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Ramin Rahimian November 13, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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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.”

Vasantha Yogananthan November 10, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in France.
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Tina, Piémanson, France 2013

Vasantha Yogananthan (b. 1985, France) and lives and works in Paris, France. His work has been exhibited at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, 2012), the Musée Albert-Kahn (Boulogne-Billancourt (2013), and the Maison de l’Image Documentaire (Sète, 2014) among others. In 2013, he was selected for the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass. His photographs have been published in Le Monde, Geo and the New York Times. He was included in the “Top 30 under Thirty” organized by Magnum Photos. Along with his work as a photographer. Vasantha has co-founded a small publishing house named Chose Commune. His first Piémanson book was selected among the 12 finalists of MACK First Book Award and Best Book of the Year at Kassel PhotoBook Festival.

About the Photograph:

“The series “Piémanson” tells the story of the last wild beach in France. In the photograph you can see bed sheets from the hotel that have been cut to make flags on top of the caravan. Her parents first brought Tina to the beach when she was only one and over the years the place has become a second home for her. Every summer I came to Piémanson, I spent time with Tina and her brother and sister, following them in the hundred of activities children always find on the beach during summertime.”

“I took many portraits of her but I felt none was really conveying a sense of who she was. Maybe it was because I was too close, so I started taking a step back in terms of distance. 2013 was the last summer I took photographs for this project. After five summers living with this community I could no longer take pictures without repeating myself. It was the end of the season and people were starting to dismantle their camps. The atmosphere was heavy as every year campers leave without knowing whether they will be allowed to reinvent their enchanted interlude the following year. Tina was picking up her things on the top of the caravan and I immediately saw the whole scene as a perfect match to convey this feeling of melancholia. I carefully set my tripod, composed the frame and then shouted to ask her to stop moving which she did but not as long as the exposure. You can see her head slightly moving. Tina, like a princess in her kingdom, seems to be protecting Piémanson from her fortress.

Jordan Stead November 6, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Sasquatch music festival in George, Washington. 2014

Jordan Stead (b. 1988) is a staff photographer for the Seattle PI.com and graduate of Western Washington University, currently residing in Seattle. Over the years, Jordan worked both internationally and domestically with such outlets as High Country News, ZUMA Press, The New York Times, Chevron and the Seattle International Film Festival. He is an alumnus of the Eddie Adams Workshop and Missouri Photo Workshop, and serves on the board of the National Press Photographers Association. He frequently gives back to the rich photographic community that raised him by regularly returning to schools around the region to speak on the merits of the photographic life.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph was made during the summer of 2014 in the campgrounds outside of  the Sasquatch music festival in eastern Washington. A bit of honesty here: I rarely make photographs with the initial intention to portray deeper meaning. I love beauty, and quite simply, I strive to entertain. When viewing my work, nothing makes me happier than to know that someone, somewhere, feels like their eyes just ate a piece of candy, or went out to a movie. Photographers – especially photojournalists – created a glossary of DOs and DO NOTs that when combined together, somehow sum up what we consider to be a good, strong or powerful image; an archetype of our own design. The reality is that 99 percent of viewers do not have a clue what went into creating the image, but if it is truly something gorgeous, they will feel it. Light, shape, color, moment; all are visual gifts given to photographers to capture the world with in our own special ways. Everyone has a special sauce. In the age of millions of photos published per day, you can shoot all you want, and it often does not equate to anything. But to single someone out, grab their attention and hold their gaze for longer than a split second? That’s success.”

Ore Huiying November 3, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Laos.
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The one and only 3.5  km railway line on the Laos/ Thai border 2011

Ore Huiying (b.1982, Singapore) moved to the UK in 2010 and completed her MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication. Three years later she returned to Singapore as her photography is focused on investigating the development of Southeast Asian societies in the global context. Her work have been published in Le Monde, Liberation, The British Journal of Photography, Ojo de Pez and the BBC. Ore was named one of the ten emerging photographers in Singapore and was selected to participate in the First Asian Women Photographers’ Showcase at the Angkor Photo Festival. Last year, she was nominated for the Sagamihara Photo City’s Asia Prize (Japan) and received a Select Award in the Kuala Lumpur International Photo Award. She is currently based in Singapore.

