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Yannis Kontos April 14, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Mexico.
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Border Crossing. Nogales, Mexico

Yannis Kontos was born in Ioannina, Greece in 1971. He has been associated with Sygma (1998-2000) Gamma (2001-2002) and Polaris Images from its inception to date. Yannis completed in depth work from Palestine and Israel to West Sahara and Sierra Leone, and from North Korea and Indonesia to Iran, Iraq and Colombia. His photographs, texts and interviews have been published in Time, Newsweek, Life, The New York Times, Stern, Der Spiegel, Paris Match, The Sunday Times Magazine, The Observer, Geo, etc. Selected awards include: World Press Photo, Fujifilm European Press Photographer of the Year, Europe, UNICEF Photo of the Year Award, Visa Pour l’image, Picture of the Year and the Life magazine Alfred Eisenstaedt Awards Pictures of the year. His recent book is about North Korea.

About the Photograph:

This man peers out the window of a restaurant, towards the border fence at Nogales, where crosses that memorialize immigrants killed while crossing the border hang. Hundreds of undocumented immigrants lose their lives in the Arizona desert each year. This essay focuses on the long and difficult journey of the thousands of, mainly, Mexicans that walk 80km in the desert in search of employment in the US, in search of the American Dream. Almost 4,000 people cross the border daily and walk for more than three days under extreme temperatures to reach the nearest American city.

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Justin Maxon April 13, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Vietnam.
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Agent Orange Victim, Vietnam

Justin Maxon, (b. 1983) is finishing his degree at San Francisco State University. He is interested in pursuing documentary projects that focus on the issues of poverty and social injustice. He discovered his passion for documentary photography while working on a project in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District, a neighborhood notorious for its poverty and homeless epidemic. Justin’s awards include first prize from World Press Photo and College Photographer of the Year (2007). He is represented by Aurora Photos.

About the Photograph:

During the Vietnam War, the United States sprayed an estimated 17 million gallons of chemicals on Vietnam. As a result, since the war ended, 1.5 million Vietnamese people are believed to be victims of Agent Orange poisoning, with many of them living in extreme pain and isolation with debilitating symptoms. Those who are significantly affected are in need of constant care. Their lives are a brutal example of the misery that war creates even decades after it occurs.

Dagmar Schwelle April 12, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Japan, Multimedia.
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Planet Tokyo: An Encounter, 2007

Dagmar Schwelle was born in Vienna, Austria, and studied law in order to become a diplomat. When she found out that there were less pompous ways to get to know the world she became a journalist instead. After nine years writing for leading Austrian newspapers and magazines she decided that it was time for a career change, went to Vancouver and studied photography. Since 2004 she is based in Germany and works as a photographer. Last year her first book was published, “Them Over There” – a documentary project on divided border towns in Eastern Europe.

About the Photograph:

This photo is part of a multimedia piece on metropolitan lifestyle in Tokyo. It was shot on a weekend when numerous rock bands perform in Yoyogi koen. Their efforts to be cool and/or wild are overly perfect – so it seems to me that the most authentic element of that spectacle is the shyness of the very girlish female admirers.

Bill Biggart 1947-2001 April 11, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Gaza, Israel.
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Gaza City, 1994

10:28:24 a.m. on September 11th, 2001 was the precise second that photojournalist Bill Biggart took the final shot of his life. He took his last breath moments later when the North Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed upon him. Four days later, searchers found his body, his burnt-edged press cards, his three demolished cameras, six rolls of film, and one small undisturbed compact flash card carrying almost 150 digital images. It was the remains of one horrifying day and one extraordinary life.

As a spot news photographer, Bill Biggart chose to cover stories that most interested him, not the ones an editor selected. He focused on presenting the minority side – the Palestinians in the Middle East, the Catholic/IRA “troubles” in Ireland, and the issues of natives, blacks and gays in America.

About the Photograph:

The Palestinian Intafadah uprising in early 1988 consumed Bill. He would return regularly to Israel and Palestine for nearly ten years, sensing it was an immense and important story. While covering the plight of the Palestinian people, he was arrested by Israeli police and beaten for “being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Editors note. I’ve chosen Bill Biggart’s work today to honor him and note the opening of the Newseum in Washington DC. Bill’s photographs from September 11th are part of a permanent exhibition there. The Newseum offers visitors an experience that blends five centuries of news history with up-to-the-second technology and hands-on exhibits.

