Monthly Archive for October, 2009

michael mullady – children of lead

[slidepress gallery=’michaelmullady-childrenoflead’]

Hover over the image for navigation and full screen controls

Michael Mullady

Children of Lead

play this essay

 

At an altitude slightly above twelve thousand feet, in the Central Andean region of Peru, pollution is a fact of life for the inhabitants of La Oroya. Since 1922, the city of La Oroya has been exposed to toxic emissions released from the Doe Run Peru metal smelting plant. Doe Run Peru is a subsidiary of Missouri-based Doe Run, the world’s largest primary lead producer and the world’s second largest total lead producer. Doe Run is part of the privately held New York-based Renco group. Peru’s state mining company Centromin operated the 80-year-old La Oroya facility for 25 years before Doe Run bought it in 1997. The smelter processes concentrates, producing 11 metals and nine by-products, including copper, lead, zinc and silver.

In July of 2007, I had my first glimpse of La Oroya and at that instant I knew I had to make sense of what lay before me. As the rain beat against the bus window, there was a sudden stark change in landscape. The rich farm lands and endless mountain ranges faded as we entered a deep valley.  That defining moment, what I was about to encounter, changed my life. It was unlike anything I have ever seen before; what appeared to be snow was ash overlaying black mountainsides. It was a dark and conflicting place and I was overwhelmed with a sense of urgency.

A Health Ministry study from the government of Peru showed that 90% of the children tested had lead poisoning, a condition, which causes mental retardation, hyperactivity, liver and kidney disease and even death. Lab studies revealed that many of these children had levels of lead in their bodies four times greater than what the World Health Organization considers the normal amount. In addition to brain damage, children are at high risk of developing lung cancer as well as other respiratory ailments, skin conditions and digestive disorders.  As the plant continues to release lead, copper, zinc and sulfur dioxide into the air on a daily basis, generations of young children will be exposed to environmental and health risks.

This work evolved from my personal interest in documenting environmentally themed social issues. I hope to use this project as a base for the begging of my book project documenting pollution on a global level. Children Of Lead has yet to be published. I am looking to find the right outlet to publish this type of story in print or the support from a publication to return and continue working on the project. I hope to eventually have it published in print, not for myself, but for the people I documented. They let me so deep into their lives, in the times of joy and the times of sorrow, and in the most intimate and personal moments when they opened up to me it was because they truly understood the injustice they were facing and wanted the world to hear their cries.

 

Bio:

Michael Mullady is a native of Northern California currently living in San Francisco.

Michael’s longtime fascination with story telling and the human condition transitioned him naturally into photojournalism. Michael passion for photography lies in long-term documentary projects and he has a specific interest in environmentally themed social issues. Michael is a firm believer that documentary photography is more about who you are a person, then who you are as a photographer and considers himself a visual humanitarian.

Michael’s work was recognized in the 2009 PDN Photo Annual and was awarded the Marty Forscher Fellowship for Humanistic Photography from the Parson’s School for Design in NYC. In 2008 and 2009, Michael’s portfolio was awarded College Photographer Of The Year from The White House News Photographers Association and he was named National Press Photographers Association College Photographer Of The Year in 2007.

 

Related links

Michael Mullady

 

Editor’s Note:

Please only one comment per person under this essay.. Further discussions should take place under Dialogue..

Many thanks… david alan harvey

la familia abrazada

[slidepress gallery=’lafamiliaabrazada’]

Hover over the image for navigation and full screen controls

Curated Group of Photographers

La Familia Abrazada

play this essay

 

La Familia Abrazada is a curated group dedicated to family and vernacular photography. The photographs chosen for this show are a cross section of styles and subject matter that aims to be somewhat representational of the group as a whole although with a thousand photographs in the group pool, this is an unlikely proposition. You are therefore invited to look through our group pool as well as the tumblr album. Like any good family album, you will certainly discover more than a few gems.

 

“La Famila Abrazada” is curated by Rafal Pruszynski.

