Tag Archive: russia


Alexander Gronsky wins Foam Paul Huf Award 2010

Amsterdam’s Foam Photography Museum announced this week that Alexander Gronsky has won their Paul Huf Award for 2010. I’ve heard his name before but this is the first time that I’ve really seen his work. Its spectacular.

(c) Alexander Gronsky


Have a look through all three of his terrific projects from Russia in the ‘artwork’ section of his website. And then have a look at the press release on Foam’s website.

Worth a Listen: Rob Hornstra on funding projects

We’ve mentioned photographer Rob Hornstra and his unorthodox and perhaps revolutionary ideas on funding his book projects before. He is currently working on a project about Sochi, Russia and the run-up to the next Winter Olympics, funding the trips via crowd-sourced donations (see link for more info). He discusses his ideas and methods about funding his own project on the New York Photo Festival’s website, and its a nice thing to hear. Inspiring.

Page from Rob Hornstra and Arnold van Bruggen's promo for The Sochi Project

Page from Rob Hornstra and Arnold van Bruggen's promo for The Sochi Project


There is also a small slideshow of posters he put up around Rome during an exhibition there, which is a cool thing to see and harkens to my old post Bringing Photos Back to the Street.

Must Read: Conversation with Jason Eskenazi

“A Photo Student” James Pomerantz sits down with perennial Dvafoto favorite and inspiration Jason Eskenazi. Probably the best overview of his career and life I have come across outside of conversations with the man himself. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Thanks Jason and James for putting this out there!

Copies of his book Wonderland are still for sale direct from Eskenazi. Must have.

Wonderland back in print!

Jason Eskenazi - Wonderland

Jason Eskenazi - Wonderland

Reason to rejoice: Jason Eskenazi‘s (previously) excellent book, Wonderland, is back in print, thanks to Red Hook Editions. 2008 POYi Best Photo Book, Wonderland explores Russia and the history of the Soviet Union as a fairytale, and is filled with many, many classic images. From the book summary:

For many, the Soviet Union existed, like their childhood, as a fairy tale where many of the realities of life were hidden from plain view. When the Berlin Wall finally fell so too did the illusion of that utopia. But time changes memory. The ex-Soviets confused the memory of their innocent youth for their nation’s utopian vision, unable to confront its history and thus creating nostalgia for tragedy. This book tries to seek and portray the socialist dream, the nightmare of the USSR beneath the veneer and the reality that emerged after the fall. And like all fairy tales try to teach us: the hard lessons of self-reliance. -Wonderland

update by Scott: Just bought myself a copy. Excited to see it when I’m back in Montana sometime in the next year.

Interview: Jason Eskenazi talks to Habitus Magazine

Jason Eskenazi talks about Wonderland and Title Nation from Habitus A Diaspora Journal on Vimeo.

Thanks to Habitus Magazine for pointing us to their interview with Jason Eskenazi, whose book “Wonderland” (1 used at Amazon for $656.00!) you should know. In the video, Eskenazi discusses the narrative structure of Wonderland, the nature of being a photographer, finding pictures in Grozny, and collaborating with Valerii Nistratov for the portraits in “Title Nation.” The video was produced as part of HabitusMoscow issue.

Many things I’ve been looking at (Pt. 2)

Here is part two of the list of things I’ve been reading the last few days week or more that I found interesting enough to share. This edition with more analysis!

First, this should be required reading daily: Foreign Policy’s Morning Brief post every morning on the Passport Blog. Yes, we get most of this from international newspaper front pages but here it is all together, and always has interesting and important updates to world stories that you just don’t see often anywhere else. More news breaks for me here than anywhere else..

