Bryan Schutmaat June 19, 2014Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
Tags: United States
Ellie, Wyoming 2010
Editor’s Note: I will be taking off for a two week summer break and leave you with Bryan’s photograph and backstory to reflect on. Happy solstice. New postings will continue on July 7th. ~ Geoffrey Hiller
Bryan Schutmaat (b. 1983) is an American photographer whose work has been widely exhibited and published in the United States and overseas. He has won numerous awards, including the 2013 Aperture Portfolio Prize, Center’s 2013 Galllerist’s Choice Awards, the 2013 Daylight Photo Awards, and the 2011 Carl Crow Memorial Fellowship, among many others. In 2014 Bryan was selected for PDN’s 30 new photographers to watch; in 2013, Dazed Magazine named Bryan one of Paris Photo’s “breakout stars,” and he was chosen as a Flash Forward Emerging Photographer by the Magenta Foundation. His first monograph, Grays the Mountain Sends, was published by the Silas Finch Foundation in 2013 to international critical acclaim. His photos can be found in the permanent collection at the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and numerous private collections. He lives in Austin, Texas and is represented by Sasha Wolf Gallery in New York City.
About the Photograph:
“The process for this photo was entirely different than all the other portraits in Grays the Mountain Sends, and, in a way, I don’t consider it part of the project. In the book, it comes after the colophon – a sort of coda that comes just before the book is closed. ‘Ellie’ is photo I very much had in my mind before I made it – an homage to both Eggleston and the poet Richard Hugo. I’ve talked a lot about Richard Hugo as an influence, especially his poem, Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg. It’s a somewhat bitter, hopeless poem, but the final few lines are uplifting: The car that brought you here still runs. / The money you buy lunch with, / no matter where it’s mined, is silver / and the girl who serves you food is slender and her red hair lights the wall. So my photo of the red haired girl is borrowed entirely from that last line, and she’s a ray of hope at the end of an otherwise pretty sad series. Like I said, I definitely had this photo in mind. I searched all over the American West for my red-haired waitress, or any waitress who had an illuminative presence.”
“There was a young waitress I found in Wyoming who was wonderful– the way she talked to the guys who came in, laughing and teasing with them. She made their days better. She was beautiful too. I made her portrait, but the picture I took didn’t evoke the right feeling. It was too direct, and she became a protagonist alongside the men, rather than the embodiment of this fleeting enchantment I felt when I imagined Hugo’s redhead. It would be better to have my photo distilled to the symbolic red hair, and I wanted her anonymous – not a portrait of her but what she resembled. I didn’t want her fulfilling happiness, but rather just giving a small taste of it so that the men’s struggle within the narrative would still remain when the book has ended.”
“At any rate, the picture I ended up making that worked was not a real waitress (a fact I try not to broadcast), though she was a stranger to me. I her met her in a bar in the early evening. It was a weekday, and she was alone in the outdoor portion of the bar, reading a book. Of course I was drawn immediately to her hair. We had a short, awkward conversation, and I explained to her that I would love to take her picture. We exchanged numbers and met up some days later at a nearby diner I had scouted out beforehand. The owner let us come in after hours and we borrowed his apron and notepad. This setup was strange to me at the time, because all the other portraits in the series were taken in a relatively rigid documentary vein. In no other instance did I photograph people in places other than where I encounter them (unless if I was invited into their homes, which are always excellent places to make portraits). This photo, however, was so refreshing to make, because I freed myself and imposed my will entirely, and I think it was an instrumental experience to my process moving forward.”
Ismail Ferdous June 16, 2014Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Bangladesh.
Rana Plaza garment factory aftermath, Dhaka, Bangladesh 2013
Ismail Ferdous (b.1989, Bangladesh) graduated with a degree in business from East West University in Dhaka. He was selected for the Award of Excellence with the Alexia Foundation/ student category in 2012 and attended the Eddie Adams Photojournalism Workshop in 2013. His photographs have been published in: The New Yorker Magazine, National Geographic- Germany, The Washington Post, TIME Magazine Lightbox, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today among others. Recent group exhibitions of his work include: 25 CPW Gallery in New York, The World Bank, Washington DC, and UNICEF in Rio de Janerio. Ismail is currently freelancing for the Associated Press based in Dhaka.
