Monthly Archive for May, 2009

tatiana grigorenko – missing link [EPF Finalist]

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Tatiana Grigorenko

Missing Link

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Emerging Photographer Fund – FINALIST (number six of eleven)

My parents fled the Soviet Union in 1976, where they had been dissidents, their families persecuted and imprisoned many times over. They ended up in New York, political refugees with no nationality, and there I was born: an American citizen to stateless parents, with my mother proudly holding up my infant head for the picture in the family’s first US passport.  I grew up with one foot in an imaginary country: a country defined by the Russian I spoke at home, the food I ate, the songs I listened to and of course, the stories my parents told– but a country, nonetheless, that could never have a real physical existence.  My parents were too scared to ever return, even for a short visit.

Haunted by this incomplete picture, I set out to meet the imaginary country face to face. Armenia, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Estonia, Russia ….  Everywhere I go, I meet dozens of new faces, and in each one of them I recognize women I could have known, men I could have loved, places that could have been familiar. I am chasing a phantom: rather than finding the country my parents had told me about, I am meeting the self/selves I could have been.

An invented self-portrait, a fictional autobiography, unfolding in a country that no longer exists ….

These are images from a long-term project that I hope to complete with an EPF grant and eventually publish as a book of images juxtaposed alongside text culled from personal journal entries.  The final result should, of course, serve as testimony to the aftermath of the break-up of the Soviet Union, but I hope that the viewer will also, by sharing the author’s own experience, question the very notion of how we define ourselves.

Bio:

Tatiana Grigorenko was born in 1980 in New York City. After a brief stint as a professional ballet dancer in New York and Paris, she graduated from Amherst College in 2003 with a BA in Fine Arts. She is currently pursuing her MFA in photography at Yale University School of Art.  She lives and works between New York, New Haven and Paris.

Tatiana’s work has been exhibited in New York City (Thomas Werner Gallery), in Paris, France (Galerie Bailly Contemporain), in New Haven, Connecticut (Yale University Art Gallery and Green Hall Gallery), in Amherst, Massachusetts, in Treviso, Italy and in Carmel, California.

Tatiana was recently named a 2009 Emerging Photographer by the Magenta Foundation and has received numerous awards and fellowships, most notably from the American Society of Media Photographers, the National Geographic Society and a grant from the Thomas J. Watson Foundation for her project ‘Missing Link’. She has completed residencies at Fabrica, the Benetton artistic research center and at the Eddie Adams Workshop and has taught photography at the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York.

In addition to her artistic work, Tatiana shoots for the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, Redux Pictures agency and the Bloomberg News agency, among others.  Her work appears in publications internationally.

 

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Tatiana Grigorenko/a>

 

Editor’s Note: Please only one comment per person under this essay.. Further discussions should take place under Dialogue..

Many thanks… david alan harvey

eric espinosa – lords of the ring [EPF Finalist]

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Eric Espinosa

Lords Of The Ring

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Emerging Photographer Fund – FINALIST (number five of eleven)

Bert Randolph Sugar, one of the greatest boxing writers, says that “to understand boxing, one must understand its roots. From its beginnings, the sport has resonated with urban ethnicity, drawing its recruits from the tenements, the ghettos, the projects, the barrios, places that offered little chance for the present and even less of a future. Many a troubled and troublesome youngster has embraced the “Sweet Science” as a way out, a social staircase out of the mean streets that formed his limited world, fighting his way, bloody hand over bloody hand, up the ladder of acceptance, the only way he knows: with his fists”.

To penetrate the roots of boxing, I headed to the Queen City, a city rich with boxing history. Cincinnati has produced five world champions, beginning with Freddie Miller in the 1930s, Bud Smith and Ezzard Charles in the 1950s, Pryor and Tony Tubbs in the 1980s and Tim Austin in the 1990s. Those guys were always around – in the gyms, in the media, out in public – and the kids see them and want to emulate them. It becomes part of the culture. Pound for pound, Cincinnati is still today the top producer of high-quality amateur boxers in the country. Cincinnati has placed six fighters on the last four Olympic teams.  No other city can match it during that period.

