Friday, December 31, 2010

Life Stories: Seeing The End

Since we're effectively "seeing the end" of 2010 today, I thought it would be an appropriate way to close out the year with the delightful story of 103-year-old hospital volunteer Lucille Pacaud produced by Phil Carpenter.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Naisi Zhao: The Mormon Missionary

A convert, Ms. Zhao, 21, has spent eight months proselytizing in Chinatown for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  An audio slideshow by Miki Meek and Todd Heisler.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Congo's Children Of Rape

View Robin Hammond's compelling photo essay on the lost generation of babies growing up in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Unicef Photo Of The Year 2010

The winners of this year's Unicef Photo of the Year contest have been announced in Berlin. The prize is awarded to outstanding photos that best depict the personality and living conditions of children.
Approximately 4 million refugees have returned to Afghanistan from Pakistan and Iran and are now trying to settle down again in their home country. Among these refugees was the family of eight-year-old Akram shown in the image above by Majid Saeedi. His family had looked for shelter in the Pakistani city of Peshawar and Akram tried to make money by collecting scraps on a rubbish dump in the city. While rummaging through the rubbish, he accidentally touched a non-insulated cable, which caused severe burns. Both his hands and arms had to be amputated. Akram’s family have now returned to Kabul and he received arm prostheses thanks to the help of the International Red Cross

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Execution

A man executed but saved by the Amnesty Inernational petitions signatures...your signature is more powerful than you think.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

2010: The Year In Pictures

Memorable images from 2010 as published in The New York Times.  In the image below by Damon Winter, a body lay on the sidewalk in Port-au-Prince on January 14 covered in dust from a collapsed building.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Santa Safari

Fred Conrad went on safari this season to track down the true Santa Claus. He found whole herds of them, but which one was real? Finally it dawned on him that everyone he’d seen was the real Santa, because Santa is whomever we want him to be.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Take Care

Take Care offers a glimpse into the life of Virginia Gandee, a 22-year-old woman who lives in Staten Island, New York.
At first glance one is struck by Virgina's bold appearance; her bright red hair and the dozen tattoos that canvas her body. When she was 15, Gin left home to marry a 20-year-old she met online. Two years later, she was a teenage mother. Today, Gin is raising her daughter as a single mother and pursuing her dream to become a nurse.
Take Care is a story about family, choices and reconciliation.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Memorable Moments Of 2010: Sports

The images in this New York Times Lens album remind us that once divorced from greed, drugs, nationalism and corporate machination, sports are about human capacity, performance and endurance.  Photo below by Chang Lee.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Education In The Mangroves

Since the end of World War 2, the world has lost approximately 50% of its mangroves, mainly as a result of destruction by humans for coastal developments.  Found mainly in the tropics and subtropics, mangroves are a unique species of trees and shrubs that thrive in saltwater. They are valued for their ability to protect coastlines, harbor wildlife and have a nutrient base on a par with the rainforests.  
Photographer and videographer Sean Gallagher travels to South-East China to report on a project aiming to save the remaining pockets of mangroves in China, on assignment for the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Travel Photographer's Best Of 2010

Today I found out that I have been accepted into The Travel Photographer's Kolkata Cult of Durja photo expedition/workshop to be held in the Fall of next year.  What better way to celebrate than to present a slideshow of The Travel Photographer's best images of 2010.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Unexpected, Unusual, Underexposed: The Most Surprising Images of 2010

Images you might have missed but should see now from Time Magazine.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Prayers Of The Disinherited

While depictions of conventional middle-class religion are widely visible, rarely seen are the sacred worlds of society’s marginalized: the outcasts, the fallen, those that have been labeled “other” - ironically, those for whom religion was first formed. “Golden States of Grace” aims to give image and voice to some of those whom are active parts of our nation’s diverse religious landscape, but who because of the world, society, or their own actions, may have been silenced, and now worship as a means of finding refuge, family or of forging community.
Using California as the lens, “Golden States of Grace”, posted on the socialdocumentary.net website, highlights eleven marginalized communities at prayer in eight different faith traditions. Through photographs, oral histories, and actual prayer, this work represents groups who are reinventing time-honored modes of worship, pushing their respective traditions into the 21st century. 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Kumb Mela Sadhus