Joakim Eskildsen April 10, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in South Africa.
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South Africa, From the book iChickenMoon

Joakim Eskildsen was born in Copenhagen in 1971 where he trained with the Royal Court photographer Rigmor Mydtskov. In 1994, he moved to Finland to learn the craft of photographic book-making with Pentti Sammallahti at the University of Art and Design in Helsinki, graduating with an MA degree in photography in 1998. His recently published book The Roma Journeys encompasses his seven year odyssey through seven countries gaining insight into the life of the Roma. Other books include Nordic Signs (1995), Bluetide (1997), iChickenMoon (1999), which was awarded Best Foreign Title of 2000 in the Photo-Eye Books & Prints Annual Awards. Spending time on Eskilden’s site reminded me of why I became a photographer and why photographs mean so much to me.

About the Photograph:

Eskildsen says this about his work: “The people I photograph are usually persons who I admire, and from which I wish to learn something. I mostly try to live with the people for longer periods of time in order to get a better understanding of everything, and to be able to photograph more peacefully. Usually, I am working closely together with writer Cia Rinne who is very gifted with languages. Without this cooperation it would be impossible for me to live and communicate with the people I photograph.”

Jan Sochor April 9, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Colombia, Venezuela.
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Contraband Smugglers. Colombia/ Venezuela Frontier

Jan Sochor was born in the Czech Republic. He has lived and worked in Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Venezuela and Spain during the past five years. His long term projects focus on the daily life, social, political and cultural issues in Latin America. Jan’s photographs have appeared in numerous Czech publications including Reflex Magazine, National Geographic CZ, Instinkt and Hospodarske Noviny.

About the Photograph:

Along the 2200 kilometres borderline between Colombia and Venezuela cheap gasoline and food flows into Colombia, cocaine and arms go the other way. It is virtually impossible to control. The flow of contraband on this frontier is managed and organized by illegal Colombian paramilitary forces (AUC) and bribed Venezuelan police (Guardia Nacional). Smuggling provides a living to hundreds of poor dwellers in communities on both sides of the frontier.

Rich-Joseph Facun April 8, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ohio University, United States.
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Dads Return Home from Deployment, Virginia Beach

Rich-Joseph Facun is a photographer based in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Originally a student of philosophy and religious studies, Facun shifted gears and studied photography at the School of Visual Communication at Ohio University, receiving his degree in 2001. Facun’s work has won awards in the Best of Photojournalism, the Annual Unity Awards in Media, the William Randolph Hearst Foundation Journalism Awards Program, and a nomination in PDN’s 30 New and Emerging Photographers. Currently, he is shooting a book project entitled “Rollin’ Revival,” a documentary that explores the resurgence of roller derby in the United States. His work has been published both nationally and internationally in various news and journalism mediums ranging from The New York Times to The FADER magazine.

About the Photograph:

Evan Burgoon, 5, watches his father Lt Cmdr. Ian Burgoon of the VFA 211 land at the Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach, VA, Tuesday, December 18, 2007. The squadrons returned home to Hampton Roads following a six-month deployment aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise. The strike group has spent 13 of the last 20 months at sea supporting troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I strongly encourage you to read Facun’s account of what transpired before he made the photograph. (more…)

Olivia Arthur April 7, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Iran.
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Fatima, Iran. From the Middle Distance Series

For the past two years British born photographer Olivia Arthur has been working on a project about women and the east-west cultural divide. The major part of her work is called ‘the middle-distance’ and documents the lives of young women living along the border between Europe and Asia. “Traveling in the region I also became very aware of the closeness of Iran to the issues I was following, and I later went and made a separate series there. I am now starting work on a new project about British-Asian women in London”. This work has been exhibited at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, was selected for the Magenta Foundation’s Flash Forward 2007, a National Media Museum Bursary, and won the 2007 Inge Morath Award from Magnum Photos.

About the Photograph:

The picture was taken in a small community on the outskirts of Tehran. In the house four sisters live together. Three of them have epilepsy which prevents them from being able to work and two of them have been deserted by their husbands. The youngest sister works to look after the whole family, including her older sister’s three children. In the photograph is Fatima, one of the children, who had slipped away upstairs to say her midday prayers. The poster on the wall is of her uncle who is a wedding- DJ. He is married and doesn’t live with the rest of the family.

Chris Maluszynski April 4, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Overton, Texas/ Poker Convention in Las Vegas

I’m fascinated by the way foreign photographers view the USA and Chris Maluszynski is a wonderful example of that. Part of his talent is the ability to see directly- and with great humor- what is in front of him. During the past couple of years he has completed several projects in the USA including: the Rattlesnake Roundup, the Battlecry Evangelical Rock Festival, and on a different note: Guantanamo.