About the Photograph:
“I took this picture 20 days after the Rana Plaza collapse in Savar, a suburb of Dhaka. I had been covering the event and aftermath for nearly three weeks, but it was a very unusual moment for me when I saw tears rolling down the cheeks of a Bangladeshi army soldier while praying for the 1,134 people who died in the garment building collapse. I had seen thousands of people crying around me over the past weeks but in that moment nobody could hold in their emotion and pain, for this was the last day (14 May 2013) of the painstaking search for bodies among the rubble in the worst tragedy in the history of the global garment industry.”
“Photographing the Rana Plaza collapse was the most traumatic event I have ever experienced. Smelling dead bodies every morning felt like being in a war zone. It haunts me to this day. I covered the rescue mission for 15 hours a day. A few months after the collapse when I went through my images it gave me an emotional breakdown. It took me awhile to process but eventually I channeled my trauma to the strength of this issue and I wanted to make the public aware of this global issue with my Cost of Fashion project.”
Andy Freeberg June 12, 2014Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
Tags: United States
Spinello, Pulse New York Art Fair, 2010
Andy Freeberg (b.1958 New York, NY) graduated from the University of Michigan. He began his photography career in New York taking portraits for such publications as Rolling Stone, Time, and Fortune, photographing the likes of Michael Jackson, Bill Gates, and Neil Young. Andy has recently emerged on the contemporary art scene as a wry commentator on the art industry itself. His series Guardians, won the Critical Mass book award and was published in 2010. He is represented by the Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles and the Andrea Meislin Gallery in New York. His work is in many collections including SFMOMA, MFA Boston, and the George Eastman House. He currently lives in the San Francisco Bay area.
About the Photograph:
This photograph was taken at the Pulse New York art fair in 2010. It’s from a project on the big art fairs and the pictures focus on the dealers and gallery workers in their booths. The guy on the left is the Miami gallery owner Anthony Spinello and he’s sitting with the artist Zachari Logan. I was walking through the fair and went into Spinello’s booth and noticed the larger than life size nude paintings. When I came back 20 minutes later, there they were sitting and talking at the desk. Their positioning was quite a gift. I took a few frames and moved on, they didn’t notice me. The pictures were taken between 2009-2011 at the big contemporary art fairs in Miami and Basel, Switzerland and also in New York during the Armory Show. Most of the photographs in the series are completely candid. I was trying to document the scene, the styles the market, the current technology of this crazy art world. The series was recently released as a book titled, Art Fare by Sojourn Books.”
Peter de Krom June 9, 2014Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Netherlands.
Prince Jocus Carnival in Venlo, The Netherlands 2014
Peter de Krom (b. 1981, The Netherlands) graduated from the St. Joost art school in 2010. He moved back to Hoek van Holland, a small town trapped between the North Sea, the Westland greenhouse area and the channel to the Rotterdam harbors. Here Peter decided not to find happiness, but subjects and inspiration that cannot be found where most photographers look. His work has been published in: Süddeutsche Zeitung, NRC Handelsblad, Volkskrant Magazine, de Standaard. Peter’s photographs have been shown at Summerexpo, GEM, The Hague, 2013, ICN Gallery, London (ISPA Awards), 2013 and Gallery LHGWR, The Hague, 2012.
About the Photograph:
“I took this photo on assignment for the newspaper NRC Next. I was invited to join the Prince Jocus Carnival for one day during his tour through the city of Venlo. Every year we celebrate Carnival in the lower provinces of the Netherlands. In the province of Limburg they call it Vastelaovend. Every city has it’s own prince that is in charge of the celebrations. In this case it was a young fellow who was accompanied by his council of eleven and protected by his own guardsman. They started the festivities of the day here going from stage to stage through the city where around 30,000 people were assembled to party the entire week. Everyone was dressed up in their most colorful and crazy outfits. The Prince will also set a example and got pretty drunk at the end of each day. His guardsman will led him all the way. “
Jenny Riffle June 5, 2014Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
Tags: United States
Washington State 2011
Jenny Riffle (b. 1979, United States) received her MFA in Photo, Video and Related Media from the School of Visual Arts in 2011 and her BA in photography from Bard College in 2001. Jenny received the Aaron Siskind Individual Photographer’s Fellowship grant in 2013 and the juror’s award at Newspace Center for Photography’s 2012 juried show for her project Scavenger: Adventures in Treasure Hunting. Her work was has been shown at Newspace and will travel to RayKo Photo Center, San Francisco and The Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins in 2014. She is currently living in Seattle where she teaches at the Photo Center Northwest .
