1 in 7 people do not have access to electricity
With a growing world population, this number is projected to remain the same for the next 20 years. Without electricity, most of these people have no other option but to use kerosene lamps to light their homes, this means that over 2 billion people rely on carbon fuels like kerosene for light. Millions more have unreliable and sporadic supply, the electricity grid is growing but is not keeping pace with population growth.
The history of cold-brew coffee is fascinating. (An 1840s Algerian fortress is involved.)From 17th century Kyoto to your neighborhood Starbucks…
Go big or go home: Photographer Bryan Schutmaat tells us why the American landscape looks best in large-format, and why he won’t be ditching analogue any time soon.
No Wall for Ethiopia, Rather an Open Door—Even for Its Enemy
Eritrean teenagers and young men, aged from 16 to 20, waiting at the Badme entry point to be moved to the screening registration center. Credit: James Jeffrey/IPS
The Colonialism of Photography. I have a rule as a feminist (and let there be no mistake, I am a raving feminist); if I am not willing to give something up as a privileged white person, I am not allowed to ask for it as a feminist. What I mean by that is that I am in a constant state of privilege checking as part of my feminist (both with regard to women and men) identity and development. What do I have? What do I not have? What is withheld from me? What am I withholding from others? I exist, to some degree, in a kind of rights and privilege grey area. And in this spirit of feminism v. white privilege, I started thinking about my place in the photojournalism community and eventually moved to thinking about an issue I like to call the colonialism of photojournalism; otherwise known as white guys love to take photos … – Clary Estes
In northwest Ethiopia, a community of around 500 people founded by a once labeled “crazy” man, Zumra Nuru Mohammed, exists.
The Awramba community is a self-sufficient one that follows four principles: respecting equality of women, respecting children’s rights, caring for the elderly and avoiding bad deeds. Later, they also added “Accepting all humans as brothers and sisters” to the list…
Why Pro Matters – Sebastiaan de With
“You’ve probably heard the statistic that nearly half of all films produced before 1950 are entirely lost, and that’s only one of the many reasons that proper restoration and preservation is so important. Let’s dive in and take a look at three different films all in different stages of the restoration process, plus take a look at how film restoration as a whole has evolved and continues to evolve in an increasingly digital world.”
How to make bold decisions, even when your friends or family want you to play it safe…
“It’s 2027, and we’re no longer gorging ourselves on shrimp. Or tuna. Or salmon. Not because they’ve disappeared from the oceans or we’re appalled by how they’re produced, but because we’re eating so many other delicious fish from land and sea — like porgy, dogfish, lionfish, barramundi, and others we’ve yet to meet”. – Monica Jain
Tech Leaders Are Just Now Getting Serious About the Threats of AI
The real issue — though it doesn’t have the same ring as “killer robots” — is the question of corporate transparency. When the bottom line beckons, who will lobby on behalf of the human good?
JAMES FRIEDMAN: 1,029,398 CIGARETTES
Cinematography has come a long way in the last 100+ years. In the early days of the medium a director of photography was little more than a glorified cameraman or director’s assistant, almost a laborer told to go there, point here, shoot, cut, next.
THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG-DISTANCE PHOTOGRAPHER
What are the personal realities faced by photographers whose lives depend upon the creation and development of a successful photography practice?
I first explored this question in an article of the same title approximately five years ago. At the time it seemed like a risk to write and publish a truthful and honest reflection on the emotional, mental and spiritual realities faced by many photographers for a title supported by camera manufacturer advertising. However, the article proved to be the most engaged feature the magazine published in my three years as its editor, producing powerful letters like this. I now feel compelled to write again about this issue.
Five years ago I discussed those who succumbed to personal pressures, such as Diane Arbus, Terence Donovan and Bob Carlos Clarke — I’m sure you will know of others. Those are the high-profile names, the photographers whose names have become associated with the saddest of ends to their careers and lives. There are of course many other photographers whose names and images are less well known who suffer the same pressures and stresses as those headline acts but who still need our support, understanding and empathy.
