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Boryana Katsarova August 18, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ukraine.
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Lenin Square,  Simferopol, Crimea 2014

Boryana Katsarova (b. 1981, Bulgaria) studied photography between 1998 and 2003 and holds a Bachelors Degree from the Bulgarian National Academy for Theater and Cinema Art /NATFA/. She worked as a photographer for Agence France-Press in Bulgaria between 2007 and 2010, during which time her work appeared in major print magazines and newspapers around the world. In 2010 she decided to became a freelance photographer specializing in documentary, editorial and portrait photography and since 2011 has been represented  the Cosmos Photo Agency in Paris. This image is part of a project : Ukraine: Crimea Under Siege that was funded by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

About the Photograph:

“The people in the photograph were attending one of the many pro-Russian rallies which were held in Simferopol and across the entire Crimean peninsula in support of the unification of Crimea with Russia ahead of the unique and internationally unrecognized Crimean Referendum that was held on March 16, 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin officially recognized  the ‘reunification’ of breakaway Ukrainian region of Crimea with Russia on March 18, 2014.”

“It was really difficult to take this picture. Many people were against being photographed. It was the first time I was working in a crisis zone and the first time I have ever experienced anything like that. Just two days before, masked gunmen ran towards me and  journalist Dimiter Kenarov and pushed him on the ground. They put a gun to his head demanding his smart phone he was taking pictures with. After that they ran to me and took my Nikon D3 camera. We left Ukraine three weeks after I took this picture.”

“Today, more than five months after the Crimean crisis, the unrest in eastern Ukraine is continuing and the climate for press freedom worsens everyday. Many local and international journalists covering the situation are being interrogated, targeted, their equipment seized, and the number of the ones being killed is growing. In my opinion, nowadays bearing witness as photojournalist, cameraman or reporter in crisis and war zones is a duty, that is much harder and much more responsible than ever before.”

Ben Weller August 14, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Korea.
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A girl writes protest messages in chalk in front of a police line in Miryang, South Korea 2014

Ben Weller (b. 1980 USA) grew up in Indiana, and worked for his parents’ weekly newspaper in high school and summers home from college. He later went to journalism school to pursue a career in writing, but soon shifted his focus to photography. In 2008, Ben received an Overseas Press Club Foundation scholarship and interned with Reuters at their Seoul bureau. He returned to the United States and worked for a year photographing for a power generation and transmission cooperative, where he developed his eye for industrial photography and his interest in energy production. Ben now teaches courses on photography, image editing, and climate change at a university in South Korea, as well as continuing his editorial and corporate photo work. Much of his current work focuses on labor, energy production, and the environment. Ben is represented by ZUMA Press.

About the Photograph:

“Miryang is a small city located in the southeast of the Korean peninsula. It’s a pretty quiet place known for its beautiful mountain streams and unique geological features. It’s also right in the path of a high-voltage transmission line being constructed by the state utility, KEPCO, to meet the growing energy demands of South Korea. A group of local residents, mainly farmers, have been protesting construction of the line for a couple years now. They’re opposed to the huge transmission towers that have begun going up along the ridges around their communities. The day I took this photo, thousands of people from around the country had converged on Miryang to show their support to the protestors. This girl was with a group of protestors outside the local KEPCO offices, which were being guarded by riot police. The story here is about land rights, development, tradition, and power. For me personally, this picture is a reminder that these issues aren’t just about traditional farmers worried about a changing way of life. They’re also about the next generation, and whether that generation will take an active part in building the society it wants to live in.”

Isadora Kosofsky August 11, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Rosie, Los Angeles 2013

Isadora Kosofsky (b. 1993, USA) is a documentary photographer based in Los Angeles. She is the recipient of the 2012 Inge Morath Award from the Magnum Foundation for her multi-series documentary about the lives and relationships of the elderly. Her work has received numerous distinctions from Women in Photography International, Prix de la Photographie Paris and The New York Photo Festival. Isadora’s projects have been featured in Le Monde, The Huffington Post and The New Yorker Photo Booth, among others. She was chosen as a participant in the 2014 Joop Swart Masterclass of World Press Photo. In addition, her long-term documentary “Vinny and David,” about the life and incarceration of two young brothers, was recently published in TIME Lightbox as “The Intersection of Love and Loss: Confronting Youth Incarceration.”

