It's been a while since I promoted a crowd-fund, but it's a new year and this is a project I can really get behind. John Irvine
, born in Northern Ireland but living now in Scotland, wants to record the many miles of "peace walls
" that were built during The Troubles with a view to separate Catholic from Protestant neighbour. I'd never even heard of this but I'm not surprised; they still exist and some Northern Irish think they should remain
John started shooting last year but is looking for a few quid from sponsors so he can go back and make this project into a proper record. You can help here via Indiegogo
Part of a peace divide that continues onto an external wall of a police station in West Belfast
The peace wall that divides Alexandra Park in North Belfast
Once upon a time I fell in love with a series of photographs by Doris Mitsch
of the poisonous and glorious datura flower. I was perturbed and fascinated when I learned that the images were made using only the light from her scanner. Fast forward a decade and find Coco Martin
using his scanner to fully expose his models, holding it close to them, painting them with the light from it, and recomposing the images in post, to marvelous effect in a series of unusual portraits. Martin shares his time between Lima, Peru, and New York, and has been widely exhibited
"This particular body of work represents the last five years of my practice in photography. I've been questioning myself about the concept of what we call a photograph and the meaning of the mechanical act of capture itself. I am looking to provide to my photographic work a new conceptual approach, and through scannographies, as a temporal denial and refusal to use a regular photographic camera, I am still able to call myself a photographer."
"By only using a flatbed scanner on the skin's model - no external lighting, nor lens or aperture to control - I ended up discovering this 'magic kingdom of a candle light'. This is a statement of pause, a way to take some distance of the overwhelming reality and get the chance to think about the main source, the light and the subject, the eager attitude to really get someone soul almost from the very skin.
"Within the current context of massive production of images due to the arrival of the digital era and despite the fact that each piece might take days to be composed and completed, the process took me back to rediscover the meaning of patience instead of the present immediacy."
British photographer Nat Wilkins
is working towards a BA in the UK and has a few interesting projects under his belt. I'm afraid I erm, chickened out of his original submission
: "The images are a small edit from the essay of the Torajan tribe, these rites involve ritual animal slaughter, illegal cock fighting, gambling, elaborate processions and huge feasts." I couldn't stomach it. But I love this series about the making of beedies, Indian rollies I sometimes smoked when I was a teenager. They make your lips tingle. Nat gives us a glimpse into how they are made.
Multi-talented photographer Daniel Mirer
is based in the USA and the Netherlands. His commercial work is in the tricky field of architecture and his personal work drills down into areas of interest such as masculinity, and Americana.
Historically, a "thing
" was "the governing assembly of a Germanic society, made up of the free people of the community presided over by lawspeakers."
Daniel tells me 'Thingstätten' is "a term used to define open-air Nazi cult theaters built between 1933-1945 for the specific intention to entertain local communities."
About the locations in Daniel's series: "The productions performed were to project propaganda of an idealistic Germanic history and used as a recruitment tool for the National Socialist Party. Architecture and impressive scenic places were chosen as thingsteads: locations where based on Germanic idyllic surroundings in wooded areas, near bodies of waters, nestled in hills or by natural rock formation as well traces of archaeological ruins of local Germanic tribal history."
Daniel has received funding from the German government to help make this project happen, which helps me encourage other photographers to explore all possible options.
All images © Daniel Mirer
Great series! Portuguese mixed martial arts fighters by our prolific friend Francisco Salgueiro
. One can almost hear Francisco's photos.
Los Angeles-based Thomas Alleman
's commentary on the ubiquitous and perturbing images that constitute American Apparel's ad campaigns.
"American Apparel is an internationally-known purveyor of hip sportswear. Their advertising campaigns are controversial for their depiction of very young women who're sexualized in strangely-poised photographs. In Los Angeles, where American Apparel manufactures its line, the company has for many years licensed about a hundred small billboards in ethnic and working-class neighborhoods, where those ads are placed at eye level."
"The sexual fantasies portrayed in those sleek, graphically simple ads are surrounded by the very complicated reality of LA's visually chaotic urban landscape, whose grit, anarchy and blight are at odds with the blithe spirit of those strange billboards. My photographs document the "dialogue" between LA's built environment and American Apparel's groovy, pervy teenage daydreams." - Thomas Alleman.
