Powerful Photos Made with the Ashes of Deceased Shelter Dogs

When I first look at Mary Shannon Johnstone’s Stardust and Ashes photographs, my husband leans over my shoulder and whispers, “Wow, is that the universe?” The pictures look like constellations–Orion, Pegasus, Leo, Canis Major. In fact, they are cyanotypes made using the ashes of cremated dogs from local animal shelters. These dogs, while living, were discarded; they were unable to find homes and families, and they were euthanized.

Honoring Animals Who Have Died, in Images

© Emma Kisiel
Sylvilagus Floridanus 6, 2012
Inkjet print

© Julia Schlosser
Syringes used in euthanasia procedure (These are the needles that were used to euthanize my cat Sebastian on 2/27/2017. Sebastian suffered from multiple health issues for many years, and finally when he had lost so much weight and stopped eating, I decided to have him euthanized. He was 17.), 2017
Archival digital pigment print from scan, 20 x 26.67 in.

Emma Kisiel
Toxostoma Rufum 2, 2012
Inkjet print

In one of her classic children’s books, the author Margaret Wise Brown tells the story of a group of kids who find a dead bird. They try to find a heartbeat, but they are unsuccessful. “The bird was dead when the children found it,” she writes. “The children were very sorry the bird was dead and could never fly again.” Like the characters in the book, most of us learn about mortality when we’re young through the death of an animal. It’s sad and frightening, and it usually marks us in some essential way.

The Rise of Fascism Captured in Photos

Germany: PEGIDA, a group of “patriotic Europeans,” stages a protest in Dresden against immigrants and Muslims. One million new refugees arrived in Germany in 2015. The following year, hate crimes hit a record high.

On July 22, 2011, a Norwegian extremist named Anders Behring Breivik shot off an email to more than a thousand people. A self-­identified fascist, Breivik attached a 1,500-page screed attacking Islam, cultural Marxism, feminism, and immigration. Titled “2083: A European Declaration of Independence,” the manifesto demanded the forced deportation of all Muslims from Europe. An hour and a half later, Breivik set off in a Volkswagen van to kill 77 people, first by detonating a fertilizer bomb in Oslo, then by gunning down teenagers at a summer camp on the island of Utoya. It was the bloodiest attack on Norwegian soil since World War II.

Breivik belonged to a group called the Norwegian Defense League, one of the many openly fascist movements that have cropped up all across Europe over the past decade, from Scandinavia to Germany, where the far right won a stunning 13 percent of the vote in the German elections, enough to propel it into parliament for the first time in more than 60 years.

Photographer Espen Rasmussen has spent almost two years documenting the rise of far-right extremists not just in Germany, but all over Europe, from the Golden Dawn in Greece to neo-Nazis in Ukraine. Some, like the National Front in France and Britain First in the United Kingdom, have entered the political mainstream. Many sit in the EU Parliament, using the funds of an organization whose destruction they seek. And all draw from the memories of Europe’s fascist past, in the period between the two World Wars, seeking answers to Europe’s contemporary problems. By putting the Nazi paraphernalia of these groups so vividly on display, Rasmussen’s photographs force us to confront the reality that there are forces that want Europe to fall apart rather than pull together. It is sobering to realize how far and fast such hatred can travel.

Read the rest of Seyla Benhabib’s article on Espen Rasmussen’s photographs at The New Republic.

This Is What It’s Really Like to Photograph the Olympics

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen of Norway in action during the Men’s 10km Sprint Competition at the Laura Biathlon Center during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games. 08 February, 2014. © Hendrik Schmidt/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

Bode Miller of the USA competes in the Downhill of the Men’s Super Combined Event in Whistler Creekside at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games. 21 February, 2010. © Christophe Karaba/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

Stories of hope, tragedy, and redemption–the Olympics has it all. From the “Nancy/Tonya affair” to the “Miracle on Ice,” moments from the Games are passed down from generation to generation, inspiring new dreams. “These are the Olympics,” the Champion Al Oerter (1936-2007) once said. “You die before you quit.” While he was speaking for himself and his fellow athletes, something similar can be said for the photojournalists, those tenacious few who stand for hours in anticipation of a single unforgettable shot. The athletes are chasing gold, and the photographers are chasing history.

