Posts by: Ellyn Kail

One Photographer’s Commitment to the Vulnerable Wild Horses of the United States

Wild Horse Family, Sandwash Basin, CO

Moonlit Dance


Horses helped ease Tori Gagne‘s homesickness when she was a young girl away at summer camp. As an adult and a photographer, Gagne now sees the equine species as a kind of mirror for the pieces of ourselves we’ve lost. “Horses connect us to a deeper part of ourselves that remembers wildness, freedom, nature and open spaces,” she tells me. “They can feel your emotion and reflect it back to you, showing you your true self.” Today, she documents and advocates for the lives of wild horses in the United States.

One Photographer’s Love Letter to the Horses of Iceland

“Sleipnir is one of the most famous Icelandic horses,” the photographer Drew Doggett tells me. “He is believed to be the god Odin’s spirit animal, and according to folklore, the horseshoe-shaped glacial canyon Asbyrgi was formed by Sleipnir’s footprint.” In the Poetic Edda, Sleipnir carries Odin into the world of the dead. The author of the Prose Edda tells us he had eight legs. He was the son of a stallion and the Norse god Loki, and his real-world brothers and sisters, descendants of the horses brought over by the Norse people, still roam the enchanted landscape of Iceland today. They served as muses for Doggett’s most recent project In the Realm of Legends.

These Courageous Women Will Climb Afghanistan’s Highest Peak

At 7,500 meters, Mount Noshaq is Afghanistan’s highest point, and this year, five Afghan women will climb it. At the same time, they will challenge the rules and restrictions they’ve faced in their lives thus far. Going against the grain of a culture that prohibits girls and women from participating in outdoor sports, this group will redefine what it means to be a young woman coming of age in a male-dominated world. The photojournalist Erin Trieb and the journalist Theresa Breuer will be right there with them, and together, they will share the journey with the world in their film An Uphill Battle, currently on Kickstarter.

The women in the film are part of Ascend Athletics, an organization working to empower women in their teens and twenties through mountain climbing. With six days of rigorous training per week, in addition to community service, trauma resiliency sessions, and other team activities, these women learn the skills needed to embark on expeditions in the famous Hindu Kush mountain range. These trips are ambitious physically, logistically, and mentally. Ascend first planned an expedition to Mount Noshaq in 2015, but conflict in the area forced them to re-route to Panjshir for the protection of the women. That means that members of this current group will be the first-ever Afghan women to summit the mountain, the second highest in the Hindu Kush range.

Climbing Mount Noshaq is a challenge in and of itself, but this feat will also serve as a beacon for a rising generation of women, in Afghanistan and around the world. By breaking the status quo, these mountaineers will redirect the courses of their individual lives, but they will also claim their rightful places in sports, in society, and in history. We spoke with Trieb and Breuer about the project. Head on over to Kickstarter to support An Uphill Battle.

One Photographer on the Fading Memory of the American Dream in California

The Madrid photographer Juan Aballe describes the streets of Fruitvale and San Antonio in Oakland, California, as lonely. During an artist residency at Kala Arts Institute in Berkeley, he got to know the rhythms of these neighborhoods well, spending his days walking or driving with his large format camera in search of the remaining traces of a faded American Dream.

21 Atmospheric Photos Taken in the Rain

Rain in Lisbon © Julia Guo (@mesmeri)

Rhinebeck in the Rain © John Duke Kisch (@john_duke_kisch)

On rainy days, when the average pedestrian might opt to stay inside, photographers head into the streets. Bleak, gloomy days make for cinematic, mystery-laden imagery. At the turn of the century, the Pictorialists used dreary weather to make their photographs seem more soft and atmospheric, like paintings. Steiglitz had his Spring Showers and Steichen had his Flatiron Building; in both, we find the streets of New York City wet with rain. Throughout the last century, rain in photography has stood in for human emotion; our memory makes the world seem hazy, and so does the rain.

For this online group show, we combed The Print Swap collection for photographs that recalled those early experiments by the Pictorialists. The photographers featured here hail from all over the world, but they are tied together by the murky and ambiguous underpinnings of their images. Though they transport us to different spots on the globe, they all guide us inwards, through the many secret contours of our own imaginations.

The Print Swap is a project by Feature Shoot. All participating photographers give and receive prints from the collection, and Print Swap photographers are also considered for our offline exhibitions. We invite you to submit images by tagging #theprintswap on Instagram. Photos must be submitted before July 13th in order to be considered for our next exhibition, taking place at Photoville in New York City. It’s free to submit, but selected photographers pay $40 per image to participate. We cover printing and shipping worldwide. Follow @theprintswap on Instagram for more.

