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Geoffrey Hiller December 17, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in India.
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Lord Ganesh Celebration, Mumbai, India 2010

Geoffrey Hiller: Happy holidays from Verve Photo. The next post will be on January 10th. I’ve been busy editing work from India and Bangladesh. In the four months of the trip, unlike my usual habit, I didn’t begin editing until getting back to Portland two weeks ago. It feels like the days when I had to wait to get the film developed and make contact sheets. I like the distance that process provides. By the way, Verve Photo is fast approaching the three-year anniversary mark. In that time we have showcased the work of 500 photographers. It’s exciting to anticipate the New Year and more great discoveries!

About the Photograph:

“I shot this in Mumbai as the sun was going down, before the all-night party for the Hindu Festival of Ganesh Chaturthi. The festival celebrates Lord Ganesh, the Hindu deity who takes the form of an elephant and presides over new beginnings. On the tenth and last day of colorful displays and parades, more then 200,000 statues were immersed in the water at Chowpatty Beach. The frenetic crowds reminded me of Carnival in Rio, minus the nudity. The celebration begins with the installation of giant elaborately crafted statutes of Ganesha in homes and on podiums in the streets. On this last day, the statues are carried through the streets, accompanied by singing and dancing, and then immersed in the ocean. The statues were as tall as 40 feet,  but what was most impressive were the groups of people chanting prayers and carrying their own smaller replicas of Ganesh.”

Cheryl Diaz Meyer December 15, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Afghanistan.
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Khoja Bahauddin in northern Afghanistan 2001

Cheryl Diaz Meyer (b. 1968, Philippines) won the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography in 2004 with fellow staff photographer David Leeson for their images depicting the U.S.-led war in Iraq.  Her work there was also awarded the Visa D’Or Daily Press Award in Perpignan, France.  Diaz Meyer also covered the war in Afghanistan immediately after 9/11 and her war portfolio was awarded the John Faber Award from the Overseas Press Club in 2001. Diaz Meyer is a freelance documentary photojournalist based in Washington, D.C. She was formerly a staff photographer with The Dallas Morning News for ten years and the Star Tribune in Minneapolis for five years.  Diaz Meyer’s work has been published in newspapers and magazines internationally as well as in numerous books.  Her work is exhibited at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

About the Photograph:

“Only partially exposing her face, Momo Juma begs from men as they leave Friday morning prayers at Jamay Mosque in Khoja Bahauddin in northern Afghanistan.  Internally-displaced women have little opportunity to work and simply hope for men’s generosity in the war-ravaged country. Afghanistan is an oppressive place for women, especially those who do not have menfolk to support and protect them.  I was once told while traveling there that a woman who does not cover her face in public is like a prostitute offering herself to men. As a woman, and a non-Muslim, I was as good as a dog in the eyes of Afghan men.  I wanted to interview Momo Juma, but my translator, a male, thought it would not be respectful for him to speak with her.  We were stuck in the country’s logic-defying contradictions.”

Amanda Rivkin December 13, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Azerbaijan.
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Baku, Azerbaijan 2010

Amanda Rivkin (b.1984, USA) is currently based in Brooklyn while completing a master’s degree in security studies: terrorism and sub-state violence at the Georgetown University Graduate School of Foreign Service in Washington, D.C. Previously based in her hometown, Chicago, where she travels frequently. Her work has appeared on the front pages of Le Monde, The New York Times, The Washington Post and in Courrier Japan, The Financial Times, Foreign Policy, and The London Sunday Times Magazine. She received a Young Explorers Grant from the Expeditions Council of the National Geographic Society to travel to Azerbaijan, Georgia, and eastern Turkey for a project, “Exploring the Evolving Oil Economy: the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline,” in 2010. She is a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and Sarah Lawrence College.

About the Photograph:

This photo was taken on a beach in the Bibi Heybat section of southern Baku, Azerbaijan on the 4th of July, 2010, the same day Hillary Clinton visited the oil rich nation on a tour of the region.  We went in two cars from the center of Baku to the remote, polluted beach off of a major highway that goes to the Sangachal Oil Terminal, where natural gas and oil from the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli and Shah Deniz offshore oil and gas fields is pumped into several pipelines: the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, the route of which I was ostensibly following as a National Geographic Young Explorers Grant recipient, and the Baku-Tbilisi-Sepsa pipeline to the Black Sea.  The day before when traveling the other direction from the Neftcala region towards the capitol, Baku, we stumbled across a still as of then under construction villa with a harbored yacht belonging to an uncle of the first lady, a site a guard reluctantly allowed me to photograph a few snaps of and that naturally included no such visible oil facility just off shore.” (more…)

Ian Teh December 10, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.
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Chinese bosses and Russians, Suifenhe, China 2009

Ian Teh (b.1971, Malaysia) is a freelance photographer based in London. His book, Undercurrents, was published in conjunction of his solo exhibit in Beijing. Additional works have featured in art publications such as in Elena-Ochoa Foster’s C-International Photo Magazine and archived in the permanent collection at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. A retrospective of his work in China for the past ten years was recently published in the summer issue of Granta Magazine. His photographs were highly commended for the Prix Pictet prize in 2009. Ian is currently working on a project called Traces.