About the Photograph:
“This photo is part of a series called The Sound of Wind, a re-appreciation of the northwest through my memories of it and my present experiences. It was shot on Thanksgiving day 2011 when my boyfriend and I were driving from Seattle to his mother’s house on the Olympic Peninsula with our friend in the backseat. Right before we got to Tacoma the car broke down. It was cold and wet outside, so we sat inside the car waiting for the tow truck to come get us.”
“I spent a lot of time in cars when I was a child because my parents split up and lived in different towns that were three hours apart. Time in the car was always a time to switch from one life to another, from mom’s house to dad’s, a time to think, to stare out the window and watch the world go by. After growing up and leaving the Northwest to live elsewhere, I found that once I moved back I appreciated the Northwest with new eyes. All these memories of childhood surfaced and I wanted to drive through the Cascade Mountain Range and run around in the forests of my youth.”
“Photography has the ability to play with memory, and in this case, this photo is of the experience that I went through with my friends waiting for the tow truck, but it also captures the experience of my childhood self riding around in the back seat of the car. In all of my portraits, I like to create a narrative. Not necessarily a specific narrative relevant to the moment captured, instead I like to capture an introspective moment or feeling that invites the viewer into the image, bringing their own memories and experiences to it.”
Nancy Borowick June 2, 2014Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ghana.
A water well at the Triumph International School. Mowire Ghana, 2010.
Nancy Borowick (b. 1985, United States) is a humanitarian photographer based in New York City. She is a graduate of the Documentary Photography and Photojournalism program at the International Center of Photography and holds a degree in Anthropology from Union College. Nancy is a regular contributor to Newsday, amNY, and Corbis and her work has also been featured in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, Lens Blog, CNN, Time.com, Photo District News and the Washington Post. She was recently named one of the 2013 Magenta Foundation Flash Forward Emerging Photographers.
About the Photograph:
“I took this photograph in the village of Mowire, about 230 miles north of Ghana’s capital, Accra. I had been living in this village and teaching at the local school during the spring of 2008 and before leaving, I asked the headmasters if there was something I could give back to the school and its students, as my experience there was truly life changing. A water well was their answer. I spent many mornings waking up before dawn and trekking to the nearby well alongside my students to collect water for the school and I watched as these kids took this journey over and over again, straining their young bodies before a very long day of class and chores.”
“I was determined to give them this gift, this luxury of clean water, and after returning home to New York City I spent the next two years raising funds for the project. After two failed drilling attempts, break downs in communication and many broken hearts, the third time was the charm. We finally hit water. It was clear, clean and safe to drink and many children could be seen filling up empty water bottles to bring home to their families. I shot this image after the official ceremonial unveiling of the well and as I snapped the image of the flowing water, the children flew into the frame, drinking as much of this delicious, safe water as they could during this sweltering afternoon. Access to safe drinking water is a gift that many take for granted and being able to share this with my students and the surrounding community was a truly humbling and rewarding experience.”
Michal Solarski May 29, 2014Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Poland.
Getting ready for Christmas Eve Dinner. Cieszyn, Poland 2010
Michal Solarski (b. 1977, Poland) is a London based photographer. His interest in documentary photography stems from his background in political studies, where he developed the passion to adapt his thoughts and observations of the world in a visual manner. Photography enabled him to capture situations and environments in a thought provoking way. After graduating in Poland with a Masters in Politics, Michal moved to London and studied at The London College of Communication where he earned an additional masters in Documentary Photography. He divides his professional career between advertising, documentary photography, traveling extensively between the UK and Eastern Europe where he produces the majority of his work. Most of his photography is strongly based on his own background and experiences, with a strong concentration on migration and memories.
