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Untitled from the series 'Channel 247' Brooklyn, NY, 2011 © Hye-Ryoung Min

I met the delightful Hye-Ryoung Min at a portfolio review and she got me hooked on the show she'd been covering on Channel 247.

In her teens, Hye-Ryoung couldn't help but think that somebody was watching her all the time. "I had to act as a main actress in some kind of movie which made me feel self-conscious wherever I went. This might be typical of many other teenagers and it might even play a part in how one creates a sense of self. I remember when the movie 'The Truman Show' came out in 1998. It opens with the question: "What if you were watched every moment of your life?" It completely matched my imagination. The movie went on to show how Truman would really feel after he realized the truth of his condition. Which leads me to ask: how different is our behavior when we are conscious of others around us? And what do involuntary actions tell or reveal about us?"

"I had five television sets at home. Three of them were in the living room and two were in the back, one in the bedroom and the other one in the kitchen. By "televisions" I actually mean windows. The three windows in the living room had the most interesting and varied shows and actors, since they give out on the main boulevard with its constant flow of people and situations. But I also enjoyed the daily shows in the backyard featuring a more regular cast of actors and private moments.
 
This kind of programming had a loose schedule and no guarantees that shows would play on time. For the most part, it was all silent film and the story lines were pretty much repetitive. However, I started noticing subtle nuances and differences from day to day. Repetition helped me understand actors' basic characters; nuance and difference offered me clues into their hidden stories." Hye-Ryoung Min, 2012.

View the full screen magazine photo feature.

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Anindya Chakraborty sent in his series of photographs on Dhokra, an ancient metal casting process taking place in West Bengal. Here is the story in his words.

"The village of Deriapur in West Bengal is not very much known to outsiders. Although Indians are familiar with metal casting for more than five thousands years and Dokra is one of the ancient metal casting process still existing within Santhals, there are less people to take notice of it."

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"The people of Deriapur have a unique history. They belonged to Malhar tribe which was nomadic in nature. Finally they settled in two places in West Bengal, India. One of those two places is Deriapur where around 50 families are putting up. Their art of creating metal structures is beautiful but silent. It does not ring bell in Governments officials who are busy in much more important matters and they closed their office which used to lend out money to the artisans sometime back. Media has many other important things to cover as well so the people of Deriapur are slowly getting the same idea and moving on."

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"Some of their children go to school and drop out because of money and elders work mostly in fields or they prefer to drink when they have some money. Art can come later. Around 20 years back one of these people got an award from the President for his talent and got 1 Lakh Indian rupees (which was a good amount that time)."

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"The same person now goes to field for living. They don't have much complains though and they are slowly getting into a state which we call - terribly happy!"

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All images © Anindya Chakraborty


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Lunchtime, 2001 © Roger Ballen

US-born artist Roger Ballen studied psychology and geology; he talks about peering into the earth, and we see that he also peers into humanity. Living in South Africa since the late 70s Ballen photographed exclusively in the wild until he brought his camera and flash inside in the early 80s, finding motifs in the poor rural communities that he would use in later work. He does not sketch his scenes in advance, knowing that one can't predict too much. People say his work is dark... "The reason most people say these pictures are disturbing is they can't deal with their own repression."

Ballen has a new exhibition at the Manchester Art Gallery in England 'Shadow Land: Photographs by Roger Ballen 1983-2011' opening March 30th, and another at Marta Herford, Germany, opening April 22nd, 2012.

View the aCurator full screen photography feature

Ballen has known the band members of Die Antwoord for several years and in a befitting collaboration they recently produced this music video for 'I Fink U Freeky.'

 


Order your copy of 'Photographs Not Taken', a collection of short essays by photographers including Ballen's story 'The Cat Catcher.'

Also, "The Roger Ballen Foundation is dedicated to the advancement of education of photography in South Africa. RBF creates and supports programmes of the highest quality to further the understanding and appreciation of the medium. Working with artists from around the world, our program enables students and general audiences to engage with notable contemporary photographic art that would otherwise not be seen in South Africa."