Ken Hermann is a freelance photographer from Denmark who posted a gallery of sadhu portraits on the Behance Network.  I remember photographing similar Hindu holy men during my trips to Nepal and being mesmerized by their captivating stare.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Tibetans In India

Christian Bobst is a documentary photographer based in Switzerland.  Christian produced a slideshow about Tibetan refugees who are living in exile in India where they are allowed to have their own administration, schools, temples and medical system. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Home On The Water: Louisiana's Disappearing Coast

Long before the BP oil spill, the environment and residents of southeast Louisiana have been exploited and abused. In this multimedia piece, Kael Alford describes her five year journey to document the coast of Louisiana and the devastating impacts that the oil and gas industry has had on the environment and communities there. She describes the attachment residents feel toward their landscape and heritage.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

El Rey: East Los Angeles' Mariachis

This is a delightful mini documentary featuring Mariachis musicians in East Los Angeles produced by Drea Cooper and Zackary Canepari. The piece features Mariachi musicians who gather on corners of the streets of East Los Angeles looking for work, whether in birthday parties, in cafes, restaurants, quinceañeras, weddings and the like.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Echolilia: A Father's Photographic Conversation With His Autistic Son

Timothy Archibald's eldest son was born in 2001 and diagnosed with autism five years later.  At that time, Timothy began making photographs as a way to find some common ground and attempt to understand his son.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Best Photos From The Pages Of Time 2010

A gallery of images that shaped our world.  The image below from the Port-au-Prince cemetery was photographed by Shaul Schwarz.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tracking Smugglers

Border agents in New Mexico rely on tracking skills borrowed from Native Americans to intercept drug smugglers who cross the border on foot. It's a 75-mile walk to a drop point on Interstate 10.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Underneath The Surface: Modern Day Slavery From Phnom Penh To Portland

Underneath the Surface chronicles the journey of a young woman’s discovery of a sex trafficking ring in a Cambodian orphanage, and the sex trade in her hometown of Portland, Oregon. Her passion for raising awareness of trafficking compels her to travel to Cambodia and come face to face with the sex trade. Armed with the realization that sex slavery is a worldwide epidemic that occurs even in the U.S., she is determined to make a change.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Children Of Darfur

Award-winning photojournalist Ron Haviv has produced images of conflict and humanitarian crises, including Darfur, that have made headlines from around the world since the end of the Cold War.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Grave Digging For Mugabe

On the same day that President Robert Mugabe declared cholera did not exist in Zimbabwe, photojournalist Robin Hammond secretly entered a hospital teeming with men, women, and children fighting for life, many on the verge of succumbing to the infection.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

All My Enemies

Battle lines between rival gangs and ethnic groups are resulting in a movement of people and a new formation of the old problem of gang violence.  Watch this video by Ron Haviv, a photojournalist with VII.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

DR Congo: The Forgotten War

Ron Haviv's look at life in Eastern Congo and the work of Doctors Without Borders' attempt to make a difference.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Climbing a Thousand Hills

In May 2009 Phil Carpenter went to Rwanda to teach journalism and take a look at how Rwanda had changed in the 15 years since the 1994 genocide.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Circumambulation

Circumambulation of temples or deity images is an integral part of Hindu ritual. It is also practiced in Buddhism, Islam, Judaism and Christianity.  Watch the following video by Robert van Koesveld, a high school art teacher living in Perth, Australia. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Forgotten Existence

In the remote countryside of Vietnam, lies small populations of people with disabilities from Leprosy.  Having survived a history of persecution, they were exiled and forgotten. These people live a difficult life with little funds and contact from the outside world.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Burma Through The Lens Of Andrea Burman

