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.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

PDN's Top New Photogs For 2010

PDN's choice of new and emerging photographers to watch this year.  View their choices in this gallery.  Image below by Danfung Dennis.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Against The Odds

Rachel Hersh (age 13) is a student at Episcopal School of Dallas, where she was introduced to the Spirit of Uganda during their 2008 performance at Dallas Children's Theater. Touched by the children's stories and wowed by their spirited moves, Rachel decided to help Empower African Children by making a video for her bat mitzvah project.

So she enlisted the help of fellow Episcopal School of Dallas student William Malouf as cameraman and co-director and the two set off (along with their families) for Uganda. In five days, Rachel and William filmed, interviewed, and learned about the lives of these children. Created by children for children, it inspires viewers to believe that the students supported by Empower African Children will succeed, against the odds.

By bringing Empower African Children's story to more people, Rachel hopes to help raise funds for Empower African Children's future school. To support her effort, you can make a donation in her honor at

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sierra Leone: Where Every Pregnancy Is A Gamble

A film by Lauren Malkani and Panos photographer Ami Vitale.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Exodus tells the story of Diana Ortiz, 45, who spent over half her life in prison.  She says it saved her.  Diana dropped out of high school at 18 to live with a man twice her age. To pay for their drug habit, her boyfriend devised a scheme to lure a man into a secluded Coney Island parking lot and rob him.  In the early hours of August 20, 1983, the robbery veered off-course and two men were shot. One was killed. Though Diana was not at the scene of the shooting, she was sentenced to 17 years to life for her role in the murder.  She served twenty-two and a half years.  While behind bars Diana earned her master's degree, developed a strong identity and self confidence. She is now an inspiration for other inmates, helping them to rebuild their lives.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Legacy Of Horror

Severely disabled and abandoned at birth, 124 orphans live at the Ba Vi Orphanage and Elderly Home near Hanoi, Viet Nam.  They are believed to be 3rd generation Agent Orange victims but nothing is known about their family history and the center lacks the resources to conduct the medical tests to prove such a link.  
View Legacy of Horror by Justin Mott. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tragedy In Marjah, Witness To A Civilian Casualty

Photographer Adam Ferguson, on patrol with Marines in northern Marjah, witnessed the unintentional killing of a girl in a U.S.-fired mortar strike.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Phoenix: Afghanistan 1994-2010

Seamus Murphy returned to Afghanistan in June 2010 and photographed some of the places he had on previous trips beginning in 1994. After billions of dollars spent and so many years of violence and war it is surprising how little has changed.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Birth Pains For Southern Sudan

In three months, Southern Sudan will likely vote to become the world's newest nation. Instead of giddy anticipation, its impoverished tribes are bracing for violent conflict. Read the rest of the story here. Images by Cedric Gerbehaye.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Cheese Man

Chris and Kamala Zandee are amazing people. They live, as the expression goes, simply so that others may simply live. Their concern is for the Gujjars, the shepherd people of Kashmir. These people are close to Matt Brandon's heart (visit his gallery to see more photos of them).
Matt met Chris and Kam years back while I was still living in Kashmir.  He adds, "Even then, they had a desire to give back and bless the Kashmiri and Gujjar people. Earlier this year, you will recall I went to Kashmir and while there I learned of the Zandee’s cheese factory. It sounded a little bit odd to me. So I investigated and what I found was an amazing adventure that has started to make and impact on many people in the region. I hope you enjoy this photo documentary I call The Cheese Man." 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

India's Girl Effect

In India, where the lifelines between water, fuel, and 1.1 billion people are stretched thin, a small loan to one person can have a big impact, especially if that person is a girl. A microloan allowed Rehanna Bibi to radically alter the lives of her family and community. Provided $780 and some courses in basic hygiene, Supta Halder has transformed the health and habits of her village, her extended relatives, even her cows. Meet some of the people who benefit from the "girl effect" in India, a photo essay by Michael Rubenstein.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