There was a minor controversy this last week in Washington, for two reasons I guess. Washingtonian Magazine ran a cover that reused a wire (paparazzi?) image of Obama walking shirtless in Hawaii. So, I guess controversy for putting a shirtless President on the cover of a features magazine (with a tagline of “Reason #2: Our New Neighbor is Hot”, referring to the cover story of ’26 reasons to love living living here’), but they also photoshopped his swimsuit to red (from black). The Huffington Post wrote about this in a post called Media Literacy 101: The Ethics of Photoshopping a Shirtless Obama and then PDN picked it up with Washingtonian’s Shirtless Obama Cover: You Call This a Scandal? which gives a complete rundown and argument. I agree that this isn’t something on the level of the Time OJ Simpson cover, and mostly just want to say that this all is very weird. Having a “hot President” is a new concept for me, and maybe this is an adjustment we’ll need to get used to. I am reminded of the deservedly-lauded New York Magazine cover of McCain and Obama on the beach, which is great. Finally last word: BagnewsNotes has the analysis on this cover-controversy along with December 08 analysis of the original photo when it came out.

And a little interlude/soundtrack for this post. My favorite Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy with a new song from his new album Beware… “I Am Goodbye”.




There is not that much more I can say more than I am impressed over and over again by the Burnetts’ amazing blog We’re Just Sayin’ which blends family, photography and general useful knowledge about living. Cheers to them.

Over at Burn Magazine there is an interesting and difficult essay playing by Jukka Onnela titled “A Kind of Error”. As Bob Black, who apparently curated this essay, says in the comments, “there are knods to Clarke and Richards and Moriyama and Peterson for sure, d’agata looms large too..” (sic)

One thing appears to be going right for photojournalism: Livebooks (which powers my site) announces a hosting plan for photojournalists (PDN story with the scoop) that is significantly cheaper than their normal sites. Direct link to Livebooks Photojournalism, which costs $44/mo all inclusive. A good plan for them I think, since their normal plans really aren’t priced for most budget minded photojournalists (in fact I know of at least one who dropped the service because of cost). Luckily I’m on the EDU plan..

In keeping with the breaking news, here is Andrew Sullivan’s ‘picture of the day’ for 4/26:

A couple kisses at the Historic Center, in Mexico City, on April 25, 2009. An outbreak of deadly swine flu in Mexico and the United States has raised the specter of a new virus against which much of humanity would have little or no immunity. The outbreak of the new multi-strain swine flu virus transmitted from human to human that has killed up to 60 people in Mexico is a 'serious situation' with a 'pandemic potential', the head of the World Health Organization stated. By Alfredo Estrella/AFP/Getty Images.

A couple kisses at the Historic Center, in Mexico City, on April 25, 2009. An outbreak of deadly swine flu in Mexico and the United States has raised the specter of a new virus against which much of humanity would have little or no immunity. The outbreak of the new multi-strain swine flu virus transmitted from human to human that has killed up to 60 people in Mexico is a 'serious situation' with a 'pandemic potential', the head of the World Health Organization stated. By Alfredo Estrella/AFP/Getty Images.


Along the same lines, the Serbian Government issued a press release on their English language website that announces that:

The statement adds that in order to establish existing capabilities and assess the necessary resources for a timely diagnosis of this disease in pigs, the Veterinary Directorate carried out a control of veterinary laboratories on April 25.

The Veterinary Directorate formed special teams for rooting out infectious diseases in animals, trained and equipped to dispose of diseased animals if the need arises.

Apart from a ban on the import of pigs and stricter veterinary inspection on borders, the Veterinary Directorate will examine the heath condition of pigs and poultry farmed in Serbia.

I appreciate the action Serbia, especially since I’m living here and will benefit from your preventative measures but I’m afraid you don’t quite understand that the issue is that the disease is infecting humans at present and is killing some of them.

Here is an interview on the Design Notes by Michael Surtees blog with the designer/creator of iPhone photography applications. I’ve only read part but it could be of interest. It also deals with the ‘nature’ of toy photography, and why Takayuki Fukatsu wanted to add this ‘ability’ to an expensive gadget like the iphone.

Daryl Lang at PDN takes a stand with his post Coverage of Dignified Transfers at Dover Dwindles when he says “doesn’t this seem cold? The lack of coverage at Dover ought to cause some soul-searching among assignment editors and, especially, TV producers.” While I’m very sympathetic to the power and importance of photographing events like this I do not see this as an issue. These transfers are being documented by the AP, with at least (for now) a photographer and a writer present. And frankly this ‘photo op’ (harsh) is not anywhere close to the real story and issue. That would be the combat death and the impact on families (ignoring for a moment the larger issue of the wars and their much larger ‘footprints’ overseas). Frankly I think it is odd to suggest that a full press retinue is as necessary for proper respect of a person, their death or the story of their death as an honor guard.

