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Uliana Bazar September 30, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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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, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Dominican Repepublic.
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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, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Burma, Myanmar.
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Novice Monks, Bagan, Burma, 1987

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.


Bagan, Burma 1987

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, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Maldives.
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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, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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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, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Burma, Myanmar.
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Yangon 2012

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, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Venezuela.
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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, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Mongolia.
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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, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Spain.
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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.”

Maddie McGarvey August 26, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ohio University, United States.
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From story about Lyme Disease, Vermont 2013

Maddie McGarvey (b. 1990, United States) graduated from Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication with a degree in photojournalism in 2012. Maddie has interned for the San Francisco Chronicle and was a staff photographer at the Burlington Free Press in Vermont until August of 2013. She is now a freelance photographer based in Columbus, Ohio. Maddie was the recipient of the LUCEO Student Project Award and the James R. Gordon Ohio Understanding Award in 2011. She has been recognized by College Photographer of the Year, Hearst, and was runner-up Ohio Student Photographer of the Year in 2011. She was nominated for the Joop Swart Master Class in 2013 and attended the Eddie Adams Workshop in 2011. She has been published in Once Magazine, AARP Bulletin, The Washington Post, CNN.com, Education Week, USA Today and The Today Show.

About the Photograph:

“This is a photo of Greg Soll, a vegetable farmer in Vermont who was afflicted with Lyme Disease. One tick bite seriously affected the way he lived and worked for a long time. Farmers are used to putting in 14-18 hour days and suddenly he was constantly exhausted and couldn’t even use his right arm. He had to fight with doctors to even give him a Lyme test and unfortunately this has become a norm. More and more farmers are contracting Lyme disease and less doctors will diagnose and treat it. I spent the day with Greg while he farmed. While things are mostly back to normal for him, he still gets tired easily and has to take breaks often. But because farming is his way of sustaining himself and making a living, he fights through the pain and exhaustion to get his work done.”

Tommaso Protti August 22, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Turkey.
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From the project about Kurds in Turkey. Mardin, Anatolia 2012

Tommaso Protti (1986, Italy) grew up in Rome and is currently based in London. His interest in social problems led him to getting a degree in Political Science and then into photography. He worked as an assistant to Francesco Zizola and received an MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication. His stories document social, political and environmental issues. Tommaso’s work has been widely exhibited in Italy and the UK. He received a Lucie Award and two first prizes at the Fotoleggendo and Portfolio Italia. Tommaso is a contributing photographer with Le Monde and The New York Times, and a member of Reportage by Getty Images Emerging Talent.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph is part of a long-term project that aims to identify how social, political and economic factors have contributed to alienating the Kurdish minority in Turkey, and to capture the social fabric of the region and Kurdish struggle to obtain full recognition of their cultural identity. The photo was made inside a primary school in Mardin, one of the largest cities in the southeastern Anatolia region where the Kurdish population is predominant.”

“I wanted to raise questions about the issue of the Kurdish language and the fact that it has not yet been fully recognized and authorized to be taught in Turkey. The language challenged the national myth that all citizens of Turkey are ethnic Turks. So it was treated as a crime against the state. Repression and forced assimilation were so brutal that many Kurds in Turkey no longer speak Kurdish fluently. When I saw the portrait of Musafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder father of the Turkish Republic, inside the school I immediately thought that it could symbolize in a picture the strength of the Turkish State and its strict control over the young Kurdish generations. The rest was a patient aesthetic research of how to combine all the elements available to me, and the wait to place everything in a spontaneous way.”

Farzana Wahidy August 19, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Afghanistan.
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From a story on Women in Afghanistan. Jawzjan Province 2010

Editor’s note: Farzana is one of the photographers featured in ‘Frame by Frame’, a documentary film project that follows four Afghan photographers to explore the recent revolution of local photojournalism in Afghanistan. It looks like a worthy project now up on Kickstarter.

