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Calcutta-based photographer (and painter) Subrata Biswas returned from Muzaffarnagar and posted some images on Facebook. I was fortuitously online, and Subrata agreed to a feature about this sad series of events.

"On 27th August, 2013, two Jat brothers of a girl kill a Muslim man for stalking their sister and later the stalker's family kills both of them. This revenge killing sharpens the communal violence in Muzaffarnagar in Western Uttarpradesh. The two Jat brothers are beaten to death by a gang of agitated Muslims when they go to talk to the family of the stalker in Kawaal, an interior village in Muzaffarnagar. Following the high tension of these brutal murders, situation escalates into a major communal riot claiming about 45 lives and injuring many. Many Muslims have fled away. Kawaal which was populated by Muslims and Hindus in equal numbers was now a Hindu-majority village. In fact Kawaal is not the only village in Muzaffarnagar to have witnessed such communal violence and a resulting transformation in population. In all villages where the Hindus were predominant, the Muslims have left their homes. And the reverse has happened in Muslim majority villages." Subrata Biswas.


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The Traditional Dutch. Westapelle, Urk, Marken and Scheveningen, Holland, 1985 © William Coupon

Prolific portraitist William Coupon's 'Social Studies Part One: Capturing Culture: The World's Tribes' features images from over three decades of shooting around the globe.

William Coupon is a self-taught photographer, whose study of people began at New York's Studio 54 and Mudd night clubs, in 1979, where the one-time aspiring musician says he "shot to the rhythm of the bass." Soon after, he set his mind to "photograph everybody... I had the idea that my mission would be to continue to document groups, or sub-cultures. The working title would be 'Social Studies.'" In 1979 he headed to Haiti; in 1980, to Australia; by 2010 had a collection of more than 30 groups and tribes.

"What I've tried to create is a mosaic, a sample of the world's peoples, through photography and through my own personal experience."

In amongst, Coupon has photographed many celebrities, musicians, and politicians, and this is how I knew of him; I recalled his name from the early 90s when my agency acted as a sub-agent for Coupon's syndication in the UK. Welcome back into my photographic life, William! We look forward to Part Two!


Bonus: Here are a few images from The New Wave and Punk, New York, 1979.


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All images © William Coupon

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A photographer attempts to lessen the horrendous stench of Yellowstone National Park's thermal vents by making beautiful images of them. 

"My daughter and I took a road trip out to Yellowstone in May of 2012, hoping to see some wolves. We saw bison, elk, deer, antelope, moose, mountain goats, coyotes, black bears, grizzly bears, all up close, but only one very fleeting glimpse of a pair of wolves several hundred yards away."

"Yellowstone is a unique place; a microcosm so rich and varied that pictures can't possibly do it justice. The thermal features are other-worldly - the sight of elk and bison at sunrise, picking their way through fields of rock and vegetation, punctuated by steaming thermal vents, patches of snow, and divided by impossibly lurid streams and pools, completely oblivious to our presence, was something I'll never forget. The contrast between the hyper-saturated colors of both the water and the stream beds, and the sometimes overpowering, acrid stench of the gas escaping from thermal vents was what moved me to take these pictures. In my mind, somehow they balanced each other out."


Editor's note: The government of the USA "shut down" today; they make up for the stench you'll miss by not being able to go Yellowstone National Park while Dave's photos make up for the beauty.



Jason Florio and Helen Jones had completed a trip on foot around the perimeter of The Gambia in 2009 and had resolved to make another, this time following the source of the River Gambia through three countries - Guinea, Senegal and The Republic of The Gambia - to the Atlantic Ocean. Inspired by Scottish explorer, Mungo Park, who made trips to West Africa in the late 1700's, they resolved to find a way to fund a two to three month photographic expedition and document the communities living along the River whose lives rely upon it. To create "[a] modern-day account of the people, societies, and life along the length of one of Africa's last, free-flowing, major rivers. There has been talk of damming the river. This journey will also be about the impact to the communities, and the environmental impact of damming."

They set up a Kickstarter campaign in September, 2012, and raised above their goal. 

"23rd November, 2012 - 21st January, 2013, after 400km overland in the Fouta Djallon Highlands of Guinea-Conakry into Senegal and then putting our two canoes into the water in Kedougou - we paddled (no engine!) over 700km of the River Gambia to its end, at the Atlantic Ocean in Banjul, The Gambia."

Sponsors received regular updates during the trip, including thanks along the way and the promise of great print-rewards! The trip was a huge success as you will see. 

Inspiring!


Prints from the expedition will be on-view at Photoville, in Brooklyn Bridge Park, September 19 - 29, 2013.

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Less than two miles long, the Gowanus Canal nips through Red Hook and Park Slope in New York's borough of Brooklyn, and was once a hub of water-based activity and a good spot for clamming. Fast forward to the 21st century and here is what Bill Miller found instead. "Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal is one of America's most polluted waterways. More than a century of unfettered industrial abuse was followed by decades of bungled attempts to clean it up. Its contaminated waters hold the evidence of its history. It is murky and clouded over but if you look closely you can see life and light reflected in the mercury, feces and coal tar that drift in the canal like malevolent clouds. There's a lot of mistaken perspectives, like the confusion of looking down to see the sun. I'm trying to wade, visually, into the space between water, shit and the sky."