Andrea Johnson is an award-winning photojournalist serving the wine and spirits, food, and travel industries. Over the last decade, she has produced a compelling body of work for corporate, advertising, editorial, and fine art clients around the globe. Take a look at her photographs of Burma in the above movie, which she made earlier this year.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Digital Camera Magazine's Photographer Of The Year 2010 Competition

Digital Camera magazine's Photographer of the Year 2010 competition attracted more than 114,000 online entries from 123 countries. The overall winner and the winning images in each category will be announced on December 7 on Digital Camera magazine’s sister website, www.PhotoRadar.com. In this picture gallery, a sampling of some of the short-listed images is published. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Southern Sudan: A Shaky Place

In the photo below, passage to manhood is literally incised on Majiek Gai Chan's face. Because Sudan's civil wars have claimed so many men, scarification is now performed on boys in the Nuer tribe as young as 12, instead of the traditional 15 to 18.  View the rest of the  images by George Steinmetz for National Geographic.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bali: The Trilogy

The new book by the Travel Photographer, Tewifc El-Sawy can be purchased here.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Disappeared In Nepal

Amnesty International has launched a new multi-media piece for the International Day of the Disappeared (30 August) that looks at impunity for conflict related abuses in Nepal.  Working with Purnimaya Lama (whose husband was abducted and killed by members of the Communist Party of Nepal), and local photographer Nayan Tara Gurung Kakshapati, the piece tells a story of what it is like to be left behind, uncertain of what the future holds.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Reuters Full Focus - Best Of The Year

Reuters photographers produce over half a million images every year. Some pictures define an event, others capture a moment revealing an aspect of the human condition. In the Best of the Year series, Reuters photographers offer unique insight into some of their most memorable images over the past twelve months.  Image below by Adrees Latif.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Nothing To Hold On To

GMB Akash began riding the rails with his camera in 2006. He wanted to draw attention to the danger the stowaways expose themselves to - gruesome accidents are routine for free riders. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Pujab

The Punjab provides both a symbolic and practical access point for both India and Pakistan to heal their troubled relationship through the everyday experiences and interests of a people--to find common ground.  View more of Ed Kashi's photo essay from VII here.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Hungry In America: A Little Goes A Long Way

On this Thanksgiving day, more than 6 million Americans who are 60 and older won't have enough to eat. Photojournalist Christopher Anderson and audio journalist Jonathan Miller accompanied Nancy Hueske on her rounds to meet people struggling to put food on the table. Their powerful multimedia presentation, "A Little Goes a Long Way," is the first of four parts in a Hungry in America series produced by Magnum in Motion that AARP.org will roll out in the next several months.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Disability In India

In January 2006, Mimi Mollica was sent on assignment to India from the NGO Leonard Cheshire International, to photograph the activities they bring forward to help people with disability in the poorest areas of the country.  This set of pictures cuts across the different areas that I visited, from the Academy for Blind in Bangalore, to the tsunami affected areas in the south east of India and from the coffee plantations in Coorg, up north to the slums of Dehra Dun, city famous for its schools and the near-by Himalaya chain.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Somalia: City Of Displaced

As people continue to flee the Somali capital of Mogadishu, a new city is growing to the west.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Interview With Alixandra Fazzina

British photo-journalist Alixandra Fazzina has distinguished herself as one of the leading humanitarian reporters of our generation. For over a decade she has tirelessly rooted out stories and documented the plight of the uprooted through distinctive and moving photo reportages, with the sole aim of raising awareness of those forced to flee their homes because of conflict, violence and misery.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Natabar Sarangi - The Source

Natabar continues to find, save and share his indigenous rice seed with local farmers. To date he has managed to re-introduce over 350 varieties.  But it’s not just about the indigenous rice seed of India or about the survival of a sustainable agriculture system with the knowledge of over ten thousand years. It's about a global phenomenon taking place where a non-sustainable system systematically destroys a sustainable one, where short term profit has the power to overwhelm common sense and the consciousness of many millions, where progress is not progress but the wanton destruction of an eco-system and environment we will never be able to replace.

