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Karen Miranda Rivadeneira July 29, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ecuador.
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Matilde and I. Vinchoa, El Bolivar, Ecuador 2012

Karen Miranda Rivadeneira (b.1983, United States) graduated from the School of Visual Arts before beginning her journey in photography. She has participated in numerous residencies such as Fondazione Ratti’s in Como, Italy, The Wurlitzer foundation in New Mexico and Pour L’Image in Niort, France and Lightwork in Syracuse, NY. She has worked with the Mam in Guatemala, with the Mandaeans (from south of Iraq and west of Iran) living in Sweden and lately in the Andean Mountains. She is the recipient of multiple awards and fellowships, including a NYFA Fellowship in photography,  EnFoco New Works Award, and two awards by the Queens Council of the Arts. Karen has recently been invited to participate at the third Latin American Photography forum in Sao Paulo, Brazil . Her work is part of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts Photography Collection.

About the Photograph:

“Matilde Cunalata is a yachaj or what is commonly known as a Shaman. We met a couple of years ago, and since then, I visit her every year sometimes for months at a time. Through her knowledge of plants and singing, people come to her for physical and also emotional healing. The art of a yachaj is fast decaying in part because not a single relative wants to carry on this tradition. A tradition that has been alive for thousand of years, predating the Incas, relating closely to Mongolian shamanism in a sense. This image was taken the morning after after a ceremony that went throughout the night. We left her house and I saw this beautiful wall of plants, I was leaving the next day back to New York and wanted to have an image of us that will conclude our nightly ordeal. I set up the camera, and we manage to climb through the steep greenery, I asked a passerby to press the shutter and gave him one instruction; to press the shutter when we seemed relaxed and this was it.”

William Coupon July 25, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Haiti.
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Chicklet Lady. Jacmel, Haiti 1979

William Coupon (b. 1952, USA) became interested in formal studio portraits in 1979 while observing the lower Manhattan youth and decided early on to use a single-light source and simple mottled backdrop as a studio style. This was then used to document specific global cultures and sub-cultures. Many of the projects – referred to as “Social Studies” – became documents of indigenous people. These include projects on Haiti, Australian Aboriginals, Native Americans, Israeli Druzim, Moroccan Berbers, Spanish Gypsies, Turkish Kurds, among others. These projects also included Death Row Inmates, Drag Queens, and Cowboys. Stylistically, they were always photographed formally on a drop and environmentally with a 2 1/4 Rolleiflex. In addition to his personal images William has worked extensively in commercial photography and film with over 20 Time Magazine covers – including portraits of all the Presidents since Richard Nixon. He has also completed major advertising campaigns for Nike, FedEx, Ford, Japan Airlines, Apple Computer and many others.

About the Photograph:

“The portrait of this woman, carrying boxes of Chicklets on her head took place in the seaside town of Jacmel, Haiti. I had decided to take a trip to Haiti rather spontaneously with my girlfriend, who I’d met at the Mudd Club in lower Manhattan. Having just finished a series of Punk portraits in New York at the time, Haiti seemed like a refreshing destination. Or so it seemed. It was intensely poor and ‘more African than Africa.’ I felt as much a novelty to them as they did to me. Haiti ~ the land of voodoo and the first black republic in the western hemisphere. I arrived in Jacmel and found my way around the main marketplace, spoke with a shopkeeper and convinced him to let me shoot there the following day. I would be giving everyone an SX-70 Polaroid and 2 gourds ~ the equivalent of 40 cents. The scene was bedlam. There were lines around the corner. I photographed the subjects against my hotel room’s bedspread ~ I did not have my mottled backdrop.  I kept up the sessions until my money ran out. I probably met and photographed over 100 people that day, with many more potential subjects eager to lend their faces to me. This lady, with the Chicklet boxes, is one of my favorites that day.”

Virginie Terrasse July 22, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in France.
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From the project “Voluptas”. Paris, France 2001

Virgine Terrasse (b. 1976, France) became a  freelance photographer in 2002. She has been published in France by Le Monde, la Croix, Courriers de l’Atlas, L’expansion, Regards and Libération among others. Her documentary emphasis communities (Sikhs of Bobigny, Paris region), countries (Albania), areas of tension (Middle-East, Tibet) where history has been recently changed and stories aren’t well known. Since 2012 she’s working on a project in Greenland. In 2010, her documentary “La Palestine comment ?” was awarded at the Levallois-Epson prize for contemporary photography. In 2011 for the same work she was shortlisted at the HSBC award. Her multimedia and photographic work has been presented in several French and European festivals. Virginie also she leads workshops in photography and  multimedia in Paris.