 

Photographs:

Jonathan Romano – http://www.flickr.com/photos/70355737@N00/
Lisa Wassmann – http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisa_wassmann/
Pierre Hebert – http://www.flickr.com/photos/pierrehebert/
Chris Wallish – http://www.flickr.com/photos/59669884@N00/
Armando Alvarez – http://www.flickr.com/photos/thewhiteelephant/
Sean Marc Lee – http://www.flickr.com/photos/le_carabinier/
Hans Palmboom – http://www.flickr.com/photos/27057665@N04/
Ariane Schrack – http://www.flickr.com/photos/ariane-s/
Lester Lai – http://www.flickr.com/photos/thecomfortzone/
Budi Sukmana – http://www.flickr.com/photos/budisukmana/
Lung Liu – http://www.flickr.com/photos/lungsliu/
Rebecca Rijsdijk – http://www.flickr.com/photos/bloemetjesbehang/
Martin Nicholls – http://www.flickr.com/photos/freudus/
Wing Poon – http://www.flickr.com/photos/wingdingo/
Dinah DiNova – http://www.flickr.com/photos/knitbone/
Jay Divinagracia – http://www.flickr.com/photos/ride/
Karen Rudd – http://www.flickr.com/photos/quejes/
Tess Roby – http://www.flickr.com/photos/tessroby/
Anabel Navarro – http://www.flickr.com/photos/mundo_subreal/
Tor-Arne Riksheim – http://www.flickr.com/photos/trixheim/
Luka Knezevic-Strika – http://www.flickr.com/photos/tamoneki/
Oscar Juarez – http://www.flickr.com/photos/tridi_animeitor/
Berangere Fromont – http://www.flickr.com/photos/berange/
David Perez Facorro – http://www.flickr.com/photos/david_fisher/
Furrukh Khan – http://www.flickr.com/photos/furrukh/
Cyril Costhiles – http://www.flickr.com/photos/sikost/
Søren Larsen – http://www.flickr.com/photos/don_k/
Marek Wykowski – http://www.flickr.com/photos/wykowski/
Alessandro Marchi –  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cafone/

 

Websites:

La Familia Abrazada – www.flickr.com/groups/lfa
La Familia Abrazada on tumblr – lafamiliaabrazada.tumblr.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

brennan o’connor – on the run

[slidepress gallery=’brennanoconnor-ontherun’]

Hover over the image for navigation and full screen controls

Brennan O’Connor

On The Run

play this essay

 

‘On the Run’ documents tribal groups from Burma who have been pushed off their land by the junta. Some of them have moved to rebel controlled zones. Other groups like the Karen have left the country only to languish for decades ‘warehoused’ in overcrowded Thai refugee camps. The story follows them to Canada where thousands have recently resettled.

At the front lines of Burma’s largest rebel armies, the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and the Shan State Army South (SSA), I photographed the soldiers and hundreds of internally displaced people (IDP) who live alongside them.

At Loi Taileng – the headquarters of the SSA, camped on the Thai/ Burma border, their world is a barren hilltop  no longer than 300 meters wide by 3.5 km in length that they can’t leave. Landmines lay scattered in the valleys below. On one side is the Thai border patrol and on the other is their dire enemy: Burmese government troops, based on the adjacent mountain. The Shan are not recognized as refugees by the Thai government.

Moo Jai, a Karen tribeswoman who has spent most of her life living in Thai refugee camps describes what her life was like when she lived in Burma.

“When the government troops took over our village I was only six-years old. If the Burmese military attacked a Karen village they would kill everyone. It didn’t make a difference whether you were old, young, man or a woman. We hid in the jungle for a couple of weeks. By the time we reached the Thai refugee camp our rice was finished.”

Now she and her husband are part of  30,000 ethnic minorities from Burma being resettled to Canada, the US and other UN countries participating in what the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) described in a recent report as ‘the world’s largest refugee resettlement operation’.

 

Bio:

The bulk of my work focuses on people or movements existing on the fringes of society. As a loner I am fascinated by people or groups who live outside of mainstream society. My photos explore the different ways that conformity and non-conformity plays out in these social microcosms which challenge popular notions of sexuality, identity and community.

My ongoing projects include Burlesque Revival, Thai Hill tribes at Historic Crossroads and On the Run which documents the plight of Burmese ethnic minorities in Southeast Asia and Canada. I am the president of NOMAD Photos agency; a Canadian cooperative of photojournalists dedicated to using the economic efficiencies and social power of a collective to highlight under-reported social, political, health and environmental issues worldwide.

 

Related links

Brennan O’Connor

 

Editor’s Note:

Please only one comment per person under this essay.. Further discussions should take place under Dialogue..

