You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Paula Bronstein’ tag.

1RuddyRoye

© Ruddy Roye

PDX Design Week wrapped up last weekend. Before I moved out of the city, I was asked to do a guest post for the PDXDW blog. I don’t know much about design, so I wrote about photographers that are making good use of emerging technologies or commenting on our brave new world dominated by emerging and automated technologies.

Thanks to Taryn Cowart for her assistance getting it published.

With some line-editing, I crosspost the listicle below.

1

PHOTOGRAPHY’S BEST

Good photography is good vibes. Often, even bad photography is good vibes. The world needs Seflies, SnapChat cheekiness, cat GIFs, and Doge bombs. However, sometimes, we have to search out the good stuff. We need to look around and ask what’s at stake. Frankly, there’s not a lot resting on your cellphone pictures — they’re not changing the world. When the technologies and file formats with which they were made are obsolete, no-one will care if your phone snaps are lost forever. Least of all you?

When we talk about art, journalism and photography we should be able to single projects out and to define worth. Some creative endeavors are world-changing. I want to give a nod to photographers and artists working with images who inform us about the world and some of its urgent issues. As users and consumers, I want to believe we can leverage rapid publishing and sharing for political and social improvement.

BEST USE OF INSTAGRAM

Ruddy Roye was the first photographer to really stake his style on the meaningful caption. He ditched the hashtags and asked real people some real questions. Based in New York most of his portraits are of people in his neighborhood and jollies around the Big Apple. His feed drips with humanity and reveals stories you couldn’t imagine. This is the REAL Humans OF New York! Also, I like to credit Roye for landing the fatal blow to the snarky #TLDR hashtag.

2DiCampoEverydayAfrica

© EverydayAfrica

SECOND BEST USE OF INSTAGRAM

Peter DiCampo and fellow journalist Austin Merrill (both white American) set up the Everyday Africa after years of reporting from the continent and witnessing nothing but sensational and scary images of war, tragedy and the like. What about the normal everyday stuff? In an attempt to make the most of boring daily things, DiCampo and a wide cadre of collaborator quickly put together a simple, illuminating, sometimes colorful, and intimate Instagram feed. It’s political but not difficult. Okay, so it’s a free-for-all that promotes aesthetically ordinary pictures, but I’ll take neoliberal relativism over neocolonialist manipulation every day of the week.

EverydayAfrica spurned dozens of loose collective of photographers who set up EverydayMiddleEast, EverydayAsia, EverydayIran and even EverydayBronx. Instagram sponsored an Everyday “Summit” at the 2014 Photoville Festival and ponied up cash to fly in contributors from all corners of the globe. These guys are much better IG-movement than the creepy Christians making VSCO lifestyle shots to pair with their #blessed affirmations and bible quotes.

Watch out though: EverydayUSA has some of the best photojournalists under it’s belt. Photo-industry-folk reckon EverydayUSA will soon eclipse all the other accounts, at which point the whole Everyday movement may have announced its death. Get on this young movement while it’s still fresh and focused on countries other than the one you live in.

3MishkaHenner

© Mishka Henner

BEST USE OF GOOGLE EARTH

If there’s a controversial topic Mishka Henner hasn’t produced a body of work on, he’s probably in his studio, right now, making it. From censorship, to prostitution in the Mediterranean, from military bases to big-ag food production, from war to big oil, Henner doesn’t shy away from tough topics. His skill is to do so without really leaving his studio. Henner is one of the cleverest, canniest and hardest working artists dealing with Google and the machine age of image-making.

He winds people up with his methods that are anathema to photo-purists but what else is there to do with available imagery if not to capture, ‘shop and frame it in political terms. Google is the all seeing eye that doesn’t care.

tomasvanhoutryve

© Tomas Van Houtryve

BEST USE OF PERSONAL DRONES

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates American operated drones have killed between 2,296 and 3,718 people, as many as 957 of them civilians. That’s a whole lot of killing.

The program of U.S. airstrikes which began in 2002, but was only publicly acknowledged in 2012 is a remote war driven by a remote technology. Belgian photographer Tomas Van Houtryve decided the best way to grab Americans’ attention to the issue was to show them how drone attacks would appear in America.

