Posts tagged: documentary photography

Revealing the Beauty and Destruction of the Somerset Floods



For her Rising Waters series, British photographer Venetia Dearden focuses her lens on her hometown in Somerset, a county situated in the Southwest of England. During the winter of 2013–2014, heavy rainfall brought extensive floods affecting over 600 houses and 17,000 acres of agricultural land. “I was motivated to photograph the Somerset floods,” says Dearden, “as I live here and many people I knew were affected.” Though Dearden herself was not directly affected, all of these images were taken in the flood zone around thirty minutes from the photographer’s residence.

Shedding Light on the Struggles of Schools in Northern Pakistan

Travel - Pakistan

Travel 650 km north of Islamabad, along one of the world’s most treacherous roads (the Karakoram Highway), and you eventually reach Northern Pakistan – the focus of Italian photographer Andrea Francolini‘s project My First School, where electricity shortages pose a daily problem.

Francolini first visited the region in 2008 to photograph the annual polo tournaments, as part of a project focusing on traditional sports. A year later, he returned to do a story on women working in Islamic society, and after interviewing a woman who had started a school over twenty years ago, he was invited to her school. On visiting, Francolini says he was both fascinated and shocked by what he saw. “The children were children: happy, joyful, shy and naughty at times. Everything appeared normal at first,” he says, “but when I entered a classroom, my heart just sank.” Among the things that stood out, he recounts what he saw in flashes: “a slab of cement, one light bulb, no seats or desks, one ancient blackboard, and the children sitting on the floor sharing second-hand books.”

Painful But Unforgettable Portraits of Life on Skid Row


Los Angeles Street near Winston St: Jerry has been on Skid Row for years. Despite his devastating facial injury, caused by a rifle shot to the face as he sat at a bus stop over a decade ago, he’s very easy to talk to and joke with and is very honest about his life. He’s routinely bullied and has his belongings stolen regularly. He’s in very poor condition physically, and I haven’t seen him in months.


Spring Street between 5th and 6th: Larry first saw Rebel being beaten brutally by his owner on Skid Row around San Pedro Street. He implored the guy to allow him to take the dog, because he knew that the dog wouldn’t survive much longer. He was given the dog, named him Rebel, and they are now inseparable life partners

“Get the fuck out of the car already, because if you don’t, you’ll never forgive yourself,” photographer Suzanne Stein told herself as she passed by Jennifer’s tent on Skid Row. She’d been photographing the faces of the area since October of the previous year, but this block could be unpredictable, and she was frightened. Still, Jennifer was worth the risk.

A Peek into the Lives of an Eccentric Couple in the Netherlands

Emmy's World

Emmy and Ben, Arles

Emmy's World

Egbert and his underpants

In a period of quiet following the completion of her redhead project MC1R, Netherlands-based photographer Hanne van der Woude met a man named Ben. “From the beginning on, there was a very close connection,” Van der Woude says, and when she asked Ben if she could photograph him at home, he agreed. While visiting Ben’s home for the first time, she was introduced to his wife Emmy, who was busy at the time sorting through her collections in one of their five attics. “It was an unusual introduction, but I knew immediately that Emmy was a remarkable person,” says Van der Woude.

A Complex Portrait of Fatherhood in East New York


Raheem Grant, 39, poses for a portrait with his daughter, Nature Grant. “When I was growing up I didn’ t have a father. My little one, she gets scared of the dark: ‘ You don’ t have to be scared because Daddy is here.’ Just knowing that I am there for them makes me feel like I accomplished a lot.

After spending time in a little-known Brooklyn neighbourhood, East New York, Phyllis Dooney began a project on fatherhood. The area is rife with poverty – a third of residents live below the Federal Poverty Level – and dogged by the ghosts of incarcerations and “the War on Drugs”. The family dynamic is a markedly unusual one, with children spending time variously at different family members’ houses in a “communal child-rearing effort.”

The Patchwork of Hope and Fear in Afghanistan

Afghanistan: Between Hope and Fear

A mother and her two children look out from their cave dwelling. Many families fleeing the Taliban took refuge inside caves adjacent to Bamiyan’s destroyed ancient Buddha statues and now have nowhere else to live. Bamiyan, November 19, 2003. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images.)

Afghanistan: Between Hope and Fear

Burqa-clad women wait to vote after a polling station runs out of ballots. Kabul, April 5, 2014.

When she first arrived in Afghanistan in the fall of 2001, American photojournalist Paula Bronstein was instantly taken aback by the country, its rugged landscape and the indomitable spirit of its people. Starting out as a reporter for news wire, the stories she was following gradually became a personal pursuit, an effort to catalogue the daily lives existing beyond the frontlines of an ongoing and brutal war. Bronstein’s new book entitled Afghanistan: Between Hope and Fear (University of Texas Press, August 2016), compiles over a hundred colour images taken between 2001-2015, giving us a rich and multi-layered insight into a world so disparate from our own.