About the Photograph:

“In 1926, the architect Le Corbusier developed in the Athens charter the idea of separating a city into two parts : “commoditas”, for spaces reserved to vehicles, and “voluptas”, for pedestrians and buildings. This revolutionary concept was put into practice forty years later, in the business district “La Défense”, in western Paris. This example is unique. Even in the United States streets are still left to cars, and the buildings are as high as possible. The pictures in this corpus illustrate life in Europe’s greatest business center where, despite some 140,000 workers present on a daily basis, solitude is everywhere. It is hypnotizing, drawing us into silence and disaffection. For Le Corbusier, To let in sunshine is an architect’s most imperative duty, and a city must be like an immense park. Promised to a radiant outcome, has this architectural concept kept its promise? In this modern village, I am looking for the organization codes to human relations, in an architectural environment that, at first sight, doesn’t facilitate them. This work is a study on people’s daily life, in an overwhelming environment.”

Juan Arredondo July 18, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Colombia.
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Medellín, Colombia 2011

Juan Arredondo (b. 1978, USA) grew up in Colombia and relocated to the USA to pursue undergraduate and graduate studies in Organic Chemistry. While working as a research scientist at a major pharmaceutical company he became interested in photography. His work has been recognized by PDN Photo Annual, PX3 Prix de la Photographie and the Magenta Foundation as a Flash Forward Emerging Photographers winner. He has been selected for the Eddie Adams Workshop and nominated for the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass. Juan is a regular contributor for The New York Times. His photographs have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Herald Tribune, El Colombiano and LAN Magazine. His work has been commissioned by International Rescue Committee and Save the Children. Juan lives between Medellin and New York City.

About the Photograph:

“This image is part of a series called Barrio Triste : Sad Neighborhood. For the past three years I have documented life in Medellín, the second largest city in Colombia to understand how it has transformed from the world most dangerous city to one that is praised as one of Latin America’s safest and fastest growing cities. Barrio Triste rests in the center of the city. It was once a residential neighborhood, but over decades has been ousted by repair shops, warehouses and bars. Grease- stained streets and dilapidated buildings become alive from the commotion of mechanics and street vendors during the day. Displaced families, homeless, sex-workers and drug addicts fine refuge on the empty sidewalks at night.”

“This photograph was taken at a billiard hall where mechanics and locals go to play and have a drink. The place was adorned with several murals, mainly depicting scenes of what happens inside the place. This mural in particular struck me for several reasons. The man behind the counter is the owner of the place and his depiction is very accurate. The translation of the inscription on the Radio says Where would he be? As I was walking around the mechanic in the picture just sat to rest. Not having anything to drink or anyone to speak to, he just gazed at the street for a while. He seemed very lonely, like the drunk on the mural.”

Todd Sanchioni July 15, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Laos.
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Vientiane Laos 2010

Todd Sanchioni (1972, United States) has been capturing moments of time since attending the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, but his motorcycle travels across the United States were his real initiation to a life of travel, art, adventure, and examining what it means to be alive. Todd settled in San Francisco for graduate school at the California Collage of the Arts. He has worked as a bike messenger, helped organize a messenger strike and assisted in disaster relief in New Orleans among other things. Todd has photographed extensively in Laos and is working with the Center for Laotian Studies on the history of Laotian refugees. His work has been featured in Maholy Ground magazine, See Saw, Landscape Stories, Esquire, Russia and NPR.

About the Photograph:

“I had been traveling for six months with my girl friend and having a great time, but as a photographer I was going crazy. It is hard to travel with some one and also be a photographer. We were both in need of a little alone time and I wanted to get into photographer mode. So we decided to split up for a month. I gave myself an assignment. I had been reading a book, written in the late 90’s, about an American traveling down the Mekong river from China to its end in Southeast Asia. When his travels took him to Laos he described it as a country 50 years behind the modern world. In one paragraph he mentioned traveling in a boat with a Lao punk band. The image I had of the situation he described remained with me. I decided to go to Laos to photograph, and also record audio, of any musician I could find. I just wanted to get my eye framing the world around me and make something happen. And maybe I would run into that punk band as I traveled around, searching.”

“This picture was taken in the capital, Vientiane, as we were circling around the Patuxai monument. I had gotten lost on my way to meet him and was really late. He was in a rush to get somewhere, so I didn’t have much time with him. With the time I had, I recorded him playing some songs first and then he had to rush off.  I didn’t leave enough time to take pictures. I wanted to make the most of the situation. I flagged down a tuk tuk to follow him as he rushed off on the back of his girlfriends’ scooter. I hung out the back of the tuk tuk to get this image and then they rode off. “

Faseeh Shams July 11, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Pakistan.
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Snake Charmer. Lahore, Pakistan 2012

Faseeh Shams (b. 1984, Pakistan) began his career wandering in northern Pakistan with a small point and shoot camera. He later earned his MBA in Human Resources and an MA in Marketing and worked as a brand marketing consultant for a firm in England. Faseeh’s work has been published in Newsweek, the BBC and Reuters among other publications. His photographs have been exhibited at Punjab University and Gallery 320. He is currently based in Lahore, Pakistan but frequently travels to Iran, Afghanistan and the UK.