Many thanks… david alan harvey

carl bower – chica barbie

[slidepress gallery=’carlbower-chicabarbie’]

Hover over the image for navigation and full screen controls

Carl Bower

Chica Barbie

play this essay

 

The pageants of Colombia are a petri dish for examining the nature of beauty and how we cope with adversity.  Set against a backdrop of poverty, crime, and the hemisphere’s longest running civil war, nowhere are the contests more ubiquitous and revered than in Colombia.  In these carefully scripted shows of fantasy, beauty as a concept, commodity and singular goal is stripped to its raw elements.  There is no ambiguity or pretense that anything else matters.

The queens are celebrities.  Many of the roughly 400 contests a year can shut down a small town for days as thousands jam plazas and parade routes for a glimpse of them.  Icons of a rigidly defined ideal, the contestants highlight the conflated relationship between beauty and attraction.  Many of them seem familiar, stirring recollections of the same perfect features seen elsewhere, along with the identical flirtatious laughter, mock surprise and relentless optimism.  In their quest for adoration, they erase all traces of individuality.

While the inherent objectification of the contests and the values they convey to young women often provoke outrage and ridicule elsewhere, in the Colombian context the issue is more complicated.  The millions who pack stadiums and follow dozens of national contests on live television often have a vicarious relationship with the queens, clinging to the Cinderella fantasy of magically transcending poverty.

The popularity of the pageants ebbs and flows with the level of violence in the country.  The contests project an image of normalcy and vitality in the face of social upheaval and fear, a refusal to be defined by the violence or to live as if besieged.  In a country rife with conflict, the pageants are a form of both denial and defiance.  They are an escape, wholly frivolous and possibly essential.

 

Bio:

Carl has worked as a photojournalist for Newhouse News Service, The Times-Picayune, Helsingin Sanomat, The Providence Journal and The Colorado Springs Gazette.  His photos have appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, TIME, and Newsweek.

This year, his series on Colombian pageants received the Blue Earth Alliance’s Prize for Best Project Photography, was a finalist at the Palm Springs Photo Festival and was shown at the LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph.  His earlier documentation of one woman’s struggle with breast cancer received a Clarion Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography.

Carl lives in Washington, DC.

 

Related links

Carl Bower

 

Editor’s Note:

Please only one comment per person under this essay.. Further discussions should take place under Dialogue..

Many thanks… david alan harvey

audrey bardou – brigitte et bernard

brigitte_bernard_02

brigitte_bernard_01

Brigitte et Bernard by Audrey Bardou

New images as part of the “Brigitte et Bernard” essay, previously featured here on BURN:

www.burnmagazine.org/essays/2009/03/audrey-bardou-brigitte-and-bernard/

From time to time, we will feature updates from previous stories as “Work in Progress”.

Website: Audrey Bardou

BURN magazine receives Lucie Award

DAH_LUCIE_0254

No cameras allowed at the ceremony, but Kerry Payne managed to sneak out a tiny iPhone pic…

Needless to say, we are so very humbled by this award…Photography Magazine of the Year 2009

www.lucieawards.com

-david alan harvey (editor), anton kusters (creative director)


john busch – breaking & entering

[slidepress gallery=’johnbusch-breaking’]

Hover over the image for navigation and full screen controls

John Busch

Breaking & Entering

play this essay

 

This incense just floats away.  I cannot track it; it burns and goes. All of my moustaches have come and gone, I burn them on my face, they become gone and sometimes they return, these moustaches.  And when I think about my current moustache, I realize that I no longer consider the having of a moustache a matter of choice, but more a matter of consequence.

I enjoy that strange anticipation — that varied stretch of time that elapses from the shutter to the lab. That the exposed film is something different than it was before and there are rules about looking at it.  It is especially rewarding when the exposed film proves to be more valuable than fresh stock.

A lot of my photos are about anticipation — setting up and waiting.  More like hunting than fishing, I suppose. One part of my process is technical: the equipment, the craft, the little tricks picked-up along the way. Those components are important and they are also very reliable.  The other part of my process is completely ephemeral — and I don’t really quite understand it myself: the expression, the pitch, the moment that will never exist again, ever. Endlessly compelling — relentlessly strange. This is why I don’t work at home — the second part of the process doesn’t exist there.

 

Bio:

John Hayden Busch was born in Las Vegas, Nevada. He attended New York University.

John Began taking photographs at the age of 12, when he was invited to participate in a hunting trip.  In a fateful gesture, and not devoid of grace, his mother granted her permission along with a camera — “you may shoot anything you like, but only with film.”

John has been a resident of New York City and currently resides in Los Angeles.  He has taken photographs on every major continent, including remote counties in the interior of Arkansas.