‘Water Stories’ Shines a Spotlight on a Worldwide Crisis

Claudio, Paraguay River, Cáceres, Mato Grosso, Brazil, 2015 © Mustafah Abdulaziz : WWF-UK

Paraguay River, Cáceres, Mato Grosso, Brazil, 2015: The river is central to daily life in Cáceres, and Claudio and his family go there regularly to swim and play. But just a few miles away, the main sewage pipe pumps directly into the water, and fishermen search for an ever-decreasing supply of fish. Poor sanitation is a common issue in this region. Cáceres treats only 10% of its sewage – 30% below the national average. The Mayor of Cáceres has committed to protecting the water sources. He is calling on the community to work together to reduce the amount of pollution in the river. Mustafah Abdulaziz / WWF UK

Bewatoo, Tharparkar, Pakistan, 2013 © Mustafah Abdulaziz : WaterAid

Bewatoo, Tharparkar, Pakistan, 2013: Women pull water from a well in the Thar Desert, where temperatures hover at around 120°F (48-50°C) on summer days. With an extremely low water table and continuing drought, sometimes water must be hauled from a depth of 150-200 feet. “Women fall unconscious on their way to these dug wells,” says Marvi Bheel, 45, a resident of Bewatoo. The journey can take up to three hours. From the water-scarce regions in southern Ethiopia to the desert wells of Pakistan, it is women who are primarily responsible for gathering water. © WaterAid/ Mustafah Abdulaziz

“I believe the single biggest water issue is human beings,” American photographer Mustafah Abdulaziz told WaterAid earlier this year. He’s spent the last five years documenting our relationship with water, traveling to a total nine countries in search of the people at the heart of a global crisis.

15 Photoville Exhibitions We Can’t Wait to See


© Sophie Gamand

There’s nothing like Photoville. For New York City’s single largest annual photography event, United Photo Industries has repurposed over sixty shipping containers, transforming them into miniature art galleries lining Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Part of what makes Photoville so unique is it’s diversity, and this year’s lineup touches on the most pressing topics of our time: climate change, human rights, and yes, even animal rights. From photographer Sophie Gamand’s pit bull adoption event, where visitors can meet their new best friend, to the unforgettable and deeply human work of the late Chris Hondros and other conflict photographs who followed in his footsteps, Photoville 2016 takes us around the world and back home again, reminding us of the power photography has always held while pointing to a future none of us can predict.

We put together this list of 15 exhibitions we’re most excited to see, ranging from the clever to the profound and everything in between. Photoville opens today at 4:00 PM.

EXHIBITION: Flower Power, September 21 – 25, 2016.
Presented by Sophie Gamand.
The photography of Sophie Gamand has saved the lives of countless shelter dogs, including pit bull type dogs, who are euthanized across the country more frequently than any other kind of dog (about one million per year) due to prejudice and stereotypes. By dressing homeless pit bulls in flower crowns, Gamand has not only helped to further the worldwide movement against breed-based discrimination and legislation, but she has also encouraged people to adopt many of the gentle creatures featured in her portraits. Photoville 2016 marks the artist’s first solo exhibition in the United States, and to celebrate the occasion some of her canine models will be joining her for a very Special Flower Power Dog Adoption event. All will be on the lookout for loving homes in the crowd.

The Truth About the Bridgend Suicides


A short drive from Cardiff through ploughed and green fields lined with hedgerows and the occasional leafy oak and you arrive in the small town of Bridgend in South Wales. Head north and pastoral lowlands will make way for secluded valleys and mountains, drive westward and you will arrive at the sea, but not before crossing the rugged cliffs and miles of unspoiled sand dunes dotted with wildflowers. “I like it here” says photographer Dan Wood discussing his home town. The mysterious suicides that appear to have plagued this small Welsh town since 2007 and its consequential negative media coverage was a natural photographic focus for Dan as a Bridgend local. A year into the series Suicide Machine and the narrative took a new turn as the photographer became a first time parent; what sort of town would his daughter be growing up in?

A Visual Journey Through California from the Desert to the Ocean


© Gregory Halpern 2016 courtesy MACK


© Gregory Halpern 2016 courtesy MACK

New York born photographer Gregory Halpern is no stranger to the West Coast. Like all places, California is a land of contradictions, though “to greater extremes” argues photographer Robert Adams discussing Halpern’s most recent series. Crossing California, a traveller encounters dramatic changes in scenery and social landscape in a relatively small geographical area; America’s most urban state, cultures coexist in its major municipalities and urban sprawl, juxtaposed against its arid, sometimes alpine wildernesses that are markedly clear of people. Halpern’s new photo book ZZYZX takes the viewer on a journey from east to west through the eyes of California’s people, animals and places, commencing in the desert east of Los Angeles and ending at the Pacific Ocean.

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