Chris Maluszynski was born in Warsaw, Poland and moved to Sweden when he was seven. He studied physics and electrical engineering, history of art, history of photography and visual communication (MA) at the University of Linkping, Sweden, and Sorbonne, Paris. Chris began his professional career in 1995 and has since worked for most major Swedish newspapers. He is a founding member of Moment in Sweden and is represented by Agence Vu’ in France and Redux Pictures in New York. He has won countless awards including Best of Photojournalism and the Swedish Picture of The Year.

About the Photographs:

(L) The street scene is from Overton, Texas. A small town where a group of people calling themselves “The Republic of Texas” have purchased and old hospital building and established their “seat of government”. The people of the Republic of Texas consider their country occupied by the United States of America. They refuse to pay taxes to the U.S. federal government, they have their own president, their own currency and passports. They are watched closely by the FBI and the local police fear their presence. The ROT has previously taken hostages, been in shootouts with US Marshalls and many of its former leaders are now in prison. ROT’s vice president – Lauren Savage is also a historian and claims that Texas never lawfully entered the union.(R) The scene at the poker table is from The World Series of Poker finals in Las Vegas 2006. The World Series of Poker is unequaled by any other poker event in the world. In 2006, 8,774 players made it to the finals and competed for a total prize pool of $82,676,084. Many of the players dress up as unusual weird characters to potentially distract their opponents. “The USA is a crazy country – but I love it! It’s so full of stories everywhere, and I love the people”.

Ami Vitale April 3, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in India.
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Camel Trader at Market, Pushkar, India

Ami Vitale began her career working as an editor for Associated Press in New York and Washington D.C. and eventually left in 1997 for the Czech Republic where she covered the Balkan conflict. In 2001 she moved to Guinea Bissau in West Africa after she was awarded the Alexia Foundation grant and lived with a tribe of Fulanis in a remote village. When she returned, Vitale moved to India where she lived for over five years, producing memorable work throughout the region. Her stories have been awarded grants including the first-ever Inge Morath grant by Magnum Photos, The Canon female photojournalist award for her work in Kashmir and the Alexia Foundation for World Peace. Vitale’s photographs have been published in major international magazines such as National Geographic, Adventure, Geo, Newsweek, Time, Smithsonian and Le Figaro among others. They have also been presented in international exhibitions including: Visa Pour L’Image, Perpignan, France; the Open Society Institute and The United Nations in New York.

About the Photograph:

“Jelha Ram, a camel trader from Nagor, India standing with one of his camels as the sun sets at the largest camel fair in the world in Pushkar, India in the state of Rajasthan. Thousands of camels and traders come to the annual event which some say has been going on for centuries. It was the second time I covered the camel fair and its one of my favorite events in India. It feels like you are in another era when camels were important to the economies and remind me that in some places they still are. The traders are so proud of their animals and Jehal was no different”.

Rena Effendi April 2, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Azerbaijan.
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War Veteran/ Junk Yard Loader. Baku, Azerbaijan. 2006

Rena Effendi (b 1977 in Baku, Azerbaijan) has been active as a social documentary photographer since 2002. In 2004, she was a winner of the “Fifty Crows” International Fund for Documentary Photography competition. In 2005 she participated in the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass and received an honorable mention in National Geographic’s “All Roads” photography competition. In 2006 Effendi was a winner of the Getty Images Editorial Photography Grant and the Giacomelli Memorial Fund award. The same year, Effendi’s work was selected for personal exhibitions at the 18th “Visa Pour l’Image” Festival of Photojournalism in Perpignan, France.

About the Photograph:

Part of a series of portraits and landscapes that will transport you to another world. Not your jet hopping kind of photographer, Rena’s images are composed closer to home. Perhaps that is where their strength comes from.

Sean Gallagher April 1, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.
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From the series: Bye Bye Beijing

Sean Gallagher is a British Photojournalist, currently based in Beijing, China. His work focuses on highlighting various social and environmental issues throughout Asia, with specific emphasis on China. Gallagher has worked for various international clients including BBC News, The Globe and Mail (Canada), Die Zeit (Germany), The Ecologist (UK), Channel 7 News (Australia), NEED Magazine (US) and the British Journal of Photography. His work is represented by Grazia Neri and in January 2008 Sean was the first recipient for the David Allan Harvey prize for emerging photographers.

About the Photograph:

On every city street corner in Beijing, the city’s traditional alley- way and court yard based homes or Hutongs are being destroyed. The destruction of Hutongs has been taking place for a number of years, however since Beijing was awarded the 2008 Summer Olympics, the rate at which they are now being cleared has increased exponentially.