The other week Kosovo declared independence. I happened to be walking through Times Square when I (almost literally) stumbled across a horde of people cheering and waving Albanian flags. Cars drove past adorned with flags and carrying passengers who hung out of windows and sunroofs holding yet more flags - both the double headed Albanian Eagle and the American Stars and Stripes. I heard shouts of 'Thankyou USA!' Doubtless in reference to the U.S. recognition of kosovo's declaration.

However, not everyone was happy. The Serbian population in the north of Kosovo showed their discontent with a large and well attended peaceful demonstration and a smaller more violent one which resulted in an attack on the U.S. Embassy.

Photo: Ivan Milutinovic/Reuters

Other countries were also not so keen on Kosovo's independence. Spain, for example rejected the claim perhaps feeling that to acknowledge it would fuel the Basque independence movement.

It also occurred to me that while the U.S. (and U.K.) is quick to recognise the Sovereign rights of Kosovo, they still place many preconditions on the formation of a Palestinian state. There are many other separatist campaigns around the globe and it seems like governments are being highly selective in their application of criteria. In the same week Turkey launched a new offensive against the PKK, a group fighting for the establishment of a Kurdish territory and denounced as terrorists by Turkey and the U.S. The timing of this does not seem coincidental to me. In fact, once again it seems law is being implemented and recognised only when it suits specific agendas.

The Balkans has had a tumultuous history (Archduke Franz Ferdinand anyone?) and this is just another chapter in the story. One that will have many repercussions I am sure.

For more on this subject, check out this article by Jeremy Scahill and this article by Adel Safty.

There is also a slideshow on the NY Times website with some history of the recent conflict in Kosovo and some stunning photographs by Andrew Testa. Check it out here

Square America

I arrived at this website through the reciprocity failure blog. I would post a sample photograph but I couldn't decide which one - there were so many good ones. Check it out.

Kenya: Agree to Disagree

It comes as no surprise to me to hear that Kofi Annan has suspended the talks between President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga in Kenya. Meanwhile, as these men squabble the people of Kenya are left living in uncertain and dangerous times.

Unfortunately it is the same in any struggle for power. Governments around the world need to realise that they are in place to serve the people they represent rather than dictate to them how they should behave. Power and money are the ugliest of motivations.

Children at a burnt-down house in Kibera slum, Nairobi, Tuesday February 26.
Photograph: AP/Bernat Armangue

Branding the poor

Advertising has no morals.

Caracas, Venezuela: The facades of a poor neighbourhood painted as advertising billboards

Photograph: Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images

Adios Fidel

Cuba is still on my list of places to visit. As soon as I learn Spanish. According to a good friend of mine you need it when your 1950's American made car breaks down in a rural area and you need help fixing it....

Anyway. 'Till then -

Viva La Revolución!

One of the first photographs of Fidel Casto and Ernesto 'Che' Guevara together. Taken in an extradition jail in Mexico, 1956.

One of the last photographs of the two men together. Taken in Havana, Cuba 1965.

(Both images from the Cuban Office Of Historical Affairs Of The Council Of State.)

also, with all the talk of what will happen in Cuba now, Steve Bell's cartoon is currently my favourite addition to the debate.

New Work by Jason Andrew

I thought I would post a couple pictures of some new work that I shot
last week at the Westminster Dog Show. I would love to see what
everyone else is up to

Jason Andrew
(858) 232-9493

Tips on entering a call for entry/contest, or even just getting a job

I was recently a juror on a photography portfolio panel for a national
organization. It was an eye-opening experience being "on the other
side" and seeing how
our own work might be evaluated when we apply to galleries or for
grants or even just
apply for a job. I learned quite a bit and thought I'd share some tips
with you. Some of
these are painfully obvious but it never hurts to repeat them, right?

Essentially I spent all day in a dark room with a group of
photographers and photo-related
professionals and we were given the task of viewing 1400 individual
images and around
300 portfolios for a total of 3800 images.

Of those images, only 5% were chosen for further consideration and
their share of over 3
million $$ in scholarships.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

All the images were judged on originality, technical skill and the
emergence of an artistic

1. Edit. Then edit. Then when you're done editing, edit some more.
Some of the projects I saw had great individual photos but the editing
was poor and those
were rejected.

