Magazine


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Afrika Bambaataa, Bronx, New York, 1983. Photo by Janette Beckman. Remixed by Faust.

This is a wicked series of newly mashed-up photos and graffiti brought to you by the ever-styling photographer Janette Beckman and a host of similarly cool graffiti artists, as Janette opens up her 80s & early 90s archives for remixing, something she has said she's always wanted to do.

After launching the series earlier in 2014 as a pop-up art event, the originals, made with Janette's vintage prints, are traveling as an exhibition, and reprints are available.


Go full screen for the magazine feature, and play this. while you appreciate the mashings.


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Alice Mizrahi "I started spraying in 2005 but I already had a studio practice and was formally trained at Parsons. Merging the two was a natural progression. I had been immersed in graff and hip hop culture as a young girl through my brother. The first official mural I painted was in 2005 for The Meeting of Styles in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Before that, I remember catching tags in my neighborhood as a teenager along a trail by the tracks we called the 'Go Path.'"

"I chose the Beastie Boys photo because I grew up listening to them and they were a huge influence in my work as a young artist coming up. I also love the red color in the photo and the live vibe I got when I saw it."

Cey Adams was the founding creative director of Def Jam Recordings and is known for his work with Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, LL Cool J, Run DMC, Jay-Z, and Mary J. Blige. "I was 16 or 17 when I first started writing graffiti. The first place I really wrote was my room. My parents used to get so angry."

"I was lucky enough to work with a lot of Janette's subjects. Keith was a really special guy and he always made you feel special when you were around him. I used to love going to his studio, this photo takes me right back to that time."

David "Chino" Villarente "The first tags I ever took were on the bathroom walls in my elementary school towards the tail end of the 6th grade, but I didn't start writing on trains until 1983, I was 15 years old."

"I chose Janette's photo of Stetsasonic posing in front of Stetson's Hats. I grew up downtown Brooklyn, not far from the Fulton Mall. In the mid/late 80's I was involved in a cross-out war with another graffiti writer. Several of my crossed out tags appear in the background of the photo I selected. The Stetsasonic photo was published in either Word Up or Right On magazine, this was the first time I saw my name in print."

Claw Money "I started writing in my early 20's - I was late to the party! The first wall I ever painted was in Jonone's studio in Paris in 1990. I think?!?!?"

"I chose Salt-n-Pepa. This was all about female empowerment and I loved these girls for it!"

DOC TC5 "I picked up my first spray can in 1977, I was 13 years old. I painted the bleachers in the handball court in Cypress Hill's Projects."

"I chose this photo because I couldn't let anyone else paint on Dondi White's face because I was one of his last students."

Dr. Revolt began his practice in 1977 as an original member of the historic New York City graffiti crew, The Rolling Thunder Writers (RTW). He contributed to classic hip-hop films "Wild Style" & "Style Wars" and created the 'YO! MTV RAPS' logo. 

"I started writing too long ago - the 70s. First place I wrote? Wherever it was it was "funky." I didn't choose the Ultramagnetic photo, it was given to me. All the other good ones were taken. Actually I was inspired by the magnetic properties thereon."

Eric Adams "I started writing when I was a kid. As far back as I can remember trying to recreate everything I saw my Dad (Cey Adams) do. It just came to me naturally as time went on. I can't say I did a wall but the first thing I remember doing was a piece for my school back in 1996 for a play we were doing based on hip hop."

"The reason I chose the Flava Flav photo to do my piece on was because of my father and his connection with Def Jam and Public Enemy. I can remember plenty of photo shoots where I met the group and I even had the chance to take a photo with Flav when I was a kid. (One of my dad's favorite pictures) So I figured it would be awesome to do something on Janette's photo of him."

Faust "I was drawn to this photo of Afrika Bambaataa because I loved his pose and boombox, emblematic of the era, but also the brick wall was apropos for the collaboration. The ideal surface for a graffiti artist. I wrote the words "hip hop" in the background since he's often regarded as the Godfather of Hip Hop. The first time the term "hip hop" appeared in print was in a Village Voice interview with Bambaataa and he was also instrumental in the spread of hip hop culture worldwide."