About the Photograph:

“This image is part of a series in progress The Eternal Fatigue of an Incomplete Dream that aims to explore the dichotomy of Laos’ culture that is on the brink of change. It depicts the end of a railway track at Laos’ first and only train station. The existing track is only 3.5km, crossing over the Mekong River from Thailand and ends at the border of Laos. Poor and landlocked Laos harbors a grand ambition to build a high-speed railway line that would connect it to neighboring China in the north. For a country where no train has run except for an abandoned short portage railway built by its former colonial master, this is a mammoth task- one driven by the government’s desire to open up the country and tap into its abundant natural resources.”

“My first trip to Laos was in 2010, where I photographed the same scene in the digital format. I went back subsequently every year. This particular image was taken in 2011, when I had started to shoot the series in the medium format. Nothing has changed over the years. On several occasions, the Laos government were in talks with the Chinese government to come on board the high-speed railway project; yet no deal was made. With a lack of funding and technical knowledge, Laos faces constant frustrations to progress beyond its 3.5km railway track. In my most recent trip to Laos in March 2014, I discovered that construction has started in the land behind the depicted scene. However, the new construction is not due to an extension of the track, it’s for a new road. The ambitious high-speed railway project remains a dream. Yet one thing is for sure, change is coming, even to isolated Laos.”

Frederik Buyckx October 30, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Brazil.
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Favela La Mineira, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 2014

Frederik Buyckx (b.1984, Belgium) received his master’s degree in advertising design at St-Lucas Antwerp and studied photography at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent. In 2010 he became a freelance photographer and has worked on assignments for National Geographic Magazine, The New York Times and the Belgian Newspaper De Standaard. Besides his freelance assignments he also works on independent photo-essays. His latest work Jesus, Make-up and Football about the favelas in Rio de Janeiro won several prizes such as : Honorable Mention in World Press Photo, Belgian Young Promising Photographer Award, Prize Paule Pia from the Photo Museum in Antwerp and the ANI Pix Palace Award.

About the Photograph:

“This photo became one of my signature images for the series I made about the favelas in Rio de Janeiro. I met this guy when I was walking in one of the streets in favela La Mineira and was immediately attracted by the wings he had tattooed on his back. For me it was a combination of two themes that are very present in this community: religion and body culture. The wings of the angels with the words about God obviously show his devotion. On the other hand, it is a magnificent example of how all Brazilians are proud of their bodies, loving to show their muscles and skin and decorating them with tattoos. It’s up to the viewer to decide whether this guy is a real angel or not.”

Bego Antón October 27, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Spain.
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bego_spain
Conil de la Frontera, Spain 2010

Bego Antón (b. 1983 Spain) is a documentary photographer based in Barcelona. She studied journalism at the University of the Basque Country and specialised in documentary photography in Barcelona. Her photographic work usually explores the love-hate relationships humans have with nature and animals. She also shows particular interest in the small groups that seem strange to a part of society. Her work has been published in The Brithis Journal of Photography, Stand Quarterly and Pretty Good Summer, among others. She has been chosen as a participant in the Joop Swart Masterclass of World Press Photo 2014.

About the Photograph:

“Some years ago I suddenly became interested in taking pictures in a campsite. My aunt and uncle had gone camping for years in the same campsite in the south of Spain so I decided to call them and ask if I could join them for the summer. What I didn’t k now (nor any member in our family did) was that the campsite was actually a naturalist campsite. I had a huge freedom to take pictures. I used to walk only holding my Hasselblad in my hands and the light meter hanging from my neck.  The girl in the picture had just arrived in the campsite and was mounting her tent. We’d been talking for a while when she went inside to mount the mat, and that’s when I made the photo. Everything seemed to work inside the frame.”

Jon Tonks October 23, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Falkland Islands.
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Falkland Islands  2011

Jon Tonks (b. 1981, United Kingdom) studied product design before becoming a staff photographer at a local newspaper in 2005. He moved to London soon after and got a Master’s Degree in Photojournalism & Documentary Photography at The London College of Communication. Jon works for a variety of editorial and commercial clients including The Sunday Times Magazine, The Guardian Weekend Magazine, The Financial Times Magazine, Monocle and Nokia. His work has also been shortlisted for the Taylor Wessing National Portrait Prize in 2012, and selected twice for the Terry O’Neill awards. Empire is his first book and was released in December 2013.  The work from Empire will  tour around the UK, starting at the Midlands Art Centre, Birmingham, in October 2014.