About the Photograph:
“Ever since I visited my dying grandmother at the care home, I wanted to go back there with my camera. She spent the last days of her life in Cieszyn, it’s a beautiful town in southern Poland, just on the border with Czech Republic. The care home is called Boromeuszki – it took its name from the monastery that runs it. I was taking pictures there in the winter 2010/2011. This particular picture was taken on the 24th Dec 2010. After more then a year since she had a stroke, my parents were too tired to cope with the constant care she required. I remember that I felt great sadness looking at her as she lay in this massive gloomy room among other patients. It took me several years to came back. I found that life there is really slow and filled up with routines. Day after day passes in the same way. There is a time to sleep, a time to eat, a time to clean, and very little in between. Most of people who live there feel unwanted and neglected by their relatives. I spent two weeks there just walking around, talking to the residents, playing games, and watching television with them. For two weeks I shared their life. Those were two very emotional weeks of my life. For me, my time spent there was a tribute to my beloved grandmother.”
Curran Hatleberg May 26, 2014Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
Tags: United States
West Virginia 2011
Curran Hatleberg (b.1982, United States) is a graduate of the University of Colorado and Yale University. His work has been exhibited most recently at Know More Games Gallery and The Camera Club of New York. Curran’s photographs have been published in The New York Times Magazine, Slate and 0_100 Editions. His photographs have been shown at the International Center of Photography in New York City and are included in the Williams College Museum of Art and the Davidson Art Center at Wesleyan University. Curran is the recipient of the Richard Benson Prize for excellence in photography. He currently teaches photography at Yale University.
About the Photograph:
“I met Zach in the summer on the Guyandotte River. He didn’t say much, but was polite and eager to laugh. One humid afternoon, we drove up the steep, lush ridges above town to his house and family. We ate fresh blackberry pie and smoked cigarettes in the kitchen. We ate so long it got dark and watched TV while dogs and children flashed in and out of the rooms. Later, they showed me an old family graveyard down the road. I could hear cicadas screaming in the trees. Someone’s flashlight caught a goose, waddling alone under the moonless night. Everybody laughed. As I was leaving to go back to town, they made me take the remaining pie and a two-gallon bag of berries.”
Object Lessons from Nina Berman May 24, 2014Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
Tags: Nina Berman
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Editor’s Note: This article caught my attention because of Nina’s unique perspective and the disturbing subject matter combined with her observations about the ways photojournalists are adapting to the disruption in the media landscape today. While I admire what agencies like NOOR (the non-profit collective that she is a member of) are doing in terms of partnering with NGOs, I’m doubtful that it’s a sustainable model. I applaud Nina and her colleagues for being so proactive and at the same time doing such strong work. This article originally appeared in Columbia Magazine.
A J-school professor discusses the evolving state of photojournalism — and shares evidence from her latest project.
Rogues’ Gallery / In a new work, Nina Berman photographs trial evidence from cases of slavery and human trafficking, in hopes of indirectly revealing the mindset of the perpetrator. A billy club used by the brutal Chicago-area pimp Alex Campbell. In 2012, Campbell was sentenced to life. / Photographs by Nina Berman ’85JRN
How should one teach journalism today, and especially photojournalism, when everyone with a cell phone is a potential witness to history? What does the new generation of students need to learn about the modern media landscape?
There is a perception that photojournalists are misery chasers who jump from story to story looking for the next big thing — war, famine, tsunami — and when the action is over, they fly home and wait for the next disaster. That’s last century’s photojournalist.
Today, some of the best photojournalists work more like anthropologists or artists. The most serious ones are taking the long view and spending years on a story, publishing pieces along the way. Sometimes their work is funded by publications, but increasingly it is underwritten by NGOs and foundations, blurring the lines between journalism and advocacy. The model of the globetrotting photojournalist dispatched by New York photo editors to the far corners of the world to witness great moments in history applies only to a handful of working photographers today. Technology has democratized and globalized the industry, which means that breaking- news images are increasingly sourced from Twitter and Instagram, where pictures are shot by amateurs, writers, and local photojournalists already on the scene.