All the young black fighters from its tough neighborhoods share the same dream: becoming future Olympians and bringing home Cincinnati’s first gold medal. But beyond their dreams of Olympic glory, they are primarily battling their way out of poverty, looking for a way out of the ghetto, hoping one day to get into prize-fighting, the “perfect” passport to fame and acceptance. I was able to penetrate their world and spent long hours with them in the dingy local gyms of the city, watched the daily sparring in sweat, blood and tears. The boy-men of the streets, the young kids who are shadow-boxing their fathers, the more experienced pro boxers that temporarily rise and then often self-destruct, the trainers – all have welcomed me into their lives.

I have tried to capture their souls in these “close” portraits, looking into their eyes straight. As Bob Black kindly wrote to me, I hope that my photographs, these stories gathered, will “provide a doorway through which others can walk through and see them, take them into our homes and our lives and understand that like each of us, they aspire, they aspire and fight and hope and love and attempt to win from this difficult life, a life that is finer than the one we, as adults and as a nation, have bequeathed them”. Boxing reveals the best in these men and boys, the hope, the perseverance, the sacrifices and above all, the dignity. Boxing is a hard way of life. Armed only with their fists and their wits, the boxers I have met in the Queen city proved to be very fine young men.

They are the “Lords of the Ring”.

This essay was started specifically for Road Trips and is now shown on Burn for the first time. My hope is to turn this work into a book to shed some light, from hours of conversations, on the lives and struggles of some of these boxers I have met – from the more famous young pro boxers like Aaron Pryor Jr., son of legendary Hall of Fame boxer Aaron Pryor “The Hawk”, to former Olympians like Ricardo Williams Jr., silver medalist at the Sydney Olympics, and Rau’Shee,  the second fighter ever in U.S. history to compete in back to back Olympics, but also the younger boxers who have yet to make it out of the ranks and are training everyday to follow the footsteps of their boxing idols.

Of course, I want to thank all the boxers and the trainers I have met at the Millvale Recreation Center, Mount Auburn gym and Northside boxing school. All of them have given so much to me and shared private moments of joy and tears during the long hours of training at the gym. Many of them live an unusual life with ups and downs and, in some cases, spent unfortunate time in jail that they regret. Clearly, there is no excuse for serious wrong doing and they all know that, but at the same time, it is important not to judge their acts too quickly when they have been tempted by the street. Most of them are very fine young men, brought up in the wrong neighborhood, without a stable family around them. It would have been easy to judge them from the privileged white suburb outside the city center where I live. In the ghetto, survival already seems an achievement in itself.

Finally, this essay, and eventually the book I hope will soon follow, is dedicated to a young boxer, James Perkins, who is shown in the last photograph. James was shot dead last October … nine bullets … a senseless assassination. I hope the few pictures I was able to take of James doing what he loved best, boxing, will help us remember James’ short life forever, a life cut way too short.

Bio:

Eric Espinosa was born in Marseille, France in 1968.  Eric currently resides in Cincinnati where he works for a large consumer goods company.  Within a few months, he will move back to Europe and settle in Brussels, Belgium.  Eric began to pursue photography in earnest in 2005 after attending a DAH workshop  in Rome and another one few months later in Sicily.  In 2008, Eric was an EPF finalist for street photographs taken in the “Over-the-Rhine” ghetto in Cincinnati.  Over the past year, in parallel with his full-time “day job”, Eric has been working on his first long-term project “Lords of the Ring”.  Currently, Eric is not affiliated with any agency but some of his past work is shown on his website.

 

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Eric Espinosa

 

Editor’s Note: Please only one comment per person under this essay.. Further discussions should take place under Dialogue..

Many thanks… david alan harvey

michael christopher brown – sakhalin [EPF Finalist]

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Michael Christopher Brown

Sakhalin

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Emerging Photographer Fund – FINALIST (number four of eleven)

Introduction:

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

Artist Statement:

I have always searched for obscure places to escape to and explore. I spent much of my childhood carving trails in mustard and cornfields and wandering the roads and woods of rural Washington State. As I grew, my interest turned to extreme sports and through these activities I reaped fullness in life. Moreover, as a stuttering youth these solo, expressive pursuits were seemingly vital vehicles of communication.

After physical injuries alienated me from this lifestyle and my friends, my father taught me photography. The camera led me inward and I discovered the richness in not only documenting experiences and the physical world but in visually interpreting my surroundings by noticing what was happening inside myself. To see beyond the depressed emotions in my life, photography, paradoxically, showed me a way to recognize the life behind things, a means of expression beyond the physical world.

