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As of today, December 13th, 2010, a repeal of the heinous 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' act looks to be beyond hope. The act prohibits any homosexual or bisexual person from disclosing his or her sexual orientation or from speaking about any homosexual relationships while serving in the United States armed forces. Any person supporting this inhuman, impractical and absurd effort, rooted in religion, makes me about as mad as anything. I am humbled to publish a selection from Jo Ann's series 'Proud to Serve'.

'Proud to Serve' is a portrait project featuring Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) American service members who served their country in silence or were discharged under the current law, 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'.

There are roughly 65,000 gay service members currently serving in the armed forces. Since 1994, nearly 14,000 service members have been discharged for being gay. There are more than one million gay veterans.

Documentary photographer Jo Ann Santangelo is putting a human face on the statistics of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'. Over the last two years she has visited the homes and documented the stories of these men and women. More than half of the portraits featured in 'Proud to Serve' took place on Jo Ann's recent, twenty-eight day, 10,167-mile road trip around the United States. All images are available in a self-published eighty-two page, full-color, limited edition photography book.
 
'Proud to Serve' is currently on exhibit at The LGBT Center 208 West 13th Street, NYC.

View the full screen magazine photo feature.

Corporal Robert Potter © Jo Ann Santangelo

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I had the pleasure of meeting Michael Itkoff this week. Stella Kramer is organizing a panel discussion for the upcoming FotoFusion event in West Palm Beach this coming January and we are both on it.

Michael is the founding editor of Daylight Magazine, and he's also a fabulous, well-published and -exhibited photographer in his own right. In 2008 he published his monograph 'Street Portraits' with the Milan-based art book company Charta.

"Michael has traveled the world since 2002 taking portraits of everyday people in the street. In Itkoff's photographs a makeshift backdrop is held behind each of his subjects... This technique, normally reserved for celebrity and commercial portraiture, creates a striking aesthetic isolating the subjects from their urban contexts and allowing them to exist in a shared visual space as part of the same extended family."

Buy it here.

Henny Garfunkel © Michael Itkoff

rob_hann_seta1.jpgRob Hann's been working on a lovely project for the last year or so and has just published a Blurb book entitled 'The Child Gone'. The story is of "16 year old Seta and her friends in and around the town of Montclair, New Jersey. Seta added her own artwork and poetry to the project. The result is an extended portrait of Seta - part portrait, part self-portrait." - Rob Hann

I truly admire Seta for being able to express herself like this and being a pretty cool artist already, and Rob of course for engaging with these teenagers and giving us a glimpse of what losing one's childhood looks like these days.

All photos © Rob Hann

Artwork © Seta Morton


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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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