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Posts tagged: portrait photography

A Portrait of the Amazon on the Brink of Catastrophic Change

March 29, 2014. A group of boys climb a tree on the Xingu River by the city of Altamira, Para State, Brazil. Major areas of the city have been permanently flooded by the construction of the nearby Belo Monte Dam Complex displacing over 20,000 people while impacting numerous indigenous and riverine communities in the region.

November 26, 2014. Members of the Munduruku indigenous tribe walk on a sandbar on the Tapajos River as they prepare for a protest against plans to construct a series of hydroelectric dams on their river in Para State, Brazil. The tribe members used the rocks to write ‘Tapajos Livre’ (Free Tapajos) in a large message in the sand in an action in coordination with Greenpeace. After years of fighting, in 2016 the Munduruku were successful in lobbying the government to officially recognize their traditional territory with a demarcation. This recognition forced IBAMA, Brazil’s Environmental Agency, to suspend the environmental licensing process for the 12,000 megawatt Tapajós hydroelectric complex, due to the unconstitutional flooding of their now recognized land.

The mouth of the mighty Amazon River lies in the state of Pará, Brazil, which has been home to the people of the rainforest for over 5,000 years. During the 1960s, the government created the nation’s very first Indigenous Park, which was, at that time, the largest preserve in the world.

Home to 14 tribes that survive off the land, Xingu Indigenous Park became the site of controversy when the government began to develop plans for the Belo Monte Dam Complex on the Xingu River in 1975. In 1989, the Kayapo, a warrior tribe, mounted a massive campaign in opposition to the construction. International financers pulled out, and the project was shelved until 2007, when President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva announced the Accelerated Growth Program.

Positioned at the forefront of construction of more than 60 major hydroelectric project in the Amazon over the next 15 years, Belo Monte is poised to become the fourth largest dam in the world — displacing up to 40,000 people living in the park while destroying the complex ecosystems in order to fuel continued mining of the rainforest.

In his series, Where the River Runs Through, which was chosen for the Critical Mass Top 50, photographer Aaron Vincent Elkaim presents Where the River Runs Through, a profound portrait of the people and the landscape at the precipice of a massive change whose impact on the indigenous communities and the environment are devastating. Elkaim shares his insights into the impact of industry on the earth.

Stunning Photos Tell the Story of Gay Men in Swaziland

Unidentified 85, 2018 © Kyle Meyer / Yossi Milo Gallery, New York

When artist Kyle Meyer began photographing gay men in Swaziland, or eSwatini, five years ago, his subjects were initially wary about the exposure. Their concern was justified: Same-sex relationships are against the law there, and people who are suspected of being gay risk unemployment, ostracism and even violence.

“The LGBT community is pushed into a corner,” says Meyer, 33, whose series “Interwoven” explores sexual and gender identities in the southern African country. Meyer, who is openly gay and lives in New York, was forced back into the closet when he began traveling to Swaziland. “I could have easily ‘disappeared,’” he says.

Despite their anxieties, the men who agreed to have their portraits taken for the project, on view this month at the Yossi Milo Gallery in Manhattan, seemed to relish the idea of finally being seen for who they are. Inspired by the vibrant colors of Swazi wax cloth, Meyer asked them to pose wearing elaborate headdresses in patterns each man chose from fabric collected at a local market. Because the style is traditionally associated with Swazi women, the photo shoots offered a rare chance to play with gender norms and celebrate each man’s individual sense of beauty. “They just wanted to be heard,” Meyer says.

After every visit to Swaziland, Meyer returns to his Hudson Valley studio, where he prints the images on paper up to seven-and-a-half feet high. He then shreds the photographs and the fabric from the head wraps, and, using a technique he learned from Swazi basketmakers, spends as much as 60 hours weaving them together.

Read the rest of Amy Crawford‘s article and see more of Kyle Meyer‘s photographs over at Smithsonian Magazine.

A Stunning New Exhibition of Powerful Photos of Women

Tiana © Renée Jacobs

Sleeping Madje © Maggie Steber

Throughout her career, the photographer Renée Jacobs has heard men tell her about how women “should” be portrayed. She’s photographed hundreds of women and exhibited across the globe, all the while facing comments like “Women can’t look like this” and “They must look like that.” Now, she’s pushing back with Photos de Femmes, a traveling festival of images that depict women in ways that are truthful, raw, and resonant. Jacobs, along with her wife and collaborator Wendy Hicks, unveiled their first exhibition of many, womenSEEwomen, as part of the Porto Photo Fest. The show is now in its final weekend at the Centro Português de Fotografia.

A New Book to Change the Way You Look at Photography

Dorothea Lange: The Road West, New Mexico, 1938. Library of Congress.

Daido Moryama: Stray Dog, 1971. Courtesy Daido Moriyama Photo Foundation

Photographers on Photography, the newest book from the author Henry Carroll, is out now by Laurence King Publishing. In its pages, you’ll find more than a century’s worth of words and images from the past and present, with contributions from William Henry Fox Talbot, Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Irving Penn, Lisette Model, Gary Winogrand, Daido Moriyama, Alec Soth, Olivia Bee, and many more. As a follow-up to his critically acclaimed series Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs, Photographers on Photography takes a philosophical approach to what Carroll calls “the most enigmatic art of them all.”