On Borrowed Time

In the summer of 1999, Henrik Malmstrom's older sister Maija was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, only 20 years old. Her prognosis was not good. With the help of different treatments and a strong will she was able to extend, and periodically enjoy, her life.
In November 2007 Maija was hospitalised again. This is when Henrik started to document her and the rest of my family in hospitals and at home. The following months were to be her last, for she passed away at home in April 2008.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bangladesh: Terrifying Normalcy

Photojournalist Ron Haviv traveled to the island of Bhola in southern Bangladesh to document the challenges of food insecurity, rapid climate change and poverty which make malnutrition so pervasive on this densely-populated island. In his intimate portraits, Haviv captures the resignation with which Bhola's malnourished mothers and children accept a chronically meager food supply. 
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and VII Photo present Starved for Attention, a multimedia campaign to uncover the hidden crisis of childhood malnutrition. Watch 7 of the 195 million stories of malnutrition from prolific and award-winning photojournalists.
Sign the "Starved for Attention" online petition and be part of the campaign to rewrite the story of malnutrition and demand that the 195 million malnourished children get the attention they need and deserve to escape the deadly cycle of malnutrition.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Andy Spyra is a freelance photographer currently based in Germany. He worked for one year as a freelance photographer with a local newspaper in his hometown Hagen before he started to study photography at the Fachhochschule Hannover. In the beginning of 2009, he quit his studies due to both personal and photographic reasons. Since then he has worked as a freelance photographer, focusing on long term in-depth projects of social and political issues worldwide.
Andy first came to Kashmir in the early spring of 2007 at the end of a motorcycle trip across India. He simply fell in love with the region, the people, the light and the atmosphere of this remote place of the world. But as much as he loved it, that much he disliked the political situation of the valley.  View the rest of his photo essay on Kashmir here.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hutu Demobilization

View the rest of the photo essay from the Denver Post here.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Along The Grand Trunk Road

An ancient road spans South Asia, connecting the present and the past in a dynamic, and sometimes dangerous, part of the world. NPR journalists travel the route and tell the stories of young people living there, who make up the majority of the populations in India and Pakistan. Views images from the project here.  Photo below by John Poole/NPR.

Friday, September 10, 2010

South Africa AIDS Orphans: A foster Mother Can't Cope

Like many shouldering the burden of South Africa AIDS orphans, foster mother Olga Thimbela tearfully wonders if her goodwill in adding six extended family members to three children of her own was a mistake. Watch the slideshow by Melanie Stetson Freeman here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Lovensky's Miracle

A little boy who survived the 2010 Haiti earthquake goes to California for vital surgery to fix a hole in his heart. Happy go lucky, 7-year-old Lovensky Alexandre, had just endured two huge life changing ordeals. First the quake destroyed Lovensky's home and with it his heart medicine was lost. Lovensky's desperate mother ended up at a Port-au-Prince clinic where Sacramento fire Cpt. Barbie Law was volunteering. Law called her doctor father, who got Sacramento's Sutter Medical Group heart specialists to provide a life saving free surgery.
Read and watch the rest of the story by the Sacremento Bee's Paul Kitgaki here.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

In Silhouette

A child below plays with water in a fountain at a park in Tel Aviv, Israel. Photo by AP Photo/Ariel Schalit. View the rest of the images here.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

One Block: A New Orleans Neighborhood Rebuilds

"There were some wonderful people on the block and I became invested in them almost immediately" says Anderson as he discusses how his relationship with his subjects shaped the work. Anderson goes on to discuss the effect that limiting himself to photographing the rebuilding process of one specific block had on his process. Anderson introduces and tells the stories of key images from the project and the people depicted in them.
Using portraiture, still lifes, and abstract images, Dave Anderson reveals the evolution of both the street and its houses as residents rebuilt. His images are gathered in One Block, a monograph published by Aperture, and remind us how determination, resilience, and the bonds of community help us to endure.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Coal Hollow

Coal is still king in much of Appalachia, yet the heritage and history of the people who enabled the United States to become an economic superpower in the Industrial age are slipping away.

