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Clara Vannucci April 28, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Italy.
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Theatrical production at Prison Volterra in Tuscany Italy 2012

Clara Vannucci (b.1985, Italy) studied graphic design at the University of Architecture of  Florence. In New York after an Internship with Magnum Photos, she had access for a two years to work on a project in the battered women’s section at Rikers Island prison. Her clients and publications include Repubblica, L’Espresso, Touring Club, Private, La stampa, The New York Times, Le journal de la photographie, Le Courrier International and Vogue Italy among others. She is currently participating in a year long residency at Fabrica, the communication research center of Benetton group in Treviso, Italy.

About the Photograph:

“This picture was shot during the show Mercuzio non vuole morire in the corridor of  the Volterra Maximum Security Prison. Both subjects in the picture are prisoners and actors. Every year, the inmates at Prison Volterra in Tuscany put on a show. They are directed by Armando Punzo, who established the Compagnia della Fortezza in 1988. About a third of the 170 men imprisoned participate. Many are dangerous felons who are in prison for life. Most of them come from criminal gangs.”

“Prison theater is about redemption. It teaches prisoners to work collaboratively. They become actors, not only prisoners. They take their show around the country. For one week they were on tour performing in a small town close to the border. During the day they were free to walk around the square without being guarded. Afterward, they were driven to the local prison where they slept in cells. I asked a prisoner why no one tried to escape. He said, ‘Why should I run away’? Where would I go? I’ve lived in prison 20 years. Now I have something to live for. Life has meaning.’ ”

Brennan O`Connor April 24, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Burma, Myanmar.
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Karen State, Myanmar 2013

Brennan O`Connor (b. 1970, Canada) has worked for many of Canada’s leading publications before dedicating himself full time to cover self-generated under reported stories in mainstream media. In 2010, he relocated to Asia to follow a long-term project on Burma’s borders and subsequent effects for ethnic populations whose traditional territories’ fall on both sides of the dividing lines. The project, will eventually cultivate into a book, has taken him around the region to photograph the numerous rebels, refugees and migrants residing in the borderlands. Brennan’s work has been published in Burn (USA), The Walrus (Canada), The National (UAE) and Al Jazeera (Qatar).

About the Photograph:

“Before this photo was taken in rebel controlled Karen state, the Karen National Union (KNU), (right) and Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA); now named the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (center), were still fighting with each other. This image was taken in an area that both rebel groups controlled at different times and documents a joint medical operation only months after the two Karen armed groups mended their relationship. The carefree children passing by on the left depict the reliance of civilians that have had to accommodate the various armies that frequently passed through their villages during a civil war spanning over sixty years. In recent years a ceasefire was signed with both the KNU and DKBA-5, but the region still remains largely militarized, playing host to large numbers of armed groups, especially government troops.”

Anna Maria Antoinette D’Addario April 21, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in India.
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Devotees flock to the ghats on the night of the full moon of Kartika. Varanasi, India 2013

Anna Maria Antoinette D’Addario (b. 1981 Australia) moved to Rome in 2005 where she  studied photography at the Institute ISFCI. In 2007 Anna was awarded a MAE Scholarship grant from the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs for her photographic studies. For the past three years she has been assisting photographer Stephen Dupont in Australia and in 2012 was appointed Assistant Director of the Sydney based Reportage Festival, for which she curated various exhibitions in 2013. Anna’s work has been published in Vogue UK, The Guardian UK and Art Rocker Magazine. She is currently working on a series of long-term projects primarily focused in India and The Philippines. Aligned with Getty Images this year she will soon be contributing to their editorial coverage in Asia.

About the Photograph:

“Every year on the full moon of Kartika, November to December, Dev Deepavali is celebrated. The Festival has been called the ‘Diwali of the Gods’ and it is believed on this night that the gods come down to bathe in the holy Ganges, India’s sacred river that flows through the heart of the city. Thousands of devotees flock to the ghats of the city to attend Ganga Aarti and watch the river glow with innumerable (Diyas) earthern oil lamp candles, electric lights, fireworks and lanterns.”

“Varanasi also known as Kashi, Benares, The City of Light, one could say is the axis on which all the mythology, the darkness, the light and all the truth and beauty of India rotates. One of the oldest living cities in the world and the holiest in India, it has been a continuous source of inspiration for philosophers, musicians, poets, artists and photographers for centuries and played an essential part in the development of Buddhism. This photograph is from a series of images from the 2013 Dev Deepawali and a part of a larger continuing project in greater India focusing on myth and identity.”

