Posts tagged: documentary photography

Portraits of People Who Have Overcome Unhappiness (NSFW)


Dóri, Budapest, 2015


Mária at her home, 2015

“Hungarians really like to complain, and we are the one of the most depressed nations”, emphasises Hungarian photographer Eva Szombat, who has observed signs of unhappiness both in herself and the people around her. The question “what makes us happy?” has become a personal fascination for the photographer; she has to date produced a series of projects with the intention of increasing the viewer’s happiness. Her latest photo book Practitioners celebrates the people who have overcome unhappiness by prioritizing whatever it is that makes them happy: from gender reassignment surgery and collecting everyday objects to having a pet.

Behind-the-Scenes in the Life of a Dominatrix

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The key to BDSM, says New York City-based photographer Samir Abady, is trust. He’s witnessed the profound intimacy that enfolds inside the dungeon of a dominatrix; there have been moments so delicate that just the click of the shutter could break the spell. Kink is the photographer’s ongoing chronicle of women who venture into the professional world of BDSM, the submissives who confide in them, and the day-to-day goings on of their otherwise mundane—or, as Abady would say, “vanilla”—lives.

Beneath the Wounds of War, Hope Lingers at the Heart of Afghanistan

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Iranian-American photojournalist Moe Zoyari spent a total of forty-four days embedded in Afghanistan with the United States military in the summer of 2009. His assignment, given by United Press International, was to document the election, but on his spare time, he wandered the streets of Kabul, Mezar-e-Sharif, and Herat. He photographed those he met along the way, women and children, the injured and the innocent.

What It’s Like to Photograph Deep in the Rainforest in the Republic of Gabon

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Man with an orphaned monkey

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After receiving an invitation to partake in a project, Brooklyn-based photographer Sasha Bezzubov suddenly found himself deep in the rainforest of one of the world’s most precious ecosystems in the Republic of Gabon, photographing the odd and unexpected mix of people inhabiting the place.

Faced with a flurry of ethical dilemmas and walking head-on with his camera into dust storms churned up by passing trucks on the logging roads that weave through the jungle interior, Bezzubov has emerged with Republic of Dust, a project he admits is very different from the one he set out to do. In these images, where apparitions of dust fill Bezzubov’s large-format frame, he draws a portrait of the forest’s arresting beauty and its inevitable destruction.

Esteemed Photojournalists Teach the Secrets of Storytelling (Sponsored)

USA. Teviston, California. 2001. Boy with an old farm truck.

Teviston, California. 2001. Boy with an old farm truck. © Matt Black

Ron Haviv catalog

Law enforcement in Ferguson after firing tear gas and watching a police car burn during a night of protests and rioting over a grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown. © Ron Haviv

2015 Magnum Photos Nominee Matt Black famously said, “I try to stay focused on producing something that rings true, that doesn’t pander,” a sentiment that gets to the crux of true photojournalism. In many ways, a documentary photographer becomes the mediator between his or her subject and audience, reconciling whatever tensions and differences there might be between the two without compromising an ounce of integrity.

This summer and fall, nine groundbreaking photojournalists—Matt Black, Ron Haviv, Brandon Thibodeaux, David H Wells, Magdalena Solé, Shane Srogi, Dominic Chavez, Stella Johnson, and Peter Turnley— will come together on the coast of Rockport to teach workshops at Maine Media Workshops + College. They will work hand-in-hand with students to tell meaningful stories that bridge the gaps between people, illuminating subjects as diverse as conflict, economic hardship, and even landscapes with their ever-changing implications for humanity.

People Who Narrowly Escape Death Expose Their Scars

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Mike, moped crash, 9th March, 2009

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Mike, moped crash, 9th March, 2009

English photographer Emily Goddard’s self-confessed “morbid curiosity” about death and scars started when she was a child and her godmother’s late husband had a large spherical growth on his cheek. The photographer elaborates: “I remember it being quite shocking. Similarly, without wanting to sound too peculiar, I find death enthralling and terrifying in equal measure”. When death leaves his mark is Emily’s debut photo series and comprises a series of portraits of people with dramatic scars from near death experiences.

The Magic of Being a Child in the Summer (Sponsored)

Eloise Knight - model release

Climbing over coastal rocks © Justine Knight / Offset

Sienna Knight - model release

Getting splashed by waves © Justine Knight / Offset

In the spring of 1853, Lewis Carroll wrote the poem Solitude and ended it with the following stanza: “I’d give all wealth that years have piled / The slow result of Life’s decay / To be once more a little child / For one bright summer-day.” He was only twenty-one at the time, but he keenly felt the loss of his early years, their wonderment and tenderness.

Humanizing Photographs of People with Albinism in the Congo



Growing up in the Congo, photographer Patricia Willocq remembers being fascinated by this condition from a young age. Years spent away from her home country fortified this curiosity, and ignited in her a desire to document people with albinism through the photo documentary project entitled Black Ebony; her principal objective was to promote an understanding of and tolerance towards this minority group, both in the Congo and the rest of Africa. As a consequence of their condition and symptomatic pale skin, many people with albinism are isolated from their communities, particularly when other family members have dark skin.

Enter the Strange World of Vienna’s Disappearing Drinking Dens



Following the sounds of laughter on the streets of Vienna, two documentarians – one collecting photographs, the other collecting words – set out to explore behind the doors of the city’s drinking dens, which are slowly dropping into non-existence. Within them exists another world, where page-3 girls are pinned to the walls, favours are exchanged, fights flare up, and where endless drinking ensues from dawn. In their book Golden Days Before They End, the reflections and anecdotes from Clemens Marschall lend context and meaning to the raw imagery by Klaus Pichler, who with his lens, gets up so close that we can almost smell the age-old fabric of the sofas, and the beer spills and cigarettes that set the mise en scène. The combination of pictures and words sew together the last vestiges of these bars – an ode to the drama, the people, the craziness, and the ritual of Vienna’s Brannweiner.

These Stray Cats Remind Us of the Simple Joy of Being Alive



In the wake of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Japanese photographer Masaaki Ito found warmth and comfort in some unlikely friends: the stray cats of Tokyo. As the country grieved, he rediscovered joy in the homeless felines, who roamed the streets in search of food, company, or a kind gesture. For the past few years, Ito has been chronicling the many adventures of the cats he endearingly calls his “neighbors.”

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