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Sven Zellner April 30, 2015

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Mongolia.
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Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 2014

Sven Zellner (b.1977, Germany) received his diploma in cinematography from the University of Television and Film, Munich in 2010. His work moves between film and photography, and between art and documentary practice. In 2012 he received the ARTE-Documentary Film Award for his debut documentary film Price of Gold, a portrait of Mongolian nomads illegally prospecting for Gold in the Gobi desert. His photographs have been published in: GEO, Terra Mater, DAS MAGAZIN, Leica Fotografie International, and VIEW. Sven lives in Munich and lectures at the HFF, Munich and the University of Applied Science, Darmstadt. He is currently working on projects in Romania, Greenland, the USA, and Mongolia.

About the Photograph:

“In the autumn 2013 I began my project Mongolian Disco focusing on the urban life in Ulaanbaatar. A rush for natural resources like coal and gold has filled pockets in Mongolia, one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. But the country is also facing rising inequalities. Members of the upper class in Ulaanbaatar enjoy a luxurious life-style while two-thirds of the population live on the outskirts in massive yurt districts.”

“I took this photo when it was still dark when I woke up. Through the window I could see that there was fresh snow. I got out and walked through the darkness some kilometers north into the yurt district to take photos. I was on my way home when I came to this place with these tracks curved through the snow, the fences and the construction site in the back. A girl was walking next to me on her way to school. I climbed on a sandpile to take the photo of her crossing the tracks. I was lucky that there was a pile to climb on and that she didn’t look at me. After I took the photo I had to rush back because at that time I was in Ulaanbaatar for the shooting of an independent movie by the Mongolian-German director Uisenma Borchu. I was the cinematographer for that film and I had to be at the set in time. The title of the film will be Don’t Look At Me That Way.”

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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.”