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Eugenio Grosso June 28, 2015

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Italy.
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Faith in Sicily – Easter in Enna Italy 2012

Eugenio Grosso (b. 1984, Italy) graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera. He worked as a part-time commercial photographer since 2007 and then as full-time photojournalist since 2009. He is a regular contributor to Italian publications including: Corriere della Sera and la Repubblica and la Stampa. His work has been featured in the Guardian, the Financial Times, BBC and the Washington Post. He is currently working on the theme of immigration and the relationships between the populations living on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Eugenio is based in London.

About the Photograph:

“I was born in Sicily and left my hometown when I was 18 to move to Milan in the north of Italy. Since then I have always had a conflicting relationship with my region. On the one hand I missed it while on the other I felt I was changing and couldn’t find myself in the same place and condition where i lived before. At the time when I took this photograph I was developing a project about religion and rituals in Sicily, trying to return to my roots and re-discover Sicily.”

“Photographing Easter in Sicily made me feel a bit uncomfortable at the beginning but, after a while, it became natural and the rest of the day went smooth. The main challenge was to keep the tourists with their smartphones out of the frame. Exploring the environment I was raised up in as an outsider helped me accept the pros and cons of my homeland and build a new more mature relationship with my origin.”

Gergely Szatmari June 25, 2015

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Hungary.
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From the series “Meadowlands”. New Jersey 2009

Gergely Szatmári (b. 1966, Hungary) is a former university adjunct of the Photography Department, MOME, Budapest. He received his diploma from the same establishment, and also completed the doctoral programme there. Recently his activity turned towards his autonomous long-term photographic projects. His interest extends from documentary through narrative to conceptualism. His works has been exhibited at Viennafair, the Hungarian Cultural Centre in London, the Museum der Arbeit in Hamburg, the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin, in Miami Scope, at London Art Fair and in the Lucca Photofestival in Italy. In 2008, he spent a year in the USA as a guest researcher, at Montclair State University (NJ). Alongside pedagogical activity, he also works as a curator.

About the Photograph: 

“Construction cake: The story takes place somewhere in New Jersey on a sleepy Saturday afternoon, when days are usually slowly passing by, but today is a special occasion. My Uncle and his wife drive to their daughter’s place, to the next street, to celebrate their grandson’s birthday. The boy loves cake and cars and construction vehicles. In the morning his grandparents had to drive to a neighbouring city, to pick-up the cake from a Mexican pastry shop to fulfill these desires. This is the only local place where you can commission such a cake. This shot was made using 10 by 8 inch film focused on a typical suburban moment of human engagement.”

David Pace June 22, 2015

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Burkina Faso.
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Two Tailors Bereba, Burkina Faso 2008

David Pace (b. 1951, United States) received his MFA from San Jose State University in 1991. He has taught photography in universities throughout the San Francisco Bay Area for 25 years. As Resident Director of Santa Clara University’s study abroad program in West Africa from 2009 – 2013, David spent ten weeks each year in the small country of Burkina Faso, where he has been photographing annually since 2007. For nearly a decade he has been documenting daily life in Bereba, a remote village without electricity or running water. His images of rural West Africa have been exhibited internationally and have appeared in LensCulture, Slate Magazine, The Huffington Post, PDN, Wall Street International, r and the German magazines Camera and View. His work has been featured on NPR’s The Picture Show and the Art Photo Index (API). A monograph of his project Sur La Route was published by Blue Sky Books in the fall of 2014. He resides in Los Altos, California.

About the Photograph:

“One August afternoon as I was walking through the ancient market that wraps around the towering baobab tree at the heart of the village of Bereba, a hypnotic humming sound attracted my attention. I followed the sound to a squat, windowless, mud-brick building. Natural light streaming through the doorway illuminated the faces of two tailors laboring at worn treadle sewing machines in a dark, cramped room. The walls of the room were draped with colorful fabrics and articles of clothing. Scraps of cloth were strewn about. The temperature, normally around 100 degrees, was even higher in the tight, airless space. I stood, mesmerized by the heat, and the intense concentration of the tailors, until the tailor in the background paused and gestured, indicating that I should take their picture. The tailor in the foreground remained absorbed in his work and never once looked up.”