A friend of mine, Chris Floyd, has spoken about his belief that it was the progression from analogue to digital photography and the subsequent closure of the commercial darkroom that instigated many of the issues of loneliness photographers face today. I agree with him. The darkroom was a social space where photographers could meet and interact, where they could feel part of a creative community. This was essential to a photographer’s mental well-being, as you could always be sure of a chat and a coffee, sharing ideas and experiences whether you had work to drop off or not.
Today you could make the same argument for a digital printer, but the reality is that photographers have their work printed far less often than when they relied on a lab to process their film, and that sense of community is as a result far less vibrant.
So, a sense of community is important, and that sense of physical community has undoubtedly been replaced by the online communities of social media. There is no need for me to elaborate the positive and negative aspects of social media, but the reality of online engagement is individual screen time. It is additional screen time to that spent on the photographic workflow including research, pre-production, editing, post-production and the general business of emails, marketing, promotion and accounting. That’s a lot of screen time, which means a lot of time alone with no friend other than a plastic mouse by your side.
Isolation can easily lead to depression, and the role of the photographer is increasingly solitary.
Add to that the inevitable rejections when applying for grants and bursaries, entering competitions and failing to gain commissions, and it is no surprise that many photographers find themselves unable to deal with everything while remaining upbeat and positive.
It is interesting how many photographers I know have recently taken up running or cycling. The positive effects of physical exercise when dealing with depression are well documented, and although none of them have spoken to me about their mental wellbeing directly, I see a definite trend developing. It is a trend of self-awareness about mental health and the need for a positive attitude in order to pursue a career in photography.
Perhaps more evidence of this trend is the recent growth of collaborative projects. Five years ago, I suggested that photographers who were concerned about poor mental health should explore the support networks of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Mindfulness. Today I would add to that suggestion the many local collaborative projects instigated by photographers to stage talks, exhibitions and meet-ups. These communities share a passion for photography and perhaps most importantly a desire to share work, knowledge and experience. The photographers who attend are invariably at different stages of their careers and therefore invaluable in supporting those struggling with the time required to become an established photographer.
These communities are using online communication to promote their projects and the offline world to deliver them, and that is where the real sense of community exists. If you don’t have one near you why not set up your own? Reach out to local photographers and creatives and you will soon find people willing and able to work with you to establish some form of project. If you want inspiration look at the incredible success of the UK based Miniclick Talks established by architectural photographer Jim Stephenson. It is a not-for-profit collaborative enterprise which embraces talks, exhibitions, publishing and one-off events that welcomes all photographers from student to established professional level. Its monthly talks have become the fulcrum of the local photographic community’s existence.
To this point I have spoken about the physical loneliness that photographers can feel but there is also the mental loneliness that needs to be recognised and addressed. In a medium in which two plus two does not make four, the creation of work to meet your personal or client’s expectations is mentally challenging. The key word here is expectation, and failing to meet that expectation can trigger self-doubt and associated issues of anxiety that can lead to depression.
It takes a strong sense of purpose, balanced with a willingness to listen and evolve, to work as a photographer. But even with these qualities if your expectations are unrealistic or ill-informed they will never be met. It is this failure to meet expectations that I see most often as the foundation for mental health issues in photographers. Whenever I am asked to mentor or advise photographers the first question I always ask is about their expectations. It is the starting point to understanding where they are on their journey, and with this knowledge it is possible to give both informed and honest advice that will allow them to take the small steps required of the long-distance runner. A career in photography is not a sprint or perhaps even more accurately a long-jump based upon a quick run-up. It is a marathon, and one that can be incredibly rewarding if the correct training, support structures and precautions are understood and put into place.