Natabar Sarangi is just one of a growing number of farmers throughout the world who realise that if we do not begin to repair the damage taking place to our agricultural systems and our environment, we will lose not just our cultural identity but our fundamental right to a truly sustainable system of food security.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Haiti Cholera Outbreak

Haiti, a country still recovering from the devastating earthquake of January 2010, is now dealing with a major cholera epidemic that has now reached all of the 10 provinces in the country.  Reportage by Getty Images photographer Walter Estrada is currently in Haiti covering the outbreak.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Wind Of Changer In Havana

A raft of capitalist reforms from Cuban President Raul Castro is creating something new for many of the island nation's citizens...uncertainty.  Read more from the Wall Street Journal's photo essay.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gali

The Gali region of Abkhazia lies in the South East of the territory on the border with Georgia. It is home to the 40.000 or so Mingrelian Georgians who have managed to return to their homes since the Abkhazian struggle for the independence ended in 1993.  Largely neglected by both sides of the conflict, the people of Gali remain in the state of limbo.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Death to the Death Penalty

Amnesty International France in collaboration with advertising agency TBWA produced two short advertisements to coincide with Amnesty International's Death Penalty Campaign and will be launched on the 4th October 2010.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Mennonites Of Manitoba

These images by Lisa Wiltse, capture the Mennonites of Manitoba in their everyday lives, now struggling to erase a recent painful past and continue to live their lives separate from the outside world. Lisa futher explains:
I aim to produce photo essays that are intimate yet strong in narrative, and that gives voice to those previously overlooked. The remote colonies seen down dusty roads are off the beaten track, and, once there, difficult to enter and fully understand. I hope to bring a greater understanding and awareness to these communities.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Daughters Of The King

Three months of work, digging into the tradition of such Jewish women, spending time with them in their homes, praying with them, and getting closer to their spiritual beauty, led Frederica Valabrega to understand that there is nothing inferior about being a woman in the Jewish faith.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Greenpeace: Voices Of Change

Over 6 million individuals will be affected by climate change...one of them is you.  Make your voice heard at greenpeace.org/my voice.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Tonya Burch: A Search For Peace

In a rough and violent neighborhood on the south side of Chicago, Tonya Burch, 45, walks tirelessly in search of information to lead her to her son's murderer. Deontae Smith, 19, was shot and killed by an unknown shooter at an unsanctioned block party on August 1, 2009. Tonya has distributed and posted thousands of fliers, three billboards, and has offered a reward for information. The harsh neighborhood in which the homicide happened in remains mute, but Ms. Burch continues to press on.

Friday, November 12, 2010

No Woman Should Die Giving Birth: Maternal Mortality In Sierra Leone

This film illustrates the problem women face when giving birth in Sierra Leone. 1 in 8 women die giving birth in Sierra Leone as opposed to 1 in 4000 in developed countries. In a country where over 50% live on less then 1$ a day and a quarter live in extreme poverty, the poorer you are the more likely you are to die giving birth.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Human Rights

On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Surviving The Drought

The 2009 drought in Kenya has had a devastating effect on pastoralists. Hundreds of thousands of cattle died and with them a way of life that had provided families a livelihood from the land. This essay was crafted by duckrabbit during a photofilm workshop at the International Livestock Research Institute in Nairobi August, 2010.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

America In Color From 1939-1943

These images from the Denver Post, by photographers of the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information, are some of the only color photographs taken of the effects of the Depression on America’s rural and small town populations. The photographs are the property of the Library of Congress and were included in a 2006 exhibit Bound for Glory: America in Color.

