Monthly Archive for August, 2009

ara oshagan – father:land

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Ara Oshagan

Father:Land

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My father died in June 2000.

A few years before that, he and I decided to embark on a project about Karabagh: a remote mountainous area next to Armenia. A region where the Armenians fought and won a fierce war of independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union. A region still with militarized borders and no political recognition. A place in transformation: the people, the land, the very way of life in political, social, existential upheaval. A place that is part of our distant homeland.

Until the nineties, neither one of us had stepped foot in that part of the Armenian homeland. Both our generations were born and came of age in the sprawling cities of the Armenian Diaspora: in Jerusalem, Paris, Beirut, Philadelphia, Los Angeles.

Before his passing, my father and I made one trip to Karabagh together, in 1999. It coincided with the birth of my first son. After his passing, I continued work on our project for another six years. And my every trip back marked a new birth for my family and I. The project spanned four births in all. And one death.

And so this project took on a further meaning. Upon that land of our forefathers—there for over three millennia—from within the people who were living that history, came a quest to find the father. Through the eyes and senses of the emerging father.

Father:Land is a project about origins and identity. A project about a place and a people emerging out of a dark history, transforming, forging a new identity, searching for themselves and a new way of life. And also about a very personal becoming, an emergence.

 

Bio:

Ara Oshagan’s work revolves around the themes of identity, community and aftermath.

Since 1995, he has been photographing survivors of the Armenian Genocide, a project that includes oral history and is called The Genocide Project. Working with photographer Levon Parian and a team of oral historians, this work was exhibited at the Downey Museum of Art in 1999 and attracted national attention, being the main feature in an NPR Morning Edition story.

Oshagan has also been photographing extensively in Nagorno-Karabagh for a book project with his father, well-known author, Vahe Oshagan. This work was featured in Photo District News and was awarded third place in the prestigious Visions 2001 National Photographic Project Competition sponsored by the Santa Fe Center for the Visual Arts (now known as “Center”).

Working with the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture, Oshagan received a California Council on the Humanities Major Grant in 2001 to photograph the Armenian experience of Los Angeles. This work, called Traces of Identity, was exhibited at the LA Municipal Art Gallery at Barnsdall Park from September to December 2004 and in 2005 at the Downey Museum of Art. The exhibit was reviewed in Art Papers, artcircles.com and featured in the LA Times, LA Weekly and LA Magazine’s “Top 10 Things to do in LA” in December 2004.

Oshagan has also been working in collaboration with Leslie Neale of Chance Films on a project to document high-risk juvenile offenders being tried as adults in California.

Oshagan’s work is in the permanent collection of the South East Museum of Photography in Daytona Beach, Florida, the Downey Museum of Art in Downey, California and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Yerevan, Armenia.

 

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Ara Oshagan

 

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

Many thanks… david alan harvey

manuel garcia – the georgia colors

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Manuel Garcia

The Georgia Colors

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I think that first and foremost I like to watch the world in all its complexity. I get dragged to places where, despite of the stories of misery and war, life still goes on. I like that blend of things. At the same time, it also has to do with the memory of my childhood images, and the fascination with the remains of ancient Europe. In the “Georgia Colors” project I want to explore the unknown of a country where horror and beauty go hand by hand. These pictures have never been published.

 

Bio:

Manuel was born in Madrid in 1975. He left home to enroll the Army in 1995 and went to Bosnia for 6 months. He quit two years later to study Audiovisual Comunication and Photojournalism in Barcelona, and was drawn to photography for being able to live “adventures” and “experiences”. After he obtained his degree he went on to live in London in 2002, and started traveling to Central America and Eastern Europe, where he developed some personal photography projects.

 

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

Many thanks… david alan harvey

eve morgenstern – abandonment and foreclosure

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Eve Morgenstern

Abandonment And Foreclosure

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The recent foreclosure crises has spread like a pandemic across the country, wreaking havoc on cities and their neighborhoods and leaving abandoned homes to begin their process of neglect and decline. It is not unusual to walk down a street in some cities and find three or even more homes in a row that are abandoned and in some stage of foreclosure.  This new landscape of empty homes brings with it higher rates of crime and the sad, derelict appearance of desertion.

This photographic series, Abandonment and Foreclosure is a long-term project I am working on that documents recently foreclosed and long abandoned homes in cities across the country. Here the house no longer represents the American dream of belonging and security but of uncertainty and loss – a loss of identity and of specific personal histories both past and future. My process of documenting these structures is both a kind of preservation and an attempt to bear witness to the facts of what happened there.

