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Posts tagged: documentary photography

Lyrical Photos of Trails Left Behind After the Kill

On the northeastern tip of Hokkaido, Japan, Shiretoko National Park lies in the balance. Taking its name from the native Ainu language, “the place where the earth protrudes” is one of the most remote places in the island nation. The temperate and subalpine mixed forests are home to brown bears and Kamuiwakka Falls, a hot springs waterfall known as “water of the gods.”

Designated as a 2005 UNESCO World Heritage Site, the park is also home to deer, whose population has been controversially culled by the government. Japanese photographer Takashi Homma began documenting the site of the kills in 2009, working over the next decade to compile a series of work just published in Trails (MACK).

Capturing Shadowman, New York’s Most Notorious Street Artist, in Never-Before-Seen Photos

Canadian artist Richard Hambleton (1952-2017) emerged from the Lower East Side art scene in New York as an urban legend at a time when the city was filled with characters that inspired some of Hollywood’s most iconoclastic films.

The young artist first left his mark on the streets of 15 cities across Canada and the United States between 1976 and 1979, creating Image Mass Murder Art — a series of police-style “chalk” outlines painted around volunteer “homicide victims.” In some cases he splashed red paint to add a hyperrealistic touch to the “crime scene.”

By 1979, Hambleton was firmly established in New York at a time when the Lower East Side was coming into vogue during the era of graffiti and street art. Alongside contemporaries such as Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Hambleton became notorious for his “Shadowman” paintings that loomed ominously on the streets, in the alleys, and at corners waiting to strike pedestrians at a time when street crime was a regular feature of daily life.

Celebrating the Second Annual Latin American Foto Festival in the Bronx

Fred Ramos. A Honduran child plays near train tracks in Arriaga, Chiapas, in southern Mexico, October 2018.

Johis Alarco?n. Nicole Carcelén, 19, plays with a cotton plant in her hair. The black slaves who first came to Ecuador were forced to work in cotton fields, cane fields and coal mines. For Nicole, cotton plants represent the strength of her ancestors and the strength of their blood. La Loma, 2018.

Yael Martinez. Alin Granda at her father’s home in Taxco Guerrero.Ignacio Granda went missing in Iguala Guerrero on May10, 2013 Alin was one year old.With more than 100 thousand deaths that the fight against organized crime has left, there is a generation of children growing in a context of violence. Guerrero Mexico on July 13, 2017.

With the second edition of the Bronx Documentary Center’s Latin American Foto Festival, curators Michael Kamber and Cynthia Rivera provide a space for photographers living and working in Latin America to tell their stories on their terms. The Festival, held in nine venues throughout the Melrose neighborhood of the Bronx, gave some 50,000 residents — many of whom are Latinx immigrants — the opportunity to engage with stories from their homelands through exhibitions, workshops, tours, and panel discussions.

The history of colonized lands is rarely told by those who have suffered the fate of centuries of imperialism that have systemically decimated the people and the lands of every continent outside Europe. Over the past 200 years, the people of Latin America have fought for independence and sovereignty, and against puppet regimes installed by the United States that first began in 1823 under the Monroe Doctrine.

As ICE raids systemically target Black and Latinx communities, the Foto Festival provides a pertinent moment to pause and reflect on the impact of white supremacy in its many forms, and the ways in which those it aims to exploit, oppress, and erase fight back in a struggle for life or death.

Picturing the Banality of Evil in the Ominous Workings of the State

Many Americans profess surprise at the inhumane social practices coming from the present White House. Perhaps they are comforted that they once had the luxury to have never been concerned about the forces of the military and prison industrial complexes weighted against foreign lands and U.S. citizens alike.

Perhaps the carnage of AIDS never touched their families. Perhaps they were never the victim of land grabs, medical experimentation, or any number of the genocidal acts waged by this nation that are documented in the annals of history and the on-going subject of current events.

“I guess the only time most people think about injustice is when it happens to them,” poet Charles Bukowski opined, summing up the new wave of “Not my country!” that greets those who have chosen denial over truth up until it finally affected them.

Deconstructing the Visual Language of Group Photography

Bob Adelman (1930–2016), People Wall, World’s Fair, New York, 1965, gelatin silver print. The Morgan Library & Museum, Purchased as the gift of Nancy and Burton Staniar, 2015.131. © Bob Adelman Estate

Amy Arbus (b. 1954), The Clash, NYC, 1981, gelatin silver print. The Morgan Library & Museum, Gift of Amy Arbus, 2018.74 Copyright © Amy Arbus

The mind loves to generalize, group and sort, to make categories where they might exist and impose them where they do not. It’s simpler this way; superficiality releases us of the presence of complexity, contradiction, and inconsistency that are the hallmarks of life. Once sorted and filed, we can rely upon confirmation bias to avoid the painful discomfort of ignorance.