"Two ads, on the advertiser's website and Instagram page, for a skirt which was featured in their 'School Days' or 'Back To School' range:
a. The website ad on www.americanapparel.co.uk featured an image of a girl wearing the skirt, a top and white underwear, bending over to touch the ground, photographed from behind from a low angle. Her crotch and buttocks were visible.
b. The ad posted on the advertisers' UK Instagram page featured an image of a girl wearing the skirt and a top leaning into a car, photographed from behind from a low angle. Her buttocks were visible.
American Apparel (UK) Ltd said the images which appeared in their advertising featured non-airbrushed, everyday people, most of whom were not professional models. They said their approach was not graphic, explicit or pornographic, but was designed to show a range of different images of people who were natural, not posed and real. They said their models were happy, relaxed and confident in expression and pose and were not portrayed in a manner which was vulnerable, negative or exploitative."
A quick intro, courtesy of Wikipedia
"Irish Travellers, also called pavees, tinkers or gypsies, are a traditionally itinerant ethnic group who maintain a set of traditions. They live mostly in Ireland as well as having large numbers in the United Kingdom and in the United States. Their origin is disputed."
"My project 'The Travellers' gives insight into the everyday life of Ireland's largest minority group. This group has a nomadic origin, stemming from the tradition of migrant workers. As this tradition no longer exists, the travellers are looking for a new identity within the Western European society of the 21st century. Both the travellers' traditions and their way of life are so different that they are met with little acceptance by the rest of the Irish society. The travellers live in a kind of parallel world with rules all of its own and traditional gender roles, a world to which outsiders have little access."
"To this day, some traveller families live by the roadside illegally - mostly without electricity, running water or sanitation, even though the government has provided halting sites for the travellers where they can stay with their caravans.
I travelled to Ireland with a VW bus in order to photograph the travellers the first time in 2011. I wanted to capture the travellers' way of life and their values in pictures. In doing so, I did not want to romanticize them, but rather show their everyday life. A life where people still hunt rabbits and where horses play a vital role. But it is also a life that contains hardship and boredom from an early age.
Since my first encounter with the travellers, I have been in touch with one large family. Over time, I have gained their trust. Consequently, I was allowed to live with them so that I and my camera became part of their daily lives."
Among other acclaim, Birte received a CNN Journalist Award in 2014, was Category Photo Winner PDN Annual 2013, and a Critical Mass 2013 Top 50.
Gorgeous images from Leonardo Fabris
who lyrically states "The Vitiligo disease patches move to the rhythm of its development as the dancer's body moves to the rhythm of music. Through his pictures the photographer is able to create an elegant comparison between the subject and the disease."
Indeed he gives great dignity to dancer and disorder. Delightful.
I got fixated on Shan
when publishing his deserted idols series. Here's 'Blow'. I think these are simply brilliant!
"'Blow' takes a metaphorical, almost surreal, look at modern-day consumerism and how it affects our inner state."
All images © Shantanu Bhattacharya
© Shantanu Bhattacharya
I'll let Shan explain these as he does it so well:
"The relationship between Hinduism and idolatry is a complex one. In Yajurveda it has been said that God Supreme or Supreme Spirit has no 'Pratima' or material shape. He cannot be seen directly by anyone. His name is so great that only the Name is enough to invoke him. He pervades all beings and all directions. Thus according to the Vedas God neither has any image nor he resides in any particular idol or statue.
Yet we find that Hindu temples are filled with images or idols of gods and goddesses. And a fair percentage are worshiped at specific days of the year through idols made up of straw and clay. On that particular day, they are dressed in costly fabric, treated with paint, subjected to readings of holy mantras and receive offerings from devotees. Curiously, however, once the day gets over, these idols lose their divinity and are disposed of."
"The most common explanation goes like this - as the mind cannot concentrate itself on a formless being one has to assume God in some visible object or image. Devotees believe that God made Man in his own image. So it seems only natural that man has also constructed his God by his own image. Perhaps it also becomes easy to stop treating an idol divine after the ritual if that idol is of a humanoid shape."
"Meanwhile, the cityscape gets filled with these humanoid figures as the devotees no longer know what to believe in them."