. 1981, Sydney, Australia) completed studies in photography at TAFE in Sydney in 2004. He worked as a staff photographer for The Australian Financial Review from 2004 – 2006 until he was given the position of staff photographer for The AFR Magazine where he remained until 2010 when he left Fairfax to pursue a freelance career. It was his personal work that resulted in his invitation to join Australia’s photographic collective, Oculi in 2007 and accolades including a World Press Photo Award and the inaugural Walkely Young Australian Photojournalist of the Year Award. His work has been published in The New York Times, TIME Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The International Herald Tribune, Le Monde and The Guardian Weekend Magazine. He currently lives in New York.
About the Photograph:
“Everyone remembers where they were at the moment they heard of the attacks on the Twin Towers on September 11 2001. For me, it was in a town of one street, one pub, a roadhouse and 11 residents called McKinlay in central Queensland, Australia. McKinlay was most well known for hosting a couple of the pubs scenes in The Crocodile Dundee movies and provided my two friends and I the reason for stopping in on our way around Australia that year. Since then I’d always wanted to return to that strange little place. In the winter of 2007 I drove the 2000+ km to McKinlay and went about photographing the people and the atmosphere of the tired little town whose numbers were dwindling as the elderly passed and the young moved away to greater prosperity.”
“On a Saturday I followed the Fegan family to the nearby (160km) and even smaller town of Maxwelton (pop. 2) for the annual Maxwelton Races. This photograph was taken as the horses ran the final straight on the last race of the day. The children had tired themselves out during the day and sat peacefully on hay bales as the small crowd of adults cheered on from the finish line and then thought about the long road home to wherever it was from where they’d come. This photograph was awarded 1st prize in the Sports Feature Single category in the 2008 World Press photo Awards.”
Massimo Mastrorillo February 4, 2013Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Turkey.
Early morning commuters. Istanbul, Turkey 2011
Massimo Mastrorillo (b. 1961, Italy) studied at the University of Perugia, in Italy, and is a graduate of the European Institute of Design in Rome. He works mainly on long term documentary projects, devoting himself to the deep consequences of war and natural disasters and their aftermaths on society. His awards include: World Press Photo, Pictures of the Year International (POYi), Best of Photojournalism (Magazine Photographer of the Year), the PDN Photo Annual, the International Photographer of the Year at the 5th Annual Lucie Awards and an Aftermath Grant (finalist, 2011). His work has been published in: Espresso, Newsweek, Internazionale, Vanity Fair, Vrij Nederland, Le Monde and Wired. Massimo recently founded the collective MASTODON.
About the Photograph:
“For years, the number of city dwellers has surpassed that of rural areas. New suburbs emerge to meet the growing demand for housing. A jumble of concrete covers the earth with no apparent interruption. Between them, like a jigsaw puzzle interlocking recreational areas and shopping malls—the new places of socialization. Turkey is a country with a rapidly developing economy. Here the suburbs expand even more at dizzying rhythms. I wanted to photograph them in two large cities. One on European ground, Istanbul and the other on Asian ground, Gaziantep, in a sort of ideal transcontinental trip to point out the similarities. This work was the result of an assignment from Zaman, a Turkish newspaper celebrating its 25th anniversary. They called 25 photographers from all over the world to document different daily life stories in Turkey.”
Andri Tambunan February 1, 2013Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Indonesia, Papua.
Tags: Indonesia, Papua
Demonstration of condom usage at a public market in Jayapura, capital of Papua, 2009
Andri Tambunan (b. 1981, Indonesia) moved to the United States at age 10. He received his degree in Photography from Sacramento State University with an emphasis in Fine Art. After years of working in the corporate world he quit his job and decided to travel the world. In November 2008 he was in Mumbai during the terrorist attacks. His first instinct was “to grab my cameras and document the series of events that unfolded around me.” His photographs have received recognition from Pictures of the Year International (POYi) Emerging Vision Incentive, Reminders Project Asian Photographers Grant, and the International Photography Awards (IPA). In 2012, Against All Odds was exhibited at the Angkor Photo Festival and was a Magnum Emergency Fund nomination. Andri is based in Jakarta.
About the Photograph:
“This photo is from my long-term project Against All Odds which I investigated the HIV/AIDS epidemic among indigenous Papuans. Currently Papua has the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence in Indonesia (15 times the national average) and outside of Africa. Although they say that HIV/AIDS does not discriminate, in Papua the epidemic follows along the fault lines of race: about three-quarters of those infected are indigenous Papuans. Ultimately, indigenous Papuans are living and dying in the midst of the fastest growing epidemic in Asia. Against All Odds uses images and text to explore some of the reasons why indigenous Papuans are contracting HIV, including limited economic opportunities, lack of HIV/AIDS education and awareness, insufficient access to health services, inadequate support, discrimination, and stigma.”
“In Papua, it is assumed almost all transmission of HIV occurs through sexual encounters. Thus, the consistent use of condoms is understood as one of the most effective ways to reduce or prevent infection.. Condom usage is often opposed or disregarded by religious and community leaders and is considered taboo. As a result, the use of condoms is low and condoms are frequently associated with sin, misconduct, and shame. Most people are embarrassed to buy condoms even when they are available. It is still very difficult to obtain a condom in most locations. Because of low condom education and awareness, many people in Papua don’t know how to use condoms or where to go to obtain them. Most importantly they don’t understand the benefit of condom usage in reducing or preventing STDs and HIV infection.”