About the Photograph:

“This picture was taken in a bar near the Sino Russian border. The bar was called Wanda. It was a Russian bar for Russians but was owned by Chinese businessmen. The town, Suifenhe, means ‘Little Moscow’. It was an out of the way town where, everyday, busloads of tourists and traders come to shop in the markets for cheaply manufactured Chinese goods. The Chinese in these market stalls spoke enough Russian to cut deals with their guests and the Wanda was one of the venues that Russians would go to for a night out to get away. Russian prostitutes would visit later in the night and sit and wait for business.” (more…)

Mathias Depardon December 8, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Laos.
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Xiang Khoang Province, Northern Laos 2007

Mathias Depardon (b.1980, France) studied Communication and Sociology in Brussels and briefly joined the Belgian national newspaper Le Soir before devoting himself to reportage and feature work. He later traveled for a year in Southeast Asia working as a freelance photographer focusing on the fate of migrants, political and climate refugees. His work is been published in Le Monde Magazine among other magazines and newspapers. He’s been collaborating with MSF, Amnesty International and other NGO’s. Mathias is part of the ‘emerging talent’ at Getty Reportage. He is currently based in Switzerland.

About the Photograph:

“The livelihood of ethnic minorities living in the mountains of Laos has been threatened by alarmingly high food insecurity and chronic malnutrition rates. This vulnerability is linked to a structural context as well as natural and political events. Rural development is one of the top national priorities for the Laos PDR government. I shot this frame with an Holga. It was my first experience with this camera. I like the middle format film, plus it was light and compact and very intuitive as to shot with. Back then I couldn’t afford a middle format camera and so I bought this camera online for cheap.  I was in Laos three times with the NGO:  “Action contre la Faim” This was my first reportage and it was a very sentimental one. I was meeting different people from different ethnic minorities: Lao Loum, Akha, Hmong, among others. It was a rich cultural experience but tough as well.”

Bryan Shih December 6, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Halfway House. Richmond, Virginia

Bryan Shih (b. 1969, USA) works on long-term, self-funded documentary portraiture projects. He switched from radio and print journalism (NPR, The Financial Times) to photography a few years ago under a Fulbright-sponsored project in Japan documenting a 14th generation sword maker, before returning to the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism to complete his masters, with a project on Prison Converts to Islam. Among several ongoing projects, he is currently working with a prominent veterans organization on a project slated for the 2012 San Francisco International Arts Festival.

About the Photograph:

“I took this portrait of Abdel Ameen at the industrial laundry where he worked in Richmond, Virginia. Abdel converted to Islam in prison and was a resident at Hijrah House, one of the only Islamic halfway houses in the United States. Transitioning out of prison back into society is difficult for anyone, but the scarcity of Islamic centered re-entry resources often adds to the obstacles confronting prison converts to Islam. I spent the week living with him and several other residents as part of my graduate thesis. A lot of the people I photograph are from groups and communities that are on the margins, and that does something to their psychology. It’s a challenge and an honor when I can get them to trust me and reveal something unexpected and real – at least for that instant when my shutter is open and the light is cooperating.”


Bas Uterwijk December 3, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Turkey.
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Sirkeci Train Station, Istanbul, Turkey 2008

Bas Uterwijk (b. 1968, The Netherlands) is a freelance photojournalist based in Amsterdam. He started out in Special FX for film, but his career moved from classic model making for museums and advertising photography, through 3D animation and compositing FX to video game art-direction. Having worked with the creative basics of imagery for a long time, the move to photography wasn’t that strange. Some of his work on Indian Kushti wrestlers has been published in the Dutch edition of National Geographic Magazine.

About the Photograph:

“The image was taken in Istanbul, at the Sirkeci Train Station. Once inaugurated as the terminal for the legendary Orient Express, the Sirkeci station is a  beautiful remainder of times passed. Built by a Prussian architect in 1888 the bulding is characteristic for the many glorious times this city, a majestic link between East and West, has had. The man in the foreground is a waiter in the tea room of the station. One of my biggest challenges in photography is to be able to peek into the lives and vulnerable moments of people. Being accepted by subjects without them keeping on a mask or feeling uneasy requires a very non-verbal way of communicating. I feel this is quite important in most forms of photographing people, but especially for street photography.”

Quinn Ryan Mattingly December 1, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Burma.
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Brick Factory, Burma 2009

Quinn Ryan Mattingly (b. 1979, USA) is a freelance documentary and editorial photographer based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. After finishing university in Ohio in 2003, he spent a year in Los Angeles, before venturing abroad to Prague, and finally to Asia, where he’s been for about six years. Apart from his personal documentary and freelance editorial work, Quinn is also the staff photographer for The Word, and English language magazine in Vietnam. In 2009 he attended the Foundry Photojournalism workshop in Manali, India, where he studied under Ami Vitale. His plans are likely to remain in Vietnam and South East Asia for the foreseeable future, as he finds the scenes, peoples and cultures incredibly fascinating.

About the Photograph:

“This image was made at a visit to an adobe brick factory that took up residence in several plastic covered structures on an isolated country road. The youngster, a very small framed boy of about ten, was tasked with pushing a large slicer through each slab of mud as it emerged from the mill, creating individual bricks. About every forty five seconds, he would muster some strength in his face, and force the sharp wires through the pressed mud. In between, a large grin would return to his face, in response to viewing his face on my LCD. This frame was made just before we parted ways. Seemingly being so comfortable with my camera’s presence, I requested this pose, sort of just to bring a little more joy into his workday. “



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