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These Empowering Photos Show Us What It Means to Be a Witch

“Shine (New York, NY),” 2017, © Frances F. Denny. Archival pigment print, Courtesy ClampArt, New York City“

Judika (Brooklyn, NY),” 2017, © Frances F. Denny. Archival pigment print, Courtesy ClampArt, New York City

“As it turns out, there are a lot of witches out there,” the photographer Frances F. Denny tells us. “You probably even already know one.” Her project Major Arcana: Witches in America, now on view at ClampArt in NYC, takes us on a journey throughout the United States, introducing us a few of the many cis, trans, and gender-fluid women around the country who identity as witches. Here, the word “witch” applies in various ways; while some of the women are of the Wiccan faith, others practice outside of organized churches or religions. Denny met priestesses, healers, hedge witches, political activists, and many more during her travels. They each came into their “witch-hood” at different phases of their lives, some as young children and others as adults.

These Vintage Dog Show Photos Are Sure to Make You Smile

When Shirley Baker (1932-2014) photographed English dog shows in the 1960s and ’70s, she wasn’t looking for scenes of glitz and glamour; instead, she wandered behind the scenes, catching glimpses of canines and their handlers as they prepared waited for their big moment. Outside of the spotlight, she watched dogs and their people chatting, preening, napping, and simply passing the time. Her photographs have just been published in the delightful new book Dog Show 1961-1978 by Hoxton Mini Press.

Strength and Humility in the Photographs of Dorothea Lange

Paul S. Taylor. Dorothea Lange in Texas on the Plains, ca. 1935
© The Dorothea Lange Collection, the Oakland Museum of California

Dorothea Lange. Drought Refugees, ca. 1935
© The Dorothea Lange Collection, the Oakland Museum of California

In 1902, at the age of seven, Dorothea Lange (1985–1965) was stricken with polio. Left with a withered foot and a permanent limp, Lange’s next challenge came at the age of 12, when her father abandoned the family. These early traumas formed and shaped Lange, forcing her to become self-reliant at a young age.

While in high school, Lange determined that she would become a photographer, though she had never used a camera before – but she made moves, studying the medium with Clarence H. White at Columbia University. She honed her skills on the streets of New York, recalling, “On the Bowery I knew how to step over drunken men. I knew how to keep an expression of face that would draw no attention, so no one would look at me. I have used that my whole life in photographing.”

In 1918, Lange and a close friend decided they would see the world, so they jumped in a car and headed West. The international leg of their trip was aborted in San Francisco, after they were robbed. Lange quickly fell in with the local photo scene, secured financial backing, and set up her own photo studio where she created portraits of the city’s bohemian and artistic elite. But when the Great Depression hit, everything changed – and the story of Dorothea Lange comes to center stage. The discrepancy between what was happening in her studio versus the reality f the streets became more than the artist could bear, and she decided to be the change she wanted to see in the world.

One Photographer’s Poignant Reflection on Self-Injury

“The first instant when I self-injured, I was acting on impulse to try and dissipate some of the overwhelming emotions that I had as a young person,” the London photographer Daniel Regan tells me. “It wasn’t until I had been doing it for a few years, in my late teens, that I felt able to describe why I was engaging in the behavior.” His latest project Threshold pulls back the curtain on an often-misunderstood subject, revealing in pictures what he once struggled to put into words. The work is now on view as part of a major exhibition on addiction (and addictive behaviors) at the Science Gallery London, titled HOOKED!

An Intimate Portrait of Refugees Living in the UK Today

Beilqes portrait taken by Leonie Hampton

Bada Yusuf from Egypt by Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin

Sam from Syria by Timur Celikdag

Every day, 44,400 people around the world are forced to flee their homes in order to escape persecution, war, or violence. This May, the United Nations announced an estimated total of 25.4 million refugees – the highest levels of displacement ever recorded. While 87% come from developing countries, more than half of the globe’s refugees are citizens of just three nations: South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Syria.

