Wild Ginger © Jim Fike

I just love James Fike's series of photogram-like plant portraits.

"These edible plants grow all around us, in yards, alleys, ditches, and empty lots. Each testifies to our symbiotic evolution with all of life, and functions as both poetic metaphor and concrete proof of our intimate tether to the natural world. It is my hope that this art foments contemplative wonderment by offering viewers both information and insights that if realized kindle a reconnection to the natural world and a mystical counterbalance to scientific objectivism.

"I envision this as a thoroughly inclusive catalogue that will result in hundreds of photographs. The aesthetic consciously combines empirical and visionary traditions, by taking advantage of digital imaging's capacity to create rhetorical shifts in the photograph. The resulting images are elegant, layered, historically aware and able to evoke mystery, amplify interconnectedness and offer a critique of classical taxonomy." J.W. Fike



Wadi Zitoune Battlefield, Tobruk perimeter, Libya. © Matthew Arnold

"During a visit to Egypt in 2008, Matthew Arnold became enamored with the profound silence and enveloping isolation of the African desert. After a conversation with Steven Hamilton, a North African battlefield expert, Arnold was convinced that together they could trace the movement of Axis and Allied forces along the northern ridge of Africa.

"Over the course of the next two years, Hamilton and Arnold journeyed to discover undocumented World War II battlefield sites; they used cryptic wartime maps to identify locations within the landscape and uncover their historical significance. These maps transformed craggy hills strewn with desert detritus into the Bir Hacheim battlefield in Libya or the Sbeitla battlefield in Tunisia. 70 years have not yet eradicated traces of the fightin - campsites can still be foun - evident by the amount of ration tins, trench systems and pill boxes that still carry the marks of battle. Unexploded shells, barbed wire and mines still litter the landscapes of North Africa and occasionally claim yet another victim, as if the very land itself is reminding us of the tragedy of war. These photographs depict the peaceful landscape that it is today, so very different from yesterday."

Widely exhibited in the States, 'Topography Is Fate: North African Battlefields of WWII'  has also been published as a monograph by Kehrer Verlag. It includes a foreword written by Hilary Roberts, the Head Curator of Photography at the Imperial War Museums in Britain.

Arnold was recently awarded a 2013 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Traveling Fellowship for this project.

Learn more about this project over at Matthew's website.

Harsha © Jill Peters

Jill Peters is a critically acclaimed photographer whose portraits explore identity, sexuality and culture, past and present. I am thrilled to publish her gorgeous portraits of the stunning Indian hijras she met on her travels.

"On my first trip to India in 2007, I was intrigued by the sight of what seemed to be a group of male cross-dressers in saris walking towards me on a bright beautiful afternoon in a New Delhi market. They were giggling and flirting with the men as they made their way through the narrow street lined with small shops. The man selling leather sandals groaned when he saw them approaching, embarrassed when they turned their attention toward him. He said something to them, one retorted, and they all burst out laughing. He turned red. I asked my guide who they were. Hijras, he said. Chakkas. There are many names for them; some of them not so polite. Then he rolled his eyes, "Stay away from them, bad news," he said.

"On my next few trips to India, I began to photograph the hijras I met on the street. As we became closer, I learned that most hijras lead a very difficult and transient life. As soon as I befriended one group we would lose contact when they moved on, got new cell phone numbers, changed cities, and disappeared. Each story would begin the same way - a little boy from a small village who felt different at an early age, cast out by his family when everyone realized he was not like other boys. Each of their stories is unique and offers a glimpse into the lives of people who are in turn marked, judged, condemned and sometimes eventually accepted by those they love."

"My intention was simply to portray them as the subjects of beauty and grace they so desperately wish to be, as if their path to nirvana had not been impeded by a century and a half of prejudice and intolerance."

Since working with Jill on this feature, India granted its "third gender" full legal recognition. An article in the Guardian states: "The change follows similar legislation in Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh. This means that now, for the first time, there are quotas of government jobs and college places for hijras. The decision has been cheered by activists, who say that, despite its distinguished history, the community too often faces violence and harassment."

View the full screen magazine photo feature.


Daw Thaw Yin with her machete, and daily cheroot, Myanmar, 2011. From "The Machete Project" © Vanessa Ahlsborn

In 2006 Vanessa Ahlsborn bought her first knife as a memento whilst traveling. Since then her interest in the utilitarian tools has led her around the world producing this simply wonderful personal project. I think Vanessa is destined for greatness!

"The Machete Project is an ongoing portrait and object archive that showcases the diversity of this blade style and the beauty of its users. Despite their fearsome reputation in western news media and popular culture, the machete is an extremely versatile and commonplace asset for many people across the world. By documenting the everyday user for whom the machete is an invaluable tool, the project seeks to question the viewer's assumptions about the machete, and by extension, the people who use it."



Somewhere in the West Thirties © Marc Yankus

Marc Yankus is a photographer and graphic artist. In his latest body of work, "The Space Between," he presents New York's architecture in an imaginary, yet hyper-real way.

Marc sees things differently; we talked about him having almost synesthesic moments as he walks around New York. His photographs are a result of his vision and precise post-production, and invoke a nostalgia that on the whole, New York has no time for (though I believe the new mayor is being lobbied to create a listed buildings register for those over 75 years old.) He adds more depth by layering images over antique textured paper.

