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Posts tagged: documentary photography

The Truth About the Bridgend Suicides

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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

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© Gregory Halpern 2016 courtesy MACK

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© 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.

Stories of Hope, Strength and Reconciliation in Rwanda

lm_vital-and-francine Vital and Francine, Anatomy of Forgiveness, 2014

lm_francois-and-christophe Francois and Christophe, Anatomy of Forgiveness, 2014

In 1994, an estimated 800,000 Rwandans were killed in just over a hundred days. The carefully organized killing spree targeted against the minority Tutsis, remains to this day one of the darkest and most unsettling phases of the country’s troubled history.

As part of the ‘Rwanda 20 Years’ exhibition, Rotterdam-based photographer Lana Mesic was invited to participate by an organization called Creative Court. “The idea was to revisit Rwanda 20 years after the genocide and photograph the victims and perpetrators,” explains Mesic. “For me it was important to tackle this subject with respect and integrity, and also that I stay true to myself as a creator, and not suddenly change the way I work.” As her work revolves around the realm of the invisible and its various representations, Mesic arrived at the idea to try and show the invisibility of reconciliation.

What it’s Like to Be a Fly on the Wall in New York’s Meatpacking District

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Meatpacking

For New York photographer Dina Litovsky, the Meatpacking District of Manhattan is the one place where revelry, voyeurism, and desire are laid bare. When the sun sets and the clubs open, the rules of daytime fade into the background; the air becomes erotically charged. The following hours are a kind of foreplay en masse, and watching is half the fun.

The Stunning Araki Retrospective at the Musee Guimet (NSFW)

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Nobuyoshi Araki is one of the most prolific artists worldwide, having published over 350 photobooks in Japan and internationally. For the Japanese artist, “photography is, above all, a way to exist”, and this is evidenced in his work; equal attention is given to a nondescript street scene as to a rope-bound woman. To view his photographs is to feel oneself immersed in his world, one which is by turns hilarious, banal, disturbing and tender.

An Ominous Look at Industrial Structures Across the World

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Bethlehem, PA, USA, 2013

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Ehime, Japan, 2007

In 2006, when Korean photographer Taewon Jang discovered an abandoned factory near the border of South Korea and North Korea, he was struck by the unusualness of the scene. Neither landscape nor cityscape, the sight was also strange because in South Korea the land is limited, explains the photographer, so it’s rare to see abandoned sites like this. Inspired by this anomaly, Jang began to actively seek out abandoned sites and photograph the disused industrial structures in the dead of night. To find them, he travelled not only across Korea, but in the US and Japan too, and has plans to extend the project to Europe.

The Bitter Decline of Las Vegas, in Photos

Insert Coins, 2016

There’s an old episode of The Twilight Zone, one of the very first, about a middle-aged couple on a free trip to Las Vegas. The husband, Franklin, becomes obsessed with a slot machine, so much so that the machine takes on a life of its own, at least in his mind. It chants his name. It follows him. The episode is called The Fever.

Rod Serling created the episode after he himself visited Vegas, and it aired during The Recession of 1960–1961, when people were particularly desperate to hit the jackpot. Similarly, Swiss photographer Christian Lutz found himself in the city at the height of our most recent financial crisis. He spent three consecutive summers documenting the streets beneath the neon lights.

These Photos of Wicker (Yes, Wicker) Will Leave You Breathless

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© David Santiago Garcia / Westend61 / Offset

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© David Santiago Garcia / Westend61 / Offset

The population of Canamares in the Spanish province of Cuenca lingers at just below 600, but for five months each year, it transforms into a dreamscape of red and orange. Wicker, or mimbre in Spanish, grows in bamboo-like stalks from November until May.

Canamares is part of a wicker route that stretches for a just under 25 miles of undulating terrain near the River Escabas, deep ravines, gorges, and thickets of pines. It is the main producer of the region’s wicker, and while the area once was home to traditional basket-weavers, the industry has been in serious decline over recent years.

We found these exquisite photographs of wicker cultivation in Canamares in Offset’s rich collection of photography, and yearned to know more about the history of the forgotten basket makers. The dearth of information we were able to uncover speaks to the diminishing role of natural wicker, which takes more effort to maintain than the popular synthetic versions.

13 Moving Photos of Classrooms Around the World (Sponsored)

Children having their Mid-Day Meal in a school in Bettiah, Bihar

Girls having their mid-day meal in a government school, Bettiah, Bihar, India © Himanshu Khagta / Offset

Resident monks learn the teachings of Buddhism at the Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery

Resident monks learn the teachings of Buddhism at the Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery © Rachel Leiner / Offset

East Africa, Kenya, outside Amboseli National Park, Esiteti Primary School

Esiteti Primary School, outside Amboseli National Park, Kenya © Danita Delimont / Offset

In a phenomenal episode of This American Life called Three Miles, producer Chana Joffe-Walt told the story of a “classroom exchange” that took place between two schools in The Bronx. University Heights High School is a public school; Fieldston is a private school. They are three miles apart, and for the University Heights students, visiting Fieldston and its sprawling campus was a shock. One girl was so overwhelmed by the disparity between her school and Fieldston, where tuition runs around $43,000, that she started crying.

If New York children just a few miles from one another are learning in such vastly different environments, what does school look like 7,000 miles away in Uganda? What about 8,000 in Myanmar? In order to begin to answer this question, we combed through the Offset photography collection to find images that truly capture what classrooms (and the occasional lunchroom) are like on the other side of the world.

A Portrait of Young Love in China

Haiquing, Xiamen 2015

Linli and Naomi, Xiamen 2015

Arriving in the city of Xiamen, on China’s south-eastern coastline, Amsterdam-based photographer Sarah Mei Herman was immediately struck by the abundant use of smartphones. Intrigued by their contradictory way of connecting and dis-connecting people, Herman says that smartphones were a vital source of inspiration for her project, Screen Touch. While wandering the university campus and public spaces of Xiamen, Herman encountered her subjects and started to collect portraits, despite her limited grasp of the language. In her resulting series Herman builds a modern portrait of China’s youth, delving into the subject of relationships and questioning the role of technology in our everyday lives – is it succeeding in bringing us closer or are we drifting further apart?

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