Monthly Archive for June, 2009

my hellsten – fjällkor

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My Hellsten

Fjällkor

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A few years ago I fell deeply in love with the white mountain cows of Tännäs, the village of my grandparents. This is a small village in the province of Härjedalen, in the north of Sweden. During the summer and the early autumn months, the cows and their calves move around on a fairly large area with meadows and a forest. I became curious and fascinated by them and I soon felt an urge to investigate what they where doing, for example in the middle of the night in the forest. Since that first summer I am following them with my camera during days as well as nights, from early summer until the first snow falls, usually in October.

After having spent so much time with the cows they have gotten used to have me around and I have come to know them as individuals and discovered how different they are from each other in terms of character and temperament.

The project is ongoing and I am looking forward to continue photographing them.

 

Bio

My Hellsten was born in 1976 and lives in Stockholm, Sweden. She graduated with a BA in Graphic Design and Illustration from Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in 2003 and she received her MFA from the same university 2005. During 2002 she studied one semester at California College of Arts, San Francisco, USA, as an exchange student. Since graduation she has been working both with graphic design and photography.

Her work has been exhibited in Sweden and internationally. In 2007 she was selected for Peek 2007, Festival of emerging photographers, by Art+Commerce, New York, and a selection of the photographs was presented in Capricious Magazine #7 edited by Art+Commerce. In 2008 she exhibited at the Backlight International Photographic Triennial, Tampere, Finland, and in 2009 at Fotofestiwal, International Festival of Photography in Lodz, Poland. In 2009 she was nominated for the Leopold Godowsky, Jr. Color Photography Award, and in July 2009 her work will be shown at the Voies Off Festival in Arles, France.

 

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My Hellsten

 

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

Many thanks… david alan harvey

chris bickford – midnight kiss, avenue c

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Midnight Kiss, Avenue C by Chris Bickford

Under a waning moon in New York’s Alphabet City, two lovers pause by the glow of a streetlamp.

From the project In the Night , a journey through the the nocturnal world of New York’s “new” Lower East Side and the culture of youth, hip, art, love, loneliness, ambition, and abandon that populates its streets.

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“They were the crest of the wave, young, gifted, privileged, serious for now about making art or launching some kind of maverick free enterprise or just being citizens of the world, and not only reasonably confident in their ability to do so but also in their god-given right to do so. And why not, Eric thought, why not…”

–Richard Price, Lush Life

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Chris Bickford’s piece After the Storm made its debut on Burn in March of this year (view essay here) and has since been featured at the Look3 Festival of the Photograph and in Surfer’s Journal. In November it will be part of solo exhibitions in Michigan and Washington, DC. Images from the project will be featured in a piece for NYTimes.com later this summer. It is available in book form through www.chrisbickford.com/wp.

 

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Chris Bickford

TTravelogue

 

alessandra

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Alessandra Sanguinetti and her daughter Catalina

please ask Alessandra Sanguinetti any questions you may have….Alessandra is a Guggenhiem Fellow, a Magnum photographer and the author of On the Sixth Day…..she is with me now for the next two or three hours……she will be “on” soonest……


women with cameras….

one of the most rewarding things for me to come out of the Magnum meeting now going on in London is the inclusion of Spanish photographer Cristina Garcia Rodero as the newest full member of our agency….out of the approximately fifty members of our agency , only eight of them are women…..this is a painful reality…..no matter where i travel and am faced with an audience of photographers, the question is always asked of me “why are there not more women in Magnum?”…..indeed….perhaps more importantly, the question should be, why aren’t there more women in our craft in general???

i am now sitting in the back of a room in London where the male dominant crowd is palpable….i can see Cristina now sitting smiling at the other end of a long table….but between Cristina and where i now sit is Larry Towell, Martin Parr, Bruno Barbey, Costa Manos, Peter Marlow, and Richard Kalvar….over to the left i see Lise Sarfati sitting next to Alex Webb, Eli Reed, Joseph Koudelka, Elliott Erwitt and Steve McCurry….right next to me is Alessandra Sanguinetti who is standing next to Jim Goldberg , Trent Parke, Mikail  Subotsky , Alec Soth and Jonas Bendikson….you get the picture….