There’s no shortage of projects about drones to get us thinking about the issue. John Vigg has his Google surveilled drone research labs and airports; Jamie Bridle traced a drone shadow in Washington D.C. last year and launched Dronestagram to populate social media sites with satellite views of drone strike sites; Trevor Paglen has photographed drones at distance; and Raphaella Dallaporta took a drone to Afghanistan under the guise of an archaeological survey.

Most recently Not A Bug Splat made a splash. Cheeky and powerful the project installed massive portraits of children in regions subject to U.S. drone strikes, with the intent of pricking the conscience of remote U.S. drone operators stationed in Nevada about to bring the hammer of destruction down on that Waziristan village.

JoshBegleyPrisonMap

Screenshot of Josh Begley’s Prison Map

BEST USE OF SURVEILLANCE IMAGERY AGAINST THE SYSTEM

Data artist Josh Begley specializing in scraping images from publicly available sources. He then creates App and websites to publish the info and produce push notifications you can’t avoid.

For his project Prison Map, Begley took the GPS coordinates of every prison, jail and immigration detention center in America and fed them into a Google Maps API code he had modified. He ran the script and it spat out more than 5,300 satellite images — one for every locked facility in the U.S. The prison population in this country has grown 500% in the past 30 years. One in every one hundred adults is behind bars and most of them are poor people. The recurrent patterns of brutally functional architecture within Prison Map are staggering. We’ve been building prisons in high desert and rural backwaters. Begley makes the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC) visible once more.

Likewise, for his project Profiling Is, Begley snagged the NYPD’s surveillance shots of business and residences in the NY boroughs which were under monitoring.

He doesn’t stop there. Begley’s App MetaData alerts users to U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan and elsewhere. This didn’t happen until the conclusion of a merrigoround of negotiation with the “apolitical” Apple. Begley finally got his drone strike App approved when he removed all mention the word drone! Now, you can get next-day updates of Obama’s largely-ignored drone war on Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen straight to your smartphone.

State Business II

© Mari Bastashevski

BEST USE OF PHOTOGRAPHY, MUCK-RAKING AND INVESTIGATIVE NOUS

Mari Bastashevski skirts a fine line between journalist, artist, researcher, photographer and tourist to dig up the personalities and money makers in the international arms trade. Here’s the feature I did for WIRED a while back. Her ongoing project State Business is devastating inasmuch it reveals how pervasive and complicit most nations are in making billions on the slaughter of humans.The US, the UK, Croatia, Azerbaijan, Georgia; Bastashevski’s following of the money takes us all over the place … sometimes even to the carport on the Facebook pages of international arms dealers.

elahi

BEST MAKING SENSE OF SURVEILLANCE

If you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em. In 2002, after Hasan Elahi was mistaken for someone on the terror watch list and detained for hours at Detroit airport, he decided he’d save the authorities the bother and monitor himself. Caustic, direct, creepy and amusing, Elahi photographed everything he did, ate, shit, saw and worked on. He also GPS tracked his every move on a live web map. The project is titled Tracking Transcience. One of the by-products of the self-monitoring is the creation of a typology of toilets. Taking sousveillance to another level and entertaining thousands while he does it. Brill.

migrazoom

© MigraZoom. A migrant on a cargo train traveling from Arriaga, Chiapas to Ixtepec, Oaxaca. After crossing the Mexican-Guatemalan border and traveling to Arriaga, migrants hitch a ride on top of cargo trains to Ixtepec. This trip takes about 12 hours. In addition to the risk of falling off the train (amputations and death are common), gangs frequently extort migrants, charging them $100 to ride. They face threats of being thrown off the train, kidnapped, raped or trafficked if they do not pay.

REALEST VIEWS OF IMMIGRATION

There’s some great fine art projects out there about the U.S./Mexican border. Probably, the stand out is David Taylor’s Working The Line, which documents the militarization of the border. But it can be criticised for being to distant and tends to rest on the creaking aesthetic mores of American landscape photography. If we want to see what is really going on during the tough journey’s into North America, we should pay attention to MigraZoom, a project by Spanish-born photographer Encarni Pindado which puts disposable cameras in the hands of economic migrants during their perilous treks northward.

DavidTaylor

© David Taylor

Another beautifully shot and more unexpected treatment of new arrivals is Gabriele Stabile’s Refugee Hotel which documents approved asylum seekers’ first nights in America at four hotels adjacent to four hub airports through which new refugee migrants arrive. Respectful documentation that is pregnant with uncertainty.

