Fotoeins Fotografie

faces of home & place-story

Posts tagged ‘In Focus’

Photo Essays on the Web, April 2014

A third of the year that is 2014 has gone. How did that happen? How have we seen and photographed things thus far?

1. El Bulli: How To Make Perfect Food Every Single Time

A seven-volume book series, “elBulli 2005-2011”, has been published to highlight the famous Spanish “El Bulli” restaurant, how “perfect food” was constructed, and how “perfection” was reproduced for the dinner table night after night.

2. People and stories, by Nan Goldin

The first time I saw Nan Goldin’s photography was in Berlin; seeing a retrospective of her work blew a hole both in my brain and in my soul. Whatever you think of her work, the choices she’s made, and the inevitable changes over the years, I believe her themes and stories have remained: they’re about family, friends, and how close she gets to intimacy, truth, and honesty with her photography.

3. Palestinians Are Ordinary People

It’s easy to minimize, belittle, or demonify any group of people who are the “other”; we are all universally guilty of “binning” people into the “us vs. them”. It’s why I think the following photographic work, “The Rarely Seen Lives of Palestinians“, by Tanya Habjouqa is important to highlight the universality of the daily human experience, our needs and our desires.

4. Blending Images from Different Locations

Do images represent merely the moments in which they’re taken? Or can they mean more? Have they always meant more? What happens when individual images from opposite sides of the planet are blended, whose result is posted on Instagram? Does the meaning, if any, of the individual images change when merged? What does that have to say about the resulting blended images?

5. The Cypriots’ Turkey-Greece Divide

It’s been 40 years since Cyprus was separated into the Turkish north and the Greek south. Neil Hall’s photographs examine how moments within the UN Buffer Zone have been frozen in time, going back fully four decades.

6. In Memory of Anja Niedringhaus

Pulitzer-Prize winning photographer Anja Niedringhaus was killed in early April in Afghanistan. She was in country covering national presidential elections. She is best known for photography in war-zones, but she also covered major sporting events (e.g., The Summer Olympics). Several online venues showed her work in tribute to her courage, compassion, dedication; to her craft and work. I think these attributes clearly show up in her portraits and photographs.


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Photo Essays on the Web, February 2014

I highlight a number of photo-essays not only for their content, but also for the unique perspectives photographers bring to their photographs. I think there are also many ways to view the world, and sometimes, we go through our cameras. Does what we see always come into focus? Not always, but often it’s the attempt that matters most.

Cynicism Illustrated

Funny and simple, Eduardo Salles highlights his own cynical (and frankly, universally 21st-century) view of the world through his illustrations. What makes his work very effective is how he gets to the point directly and brilliantly (My Modern Met).

Photographing an African Safari

A lot of people dream about going to Africa, experiencing a safari, and seeing and learning about the special animals which live in a very special place on our planet. Photographer Essdras Suarez spent 2 weeks in Kenya and Tanzania in 2013, and some of his experiences are highlighted here (Boston Globe).

Fukushima: How Emergency Becomes Normalcy

After the devastating 2011 Tohoku/Sendai earthquake, part of the everyday conversation in eastern Japan still involves recovery, radiation, and rebuilding. Photographer Kosuke Okahara set out deliberately with a large format camera to highlight how the “abnormal” has become “normal.” The camera choice required time to prepare each of his photographs (Lens Culture), and forced him “to only take pictures of things or situations that were slow-moving” so he could “(effectively) convey some of the impact of the disaster”.

Greenland: Where Ice and Population Are Thinning

It’s easy to forget ice-covered Greenland has a population of over 50000 people. But the ice is thinning, and so too is the population. Slovenian photographer Ciril Jazbec spent two weeks with Uunartoq Lovstrom in a remote settlement with a population of 250. Jazbec’s photographs (NY Times) highlight the effects of climate change on “traditional” ways of life, how current residents cope with the changes (or leave), and what they mean to the people of Greenland.

Black and White Simplicity

Paul Outerbridge once said “in black and white you suggest; in color you state”. There is a quality, an air of mystery surrounding black and white photography. The work by Derek Toye is no exception, and there’s a wonderfully somber mood to his photographs (My Modern Met): a loneliness to be found in wide open spaces.