There is a joke that goes like this: “What’s the difference between a photographer and a large deep pan pizza? The deep pan pizza can feed a family of four!” Creating a sufficient income from photography is the hardest aspect of your practice to come to terms with. There are no shortage of magazine articles and online programmes promising you great riches based on workflow. I don’t believe any of them and neither should you. Workflow is not the answer and you should not feel a failure if the promises made don’t work for you. It is hard to make a living from photography but it is possible. The twenty first century photographer must be a master of transferable skills and open to opportunities to expand and develop their practice in previously unknown environments. These may include film, moving image, writing, workshops, broadcast and lecturing. As I have said, the level of your success will be based upon the level of your expectation, and that expectation can and should be informed by those who are travelling the same road as you.
That journey can be a lonely one but it doesn’t have to be. All photographers experience the same issues, anxiety and setbacks. Just as they treasure the highs they remember the lows, and sharing this reality is the beginning of an essential conversation. I am aware that this conversation must happen without the fear of negative judgement.
I am positive about the current state of photography, far more positive than I was five years ago. However, if you are reading this and feeling that I have highlighted feelings you recognise in yourself, I hope that some of what I said is of help — especially if you do not share my current positivity. You are not alone and there are multiple support structures to reach out to. A career as a professional photographer is not easy and it is not for everyone. There is no shame in admitting to yourself and others that you prefer the creation of images free from industry expectations. The possible realisation that professional photography is not for you is not to admit defeat but to embrace success. It is a success that means taking a new road to travel with photography as your friend rather than your nemesis.
Grant Scott is the founder/curator of United Nations of Photography,
a Senior Lecturer in Editorial and Advertising Photography at the University of Gloucestershire, a working photographer, and the author of Professional Photography: The New Global Landscape Explained (Focal Press 2014) and The Essential Student Guide to Professional Photography (Focal Press 2015).
For a brief period in her youth, my mother was a model photographed by Richard Avedon and Irving Penn, and once was on the cover of LIFE Magazine. As a child, I grew up as a witness to her beauty: I used to lie on her bed with the dogs, and watch her try on clothes and study herself critically in the mirror. As I grew older there was no use competing with her and so I assumed my position, quite happily, on the other side of the camera. – Sage Sohier
My identity as a British Nigerian plays a pivotal role in the direction of my photography. I work hard to develop photographs that speak to both me and others who can relate to my ideas. My main aim is to provide information on the important and sometimes forgotten histories that shaped the West Africa we know today, also bringing attention to the effects of colonisation in Africa and the diaspora. Projects such as Irun Kiko, give insight in to a very personal journey of self-discovery and my attempt to uncover truths about a cultural history that was not taught in the schools I attended, or even easily accessible when conducting research. I attempt to bring attention to groups of first generation individuals like myself, often feeling out of place in the country they were born in,trying to make their way back to their motherland – Juliana Kasumu
“We live in a world awash with more information than we can survey, let alone digest. Increasingly we rely on automation to make sense of this abundant data, to filter and sort and present us with the knowledge that seems to matter most. The algorithms that do this are transforming some fields beyond recognition, and yet others, including journalism, seem to lag noticeably behind, or actively resist. For all the recent technological and economic upsets in the way news is gathered and disseminated, and for all the mounting awareness of the ways algorithms shape our interactions with the news, the journalistic paradigm remains largely that of a century ago. One of human information gatherers, witnesses, reporters, analysts, writers, editors. There are exceptions, as there are in any generalisation, but these are relatively few. What I would like to speculatively propose here is an upsetting of that model, and to ask whether we’re witnessing the start of a radically different newsroom, one which is algorithmically led, and where human journalists play an increasingly uncertain, perhaps irrelevant, part”…
From an interview with Giuseppe Oliverio of the Photographic Museum of Humanity
“Almost all kinds of photography are welcome, from classic photojournalism to innovative and experimental projects. What’s important for us at the moment of reviewing a photographer’s portfolio is to see a fluent narrative across works, clear concepts and ideas, a solid technical level and possibly innovative approaches to visual language”. – Giuseppe Oliverio
This is not another fat kid’s story. There are times when I do assume that role but it does not define me. I don’t have the body I have for no reason but it would be all too easy to extend blame. What people don’t often see are the functions of obesity. I hide behind my size, mask vulnerabilities, and create walls as a way to protect myself. Something I have learned and portray in my art is that being vulnerable and forming connection have created new function and even healing. I share my body and my story not as a way to seek pity or define myself as a number, but as a venue for a viewer to say “I’ve been there too.” – Samantha Geballe
In 2016, two major floods affected vast portions of Louisiana, sparking this series about weather anxieties and the precarious act of making a home on vulnerable land. Ever since Hurricane Katrina, my heart breaks and stomach turns every time I see flooding in the news. This year was even more intense, as our weekend camp was among those flooded in the March deluge, and came within inches of flooding again in August.