From Andy Levin’s blog 100eyes I was alerted to Kenneth Jarecke’s blog where he rants about modern photojournalism in a post titled “Lets Be Honest – Part 3″. It is roughly, as I can decipher, about taking ‘style’ too far in photojournalism and what causes photographers to do it. Part 2 makes more sense but I still am inclined to disagree. His main point is that all of this “sizzle” added to images, good or bad images, weakens (cheapens?) them. I just want images to evoke something, say something, in however way the photographer wants to. All of us can and will react to the voice and ‘language’ that they’re using. I think Jarecke is confusing his dislike with a certain picture using a ‘technique’ with a whole swath of other things, ultimately generalizing about the photographer himself and a coming generation. Images can be good or bad, and yes they can be either because of the ‘style’ put in to them. Just disagree with a particular picture or series, and let people experiment. It either works or it doesn’t, and as he says, the essence of photography is “I saw this. I found it interesting. What do you think?” . I do agree that people can be pushed in bad directions (over cooking images in photoshop or even setting up images) by the economics of the photo market (i.e. that is the crap that tends to get published, and sometimes rewarded). I feel it myself, we all do. We see the winners of World Press or what work is getting published and the thought ‘I gotta make work that looks like that’ crosses our minds. But it is each photographers’ choice to make and their decision to present their photographs in the way that they do. So I’ll reserve those judgments for each individual photographer and their work. Or maybe blame the editors.

(c) Stephen Voss

(c) Stephen Voss


Stephen Voss just posted some insane and striking images from abandoned schools in Detroit. Have a look.

Scott Strazzante has a touching post about optimism, his friends, mentors and layoffs in American newspapers on his blog Shooting From The Hip.

Speaking of newspapers (and layoffs) The Recovering Journalist has an interesting post about Inventing The Future in Iowa following the innovative exploits of The Gazette newspaper in Eastern Iowa. Interesting write up but frankly, after a few minutes poking around the website, I don’t see what is new or what the fuss is about.

Via The Click I saw this update about the ‘The Polaroid Kidd’ Mike Brodie on the Feature Shoot site. There are many more pictures and images from the 2007 exhibition on this page. I remember when these pictures first hit the ground a year or two ago, I think I saw them first in some sort of photo chain email. I loved them then and still do, very very much. So personal and really genius. Have a look, and remember he did it all with no training no fancy gear and at the age of 18. Kind of devastated me when I first heard that :)

(c) Mike Brodie

(c) Mike Brodie

Ok, one more slightly-wonkish Foreign Policy blog link: How NOT to dismantle the U.N. by Mark Leon Goldberg about issues within UN peacekeeping missions and accountability, and how this intrudes on the effectiveness of missions and local support. Very applicable, in my interest, to Kosovo and Bosnia of course.

Conscientious has one of his more interesting posts for me in a long while while highlighting Anna Shteynshleyger, specifically her intriguing work from Siberia and the sites of Gulags. It is made even better by this really interesting analysis/critique by Pete Brook at Prison Photography (which I hadn’t known till now, but is now rss’d). And here is the crux for me that Colberg teases out, which I’d love to explore later: “It indicates that there are no photographic conventions established, yet, for how to deal with the Gulag – which might reflect that the discussion (or actually amount of discussion) is still very much in flux. In fact, now that Russia has descended into a sort of authoritarian quasi-democracy, the Gulag there seems to be evolving into a non-topic…” . I don’t entirely agree, and neither would many in Russia I’d venture, but I too haven’t seen any photography that comes anywhere close to written accounts. My favorite of which is Ryszard Kapuscinski’s Imperium which I recommend with pleasure and passion.

A friend of mine sent me this very intriguing visual-blog (?) on the New York Times called And the Pursuit of Happiness by Maira Kalman. I’ve only had the pleasure of reading her latest post May It Please The Court so far, but I look forward to reading back. Kalman also has a cool looking book.