Monday, November 8, 2010

IPhoneistan

Working on assignment for an NGO in Kabul this summer, Abbie Trayler-Smith found out what it means to work under the auspices of a security-conscious international organisation in times of conflict and unrest.  She writes:
It was a strange and surreal experience to be whipped around the city without being able to walk the streets or even, as I sometimes do, hang out of the car window to shoot pictures. This would be seen as drawing too much attention to us in a place where kidnap and robbery are considered a real danger.  The city as I glimpsed it through the car windows seemed to be back on its feet, functioning and busy, and I used my iPhone to capture flashes of the street life I was unable to experience. Being unobtrusive, it seemed like the right tool with which to record the view from my confined and constricted perspective. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Inside An American Militia

Photographer Ty Cacek joins the Ohio Defense Force during a grueling weekend training exercise.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Prostitutes Of God

Former Independent journalist Sarah Harris has made a documentary about India's temple prostitutes (watch the trailer below).  Devadasi are young girls who are dedicated to a Hindu deity at a young age and support their families as sex workers.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Undesired

India is a diverse country, separated by class and ethnicity. But all women confront the cultural pressure to bear a son. This preference cuts through every social divide, from geography to economy. No woman is exempt.  This preference originates from the belief that men make money while women, because of their expensive dowry costs, are a financial burden. As a result, there is a near constant disregard for the lives of women and girls. From birth until old age, women face a constant threat of violence and too frequently, death.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

IDs For India

India hopes to assign each of its 1.2 billion people a unique 12-digit ID number based on digital fingerprints and iris scans, in what many specialists consider the most technologically and logistically complex national identification effort ever attempted.  The sign-up effort is already under way in a handful of districts. In one early registration drive in Nagaram, dozens of people streamed into a government office one recent afternoon to have their fingerprints taken and irises scanned. Sanjit Das/Panos for The Wall Street Journal.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Photos Of Survival In An Emergency Room

Ashley Gilbertson has taken photographs in emergency rooms throughout the world, including in Iraq and Afghanistan. But what he saw during the week he spent in the Maimonides Medical Center emergency room in Brooklyn shocked him.  View his Photos of Survival.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

City Of The Dead

The following video was produced by David Myers, a photographer who lives in Maryland.  The City of the Dead is a four mile long cemetery that extends from the northern to southern part of Cairo and is an area of tombs and mausoleums where people live and works amongst the dead. Its foundation dates back to the Arab conquest of Egypt in 642 AD, and has grown with time until it reached the equivalent of a fully functioning residential suburb of Cairo.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Yangtze, The Long River

This is both poem, travel journal and odyssey: we witness the journey of photographer Nadav Kander from mouth to source at a time of tumultuous change. He draws us into a landscape highly charged with meaning, it is both distant and present, monumental and intimate.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Photo A Day

A Photo A Day is an e-mail listserv. a website. a plethora of ideas. a supernova. a place to get constructive criticism. a home for work that you shot for you, not them. A constant source of inspiration, a photo community dedicated to the advancement of photojournalism.  Sign up here.  Photo below by Michael Millady.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Visions Of The Artic

The arctic is a fragile ecosystem teaming with life. Not a "flat white nothingness" like pro-oil politicians have labeled it. This video by Florian Shulz was made to bring you an intimate portrait of a place few people have ever seen. After the ecological tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico, it is time to rethink offshore oil drilling in arctic waters. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chosen Ones

In China, children with albinism face a bleak future. Often abandoned and ostracized, most will never be educated, marry or find a job in their country. Adoption offers hope for a chosen few.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

2010 Visa Pour L'image Perpignan, France

View more images from the 2010 International Festival Of Photojournalism here.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Detained

John Moore, of Getty Images, has visited American-run detention centers in Iraq, including Abu Ghraib and Camp Cropper; prisons for Taliban fighters in Afghanistan run by that country’s National Directorate of Security; the Pul-e-Charki prison outside Kabul; and the Guantánamo Bay detention center. He is gathering these images in a longterm project, “Detained.” 
View the rest of his images and read James Estrin's and David Furst's interview here.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Introducing Oliver Asselin Photography