Shutterstock gave us access to some of their most nail-biting and adrenaline-pumping photos from sports history and from the ongoing Winter Olympics 2018. They also shared some insight from two pioneering photographers: Javier Garcia, the Director of Sports Photography at Shutterstock, and Matt Campbell, the North America Director at EPA/Shutterstock.

The RPS International Photography Exhibition Is Now Open for Entries! (Sponsored)

Anna and Helen © R J Kern (USA), Silver 2017

Since 1854, the International Photography Exhibition by the Royal Photographic Society has helped shape our understanding of images and culture. In its early years, IPE (then called the International Print Exhibition) hosted work from the likes of Edward Steichen, Julia Margaret Cameron, and Roger Fenton. In its most recent years, the RPS has honored photographers like Margaret Mitchell, Carolyn Mendelsohn, Jan Klos, Jacqueline Roberts, and many more. Now in its 161st year, the IPE stands its ground as the longest-running photography exhibition in the history of the medium.

IPE is also one of the most diverse competitions of its kind, inviting photographers from all backgrounds to apply. Last year, the esteemed panel of selectors reviewed a whopping 5,000 submissions from photographers working in fifty-six countries. “The exhibition was widely acclaimed as one of the best of its kind,” Michael Pritchard, the Chief Executive of RPS, says, “and we would expect IPE 161 to be equally strong.”

All genres are welcome. IPE spans areas ranging from documentary, street, and wildlife to fine art, portrait, landscape, travel, and fashion (and everything in between). This year, the panel includes the photographer and educator Karen Knorr, the photographers Jack Latham and Jon Tonks, the artist, editor, and writer Aaron Schuman, and the curator Christiane Monarchi, who is also the founding Editor of Photomonitor. They will be looking for inspiring work made with a variety of approaches, from traditional or alternative processes to contemporary, cutting-edge methods. In their words, everything from “pinhole to Instagram.” Professional and non-professional photographers will be considered.

The RPS is offering £4,250 total in cash prizes for innovative, surprising, and visually striking work. The Gold Award winner will receive £1,500, and the Silver and Bronze winners will receive £750 and £500, respectively. There is an additional £1,500 award for a photographer who is under thirty years old. The exhibition will tour the country, starting at the RPS Gallery at HQ Bristol in the fall and moving to PHOTOBLOCK, an annual weeklong event at Old Truman Brewery in London. From there, it will visit galleries and educational institutions throughout the UK. As always, exhibiting photographers will also have their work published in the RPS Journal and exhibition catalog, joining the ranks of hundreds of award-winning artist through several generations.

Submit your work by April 4th, 2018 to be considered for IPE 161. Applicants may send up to six images. Learn all the details here.

5 Ways For Photographers to Use Squarespace Cover Pages (Sponsored)

The best photography websites are clear and to-the-point. When visiting any photographer’s site, I’m always both excited and relieved to see a landing page with beautiful visuals, minimal fuss, and straight-forward information. One great tool for making a strong impression on your followers and clients is Squarespace’s range of Cover Pages, all designed to create an impact without needless distractions.

Two years ago, we ran a story about how Cover Pages can work for photographers. We interviewed influential artists, and we examined the creative ways in which they use these pages as a tool to grow their audiences. Since then, however, we’ve seen more innovative, clever uses for Cover Pages than we could have imagined. Based on some of the most impressive photography websites we’ve come across in the last years, we put together this guide of our top five reasons for getting a Cover Page.

20 Beautiful, Uncommon Photos of Flowers

The floral forest of dreams © Dina Shirin (@dinashirin), Bronx, NY

Rhapsody © Katharina Will, Düsseldorf, Germany

The Print Swap is a submissions-based project by Feature Shoot connecting thousands of photographers all over the world. Here’s how it works: any and all images can be submitted via Instagram using the hashtag #myfeatureshoot. Outstanding photographs are selected for the swap, and participating photographers give and receive prints. Prints are mailed out internationally and randomly, so part of the excitement is that it’s always a surprise. You never know what print you’ll get until the day it arrives.

