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A Behind-the-Scenes Look at ‘Terrorist Rehab’ in Saudi Arabia

A classroom for members of the jail is lined with desks. Even though the desks are new, the participants have scratched their names, dates, hearts, and slogans into the wood. The black seats with wooden desks reminded me of a line of black clad IS members carrying kalashnikovs. At Al-Ha’ir prison, I had to use the prison’s camera and wasn’t allowed to take photos of any of the staff or inmates, which left me to photograph the evidence left behind by the inmates. I photographed some of the etchings in the wood, but the prison censored these photos. © David Degner/Getty Images

Inmates have a small area with astroturf to enjoy the sun at the end of each cell block. The Ha’ir prison is primarily for terrorists, we are told. Talking to human rights activists, however, gives the impression that there are different departments with different standards. Political prisoners sometimes come to Ha’ir, but hardly in the comfortable cells jihadists have. While the writers were interviewing another inmate under supervision, I was able to talk with some inmates alone. They saw many new inmates arrive after the bombing of Shia mosques in the eastern provinces in May 2015 and felt they were arrested randomly. As one inmate said, there is always the official story and then the unofficial story which they won’t let us see. But he said he couldn’t go into details. © David Degner/Getty Images

The Family House is designed like a boutique hotel with all the amenities for a family visit. The suites allow inmates to live with their family for short periods of time while incarcerated. The families and inmates arrive in chauffeured cars with the hotel logo; guests are given a key for their rooms, and the all female staff cares for them during their stay. © David Degner/Getty Images

In May of last year, Cairo photographer David Degner and Swiss journalist Monika Bolliger traveled to the Al-Ha’ir Prison in Saudi Arabia to see the living conditions of men who had been incarcerated on terrorism-related charges.

The ‘Illegal’ Project Sheds Light on the LGBT Community of Nigeria

The new generations of African creatives have been able to offer a more authentic, accurate and multifaceted version of Africans who, despite their strong ties to their history and cultures, remain connected and in conversation with the rest of the globalized world.

While a lot of contemporary African photographers are driven by a need to move away from the stereotypes that have always existed in Africa since the “discovery” of the continent by European colonialists, a lot of the same photographers also have made it a point to also criticize the oppressive systems within their own communities. Corruption, political oppression, gendered violence and homophobia are things that African artists like Ousmane Sembene or Zanele Muholi have talked about through their work in the past, sometimes to the point of said work being banned due to controversy in their respective countries.

Today, more young artists aim to contribute in a similar way. Daniel Obasi is a young Nigerian artist who, despite still being early in his career, already has an impressive resume. He worked with some of Nigeria’s most talented and sought-after fashion designers (Orange Culture and Maxivive, just to name a few) and has been published in publications like Hunger Magazine. In an editorial he shot and styled for the African luxury retailer Oxosi, Obasi comments on the discrimination faced by the LGBT community in Nigeria and the policing of sexuality and identities in the country.

These ‘State-Approved’ Photos from North Korea Reveal a Complex Truth

In a diorama at the Sinchon Museum of American War Atrocities, U.S. soldiers are depicted driving a nail into a Korean woman’s head. The regime uses the museum’s gory displays to foster an unsubstantiated narrative that American-led forces massacred 35,000 civilians in Sinchon in 1950.

Meticulously choreographed military parades. Strident news announcements on state television. Missile tests presided over by a grinning Kim Jong Un. Propaganda from North Korea comes to us fully formed and almost alluring in its opacity: a finished product that has been carefully constructed to convey an idealized image of strength and unity.

Carl De Keyzer, a photographer based in Belgium, offers a different and more intimate view: a glimpse of the process of indoctrination within North Korea. From their first day in kindergarten, children are spoon-fed propaganda—from lectures about the legendary feats of Kim Il Sung to field trips to a museum that depicts, in gruesome detail, Americans massacring Koreans. What makes the images all the more remarkable is that De Keyzer was subject to the same restrictions imposed on foreign tourists who visit North Korea. During his four trips to the country over the past two years, he was attended at all times by official minders, and had to submit his photos for state approval.

A Poetic Reminder of What Korea Used to Be Like

Described by ICP curator Christopher Phillips as “the long-lost Korean cousin of Magnum photographers such as Henri-Cartier Bresson” is the lesser known Han Youngsoo.

South Korea’s rapid economic development during the past half century is unprecedented. The country went from being one of the poorest countries in the world to being the 4th largest economy in Asia. Han Youngsoo was one of the few artists working during that time to document the country that was soon to change beyond recognition; his photographs transport the viewer back to a time when Seoul was an impoverished city, devastated by the Korean war.