Olivier Asselin grew up in Eastern Quebec, Canada, where he studied and worked in the IT field for four years before dedicating himself to photography.  He graduated in 2004 from the Western Academy of Photography in my hometown, Victoria, British Columbia, and spent the following year working in the newspaper industry in Western Canada and Morocco.
Based in Africa since 2005, he spent four years in Accra, Ghana and one year in Dakar, Senegal, covering the region for development organizations and editorial clients. Now based in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, he continues to work throughout the continent for clients such as UNICEF, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the New York Times, and the Associated Press.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Exorcised of Bahadur Shahid

Another excellent video from The Travel Photographer, Tewfic El-Sawy, a photo-expeditions leader, multimedia teacher, and self-ascribed pontificator.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Haiti Before 1.12.10

Over the past few months we've been saturated with images of Haiti after the Big One.  Check out Jeff Antebi's Haiti gallery of pre quake images to gain retrospective.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

2010 War On Want Photography Award

The 2010 War On Want Photography prize was awarded to Gareth Kingdon, a student from the University of Wales, Newport, for his vivid photographs of Kibera, Kenya, Africa’s largest slum. His photographs of life in Blikkiesdorp, a notorious transit camp for displaced South Africans, were featured on the front page of The Guardian and can also be viewed on his website.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Brick Kilns Of Bhaktapur

Child laborers make up a large part of the work force in the brick kilns that Conor Ashleigh documented in Nepal.  It was common to meet children as young as 12 who had travelled from the impoverished Indian state of Bihar to work for 6 months of the year. they live in cramped conditions, work 12 hours a day 7 days a week and receive less than $2 US a day.  While the universal right of a child are recognized by Nepal, the exploitation of child labor is still commonplace.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bloodline

The AIDS epidemic that came to light in the 1980s still rages today across Africa, killing 1.4 million people and infecting another 1.9 million in 2008 alone. The disease does not discriminate, infecting educators and corporate professionals, as well as the poor.
As a concerned documentarian, Kristen Ashburn went to Africa to address this crisis after being struck by reports of the numbers of those dying. What she found, and what she relates in her deeply moving work, are human beings who are desperate for their story to be understood by the larger world.
Through her work we come to know these people, and to see the larger implications of the disease, as it snakes through whole villages, threatening peoples' livelihoods, intensifying the effects of poverty, and threatening the economic stability of the whole region. Lack of education, awareness, and access to medical care have made the problem seem insurmountable. Through Ashburn's efforts come some glimmer of hope toward a solution.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Introducing Photojournalist Robin Hammond

Click here to view a selection of Robin Hammond's images from around the world.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

30 Days In Muslim America

30 Days In Muslim America, a photo essay published in the well-known Boing Boing blog, by Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Land Of 10,000 Homeless

Every day, approximately 10,000 people in Minnesota will sleep outside or in temporary shelter. This video allows us a chance to see the world from their eyes. For more information, please visit www.voicesofthestreets.org.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Cripplers

Introducing Hampton Roads' quadriplegic rugby team, the East Coast Cripplers. They fly down the court. They get knocked out of their chairs. They are athletes.  Photography by Preston Gannaway.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Environmental Photographer Of The Year Award

An amazing picture of thousands of rays swimming through the ocean in a colossal school has scooped top prize in the CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year 2010 awards. The group of Munkiana Devil Rays were spotted in Baja California Sur, Mexico, by German conservation photographer Florian Schulz.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

White Poverty In South Africa

Seeking to reverse decades of racial inequality, South Africa’s ruling ANC government introduced affirmative action laws that promote employment for blacks and aim to give black South Africans a bigger slice of the economy. This shift in racial hiring practices coupled with the fallout from the global financial crisis means many poor white South Africans have fallen on hard times.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Gosport's Rowner Estate

For 25 years, Gosport’s Rowner Estate has been a point of contention, and after much deliberation demolition has begun and residents are leaving through choice or eviction. Built in the 1960s by the Ministry of Defence to house service personnel, the estate was later purchased privately during the 1980s housing boom. Since privatization, the area has had a very low level of financial investment, and in the 1990s the estate’s community slumped to its worst, with certain public services refusing to enter. As residents met increased annual maintenance payments, the owners were reluctant to spend money on the upkeep of the now decaying estate as they felt any development would be met with vandalism. Residents could only watch as the material and social fabric of the area fell apart. With its history of intravenous drug users and violence, the estate is still viewed with distaste by the surrounding communities, and not many outsiders venture within the concrete precinct at the heart of the estate.

