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Posts tagged: documentary photography

Looking Through the Eyes of a Daughter of the American South

Rosalind Fox Solomon, ‘Chattanooga, Tennessee, 1976’ in Liberty Theater (2018). 

Rosalind Fox Solomon, ‘Hixson, Tennessee, 1975’ in Liberty Theater (2018). 

Rosalind Fox Solomon, ‘Scottsboro Alabama, 1976’ in Liberty Theater (2018).

Beginning in the mid-1970s, American artist Rosalind Fox Solomon traveled across the South creating a powerful series of photographs that reveal the state of the nation during the first decade following the Civil Rights Movement. It is here in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and South Carolina that we are privy to the complex interconnection of life rooted in the triumphs, tragedies, and traumas of the past.

At the time Fox Solomon started making these images, she had begun taking trips to New York to study photography with Lisette Model, a master of the human psyche laid bare in silver gelatin. Fox Solomon’s work bears witness to the power of photography to cut to the quick, to go beyond the luxuries and limitations of language by focusing solely on action, gesture, and expression to tell us more than word could ever say in a single, fleeting moment.

Fox Solomon’s photographs resonate with quiet grandeur, visceral eccentricity, and profound depth of ineffable emotion. Over the next two decades, she traversed the deepest reaches of the South to create Liberty Theater (MACK), an exquisitely nuanced portrait of the profound interplay of race, class, and segregation.

Celebrating Joy and Resistance Across the African Diaspora

In an Adreinne Waheed photograph, you are fully in the mix, whether dancing on the streets of Bahia, Brazil, during Carnival, or fighting against the South African government’s tuition hike during the 2015 student-led protest Fees Must Fall. There is no middle distance: you are here now, in the heart of Black culture, through triumph and tragedy.

At the heart of Waheed’s practice is the love of community, whether that means making a photograph, book, or exhibition. In Black Joy and Resistance – The Exhibition at Betti Ono in Oakland opens to the public as part of a Black History Month celebration just in time for the Black Joy Parade. The opening reception will be held on March 1 to celebrate International Women’s Month.

Waheed says, “In the current politically charged climate reminiscent of days of old when people of color are being denied basic human and civil rights and forced to declare once again that Black Lives Matter, Black Joy & Resistance gives respite to the trails of the day and beautifully displays who we are, juxtapose to how we are sometimes made to feel.”

3 Photographers Will Get $500 to Shoot Their Dream Projects

Since we launched our international project The Print Swap in 2016, photographers around the world have taken part. Spanning six continents and all genres, they’ve inspired us with their unique points of view, so over the course of about two months, we invited all participating Print Swap photographers to pitch us the projects of their dreams. It was a limited-time opportunity, and we received an overwhelming number of inspiring ideas from artists and journalists all over the world. We ultimately selected three photographers to receive $500 each to bring their projects to life: Ashraful Arefin, Tori Gagne, and Julien McRoberts. Here’s a brief preview of what each of them has in store. All of the photos featured here are part of The Print Swap.

#ThePrintSwap Is Coming to Sydney in a Stunning New Show

Holy River © Pravin Tamang (@pravin_tamang), New Delhi, India

Winter Sunset © Danielle MacInnes (@daniellemacinnes_photography), Stratham, NH

An afternoon in the street of Jaisalmer © Ashraful Arefin (@ashrafularefin), Dhaka, Bangladesh

The Print Swap, the worldwide project by Feature Shoot, is heading for The Other Art Fair Sydney next month! Curated by Carly Earl, Picture Editor at The Guardian Australia, our tenth international exhibition features 21 images from photographers all over the world. Selected photographers hail from locales throughout the United States, Brazil, India, Bangladesh, Singapore, Finland, Sweden, Spain, Russia, and France.

