Some things I’ve been looking at

Been in a little funk over the weekend after hearing that I didn’t get an important grant from my university that was to fund my Russia story.. there are other paths and I’m pursuing them vigorously but this was a bummer. Spent much of the last few days reading, looking, listening and thinking and, since I haven’t come up with a big post to write from any of them, I’ll have to dump on you another massive link roundup. Lots of interesting things and terrific photographs, hope something suits your fancy if you’re looking for a little education or entertainment.

I’ve had a borrowed copy of Joe Sacco’s Safe Area Gorazde on my desk for a few weeks and I just found time to read through. Fucking brilliant, and utterly heartbreaking. If you’re not familiar, it is a illustrated piece of journalism .. war journalism in ‘comic book’ form. Brought me right back to all of the people I know and the things I’ve seen in Bosnia .. Gilles Peress had it right, first, with the sentiment behind his book “Farewell to Bosnia”. Gone, gone was the idea of a true multi-ethnic Bosnia. And this isn’t something that has gone away, warns Richard Holbrooke in the Guardian. I’ll be delving into this deeply when I’m back over there.. (also, reading this inspired me to go find my copy of Eugene Richard’s The Fat Baby.. which has a story I haven’t seen anywhere else about his trip to a Serb war hospital in Bosnia in 1995.. if you have the book go look and read.)

Got up this yesterday morning and found a particularly interesting post by Kevin German on his blog Wandering Light, featuring a new body of work he is starting on mental illness in Vietnam. I think it is a tremendous start of a story with beautiful photographs .. well worth a look. Very interesting timing, too, as I saw Friday for the first time Eugene Richards’ new book A Procession of Them at the bookstore. An important topic and I admire these photographers for pursuing this difficult story .. I spent an hour in an institution in Kosovo this past June (one that Richards covered much better in his own book) and it was a draining situation.. hats off to these men.
(c) Kevin German(c) Kevin German

I know that at least a few of you out there are interested in the Balkans like me, and I’ve got to recommend a story in Vanity Fair about Ramush Haradinaj, “House of War”. A remarkably well done piece about this man, who is a former KLA general and PM of Kosovo and an acquitted war criminal. Plenty of background about the war in the West of Kosovo too.

I’ve mentioned Jason Eskenazi and his new book Wonderland a couple of times now (1, 2), and last week NPR published an interview with him, and you can listen online. Eugene Richards even pops up to give some nice commentary. Seems like everyone is noticing and writing about this book these days, also see the write-up on The Fader’s website.

Here is an interesting (if slightly formulaic) article from the Washington Post (signin might be required .. try if you need one) about Barack Obama’s transition from ‘normal guy’ to President. “Much to His Chagrin, ‘Plain Old Barack Is Gone'”. Odd picture of a scary secret service guy, but otherwise I enjoyed this peek into the transition.

Michael Rakowitz's ParaSite
From the wonderful Wooster Collective blog: Old photo-street art, and Michael Rakowitz’s ParaSites, inflatable shelters for the homeless, and an example (with Gaia) of Wooster’s revived and terrific “The A’s to our Q’s” series. Beyond cool art, they’re great little interviews .. inspiration for our series here on Dva too.

I have no idea what kind of reputation the magazine MONOCLE has, I only ran into it while traveling through Heathrow some months ago. Beyond way too expensive items recommended, there is a terrific design and feel to the mag. I’m curious to know more about it.. (chime in please if you know something). On their website I just saw a nifty little video-story about “New designs on diplomacy”, the process behind designing new embassies (in this case UK and Norway) in stressed locales. Quite interesting.

For anyone out there who is still wanting to wallow in the Digital Railroad mess, here is a lengthy piece (which I admit I haven’t read completely) by Photoshelter CEO Allen Murabayashi: “What Happened to Digital Railroad?”.

I can’t remember where I first saw G.M.B. Akash’s work from Bangladesh, but I was reminded again when he wrote on Lighstalkers that he won the 2008 Kindernothilfe Media Award in Germany for a story on Child Labor. See the story, which includes this World Press winning picture, on his website.
(c) G.M.B. Akash

11th Annual Postcards From the Edge: A Benefit for Visual AIDS seems like a very interesting opportunity to donate a small piece of work for a good cause. Check it out.

More music (video): “Create Your Own Rainbow”, a chance to mix your own version of Radiohead’s “15 Step” off of In Rainbows via a crazy interface and 12 camera angles. I don’t have enough bandwidth where I’m at, apparently, to make it run smoothly but maybe you’ll have more luck.

Lastly, Colberg at Conscientious writes On photography collectives. In short, he is ‘pro’ photographers working together and can’t figure out why there aren’t more 🙂 Congrats again to Luceo for being ahead of the curve.

We’re working a lot of interesting things for the coming weeks, some more interviews and I’ll have more to chat about my near-term plans for a marketing trip to New York and the move to Belgrade. Stay tuned!Patients at a controversial, multi-racial Mental Hospital in Shtime, Kosovo. Though there are more than 40 patients at the facility there are huge budget problems and no on-site psychiatrists. (c) Matt Lutton, 2008

5 Responses to “Some things I’ve been looking at”

  1. trent

    great post. always good to see Joe Sacco mentioned.

  2. SV

    Hey Matt,
    Sorry to hear about the grant, I’ve been through that before. I’ve always tried to take it as a motivator to work a little harder and push a little deeper into my work.

    Great post btw. Just got a copy of Wonderland and it’s a beautiful little book.

  3. Matt Lutton

    Thanks guys .. glad people find something they like from my odd reading habits. Sacco is great, can’t wait to see what else he has done (the only other piece I’ve read was about training the Iraqi police.. i think it was in Harper’s).
    And down worry SV .. just another kick in the ass to keep on working hard. This thing sure ain’t easy! It was just one door, yea a big one into somewhat lush quarters, but there are more to pursue..

  4. M. Scott Brauer

    Monocle’s a great mag, by the way. A bit of a luxury rag, though, so who knows how it’ll weather the storm, but they print photography really well.

  5. dvafoto - M. Scott Brauer and Matt Lutton › I Love New York

    […] and influential book for me, Gilles Peress’ terrible masterpiece Farewell to Bosnia. As I wrote awhile ago the title alone says so much about Peress and his understanding of Bosnia: the dream of a […]

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