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Sean Carroll July 2, 2015

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Grazing Buck, Yosemite National Park, California, 2013

Sean Carroll  (b. 1978, United States) is an artist working in photography and video raised in coastal Massachusetts now based in New York City. His works have been shown in exhibitions in New York, Detroit, Washington, DC, Northern Virginia, and North Carolina, including most recently, at Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts and Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art. His photos have been featured by PDN, Fraction Magazine, Ain’t Bad, and Lint Roller. He received an MFA in Photography from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and a BA in Visual Media from American University in Washington, DC.

About the Photograph:

“Yosemite Valley is one of the most visited natural sites in America. A lush river valley surrounded by dramatic waterfalls and sheer granite cliffs it attracts crowds of tourists to it’s famous vista points. To serve the visitors it is filled with a myriad of options for lodging, dining, transportation, and shopping. The diverse wildlife that call the valley home must coexist with the crowds and live within the shadows of hotels, parking lots, RVs, and gift shops. Late afternoon in September I came upon this male mule deer grazing in a small meadow in Yosemite Valley adjacent to the historic Ahwahnee Hotel and it’s bustling outdoor restaurant. For nearly an hour the deer enjoyed a late afternoon snack before slipping back into the forest as a steady stream of visitors, weary from the day’s adventures, made their observation of the wildlife.”

Jason Tannen June 18, 2015

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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.​”

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.”

Joel Hawksley May 28, 2015

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From a story about returning Vets, Carbondale, Illinois 2014

Joel Hawksley (b.1990, United States) is a freelance photographer and web application developer based in Providence, Rhode Island. A former newspaper photographer at The Roanoke Times, his clients include The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, and AARP. His work has been recognized by College Photographer of the Year, Hearst Journalism Awards, and the National Press Photographers Association, among others. Joel is also the creator of SoloFolio.

About the Photograph:

“Shooting sometimes as many as five assignments a day during my time at The Southern Illinoisan, a small paper in Carbondale, Illinois, often meant little time to linger and wait for the right moments. Thankfully, my editor did his best to give me the time I needed when I asked for it, and this photograph is a direct result of that understanding. As the local VA hospital was an important part of the community, our staff spent a lot of time covering veteran’s issues, including many efforts to help those with war-related injuries live healthy and meaningful lives. For this assignment, we were invited to spend time with a group of veterans as they visited a hunting club on a cold, late-November morning. Just as the last fog was lifting, I crouched in the hunting blind with Ryley as he eyed a duck across the pond. We both got the shot.”

Michael Santiago May 20, 2015

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Zoilo Santiago, Luz Santiago and Emma Santiago. Pomona, NY 2013

Michael Santiago (b. 1980 USA) is a documentary photographer based between New York and Oakland. Michael’s work focuses on issues concerning people of color and their communities; obesity, cancer, race and identity, family relationships, healthy eating, youth empowerment and more. A senior at the San Francisco Art Institute, he studies documentary photography and brings a strong cultural awareness to his work. He is the recipeint of the 2015 Alexia Foundation student grant for his project Stolen Land, Stolen Future a body of work focusing on Black farmers of California and his long term projects A Promise, 250 and Michael.

About the Photograph:

“On the weekends when my older brother has to work my mother Luz watches my niece. Around this particular time my father’s health began to steadily decline. His energy would be depleted faster than usual especially on days after dialysis. He often would doze off at any given moment. With my niece being sick this day, she was not as rambunctious as usual and with my father napping my mother took this quiet moment to just gather her thoughts and relax. My father Zoilo at this point had been battling prostate cancer since 1998 and was also dealing with kidney failure. At the time that this photo was taken I had been photographing his daily life for six months and it was around this time that my mother let me photograph her and include her in my work.”

Gaia Squarci April 16, 2015

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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.”