About the Photograph:

“I first met Rosie when I was photographing residents at a nursing home in Los Angeles. After Rosie was released, I continued to photograph her at home. I was particularly drawn to Rosie’s relationship with her caretaker-husband, Adam, who was twenty years younger. Her illness relegated her to bed for the two years that I shadowed her life. We sat for hours at a time, and when there was no more conversation, we stared out the window at Adam’s half-dozen cats and watched a bougainvillea grow and overtake all open space in their yard.”

“This image was taken before an excursion to a desert date farm two hours from the confines of her home. Rosie was embarrassed to leave the house because of her appearance. She often talked about not even wanting to be seen at a supermarket. Eight months after this photograph was taken, Rosie passed away. At her funeral, her sister spoke of Rosie’s once jovial nature and how her house had always been full of friends. Yet, as her sister pointed out, after Rosie became ill, those friends disappeared. Adam became her sole comfort. Moments after this photograph was taken, Rosie cried in the open doorway, frustrated with Adam and apprehensive about venturing out into the unknown. This photograph marks Rosie’s defiance of being hidden.”

Paccarik Orue August 7, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Peru.
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Delivering cheese and milk, Cerro de Pasco, Peru. 2013

Paccarik Orue (b.1976, Peru) currently resides in San Francisco where he earned a BFA in photography from the Academy of Art University. As an immigrant, Paccarik is interested in themes of social relevance and the relationship between people and the environment. His work has been shown at SF Camerawork, Book & Job Gallery, Carte Blanche, Contemporary Art Center New Orleans and it has been featured in Conscientious, Fototazo, Feature Shoot and Lenscratch among others. He is the recipient of En Foco’s NewWorks Photography Award Fellowship #17. Paccarik’s first monograph, There is Nothing Beautiful Around here, was published by Owl & Tiger Books in 2012.

About the Photograph:

“This image, Repartiendo queso y leche (delivering cheese and milk,) is from my ongoing project entitled El Muqui. The project is about environmental problems, folkloric and cultural traditions in the mining city of Cerro de Paso, in the Peruvian Andes, and how these elements coexist with each other. It is important for me that this body of work captures the desire of the inhabitants of Cerro de Pasco to live a normal life under such harsh conditions caused by the pollution of mining activities. The image speaks about such desire. I had seen this woman making deliveries earlier but I was unable to catch up with her. A few days later I happened to be taking photos near the home of one of her customers and finally made her portrait.”

Aapo Huhta August 4, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Finland.
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From the Kainuu project in Northeast Finland 2013

Aapo Huhta (B.1985, Finland) holds a BA in photography from the Lahti Institute of Design and Fine Arts and is currently studying for his Master’s degree at the Aalto University of Arts and Design in Helsinki Finland. He works with various editorial magazines and also produces personal documentary based projects. Aapo was awarded the Finnish Young Photojournalist of the Year 2011. In 2014 he was selected as one of the Top 30 Under 30 photographers by Magnum Photos, was included in the PDN Photo Annual Student Work Prize, and shortlisted for the Leica Oskar Barnack Award. His photographs have  been published in Vice, Red Cross Publications, Photo Raw, Suomen Kuvalehti, Image and Helsingin Sanomat.

About the Photograph:

“This image was made while I was working on our collaborative Kainuu project in Northeast Finland. What struck me about the region is the contrast between rural and urban environments. The area is the birthplace of an old Finnish mythology that everybody learns at school. Together with four other photographers we have been going there to explore these old stories through contemporary photography. For the project I was driving from house to house and meeting people to photograph. Helvi , the lady in the picture told me that she does a lot of puzzles in this summer nest of hers. She decorated the whole bedroom with the puzzles, so I asked if I could photograph her in this room. I like the challenge of making photographs out of the ordinary and trying to find key elements to make something interesting. But sometimes you are just lucky to find characters or situations which make the photographs intriguing by itself.”