A mallet used by Donnell Baines to beat his victims in an Upper East Side sex-trafficking operation. In 2013, Baines was sentenced to sixty-two years in prison.
In class, I teach ethics, which is simple, and not. The number-one rule is that photojournalists cannot construct scenes and then pass off the pictures as found moments. Photojournalists observe and frame; the final image cannot contain people or objects that didn’t originally exist in that frame, nor can people or objects be removed from that frame. Everything else — color, saturation, contrast — is largely up for grabs. This is where things get murky.
Image effects are allowed today that weren’t considered appropriate in journalism just a few years ago. Influential photographers, sometimes in collaboration with a photography lab or digital retoucher, champion a style or create an app that is embraced by editors, and before you know it, we’re seeing a million pictures in the press looking the same, regardless of where they were shot or what they capture. A few years back, increasing the clarity and desaturating the color was popular. Now we’re in love with high dynamic range and blazing perfection. Soon it will be something else. I challenge my students to consider how these aesthetic decisions fit into a broader conversation about stereotypes and points of view.
People still cling to the idea of photography as an objective or neutral medium that captures a shared truth. There is nothing remotely objective about photography.
There are stylistic trends in art and in literature, and everyone acknowledges them. But rarely are they cited in photojournalism, perhaps because people still cling to the idea of photography as an objective or neutral medium that captures a shared truth. There is nothing remotely objective about photography. Where I stand, how I got to that spot, where I direct my lens, what I frame, how I expose the image, what personal and cultural factors influence these decisions — all are intensely subjective.There are stylistic trends in art and in literature, and everyone acknowledges them. But rarely are they cited in photojournalism, perhaps because people still cling to the idea of photography as an objective or neutral medium that captures a shared truth. There is nothing remotely objective about photography. Where I stand, how I got to that spot, where I direct my lens, what I frame, how I expose the image, what personal and cultural factors influence these decisions — all are intensely subjective.
This souvenir notebook with the Statue of Liberty on its cover was used by enslaved women working in New Jersey hair-braiding salons to record their tips, which were then confiscated. The trafficker, Akouavi Kpade Afolabi, was sentenced to twenty-seven years in prison.
With digital photography, there are so many processing options but little discussion of what those choices tell us about the storyteller and the story. In class we ask, does the aesthetic draw you in to the subject in a revealing and interesting way, or does it overpower the subject? This was a conversation when an almost too perfectly processed image from a funeral in Gaza won World Press Photo of the Year in 2013. What does it mean when an ordinary scene showing a village in Haiti is amped up with a torrent of color and contrast, giving the scene a drama that appears forced? When we see US politicians turned into a cross between Dr. Strangelove madmen and Ringling Brothers clowns, as they were in a recent photograph on MSNBC.com, are we looking at a crude use of black-and-white post-processing or a brilliant commentary on the moral emptiness and vulgar salesmanship that characterizes American political campaigns?
In the old days, a photojournalist might pitch a story to a publication and be sent off for a week, maybe with a writer, and the piece would be published, and it would end there.
Now, publishing might be the last part of a much larger scheme. Stories are projects with foundation and NGO partners; they incorporate social media and data and are seen by the public in the physical world as installations or exhibitions as well as printed pieces.
A diamond ring and cufflinks worn by the pimp Alex Campbell, who called himself “the Cowboy.” Campbell also tattooed the horseshoe logo on the women he enslaved, some of whom came from Belarus and Ukraine.
I’m working this way on something called the Marcellus Shale Documentary Project — six photographers documenting the impact of fracking in states linked by the gas-rich Marcellus Shale formation. Funds came from the Sprout Fund, the Pittsburgh Foundation, the Heinz Endowments, and others. The product is a series of traveling photography exhibitions and artist talks in museums, university galleries, and community spaces in New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio. We still publish the work — in Wired, the New York Times, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and others — but truly, the publishing is seen as amplification. So, is it photojournalism? Most definitely.