Monday, October 11, 2010

In Afghanistan, Passing As A Boy

Under social pressure in Afghanistan to have a son, Mehran’s parents began dressing and treating her as a boy when she was five.  Read the rest of the story here.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

In The Name Of God

The Ramnamis are a group of untouchables from central India.  Banned from entering temples along with other Hindus, they decided to tattoo God's name (Ram) all over their faces and bodies.  A message to say the they "could have God with them too", and it angered the upper castes who felt that they were polluting God's name with their untouchable bodies.

Access Olivia Arthur's compelling gallery here.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Dancing With The Dead

Winter in Madagascar is a season that sees two traditional rites of passage, famadihana (the turning of the bones) and circumcision.  View Ed Ou's Dancing With The Dead.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Battle For Hearts And Minds

On July 2nd, 2009, four thousand US Marines of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade launched a major helicopter assault into a Taliban stronghold in the Helmand River Valley in southern Afghanistan in order to break a military stalemate with the insurgent group.

Independent filmmaker Danfung Dennis was embedded with Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Company, as they were dropped 18 km behind enemy lines to seize a key bridge. Within a few hours of landing, fierce fighting erupted and continued for the next three days, during which Lance Corporal Charles Sharp, from Adairsville, Georgia was shot and killed by a Taliban fighter.

After the initial fighting, the Marines searched for the insurgents who had killed Lance Corporal Sharp. Frustration set in as the Marines tried to fight the elusive enemy whose IED's cut off their supply lines. The Marines’ objective was to secure and protect the population, but the Afghan villagers complained that the fighting has driven them into the desert, and the bombing destroyed their homes. Can the Marines balance their contradictory roles as warriors and statesmen, as they struggle to win the hearts and minds of the Afghan people?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Insect Macro Photos

Although I'm not a huge fan of macro photography, I found these beautifully lit insect shots by Leon Baas to be visually stunning.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Los Migrantes

Los Migrantes, by Tewfic El-Saway, is a photo essay of illegal migrants from Central America traversing Mexico on their way to the United States by hitching rides on freight trains. The main transit point for these migrants is La Lecheria, near Mexico City.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sin And Salvation In The Mississippi Delta

Matt Eich is a photographer based in Norfolk, Virginia and a Founding Member of LUCEO Images.  Matt has started a new project documenting life in Baptist Town, Mississippi and provides the following introduction:

My goal with this project is to remind people that while we may live in a time where civil rights is taught in history classes around the country, the real legacies of racism in the south continue to impact people economically and culturally, in persistent and often pernicious ways. I want to directly focus our collective attention on this complicated inheritance, focusing on the Mississippi Delta and Baptist Town in particular by bringing an exhibition of the work created to both its residents and the more affluent white communities on the other side of the tracks.

Part 1 and 
Part 2 of the photo essay are available for viewing now.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Reentry In Los Angeles

Photographs and interviews by Joseph Rodriguez.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Day In Varanasi

The allure of the whole city of Varanasi - the age-old temples and rituals of life and death being played out in a never-ending rhythm - has driven it to become a significant tourist attraction. Scores of visitors continuously direct their lenses towards the praying, rinsing, dead and religiously awakened. But in the midst of this ceremonial stage there is also daily life.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Palo: African Ritual In Cuba

The Palo religion is a syncretic religion which developed amongst the black slaves brought to Cuba from the Congo during the colonial period. Palo, having its roots in spiritual concepts of the indigenous people in Africa, worships the spirits (of humans, plants, etc) and the natural powers (thunder, ocean, etc).  Due to the forced evangelization, Palo often give them faces and names known from the Christian dogma.  Read the rest of  Jan Sochor's story here.