 

Erika Larsen July 31, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Destiny and Daisy from the series; ‘People of the Horse’. Pendelton, Oregon 2012

Erika Larsen’s (b.1976 USA) work uses photography, video and writing to learn
 intimately about cultures that maintain strong connections with nature. She has been working as a magazine photographer since 2000 specializing in 
human-interest stories and sensitive cultural issues. Her work has been included in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery,
 National Geographic Society, The Swedish Museum of Ethnography and Ajtte Sámi Museum. Erika’s first monograph, Sami-Walking With Reindeer, was released in 2013. Her work is represented by Redux Pictures. Erika is a recipient of several grants including a Fulbright Fellowship, New Jersey State Arts Council Fellowship, Women in Photography Individual Project Grant, Lois Roth Endowment and a World Press Award.

About the Photograph:

“I took this picture as part of the series People of the Horse to illuminate the unique bond between the horse and Native American culture. Destiny is of the Wampum tribe and is depicted here with Daisy. I met Destiny and her brother Nakia for the first time in Pendleton, Oregon where she was taking part in the yearly Indian princess competition.  Even though the horse was first embraced for war, hunting and transport in time they became partners in pageantry and a way to show tribal pride. This tradition of pageantry is still very strong today. A year after I met Destiny I made arrangements to photograph her alone, away from the pageant. The first attempt was in the early evening and she and the horse were both dressed beautifully. But when we began to shoot, something spooked Daisy and in seconds Destiny was thrown in the mud and water and Daisy was also soaked. I was so impressed with her resolve as she rose from the mud, mounted and steadied the horse. However, I asked if we could arrange to shoot again the following day after the regalia had been cleaned.  In the early morning this image appeared.

 

Annika Haas July 28, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Russia.
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Slantsy, Russia 2014

Annika Haas (b. 1974, Estonia) started to take photos when she was 13 years old. She studied at University of Tartu specialized in Finno-Ugric languages and also studied photojournalism at Tartu Art College. Annika also attended courses at the Photo Opportunity Studios (2003) and courses in Documentary Photography at the foto8 gallery in London (2012). She is a member of the board the Estonian Association of Press Photographers. Her work has been published in: The Washington Post, Lens Culture Magazine, Freundin and Aamulehti. This year she won a Grand Prize in Estonian Press Photo contest.

About the Photograph:

“As a resident of a state occupied by the former Soviet empire, I found that after closure of our eastern border, a trip from Estonia to Russia seems like time-travel. While standing on the shore of Lake Peipus that separates Europe from Russia, you begin to think about the life on the other shore. After several years, I had the opportunity to visit Russia. In Slantsy – a Russian border zone city, where you need a special permit to stay there – I found a bridal gown hanging on the clothesline in a backyard of dismal barrack housing. It seemed so inappropriate in this lonesome and deserted quarter, the contrast between the shabby surroundings and the glamor of the garment. It’s a reflection of social and public clashes so characteristic of Russia – deep poverty on the one hand, and  the yearning for the West, so forbidden, yet so sweet found in the deepest corners of the Russian soul.”

Tom Leininger July 24, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Story Time in my son Alex’s room. Denton, Texas 2012

Tom Leininger (b.1971, United States) knew he wanted to work in newspapers the first time he shadowed a photographer to a high school football game. After graduating from the University of Kansas’ William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, he moved to Indiana where he worked for 11 years as a daily newspaper photographer. Tom holds an MFA from the University of North Texas College of Visual Arts and Design. His photographs have been exhibited at the Photographic Center Northwest, McNeese State University, Texas Woman’s University, Rayko Photo Center and projected at the Annenberg Space for Photography among other venues. Currently, Tom is exploring the intersecting ideas of family and suburban life. He is also an adjunct instructor and photography lab manager at the University of North Texas as well as photography book reviewer for Photo-eye.

