“She Could Have Been a Cowboy” Exposes the Fine Line Between Reality and Illusion

Anja Niemi. The Imaginary Cowboy, 2016.
Chromogenic print, 44h x 59w in.

Anja Niemi. She Could Have Been a Cowboy, 2016.
Chromogenic print, 44h x 59w in.

Anja Niemi. The Girl of Constant Sorrow, 2016.
Chromogenic print, 44h x 59w in.

Have you ever dreamed of being someone you are not: a person from another place and time that has taken on mythical status in your consciousness? It is within the sanctity of your imagination that the character takes shape and form, becoming a part of your identity that is as private as it is powerful.

Perhaps you share this idea with others and they look askance. They don’t relate or don’t understand or simply don’t care. Or perhaps you tell them and they become overjoyed, delighted to have access to your fantasy world. It is one thing to speak of that which lives in silence and wholly another to breathe life into your dream so that in becomes physically realized.

Norwegian photographer Anja Niemi (b. 1976) understands this profound desire to escape, to transform and become somebody else. She quotes Virginia Woolf, writing in Orlando: “I am sick to death of this particular self, I want another,” at the outset of her new body of work, She Could Have Been A Cowboy, a monograph from Jane & Jeremy that launches with an exhibition at Steven Kasher Gallery, New York (March 1 – April 14, 2018).

An Auction of Spellbinding Photos from Around the World

Portrait of The American West, 2017 © Olivia Bee

Before We Land (Roman Candle) 2013 © Bryan Derballa

Now in its third year, Wanderlust: A Silent Auction Benefit brings together diverse and spellbinding travel photography to benefit Earthjustice, the largest non-profit environmental law organization in the United States. Curated by Jessica Sample, Wanderlust is an Official Event of Month of Photography Los Angeles. Online bidding is open now through April 18th at 8:30 PST/11:30 EST.

15 Events Not to Miss at the 10th Anniversary Edition of MOPLA

© Liz Palm, from The Print Swap: Reflections of A Dream

The 10 Anniversary Edition of the Month of Photography Los Angeles has arrived! Since 2009, MOPLA by the Lucie Foundation has been a premiere destination for photographers, collectors, curators, and editors, bringing together exhibitions, projections, and discussions featuring some of the world’s most influential voices. The month-long event includes something for everyone, from classic photography buffs to Instagram influencers. With a focus on everything from fine art to commercial photography, MOPLA is one of the biggest events of the year, and the 10th Anniversary Edition promises to be one of the best ever.

This year’s lineup features an array of storytellers from all corners of the globe, covering topics ranging from inclusivity within the industry to the future of street photography. MOPLA 2018 will also include the ninth installment of Fresh Look: A Portfolio Review on the 13th and 14th of the month, giving participants the invaluable experience of 20-minute face-to-face discussions with industry leaders. Here are just fifteen of the exhibitions and events on the roster. Be sure to check out the full schedule here.

An autobiography of Miss Wish: A story of resilience

“I’ve spent my entire life collecting evidence,” Kimberley Stevens aka Cathy Wish told the New York Times. “I used to go with my family and take things from various places — in a constant fight to prove what happened.”

It’s common to make judgements about people’s circumstances based on first impressions. That’s what many people likely did when they passed Cathy Wish, aka Kimberley Stevens, sleeping rough on the streets of London. Less clear was that her drug abuse, mental health issues and homelessness were the consequences of severe post-traumatic stress. Stevens still has flashbacks and nightmares after being physically, sexually and emotionally abused as a child, and coerced into child pornography by the figures of authority who were supposed to keep her safe.

Early on Stevens knew she wouldn’t be taken seriously were she to reach out for help. As a young girl of colour she had been taken out of poverty and adopted into a middle class white family. In the hope that one day someone might listen, she collected evidence which she hoped might serve as evidence to be used in some far off tomorrow.

Noor photographer Nina Berman was in London photographing the impact of Margaret Thatcher’s policies over 25 years ago. She met Stevens while documenting young drug users on the streets. The photographer was drawn to her, and the pair began a friendship which spanned decades and continents.

Photographer Bethany Schrock on Art, Success, and the Internet (Sponsored)

The Minnesota photographer Bethany Schrock, aka BethCath, lives by the motto “Be kind, and do things differently than the rest.” Whether she’s working with a major brand or an emerging small business–and she’s done plenty of both–she approaches each and every project with the goal of creating striking and unique images. With a clean and playful aesthetic, she creates authentic, relatable stories about products ranging from jewelry, clothing, and cosmetics to coffee, cereal, and ice cream. When a company hires Schrock, they do so because they want to stand out from the crowd. Her photographs draw you in with beautiful light, and they stay with you because of their emotional impact.

One look at Schrock’s website introduces clients to her sophisticated sensibility and whimsical disposition. We asked the artist about the ins and outs of working with brands, building a successful business, and staying true to her vision. Along the way, she took us behind the scenes for a glimpse into the making of her online portfolio and shared some of the perks of working with Squarespace to create an elegant, customized website.