I’ve seen everyone posting about the New York Times article about Danny Lyon and his two new books, but I two quotes struck me and bear repeating:
“You put a camera in my hand, I want to get close to people,” he said. “Not just physically close, emotionally close, all of it. It’s part of the process.” And, “It’s a very weird thing being a photographer.” Ooh, I agree.

Oh, and as evidence of my insanity and need to spike a few dozen of my rss feeds … this is what my computer looked like while I was preparing these posts…

Too many windows in Firefox

Too many windows in Firefox

Lastly, and I say this reluctantly, I am now on twitter. So join me if you want smaller versions of this kind of post and my musical ramblings.

Carry on up the Gulag: Interview with Seamus Murphy

Dispatches - Carry on up the Gulag: Interview with Seamus Murphy

Dispatches - Carry on up the Gulag: Interview with Seamus Murphy

Continuing our posts on Seamus Murphy, here’s “Carry on up the Gulag: Interview with Seamus Murphy” at Dispatches’ site. Murphy talks a bit about the process of photographing Russia for Dispatches’ issue “On Russia” and shares some stories behind individual pictures. And if you’re in London on Wed., April 29, 2009, at 6:30 p.m., head on over to the Honduras Street Gallery for a conversation between Seamus Murphy and Gary Knight. (both via the Dispatches group on Facebook)

Worth a look: Seamus Murphy “East of the Sun”

Seamus Murphy - East of the Sun / from the Dispatches issue On Russia.

Seamus Murphy - East of the Sun / from the Dispatches issue On Russia.

Just got a facebook message from Dispatches about the newest photos and slideshow on the magazine’s site. “East of the Sun,” part of the issue On Russia, is beautiful and strange. I’m not convinced of some of the close-up crops in the video, but the music and editing made me chuckle (in a good way) more than a few times. Beautiful and strange work from Russia by Seamus Murphy.

Unfortunately, it’s a little difficult to find Seamus Murphy’s other work online. There was a little blurb about him over at Rob Haggart’s A Photo Editor blog that started out:

One of my all time favorite photographers has no agent, no website, doesn’t send out promo mailers, no logo, isn’t in any of the sourcebooks, not listed in the free workbook phonebook, has never called to see if I’ve got anything for him and if I hadn’t scoured the web and made a few phone calls years ago I would have no clue how to contact him….”

There’s a little feature at Outside magazine about being in the field with Seamus Murphy in Syria. Granta has some of his work online focusing on soldiers getting ready for deployment. There’s also a small interview at Culture 24. And definitely don’t miss his POYi 62 World Understanding Award portfolio of work from Afghanistan, which is also the subject of what looks to be a great book, “Afghanistan: A Darkness Visible.”

A Few Things

First, the bad news: one of my hometown’s two daily papers, and employer to many friends and colleagues, has closed its print edition this week and is now online only in a venture to create a new model. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer as we knew it was 146 years old.
Best of luck, I really hope you get it right… both for Seattle’s sake but also because it will be a testing ground for what will probably come in many more cities (around the world). But as slate.com’s Jack Shafer points out here they’re not exactly off to a great start, and have a lot to overcome. Also notable: some of the best coverage I’ve read has been from The Stranger’s (Seattle alt-weekly) Eli Sanders at their lively blog The Slog (link to his piece from inside the newsroom on the last day). Really worth checking out this and all his other stories (you’ll have to dig a bit sorry).

Two, my favorite blog (Foreign Policy’s Passport) posted an interesting little photo-related piece about an alleged meeting between Vladimir Putin and Ronald Reagan in 1988, which has a quote/confirmation from new White House chief photographer Pete Souza in his January interview with NPR, who was along on the trip.

(Ronald Reagan Library)

(Ronald Reagan Library)

Next, to steal M. Scott’s thunder (he sent me the link) the New York Times Sunday Magazine from this past weekend had some pictures from the seemingly missing in action Joachim Ladefoged with an interesting-seeming article about Russian conductor Valery Gergiev and his role in current Russian nationalism. Or so I think, I haven’t had a chance to read the piece yet but I look forward to. I quite like the picture, and neither of us can remember seeing anything new from him since a piece on Iraqi refugees in Syria in the same publication awhile ago. Looks like
his website has been updated too … so have a look (I will as soon as I find a decent internet connection..)

