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Aaron Sosa April 27, 2015

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Venezuela.
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Caracas, Venezuela 2007

Aaron Sosa (b. 1980, Venezuela) is a freelance photographer based in Panama City where he works serving agencies, international editorial and corporate clients. His work has been exhibited in over 100 gallery showings across Europe and Latin America. He is the recipient of numerous grants and awards for his documentary work and has served as an ambassador of the arts throughout Latin America on speaking tours and through teaching University-level workshops, most notably with the Latin American Kaleidoscope Project. In between assignments and travels, Sosa may be found roaming the streets with his Holga, up to his elbows in fixer in his darkroom or working with children’s NGOs to teach photography to disadvantaged youths in the slums of Caracas.

About the Photograph:

“The photo above was taken on April 14, 2007 during a rally of Chavez supporters and shows members of the army seen in the foreground against a health food store located in Puente Llaguno. It was the very same place where five years earlier a slaughter occurred during a rally against the government of Chavez. During his time in office, his supporters were called in to take part in demonstrations, The military police and national guard were a fundamental part of these concentrations. While Chavez was in power it was mandatory for public employees to attend meetings wearing red colored clothes as a way to express their support for the government.”

Tommy Ellingsen April 23, 2015

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Norway.
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Børge Hansen on his boat in Vesterålen, Norway 2014

Tommy Ellingsen (b. 1986, Norway) works for several major Norwegian newspapers and magazines. He is part of the European documentary collective, Project Sea Change, where 13 photographers have been documenting European youth. He has photographed young people in the small country of Iceland. Being half Icelandic, this assignment has been very personal. In 2012 Tommy won the award for picture of the year in Norway for a picture of the Norwegian prime minister mourning the Utøya massacre. Tommy is a member of a creative collective in Stavanger, and was a Nikon ambassador for two years.

About the Photograph:

“I shot this photo for DN Magasinet, a Norwegian business magazine together with journalist Toril Risholm. It’s the sound of money, the fisherman says while he aims for the cod with his gaff. The razor sharp steel sinks into the head of the cod as it appears on the water surface. Then he pulls the fish over the gunwale and into the boat. Børge is one of the few traditional fishermen who still goes out alone in his small boat to fish for cod in Vesterålen up in Northern Norway. The industry has been taken over by rich businessmen who buy the quotas from small boats and make a big profit using large trawlers. The new generation growing up don’t want to be fishermen. They want to work in the offshore oil industry or do something else. Fishing is one of the most dangerous professions and is in the process of disappearing. According to Børge, in ten years, there won’t be anymore traditional fishermen left.”

Daniel Traub April 19, 2015

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.
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Guangzhou, China 2012

Daniel Traub (b. 1971) is a Brooklyn based photographer and filmmaker. Since 1999, he has been engaged with long term photographic projects in China including Simplified Characters which explores the transformation of China’s cities, and Peripheries which looks at the border region where urban and rural China meet. Daniel’s photographs have been exhibited internationally, including solo exhibitions at the Catherine Edelman Gallery in Chicago, the Print Center in Philadelphia, and are in public and private collections including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. His work has appeared in publications including Aperture, European Photography and The New York Times Magazine. His first monograph, North Philadelphia, was published in 2014 by Kehrer Verlag.

About the Photograph:

“Xiaobeilu is a immigrant neighborhood in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou. It is home to internal Chinese migrants as well as tens of thousands of Africans, primarily Nigerians. The Africans, in particular, work largely as traders buying fabrics, electronics and machinery produced in the Pearl River Delta, and selling these products in Africa. Since 2009, I have been photographing the people and activities on a pedestrian bridge that runs through the neighborhood.

“On this bridge, I also came across a group of Chinese migrants with cheap digital cameras selling their services as photographers to Africans who might want a souvenir of their time in China. The Africans would hire them to make a portrait for 10 RMB ($1.50), which were then printed on a portable printer. I approached one of the photographers, Zeng Xian Fang, to have a look at the images and found them compelling. Zeng was taking the photographs purely as a means of survival, he would erase the camera’s memory cards at the end of each day. So I asked Zeng, and later  another photographer Wu Yong Fu, if they would be willing to allow me to collect the images and put them together in book form. They agreed so I bought them both portable hard drives. To date, I have collected over ten thousand of their images. The project as a whole, which consists of my photographs, the collected images and a film, offers insight into the complex and deepening relationship between China and Africa. Little North Road will be published in Fall 2015.”