Quotes from hypnotic video and audio interviews with Lens Culture. Further reading: recent article on Time's Lightbox.

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Vanessa © Scott Brownlee

At the New York Film Academy last year I presented my dog and pony show and held a review of the students' work. It was a small and intense group and I was impressed with their well-roundedness. Props to them and their tutors.

I was happy to attend the final exhibition recently and catch up with Scott Brownlee. Scott has vastly developed his project on gender, making portraits, recording a frank video interview with Mik about being intersex, and publishing 'Mixed', a book examining gender identity. Go Scott!

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Edward, before and after © Scott Brownlee

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British photographer Mark Sherratt sent in a new series shot in January as he traveled around India. Notorious for its packed public transport, Mark's images give us a sense there's room to breathe. Just about.

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All images © Mark Sherratt

Compare these with the stifling photographs from 'Don't Breathe' by Ronny Sen that I published here last year.

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A new, online-only photography course has just launched and I have 10 exclusive discount coupons available!

Foto-classes was started by a group of world-class photographers who believe that it's the photographer not the camera that takes stunning pictures, that anyone can take great photos and become a great photographer, and that learning photography should be easy, fun and affordable.

The course is designed to help break down the barriers that prevent you from taking great photos. By removing the technical obstacles one by one, you will be on your way to being a better photographer. Using three key teaching pillars focused on learning, practicing, and receiving professional feedback, foto-classes aims to set itself apart with the emphasis on interactive education.

The course consists of 5 online classes and 2 one-on-one live reviews with a dedicated tutor.

If the class sounds like something you or a friend would benefit from, sign up soon using discount code ACURATORFRIENDS at checkout and you will get the $399 course for just $299.

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"American Girl In Italy" 1951 © Ruth Orkin

As a member of the American Photography Archives Group, in my role representing the Estate of Yousuf Karsh, I sit among some truly great archivists, including relatives of Ernst Haas, Phillipe Halsman, Inge Morath, Gordon Parks and many more. The founder of this group is the inimitable Mary Engel, daughter of photographers Ruth Orkin and Morris Engel, who also works hard representing her parents' archives.

Daughter of a silent film actress, Ruth Orkin had an early interest in film movies and was the first messenger girl at MGM Studios! "Orkin wanted to become a cinematographer; however, women were not allowed to join the union. It was not until the 1950′s when she and her husband Morris Engel made their first independent feature film "Little Fugitive." Truffaut credited the film with helping to start the French New Wave."

In Mary's words: "My mother, Ruth Orkin, had many loves. Photography and travel were two of them. When she was 17, my mother took a cross-country trip by herself, bicycling and hitchhiking from her home in Los Angeles to New York, snapping pictures along the way. She later moved to New York, where this spirit of adventure continued. She photographed Tanglewood's summer music festivals, honed her craft in nightclubs, joined the Photo League, and with her first published story in Look magazine, became "a full-fledged photojournalist." In 1951, Life sent her on assignment to Israel. From there she went to Italy, and it was in Florence that she met Jinx Allen (now known as Ninalee Craig), a painter and fellow American.

The two were talking about their shared experiences traveling alone as young single women, when my mother had an idea. "Come on," she said, "lets go out and shoot pictures of what it's really like." In the morning, while the Italian women were inside preparing lunch, Jinx gawked at statues, asked Military officials for directions, fumbled with lire and flirted in cafes while my mother photographed her. They had a lot of fun, as the photograph, "Staring at the Statue", demonstrates. My mother's best known image, "American Girl in Italy" was also created as part of this series."

aCurator is pleased to publish some of the rest of this photo shoot.

View the full screen magazine photo feature.

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L to R: Photographers Roberta Parkin, Nicky J Sims, Tabatha Fireman, Curator Dede Millar, Photographer Henrietta Butler © Barbara Doux

From Lady Day to Lady Gaga... The opening night of She Bop A Lula was a huge success. At  Proud's Strand Gallery in central London, the exhibition includes over 60 photographs for sale at £200 of the most influential female recording artists of the past six decades, by female photographers. All proceeds go to Breakthrough Breast Cancer Charity.