Depth of field is not rocket science, it’s directly linked to the size of your cameras lens aperture at the time you take the photograph. Focus on ‘Sarah’ correctly, expose the scene with an aperture of about f1.4, f2 or f2.8, you will have a shallow depth of field. Big hole = shallow depth of field.
With these these exposures ‘Sarah in the meadow’ will be in focus but everything in front of Anne and everything behind Anne will be a nice mix of bokeh and will be out of focus.
Now, without moving your self or Sarah reset the exposure on your camera, but this time use an aperture of about f5.6. With this setting you will have a medium depth of field. Medium hole = medium depth of field.
Now ‘Sarah’ and the area just in front of her and a greater area behind her will also be in focus. There will be less of the nice bokeh but then bokeh is not everything.
Again, without moving yourself or ‘photogenic Sara’ reset the exposure for the last time. This time, if you use an aperture of about f16 or f22 on ‘Sarah’ you will have a deep depth of field. Small hole = deep depth of field.
Now ‘Sarah’ and most of the meadow in foreground and everything behind her will also be in focus too. Alas no bokeh.
Thanks to modernphotographyschool.com for the graphics used here.
Alan Williams: Creatures of the Deep offers an insight into the mind and work of the immensely talented Brighton sculptor Alan Williams, who turns scrap metal into amazing animal figures. Looking into his dark influences and childhood, this biopic explores Alan’s practice, presenting the work of a true artist who holds “great talent, imagination and humility”.
Since 2007, David Johnson has made several bodies of work, including It Can Be This Way Always, a long term project documenting the Kerrville Folk Festival in central Texas, an annual 18-day event that has been in existence since 1972; Your Walls Aren’t That White, a series investigating the physicality of the museum and gallery exhibition space; and his most recent project, Wig Heavier than a Boot, a collaborative project (with poet Phillip Matthews) that brings together photography, poetry, and video to inspire a conversation about gender expression and individuality.
Just because it is a joy to listen to…
“Creation is not inspired by one man, woman or one thing. We are influenced by our daily fair, diverse artists etc. I have admired various influential artists in my life, such as Picasso, Dali and Warhol. With this film, I attempted to convey an approach to the creative process and express how all artists, at any level, “steal” the art and the very soul of other artists, while forming their “original” pieces”. – Daniel Cordero
The one and only Ambrose Yu did a wonderful work in the sound design of this piece. I strongly recommend listening to this film while wearing headphones. Thank you.
For more info about the creative process of this project, go here: http://danielcordero.net/art-is-theft
to find out read more @Iheartfaces
As a mother, artist, and observer of familial connections around the globe, Jamie Johnson makes work that speaks to memory and time passing, but also leaves room for humor and irony. A number of years ago, while still shooting digital imagery for her client work, she returned to creating photographs with historical processes. With use an 8 x 10 camera and 4×5 cameras with lenses made during the Civil War era, then process the imagery as Wet Plate Collodion photography (also known as Tin Types). The process of working this way requires stillness on the part of the sitter, and tremendous focus on the part of the photographer as each image is a unique object, documenting a split second, never to be duplicated. Her series Vices took four years to complete and has been exhibited in silver gelatin prints and published around the globe…
Palestinian John Elias Dabis and Israeli Inon Dan Kehati are amplifying the unpopular ideas of the silent majority. And for John, that means calling out injustice wherever he sees it – among Israelis *and* among Palestinians.