I’m in the final stages of a project at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan (opened in 2012 to house Syrian refugees), where I photographed refugee life along with photographers Andrea Bruce, Alixandra Fazzina, and Stanley Greene, all of us from the Noor photography and film collective. We’re printing the images large and then pasting them on two hundred meters of security wall that surround the camp’s entrance. I’ll document the installation, Instagram some pictures, do blog posts, and at some point publish the project. In this case, photojournalism is being used as a conversation within the refugee and NGO community. The project, and the creative process behind it, becomes a way to talk about the larger story of Syrian refugees and their lives in Jordan, and, we hope, makes the refugee camp itself feel less like a penitentiary.
Finally, this May, I’m working with another Noor photographer, Jon Lowenstein, to launch a public-art and media-awareness campaign looking at human trafficking and forced labor in Chicago. One goal is to raise funds to treat trafficking victims. We’re hosting a workshop with other artists, advertising creatives, nonprofit service providers, and law-enforcement officers to make a blueprint for the campaign.
Sometimes photojournalists’ work is funded by publications, but increasingly it is underwritten by NGOs and foundations, blurring the lines between journalism and advocacy.
Ten years ago, I never would have thought to work like this. Now, it’s increasingly common, and more and more grant makers are demanding it.
One of the questions we’re asking is, how do you depict modern-day forms of slavery, human trafficking, and forced labor? Should the visuals be only of the victims, which is the norm? I looked at slavery in the United States from the criminal-justice angle, investigating successfully prosecuted cases of human trafficking and forced labor, sexual and otherwise. I photographed trial evidence: a wooden box in which a trafficker kept the tips she confiscated from girls brought from Togo, who were forced to work at Newark hair-braiding salons. (All their earnings, even their tip money, were given over to the trafficker.) I photographed a hatchet in Memphis used to terrorize girls in the commercial sex industry. I photographed texts that perpetrators would force victims to write, submitting themselves to their captors — the rules of labor, so to speak. I also photographed crime-scene locations and survivors. My hope was that by showing the evidence in these cases, I could indirectly reveal the mindset of the perpetrator, which is a new way to approach the subject.
A wooden box in which the trafficker Akouavi Kpade Afolabi kept the tips of the women she enslaved. She recruited girls from Ghana and Togo with promises of education and then forced them to work without pay in hair-braiding salons.
While I was looking into a case in Chicago involving Alex Campbell, a particularly brutal character who was sentenced to life in prison for sex trafficking, overseeing forced labor, and other crimes, Gary Hartwig, the special agent in charge of Homeland Security investigations in Chicago, challenged me to do more with my pictures. He had worked so many really disturbing cases, and the idea that I was coming along with a photo project that promised no tangible change frustrated him.
He voiced an attitude that is running through the photojournalism and documentary- film community worldwide: maybe words and pictures aren’t enough. Yes, do the work, make the images, find new visual approaches, subvert stereotypes, but use the material to make an impact in the world. And do it without succumbing to the predictable narratives of rescue and redemption that make the language of advocacy so limiting. This is the future of storytelling, and this is where it gets interesting.
Nina Berman ’85JRN is an associate professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Her documentary photography has appeared in two monographs, many of the world’s leading magazines, and major museum exhibitions. More of her work can be found at ninaberman.com.
Carlotta Cardana May 22, 2014Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
Tags: United States
Julian and his son Elijah, Fort Yates, North Dakota, 2013
Carlotta Cardana (b. 1981, Italy) is a portrait and documentary photographer based in London. After obtaining a degree in theater and performing arts and a photography diploma, she lived in Argentina and Mexico City. In 2013 she was named “Discovery of the Year” at the Lucie Awards and was shortlisted for the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards and Lens Culture Exposure Award. Her photographs has been exhibited at Photo L.A., in the New York Photo Awards exhibition, the Portrait Salon in London and at the Royal Photographic Society. Cararlotta’s Mod Couples series has been featured in The Guardian Weekend, D Repubblica and Rolling Stone. Parallel to her photographic practice, she works as music video director and cinematographer in short films and commissioned social documentaries.