About the Photograph:

“My daughter, he proudly boasted ‘She is the queen of all tribes living here. One day she will be the best snake catcher of all Pakistan.’ Shazia was barely five years old, the youngest family member of the clan who had their tents parked outside Lahore in an abandoned lot. Snake charming is an art and a profession. It originated in India where it was a religious requirement. Before Hinduism, snake worship was one of the ancient religions. Snake worship had special temples, Gods and deities. Hindus practiced the arts of charming which included treating snake bite victims and herbal treatments for various ailments. It was a Hindu discipline but later other castes and groups in Sindh, Bengal and Punjab also acquired the skill. The art of snake charming is becoming a rare breed. In Pakistan it’s dying because it doesn’t pay. Forty years ago charmers walked the streets and were invited into homes. On Eid, Saperas dressed in long kurtas, colored turbans and necklaces made of beads and shells would show up and perform with their snakes.”

Olivier Touron July 8, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Syria.
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Kurdish demonstration in Derik, Syria 2012

Olivier Touron (b. 1969, France) followed a university curriculum destining him to teach math when he decided to change course and make his passion his profession. In 1999, he joined EMI-CFD and became a freelance photojournalist. Based in the north of France near Lille, he freelances with the French and international press (Géo, Libération, L’Humanité, Le Monde, L’Express, VSD, Pèlerin, La Vie, Marianne, Marie-Claire, STERN, Financial Times, Newsweek Japan). His personal work on the Tunisian revolution, minors and justice and the Kurds, have been presented in exhibitions and books. Olivier also leads photography workshops  and teaches master’s students in Journalism at the Faculty of Humanities in Lille.

About the Photograph:

“I had been commissioned by the magazine Géo France (the feature appeared in the magazine in February 2013) to report on how the Kurds of this region in the northeast of Syria profit from the civil war to further their dream of independence, borne along by the PYD party. At the time the photo was taken, tension was high. During a massive demonstration, the people showed their support for the martyrs of their armed forces killed during battles against the Jihadist brigades Al-Nosra, siding with Al-Qaida, on the western border of their territory, in the town of Serekanié (Ras-Al-Ain in arabic). Kurdish women are particularly present in the struggle. They know even better than the men that they have everything to lose if the Islamist’s are victorious. From a young age the Kurdish girls in the movement are instructed and trained to actively take part in the development of their society.”

“An enclave in the northeast of Syria, the Kurd’s region is a difficult zone to access. Although under Kurdish control, the borders with Iraq to the east and Turkey to the north are closed from the outside. Turkey and Iraq show a practically hostile defiance to the  project promoted by the Kurdish movements. To face up to these threats, the population can only count on itself and its paltry arms and on ASAYIS civil security forces and the YPG military forces linked to the PYD. The YPG are the Syrian version of an armed force developed by the Kurdish guerrilla group of the PKK (from Turkey) called the HPG.”

Alan Chin July 4, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Gun show, Lima, Ohio 2012

Alan Chin (b. 1970, United States) was raised in New York City’s Chinatown. Since 1996, he has worked in China, the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, and many other places in the Middle East and Central Asia. Alan has explored the South, following the historic trail of the civil rights movement and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, covered the 2008 presidential campaign, and the Occupy Wall Street movement. He is a contributing photographer to Newsweek and The New York Times, and member of Facing Change: Documenting America (FCDA), and an editor at Newsmotion.org.

About the Photograph:

“On a typical weekend in January, 400 women about to get married went to the Lima Bride fashion show and wedding cornucopia at the downtown Veterans Memorial Convention Center. Sponsored by the local newspaper, The Lima News, caterers, dressmakers, photographers, venues, and limousine companies rented booths and hawked their services. Marriage seems to be a recession proof industry. At the Allen County Fairgrounds a few miles away, a parallel male universe of a gun show was happening at the same time. Terry Morgan, the president of the Tri-State Gun Collectors, said, ‘Guns sales are up 30% over the last two years, with an exploding increase in applications for concealed-carry permits. There’s fear of the government.’ Morgan supports castle laws which give wide latitude to the use of deadly force in the home without any need to retreat even when safe.”

Tiana Markova-Gold July 1, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Nigeria.
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Gbagada Senior Grammar School in Lagos, Nigeria 2009

Tiana Markova-Gold (b.1974, United States) is a documentary photographer based in Brooklyn. She received a NY Times Scholarship to attend the full-time Photojournalism Program at ICP in 2006-07. Since the spring of 2007, she has been working on an in-depth project about the lives of women in prostitution. This project has included work in the United States, Macedonia and Morocco. Her work has earned several fellowships and grants including a Camera Club of New York Darkroom Residency, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Photography and the Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. Her first solo show Scènes et Types, featuring her work in Morocco recently opened at the Camera Club of New York.

About the Photograph:

“I made this photograph during an annual Junior Kudra empowerment workshop for young women facilitated by Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND). Hasfat Abiola-Costello founded KIND in Lagos, Nigeria in 1997 to honor Kudirat Abiola, her mother and a leading democracy activist who was killed by soldiers during the period of military rule. The Junior Kudra Program is an expansion of KIND’s Young Women Leadership Program. The name KUDRA is a derivation of the Arabic “Qudra” that symbolizes power. The name conveys the program’s intention to help restore young women to their full potential by empowering them with information, leadership skills and tools to effectively engage in transforming their lives, communities and eventually their nation.”

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