Monthly Archive for June, 2009

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marina black – versts

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Marina Black

Versts

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“Anyone parted from his land will weep seven years.

Whoever is parted from his tribe will weep until he dies.”

Central Asian Proverb

I came to Canada at the age of 28, not knowing a word of English. I never felt comfortable expressing myself in this language. However, photography has given me a voice. The camera has allowed me to “listen to” and re-examine, in their photographic retelling, my Russian memories, to sail back into the world that had seemed lost to me while I struggled with my new life and new identity in Canada.

My photographs have never lost their sense of ‘Russian-ness’, however, new experiences, encounters with people in Canada have profoundly affected my photographic work,  I began concentrating on the topics of identity and memory,  human suffering  in their relationship to land, as well as the understanding of mortality and psychological limitations. It made me reconsider my relationship to Russia. Increasingly, I experience more and more empathy to its people and their tormented moments of history. I have the sense that these moments made Russian people acutely aware of time passing, of time as a substance, when one could only be anxious, or terrified. It also made me think of the time outside of these events, molded by extraordinary Russian novelists, poets, composers.

These moments of history are in my subliminal presence when I am photographing or putting my pictures together. More and more do I want to photograph outside of time, independent of the present and my environment that I mistook for a home,  and reflect  the atmosphere of the past on peoples faces and places.  When I return to Russia to visit, I often feel overwhelmed. Everywhere I look, I find the traces of its distressed history, its its rich but frantic culture. It is astonishing to find Russia in the predicament from making history to be caught in it.    I become particularly aware of time. My consciousness is disturbed, ghostly reflecting the memory of those who have lived there before. I follow my own footsteps, haunt my former life akin to people who have been in a car accident and lost all their memory and now they are returned to a life they no longer recognize as their own. The process of my photography is one of layering the pictures like palimsets, cutting up the cityscapes and dusting them off as in archeology, as if juxtaposing past and present and embracing both.

The Versts (Версты) project is a direct development from my previous work and exploration of themes of migration, the fragile nature of memory and identity and how it aids in the construction of a subjective personal history in relation to physical traces and photography. I would like to produce a body of work akin to an excavation site, the photographs, which would connect me to the time when I felt a affiliation to place I used to call “home” and strong sense of identity, broken with immigration. I plan to photograph throughout Russia in order to make a pictorial record of things that once constituted my identity, Russian or Soviet, personal, historical, cultural, environmental. I hope to capture the expression of it on the experiential and spiritual level, rather than the documentation of life in Russia at this particular moment.

–Marina Black, 2009

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Marina Black

 

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

Many thanks… david alan harvey

EMERGING PHOTOGRAPHER GRANT RECIPIENT

EMERGING PHOTOGRAPHER GRANT RECIPIENT


The recipient of the Emerging Photographer Grant 2009 is


Alejandro Chaskielberg

The High Tide


More details will follow soon.


The Judges:
Maggie Steber – Photographer
James Nachtwey – Photographer VII
Carol Naggar & Fred Ritchen – Historians-Authors-Analysts
Eugene Richards – Photographer
John Gossage – Curator
Scott Thode – Director of Photography Fortune Magazine
Gilles Peress – Photographer Magnum
David Griffin – Director of Photography National Geographic Magazine
Martin Parr – Photographer Magnum

cristina faramo – in the mood for love [EPF Finalist]

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Cristina Faramo

In The Mood For Love

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Emerging Photographer Fund – FINALIST (number eleven of eleven)

My photography explores aesthetic mood, personal experimentation and life.

My project, “In the Mood for Love,” examines the celebration of love through the intimacy of couples. I recently started making photos of couples during their daily life: when they are working, sharing private moments, experiencing pain, anger or joy, and when they are passionate.

Passion is love. Passion is a feeling, a force, an energy more powerful than ourselves. This power has a determining effect on our lives every day. Through my focus on couples and use of diverse visual aesthetics, I seek understanding about the nature of our instincts and our more primitive personalities. I capture moments that occur naturally in front of me.

