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Posts tagged: documentary photography

Honoring the Romani People, in Photographs

Since the Romani people left northwestern India some 1,500 years ago, they have been subject to discrimination and persecution so extreme that most people are unaware that the term used to describe them, “gypsy,” is an ethnic slur. Instead, the very people that have enslaved and oppressed the Romani for over a millennia have also appropriated this slur and recast it in glowing terms to describe free-spirited bohemian members of their own community.

Intent on going beyond the stereotypes and bigotry that have kept the Romani maligned and marginalized, Italian photographer Marco Ponzianelli began traveling to nomad camps in his native Rome in 2016. Over a period of two years, he got to know the Romani, as individuals and as a culture, an understanding he aims to portrait in the series Your Gypsy is a Person.

Here, Ponzianelli shares his experiences gaining the trust of people who know better than to allow just any outsider into their world.

Powerful Portraits of People Living in Purgatory at the US and Mexico Border

A teenage migrant boy, Jesus Martinez Stadium, in Mexico City, Mexico, Nov 9, 2018

Migrant children playing in the streets where they are camped out, outside the locked gates of the condemned refugee camp, Benito Juarez sports complex in Tijuana, Mexico, Dec 2, 2018

In November 2018, Cory Zimmerman began documenting the lives of people living in purgatory, just across the US border into Mexico, in places we rarely see or consider from the inside looking out. Over the next three months, Zimmerman created a series of photographs titled Between a Sword and a Wall: A Portrait of he Migrant Caravan, made at the front lines of the migrant crisis.

Zimmerman traveled to Jesus Martinez Stadium in Mexico City, the Benito Juarez sports complex in Tijuana, San Ysidro border crossing in Tijuana, and the US/Mexican border at Playas de Tijuana as part of an ongoing effort to assist and document the lives of the people who are fighting for their lives.

Zimmerman started a Go Fund Me to help feed the children, as his current work takes him to Guatemala, where he is working with NGOs to document the causes behind the on-going migration crisis. Here, he speaks about his experiences photographing the innocent people whose lives hang in the balance.

The Death of a Parent, Captured in Photos

“Sometimes I feel like I am in a bad dream.”

“Everything is aimless and hopeless. I have lost my direction and I don’t know where to go.”

“Your dad was suddenly lying there in a hospital room. The man I loved.”

The photographer Argus Paul Estabrook remembers his mother calling him from the hospital, and he remembers flying from Seoul to be with his family in the United States. But much of his father’s battle with pancreatic cancer remains a blur. By the time he was diagnosed, it had already reached Stage 4, and when it was all said and done, Estabrook‘s father would live for only three more weeks. “Time was really jumbled like that one drawer where nothing is in the right place,” the photographer admits. “Memories become fractured and mixed together.”

This Is Not an Exit is a poetic recounting of his father’s illness and its aftermath. Initially, the series wasn’t meant to be anything more than a way of coping. It was his father who had first introduced him to photography early in life, and documenting his final days was almost instinctual. “During that time, everything was happening so fast,” he tells me. “I was just trying to hold on to something. That turned out to be my camera.”

Picturing PTSD, the Invisible Enemy

DTI Derek and Phoenix

DTI Ken

DTI Hebert

Nearly two decades into the Afghanistan War, the death toll mounts in a battle on the home front. Every day in the United States, 22 veterans commit suicide, falling victim to an invisible killer: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

PTSD is a condition of persistent mental and emotional stress occurring as a result of injury or severe psychological shock, typically involving constant vivid recall of the experience, with dulled responses to the outside world. Once triggered, the mind becomes a harrowing trap where scenes of trauma replay themselves long after they occurred.

Recognizing the epidemic destroying the lives of veterans and their families, Susan J. Barron realized her duty to give them a voice in her powerful portrait series Depicting the Invisible: A Portrait Series of Veterans Suffering from PTSD, now on view at  The Army and Navy Club in Washington DC through April 15, 2019.

Here Barron shares the stories of veterans fighting against the enemy within the gates, a trauma that is sometimes amplified for women soldiers by the horrific betrayal of their male comrades who sexually assault them with impunity.

A Devastating Portrait of Genocide in Myanmar

The Rohingyas tend to do what are known as ‘3D’ jobs – those that are Dirty, Dangerous and Degrading. Some employers further exploit their dire situation by paying Rohingya workers, such as these working on a high-rise construction site in Malaysia, very low wages or no wages at all.

The Rohingyas arrive in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, escaping from the 2017 Rohingya persecution in Myanmar.

In 2011, Sheikh Mohammad arrived in Malaysia and took a job in a tyre recycling factory. Not long after, he suffered an accident in the factory, which caused third- degree burns on over 60% of his body. He received no compensation from his employer, nor assistance towards the cost of his medical treatment. He also lost his income as he could no longer work. This photograph was taken one month after the accident.

In Myanmar, there are eight “national indigenous races” representing 135 ethnic groups that are accorded protection under national law. The Rohingya people, a Muslim ethnic minority indigenous to the Rakhine State, are not recognized as one of these groups; the Myanmar government views them as illegal immigrants. Since 1982, the Rohingya have been denied citizenship and have been systemically persecuted through a series of government-sponsored pogroms tantamount to genocide.

In March 2008, Bengali photographer, educator, and activist Saiful Huq Omi traveled to a refugee camp, and spent ten days there, conducting hundreds of interviews. What he learned on that fateful trip would change his life forevermore. Over the next decade, Omi entered a shadow world where evil and chaos reign. His determination to bring light to the plight of the Rohingya rendered him one of them, both in spirit and in flesh, becoming a target for persecution himself.

“My anger got the better of me. I was too direct. And so, I was silenced. My voice and liberty were controlled. Now I have apparent freedom, and so I am able to publish this book,” Omi writes in the afterword of 136 – I Am Rohingya (Schilt Publishing).

The Extraordinary Life of Inge Morath

Inge and Ernst Haas during their first reportage for Magnum Photos
Capri, Italy, 1949, photographer unknown.

Venice in the rain, 1954.

It was a rainy day in Venice back in November 1951. Inge Mörath was visiting the city with her then-husband Lionel, and was so struck by the quality of light that she phoned Robert Capa with an idea. He needed to send a Magnum photographer to capture the city as it was. Capa suggested Mörath take the pictures herself.

Mörath just so happened to take along her mother’s Contax camera, and had the store clerk load the film. Then she set a 1/50 exposure at f-stop 4, and posted up on a corner to watch the world unfold, a kaleidoscopic panorama of pedestrians and pigeons, stone streets and brick walls — and immediately knew she had found her calling.

Inge Mörath: Magnum Legacy – An Illustrated Biography by Linda Gordon (Magnum Foundation/Prestel) chronicles the illustrious photographer’s extraordinary life. Born in Austria in 1923 to a pair of traveling scientists, the family flourished under the Nazi regime, moving to Berlin in 1938. But then the war began, and nothing would ever be the same.

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.

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Thanks for signing up to the Feature Shoot newsletter! You might also be interested in submitting some of your photos to our global Print Swap initiative. More here: https://www.theprintswap.com/photo-upload