About the Photograph:

“I have been documenting the lives of my children from the moment of their births. In a way, they gave the joy of photography back to me. This was the initial spark that carried me into graduate school. When I started school, I was spending more time with the kids because of my schedule. This lead me to document their daily lives, as I would have as a journalist. As the children grow, the project changes. This project has changed as they grow and our lives change. Here is a moment I found after coming home from teaching a night class and found my wife Katrena reading to Sofia and Alex. I am interested in finding pictures that present aspects of life that are real and meaningful.”

Nick Hannes July 21, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in France.
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French Mediterranean coast
Saint Tropez, France, 2013

Nick Hannes (b. 1974, Belgium) studied photography at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK) in Ghent. After ten years of working as a photojournalist, he decided to concentrate on self-initiated documentary projects on social and political issues. He published two books: Red Journey’, a documentary about the former Soviet Union, and Traditions, a book on party culture in Belgium. His third book The Continuity of Man, will be launched at the end of 2014 at the Museum of Photography in Antwerp. Nick teaches documentary photography at The School of Arts in Ghent. He has exhibited in Foto Museum (Antwerp), Bozar Centre for Fine Arts (Brussels), Flanders Center (Osaka), Breda Photo (Breda) amongst others. He is represented by Cosmos Paris.

About the Photograph:

“A Senegalese migrant is selling sun hats to two Italian twin sisters on the fancy beach of Pampelonne in Saint-Tropez, southern-France. Travelling the Mediterranean coasts I encountered these African street hawkers all over. They go where the tourists go. When it rains, they sell umbrellas and plastic ponchos, when it’s hot, they carry sunglasses and hats along. Its a matter of survival to them. This photograph is part of my series The Continuity of Man, a visual portrait of the Mediterranean region. From early 2010 untill now I have been travelling the Mediteranean coast in twenty countries in Europe, the Middle East and North-Africa. I focused on various contemporary issues such as migration, mass tourism, urbanization and its impact on the natural landscape. I found out that these topics are often linked to each other, as this picture proves.”

“The Mediterranean region regularly hits the headlines. The eurocrisis in Greece, the Arab spring, the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, the unverifiable influx of immigrants in Europe, are some other tendencies that determines the region’s zeitgeist. Although The Continuity of Man is not intended to be a journalistic body of work, traces of these evolutions emerge throughout the documentary. In the end this series aims to give a well balanced kaleidoscopic view upon this extremely diverse region, and to put things in perspective. Monaco and Gaza are both situated on the Mediterranean shore. The book‘ will be launched in November 2014, with an exhibition at the Museum of Photography in Antwerp, Belgium.”

Charles Mostoller July 17, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Venezuela.
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Demonstration celebrating the Ninth anniversary of Chavez’s return to power. Caracas,  2011.

Charles Mostoller  (b. 1986, USA) is a freelance photojournalist and documentary photographer based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism in New York, and attended the 25th Eddie Adams Workshop in 2012. His work has been published in National Geographic, The New York Times, The Miami Herald, Mother Jones, MSNBC and The Guardian, Charles is a contributor to Reuters, and has worked with ZUMA Press and SIPA Presss in the past. He is currently working on a book of his work from Venezuela.

About the Photograph:

“In the spring of 2011, I traveled to Venezuela for the first time to explore the political situation, not knowing at the time that I would be covering some of President Hugo Chavez’ last public appearances before undergoing treatment for cancer in Cuba. This photograph was taken on the ninth anniversary of the failed 2002 coup attempt against Chavez. Tens of thousands of people, including thousands of citizen militiamen and women, flocked to the capital Caracas to celebrate the Chavista movement, known as the Bolivarian Revolution. The framed portrait depicts Simon Bolivar, considered the Liberator for his role in South American independence movements in the early 1800’s and the intellectual cornerstone of Hugo Chavez’s socialist regime.”

