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August, 2013, a boat lands on the rocks off Siracusa, Sicily. © Massimo Cristaldi

Massimo Cristaldi is a second-career photographer (he trained to be a geologist) whose work is often mysterious and eery, exploring man's, and time's, influence on nature. In this emotional project he explores the desolation of the beaches that are the destination of so many hopeful immigrants.

"In 'Touch Ground' I photographed beaches, harbors, cliffs: places where, in recent years, migrants went ashore (or just attempted to arrive) from North Africa. It's an exploration project on a firm ground, a coveted place, object of hopes, tragedies, happiness, disillusion, and sometimes, death. Places that at night appeared full of meanings and in which I perceived absences that have influenced me, as indeed as a whole a migration of epic proportions has done. It is then, once again, a work on the borders, in this case between sea, land and men. Seascapes, and yet "places of the present", places of contemporary history, theaters of tragic events for some, simply "sea" for all of us.

"Living in Sicily, I could not but be impressed by the size of the migration phenomenon and I got in touch with some immigrants who arrived in 2002, and who are now living among us. I wondered how the 'ground' is for those who see it after weeks at sea, those more fortunate than the others. Anthony told me, in an uncertain Italian, "Sea, sea, sea, fear, fear, fear." Then, finally, a light, a landing. A possible salvation but only for those who are really lucky." Massimo Cristaldi.

View the full screen magazine photo feature.
Magazine | Permalink |


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Joel-Peter Witkin's Developer Tray, © John Cyr

Wonderful news: a book of John Cyr's fabulous "Developer Trays" is out now from Powerhouse Books

Go full screen for this second feature from the series, and let your imagination develop your favourite images from each photographer.

View the magazine photo feature.

Read more about the project in our previous feature.

NY locals: there is a book launch and talk on Tuesday, March 18th, 2014, at the Powerhouse Arena, in DUMBO.


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© Bruce Morton

Here's another photographer I met at PhotoNOLA portfolio reviews. Bruce Morton studied photography, spent a year in the UK as a visiting artist (we did, as one always can, bond over British weather) but he took up landscaping and only returned to photography a few years ago. Bruce's positive personality and open nature is reflected in his imagery. 

His lovely book, 'Forgottonia,' is rich with a local's perspective of an isolated community, and is currently in its third printing. With a foreword by Aline Smithson and editing and book design by Paula Gillen.

Bruce explains:

"[Forgottonia] is actually the nickname for several counties in far west central Illinois. The reason for the nickname started in the 1950s and 1960s when the interstate highway system was being designed and constructed. Many times a route from Chicago to Kansas City, which would run through the heart of this region, was considered but never built. The people in power believed such an area did not need the infrastructure. Education and manufacturing also suffered with lack of funding and promotion. One college closed its doors and moved to Wisconsin. Trains, which moved goods from one small community to another, ceased to operate. Jobs were all related to the farming and cattle business. Many of the graduating seniors from local schools could not wait to leave this forgotten land. I was one of those.

Life has changed here but not necessarily for the better. Young people still hope to leave to find a better future. The overall population has steadily declined and the only jobs are still farm related. Small farmers are succumbing to the larger operations. In 2007 I decided to return to my homeland and photographically document this area that I once considered to be the most boring place on Earth. I am excited to be back with new eyes to hear old stories from long past friends and look forward to the new ones yet to be told. This book of photographs is a story about the life cycle of those who live, love, and die here."

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All images © Bruce Morton
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© John Mireles

"This is what fracking looks like from the surface. The pipes leading into the well head are connected to the trucks in the background. These trucks force water mixed with proppant - sand and tiny ceramic balls that keep the cracks propped open (hence the name) so that oil can flow towards the well pipe - and chemicals down into the well at 10,000 PSI." - John Mireles

The Bakken formation is a rock unit from the Late Devonian to Early Mississippian age occupying about 200,000 square miles of the subsurface of the Williston Basin, underlying parts of Montana, North Dakota, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Oil was first discovered within the Bakken in 1951, but past efforts to produce it have faced technical difficulties. Hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling technologies have caused a boom in Bakken production since 2000 and the area has emerged in recent years as one of the most important sources of oil in the United States. 

Oil production has now outstripped the capacity of the pipelines to ship the oil out. It was Bakken crude oil carried by train that caught fire in the Lac-Megantic derailment in Quebec last year.

In John Mireles' series he combines portraits, landscapes and documentary imagery to tell us about this oil boom in North Dakota.

View the full-screen magazine photo feature.
Magazine | Permalink |


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Hyper-local is the future. Hoxton Mini-Press is a new publisher making books about East London. You can buy books individually, very reasonably priced at £12.95, or take out a subscription for future books. 