2. The image itself is the most important. Judges were more forgiving
of technical
"mistakes" or even sloppiness or lack of skill if the image itself was strong.

3. Body of work
Only show one body of work. Don't try to show versatility in style or
technique. Be
consistent. The judges wanted to see a singular vision. Even if we
didn't agree on the
message of the work or if we didn't like individual images, the
portfolios were still placed
in the next round if the overall body of work was strong.

Show your singular vision by exploring an idea fully. Some portfolios
showed the genesis
on an idea but didn't explore it and those were rejected.

4. Unlike what conventional wisdom would dictate, try to place most,
if not all, your
stronger images in the front or beginning of your portfolio. While this sounds
counterintuitive, the reality of judging so many portfolios meant that
many were not
viewed fully. For example, the portfolios contained 8 images each. If
the judges did not
like the series by the fourth image, the entire series was dismissed
and we moved on to
the next.

5. Engage the audience emotionally.
Some portfolios were technically competent and consistent and overall
they were "fine" but
left us emotionally flat. Those were the first to get dismissed.

Hope this was helpful. If you have any thoughts to add please let me know.



(646) 460-3810

Przemysław Pokrycki's "Rites of Passage"

I found Pokrycki via the conscientious blog which i read adamantly. Anyway that said, I'm not sure if the pictures were meant to be droll but I burst out in laughter at a few of the baptism and first communion images. It's strange how mundane these seemingly American acts of familial bonding are, yet people continue the tradition in order not to forsake their communal bond. In most of the baptism flics you can hardly discern the facial features of the baby. Even funnier is how naft the meals are for the poor children in the first communion series. Fuckin hilarious.

Bacon & Burroughs

Photographed By John Minihan

Artistic Inspiration

Tom and I were chillin' at a dub step party chirpin' about our lives in the metro and more specifically our latest projects. From my brief description of what I shoot, he inquired as to which photographers I liked and I couldn't name one contemporary photographer I felt inspired me. This Weekend I was working with an Australian photographer and she brought up the same topic, funnily enough. It seems to be the question of the times for me. After running through my usual Kertesz, Model, E. Smith, Arbus, Salgado, she mentioned that she never heard of Kertesz. I introduced her to some of his photography and she noticed that I might enjoy Trent Parke. After looking through his images I must admit reverence and appreciation and realize that there is new inspiration brewing out there, this being my first realization of that concept.

Happy Valentines

So apparantly the Saudi Government has banned gifts in the colour 'Red' in the run up to Valentines day because the celebration promotes un-islamic activities. I don't see the Bush administration calling this 'Islamo-Fascism'.

Meanwhile, amongst the turmoil in Kenya, commerce continues.

Naivasha, Kenya: Workers package roses for export in Kenya. Growers are pushing to keep exports up for Valentine's Day despite the recent ethnic violence.

Photograph: Bernat Armangue/AP

The World Press Photo Awards

It's that time of year again.

I'm a big fan of this competition. I was taken to see the travelling exhibition in 1999 by a good friend of mine, Annabelle Dalby and it changed my way of thinking about photography. I was just properly getting interested in social issues, politics and the like and ever since I have looked to the world press organisation to give me a yearly overview of some of the best published work. The books also form a kind of annual document of the state of our society - the mainstays of which appear to be war, disease and disaster. Oh yes, and Polar Bears.

Here are some of my favourites from a first glance over the winners.

One interesting trend which I noticed this year was the obvious digital post being done to the images. Gabriele also noticed this and we had a brief chat about what this means. Personally, I don't mind some digital post - I do this to pretty much all my images. I'm not a good colour printer so photoshop is a wonderful tool for someone like me. However, I'm opposed to the excessive use of these tools, which I define by saying that if it detracts from the content of the images then it is bad. Photoshop should be used to enhance what is already in an image. I find most commercial and advertising photography distasteful simply because of it's over produced artificial looking aesthetic and when this style is used in documentary and journalism I believe it demeans the content. As Gabriele pointed out, they start to look like Nike ads.

Anyway, judge for yourself. The complete list of winning photographs can be seen here.

Any thoughts?

Is Anyone Taking Any Notice?

