Monthly Archive for February, 2009

lisa wiltse – teen pregnancy

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Lisa Wiltse

Teen Pregnancy

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“The one who got me pregnant was my cousin. He is not my boyfriend. In one bed, there are three of us…I am the only girl beside two boys…The one who got me pregnant is my cousin who is 13 years old. When I sleep, I really do not feel anything….When I woke up I felt…I wondered why my opening was painful.” Those are words from Jessica, 16 years old,  Quezon City, Philippines

Teenage pregnancy is widespread in the Philippines, especially amongst the poor. In Manila, this contributes to overpopulation and the vicious cycle of poverty, another child borne into the ghettos and a teenage Mom bearing the burden of raising a child before her own maturity and adulthood.  An estimated 70,000 adolescent mothers die each year in developing countries.

Young mothers face enormous health risks, obstructed labor is common and results in newborn deaths and deaths or disabilities in the mother.

Children are everywhere, tangible evidence of the city’s teenage pregnancy problem. Every year, 13 out of 100 girls aged between 15 and 19 of the Filipino population get pregnant. Health care for Manila’s urban poor is almost nonexistent, while opportunities to learn about contraception in this strictly Catholic country are rare.

A growing and heated debate in this predominantly Catholic country revolves around the church’s uncompromising stance against the use of contraceptive devices that is said to be contributing to poverty and affecting the quality of life for many Filipinos.

The Catholic church in the Philippines only approves of natural family planning methods and view condom use as promoting adultery and premarital sex. Church leaders believe that sex is meant solely for procreation. In this context, using of condoms-even for HIV/AIDS prevention becomes a sinful act. The problem is becoming very real.  An AIDS crisis threatens the Philippines as the number of people who are HIV positive has doubled in just over three years.

The Philippines, now home to around 85 million people, has become one of the fastest-growing populations in Asia with about 2 million new births each year, many of them in public hospitals so overwhelmed that new mothers are forced to share beds. Meanwhile, the Philippines’ population is projected to expand to as many as 142 million by 2040, by the government’s own estimates, and the rapid arrival of new mouths to feed is straining the country’s creaking infrastructure and choking its efforts to cut poverty.

These are the statistics. On paper, they sound alarming. The reality s even more astounding. One can walk into poor community and find an overabundance of child mothers. Most girls are unaware of protecting themselves and once pregnant, most will give up their studies.

 

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Lisa Wiltse

 

max sher – dmitry

Dmitry

 

Dmitry by Max Sher

Dmitry, a student of the Vyksa Religious School, Nizhny Novgorod Region, Russia, poses for picture in his class. An Orthodox religious school prepares boys for entering the seminaries and trains girls as church choir singers. There is a heated debate in Russia these days on whether to include religious subjects in the curriculum of the public schools. Many believe this move, if implemented, would further split the already polarized Russian society.

 

Website: Max Sher

 

james chance – the dead

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James Chance

Living With The Dead: Manila’s North Cemetery

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In the middle of the bustling Philippine city of Manila, home to almost 11 million people, lies the North Cemetery. Founded in 1904, it is the final resting place for several Filipino Presidents, celebrities, and hundreds of thousands of the city’s Catholic dead. However, since the 1960’s a new, living population has grown.  In this surreal environment, people have formed a functioning society that is literally built on tombs. A community of approximately 3,000 people currently live and work within in the North Cemetery’s walls.

 

Multimedia: James Chance and Jessica Chance

 

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James Chance

 

clear eyes…

i read carefully all of your comments on our last two essayists, Michael Christopher Brown and James Chance….both received almost unanimous “thumbs up” votes from the readers here on the essays presented…both are working in the documentary style of “bearing witness”, and yet this seems to be a good time to point out how quite different are these two fine photographers….

first i would suggest that Mike created his own narrative out of simply his own desire to make an essay out of Sakhalin…there was no inherent or obvious “story” to be told….there was no editorial reason for an editor to jump up and say “yes, let’s do a story on Sakhalin”…it would not be number one on the IMPORTANT  list…but alas, the essay succeeds quite simply because Mike decided to do it…period….Mike made it important…..and he used his approach and his visual authorship to create a mood and a  “style” and  because of the power of the “vision” itself , a story has been told…

this is quite different from James, who had  a “built in subject” in editor’s parlance…..tell an editor that you have found a place where people live in a cemetery and eyebrows automatically raise….the subject is obvious…James just might pique your curiosity about the Manila cemetery even before you have seen picture number one….we are shocked automatically  because of the subject matter…period…the “story” is not created by James’ vision , but by the nature of the topic at hand….this is not to say that James was not “seeing”, but i think you can see the wide difference from an editor’s point of view…..