"I've Lived in East London for 85 1/2 Years" is the first from the series 'East London Photo Stories' and features photographs by Martin Usborne of Joseph Markovitch who "has left London only once to go to the seaside with his mother. He loves Nicolas Cage, has five sugars in his tea, would have married a six foot two Hispanic woman but in the end had bad chest catarrh and never had a girlfriend."

The first run is already sold out but a second printing is in the works for next month.

You can see Usborn's photos in '51 Faces of Hackney,' an exhibition on now through March 30th, at The Proud Archivist, 2-10 Hertford Road, London N1.

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All images © Martin Usborne
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This is what a free Getty-served embedded image looks like. I'm hoping this means at least any website that gives a shit about how it looks won't be inclined to go this route. 

What I do think it means, and I have been saying this for years, is that if a publisher wants to differentiate themselves from the rabble they will HAVE to pay for content. But if the industry can't provide photographers with enough revenue, they won't be able to produce good content for future consumption by anyone. 
News | Permalink |


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William Lyon Mackenzie King and Winston Churchill, 1941 © Yousuf Karsh

We're all familiar with the portrait of Winston Churchill that Yousuf Karsh made in December, 1941, after Churchill finished his famous "some chicken, some neck!" speech at the Canadian Parliament. The story behind the Roaring Lion, as the photograph has come to be known, is not apocryphal: Karsh did whip the cigar from Churchill's mouth. But the funniest part of the story is that William Lyon Mackenzie King, Prime Minister of Canada, kind of set Karsh up. He hadn't told Churchill he was to be photographed and Churchill was not amused upon being delivered to Karsh's set. "Why was I not told?" he bellowed, and apparently everyone else in the room laughed. "This did not help my cause any!" complains Karsh, in this fabulous clip from "60 Minutes with Morley Safer." 

Churchill gave Karsh permission to make one more photograph, in which he is smiling broadly, as he is here, where Mr King has clearly enjoyed his little game.
Karsh | Permalink |


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"Ten thousand impressions of what happened to my friends today"
(10,000 pieces of photographic papers from images posted on my social media in one day. On canvas, 36 x 48 in)

A smart, well-executed, fun, insightful and current project from LA-based architectural photographer and fine artist Chang Kyun Kim. "We are given countless images and abundant info every day and the Internet society seems to connect people with different ideas and thoughts. However, I believe majority of people choose just a few media and the images from these major media play a huge role in defining what's beautiful and ugly, what's good and evil and even what to expect from things that we've never seen or experienced before. In this sense, I believe it is very likely that we all have some similar memories that are directed by the given images.

In this series, I wanted to visualize the state of before or after certain collective memories - that seem to be chaotically diverse and complex, but similarly patterned after all - by deconstructing certain images we often see online and randomly placing the deconstructed particles on canvas."

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Six thousand impressions of Times Square
(6,000 pieces of photographic papers from an image of Times Square in New York City. On canvas, 30 x 40 in)

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Twenty five hundred impressions of the most searched celebrities
(2,500 pieces of photographic papers from images of 10 most searched celebrities in 2012. On canvas, 36 x 48 in)

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Three thousand impressions of U.S. Senators
(3,000 pieces of photographic papers from images of 100 U.S. Senators. On canvas, 30 x 40 in)

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Two thousand impressions of Las Vegas
(2,000 pieces of photographic papers from images of Las Vegas Strip on canvas, 30 x 40 in)

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Twenty five hundred impressions of Central Park in four seasons 
(2,500 pieces of photographic papers from images of Central Park in New York City on canvas, 36 x 48 in)

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Three thousand impressions of Jesus Christ 
(3,000 pieces of photographic papers from a portrait of Jesus Christ on canvas, 30 x 40 in)
All images © Chang Kyun Kim

Take a look at Chang's black-and-white negative renditions of California's modernist architecture in "Recalling modernity in reverse" over at the Photography & Architecture blog.
Photographers | Permalink |


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From the Harlem series © Harvey Stein

Last year, there was much celebration of the launch of Harvey Stein's new book "Harlem Street Portraits," and his publicity tour continues. Stein will show and discuss images from his 20+ years taking photos in Harlem as well as other images from New York City, on Wednesday, March 5th, 2014, at the Mid-Manhattan Library. 

Stein was interviewed by the inimitable Miss Sara Rosen who kindly gave permission for us to reproduce her article. Enjoy!

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Harlem Street Portraits reveals Stein's reverence and love for the friendliness and warmth of Harlem's everyday men and women, and the vibrant and bustling vitality of a historic place that has been the center of African American life and culture for over 100 years. Shooting with a wide-angle lens, Stein's close encounters with families, couples, friends, the elderly, and youth are honest, direct and involving. Each portrait is more than a depiction of a person; it is an intimate record that necessitates direct engagement between photographer and subject showing the mutuality between people.

We are pleased to have Stein here today to share his thoughts about the work he has done on this project for over a decade.

