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danube revisited – the inge morath truck project

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The Inge Morath Truck Project

Danube Revisited

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“Photography is a strange phenomenon. In spite of the use of that technical instrument, the camera, no two photographers, even if they were at the same place at the same time, come back with the same pictures. The personal vision is usually there from the beginning; result of a special chemistry of background and feelings, traditions and their rejection, of sensibility and voyeurism. You trust your eye and you cannot help but bare your soul. One’s vision finds of necessity the form suitable to express it.”

–Inge Morath, Life as a Photographer, 1999

 

Danube Revisited: The Inge Morath Truck Project

By Jennifer Gandin Le

Where we are born leaves an indelible mark on our bodies. The space where we first take air into our lungs is where language meets our ears, light meets our eyes, and the sensation of skin begins. No matter what follows, the place stays with us.

For pioneering Magnum photojournalist Inge Morath (1923-2002), born in Graz, Austria, the place that captured her imagination and vision was the Danube region in Eastern Europe. For nearly forty years (1958-1995), she made trips along the full length of the river, from the Black Forest to the Black Sea, and photographed the people and landscape along the river through generations of social and political change. She made her first trip along the Danube in 1958, traveling to Germany, Yugoslavia, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Romania. Politics made Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Soviet Union inaccessible to her until the 1990s, after the fall of the Iron Curtain. In 1995, she exhibited her “Donau” project and published a book, but she continued to return to the region; the last trip she took before she died was to the land of her birth.

This July, Inge Morath’s photos of her beloved Danube region will return home.

Nine photographers — all of whom have received the Inge Morath Award, an annual prize given by Magnum Photos members to a woman photographer under 30 — will convert an 18-wheeler into a mobile gallery of her work and drive it along the Danube River, exhibiting the work in the very communities that Morath photographed.

Along the way, the women will create new work, collaborate with local female photographers in the region, and amplify the voices of existing local artists by inviting selected photographers to travel with them. “While we’re trained to be perceptive and pick up things with culture and people and photograph critically, essentially, we’re just visitors,” says Claire Martin of the project’s express mission to “support the under-represented female voice in documentary photography.” “We want people with the real voice of the region to participate in the project.”

“When I started here twelve years ago, the attention was on Inge and her history,” says John P. Jacob, director of the Inge Morath Foundation. “About halfway in, we changed the tone of the website to focus on her legacy. We asked, what can we do for those who feel her influence? It has been incredibly rewarding for us to see this project flow from that change in perspective.”

Danube Revisited’s numbers are impressive: nine photographers, three of their children, one documentary filmmaker, 24 cities and villages, 10 countries, 1,777 miles of river, and all in 35 days — especially when you consider that Morath completed her version of this journey across nearly 40 years.

“I’ve tried to put together group projects with friends before, but it’s never worked,” says Kathryn Cook, who won the Award in 2008. “This is different. There’s a lot of glue between those who have received the award.” Lurdes R. Basolí, 2010 winner, agrees. “I wouldn’t be doing this project without what we have in common — sharing this grant.” Despite the administrative challenges of organizing this project across four countries and over two years, Basolí’s faith in the project never flagged. “We built this ourselves. It was never an option to give up — we all had such deep commitment.”

A unique collaboration in a field known for its solitary work, these nine photographers will spend five weeks sharing ideas, informing each others’ work, pressing each other to grow and evolve, and supporting each other along the way.

“I’ve done collaborative projects like this with my students before, and it’s always been exciting to shoot similar situations, then look at our images together afterwards and see how our eyes are different. I’m excited to do this with these great photographers,” says Emily Schiffer, 2009 award winner. Schiffer and Cook will be traveling with their children, which was another important priority for the organizers. Their Kickstarter page drives the point home: “We are all between the ages of 31 and 41 and would love to prove that there doesn’t have to be an age or a period when women can’t create or take part in an adventure.”

Despite being the namesake for a high-profile award for female photographers, Morath herself was dismissive of the gender issue, emphasizing her photography as the important discussion. However, she and her Magnum colleague Eve Arnold were also proud of their prominence as women photographers, especially in a time when there were obvious gaps in the diversity of not only Magnum, but also the entire industry.

Claire Martin says, “We’re trying to correct the balance from the historical white male bias in documentary photography, and trying to bring it back a bit. Inge was a pioneer that way, and that’s why we’re so inspired by her. She was one of the first to put a woman’s print on work and have it publicly validated and recognized.”