The Cassini Spacecraft Orbiting the Planet Saturn

I’ve always been fascinated by the Solar System, ever since I saw those first images transmitted by the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft as they passed by and photographed the outer planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus. Subsequent spacecraft, like the Cassini probe, allows us to study the outer planets, particularly Saturn, in greater detail to provide more insights about the creation of the Solar System and about why there’s a difference between the terrestrial planets (like our own Earth) and the gas giants (like Saturn). Frankly, these photos (The Atlantic) are absolutely stunning.


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Photo Essays on the Web, 24 January 2014

The following photographic essays, including various “best of 2013” series, help kick off the new year.

54 Reasons Why There’s Love for Photography

Photoshelter CEO and photographer Allen Murabayashi wrote an essay describing why he loves and continues to love photography. He lists 54 reasons, and they’re all plenty good to last you a good chunk of time.

Goodbye, Madiba (Two)

We said goodbye to Nelson Mandela who died on 5 December 2013 at the age of 95. Two examples of photo-essays highlighting his long eventful life are from The Atlantic’s In Focus and from Slate’s Behold; both offer

… an in-depth examination of photography in South Africa from apartheid’s adoption as official policy in 1948 until 1994, when the election of Nelson Mandela as president ended the country’s system of racial segregation.

One of his legacies has to be “the struggle and striving for peace through perseverance, unity, and forgiveness.”

Simple and Creative iPhone-ography

Minneapolis artist Brock Davis produces iPhone photography of constructed scenes using everyday objects. They’re wonderfully simple, and they’ll make you wonder why anyone didn’t think of that before. Check out his profile and photos on My Modern Metropolis, and previously from 2012.

50 States of Lego

Based in Nova Scotia, artist and photographer Jeff Friesen constructed small dioramas of each U.S. state, made entirely of LEGO pieces. He’s also done the same to Canada’s provinces & territories. Also, read Friesen’s interview by Phoblographer here.

The 2013 Year in Review

Given the ubiquity of year-end essays and reviews, I’ll share these four:

* The Big Picture on Boston Globe,
* In Focus, on The Atlantic,
* National Geographic, and
* New York Times’ Sunday Review: The Year In Pictures,


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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.


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Five Photo Essays, 21 October 2013

In case you’ve missed them, here are five recent photographic essays from the last few weeks, and some reasons why you should also have a look.

A Peek into Modern China

To many, China remains a mysterious country. As the following images show, frank, spontaneous, and “quiet” photography offers a candid view of the nation’s people, their lives, and the effects of a rapidly developing economy on urban- and landscapes. From The Atlantic’s In Focus, here are “Scenes from 21st-Century China”.

Why Didn’t People Smile?

Why are smiling faces less common in old photographs and painted portraits? One reason was that being taken seriously meant serious dispositions; being prone to smiles apparently was left to the domain of poor, charlatans, and fools. In The Public Domain Review, Nicholas Jeeves writes about the history of the smile in “The Serious and the Smirk: The Smile in Portraiture”.

Picking up the Pieces After Sendai

At the risk of voyeurism, there’s a specific horror when one looks at post-disaster pictures, as the images go against our ideas of how things are supposed to look, at how things are supposed to be. Given the significant probability of a large earthquake along the west coast of North America, I wonder about plans in place to mitigate loss of life and property, and, just as important, plans to rebuild after “the big one” strikes. The 2011 Sendai quake continues to provide many lessons to heed, if not to scare, sadden, and surprise. Reuters photographer Damir Sagolj went back recently to Japan and produced the series “The Broken Lives of Fukushima”.

How are Asians Portrayed?

For a mix of seriousness and humor, Tommy Kha’s latest photographic work examines and explores ” … ideas of intimacy, the role of the photographer in self-portraiture, and the ways in which Asians are portrayed in both film and television.” I would add that Kha’s “Return to Sender” series (on The Slate’s Behold) also looks at “… the ways in which Asian-American men are portrayed in both film and television …”

Your Quota of Baby Squirrel

To some, squirrels and chipmunks are pests. If only to melt the cold empty vacuum that sometimes occupies the space we call our “hearts”, the following may help to chip away the ice. You’ve been duly warned: a tremendous display of “d’awwwwww” follows at “Abandoned Baby Squirrel Rescued by Filmmaker, Becomes Best Friend”.

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