Every day we live with tumultuous impulses and passions that drive us but this intensity doesn’t always find its way out of our mind and body. Many people dream to live in intimate and passionate relationships where we wish for something powerful, exciting and invigorating that distracts us from the everyday realities of life. We dream passion can bring us to places unknown and give us the opportunity to live the emotions and feelings of our dreams, to live with more intensity.

However, passion does not always appear in positive ways. It may also bring moments of severe drama or darkness to the surface. In this most intimate space, we see who we are in the most raw, complex and exposed aspects of existence.

The evolution of our feelings allows us to explore beyond the boundaries of what is known about ourselves. This is an exploration for us through the feelings of sensuality, intimacy and love.

I plan to continue this project by making more photographs of diverse couples from different cultures.

 

Bio:

My photography explores aesthetic mood, personal experimentation and life. I studied at the Academy of Art in Catania, Sicily and worked for two years as a photography assistant and photographer in a commercial studio in Catania.

I am currently involved in several long-term projects. “In the Mood for Love” is about the celebration of love through the intimacy of couples. “Time in Prison” explores the emotions of the detainees when living locked in small spaces and how their soul is affected during time in a Sicilian prison. This project has been published in Vision Magazine, China, March 2009.

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Cristina Faramo

 

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

Many thanks… david alan harvey

marco improta – nordeste [EPF Finalist]

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Marco Improta

Nordeste

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Emerging Photographer Fund – FINALIST (number nine of eleven)

This essay portrays one of the families living in “Sertão do Ceará”, an arid region in the Nordeste of Brasil.

Like many small farmers of the area, they practice subsistence agriculture on a parcel of land they do not own. As compensation, a portion of their harvest is given to the landlord each year.

With little ability to save and no title to the land they work, these farmers are locked into a vicious circle of poverty. The Brazilian government estimates that as many as 20 million people of the Nordeste live under these conditions.

Since 2003, the national program “Fome Zero” (Zero Hunger) officially guarantees everyone the right of access to basic food. The program, with a goal to eradicate hunger and extreme poverty in Brazil, was created by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva whose family left the Nordeste backlands to escape poverty when he was an infant. Although criticized for its paternalistic approach on income distribution, Fome Zero has improved living conditions for many of the indigent by stimulating consumption through direct financial aid. However, limited access to water resources still makes the Nordeste vulnerable to droughts and famines.

“Nordeste, a family portrait” was begun in 2009. This is the first chapter in an ongoing project to document the intimate lives of several rural families who struggle against socio-economic uncertainties in a hostile climate. I intend to regularly return to the Nordeste and, by combining the real and the poetic, produce a body of work that celebrates the grace of ordinary people by going beyond reality into an aesthetical representation of life.

 

Bio:

Born in Italy in 1974, Marco Improta was raised in several different countries. Fluent in five languages, he holds a BA in Political Science and a MSc in Development Economics. Passionate about photography since an early age, he has attended several workshops with the award-winning photographer Ernesto Bazan.

Marco Improta currently lives and works in Paris.

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Marco Improta

 

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

Many thanks… david alan harvey

victor cobo – american dreams [EPF Finalist]

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Victor Cobo

American Dreams

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Emerging Photographer Fund – FINALIST (number eight of eleven)

American Dreams is a complex, anthropological tour through the landscape of the indigenous Central American – by means of memory, spirituality, longing and isolation.

Lives are concentrated with a vibrancy, an intensity of being that many of us have never experienced. The under-represented reality between fiction and objective thought.  An existence akin to a world fueled and charged by love and loss, by commitment to family and the need for survival at all costs.  One that cannot be bound by laws from political systems on either side of the border.  Often this human drama is intensified with its reflection of deprivation.  Yes, there is struggle.  There is also joy, and the life of a dream, of opening a pathway heretofore unacknowledged in American society.  It is here that the viewer is urged to ponder the relationship between the real and the surreal or imagined, and to question their own existence in comparison to that of the subjects’.

