All quiet on the Eastern front.

It's possible you may have noticed this blog has been pretty quiet of late.  There are lots of reasons for that, most of which I won't bother boring you with.

However, one piece of news that will definitely have a bearing on the time I spend on this endeavour is the fact that as of tomorrow, I'll be leaving the U.S. where I have lived for the past 5 years to relocate to Singapore.  Things for me will (hopefully) be pretty busy so I doubt this blog will get noisier anytime soon.  It's a shame, as I've enjoyed trawling through the world of photography and spouting my opinions on things.  But there are people who do that more frequently and much better than me.  I may occasionally use this as a forum to post something I wish to say or share, and maybe one day I'll get round to writing those long rambling posts that I keep meaning to write, but probably not anytime soon.  I hope you've enjoyed the blog and the archive is of course always there (until I delete it or we advance over to holographic computing and all Google's server's get junked).  But for now, it stays. There may be something worth looking at in there, you never know!

Anyway, until the next post. Farewell.

Tom.

Abbas at the National Museum of Singapore


The other day I visited the Abbas exhibition at the National Museum of Singapore, which runs through the 18th September. This is a fairly large show covers the 45 year span of the Iranian photographer's career. It includes his earliest photographs from various warzones and area of unrest in the late 1960's and early 1970's, of which this remarkable photograph from Northern Ireland forms a part. My wife, looking at this photo remarked how lucky Abbas was to get this shot. “Well, that's a big part of it,” I admitted, “being in the wrong place at the right time.”



A wall crumbles, after a presumed act of arson by the Irish Republican Army. Belfast, United Kingdom, 1972. 

Peppered throughout the exhibition were a few audio slideshows taken from Magnum in Motion, the most successful of which was the piece on Muhammed Ali and George Foreman's Rumble in the Jungle boxing match.

The majority of the exhibit, however, is given over to his work from around the globe focusing on various different expressions of religious practices, which are shown here in great variety. In fact, I was impressed at how wide ranging the scenes depicted were given the incredibly broad overarching themes. Couple this with his newsworthy photographs from the Iranian revolution of the late 1970's (which are juxtaposed here with more his recent images from Iran), a behind the scenes look at western high fashion and some personal shots of his family and you get taken on a a surprisingly coherent and revealing journey.


Cricket in a Buddhist monastery, Dodanduwa, Sri Lanka, 2009.


I am familiar with some of Abbas' more famous shots, but aside from his work on the Muslim faith I had not realised he had explored religion so extensively. One thing that struck me was how personal it all felt. The different expressions of faith here all seemed connected to each other, to make sense, as if they are all different facets of the same thing (which of course they are).

I got the sense that Abbas photographs because he is curious, because he wants to learn and explore and in presenting the work together in this exhibit he is asking us to just look, be open minded and curious ourselves. After all, it is these traits that lead to our systems of belief in the first place. That much at least we have in common.


The Belfast Photography Festival

The Belfast Photography Festival launches on the 4th August.  Well worth a look if you're in the area, or happen to have the time to make it over to Ireland.  I wish I could make it over myself. Maybe next year...




Amira Al-Sharif in Yemen

Amira Al-Sharif, a Yemeni photographer whom it was my great pleasure to have as a student last year has sent me a few photographs and some words from the past week.  She has just embarked on a project that will take her all around Yemen during this important time in the country's history.  I confess I know very little of Yemen, but through my friendship with Amira I am learning.  As a student she was extremely dedicated, intelligent, talented and polite.  Now it is I who am the student, and she is teaching me.




"I started my first photography trip to Al-Hoedidah to Bait Al-Fageh, Al-Abasi village where they grew Arabian Jasmine and it has the largest market for exporting the Arabian Jasmine all around Yemen as well as to Sudia Arabia. The way to Al-Abasi village take about 7 hours, but it takes us 12 hours because of the heavy transportation and there were tracks accident that blocked the road, so we left the bus and we kept walking under the hot sun for two hours till we pass the place of the tracks accidents, but still the way is blocked as the accident was two days ago and we still waiting for four hours till the road get opened, roads in Yemen are not that organized and there is no rules for driving, luckily we get in one of the tracks to continue our trip. We left home by 6 A.M. to arrive to the village by 6 P.M. after long day of transferring from one car to another as gas is so expensive nowadays because of the revolution and expenses are so high. 






