Posts by: Elizabeth Sulis Gear

A sneak peek at the World Press Photo YearBook 2017

Sarah Barrs lies over her horse’s back, in October 2013. From the series Table Rock Nebraska © Markus Jokela, Helsingin Sanomat

People carry an American and a Mohawk Warrior Society flag at a protest camp against the Dakota Access Pipeline, in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, USA. From the series Standing Rock © Amber Bracken

The World Press Photo Foundation has been running its annual photo contest since 1955, and in this time has become internationally renowned for the quality of its winning entrants.

As is so often the case with World Press Photo Awards, this year’s competition was not without its controversies.

There’s little doubt that the photograph of the year picturing the assassin standing over the Russian ambassador to Turkey, taken by Burhan Özbilici, is impactful—chairman Stuart Franklin however openly divulged his opposition to the photograph for its role in publicising a murder scene.

6 Photo Editors Discuss How They Use Instagram to Find New Talent

© Amr Alfiqy for TIME LightBox, photographer discovered via IG by photo editor Olivier Laurent

While for many years social media has been seen as a tool for procrastination, more and more photographers are recognising the professional benefits of using it to market their photography. The immediacy and accessibility of Instagram are in part what make it so useful to photo editors, art buyers and companies that need to find new work or hire the appropriate person for a commission.

In our recent guide to using Instagram hashtags made in collaboration with PhotoShelter (which you can download for free here) we emphasized the importance of using hashtags to help your work get seen by the right audiences. Following on from this we spoke with six photo editors who gave us insight into how they use Instagram to find and follow the ongoing work of emerging and established photographers.

Rare captures of the wildlife with which we share our cities

Occasionally when returning from a party in the early hours of the morning, a fox crosses our path on the deserted city streets while everyone else is sleeping. A brief encounter, but a reminder that we share our urban environments with other animals. French photographer Laurent Geslin‘s Urban Wildlife offers a window onto the wildlife with which we unknowingly coexist.

A Psychotherapist Finds Minimalist Beauty in the Banal

New Mexico based photographer Natalie Christensen’s striking, minimalist photography is an attempt to reduce her external environment to its most fundamental elements. In her ongoing series New Mexico, Deconstructed, the photographer steers away from the romanticised postcard-perfect image of Santa Fe and its adobe architecture framed by blue skies. Instead, she turns her lens to areas of town that many believe to be an eyesore. The act of digging deeper to see and expose the unseen is reminiscent of her past work as a psychotherapist.

Magic moments found in the everyday in Russia

“As a child I already felt a strong affinity with Soviet culture, because of the history and place I lived in” writes photographer Frank Herfort, who was born in Leipzig, East Germany, in what was then the German Democratic Republic (GDR). “As a young kid with 8 or 9 years or so, I already dreamt of Moscow”, he continues, “don’t ask me why, there was something magnetic about the city’s atmosphere”. Some dreams come true—Frank now resides between Moscow and Berlin.

What the Lives of Strangers in Old Photos are Like Now

The son of Polish parents, who “went on a journey to hell and back” before settling in England in 1947, postwar, Chris Porsz now lives in Peterborough, England. In the late 70s’ and 80s’, he took candid photographers strangers he brushed shoulders with both in his hometown and in Cambridgeshire. His subjects were punks, couples, public servicemen and siblings—they belong to the era in which they are portrayed.

14 Influencers Talk About Their Most Popular Image on Instagram

© Christopher Anderson

Christopher Anderson
“To be honest, this IG thing confuses me. Some images I am convinced will be crowd pleasers don’t generate interest, and then some that I almost don’t post because I think they are not good enough, will get loads of likes.

I picked this image because it is an image that I do like, and it did seem to resonate with people. I guess it is easy enough to read while still having a certain mystery. There seems to be a story that holds the viewer’s attention, but I guess there is enough pretty color to get attention in the first place. I am always encouraged when an image that I think is a strong image resonates. It gives me hope that it’s not just about loud color”.

© Alice Gao

Alice Gao 
“This is an image of a friend’s angora bunny. Her name is Cleo and she has quite the fan base herself. Our generation seems to love animals on social media, and videos often go viral when they feature animals doing funny/silly things. Cleo’s wearing a pair of human glasses in this, so it makes the image particularly humorous. This is by no means my best photo or even necessarily a good photo in terms of composition or lighting, but the subject was enough to engage the audience. I think many of the comments are just people tagging their friends as a way of sharing the image with them. It also helps that Cleo is rather unique looking and everyone wants to know what kind of bunny she is!”

Photographer Reflects on the Realities of Animals in Captivity

“This series is not about polar bears” says Taiwanese photographer Sheng Wen Lo—which might come as a surprise given the title ‘White Bear’, and the appearance of polar bears as the protagonist in every image. The artist’s intention was instead to reflect on the controversy of keeping captive wild animals on display, the discrepancy between our intention as zoo-goers and the overall cost to the animals’ wellbeing. This theme is confronted with focus on one particular species which he believes stands at the crux of this issue.

Paul Nicklen Captures the Beauty and Fragility of the Polar Regions

To counter contemporary political discourses denying climate change, we need only turn our heads to the polar regions to understand the urgency of protecting these fragile yet beautiful ecosystems. Canadian-born Paul Nicklen is a photographer, marine biologist and conservationist. He knows that the Arctic region is warming up twice as fast as anywhere on the planet, and has witnessed and documented the staggering effects of this rise in temperature firsthand. Glaciers are receding, wildlife populations are struggling to adapt to their new environment, urban areas are threatened by rising sea levels—an oil spill could prove catastrophic, both for the animal and human inhabitants of these vulnerable regions. In his book Polar Obsession and the corresponding exhibition organized by National Geographic at the David Bower Centre, the artist hopes to dispel myths and encourage others to enjoy, treasure and help protect these lands and creatures.

The Forgotten History Of The Koreans Of Mexico And Cuba

To many it might come as a surprise to learn that there are Korean-Mexicans and Korean-Cubans, though with this revelation it becomes imperative to come to terms with the largely forgotten tragedy which befell their ancestors. In 1905, 1,033 Koreans boarded the SS Ilford to Mexico. It was imagined and portrayed as a journey towards prosperity in the new world—a departure from what was then an impoverished country, and in the same year was already falling into the clutches of Imperial Japan. The reality that awaited these migrants was a life of indentured servitude in the Henequen plantations of Mexico, harvesting an agave that was then known as “the green gold” of Mexico. Many fled to Cuba with dreams of getting a foothold in the then lucrative sugar cane industry, though by the time they arrived the industry had already plummeted. Their homeland already a Japanese colony, they were again destined to hard labour in Cuban henequen plantations.  Argentinian-American-Korean photographer Michael Vince Kim pursued this story as a natural progression from his previous work focusing on language, identity and migration, entitling the series Aenikkaeng, (Korean for ‘Henequen’).

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