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Robert Herman is a true New Yorker with a body of photographs to prove it. The many images he's made for his upcoming book "The New Yorkers" are a great insight into the past 20+ years of culture, fashion and the changing environment in the metropolis. But Robert went to South Africa recently and I was interested to see how he'd report back.

"This was my first visit to South Africa and I fell in love with the country and its people, feeling welcomed and very much at home.  The 'revolution' is still fresh here and going on a road trip through the southern Cape inspired me. The people have not become cynical as of yet, but it is a complex land with many obstacles to overcome. Although it is a country with abundant natural resources, the wealth is in very few people's hands. The tension of economics and race is something that I find extremely compelling to try and capture. I find many parallels to America's past and present in South Africa. Empathizing with all sides, I look forward to witnessing, on a return trip, their continuing attempt to make a fair and unified country from the promise that was the end of Apartheid." - Robert Herman, December 2010



Introducing NPR Photography - Video Produced by John Poole from Redux Pictures on Vimeo.

Great news from our world-conquering pals at Redux.

"Redux Pictures is excited to announce an exclusive syndication agreement between the agency and NPR.

NPR's award-winning multimedia team has created a visual reporting style as distinctive as NPR's sound. Two highly accomplished staff photojournalists, David Gilkey and John Poole, travel the world with NPR correspondents and reporters. Their innovative and inspiring coverage is featured on NPR.org and constantly redefines the 'look' of NPR."

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Over the last year Melissa has shown me her portfolio of spellbinding images from two series, 'Behind the Glass Curtain' and 'Somewhere Between Sleep and the Clouds'. I've watched the progression and development, and relished her enjoyment of and enthusiasm for her personal work. During a portfolio review recently, we discussed 'lucid dreaming', a talent some people have for taking control of their dreams whilst in them, which could be great fun.

From 'Somewhere Between Sleep and the Clouds':

"Inspired by the mythical worlds in films and fairy tales, the photo montages in this series evoke our timeless penchant for escapism by using imagination and whimsy as a counter point to the banality and stresses of the modern condition. Through these interwoven images, I attempt to create a surreal and illusory world of boundless possibilities and unbridled creativity."

Every image within each montage is created by Melissa.

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© Melissa Lynn


aCurator's most popular feature this year has been M. Sharkey's Queer Kids project. We can thank young Sharkey for heading off for another round of subjects recently, and for producing this video. A healthy dose of laid-bare teenage honesty.

© M. Sharkey


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Untitled, 2009, from the series 'Detroit' © Ian Willms

With a powerful spread of talent working around the world, Boreal Collective is an example of a small group of enlightened photographers coming together with their own voices and their own brand. With agencies disappearing and editorial assignments of any import few and far between, I expect to see more like this in the future.

In this feature, images from:

Ian Willms: "The photographs in 'Detroit' were made with a $30 plastic camera, manufactured en-masse in the 1980s for working-class families in China. The camera uses 120 format film and is equipped with a single element plastic lens. The body of the camera leaks light and scratches the negatives, while the primitive lens blurs and distorts the images. This camera was the absolute minimum amount of equipment available for me to create this series of photographs; anything less would have been ineffective and anything more would have been excessive."

Jonathan Taggart: "Ninety per cent of ecovillages and intentional communities don't make it past the planning stage or fail within the first year, and it is easy to see why: environmental ideals come in a variety of strengths and focuses, and the shared goals that initially unite members can later widen the rifts between them. While Whole Village has moved steadily towards its goal of sustainability since its founding just a few years ago, the success of the community rests as much on achieving social sustainability as environmental sustainability."

Rafal Gersak: "On a Friday afternoon... many can be found spending time with friends at a local pool, flying kites or visiting a nearby lake. For some there are even dog fights and the country's only golf course is located on the outskirts of the city. In these moments, the conflict seems a very distant thing. But reminders of war's long-held grasp on Afghan society are hard to miss."

Brett Gundlock: "The powerful, violent moves intimidate at first; but the rawness of the arm swings and chest pops is the voice of the dancer. This story is about a group of friends, each from a completely different background, brought together by Krump."