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Million Shillings: Escape From Somalia

In 2006, Alixandra Fazzina started photographing refugees and migrants from civil war-torn Somalia, the uprooted people who risk all to cross the Gulf of Aden in search of a better life. The two-year project has now been turned into an epic, often sadly beautiful book, A Million Shillings: Escape From Somalia. Fazzina's original idea was to follow a single group of refugees from Somalia to Yemen, but that became untenable when she realised few people reach the other side. As it was, she faced extraordinary risks and came upon dreadful suffering, at one point leaving her camera on a beach to help drag survivors from a boat overloaded with dead bodies.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Jagged Lines

Cristian Movila introduces his presentation with the following comments:
Humanity, albeit used in singular form, has a variety of expressions. While we celebrate and enjoy the benefits of a globalized world, we tend to forget that most of the people living on our planet lack the basics for what we define as a decent life. Be them in poverty stricken rural Romania, awaiting for salvation from a crumbling medical system; be them in Palestine, starring blindly at a concrete wall that separates lives and destinies; be them on the streets of a confused Tehran, balancing their desire for freedom with the weight of religion and of a rejected political system - all of these people remind us that our lives does not really have the imagined and imaginary smoothness and comfort in which we believe we live. As I worked with them, my own life entered in a process of changing; I realized that their lives trace the jagged lines that contradict the perfect contours in which I painted my own.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Desmond Doss, WWII Conscientous Objector

Desmond Doss was a company aid man in WWII when the 1st Battalion assaulted a jagged escarpment 400 feet high. As the troops gained the summit, a heavy concentration of artillery, mortar and machinegun fire crashed into them, inflicting approximately 75 casualties and driving the others back. Pfc Doss refused to seek cover and remained in the fire-swept area with the many stricken, carrying them 1 by 1 to the edge of the escarpment and there lowering them on a rope-supported litter down the face of a cliff to friendly hands.  Desmond was later awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his efforts.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Stand By Me

From the award-winning documentary, Playing For Change: Peace Through Music, comes the first of many "songs around the world" being released independently. Featured is a cover of the Ben E. King classic by multinational musicians adding their part to the song as it travelled the globe.

Monday, September 27, 2010

In The Courtyard Of The Beloved

In the Courtyard of the Beloved is a visual and aural portrait by Andrea Burgess of Nizamuddin Auliya Dargah, a Sufi shrine in New Delhi, India. Each day, hundreds of pilgrims travel by airplane, train, car, rickshaw and foot to reach this shrine, which honors a 12th century Sufi mystic who believed in drawing close to God through renunciation of the world and service to humanity. Beginning with imagery from these journeys, the film then enters the physical space of the shrine; a unique nexus of marketplace, social space and spiritual haven, where  devotees come to offer their prayers and find a moment of reflection away from the din of Delhi traffic. As the sun sets behind the dome, musicians begin the qawwali, a style of Sufi devotional music that ranges from contemplative religious elegy to raucous crescendo.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Poverty, And Little Sympathy, In South Africa

If there was one thing Finbarr O’Reilly sought to emphasize when he began reporting on white poverty in South Africa, it was that color shouldn’t have a voice in the conversation.
“It doesn’t really matter what color it is,” said Mr. O’Reilly, a 39-year-old Canadian photographer for Reuters whose touching 2005 photo of a Niger mother and child was named World Press Photo of the Year. “It’s an issue that really is quite urgent right now in South Africa.”
The story has rarely been told. But it has been on his radar since a 1994 backpacking trip through Africa, when he noticed a number of poor white South Africans begging for change at traffic lights.
“I started asking around and saying, ‘What’s going on here?’” Mr. O’Reilly said over the phone from Dakar, Senegal, where he’s based. “It’s not a new phenomenon, but the numbers seem to be more apparent than they were in the past.”
Read the rest of the story by Kerri McDonald and view images by Finbar O'Reilly here.