Photographers


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British photographer Mark Sherratt sent in a new series shot in January as he traveled around India. Notorious for its packed public transport, Mark's images give us a sense there's room to breathe. Just about.

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All images © Mark Sherratt

Compare these with the stifling photographs from 'Don't Breathe' by Ronny Sen that I published here last year.

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© Carsten Stormer

I am honoured to publish the work of Carsten Stormer, a German writer and photographer. Carsten brings to our attention a horrendous form of violence in Cambodia: acid throwing.

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"They call themselves survivors, refusing to accept the stigma of victimhood. And somehow, they survive. You see them on sugarcane plantations in the middle of nowhere. In the trash dumps of Phnom Penh. In flimsy bamboo lean-tos where relatives hide their own shame and helplessness. People call them Cambodia's living dead. They are the forgotten victims of a war that ended a generation ago but lives on in the souls of the country's people.

"Acid attacks deprive people of more than their looks and sight. Families are torn apart. Husbands leave their wives, and vice versa. Children are separated from their parents. Jobs vanish overnight, turning professionals into beggars. Many victims cannot get through a day without constant assistance, becoming burdens on their families. All bear the mark of the pariah."

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"There is an invisible wall dividing Cambodia. Since global companies discovered its low wages, the country is in the fast lane back to the future. But there has been no public discussion of the civil war and mass murder committed over 30 years ago by the Khmer Rouge. Hardly anyone was held accountable. It was simply assumed that time heals all wounds - somehow. The past fades to black. Only the present counts, the here and now.

"What remains is a traumatized society in which domestic disputes, unhappy love affairs, and professional rivalries are nearly always resolved through violence. Hardly a family without its members lost to the ideological battles of the Khmer Rouge - a curse that is passed on from parents to children. Battery acid is known to be most uncomplicated way of causing lifelong suffering. A dollar will buy you a quart of acid on any street corner. The perpetrators are seldom punished. Their targets become outcasts."

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"There is no specific criminal law on acid attacks, and the attacks are not tallied separately from other assaults. The authorities are aware of 11 cases so far in 2011, but the unreported number could be much higher. Many victims are terrified any form of resistance might provoke another attack. Many cases disappear without a trace in the Cambodian court system." Carsten Stormer.

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Unlike similar incidents in Pakistan or Bangladesh, acid attacks in Cambodia don't focus on women only. According to Wikipedia "..these type of attacks are most common in Cambodia, Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and other nearby countries. ...80% of victims of these acid attacks are female and almost 70% are under 18 years of age.

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The photos were in the final of the Leica-Oscar-Barnack-Award as well as on the shortlist for the Henri-Nannen-Award.

All images © Carsten Stormer

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I don't know what happened to you that night / VODKA


Chris Sellas was in the SVA MFA Photo Thesis Exhibit I saw last June. He just got back in touch, telling me my blog post on the exhibition "...kind of helped my work a lot. I landed a second show, and my book sold out in weeks." Hurrah for Chris! Here are a few more from his series 'You. I.' wherein he mails two copies of a photograph to a significant person from his past. He's hand-written on one; the recipient sends back their comment on the other. It really works well as a bigger series so see if you can still get a copy.

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You pushed me up against the bathroom door and went down on me / I remember being down on my knees thinking this would get you to like me more

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You chose to rob me of my innocence when I was 5 / If you felt I hurt you then I am sorry. I do not remember what you are talking about

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Gail, Behind Her Room, 2006

Laura Noel has been photographing the sneaky fag break for several years. I like what she says on her website about this project so I'll leave it to her to expand. Check out her other work, too. When I hear photographers saying they don't know what to shoot, I want to send them to people like Laura.



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"Though this is a fairly broad subject, I am primarily interested in visualizing the emotions involved in the decision to smoke. I consider these portraits to be psychological in nature, as well as an examination of the places smokers have retreated to. The pull of self-image and addiction is very strong. 