Bio:

Raised in the Skagit Valley, a farming community in Washington State, Michael earned a BA in Psychology and Art from Western Washington University and the University of Hawaii in 2000.

After completing an MA in Visual Communication from Ohio University in 2003, he won the College Photographer of the Year Competition and completed internships at The State Journal-Register and National Geographic Magazine before beginning freelance work in 2006.

In 2007, his essay profiling industry in the Pearl River Delta Region of China was broadcast on PBS during The News Hours with Jim Lehrer. Later that year, American Photo named him one of fifteen emerging “photo pioneers.” In 2008 he was selected for the World Press Joop Swart Masterclass, named a Magenta Emerging Photographer, a PDN 30 and a ‘Young Gun’ by The Art Directors Club in New York. In 2009 he won a Juror’s Choice Award from the Santa Fe Project Competition.

A contributing photographer to the Grazia Neri photo agency, Michael is working on a project about Broadway.

 

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Michael Christopher Brown

Editor’s Note: Please only one comment per person under this essay..Futher discussions should take place under Dialogue..

Many thanks…david alan harvey

simona ghizzoni – aftermath [EPF Finalist]

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Simona Ghizzoni

Aftermath

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Emerging Photographer Fund – FINALIST (number three of eleven)

 

” These are the last things, she wrote. One by one they disappear and never come back.”

Paul Auster, In the Country of Last Things

2006-2009

Since early 2006, concurrent with my first reportage assignments, I have worked on a personal research project exploring the decay of memories. The following photographs are an abstract from the series titled “Aftermath”.

While originally meaning the welcome first new growth of grass after the cutting of hay, “aftermath” has now commonly come to mean the period following a major event or consequences of that event.

This work explores the aftermath of innocence lost. Growing up means you have to abandon the fantastic world of your childhood where everything is wrapped in a magic halo. When you are a child, the world is alive and humanized – animals, plants, and objects. My photographs are a glance at my childhood fantasies transformed in the aftermath to frozen and eerie visions.

All of these photographs are printed in black and white on cotton rag paper and hand-colored with Ecoline (liquid watercolors).

Bio:

Simona Ghizzoni was born in Reggio Emilia, Italy, in 1977. After studying the classics, she attended the Istituto Superiore di Arti Visive e Fotografia in Padua, where she graduated in 2002. She went on to gain an MA in the history of photography from the University of Bologna in 2007, with a thesis on the history of psychiatric photography.

Since 2005 Ghizzoni has committed herself to reportage and personal research projects, especially concerning the condition of women. In 2006 she was selected for the Reflexions Masterclass, held by photographer Giorgia Fiorio and the curator Gabriel Bauret. In the same year she tied for first prize at the FNAC photo contest, with the work ‘Scars’, an essay on Sarajevo ten years after the end of the war. She took a third place prize from World Press Photo in 2008, a second place magazine feature picture story award at POYi in 2009, and was recently selected as one of 12 photographers to participate in the 16th Annual World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass this fall.

Ghizzoni is based in Rome and represented by Contrasto.

 

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Simona Ghizzoni

EDITOR’S NOTE:   ONE COMMENT PER PERSON PLEASE UNDER THIS ESSAY….further discussions may take place under Dialogue…many thanks for giving this a try… david alan harvey

jenn ackerman – trapped [EPF Finalist]

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Jenn Ackerman

Trapped

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Emerging Photographer Fund – FINALIST (number two of eleven)

The continuous withdrawal of mental health funding has turned jails and prisons across the U.S. into  default mental health facilities. The system designed for security is now trapped with treating mental illness and the mentally ill are often trapped inside the system with nowhere else to go.

I left the prison everyday feeling the same way the warden and the doctors do – wanting to help these men that have nowhere else to go but feeling helpless. My intention was to produce a riveting body of work that made the viewer feel what I felt when I was inside the prison. There were days that I was extremely scared and others that I left thinking how much someone on the outside missed them. Some days, I had to remind myself that many of these men had done heinous things. There were also days when I was reminded that some of these men have faded into the system with no hope of getting out.

I saw them cry. I saw them hit themselves so hard in the head that they bled. I saw them throw their feces at the officers. I saw a world most people don’t even know exists in America.

