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Some light-heartedness from Barcelona-based self-proclaimed amateur photographer Jose Porroche because, why not? #BumBookends

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All images © Jose Porroche



Jason Florio and Helen Jones had completed a trip on foot around the perimeter of The Gambia in 2009 and had resolved to make another, this time following the source of the River Gambia through three countries - Guinea, Senegal and The Republic of The Gambia - to the Atlantic Ocean. Inspired by Scottish explorer, Mungo Park, who made trips to West Africa in the late 1700's, they resolved to find a way to fund a two to three month photographic expedition and document the communities living along the River whose lives rely upon it. To create "[a] modern-day account of the people, societies, and life along the length of one of Africa's last, free-flowing, major rivers. There has been talk of damming the river. This journey will also be about the impact to the communities, and the environmental impact of damming."

They set up a Kickstarter campaign in September, 2012, and raised above their goal. 

"23rd November, 2012 - 21st January, 2013, after 400km overland in the Fouta Djallon Highlands of Guinea-Conakry into Senegal and then putting our two canoes into the water in Kedougou - we paddled (no engine!) over 700km of the River Gambia to its end, at the Atlantic Ocean in Banjul, The Gambia."

Sponsors received regular updates during the trip, including thanks along the way and the promise of great print-rewards! The trip was a huge success as you will see. 

Inspiring!


Prints from the expedition will be on-view at Photoville, in Brooklyn Bridge Park, September 19 - 29, 2013.

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Last year's Photoville was impressive, and loads of fun, and this year it promises to be even better. There are dozens of talks and workshops, exhibitions and projections, representing 260 artists. I will be presenting the photography of two subjects from social documentary photographer J A Mortram's series Small Town Inertia, as well as co-presenting, along with Stella Kramer: Personal Projects, Long-term Commitment, and appearing, nervously, on the Future of Copyright hosted by Photoville partners Photoshelter. aCurator web designer (who is also my husband) Mike Hartley of bigflannel has courageously decided to open himself up to questions in an hour-long session titled Ask A Web Designer. Another mention must go to Carl Saytor of Luxlab who is not only generously supporting the production of Small Town Inertia, but is hosting a self-curated group show, Rebels. Last for my incestuous list is River Gambia: a 1044 km African Odyssey wherein photographer Jason Florio and producer and curator Helen Jones-Florio take us to the source of the River Gambia and through three countries to where it meets the ocean, in a compelling, crowd-funded expedition. 

There's loads more happening so if you're remotely local, have a good look through the listings on the Photoville website. Photoville is FREE to the public. Spread the word and we'll see you there! Brooklyn Bridge Park, September 19 - 29, 2013.

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Less than two miles long, the Gowanus Canal nips through Red Hook and Park Slope in New York's borough of Brooklyn, and was once a hub of water-based activity and a good spot for clamming. Fast forward to the 21st century and here is what Bill Miller found instead. "Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal is one of America's most polluted waterways. More than a century of unfettered industrial abuse was followed by decades of bungled attempts to clean it up. Its contaminated waters hold the evidence of its history. It is murky and clouded over but if you look closely you can see life and light reflected in the mercury, feces and coal tar that drift in the canal like malevolent clouds. There's a lot of mistaken perspectives, like the confusion of looking down to see the sun. I'm trying to wade, visually, into the space between water, shit and the sky."


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Mies van der Rohe, 1962, © Yousuf Karsh

This portrait of Mies van der Rohe was made during the first photo shoot that the newly-married Estrellita Karsh attended, in 1962. She talks about how she watched Mr. Karsh take the "imposing buddha in a wheelchair" to a corner in the architect's Bauhaus home for a quiet conversation, seeing a relationship develop, as if "a doctor with a patient." Mrs Karsh tells this story in an article for French magazine 'Beaux-Arts,' to be published in conjunction with a major exhibition at the Mona Bismarck American Center for art and culture, in October.

"The exhibition at the Mona Bismarck American Center for art & culture will reunite approximately seventy of the photographer's most striking portraits of French and American dignitaries and luminaries, juxtaposing Frank Lloyd Wright with Le Corbusier, for example, and Charles de Gaulle with Dwight Eisenhower. Original photographs will be presented alongside archival material from the dozens of Life and Paris-Match covers that Karsh captured, marking the transformation of his intimate portraits into public icons."

Then in November, we'll be at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC!

"In celebration of a major gift to its collection of more than 100 portraits created by renowned photographer Yousuf Karsh (1908-2002), the National Portrait Gallery will present the exhibition Yousuf Karsh: American Portraits. Opening November 1, 2013, this exhibition will feature iconic photographs of Americans who have distinguished themselves in fields as diverse as business, medicine, entertainment, politics, and the arts. Among the portraits to be included will be those of artist Georgia O'Keeffe, physician and virologist Jonas Salk, singer Marian Anderson, actress Grace Kelly, businesswoman Elizabeth Arden, architect I.M. Pei, and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Yousuf Karsh: American Portraits will be the museum's first exhibition devoted entirely to the work of this internationally recognized portrait photographer."