Gaia Squarci April 16, 2015

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Gay Pride LGBT Parade, New York 2013

Gaia Squarci (b. 1988, Italy) is a photographer and cinematographer based in Brooklyn. She studied Art History at the University of Bologna and photojournalism at ICP. Since 2012 she’s been working on Broken Screen, a project about blindness, driven by her interest in the way physical perceptions influence people’s way to interact with one another, and within society. Gaia has also been documenting the activities of the Living Theatre, the oldest experimental theater group active in the USA, and the personal life of Judith Malina, who founded the company in 1947 with her husband Julian Beck. Gaia also shoots documentary video for personal projects and commissions. Her clients include the New York Times, the New Yorker, TIME Magazine, Vogue, the Wall Street Journal, MSNBC and Reuters.

About the Photograph:

“Just a few days before, the Supreme Court had ruled that married same-sex couples were entitled to federal benefits. The Gay Pride LGBT parade was blasting meters away. Downtown Manhattan was loud, and overflowing with people. I tried to take photos that could represent that moment in time and its meaning and also preserve a dignity of their own if taken out of context. I had stopped at a corner when the girl with the orange nails came by, framed by a food truck. I was hit by something timeless in her grace. We didn’t talk. I don’t know whether she and the other women in the photo were at the parade because of their life history, or because they simply supported the values that were bringing people to the street. Like many that day, they were both spectators and part of what was happening, not far from the Stonewall Inn.”

Ernesto Bazan April 13, 2015

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Cuba.
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Dog and Hawk, Viñales, Cuba 2002

Ernesto Bazan (b.1959, Italy) received his first camera when he was 14-years-old and began photographing daily life in his native city and in the rural areas of Sicily. Photography has been more than a profession: a true passion, a mission in his life. Ernesto has published several books including The Perpetual Past and Passing Through. His recently launched publishing house, BazanPhotos Publishing, released Bazan Cuba and Al Campo in 2011, an in-depth color exploration of life in the Cuban countryside. ISLA, the last part of his Cuban trilogy, was self-published in 2014. He has won The W. Eugene Smith Grant and the World Press Photo award. He has also received fellowships from the Alicia Patterson Foundation and a Guggenheim. His photographs are the the collections of  MoMA and ICP in New York, SFMoMA in San Francisco amoung others.

About the Photograph:

“My favorite image from Isla is probably the cover image, of a dog in the middle of a field looking up at what seems to be a flying hawk, while a farmer, in the background, takes his cows to pasture. When I took this image I was riding a horse. The vantage point is unique, but what makes the picture a true miracle are the elevated dog’s tail and his head looking up. They coalesce into what Roland Barthes would call the punctum. It’s a magical moment that, with a great amount of luck, turned into an ethereal, timeless photograph.”

Adriane Ohanesian April 8, 2015

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Burma, Myanmar.
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KIA military training in Kachin State, Myanmar 2013

Adriane Ohanesian (b.1986 USA) graduated from the International Center of Photography’s photojournalism and documentary photography program in 2010. Upon the completion of her degree, she moved to Khartoum, Sudan and has been photographing mainly in Africa ever since. Over the last few years Adriane has photographed in South Sudan, rebel controlled Sudan, Somalia, and rebel controlled Myanmar. Her work which documented the lives of the women rebel soldiers in Kachin State, Myanmar earned her recognition by Magnum Photos as one of the top ’30 under 30’ photographers for 2014. Adriane’s photographs have appeared in the New York Times, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic and TIME. She is currently based in Nairobi.

About the Photograph:

“My personal project on the women soldiers of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) was a challenge that I wanted to take on for myself as most of my work has been focused on eastern Africa. Kachin State, in northern Myanmar, is not solely controlled by the government, but is held by the KIA. The KIA is the last remaining major rebel group in Myanmar that has not signed a ceasefire agreement with the government. The women of Kachin have few opportunities in this isolated region aside from serving with the KIA. From the age of 16, women are eligible to join the army and they often remain there until they are discharged for marriage. While some join out of dedication to their people, others are forcibly recruited.”

“This photo was taken before sunrise on the KIA’s military base outside of the town of Mai Ja Yang, on the border of Myanmar and China. I had been granted permission to spend the night on the base. It was still dark outside and the only light came from an orange bulb that hung from the ceiling of the small hut where ten women slept side by side on a woven platform. The soldiers, having slept in their uniforms, were reluctant to wake up for their training and snuggled down under the blankets. This scene was important to me because I felt invisible, a comforting feeling that meant that the women were open to my presence. I was standing above these two women and was tiptoeing around the others that were sprawled out next to one another. This scene demonstrated the loneliness that I often saw amongst new recruits to the army. For most of the women, military training was their first experience away from their homes and their families, and now they only had each other to turn to for support.”

