Posts tagged: documentary photography

A Former Janitor Collects and Photographs the Items Seized from Immigrants and Thrown Away By U.S. Customs and Border Patrol


© Thomas Kiefer/INSTITUTE


© Thomas Kiefer/INSTITUTE


© Thomas Kiefer/INSTITUTE

It started with toothbrushes. Arizona-based photographer Thomas Kiefer had been working part-time as a janitor at the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol in Ajo, some 40 miles from the Mexican border, for several years when he acted on his impulse to salvage— and to catalog—some of the hundreds of personal items thrown away in the facility. As hopeful American immigrants, many of them illegal, were apprehended and brought to the station, personal objects deemed “non-essential” were seized and disposed of during processing. With El Sueno Americano, or The American Dream, Kiefer tells the story of those who risked their freedom and their lives to cross the border through the many possessions they had to leave behind.

Photographer Discovers More Than 1,000 Snapshots of 1980s Stripteasers in Los Angeles Garage


Los Angeles-based director and photographer Tyler Hubby knew the amateur photographer only from a single box of negatives the latter left behind more than 30 years ago in a house in Echo Park. Judging by a collection of over a thousand snaps of stripteasers working the poles and the tables at local 1980s clubs, he suspected the gentlemen inhabited the home for the several years leading up to his presumed death.

‘Bedside Manner’ Takes Us Into the Strange World of Simulated Doctor’s Visits




Operating Room #1

In the late 1800s, explains New York-based photographer Corinne May Botz, Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot held weekly lectures at the Salpêtrière teaching hospital amphitheater, where he would display women suffering from what was then known as “hysteria.” More than a century later, Botz traces the often uncomfortable intersections of theater and illness in Bedside Manner, for which she documented standardized patients, or professional actors used in instructing medical students in interacting with and treating a diverse set of cases.

An Intimate Look Inside Israel’s Only Women’s Prison



When an Israeli women’s magazine sent photographer Tomer Ifrah to shoot a portrait of one of the prisoners being held at Neve Tirza, he instantly felt he wanted to document the place. Neve Tirza, located in Ramle, Central Israel, is Israel’s only women’s prison. At the time of his visit, approximately 180 prisoners were residing there, a remarkably small number if you take into account the entire country’s population, which is estimated at around 8 million.

The Deadline for the Second Annual Feature Shoot Emerging Photography Awards Is Just One Month Away!


For Transnistria, German photographer Julia Autz gives voice the young people living in a Moldovan territory that continues to seek entry into Russia, tracing the uncertain future of a precarious and unrecognized nation.


For North Korea // The power of the dream in the face of the trauma, Berlin-based photographer Xiomara Bender cuts beneath the prejudgements and propaganda that so often surround discussions of North Korea to reveal a quiet, deeply human side of a nation so often obscured from view.

Here at Feature Shoot, the New Year brings with it our Annual Emerging Photography Awards, a competition judged by a panel of leading industry insiders and designed to jumpstart the careers of an elite group of up-and-coming photographers.

The Incredible Story of a Danish Girl Who Left High School to Fight ISIS in Syria and Iraq

Joanna Palani

Joanna Palani a few kilometers from the frontline. Her decision to actively fight ISIS was a long process, but when Palani first came to Iraq, she immediately joined a military training camp in Syria.

Joanna Palani

A few moments earlier, ISIS was shooting at Joanna and the other Kurdish soldiers. Now the group is moving on as if nothing happened. In Kurdish Iraq, war has become everyday life – and Joanna is part of it.

During the Iran-Iraq war, a couple fled Kurdish Iran, giving birth to a baby girl in a refugee camp in Iraq. Three years later, they made a home in Scandinavia, raising their child in the Danish countryside. That little girl—Joanna Palani—grew up to become a fiercely independent, politically idealistic woman. Some two decades since her parents’ departure from their homeland, Joanna, a high school student, left the safety of home to join in the Kurdish fight against ISIS.

In the Face of Rapid Urbanization, Shanghai’s ‘Nail Houses’ Persist



After the sun has set over the city, German photographer Peter Bialobrzeski walks the streets of lower Shanghai, where amongst the wreckage of demolished homes, buildings, and landmarks, a few windows are still aglow, sparkling against the blackness of night. The photographer calls these often dilapidated homes Nail Houses because, similar to old nails driven into a slab of wood, they are intractable. Despite pressures from developers, these homeowners have stubbornly and steadfastly held on the their properties, protecting them from certain demolition in the face of rapid urbanization.

Photographer Christopher Rimmer Discusses Changing the Lives of Boys in a South African Orphanage

Eloxolweni 1

© Christopher Rimmer

Christopher Rimmer: Being a fine art photographer and separated from the tradition of photo journalism, it is unusual for my work to actually effect social change as such. This image however, is one I consider to be the most important photograph I have ever taken. The reason I consider it to be so is because it effected a small social change in the town of Port St Johns in South Africa.

The Hardships of the American Farmer Revealed in Breathtaking Images




In a solitary corner of Northeast Colorado, the Mertens family makes their home on thousands of acres of wheat; before the rising of the sun, New York-based photographer Elliot Ross sits awake in the attic, where he has laid his head every night for the past three weeks. He’s watched lighting bolts burn across the obsidian skies, borne witness to the furious rainstorms that drenched the land and soaked the soil. It’s July, and the harvest has at last been reaped. The series of images he made at the Mertens home, The Reckoning Days, retraces the well-worn footsteps of the great Farm Security Administration photographers Walker Evans, Gordon Parks, and Dorothea Lange to tell the untold tale of the modern American farmer.

An Intimate Look at the Plight of Thousands of Refugees Stranded in Lesbos, Greece

Lesbos refugee crisis

The crossing across the Aegean is notoriously perilous. This man just arrived with his family at Lesbos island, scared and happy at the same time.

Lesbos refugee crisis

A boat with 45 refugees from Afghanistan reaches the north coast of Lesbos. The swell is high and the journey dangerous. Spanish life guards help people off the boat.

Lesbos refugee crisis

A refugee climbs up to a field with his daughter after arriving from Turkey to Lesbos island, Greece, on a dinghy. They have to walk around 55 kilometers (34 miles) to reach the capital of Lesbos, Mytilini.

When German photographer Kai Löffelbein touched down on the island of Lesbos early this fall, where as many as two to four thousand refugees come ashore on a single day, he was forced in many ways to be a human being first and a photographer second. He still remembers clearly the time he set down his camera to take hold of a baby—just a few months old—wailing for his mother, who was out of sight. As people made their way up the steep incline and onto the shore, he raced through the crowd until at last he discovered the mother, who sat entranced in sheer bewilderment at the turmoil that lay before her.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get some visual inspiration into your day!