 

Related links

John Busch

 

Editor’s Note:

This is one of the essays created during our most recent NYC loft workshop…

John came up with the idea… and shot and produced this essay in just a couple of days.

Please only one comment per person under this essay.. Further discussions should take place under Dialogue..

Many thanks… david alan harvey

louise chin & ignacio aronovich – after the fire

[kml_flashembed fversion=”9.0.0″ movie=”http://www.burnmagazine.org/swf_essays/after_the_fire_burn.swf” targetclass=”flashmovie” publishmethod=”dynamic” width=”800″ height=”665″]

Get Adobe Flash player

[/kml_flashembed]

Hover over the image for navigation and full screen controls

Louise Chin & Ignacio Aronovich

After The Fire

 

We read about the fire on twitter before it was on the news.  We drove to the “favela” (slum), about fifteen minutes from our house, and found the firefighters working intensely to prevent the flames from reaching a neighboring chemical plant, a risk for explosion. There was a media frenzy, with trucks most major TV networks, and helicopters hovering above. Meanwhile, the inhabitants desperately tried to salvage what they could from the flames. Luckily, there were no fatal victims.

We did not take any pictures, and went back home.

The next morning, October 12, children’s day in Brazil, at dawn, we drove back to photograph the aftermath of the fire. We found a situation of hopelessness, sadness, and despair. Whole families walked around stunned, looking at the ashes of what was once their home. We were impressed by the tenacity, hope, and strength of the people,  who were very sad but ready to start rebuilding. There was also anger and revolt at the authorities, as well as a general feeling of helplessness.

We uploaded the slide show hours after our visit. We felt it was important to let as many people as possible know about what had happened.

Since then we have been overwhelmed by the number of people offering donations (food, clothing, and medicine), from places as far as Shanghai and the USA. Some of our commercial clients have also generously pitched in with donations.

For us this is a small demonstration that images are still capable of bringing change.

About the fire:

 

A fire on the evening of October 11 destroyed the Diogo Pires slum in the Jaguaré neighborhood (São Paulo, Brazil). More than one hundred shacks burned to the ground, leaving 350 families homeless.

Bio

Louise Chin and Ignacio Aronovich are a couple (together since 1993), based in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Together they created “Lost Art”, which produces photographic content for editorial and advertising purposes. The income from this work finances their incessant personal work.

“Lost Art”, the website, online since 2000, was created out of frustration with the limitations of the editorial market. The site allows freedom of expression without the usual obstacles and costs involved in publishing.

Related links

Lost Art

 

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

Many thanks… david alan harvey

alex webb & rebecca norris webb – violet isle

[slidepress gallery=’awrnw-cuba’]

Hover over the image for navigation and full screen controls

Alex Webb & Rebecca Norris Webb

Violet Isle

play this essay

 

Q&A with DAH

 

(1) Both of you have heretofore been solo artists. What sacrifices did you make and/or what benefits are there to a collaboration?

AW: From my perspective, the sacrifices were not great. Early on working in Cuba, I envisioned doing my own book, but I also wanted to do something different  –– something unlike any of my past books, as well as something different from any of the many past photographic books on Cuba. When Rebecca and I hit upon the notion of combining our work, this resolved these concerns of mine. I also found it very exciting to weave our two distinct bodies of work together to create a different kind of portrait of the island. In fact, I am more excited about this book than any other book of mine since Hot Light/Half-Made Worlds, my first book, which came out in 1986.

RNW:  I was initially concerned that my fascination with Cuba was taking valuable time away from a project that I had always thought would be my second book, My Dakota, a project that had started out as an exploration of my relationship with the West––and specifically my home state of South Dakota––and ended up also becoming an elegy for my brother, Dave.  Now, I realize that bringing out the Cuba book before My Dakota was the right decision.  I needed more time and distance from my brother’s death to absorb and distill and let go of My Dakota.

And, David, you also asked about the benefits of doing Violet Isle with Alex….  Well, for one thing, it’s awfully nice having only half as many interview questions to answer.

 

(2) Is one of you stronger at editing than the other?

RNW:  Not stronger, just different from one another.

 

(3) Is the sequence a collaboration or is one of you the lead?

RNW: A collaboration in the truest sense of the word.  We like to think of it as a duet.

 

(4) Photographer style is always the mantra for today’s essayists.  How do you compare each other stylistically? How do you see your individual styles blending into one?

