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Posts tagged: documentary photography

The Story of a Landscape Ravaged by Wildfires, in Photos

Although scorching hot summers are attractive to many, for the residents in Southern France, they can be nothing short of a disaster. Between 2016 and 2017, there were over 1300 cases of wildfires, destroying acres of land and the lives of thousands of inhabitants. During this time, documentary photographer Arnaud Teicher set out to capture the scenes that unveiled from the catastrophic events. He began is project Wildfire.

Inside the Curious World of Reborn Baby Dolls

Girl and doll

Going for a walk 

Sabine and her doll, Emely

Joyce Moreno (1942-2015) was a nurse, specializing in neonatal intensive care, an ordained minister, and a renowned reborn artist. A master of sewing, Moreno began her practice in 1989, when she had the idea to separate the head of her Berenguer brand baby doll from its body, then completely recreate the baby’s face and body as she envisioned it.

“Reborning is taking an unpainted doll and hand painting and detailing it to the point of realism that it is difficult to tell that it is not a real breathing baby/infant,” Moreno explained. “I try my best to add that little something extra, that little bit of true baby essence that makes a big difference in the outcome of what makes it look like a real live baby.”

Her practice was extremely thorough, taking the craft to an art, detailing, “I started with a blank form without paint. His vinyl baby soft skin, is then prepared to receive the delicate layering of paints I use. Layer after layer of my own unique blend of paints are carefully applied, until he began to take on the look and feel of a real newborn.”

The results caught on as these reborn babies spoke to women who could appreciate the work put in: from replacing plastic eyes with glass and hand painting barely-there eyebrows was complemented to the intricate addition of micro-rooted, premium Angora mohair to effect the silky, delicacy of a newborn’s hair. The baby’s limbs were filled with sand, transforming once rigid plastic dolls into mobile, cuddly creations weighted just right, so that they nestled like real newborns might.

For more than three decades, a thriving subculture has been quietly flourishing. For the past two years, German photographer Lena Kunz has been found her way into this world, traveling from referral to referral, and discovering the happiness these unlikely dolls bestow on their owners in her series Artificial Reality. Here Kunz speaks with us about what she has found photographing grown women who still take exceptional pleasure from playing with dolls.

Moving Photos of the Stray Animals of Sarajevo

For the photographer Adnan Mahmutovic, the stray animals of Sarajevo are more than the subjects of a longterm series. They’re an important part of the fabric of his life. “I don’t consider this is a ‘project,'” he admits. “I’ve taken photos on my everyday walks for years now. The dogs or cats come for a little cuddling or some food.” His pictures aren’t spur-of-the-moment snapshots but the result of an enduring connection spanning many years.

The Horrific Brutality of the Meat Industry, in Photos

A group of pigs being held in a pre-slaughter area in a slaughterhouse in Atizapan, Mexico. The law requires that the pigs are taken to the stunning box where an electric shock should be applied. However, in this slaughterhouse, as in others, the pigs are driven to the slaughter area directly without prior stunning and are killed fully conscious.

At the slaughterhouse in Arriaga, Mexico, this horse arrived with a mobility problem that prevented him from accessing the stunning box by himself. He was dragged by a chain attached to his neck and died of asphyxia after being suspended several minutes. This is a practice prohibited by law.

“The meat industry knows the damage that can be caused by images of abused animals,” the photojournalist Aitor Garmendia tells me. “In order that these images never see the light, they have guidelines to prevent cameras from accessing their facilities.” In fact, his work on slaughterhouses, part of a larger project on animal exploitation titled Tras los Muros (Behind the Walls), is the most extensive undercover record of its kind. Starting in 2015, Garmendia traveled to eleven states throughout Mexico to document the transportation and killing of farm animals. “I visited about two hundred slaughterhouses,” he reports. “I entered fifty-eight.”

The Beauty of the Aging Body, in Photos

Merle Sparlin

Ione Buie

Warren Dalton

Over the course of nine years, the Missouri-based photographer Anastasia Pottinger has worked with models over the age of one hundred years old. She’s spent time by their sides, listened to their stories, and recorded the details of their skin in black and white. Now, you can find her photographs of fourteen of these centenarians collected in the new book 100: What Time Creates, published by Marcinson Press.

Honoring Those Who Give Their Lives to Fight the Power, in Photos

2015, Justice League NYC’s “March 2 Justice” from New York to Washington, DC,
in protest of police brutality.

Congressman John Lewis at Justice League NYC’s “March 2 Justice”
from New York to Washington, DC, in protest of police brutality in 2015

On November 27, Ferguson activist Bassem Masri was found unconscious on a bus in suburban St. Louis. Just 31 at the time of his death, Masri is the latest untimely death of local activists who have passed in sudden and mysterious ways.

Many will remember the murder of Deandre Joshua, just 20 years old, when his body was found with a gunshot to the head inside his car, which had been set on fire during the height of the protests against the extrajudicial assassination of Mike Brown at the hands of Officer Darren Wilson.

