"I'm interested in what we define as beauty, when we choose to create it ourselves. Beauty has always been a currency, and now that we finally have the technological means to mint our own, what choices do we make?
Is beauty informed by contemporary culture? By history? Or is it defined by the surgeon's hand?
Can we identify physical trends that vary from decade to decade, or is beauty timeless? When we re-make ourselves, are we revealing our true character, or are we stripping away our very identity?
Perhaps we are creating a new kind of beauty. An amalgam of surgery, art, and popular culture? And if so, are the results the vanguard of human-induced evolution? As a race, is this the beginning of a new direction?"Image and text © Philip Toledano
"I take a cultural documentary approach to my photography as a means to promote democracy."View the feature
When we met, Ashok Sinha
had just returned from two years photographing in Asia. "While working as a photographer on an extended trip to China, I became increasingly aware of the plight of the ethnic Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities that inhabit the northwestern province of Xinjiang. As a result of the government's efforts to assimilate the Xinjiang peoples' cultural uniqueness into the 'official' mainstream of Chinese society, the local culture was increasingly under threat and I realized I needed to document the traditional lifestyle of Uyghurs before it changed forever.
Uyghurs are a Turkic-Muslim ethnicity and one of China's fifty-five nationalities. Along with other Kyrgyz, Tajik and Kazhak minorities, Uyghurs have inhabited the Xinjiang region of northwest China for centuries.
The existing body of work from my first trip is an attempt to create a visual record of the Uyghurs' traditional culture and lifestyle as a testament to their unique identity. I hope to travel to Xinjiang to continue my work and revisit the Uyghur community in the aftermath of the latest developments of the last year and a half." - Ashok Sinha.A Xinjiang family of Kyrgyz heritage © Ashok Sinha
The Specials played in New York last night. Janette Beckman
, who last photographed the Specials on their 'Seaside Tour' in 1981, when she was terribly young, gives her review.
"The Specials played to sold out crowd at Terminal 5 in NYC last night. Quite a few sentimental old souls had a tear in their eye as the band was just as brilliant as in the old days - in spite of not having Mr Dammers. The crowd went wild - I observed some serious skanking and a few fights going on. The skinhead look has always been a good one and pork pie hats and suspenders were definitely the thing last night."© Janette Beckman
Dirk Anschütz, aka Knipser
, is a sports, portrait, and landscape photographer - sometimes combining all three. 'Giddy Up' is a cool series which features BMX bikers Matt Beringer, Cam Wood and Tate Roskelley. Dirk felt there was a lot of images of these guys in a more urban setting, saying "Salt Lake City has quite a few top notch BMX riders. It was good fun to get them into the great Utah landscape to perform their tricks."
Dirk's launched a new blog, 'The Heavy Light
', in which you can enjoy the back story on his recent film noir-ish photo story 'Louise Cypher's Suitcase'.View the feature
Just off the Stephen Mallon
presses is his announcement that two of his Subway Series 'Next Stop: Atlantic' prints will be on display in Grand Central Terminal, April 19-23, 2010, as part of Grand Central's Earth Day installations. Congrats Steve!
View Steve's feature
in the magazine.
Read more about Earth Day
.Weeks 297, 2008, chromogenic print edition of 5 in two sizes © Stephen Mallon
Outstanding documentary photographer Peter Turnley
is collaborating with Mike Johnston of super-popular blog The Online Photographer
to 'publish long form photo essays with a personal edit on a site seen by a worldwide audience'. Their latest publication is 'The Faces of Semana Santa, Seville, Spain
' which Turnley photographed in conjunction with one of his student workshops
this year during Holy Week.Priest kissing statue, 2010 © Peter Turnley
Proof: Media for Social Justice
is a non-profit created to educate global citizens about the economic, political and humanitarian hardships facing post-conflict societies issuing a variety of media.
One of Proof's current initiatives is 'Child Soldiers'. Up to half a million children have been engaged in more than 85 conflicts worldwide. Proof produced the exhibition, 'Child Soldiers: Forced to be Cruel' based on the book by Leora Kahn, which features 40 photographs taken of child soldiers from all over the world, which "seeks to illustrate the story of children subjected to unspeakable violence and manipulated by war criminals."Learn more
and see how you can support the organization. Donations over $1000 receive a print. You can also buy the 'Child Soldiers' book
.Photo: Peter Mantello
View the feature
"In 'The Deconstruction of the United States Dollar', I am depicting the front and reverse sides of the one hundred dollar bill.
Being the largest denomination that is in current circulation, the one hundred dollar bill once represented strength. However, on a global scale, this note no longer can keep afloat. With its purchasing power diminishing, the hundred dollar bill is becoming a mere diluted piece of paper in a falling economy.
I have created these images to illustrate the repetitiveness of the downward trajectory of the USD that has been plaguing America for the past eight years. The decline of the USD has affected the lives of many individuals from all over the world. As the currency of our nation has changed our behavior, I have changed our nation's currency.
Each piece is 20 x 48 inches, archival pigment prints on Hahnemuehle Photo Rag Satin paper." - Zachary Bako
At the Sotheby's auction preview this week I met Beth Iskander, VP of Photographs. We knew we'd met before and realized it was 18 years ago when Beth took me on a tour of the Life magazine archives. I remember seeing the Liz Taylor files and thinking how wonderful it must have been when you got to spend a whole day, and sometimes longer, with a subject, and how few outlets were running full photo spreads any more. 18 years later I launched aCurator magazine with the hope of giving photographers the opportunity to see a whole spread of their work again.JFK by Yousuf Karsh, cover by Life.
View the feature
"The sun had set and the sky was a strange electric blue; here was just an empty patch by the shores of Lake Michigan, a small pier, a grove of trees shuddering in the wind under a glaringly bright streetlight, and a nondescript park building. It was November, and as the Chicago wind picked up, it was a challenge to keep my fingers warm enough to work my wooden field camera. I set up the equipment on that cold shore, and made a long exposure, encapsulating the icy nothingness that represented the approximate location where the largest pavilions of the Columbian Exposition of 1893 - the Agriculture Building and the Manufacture & Liberal Arts Building - had once stood.
My current body of work is an examination of how the sites and structures of world's fairs - conceived and built for a temporary, specific purpose - interact in today's unforeseen environment. Some of the most important architects of the 19th and 20th century were commissioned to construct fair pavilions, dazzling, unusual structures incorporating the most cutting-edge materials and engineering prowess possible at the time. Among them are McKim, Mead, and White, Louis Sullivan, Gustave Eiffel, Le Corbusier, Ando, Mies Van der Rohe, and the landscaping of Frederick Law Olmstead.
Tragically, these extraordinary structures are often immediately demolished, reappropriated for far less grand ambitions, or simply neglected. There is a seeming arbitrariness to what survives. In Philadelphia, two of the four remnants from 1876 are fair toilet buildings. In Paris, there are national icons such as the Eiffel Tower, the Grand Palais, and the Palais de Tokyo. In Flushing Meadows Park of New York, Philip Johnson's New York State Pavilion of 1964 sits in sad decrepitude, its stocky concrete support columns chipped and covered in ivy. I became entranced with the fantastical buildings overgrown with weeds, often neglected and ill-fitting among the sleek, modern high-rises looming around them. I use time of year and day - as well as a lush or stark color palette - to further convey the atmosphere of these sometimes-ghostly sites." Read the rest of Jade's statement
New York 1964 World's Fair, "Peace Through Understanding," Airplane, 2009 © Jade Doskow