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Posts by: Eva Clifford

A Photographer Explores Love, Loss, Life and Death

akkedis, prince albert, karoo, south africa

fallen giraffe, somerset east, eastern cape, south africa – from the series ‘the fallen’

I once saw a box. Simply a Tupperware container actually, only slightly grander than that. It was indistinguishable from many other boxes of the same nature other than the fact it had a strip of white surgical tape on its lid. Written in ‘sharpie’ were the words ‘handle like eggs’. ‘What’s in there?’ I asked, ‘it’s a heart…and ice of course to keep it alive’.” – David Chancellor

Based between South Africa and the UK, David Chancellor has travelled extensively throughout his career as a documentary photographer. With a deep commitment to wildlife conservation, he has documented a wide range of pressing issues from the elephant poaching crisis in Africa to a mountain lion hunt in Utah to deer stalking in Scotland.

A Journey to the World’s Southernmost Inhabited Place

“It’s a sort of last frontier, a legend-filled land that people want to visit as a place where discoveries can be made,” says Ghent-based photographer Britt Vangenechten of the world’s southernmost inhabited place. Tierra del Fuego is an archipelago of islands located at the southern tip of South America and jointly owned by Chile and Argentina.

With only a few towns scattered across the land, most tourists flock to the major city Ushuaia, but Vangenechten wanted to strike out on a path of her own. Travelling only with a camera and a little money in her pocket, she discovered desolate roads, mysterious forests and lonely settlements, creating this beautiful and evocative photo series entitled El fin del mundo, the end of the earth.

A Fascinating Journey Into the Strange World of Spiritualism

Table-Tipping Workshop at Rev. Jane’s House, Erie, Pennsylvania, 2014

Lily Dale Auditorium, Lily Dale, New York, 2001

Shannon Taggart’s ventures into the world of Spiritualism began as a teenager. Since then, she’s been photographing the Spiritualist community of Lily Dale, New York for sixteen years. Her new book Séance: Spiritualism Ritual and the Search for Ectoplasm brings together ethnographic study, journalism and art, offering an in-depth insight into the essence of Spiritualism – showing us the uncanny encounters, sacred spots which have set the stage for Spiritualist gatherings for generations, and the elusive ectoplasm – a substance said to be both spiritual and material. The photographs put us in touch with another world, one that doesn’t seem so far off.

An Intimate Look Behind the Scenes in a Chinese Nightclub

Ukrainian photographer Sergey Melnitchenko first arrived in China as a dancer. Performing in a nameless Chinese club he describes as being “more like a huge bar with a stage,” it wasn’t until he paid full attention to the surroundings that the singular atmosphere of the place struck him. “At one moment, I realized how many great things are going on here, and that’s how the series Behind the Scenes appeared,” says Melnitchenko.

Photos Address Women and Their Complex Relationship with Domesticity

For most of history. Anonymous was a woman. – Virginia Woolf

Chicago-based photographer Patty Carroll‘s most recent project Anonymous Women is made up of a series of staged photographs using models, drapery and household objects to address women and their complex relationship with domesticity.  Having grown up in mid-century suburban Chicago during an era where suburban living was idealized, Carroll has since developed a deep fascination with the idea of home. In these highly saturated theatrical scenes, anonymous figures appear draped in cocoon-like textiles and are accessorized with chandeliers and other household objects to comment on the role of women in the home.

Tragedy, Death and Disaster in Mexico City

Mexico City (VW burning), 1951 © Enrique Metinides. Courtesy of Michael Hoppen Gallery

State of Mexico, 1963 © Enrique Metinides. Courtesy of Michael Hoppen Gallery

Enrique Metinides photographed his first dead body at the age of twelve. At thirteen, he became an unpaid assistant to a crime photographer at La Prensa, earning the nickname “El niño” (the boy) from the staff. Here, he would see between 30 – 50 dead bodies a day.