Andrew tells his friends about why he joined an ex-gay ministry as a teenager, why the LGBTQ community could benefit from more religious diversity, and then poignantly shows us why it’s important for young LGBTQ Christians to hear his story.
‘Sweet Water’ is a short film about some of the surfing that happens on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes.
Music by_ Ultimate Spinach
Additional footage from Tania Dupon-Martinez and Jordan Groves
The latest documentary by Ivan Olita is a piece documenting the far reaches of the southern state of Oaxaca where, in the indigenous communities around the town of Juchitán, the world is not divided simply into males and females. The local Zapotec people have made room for a third category, which they call “muxes” – men who consider themselves women and live in a socially sanctioned limbo between the two genders.
SEE FLUSHED HERE
Guillermo Gonzàlez (b.1974) is a photographer and filmmaker who lives and works in Santiago de Chile. He studied at the Instituto de Arte de la PUCV (Institute of Arts of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso) where he studied filmmaking as well as photography with Bob Borowicz (Gold Medal, Baltimore Museum of Contemporary Art, USA). He has performed various jobs in documentary filmmaking, among which the most outstanding are: “Under the South,” “Register of Existence” and “Quinta.” At present, he is a professor at the Institute of Arts (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso) in the Bachelor of Arts career. He is also coordinator of the Diploma Course of Analogue Digital Applied Photography, in the same institution. He also has a Master’s degree in Documentary Filmmaking from the Universidad de Chile.
Krista Wortendyke’s work examines photography’s role in documenting violent acts while bringing viewers to a crossroads of confrontation regarding race crimes, gun violence, and the ethics of war. Wortendyke’s work is featured in This Heat, a group exhibition at Weinberg/Newton Gallery up through the end of the month.
Krista Wortendyke (b. 1979, Nyack, New York) is a Chicago-based conceptual artist. She received her MFA in Photography from Columbia College in 2007. Her ongoing work examines violence through the lens of photography. Her images are a result of a constant grappling with the mediation of war and brutality both locally and globally. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Schneider Gallery and Weinberg/Newton Gallery in Chicago, The Griffin Museum in Winchester, MA, and many other venues across the United States. Her work is also in the permanent collections of both the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago. Krista is currently an adjunct professor of photography at Columbia College Chicago and Loyola University.
“I can’t even remember when I first met Ray Bidegain; I think because it seems like I have known him my whole life. Ray is a romantic. He is a master platinum printer, large format photographer, teacher, father, and friend. Ray prints every day. Every single day. For that, I am truly jealous. Ray has a wide range of photographic interest and ability; he makes it look easy. See for yourself.
Ray Bidegain was born in Tucson, Arizona and started studying photography in high school. At age 17 he began working on weekends for a large studio that offered wedding photography to the Hispanic community in Southern Arizona. Ray graduated from Brooks Institute of Photography in 1981 and returned home to Tucson to operate his own studio before moving to Portland, Oregon. After 17 years as a studio portrait photographer, Ray turned to fine art photography, eventually teaching himself the art of platinum printing and, later, wet plate collodion. Fascinated by both the science and the art of photography and printmaking, Ray is an engaging and respected photo instructor throughout the Pacific Northwest. Ray’s photographs are internationally collected, and his work has been exhibited across the United States, and in France, Germany, and Scotland. He is currently represented by Russ Levin in Monterey, California.”
“WHY I AM A PRO-PALESTINIAN…” – Moral Courage Channel.
KOREA WEEK: MYOUNG HO LEE
Works of Korean photographers presented in Korea Week have some remarkable visual creativity and their vision in photographs that are striking and intellectual challenging.
