Monthly Archive for May, 2013

Valentina Quintano – In the Absence of Things

Valentina Quintano

In The Absence of Things

ESSAY CONTAINS EXPLICIT CONTENT

Murmansk (Russia)

The project ‘In The Absence Of Things’ explores life in darkness and the difficulties of true communication between people.

Every year the city of Murmansk (because of its arctic latitude) descends into darkness for forty days; the sun doesn’t even rise above the horizon. These are the ‘Polar Nights’.

This is not a project about Russia, it is a project about being human… and yet the fact that it was shot in Russia does matter.

It was born from an urge to explore darkness. Both the inner human darkness that sits inside each of us in different forms and shapes and moments, and the ‘real’ darkness; the absence of light, the obscurity, the experience of living in a place which is (almost) completely dark for some part of the year.

 

 

Early into the project I understood that what really mattered was how the darkness felt, how it slipped under the skin.
There is no story, it is the tale of a feeling because emotions are the unifying element of human kind. They create a bridge over the incommunicability, they allow us to overcome barriers.

The project may seem obscure and schizophrenic in the way images of interiors clash with landscapes, but this reflects the way the people are disconnected from the places, yet also part of them. The anonymity of the subjects and their facelessness was not at first a conscious choice, it happened.

The fragmentary structure of images and text reflects the nature of human existence – we all perceive the world in different ways and because of this, sometimes struggle to communicate our experience, which is influenced by our personal history, our language, our mood, our current context, as well as those of the receiver. Because of the infinite complexity that results from these myriads of factors, our communication is always a continuous process of translations. The lack of a point is somehow the point.

The 2nd part of the project will concentrate on the opposite phenomenon of ‘White Nights’.

 

 

Bio

Valentina Quintano (b. 1982 in Napoli, Italy), is a photographer who has worked in photojournalism since 2007.

Her work has been featured in some printed and online magazines and newpapers, in three books and in a few joint exhibitions. She has been commended for the Ian Parry Scholarship in 2011 and was among the nominees for the Joop Swart Masterclass 2011.

After having been self-thought and having learnt through assisting, she studied photojournalism in 2009 at the Danish School of Media and Journalism in Rhus, and graduated with a distinction from the MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at London College of Communication in December 2010.

She has been working on personal reportage projects since 2007, as well as on commissioned works.

 

Hasidic Orthodox wedding, Williamsburg, New York

wedding
The landlord of my building, his wife, and last daughter to be married. This will be part of my “Off For A Family Drive” series, shot with medium format film.

Spring

spring
I love taking family pictures… this shot of my 25 year old niece Hannah, left, waiting for a taxi after lunch is only one of dozens I hv shot of her since she was a tiny baby. She just got engaged while assisting in the loft workshop.

Ruth Prieto – Safe Heaven

Ruth Prieto

Safe Heaven

This work is the second chapter of a documentary project about Mexican immigrant women in New York. Some of them have indigenous backgrounds so that Spanish is not their first language. I decided to document their lives during their free time at their homes.

Homes have deep emotional meaning. Through their homes we get to know them, their motivations, their thoughts and aspirations along with the conditions they live in that reveal how much they have achieved and struggled. They have painted and decorated their rooms according to their own personal story and choice. I am exploring the notion of safety and confidence in relation to space. This project is a new interpretation of immigration using color as a unifying metaphor of diversity and acceptance. Each woman will be identified with a color palette so that a mosaic of color represents diversity and the beauty of it.

 

 

With these images I want to present different moments in what could be one person’s story. My motivation for this project is to create a dialogue about migration and xenophobia to develop solutions to related social issues. Through these images I go beyond the public scenario offering a deeper knowledge of the living conditions of one of the major labor forces in the US.

Furthermore I want to communicate in a level that is common to all: the bittersweet journey of life in which moments of struggle and joy take place.

This project is an extraordinary window to the live of Mexican immigrant women where they can be masters of their own world, where they can control their time and their choices, where they have a safe heaven.

 

 

Bio

Ruth Prieto Arenas was born and raised in Mexico City. She studied Communications and worked as a juniour account executive in visual media. Later on she worked in the film industry as a production manager and script supervisor. She was an intern in the cultural research department at Magnum photos in New York in 2011.