Taylor’s work is currently on show at the amazing ‘Covert Operations’ at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.

BEST USE OF INTERNET FOR DISCUSSION

Photographer Hank Willis Thomas is a prolific force. One of his most recent projects Question Bridge is a platform for black males to ask other black males questions about black identity. Participants do so through video and provide answers similarly. Access is easy, involvement free, connections priceless and it works well in exhibition format too. The murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson is the latest incident to demonstrate to the entire nation our shared need to face racial inequality int he country. Willis Thomas is doing his bit.

LOCKWOOD-01

© Lindsay Lochman and Barbara Ciurej

BEST COMMENTARY ON MECHANICAL AGE FOOD PRODUCTION

With Ag Gag laws becoming ever more common, clever responses to imaging industrial food production must be inventive. Lindsay Lochman & Barbara Ciurej rip on the much-mythologized West and specifically on the hero-worship of Carleton Watkins by constructing sugar-coated and corn-fed diorama reconstruction of Watkins’ landscapes with shitty foodstuffs.

Will Potter ain’t a photographer but he’s putting imagery to good ends. Potter, a TED Fellow, has been reporting on the crack down on environmental activists under homeland security legislation that was designed to tackle terrorist. Instead of chasing bombchuckers, our law enforcement is going after tree huggers. The title of Potter’s book, Green Is The New Red, say its all. Routinely, it has been eco-activists who’ve brought us the shocking footage from inside factory farms. Potter, continuing the tradition of expose, wants to fly drones over feedlots and take advantage of laws being slow to be written. Again, we seeing the convergence of technologies and activist peel back the layers of obscurity purposefully put over our shady business practices in years past.

DonnaFerrato

© Donna Ferrato

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

The greatest photography work being done to reveal the entrapped, terrorized lives of those victim to domestic violence, is done — perhaps not unsurprisingly by female photographers. Donna Ferrato has trained a lens on the topic for decades. Recently, young gun Sara Naomi Lewkowicz captured similar images to Ferrato as an intimate witness to partner abuse. The parallels were saddening proving that this is a strand of violent psychology we just are not dealing with effectively. To be frank, the issue isn’t being imaged enough; intimate partner abuse remains hidden behind closed doors.

Paula Bronstein was one of the earliest and most direct photographers to document the survivors of acid attacks in Asia. If we’re to mention women’s rights abroad we have to look at the work of Stephanie Sinclair, whose multiyear project Too Young To Wed is pitch perfect. Quiet, weighty, tragic and polychrome portraits of child brides throughout the world. Sinclair’s had help from all the major distributors and grant makers to cast the net of her survey far and wide. The transmedia project is about as good as it gets in terms of audience engagement tactics too.

jim-goldberg

© Jim Goldberg

BEST COMMENTS ON WEALTH INEQUALITY

It’s difficult to name a stand out photographer who has taken on the wealth gap in a resonant way. It sounds strange to say but maybe cash is difficult to shoot? This apparent lack is consistent with other art forms though. If Occupy taught us one thing, some issues are designed for public performance, demonstration, walking and protest signs. Think of music, for comparison. In the sixties musicians such as Joe Strummer and Nina Simone emerged with brilliant anger toward social injustice. Despite public disgust made visible in anti-Iraq-war protests and Occupy, there’s not a protest song from the 21st century of note. Perhaps music isn’t the format for anger or the wealth gap either?

Don’t worry, I’m not being a pessimist here. Violent dismay certainly exists. I’m just not convinced art is the realm where we see the most direct political action. Gone are the days of the great labor photographers such as Lewis Hine and Jacob Riis. Inequality was laid bare in the photojournalism of the civil rights era (Ernest Cole, Charles Moore, Danny Lyon) and while those reportages were about money and opportunity they weren’t primarily about the markets. Check out the work of Gregory Halpern for your modern day Milton Rogovin.

The most indelible and forthright description of wealth inequality is Jim Goldberg’s Rich and Poor, which remains the high point and the tone at which aspiring photographers should aim.

Dang, that’s been a lot of men’s names. I think it right to end with LaToya Ruby Frazier’s name then. She, better than anyone currently making work, ties together class, race, income, post-industrial America, public health, personal health, family and environmental hazard with her generational survey of the women in her family and her home town of Braddock, PA, in The Notion OF Family.