Myoung Ho Lee’s Photography-Art Project is to introduce natural sceneries intervened by installing a white canvas as a metaphor of the re-presence and re-produce; Jeong Lok Leehas created a mysterious and dream-like scenery that is beyond the reality; Seong Youn Koo surprises us with photos filled with arranging and gathering mundane objects in an unfamiliar combination; Seung Hee Hong has created a visual depth by creasing and draping flat and solid surfaces; Sung Seok Ahn has reinterpreted the past and present by projecting an image on a screen; Won Chul Lee has captured an ambivalent space through flow of time and emotional sentiment; Nanda represents Modern Korean society taking pictures of modern girls in the movie studio and reproduces narratives between reality and imagination.
These seven photographers are creating a new paradigm of contemporary photography in Korea. Through their works, we can look into the present and future of contemporary photography in Korea.
I’m very happy and grateful to have the opportunity to introduce Korean photographers to Lenscratch. I introduce the creative and experimental photography of these seven photographers working steadily in their unique world of photography, and I hope you will be able to appreciate their work through this Korea week.
Joanne Junga Yang is a Korean curator and has organized and curated many exhibitions on contemporary art and photography. She has been involved in numerous international photography events around the world as a curator, reviewer, and juror. She has also contributed many articles to diverse magazines and has interviewed international artists.
MyoungHo Lee was born in 1975 in Daejon, South Korea. He studied Photography at the University of Chung-Ang in South Korea. Currently, he is a professor at the Photography Department of the Kyungill University. His work has been exhibited internationally. He has won “Photography Critic Award” (2006, The Committee of Photography Critic Award), “Sungkok Art Award”(2009, Sungkok Art Museum) among others. His works have been collected and exhibited by world famous museums such as Jean Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles, USA), Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts (Kiyosato, Japan), Museum of Contemporary Art Salta(Salta, Argentina), National Museum of Contemporary Art Korea(Seoul, Korea), Seoul Museum of Art(Seoul, Korea) and many others.
Photography-Act Project: Tree, Mirage
MyoungHo Lee has worked on the series of Photography-Act Project. In his show, Photography-Act Project: Camera Lucida, Camera Obscura…, he is showing his Tree series and Mirage series, which he has worked on for last ten years, as Camera Lucida and Camera Obscura in the two separated spaces. By installing a white canvas in the back of tree, Tree series presences the complete figure of tree. As a metaphor of the re-presence, this series is in the space Camera Lucida. On the other hand, by installing a white canvas on the surface of desert, Mirageseries produces oasis or sea like mirage far-off in desert. As a metaphor of the re-produce, this series is in the space Camera Obscura.
It is assumable from the title Photography-Act Project that Myoung Ho Lee values the whole as well as the part of the process as the trace of his act rather than just final piece of photography. By showing his View of Work and Video of Work together, he shows his artistic attitude toward the process and act of his work.
The children who may never sit for their matric exams
As parents and students nationwide celebrate – or bemoan – yesterday’s matric results, education remains out of reach for more than half-a-million children living with disabilities who may never get the chance to write their matric exams.
Being excluded from education doesn’t just violate children’s Constitutional right to education, it leaves many parents struggling to afford to care for children schools just won’t take.
Sonke Shongwe was born paralysed. Orphaned alongside his sister following the death of his mother, Sonke now lives with his grandmother, Sarah, near Ermelo, Mpumalanga.
At eight years old, Sonke has never seen the inside of a classroom although it is not for want of trying. Sarah said she tried several times to find an area school that could meet Sonke’s needs and even approached municipal social services for help.
Research released in 2015 by international organisation Human Rights Watch has estimated that more than half-a-million disabled children of school-going age in South Africa cannot access any form of education.
According to Mpumalanga Department of Education Spokesperson Jasper Zwane, Mpumalanga has 16 schools for learners with moderate or severe intellectual disabilities like Sonke who are often refereed to the school by district-based teams.
According to Zwane, children who have no intellectual disability but who are confined to wheelchairs should attend their local school.
