Seven Photo Essays, 18 December 2013

To round out the 2013 year, here are seven recent photographic essays I’ve read in the last few weeks:

People Around an Active Volcano

Suppose a 2.6-kilometre (8530-feet) high volcano that’s been dormant for 400 years comes back to life in a spate of eruptions, spewing huge clouds of hot gas, ash, and rock up into the sky and down the slopes in your direction. Mount Sinabung in Indonesia’s North Sumatra province became active again in the last few months; thousands have been displaced from their homes, and villages adversely affected. The Atlantic’s In Focus highlights some of these dramatic scenes in a photo-essay.


Private Moments in Public Spaces (on the Metro)

Riding the metro or subway in large metropolitan areas is always a fascinating experience, and it’s no wonder why people riding public transit are often a great photographic subject, especially if they’re engaging or sharing “private moments”. People are going about their daily lives, ordinary yet surprising by simplicity. I’m interested by how a street photographer manages to step momentarily into these private words without being overtly intrusive. Photographer Stan Raucher spent time in metros around the world, photographing “people riding the rails”.


To Siberia, With Love

Photographer Sasha Leahovcenco traveled to the Chukotka region of Siberia in 2011 and 2013 to bring photography to people there who’ve never had their photos made of them. He brought with him gifts, clothes and shoes for people along the way; and in photographing people he’d met along the way, he’d make copies of the photographs on site, and hand them over to the people who’d never owned a photo of themselves before. Google Maps shows that “Chukotka” is at the very northeast corner of Russia, adjacent to Bering Strait and just across the water from Alaska. Leahovcenco’s photographs appear on his website.


The Galapagos of the Indian Ocean

Tucked in the ocean between The Horn of Africa and Yemen’s coast, Socotra Island is considered the “Galapagos of the Indian Ocean.” UNESCO approved the island as a World Heritage Site in 2008 to help ensure the protection of endangered native species. The series of photographs on The Atlantic’s In Focus highlights the delicate balance between people and nature, between the economic need for tourism and the critical necessity for conservation.


The $900 iPhoto Photo: 1 Family, 4 Generations

Sometimes, it’s worth shelling out the money for a big moment. People don’t live forever, and special moments don’t come very often: clichés all, but doesn’t mean they’re not true. Shortly after the birth of her baby boy, a woman went to visit her 94-year old grandfather. She quickly realized the added bonus of making a photo capturing four family generations: her son, herself, her father, and her grandfather. You can read more about how an “imperfect photo at the right time” came together here.


Meaning of Independence for Women in Saudi Arabia

There are some vast differences (and difficulties) of what it means to be an independent woman in North America and to be an independent woman in Saudi Arabia. What does it truly mean to be “free”? Photographer Olivia Arthur made remarkable images to capture the essence of what it’s like “behind closed doors with the women of Saudi Arabia”. Arthur’s photographs shine a spotlight on these remarkable women.


Nelson Mandela’s Final Public Photo Session

One of Nelson Mandela’s last photography sessions occurred with South African photographer Adrian Steirn for his project “21 Icons”, a photographic and short-film series profiling people who’ve helped shape the present-day South Africa. A short essay appears on Flickr’s blog describing that photo session.


This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com

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