Situation in Yemen getting worst and worst, poverty, sickness, pollution, people just angry, sad. Fighting all along on houses, streets, buses, and all over places between those who like the president or the other part who dislike him. Those people who is with the president their justifications that the time the president they were not feeling afraid as now because of feeling unsave and expecting war every moment and wasn’t able to sleep of being afraid.


All restrictions of preventing photography I decided to do my photography inside houses where I can be with people who trust me and I will not be forced to stop my career and will not put my self in danger, so I am more concern to document lives inside houses and will be outside the time it is safe and will keep recording every thing I see and hear.


 Right now I will be working for my contract with the Ministry of Tourism to bring beautiful photos about Yemen, sadly the situation doesn’t show any tourism photos with all the latest changes and deteriorating economics, and I just realized how it is hard to search the beautiful view within all this new situation.



Sadly just the day before we arrived to the village my friend’s Mahmoud grandmother died, so I wake up in the morning by 3 o’clock to photograph women making bread to take it to the graveyard, and the way to the yard they are going to give every person they meet some bread and dates. There is the marching with the light in the girls hands. Then we arrived to the graveyard and I photographed them reading Wholy Quran and spreading some water in the graveyards by 5 A.M. 


I stayed in the village for 4 days just to keep listening to NO NO every time I start shooting even if it is nothing, the situation it is only because there is no photography education. "

Sacrificing the population


This photograph by John Kolesidis/Reuters of a Greek Protestor being detained by a policeman in riot gear adorned the front page of NY Times today.  It may have been my slightly sleepy perception as I retrieved the paper from the driveway but the notion flashed through my mind that it was a severed head the policeman was holding.  This in turn triggered thoughts of the way cultures such as the Aztecs performed human sacrifice to appease the gods in times of trouble.  Well, I thought, it perhaps could be said that our politicians and powerful financial managers are today sacrificing the population in a time of trouble that they for the most part caused.

Nature Within Closing Reception - June 25th 2pm

Nature Within @ Front Space 
June 3 - July 1, 2011
Closing Reception: Saturday, June 25th, 2-5pm
Address: 555 Broadway, New York, NY (between Prince & Spring St.)
Gallery Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 11AM-6PM


Nature Within
Curated by Minny Lee

June 03, 2011 - July 01, 2011

Artists:Vicky Amian Azcoitia, Alejandra Ugarte Bedwell, Sieglinde Cassel, Tara Cronin, Christian Erroi, Rachel Gardam, Sarah Girner, Sheila Griffin, Becky Holladay, Daniel Kukla, Minny Lee, Ruben E. Reyes, Liz Sales, Erica Silberstein, Yasmine Soiffer, Brendon Stuart, Hiroshi Sumiyama, Alessandro Vecchi, Tom White, and Ann Woo



ISE Cultural Foundation is pleased to present "Nature Within" at Front Space, curated by Minny Lee.

Nature Within features the recent works of twenty photographers from diverse backgrounds comprising ten different countries. Their photographic genre ranges from documentary and photojournalism to conceptual and all have had their prior works featured in galleries throughout the world.

In a world and society faced with monumental environmental issues and crises, our concern for nature grows by the day. This concern and cognizance of the gravity of the problem are at odds with society's needs to keep up with our increasing population and big businesses' desire to increase the bottom line. Nature Within is an exhibition that attempts to rethink our relationship and existence within nature. The exhibition takes us to a personal space and place embedded within our experience with it.

Many of the photographs in the exhibition do not have an overt human presence. In the subject matter, however, there are trace elements of society. Some photographs were taken on a familiar American city street or Local Park, while others were taken in places as geographically distant as Bolivia, Israel and South Korea. Whether the photographers produced work locally or while traveling abroad, nature is omnipresent in the photographs, and the images unveil how we live within it and in respond to its power.

Capture and Release: The ICP 2010–2011 Full-Time Student Exhibition


Tonight I'll be attending the exhibition opening of the full time students at the ICP. Having had the pleasure of teaching on the photojournalism course, I look forward to the celebration of the culmination of their studies.  Well done guys. Now the really hard work starts...!