LaToyaRubyFrazier

© La Toya Ruby Frazier

 

Advertisements

Qamar Jan,18, an Afghan refugee from Peshawar poses at the Ali Medical clinic in Islamabad, June 14, 2007. © Paula Bronstein

In my last post, I suggested the repetition of subject matter in photography is inevitable.

Equally, I’d like to stress that our constant exposure to (predominantly web-based) imagery may likely result in more frequent associations and recall (partial, total, overlapping) between photographers and their works.

Here, I’d like to argue that the gravity of some photography – or rather the gravity of the story it bears witness to – means that ultimately the name of the photographer is inconsequential.

MOTIF, MEME, PERSISTENT THEME

In my last post, I also challenged the notion of plagiarism and inserted the notion of ‘meme’. I was hasty. I used the term ‘meme‘ because meme evolution within host populations can occur without any awareness of said host population; I wanted to infer that repetition, mimicry, copying, mirroring mustn’t always be accorded a conscious origin. Conscious origin is precedent, is ownership, is lawsuit. And I want to live in a world where not everything is subject to ownership and contest.

That said, I want to back-track on the term ‘meme’. Meme is more appropriate for discussing larger shifts, whereas I am really discussing trends. Instead of ‘meme’ I’d prefer to use the term ‘persistent theme’.

FINE ART vs PHOTOJOURNALISM

In Burdeny’s work, the use of a persistent theme (including the minutiae of another artists’ motifs, style) just looks bad. Simply, Burdeny is a prat, but if you want to get uppity you’d argue he has debased artistic notions of respect, brevity and creative integrity.

In the light of Burdeny’s antics (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6), any number criticisms are understandable BUT would anyone level criticisms at photographers in journalism repeating the work of others if it that work pertained to a story that perhaps has not been told enough?

Memona Karachi. 20 years old. Over 30 operations. Attacked by a boy on her way to school. © Izabella Demavlys

ACID ATTACKS: A CRUDE CRIME OF MODERN TIMES

Shouldn’t ‘persistent themes’ in the photography of journalism be judged on different criteria?

Joerg’s post on Izabella Demavlys today recalled the work of Paula Bronstein, Q. Sakamaki, Diego Ibarra, Katherine Kiviat and Emilio Morenatti. (Stan was impassioned by Morenatti’s work recently)

An acid attack is a heinous crime, but made all the worse by lack of awareness, empathy or rehabilitative service. Of course, photography plays second-fiddle to medical intervention in the aftermath of acid attacks, but that is not to say it can’t play its part.

Or are these portraits exploitative? Personally, I don’t think they are. The recurring ‘exploitation’ argument doesn’t develop a discussion – it merely demands you accept or decline the notion of ever-unequal power relations between the operator and subject of a camera. It becomes a discussion about photography and not about the reason the photographer and subject shared a space in the first place.

Personally, again, I don’t think we understand enough about the motives or consequences of these types of brutal attack, and I think portraiture and caption have their role in informing interested parties.

Fortunately, the reports alongside these images describe accessible medical treatment for victims (one woman has had 30 surgeries). More than physical healing though, many of the women have a resolve and psychological determination beyond words. (Read Nick Kristof’s NYT article).

A victim of acid attack stays in the hospital of the Acid Survivors' Foundation. In 2002 Bangladesh introduced very tough laws to try to stop acid throwing, including the death penalty in the most serious cases. However, acid attack is still common in the country -- more than 260 cases in 2005, since "The law is just like a dead law," according to Salma Ali of the Bangladesh National Women Lawyers' Association. Dhaka, Bangladesh, July 12 2006. © Q. Sakamaki

© Diego Ibarra. Portrait of a woman attacked by acid. The consequences of the attacks are for life. Islamabad. Pakistan, May 2009

Saira Liaquat

Both Kiviat and Morenatti photographed Saira Liaquat in the space of a year (the captions for her age must be inaccurate) but opprobrium will never be dealt Kiviat or Morenatti for their repetition.

Saira bears witness to her injustice and both photojournalists help her advocate.

Saira’s name and her story matter, the photographers names really don’t.