Xiaoxiao Xu April 6, 2015

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.
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Wenzhou Zoo, China 2013

Xiaoxiao Xu (b. 1984, China) moved to The Netherlands in 1999. In 2009 she graduated from the Photo Academy of Amsterdam. She was nominated for the Joop Swart Masterclass. Her work has been exhibited at The Lianzhou Photo festival in China, PhotoVille (New York), Noorderlicht (Netherlands), and the FotoMuseum in Antwerp. They have been published in GUP and Photo Raw magazine. In September 2014 her book The Way To The Golden Mountain about her hometown in China was released. Xiaoxiao currently lives in Amsterdam.

About the Photograph:

“I made this portrait of a caretaker and his monkey in the zoo at Wenzhou as part of my journey back to my hometown after moving to Holland. It’s one of the favorite places from my childhood. The location is literally on a mountain in the middle of the city. This zoo creates the illusion of letting animals live in the wild. When I saw this caretaker with the monkey I was immediately fascinated by the way he treated animal. He held the monkey like it was his baby and played with him. And then it was time for a break when he gave the monkey the lollypop. It was the perfect moment for picture taking. The monkey is actually abandoned by his family, but adopted by this caretaker.”

Francesco Anselmi April 1, 2015

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Bulgaria.
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Sofia, Bulgaria 2013

Francesco Anselmi (b. 1984, Italy) studied photojournalism at the International Center of Photography where he received a scholarship from the New York Times. Soon after finishing his studies. In 2012 Francesco joined Contrasto Photo Agency; that same year he started traveling to Greece, where he has been based for an ongoing project about the economic crisis. A selection of images from his Greek project screened at Visa pour l’Image in Perpignan and at Image Singuliere festival in Sete, France. In 2013 he was awarded a grant from the Chris Hondros Fellowship Fund. More recently his work has been selected as a finalist project for the Leica Oskar Barnak Award and exhibited at the Lumix Festival for Young Photojournalists. He divides his time between New York, Milan and Greece.

About the Photograph:

“This picture was taken in a daycare center in Sofia, Bulgaria. It’s of a Syrian Kurdish family from Qamshli, who just escaped the conflict. After Greece built a wall along its border with Turkey in the Evros region, Bulgaria became the main  entrance to Europe for thousands of asylum seekers escaping the Syrian conflict through Turkey. In the end of 2013, Bulgaria was not ready to face this wave of immigration and the conditions in which migrants and refugees were kept were dire. No food or medicines were provided to them. They barely survived. Most of the refugees coming from Syria were women and children, their husbands and fathers were either dead or still fighting.”

Becky Harlan March 29, 2015

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Iceland.
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A family soaks in the hot tub at a pool in Fludir. Reykjavik, Iceland 2012 

Becky Harlan (b.1988, United States) is a documentary photographer, multimedia producer, and photo editor based in Washington, D.C. She has a BA in Art History from Furman University and a Masters in New Media Photojournalism from the Corcoran College of Art + Design, Her work has appeared in the New York Times, NPR, The Morning News, and on National Geographic’s photography blog, Proof. She has been recognized by Fotoweek DC, and PDN. She currently works as a photo editor for the digital side of National Geographic magazine.

About the Photograph:

“Icelanders love soaking in the geothermally-heated pools and tubs. Every town I visited during my stay had a public space for doing so. The air is brisk, the scenery beautiful, and the geothermal energy is flowing. This photo came out of a workshop I was taking in Reykjavik. I spent my days there wandering around small towns in the south talking to whomever I met and asking them to point me in the direction of someone or something interesting. I came upon this moment at a public pool in the  tiny town of Fludir, after a morning spent visiting a greenhouse and the home of a woman who had a makeshift doll museum in her garage. The pool staff let me in for free since I wasn’t swimming, but I had neglected to take off my sandals, which was against protocol. So after a kind but firm correction I was feeling a bit self conscious as I began looking around at what I might photograph. The bulldozer peeking over the fence instantly brought me back to the moment, and after gesturing to the family in the hot tub for permission to shoot, I stepped back, hunkered down, and went to town, hoping that they would forget my presence. I probably shot 20 frames, but this was my favorite because of the reclined and almost sculptural posture of the boy. He seems so delicate and kind of absorbed in his own world. I like the quirky contrast between him and the industrial work going on behind the fence.”