About the Photograph:
“This image shows Julian, 27, a Native American from the Sioux tribe, holding his one-year-old son Elijah. Shortly after the baby was born, Elijah’s mother left and Julian is now raising Elijah on his own. Long hair is a matter of pride among Native Americans. Julian has never cut his son’s hair and says that Elijah will not be allowed to do so until he turns 13. The photograph is part of my most recent personal project, which intends to explore the role of traditional identity in the daily struggle of Native Americans living on reservations. Having their cultural practices and language almost vanished by the various attempts at assimilation, the tribal peoples suffer a sort of forced segregation at the very bottom of American society. On every indicator, from the 88% unemployment to the worlds second lowest life expectancy, the reservations stand as Third World islands in the biggest economy on earth. This project, however, would like to depart from the gritty depiction of these issues common in other works on the subject. By portraying American Indians in a positive light and exploring how they rediscover and use pride as a tool for survival and advancement.”
Mindaugas Kavaliauskas May 19, 2014Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Singapore.
Changi Airport, Singapore 2009
Mindaugas Kavaliauskas (b.1974, Lithuania) acquired his BA and MA in Art history from Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas (1996 and 2000). He also studied photography and art history at the the École nationale de la photographie (Arles, France, 1997-98). Internships at Rencontres d’Arles (1998-2002) and Musée de l’Élysée (Lausanne, 2001) were decisive in his decision to launch the Kaunas Photo festival (from 2004 until present). Mindaugas has published two books: Kare- Portrait of Kražiai (2009) about a historic village in Lithuania at the crossroads of change and Travel’AIR (2012) about the human experience of the air travel. His photographs have been extensively exhibited throughout Europe
About the Photograph:
“It is always like that. When I fly intercontinental, I never get enough sleep before taking off. On my second trip to Australia during a layover at Singapore Changi airport, I did not think of kangaroos and had only three things on my mind. First, getting connected was vital – hearing how things of the festival back in Kaunas were running was crucial. Looking for an opportunity for a jet-lag killing nap was my second urgency. Third was seeing whether I could take a shot or two of this new and polished airport for my travel’AIR series. Last on my priority list, a photo opportunity was the first one to happen. The resulting photograph was nothing but my state-of-mind self-portrait.”
Ellen Jacob May 15, 2014Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
Tags: United States
Rita and Jacob, Central Park, New York 2010
Ellen Jacob (b.1955, New York) picked up an Kodak Instamatic camera when she was 12 years old. She started her career as an art director for the advertising agencies BBDO and Grey and was a creative lead in children’s publishing and head of her own book design and packaging company. Ellen is the recipient of a Ford Foundation Grant and a Silver Gavel Award from the American Bar Association. She holds a BFA with honors from Pratt. Her work has appeared in Slate, The Daily Mail, Huffington Post among others. Her photographs have been selected for exhibition by The Center for Fine Art Photography, F-Stop and the Soho Photo Gallery in New York.
About the Photograph:
“This image of Rita and Jacob is from Substitutes, a series of photographs of nannies and the children they care for. When I was young, a wonderful woman named Martha took care of me. She was black; I am white. I haven’t seen Martha for over 30 years, but I remember her face vividly. Substitutes is about the indelible impressions these women leave, and the persistent questions they raise about race, class, family, equality, love and much more. I made these photographs over four years on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, where I live. The women pushing the strollers are almost always black and the children white. I wondered why. Rita has known Jacob since he two weeks old. They play in Central Park almost every day. We met in the park on a warm June day and I made this photograph while waiting for Rachel, Jacob’s mom, to join them.
Rita has been a nanny for more than 25 years. She says she has cared only for white children. Like virtually all the women of color who are nannies here, Rita says race doesn’t matter. ‘I just see them as kids, as babies. Not like, oh, you black, you yellow…. No, I just see them as kids, babies. And, you know, I love them; I give them my love…’ Rachel is very grateful for the love Rita and her son share: ‘It’s just such a great thing. You don’t have to worry at all. I leave him with her, and it’s like he doesn’t even care that we leave.”
Sean Davey May 12, 2014Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Papua New Guinea.