Farzana Wahidy (b.1984, Afghanistan) grew up in Kandahar and moved to Kabul at the age of six. After the Taliban came to power and prohibited the education of women, she secretly attended an underground school located in an apartment with 300 other girls. When the Taliban were defeated, Farzana continued her education, completing high school, then enrolled in a two-year program sponsored by AINA Photojournalism Institute. In 2004, she began working part-time as a photojournalist for Agence-France Presse, becoming the first female Afghan photojournalist to work for an international wire service. Her work has been published  in The Sunday Times, and Le Monde.

About the Photograph:

“This photo was made in a rural area of northern Afghanistan where a number of Afghan women who are not able to work outside of their homes are busy weaving carpets. They start learning to weave at a very early age when they are still children and continue until they can hardly see or even sit any more. Some of these women not only use hashish themselves but also give it to their kids to fall asleep so they aren’t bothered by them while they are working.”

Sébastien Van Malleghem August 15, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Belgium.
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Paifve Prison. Liège, Belgium 2011

Sébastien Van Malleghem (b. 1986, Belgium) studied photography in Brussels from 2006 to 2009. For four years he followed police officers and their interaction with the public in Belgium. Sébastien went to Libya in 2012 to cover the ruins of power after the death of Gaddafi. His work has been published in The New York Time Lens Blog, La letter de la Photographie Le Soir (be), Le Vif l’express (be) among others. His first monograph POLICE was published in Yellow Now Edition. Sébastien won the Foto Folio Review Award in Les Rencontres d’Arles , the Young Talent Artist Prize at the Belgium National Collection RTBF/ Canvas Collectie awards and the third prize at the European Month of Photography in Berlin.

About the Photograph:

“This photo was taken in one of the largest prisons for mentally ill criminals. The two prisoners in the courtyard of the prison are on their way to work duty. It reminded me of a prison camp during World War II. The prison administers psychiatric help to the inmates but most of their illnesses are not curable. Most of them don’t know when they will be released. They receive medication three times a day to calm down. The prison guards are kind with the inmates and most of the time have a friendly relationship with them but because of their illness they can suddenly change and become really aggressive and dangerous. In general there is a good atmosphere inside of the prison but also something really sad. There are only a few people outside who want to understand them because of their incarceration. This photo is part of a series I’m currently working on about the idea of justice in Belgium and in Europe.”

Go Takayama August 12, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.
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Kyrgyz- Chinese family. One Year Death Anniversary of their Child.  Xinjiang, China 2012

Go Takayama (b.1982, Japan) grew up in Japan and spent most of his twenties in U.S.A. Over the past three years, he has been pursuing his own ethnic passion working on several personal projects in China. Go received a BA in visual communication and political science in 2008 from Ohio University. He attended Truth With a Camera Workshop (2007), American Diversity Project (2008), Missouri Photo Workshop (2009), Angkor Photo Workshop (2010), and the Eddie Adams Workshop (2011). He received Best of American Society of Media Photographer in 2012. His work has appeared in Prestige Hong Kong, ElleMEN, Aera, Casa Brutus and the Wall Street Journal.

About the photograph:

“This photograph was taken on the first day I met an ethnic Kyrgyz Chinese family, now the subject of my first series of The Edge, about the resettlement and urbanizing community as a result of the completion of the Kayi Expressway in Xinjiang Autonomous region of China. The parents of the family are retired nomads. Now only three out of six of their children carry on a nomadic life up in the mountains. When I arrived and saw their mud-and-thatch house, the family was having the first annual anniversary for their lost son, who died of poor health at only six years of age. The family members and their relatives were visiting the lost son’s grave as they cleaned and prepared a meal. The Kyrgyz Chinese are one of the Islamic minorities in China and transforming generations from nomadic herdsmen to fixed community residents. This is an on-going project to observe the changes imposed as their new town urbanizes after China’s completion of the world’s largest highway network.”

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