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I had the great pleasure of being invited to New York's School of Visual Arts Master of Professional Studies in Digital Photography thesis review, where, among other interesting youngsters, I met Masha Ermak and was taken with her project, 'Strangers.'

"This project started out with food photography. One day, I was photographing a raw, plucked chicken carcass, and it reminded me of a naked human figure. So, I took off my clothes and got into the picture, contorting myself to mimic the shape of the chicken. I then playfully discovered how to put my body into abstract, often uncomfortable positions, to develop new creatures or 'strangers.'

"In this work, I want to go against the grain of the artistic and social conventions that tell us the human body is beautiful and graceful. This is also why I maintained the soft, all-revealing light that I was using for my still life images, and why I made the pictures as sharp as possible. Too often, photography flatters the human figure for no good reason other than to make us feel better about ourselves. In this project, I wish viewers to see human body in a new way."


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Photo by Girdhari
 
'Life through the Lens' Participatory Photography Project is organised by the UK registered charity Basti Ram which is looking for support through camera and SD card donations, among other things. 

"The project was developed to give young people from a developing country the chance to show their lives to the world in an honest and uplifting way. Too often we see 'poor' people's lives through the eyes of Western photographers who, even with the best of intentions, are often biased in the way they see. Too often, poverty looks hopeless and defeated. This project aims to offer a new perspective. It strives to demonstrate that young people living in deprived circumstances (in this case, boys from the Boys Destitute Home in Rajasthan, India); can have strength and passion for their surroundings and their lives. In the images the boys create, they depict their own lives and interests, and enhance them with their own written observations.

Basti Ram exists to help these communities realise their own potential, and to enable ordinary people to do extraordinary things. By mentoring the boys through the basics of photography, the self-funded volunteers who join this project offer the foundation for a new skill set. Such new skills can provide a genuine alternative to the hazardous occupations many boys face once they are 18, such as mining in local marble mines. With an alternative set of skills and a good command of the English language, the boys are now in a much more favourable position to find work in the booming local tourist industry."


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Photo by Amit

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Photo by Partap


Since 2009, Douglas Ljungkvist has been photographing the Ocean Beach neighborhood of New York's Fire Island, before and after hurricane Sandy. Long story short, Doug is compiling his impressive photographs into a book and his fundraiser is in the final throes. Chip in, so I can get my copy!

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"This project is study of a unique place in the American landscape that appeals to my vernacular taste and sense of style and order. As a photographer I am interested in the cottages still showing signs of a bygone era when wood paneling, vibrant colors, and kitsch decorations were the order of the day. I always felt it was a race against time to visually preserve the cottages. That was based on the rapid pace of cottages being renovated and modernized to attract more potential vacationers on the competitive rental market. 

But instead it was nature that pushed me to continue the project after I thought it was completed, due to the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy in October, 2012. Once access was restored to the barrier island in early 2013 I resumed photographing extensively with a focus on the cottages facing the ocean and hardest hit. Since then 35 of the 39 ocean-facing cottages have been demolished. Hundreds more will need to be gutted or demolished due to the damage from standing water when the ocean and bay waters met."

Read about the history of Ocean Beach over on Doug's Kickstarter page whilst you browse which reward you're going to spring for...

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All images © Douglas Ljunkvist



Klaus Pichler's photographs from 'Skeletons in the Closet,' his project made in the Museum of Natural History, Vienna, from 2008 - 2011, are entertaining and at times baffling. He got the idea to gain access to the storage areas after he caught a glimpse into the museum's basement one night where he saw "an office with a desk, a computer, shelves and a stuffed antelope."  

Klaus has now self-published a limited edition book of the work. Every page is a winner and I love its format: small, square, utilitarian grey cardboard cover, but with a round window and a bear peeping through. Just €35! 

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All images © Klaus Pichler

Be sure to check out Klaus' other work, not least of all 'One Third,' about food waste, and 'Dust,' which turns collections of fluff into beautiful still life photos.

Also check out Klaus' early aCurator feature, 'Middle Class Utopia.'

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Pezhman Zahed is an Iranian-born, UK-based artist who recently graduated with a BA in photography from Brighton University. "My practice incorporates economic data and examines the possibility of translating non-visual data into visual forms."

Pezhman describes his engrossing, ambitious project: "Growing anti-western sentiment stemmed from five decades of struggle with the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and the reluctant involvement in two world wars, followed by a plot to topple the most popular government in Iranian contemporary history, resulting in the 1979 Islamic Revolution."    

"The photographs demonstrate excited fluids under the effect of sound waves with particular frequencies. The figures used to generate the frequencies correspond to the company's net profits, royalties to Iran and (if applicable) British taxes, in nine most critical years of the company's 42-year long activity in Iran prior to the nationalization. Accompanying the photographs are excerpts from declassified documents and found images related to the events immediately before and after Operation Ajax (the overthrow of the democratically elected Prime Minister, Mohammad Mossadegh, in a CIA/MI6-backed coup d'état in 1953)."

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