Although Turkey, Uganda, Pakistan, Lebanon, and Iran lead the way in hosting refugees, the West has attuned itself to the crisis as it exists within their own borders – with many working diligently to aid and assist those in need. In the UK, Breaking Barriers, London’s leading refugee employment charity, helps refugees integrate by finding meaningful work. In 2017, the organization supported more than 400 people, fostering a sense of community for people dealing with loss and trauma while adapting to a foreign culture.

Rebecca McClelland, Deputy Director & Curator of the Ian Parry Scholarship, partnered with Breaking Barriers to create A New Beginning, a group exhibition featuring the portraits and stories of ten refugees that reflect the extraordinary depths of their experiences in the UK.

Orphaned Elephants and the People Who Rescued Them, in Photos

Edwin, Head Keeper of the Nairobi Nursery with elephants Ndotto and Mbegu. You should have heard the rumbles of love as I photographed this group hug. © David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust / Mia Collis.

Wild elephants join ex orphans at a waterhole in Ithumba, Tsavo. © David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust / Mia Collis.

In 2014, Jacob Putunoi, a young Kenyan boy, helped save an orphaned elephant named Mbegu, who had just barely escaped an attack by humans. Jacob discovered her hiding place while herding his goats, and he brought brought her to Peter Kameru, the Warden at Naibunga Conservancy. Peter protected her from harm until team members from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust could arrive and bring her to safety. “I was afraid at first,” Jacob later said. “But when I saw she was small like me, I lost my fear.” He was eight years old at the time. Mbegu was seven weeks.

Jacob and Peter are just two of the individuals honored in The Unsung Heroes, the last publication by Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick (1934-2018). The book, photographed by Mia Collis, researched by Yolanta Volak, and produced by Angela Sheldrick, tells the stories of people throughout Kenya who  accomplished miracles on behalf of elephants. Because of these courageous individuals, who sometimes put their lives on the line to defend orphaned elephants, the DSWT has been able to rehabilitate hundreds of babies whose parents have, in many cases, been killed by people. When they grow up, they reintegrate into a herd in the wilds of the Tsavo Conservation Area. Despite the cruelty that often marked the early years of their lives, the elephants at DSWT are able to heal through the kindness of individual humans. As Dr. Sheldrick writes in her introduction to the book, the mothers, once grown, frequently bring their wild-born babies back to introduce them to the dedicated keepers who reared them in their youth.

The Beat Goes On in Burt Glinn’s Photographs of a Legendary Era

A chess interlude during a break in the revelry at the Blackhawk, a night spot on the corner of Turk and Hyde Street where eminent jazz performers are often to be found in action. The player making the move here is Earl Bostic.

Writers Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, and Barney Rossett,
owner of the publishing house Grove Press in Washington Square Park.

A French dancer improvising to the music at the party.
The band play with both Eastern and Western instruments.

The year was 1959 and a new generation was coming into its own in the shadows of World War II in New York and San Francisco. They dubbed themselves the Beat Generation, taking their cue from jazz, and set off on a spiritual quest that rejected the corporate enterprise that was beginning to take hold. Setting themselves apart from the squares that made 1950s a particularly dark chapter in American history, the Beats were on a quest to raise their consciousness through art, literature, music, drugs, and sex.

Enter Magnum photographer Burt Glinn who, then 33 years old, was fresh off covering the Cuban Revolution. As with all his subjects, Glinn entered the scene with ease, able to become intimately involved so that his presence was not always registered. Rather, he became the consummate observer, recording the moment as it occurred so that his photographs simply show life as it occurs. And within his eye there is a profound stirring of the heart, a vast well filled with the resonant swells of energy, of emotion in motion filled the very air we breathe.

In the new book The Beat Scene: Photographs by Burt Glinn (Reel Art Press), editors Tony Nourmand and Michael Shulman have unearthed a glorious treasure trove of never-before-seen photographs Glinn made between the years 1957 and 1960 of the Beat Generation on the East and West coasts.

