Menu

The Death of a Parent, Captured in Photos

“Sometimes I feel like I am in a bad dream.”

“Everything is aimless and hopeless. I have lost my direction and I don’t know where to go.”

“Your dad was suddenly lying there in a hospital room. The man I loved.”

The photographer Argus Paul Estabrook remembers his mother calling him from the hospital, and he remembers flying from Seoul to be with his family in the United States. But much of his father’s battle with pancreatic cancer remains a blur. By the time he was diagnosed, it had already reached Stage 4, and when it was all said and done, Estabrook‘s father would live for only three more weeks. “Time was really jumbled like that one drawer where nothing is in the right place,” the photographer admits. “Memories become fractured and mixed together.”

This Is Not an Exit is a poetic recounting of his father’s illness and its aftermath. Initially, the series wasn’t meant to be anything more than a way of coping. It was his father who had first introduced him to photography early in life, and documenting his final days was almost instinctual. “During that time, everything was happening so fast,” he tells me. “I was just trying to hold on to something. That turned out to be my camera.”

Picturing PTSD, the Invisible Enemy

DTI Derek and Phoenix

DTI Ken

DTI Hebert

Nearly two decades into the Afghanistan War, the death toll mounts in a battle on the home front. Every day in the United States, 22 veterans commit suicide, falling victim to an invisible killer: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

PTSD is a condition of persistent mental and emotional stress occurring as a result of injury or severe psychological shock, typically involving constant vivid recall of the experience, with dulled responses to the outside world. Once triggered, the mind becomes a harrowing trap where scenes of trauma replay themselves long after they occurred.

Recognizing the epidemic destroying the lives of veterans and their families, Susan J. Barron realized her duty to give them a voice in her powerful portrait series Depicting the Invisible: A Portrait Series of Veterans Suffering from PTSD, now on view at  The Army and Navy Club in Washington DC through April 15, 2019.

Here Barron shares the stories of veterans fighting against the enemy within the gates, a trauma that is sometimes amplified for women soldiers by the horrific betrayal of their male comrades who sexually assault them with impunity.

Remembering the Life and Legacy of Patrick D. Pagnano, Street Photographer

On October 7, 2018, the photographer Patrick D. Pagnano died, leaving behind a treasury of classic American street photography and documentary work made over more than 50 years.

While attending Columbia College Chicago, Pagnano developed his “stream of consciousness” approach to street photography, a narrative technique inspired by Robert Frank, Garry Winogrand, and Walker Evans. Pagnano strove to capture the essence of the moment while simultaneously indicating a larger story beyond the photograph, creating a dynamic exchange between the subject and the environment in each photograph.

In 2002, Pagnano published Shot on the Street, a collection of his color work made during the 1970s and ‘80s that evokes the visual poetry of Helen Leviitt and the intimacy of Joel Meyerowitz.

In the preface, Pagnano writes, “’Shot on the Street’ refers not only to the images having been taken on the street, but more importantly, to the psychological effect of the street. It is a place where races of people and social classes converge and vie for space and mobility with ever increasing urbanism. It can excite, anger, defeat, and inspire. The street’s influence and energy never ceases.”

That electric energy comes alive in Pagnano’s work, whether capturing candid scenes of daily life on the pavement or taking in the pleasures of Empire Roller Disco, his series documenting the legendary Brooklyn skating rink. Here, Kari Pagnano, his wife of 44 years, gives us a deep, heartfelt look at Pagnano’s life and legacy.

A Portrait of Mexico Through the Eyes of Graciela Iturbide

Chalma, 1974

Pajaros en el poste, carretera a Guanajuato, Mexico, 1990

In 1969, Graciela Iturbide was enrolled in the prestigious University Center for Film Studies at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, with the dream of becoming a film director — until she began studying with Manuel Álvarez Bravo, the nation’s foremost photographer.

Photography became her passion, heightened by tragedy that befell Iturbide just one year later when her daughter Claudia died at the age of six. Iturbide turned to photography as a form of therapy, using the camera as a means to cope with profound grief, allowing it to guide her in the process of recovery — and in doing so discovered her power to pen poetry using nothing but light.

Iturbide became Álvarez Bravo’s assistant, carefully watching him work, traveling alongside him through Mexico, and taking it all in as one who learns from observing the world in which we live. Today, Iturbide is recognized as the greatest living Latinx photographer, whose work has come to define the visual identity of Mexico at home and abroad.

In Graciela Iturbide’s Mexico, currently on view at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston through May 12, 2019, we enter into Iturbide’s realm — a world that is rich with raw, intense, visceral sensations of life and death that are beautifully detailed in the eponymous MFA Publications catalogue.

The Secret Christian Churches of Shanghai, in Photos


A woman puts the Bibles away at the end of Sunday service.


The entrance to an underground church in Puxi, Shanghai.


A man holds his Bible at an underground church.

There are currently more than 68 million Christians in China, and experts say that in the future, China might become the biggest Christian country. Most of these believers reject the state sanctioned churches because they believe these institutions serve the Party’s interests and ideology. Instead, they gather in improvised churches in their homes or office buildings. Lisbon-based photographer Gonçalo Fonseca (@goncalo.fonseca on Instagram) spent two months in Shanghai exploring this subculture. Underground Churches is a documentation of some of these hidden churches and the people who attend them.

The Artist Decolonizing the Idea of Africa

The search for knowledge, wisdom, and understanding lies in the process of distilling fact from fiction, truth from lie, meaning from myth. It is the sifting through appearances where deception flourishes, in search of the source of authenticity and integrity upon which existence takes root.

“One consequence of Eurocentrism is the racialization of knowledge: Europe is represented as the source of knowledge and Europeans, therefore, as thinkers,” photographer Gloria Oyarzabal observes, recognizing the systems of power profiting off this misinformed belief.