© Evi Lemberger


© Yuki Shingai


2010 - 2011 Full Time Student Exhibition 

General Studies in Photography
Documentary Photography & Photohournalism

opening reception
Friday, June 24, 6 to 9pm

exhibition
June 25 - August 14, 2011

curated by
Alison Morley and Marina Berio

After a year of intense work, sweat and happiness, we are proud to invite you to our exhibition.

General Studies

Sofie Barfoed
Amanda Bauer
Ana Baumann
Catherine Moore Bettis
Sabrina Blaichman
Diederick Bulstra
Jared Buschang
Morena Buser
Ininaa Camp
Ana Jacinto Carranca
Christina Cuccurullo
Jessica Dean
Vanessa Deflache
Kristen Dorata
Isabel Figueroa
Eleonora Flammini
April Genet
Federico Grandicelli
León Grauer
Tyler Guthrie
Abby Harrison
Damien Hickel
Katie Hosmer
Yarimar Jiménez
DoYeon Kim
Daniel Krost
Daniel Lacin
Tom La Sala
Alexandra Lethbridge
Giuliana Mackler
Laura Macrini
Graciela Mazon
Flávia Palladino
Laís Pontes
Julie Quon
Vanessa Rojo de la Vega
Sarah Rossi
Justin F. Rouse
Alexandre Sanchez
Koki Sato
Yuki Shingai
Weng San Sit
Verena Smit
Lauren Swartzbaugh
Natalya Tolstukhina
Noit Zakay

Documentary and Photojournalism

Amira Al-Sharif
Giulia Bianchi
Millinee Chaisrihar
Fernanda Claro
Jackson Couse
Mason Dent
Jessica Earnshaw
Mike Fernandez
Ryan Field
Kirsty Griffin
Romina Hendlin
Mads Holm
Monica Kapoor
Orly Kaufman
Nicole Kenney
Marily Konstantinopoulou
Evi Lemberger
Guy Merin
Steven G. Mora
Alakananda Nag
Sofie Olsen
Asmita Parelkar
Brian Sunghun Park
Carolina Patlis
Allison Payne
Benjamin Petit
Pete Pin
Pepe Rubio Larrauri
Javier Sirvent
Shingo Urier
Sofia Verzbolovskis

The Contemporary Slavery Symposium at Ext Art NYC.

If you're in NYC tonight, Friday 3rd of June, don't miss the opening reception of Nature Within from 5:30 to 7:30pm. After that, head down to Exit Art for the Contemporary Slavery Symposium, also opening tonight from 7:00pm.

The participating artists are:

Ian Berry
Anindya Chakraborty
Kay Chernush
Jodi Cobb
Ricardo Funari
John Hulme
Stefan Irvine
Bruce Jackson
Naser Khan
Jennifer MacFarlane
Tiana Markova-Gold
Robert Miller
Jesse Pesta
Antonio Rosa

The symposium itself is on June 11th. More info here. There is also a series of public events, check the website here for details.

Check it out.

Nature Within at the ISE Cultural Foundation, NYC


Nature Within
Curated by Minny Lee

June 03, 2011 - July 01, 2011

Artists:
Vicky Amian Azcoitia, Alejandra Ugarte Bedwell, Sieglinde Cassel, Tara Cronin, Christian Erroi, Rachel Gardam, Sarah Girner, Sheila Griffin, Becky Holladay, Daniel Kukla, Minny Lee, Ruben E. Reyes, Liz Sales, Erica Silberstein, Yasmine Soiffer, Brendon Stuart, Hiroshi Sumiyama, Alessandro Vecchi, Tom White, and Ann Woo


Opening Reception: Friday, June 3, 5:30-7:30pm

ISE Cultural Foundation is pleased to present "Nature Within" at Front Space, curated by Minny Lee.

Nature Within features the recent works of twenty photographers from diverse backgrounds comprising ten different countries. Their photographic genre ranges from documentary and photojournalism to conceptual and all have had their prior works featured in galleries throughout the world.

In a world and society faced with monumental environmental issues and crises, our concern for nature grows by the day. This concern and cognizance of the gravity of the problem are at odds with society's needs to keep up with our increasing population and big businesses' desire to increase the bottom line. Nature Within is an exhibition that attempts to rethink our relationship and existence within nature. The exhibition takes us to a personal space and place embedded within our experience with it.