The photograph — in as much as it is art, artifact, evidence, testimony, illusion, and artifice — allows us to simultaneously reinforce and question the assumptions we hold. It is only fitting that a group show about the group could offer the possibility of exploring the many facets of our insatiable desire to organize life into neat and palatable portion sizes.

In Among Others: Photography and the Group, now on view at The Morgan Library & Museum in New York through August 18, 2019, Joel Smith, the Morgan’s Richard L. Menschel Curator brings together more than 60 works from the 1860s through the present that explore that which we have long taken for granted as a photographic archetype.

Documenting the Vanishing History of Appalachia’s Famed Cumberland Plateau

Eugene Hensley and Jobie Pray. Wilder, TN. 2017.

The Old Coon Hunter Mural at Ciderville Music Hall. Powell, TN.

“My daddy, he was a moonshiner. I’m not ashamed of it,” Opal Sharp Wright tells author Rachel Boillot in the new book Moon Shine: Photographs of the Cumberland Plateau (Daylight).

“He was crippled, he couldn’t work no regular job I guess dad had to feed his kids. He had three brothers that lived over there by him and they’d help him sometime, they’d all gather up there at the stlll and you could hear ‘em a-signing and making music.”

Growing up in the 1920s during Prohibition, Sharp Wright came of age inside a culture as old as America itself, a way of life that finds its swan song in Boilot’s tender and merciful book.

The Photographic Duo Behind Iconic Images of Modern Art

HARRY SHUNK AND JANOS KENDER, SELF-PORTRAIT, ITALY, 1966.

FRANCOIS DUFRENE IN HIS STUDIO, PARIS, 1963.

Between 1958 and 1973, German Harry Alexander Shunk (1924-2006) and his Hungarian partner János Kender (1938-2009) collaborated with nearly 300 European and American artists to document some of the most iconic moments in modern art.

Together, they produced some 190,000 images in collaboration with artists including Man Ray, Roy Lichtenstein, Lou Reed, Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Carolee Schneemann, William Klein, and Yayoi Kusama — many of which have become an integral part of the history of art, and works worthy of veneration themselves.

“In the history of photography, ‘documents for artists’ exist in the shade, with a few rare exceptions,” writes Florian Ebner in an essay that appears in the new book, Shunk-Kender: Art Through the Eye of the Camera 1957–1983 (Éditions Xavier Barral), which accompanies the first exhibition of their work, now on view at the Centre Pompidou in Paris through August 5, 2019.

Scenes from A Pivotal Era in the Gentrification of Miami Beach

E.J. Pence, competitive bodybuilder South Beach, 1990

Ocean Drive, South Beach, 1992

As with nearly every major city across the United States, Miami Beach was reduced to a shell of its former self. As the Nixon White House policy of “benign neglect” systemically denied basic government services to Black and Latinx communities, white flight caused the economy to plummet into the abyss.

Nixon’s attack on minority communities didn’t stop there as he invented the “War on Drugs” in 1971 as a way to criminalize the Black community and build the foundation for the prison industrial complex, in which legal slavery openly flourishes across the nation.

Under the weight of state-sponsored terrorism against the very citizens it purported to serve, cities collapsed into a horrific vortex of poverty, crime, illness, and death. Miami Beach was particularly hard hit as it became the stomping grounds for Colombian drug cartel during the 1970s and ‘80s. By the time Fidel Castro emptied the jails and sent 125,000 Cubans to Miami on the Mariel Boat Lift in 1980, Miami Beach’s glory days as tourist destination were a thing of distant memory.

Werner Bischof’s Breathtaking Portrait of Mid-Century America

Advertising signage, southern states, USA 1954

The Golden Gate Bridge from above, San Francisco, USA 1953

Magnum photographer Werner Bischof (1916-1954) arrived in the United States a year before his death and spent 1953 traveling across the continent. His series USA, currently on view at David Hill Gallery in London through July 26, 2019, is a vivid portrait of the nation as it rose to become a global superpower.

While most of his contemporaries were firmly entrenched in the tradition of black and white, Bischof broke free, using color to capture both the mood of a place and the quality of life, creating lyrical poems of extraordinary nuance and depth. The exhibition features a selection of 25 photographs that reveal his experiments in color and motion to capture the sensations of being in a rapidly modernizing country possessed with entirely too much faith in itself.

A journey to the frontlines of the fight for animal rights

The photojournalist Aitor Garmendia stands outside a farm in Italy, accompanied by investigators from the animal rights group Essere Animali. Inside, there are thousands of pigs, all bred and raised for meat. It’s the dead of night. All is silent. There are guards inside. “You have one minute,” the investigation coordinator tells Garmendia. He slips inside, turns on the light, and photographs what he sees.

This was just one of the twelve nights Garmendia spent with the team from Essere Animali. Each one posed new risks. In total, they investigated eleven farms.

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