Thus far, this project documents the Correctional Psychiatric Treatment Unit at the Kentucky State Reformatory. I chose this institution because it is regarded by many as one of the best psychiatric units in the country.

The project portrays the daily struggle inside the walls of the unit redesigned to treat mental illness and maintain the level of security required in a prison. The photos take viewers into an institution where the criminally insane are sometimes locked up in their cells for 23 hours a day with nothing to occupy their minds but their own demons.

I have an excitement for storytelling and believe it is a great honor and privilege to share the stories of people who otherwise might not be heard. I specialize in long-term, in-depth, documentary projects and believe strongly in its ability to increase social awareness. My goal is when an image can make you feel something you can no longer forget it exists.

While this is a topic that has been covered in foreign countries, we have yet to see an in-depth photo documentary on the inhumane treatment to the mentally ill in America. Thus, this story is one I am honored to tell given the access that I was granted. Throughout this past year, I balanced my time shooting stills and video. While I also believe the edited film will be powerful, I know that the still images cannot be ignored and will have a lasting impact.

See more photos and the short documentary film at http://www.jennackerman.com/trapped.

 

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Jenn Ackerman

 

buzz..

BURN is buzzing…..in New York…..now….

wherever i went at the recent New York Photo Festival in the last couple of days, BURN was the talk of the town…now yes of course it would SEEM like that to ME…..but, even factoring out the dah pride thing, BURN was buzzing…..

however, forget that….the important thing right now for all of us is the response you have given us starting within seconds of us putting up the donation button…..as many of you know i was reluctant to put up a donate button…..hard for me to ask…but the response has been humbling to say the least….YOU have saved BURN…well, you have saved BURN for another month or so…but, that might be just about right….we are making the big push for responsible sponsorship, setting up a gallery for your work, continuing as per normal my personal mentoring for some of you, and continuing to put out an online magazine (annual print)where we can share our opinions on a wide variety of styles …. where the integrity  and morality of the work is just as important as the aesthetic……

i want us to be on the high ground…as sponsors now view us, each person here is personally responsible for our move into a whole new world of publishing….what you now write is read by many in our craft and in our art…your words are now more than ever IMPORTANT….as you hold me to my responsibilities, i will hold you to yours…..

think before you write and write exactly as you think…

as we move closer to Look3 and the announcement of our  EPF grant recipient, our discovery/promotion  of the new talent imperative here on BURN will clearly be manifested….you may or may not agree  with the finalists and the final jury choice, but i do not want anyone to doubt the integrity of the selection….Anton and i together went through all 1,200 entries…i made the selection of the ten finalists within the context of serious second opinion from Anton….so we alone are responsible for the ten finalists soon to be presented on BURN starting  probably on Tuesday….a prestigious eclectic jury of peers will make the final choice for the 2009 recipient….neither Anton nor i will have a vote towards the grant recipient….there will be other, soon to be announced,  support for the remaining finalists as well…

our potential sponsors will notice our traffic and the loyalty of our audience….mostly they will notice our audience produced content with the emphasis on authorship……they will definitely notice your volunteered financial support for BURN….i thank you for all three from the bottom of my heart….

part of my plan is  to put some respected legends in our craft on commissions specifically for BURN…i want to do the same for some of you……not just the EPF finalists, but for the most talented  of you here on BURN….for example,   one legend producing original photography for BURN and three emerging photographers on an equal commissions doing original work as well….i can put this together with guaranteed photographer’s publishing rights, better than editorial day rates,  and artistic control by the authors….how could i represent anything less??? we are going to rock with this one….

i will count on you to help keep BURN all  it can be, and i will do all i can to help you to be all that you are….

…..david alan harvey

alejandro chaskielberg – the high tide [EPF Finalist]

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Alejandro Chaskielberg

The High Tide

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Emerging Photographer Fund – FINALIST  (number one of eleven)

With my photographs I create fictional scenarios with real people and situations.

I try to explore the limits of documentary photography, using technical processes to transform the natural perception of light, colors and spaces.

I am working on a project about the Paraná River Delta photographed in full moon.

The Paraná River supplies water for more than one hundred million people, including the cities of San Pablo, Buenos Aires and Asunción, Argentina. The whole Paraná basin is one of the principal reserves of sweet water in the world.

