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Randy Olson “One Little Hammer” April 3, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Multimedia.
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Randy Olson (b.1957, USA) worked as a newspaper photographer at The Pittsburgh Press and received an Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellowship in 1995 to support a seven-year project documenting a family with AIDS, and a first place Robert F. Kennedy Award for his story on problems with Section 8 housing in 1991. He was awarded the Nikon Sabbatical grant and a grant from the National Archives to save the Pictures of the Year collection. In addition to the National Geographic Society his work has been published in LIFE, GEO, Smithsonian and other magazines. Randy’s 30+ National Geographic projects have taken him to almost every continent. The National Geographic Society published a book of his work in 2011 in their Masters of Photography series. He was the Magazine Photographer of the Year in the 2003 Pictures of the Year International competition, and was also awarded POYi’s Newspaper Photographer of the Year in 1991. In 2011, Randy founded The Photo Society.

Randy Olson on Creating The Tray for National Geographic:

“The question I get most often is: ‘How do I become a National Geographic Photographer?’ The answer to that is multi-dimensional, but I think my best answer is that you have to understand the concept of THE TRAY—a process unique to National Geographic Magazine.

We used to shoot 500 to 800 rolls of film on an assignment. Think about a dedicated photographer getting up before dawn, working through the day, and then repeat that day for two months or so to have as the final result 60 pieces of cellulose in cardboard frames in a circular piece of plastic. These photographers would then carry this Kodak-inspired invention through the hallways with such reverence because it represented so much commitment on their part. I remember when a photographer had a tray stolen out of his car which represented many years of work. These slides were original works and there was no way to replace them. You couldn’t just download them again from your Flickr account.

The best way I can describe the concept of the tray is that you are doing the storyboard for a small movie, but you never move on to do the actual movie. The storyboard is a slideshow that describes in great visuals as well as organized, conceptual detail, the place, culture, or critter you are doing a story about. There is a lot of work that allows this to happen. If you are in the field for one, two, or three months you have to keep track of all of the storyboards, either in your head, in notes, (or some kept Polaroids), and now we keep track of our storyboard as key digital frames organized on the computer. Each storyboard represents a basic concept of the place or people you are trying to document. Each storyboard represents a fact as you have come to know it and those facts are strung in inverted pyramid style in visual language.

As you are working you have to keep in mind the gaps in your storyboard. When someone from this place or culture looks at your story, will they see it as hitting all the right notes? When you go into a projection room and the lights go down and the slides go up, the sound bites should move you seamlessly from one visual idea to the next accompanying visual idea. The sad part of this story is that for all these years that these trays have been produced, the public only gets to see the subset—the lesser number of published photographs in the magazine—the storyboard without the connective tissue. This is changing with the web now and will change more as our electronic canvas gets bigger and bigger.

Ciril Jazbec March 31, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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From a story about climate change. Shishmaref Island, Alaska 2012

Ciril Jazbec (b.1987, Slovenia) studied management at the Faculty of Economics before moving to London where he graduated from the MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography program at the London College of Communication in 2011. His photographs have been published in: GEO Germany, The New York Times, Der Spiegel, Marie Claire Italy, La Repubblica, WIRED UK and National Geographic Traveler. Ciril’s work has been recognized by Les Rencontres d’Arles- Photo Folio Review Award, (2013), Leica Oskar Barnack Award, Eddie Adams Workshop- National Geographic Award (2013), VISA Pour L’Image Perpignan – Coup de coeur ANI (2013), the PDN Photo Annual Student Work (2012) and a finalist for the Lens Culture Exposure Awards (2013).

About the Photograph:

“I was on assignment for Geo in the northwest corner of Alaska working on story about Shishmaref island. This photo was taken on a hunting trip with a local family. Mother Nora is explaining to her sons Kenny and Corben where to look for reindeer during a boat-ride up the Serpentine River. Hunting requires great focus and a good eye, as the wildlife in the tundra knows how to hide from hunters. The photo series documents the daily life in the community as it is today and the disappearing traditional ways in a village facing an uncertain future.”