David Gardner March 16, 2015

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Nola and David in their Motor Home in Quartzite, Arizona 2014                     

David Gardner (b. 1954, USA) devides his time between San Francisco and a 26 foot motor home, pursuing his photographic interests across the continent. His interest in the landscape has evolved over the past 35 years. Originally photographing in a contemplative style free of human intervention, his emphasis shifted as the difficulty of isolating landscapes to fit that style has increased.  His recent project, Life on Wheels: The New American Nomads, received Photomedia Center’s 2013 Contemporary Image Makers micro-grant, and has shown at the Davis-Orton Gallery in New York, Griffin Museum of Photography in Massachusetts, and recently received the Best of Show award at LH Horton Gallery’s Documentary competition in Stockton, California.

About the Photograph:

“When I first began photographing people for Life on Wheels, I learned about a meeting place for RV’ers in the Arizona desert town of Quartzsite. Every year in January and February, the town, and surrounding BLM land, inflates from a normal population of  three thousand to over one million people. They come in motorhomes, toy haulers and trailers to enjoy the sun and warmth of the southern Arizona desert and meet up with friends and family. It seemed like the perfect way to begin the project.”

“Once there, I spent time group of Lazy Daze motorhome owners and met David and Nola. We set a time for sme to photograph them. When I arrived at their rig, we sat in their back lounge and talked about the lifestyle, and the sort of image I was after. Part of our conversation was about how long they intended to live the full-time RV lifestyle. David told me that when they first discussed the idea, they decided to give it five years and then reassess how they felt. Five years later, Nola misses her children and grandchildren and wants to stop traveling but David does not. While reviewing the twenty photographs I took of them, it was clear that the first image best expressed the dilemma they faced. Nola on the fringe, David in the middle, the kids adorning the walls and the great outdoors just on the other side of the window.”

Kenneth Jarecke/ Dumb Photos for Dumb People March 7, 2015

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Copyright 2015 Kenneth Jarecke / Contact Press Images

Dumb Photos for Dumb People

Suppose you’re the director of photography (DoP) at a big magazine or newspaper and suppose your budget has been slashed (but I repeat myself).

How do you keep publishing great images?

You can no longer afford to hire great photographers. If you could afford them, you’d still have to get them to sign a work-for-hire agreement, which the great ones won’t do. Well, a few of them will, but you need to properly compensate them, put them on staff, and float them a low interest loan on their upstate, weekend home. So that’s not happening, because remember, you’ve got no money. To make matters worse, the day-rate you offer freelance photographers hasn’t risen in 25 years. You can only keep them in the field for a minuscule amount of time, and you’ve still got to somehow grab their copyright.

What do you do?

Faced with this dilemma a few DoP’s and photo editors have hung up their loupes and walked away from the editorial market. An honorable decision to be sure, but what if you’re not ready to quit or you have a upstate, weekend home of your own to pay for?

You can struggle to find great photographers who are willing to work under these conditions and fail, or you can be clever and simply redefine the word “great”.

What other choice is there? Your job is to supply your publication withstellar work. In an industry that’s already decided that good enough is good enough, how do you justify your existence, your job? Except for your staff photographers, everybody’s pulling from the same tired sources, the same wires, picture agencies, and the same starving freelancers. How do you prove that your work is more stellar than everyone else’s?

One way is to win contests. Evidently winning these things are still important to publishers. Another way is to judge contests. Judging contests makes you an industry leader, a respected voice, a power player.

You’ll also need to find young photographers who’ve not yet learned their value. Promise them fame and riches, gallery shows, print sales, ad campaigns, whatever it takes. Don’t worry. When none of these things come to pass and the poor sucker realizes he needs to actually earn money from his editorial work, cast him off. Pretend you don’t know him. Don’t return his emails or phone calls and move on to the next ripe newbie. Have no fear, if one of these guys manages to survive and become a name just take credit for discovering him. Being a photographer he’ll believe you and be happy to work for you again.