My photographs set out to document the life and work of the islanders of the Delta.

Using long-time exposures with full moon, they have allowed me to light part of the landscape artificially and also give the islanders a strange timelessness: an unknown source of light floods the scene with unreality and mysterious.

I think my pictures as slides of unfinished stories, having a script on my head. The images are carefully planned after days of observation, and they only have a body when the large-format camera initiates the slow subordination of the capture. It will take from five to ten minutes until this thick darkness sprouts what was secret.

I am interested in the poetical and visual power of the water, and the relationship of the people and the environment. I think that the health of this resource is a worldwide problematic issue today.

My intention is to work with photography in the border between reality and fiction.

Photography can transform reality and produce a magical view of people and life, and this is a part of its particular language.

 

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Alejandro Chaskielberg

 

hillary atiyeh – in hot water…

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ESSAY CONTAINS EXPLICIT CONTENT

Hillary Atiyeh

In Hot Water

 

Water, the essential element within all living things… in perpetual motion.

Heat, from the core of the Earth… springs to the surface.

A journey of our body & our community in nature through an inherent interconnection with the sensual, transcendental, metaphysical and intrinsic.

These photographs were created primarily at Breitenbush Hot Springs, an intentional community deep within the forested mountains of Oregon.

This work in progress began in July 2008 and will continue to Incorporate a mélange of cameras, color film, b&w film and straight digital imagery in which several bodies of work are evolving.

This slideshow was created specifically for BURN.

Thank you,

Hillary

editors note:  if nudity will offend either you or someone around you, please do not hit the play button for this essay. – david alan harvey

 

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Hillary Atiyeh

Music: Alice Di Micele

 

sean gallagher – desert storm

hongsibao

 

Desert Storm by Sean Gallagher

A man pushes his bike into a suffocating duststorm on the outskirts of the town of Hongsibao, in Ningxia Province in north-central China.

Sand and duststorms have been one of the major problems as a result of desertification in China. As the spring winds blow, dry and degraded topsoil is picked up and thrown into the air to be carried in immense clouds of sand and dust. Each year, these spring storms plague northern China, originating in the northern central desert regions of the country. Moving east, the storms descend on China’s capital Beijing, shrouding it in a surreal yellow light. In recent years, these same sandstorms have been known to be carried on to South Korea, Japan and even as far as the west coast of the United States.

This image is one of a collection of images that I am currently producing for the Pulitzer Center On Crisis Reporting on the subject of ‘China’s Growing Sands’. The problems associated with sand and duststorms are but one chapter in the multifaceted subject of desertification that I am covering. Other chapters include environmental refugees, land management, tourism, water scarcity and abandoned cities.

I am writing articles to accompany my photos, which are being hosted on the Pulitzer Blog:

http://pulitzercenter.typepad.com/untold_stories/chinas-growing-sands/

 

editors note:  Sean was the 2008 Emerging Photographer Fund stipend recipient…He took this grant funding and carried on all year long, doing more and more work on the desertification of China. This was his stated goal when applying for the grant   -david alan harvey

 

Website: Sean Gallagher

 

brent foster – hell hole

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Brent Foster

Hell Hole: Living On Jharia’s Fiery Mines

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I consider it hell on earth, literally. The smell, the smoke, the heat, the conditions. No human should have to live here, work here, grow up here, exist here, yet thousands do.

The Jharia coal mines have been on fire in Jharkhand, India for almost 100 years. It’s one of the largest coal mines in Asia. As the fires spread, many people live with the ground beneath them burning every day. Houses crack, crumble, and subside…so do people. Locals tell stories about villagers sleeping and the earth beneath them giving way, their bodies never to be found in the inferno. Just a few months ago a 15 year-old girl disappeared in the fires while taking her morning bathroom break.

Villagers survive by picking illegal coal from the mines to sell at local markets for about a dollar a basket. They collect the coal, and burn it once in order to improve its quality, breathing in the poisonous smoke containing carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide and fine coal dust, among other things. None of the illegal miners wear protection.

This is a complex problem as a plan has been put through with hopes that the residents will move to a new re-homing area.

Locals are hesitant as the plan offers a small room for what is commonly a huge family. Most feel that they are asked to move because the price of the coal below them is worth more than their existence.

 

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Brent Foster

/Burning Below Coal Fires In Jharia India