About the Photograph:

“This is the cover image from my book Empire. The image itself was relatively unplanned.  I had been on East Falkland for ten days, and I had gone on a short trip out to Long Island Farm to experience life away from Port Stanley and into the countryside, which is termed as living in camp. I had already had tea with the farm owners, and they were waiting for a coach full of German tourists to arrive as they were giving a farm tour. I decided to go for a walk around, and came across a field of sheep waiting to be shorn. I had been out there five or ten minutes when I saw a small white object moving across the horizon; there are hardly any trees on the Falkland Islands so you can see for miles, and as the object grew I realized it was the coach load of impending tourists, fresh off a cruise ship. One of the farmers came outside to have a look, and promptly told his son go put the flag up.”

“The Union Jack was hoisted, creating the perfect backdrop for my picture, and Long Island Farm was ready to receive their guests. I spent ten minutes or so running from one side of the penned field to another in an attempt to get the sheep to stand directly in front of the flag. I then had to get them to stand still long enough to focus the lens before they bolted, which happened a few times before I felt content with what I had shot. The contact sheet from this episode is fairly entertaining, as it most probably was for the onlooking farmers.”

Brett Gundlock October 20, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Mexico.
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Michoacán, Mexico 2013

Brett Gundlock (b. 1985, Canada) is a founding member of the Boreal Collective. After working for three years as a staff photographer at the National Post, Brett struck out on his own and divides his time between assignment work and personal projects. Brett’s work explores the subcultures that exist in tandem with mainstream culture. Skinheads, 2010 G-20 detainees, and recent immigrants are several of the marginalized groups he has worked with. Regular Clients include: The Wall Street Journal, Vice, Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Canadian Business, Toronto Life, Reuters, Telegraph Magazine and Bloomberg News Service. He is currently based in Mexico City.

About the Photograph:

“This is a portrait of a vigilante fighter in the state of Michoacán, Mexico. It was taken in a camp set up by the vigilantes, as they organized and prepared to take over their town. There continues to be a lot of violence in the area, including retribution from the press. Groups of citizens, farmers, business men, teenage boys and retired hunters have been banding together to drive organized crime out of their communities over the last few years. What started as a single confrontation, seeing a small group of townspeople barricading their city and fighting back crime groups has led to a wave of citizens organizing and taking control of communities all over the state of Michoacán, freeing this troubled state from the violence of the cartel.”

Sean Proctor October 16, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Dairy Section Jedi, Midland, Mich., 2013.

Sean Proctor (b. 1989, USA)  is a 2011 graduate of Central Michigan University and currently a staff photographer at the Midland Daily News in Midland, Michigan. Before landing at the MDN he interned at the Jackson Citizen Patriot in Jackson, Michigan and The Virginian-Pilot, in Norfolk, Virginia. While in college, he was a multimedia intern at Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska. His work has also been published in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Most recently he and some friends started an Instagram feed, @goes_ever_on, based on the interpretive vision of the paths we choose in our life and where they lead. Sean is the winner of the inaugural Bill Eppridge Memorial Award from the 2014 Eddie Adams Workshop.

About the Photograph:

“I made this picture while working on a feature about a group the Reformed Jedi Order (or RJO) who held lightsaber fights in Midland. They refer to it as Live Action War-play (LAW) as opposed to Live Action Role Play (LARP.) I’ve grown up on all things sci-fi, so when I heard about this group I was super excited to live out a major part of who I am with fellow geeks. While working on the essay, I spent about half the time photographing and half the time joining in on the action. This particular picture came when a couple of RJO members decided to duel in the middle of Wal-Mart. Cloaked and masked, they sheepishly walked through the aisles, afraid they were going to get into trouble before they even started. We made our way to the corner of the store, which provided them with ample room to fight while staying mostly out of the way. However, they were still timid. Small, controlled bursts of fighting, punctuated by quick glances to see if someone who looked in charge was heading their way.”

“At one point, a Wal-Mart employee walked by and Carl and Scott (the two fighting) and they thought they were done for. Slowly crossing their blades, preparing to explain themselves and leave the premises. A minute later, the employee came back with his phone out. He said something along the lines of ‘don’t mind me!’ and started recording them. Carl and Scott went full out, blades flying through the air, all care and worry out the window. Shortly after, a manager came up to me and told me I couldn’t take pictures inside due to company policy, but made little mention of the lightsaber battle. We all laughed and they continued to fight for a while longer.”