Of course, this scheme doesn’t work if you’re bound by conventional standards. Very few photographers can produce meaningful work on a regular basis. It’s a rare gift, and technical advances haven’t increased the number of people who have this gift. Standards of excellence are a problem when you can’t afford to work with excellent people. Words like journalism, photojournalism, and reportage, are troublesome. Words like truth, well don’t even go there. That’s why a new word needed to be added to the mix. That word is art. Art like beauty is seen in the eye of the beholder. All beholders may be equal, but the professional Beholders who judge contests, and look at thousands of images a day are more equal than others. This is the magic that careers are built on, and this is the power that mystifies gullible photographers.


Copyright 2015 Kenneth Jarecke / Contact Press Images

The DoP / photographer relationship was once symbiotic. I’ll give you money and access, you give me amazing photographs, we’ll publish them and everyone will see how brilliant we both are.

Now the relationship is one sided and abusive. Today the DoP’s (or their picture editors) pitch goes something like this, I’ll give you a little bit of money (or none), you’ll deliver exactly what I want and the pictures you make will belong to me. Take it or leave it, but know there are plenty of people queued up to take your place.

When you’re desperate for work and recognition that’s a mighty big stick to get whacked with. The corresponding carrot is the small voice whispering to the photographer saying, he chaired the World Press Photo awards. He’s an industry leader. He’s one of the Beholders.

This is why Powerball exists.

You ever hear the story about Levi’s and Walmart? Long story short… in order to reach Walmart’s price point Levi’s had to lower the quality of the jeans they sold there. So Levi’s revamped most of their production lines to meet Walmart’s standards and in doing so lessened the quality of all the jeans they produced regardless of where they were sold.

Mediocre forces good out of the market place and great all but disappears. In the case of Levi’s you give these jeans a special name, like “signature”. When it comes to photography you simply call it “art”.

This charade has worked fairly well over the past fifteen years or so. The DoP’s didn’t even have to sell it. The photographers who agreed to their terms did all the heavy lifting. They became industry leaders themselves. Part of the enlightened priesthood who preached that proper compensation, insurance, professional gear, and owning one’s work were outdated, hateful ideas that had no place in the 21st century.

Of course, smart people vote with their feet. They shop at the expensive boutique. They buy a different brand of jeans. The smart people who had a passion and proven track record of capturing our world in amazing pictures walked away too. The youngsters, most of the smart ones at least, walked away as well. It doesn’t take much to see the game is rigged and the editorial world is bleak.


Copyright 2015 Kenneth Jarecke / Contact Press Images

How many future Jim Nachtweys have walked away before they’ve even dipped a toe in the pool?

The mystical Beholders, in practicing their craft, have effectively drained the pool. The quality of work they produce is largely what you’d expect to be pulled from the shallow, stagnant body of water which still remains.

You want to see some art? Look at Telex Iran by Gilles Peress. If you want to see some photojournalism look at the same book.

You want to see photojournalism? Look at 44 Days by David Burnett. If you want to see some art look at the same book.

Two photographers working at about the same time in the same place who both produced work that will last long after them. They told the truth. They were honest with the viewer. They didn’t stage any pictures or knowingly create any fictions. Both of these works are sought out today by museums and private collectors.

The work that Burnett and Peress produced was funded by publications that paid good money to use it. Their respective agencies licensed this work to hundreds of other publications in dozens of countries and they got a healthy percentage from each transaction (and still do today). None of these publications had the audacity to demand world-wide exclusivity or the right to resell this work. If they had there’s a good chance this work never would have been made in the first place.

Start with great photographs made by intelligent, passionate people and wait. That’s how photojournalism becomes art. Not through the self-serving incarnation made by a Beholder in a hushed tone usually reserved for a NPR host.

The World Press Photo Foundation can start to restore its tarnished reputation by severing it’s ties with the Beholders and their acolytes.

If an editor forces a WFH agreement on photographers they’re not our friends. They are helping to force the most talented among us out of the industry, thus dumbing it down. The World Press Photo Foundation should not justify their actions by allowing them to be a part of their competition.