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I had the great pleasure of being invited to New York's School of Visual Arts Master of Professional Studies in Digital Photography thesis review, where, among other interesting youngsters, I met Masha Ermak and was taken with her project, 'Strangers.'

"This project started out with food photography. One day, I was photographing a raw, plucked chicken carcass, and it reminded me of a naked human figure. So, I took off my clothes and got into the picture, contorting myself to mimic the shape of the chicken. I then playfully discovered how to put my body into abstract, often uncomfortable positions, to develop new creatures or 'strangers.'

"In this work, I want to go against the grain of the artistic and social conventions that tell us the human body is beautiful and graceful. This is also why I maintained the soft, all-revealing light that I was using for my still life images, and why I made the pictures as sharp as possible. Too often, photography flatters the human figure for no good reason other than to make us feel better about ourselves. In this project, I wish viewers to see human body in a new way."


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Pezhman Zahed is an Iranian-born, UK-based artist who recently graduated with a BA in photography from Brighton University. "My practice incorporates economic data and examines the possibility of translating non-visual data into visual forms."

Pezhman describes his engrossing, ambitious project: "Growing anti-western sentiment stemmed from five decades of struggle with the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and the reluctant involvement in two world wars, followed by a plot to topple the most popular government in Iranian contemporary history, resulting in the 1979 Islamic Revolution."    

"The photographs demonstrate excited fluids under the effect of sound waves with particular frequencies. The figures used to generate the frequencies correspond to the company's net profits, royalties to Iran and (if applicable) British taxes, in nine most critical years of the company's 42-year long activity in Iran prior to the nationalization. Accompanying the photographs are excerpts from declassified documents and found images related to the events immediately before and after Operation Ajax (the overthrow of the democratically elected Prime Minister, Mohammad Mossadegh, in a CIA/MI6-backed coup d'état in 1953)."


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'Fifi' smokes an argileh water pipe at a cafe in St. Paul, MN, 2012. "I talk a lot when I smoke, but it's fun to do when we girls get together." Many parents don't approve of their daughters going out, but they find ways around the rules. © Alex Potter

Alex Potter is a young photojournalist from the Midwest living in the Middle East. She is currently based between Lebanon and Yemen.

According to her bio: Alex began her career in Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes. After growing restless with her nursing job, Alex picked up to document post-revolution Yemen, a land with zero lakes, but plenty of mountains to climb. In 2012, she was selected as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, and moved to Lebanon. 

Though she didn't study photography, Alex has attended the NYTimes Lens Review, Eddie Adams Workshop, and a VII Masterclass, which were much more beneficial than your average classroom. Since 2012 she has been chosen for the Chris Hondros Student Fellowship, Lucie Foundation Emerging Scholarship (2012, 2013), PDN Photo Annual, and American Photography 29, among others.

"Since the start of the war in Somalia, thousands of refugees have settled into bordering and western nations, part of the ever-growing Somali diaspora. One of these largest communities is in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This mid-sized city of 400,000 in the Midwest is home to an estimated 40,000 Somalis. It has been over twenty years since the first refugees arrived. Many were children at the time, now grown into a new generation of young adults, faced with the task of balancing tradition with transformation, heritage and a new identity.  

The community has faced many struggles: recruitment of young men to al Shabab, gang violence, and prejudice of a mid-sized city in the Midwest. Yet through it all, the youth have thrived, and the community is revitalized. They are mentors, artists, poets, and community leaders. Though their stories are different, their message is clear and united - Hanoolaato (Long Live) Somalia."


Here's a bonus, a sample from Alex's work in Yemen:

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Yemeni women spray graffiti on barrier walls leading to the Presidential Palace, demanding the former president be brought to justice, Sana'a, Yemen, 24 December, 2012. The Arabic eventually reads, ليعدم عفاش, meaning "Afash (Saleh's nickname) to be executed"

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'Hide and Seek: The Dubious Nature of Plant Life in High Security Spaces by Adam Walker-Smith,' is a documentary photography project created by a paranoid photojournalist, the alter-ego of British artist Max Colson. Instigated by his discovery of the landscape design programme 'Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design' (CPTED), Walker-Smith's photographic research exposes what he sees as the 'suspect' plants of high security urban spaces.

Officially: Max Colson is a photographer from London who works with text, graphic design and most recently his intriguing alter-ego, Adam Walker-Smith. In 2013 Max was named as a UK winner of the Magenta Foundation's Flash Forward 'emerging photographer' award and was also selected by University College London's 'Urban Lab' to exhibit in their annual show at the Slade School of Fine Art; in 2012 he was exhibited as part of Photofusion's 'Annual Member's Salon'; in 2010 he featured in the 'A Luta Continua' exhibition at Newcastle's Side Gallery.


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Highway 160, Arizona, 2013, © Rob Hann

Road-trip addict and now aCurator's most-published, Rob Hann has kindly been out west again, satisfying my own near-constant hankering to be on the highway. 

"Since October 2001 I've been taking photographic road trips throughout America, mostly in the western states, building a large body of work under the title of 'I Dream a Highway.' I head out whenever I can, usually for about two weeks. On my latest trip I flew into Las Vegas and wandered through eight states before heading back to Vegas and flying home to NYC. I have no fixed route but drive from daybreak to dusk each day before finding a cheap motel to lay my head for the night." Rob Hann, June 2013.


View Rob's previous trip, Lone Star State of Mind.

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