Magazine


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© Reed Young

Bateys are company towns where migrant sugar workers live. They can be found in Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

According to Wikipedia, very year since 1933, seasonal immigrants from Haiti have arrived to work the sugar harvest in the Dominican Republic. Photographer Reed Young had an eye-opening experience after he was invited by a friend to visit a batey in the DR. Read his story below.

View the Las Pajas stories in the full-screen magazine photo feature.

"Lost in the vast sugarcane fields of the Dominican Republic, there are hundreds of small villages called Bateys. These underdeveloped towns were established in the beginning of the 20th Century to house migrant Haitian workers during the sugarcane season. The Bateys were intended to be seasonal towns. But in the last 40 years, the Dominican Republic has become a symbol of hope and prosperity for the Haitians. Because of this, more and more Haitians have discontinued going back to Haiti after the season and have started families in the Bateys. 

In theory, this sounds ideal.  But the infrastructure for a permanent population remains unmet in the Bateys. The schools have little to no funding; there is no running water or plumbing; and trash collection is obsolete. Another problem plaguing these small communities is the lack of legal documentation of citizenship. Without the basic rights as a citizen, most of these people are denied education and healthcare. This has created a significant social status problem, which will only improve with the help of humanitarian organizations. 

My good friend Rachel has been doing volunteer work in a small Batey called Las Pajas for the last six months. Every day she works in the community, attempting to establish sustainable outlets for the people to overcome the horrendous living conditions. She has begun a women's group and she also works regularly with the children to educate them about the importance of planning for a more prosperous future.  

A few weeks ago, Rachel invited me to Las Pajas, an eye-opening, unbelievable experience. Even though the problems plaguing the Bateys are similar, each person had a unique story to tell. They were so proud when I asked them if I could take their photograph. Most of them have never seen themselves in anything but a mirror, so each night I downloaded the images to my computer and did slideshow for the people I shot. They all screamed, laughed and yelled things to each other in Creole that I didn't understand. But it was obvious they were very excited and honored. 

In the end, I was the biggest beneficiary of all. I was honored to learn about their lives. Despite having nothing but each other, they are more content than most people I meet in the more developed world. I also discovered that money alone isn't the solution to helping impoverished people. What they need more is education, healthcare and correct nutrition. 

I was struck by how these Haitian people view themselves as extraordinarily lucky compared with their families back home. Although the conditions of the Bateys are deplorable, they're nothing compared to those that exist in Haiti where the current food crisis affects 60 percent of the country's people.

Who would think that people with no education, no access to healthcare and terrible sanitary conditions would consider themselves lucky? These are the lucky Haitians."
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Torture victim detained in Iraq in 2004 © Chris Bartlett

I was fortunate to meet Chris Bartlett at New York's Photoville this year and see for the first time his important Detainee project. I am so pleased to present this series in aCurator and encourage you to share this story and help us all not to forget.

"Over three hundred former Iraqi detainees have filed or are filing federal lawsuits against private contractors CACI International Incorporated and L-3 Communications (formerly Titan). These are the two companies whose employees participated in torturing people held at detention facilities in Iraq, including the notorious Abu Ghraib prison."

All of the former detainees whose portraits and stories are included in this feature were part of a lawsuit that was dismissed. 

"The torture cases had mixed results. Approximately half of the victims obtained compensation; the others did not. The difference arose from the lawsuits being filed in different jurisdictions, and from the Obama Administration Solicitor General filing a brief advocating that the Supreme Court not overturn the negative decision." Susan L. Burke (Read more in Burke's Wikipedia entry.)

The portraits were made in Amman in 2006, or in Istanbul in 2007.

View the full screen portraits and read the people's personal stories.

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The installation at Photoville, September, 2014. Photo by Chris Bartlett.