Photographers who are dumb or desperate enough to sign WFH agreements should be scorned as well. If a photographer is foolish enough to willingly give away the ownership of their work (without proper compensation), the images they make aren’t going to give us much insight into what’s happening around the world. Dumb people normally don’t create lasting work, but they can push other more deserving and talented photographers out of the industry. They should not be rewarded with the recognition that comes with a World Press Photo award.

A Beholder who works for a multi-billion dollar company who’s existence depends on the willingness of photographers (both professional and amateur) to sign away their rights is also a bad choice. It’s just a matter of time before they snag you with their money.

Photography professors who fail to teach their students proper business practices should be excluded as well. Especially those who set a terrible example for their students by hiring themselves out to agencies that prey on the egos of desperate photographers.

World Press Photo, please stop letting people like this, people who are destroying our industry, and the craft of photojournalism use your (still) good name to legitimize their bad behavior.

March 5th Update

The leaders of World Press Photo just announced that based on new evidence, they have revoked the controversial First Place award given to Italian photographer Giovanni Troilo for his series of photographs entered in this year’s WPP Contemporary Issues Story category.

Kenneth Jarecke’s work can be seen here.

Just Another War by Exene Cervenka and Kenneth Jarecke.

Husker Game Day by Kenneth Jarecke.

Selma Fernandez Richter February 16, 2015

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Myanmar, United States.
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Planet Hook beneath the flag of the Karen State, Saint Paul, MN, 2012

Selma Fernandez Richter  (b. 1974, Mexico) has been a photographer since 2001. She works in both the United States and Mexico. Selma spent the first ten years of her professional career in Monterrey, Mexico´s most industrial city, where she photographed people in the business community and editorial assignments for Time-Expansion Editorial Group, Financial Times Deutschland, Bloomberg Businessweek and CNN Mexico, among others.Three years ago, Selma moved away from Mexico and started photographing her ongoing project “The Ache for Home” about the refugee communities in Minnesota, while experiencing her own adaptation process to a new context. She is currently based in Minneapolis.

About the Photograph:

“This image is part of my ongoing project The Ache for Home about the refugee communities in Minnesota. The families and individuals that I photograph primarily come from Burma, Bhutan, Eritrea and Somalia. I am interested in photographing the first months and years in their new context. I observe them improve language skills, search to find jobs that match their specific abilities, the struggles of adapting to a cold Minnesota winter, and their efforts to maintain a cultural identity that is familiar and resonates. Above all, I have come to know the sacrifices parents make for their children and the dreams and hopes they hold dear for the next generation. In this picture, Planet Hook is in his living room beneath the flag of the Karen State. Planet was born in a refugee camp in Thailand. His parents are from the Karen ethnic group in Burma and because of persecution, they fled the country in 1997. In 2010, the family resettled in Minnesota.”

 

T.J. Kirkpatrick February 12, 2015

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The Spot Bar in Steubenville, Ohio 2012

T.J. Kirkpatrick (b. 1984, USA) is an independent photographer living in Washington, D.C. while working on long-term projects across the country. T.J.’s work is split between seeking the connections shared by different people and observing the quirks of American cultures. After receiving a degree in journalism from Boston University, he spent several years on the staff at various newspapers in New England. He has since worked throughout the U.S., in East Africa and Southeast Asia, and in 2009 was an intern for VII Photo Agency and a student at Eddie Adams Workshop XXII. His work has been recognized by the American Photography 28, 29 & 30 annuals, the International Photography Awards, and NPPA Best of Photojournalism, among others. T.J.’s clients include Esquire, Time Magazine, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

About the Photograph:

“This image is from the final weeks of the 2012 presidential election, when I based myself in Ohio to freelance for a variety of clients who had me running all across the state. I had already spent many months on-and-off of the campaign trail in various states in 2011 and 2012. Steubenville is a steel town on the Ohio River that has seen a steady population decline since many steel mills in the area closed in the 1980s. While I was there, Bloomberg contacted me looking for images of the campaign away from the candidates. I spent a day with volunteers for both the Obama and Romney campaigns covering their various phone bank and canvassing efforts, and another day at local hangouts like The Spot Bar making daily life features. Since it was expected that Ohio would be instrumental in picking the next president in the 2012 election, it felt like a good spot to place myself for the last couple of weeks before election day.”