The Loss and Longing of Elderly Women in a Siberian Village

Pudani Audi (born.1948). Pudani was born in the tundra and roamed since birth. In this portrait, she is wearing a fur hat, the sole object she was left with from her wandering days. Pudani Audi: “I feel that my part is over. That I am no longer needed”

A convoy of reindeer, belonging to the Serotetto (white reindeer) family, during their migration over the frozen river of Ob.

In order to visit Yar-Sale, a secluded village deep in Northern Siberia, the photographer Oded Wagenstein spent days traveling: a plane to Moscow, followed by a sixty-hour train journey, and finally, a seven-hour drive to traverse a frozen river. “The first few days were extremely difficult,” he tells me. “On my first night in the tundra, I slept in the tent of an eighty-year-old herder. The tent was filled with smoke from the stove, and the temperature outside was minus 25. Did I already mention that I am asthmatic?” In the end, though, it was all worth it to meet a group of elderly Nenets women who call this unforgiving landscape their home.

The Horrors of the Illegal Wildlife Trade Revealed in Photos

Zebra Bookend, 2018

Stacked Turtles, 2018

Bear Gallbladder with Bosc Pears, 2018

Take a look at Christine Fitzgerald‘s still life with pears, and you might mistake it for an antique; after all, it was created using a 19th century photographic process. But if you dig beneath the surface, you’ll find something unsettling about this particular tintype: one of the “pears” isn’t a pear at all. It’s the gallbladder of a bear. “Bear parts, including paws, gallbladders, and genitals, command great prices on the black market,” the Canadian photographer tells me. Her series TRAFFICKED takes a fresh and unlikely approach to the horrors of today’s illegal wildlife trade, bringing us face-to-face with the objects confiscated by the Wildlife Enforcement Branch of the Canadian Government.

An Intimate Portrait of Life After Life in Prison

TRACY, 51, in her own apartment three-and-a-half years after her release. Jamaica, NY (2017)
Sentence: 22 years to life Served: 24 years Released: February 2014 “I imagined coming home, living in a one- or two-bedroom apartment, where one was a master and an extra room for guests. Here I have that. I call this room my “doll house,” my safe haven. I feel at peace. I’ve finally unpacked. I spend a lot of time in here. I take pride in everything. I put more into this room than into the kitchen. I know I need to eat, but my room is my nutrition.”

Top of dresser

CLAUDE, 45, in transitional housing five months after her release. Corona, NY (2017) Sentence: 25 years to life Served: 25 years. Released: February 2017 “When I step into my room, I feel like I’m stepping into another world. I spent 25 years isolated. I really isolated myself. My room in the prison was my safe haven. There was no negative energy. No one came in unless the officers were doing a room search. It was my cocoon, my womb, where I feel the safest. It’s the same thing here. It’s my space. Everything in the room belongs to me, so I have a claim. I have things I was not allowed. I have glass bottles, perfume, shower gel, my mom’s ashes. My mom’s picture in a picture frame with glass. I shed the day the minute I cross over the threshold. I am home.”

American photographer Sara Bennett knows the legal system from a vantage point few have. Working as a public defender specializing in cases with battered women and the wrongly convicted, Bennett has developed a profound understanding of the impact that prison has on innocent and vulnerable lives.

The experience of prison resonates long after release for many who are consigned to spend years inside the system. Over the past five years, Bennett has begun documenting the lives of former inmates in the project Life After Life in Prison. Here we see women making their way back into the world, adapting to the challenges of life after having lost it all.

With a humanist eye and a sensitivity to detail, Bennett shares stories rarely told anywhere: the struggles of the dispossessed and marginalized who carry the weight of redemption on their own shoulders. It is only when they are able to retreat into their own private worlds that they may lay down their burdens for a moment.

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