"For Photoville, it's going to be a photo show about torture that has no pictures of torture. My goal is to get people to think about the issue and not walk in and see a horrible picture and be turned away because they don't want to think about it. It's the same manipulation, for lack of a better word, as from when I started with still life photography. I want to draw people into the issue and make them think about the issue. This is a policy that was thought out, planned, carried out, directed on a corporate level by our government. It wasn't just a handful of rogue soldiers who did this." Chris in an interview with proof.org.
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© Arlene Gottfried

Born and bred New Yorker Arlene Gottfried is one of the city's finest: a splendid person, with an equally-splendid archive of New York characters. Previously a jobbing freelancer she now teaches and lectures, and sings! Arlene has been exhibiting her prints from the 70s and 80s: she has a solo exhibition opening November 6, 2014, at Daniel Cooney Fine Art in Chelsea, NYC; "Sometimes Overwhelming" will include 30 vintage prints of images made in Brooklyn, Soho, Lower East Side, Riis Beach, Rikers Island and more. 

Enjoy the full screen magazine photo feature
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© Jonah Markowitz 

Jonah Markowitz is a documentary and portrait photographer; he has covered events from Super Storm Sandy in New York to flooding in the Peruvian Amazon. In 'Princess to Queen' he contemplates how those of us benefitting from Indian labor are inadvertently supporting violence against women in that country.

"Four Indian women have been raped and hung in recent months, drawing headlines across the world. Many more have suffered in silence as the vast majority of violence against women goes unreported. 

Absent from the discussions about the recent wave of hangings in India is the hand that globalization has had in the increasing levels of sexual violence. Globalization and its attendant commercial values and material expectations are transforming social relations in India and, in doing so, stoking the brutalization of women." 

View the full screen photo feature.
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© Cameron R. Neilson

Cameron R. Neilson is a superb architectural photographer who I met through my gig with Photography&Architecture and at a local portfolio review. This project is just so cool. Don't you remember lying on the grass as a kid, full of wonder, making your own shapes out of the world? Here, come to Berlin, and LA, and Paris with Cameron. Let go, and look straight up.

"Kids do it all the time - lying on the grass, looking to the sky and visualizing shapes in the clouds. As adults, we don't often have this luxury of time, and if we do, it's rarely spent on our backs in grassy fields. Our time is in urban environments with a type of tunnel vision traveling from point A to point B, driving, taking a metro, walking quickly, staring straight ahead avoiding others, or looking down at our smartphones, papers or pavement. This collection, titled Straight Up plays homage to the kid lying in the grass except in this case looking straight up in city environments."

View the full screen magazine photo feature.

For new photos, follow Straight Up on Twitter @straightupphoto

Check out Cameron's commercial portfolio, too.
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©  Rob Hann

This is our fifth annual road trip to the American West with British-born photographer Rob Hann. Rob was feeling a little melancholy this year.

"The photographs I took on my most recent road trip in the American West were the first I'd taken since the death of my father. I've come to believe that all the pictures we take are in some way a self-portrait. Despite searching for surreal beauty and humour in my two weeks on the road, I couldn't help but notice the overall sense of solitude in this set of photographs."

View the full screen magazine photo feature.
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Bather. Downtown Miami, Florida, 1993. © Mary Lou Uttermohlen

Mary Lou Uttermohlen showed me her prints at the portfolio reviews held by PhotoNOLA last year in her home town of New Orleans. She told me about the inception of her work with the homeless when in 1993 Miami began to address its growing problem, and how she continues to photograph homeless communities. Over in the UK recently, shops and blocks of flats began installing "anti-homeless spikes." Instead of attempting to address the root causes of homelessness, we continue to just keep moving people on, sweeping them under a concrete carpet.  

"I began to document the shantytowns in Florida in the 1990's when most villages were made of plywood and I was shooting on B&W film. The camps were self-segregated along common interests that included children, transvestites, prostitutes, drug addicts, alcoholics, illegal immigrants and mental health issues.

Over time my equipment has evolved and my style has shifted. In recent years the work is done in color with a digital camera and battery operated studio lights. The camps have also evolved and now include tent cities.

With funding I will be able to visit more unique shantytowns around the country including Portland, Oregon, where they have organized tent cities, and Pensacola, Florida, where the mayor tried to pass a law to ban people covering themselves with a blanket in public. I would like to visit as many different states and circumstances as my budget will allow so I can illustrate the spectrum of this national problem.