Jonathan Harris April 19, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Bhutan.
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Sonam Wangmo talks about happiness in Bhutan 2007

Jonathan Harris (b. 1979, USA) studied computer science and photography at Princeton University. His projects include We Feel Fine, a search engine for human emotions; I Want You To Want Me, an installation about online dating; Cowbird, a public library of human experience; 10 x 10, a system for encapsulating moments in time; The Whale Hunt, a series of photographs timed to match his heartbeat; and I Love Your Work, an interactive film about the daily lives of sex workers. He won a 2005 Fabrica fellowship and three Webby Awards. Print Magazine named him a “2008 New Visual Artist,” and TIME Magazine named his project, Cowbird, one of the “50 Best Websites of 2012.” Jonathan’s work has been exhibited all over the world, including at MoMA (New York), Le Centre Pompidou (Paris), the Victoria and Albert Museum (London), the Central Academy of Fine Arts (Beijing). He has lectured about his work at the TED Conference, MoMA, Google, The New York Times, The World Economic Forum, the Sundance Film Festival, Princeton, Stanford, Columbia, and Yale Universities, and The Rhode Island School of Design.

About the Project:

Balloons of Bhutan is a portrait of happiness in the last Himalayan kingdom. Bhutan uses “Gross National Happiness’ instead of ‘Gross National Product’ to measure its socio-economic prosperity, essentially organizing its national agenda around the basic tenets of Buddhism. In late 2007, I spent two weeks in Bhutan, interviewing 117 people about different aspects of happiness. I asked people to rate their level of happiness between one and ten, and then inflated that number of balloons, so very happy people would be given ten balloons, and very sad people would be given only one. I also asked each person to make a wish, and then wrote that wish on a balloon of their favorite color. On the final night, all 117 wish balloons were re-inflated and strung up at Dochula, a sacred mountain pass at 10,000 feet, and left to bob up and down in the wind, mingling with thousands of strands of prayer flags. Balloons of Bhutan was sponsored by the Bhutan Youth Development Fund, an NGO working to provide opportunities for local Bhutanese youth.”

Cassi Alexandra April 17, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Gaza political rally, Orlando , Florida 2009

Cassi Alexandra (b. 1986 United States) is a New York based Photojournalist and Editor, born and raised in Florida where she graduated from the Southeast Center of Photographic Studies and The University of Central Florida with a Bachelors in Photography. She had her start in photojournalism at The Orlando Sentinel in 2009, and quickly after became a contributor for The New York Times. After graduating in 2010 she gained valuable experience at The Flint Journal and The Saginaw News in Michigan. In March 2011 she moved to Brooklyn, New York where she continues to shoot and edit for various news organizations.

About the Photograph:”

“This was on one of my first photojournalism assignments while shadowing staff photographer Jacob Langston at The Orlando Sentinel. Shortly after arriving at the Gaza Rally in Downtown Orlando I began weaving in and out of the people taking as many images as my finger could snap while Jacob, a seasoned photographer took images with precision and thought. I couldn’t stop myself. It was the most energy I had been around in a shooting atmosphere. I was like a kid in a candy store, running around to try every angle. After going through the take several times and then with classmates at Daytona State College this image was finally selected. It wasn’t till I began editing others work that I was able to see the gems from my shooting. This is the day I fell in love with photojournalism and realized it was exactly what I wanted to spend my life doing.”

Andrei Riskin April 14, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ukraine.
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Rosh Hashanah, Uman, Ukraine 2012

Andrei Riskin (b. 1975, Russia) graduated with a Master’s Degree in large-scale energy production and distribution systems in 1997. The following year he moved to the United States where he worked in Silicon Valley as a software engineer for two years. In 2001 Andrei traded the comfort of a cubical for a career as a freelance event and documentary photographer. His work has been exhibited at Rayko Photo Center and The World Affairs Council in San francisco. Andrei also teaches photography at Academy of Art University and Photo Center in San Francisco.

About the Photograph:

“This photo was taken in Uman, Ukraine a place famous for hosting the yearly pilgrimage of twenty-five thousand Hassidic Jews on Rosh Hashanah. Most of them are drawn to the grave of Rabbi Nachman, the founder of the Breslov Hassidic movement who promised a year-long blessing to those who visit him on that Holiday. A few years prior to his passing away in the early 1800’s he moved to Uman from Breslov as he wanted to be buried next to those killed in a recent massacre. Throughout its history Ukraine was infamous for it’s anti-semitism  and oppression of its Jewish population, of which now there are hardly any remaining. The pilgrims, most of whom are very religious, seem to ignore the country’s grim past. Most just pray and celebrate their centuries-year-old tradition.”