Moises Saman for The New York Times

Moises Saman for The New York Times


Also I was sent a link to a new piece in the New York Times international section from Moises Saman about Peru’s Cocaine War. The pictures are terrific, especially this one above which closes the story.

Someone just posted about this but thought I’d also share: Medecins Sans Frontieres (Canada) now has a picture blog. Some interesting things to see on my quick glance, including work by Donald Weber.

Lastly, I’ll share a few of my new Bosnia pictures … nothing concrete is together yet, just loosely connected random pictures for now.

Tramvaj passanger in central Sarajevo.

Tramvaj passanger in central Sarajevo.


Victims of a mining explosion that killed one and injured fourteen are treated in a Zenica emergency room on 3/14/09. Click on photo for link to local news story.

Victims of a mining explosion that killed one and injured fourteen are treated in a Zenica emergency room on 3/14/09. Click on photo for link to local news story.


Snow in the Grbavica neighborhood of Sarajevo.

Snow in the Grbavica neighborhood of Sarajevo.

The seige of Leningrad and other rephotography

Composite by Sergei Larenkov - A photo from the 3-year Seige of Leningrad from 1941-1944 merged with an image of the same location in contemporary St. Petersburg

Composite by Sergei Larenkov - A photo from the 3-year Seige of Leningrad from 1941-1944 merged with an image of the same location in contemporary St. Petersburg

Matt sent along a link to these interesting composite images of St. Petersburg/Leningrad made by combining photos from the 1941-44 Leningrad Blockade and contemporary photos of the same locations. There’s a lot to see at englishrussia.com, though if I remember right from when I last looked at the site a few years ago, the posts can sometimes be a little NSFW or come from an odd-feeling gawking perspective. Regardless, these pictures are worth a quick look, as are these archival (noncomposite) photos from the Seige.

The pictures brought to mind a few other projects I’ve seen that fall more clearly under the genre of “Rephotography.” While the photos, the rephotographed ones, aren’t always interesting as pictures in and of themselves, the exercise often produces interesting studies in anthropology and urban design.

From Rephotographing Atget -  Hôtel des Ambassadeurs de Hollande, 47 rue Vieille-du-Temple, 1898, Eugene Atget / Hôtel des Ambassadeurs de Hollande, 47 rue Vieille-du-Temple, 1997, Christopher Rauschenberg

From Rephotographing Atget - Hôtel des Ambassadeurs de Hollande, 47 rue Vieille-du-Temple, 1898, Eugene Atget / Hôtel des Ambassadeurs de Hollande, 47 rue Vieille-du-Temple, 1997, Christopher Rauschenberg

Christopher Rauschenberg‘s project “Rephotographing Atget”, in which 1997-8′s Paris is held next to the Paris between 1888 and 1927. The work was collected in a book, “Paris Changing,” published in 2007. On Rauschenberg’s website, he’s also published a gallery of images he feels are in the spirit of Atget’s imagery. Photographer Gerald M. Panter looks to have done just about the same thing. His rephotographs were made a little earlier than Rauschenberg’s, though they haven’t enjoyed the same recognition.

From New York Changing - Bowling Green, foot of Broadway - L: Berenice Abbot (1936), R: Douglas Lavere (1997)

From New York Changing - Bowling Green, foot of Broadway - L: Berenice Abbot (1936), R: Douglas Lavere (1997)

And Douglas Levere has given the “Changing” treatment to Berenice Abbot’s 1930s pictures of New York City. The book “New York Changing” (Amazon)collects his photographs of scenes throughout the city alongside the earlier pictures. The Morning News published a short interview about the project and pictures in 2005.

Another such body of work is David W. Dunlap’s “Then/Now” series, pairing images he took for an illustrated guidebook in 1978 with rephotographs from 2008. Make sure to drag the slider in the middle of the images. Great (and thankfully judicious) use of flash design that. In a similar vein, Damon Winter photographed a project for the the New York Times called “Neighbors” in which he used double exposures to show the diversity of neighborhoods and areas of New York City; not quite rephotography, but close enough.