Tim Matsu March 25, 2015

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Thailand.
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Chiang Mai, Thailand 2007

Tim Matsui (b.1973, USA) is an Emmy-nominated visual journalist and filmmaker focusing on human trafficking, alternative energy, and the environment. Tim’s clients have included Newsweek, Stern, Der Spiegel, GEO, Wired and other domestic and international publications. Tim partners with editorial outlets, non profit organizations and corporations to tell meaningful stories built upon the tenets of journalism. He has received grants from the Alexia Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Fledgling Fund, and The Fund for Investigative Journalism.  His most recent project is the feature documentary film The Long Night (which recently won the POYi and the first prize for Long Feature of the World Press Photo Multimedia Contest) and the accompanying audience engagement project Leaving the Life.

About the Photograph:

“Young women, mostly in their teens, hire a transgender make up artist to prepare them for an evening serving drinks at a karaoke bar in Chiang Mai, Thailand. If a client wants to date the server they’re permitted to leave the establishment after paying a bar fee. I’d met the make up artist through a Thai non profit that’s a resource for the transgender community. Because of that she vouched for me, while I had some restrictions. The bar owners were ok with my presence. All of the legwork to get to that place to make the picture involved most of the work but the actual photography was pretty straight forward. Strangely enough, one of the more challenging parts was meeting my expat friends afterwards for drinks. They were gossiping about who was with who and catching up on weekend plans, but my head was still where I’d just been.”

Laurence Butet-Roch March 23, 2015

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Canada.
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Taken at the Beef Festival in Inverness, Quebec Canada 2014

Laurence Butet-Roch  (b.1985, Canada) is a freelance writer, photo editor and photographer. She was introduced to the media world through a Quebec tv show, “Scoop”, a fictitious foray into the dramas of a Montreal newsroom. After completing a B.A. in International Relations at the University of British Columbia, she pursued photography at the School of Photographic Arts: Ottawa. Upon graduating, she moved to France, where she started working as a photo editor and journalist for Polka Magazine. After four years, she chose to return to Canada and, while continuing her work for Polka, now contributes articles to other publications such as the British Journal of Photography, BlackFlash, Exposure, TIME Lightbox and the New York Times Lens blog. She is a member of the Boreal collective.

 About the Photograph:

“Every year, the village of Inverness, home to 850 people in Quebec, hosts the “beef festival”. Once an agricultural fair, where animals were bought and sold, it became a rodeo in the 80s as a way to earn money to help pay for local services. It is still the case today. Residents of the village staff the fair voluntarily and the proceeds raised go to maintaining the library, elder’s home and school. Few villages this size in the province can say they have similar amenities.”

“The fest draws over 30.000 visitors, who install their large RVs on private and public properties for a week. The second biggest rodeo in Quebec, it attracts cowboys of all ages from as far as the southwestern American states. Upon meeting them, I was struck by their dedication. Most have a day job – often related to the cattle industry – and spend all their free time training, caring for their mounts and competing. The costs, both financially and physically, are high and the rewards, few. ‘It’s not work, but it’s not a hobby either. It’s a passion’, says Jason, a farrier by trade. In this, as a photographer, I felt a deep connection with them. Most competitions – mutton, busting, bareback and saddle bronco riding, bull riding, calf roping and steer wrestling – are held in the evening. In the bucking chute, riders are focused, tense and dignified. Once in the arena, there’s little room for error.”

Maysun March 19, 2015

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Syria.
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Missile attack in Saif Al Dawla district, Aleppo, Syria 2013

Maysun (b. 1980, Spain) has been covering political issues, social conflicts and natural disasters since 2005 She has freelanced for several NGO’s and national/international News Agencies such as EPA, AFP or ACN (Spain). Her work is distributed by Corbis. Her pictures have been published in TIME magazine, The New York Times, Lens Blog by NYT, National Geopraphic, Foreign Policy, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, Stern, Focus magazine, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, International Herald Tribune, ABC News, NBC News, Al Jazeera, El Pais, El Mundo, and CNN.

 About the Photograph:

“This photograph was taken in March 2013, in  the district of Saif Al Dawla, one of the neighborhoods  controlled by the FSA in Aleppo. I was trying to find Palestinians to continue my long term project To Exist is to Resist, about Palestinian identity around the world. After some months searching I found this Palestinian-Syrian woman, born in Aleppo but from Palestinian origins who was living alone with her three children in her half destroyed house. Her husband was living in a part of Aleppo controlled by the government. They didn’t see each other since the battle for Aleppo began years ago by then.”