This twenty-one year long documentary is a voyage of watching homeless people organize themselves as local authorities work to make them disband. The images are not about homelessness in general, but specifically about homeless people setting up structured living solutions to solve the problems they face as a community. In spite of all the programs and services offered, the homeless population continues to grow and the epidemic expands. The mission of this work is to make the invisible population visible so their issues can be addressed."

View the full screen magazine photo feature.

Read more of people's stories over at the Structure Out Of Chaos website.
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© Jason Wilde

There were so many great entries for the outdoor photo installation The Fence, now up in Brooklyn and Atlanta, and with such a limited number of spots available, a bunch of photographs that I loved didn't make the finals. Jason Wilde was the first person I contacted when the judging had finished - I was additionally compelled by his photo of spare ribs being eaten in the bath, and we ended up meeting on a hot day in London to talk life the universe and everything. 

Jason has been collecting notes found lying around the ever-diversifying north London housing estate where he has lived for 17 years. "Built in the 1950s, the Clarence Way estate has been a focal point of London's rapidly shifting social landscape, housing people from within Britain and abroad who have been affected by any number of diverse events and circumstances. Located a few minutes' walk north of Camden Town underground station, the six orange brick blocks that make up the estate house 1297 people (2011 census) in 354 various-sized units."

"I have witnessed the rapid diversification of the cultural mix of his community. In an attempt to record this transformation, in 2003 I started collecting handwritten notes that he found discarded on the estate. On one level, these salvaged texts are simple records of the everyday; they function to remind, instruct, organise and explain. They tell of journeys planned and taken, and list items to purchase and food to take away. Some make grand political and philosophical statements whilst others are simply mysterious."

"I have photographed these once-private texts against wallpaper backgrounds, transforming them into imaginative triggers that hint at the realities of life for a diverse group of people. These individual combinations form 'Silly Arse Broke It,' an ongoing and open-ended narrative that invites the viewer to contemplate a small inner-city community that is a microcosm for the social flux and cultural (dis)integration that characterises Britain in the 21st century." 

Go full screen for maximum magazine photo feature enjoyment.

News update: Jason was accepted to the Guernsey Photo Festival later this year, and was a winner at PhotoIreland's portfolio contest. 
Also: take a look at Jason's fabulous free portrait studio - he has made over 1500 portraits of strangers. 
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© Terri Gold

In Terri Gold's ongoing series she explores "universal cross-cultural truths," capturing the traditions of disappearing indigenous cultures. The Omo Valley is in southern Ethiopia, in Africa's Great Rift Valley. It is known for its culture and diversity and for the discovery there of the earliest human fossils.

Terri's final prints are really beautiful. She uses very particular processes, which she describes: "I use a specially converted infrared digital camera and the digital darkroom to create my split-toned imagery. There is a mysterious quality to the invisible, iridescent world of infrared light that illuminates another dimension. When shooting, processing, and printing an infrared image, one must be open to the journey that reveals the subtle colors within. I enjoy the unexpected elements that arise when working with light beyond what the eyes can see. I also pursue the unexpected through multimedia, and often paint with encaustic wax and oils on the surface of my prints. Instead of photographic realism, I think of the work as magical realism."

But I do also think these images lend themselves extra-well to being back-lit, too! View the full-screen magazine photo feature.

View Terri's previous feature "Still Points in a Turning World," published August, 2010.
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Makeshift Colombian flag, Rio de Janeiro, June 2014 © Alessandro Falco

Italian artist Alessandro Falco was a finalist in a competition I co-judged in 2012. He has kept busy and kept me posted, and I am thrilled to see what he is producing in Rio, where he headed for three months to make photos about and around the World Cup.

We present two series in the magazine. The first is of a Colombian community in a favela in Rio watching their team play Greece; the second is about a young dental technician who dresses as Batman to protest against the spending around the World Cup in a country where so many people lack even the basics.

View the full screen magazine photo feature.

Here's the photo from that I loved so much from Alessandro's entry in the International Fine Art Photography Competition.

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© Alessandro Falco
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