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Posts by: Sahara Borja

From Pawnshops to Funeral Homes, Photographer Documents The Fate of the Last Remaining Pizza Huts

ho_hai_tran_pizza_hunt_1The Great Wall, Glendale Heights, IL, USA

ho_hai_tran_pizza_hunt_13Copycat, California, PA, USA

Ho Hai Tran and his partner Chloe Cahill have traveled over 14,000 kilometers between Australia, New Zealand, and the USA on a very special road trip of sorts, dedicated not to the landscape of these majestic lands nor in an ode to Robert Frank (refreshing!) but to finding and documenting all of the original Pizza Hut restaurants that were built in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. The photographing duo has captured around 100 huts; most of the original Pizza Huts have been repurposed or refurbished and are barely recognizable now, reincarnated as Chinese fast-food restaurants, grocery stores, pawnshops, and funeral homes. The duo has set up a Kickstarter to finish their project and turn it into a book.

Tiger Attacks, Child Marriage and Rising Sea Levels: A Glimpse Inside the Lives of Bangladesh’s Most Marginalized

Climate Crisis in BangladeshA flood-affected man stands on high land waits for a boat

Climate Crisis in BangladeshRizia’s husband Mazed was killed by tiger attack in 2012. She has three children. With man and beast competing over less and less land, such attacks (and poached tigers) are sure to increase in the future

Probal Rashid, a photographer who has documented pollution and Tuberculosis in Bangladesh, where he is based, has turned his lens on climate change as it continues to affect the most marginalized populations of the city for his ongoing work “Climate Crisis in Bangladesh.” Bangladesh, a city that regularly experiences tropical cyclones, river erosion, floods, landslides, and drought, is especially vulnerable to climate change, and sea levels rising can only mean the forced displacement of the most at-risk population.

A Look Inside the Arctic’s Controversial Fur Trapping Industry

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Draped over the shoulders of a well-to-do woman on the Upper East Side, say, a fox pelt and fur hat read differently than in the hands of a man or woman who needs to trap to survive. In photographer Patrick Kane‘s images of a community descended from the local trapping industry in the Northwest Territories, near the Arctic Territories, we learn about the trapping industry as necessary for survival, not fashion. These trappers catch marten, fox, wolf, and wolverine and they can “earn as little or as much as they can harvest.” Every year, the territorial government purchases these pelts which are later re-sold at auctions around the world. According to Kane, some of “the best trappers make between $20,000 and $50,000 annually.” Kane’s project, entitled Colville Trapping investigates the daily life of these trappers and the economic sustainability of a controversial industry via portraits and interviews with community members, trappers, and a member of the territorial government who states that these trappers are, indeed, an ‘endangered species.’ We asked photographer Patrick Kane more about the subject.

Photographer Doug Rickard Searches for ‘Hood Fight,’ ‘Crackheads Gone Wild’, and ‘Passed Out White Girl’, Explores the Dark Side of Urban America

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Doug Rickard, the founder of well-known photography websites American Suburb X and These Americans, is a California-based artist and curator currently presenting “N.A.” in Los Angeles at Little Big Man Gallery through the end of October. “N.A.,” employing an openly ambiguous title, is Rickard’s new photography and video work that continues to “explore the darker side of urban America” while highlighting issues of “economic disparity, ever-present surveillance, and tendencies towards publicity via social media.” Over the course of three years, Rickard culled footage from thousands of YouTube videos using search terms that ranged from city names to more pointed keywords such as “police brutality,” “sideshow,” and “racial profiling,” to name a few. The resulting video, set to an almost unintelligible version of the “National Anthem,” gathers these YouTube contributor snippets ranging in theme and edits them loosely into a slow, mysterious, and often poignant picture of the modern American cultural landscape. While the videos Rickard found online “painted a picture of American violence, anger, frustration, and rage, targeted at economic isolation that is pervasive,” the final piece tends towards revelation, not desperation. We spoke in greater detail with Rickard about his artistic process, the project’s ambiguous title and evocative music, and his thoughts on traditional narrative.