Jester (credited as the originator of the 'Bubble' lettering) "I started writing at the age of 13 in 1971. I continued till I was 19, I only stopped because my daughter was born in '78 and I needed to put down the spray cans and pick up the diapers. First wall or first train? I'll go with first train, back in '71 I went to the 4 line layups one Saturday afternoon and jumped down on the tracks and did some tags on the side of the train. It was either 170 St or 176 St. What a rush!!"

"I chose EPMD photo, simply because they were one of my favorites from back in the day. I love their raps and have at least 3 of their tapes (yup tapes, remind me to transfer them ASAP)."

Morning Breath "We chose the image of Slick Rick because of its iconic impact, and felt it would work best with our style of graphics. It gave us the negative space to collaborate and bring something to the image without overpowering or making the figure insignificant in any way. We usually have done this style using a central illustrated image. it was nice to switch it up with a photographic element for this collaboration."

MRS "I started writing graffiti in high school, I think I was 16. I think the first place I wrote on illegally was a broken down fence in my neighborhood. I used fluorescent pink and black Rusto paint. It was very sloppy, very transparent, very poorly constructed all around but still as great as any of my most perfect pieces because it marked a new chapter of my life."

"I chose the image of Melle Mel because I was attracted to its energy. The brick wall behind him felt like a familiar canvas and a good place to start. My brother introduced me to his music when I was younger and I've been a fan ever since, this is also why I really wanted to work with this photo."

Muck "Long before this project, I started writing in Greece mid 80's behind a potato storage shed on the island of Lesbos, 93/94, I tagged the word "unity" and a globe blowing up."

"I chose the LL Cool J image cause I painted a green version of it once from a photo I found on the internet."

Part One "I began writing when I was 11 years old in the 7th grade. My first wall I painted was a school yard in my neighborhood of Spanish Harlem, I was 12 years old."

"I chose this image because I've always admired Eric B & Rakim for their contributions to the culture, especially Rakim for his acknowledgment."

Queen Andrea "I always loved to draw as a kid, but really began to consistently practice graffiti lettering when I was about 14, it was the first art form that truly fascinated me and I immersed myself in practicing tagging and letters. I was hellbent on learning how to do burners! My first real piece was on the outside of Lucky Strike restaurant on Grand Street in Soho, Manhattan, where I grew up. I was 15 years old."

"I started listening to RunDMC in 1984 when I was a little kid, with my older brother. They always had some of the most original, witty and hard hitting lyrics. They're still one of my all-time favorite hip hop groups."

Sharp "My connection to Janette as a photographer is deeply rooted, many of the images she captured in the golden age are moments that represent the formative years of my evolution of life into manhood. These photos are like forgotten postcards to my youth."

"I chose the picture of Donald Dee and Bronx Style Bob as it is a reflection of a period of time which holds a special place in my heart, in 1989 Los Angeles was 'the place'. This photo was more than likely taken in the parking lot at the video shoot for Donald Dee's debut album F.B.I.; I may have been standing a few feet away, I passed by that day to chill during the filming of the video."

T KID "I started writing graffiti at 12 yrs old when I was drafted into the neighborhood gang. My first tag was king13 at 16 yrs of age (1977). After getting shot due to gang violence I changed my name to Tkid170 and became a king of subway graffiti. I tagged the park I played in, it was on Morrison Ave and Watson Ave, south Bronx. Then it was nothing but subway cars."

"I chose the picture of Fab 5 Freddie from 1982 cause it was part of the wild style movie and since I'm an original member of the wild style gang I thought it would be appropriate."

Trike "I was just 10 years old when I started writing in the early 1970's. My first wall was in Red Hook, Brooklyn, all the way down at the pier."

"This photo of Dr Dre reminded me of the time when I was catching crazy throw ups in LA in 1981. So it was perfect. I thought if I was in South Central what would I have done? Obviously a quick throw up and get the hell out!"


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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.


"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.


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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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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. 


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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." 


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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."


For new photos, follow Straight Up on Twitter @straightupphoto


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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."


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

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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." 


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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