Menu

Posts tagged: documentary photography

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.

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.

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.

Photos from a Confidential Initiation for Men in Senegal

During the celebration, the Jola people demonstrate their physical and spiritual force by cutting themselves with sharp knives protected by their amulets (Gris-gris) and by a potion made of blessed water and a local root that makes their skin stronger. © Diana Bagnoli

A girl is playing in her silent house. When the guys enter the forest, all the women stay at home, worried and praying for them. They are strictly banned from having any contact with their husbands and children. Just the little girls have special permission to get closer to the boys in the forest to bring them some food and communicate with them. © Diana Bagnoli

A boy is playing with rabbits in his house in the countryside of Casamance. During this month of waiting for the guys in the forest, the rest of the village is very quiet. © Diana Bagnoli

In the summer of 2016, the Italian photojournalist Diana Bagnoli traveled to the village of Mlomb in Casamance, Senegal to tell the story of the Boukout, a monthlong initiation for young men in the Jola community.

Harry Gruyaert’s Photos Take Us On a Colorful Journey from Vegas to the USSR

 

Las Vegas downtown motel, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States, 1982.
© Harry Gruyaert Magnum Photos

Moscow, Russia, 1989.
© Harry Gruyaert Magnum Photos

“Higher emotions cannot be communicated in color,” American photographer Paul Strand claimed – revealing the power of irrational beliefs to take root in the mind and spread like a virus through those who fear to question ideology in search of the truth.

The decision to invite Belgian photographer Harry Gruyaert (b. 1941) to join Magnum Photos in 1982 caused dissent among the ranks. At that time Gruyaert had been working in color for two decades, but the powers that be “didn’t see color,” so to speak. Photography was still a fledgling medium in the art world, and those who were desperate to join the ranks revealed a powerful insecurity that fed simple-minded biases and false hierarchies designed to exclude innovative thinkers who worked outside the narrow frame of the status quo.

Gruyaert, however, was undeterred. His commitment remained consistent throughout his remarkable career. In 1981, Geo photo editor Alice Rose George commissioned Gruyaert to photograph Las Vegas. Rather than provide his take on the tired tropes of the Strip, Gruyaert ventured off the beaten path ton the Vegas where residents lived. The result was entirely too realistic; Vegas was not the place of fantasies and spectacle – it was a world where people eked out their existence on the margins.

A Fascinating Glimpse at Life in the Old City of Beijing

Demolition of Shanghai´s last old quarter, destroyed to make space for new high-rise buildings.

Mother and son at dinner in their little grocery.

A dream of one’s own home is all that is left.

Progress is an illusion of the most persistent kind. We would like to believe that moving forward is inherently “good,” even though evidence to the contrary frequently betrays this belief. Nevertheless, human nature is not inclined to simply allow things to be; it is compelled to transform the present into something new, something it envisions as an ideal “for the greater good.”

Progress is not inherently “bad,” either. It simply cuts both ways. For every loss, there is an equal and opposite gain—and vice versa. But rarely do we reflect on what is disappearing, until it is too late.

Ukrainian photographer Alina Fedorenko traveled to China in 2014, with a project in mind but as she wandered through the Old City of Beijing, she saw something remarkable that captured her imagination. The historic landscape was being razed and in its place came something extraordinary: skyscrapers that towered high above, effective erasing the community and the traditions of street life that flourished for centuries. 

New Photo Book Breaks Down Stereotypes of Muslim Men in the UK

“We are all in this together. And in the long term, revenge and violence will not work against extremists. Terrorists want us to huddle in our houses in fear, closing our doors and our hearts. They want us to tear open more wounds in our societies so that they can use them to spread their infection more widely. They want us to become like them: intolerant, hateful and cruel.” -Deeyah Khan at TedxExeter talk ‘what we don’t know about Europe’s Muslim kids.”

I look to the blurb of You Get me? for an introduction about what I am about read and the photographs I am about to look at; in gold, capital letters reads “MUSLIM THUGS BURN POPPIES. Sickening scenes on British streets—Daily Star, 12th November 2010. This headline is followed by many others like it. Is it any wonder young Muslim men often feel disenfranchised?

British-born artist Mahtab Hussain’s new photobook You Get Me? provides an introspective portrait of the community of young Muslim and/or Brown men caught between two worlds. “In the UK they are constantly stopped and searched, labelled as a terrorist or an extremist, and told England wasn’t their home. When they returned to their homeland, they were told they didn’t belong there either. “In a way, You Get Me? is all about hiding,” explains the artist, “pretending to be someone else, something else and then having to face the reality of who one truly wants to be.”

Alec Soth’s Iconic ‘Sleeping by the Mississippi’ 13 Years Later



Alec Soth, ‘Peter’s houseboat, Winona, Minnesota’ from Sleeping by the Mississippi (2017). Courtesy of the artist and MACK

Alec Soth, ‘Maiden Rock, Wisconsin’ from Sleeping by the Mississippi (2017). Courtesy of the artist and MACK.

“Over and over again I fall asleep with my eyes open, knowing I’m falling asleep, unable to prevent it. When I fall asleep this way, my eyes are cut off from my ordinary mind as though they were shut, but they become directly connected to this new, extraordinary mind which grows increasingly competent to deal with their impressions.” -Charles Lindbergh, aviator (epitaph to Alec Soth’s Sleeping by the Mississippi)

“I live near the beginning of the Mississippi and have always felt a pull to it,” Soth tells writer Colin Pantall of the British Journal of Photography. “I used to run away when I was 5 or 6, pack a suitcase with books and run away from home. I’d only get a few blocks but it was the whole Huck Finn process, where the north is home and the south symbolises the exotic.”

Photos of An Old Nuclear Launch Center Capture the Anxiety of the Trump Era

Rocket refueling suits worn by propellant transfer technicians were hung up on the wall outside of the cableway tunnel that leads to Titan II missile silo.

A blast door that would have sealed a two-person crew inside the underground launch control center at the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site in South Dakota.

Just off Interstate 90 in South Dakota, on the edge of the Badlands, stands a nondescript ranch house. Eight men once lived and worked there. Deep beneath the house, behind a four-ton blast door made of steel and concrete, lay a restricted Air Force control center capable of launching a battery of intercontinental ballistic missiles powerful enough to lay waste to the Soviet Union.

Known as Delta, the launch center in South Dakota controlled ten Minutemen, the most common missile in America’s nuclear arsenal. Thousands of Air Force personnel cycled through the facility over the 28 years it was operational, and its security detail played board games in the rec room while they waited for signs that intruders— from Russian spies to the more frequent culprits, jackrabbits— had breached the perimeter.

Photographer Adam Reynolds traveled to the facility in January. Decommissioned in 1991, it is now a national park. “These are shrines to an Armageddon that didn’t happen,” Reynolds says. But with Donald Trump bringing the United States ever closer to the “fire and fury” of nuclear war, Reynolds’s images also serve as a cautionary tale—a reminder of the last time world leaders pushed us to the brink of total annihilation.

Read the rest of Laura Reston’s article on Adam Reynolds’s photographs at The New Republic.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get some visual inspiration into your day!