“Shishmaref is a modern Inupiaq Eskimo community that has found itself in the path of climate change. The island lies in the Chukchi Sea that stretches from Alaska to Siberia. The island is threatened by erosion, storms and inclement weather, as well as by the thawing of permafrost, which lies below a thin layer of soil.”

Thierry Clech March 27, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in France.
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Homage to Jacques Tati. La Defense France 2013

Thierry Clech (b. 1965, France) works exclusively in black and white film. His photographs have been published in Le Figaro, Canal +, La Voix du Nord, Private Magazine (UK) and Photoworks Magazine (UK). He has also published two books in collaboration with the French novelists Philippe Jaenada and Bernard Chambaz. Thierry’s work has been exhibited in France and abroad at the National Library of Belarus, Voix off Arles and Galerie Nadar in Tourcoing, France. He is currently based in Paris.

About the Photograph:

“There was a time when I often photographed the business district of La Defense, near Paris. I’m fascinated by this place – a kind of universal nowhere. The series, in French, is titled Sans Défense. This means both that humans seem weak compared to the huge buildings and that the place is a utopia that exists only in our dreams or nightmares. To complete this series, I went back a few days last summer, wandering between towers and watching executives dressed in dark suits, waiting, at the end of the afternoon, for the time when all employees rush to the metro stations. After a day of shooting I noticed this merry-go-round, and this amazing vision of the wheelchair between the horse and carriage. I do not know if this picture is funny or sad, but I love the confusion with the wheelchair – which brings me moreover to Jacques Tati, who often used this type of gag in his films.”

Zoé Beausire March 24, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Switzerland.
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Switzerland 2010

Zoé Beausire (b.1987, Switzerland) graduated from ECAL, Lausanne University of Art in 2010. Her work is focused on documentary photography and how telling stories is a way of questioning reality. Zoe’s photographs have  been exhibited at the Kominek Gallery and her last Book was part of the exhibition Livres at the Outono Photo Festival in Spain. She published Rosette, Mauricette et Roby with Kominek in 2012 and self-published “Where the Birds Used to Sing” in 2013. Zoé is currently based in Berlin.

About the Photograph”

“This photograph is part of a larger project called Rosette, Mauricette et Roby documenting the lives of three protagonists. The overall work deals with aging and the inevitable alteration of social life and participation. This project questions the relationship of life and death. Rosette and Maurciette are sisters. Both of them raised their children alone and worked in the same factory in a small Swiss town all their lives. They lived really close to each other and spent a lot of time helping one another. Through their common habits and shared ordeals, Rosette and Mauricietee have developed a deep mutual affection. The photograph is the symbolic illustration of this relationship made of tenderness but also of a certain brutality. It shows the ambivalence existing in any kind of profound bond between two people, the ambivalence of related emotions as well as the feelings between love and interdependence symbolizing the loss of individuality and freedom.”

Farhad Berahman March 20, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Nepal.
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Wedding band rehearsing. Bhaktapur, Nepal 2006

Farhad Berahman (b. 1981, Iran) is a documentary photographer based in the Middle East and the UK specializing in social documentary, travel and editorial photography. He began his professional career with Associated Press in the UAE and Middle East in 2006. Farhad was nominated from the World Press Photo as the best young talented photographer in the MENA region in 2009 and his work has appeared in publications around the globe such as The New York Times, The Guardian, Figaro, The Washington Post and El Pais.

About the Photograph:

“It was the third month of my journey through Asia, when I had to go to Nepal to change my visa and return back to India. I was amazed by the beauty of Nepal- the views of  the Himalaya’s, the architecture and culture. The most interesting place, which made me stay longer, was the ancient city of Bhaktapur, known as the Living Heritage. It was a Friday afternoon when I was walking through this historical place and I heard a music playing from far away. I walked through the narrow streets to find the source. There was a band rehearsing for a wedding. They specialized in performing at weddings, festivals, and street processions. Their role has been vital from the very beginning of times, as it signified the groom traveling miles to bring the bride home with the sound of joy. The music lifted the spirits of all in the wedding parade that followed.”

