Posts tagged: documentary photography

Nostalgic Photos from the Forgotten Corners of America

Ellensburg, Washington

Joplin, Missouri

Bob Greenspan has been a wanderer as far back as he can remember. As a boy living in Upstate New York, he and his family embarked on what his father named “Sunday rides.” He visited amusement parks with names like Enchanted Forest and Storybook Land. The toured power plants and stopped over at small-town museums. Sometimes they’d end up in Canada or stay overnight in a motel.

Photographer Reflects on the Realities of Animals in Captivity

“This series is not about polar bears” says Taiwanese photographer Sheng Wen Lo—which might come as a surprise given the title ‘White Bear’, and the appearance of polar bears as the protagonist in every image. The artist’s intention was instead to reflect on the controversy of keeping captive wild animals on display, the discrepancy between our intention as zoo-goers and the overall cost to the animals’ wellbeing. This theme is confronted with focus on one particular species which he believes stands at the crux of this issue.

The Life and Love of a Young Transgender Couple in Berlin

“It is hard to open your wounds to a complete stranger,” photographer Adelaide Ivánova says, “Especially when this stranger has a camera pointed to your face.” When she met Michael and Kai, two twenty-something transgender men living in Berlin, she didn’t photograph them at first. “I didn’t feel I had the right, in a way,” she remembers. The mutual trust came with time.

A Sobering Look at Hate Groups in America

We are forced to confront many things in the images that photographer Johnny Milano spent five years capturing. The ceremonial burning of a cross and a swastika in an open field. The silhouette of a child, a young and defenseless observer of hate, situated between the flaming structures. The Nazi symbol on shirt and skin. Some of the images look modern; others seem straight out of an earlier era. They represent a people striving to keep with tradition, while simultaneously looking to rebrand their beliefs and appeal to new followers. Membership spreads not simply through inheritance, but through outreach.

Taken together, Milano’s images make it impossible to deny that white supremacy is alive and well in this country. Powered by social media platforms, and encouraged by the rise of Trump-as-champion, America’s hate groups have emerged from the fringes with a newfound sense of respectability. In 2015 alone, the number of homegrown hate groups jumped by 14 percent—a proliferation unprecedented in recent times.

These groups—Klansmen, neo-Nazis, white nationalists—did more than talk and meet and march. They plotted to turn their hatred into violence. “They laid plans to attack courthouses, banks, festivals, funerals, schools, mosques, churches, synagogues, clinics, water-treatment plants, and power grids,” reports the Southern Poverty Law Center. “They used firearms, bombs, C-4 plastic explosives, knives, and grenades.”

It would be all too easy to turn away from this reality, or consign it to the distant past. But Milano turned his camera lens directly toward it.

Read the rest of Van Jones‘s article on Johnny Milano’s photographs at The New Republic.

Stunning Photos of Old Havana Before Everything Changed

When photographer Joseph Romeo traveled to Havana in March of 2014, he could not have predicted that in a few short months, President Barack Obama would announce his intentions to normalize relations with Cuba. These days, we’re used to seeing photographs of the city, but when Romeo was there, everything was new, and the streets teetered right on the precipice of drastic change.

The Skillshare Class That Changed How I Think About Photography

Ami Vitale at Venice Beach

An Online Skillshare Class by Ami Vitale

It’s not every day that a National Geographic photographer invites you to follow her along on a shoot, so I was thrilled when I saw Ami Vitale had released a class on Skillshare, an online community for creative people who want to hone their talents.

Currently, Skillshare is home to more than 2 million students, and Vitale’s class is just one of the 14,000 offered by its network of outstanding teachers. The fact that Skillshare is offering two free months of unlimited Premium classes to Feature Shoot readers was just the cherry on top. I immediately signed up.

Wistful Photos of the Wildwood Motels on the Off-Season

Jolly Roger Motel

Gold Crest Resort Motel

Caribbean Motel

Photographer Tyler Haughey compares visiting the motels of Wildwood, New Jersey on the off-season to wandering onto a film set after the cast and crew has departed. For nine months of the year, the lights are switched off, the windows are shuttered, and the doors are locked.

The Hardship, Delight, and Perseverance of Stray Cats, in Photos

Istanbul photographer Ekin Kucuk started feeding the stray cats on her street shortly after her beloved dogs of many years died. She was grieving, and one of the few things that gave her comfort was watching the neighborhood cats gather round her garden in hopes of finding a dish of food. Her relationship with the cats began this way, with no intention of photographing their antics.

Growing Up Amid Violence in Guatemala City

A teenage MS-13 member stands watch at his night post, overlooking the sprawling Limones and Maya districts in Zone 18, North-East Guatemala City. Rolling slums here stretch over steep, lush hills, acting as the battleground between the notorious Mara Salvatrucha and 18th Street gangs. Both have established an organised international presence, supporting murder, rape, extortion, kidnapping, prostitution, and trafficking in drugs, humans, and arms. Such ‘red zones’ have developed throughout the city, known as dangerous, violence-ridden pockets where outsiders are unwelcome, police and journalists routinely targeted. In Zone 18 alone, 65 people have been reported killed since 2015. Members of these gangs are recruited from as young as 8 years old.

A school boy looks on at a crime scene, where an MS-13 gang member was dumped on the streets from a car in central Guatemala City. Exposure to violence and crime, from any age, is rife within the capital.

“In the northern zones of Guatemala City, every school kid will know someone who’s been killed in the past year or so in gang violence,” photojournalist Souvid Datta tells me, “Everyone will know a friend or relative who is involved in the rival MS-13 or Calle 18 gangs. Everyone will know someone who is now in prison for this involvement.”

One of the Last Surviving Pagan Communities in Russia

Local children put on the costumes for the mummers play on the Mari’s holiday Shorykyol when locals put on costumes and masks, visit neighbors and sing songs.

Sacred Groove in the Mari El Republic. Mari people often tie scarfs or pieces of cloth to the ropes around sacred trees or directly to the trees.

After living in Central Asia for three years, Japanese photographer Ikuru Kuwajima moved to Kazan, Tatarstan in Russia, which lies a short distance from the Mari El Republic. Drawn by curiosity, Kuwajima crossed into the region to learn more about the minority ethnic groups which inhabit the surrounding forests.

“The main native people are the Finno-Ugric Mari people,” explains Kuwajima, “whose religion is mix of paganism and orthodox Christianity.” Almost half of the Mari population live in the Mari El Republic, with the rest dispersed across Russia. Kuwajima’s motivation for the project was to “to explore something different in the post-Soviet space, culturally and visually.” Although at first glance the landscape of Mari El did not appear that different from say, the suburb of Moscow, Kuwajima describes how he was able to gain a deeper understanding of the place and its people after spending time there, as the differences hidden beneath the Soviet and Russian layers began to slowly reveal themselves. Kuwajima’s resulting project named after the Republic, contains images taken during various trips to the region while he was living in Kazan.

In the photos, we get a sense of the eerie atmosphere that seems to permeate the forests and snow-veiled landscapes, areas which the photographer assumes, “cultivated the grounds for the strange stories about souls, ghosts, magic and paganism.”

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