You can try Squarespace free for 14 days. When you’re ready to subscribe, be sure to use coupon ‘FEATURESHOOT’ for 10% off your first purchase.

Submit to the Summer Print Swap Exhibition in India!

The Print Swap, Feature Shoot’s worldwide photo-sharing project, is open for submissions for our sixth exhibition! On the heels of shows in New York City, Los Angeles, Sydney, and Berlin, we’ll be heading to the State Gallery of Art in Hyderabad, India, as part of The Indian Photography Festival (IPF) by the Light Craft Foundation. The world-renowned photojournalist Ami Vitale will be curating the show. Submit images via Instagram by tagging #theprintswap between March 23rd and May 6th to be considered for the exhibition.

With a focus on both the artistic and social value of photography, IPF is a not-for-profit initiative celebrating the best work around the world. Last year, the festival hosted photographs from 500 artists hailing from 40 different countries. Previous exhibiting photographers and speakers include Ron Haviv, Reza Deghati, Sudharak Olwe, Claire Rosen, Kate Geraghty, Benjamin Lowy, and many more. The 2018 exhibitions, panels, discussions, screenings, and portfolio reviews will take place from August 30th to September 30th, and The Print Swap exhibition will run through the month.

Ami Vitale has spent her life documenting stories conflict, hope, and resilience across 90+ countries, earning awards from World Press International, International Photographer of the Year, and the National Press Photographers Association, among many others. With a focus on wildlife and environmental issues, Vitale is a contract photographer for National Geographic, and she is also a founding member Ripple Effect Images, a collective of pioneering photographers working with organizations and programs empowering women and girls around the world. In addition to selecting the images for the show, Vitale will also swap prints with one lucky Print Swap photographer of her choice.

There is no fixed theme for the show. In addition to Instagram submissions, we accept email submissions sent to [email protected] As always, everyone who is selected for The Print Swap gives and receives a print, but participating photographers who submit before May 6th at 11:59 PM EST will also be considered for the exhibition. Images submitted prior to March 23rd will not be eligible, though photographers who have participated previously are more than welcome to submit again. Since Vitale will select a total of 20-30 outstanding images from the Print Swap collection to exhibit, inclusion in the swap will not necessarily mean inclusion in the show.

Photographers from countries in six continents around the globe have participated in The Print Swap thus far. As a reminder, there is no fee to submit to the swap, though selected photographers pay $40 per image to participate. We cover printing and shipping. Prints are mailed out at random, so it’s always a fun surprise to see who gets whose print. Many of our prints travel thousands and thousands of miles before reaching their final destination. Learn more at The Print Swap website and at @theprintswap on Instagram.

Shocking Photos of the Floods in West Bengal

The photographer Ranita Roy remembers the floods of West Bengal from her early childhood. “When I was a kid, I had a lot of fun with the flowing water,” she remembers. Now, as an adult, she realizes the consequences and implications of the floods. People and their animals have died, and more have lost their homes and livelihoods. Driven by what she calls her “inner instinct,” she felt she had to document the realities of what she saw.

Clever Photos Illustrate the Creativity of the People of Belarus

The Potato Picker

When the Belarusian photographer Alexey Shlyk was a child, he encountered a singular type of necklace handmade by his grandmother. She had used apple seeds in lieu of diamonds and rubies, stringing them together one-by-one before varnishing their surfaces. “It has always been an object that fascinated me,” the artist admits. The Appleseed Necklace is Shlyk’s tribute to the ingenuity of his people, who, during the scarcity of the Soviet Era, made do with whatever they had.

The Forgotten Corners of Japan, in Photos

In 2006, the Australian photographer Damien Drew traveled to Shima Onsen in Gunma Prefecture, Japan, to find a sleepy silence had settled over the town. The emerging generation had sought good fortune in the big cities, leaving their hometowns behind. “Many of the hot-spring resort towns around Japan are faded and shuttered,” he admits. The school was no longer running; there weren’t enough young, local children.

Courageous Photos from the Life of a Homeless Veteran

Bob Mulcahey (50) after his friend Drew, who overdosed on heroin, and died. Friends are always popping in and out of Bob’s life. The mills provide a transit point for many people who are homeless for one reason or another. But Bob has stayed for 3 years. 

Bob bathing in the Passaic River that runs along the derelict mill that he lives in. Collaborative caption written by Bob.

Bob helps his girlfriend Jackie, who suffers from a severe infection in her leg, into bed at her house near the mill where Bob lives. Bob dedicates several hours per day to caring for Jackie. Although Bob considers Jackie his girlfriend, Jackie does not feel the same way about Bob. Collaborative caption written by Bob.

Bob, an army veteran, has lived in the furnace of a derelict mill in Patterson, New Jersey, for three years. Other homeless people reside in the mill with him, but for the most part, they’re just passing through. “They consider themselves the ‘forgotten ones,'” the photographer Todd R Darling says of the community. Bob’s friends have named him Mayor of the Mill.

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