Posts tagged: documentary photography

The Desire to be Perfect in a Russian Ballet Academy

Three 2nd Class Girls Backstage, St. Petersburg, Russia, 2007

2nd Class Girls, St. Petersburg, Russia, 2007

Raised in Israel and trained as a dancer from a young age, the now Berlin-based photographer Rachel Papo, decided to revisit the experience of being a young ballet student. Re-immersing herself within the environment, Papo came across scenes that resonated with her own experiences as a dancer, capturing a world she’d consciously drifted away from. Through sheer persistence, she was granted rare access into a Russian ballet institution and emerged with a body of work shot mainly using medium-format, which demonstrates a well-trained eye for composition and colour, and explores the pressures and challenges faced both physically and psychologically by these young dancers.

‘A Thousand Polluted Gardens’ in the Heart of Bangladesh’s Capital


In the heart of Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka, lies the infamous city of Hazaribagh, a densely populated and deeply polluted land. Lying on the eastern banks of the Buriganga river, Hazaribagh floods its waterways with approximately 22,000 cubic meters of hazardous waste, including the carcinogen – hexavalent chromium, every day. Spread across these 25 acres is Bangladesh’s one billion dollar leather industry, dotted with over 200 leather tanneries, each respectively contributing pollutants to its increasingly lethal layers of air, soil and water.

The Devastating Reality of People Living in Waste


An old woman is washing her hair, with flies all over her body, at Dhapa waste dumping ground, Kolkata, India.


One of many dead dogs found dumped openly on the road in the Dhapa waste dumping ground, Kolkata, India.

For photojournalist Turjoy Chowdhury, Dhapa started off as an anonymous brown spot on the map of Kolkata.

“The first time I visited the place, I remember that from the distance I saw something like a mountain at the horizon,” he says, “It was almost eight to ten stories high.” As he drew nearer, the mountain became a massive pile of trash, over sixty acres of waste onto which 5,372 tons of garbage is dumped daily.

Exploring Korean Heritage Through Intimate Family Portraits



Janice Chung is a Korean-American photographer who was raised in Queens, New York. She was brought up in a large Korean-American community, and notes her influence by the culture: “I learned to show respect for my elders and grew a desire to support my family.” However, her chosen path was different from the accepted narrative of her community: she became an artist.

Capturing a Feeling of Melancholy in Georgia

Georgia, Melancolia

Peasant family in Mirashkani, Georgia

Georgia, Melancolia

Farm girl in Mirashkani

When the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, Georgia suffered a severe economic downturn which has left over half the population unemployed. Georgia, Melancolia is a series of photographs taken by Zürich-based photographer Christian Bobst, while on assignment for a Swiss NGO. Arriving in Georgia, Bobst was amazed by the palpable sense of melancholy that seemed to permeate the land and people.

Capturing the Buzz of Life in Brasilia’s Central Station



When he moved to Brasilia in 2014, photographer Gustavo Minas couldn’t help but feel alienated. The city felt prone to separate; he didn’t like its open spaces and unwalkable roads, and the way people seemed to always be in their cars made him feel disconnected. The only place where he could feel the buzz of life was Rodoviaria do Plano Piloto – the Central Station of the city. His ongoing series Bus Stop is the result of his need to observe and get closer to others.

A Raw Glimpse Behind-the-Scenes at Fetish Parties (NSFW)



“I just took pictures, always finding some beauty in the dark side,” Belgian photographer MagLau says of his three year documentation of fetish parties throughout Europe (Brussels, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam) and Japan (Tokyo).

A Fearless Storm Chaser Takes Astonishing Photos


Florence, Texas


Georgetown, Texas

Jason Weingart was there when the the widest tornado ever recorded struck El Reno, Oklahoma in May of 2013, the same one that killed three researchers. Two years earlier, he had nearly been hit by positive lightning, escaping death by only a few feet. By the time he was safe, he noticed the wax leaking from his ears.

The Brutal Beauty of Life in an Arctic Mining Town

Norilsk winters are long and cold, with an average temperature of around -31°C in January. The result is many days of ice, coupled with violent winds. The cold period extends to around 280 days per year, with more than 130 days with snowstorms. It’s worth noting that actual temperatures are even colder when the effect of the wind is taken into account. For example, for a temperature lower than -40°C, a wind of 1 metre per second can make it feel like -42°C.

The lack of greenery during the 9 month winter, and green spaces during the summer, leads people to create green spaces in their apartments, constructing a natural microclimate which contradicts the severity of winter and offers a visual escape.

Norilsk is the world’s northernmost city, as well as its largest mining complex. A town of 175,000 people in the extreme North of Russia, situated above the Arctic Circle, it is a place of extreme conditions: with temperatures reaching -60 in a winter that lasts nine months, two months of which are spent entirely without sunlight, its inhabitants are living at the margins of survival. The city can only be accessed by plane – there are no roads leading towards or away from it. Elena Chernyshova travelled to this Arctic city, spending time photographing its inhabitants in order to discover the ways they have adapted to their circumstance’s harshness.

Revisiting Eugene Richards’ Portraits of Courage and Poverty


Still House Hollow, Tennessee, 1986

As one person’s history unfolded, I was often directed towards others. When I was with embattled farmers in South Dakota, I was moved to think of the migrant laborers who also worked the land, yet have no title to it. The family I visited in the Tennessee Mountains was barely hanging onto their ancestral homeland. How must it be, then, for people newly arrived in this country that must adapt to a new language, different customs, to an inhospitable economy? In the Arkansas Delta, the grandchildren of the aging and weary sharecroppers I photographed could barely wait to get away from home, to Chicago or New York, which held more promise for them… – Eugene Richards

It’s been almost thirty years since the publication of Eugene Richards’ landmark book Below the Line. First published in 1987, the volume received an onslaught of mixed reactions. Although many were impressed by his work, his eye for honesty was criticized for portraying a too-negative view of the country, one that lacked hope. But Richards countered the critics in saying these stories were, in fact, portraits of courage.

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