Many of the photographs in the exhibition do not have an overt human presence. In the subject matter, however, there are trace elements of society. Some photographs were taken on a familiar American city street or Local Park, while others were taken in places as geographically distant as Bolivia, Israel and South Korea. Whether the photographers produced work locally or while traveling abroad, nature is omnipresent in the photographs, and the images unveil how we live within it and in respond to its power.

www.naturewithinexhibit.com

The Refugee Hotel





Congratulations to my good friend Gabriele on reaching the $6000 goal to finish his project on refugees in the U.S. alongside writer Juliet Linderman. I've followed this work since he started it almost 5 years ago. It's good stuff. There's still a few days left if you want to pledge some money and pre-order your copy of the book that will result. I'm hoping to sit down and have a chat with him about it for this blog, if we can ever both find the time at the same time, if you know what I mean...

REVOLUCION(ES)

Tonight in NYC is the opening of REVOLUCION(ES) - an exhibition of photographs from the Uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East put together by Cesuralab and MJR and held at the Instituto Cervantes. There are some fantastic photographers contributing. It runs till May 7th so if you're in the area please go check it out. I could go on at great length about what's going on in this part of the world, but I won't. For that you'll have to catch me down a pub after a couple of pints. Suffice it to say I am following closely from a distance. Respect to those reporting on the issue, and to those whose lives are directly engaged, stay safe and good luck.




I didn't think newspapers were about imagination

The other day I got sent a reminder from one of my employers about their ethical guidelines. Not me personally mind, but as a general blast to all their freelancers. Thinking about that, I sat down with the kids to watch a bit of TV.

video

Now I'm a big fan of the Wind In the Willows story, with it's straight moral compass, it's yearning for a simpler time and it's obvious love for the British class system. No, seriously, all that aside, I do love it. Watching the old TV episodes with my kids I came across one where Toad sets up his own newspaper, and I just had to share this little clip. This is one for all you journalists out there.

和 Photography Auction




This Thursday, April 21st will see an auction event in NYC that I'm pleased to be a part of. The auction will raise funds for Architecture for Humanity's efforts in the rebuilding of Japanese communities affected by the Tsunami.

There was some talk during planning of donating the funds to something other than just the relief efforts in Japan, but eventually we settled on Japan and specifically Architecture For Humanity as the original suggestion came from New York based Japanese photographer Shiori Kawasaki and we wanted to do something that would directly benefit these communities in a unique way.

It is true that Japan is regarded as a rich country, and that there are many other desperate people in need of help, but for me it's not about this. This was about a friend of mine wanting to help her home country in the wake of a natural disaster, and enlisting her community to help her achieve that. It's about bringing together people and organisations to do some good. When you have lost your home, your livelihood, maybe even friends and family, it matters not to me what your situation was before. You need help. For me this is an opportunity to help rebuild and improve. That is why the choice of AFH as the target of the fundraising effort is fitting. Their work is not just about buildings, it is about making improvements to the quality of people's lives through better design. That is something I am happy to support.

So, enough of the preamble and justification - here is the information.



WA PROJECT PRESENTS:
A Photography Auction benefiting Architecture for Humanity
Japan Tsunami Relief
April 21, 2011 6-9pm
25CPW, 25 Central Park West, NYC
Advance tickets $20 -
http://tiny.cc/waauction

Wa Project is pleased to announce a photographic exhibition and auction benefiting Architecture for Humanity’s rebuilding efforts following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

The auction will be held at the
25CPW gallery in New York City on April 21 2011.

100% of the funds raised will be donated to
Architecture for Humanity's work in rebuilding devastated communities in the affected area. Partnering with Nuru Project, 25CPW and Sombra Projects, with contributions from the Magnum Foundation and Friends Without Borders, this auction event has already gathered support from the Japanese and photographic communities in New York and beyond. The night will be a celebration with a display of photographic art, music from Koto player Yumi Kurosawa, American folk band Thomas Wesley Stern and Japanese cuisine from Blue Ribbon as well as Soba-ya and Robata-ya of the T.I.C. group with liquid refreshment from Sapporo and Ito En. In addition, all ticket holders will be entered into a raffle.


Architecture for Humanity is a non-profit design services firm founded in 1999 working to build a more sustainable future through the power of professional design. By channeling the resources of the global funding community to meaningful projects that make a difference locally, each year 10,000 people directly benefit from structures designed by Architecture for Humanity. Advocacy, training and outreach programs impact an additional 50,000 people annually. From conception to completion, all aspects of the design and construction process are carefully managed. Clients include community groups, aid organizations, housing developers, government agencies, corporate divisions, and foundations.