This is a book of photographs by Don McCullin published at the start of the 70's. I've looked through it so many times in the ICP library I finally bought my own. Luckily I found a cheap second hand copy; some first editions run to the hundreds of dollars!

It is an amazing book with some of McCullin's most iconic photographs from England, Africa, Northern Ireland and of course Vietnam.

I personally regard McCullin as not only one of the greatest photographers but also one of the most important. His humanity in the face of the worse situations possible and his courage to show these situations with integrity and respect are admirable.

Looking at his images I feel that he genuinely cares about the people he photographs and that in photographing them he is asking all of us for help.

In every combat photographer since, in every photographer of famine and social degredation I see echoes of McCullin's work.

His photographs are so powerful that the British government refused to grant him a press pass during the Falklands war (which turned out to be a considerably less bloody war than those he had previuosly photographed).

He is also a damn fine landscape photographer, though this aspect of his work is often overlooked.

This particular publication is made all the more special thanks to McCullin's annotations which are eloquent and honest and are given added gravity thanks to excerpts from a lecture given by nobel laureate Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, who I confess to knowing little about but you can find a biography of him here.

Here are a few sample pages. I picked them more or less at random, every page in this book is worth looking at.

There is an interview with McCullin worth listening to here.

Given that 40 years have passed since many of these photographs were taken and the world has become even more globalised, and people are every day made aware of exactly the same human suffering McCullin was photographing, it makes me sad that the title of this book is a question that we still need to ask.

Is Anyone Taking Any Notice?

Fire at Namdaemun

Having seen this wonderful 600 year old structure myself, and knowing how much pride many Koreans take in their heritage I think it is criminal that someone would burn this down, as is currently suspected. If it is pure accident, then it is just plain sad.

Firefighters extinguish a fire at Namdaemun, which is South Korea's number one national treasure. Seoul's oldest wooden structure was severely damaged by the blaze. Photo: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

Christopher Morris's America

I was on the VII site and saw Christopher Morris's new project titled America. I thought it was appropriate to post...


Pax Paloscia: Let The Kids Play

Available now!

Text by Laura Lombardi.

In Let the Kids Play, Pax Paloscia conveys the fresh naivete of Drago's 36 Chambers series.
Born in Rome in 1974, Pax travels the world searching for new input and inspiration.
Moving between Paris and New York, she records her impressions, and her dreamy and nostalgic world is the key to this book.

"The title is a metaphor for an emotional condition, as a reaction to the adult cynicism.
Through graffiti, drawings, photography, videos, Pax defines her universe in the same way children play with symbolic objects of their enchanted world..."
-Laura Lombardi

Ryan McGinley

I just picked up the Sunday NY Times and saw the magazine. Ryan McGinley has a huge spread .... I like his work but wonder sometimes if he can do anything other then his "look". Thoughts? I thought that you might like to see, if you haven't already.


Posted By Alice Dison.

Rose Wood, continued

Rose waits on the platform for the train back to Manhattan after learning from a top surgeon that it is not possible for her to have breast implants (due to lack of body fat and extra skin) without major complications.

(323) 445 - 0780

Bushwick News

This afternoon I was showing a prospective roommate the roof - first time I'd been up there in months - when the roof of the waste management facility across the street suddenly caved in.  It was a triangle shape identical to the one on the right of the huge hole in the photo.  There was a cracking sound and sudden collapse.  It happened quickly and gracefully.  Workers looked around, puzzled by the sound and dust.  No one was hurt. 

(323) 445 - 0780

alexei Vassiliev

I had a conversation with Lucy the other day about taking the aesthetic of some of the club photography I do out into the street and into portraiture. She has some great ideas about using available flourescent light, grain, blur, colour colour and more colour. I have done some street stuff that has similarities but the photographs from inside the clubs are a bit more successful I think. Here's a few examples.

Anyway, yesterday I came across the work of Alexei Vassiliev on the lens culture blog, who happens to have done exactly the thing we were talking about, more or less.

Chinese Contradiction

In the UK's Guardian Newspaper, this video and article about chinese dissedent Hu Jia, constantly under house arrest and subject to kidnaping and interrogation. He is currently incarcerated while his wife and young child are being detained in their home.

AFP/Getty Images

Compare with this series of pictures about the stunning architecture being built thanks to investment in the 2008 Olympics.

China Photos/Getty Images