Magnum members took an initiative about 10 years ago to help change this equation….the Inge Morath grant was initiated by Larry Towell,  and all Magnum members contribute from their own pockets to give out the annual $5,000 grant to an emerging woman photographer….this year we gave the award to Emily Schiffer to continue her work with Native Americans, ” Cheyenne River”….we collectively juried this award two days ago from four finalists….congratulations Emily….

we also have a first runner up….this year it was Jenn Ackerman, whose work most of you know here as an EPF finalist with her work “Trapped: Mental Illness in America’s Prisons”….there is no money in our Inge Morath account to give anything more than the one $5,000. grant…..since the vote was so close, and since i feel that Jenn could use some funding to continue her work, i have decided to move some funding from the EPF account in the direction of Jenn…..

BURN will now give $2,000. to the first runner up of the Inge Morath award….Jenn Ackerman

to be clear…this is BURN funding, not Magnum funding….i am assuming Jenn will use the money wisely on her important effort….in my opinion, both Emily and Jenn deserve this support….i do not know Emily and only met once Jenn briefly, so i am making this contribution simply based on the work in front of me….all of you are part of this , since unlike the Inge Morath grant, the financing for the EPF part of this equation comes from you…yes, it is generous donors here on BURN who provide the funding for EPF….i have never asked for any of this funding, so this comes to us out of the sheer generousity of the readers here….many many thanks….

none of this will change the balance of women to men in our business….but, as most of you know, i am a “brick in the wall” philosopher….in the workshops i teach it is almost always a woman whose work rises to the top of the class…usually out on the edge, sensitive and non-linear work….why we do not see these women with cameras later on in the craft is  something i cannot explain…..maybe some of you can….

in any case, keep an eye out in the future for both Emily and Jenn….i do hope they will be around for the long haul….Cristina needs company….

-dah

anna boyiazis – aids orphans in sub-saharan africa

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Anna Boyiazis

AIDS Orphans In Sub-Saharan Africa

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By 2010, sub-Saharan Africa will be home to an estimated 20 million orphaned children. Because of HIV/AIDS, the number of AIDS orphans in sub-Saharan Africa is spiraling upward—increasing exponentially—rather than declining. In Uganda, where half the population is under 15, the number of orphans is projected to rise, as parents already infected continue to die from the disease. According to UNICEF, “The staggering number of African children already orphaned due to AIDS is only the beginning of a crisis of gargantuan proportions… the worst is yet to come.”

It is in response to these statistics that in 2006, I traveled to remote villages in Uganda and began documenting families whose lives have been touched by HIV/AIDS. It is these AIDS orphans who have left an indelible impression upon my heart. Bearing witness to their struggle to survive, I feel accountable to them. That said, it would have been impossible to see what I have seen and walk away—I wholeheartedly feel as though I was introduced to these children for a reason, and am overwhelmed by the feeling that I was born to tell their stories.

My work in 2008/09 has centered around one family who live in a remote rural village in the Rakai district of Uganda, the original epicenter of the AIDS pandemic. The family consists of eleven children, five of whom are AIDS orphans.

Here, I introduce to you Lydia, Molly, Nasta, Hallen, Scovia, James, Eddie, Dennis, Jackie, Agnes, Elliott and friends, brave souls who have allowed me to step into their hearts and lives.

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Anna Boyiazis

 

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

Many thanks… david alan harvey

anton kusters – eye of the beholder

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Eye of the Beholder by Anton Kusters

I’ve worked all day to prepare everything. Made galleries on my portable; made prints at Yodobashi Camera. Wrapped everything up nicely to present to him. When we meet at his office around 11pm, Soichiro, my brother, and I go through the whole collection of images i have made up till that point. I’m nervous as hell.

Slowly we go through every gallery, every image… Once in a while he flags one because he wants to ask a question or he wants me to make a print of it. To be presented to the subject on the photo… as a gift. This moment, the first showing of the images, the big first moment, “Are they going to like it? Will they approve?”, actually goes by without a glitch.

I also tell him i’m slowly starting to see the way i want to tell the story, so i show him my first sequenced spread layout on screen. only 20 images. I talk about my views, what i have seen, what i have learned, and that i am setting the mood in this “first chapter”. He agrees and thinks i should continue in the same way.