Jason Tannen June 18, 2015

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Chinatown, San Francisco 2011

Jason Tannen (b. 1950, USA) is a photographer, curator, and photo educator. For over three decades his work has explored the urban landscape, utilizing both an observational street photography approach, and a more controlled and cinematic style. Recent exhibitions have included SF Camerawork, Black Box Gallery, Portland, OR, Index Art Center, Newark, NJ, Bakehouse Art Complex, Miami, FL, and Fukushima Contemporary Art Biennale, Fukushima, Japan. From 1998 to 2014 Jason was the curator at the University Art Gallery at California State University, Chico, where he also taught Film as Visual Art and the History of Photography. He is currently developing Two Truths and A Lie, an exhibition featuring work by New York tabloid photographer Weegee (Arthur Fellig 1899-1968) for the University Art Gallery, California State University, Chico.

About the Photograph:

“In 2010, I started a project photographing San Francisco’s Chinatown neighborhood. I was drawn to Chinatown’s physical and visual density of buildings, storefronts, signs and symbols. For me, those elements could best be explored in black and white. Over time, I was struck by the neighborhood’s ever-present cultural mixing of East and West, especially a unique, personal and sometimes highly eccentric approach to commercial display. When I photographed Pyramid, I was shooting close to the windows, looking deep into the storefronts and allowing foreground objects to loom around the edges of the frame. The result here is a composition featuring diagonal lines and crossing shapes, the reflected urban backdrop, and a reference to the human presence.​”

Irving Villegas June 15, 2015

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Mexico.
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Day of the Dead. San Andrés Mixquic, Mexico City 2013

Irving Villegas (b. 1982 Mexico) is a freelance photographer currently based in Hannover, Germany. Since 2005 he collaborated with national and international newspapers, photo agencies and NGOs. In 2011 he began his studies in photojournalism and documentary photography at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hannover. He is currently working on a project called working far away about seasonal workers in different countries. For the first chapter of this project he received the Grant Novel Authors from the Photo Festival Spain and Honorable Mention at the Perugia Social Photo Festival in Italy. Irving is a contributor at INSTITUTE for Artist Management.

 About the Photograph:

“Between adults and young people there are two kids on their knees praying. The youngest one watches his grandmother to mimic her movements. For this family, as it is for many others in this town, it is important that children participate and learn about traditional celebrations so they can last for a very long time. After praying and singing, participants receive some food to take home, later at night they go together to the tomb of a relative in the cemetery. In this part of the city, people are struggling to preserve their traditions, even while the American tradition of Halloween has been spreading in many of the towns most of the Mexican families maintain their traditions. This image is part of the photo essay Tradition is still alive“.

Jessica Auer June 11, 2015

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Las Vegas, Nevada, 2004

Jessica Auer (b.1978, Canada) is a documentary-style landscape photographer concerned with the study of cultural sites focusing on themes that connect place, journey and cultural experience. Jessica holds an MFA from Concordia University and is the recipient of several awards such as the W.B. Bruce European Fine Art Travel Fellowship and the Roloff Beny Prize. Her work has been exhibited in galleries, museums and public spaces across Canada and abroad. Her first book, Unmarked Sites, was noted by Photo-Eye and the Indie Photobook Library as one of the top ten photography books published in 2011. Jessica is a co-founder of Galerie Les Territoires in Montréal and teaches photography at Concordia University.

About the Photograph:

“This was the first photo that I produced for a series titled Re-creational Spaces, a project that I pursued for seven years and became my best-known work. At that time I considered creating a photographic series exclusively about Las Vegas and booked a cheap ticket to do some scouting. I had just read Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown’s Learning from Las Vegas as part of my MFA thesis research and the opening sentence stuck with me, Learning from an existing landscape is a way of being revolutionary for an architect. Having long been interested in landscape and the built environment, I was curious to see for myself how the Strip had shifted and evolved since the 70’s.”