Influenced by Walker Evans’s images of vernacular architecture in the United States and Bernd and Hilla Becher’s images of houses and industrial buildings in Germany, this project will be an extensive archival record of the unstable state of the American home today and will expand to include images from Las Vegas, Stockton, Tampa, Denver, Buffalo and Cleveland.  Plans include an exhibition and a book.

The images were published this year in a special Le Monde 2 magazine issue devoted to the election of Barack Obama and they were featured in Jen Bekman Gallery’s Hey Hot Shot blog in a piece about photographers making work about the recession: http://www.heyhotshot.com/blog/2009/06/11/photographing-the-recession. As an artist I am interested in stories about home and impermanence and explore this in my documentary film in progress: Cheshire, Ohio: http://rainlake.com/development/cheshire.html.

 

Bio:

Eve Morgenstern is a photographer and filmmaker from Brooklyn, NY now living in San Francisco, CA. She has received grants for her work from the New York State Council on the Arts, The Anthony Radziwill Documentary Fund, The Park Foundation and Next Pix/First Pix for “humanistic media”.  Her photographs have been published in Le Monde 2, The New York Times, View Camera and The Saint Ann’s Review and have been exhibited across the country. She received her B.A. in Art History from Vassar College and her M.F.A. in Photography from The San Francisco Art Institute.

 

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Eve Morgenstern

 

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

Many thanks… david alan harvey

brent lewin – body collectors

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Brent Lewin

Body Collectors

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The Por Tek Tung Foundation is Bangkok’s largest provider of emergency medical services (EMS) and is made up mainly of volunteers who have regular jobs during the day but moonlight as rescue workers.  In a city where hospital ambulances are few and often stuck in traffic, the Foundation is widely recognized by doctors for its efficiency.

Por Tek Tung was started by Chinese immigrants in the last century and started out by providing free funeral services to the poor. Since then, the Foundation has grown into a large organization run through a temple and mostly responds to accidents on the dangerous streets of Thailand’s capital.

Their main function is rushing victims to hospitals and transporting dead bodies to police morgues. The Foundation provides their services free of charge, relying entirely on donations to their affiliated temple from the community. Although it employs 30 loosely trained EMS workers, the Foundation has over 1000 volunteers who patrol the streets each night on the lookout for accidents.

Bio:

Brent Lewin is a documentary photographer that splits his time between Toronto and Bangkok. His work mainly focuses on the plight of the Asian elephant in Thailand and has been awarded from Pictures of the Year International, Photo District News, the International Photo Awards and Prix de la Photographie Paris (Px3). Brent’s work has been featured in National Geographic, GEO and American Photo among others. Brent is represented by Redux Pictures.

 

(editor’s note: Brent has elected to take the “no comments” under the essay option afforded to all who are published here on Burn…many thanks for respecting his wishes….our Dialogue section is of course open…dah)

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Brent Lewin

 

jonnek jonneksson – wall of death

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Wall of Death by Jonnek Jonneksson

This photo is taken at a traditional motorcycle show that takes place since 1930 in USA, Great Britain and some countries in the Balkans. It’s called “Wall of Death”, as the man who rides the motorcycle and overriding the law of gravity climbing on a vertical wall, risks his life.

This specific show that I have photographed took place in northern Greece, at a traditional popular fun fair. The show with its material components is passed from father to son since 1950 and it runs through 3 generations so far. They are supposed to be the last “Wall of Death” showmen in Europe and one of the few that perform it in the world.

Website: Jonnek Jonneksson

carrie roseman – self portrait 1

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Self Portrait 1 by Carrie Roseman

This photograph is part of a long term self-portrait project that I started during David Alan Harvey and James Nachtwey’s LOOK3 workshop, aptly entitled “The Art of the Photographic Essay”. The subject of the essay that I would create eluded me until the start of the workshop. Really wanting to challenge myself, I decided to point the camera to myself, and create images that reflect this exciting time in my life. After having experienced some hardships over the last few years, I wanted to celebrate the good that is happening and show a beautiful hopefulness in this project. My goal was to create fine art photographs that hold a dreamlike quality and emit an ethereal feeling. I knew that I wanted to capture myself in a very artful way, and I feel that I really got into a groove when I made this picture. This photograph was the shining moment of the start of this self-portrait project.