These systems of power feed off a form of colonization that extends beyond the centuries-long rape, pillage, and enslavement of the people and the land — it is the colonization of the mind, a far more insidious programming that is more difficult to detect and eradicate, for its forms are multifarious, moving like a virus from one person to the next.

The programming runs so deep that many will fight to defend its dastardly deeds before doing something so honorable as change their mind. Often times, the programming only ends when one finds it is too foolish and disgraceful to hold irrational thoughts. Then it becomes a process of decolonizing the mind of the bankrupt ideologies and logical fallacies one has been fed throughout their lives, and do the work of self-education, recognizing that blind spots will be revealed.

In her series, Woman go no’gree, Oyarzabal has done just this in a photographic exploration of gender, history, knowledge-making, stereotypes, and clichés of Africa. Using a mixture of archival colonial images mostly found in magazines, street photos taken with a digital camera, and studio photography found or made during her artist residence in Lagos in 2017, Oyarzabal employs a visual language that subverts and spellbinds in equal part, leading us into a silent realm of symbol and iconography. Here, Oyarzabal shares her journey with us.

A Portal Into Another World Through Puddles on the Street

For Dr. Joshua Sariñana, photography offered a reprieve from a path in life that had extracted more than it returned. After studying neuroscience at UCLA and MIT, Sariñana began focusing on the practice and theoretical study of photography. In his hands, the camera becomes a tool of investigation, contemplation, and consideration of the mystical realm where the physical and spiritual become one.

In the series Surface and Consciousness, Sariñana locates the intoxicating charm of imagination in the most unlikely space. Here, puddles of murky water, laying low in the streets, which we take care to avoid, suddenly become an oasis in the sea of urban life. This moment of tranquility shimmers like a familiar mirage, echoing the curious visions that float in and out of the mind. Sariñana shares his path to discovery that only the photograph can provide.

Colorful Photos of Fabric Floating in the Sky

Medusae, 2018

Falling, 2017

For 30 years, American photographer Sally Gall has captured the mystery and majesty of the natural world, but it wasn’t until one fateful day in Sicily that color came to her–in the mesmerizing contrast of freshly laundered garments hanging on the line, wafting and waving in the late summer breeze against the vibrant blue skies–that Gall found inside the camera world she had never known before.

From that day, Heavenly Creatures was born, a series of color works recently on view at Julie Saul Gallery, New York, and in book of the same name, to be published by powerHouse in June. Evoking the spirit of abstract artists such as Joan Miro, Wassily Kandinsky, and Georgia O’Keefe, Gal’s Heavenly Creatures are mesmerizing meditations of the spiritual realm, an ethereal essence that exists within all things, no matter how pedestrian, humble, or mundane. Here, Gall shares her journey into a world where representation becomes more than the thing itself, but a space for the possibility of transformation.

A Devastating Portrait of Genocide in Myanmar

The Rohingyas tend to do what are known as ‘3D’ jobs – those that are Dirty, Dangerous and Degrading. Some employers further exploit their dire situation by paying Rohingya workers, such as these working on a high-rise construction site in Malaysia, very low wages or no wages at all.

The Rohingyas arrive in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, escaping from the 2017 Rohingya persecution in Myanmar.

In 2011, Sheikh Mohammad arrived in Malaysia and took a job in a tyre recycling factory. Not long after, he suffered an accident in the factory, which caused third- degree burns on over 60% of his body. He received no compensation from his employer, nor assistance towards the cost of his medical treatment. He also lost his income as he could no longer work. This photograph was taken one month after the accident.

In Myanmar, there are eight “national indigenous races” representing 135 ethnic groups that are accorded protection under national law. The Rohingya people, a Muslim ethnic minority indigenous to the Rakhine State, are not recognized as one of these groups; the Myanmar government views them as illegal immigrants. Since 1982, the Rohingya have been denied citizenship and have been systemically persecuted through a series of government-sponsored pogroms tantamount to genocide.

In March 2008, Bengali photographer, educator, and activist Saiful Huq Omi traveled to a refugee camp, and spent ten days there, conducting hundreds of interviews. What he learned on that fateful trip would change his life forevermore. Over the next decade, Omi entered a shadow world where evil and chaos reign. His determination to bring light to the plight of the Rohingya rendered him one of them, both in spirit and in flesh, becoming a target for persecution himself.

“My anger got the better of me. I was too direct. And so, I was silenced. My voice and liberty were controlled. Now I have apparent freedom, and so I am able to publish this book,” Omi writes in the afterword of 136 – I Am Rohingya (Schilt Publishing).

A Moody Portrait of the Manhattan’s Intoxicating Wilderness at Twilight

At the northernmost tip of Manhattan, an oasis lies: a natural preserve that takes the form of Inwood and Fort Tryon Parks. Located to the north and south respectively of Dyckman Street, the parks are hidden gems nestled deep within the neighborhoods known only to locals.

When American photographer Adam Pape moved from rural southeastern Virginia to Harlem, he discovered a new world, which he has captured in the stunning monograph Dyckman Haze (MACK). The photographs, made after the sun goes down, cast the landscape of upper Manhattan in a mystical, ethereal light, wherein all sense of the New York you thought you knew slowly slips away. In Dyckman Haze, Pape goes off the grid and disappears into another world, one filled with local inhabitants that gentrification has not yet removed. It is a portrait of New York that natives know, that curious netherworld between day and night where nothing is quite what it seems. Here Pape takes us on a journey into the heart and soul of Manhattan’s outer limits.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get some visual inspiration into your day!

5 Weekly Tips to Advance Your Photo Career

Expert advice from photo industry professionals every Friday + get our guide to mastering Instagram (for FREE)!

You have Successfully Subscribed!