AW: This is somewhat of a generality, but, loosely speaking, my work often gravitates towards visual complexity, with multiple layers, paradoxical juxtapositions, and frames within frames.  Rebecca’s work tends to gravitate towards emotional complexity, with her work often striking different –– and sometimes contradictory –– emotional notes simultaneously, which creates a kind of emotional tension and complexity in her work akin to poetry.

We do not see our work blending into one. Instead, we see the book as interweaving our two distinct bodies of work together, much like a musical duet, with its point and counterpoint.  We like to say our Cuba photographs “speak” to each other, or, as Pico Iyer says in his afterword to the book, sometimes our photographs even “rhyme.”

 

(5) Is this your first and last book together, or is this the way you will work from now on??

RNW: Well, our first priority remains our own personal projects.  But we’re open to the possibility of future collaborations as well.  In fact, we have another collaboration in mind. We’ll see what happens…

 

(6) Are there any historic artistic references you point to regarding a husband and wife aesthetic collaboration??

RNW: We are certainly part of a tradition of collaborative husband-and-wife photographers.  Yet, one way we differ from, for example the Bechers, is that we have two very distinct visions, and our collaboration is solely in the editing process, not in the photographic process.

 

(7) Do you see this as a team effort designed for artistic purposes only, or is your lifestyle and marriage success a factor??

AW: This book collaboration came as a surprise to us.  Rebecca and I were working on two separate projects, which, only last year, developed into a joint project.  It seemed to happen organically  –– which is one reason why we think it works.  In retrospect, perhaps this shouldn’t have come as such a surprise, since we’ve been working together in other ways for some 10 years –– teaching, editing, and critiquing each other’s work.  According to Malcolm Gladwell, it often takes some 10,000 hours –– or three hours a day for a decade –– to hone an art, a sport, or other skill.  We’ve been working together –– as well as married –– for 10 years next month, a date that also happens to coincide with the publication of Violet Isle.

 

Bios

Alex Webb is best known for his vibrant and complex color work, especially from Latin America and the Caribbean.  He has published seven books, and his upcoming book, Violet Isle: A Duet of Photographs from Cuba (with photographer Rebecca Norris Webb), will be his eighth. Alex has exhibited at museums worldwide including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego.  His work is in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, and the Guggenheim Museum, NY.  He became a full member of Magnum Photos in 1979.  Alex received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2007 for continuing working in Cuba.

For the past decade, Rebecca Norris Webb has been exploring the complicated and vulnerable relationships that exist between people and the natural world. Originally a poet, she has shown her photographic work internationally, including at the George Eastman House Museum of Photography and Ricco Maresca Gallery, New York. Her first book, The Glass Between Us, was published in 2006, and her second book, Violet Isle: A Duet of Photographs of Cuba (with photographer, Alex Webb), will be published in fall 2009 (Radius Books). Rebecca is currently working on a series in the American West called My Dakota.

 

12_WebbNorrisWebbportraitret

portrait by a Cuban street photographer

 

“Violet Isle” is being released in November by Radius Books

There will be a book launch/exhibition of “Violet Isle” on Thursday, November 5th, 6-8pm, at Ricco Maresca Gallery, 529 W. 20th, 3d floor (between 10th and 11th  Ave.), NYC, as well as a gallery talk and book signing on Saturday, Nov. 7, from 4-6pm at the gallery.

Related links

Blog

Alex Webb & Rebecca Norris Webb

 

Editor’s Note:

We will start a new series of presenting authors and their upcoming or just released books…this is the first…

Please only one comment per person under this essay.. Further discussions should take place under Dialogue..

Many thanks… david alan harvey

talia herman – west county

[slidepress gallery=’taliaherman-westcounty’]

Hover over the image for navigation and full screen controls

ESSAY CONTAINS EXPLICIT CONTENT

Talia Herman

West County

play this essay

 

This photo essay is of western Sonoma County in rural Northern California. Central to this story is Guerneville, a former logging and current resort town of about 2,400. Located just 60 miles north of the San Francisco Bay Area, Guerneville has been a popular place for people from the city to vacation for over a hundred years. With the descendants of the original logging families still there, the area has evolved into a surprisingly tolerant community that includes a large LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) population and ‘hippie’ counter culture. It is an unlikely place that depends on tourism, viniculture and marijuana for it’s economic health.

Bio:

Talia Herman is from Guerneville. She earned a BA from Eugene Lang College in New York in 2006 and is currently attending the International Center of Photography’s documentary and photojournalism program in New York.

 

Related links

Talia Herman

 

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

Many thanks… david alan harvey