James photographed something that was THERE….Mike photographed something that was in his HEAD…i could easily imagine so many different approaches to the cemetery that would work, because no matter what there are people living in tombs…interesting by nature….i could also easily imagine many a photographer going to cold stoic  Sakhalin and coming back with absolutely nothing….in other words, it really takes a photographer with a point of view and a real “look” to pull of a Sakhalin style essay…and it takes a good journalist to create the multi-media piece James gave us…both totally valid..

James used pictures to TELL a story…..Mike used photographs to MAKE the story….

when editors at magazines choose one photographer over another for an assignment, these are things they think about…who is going to do THIS story best?  some stories are suited for one photographer, while others would be best done by someone else…in “movie speak” this is called “casting” and this  is not much different in photoland…matching photographer to subject and the expectations of results is what “assigning” is all about….if you were an editor, would you send James to Sakhalin and Mike to the cemetery?  do you think both would do great essays in both places?  hmmmm, something to ponder for sure….they of course would both be “good” if they traded places, but a magazine editor might think long and hard about this one…

now these are subjects that i have discussed at great length with both men…i have had the opportunity to sit down in person with James Chance on several occasions to edit cemetery , so he knows what i think….the same for Mike Brown…we edited Sakhalin at my apartment just before i published….both men studied photography at almost the same time from the same university and with the same teachers….Ohio University has over the years been a leader in producing talent for newspapers and magazines…and is probably the largest rival school for the famed University of Missouri….both schools go competitevly neck and neck with a long list of very successful graduates ….i have no doubt that both James and Mike will be two photographers on the “A” list for top editors to choose, despite their differences……who gets chosen for what will be interesting to see…

so i have a question for all of you, albeit oversimplified for the purpose of discussion…..

do you see yourself as a photographer who needs a strong clear subject in front of you in order to work,  or do you prefer to “invent” the concept in your head and carve interesting photographs out of “nothing” ???

raul touzon – path to the ring

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Raul Touzon

Path To The Ring

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Blood and glory, for who, the bull or the “novillero”?

I met this troupe of young Mexican bullfighters one February afternoon in San Miguel de Allende. Their bravery and unparalleled commitment to the centuries old tradition of “Tauromaquia”, led me to explore the path they follow in hopes of fame and glory. A path restricted in the past to children, especially girls.

Paola, eleven at the time, represents Mexican childhood’s departure from normalcy as they step into a daily routine of training where cape and sword rule. In their altered world there are no video games or IPods. Just dreams, dreams of scarlet plazas in distant lands, dreams shattered not only by horn and hoof, but also by greed and pain.

 

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Raul Touzon

 

cristina faramo – shower

shower

Shower  by  Cristina Faramo

 

Website: Cristina Faramo

 

michael c. brown – sakhalin

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Michael Christopher Brown

Sakhalin

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Photographed predominantly in the broken, rusted, skeletons of communities around Sakhalin Island, Russia, these images explore the enigmatic spirit of a place and its people, long scarred from the Soviet era and left behind in modern times.

 

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Michael Christopher Brown

 

grace kim – love hotel

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Grace Kim

Love Hotel

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Love hotels in South Korea are commonly known to be where lovers go to carry on secret affairs. I was given access to photograph the rooms of a love hotel in Seoul after couples had checked out and before the rooms had been cleaned. Korean culture has many rules and formalities that have always felt very restrictive to me, so I was intrigued by the idea of being where I shouldn’t be and observing things I shouldn’t be observing-remnants of love affairs that were presumably forbidden as well. By visiting the rooms just moments after they had been vacated, I wanted to explore residual tension between the presence and absence of the anonymous couples, and to contemplate the stories implied by what remained. Rather than consider the rooms as a whole I focus on the bed, treating it as a metaphor for love and nostalgia.

 

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Grace Kim

 

giovanni cocco – sick girl

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Giovanni Cocco

Sick Girl

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Naughty and irresistible Italian girls –  free and cunningly organized. They came into being because of an urge to tear to pieces boredom and well-meaning prissiness, they are the pissed-off daughters of the fifties pin-ups. They have chosen the name Sick Girl to give vent to their creative fantasies, a meeting place on the web, a hiding place for the revolutionaries of seduction.

The art of Burlesque has at last found a firm benchmark also in Italy. It is the Sick Girls who have been putting on and performing this type of show since 2004. Their immediacy, spontaneity, style and attitude make them capable of assimilating the motions of this Art and enable them to personalize the performance.

The Show owes a lot to the art of the circus, in fact there are quite a few comic sketches, dance routines, ballet and striptease acts, all of which are filled with sensuality, wickedness and self-mockery.

 

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Giovanni Cocco

 

adam smith – self service

selfservice

 

Self Service by Adam Smith

 

Website: Adam Smith