“Within an inclusive system of education, it is recommended that learners should attend schools in their own neighbourhood…” he told OurHealth. “All parents whose children have physical disabilities work with local hospitals to acquire relevant mobility devices so that they can easily attend school.”
But even children with no intellectual disability but who, like Sonke, cannot go to the bathroom by themselves, would still special require assistance at the local school.
Nationwide, non-governmental organisations and disability experts often report that parents of disabled children are asked to hire and pay for private care assistants as a pre-condition to enrolment in mainstream schools, according to Human Rights Watch. The human rights organisation also notes that transport for wheelchair-bound children to and from school remains limited and costly.
The cost of caring
For Sonke, his exclusion from school meant he was often left home alone when Sarah went out to work and her other children were at school.
“If her children were in school and she had to go somewhere, she would leave him outside under the tree unattended,” said community member Phumzile Sibiya. “Sometimes it rained while he was under the tree and there was no one to move him.”
Sarah faced a touch choice: Forgo work to stay at home and care for him or spend up between 400 and R700 a month to hire a private caregiver.
“It became a challenge those caregivers kept on demanding more money because they were changing his nappies,” Sarah said.
According to Human Rights Watch, in-patient care facilities for children with disabilities in Cape Town and Kimberley charged as much as R250 per month, which the organisation notes is still a significant expense for single-parent or low-wage households.
Sarah’s neighbour Thulisile Sibanyoni is shocked that Sonke’s caregiver could charge the family so much – almost half of what a child like Sonke might get monthly in the form of a care dependency grant.
“People can be selfish and forget that no family chooses to have such challenges,” Sibanyoni said. “I don’t see why they see disability as a business.”
But Sonke’s caregiver Busisiwe Mkhabela argues that having to change diapers is no easy task.
“The reason why I charge (them) the price I (charge) older people with special needs is because we are changing a nappy,” she said. “An eight-year-old’s faeces smells so much like that of an older person.” – Health-e News.
Cedric Nunn on War Porn
…War is big business, and this includes media’s role in it. Wars have been photographed since the Crimean war. Of course the most famous of these in terms of imaging was the Vietnam war, in which imaging, through it being beamed into the living rooms of U.S.A. citizens, is supposed to have lessened their appetite for involvement in that conflict. I’m yet to be convinced of this fact, believing rather that it was the rising number of returning body bags that turned public opinion. Perhaps this is why, in our contemporary conflicts of Afghanistan and Iraq, the US put a ban on reporting and imaging the spectacle of U.S. soldiers returning in body bags…
How does our memory influence our present interaction with an unfamiliar environment? How do we interpret a new place, and what is the connection between our memories and the present?
The gap between my present self and my childhood mirrors the geographical separation between my physical location in America and my childhood home in Ethiopia. I have struggled to describe for others a heritage and homeland I have long been distanced from. My desire through the project, Mother’s Prayer, is to make sense of these gaps and to rewrite my narrative into the current landscape I inhabit.
The images are rooted in what I remember most growing up in Nazareth, Ethiopia in the 1980’s. The traditional Ethiopian clothing helps illicit a response within me and a visual cue to scenes from my childhood: women carrying firewood, men chewing khat, children paying soccer, and believers uttering prayers. The clothing acts as a time machine, transporting me back to my childhood where I am playing with tires or looking for a lost friend. I re-enact my memories using my current location as a backdrop. The result is a surreal aesthetic that challenges the authenticity of place. Where are these photos taken? Who is out of place here? Is this home?
Behind a mother’s prayer is a very wishful and well meaning desire for her son. This project portrays the nostalgia one feels for home, but also the nurturing and hopeful connection one has to the land he or she inhabits.
My Sweet Pepper Land – Golshifteh Farahani playing HangDrum
A tight edit of Jika Jo is showing at
Ken Weingart art…
small camera’s imaging…
The Lenscratch Lori Vrba Interview: The Moth Wings Diaries