Life at Sea with Legendary Greek Fishermen

paros1“I learned from my grandfather and my father. This knowledge will be lost, as there is no one to follow the tradition. When we’re gone, it’s over. I feel empty when I go ashore, then I have the feeling of being worthless. My children want me to stop. I told them, if you love me, you have to let me go. My whole life is in the sea.”—Thanasis Tantanis

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The above excerpt, shared with photographer Christian Stemper is not unique to Mr. Tantanis. All of the 31 fishermen interviewed for the project, Wolves of the Sea, or Lupi Maris, shared this sentiment. Their love of the sea is unparalleled and unwavering. Many of these men speak of their old, wooden boats as if they were wives. One has said being at sea saved his life, another has declared that his “whole life” is, in fact, the sea.

The Power of the Self: Shen Wei’s Photographic Exploration and Evolution (NSFW)

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Como, 2009 © Shen Wei, courtesy Flowers Gallery/www.minormattersbooks.com

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Bent, 2009 ©Shen Wei, courtesy FlowersGallery/www.minormattersbooks.com

We cannot know the world if we do not first know ourselves and our place in it. We cannot know ourselves if we do not investigate. For New York City based photographer Shen Wei, whose collection of self-portraits entitled I Miss You Already is almost set to go to print with Minor Matters Books, revealing his process of “self-reflection and self-discovery” over the course of several years began by turning the camera on himself. The result is a collection of thoughtful and illuminating self-portraits, made in an array of environmental set-ups and using mostly ambient light. The images tend to highlight just parts of his body at a time but cumulatively, his whole self—inside and out—is revealed. Although the history of photography is rich with self-portraits, those that endure share the qualities of honesty, intent, innovation, and vulnerability. The portraits made by Shen Wei are no different. We spoke with him about his artist residency that allowed for the expansion of this work, his methods, and future plans.

The Vanishing of the United States Postal Service in the South

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In “Post Script,” photographer Rachel Boillot‘s work about the gradual disappearance of the United States Postal Service as seen in parts of the South, she is speaking about two fading systems: that of the decline of the American postal service and that of the analog film process.

A Look Inside the Illegal Mining Industry in the Democratic Republic of Congo

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War for minerals (D.R.Congo)

War for Minerals is photographer Erberto Zani‘s visual investigation of the men who mine for coltan, manganese, and other rare metals in the Democratic Republic of Congo, often under unclear, dangerous, and complicated political conditions.

Gruesome Scenes from The Monster Shark Tournament

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Photographer Maggie Shannon has been photographing The Monster Shark Tournament, held in Martha’s Vineyard, for a few years. The event, which recently ended a 20-year run in Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard, was drawing increasingly negative responses from community far and wide as well as from The Humane Society of the U.S. because of the shark carcasses and crowds the event was attracting. According to Bloomberg News, the event would draw “drunken revelers, bar brawls, and even bodies passed out on the sidewalks” from too much alcohol and excess “shark mania.” This scene endured a couple of decades of complete revelry before the community of Oak Bluff decided to put in place referendums that would replace the shark killings with catch-and-release guidelines. Prior, awards of $50,000 were given out to the boat with the heaviest shark haul after two days. The tournament’s founder, who has since passed, decided to move the tournament to Newport, Rhode Island, where it now takes place every July and is hosted by the Boston Big Game Fishing Club. Although the tournament now celebrates catch and release, the teams are allowed to bring in one shark a day that meets a list of very restrictive requirements. The tournament continues to be controversial.

Meet the ‘Watchmen’ of the Arizona Border

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October 5, 2014: “Nailer” eyes the hills with binoculars in the early morning

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October 6, 2014: The border fence follows the geography of the land in Nogales. To the left is the United States, with Mexico to the right

The ‘watchmen’ of The Arizona Border Recon don real tactical gear, use real experience learned in the military, employ real surveillance equipment, and if called upon, real weapons to patrol the border town of Nogales in an effort to “stop illegal immigration, drug smuggling, and human smuggling.” Their actions, their intent, their day-to-day efforts, as documented in lush, dusky blues and camouflage greens by photographer Johnny Milano in his project The Hills of Pima, are indeed indicative of men with purpose. The images of these men killing time in a field, assessing military surveillance videos, or heading off into the night to patrol coordinates deemed suspect, leads us to believe – if we had no captions – that we are seeing a group of military men on tour, presumably with a mission, fighting a real cause, with real directives. The work these men carry out, however, involves the murky territory of border politics and societies-in-flux. It is not Milano’s photographs that are called into question here – his work continues to feel very dedicated about informing us of the who, what, and how while continuously seeking for the visual nuance of the why. As the demographics of our country change right before our eyes so too does the line in the sand that we share with Mexico. Is it ‘illegal’ to flee a nation in crisis?

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