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12 Must-See Exhibitions at the Indian Photography Festival

Delhi, India © Alejandra Cardenas, from The Print Swap by Feature Shoot

The Indian Photography Festival (IPF) by the Light Craft Foundation is now underway! As South Asia’s leading photography festival, IPF 2018 includes stunning exhibitions, talks, workshops, and portfolio reviews with some of the world’s most influential and pioneering artists, journalists, and editors. Among those present are the photojournalists Nick Ut (Vietnam) and Anush Babajanyan (Armenia), National Geographic‘s senior photo editor James Wellford, the photographer Sandro Miller, the photographer/filmmaker Pep Bonet, and many more.

Featuring 550 photographers hailing from 52 countries, this year’s events speak to the power of photography to inspire social change. Exhibiting organizations range from Women Photograph to the Siena International Photo Award and everyone in between. The festival opened last night at the State Gallery of Art in Hyderabad, India, and it will run through October 7th. In anticipation of opening weekend, we put together this preview of just twelve of this year’s extraordinay exhibitions to whet your appetite. Be sure to head on over the IPF website to see the whole schedule. And if you’re in or near Hyderabad this month, don’t miss the chance to see all the shows in person!

Magical Photos from an Isolated Community in the Forests of India

“A long time ago, a flood swept away orphan siblings Lecha and Secha’s village in the mountainous landscape that is now Namdapha National Park & Tiger Reserve,” the New Delhi-based photographer and academic Sharbendu De tells me. “Before the flood came, a bird advised them to hide into a cave and seal its mouth. The flood washed everything away. As the sole survivors, they came out of the cave, but they did not find anyone. They traveled for years in separate directions searching for other survivors.”

He’s recounting a folktale from the Lisu tribe, a group of people who have lived on this remote expanse of land in Arunachal Pradesh, India, close to the border with Myanmar, for generations. The story ends when Lecha and Secha have reached old age. They’ve spent their lives seeking others, and at last, they wind up back where they started. Their paths meet, and recognizing that they are alone, they ask God for permission to wed and start the human race anew.

De sees the tale as a kind of metaphor for the real-life stories of Lisu tribe members in India, who live secluded in the dense forest. Though they are Indian citizens, the Lisu people have experienced decades of isolation, oppression, and loss. In 1983, their ancestral land was converted into a national park without their consent. “They were  declared poachers and encroachers of the land and evicted on occasions,” De writes. “But they always returned to the forests.” Since then, they have survived without access to basic human rights like healthcare and education. Because the forested area is so cut-off from nearby towns and cities, they pay inflated fees for oils, spices, and medicines that must cover great distances to reach them. A journey to the nearest town takes three to six days of arduous trekking. As the photographer puts it, “Life is expensive, and death is cheap.”

Squarespace, the All-in-One Website Builder, Has a Great New Tool

Customer Engagement

In 2018, photographers have more on their plates than ever. Thriving in a digital world often seems like a constant juggling act; in addition to making work, the modern photographer’s to-do list includes building an online presence, engaging an audience, and consistently reaching out to followers and clients through email and social media. We know this sounds overwhelming (and expensive), but it doesn’t have to be.

Instead of shelling out the time and money for a million different services–one platform for website hosting a second for finding a domain name, another for blogging, another for online sales, and yet another for email marketing–photographers can now do it all with Squarespace. An all-in-one website builder like Squarespace is an obvious choice for convenience and affordability, and it’s also the right pick for anyone who wants to create a consistent and professional brand.

This month, Squarespace is changing the game by rolling out a state-of-the-art email marketing campaign feature. Users can now send beautiful, customizable emails from any device. Squarespace offers thirty starter layouts for email marketing, and it’s easy to incorporate your website logo, images, or even blog posts into every one. Call-to-action buttons can direct followers straight to your portfolio pages, products in your store, or RSVP forms for upcoming events. Let’s take a look at some of the ways photographers can use this new tool to expand their businesses.

The realities of the Black Diamond mining communities in Eastern India

About ten years ago, Swedish photographer Sebastian Sardi was working on a project called A Cirkusz – a photographic exploration of the traveling circus community and their freedoms. It was around then that he came across a news story that argued against the officially released data claiming that the number of deaths and injuries related to coal mining in China were very low. The reality was in fact much worse. This piqued an interest in Sardi and he began searching for images of coal mining in China. Unfortunately, there was very little he could find and so he decided to go to China himself, as a photographer. This was the beginning of his journey in documenting the effects of coal mining on its communities, around parts of the world.

This New Award Is Exactly What The Photo Industry Needs

Taken April 27, 2016 during a rally in West Baltimore. As protestors and supporters march through the street, two young boys on bicycles raise their fists as a police car drives away from them. This image was taken around the one-year anniversary of the death of Freddie Gray and the 2015 uprising. © Shan Wallace

© Rhynna M. Santos

Bryan Stevenson, founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, stands among memorial pillars at The National Memorial for Peace and Justice of those lynched in various counties and states. Photographed for NPR. © Lynsey Weatherspoon

The history of photography has been written primarily by white, cis-gendered, heterosexual men. “Culture is driven by creatives of color, but so often mainstream media removes the cultural significance, voice, and tone and seemingly co-opts our brain power,” the Atlanta-based photographer Lynsey Weatherspoon writes. Lifting up and centering stories of color is critical, as is making space for women and creatives of color to tell their own stories.” Weatherspoon is one of 30 photographers selected to be part of The Lit List, a new award devoted to doing exactly that. 