“When I arrived camera in hand, I gravitated towards the hotels that were smaller-scale replicas of other places in the World – Paris, New York, and in the case of this photo, Venice. What I remember most about the moment I took this photo was contemplating how this site must have looked before the city was built, and this image in mind – a nearly blank desert landscape – was such a stark contrast to what I was witnessing. When I later looked at this image in print and was able to spend more time with all details, such as the gondola driver on his PDA, and the words Mirage repeated over and over, I decided to only use this one photograph. From there, I began a series linking different tourist destinations, showing how the landscape has been altered and commodified for sightseeing.”

Paul Colangelo June 7, 2015

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Canada.
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Iskut River, British Columbia 2010

Paul Colangelo (b. 1980, USA) is a documentary photographer focusing on environmental issues and wildlife. For the past five years he has worked on a long-term project called “Our Home and Native Land” that looks at how cultural and wildlife hotspots across Canada are affected by the nation’s expanding resource industry. Paul is a National Geographic grantee, a member of the International League of Conservation Photographers and was included among PDN’s 30. Paul has worked with National Geographic News, BBC, WWF, Canadian Geographic and Orion.

About the Photograph:

“This river begins in the Sacred Headwaters. Back in 2004, very few people outside of the Tahltan First Nation had ever heard of this area. On maps it wasn’t labelled nor delineated—it was hidden in the vast wilderness of northern British Columbia. Back then it wasn’t even called the Sacred Headwaters. It was known as the Klappan. But this type of name, with its multiple pronunciations and lack of obvious meaning, wouldn’t serve well in a conservation campaign. So the Tahltan settled on the Sacred Headwaters—their best effort to convey the importance of this place to their ecosystem and culture. Their campaign was launched in response to Shell gaining tenure of about a million acres in the Klappan for a coal-bed methane development.”

“For nearly a decade, the Tahltan Nation and its supporters fought to get Shell out of the Sacred Headwaters, and in 2012, they actually won. A small remote community took on one of the world’s largest corporations and won. Along with other photographers, I did what I could by photographing the Sacred Headwaters to bring it into the living rooms of people who would never go there themselves. The goal was to encourage them to raise their voices alongside the Tahltan. Unfortunately, less than a year after this success, a coal mine was proposed for the very same place that Shell just vacated. The Tahltan are once again fighting for the Sacred Headwaters.”

Sarker Protick June 4, 2015

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Bangladesh.
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John and Prova. Dhaka, Bangladesh 2012

Sarker Portick (b.1986, Bangladesh) discovered photography finished his bachelor’s degree and he enrolled at Pathshala. His photographs have been published in The New York TimesGEO The New YorkerNational GeographicDie Zeit and Wired among others. In 2012, Sarker won the Prix Mark Grosset Internationales De Photographie and the World Bank Art Program. In 2014, he was named in British Journal Of Photography’s annual Ones to Watch. The same year, Sarker was selected for the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass. In 2015, he went on to win a World Press Photo award for his story What Remains and selected for PDN’s 30. His work has been exhibited at Chobi Mela International Photography Festival, Noorderlicht Photo Festival and the Photovisa Festival,

About the Photograph:

“It was in the afternoon. I was sitting on my grandpa’s couch. The door was slightly open and I saw light coming through,  between the white door and white walls. All of a sudden it all started making sense. I could relate what I was seeing with what I felt. John and Prova, my grandparents.”

“While growing up, I found much love and care from them. They were young and strong. As time went by it shaped everything in it’s own way. Bodies took different forms and relations went distant. Grandma’s hair turned gray, the walls started peeling off and the objects were all that remained. Everything was contained into one single room. They always loved the fact that I took pictures of them, because then I spend more time with them and they didn’t feel lonely anymore. After Prova passed away, I try to visit more so John can talk. He tells me stories of their early life, and how they met. There are so many stories. Here life is silent, Everything is suspended. A wait for something that I don’t completely understand

“John and Prova were married for more than 50 years. In their late years, they had to sleep separate because Prova required a special bed for her back. The two beds occupied most of the space in the room along with other furniture. For this reason, it was not possible for them to sit close together. I was happy to take this photograph because it brought them close together after a long time. They touched, kissed and held each other and I was able to witness that beautiful moment. Long after grandma passed away I realized this is the only photograph of my Grand Parents together from their last years. Now it hangs in the same room where only John sleeps.”