These Funny, Disarming Photos Will Make You See Sports in a New Way

“I can say about all my pictures that what you see really happened, just not at the same time,” the Massachusetts photographer Pelle Cass tells me. He’s been working with composites over the last decade, and he calls these images his “still time-lapse photographs.” After collecting many pictures in one location over a period of time, he selects individuals from various frames to include in the final scene.

Everyone remains in the exact location where they were photographed, except through Cass’s particular brand of alchemy, the hours have been condensed into a fraction of a second. Recently, the photographer has moved from the streets and into the sports fields, arenas, pools, and stadiums of nearby colleges and universities. In Crowded Fields, he captures the strange and surreal choreography of sports in a new way.

A Look Inside a Protest Camp on the Fringes of London

Outside of the eco-village Grow Heathrow, you can find a sign reading, “Open to visitors 10am-6pm.” In 2011, the London photographer Jonathan Goldberg became one of those visitors. “During my first visit to this off-grid community, I was greeted warmly, then promptly handed an axe to chop some firewood,” he remembers. “I loved the hands-on manner of this lifestyle, and the closeness to nature which living amongst trees and bush provided.”

25 Photos from the Print Swap Will Exhibit in India!

Pink © Vivek Prabhakar (@desirednameunavailable), Bangalore, India

Urban Sprawl – Emptiness © Emmanuel Monzon (@emmanuelmonzonphotography), Seattle, WA

For our first exhibition in Asia, The Print Swap will travel to The Indian Photography Festival (IPF) at the State Gallery of Art in Hyderabad, India. The renowned photojournalist Ami Vitale, who has herself documented stories in nearly one hundred countries, served as our guest curator, selecting 25 images from around the world to be part of the show. The final collection includes photographers from throughout India, the United States, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Estonia, Indonesia, and Australia. The exhibition will open September 6th and will continue through October 7th for the duration of the festival.

As a photojournalist and conservationist, Vitale has said, “The most powerful stories are the ones that unite us, not divide us.” Here, a shared sense of curiosity and empathy becomes the thread that binds her selections together. A hushed sensibility runs throughout the show, emphasizing moments of quietude and connection in what often feels like a conflicted and turbulent world. From Emiliano Zuniga Hernandez’s portrait of his bathing dog to Alejandra Cardenas’s serendipitous snap of two guards illuminated by the headlights of a passing car, these photographs seek intimacy within the chaos of everyday life. Scenes from the road, as seen in the work of Emmanuel Monzon, Ronald William Waite, Geoffrey Goddard, and Florian de Lomme, tie together faraway places.

Vitale will participate in The Print Swap herself, and she has selected one photograph from the collection to add to her own. In the winning image, titled Pink, Vivek Prabhakar captures a cotton candy vendor making his way through Magh Mela in Allahabad, India, on an early foggy morning. The image Vitale will share with Prabhakar comes from the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, where Sudan, the last male northern white rhino on the planet, spent many of his years. Vitale was able to document Sudan’s final moments with his devoted caregiver and friend Joseph Wachira. You can learn more about Ol Pejeta Conservancy and animals like Sudan here.

As always, photographers are welcome to submit images to The Print Swap by tagging #theprintswap on Instagram. Each participating photographer gives a print and receives a print from another photographer somewhere in the world. Print Swap photographers who submit between now and July 13th will be considered for our next exhibition, opening at Photoville later this year. It’s free to submit to The Print Swap, but selected photographers pay $40 per image to participate. Learn more at our website, and follow along at @theprintswap on Instagram for updates.

These Self-Portraits Challenge the Mental Health Taboo


“While physical health is both easily identifiable and spoken of, mental health still remains in the background like a mute elephant in the room,” the London photographer Doma Dovgialo tells me. Behind the I – a portrait of the mind turns the human psyche inside-out, bringing elements of our interior, hidden universes to the fore. For the book and multimedia project, Dovgialo collaborated with people facing a variety of mental health-related obstacles. After photographing each participant, she invited them to draw over their portraits using an acetate sheet. When the sheet is laid over the original photograph, the final artwork presents a version every individual colored by their thoughts and emotions.

The Young & Passionate Surfers of Liberia, in Photos

“As soon as the morning light hits, you’ll see them making their way through the sand until the sun sets in the horizon,” the Aba, Nigeria-born photographer Yagazie Emezi says of the surfers of Robertsport in Western Liberia. “It’s a serious passion for them, living and breathing. It’s unrelenting.” A Young Thing is her testament to the surfers, the littlest of whom are eight to twelve years old.

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