Most of the award winners knew little about Morath when they applied. But through the last two years of planning Danube Revisited, Morath’s legacy has come alive for them in a new way. “As you talk with everyone who knew her, you realize that they created the award out of deep respect and love for her,” says Martin. “In creating this project, she’s become really influential to me. I think of her being the one of the first women, breaking the barriers of entrenched gender roles at the time. How challenging that must have been. How ballsy she must have been to be so defiant, such a powerhouse.”

Jessica Dimmock wonders about Morath’s own perception of her trajectory in the field. “Did she think her career would change things for women, or did she feel isolated by being a solo woman in a field driven by men? Based on the changes she was seeing in her lifetime, did she think the nine of us could exist? Would she have an idea that this many women would be drawn to this craft?”

 

Jennifer Gandin Le is a writer and photographer based in Austin, TX. When she’s not telling stories with words or images, she’s saving lives through her company Emotion Technology, which works with social web companies to prevent suicide and promote mental health online. When she was just 24, director Francis Ford Coppola commissioned her film adaptation of the best-selling novel The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank. Her non-fiction writing has been published in Wired Magazine, Time Out New York, BUST Magazine, and The Village Voice. Her short film, Small Changes, won the Grand Jury Prize in the 2009 Intelligent Use of Water film competition, and was screened at The Getty Center in Los Angeles. Gandin Le graduated with honors from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

The Inge Morath Award was established by the members of Magnum Photos in tribute to their colleague, who was associated with Magnum for more than fifty years. The annual Inge Morath Award is given to a woman photographer under thirty years of age, to assist in the completion of a long term documentary project. The winner and finalists are selected by the photographer members of Magnum Photos and a representative of the Morath Foundation at the Magnum annual meeting. The photographers participating in Danube Revisited are nine of the past Inge Morath Award winners, who have benefited and grown as a result of the award, and wish to honor the legacy of Inge Morath by retracing her Danube journey. Each photographer brings to the project both a unique personal vision and a common appreciation for the challenges facing women photographers today.

WE ARE: Olivia Arthur, Emily Schiffer, Claire Martin, Lurdes Basoli,  Kathryn Cook, Mimi Chakarova, Jessica Dimmock, Claudia Guadarrama, and Ami Vitale.

 

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Danube Revisited: The Inge Morath Truck Project

Kickstarter Campaign

 

TELL IT LIKE IT IS (1967)

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My first published book TELL IT LIKE IT IS (1967) will be reprinted this fall by #BurnBooks..While in grad school I went to live with a family in Norfolk, Virginia. Slept on their sofa, set up a darkroom nearby. The “contribution $2.” went to a local church and intended to pay for food and clothing for disadvantaged families in this neighborhood. This was my first full blown essay and my first time being totally absorbed by a culture outside my own. This first essay/book was a precursor to all that followed with my work.

The shadows

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The shadows by Ako Salemi @f64s125 #tehran #iran

Woman and the Wall

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Woman and the Wall 2 #Tehran #Iran by Ako Salemi@f64s125

Roanoke Sound #2

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Man and the Bird

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Man and the bird #tehran by Ako Salemi @f64s125 for @burndiary

Nags Head

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playing football in Tehran

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A boy playing football in south of Tehran, Iran photo by Ako Salemi @f64s125 for @burndiary

from Tehran

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Hi everybody! I’m Ako ( @f64s125 ) 33, an street photographer from Tehran, Iran. I have worked as a photojournalist for some Iranian news papers since 8 years ago, and during last 2 years shooting by my iPhone in streets of Tehran.  Feel free to ask me any questions about Iran and also my works! So glad to be with you during next 7 days on @burndiary! Cheers!

tomasz tomaszewski – elmina, ghana

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Tomasz Tomaszewski

Elmina, Ghana

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Elmina is a town situated on a south-facing bay on the Atlantic Ocean coast of Ghana, and the first European (Portuguese) settlement in West Africa. The location of Elmina made it a significant site for provisioning ships headed south towards the Cape of Good Hope on their way to India. Today with a population of 33,000 people, Elmina still remains as a fishing town.

Regardless of the modern technology in the fishing industry, and especially aggressive behavior of Chinese fisherman, the people of Elmina are bravely fighting for survival and for their existence. They support themselves by creating small cooperatives where profits are shared equally between the members of these communities. This is a kind of grassroots work, without any state aid.