There is no fixed theme for this exhibition, and the collection is left open to interpretation. Perhaps one theme that does emerge, however, centers around the precarious relationship between nature and humankind. The sea becomes a recurring motif, as does the man-altered landscape, as seen in Stas Bartnikas’s aerial landscape and Emmanual Monzon’s roadside scenery. The fragility of the wild comes to the fore in the works of Tiina Tormanen, who photographs a dead fish, and Aurélien Calonne, who captures Skaftafellsjökull, a melting glacier in Iceland. And still, despite all this frailty, these twenty photographers find beauty in the earth, whether they’re exploring the remotest wilderness or walking the bustling city streets.

Presented by Saatchi Art, The Other Art Fair Sydney is now in its fifth year. Join thousands of visitors for the fair at Australian Technology Park in Eveleigh from March 14-17. You can purchase tickets here.

As a reminder, photographers around the world are welcome to submit to The Print Swap by tagging their best images #theprintswap on Instagram. Submissions are currently open for our Paris exhibition, opening for five days at Studio Galerie B&B this spring. The photographer and gallery co-director Elise Prudhomme will be our guest curator. All Print Swap photographers give a picture and receive one from another inspiring photographer somewhere in the world, regardless of whether or not they are selected for our offline exhibitions. As always, it’s free to submit, but selected photographers pay $40 per image to be part of the swap. Learn more at our website and follow along at @theprintswap for updates.

A Portrait of Love Among the Ruins of Post-Industrial America

October 23, 2010 birthdays

Tony in the dark bedroom, looking out the window

Dana nursing KyLanne the day before she took her baby home

In the dystopian mythos that fuels the American Dream, poverty is a mark of character upon which outrageous projections are made. Many, clinging to the illusions of living in a meritocracy, where everyone starts on a level playing field, prefer the ignorance of ideology above all, villainizing the victims of a system designed to create a permanent underclass upon which America’s Next Top Billionaire will assuredly feast.

Poverty, as it is presented to us, is a choice — the wrong one, the experts suggest. “If only these people would X, Y, or Z,” the armchair analyst adds without the slightest shame, from the comforts of their breakfast nook while scrolling the latest headlines on their news feed.

“X, Y, or Z” could be any number of conservative talking points that focus the minutiae of personal accountability while turning a blind eye to the crushing weight of living hand to mouth in country that has designed systems to profit off your demise.

Artist Brenda Ann Kenneally knows how the game is played better than most, and uses her knowledge and wisdom expose the truth — rather than perpetuate the lies told and sold. In 2002, she and author Adrian Nicole LeBlanc began collaborating on a magazine assignment in Troy, New York, a once-thriving city whose fortunes have gone dark.

The Life of One Young Lady with Down Syndrome, in Photos

When the photographer Snezhana von Buedingen first visited Sofie’s family at their farm in east Germany, she stayed for three days. She spent her waking hours shadowing Sofie, taking her time to soak in the details of her everyday life. With time, the pair forged a powerful bond; Meeting Sofie is the photographer’s ongoing ode to her friend and muse–a young woman who happens to have down syndrome.

Revealing the Fascinating World Beyond the Gender Binary

Pidgeon

Rain

Beyond the rigid, often inflexible, ideas that we are taught lies a realm of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom that awaits us. The complexity of existence can be attributed to the fact that until we adapt our paradigms to reflect reality, we will remain trapped within a false construction masquerading as truth, one that may be used to exploit, oppress, or otherwise marginalize the most vulnerable among us.

To paraphrase Rumi, we can become the change we wish to see in the world — by forgoing the need to rush to opinion as a way to avoid the discomfort of doing the actual work. In giving people the space and freedom to share their truth, we confront our own ignorance and bigotry, while simultaneously learning from those whose lived experience bears witness to realities that may be far beyond our immediate comprehension.

When American photographer Chloe Aftel first heard the term “genderfluid” in 2012, she became curious and began to explore a world she did not know; a space where the gender binary does not operate accordingly to the principles set forth by the heternormative community.