Website: Carrie Roseman

jeff charbonneau & eliza french – massillon

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Jeff Charbonneau $ Eliza French

Massillon

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Massillon is a group of performance-based pictures loosely inspired by the life of one of our ancestors who lived and died in Massillon, Ohio at the turn of the 20th century.  We are transposing her life story into an ongoing fairytale inspired by our own dreams or fantasies, creating single-frame narratives that can be read individually or in tandem.  Our basic themes are a woman’s suffering, her longing, her searching, and her interior fantasy life.   We shoot on large format or medium format film and manipulate the images using traditional darkroom techniques.  The images in this essay feature Eliza as the subject and were taken and printed between 2006 and 2008 in Northern California primarily.

 

Bio:

We have been working together since 2004 and our images are created through a partnership from conception to finish.  They have been exhibited in galleries, and international art fairs since 2006.  Our work is currently published in the companion catalogue for the exhibition “The Art of Caring: A Look at Life Through Photography” on view at the New Orleans Museum of Art.

 

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www.sevensistersasleep.com

 

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

Many thanks… david alan harvey

rafal pruszynski – riverside

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Rafal Pruszynski

Riverside

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I shot “Riverside” at the same time as I shot Little Pieces of us, and both are still on-going projects. The shooting, and showing of Pieces was a very intense experience since it was highly personal and highly intimate. I began Riverside first as simply a visually interesting project, but it quickly turned into a counter to Pieces. Whereas Pieces was very intense, Riverside was a way for me to get away from that, to step back, become more contemplative. Riverside and Pieces are opposites in many ways. One is black and white, one is color. One is more in the moment, shot on intuition, the other more composed. Riverside, became an escape from Pieces, and as such it can even be viewed as another side of the same coin. With Pieces I had co-authors very much involved in the project. With Riverside it was just me.

One thing I’m most interested in with the projects I shoot is to explore my immediate world. I don’t travel often and when I do I find that I am never happy with the photos I take. With my immediate surroundings I can take time to explore and to get what I intend. Most of the photographs in this project were shot within walking distance of where I live or work.

Riverside is a chapter in a larger on-going project entitled “Marooned”. South Korea though not technically an island, is still cut off from the rest of Asia by North Korea, a barrier more difficult to cross than any sea or ocean. It is therefore a de-facto island, an island I have been living on for the last 8 years. “Marooned” is my look at the island that has been my home for nearly a decade, and will remain so for another 2 years.

 

Bio:

Rafal was born in Poland and moved to Canada at the age if 10. He has been living in South Korea for the last 8 years. He has had one essay previously published on Burn.

 

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Rafal Pruszynski

 

 

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 lafforgue – miss kim

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Miss Kim by Eric Lafforgue

Miss Kim is a guide in the War Museum in Pyongyang, North Korea. She speaks perfect  French as she lived in Algeria when she was a kid. So in 2008, she took care of the 25 French tourists who came in her museum.

Q

Do Americans come to visit this War museum? What do they think of the visit?

R

They make excuses!

Q

The American tourists?

R

Yes, at the beginning of the tour, they won’t admit it, but after visiting the museum, they admit their crime, and apologize.

later…

The guide:

This helicopter left South Korea, and went over the military demarcation line, there were two pilots in the helicopter, one died and the other survived, this is the confession he wrote, it’s an apology letter from the United States government.

Q

Do you think that the two American journalists who were recently captured will have to endure the same fate, that they will have to apologize for entering the territory?

R

I don’t know…

Q

The (NK) government said that they will be sentenced to ten years manual labor.

R

Ten years? We have received a letter apologizing, we have sent him (the helicopter pilot) back to his country… ten years? (She seems very surprised)

Q

Last month, two American journalists, two women, were caught by the government.

R

Last year?

Q

No, this year, a month ago, did you not hear about this? All the media are talking about it, in France, in the US.

R

Two women journalists? Americans?

Q

Yes yes, they wanted to film and take photos at the border, and the government said that they would get ten years manual labor. You hadn’t heard of this story?

R

No, it’s the first time I’ve heard of this, but they deserved it, no?

Q

They deserved it?

R

Yes, they deserved it. Spying is not good.

 

Website: Eric Lafforgue

paul russell – the church tent

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The Church Tent by Paul Russell

 

Taken at the end of the day at The New Forest and Hampshire County Show. Part of the series, Country Show, www.paulrussell.info/galleryshow/01.html

 

Website: Paul Russell