Ruth graduated from the program in Documentary Photography and Photojournalism at the International Center of Photography in 2012.

She has published her work at Picnic, Ojo de Pez (to be published in summer 2013) and in the book New York Stories a collaboration between the International Center of Photography, and Ostkreuzschule für Fotografie in Berlin.

I began this project with the curiosity to understand the process that Mexican migrants go through when crossing the border. Being Mexican myself, allowed me to form a bond with my subjects so that we could build a connection that translates into the intimacy of my images. I am focused on women because of their central role in the development of the Mexican family and because I look at them as icons of identity and culture. Moreover, I think it is important to create projects that motivate a dialogue about migration and xenophobia to develop solutions to current social related issues.

Currently I am still working on this project with the great support of the Magnum Foundation’s Emergency Fund.

 

Related links

Ruth Prieto

 

Friday Night Fiesta

workshop_dah_2013-1 copy

payback

sixpack

Photo © #1 Paprica Fotografia, #2, 3, 5 Candy Pilar Godoy, #4 Vinicius Matos, #6 Michelle Madden Smith
#1: subject from photo in book shows up for launch book signing in Rio, #2: magazines given away on soccer field in Cantagalo community in Rio, #3: young boy helps with a wall “pasting” of our book in Cantagalo, #4 and 5: neighborhood square in Tavares Bastos, #6: signing for Usain Bolt in Jamaica

 

PAYBACK

 

My schedule has been a bit crazy lately. Or maybe it always is. I have a really hard time saying “no” to stuff. Especially if it involves wide eyed youngsters who I can see are just craving some words of “wisdom”.

Of course this seems often strange to me, since I am craving words of wisdom myself!!

The recent marathon to Rio to giveaway a magazine version of (based on a true story) and then straight to Jamaica to work with Usain Bolt and 25 young photographers leaves me feeling like I just ran the 100 meter sprint and the mile on top of it. I was a long distance runner in my youth, so that mentality does come in handy for almost everything I do. You can always “kick it” just a little bit more even if you just can’t. Works.

My team of Eva-Maria Kunz, Roberta Tavares, Candy Pilar Godoy, Michelle Madden Smith, and Mike Courvoisier made it all work. Ever since I started Burn it has been the collaborative effort that rules. None of us can do much alone. Finding great collaborators will change your life if you have not already figured that out. I always tell my students, “find ONE person you trust” to help you with your work . To be a second set of eyes. To be an advisor. To kick you in the butt. Works.

Now I only do this post for one reason. As a story about inspiration. And inspiration is THE fuel for doing any damned thing. If you are not inspired, you might as well stay in bed. You need fire in the belly. Forget exotic places, the right camera. Without the “fire”, pasa nada.

Readers here know by now I come up with a lot of crazy ideas. Including the evolution of Burn in so many ways. Some (most) of my ideas do not work. Yet some do. Again, if you can complete one out of ten ideas you have, you are in the upper percentile of people who can FINISH something.

One of my crazy ideas was to giveaway half of the print run of (based on a true story) the magazine version. It was a crazy idea, it still is a crazy idea, and I did it and I “lost” financially and yet for me this was maybe the very coolest most successful thing I ever did. For sure the most rewarding. Sure I always “give” when I am shooting. Bringing back prints to people I have always done. Buying my subjects a cold beer or dinner or whatever I have always done.

Yet I have never been in a position to really really show the people where I was shooting exactly what I did. Most often they never knew. Never saw NatGeo or whatever magazine I was shooting for on a story. Yet this time I brought it back. As a thank you for allowing me to work in the Carioca community. Sure only a gesture or symbolic at best. Yet I could feel the vibe, the look in their eyes, the feeling of doing the right thing. After all (based on a true story) was not just a collaboration of my team but a collaboration with the subjects I photographed.

Segued right behind the Rio giveaway was a few days in Kingston, Jamaica with 25 young photographers aged 13-17 who belong to photo clubs around the island. The Usain Bolt Foundation and Samsung made this happen. These kids were amazing. Smart, focused, ready to learn, shooting well. We pulled an “all nighter” to get the prints made (thanks Mike, Michelle, Candy) for an on the spot exhibition of their work which was then viewed by Jamaica super hero Usain Bolt who also walked away with a signed free copy of (based on a true story)!!