Jian Gao October 13, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.
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From the project ‘Red Fragments’ Chongqing.  2012

Jian Gao (b. 1987, PRC) is a social documentary photographer and staff member at Magnum Photos in New York. In 2012, he worked on a project- Red Fragments, traveling over ten thousand miles from northeastern China to the extremely far west  exploring social issues caused by Chinese government policies and their environmental impact. Jian is an alumnus of Eddie Adams Workshop and was nominated for World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass in 2014. His work has been published in National Geographic, PDN, Communication Arts and  L’ Oeil de la Photographie. His work has been shown at The Municipal Museum, Malaga, Spain. World Affairs Council, San Francisco and DUMBO Arts Festival, New York.

About the Photograph:

“This photo is part of my long term project– Red Fragments, about Chinese culture and Chinese living conditions in several symbolic Chinese cities through a personal visual journal.  My goal was to capture the values, traditions and rituals of Chinese culture in these cities to mirror the reality that China is going through a the present time. I traveled through nine symbolic cities from the northeast to the extreme far west of China in this over ten thousand mile journey and focused on contemporary social issues such as the burgeoning tourism market rapidly increasing as the number of Chinese people who are eager to explore their country more than ever before. Real estate and construction are the main investment strategies of recent Chinese entrepreneurs, and at the same time it brings problems to the construction workers who cannot get paid immediately after they work. The price of homes is growing tremendously, and the gap between rich and poor is becoming even larger.”

“I took this photo in Chao Tian Men dock in Chongqing. The Yangtze River has a special meaning for most Chinese mainly because it serves as one of the mother rivers in the mainland. For me, it’s always connected to the Three Gorges Dam in some way. This huge water system project that drove so many people to move to other places and restart their lives. Newly built apartments are becoming more and more popular which indicates that the gap between rich and poor is getting larger and larger. I visited the same place five times while I was in Chongqing for around two weeks and was always drawn by the sadly romantic feeling of the Yangtze when I came across this man who was watching a kite.”

Juuso Westerlund October 9, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Finland.
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The invincible Kinnunen Brothers 2014 Finland

Juuso Westerlund (b .1975, Finland ) studied photography in the University of Art and Design Helsinki and Turku Arts Academy. Many of Juuso’s personal subjects deal with Finnish identity. He is fascinated by ordinary men living ordinary lives, doing or at least dreaming about something extraordinary. At the moment he is working with projects about his family and Kalevala, The Finnish national epic. In 2013, Juuso’s work was chosen among five  portfolios at the Arles Photography Festival. In 2011, he was nominated as the Finnish photographer of the year. Juuso shoots a mix of personal work and commissioned work for editorial and commercial clients both home and abroad. His work has appeared in: Le Monde M Magazine, Financial Times, VICE and New York Times. Juuso is currently based in Helsinki.

About the Photograph:

“The Finnish national epic, Kalevala, features the trials & tribulations of many mythological heroes. I’m searching for these legendary characters from the people of the same Kainuu region in Finland where the Kalevala stories were originally collected. In this image I have photographed three brothers who have won more or less every sports competition they have attended. The picture was taken at their living room and the shimmering things behind them are the trophies they have won. And there’s plenty more of those in the next room.”

“The brothers still live at their childhood home with their parents. The two on the left are twins and they share the same room as they did as a child. As in the mythological heroes there’s always something very heroic and tragical in the people I have photographed for this project. I believe these are the kind of people that the stories would have been told and collected in the time of writing of Kalevala. This picture is part of my personal project called Looking for Heroes which is also a part of a collaborative Kainuu-project with four other photographers. “

Luke Duggleby October 6, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ethiopia.
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Christmas Ceremony in Tigray, Ethiopia 2011

Luke Duggleby (b. 1977, UK) is a British freelance documentary photographer based in Bangkok. His work has been published in National Geographic Magazine, GEO, The Guardian Magazine, The Sunday Times Magazine, The Smithsonian and TIME. Over the years Luke’s pictures have been recognized in global competitions such as POYi, PDN Annual, IPA Awards, DAYS Japan, Photo Philantropy Awards, Px3 and as Environmental Photographer of the Year. His second book about salt making places will be published in 2015 by Mare, Germany. Luke is represented by Redux Pictures in New York.