A Photographer and Her Muse Re-Stage History’s Iconic Photos

A tribute to Diane Arbus, A Young Man in Curlers at Home on West 20th Street, N.Y.C., 1966

In the beginning, Looking for Masters in Ricardo’s Golden Shoes was just a game played by a pair of old friends, the French artist Catherine Balet and the costume designer Ricardo Martinez-Paz, when they decided to replicate a famous portrait of Pablo Picasso by Robert Doisneau. It was a private little theatrical moment, with Martinez-Paz playing the role of Picasso and Balet casting herself as Doisneau.

Quickly, however, Balet says it became a kind of obsession. The two of them have since painstakingly reproduced some of the most recognizable images in photographic history, with the costume designer embodying the essence of the various subjects, spanning ages, genders, and backgrounds— from Avedon’s “beekeeper” to Capa’s “falling soldier.”

Changing the Way the World Sees Africa, in Photos

HUSSEIN (2017)

Montreal-based photographer Yannis Davy Guibinga, who was born and raised in Gabon, recently asked an auditorium of people at the University of Toronto, “Can you believe that in 2017, some people still think Africa’s a country?” Everyone laughed. He smiled, “It’s funny, but it’s true.” Then he looked at the audience seriously. The tone shifted.

At twenty-two, Guibinga is part of a growing movement of young artists reshaping the way the world understands Africa and its diaspora. His voice rises above the din of centuries of misinformation, prejudice, and revised history to tell personal and universal stories about what it means to be part of the continent.

Haunting Photos from a Make-Believe World

No Goodbye

Her eyes once filled with joy
Until he said, ‘Why not a boy?’

She followed in her childlike trance
Waiting for a loving look, or a backward glance.

No man should ever leave,
A little girl who says, ‘Daddy Please’.

Copycat Dolls

Fickle followers of fashion
Flock to the frilly frock and mock,
The very stature that should matter.

Where follies of copycat dollies
Prance pristine with glamorous gleam.

From day to day, with nothing to say.

Gillian Hyland’s photographs aren’t “real” in the strictest sense, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t “true.”

The pictures are based on the artist’s own poems, which are based on real life, but the final results are elaborately staged pieces of theater. She casts her models, chooses the location, selects the wardrobe, and gives mood boards to hair and make-up artists to inspire the final look.

15 Exhibitions, Panels, & Events You Shouldn’t Miss at Photoville 2017

Now in its sixth year, Photoville by United Photo Industries opens Wednesday, September 13th, at Brooklyn Bridge Park. The massive (and free) event will include more than 55 of the signature Photoville gallery exhibitions, all beautifully installed in recycled shipping containers.

As always, your favorite food vendors will return, along with a community book store by Red Hook Editions. Penumbra Foundation will once again be making tintype portraits. There is an abundance of exhibitions, workshops, and panels scheduled this year– and many opportunities to discuss some of the world’s most pressing issues: climate change, immigration, poverty, incarceration.

Whether you’re looking to escape the world’s headlines or confront them headfirst, Photoville 2017 promises to deliver. Here are just a few of the exhibitions and panels we’re most excited to see. Be sure to check out the full line-up here.

The Eerie Phenomenon of Numbers Stations, in Photos

HM01 Spectogram

RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus

No world government has ever confirmed the use of numbers stations, but none have flatly denied it either. The stations date back to the Cold War, perhaps earlier, and many are still transmitting. Often, it’s a string of numbers recited by a computerized female voice— sometimes the voice of a child.

According to the thousands of enthusiasts who monitor them, the broadcasts could be coded messages sent from intelligence agencies to their spies. They cover vast distances, and they’re impossible to decode. When the public asks, government officials and bureaucrats typically respond with something like, “We don’t intend to discuss these stations, if any exist at all.”

For London photographer Lewis Bush, that’s not enough. He’s devoted two years to investigating and locating possible stations. He spoke to some of the dedicated “numbers monitors” who have spent much of their lives scrutinizing the broadcasts. He also studied declassified documents, history books, interviews, and first-person accounts by former agents.

Lee Deigaard Photographs the Backs of Horses as Landscapes

Lee Deigaard

Lee Deigaard

I had featured the work of New Orleans artist Lee Deigaard a few years ago, and I was so excited when I learned she’d be at the Living With Animals conference at Eastern Kentucky University in March so we could finally meet. I love the photographs in her series Equuleus (“part of a multi-media long-term project, In Your Dreams [Horses], exploring horse personality and individuality, sensory processing and proprioception, concepts of invitation, initiation, and trespass, and shared thresholds of experience between horse and human”) for their playful concept, their surreal, otherworldly quality, and the series’ thoughtful, poetic statement.

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