Aaron Vincent Elkaim: "Aaron specializes in editorial photography and has prioritized his personal work focusing on documentary photography with a cultural investment. He believes that the greatest photography is open ended; he doesn't believe in a beginning middle or end to a photo story but simply wishes to illuminate it, urging the viewer to ask questions rather than simply providing answers."  

View the magazine full screen photo feature

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Dave Land is a British-born, Berlin-based photographer, who was first inspired to create by the photographs of O. Winston Link. With an exhibition on in Berlin right now, aCurator presents a selection of Land's images of decay and destruction. They are taken in and around Berlin and capture what is left of history - slowly deteriorating and subject to vandalism. You can see the show at Galerie am Rathaus, Berlin-Schöneberg, until November 25th.*

"I first need a motif which I know will enable me to create something unique. Often, I will revisit a location to improve the shot if necessary. I use layers quite a lot, but hopefully subtly. I have some custom layers which I will apply to an image, sometimes all over the image or maybe just in one small area - it depends. I may work on an image for a day or two, sometimes a week. I try various ideas out until I have something I'm happy with and often that never happens! Each image that I do finish though is unique."

View the full screen magazine photo feature

*Exhibition extended by popular demand, through November 28.
Stage Left © Dave Land

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Fine art photographer and print maker Michael Massaia updated me with an email about his newest body of work 'In The Final Throes - New Jersey'.

While we're all snoozing away, Michael is not getting off our lawn...

"I took all of these images using large format black and white film and developed all the film in a pyro staining variation developer to help me obtain the look I was going after (also it allows for grainless, huge enlargements). After developing the film I'm hand-making 30x40 inch platinum prints as well as 40x60 inch pigment prints. These pictures were quite difficult to take because I literally had to be on people's yards at around 4 am (without their permission in some pretty rough areas) with a large view camera. I was nervous taking them but I'm excited with the results."

Dreamy.

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All images © Michael Massaia

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A moment's reflection is required. If you can't keep a dry eye looking at these, you know they're great portraits; and, we need them, to remind us.

"For the past 7 years on Remembrance Day I have been shooting portraits of veterans. The portraits are all shot in the same style, crop etc. I am aiming to keep shooting it for at least another 3 years. The project is based around the concept of The Unknown Soldier."

'They That Are Left', taken at The Cenotaph, London, Remembrance Day 2010.

All images © Brian David Stevens

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All images © Brian David Stevens

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Robert Rutoed is a prolific Austrian photographer and filmmaker. Prints from his project 'Less is More' are currently on view at the New Orleans Photo Alliance Gallery in a group show titled 'WoRK', curated by our pal Andy Adams at FlakPhoto. Since I find myself craving work with a sense of humour, I'm happy to publish a small selection of Robert's photographs.

Robert has ecommerce nailed, so go take a look at some interesting limited edition book/print combo purchases available on the Rutoed website.

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All images © Robert Rutoed

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Another accomplished youngster. I'd seen one of Argentinian photographer Alejandro Chaskielberg's images illustrating a fiction piece in the New Yorker earlier this year. More recently, when I saw he was part of the Brighton Photo Festival, I visited his website and was just as thrilled by his work as I was the first time I saw it. I am particularly drawn to this series, 'Borders'; as Alejandro puts it, he is working with photography "in the border of the reality. Creating fictional scenarios with real people and situations." Chaskielberg shot on 6x6 positive film with a Rolleiflex.

Other projects include a unique series on the Argentine financial crisis in 2001, and more recently his ongoing project 'The High Tide: Native Islanders and the Community of the Paraná River Delta' which documents the Guaraní culture, and for which he received the 2009 Burn Emerging Photographer Grant. Chaskielberg was included in PDN's 30, 2009, 'Our Choice of New and Emerging Photographers to Watch'. And speaking of watching, here's Chaskielberg being interviewed in Brighton.

View the full screen magazine photo feature.

© Alejandro Chaskielberg

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