 About the Photograph:

“I had just spent a week documenting the ancient salt caravan in the Dankil Depression in the Afar Province of Northern Ethiopia. Loving Ethiopia I decided to stay a bit longer and document the ancient land of Tigray, which sits next door to Afar. An ancient land and completely different place, with unique people, landscape and culture. The province often feels like you have stepped back in time. Without any particular angle in mind my fixer and I spend several weeks driving around the Province, drawn to the fascinating rock-hewn churches that dot the landscape. I am not a religious person but find religion fascinating. It was Christmas Eve and my fixer told me of a remote church that was holding a ceremony the next day. Ethiopia is an Orthodox Christian country and celebrates Christmas Day in January, but our Christmas Day happened to fall on the birthday of this particular Church’s saint. After gaining permission from the Priest we were told to return at 4 am the following morning.”

 “In the early morning people were already congregating in the shadows of the church. Wrapped in white shawls and reading silently from tiny prayer books the whole atmosphere was mysterious. Inside the thousand year old church were hundreds of people, rocking in prayer, playing music and being blessed by red robe clad priests holding enormous bibles. After the main service had finished inside everyone went outside where the priests began to bless the congregation with holy water. This photograph was taken as the crowds began to assemble to receive the water that was propelled at them so fast by the Priest at the microphone it must have stung their faces.”

 

Kevin WY Lee October 2, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in India.
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Maha Kumbh Mela, in Allahabad, India 2013

Kevin WY Lee (b. 1973, Fiji) is a photographer and creative director based in Singapore. In 2010, he founded Invisible Photographer Asia (IPA), an organization which has since grown to become a leading, influential platform for Photography & Visual Arts in Asia. His work has been featured in CNN, Straits Times, Discovery Magazine, GE11 Book and the Twentyfifteen Project. Aside from his own practice, Kevin is also active in producing, curation and jury duties for various awards and programs. Kevin is a Design graduate of the College Of Fine Arts, University Of New South Wales, Australia.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph was made in the wee hours before the dawn of 10th February 2013, the holiest day of the Maha Kumbh Mela, in Allahabad, India. Maha Kumbh Mela is a pilgrimage to the River Ganges that happens once every 144 years. That day saw the largest human gathering on a single day. Over 30 million devotees and holy men had gathered to take a holy bath at the Sangam banks. These marching band members and many other common folks I encountered in Allahabad looked like they had waited an eternity for this day of reckoning. After I made this picture and more, I waded through an endless sea of humanity back to camp. It was an experience never to be forgotten. The day after, I celebrated my mid-life birthday.”

Eduardo Leal September 29, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Portugal.
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Procession of St. Bartolomeu. São Bartolomeu do Mar, Portugal. 2011

Eduardo Leal (b, 1980, Portugal) graduated in Journalism at Escola Superior de Jornalismo and has an MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography from the London College of Communication. He worked as a consultant to The Arpad A. Busson Foundation on the Cuban in Revolution and The Struggle During the Apartheid photography collections, where he was an assistant curator for exhibitions at ICP in New York, 2010, and at the Garage CCC in Moscow, 2011. His work has been published in: TIME,  Dagens Nyheter, Sydsvenskan, Al Jazeera, Wired, Publico, Fotografia Magazine and the British Journal of Photography. In 2013, he was selected as Coup de Coeur by l’Association Nationale des Iconographes at the Visa pour l’Image in Perpignan and in 2014 he was shortlisted for the Kuala Lumpur Photo awards. Eduardo is based between London and Caracas.

About the Photograph:

“I’m glad you choose a photo from this project. People tend to focus in other works I’ve done, but I really like this story, maybe because it has some personal connection. The image was during the St. Bartholomeo festivities in Portugal. This project is part of my rediscovery of Portugal. After living for so many years abroad, I started to document traditions in my own country. It was a way to not only discover and understand where I came from and also myself and St. Bartolomeu was my first project in this identity search. My mother was born on a city close by and during summers we used to pass there and see the celebrations. So it made sense for me to start from a place I knew.”

“While photographing the celebrations, I thought it was strange, even bizarre that there were so many people in their swimwear enjoying a day on the beach and pretending as nothing was happening. Well some of them look, went to see the statues of the saints and took photos, but they were there more to enjoy the day on the beach than to participate in the ceremony. I loved the contrast of the people dressed up accordingly to procession and the other just enjoying the day. I specially love the hairy man walking to the procession, something that a few decades ago would be consider a sin, and the children playing with the sand as if nothing was going on. I think it shows what is happening in Portugal in terms of religious beliefs. Portugal is a deeply Catholic country, but more and more people, especially the young generations are not interested in. Its just something that people almost erased from their lives.

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