Then in 2016, the body of Darren Seals, 26, was found — the same manner of killing exacted upon one of the most prominent activists in the movement. But the deaths did not end there. In 2017, Edward Crawford, 27, was found shot to death in the backseat of his car, and just as recently as October 17, Ferguson activist Melissa McKinnies discovered her son, Danye Jones, 24, lynched in her backyard.

On December 3, HBO premiered Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland, a documentary film that asks, “What really happened to Black Lives Matter activist Sandra Bland?” In her death, Bland became a symbol of all that the government has done — and the ways in which the true story is hidden from view.

Gynecological Tools Throughout the Years, in Photos

Fergusson’s Speculum, Duke University’s History of Medicine Collections, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, c. 1880.

Birthing Stool, Private Collection, c. Unknown.

Vaginal Tube & Wire Work Speculum, Duke University’s History of Medicine Collections, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, c. early 20th century.

In the last couple of years, Lindsey Beal has found herself in some of the country’s leading medical libraries, where she’s examined gynecological tools dating back centuries. “I was often required to wear surgical gloves when handling the items, as if I were using the items medically,” she tells me. “[That] directly connected me to the history and use of the items by placing myself in the shoes of the practitioner.” But Beal isn’t the typical researcher; she’s not a medical historian but a photographer, artist, and educator, and her project Parturition provides an intimate visual account of women’s health throughout the years.

Inside Chris Stein’s Punk Photo Diary

Snuky Tate, Fab 5 Freddy, and kid punk band the Brattles, 1981. The Brattles opened for the Clash at their New York City show at Bonds on Times Square.

Brooklyn’s own Chris Stein took up photography in 1968, at the age of 18, and began to amass a body of work documenting New York life as the punk scene came into existence. In 1973, he met and began working with Debbie Harry, and together they founded Blondie. From this rarified position, Stein had the best view in the house, the consummate insider in the quintessential outsider scene.

His new book, Point of View: Me, New York City, and the Punk Scene (Rizzoli New York), is a visual diary of daily life during the 1970s, the rawest decade of them all. Stein takes us all the way back to his days as a student at SVA, and gives us a guided tour of a young artist coming of age in a city that was equal parts decadent and derelict, and home to characters like none before or since, be it William Burroughs, David Bowie, Divine, Andy Warhol, or the Ramones.

Eugene Richards Looks Back at a Life in Photography

Eugene Richards, Snow globe of the city as it once was, New York, New York, 2001.
Gelatin silver print. Collection of Eugene Richards.

Eugene Richards, Grandmother, Brooklyn, New York, 1993.
Gelatin silver print. Collection of Eugene Richards.

More than half a century ago: the New Journalism came of age — a style of reportage so wholly unlike what came before that made it clear the seeming “objectivity” espoused by the Western eye was blind to its own innate biases. Rather than continue to presuppose one could be disinterested in covering subjects like Civil Rights and the Vietnam War, many journalists took a stand, opting to explore the complex truths of human life during the final half of the twentieth century — including their own.

Like W. Eugene Smith before him, photographer Eugene Richards (b. 1944) used the photo essay as a means to engage with his subjects through the profound transformation that comes when human beings not only connect, but are seen, heard, understood, and able to share their lives in a holistic way.

Throughout the course of his career, Richards has focused on the essential experiences of life that are daily fodder for headlines including birth, death, poverty, prejudice, war, and terrorism. But through Richards’s lens, we come to understand just how little we know — and how deeply reliant we are upon those who do the reporting in our stead.

In Eugene Richards: The Run-On of Time, now on view at the International Center of Photography through January 6, 2019, we are given a stunning trip through Richards’s life in photography. The exhibition and accompanying catalogue distributed by Yale University Press serve to remind us that we are responsible for evaluating not only the content but also the quality and caliber of the source itself. It is not enough to be talented and to have mastered technique; one must stand for something, and in doing so, use their skills in the service of the greater good.

Here, Richards shares his extraordinary journey, that includes a healthy dose of skepticism about the photograph itself.

Poignant Photos of a Man in the Final Year of His Life

Hugo, the oldest man in the town of Las Cascadas, spends time sitting in his couch watching how the wind moves the trees on his farm on a cold winter day on July 25th, 2016.

From his farm in southern Chile, Hugo says the Osorno Volcano is majestic, imposing, and the most beautiful in the world. While this view has been with him every day, he often confuses it with other volcanos.

Years ago, two men, Hugo Küschel and Teodoro Hofmann, lived in the village of Las Cascadas, Chile. Here, they tended their farms, raised their families, and became dear friends. Teodoro passed away in 1978, but more than thirty-five years later, his granddaughter, the photographer Constanza Hevia H., would meet Hugo for the first time. By then, Hugo was the oldest man living in Las Cascadas, and he and his wife Wilma spent their time inside their house, where the photographer became a regular visitor. “One day, I asked Hugo if he was afraid of death,” she says. “He told me, ‘Look, I look at it in this way: tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, one has to leave this earth.'” The Time I Have Left is her record of Hugo’s memories and the final chapter of his life.

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