Menu

Posts tagged: still life photography

Unforgettable Photos from One of the World’s Last Matrilineal Societies

Pema Lamu (73) from the village Zhashi. Faces and hands of most Mosuo women are marked by the daily working hours in the fields. There is a clear division of labor between men and women. Women are responsible for household duties and farmwork and men for heavy labor and funerals. Usually, it is the Dabu who is working the hardest.

Du Zhi Ma holds a photograph in her hand, a portrait of her, which was taken about 35 years ago. In the photo, she carries one of her three children in her arms.

In order to get to China’s Lugu Lake, where the Mosuo people live, German photographer Karolin Klüppel traveled by road. That road, she says, has only been around for one or two decades. Before then, the area was relatively remote, sheltered from curious outsiders. Today, there’s not only a road but also an airport. Tourists arrive by plane a few times a week. Life is changing for the Mosuo, especially the women.

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at ‘Terrorist Rehab’ in Saudi Arabia

A classroom for members of the jail is lined with desks. Even though the desks are new, the participants have scratched their names, dates, hearts, and slogans into the wood. The black seats with wooden desks reminded me of a line of black clad IS members carrying kalashnikovs. At Al-Ha’ir prison, I had to use the prison’s camera and wasn’t allowed to take photos of any of the staff or inmates, which left me to photograph the evidence left behind by the inmates. I photographed some of the etchings in the wood, but the prison censored these photos. © David Degner/Getty Images

Inmates have a small area with astroturf to enjoy the sun at the end of each cell block. The Ha’ir prison is primarily for terrorists, we are told. Talking to human rights activists, however, gives the impression that there are different departments with different standards. Political prisoners sometimes come to Ha’ir, but hardly in the comfortable cells jihadists have. While the writers were interviewing another inmate under supervision, I was able to talk with some inmates alone. They saw many new inmates arrive after the bombing of Shia mosques in the eastern provinces in May 2015 and felt they were arrested randomly. As one inmate said, there is always the official story and then the unofficial story which they won’t let us see. But he said he couldn’t go into details. © David Degner/Getty Images

The Family House is designed like a boutique hotel with all the amenities for a family visit. The suites allow inmates to live with their family for short periods of time while incarcerated. The families and inmates arrive in chauffeured cars with the hotel logo; guests are given a key for their rooms, and the all female staff cares for them during their stay. © David Degner/Getty Images

In May of last year, Cairo photographer David Degner and Swiss journalist Monika Bolliger traveled to the Al-Ha’ir Prison in Saudi Arabia to see the living conditions of men who had been incarcerated on terrorism-related charges.

On Lake Chad, People Are Living on One Meal a Day

A chipped bowl containing a few grains of rice and some dried beans. Grains are in short supply because the government has banned farmers from allowing their crops to grow more than three feet tall along Cameroon’s highways. Militants had been hiding in the fields in order to ambush passing convoys.

Not so long ago, Lake Chad was one of the largest bodies of water in Africa. The thick reeds and vital wetlands around its basin provided vast freshwater reserves, breeding grounds for fish, fertile soil for agriculture, and grasslands where farmers grazed their animals. But as climate change has taken its toll, the lake has shrunk by 90 percent. Today, only 965 square miles remain. Those who still live by the lake struggle to survive, beset by chronic drought and the slow onset of ecological catastrophe.

This looming crisis has only worsened with the rise of Boko Haram, which has driven some 74,000 Nigerians into neighboring Cameroon. More refugees and fewer crops have proven to be a deadly combination in a region already ravaged by climate change. More than seven million people around Lake Chad are now suffering from severe hunger, including 500,000 children wracked by acute malnutrition. Those fortunate enough to be granted a spot in a refugee camp often receive no more than one meal a day.

We often turn away from images of the starving and hungry, from the skeletal profiles and ­hollowed­­-­out eyes that attest to the misery and suffering. But photographer Chris de Bode has found a way to focus our attention on this forgotten crisis. A single vegetable, a dried fish, a bowl of red maize—sometimes this is all a mother has to divide between her children each day. She may have to choose to feed her two youngest and send the teenagers to a village to beg for food. These images do not ask us to look into their eyes and see ourselves. They ask us to look at the emptiness of their bowls and reflect on the fullness of our own. We see their hunger through what little they have. We measure their suffering in the most universal unit of all: a single meal.

Read the rest of Lisa Palmer’s article on Chris de Bode’s photographs at The New Republic.