Natalie Keyssar March 17, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Dancehall party, Brooklyn 2013

Natalie Keyssar (b. 1984, USA) received her BFA in Painting and Illustration from Pratt Institute in 2009, she began to pursue photojournalism, which fused her love for visual storytelling with her deep interest in social justice. She is currently a member of Reportage by Getty Images Emerging Talent, a regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal, and works for a variety of other publications and organizations. Much of her personal work has focused on the themes of class inequality, and the cultures on the fringes of society. She was a 2013 Global Post Fellow for the “Burma Telling Its Own Story” project in Myanmar. Her work has been recognized with awards from American Photography 29, the NPPA, and The International Color Awards.

About the Photograph

“This is a picture from an ongoing project about the the Caribbean dancehall scene in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, and the lives of the youth who are involved in it. The work explores a range of themes, from gender and sexuality and its expression in this form of dance, to the violence which seems to penetrate the lives of so many of these youth despite their best attempts to keep things positive and productive. Following these young dancers has lead me in several directions, many far outside the nightclubs where the project started, but I never cease to be amazed by the power and raw energy that they channel when they start moving together.”

“I shot this at a dancehall party around 3 a.m. on March 22nd, 2013, in East Flatbush, around the time the dance teams really get going and start competing with each other for the spotlight of the party videographers who post footage from the events on the internet. The energy of the crowd builds up and their focus comes together, first on one crew, then another. There’s an electricity that escalates as one group works to top the last, and their feet are moving in unison through steps that they work on every day, in their living rooms, and basements, and bedrooms. Dancehall music plays a complex role for youth growing up in what is often a very difficult environment. At times it seems to reinforce objectifying roles for women, and aggressive posturing for men, yet I’ve also come to see it as an important outlet, and a source of real empowerment, with roots in Caribbean Culture. In so many ways the system is failing these kids, and through this subculture they’re creating a space where they can strive for perfection and relieve some stress.”

Jana Asenbrennerova March 13, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Czech Republic.
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Father Julian and Father Ferdinand. Retired Priests, Czech Republic 2011

Jana Asenbrennerova (b.1981, Czech Republic) studied directing at the Film Academy in Písek and came to the USA in 2003 to continue her education. After graduating from San Francisco State University and completing internships at the San Francisco Chronicle and the Kathmandu Post in Nepal she started freelancing for a variety of publications including Lidé a Země and Reuters. Jana received awards from National Geographic, Czech Press Photo, China Press Photo, PDN, CPOY and most recently World Press Photo (an honorary mention in the Daily Life category for her story about the gay community in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

About the Photographs:

“These two images are from a portrait series about retired priests. They live in a 24 hour care retirement home dedicated entirely to members of the church. The priests continue to lead their spiritual lives, taking turns  attending daily mass and participating in prayers with each other. Despite the fact that the Czech Republic is one of the most atheist countries in the world, there are several homes exclusively for retired priests throughout the country. When I first visited the priests my initial idea was to do a reportage about them. I visited them regularly and after two months I wanted to do an individual portrait of each one of them. I thought of a concept and then told them what I had in mind. At that point I had made so many photos of them and they had gotten used to me. I wanted them all to dress the same in their cassock preferably which they used in the church.”

“The main challenge was their mobility. Just to sit straight and keep looking at the camera was not easy. For example to photograph Father Julian – who is no longer alive- was quite challenging. He was in a wheelchair and his movement was very limited. I dressed him and noticed it was tiring for him to even just change outfits. So by the time he was positioned for the portrait I knew he couldn’t take more then five minutes. So I stopped shooting and trusted I got the shot which needed to be consistent with the others. It was similar with Father Ferdinand. He is nearly one hundred years old. It was a great experience to work and get to know these men. They have a fantastic sense of humor and are great storytellers. I’m always impressed by their memory. Regardless of their age they are curious and actively keep on learning. It wasn’t a surprise to me when one day I visited Father Xaver who is in his ninties and he greeted me with Bonjour as he was learning French.”