My pictures concern the attitudes - defiance, enjoyment, resignation, and contentment - of those who continue to smoke cigarettes in the face of public disapproval. More importantly, these portraits reveal that for some smokers, cigarettes are a way to enter into a state of contemplation.
 
This introspective pause in a hectic world is more valuable to smokers than non-smokers would imagine."

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Amy, In Her Backyard, 2005


"A residue of glamour can also be seen in these photographs - the theatrical inhaling and exhaling, the sensual pleasure of watching smoke float and dissipate in the air, and the primal tie to fire. Though we may not approve of the act, we can understand the appeal of smoking, however false it may turn out to be.
 
Since the anti-smoking movement began gaining momentum in the 1970's, culminating in the current ban on public consumption, smokers have become social refugees banished to windy corners, cars, and private rooms. I am interested in exploring the idea that society has become so disenchanted with smokers, that we have tried to legislate them out of existence."

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Barry, Behind The Lab, 2010


"Of course, smoking is unhealthy and potentially fatal, but my images are not a defense of this dangerous practice, but instead a portrait of a diverse group of people united by a habit."

All images © Laura Noel

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Christopher Auger-Domínguez makes photographs of kids that I actually enjoy looking at. At a recent portfolio review it was a real pleasure to see Christopher again; his demeanour is reflected in his photos.

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Auger-Dominguez_02.jpg All images © Christopher Auger-Domínguez

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John Logan Pierson with Lucky the one-armed squirrel monkey © Kevin Steele

Kevin "Just-back-from-Ecuador" Steele found a local assistant during his three-week shoot. Nice work if you can get it. Check out the wonderful Compassionate Adventure story at Kevin's blog.


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Phil Penman is a New York-based photographer with some grand, breath-taking images on his website, and a happy and colourful blog. Phil submitted images from his series on celebrity shooters right as I was receiving unwelcome news from my past life, which I spent licensing images from celebrity and music photographers, including the red carpet hoppers. As the desire grew to catch celebs increasingly unaware (unless they'd already had their publicists advise where and when their star would unexpectedly be...) we still resisted the creepier photographers snatching pics of celebs in sweatpants eating tacos (I think we actually got that specific request once).

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Penman_Phil_04.jpg"The life of a celebrity photographer may sound all glamour, red carpets, hanging with the stars, the Hollywood lifestyle. But fundamentally it is shivering your days away in the middle of the winter waiting for today's name in lights to come out of a building, whilst constantly responding to the ever-present question from passersby "Who Are You Waiting For?"" - Phil Penman.








All images © Phil Penman

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If you're going to have a rep, you'd be lucky to have one like Mollie Jannasch, of Agency MJ. She's charming, enthusiastic, unpretentious and tenacious. We met at NYCFotoworks where she showed me portfolios from the photographers in her stable and these two series from Claudio Napolitano stood out. Generally speaking, I steer clear of photos of kids, but I love Claudio's emotive fantasies.

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Plus, people still smoke! A few of Claudio's dark portraits.

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All images © Claudio Napolitano



I met Mr. Toledano at a shi-shi event a couple of years ago. We wore similar outfits and shared an accent. I remember being embarrassed that I didn't know his work at the time, which I discovered to be bloody clever.

Since then, he put out the moving and beautiful "Days With My Father", an incredibly personal project to which we can all relate. Then came the quite brilliant 'Kim Jong Phil' "It occurred to me that being an artist is a great deal like being a dictator." and 'A New Kind of Beauty' "Beauty has always been a currency, and now that we finally have the technological means to mint our own, what choices do we make?" and now he's further along his glittery path to world domination. Toledano is a gift that keeps on giving, for want of an appropriately terrible cliché.

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"I just went to Egypt to get in touch with the Arab Spring, the second part of the revolution and of course I didn't want to just photograph only protest. I want to photograph the people around Tahrir as well. It is interesting that so many young kids take part and during the day you see so many families on Tahrir.

Of course I was curious about the mood, one year after the first protests occurred there. I spent one week there, not enough time to go deep enough into the whole matter." Ole Elfenkämper

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All images © Ole Elfenkämper

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