“She was an elementary school teacher from a school in the neighborhood, but she couldn’t continue working since the war began. Her situation was very delicate because she wasn’t able to openly take any side. If she would have taken part for the rebels and renounced the government pension, she wouldn’t have a way to feed her children. If she had openly supported the regime, she might had been killed, as she was living in the rebel-controlled side. Aware of the situation, she was trying to keep a low profile. Despite the precarious situation of her house, half destroyed by regime strikes, and the requests to move anywhere else, from an FSA officer who helped and protected her, she preferred to stay where she was because it was her home and she had nowhere else to go.”

 

David Gardner March 16, 2015

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Nola and David in their Motor Home in Quartzite, Arizona 2014                     

David Gardner (b. 1954, USA) devides his time between San Francisco and a 26 foot motor home, pursuing his photographic interests across the continent. His interest in the landscape has evolved over the past 35 years. Originally photographing in a contemplative style free of human intervention, his emphasis shifted as the difficulty of isolating landscapes to fit that style has increased.  His recent project, Life on Wheels: The New American Nomads, received Photomedia Center’s 2013 Contemporary Image Makers micro-grant, and has shown at the Davis-Orton Gallery in New York, Griffin Museum of Photography in Massachusetts, and recently received the Best of Show award at LH Horton Gallery’s Documentary competition in Stockton, California.

About the Photograph:

“When I first began photographing people for Life on Wheels, I learned about a meeting place for RV’ers in the Arizona desert town of Quartzsite. Every year in January and February, the town, and surrounding BLM land, inflates from a normal population of  three thousand to over one million people. They come in motorhomes, toy haulers and trailers to enjoy the sun and warmth of the southern Arizona desert and meet up with friends and family. It seemed like the perfect way to begin the project.”

“Once there, I spent time group of Lazy Daze motorhome owners and met David and Nola. We set a time for sme to photograph them. When I arrived at their rig, we sat in their back lounge and talked about the lifestyle, and the sort of image I was after. Part of our conversation was about how long they intended to live the full-time RV lifestyle. David told me that when they first discussed the idea, they decided to give it five years and then reassess how they felt. Five years later, Nola misses her children and grandchildren and wants to stop traveling but David does not. While reviewing the twenty photographs I took of them, it was clear that the first image best expressed the dilemma they faced. Nola on the fringe, David in the middle, the kids adorning the walls and the great outdoors just on the other side of the window.”

Ben Brody March 12, 2015

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Afghanistan.
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Combat Outpost Ahmadkhan in Kandahar, Afghanistan 2013

Ben Brody (b. 1979, United States) is a documentary photographer who has covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003, both as a soldier and as a civilian.  His work in Iraq was published in Photojournalists on War: The Untold Stories from Iraq, by Michael Kamber. His photo story Endgame: Afghanistan was recognized by the Leica Oskar Barnack Awards and Photolucida’s Critical Mass Awards in 2014.  Ben is based in Massachusetts and works primarily for GlobalPost and The Ground Truth Project.

About the Photograph:

“Lieutenant Nasrullah Sharif is a member of the Afghan Civil Order Police, and is one of six officers in the entire country trained by the US to use modern bomb-detecting equipment.  I met Nas in 2013 at Kandahar’s Combat Outpost Ahmadkhan, a tiny American base in one of the most intractably violent areas of southern Afghanistan. With the draw down in full swing, US troops were not patrolling regularly from Ahmadkhan – they relied heavily on surveillance blimps like the one in the background, and Afghan forces like Nas to protect their base. Nas had invited me to walk to the nearby village with him for chai, and when I went to meet him, I came upon this scene exactly as you see it here. Nas had donned his bomb suit and laid out his equipment, as well as some Taliban bombs he dug up, and waited for me by the blimp. It was so much of what I wanted to show about the draw down in one frame – the blimps, the blast walls, the lone Afghan guy with his fragile, expensive toys, all to prevent the western retreat from becoming a rout, as the Soviet retreat from Kandahar was. I’ve been covering the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for the last ten years and endeavor to make images that speak to the fundamental truths about the conflict – the absurdity of a rudderless war, the alienation in the cultural upheaval on both sides, and the bankruptcy of counterinsurgency doctrine as a basis for the continued fight.”

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