This audio slideshow presents arresting black and white photographs and powerful oral histories that chronicle the legacy of coalmining in southern West Virginia. Ken and Melanie Light traveled hundreds of miles through rugged, isolated terrain recording the stories of a range of people whose lives were shaped by coal: retired miners, men and women who have been jobless their entire lives, a contemporary coal baron, a justice of the State Supreme Court of West Virginia, a writer who bravely ran for governor on a third party ticket, and people who returned to the hills when their lives failed elsewhere.

What emerges is a complex portrait of people locked into an intricate web of geography, history, and unfettered profiteering. In Light's poignant images, and in their own distinctive voices the residents of Coal Hollow, a fictional composite of the communities the Lights surveyed reveal how the intersection of mountain culture and the greed of the coal companies produced the most powerful economy in the world yet brought crushing poverty to a region of once-proud people.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Kathmandu Sadhus

Here's a collection of sadhus' portraits by Ian Winstanley, a commercial photographer based in the UK.  Ian spent time on the banks of the Bagmati river in Kathmandu's holy site known as Pashupathi. The site is considered as one of the oldest and most holy of temples dedicated to Shiva, and sadhus and other Hindu faithful have been drawn to it since the 5th century.
In Hinduism, sadhus are mystics, ascetics, practitioners of yoga and wandering monks. However, many of sadhus are nothing more (or less) than wandering homeless individuals, relying on charity of others to survive.  I've been to Nepal twice and have always enjoyed photographing the sadhus wrapped in their bright saffron robes.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Salvation Mountain

Salvation Mountain is a giant, rainbow colored, man-made, mountain East of Niland, California, near the Salton Sea. 30 years in the making it was created from adobe, straw, and hundreds of thousands of gallons of latex paint by 78 year old Leonard Knight to convey the message that "God Loves Everyone". Leonard refuses donations of money or labor from supporters who wish to modify his message of universal love to favor or disfavor particular churches, and rejects fear based faith. He estimates that he has used over 250,000 gallons of paint on the mountain and surrounding structures. Steps cut into the side of the hill lead up a yellow brick road to the summit which is topped by a cross. 
Read the rest of the story and view Aaron Huey's photo essay on Salvation Mountain here.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Slave Asylum

Nigeria is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for sexual exploitation. It starts with the promise of a better life. The parents are taken in. The children are persuaded. When they leave home they do so willingly, with some excitement, not trepidation. The trafficker has promised a good job, a schooling, a regular income. But that is not how it works out. Every year, an estimated 50,000 girls travel illegaly from Nigeria to Europe. The journey is often nightmarish, trying to reach the coast of Italy or Spain in a precarious rubber dingy. Many of the girls die of fatigue or drown at sea before reaching their destination. Those who make it, soon realize that the promised job does not exist, and they are sent onto the streest as prostitutes. Meanwhile, in Nigeria, the government and an NGO run by nuns are fighting to set these 21st Century slaves free from their masters, as well as from the naivete that makes them so vulnerable.
View the photo essay by Sergio Ramazzotti here.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Bound By Faith

The sounds of a child yelling in pain echo through the house unnoticed. A twelve-year old boy with a rare genetic skin disease enduring one of two weekly bandage changes. Skin and bandage peeling off together, he begs his mom to stop. He's all too familiar with the drill. Though this time the pain is too much for him to handle. Granted a minute to catch his breath, he takes it. They must keep going. Once the bandaging process has started it must continue. Garrett was born with EB, a rare genetic skin disease that the majority of people have never heard of, yet it affects 100,000 children across the United States. Children born with this disease lack the ability to produce the collagen-7 protein that acts as a glue to bind the inner and outer layers of skin together. They live relatively short lives wrapped in bandages and in constant pain.
View the rest of the photo essay by Andre Hermann here.