“I spent a good deal of my time on the campaign trail trying to show the set-up, or, if you will, peaking behind the curtain to see the guy manipulating the wizard. Part of that effort involved meeting the people who were expected to buy into the show, and I got the sense that many of the locals were just worn out from the extended and aggressive campaign. The number of undecided voters in Ohio counties that had any chance of a swing were pretty small, but both campaigns had huge get-out-the-vote machines in place that caught up the deciders along with any voters who could be swayed. By the end of October it had all gotten a bit overwhelming, which is some of the feeling I tried to show with this bar scene from The Spot Bar in Steubenville, Ohio.

Jessica Todd Harper February 5, 2015

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Mary Ann, Marshall and Becky. USA 2012

Jessica Todd Harper (b. 1975, USA) spent hours of her childhood wandering around museums looking at depictions of interior and family life by painters such as Mary Cassatt, Vermeer, John Singer Sargent and John White Alexander. After a childhood of copying these masters with crayons and later pastels, she turned to photography and started looking at the families around her. The sold out “Interior Exposure” (Damiani 2008) won recognition from sources as varied as Oprah Magazine, PDN, and the Lucie Awards.  Her latest book “The Home Stage” was recently published and with many painterly references, looks at family life with young children. Jessica’s work is collected by museums and appears regularly in publications ranging from Die Zeit to Real Simple. She is represented by Rick Wester Fine Art.

About the Photograph:

“This is a portrait of my cousin, my sister, an ancestor from four  generations ago and my ketchup stained little boy. We were all gathered for cocktails and dinner at my uncle’s house, a space where the family members from the past simply take up a lot of wall space. So it is likely that wherever you are, there is a painting of an ancestor in the background. This photograph is part of my book The Home Stage, that explores the home environment and life with small children in my family and friends’ families. In this particular image of multiple generations, I am reminded how much our environments and the stories we hear about our families influence us. The ancestor in the painting, Mary Ann, is shown at the age of 16. Hers is a tragic story as she died in the Arctic, the biggest steamship disaster before the Titanic.  I grew up hearing about the adventures and tragedies of long ago family as if they were still with us.  And sometimes, as in this photograph, it is almost as if they are”.

Robbie McClaran February 2, 2015

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From the project Hot Rod and Betties. Portland Oregon 2014

Robbie McClaran (b.1955) is a documentary photographer based in Portland Oregon. His work focuses on the American people and landscape. Robbie began his study in photography in 1975 at the Center for Photographic Studies with C.J. Pressma, and continued at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester NY, where he studied with Nathan Lyons. His commissioned work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Time, Smithsonian, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, Bloomberg and Forbes. The prints from his controversial 1996 book project, Angry White Men, are in the permanent collection of the University of Oregon. His personal work has been featured in Plazm, Photo District News, The Photo Review, ID Design, and has been recognized by the American Institute of Graphic Arts, American Photography, and Communication Arts. Robbie is represented by Redux Pictures.

About the Photograph:

“Most of my recent personal work has been large or medium format black & white film based projects that involved traveling to other parts of the country. I began to think about working closer to home on a series of short stories, one or two day projects working with a small camera in color. The first of these was on Hot Rod culture and I began with the Portland Roadster show. My idea was to juxtapose images of the cars with the people who are the car builders, collectors and fans. I’ve always had a little bit of gear head in me so not only did the show present a wonderfully colorful opportunity, it was a lot of fun.”

“Hot Rod culture is unapologetically macho and the women who are part of it are known as Betties. In an age of increasing concern over the impact of the automobile on the environment, hot rod culture continues to celebrate speed, chrome, oil, rubber and steel. It is quintessentially American for better or worse. The idea was to shoot fast and loose, not quite shoot from the hip but almost. So there’s a high failure rate working that way. But you also get these wonderful moments that would otherwise escape with a more deliberate approach. This image of the red haired young woman was made in the method described above, a fleeting moment in passing. So I was particularly pleased to see the resulting image.”