The Lit List, launched by the photographer and writer Oriana Koren of the Authority Collective in collaboration with Diversify.Photo, amplifies the voices of marginalized and underrepresented lens-based artists. This includes but is not limited to womxn, transgender, and non-binary photographers and filmmakers of color. This year’s superstar jury included the photographer and professor Zora J Murff, California Sunday‘s Paloma Shutes, The New Yorker‘s Siobhan Bohnacker, the Magnum Foundation’s Noelle Flores Theard, Wired‘s Sara Urbaez, the visual historian Renata Charlise of Blvck Vrchives, the art director and illustrator Jaya Nicely, the photographer and photo editor Danielle Scruggs, and Hannah Kuo of Lucky88.

Picturing Mexico Through the Eyes of Lola Alvarez Bravo

La visitacion, ca. 1934, printed 1971. Brooklyn Museum.

Los almiares (Labores), ca. 1940.

Lola Álvarez Bravo (1903-1993) was a singular figure in twentieth-century art, a woman whose independence defined the spirit of the era. “I had a strange need for something and I didn’t know what it was. I was in intense rebellion against certain things that they thought I should do because I was a ‘little woman’ and a ‘young lady,’” Álvarez Bravo told Olivier Debroise for Sin título [Biography of Lola Álvarez Bravo] in 1979.

“They thought I would respond to a predetermined social plan. But I felt a strange rebelliousness. I wanted to be something. . . . It was an internal rebellion.”

That something propelled her to tremendous heights, with a career that spans more than half a century as an artist, curator, activist, and educator. As one of the few leading women artists in Mexico during the post-revolutionary renaissance, Álvarez Bravo would become an integral figure in a coterie that included Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and David Alfaro Siqueiros.

Breathtaking Photos Capture Loss and Hope in the Age of Climate Change

Dust Storm, Rajasthan, India, 1983 © Steve McCurry

Bear One, Devon Island, Canadian Arctic, 2008 © Sebastian Copeland

Constant industrial developments and a significant increase in the consumption of Earth’s resources over the last few decades have resulted in environmental disasters that continue to negatively impact the our climate today. Now more than ever, environmental issues are at the center of social and political debates all over the world.

Artists and journalist alike have directed their lens towards this pressing issue and documented the causes and the effects of climate change all over the world. In the hopes of raising more awareness, Lucie Foundation collaborated with The Royal Photographic Society of Thailand and Bangkok Art and Culture Centre to present the exhibition Beyond the Air We Breathe. Featuring over 80 of the world’s most accomplished and renowned photographers, including Steve McCurry, Sebastian Copeland, and James Nachtwey, the exhibition aims to highlight the astonishing stories of photographers dedicated to the protection of the environment.

A Photographic Duet Inspired by the Glittering “Violet Isle” of the Caribbean

© Rebecca Norris Webb

© Alex Webb

For more than a century, Cuba has mesmerized the world, beckoning visitors to its vibrant shores and the rich fertile soil that has earned the island the little-known name of the “Violet Isle.” It is a land of captivating beauty, majestic wonder, and alluring mystique, one whose magic and mysteries are slowly revealed through the work of artists, filmmakers, and musicians.

Over a period of 15 years, American photographers Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb made 11 trips to Cuba, each drawn to difference elements of this multi-faceted gem. Alex Webb explored the country’s street life, capturing scenes of everyday life set in a prism of vivid colors that glow under the Caribbean sun, while Rebecca Norris Webb was drawn to the resounding presence of animal life, photographing tiny zoos, pigeon societies, and personal menageries.

The result is Violet Isle (Radius Books), their first collaboration. First published in 2009, the book is a photographic duet that pairs two distinct but complementary visions of Cuba at the turn of the millennium. The book, long unavailable, has just been re-released. We speak with the authors here about their fresh take on a much-photographed land, giving us new perspectives of life on the Violet Isle.

Jamel Shabazz Reflects of the Power of Fashion Photography

Guy Bourdin (French, 1928-1991); Fuji crystal archive print;
45.7 x 34.3 cm (18 x 13 1/2 in.); EX.2018.7.6

Jamel Shabazz (American, born 1960); Digital chromogenic print;
25.4 x 20.3 cm (10 x 8 in.); EX.2018.7.163

Hailing from Brooklyn, Jamel Shabazz began taking photographs of his friends during the late 1970s. After returning from the Army in 1980, he began to dedicate himself to documenting life on the streets of New York, taking portraits of street legends and regular folks alike, taking an entirely new approach to the art of the fashion photograph.

With an eye for style, Shabazz used the camera as a vehicle for conversations with his subjects, who are predominantly African American and Latinx teens. Focused on helping them to develop a knowledge of self and how to survive in America, Shabazz easily spent hours with his subject before photographing them. The result is a series of portraits that convey a sense of power, pride, and dignity. As an independent artist working outside the fashion and publishing industry for decades, Shabazz has established himself as the rare artist who has been able to crossover long after this body of work was made.

Now a selection of Shabazz’s work can be seen alongside the likes of Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton, Guy Bourdin, William Klein, Antonio Lopez, and Herb Ritts in the new exhibition Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography, 1911-2011 at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, now on view through October 21, and accompanying catalogue of the same name. Shabazz shares his thoughts on the power of fashion photography, the importance of visibility and representation, and the power of staying true to one’s vision.

Soulful Photos of Animals Saved from Slaughter or Neglect

Scout

Shy Girl

“Scout the sheep is my muse,” the photographer Janet Holmes tells me. As a volunteer at the Catskill Animal Sanctuary in Saugerties, New York, she’s developed a bond with many of the rescued farm animals, but none quite compare to Scout. “Sheep can recognize human faces, and she seems to remember me,” she continues. “Almost every time I visit, she comes over to say hello and asks for a back scratch just the way a dog does, by nudging her head under my hand. She’ll lean her weight against my leg and even rest her head on my shoulder.”

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