"I'm drawn to the majestic details and materials of classical historical buildings, many of which are hidden from view, tucked behind new architecture. In these instances, a mere sliver of old, of history, is there to be photographed, leaving me to recreate the rest of the building to make it whole again."

There are 21 photographs in Marc's upcoming solo exhibition at ClampArt in Chelsea, New York, which opens April 3, 2014.


August, 2013, a boat lands on the rocks off Siracusa, Sicily. © Massimo Cristaldi

Massimo Cristaldi is a second-career photographer (he trained to be a geologist) whose work is often mysterious and eery, exploring man's, and time's, influence on nature. In this emotional project he explores the desolation of the beaches that are the destination of so many hopeful immigrants.

"In 'Touch Ground' I photographed beaches, harbors, cliffs: places where, in recent years, migrants went ashore (or just attempted to arrive) from North Africa. It's an exploration project on a firm ground, a coveted place, object of hopes, tragedies, happiness, disillusion, and sometimes, death. Places that at night appeared full of meanings and in which I perceived absences that have influenced me, as indeed as a whole a migration of epic proportions has done. It is then, once again, a work on the borders, in this case between sea, land and men. Seascapes, and yet "places of the present", places of contemporary history, theaters of tragic events for some, simply "sea" for all of us.

"Living in Sicily, I could not but be impressed by the size of the migration phenomenon and I got in touch with some immigrants who arrived in 2002, and who are now living among us. I wondered how the 'ground' is for those who see it after weeks at sea, those more fortunate than the others. Anthony told me, in an uncertain Italian, "Sea, sea, sea, fear, fear, fear." Then, finally, a light, a landing. A possible salvation but only for those who are really lucky." Massimo Cristaldi.


Joel-Peter Witkin's Developer Tray, © John Cyr

Wonderful news: a book of John Cyr's fabulous "Developer Trays" is out now from Powerhouse Books

Go full screen for this second feature from the series, and let your imagination develop your favourite images from each photographer.

NY locals: there is a book launch and talk on Tuesday, March 18th, 2014, at the Powerhouse Arena, in DUMBO.


"This is what fracking looks like from the surface. The pipes leading into the well head are connected to the trucks in the background. These trucks force water mixed with proppant - sand and tiny ceramic balls that keep the cracks propped open (hence the name) so that oil can flow towards the well pipe - and chemicals down into the well at 10,000 PSI." - John Mireles

The Bakken formation is a rock unit from the Late Devonian to Early Mississippian age occupying about 200,000 square miles of the subsurface of the Williston Basin, underlying parts of Montana, North Dakota, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Oil was first discovered within the Bakken in 1951, but past efforts to produce it have faced technical difficulties. Hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling technologies have caused a boom in Bakken production since 2000 and the area has emerged in recent years as one of the most important sources of oil in the United States. 

Oil production has now outstripped the capacity of the pipelines to ship the oil out. It was Bakken crude oil carried by train that caught fire in the Lac-Megantic derailment in Quebec last year.

In John Mireles' series he combines portraits, landscapes and documentary imagery to tell us about this oil boom in North Dakota.


Carnival ride, Pontotoc, Mississippi © Betty Press

A decade ago, after many years of living in Africa, photojournalist Betty Press moved to Mississippi. Around 2011, still struggling to feel truly at home, "and being a liberal in politics and religion, I decided the best way to deal with this unease was to explore the state, mostly rural and agricultural, through a series of road trips."

"I started by visiting small communities listed in Mississippi Atlas & Gazetteer, with unusual names like Love, Darling, Expose, Dogtown, Midnight. Often there was very little going on and sometimes it was hard to find the place. When I did, I would look for people out and about. Southern hospitality and politeness are still important and I was welcomed, even as an outsider. Other times I would visit local festivals celebrating music and culture like the Juke Joint Festival and Redneck Festival."

Betty Press is best known for her photographs taken in Africa. We previously published some from the delightful collection "I Am Because We Are - African Wisdom in Image and Proverb." 


Lilya and Pasha, 2008 © Irina Popova

In 2008, Irina Popova was on assignment looking for a story about 'feelings.' "I met Pasha and Lilya the day after getting the assignment for the project. You could say that I got lucky. Last year I shot a similar couple that kept their child in the basement."

This controversial photostory has now been published as a book by the Dostoevsky Photography Society. Since I don't have my copy as of writing, here's the blurb from the preface.

"This fascinating book tells the story of Irina Popova's stay with a family of drug-users in St. Petersburg, Russia. The photostory - focusing on a small child living in shocking family circumstances - has provoked an explosion of criticism on the Internet, directed towards the parents as well as at the photographer. The book reveals the documentary evidence during the development of the story, including the previously unpublished photos from the archives of the photographer herself and the characters, the web pages of blogs with comments, the private letters and the diaries. It attempts to analyze the consequences of the photographer's actions and the degree of responsibility of the photographer. The multivocal storytelling in the book forms the screenplay for a real-life drama. This is the first time this frequently discussed topic of the supposed responsibility of documentary photographers has been analyzed so consistently and comprehensively in book form. This book is therefore more than simply a documentary photo book depicting the deplorable situation of a drug-addict family - it is an essential document dealing with the question all documentary photographers may be confronted with at some time in their careers: can I continue working or should I stop and try to help solve the problem I am witness to?"

Read an extensive article in The Guardian about what happened when, having been shown in a well-received exhibition offline, the photographs subsequently hit the internet.

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