Celebrate the Legacy of Irving Penn with “Centennial”

Irving Penn, American, Plainfield, New Jersey, 1917–2009, New York.
Pablo Picasso at La Californie, Cannes
1957, printed February 1985 Platinum-palladium print
Image: 18 5/8 x 18 5/8 in. (47.3 x 47.3 cm.) Sheet: 24 15/16 x 22 in. (63.3 x 55.9 cm.) Mount: 26 x 22 in. (66 x 55.9 cm.) Overall: 26 x 22 in. (66 x 55.9 cm.)
Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation IP .123

Irving Penn, American, Plainfield, New Jersey, 1917–2009, New York.
Three Asaro Mud Men, New Guinea
1970, printed 1976 Platinum-palladium print
Image: 20 1/8 x 19 1/2 in. (51.1 x 49.6    cm.) Sheet: 24 15/16 x 22 1/16 in. (63.3 x 56 cm.) Mount: 26 1/16 x 22 1/16 in. (66.2 x 56 cm.) Overall: 26 1/16 x 22 1/16 in. (66.2 x 56 cm.)
Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation IP .154

“Photography is just the present stage of man’s visual history,” Irving Penn (1917-2009) sagely observed, recognizing the infinite possibilities of the human animal to create technology that would advance our ability to document, represent, and re-envision the world. As a master of the form, Penn understood that the only thing that limits us is imagination.

For seven decades he worked, becoming a master of studio photography with the ability to craft pictures of anything he wished. Here was a man who could transform his very first commission for Jell-o pudding into a resounding success, even though, as Penn realized, it was, “a abstract nothing, it’s just a blob of ectoplasm.”

Yet with that formless glob of goop crafted in a laboratory, Penn was able to entice consumers to buy and serve the product en masse. It’s precisely this ability to transcend the particulars that made Penn a master of whatever form he chose to shoot, be in portraits, fashion, still life, food, nudes, or flowers. He understood that the photograph was an invitation to engage, to gaze upon the world without actually having to interact with it.

This Photography Program Empowers Kids Living with Cancer

Red and Blue Steps, 2017 © Aralyn Lopez, age 6

Ascending into the Night, 2016 © Joshua Randman, age 18

In 2008 and 2009, as he was going through cancer treatment, a boy named Pablo took tons of photographs: self-portraits in the mirror, portraits of his dogs, and still lifes of his toys, arranged in particular ways for the camera. “We didn’t realize was how important that form of self-expression was for him while he was in treatment,” Pablo’s mother, Jo Ann Thrailkill, told me over the phone. Pablo passed away in June 2009, thirteen months after he was diagnosed with a rare form of childhood cancer. “But he left us these incredible gifts,” Thrailkill explained, referring to the photos saved on all their phones and computers.

Behold these bold minimalist interiors made of paper and light

While street and architecture photographers are reducing their urban environments to their bare elements and seeking line, light and shadow, London-based still-life photographer Stephen Lenthall and paper artist Owen Gildersleeve have combined efforts to recreate this aesthetic in the comfort of their own studios. Shadow spaces was conceived as “an exploration of the play of light in simple architectural spaces” writes the photographer.

Call for Entries: The RPS International Photography Exhibition

Rose in a Fox Mask © Melanie Eclare

Abrigo Corner 1 © Tom Blachford

The International Photography Exhibition by The Royal Photographic Society has been a fixture of the photography community since 1854, just fifteen years after the invention and introduction of practical photography. Now in it’s 160th year, the IPE is the single longest-running photography competition of its kind, allowing contemporary photographers to follow in the footsteps of early exhibitors like Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Steichen, and Roger Fenton.

For this year’s worldwide call for submissions, the RPS has once again opened its doors to photographers of all backgrounds, working in all genres. As always, there is no fixed theme, making IPE one of the most consistently diverse photography exhibitions in the world.

The Carney Kid Who Grew Up to Be a Photographer

“Life on the carnival growing up looked different every single day,” photographer Ciara J. Alberts remembers of the first decade of her life, spent on on the road with Reithoffer Shows, “I mostly bounced around and wreaked childhood terror with other carney kids on the midway. We would bounce from ride, to cotton candy stand, to ride again.”

Hunting Culture Revealed in Honest and Unflinching Photos

andreatese_the-hungry-moon

The Hungry Moon © Andrea Tese

jesseburke_bone-saw

Bone Saw © Jesse Burke

michaeltummings_hermannstadt-l

Hermannstadt I © Michael Tummings

Take Aim, a photographic exhibition exploring hunting culture, isn’t meant to be comfortable. For curator William LeGoullon, who is neither for nor against hunting, it’s a study in contradictions.

Hilarious Instagram About the Best and Craziest DIY Camera Rigs

1

“Lego Technics Follow Focus. D300s + 85 1.4” © Remco Pronk

1

“Gimbal support for under twenty bucks! Two driveway markers ziptied to an old backpack frame with some nylon webbing to hold the rig.” © @dlmoody

1

“We need like a kaleidoscope kinda looking shot”….easy” © Matthew Thompson (@shotbymatthew)

Eve Arnold famously said “The instrument is not the camera but the photographer.” Long before that, Edward Steichen claimed “A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.”

It’s a beautiful sentiment, one that appeals to writers, but as any photographer knows, it only tells part of the story. Shitty Rigs, a submissions-based website and Instagram account dedicated to ingenious things photographers do in a crunch, tells us about the importance of gear and what really happens when it falls apart.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get some visual inspiration into your day!