Perhaps a brief journey through this stream of consciousness will remind the American public and their politicians of the fundamental humanity shared between themselves and the immigrants, whose lives have become such political playthings.

Bio:

Victor Cobo (b. 1971) is a self-taught photographer from San Francisco who comes from an artistic family, and was originally trained in painting and life-drawing.  Cobo grew up in northern California where his earliest memories of photography involved stealing his stepfather’s 35mm point and shoot camera, playing dress up and creating theatrical images with teenage friends.  In 1999 he was sacked from his graphic design job when management discovered inappropriate photographs on his cubicle wall he had taken while wandering the streets of San Francisco during his lunch breaks. Thus began his full time career as a fine art photographer.

Victor Cobo’s work has been reviewed in American Suburb X, Ojo De Pez and Private.  His photographs are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Aaron Siskind Permanent Collection and the Amon Carter Museum as well as in many private collections.  In 2007 he won the Aaron Siskinf Foundation IPF

Grant and in 2009 his work was included in “Masters of American Photography” at the Amon Carter Museum in Dallas.

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Victor Cobo

 

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

Many thanks… david alan harvey

lance rosenfield – thirst for grit [EPF Finalist]

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Lance Rosenfield

Thirst For Grit

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Emerging Photographer Fund – FINALIST (number seven of  eleven)

After returning to my hometown of Austin, Texas after years on the California coast, I set out to explore and understand one of the Lone Star State’s cultural staples: the rodeo.

With ‘Thirst for Grit’ I offer a vignette of modern-day, small-town rodeo cowboys in Texas. I traveled endless hot and dusty miles crisscrossing this oft-lonely expanse, following the itinerant ways of these men who live a life of legend and little. They share a special bond, a camaraderie with one another that seems to center on respect, loyalty and toughness. While mostly well-mannered gentlemen, rodeo riders can also be as wild and rough as the beasts they ride, and sometimes skate the edge of social rule when it comes to the bottle and women.

Every time I jump in the truck with these spirited men and burn asphalt to another small town on the horizon, it’s an embarkation on a new adventure. The rodeo is a time for these men to let loose from a hard week of labor as contractors, construction workers, and the daily grind of their lives; to hit the road with fellow rodeo cowboys and girlfriends; to grit their teeth and ride hard; to test their strength, skill and toughness, and to compete for prize money and bragging rights. Some of these men are addicted to rodeo even into their mid-life.

These cowboys uphold this old Texas institution amidst an ever-watery modern world often less forgiving of cultural traditions. They ride nearly every weekend and put their bodies and heartbeats on the line because this is their identity, they can live no other way. They are born with a thirst for grit.

Additional artist’s note:

At the beginning of this project almost two years ago, I befriended 30-year old bull-rider Jimmy “Stretch” Borunda. The mutual respect we have for each other and the trust and friendship that has formed has been my key to the door for this story. It is through my interpretation of Stretch’s world that I share ‘Thirst for Grit’. This spring Stretch was hurt badly and lost sight in his left eye. I have continued to document his return to the rodeo arena, now as a familiar presence and supporter, and will follow his quest to return to competition.

Recent related links:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/pictureshow/2009/05/thirst_for_grit.html

http://www.digitaljournalist.org/issue0905/a-taste-of-grit.html

 

Bio:

Lance Rosenfield (b. Austin, Texas 1972) is a freelance photographer based in Austin, Texas. In addition to shooting editorial and commercial assignments, he concentrates on personal work such as “Thirst for Grit.” He has exhibited in a number of group shows including FotoSeptiembre and East Austin Studio Tour. He attended the Eddie Adams Barnstorm Workshop in 2007 and is a B&W Magazine Spotlight winner. Lance serves on the Board of Trustees for Austin Center for Photography and is a founding member of Texas Toast Photo Show.

 

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Lance Rosenfield

 

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

Many thanks… david alan harvey