Joseph Vitone November 24, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Grandmother, Sandra Vitone; mother, Arathea Booth; and granddaughter, Elizabeth Dunn,
with pool and palm tree backdrop. Marshallville, Ohio 2009

Joseph Vitone (b.1954,USA) is a documentary fine art photographer and educator living in Austin, Texas. His work consists of large format portraiture and landscape in the United States as well as panoramic and other views examining cultures abroad. He is Professor at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas where he has lived with his family since 1991. In 2001 he was a senior Fulbright scholar in fine art teaching and working on a photography project centered around small scale family based agriculture in Costa Rica. His work has been exhibited at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, Instituto Cultural Peruano-Norteamericano in Lima, Peru, Blue Sky Gallery in Portland, and the Houston Center for Photography in Texas. His work is held in a number of collections including the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Center for Creative Photography, the Museum of Fine Art, Houston, and the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History.

About the Photograph:

“Arathea’s mother, Sandra, is a creative person who loves putting together a good party. By profession a cook, a baker, and a caterer and by avocation a thrift store shopper, she supplements well-considered but inexpensive props with items gleaned from Goodwill and other second hand stores to assemble themed parties near birthday time of her daughter, Arathea. The annual events occur when Sandra is able to make a summer visit to Ohio from her residence in Austin, Texas. This year they are having a luau among the corn and soybean fields of Wayne County.”

Ramin Rahimian November 13, 2014

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Dancing Rabbit Eco-village. Rutledge, Missouri2009.

Ramin Rahimian (b. 1981, Iran) is an American freelance documentary and editorial photographer based in Petaluma, California, north of San Francisco. He received his B.A. in political science and international relations from the University of California, Berkeley. There, he worked on the photography staff of the student-run newspaper for four years. After college, he worked for two years as a staff photographer at the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper. Since 2006, he has been a freelance photographer working for clients such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Education Week, and San Francisco Magazine. He was named Utah photographer of the year in 2007, 2008, and 2009. Some of his work has been recognized by POY and NPPA Best of Photojournalism.

About the Photograph:

“Family members and members of Dancing Rabbit and the nearby Red Earth community celebrate the 60th birthday of Laird Schaub, left, a founding member of nearby Sandhill Farm community and husband of Dancing Rabbit member Ma’ikwe Schaub-Ludwig, in the new mercantile building at the Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in Rutledge, Missouri, on Friday, October 23, 2009. Long time members of Dancing Rabbit, Alline Anderson and her husband Kurt Kessner have built the Milkweed Mercantile that will serve as a community general store, a bed and breakfast, and a center of education for all things Dancing Rabbit for the public.

Established in 1997 through a land trust, Dancing Rabbit is an eco village community located on 280 acres in rural northeastern Missouri. With over 50 visitors, residents, and full members and growing, Dancing Rabbit focuses on community values and strives to limit its impact on the environment by being ecologically and socially conscientious. As much as they can, Rabbits live sustainable lifestyles and strive to demonstrate that to society and inspire others to do the same. While food is bought in bulk from local businesses, the goal is to eventually grow the majority of their own food on the Dancing Rabbit land. Rabbits build their homes using alternative techniques such as straw bale, cob, and recycled building materials and produce electricity through solar and wind power.

This photograph was made during one of my two trips to Dancing Rabbit. It was a birthday celebration and dinner held in the the newly-built mercantile building. I saw it as a great opportunity to show warmth, friendship, and deep connections between not only Dancing Rabbit members, b-t members of other smaller nearby communities. I love this photograph because of each person’s expressions and mannerisms. There is warmth and a comfort that is conveyed by their ease. I felt very welcomed by everyone as they drank and drank bottles of wine that night. There was a relaxed hedonism going on that I think comes through.”

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