With equal parts respect and curiosity. Aftel set forth to document the lives of gender non-binary people from all walks of life across America. What she came to understand was simple enough: the paradigms that we currently use to describe gender are limiting constructs that fail to recognize its extraordinarily complex expression.

“Most people are not simply one thing,” Aftel observes. “They do not see themselves in a singular, stagnant way but rather enjoy exploring who they are in a deep, sometimes complicated and possibly contradicting ways via gender exploration of paradigms, stereotypes and generalities.”

In honor of those who share their stories and their lives, Aftel has created the phenomenal new book, Outside & In Between: Self Beyond the Gender Binary, released on January 27 in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day.

A Portrait of Brooklyn Before it Was Gentrified

John and Michael, 16th Street, 1980

John’s Caddy, 6th Avenue, 1975

Back in the 1950s and ‘60s, a movement was afoot. The media called it “white flight” and sang it from the rooftops. The cities were being abandoned as white families ran for the hills of suburban towns just as Black and Latinx populations were finding a foothold in northern climates following the Great Migration, Operation Bootstrap, and Operation Peter Pan.

By the 1970s, a new era had begun — one of fueled by urban decay that left only the most strident New Yorkers in place. It was a city of true grit, where only the strongest survive, a city filled with idiosyncratic characters that were simultaneously celebrated and vilified. It was, simply put, a new York in every sense of the word.

Brooklyn native Larry Racioppo headed west for two years before returning to his hometown in December 1970. He took a job at the phone company and a class at SVA, which inspired him to start photographing the world in which he lived. Then little by little, everything began to change.

One Man Photographs His Grandfather’s Battle with Cancer

Here, I am trying to hold on

Here, I am trying to figure out who my guest is

Gary became his grandson Karen Khachaturov’s muse the day he learned had bladder cancer. “He was diagnosed in 2017,” the Armenian photographer remembers. “It was pretty shocking for everyone.” Over the span of a month, the two of them worked together to create a series of playful and uncanny images, with Gary in the starring role. Their collaboration would eventually become Pastel Struggle, now on view at Mirzoyan Library in Yerevan.

Transgender Troops Share Their Stories, in Photos

Aaron Wixson, a Marine field artillery radar operator in Oceanside, California, transitioned from female to male in 2016. His biggest challenge was getting everybody to change the pronouns they used for him. “Some of them said, ‘We’ve been calling you “her” for so long.’” © Jeff Sheng for Smithsonian Magazine

In June 2016, then-Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced that the United States would be lifting a ban on transgender people serving openly in the armed forces. “We’re talking about talented Americans who are serving with distinction or who want the opportunity to serve,” Carter said at the time. “We can’t allow barriers unrelated to a person’s qualifications to prevent us from recruiting and retaining those who can best accomplish the mission.”

The next summer, President Donald Trump tweeted his intention to maintain the ban. In particular, he raised concerns about the medical costs involved in gender transitions. In March 2018, the executive branch barred transgender people from enlisting. The courts initially blocked the orders, but an appeals court reversed that decision. The Supreme Court ruled on January 22 that Trump’s restrictions could go into effect while the matter is making its way up through the legal system.*

With the fate of the ban still uncertain, we sent our photographer to meet five openly transgender members of the U.S. military. All but one of them told us they had full support from their superiors and other members of their units during their transitions. It’s unclear how typical their experiences were. In a survey included in this issue [of Smithsonian Magazine], only 39 percent of military personnel said they supported transgender people serving openly. But the people featured in this story said they were able to build on existing relationships to earn acceptance. “The younger men, especially, were like, ‘OK, cool, you seemed like one of the guys already,’” says Army National Guard member Adrian Rodriguez, who transitioned from female to male two years ago. “They were kind of expecting it.”

Read the rest of Jennie Rothenberg Gritz’s article on Jeff Sheng’s photographs over at Smithsonian Magazine.

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