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Marion Gambin January 30, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in India, Kashmir.
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Gulmarg
Gulmarg, Kashmir, India 2010

Marion Gambin (b.1985, France) obtained her undergraduate degree (BFA) in the Beaux-Arts of Toulouse and joined the photography section of the ENS Louis-Lumière from which she graduated with a Masters in Photography in June 2011. She has worked on assignment for Libération, Le Monde, Causette and Internazionale. Her personal work is close to the new documentary photography, with a special emphasis on portrait. It has been showed in the Phnom Penh photo festival and the Pluie d’Images festival at Brest, France. Marion currently lives in Paris.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph shows the view of Kongdoori, in Gulmarg at a small ski station in Indian Kashmir. Situated at 8,500 feet, this town claims to have the ‘highest ski lift in the world. This village scene is popular with Western tourists who like winter sports, and with privileged Indians during summer. Like the former British colonials, the Indian vacationers come to enjoy the cool weather and picturesque setting. Generally these Indian tourists come to Gulmarg as if they were going to Disneyland, staying just a few days to ride the lift, touch the snow and go sledding. The young couple in the photograph is here on honeymoon.”

“The area is heavily patrolled by the military, with several checkpoints at the entrance to the town. The region has been in conflict since the partition of India from Pakistan at the end of the colonial era 60 years ago, with both countries still claiming rights to the territory of Kashmir. This trouble explains why the construction of the ski lift took such a long time, more than 15 years, interrupted by violence, including the kidnapping of French engineers. But today Gulmarg seems perfectly peaceful, since the Indian government has made a special effort to ensure the security of the area.”

Robert Nickelsberg June 10, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in India, Kashmir.
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Shah-i-Hamadan shrine in Srinagar, Kashmir 2010

Robert Nickelsberg (b. 1950, United States) has been TIME magazine contract photographer for 25 years based in New Delhi from 1988 to 2000. During that time, he documented conflicts in Kashmir, Iraq, Sri Lanka, India and Afghanistan. He was one of the few photographers who had first hand exposure to the early days of the rise of fundamentalist groups in the Afghanistan-Pakistan tribal areas and al-Qaeda, and his work provides a unique up close view of the Soviet withdrawal, the rise of the Taliban and the invasion by the U.S. Robert moved to New York in 2000 and continues to travel overseas – reporting on the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003 – and focus on chronicling the devastating psychological effects of war in Kashmir. In 2008, he was awarded grants from the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, and from the South Asia Journalists Association to document and report on post-traumatic stress disorder in Kashmir after 20 years of insurgency. He serves on the advisory board of the Kashmir Initiative at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University.

About the Photograph:

“I’ve been visiting the Shah-i-Hamadan mosque for over two decades. It’s one of a series of historic shrines that lace Srinagar’s old city, built with colorful paper mache artwork skillfully placed throughout the building. Regardless of when you visit the shrine, a special peacefulness prevails whether it’s during the uncrowded early morning or mid-afternoon hours or during prayer time when the mosque’s floors are usually filled. The photograph was taken of the women’s section at the end of Friday’s mid-day Jumma prayers when women linger to recite prayers from the Koran or greet their neighbors before walking home. It’s an island of tranquility, where Sufi spirituality serves as a healing mechanism for a population effected by chronic violence and trauma. Not only do the bereaved find comfort and refuge here, but so do occasional travelers.”

“The wooden shrine was the first mosque built in Kashmir in 1395 by the Persian saint Mir Sayed Ali Hamadani. Many Kashmiri civilians suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder seek refuge in prayer and song (as well as attending medical clinics and hospitals). The numerous shrines in Kashmir provide a peaceful sanctuary to a population suffering from more than twenty-years of violence between Kashmiri Muslims, Islamic militants and the Indian Army. More than 70,000 civilians have died in the fighting beginning in 1989.”

Andy Spyra June 16, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in India, Kashmir.
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Srinagar, Kashmir 2008

Andy Spyra (born 1984, Germany) graduated from school in 2006 and following travels to Central America and SE Asia worked as a freelance photographer for a local newspaper in his hometown of  Hagen, Germany. He later studied photography at the Fachhochschule in Hannover where he graduated in 2007. Andy has received grants and recognition from: Getty (Editorial Grant), Sony World Photography, POYl and PDN Emerging 30 (2010). His work has been published in Geo, Stern, One-Mag, Middle East Report, 360° Magazine, and Amnesty International. He is currently pursuing personal projects in the Balkans and the middle East.

About the Photograph:

“The photograph is part of my long term project on Kashmir. The people were mourning over the destruction of their houses by the local government, which claimed that the houses were build illegally on the shores of Dal lake and therefore had to be removed. The fact is, at the time of construction, no building permits or anything like that existed. As part of an ecologic campaign to save the rapidly shrinking and polluted Dal Lake the government is trying to move people away and resettle them somewhere in the countryside of Kashmir. Obviously most people don’t want to leave their homes voluntary so the government comes back with force and destroys the houses. Why this has to happen at the beginning of the long and cold Kashmiri winter is a question that remains unanswered.”

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Teru Kuwayama October 21, 2009

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Kashmir.
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Earthquake Victims, Kashmir 2005

Teru Kuwayama’s (b. 1974, Japan) photographs have appeared in magazines including Time, Newsweek, National Geographic, Outside, Fortune, and Vibe. His work on the Tibetan refugee diaspora received awards from the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Alexia Foundation for World Peace, and have been exhibited at the Open Society Institute and at the United Nations. In 2004, Esquire magazine profiled him as among the “Best and Brightest” of his generation for his reportage on the occupation of Iraq. In 2005, PDN cited his work in Kashmir in a selection of the most iconic images in contemporary photography. In 2006 he received a Nikon Storyteller Award, a Days Japan International Photojournalism Award, and a W. Eugene Smith fellowship for his work on Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. He is the founder Lightstalker’s and is currently a Knight Fellow at Stanford University.

About the Photograph:

“On October 8th, 2005, a massive earthquake struck south-central Asia, with its epicenter in Pakistan administered Kashmir, and the Northwest Frontier Province. 80,000 people were killed in a single morning, with 3.5 million survivors displaced. In the wake of the earthquake, there was a fear that an even greater number of people would die of communicable diseases like cholera. The photograph was made at dusk in an IDP camp in Muzzafarabad, Azad Kashmir, as the women and children of were gathered for inoculations.”

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