Anyway, life is all one big circle. Yup, what goes around, comes around and a whole bunch of other cliches about paying back paying forward yada yada yada. Well all I can say, and I think my team would say, it is worth it, worth it, and worth it.

We are selling on Burn, and at Magnum, and at PhotoEye and possibly other venues the other half of the (based on a true story) print run…At the lowest price possible. The collector edition, now gone, was what it was and expensive by nature. Yet while I do like appealing to collectors my heart can never be elitist. The success of the collector edition paid for at least part of the giveaway and the sales of the second part of the print run should get us at break even point. Good biz? Nope. Yet the right thing all around.

And besides, “breaking even” if you are leading the life you love, and may help a few others to do so,  is a nice reward. What more to ask for?

So, I implore you to pick up your camera and do “your thing” and at the same time make it another person’s “thing” as well…Make it a two way street. Either with the pictures themselves. Or by passing on any knowledge you have to somebody else.

Give it away. Works.

 

~dah~

 

 

Marian

marian
Kingston, Jamaica.

Rio

lemebeach
Leme beach early morn.

Piotr Zbierski – Love Has to Be Reinvented

Piotr Zbierski

Love Has to Be Reinvented

When Venasque told me about diaries of Cocteau, I came across this fragment, which deeply affected me:

“And then I realized that the world of my dreams is equally full of memories as my real life, so it is the real being and also richer, deeper, full of episodes, and more precise in many details. It was difficult to properly locate memories in one or the other world. They were extraordinary, complicated, and have become my second life, twice bigger, and twice longer than my own”.

 

 

Why? Because you have this gun with cold water when I’m turning into someone unlike.

With or without is trivial difference. Is it not the way to communicate with friends?

We are still here.

I know your deepest secret fear. And you know my deepest secret fear: egoism.

 

 

Bio

Piotr Zbierski (b. 1987) studied photography at National Film School.

Author of three individual exhibitions (White Elephants, Here, Childhood Dreams), participant in collective exhibitions and publications including Photokina and Lab East. He presented his works in many countries like Poland, Germany, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia. As well as magazines (Shots Magazine, Ninja Mag, Archivo Zine, Die Nacht, Gup Magazine).

In 2012 he won the prestigious prize for young photographer Leica Oscar Barnack Newcomer Award and has been shortlisted in many other prizes (Les Nuits Photographiques 2012, Terry O’Neill Award) for his series “Pass By Me”. His works has been shown at festival in Arles 2012 and are in collection of Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts. He lives and works in Lodz.

 

Related links

Piotr Zbierski

 

Emerging Photographer Fund 2013

bieke depoorter © Bieke Depoorter

We are now officially announcing the Emerging Photographer Fund grant for 2013. We are awarding $15,000 to three winners and spreading the love. One top winner will receive $10,000 and two runner-ups will each take home $2,500.

Applications are now closed!

These grants are designed to support continuation of a photographer’s personal project. This body of work may be of either a journalistic mission or purely personal artistic imperative. It was initiated by David Alan Harvey in 2008 and is awarded by the Magnum Foundation. We offer this to support emerging photographers in our craft. All types of photographers. This is not a photojournalism grant, nor an art photographers grant, but could be garnered by either or both. We just want to support committed authored photography of any ilk. Please click here and see who has secured this grant in the past and who our jurors have been. 2013 jury will be announced shortly! Due to the fact that LOOK3 photo festival (where the EPF winners are traditionally announced at the opening of the festival) is happening 2 weeks later than last year, we decided to give young photographers as much time as possible to complete and submit, and

deadline extended accordingly to May 15, 2013 (6pm EST).

Over the next months, your essay will be reviewed by an independent panel of judges in the photographic industry. Past judges include Carol Nagar, Martin Parr, Gilles Peress, Eugene Richards, Maggie Steber, Fred Ritchin, Bruce Gilden, David Griffin, John Gossage, Susan Meiselas, and James Nachtwey. A maximum of 25 photos may be submitted. The submission fee is $25. All payments are final. Once your submission is complete, you will be unable to alter it. The winner will be announced in June 2013 on Burn and at this years LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph. The final selection essays will be featured on Burn. Past Burn finalists have been published in print via Burn 01 and Burn 02. Burn 03 is on the horizon and being cooked up as a limited edition magazine/book. Stay tuned.