Posts by: Alice Zoo

The Brutal Beauty of Life in an Arctic Mining Town

Norilsk winters are long and cold, with an average temperature of around -31°C in January. The result is many days of ice, coupled with violent winds. The cold period extends to around 280 days per year, with more than 130 days with snowstorms. It’s worth noting that actual temperatures are even colder when the effect of the wind is taken into account. For example, for a temperature lower than -40°C, a wind of 1 metre per second can make it feel like -42°C.

The lack of greenery during the 9 month winter, and green spaces during the summer, leads people to create green spaces in their apartments, constructing a natural microclimate which contradicts the severity of winter and offers a visual escape.

Norilsk is the world’s northernmost city, as well as its largest mining complex. A town of 175,000 people in the extreme North of Russia, situated above the Arctic Circle, it is a place of extreme conditions: with temperatures reaching -60 in a winter that lasts nine months, two months of which are spent entirely without sunlight, its inhabitants are living at the margins of survival. The city can only be accessed by plane – there are no roads leading towards or away from it. Elena Chernyshova travelled to this Arctic city, spending time photographing its inhabitants in order to discover the ways they have adapted to their circumstance’s harshness.

Atmospheric Street Photography with an Abstract Twist



Melissa Breyer, winkingly self-described as a “recovering figurative painter”, uses street photography to create noir-esque scenes as smudgy and evocative as charcoal drawings. Working primarily in black and white, she approaches the drama of the street with open eyes and heart, shooting as quickly and unobtrusively as possible to create spontaneous images.

A Complex Portrait of Fatherhood in East New York


Raheem Grant, 39, poses for a portrait with his daughter, Nature Grant. “When I was growing up I didn’ t have a father. My little one, she gets scared of the dark: ‘ You don’ t have to be scared because Daddy is here.’ Just knowing that I am there for them makes me feel like I accomplished a lot.

After spending time in a little-known Brooklyn neighbourhood, East New York, Phyllis Dooney began a project on fatherhood. The area is rife with poverty – a third of residents live below the Federal Poverty Level – and dogged by the ghosts of incarcerations and “the War on Drugs”. The family dynamic is a markedly unusual one, with children spending time variously at different family members’ houses in a “communal child-rearing effort.”

The Stunning Araki Retrospective at the Musee Guimet (NSFW)


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.

The Joyful Colors of William Eggleston’s Portraits


William Eggleston, American master of contemporary colour photography, is not known for his portraits. Hailed for his ability to find ‘beauty in the everyday’, ordering the chaos of the banal into compositionally appetising colour prints, his most famous works focus on the bells and whistles of Deep South Americana: gas stations, cigarette machines, Pepsi bottles. In this new exhibition William Eggleston Portraits, at London’s National Portrait Gallery until 23 October, his attention to people is given its most comprehensive airing yet.

‘Living Wild’ With 21st Century Hunter-Gatherers



Kiliii Yuyan lives a life less ordinary. As a native Russian descendent of “the salmon people who live along the Amur river in Siberia”, yet raised in America, Yuyan grew up chasing the traditions of his culture and seeking an answer to the question: “can a modern person learn to see the world through native eyes?”

A Photographer Records her Day with a Schoolgirl in Ghana

Patience in her bedroom before school.

Patience in her bedroom before school.

Every morning before school, Patience sweeps the yard around her family's home.

Every morning before school, Patience sweeps the yard around her family’s home.

Lisa Weatherbee’s series, A Day with Patience, is a record of just that: one day spent with a twelve year old girl, Patience, in her village in Ghana. Having joined Photographers Without Borders, she arranged to spend a day with a young woman that the organisation put her in touch with, and the results are an open-hearted study of a day in the life of someone with whom, outwardly, the photographer had little in common.

Meet Jamaica’s LGBTQ Individuals Forced to Hide in Storm Drains



In 2014, Christo Geoghegan spent time in Jamaica’s storm drains – known locally as “gullies”. He was there to document the LGBTQ people who find shelter there, the gully representing the only place where they are free to express themselves away from the hatred and violence they face in Kingston. Attacks, murder and rape are common against people of marginalized identities, and attackers face little retribution from the justice system.

Bold Patterns Created by Animals and their Shadows



Alexey Menschikov uses photography to construct graphic patterns. Taking shapes from real life – cats, birds, people, jutting architectural lines – he plays with light and shadow, reproducing the images in Photoshop to make playful grids of repeating form.

Marvel at Fleshy Nudes Made Out of Foam



Imagine a perfectly fleshy pre-Raphaelite bottom, rendered not in paint but in pastel-coloured foam. This is the work of fine artist Etienne Gros, whose series Les Mousses sculpts polyurethane foam around wire skeletons to form undulating chunky forms, uncannily like human bodies but completely inert.

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