Paolo Marchetti July 14, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Italy.
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Skinhead gathering in the Lazio region of Italy. 2010.

Paolo Marchetti (b. 1974, Italy) began his photographic studies with particular attention to anthropology issues. His work has been published in magazines such as TIME, Newsweek, The Guardian, De Spiegel, Geo, 6Mois and others. Paolo’s photographs have been recognized from Photo District News, The National Press Photographer’s Association and Leica. In 2013 he won the ANI Pix-Palace Award in Perpignan. He is based in Rome.

About the Photograph:

“Young Italian skinheads during an Hawaiian party on the coast of Lazio. Each year, the Italian skins come together on the Italian coast (in the region of Lazio) and celebrate the beginning of summer, wearing Hawaiian style clothes. The rules are simple, there are three. No one can speak about the Hawaiian party before participating, everyone must wear Hawaiians and the last rule is that no one should talk about it after attending. The event lasted twenty-four hours from lunch on a Saturday until the following day with plenty of live music. There were skins from England, Spain and Hungary- a strong network exists between European skinheads, a bond of brotherhood but the Hawaian party theme is an Italian tradition.”

Maria Plotnikova July 10, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Brazil.
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Christmas in Sao Paulo, Brazil 2013

Maria Plotnikova (b. 1984, Russia) studied Philology at the Moscow State Pedagogical University. In 2006 until 2010 she worked as a sports photographer in Moscow for Izvestia, Novaya Gazeta and TASS. In 2010 she moved to Buenos Aires and later to Sao Paulo. In Latin America, she became interested in street photography. Since 2012 she has been a member of the international collective Street Photographers. Maria’s work has been exhibited in Argentina (Festival of Light, 2012), United States (The Fence Festival, 2013), Georgia (Tbilisi Photo Festival, 2013), Lithuania (Vilnius Photo Circle Festival, 2013) and Russia (Photovisa Festival, 2013-14).

About the Photograph:

“I love the Christmas season. Beings from Russia, for me winter is as integral a part as the ocean and the heat are for Brazilians. The last few years my husband and I have lived in South America and the one thing to which I can´t get accustomed to is the opposite order of the seasons. Christmas and New Year’s are linked with snow and cold for me. When Christmas holidays are approaching in South America, I’m waiting with nostalgia. I like how people prepare for Christmas in Brazil. Despite the fact that snow doesn’t exist here, every shopping mall is decorated with Santa Claus and all the trappings of a winter holiday: boots, hats, reindeers and Christmas trees. Once in Sao Paulo I passed a shopping mall and a huge Santa Claus drew my attention. People were dressed in summer clothes and Santa, this solitary guest from the defunct Brazilian winter looked very absurd. I think this situation alludes to an eternal contradiction of human existence, expressed in a proverb that the glass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”

Laura Morton July 7, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Debutante Ball in San Francisco, 2009

Laura Morton (b. 1984, USA) grew up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. and began to pursue a career in photojournalism during her undergraduate studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she graduated in 2006 with a degree in Political Science and Journalism. Her personal work currently focuses on wealth and the way it affects those who have it. She has received a 2014 Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund grant and is a winner of the 2013 Magenta Flash Forward Emerging Photographers exchange. Her series The Social Stage was awarded in the 2012 PDN Photo Annual and was a winner of the 2013 Hearst 8X10 Photography Biennial. She is based in San Francisco where she is contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal and Getty Global Assignment.

About the Photograph:

“This photo was taken at a debutante ball in San Francisco. I wanted to explore coming-of-age rituals for women and was particularly drawn to debutante balls because of the deep-rooted history of these events. Historically their purpose was to introduce young women to society so that they could find suitable husbands. Today most of the events are focused on giving girls the confidence, connections and social skills to help them succeed in college and later on in their careers. It’s surprising to think about how the opportunities available to women in this country have changed in the last decades. I wanted to explore who these girls were and why they chose to participate in what is often described as an antiquated ritual. This photograph was taken just before the ball. You can see the debutantes and their escorts relaxing after long hours spent preparing for the festivities. I loved this scene because everyone seemed to be engrossed in their own thoughts. As a photographer, I’m particularly drawn to different layers and my favorite photos are often ones you have to study and linger on for a moment. When the employee from the hotel started setting up the chairs in the background, unnoticed by the debutantes and their escorts, I knew I’d gotten the shot I wanted.”