I’m in the front seat, riding with Soichiro in his car on his way to Shinjuku. “One cuts off one’s finger to make a point”, Soichiro explains while driving. “Usually to show the sincerity of an apology after doing something wrong.”

“You cut off a single digit of your own finger in a ceremonial way, while facing your boss, and then you present the severed finger on a folded napkin to him. It reinforces the power of your apology. It shows that you’re serious about what you’re saying.”

Somehow, i don’t feel like questioning that.

Post Scriptum:

A month ago, the annual go-around was banned by law; this is effectively the last picture of this happening in the streets of Kabukicho.

 

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About the Work

Soichiro is the lead character of the story that i’m starting to tell, about a Yakuza family in Japan. After more than 10 months of preparation, my brother and I have been granted access to start a long-term project to document the visible and hidden life of that particular family. All names used in the account above (and previous and future accounts) are fictional.

Here on burn magazine, and on my own site, i will regularly provide visual and textual accounts of our adventures.

Previous chapters:

Meet Soichiro

As Light Shines on thy Thigh

 

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Anton Kusters

 

richard pak – pursuit

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Richard Pak

Pursuit

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US of A, 2003-2009.

A project created over a six year period, Pursuit is the disenchanted chronicle of an idealized America. Being a keen admirer of American literature, cinema and painting, I created my own fancied-America, a not-so-imaginary place filled with fictional heroes. The purpose of this work is to juxtapose a mental construction to the reality of the American everyday life and to picture the “American experience” as a metaphor for a bigger experience. In my photographs I mean to suggest rather than describe, translate life’s small dramas into something timeless and universal.

The title Pursuit echoes the United States Declaration of Independence stating every American’s right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. This work is a visual journal of a chimerical quest:  happiness, granted as a constitutional right.

 

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Richard Pak

 

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

Many thanks… david alan harvey

sohrab hura – oasis

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Sohrab Hura

Oasis

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As darkness fell, it brought with it a sense of loneliness. I had been to Siem Reap in Cambodia some years ago when it had felt different. The roads were dustier, the people more… well, visible, and the town was a sleepier one.

It’s different now. Or at least it felt different to me. People from the streets had been cleansed out to make the town more attractive to tourists who come in hordes to visit the glorious Angkor temples next door. Just too many new bars and lounges and nightclubs have mushroomed as hotspots all over town providing a haven for tourists and prostitutes.

What I felt at night was a stark contrast. Between the empty, strange and eerie streets where I’d seldom come across shadows of humans and animals, and even those that I came across, I found them enveloped in a certain strangeness. The empty butcher shops where the meat was missing from the hooks, the blurred visions of the streets at the twilight before the first break of light… And then there were these hotspots that provided refuge from the loneliness that came along with the night.

I wanted to document the strange contradictions of a night in this erstwhile sleepy town through the perspective of a lonely outsider.

 

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Sohrab Hura

 

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

Many thanks… david alan harvey

alessandro penso – born kings

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Alessandro Penso

Born Kings

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This work springs from the attempt to explore the human and emotional background of a galaxy showing itself irreverent and proud to exist: the bursting and rebellious Queer community.

From the first Italian “gay pride” to the conquest of real and proper meetings, both at the local and national levels, this exuberant movement, the result of different stories and souls, has looked for a thread with a common language, speaking, above all, about the right to exist. So, in this work, the body becomes the protagonist, the soul and instrument for this assertion. As in “Born Kings” shows, stereotypes are overcome by means of the same stereotypes and, with slashing irony, a temporary identity is sought, to be discarded after a few minutes. The moments preceding the exhibitions are recurrent and it is exactly there that the complexity at the bottom of my research is to be found. The glances emerging from the masks artfully created to frame them and never to hide them are superimposed to the muscles that contract while in the shadows loneliness and affection emerge.

The work started in the spring of 2007, when I met Julia and Ivona. They were starting a “drag king” performance in Italy. For almost two years, whenever it was possible, I followed them in Rome, Milan, Bologna, Latin and Berlin. During this time I chose to add the various artists that I met to my work as well. The performers like J. and I. choose to use their body as an expressive and communication form. Recently, the work evolved into looking for all forms of body communication, like extreme body art or bondage.

