"The British Abroad" is a document by photographer Peter Dench. All around Europe's coasts you'll find the British equivalent to America's Spring Break only year-round and probably involving more sausage, bacon and eggs. Bars make obscene offers to partiers, who cause shame to their home country as a result! To give you a glimpse of the mind behind the project, here's a quote from Mr. Dench "The first time I went abroad was in 1986; the destination was the party town of Magaluf, Majorca. Aged 14, already a seasoned beer drinker, my parents decided it was OK for me to have an alcoholic spirit in my drink; the alcoholic spirit I chose was the white rum, Bacardi. Bacardi was cheaper than coke (my mixer of choice) and the measures reflected that. The bars delivered a buy one, get two free offer and my mum, dad and older sister (by three years) Jennifer, clattered 12 glasses onto our uneven metal table outside the Benny Hill party pub, not far from the Green Parrot Bollocks bar. We slowly sucked back the potent sugary blend through bendy straws and watched the mayhem gather." (Magaluf itself recently announced it has passed laws to curb drinking on its streets.)
Peter has launched a fundraiser, asking only for £6000 and as of writing he's almost there. His previous books are "A & E: Alcohol & England," and "England Uncensored," so you get his drift. It's only £20 to get a signed copy for your donation - less than most similar campaigns. Should be horrifying and fun! Get funding.
Long Biên Bridge is a cantilever bridge across the Red River that connects two districts of Hanoi, Vietnam. Now-regular contributor Patrick Fraser found time in his busy busy schedule to visit. The bridge was heavily bombed during the Vietnam War, and about half retains its original shape. Poor families live in boats under the bridge. (wikipedia)
It's been a while since I promoted a crowd-fund, but it's a new year and this is a project I can really get behind. John Irvine, born in Northern Ireland but living now in Scotland, wants to record the many miles of "peace walls" that were built during The Troubles with a view to separate Catholic from Protestant neighbour. I'd never even heard of this but I'm not surprised; they still exist and some Northern Irish think they should remain.
John started shooting last year but is looking for a few quid from sponsors so he can go back and make this project into a proper record. You can help here via Indiegogo.
Part of a peace divide that continues onto an external wall of a police station in West Belfast
The peace wall that divides Alexandra Park in North Belfast
Prolific portrait and music photographer Justin Borucki adopted the old wet plate collodion process to record changing New York. With his necessary mobile darkroom, Borucki has embraced this tricky* process to make magical images of the city he loves. We've been colleagues over many years since he signed up for representation at the photo agency - props always to Kellie McLaughlin, now of Aperture. It's a pleasure to see how photographers progress and change with the times, coming into their own.
*Wikipedia: "Collodion process" is usually taken to be synonymous with the "collodion wet plate process", a very inconvenient form which required the photographic material to be coated, sensitized, exposed and developed within the span of about fifteen minutes, necessitating a portable darkroom for use in the field.
Once upon a time I fell in love with a series of photographs by Doris Mitsch of the poisonous and glorious datura flower. I was perturbed and fascinated when I learned that the images were made using only the light from her scanner. Fast forward a decade and find Coco Martin using his scanner to fully expose his models, holding it close to them, painting them with the light from it, and recomposing the images in post, to marvelous effect in a series of unusual portraits. Martin shares his time between Lima, Peru, and New York, and has been widely exhibited.
"This particular body of work represents the last five years of my practice in photography. I've been questioning myself about the concept of what we call a photograph and the meaning of the mechanical act of capture itself. I am looking to provide to my photographic work a new conceptual approach, and through scannographies, as a temporal denial and refusal to use a regular photographic camera, I am still able to call myself a photographer."
"By only using a flatbed scanner on the skin's model - no external lighting, nor lens or aperture to control - I ended up discovering this 'magic kingdom of a candle light'. This is a statement of pause, a way to take some distance of the overwhelming reality and get the chance to think about the main source, the light and the subject, the eager attitude to really get someone soul almost from the very skin.