Robert McPherson March 10, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Mongolia.
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Kazakhs building a Ger in Mongolia, 2012

Robert McPherson (b.1982, Norway) began freelancing for Norway’s Aftenposten national newspaper in 2011. He is a member of Metaphor Images, an international documentary photographer`s collective based in Australia. Robert studied for a Bachelor of Communications at Edith Cowan University in Perth, Western Australia. He graduated in 2006 with an honours degree focusing on documentary photography. During his studies he traveled to Kyrgyzstan and has since continued his long term documentary project on nomads in Central Asia. His work from the Kibera slum in Nairobi Kenya was part of an exhibition at Visa Pour l`Image in 2011. He has been nominated for the Picture of the Year Award in Norway for 2013 .

About the Photograph:

“During summertime nomads move camp more frequently in order to find pasture land for their animals. During wintertime they live in houses built of mud and wood. This image shows a moment during the set up of a new camp in summer. When I turned around I was struck by this Kazakh girl entering the unfinished Yurt (Ger) while her parents were taking a  break from construction. Kazakhs are descendants of Turkic and Mongol tribes and are pastoral nomads of the steppes of Kazakhstan and Mongolia. Most of the vast expanses of these countries are semi-arid land that is desolate and frozen in the winter and turns to lush, green meadow in mid-spring. The steppes are invaluable pastureland for the sheep, horses, cattle, and camels that are essential to the Kazakh people.
The ancestors of modern-day Kazakhs were nomadic or semi-nomadic, and many of their customs reflect that lifestyle. Nowadays, people live mostly in cities and villages, although some still lead an agricultural life. The nomadic culture is under threat from these changes in priorities.”

Eve Edelheit March 6, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Grand Prairie, Texas 2012

Eve Edelheit (b.1988, United States) is a photojournalist based in St. Petersburg, Florida who is currently working at the Tampa Bay Times. After graduating from the University of Missouri with a degree in Photojournalism she went to photojournalism internships at The Chautauquan Daily, The Peoria Journal Star, The Dallas Morning News and the Tampa Bay Times. She also studied at the Danish School of Journalism in Aarhus, Denmark. Her work has been recognized by the National Press Photographers Association and the Hearst Journalism Awards. She was accepted into the XXIV class of the Eddie Adams Workshop in 2011 and was recently awarded the Nikon Emerging Professional Scholarship Award at the 65th Missouri Photo Workshop.

About the Photograph

“This photo is from a larger project about Jonathan Cook who suffers from Ulcerative Colitis. In the photo his mother Janette reads the labels on different breakfast meats while grocery shopping with Jonathan shortly after he got out of the hospital in February 2012. Jonathan was weak after getting out of the hospital and didn’t feel up to walking around the store so he rode in a motorized cart. One thing colitis has in common with other chronic diseases in children, is how helpless it can make parents feel. Due to several of the medications he was on and his new serious condition, Jonathan’s diet became very limited. His new dietary restrictions became a constant struggle for the family as they began to realize how limited their food options were for not only Jonathan, but their entire family as their grocery bill began to exponentially increase.”

“This was the first project I had the opportunity to photograph for a longer period of time and learned what it truly meant to follow the journey of a story. The story I originally pitched to my editor never happened and I was reminded that we can’t try and predict or pre-visualize what we want to have happen in a story. You’ll get frustrated and miss what’s happening right in front of you. Due to various changes in his diet and new medications. Jonathan gained 35 pounds in a four month period after getting out of the hospital – some of which was to get him back to his normal body weight after not eating for two weeks.”

Mark Edward Harris March 3, 2014

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

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

About the Photograph:

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

Fatemeh Behboudi February 27, 2014

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

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

About the Photograph:

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

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

Lottie Hedley February 24, 2014

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

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

About the Photograph:

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

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

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

Arief Priyono February 20, 2014

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

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

About the Photograph:

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

William Eckersley February 17, 2014

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

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

About the Photograph:

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

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