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Posts by: Elizabeth Sulis Gear

The Secret World of the Street Cats of Kazakhstan

‘I have always been around cats” writes Kazakh photographer Evgeniya Gor. She admires cats for their natural grace and independence and is forever observing, rescuing and looking out for strays when not at home with the two feline friends of her own—Masha who she rescued from the streets 17 years ago, and her kitten Chaus, who is now 9 years old. Most of the cats portrayed in her images have no home and must endure Astana’s harsh winters, where the average temperature is 14.2 °C (6.4 °F).

Photographer Captures Feeling of Homesickness in China

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Solastalgia, as opposed to nostalgia, is loosely defined as the distress felt by an individual when their home environment is under assault, or has changed beyond recognition and does not recall their memories. In short, it is the homesickness one experience when one is still “at home”. “When I came across this word I was so curious” says photographer Yangkun Shi, who employed the term as the title of his final project while studying at the London College of Communication (LCC). “There is no Chinese translation, and yet it is what I experience every time I return from studying abroad or in another province. Every time I return I realise my past memories and the currently realities don’t match. China is undergoing a very fast-paced period of development and it’s hard to keep up”.

A glimpse into the little-known world of ski in Iran

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Scattered skiers and a dog are photographed at the Tochal resort in the Alborz Mountains north of Tehran. Iran. December 29, 2014

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Clients and a worker are photographed in the restaurant of a chalet in Tochal, Alborz Mountains, North of Tehran. December 29, 2014

The clichéd image of the Middle East brings to mind an arid desert and dry heat. It does not include snowy mountains, but they do exist in this region, and skiing is a common pastime in Lebanon, Turkey, Israel and Iran. Milanese photographer Gaia Squarci—who has skied from a young age in the European Alps—headed to ski locations just North of Iran’s capital with writer Laurence Cornet, who introduced her to the scene. On the slopes, in the hotels, restaurants and surrounding facilities, the artist recognised a microcosm that offers the viewer a glimpse into Iranian society—“ski became for us a way to get a little closer to understanding some of its dynamics” she writes. Her resulting series Ski in Iran offers the viewer a window onto this microcosm.

Life in the shadow of a nuclear power plant in France

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“In Italy, nuclear energy arouses fear; nobody wants a nuclear centre as a neighbour” writes Venetian photographer Andrea Pugiotto, discussing his series Vie chez la central, which translates as ‘Life in the (nuclear) centre’. This is not the case in neighbouring France, where the Bugey Nuclear Power Plant in the Saint-Vulbas commune attracts many who desire free energy, spacious, affordable housing and large gardens. The artist spoke with a local resident, who emphasised the convenience of this unconventional paradise: “we enjoy many privileges that the rest of the population can only dream of, and the risk is the same. Life is better, here”.

Photos Reflect on Migration in Greece

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Though originally from London, Etienne Audrey Bruce feels a familial relationship to Greece, the country where her parents first met and currently reside; the place where her two brothers were born. This connection is in part what drew the photographer to produce her latest series Xenitia there. Through word and text the artist sought to put forth a more “polyphonic view of migration” to counter those we usually encounter in mainstream media.

Photographer seeks answers in a 300km journey from Chengdu to the sea

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“This water confuses me.
When I’m by the river I find myself wondering:

Who am I?
Where am I?
What am I?”

Another river by Roni Horn

Photographer Wei Wu’s final project at the London College of Communication (LCC) and resulting book is the result of a solitary walk from the source of the Funan river in her hometown Chengdu in the Sichuan province of China to its mouth. And yet, there is more to this series than the arduous 300km journey that led to its creation. Though originally pursued as a dedication to her grandparents and as a nostalgic revisiting of her past, the artist learned more about her present self than she had initially envisioned, walking through familiar and foreign terrain with the time to reflect. Meeting Myself Coming Back is about one individual’s quest for answers, our place in the world and our relationship with others. Despite its introspective nature, the imagery and evolution of thought found within the photo book’s pages touch upon an essence with which we can all likely resonate.

The Forgotten Female Workers of Côte d’Ivoire

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Parc du Pont”, San Pedro – Makandjé is the leader of the women’s association of Parc du Pont. In 1998, Makandje was the first woman to work in the production of charcoal in the area of San Pedro . She had to face the hostility of male workers. She started her activity by assisting male charcoal producers. Today, she owns an oven. She financially supports her family and encourages other women to empower themselves financially by producing charcoal. Makandje is mother of 4.

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Parc du Pont, San Pedro, 07:04 AM: Women working together to help each other early in the morning. They are collecting the charcoal. In the rainy season, the stagnant water considerably restricts their field of work. The access to their ovens is more difficult. Stagant waters facilitate the proliferation of mosquitoes and malaria.

“‘Sisi Barra’ means ‘the way of smoke’ in the Bambara language” says Ivorian photographer Joana Choumali. Her project of the same name examines the economic exploitation of the invisible women in San Pedro, Côte d’Ivoire, and the social stigma and multidimensional violence this exploitation encompasses. The women portrayed are making wood charcoal for big cooperations in order to make ends meet.

Empathetic Portraits of Juvenile Offenders in Poland

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Adrian and Andrzej

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Imago, to those unfamiliar with the entomological term, means the final stage of development in the metamorphosis from larvae or chrysalis to fully formed insect. In this state, it has gained its adult form and is sexually mature, but still has some prolonged maturation and growth to complete. If we look at the photography series of the same name by Zuza Krajewska, this term takes on a poignant new meaning as a metaphor for that transitional phase between childhood and adulthood. The artist portrays juvenile offenders, too young for incarceration yet old enough to commit a crime, residing in the Studzieniech borstal, a Polish youth custody centre.

Portraits of Tajik Families Separated by Migration

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Faridun works at a car wash outside Moscow. In January, his wife gave birth to a baby girl. When he next sees her, she will be 18 months old.

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The Bartang Valley in Pamir, one of Tajikistan’s most isolated regions. In winter, snowfall cuts the region off from the rest of the world.

When Saint Petersburg-based photographer Ksenia Diodorava talks about the migration of people, she uses the analogy of water. It’s ubiquitous, necessary, beautiful, it has a source, but there are many rivers and some flood their banks — and flowing they become lost to the sea.

In the Cold is Ksenia Diodorava’s two-sided story about 24 families, both in Russia and their native Tajikistan. “In Russia, it is a commonly held belief that immigration strangles our cities, our schools, our subway cars. Immigration is a flood we are drowning in” says the photographer. Saddened by the discrimination aimed at labour migrants from Central Asia, the artist decided to tell the stories of those families separated by the process of migration — her objective was to show that beyond the mass statistics were individuals with feelings and experiences not too dissimilar to our own. In order to fully convey the gravity of their situation, she resolved to show the “other Tajik”. “In truth, the flood is not where these people go, but where they come from”, she emphasizes.

A quirky and honest look at the Swiss

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The Swiss is Swedish photographer Christian Nilson’s homage to the country he has come to call home, evidently Switzerland. After thirteen years spent living there and four years photographing Swiss people as an integrated outsider, his images provide an intimate and sometimes unexpected glimpse into the ordinary lives of people living in one of the wealthiest countries on earth.

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