The donated auction prints follow the theme of 和 (Wa). This ancient name for Japan also describes a cultural concept which underpins much of Japanese society. It has no direct translation in English, though the closest term that could be applied would be the idea of 'Harmony'. We are pleased to feature prints from a diverse range of photographers who have interpreted this theme in a variety of ways and provided us with a unique collection.

Sombra Projects

Last year Lucy Helton, Tiana Markova-Gold, and myself set up Sombra Projects as a platform for documentary photography and socially conscious art. This in itself was born out of numerous collaborative projects with our immediate community and was our attempt to create a formal organisation for these efforts. While we three are the current administrators, our inaugural exhibition at the New York Photo Festival involved the hard work of many people, and this is the spirit in which we aim to continue. Our goal is to facilitate projects that are not just showcases, but collaborations where the viewer, the subject and the photographer/artist/journalist are all part of a community and involved in the discussion. Recently we have started producing a series of projects updated monthly and available as pdf downloads from our website.

Our latest pdf is of Tiana’s recent work with The Fondation des Jeunes Haitiennes Optimistes in Haiti, a country she has a long standing relationship with both photographically and personally. The FJHO was founded in September 2009 by Jocelyne Firmin to help Haitian girls develop leadership skills, build self-esteem and reinforce their human dignity.

Direct link to the PDF download:

http://sombraprojects.com/wp-content/uploads/PDF/Sombra_Projects_002_jeunes_haitiennes.pdf

With an eye to the future, we are always keen to link up with people for possible collaborations – you can contact us at info@sombraprojects.com. You can also sign up to our mailing list – subscribe@sombraprojects.com – to receive updates and regular downloads of our featured projects.

Technology, and a defense of the printed newspaper.

So you now have to pay to read the New York Times online. That is, if you read it a lot online. And you go to it directly, instead of following links to articles. Or something like that. I won't pretend I read the whole breakdown. But it seems inevitable and even reasonable to me, especially with the way it's set up, which I have heard described as more of a pay fence than a pay wall.

My wife and I subscribe to the paper edition, as we got an introductory deal which meant that daily home delivery worked out cheaper than buying the Sunday paper every week (which is what I was doing - plus I'd often buy it at least one other day to read on the train or something, cos I don't have an Ipad, and I hate squinting at a mobile phone screen). The price will go up when our 12 week offer runs out, but then we'll probably just juggle the subscription to a weekend delivery or something, which will still be cheaper than buying it on the news stand on Sunday and also give us unlimited digital access. If we didn't live within spitting distance of NYC then I wonder if we would still subscribe...

Anyway, this rambling explanation of my news consuming habits has a point. Yesterday I was reading the paper on the train. The business section to be exact. Now, I rarely check out the business news when I read the NY Times online, but in it's physical form, I at least flick though and scan every single page of every single section. And here's the thing, I discovered 3 articles in the business section relating to, in turn, long-form online journalism, social media & activism and online mapping, all of which I found interesting and all of which I would probably have missed had I been only using the website. Online, I often am looking for something specific, rather than browsing. Only if someone recommends an article to me, or if it's on the front page of the website, or linked to from an article I am reading, will I check it out. Never will I go through every new published article online. And this is habit, and my defense of the printed page. Now I fully expect the printed edition of newspapers to become less than daily not far into the future, but until then, I will continue to pick up the paper, and scan every page, and discover some gems I may have missed.

Oh, and those articles? Here, here, and here. Enjoy.


ER my Arse

Many many years ago, when I had time to do this sort of thing, I used to sit in a caf in South East London, drinking endless cups of cheap tea and basically chatting with whoever was at the table in conversations that often made about as much sense as those engaged in by the characters at the mad hatter's tea party (which depending on your point of view is either a lot or none at all.)

On one of these afternoons (they were rarely mornings...), I was introduced to Karen. I cannot remember for the life of me the content of that afternoon's conversation, but I do remember it was wide ranging and enjoyable. Our paths crossed many times while I lived in London, we shared many close mutual friends and it was always a joy to see her and catch up. Karen is one of those rare artists whose conceptual approach is as practical as it is intellectual.