One of the Last Surviving Pagan Communities in Russia

Local children put on the costumes for the mummers play on the Mari’s holiday Shorykyol when locals put on costumes and masks, visit neighbors and sing songs.

Sacred Groove in the Mari El Republic. Mari people often tie scarfs or pieces of cloth to the ropes around sacred trees or directly to the trees.

After living in Central Asia for three years, Japanese photographer Ikuru Kuwajima moved to Kazan, Tatarstan in Russia, which lies a short distance from the Mari El Republic. Drawn by curiosity, Kuwajima crossed into the region to learn more about the minority ethnic groups which inhabit the surrounding forests.

“The main native people are the Finno-Ugric Mari people,” explains Kuwajima, “whose religion is mix of paganism and orthodox Christianity.” Almost half of the Mari population live in the Mari El Republic, with the rest dispersed across Russia. Kuwajima’s motivation for the project was to “to explore something different in the post-Soviet space, culturally and visually.” Although at first glance the landscape of Mari El did not appear that different from say, the suburb of Moscow, Kuwajima describes how he was able to gain a deeper understanding of the place and its people after spending time there, as the differences hidden beneath the Soviet and Russian layers began to slowly reveal themselves. Kuwajima’s resulting project named after the Republic, contains images taken during various trips to the region while he was living in Kazan.

In the photos, we get a sense of the eerie atmosphere that seems to permeate the forests and snow-veiled landscapes, areas which the photographer assumes, “cultivated the grounds for the strange stories about souls, ghosts, magic and paganism.”

A Death Photographer on the Sacred River Ganges

Warning: this article contains images of dead bodies.

The expression “when one door closes, another opens” seems apt when Italian photographer Matteo de Mayda recounts the tale of how this series began. When a project to photograph India’s bicycle inventors fell through at the very last moment, de Mayda found himself in Bombay desperate for a story. By chance, he stumbled across a local video report on the death photographers of Varanasi. On hearing the report, De Mayda wasted no time and caught a 30-hour third class train to the holy city.

The Couple Who Found A Shared Love For Tornado Chasing

07 May 2016: A classic severe weather set-up in the high plains of Colorado near the town of Wray, which yielded one of the most photogenic tornadoes of the year. We were just ahead of the storm as the tornado started and tracked with it as it grew from a fine funnel to a sizeable cone tornado. At this moment, the twister was at its most photogenic while its parent supercell continued to be manageable. We were among a number of people, including those you see in the shot, nervously enjoying the epic display nature put on for us.

07 June 2014: A clash between two storm cells in New Mexico, US in June 2014, each with its own rotating updraft. It appeared as though one updraft was anticyclonic, resulting in a very turbulent scene. The curved striations of the oldest noticeable against the new bubbling convection of the newer. It was a fantastic sight to watch and it’s the rarity of such scenes that keep drawing us back to the US Plains each year.

The Irish philosopher Edmund Burke wrote in 1757:”The passion caused by the great and sublime in nature… is Astonishment; and astonishment is that state of the soul, in which all its motions are suspended, with some degree of horror.”  Referring to the aesthetic concept of the sublime, Burke explains how fear – especially the fear of God – can be evoked by the power of nature, and it is exactly this mixture of awe and fear we feel when looking at these apocalyptic images by British couple Cammie Czuchnicki and Tim Moxon, aka Weather Studios. Each spring for the last seven years, the couple made the trip to the US to follow the tornado season north – from Texas to the Dakotas – to photograph the spectacular weather. In their photos, the storms are shown raging across the land, rolling in like mega-tsunamis, making it hard not to focus on our vulnerability as humans.

These Majestic Photos Capture a Disappearing Way of Life

In 2001, California-based photographer Oliver Klink embarked on a project to document the disappearing traditions and customs across Asia as modernization and cultural homogenization takes its toll. “When the Three George Dam was completed, the water level rose by over 100 meters (300 ft),” says Klink, and he saw the displacement of 1 million people from the edge of the Yangtze River. This proved to be just one example of how such communities are being affected by the change.

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