Saira Liaquat, 22 yrs, burn victim and survivor, holding an old photograph of herself before she was burned with acid by her husband. Photographed at Saira's parents' home in Lahore, Pakistan on February 7, 2009. Saira is presently working as beautician at the Depilex beauty salon in Lahore, Pakistan. There are presently over 300 cases of burn victims registered in Pakistan. Most victims are between the ages of 14 - 25 years old. Motives vary, but are most frequently obsession, jealousy, suspected infidelity, husband wanting to re-marry, sexual non-cooperation. The face and genitalia are the areas most generally targeted, those guaranteeing complete disfiguration. © Katherine Kiviat/Redux

One of the first to be released in 2002, Mohammad, a farmer, says that he was forcibly conscripted into the Taliban, but tried to get away by surrendering himself to the enemy, the notorious warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum, who promptly served him up to the Americans. After less than a year, the Americans deemed him no threat and returned him to Afghanistan. He says that during his time in captivity, he was well treated by the U.S. military. © Paula Bronstein/Getty

One of the first to be released in 2002, Mohammad, a farmer, says that he was forcibly conscripted into the Taliban, but tried to get away by surrendering himself to the enemy, the notorious warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum, who promptly served him up to the Americans. After less than a year, the Americans deemed him no threat and returned him to Afghanistan. He says that during his time in captivity, he was well treated by the U.S. military. © Paula Bronstein/Getty

In my recent feature of Edmund Clark’s work on Guantanamo (that focuses on not only the fabric of the prison but also the environmental details of their homes post-release) I was reminded of Paula Bronstein‘s Guantanamo detainee portraits.

Whereas Clark focuses on detainees released into Western – I presume UK – society, Bronstein tracks former detainees down in their homeland, Afghanistan. She has photographed returning prisoners many times since 2002. All her work is collated at here at Getty Images. Time magazine ran Portraits of Gitmo Detainees earlier this year.

There are many stories to consider, and they are of course more vital than the photographs. The early releases, including Jan Mohammad (above), from 2002 came with favourable testimony in which detainees said they were treated fairly and allowed to practice their religion.

 Mohammed Jawad talks on the phone to a friend as a relative looks on in his family home on September 25, 2009 in Kabul, Afghanistan. He was the youngest Guantanamo Bay prisoner only 17 when he was arrested six years ago, but his lawyer says he was 14 and family members say he was 12. JawadÕs conviction was for throwing a hand grenade at two U.S. soldiers. The judge said his confession was obtained under torture. © Paula Bronstein/Getty

Mohammed Jawad talks on the phone to a friend as a relative looks on in his family home on September 25, 2009 in Kabul, Afghanistan. He was the youngest Guantanamo Bay prisoner only 17 when he was arrested six years ago, but his lawyer says he was 14 and family members say he was 12. Jawad's conviction was for throwing a hand grenade at two U.S. soldiers. The judge said his confession was obtained under torture. © Paula Bronstein/Getty

Mohammed Jawal, who could have been as young as 12 when he was detained was, according to a judge, tortured.

Haji Nasrat, 77 Released in 2006, the farmer was Guantanamo's oldest prisoner. Partially paralyzed for more than 15 years and illiterate, Nasrat says he does not know why the Americans detained him. Government documents relating to his case allege that he was a member of Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin, a former mujahadeen group said to be tied to Al Qaeda. © Paula Bronstein/Getty

Haji Nasrat, 77 Released in 2006, the farmer was Guantanamo's oldest prisoner. Partially paralyzed for more than 15 years and illiterate, Nasrat says he does not know why the Americans detained him. Government documents relating to his case allege that he was a member of Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin, a former mujahadeen group said to be tied to Al Qaeda. © Paula Bronstein/Getty

Haji Nasrat, Guantanamo’s oldest detainee, has spoken words which bear the experience of failed American policy in Afghanistan, “When (the Americans) came to Afghanistan everybody was waiting for America to help us build our country. We were looking for you guys and we were very happy that you would come to our country. The people who hated you were very few, but you just grabbed guys like me. Look at me. Our very happiness, you changed it to (bitterness).”

After eight years of war and too many attacks that have killed civilians, President Obama’s military and non-military personnel have a large task to improve security and win back the trust of the Afghanistan people. Is it even possible? If not, the biggest losers resulting from the lie that was the war on Iraq – and all the distractions it carried – may be the people of Afghanistan.

Found via Travel Photographer

EMAIL

prisonphotography [at] gmail [dot] com

@BROOKPETE ON TWITTER

Prison Photography Archives

Post Categories

Advertisements