After the recent global news events it was an absolute joy to hear of her latest project. So, if you are, like me, currently reeling from what she calls 'the brutality of reality' then please check out the video below.



Stamp duty : ER my arse from del che on Vimeo.




Karen will be opposite the Houses of Parliament, between 1-4pm on the 22nd & 29th March for a series of happenings and she's exhibiting at the Bird's Nest, 32 Deptford Church Street, SE8 4RZ until Sunday 3rd April. That's a pub, by the way...



Crowdsourcing

Funding photojournalism though crowdsourcing - which is the new term for soliciting donations - is all very well and good and I fully support those looking to fund their work through sites such as Emphas.is and Kickstarter, and you can be sure I'll be looking to fund some of my own projects this way (at least in part) as it's no joke working with no budget and doing things on spec, especially the long form in-depth stuff many of us really want and need to do.

There are issues that have been raised in relation to accountability and integrity when basically asking the public to fund a journalists work, and there is the issue of the mainstream media seeing crowd funding as a way to avoid using their own budgets, but these problems - though important - are ones that already exist with the current/previous financial model. Corporations want to buy products, not pitches. It is a rare thing to get a cheque up front. Integrity and accountability should always be scrutinised, no matter where the money is coming from, and in some cases, especially because of where the money is coming from.

One thing that troubles me though is the audience. Where will the work be shown, and to what purpose? Does crowdfunding only stoke the fire that turns photojournalism in on itself so that we end up with a situation where work is being funded by the photojournalism community, produced by the photojournalism community and distributed amongst the photojournalism community with little regard to those outside of this little world? An analogy might be a church congregation, with the plate being passed around during a service and a pastor preaching to the choir.

Of course, we should support our colleagues and our community - the congregation in the church of journalism let's call it - but those who we really need to reach are the ones who currently spend their money on the gossip rags, the producers of entertainment and celebrity tittle tattle who call it news and the advertisers who want us to buy their products without question or even thought. If crowdfunding can bring us together, make us stronger both in terms of community and finances so that we may take on the producers of dross and distraction then I am all for it, but if I can get my project funded, only to have it displayed as thankyou prints in the homes of my backers and at a photojournalism festival, then I am doing no more good than if I had put the whole thing on my credit card myself.

Let's use these tools to spread the word and look for sources of income beyond our peers, not to turn inward and bleed ourselves dry while no one notices.


The Lyttelton Earthquake


The other week, an earthquake struck New Zealand. While much of the media focused on the town of Christchurch, the actual epicenter was the town of Lyttleton. I have a couple of close friends who live in the town. They had bought a run down property and were in the process of renovating it themselves. While there was some loss of life, luckily they and their young daughter are unhurt. Their house, while intact, is threatened with destruction by unstable land and they are currently being told to stay away. I've never visited the town but I lived with these wonderful people for years in London. The town of Lyttleton sounds like a wonderful place to live and the residents are asking for help to allow them to rebuild their town and community. If you are so inclined, read more below and please help them out.

By the way, click on the photo above to discover a novel way to raise funds for the relief effort...




Love Lyttelton

On 22nd February a violent 6.3 magnitude earthquake brought widespread
destruction across Christchurch. Lyttelton was the epicentre of this
devastation. Hundreds of homes, historic buildings, and virtually all
businesses lie in ruin. Many have lost their livelihoods and still
more are displaced, disorientated, or left grieving for the loss of a
family member, friend or colleague. As the ground continues to rumble
we focus on the now, on each other, taking small steps into an
uncertain future.

As each day dawns the realisation of what we have lost sinks in a
little more, but as each day dawns we also stand a little taller,
together, and realise that the inspiration and strength of this
community is not in its bricks and mortar but in its people, their
passion and compassion, their energy and spirit and that has not been
broken. Together we dare to look to the future.

Before 22nd February Lyttelton was an exciting vibrant little town,
taking bold steps towards sustainability, exploring new ways to create
and nurture community. Lyttelton had created an invaluable community
radio, highly successful farmers market, thriving volunteer network
and time bank, community garden, grow local co-operative, information
centre and supportive local business network to mention but a few
initiatives. All these are in jeopardy as a result of last week’s
earthquake.

Already, only days after tragedy there is talk amongst this resilient
community about not just rebuilding what we have lost but of using it
as a chance to create something new. Already minds are whirring,
imaginations sparked and hearts focused on creating a sustainable,
bright, better place, a Lyttelton of and for the future.

