Posts by: Elizabeth Sulis Gear

The Forgotten Female Workers of Côte d’Ivoire


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.


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


Adrian and Andrzej



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


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.


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



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.

Ornithological Photographs at the Intersection of Art and Science

Boat-billed Flycatcher (Megarynchus pitangua)

Megarynchus pitangua

Keel-billed Toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus)

Keel-billed Toucan

Beyond their minimalist, painterly quality, at first glance these photographs of small birds caught in mist nets might induce a certain degree of panic in the viewer. As photographer Todd Forsgren puts it, “the captured creatures appear embarrassed, fearful, angry and vulnerable.” It’s necessary to emphasize that no birds were harmed in the process of creating the series Ornithological Photographs. Todd portrayed the birds during the decisive moment in which they were caught as part of scientific studies and ornithological research — after the scientists collected sufficient data the birds were released into the wild.

The First Photo Vogue Festival Launches in Milan


© Donna Trope, 1997

Fashion photographers and dedicated followers of fashion alike will rejoice at the news that Vogue Italia’s inaugural Photo Vogue Festival is opening in Milan this week — and that it’s likely to become an annual event.

These hybrid beasts allude to the monster in all of us





What exactly are the hybrid creatures we see in these antique photographs? The illusion is quite convincing, but Bestiary is the fusion of Greek artist Viktor Koen’s longstanding fascination with Greek mythology and early 19th century photography. Viktor created these monsters, some of which may be familiar to classicists, using the faces of the deceased who now only exist in photographic archives.

A Tender Portrait of the Third Sex in Bangladesh



Mirpur-Ek is the most populous district of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh; it is also home to a large number of young homosexuals, transsexuals and transvestites who co-exist in the same space. United by their sexualities which deviate from the societal norm, this community have found in each other something which resembles a family. Rome-based photographer Raffaele Petralla went to the city with the objective of documenting the daily struggle experienced by labourers working in brick factories, though the intolerance he witnessed towards this minority forced him to turn his focus towards The Third Sex in Bangladesh.

Anxiety Made Visible in Photos


“I always wondered how sleep deprivation couldn’t kill you.”


“I bought a little dog to force me to leave the house at least once a day.”

Mental health issues such as anxiety and depression are often dismissed, as they are afflictions which do no always manifest themselves visibly in the physical body. It is important though to remember that just because they cannot be seen, it doesn’t mean that they are not real, and furthermore that such attitudes further isolate those carrying this burden. Few who suffer from a mental health issue haven’t heard or felt that surveyors of their health were all thinking the same thing: “But you look fine on the outside”.

A Photo Book Presenting Japan As We’ve Never Seen It



Searching for words within Japan-based photographer Sean Lotman’s Sunlanders, I realized there were none, save the list of dates and locations at the end. This book is a puzzle with few explanations other than the 48 pictures themselves — through these the viewer has access to a very personal document of the land that the photographer has come to call home. And as these photographs draw us into Sean Lotman’s strange, ghostly world, it dawns upon the unsuspecting viewer that this is not Japan as we know it.

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