Taylor Emrey Glascock April 10, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Trenton, Missouri 2013

Taylor Emrey Glascock (b. 1989, USA) graduated with a degree in photojournalism from the University of Missouri in 2011. While in school she worked as a set photographer for feature films “V/H/S” and “You’re Next,” both of which received wide theatrical release and international distribution. After graduation, she interned at The Dallas Morning News, The Columbus Dispatch and the Peoria Journal Star. She is the creator of the sites Sh*t Photojournalists Like and SunTimes/DarkTimes, and has been featured on Wired, 10,000 Words, and Huffington Post. Her photographs have been published in the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

About the Photograph:

“I took this photo while I was at the 65th Missouri Photo Workshop in Trenton, Missouri, earlier this fall. A group of 20 photographers descended upon a small Missouri town, each do a story. What makes it different from other workshops is that you have to find your own project. It’s a lot of rejection and heartbreak, but ultimately so refreshing. I did my story on Kyle Roderick, a 17-year-old on the verge of dropping out of high school. I’ve always been drawn to photographing young people because I think it’s such a weird transitional phase in life. I met Kyle through the school district’s superintendent, and we immediately hit it off. Kyle worked two jobs, one of them at McDonald’s. I had already spent time behind the counter and didn’t think there was much else I could mine from the situation. Before I made this picture, I was sitting in my car, waiting for him to get off work. I originally wasn’t even going to get out of the car because I was parked right next to him. I’m so glad I did though, because when he and his manager walked outside, this moment happened. I have two frames of this situation and then it was over.”

Louise Whelan April 7, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Australia.
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Turkish migrant, Lightning Ridge, Australia 2011

Louise Whelan (b.1967, Australia) completed an advanced certificate in photography at Ultimo College in Sydney. She works across various fields from documentary and fine art photography through to corporate editorial work and still on films. Her current project includes documenting the diverse ethnic communities that make up Australia for the State and National Libraries. This work has been awarded the National Photographic Portrait Prize 2013 presented by former Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Louise’s first monograph New Settlers was published this year by T & G Publishing. She was also one of the Australian Photographers selected for the Fuji 10×100 book project.

About the Photograph:

“This portrait was taken as part of my ongoing social documentary project of the different ethnicities that make up Australia for the State and National Libraries. It was made in Lightning Ridge, which is situated in the north central part of New South Wales not far from the Queensland border. Opal mining has been the major attraction for migrants since the early 1900s. Typically it attracts those interested in working for themselves. Many migrants set up life in this small mining town by laying out a claim and mining under ground for opal. This Turkish migrant who has been living in Lighting Ridge for over 25 years. As well as mining he also runs a repair business. Lightning Ridge has just lost its much needed funding for the multicultural sector, which provided health services for the aging migrant community. Temperatures in summer can reach the high forties and it has been known for some of these migrants to perish in their tin shed homes in the mining camps.”

Randy Olson “One Little Hammer” April 3, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Multimedia.
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Randy Olson (b.1957, USA) worked as a newspaper photographer at The Pittsburgh Press and received an Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellowship in 1995 to support a seven-year project documenting a family with AIDS, and a first place Robert F. Kennedy Award for his story on problems with Section 8 housing in 1991. He was awarded the Nikon Sabbatical grant and a grant from the National Archives to save the Pictures of the Year collection. In addition to the National Geographic Society his work has been published in LIFE, GEO, Smithsonian and other magazines. Randy’s 30+ National Geographic projects have taken him to almost every continent. The National Geographic Society published a book of his work in 2011 in their Masters of Photography series. He was the Magazine Photographer of the Year in the 2003 Pictures of the Year International competition, and was also awarded POYi’s Newspaper Photographer of the Year in 1991. In 2011, Randy founded The Photo Society.

Randy Olson on Creating The Tray for National Geographic:

“The question I get most often is: ‘How do I become a National Geographic Photographer?’ The answer to that is multi-dimensional, but I think my best answer is that you have to understand the concept of THE TRAY—a process unique to National Geographic Magazine.

We used to shoot 500 to 800 rolls of film on an assignment. Think about a dedicated photographer getting up before dawn, working through the day, and then repeat that day for two months or so to have as the final result 60 pieces of cellulose in cardboard frames in a circular piece of plastic. These photographers would then carry this Kodak-inspired invention through the hallways with such reverence because it represented so much commitment on their part. I remember when a photographer had a tray stolen out of his car which represented many years of work. These slides were original works and there was no way to replace them. You couldn’t just download them again from your Flickr account.

The best way I can describe the concept of the tray is that you are doing the storyboard for a small movie, but you never move on to do the actual movie. The storyboard is a slideshow that describes in great visuals as well as organized, conceptual detail, the place, culture, or critter you are doing a story about. There is a lot of work that allows this to happen. If you are in the field for one, two, or three months you have to keep track of all of the storyboards, either in your head, in notes, (or some kept Polaroids), and now we keep track of our storyboard as key digital frames organized on the computer. Each storyboard represents a basic concept of the place or people you are trying to document. Each storyboard represents a fact as you have come to know it and those facts are strung in inverted pyramid style in visual language.

As you are working you have to keep in mind the gaps in your storyboard. When someone from this place or culture looks at your story, will they see it as hitting all the right notes? When you go into a projection room and the lights go down and the slides go up, the sound bites should move you seamlessly from one visual idea to the next accompanying visual idea. The sad part of this story is that for all these years that these trays have been produced, the public only gets to see the subset—the lesser number of published photographs in the magazine—the storyboard without the connective tissue. This is changing with the web now and will change more as our electronic canvas gets bigger and bigger.


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