Tags: Papua New Guinea
Bride Price ceremony in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea 2010
Sean Davey (b.1979, Australia) studied photography throughout high school, where he developed a keen interest in documentary photography. From 2000-03 Sean worked as a newspaper photographer with Fairfax Media in Sydney, after which he spent a year in Europe and America photographing solely for himself. During this time Sean made the pictures that would become his recently self-published book Dog Food & Oysters (2013). Since 2005 Sean has been working in Papua New Guinea, where he has collaborated on, and taught art education workshops to residents in Port Moresby. Sean’s photographs are centered around his own personal experiences; small stories that co-exist as chapters in his continuing exploration of the medium. In 2011 Sean opened The Photography Room, a gallery that promotes and represents selected contemporary photographers in Australia. Sean balances his time teaching, photographing on commission and pursuing his own practice.
About the Photograph:
“My photography in Papua New Guinea is mostly focused on time spent there with my friends. I have made 15 trips to PNG since 2005 and every time I go, my work gets closer, more representative and more honest to my own personal experiences of being there. This photograph was made in Port Moresby during a Bride Price ceremony. When a couple are to be married in PNG, the groom and his family must make a big celebration for the family of his bride. It is very customary to have a Bride Price ceremony in contemporary Papua New Guinean society, and they are most often held in the family home. Extended family members of the groom dutifully bring gifts that are presented to the bride’s family. They are signs of how much she is valued as a new member of their family. The nature and value of the gifts also show the wealth of the groom’s family, which is assurance that the bride will be well looked after.
In this photo are my friends Jude, Sharon, Fiona and Kelly. We were all at Uncle E.K’s place as it was his daughter Elsie who was to be married. I photographed the party and the ceremonial presentation of gifts to Elsie’s family. There must have been over a hundred people in attendance. Most of the afternoon and evening was spent eating, drinking, dancing, telling stories and listening to music. The party went on well into the night. What I love about visiting PNG and photographing there is that it has really taught me to be patient and aware of what is right in front of me. There was nothing much of note happening when I made this photo. We were all simply hanging out together. Sharon is inspecting Kelly’s hair for lice, a common practice while Fiona looks directly at me. Jude can be seen in the bottom left corner of the photo, in mid conversation with her cousins.
I love that my photography from PNG comes from genuine moments of personal experience, moments that I spend with family and friends who I have very strong relationships with. I have no interest in photographing people in traditional costumes in far flung parts of PNG. Most of my work there centers in and around the capital Port Moresby. I’m often asked what parts of PNG I have traveled to, and the reaction is often one of surprise when I mention a few places but then say that I really only visit Port Moresby. I have never traveled anywhere in PNG without an invitation, and at the end of the day it wouldn’t bother me if I didn’t go any further than the capital. I am not out to show Papua New Guinea to anyone in my photos. The act of photographing is purely a personal instinctual one that has become part of who I am and how I experience the world. The biggest compliment I can get for my work is satisfaction from my friends when I give them pictures of themselves and their family on subsequent trips.”
Giles Clarke May 8, 2014Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
Tags: United States
From the series, ‘Toxic Gumbo’ Baton Rouge, Louisiana 2013
Giles Clarke (1965, England) started taking pictures in Berlin in the mid-eighties where he lived for three years. He worked as a professional black and white photographic printer for many top London based fashion and advertising photographers and in 1995 moved to New York where he began an intense year in the Richard Avedon studio. Since September 2011, Giles has been heavily involved with documenting the ‘Occupy’ movement all over the world, and recently won awards for his coverage of ‘Occupy Sandy’. His work has appeared in VICE, CNN, The Guardian and The Nation. Giles is a featured photographer with ‘Reportage by Getty’.
About the Photograph:
“This picture is part of a story called Toxic Gumbo – a project about the devastating effects of big industry in an area known as ‘cancer alley’ that runs north of New Orleans along the Mississippi River. The cancer rates in this part of Louisiana are amongst the highest in the entire United States but with toxic emissions climbing annually and with more huge refineries slated for construction, this area is surely doomed to yet higher rates of cancer-related deaths. Micheal, the man in the photo lives directly over from one of the Exxon Mobile plants just north of Baton Rouge. He rears hogs and burns others people’s trash on Sunday’s when the fire marshal’s don’t work. I was standing shin deep in a watery oil slush when I took this photograph.”