Running through April 1st, please support the cause, spread the word, buy yourself a photograph of a recording artist you love!

More press:
The Guardian
The Independent
Time Out

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Visitors check out photos of Millie, Nico, Sandie Shaw, Ari Up and Annie Lennox © Barbara Doux

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Overview featuring the back of the legendary jazz photographer David Redfern © Barbara Doux

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Poly Styrene's daughter Celeste Bell in front of some of her Mum's artwork © Barbara Doux

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© Carsten Stormer

I am honoured to publish the work of Carsten Stormer, a German writer and photographer. Carsten brings to our attention a horrendous form of violence in Cambodia: acid throwing.

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"They call themselves survivors, refusing to accept the stigma of victimhood. And somehow, they survive. You see them on sugarcane plantations in the middle of nowhere. In the trash dumps of Phnom Penh. In flimsy bamboo lean-tos where relatives hide their own shame and helplessness. People call them Cambodia's living dead. They are the forgotten victims of a war that ended a generation ago but lives on in the souls of the country's people.

"Acid attacks deprive people of more than their looks and sight. Families are torn apart. Husbands leave their wives, and vice versa. Children are separated from their parents. Jobs vanish overnight, turning professionals into beggars. Many victims cannot get through a day without constant assistance, becoming burdens on their families. All bear the mark of the pariah."

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"There is an invisible wall dividing Cambodia. Since global companies discovered its low wages, the country is in the fast lane back to the future. But there has been no public discussion of the civil war and mass murder committed over 30 years ago by the Khmer Rouge. Hardly anyone was held accountable. It was simply assumed that time heals all wounds - somehow. The past fades to black. Only the present counts, the here and now.

"What remains is a traumatized society in which domestic disputes, unhappy love affairs, and professional rivalries are nearly always resolved through violence. Hardly a family without its members lost to the ideological battles of the Khmer Rouge - a curse that is passed on from parents to children. Battery acid is known to be most uncomplicated way of causing lifelong suffering. A dollar will buy you a quart of acid on any street corner. The perpetrators are seldom punished. Their targets become outcasts."

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"There is no specific criminal law on acid attacks, and the attacks are not tallied separately from other assaults. The authorities are aware of 11 cases so far in 2011, but the unreported number could be much higher. Many victims are terrified any form of resistance might provoke another attack. Many cases disappear without a trace in the Cambodian court system." Carsten Stormer.

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Unlike similar incidents in Pakistan or Bangladesh, acid attacks in Cambodia don't focus on women only. According to Wikipedia "..these type of attacks are most common in Cambodia, Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and other nearby countries. ...80% of victims of these acid attacks are female and almost 70% are under 18 years of age.

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The photos were in the final of the Leica-Oscar-Barnack-Award as well as on the shortlist for the Henri-Nannen-Award.

All images © Carsten Stormer

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Alfredo Gutierrez makes portraits of homeless Americans who come to Tijuana because life on the street is cheaper here than in neighboring California. © Stefan Falke

Whilst working on his project on the Moko Jumbies of Trinidad, Stefan Falke met a costume designer from Mexico who introduced him to one of Mexico's foremost artists, Marta Palau, and Stefan's idea for a project photographing artists along the US-Mexican border began to develop.

"With my long-term project 'La Frontera' I want to examine the cultural and humanitarian activities on both sides of a border that keeps the United States and Mexico apart with a wall of steel already 600 miles long. The turf wars of drug cartels, arms trafficking and rampant kidnappings have turned cities like Tijuana and Juarez into some of the most dangerous places on earth. Despite the violence many artists, photographers, architects, poets, humanitarians, teachers, live and work in the shadow of the wall on both sides, and have a positive influence on this region; they are the focus of this project. Over time I plan to cover the entire length from the Atlantic to the Pacific." Stefan Falke

Stefan's first show of this work opens March 9th, 2012 at La Casa Del Tunel Art Center,
Colonia Federal, Tijuana BC, México. The Center is built over an old tunnel running under the border.

View the full screen magazine photo feature.

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© Stefan Falke

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