Over the last few months, we’ve been highlighting some of the extraordinary images from The Print Swap by featuring them in online group shows, each with a different theme. This time, we drew inspiration from the likes of Robert Mapplethorpe, Edward Weston, and Imogen Cunningham and focused on a single subject: flowers. After combing through The Print Swap collection in search of sunflowers, roses, tulips, and daisies, we plucked out some of our favorite blossoms to share with you.

In photographs, flowers can be metaphors–for love, loss, or rebirth. My Heart’s Desire by Mark Reynolds is part of the artist’s Funeral Flower Series. In Meredith Andrew’s work, plucked flowers are the last remaining vestige of a season gone by. In Dina Shirin’s picture, the silhouette of a woman explores an alternate realm, defined only by the vague shape of a flower. Still, flowers don’t always have to be symbols of larger themes. Sometimes flowers are simply flowers, and their beauty is more than enough. Jules Hebert regularly photographs the rotating cast of flowers on display in his New York lobby.

This Valentine’s Day, enjoy a collection of flowers, and feel free to peruse The Print Swap Instagram feed for more inspiring imagery. Photographers are welcome to submit images to The Print Swap by tagging them #theprintswap on Instagram. We also accept submissions emailed to [email protected] New images submitted between now and March 23rd will be considered not only for The Print Swap but also for our upcoming Print Swap exhibition, happening at BERLIN BLUE art. Learn more about the show here.

These Cannabis Farmers Carry Out an Ancient Tradition High in the Himalayas

A woman and her granddaughter walk back from the cannabis fields. Many farmers move to the fields with the entire family for the harvesting month.

Approximately 8,900 feet above sea level, perched high in the Himalayas among jagged snow-capped peaks, is a small Indian village overlooking a valley. It has a population of about 800 people and can only be reached on foot. It is a three-hour hike from a drivable road along a steep path up the mountain. Photographer Andrea de Franciscis and reporter Maria Tavernini traveled here to document this place where ganja grows wild.

30 Photos from The Print Swap to Be Exhibited at MOPLA

‘Wild Donkeys of Tibet’ © Bastian Barenbrock (@bastian_barenbrock), Cologne, Germany

‘Ann Arbor, Michigan 1974’ © Don Hudson (@donhudson1229), South Lyon, MI

‘Show Me Slowly What I Only Know The Limits Of’ © Andrea Lambe (@insomniandrea), Dublin, Ireland

The Print Swap, a worldwide initiative by Feature Shoot, is heading to the Month of Photography Los Angeles (MOPLA) this April in an exhibition curated by Paul Kopeikin, the director of the internationally renowned Kopeikin Gallery. All images included in The Print Swap are printed and mailed at random to participating photographers around the world, and thirty standout photographs from the last few months are part of this exhibition. Selected artists hail from points around the map, with exhibiting photographers based in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the UK, Germany, Norway, Ireland, Switzerland, and Malaysia.

A dreamlike thread runs through Kopeikin’s selections, from Cameron Karsten’s upside-down Puget Sound and Ellen Jantzen’s digitally altered New Mexico to the snow-covered street scenes of Stephen Chong and Navid Baraty, Merethe Wessel-Berg, and Garrod Kirkwood. Reflections of various sorts appear in work by Tori Gagne, Brindha Anantharaman, Andy Grant, Asher Carey, Cristian Ordonez, and Molly McDonough Mahler. Don Hudson takes us back in time with his 1974 photograph from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Wherever they roam, these 29 photographers bring with them a magical sense of the surreal.

As always, photographers of all backgrounds are welcome to submit to The Print Swap by tagging their images #theprintswap on Instagram. After MOPLA, our next stop is Berlin, where we’ll be having a show at BERLIN BLUE art. It’s free to submit to The Print Swap, though selected photographers pay $40 per image to participate. We cover printing and shipping. Visit our website and Instagram for more details.

Magical Photos of Japan’s ‘Decorated Truck’ Subculture

Junichi Tajima runs a waste disposal company in Japan, but he’s not a regular semi-truck driver. He’s one of an estimated six hundred remaining dekotora drivers in the world, and he owns three extravagantly decorated vehicles. Think: chandeliers. Hand-painted murals. Blinking neon lights. Louis Vuitton upholstery.

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