If you feel moved to be part of this creation, if you are able to help
us regenerate in a clean, green, sustainable, community focused way,
then please follow this link and donate to Lyttelton today.

http://www.lyttelton.net.nz/earthquake/make-a-donation

You can also find us on facebook... search for Love Lyttelton and like
the page.



Project Lyttelton is a registered charitable trust that has been
working in and for the community for many years. Project Lyttelton
will engage the whole of the community in how best any funds are
invested.

The 68th POYI Award

There is so much good work on display in the winners galleries of the Pictures of the Year International Awards that I can't choose a single one to put up here as a teaser. Quite simply, I advise you to turn off your phone, brew a pot of coffee or two and sit down in front of your computer. If anyone asks you what you're doing just tell them "Shhh, I'm learning something."

My only complaint is that there is some repetition in the stories and that there are a lot of stories from North America, but that is a minor quibble, especially when you have so many harrowing tales of gun violence (for example) told so well. Makes you think doesn't it...

Check it out. All of it.

http://www.poyi.org/index.php#schedule




The Last Days Of the Arctic - Ragnar Axelsson.

For some, we are actually, literally, living in the last days. The ice is melting. Some people actually depend on this environment in a direct way, rather than seeing it as some abstract 'somewhere else'. By the time the problems of the disappearing ice caps reach the rest of us, it will be too late. Way too late.

Check this out. These photographs may well become an important historical document of a time lost before you know it.







LAST DAYS OF THE ARCTIC, photographs by "RAX" Ragnar Axelsson, documents the vanishing Inuit hunting culture in Greenland and Baffin Island, Canada, caused by global warming, environmental, and cultural changes.

Post-production by Brooks Walker-Borealis Works.

My broken world; Francesca Cao & Michela Palermo



I recently mentioned an exhibition in Italy which included work Francesca Cao and Michela Palermo. Francesca has kindly provided me with an english translation of the accompanying text and a few images featured in the exhibition taken by herself and Michela. Good stuff. check it out.


My broken world
An emotional panorama of Irpinia thirty years after the earthquake
By Francesca Cao and Michela Palermo
curated by Irene Alison
















It was 7.34 p.m. of November 23, 1980, when the earth shook for 90 seconds in Irpinia, Basilicata and Alto Sele districts of Campania Region in Italy. Seismic waves snuffed out the life of some three thousand human beings, tore down the houses of 280 thousand people, changed the geography of the land, and created in the aftermath expectations that were swiftly deluded.

My Broken World is a novel told through images of a shuttered world. About a land that was shaken by deep quakes and chasms that haven’t been bridged. Of the suspended lives of those who have been trapped in a deaf-dumb world. It is the disassembled world of Michela Palermo, photographer, aged 30, who was born in Bagnoli Irpino in the year of the earthquake, and came back to striken zones to document the change. It is the collapsed world of Ernestina, 66 years old, upon whom Francesca Cao stuck her lens, testifying the suspended life of a woman who has been living in an asbestos temporary house since 1985, caught in an eternal waiting for a house that was promised but never came. With two different registers, one dreamier and more evocative, the other more descriptive, the two photographers are telling the same story: Michela Palermo portrays the places where the earthquake tore down everything, the scratched territory and the strange fruits of reconstruction, all the while documenting her personal world, the hurting disenchantment of one who comes from a place where injustice doesn’t disconcert or makes one indignant any more. Francesca Cao records the life of Ernestina giving voice to a fight for dignity that united many people of this grieving land.



My broken world
An emotional panorama of Irpinia thirty years after the earthquake
By Francesca Cao and Michela Palermo
February 11/ March 5, 2011
OpenMind Gallery, Milan (Italy)

Monday 15:30 - 19:00; Tuesday-Saturday 10:00 - 13:00 / 15:30 - 19:00

Here And There

Yasutaka Kojima, a talented photographer and friend has work on display in New York at the hpgrp gallery for the next month. The opening reception is tonight, if you are in the area.