Please talk about Harlem as you know it, as a place you've described to me as "your office." What is it about the streets uptown, the people, the energies that exist on the sidewalks of this world, a place that makes public life an act of art ?

Harvey Stein: I enjoy going to Harlem since I feel it has a street intensity that isn't found in many places in New York City. It's busy, generally friendly, and really beautiful. The avenues (running north/south) are wide, broad and lovely, with old apartment buildings framing the pavements. The cross streets are often filled with brownstones and lots of trees. I have found that the people are quite friendly, open, and emotional. Indeed, the public life is robust, with people hanging out on stoops, and socializing. I seek out visually interesting environments in which to photograph people, and unfortunately in New York, these environments are being gentrified and commercialized. Harlem hasn't escaped this. It seems cleaner; there is less graffiti, nicer store fronts, new buildings and development, more white faces populating Harlem. It is changing, and I think that my images peripherally document that. But my focus is always on the people and how they interact and get along in their neighborhood.

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Please talk about the portrait, the way in which people compose themselves, for to be asked to be photographed is not only a compliment, but an honor. I'm always interested in the response of subjects, and how it sets the stage for the photograph. What do you enjoy most about the moment?

HS: I'm not sure that people think it's an honor or compliment to be photographed on the streets. In Manhattan, at least in midtown or downtown, I'd say that 50% of the people I approach to be photographed say no, in Brooklyn only 25% refuse, in Harlem, maybe 20% say no. It depends on the day, whether there is an event going on, how I'm working, etc., etc. Some people grudgingly say yes, others seem to really enjoy it. You never really know what the response will be until you try. And that's what I do, I try and keep trying, never getting upset by a refusal, and always keeping on. I stay cool on the streets, not showing how much I might want a shot, and always remain friendly and respectful.

I try to be casual when photographing on the street; I don't really need or want people to do anything other than to be themselves. Poses are not of interest to me, just people being natural. I ask that they look into the camera and not smile. I believe that portraits are stronger and more engaging when the face is serious, and the gaze is direct. So I guide them somewhat, and am not interested in the subjects composing themselves or performing for the camera.

My street photography is different from most other photographers in that I always try to get close, and use wide-angle lenses to reveal my subject in his/her environment and context. I want the environment to suggest things about the subject that may add another layer to the image. For me, a face is usually not enough; I want their body language, the clothes worn, and some of the foreground/background elements. Ultimately, I am seeking to make as strong and evocative an image as possible, but with permission. I don't really enjoy photographing people candidly; this feels empty to me.

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Please talk about that moment of connection, when you, your subject, and your camera connect, capturing a fraction of a second forevermore. After all these years shooting, do you know you "have it"? What do you think that illustrious yet elusive "it" is in the act of street photography ?

HS: I like to think about freezing time with my images, that a person or scene I just photographed will never exist like this again except in the photograph. Nothing makes the passing of time and hence aging more vivid than photography.

I try to speak to my subjects; I want them to be aware of me as I am of them. Perhaps it validates my existence. I seek a collaboration and connection between us, even if very fleeting. I think I enjoy this moment because I am curious and learning something about the person. And learning something about myself. That is my "high".

I sometimes think "wow, that was a great shot, that person really worked with me", and it will result in a wonderful image. It's a feeling not always correct. And it doesn't happen often. For me, that elusive "it" in street photography is when I do make a strong connection with an individual, when we might talk for a few minutes, share the passing scene, and that I photograph 5-10 frames and think I've made a really good image. It's rare, and since I still shoot mostly film on the streets, it takes weeks if not months, sometimes years to realize what I did.

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Stein's archive includes many wonderful bodies of work. Here are some of my favourites from his series 'Coney Island 40 Years."

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From the Coney Islan series. 
All images © Harvey Stein

Thanks to Harvey for his patience!
Photographers | Permalink |


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Carnival ride, Pontotoc, Mississippi © Betty Press

A decade ago, after many years of living in Africa, photojournalist Betty Press moved to Mississippi. Around 2011, still struggling to feel truly at home, "and being a liberal in politics and religion, I decided the best way to deal with this unease was to explore the state, mostly rural and agricultural, through a series of road trips."

"I started by visiting small communities listed in Mississippi Atlas & Gazetteer, with unusual names like Love, Darling, Expose, Dogtown, Midnight. Often there was very little going on and sometimes it was hard to find the place. When I did, I would look for people out and about. Southern hospitality and politeness are still important and I was welcomed, even as an outsider. Other times I would visit local festivals celebrating music and culture like the Juke Joint Festival and Redneck Festival."

Betty Press is best known for her photographs taken in Africa. We previously published some from the delightful collection "I Am Because We Are - African Wisdom in Image and Proverb." 

View the full-screen magazine photo feature "The Place I Live"
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