Bryan Schutmaat June 19, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Ellie, Wyoming 2010

Editor’s Note: I will be taking off for a two week summer break and leave you with Bryan’s photograph and backstory to reflect on. Happy solstice. New postings will continue on July 7th. ~ Geoffrey Hiller

Bryan Schutmaat (b. 1983) is an American photographer whose work has been widely exhibited and published in the United States and overseas. He has won numerous awards, including the 2013 Aperture Portfolio Prize, Center’s 2013 Galllerist’s Choice Awards, the 2013 Daylight Photo Awards, and the 2011 Carl Crow Memorial Fellowship, among many others. In 2014 Bryan was selected for PDN’s 30 new photographers to watch; in 2013, Dazed Magazine named Bryan one of Paris Photo’s “breakout stars,” and he was chosen as a Flash Forward Emerging Photographer by the Magenta Foundation. His first monograph, Grays the Mountain Sends, was published by the Silas Finch Foundation in 2013 to international critical acclaim. His photos can be found in the permanent collection at the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and numerous private collections. He lives in Austin, Texas and is represented by Sasha Wolf Gallery in New York City.

About the Photograph:

“The process for this photo was entirely different than all the other portraits in Grays the Mountain Sends, and, in a way, I don’t consider it part of the project. In the book, it comes after the colophon – a sort of coda that comes just before the book is closed. ‘Ellie’ is photo I very much had in my mind before I made it – an homage to both Eggleston and the poet Richard Hugo. I’ve talked a lot about Richard Hugo as an influence, especially his poem, Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg. It’s a somewhat bitter, hopeless poem, but the final few lines are uplifting: The car that brought you here still runs. / The money you buy lunch with, / no matter where it’s mined, is silver / and the girl who serves you food is slender and her red hair lights the wall. So my photo of the red haired girl is borrowed entirely from that last line, and she’s a ray of hope at the end of an otherwise pretty sad series. Like I said, I definitely had this photo in mind. I searched all over the American West for my red-haired waitress, or any waitress who had an illuminative presence.”

“There was a young waitress I found in Wyoming who was wonderful– the way she talked to the guys who came in, laughing and teasing with them. She made their days better. She was beautiful too. I made her portrait, but the picture I took didn’t evoke the right feeling. It was too direct, and she became a protagonist alongside the men, rather than the embodiment of this fleeting enchantment I felt when I imagined Hugo’s redhead. It would be better to have my photo distilled to the symbolic red hair, and I wanted her anonymous – not a portrait of her but what she resembled. I didn’t want her fulfilling happiness, but rather just giving a small taste of it so that the men’s struggle within the narrative would still remain when the book has ended.”

“At any rate, the picture I ended up making that worked was not a real waitress (a fact I try not to broadcast), though she was a stranger to me. I her met her in a bar in the early evening. It was a weekday, and she was alone in the outdoor portion of the bar, reading a book. Of course I was drawn immediately to her hair. We had a short, awkward conversation, and I explained to her that I would love to take her picture. We exchanged numbers and met up some days later at a nearby diner I had scouted out beforehand. The owner let us come in after hours and we borrowed his apron and notepad. This setup was strange to me at the time, because all the other portraits in the series were taken in a relatively rigid documentary vein. In no other instance did I photograph people in places other than where I encounter them (unless if I was invited into their homes, which are always excellent places to make portraits). This photo, however, was so refreshing to make, because I freed myself and imposed my will entirely, and I think it was an instrumental experience to my process moving forward.”

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