Here's the info from the gallery website:



here and there

by three japanese contemporary photographers
February 17 – March 12, 2011
Opening Reception: February 17 2011, 6:00 – 8:00 PM

Photography is a device that absorbs the various appearances of the world as light in a dark box of camera and then restores it to the world again. The trace of the light from the actual world is enclosed in the dark box. They are transformed by the artist's intentions and represented to us as another realities. The images of the altered world inevitably project the past that is similar to an old memory. Thus the photography doesn't have a sense of "Now" that the viewers can share in the duration of the work itself like movie does.

In Motohiro Takeda's 'River' series, the images are continuingly emerging and submerging from the surface of the prints as if they are a fading memory. The photographs of the lost one and the empty house suggest the time of a family life that runs over the generations from long time ago.

Yasutaka Kojima's 'Tokyo' is a documentation of the city in the period of time where our identity and subjectivity has been lost in the urban environment. The city has lost traditional meaning of the perspective structure and collapsed and expanded itself beyond men's intention.

In 'Figure', Yu Kanbayashi photographed the imprints of the cut marks on the ice skate link. The way he perceives the very surface of the subject displays a trace of time that is always passing seamlessly towards evanescence.

Although these three works seem to be very different in terms of the subject matters and the creative processes, each photographer explores the horizon of the medium and its possibility to express their visions of the world that is reconstructed in their own artistic contexts. These photographs in this exhibition manifest the new gaze towards the world, the photographs that are foreseers of the memories that we have not yet seen.

RIVER
Motohiro TAKEDA

"River" is a photographic series taken at my grandparent's family house on the countryside, in Japan, which has been produced as a personal funeral for my late grandfather who past away three years ago. The images are recollection of my own childhood at the house. They have been printed very dark to allude to the way our memory works. When we try to recall something, we try to examine and investigate the fog of our unconsciousness and consciousness. The darkness of my prints is to represent the deep chaos of our minds, the place where our memories are preserved. I had given the work title "River", because in Japan the river is a metaphor for the split between life and death, and also the flow of time, which never stops and runs beyond our life.

Motohiro Takeda
Moving to New York City when he was twenty-one years old, Motohiro Takeda received a BFA on photography from Parsons the New School for Design in 2008. Motohiro was awarded the Tierney Fellowship Grant in 2008, and his work has been exhibited in various venues in New York, including the New York Photo Festival in Brooklyn. He was a selected photographer for Photo España Descubrimientos PHE 2010 and his work is currently a part of the exhibition traveling throughout Spain. He is one of the four recipients of the darkroom residency program in Camera Club New York in 2011

TOKYO
Yasutaka KOJIMA

have been recording cityscape of Tokyo since 2008. The city gives me a sense of evanescence. All the cities are formed by man's lust and the depth of it decides the size of the cities. Every single thing existing in the cities is consisted by man intentionally. The cities transforms themselves every moment like the nature does. I see the future of the cities in the boundary of cities and the nature. I want to record it by photography before it disappears.

Yasutaka Kojima
A New York based Photographer born in Tokyo, Japan. Has been awarded the Japanese Government's fellowship for artists. His works are permanent collection to Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Art, Japan. He was selected for one of the Juna 21 photographers by Nikon in Japan. Exhibited in New York and Tokyo.

FIGURE
Yu KANBAYASHI

This photograph symbolizes the landscape of time through ice itself and scratches on the ice.
What is time? Can we see time? We conceptualize time both subjectively and objectively. My work is an attempt to capture time as represented both in the ice and scratches on its surface. Ice includes time, because water freezes with time.
At the same time, Ice skate rink is like photography – frozen in frames. Photographs show both the present and the past. Scratches on ice also do. We always see the past as the present, the present as the past. We are in-between time.
In this work, the ice themselves and the scratches on ice embody our concept of time. The image presented is landscape of time.

Yu Kanbayashi
Yu Kanbayasshi received a BFA of ART from Tama Art University (Tokyo,Japan) in 2002. His works were selected and exhibited as fine works by Canon New Cosmos of Photography 2003 (Canon & Tokyo Photo Museum ,Japan), by TPCC PRIZE 2003 (Tokyo Photo Culture Center,Japan), and by Tokyo Wander Wall 2009 (Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo,Japan).
Yu worked for Tama Art University as a Research Associate from 2007 to 2010. He curated the exhibitions [Photo of our TIME] 2009 and [126 Polaroid] 2010, and he also edited books of those exhibitions.
October 2010, he moved to New York City as an awarded artist of the Japanese Government's fellowship.