 

Bio

Tomasz Tomaszewski has a Ph.D. from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw in Media Art, and is a member of the Union of Polish Art Photographers, the Visum Archiv Agency of Hamburg, Germany, the National Geographic Creative Agency of Washington D.C.. He specializes in journalistic photography and has had his photos published in major newspapers and magazines worldwide. He has held numerous individual exhibitions in the USA, Canada, Israel, Japan, Madagascar, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, Indonesia and Poland. Tomasz is the recipient of many Polish and international awards for photography. For over twenty years he has been a regular contributor to National Geographic Magazine in which 18 of his photo essays have been published. Tomasz has taught photography in Poland, the USA, Germany and Italy.

 

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Tomasz Tomaszewski

bradgatepark

diary

bradgatepark Photo by @francislane for @burndiary

Roanoke Sound

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David Alan Harvey Interviews Magnum Legend Elliott Erwitt

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“It’s about reacting to what you see, hopefully without preconception. You can find pictures anywhere. It’s simply a matter of noticing things and organizing them. You just have to care about what’s around you and have a concern with humanity and the human comedy. ” - Elliott Erwitt

Born in Paris in 1928 to Russian parents, Erwitt spent his childhood in Milan, then emigrated to the US, via France, with his family in 1939. As a teenager living in Hollywood, he developed an interest in photography and worked in a commercial darkroom before experimenting with photography at Los Angeles City College. In 1948 he moved to New York and exchanged janitorial work for film classes at the New School for Social Research.Erwitt traveled in France and Italy in 1949 with his trusty Rolleiflex camera. In 1951 he was drafted for military service and undertook various photographic duties while serving in a unit of the Army Signal Corps in Germany and France.While in New York, Erwitt met Edward Steichen, Robert Capa and Roy Stryker, the former head of the Farm Security Administration. Stryker initially hired Erwitt to work for the Standard Oil Company, where he was building up a photographic library for the company, and subsequently commissioned him to undertake a project documenting the city of Pittsburgh.In 1953 Erwitt joined Magnum Photos and worked as a freelance photographer for Collier’s, Look, Life, Holiday and other luminaries in that golden period for illustrated magazines. To this day he is for hire and continues to work for a variety of journalistic and commercial outfits.

In the late 1960s Erwitt served as Magnum’s president for three years. He then turned to film: in the 1970s he produced several noted documentaries and in the 1980s eighteen comedy films for Home Box Office. Erwitt became known for benevolent irony, and for a humanistic sensibility traditional to the spirit of Magnum.

 

Playground

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* Approximately every mile there is a different adventure playground. They are by far better than anywhere I have ever been. * #berlin * Photo by @francislane

Richmond, Va. 1966. Yashica C 120 Plus X film.

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leandro viana – bolivia in são paulo

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Leandro Viana

Bolivia in São Paulo

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Everyday, thousands of Bolivians arrive in the city of São Paulo. They come from many Bolivian cities and other countries like Peru and Argentina and bring with themselves lot of hope with the opportunity and promise for a new life.

Along with this hope, those immigrants also bring willingness to do any king of work in any kind of place. Obviously with this attitude they become completely vulnerable to the city and consequently, to the employers. As an illegal person (because the majority do not have permission to work) they find themselves in sub-human conditions, which they cannot avoid or fight against because of their illegal status. But these immigrants submit themselves and “accept” this condition, just to get inside of the system and probably because their lives were much worse in their native country .

Portraying these persons, the attitude and the vague look they bring become evident and sprout on the pictures as if it was an attempt to become neutral against that of the society in which they live. On the other hand, when they dress up in their traditional clothes and trappings, it changes their posture in front of the camera.

After a long time documenting the Bolivian immigrants in the city of São Paulo, I made this series of portraits to summarize and to provide an outcome to all the research so far produced. After many visits to places where these community usually meets in varied areas of the city, I realized how these people actually go unnoticed by the majority of the population. Even though a significant and consistent visual change has been happening in São Paulo and only a few notice or even give themselves the chance to, a rich culture, that many are unaware of, is slowly blending with the Brazilian culture.

 

Bio

Originally from São Paulo, Brazil, Leandro Viana is a freelance documentary photographer based in New York City. After breaking into the field through fashion, editorial, and advertising photogra­phy, most notably at DPZ, one of Brazil’s leading advertising agen­cies, Leandro began documenting social issues such as immigra­tion, refugees, and human rights. His series documenting Bolivian migration in São Paulo was awarded the 2011 Conrado Wessel Award in Brazil and was featured at the Chobi Mela International Festival of Photography in January 2013.

 

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Leandro Viana

Front porch #9

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