I consider this a work in progress, as I am aware that in different cultures the diverse perceptions of the body and communication, and also that time may change both social and expressive needs. I hope to have the possibility to continue this project.

This essay is taking part in “Descubrimientos”, the “international discoveries” competition at Photoespaña in June 2009.

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Alessandro Penso

 

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

Many thanks… david alan harvey

fire…

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evolution…..yes, gradual and logical steps from one thing to another….dynamic….yes, bold and edgy steps that revolutionize….dynamic evolution……..and yes , timing , timing and timing……

the above “infomercial” is intended to help all of us here at BURN move forward to a place where photographers can  receive commissions for their work on the net…right now, the only funding BURN has been able to provide is for the recipients of the EPF funding….certainly a good thing for one photographer per year, but not enough for all of the worthy talent i see….

fate has brought us to an interesting point where i think we can create sponsorships for photographers to produce original work for BURN….i think an interesting ratio  would bring in new talent and yet also appeal to sponsors, would be to  have one iconic photographer on commission/assignment alongside three new “youngbloods”…..this lends a certain credibility to the content here by using the established photographers to do “first time seen” stories and pull up some new photographers who will then become in time “iconic”….

my overall “pitch” to sponsors is that we are now in a position at BURN to produce content that is equal to or  better than what now is coming from the large media companies simply because the “giants” can no longer  afford to do what they used to do….

we can move with stealth using all of the same talents they currently use  and also giving the photographer full distribution rights and control over their essays….

for example, if i were to announce on BURN that on September 15, 2009 at 8pm readers here would see a brand new essay from James Nachtwey  or Martin Parr or Trent Parke and in the very same time frame would see essays from our talent pool of emerging photographers, we would melt the servers down…..

again, original commissioned work…….

stories of interest to photographers of course, but stories which would reach out to a wider audience…..solid visual essays with solid well researched and well written text…

we are in a unique position at BURN to make this happen…..

i have at least 10 well known established photographers set to go on assignment for BURN right now…..we need these names….mostly, we need their actual ability to  produce on demand which is exactly why they are “names”……from our pool of talent here we will find out who among the “emerging” can actually take a commission and “make it happen” within a given time frame….and i do not mean we will try to cover the world…i mean we will become a wellspring for the best photographic essays around from both the worlds of journalism and art….we will match sponsorships with the specific talents and interests of the photographers….we will try to reach outside the now photography based audience by producing work of interest to many….

we are looking for one primary sponsor and perhaps four other smaller sponsors…..we are offering our sponsors first class content at a much better price…simple  business equation..best product at lowest price….the shift from print to the net has everyone floundering…..the business strategy  right now among the large media companies is to reduce staff, cut expenses, try to get content cheap….we can totally reverse this trend by simply being “small” yet able to provide the very best content….for the net as first outlet, for print as a secondary vehicle….whoever sponsors a story or set of stories will have their brand reaching way more readers in a quality way than they now have anywhere…..in others words, THE symbiotic relationship in communication….

this does not mean that every reader of BURN is going to be commissioned tomorrow….this does mean that every reader of BURN has a chance to do so….with  sponsorship will come more opportunities for readers who may have more modest requirements to further their photographic exploration…for the educational imperative and the other values shared by everyone who works with me on BURN will not falter…..at this point in my personal development and career i can stand for no less than the ultimate in both content integrity and clear respect for a photographer or writer’s work….

i would not be able to guarantee the lineup of the “iconic” photographers if they did not feel their rights would be protected, nor would i have the audience of young photographers had i not spent an entire career always looking for the next new talent….these two “givens” are what have us in this unique position……

even regular readers of BURN may notice in this presentation, premiered  last week in the Paramount Theater at the Look3  Festival of the Photograph,  that we have published more photographic content in the last few months than can be found in any media…..of course, we can make improvements….what we have done up to now is just with basically Anton and i working…i have now several new editors which will make us much more sophisticated in our presentations … with BURN as a Magnum channel  and perhaps “channeled” elsewhere, the sky is the limit….

stay tuned…..more ideas coming soonest…..some of them will be coming from you….

-dah