These Empowering Photos Show Us What It Means to Be a Witch

“Shine (New York, NY),” 2017, © Frances F. Denny. Archival pigment print, Courtesy ClampArt, New York City“

Judika (Brooklyn, NY),” 2017, © Frances F. Denny. Archival pigment print, Courtesy ClampArt, New York City

“As it turns out, there are a lot of witches out there,” the photographer Frances F. Denny tells us. “You probably even already know one.” Her project Major Arcana: Witches in America, now on view at ClampArt in NYC, takes us on a journey throughout the United States, introducing us a few of the many cis, trans, and gender-fluid women around the country who identity as witches. Here, the word “witch” applies in various ways; while some of the women are of the Wiccan faith, others practice outside of organized churches or religions. Denny met priestesses, healers, hedge witches, political activists, and many more during her travels. They each came into their “witch-hood” at different phases of their lives, some as young children and others as adults.

These Vintage Dog Show Photos Are Sure to Make You Smile

When Shirley Baker (1932-2014) photographed English dog shows in the 1960s and ’70s, she wasn’t looking for scenes of glitz and glamour; instead, she wandered behind the scenes, catching glimpses of canines and their handlers as they prepared waited for their big moment. Outside of the spotlight, she watched dogs and their people chatting, preening, napping, and simply passing the time. Her photographs have just been published in the delightful new book Dog Show 1961-1978 by Hoxton Mini Press.

One Photographer’s Poignant Reflection on Self-Injury

“The first instant when I self-injured, I was acting on impulse to try and dissipate some of the overwhelming emotions that I had as a young person,” the London photographer Daniel Regan tells me. “It wasn’t until I had been doing it for a few years, in my late teens, that I felt able to describe why I was engaging in the behavior.” His latest project Threshold pulls back the curtain on an often-misunderstood subject, revealing in pictures what he once struggled to put into words. The work is now on view as part of a major exhibition on addiction (and addictive behaviors) at the Science Gallery London, titled HOOKED!

An Intimate Portrait of Refugees Living in the UK Today

Beilqes portrait taken by Leonie Hampton

Bada Yusuf from Egypt by Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin

Sam from Syria by Timur Celikdag

Every day, 44,400 people around the world are forced to flee their homes in order to escape persecution, war, or violence. This May, the United Nations announced an estimated total of 25.4 million refugees – the highest levels of displacement ever recorded. While 87% come from developing countries, more than half of the globe’s refugees are citizens of just three nations: South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Syria.

Although Turkey, Uganda, Pakistan, Lebanon, and Iran lead the way in hosting refugees, the West has attuned itself to the crisis as it exists within their own borders – with many working diligently to aid and assist those in need. In the UK, Breaking Barriers, London’s leading refugee employment charity, helps refugees integrate by finding meaningful work. In 2017, the organization supported more than 400 people, fostering a sense of community for people dealing with loss and trauma while adapting to a foreign culture.

Rebecca McClelland, Deputy Director & Curator of the Ian Parry Scholarship, partnered with Breaking Barriers to create A New Beginning, a group exhibition featuring the portraits and stories of ten refugees that reflect the extraordinary depths of their experiences in the UK.

Orphaned Elephants and the People Who Rescued Them, in Photos

Edwin, Head Keeper of the Nairobi Nursery with elephants Ndotto and Mbegu. You should have heard the rumbles of love as I photographed this group hug. © David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust / Mia Collis.

Wild elephants join ex orphans at a waterhole in Ithumba, Tsavo. © David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust / Mia Collis.

In 2014, Jacob Putunoi, a young Kenyan boy, helped save an orphaned elephant named Mbegu, who had just barely escaped an attack by humans. Jacob discovered her hiding place while herding his goats, and he brought brought her to Peter Kameru, the Warden at Naibunga Conservancy. Peter protected her from harm until team members from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust could arrive and bring her to safety. “I was afraid at first,” Jacob later said. “But when I saw she was small like me, I lost my fear.” He was eight years old at the time. Mbegu was seven weeks.

Jacob and Peter are just two of the individuals honored in The Unsung Heroes, the last publication by Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick (1934-2018). The book, photographed by Mia Collis, researched by Yolanta Volak, and produced by Angela Sheldrick, tells the stories of people throughout Kenya who  accomplished miracles on behalf of elephants. Because of these courageous individuals, who sometimes put their lives on the line to defend orphaned elephants, the DSWT has been able to rehabilitate hundreds of babies whose parents have, in many cases, been killed by people. When they grow up, they reintegrate into a herd in the wilds of the Tsavo Conservation Area. Despite the cruelty that often marked the early years of their lives, the elephants at DSWT are able to heal through the kindness of individual humans. As Dr. Sheldrick writes in her introduction to the book, the mothers, once grown, frequently bring their wild-born babies back to introduce them to the dedicated keepers who reared them in their youth.

The Loss and Longing of Elderly Women in a Siberian Village

Pudani Audi (born.1948). Pudani was born in the tundra and roamed since birth. In this portrait, she is wearing a fur hat, the sole object she was left with from her wandering days. Pudani Audi: “I feel that my part is over. That I am no longer needed”

A convoy of reindeer, belonging to the Serotetto (white reindeer) family, during their migration over the frozen river of Ob.

In order to visit Yar-Sale, a secluded village deep in Northern Siberia, the photographer Oded Wagenstein spent days traveling: a plane to Moscow, followed by a sixty-hour train journey, and finally, a seven-hour drive to traverse a frozen river. “The first few days were extremely difficult,” he tells me. “On my first night in the tundra, I slept in the tent of an eighty-year-old herder. The tent was filled with smoke from the stove, and the temperature outside was minus 25. Did I already mention that I am asthmatic?” In the end, though, it was all worth it to meet a group of elderly Nenets women who call this unforgiving landscape their home.

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