"Within the current context of massive production of images due to the arrival of the digital era and despite the fact that each piece might take days to be composed and completed, the process took me back to rediscover the meaning of patience instead of the present immediacy."
A small round-up of portraits that Giles Clarke made in 2014. Giles is a social documentary photographer based in New York City who is known for his work, among multitudinous other topics and places, in Haiti, Bhopal, and with the Occupy movement. Just lately he has been producing for UNHCR, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as well as being a Featured Contributor to Getty Images Reportage.
These portraits will take you on but a portion of Giles' journey through last year.
British photographer Nat Wilkins is working towards a BA in the UK and has a few interesting projects under his belt. I'm afraid I erm, chickened out of his original submission: "The images are a small edit from the essay of the Torajan tribe, these rites involve ritual animal slaughter, illegal cock fighting, gambling, elaborate processions and huge feasts." I couldn't stomach it. But I love this series about the making of beedies, Indian rollies I sometimes smoked when I was a teenager. They make your lips tingle. Nat gives us a glimpse into how they are made.
Multi-talented photographer Daniel Mirer is based in the USA and the Netherlands. His commercial work is in the tricky field of architecture and his personal work drills down into areas of interest such as masculinity, and Americana.
Historically, a "thing" was "the governing assembly of a Germanic society, made up of the free people of the community presided over by lawspeakers."
Daniel tells me 'Thingstätten' is "a term used to define open-air Nazi cult theaters built between 1933-1945 for the specific intention to entertain local communities."
About the locations in Daniel's series: "The productions performed were to project propaganda of an idealistic Germanic history and used as a recruitment tool for the National Socialist Party. Architecture and impressive scenic places were chosen as thingsteads: locations where based on Germanic idyllic surroundings in wooded areas, near bodies of waters, nestled in hills or by natural rock formation as well traces of archaeological ruins of local Germanic tribal history."
Daniel has received funding from the German government to help make this project happen, which helps me encourage other photographers to explore all possible options.
In September 2014 a young woman was molested and her boyfriend beaten up by 10 fellow students of Jadavpur University, Kolkata. The general student body demanded an unbiased investigation but were denied. Protests followed in Kolkata, and other cities. The police were called in and beat the protesters. Avinandan Sthanpati is in Kolkata and recorded one of the demonstrations.
"...The general students' body of the university demanded an unbiased investigation committee. They continued to stay at the campus until the university authorities wanted to talk to them but all in vain. Instead of that, the Vice Chancellor of the university called up the police into the campus at night, who in turn beat up the students mercilessly, irrespective of male and female. Several of the female students were infact molested in the hands of the police. Several students were arrested and taken to the police station.
"But the police had no idea how this action of theirs could backfire on them. The students got united and within an hour, massive numbers of them went outside their campus and sat on the roads just in front of the Jadavpur Police station. With time, their number grew exponentially and students from other universities also started to join them.
"Rapid Action Force were summoned by the police and things were just going to get ugly when the student representatives took a mature decision and decided to go back to the campus only after the arrested students were released from the police custody. The police thought that this was over. They forgot that students were like seeds. They cannot be suppressed by throwing them on the grounds.
"The next week, almost 40,000 students gathered and started a protest march towards the Governor's house , demanding the resignation of the Vice Chancellor. The Governor had a closed door meeting with a few student delegates and assured them that he will look in to the matter on a serious note.
"Three months have passed after that assurance but alas, nothing has been done from his end. Tyranny is still present inside the university. But the students are getting more and more organised day by day and vouching for a revolution on a massive scale.
"This series is a collective of the photographs of the students from the night when they showed protest in front of the police station and also on the night of that historic march.
"I name this series "Hok Kolorob" - "Let's make some noise" (or "Let there be noise" - ed) in accordance with the name that was given to this protest movement. I, along with scores of people all across the world, am in soliditary with "Hok Kolorob.""