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Most people hear the term “poaching,” and they think of hunters gunning down endangered species like elephants and rhinos on the plains of Africa. But in many ways the heart of the illegal wildlife trade is not in Africa, but in Asia. It’s in rising countries like China, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia where the demand for illegal wildlife products is strongest, driving the hunting and the trafficking. And it’s in Asia where poaching is still going on in the forests of countries like Burma and Laos, in the last scraps of wilderness in one of the most densely populated parts of the world. Every year it’s estimated that up to 30,000 primates, 5 million birds, 10 million reptile skins and 500 million tropical fish are bought and sold in Asia.
That bloody trade is revealed by Patrick Brown’s stark black-and-white photographs, published in his new book, Trading to Extinction. The Bangkok-based Brown spent more than 10 years documenting the underbelly of the illegal wildlife trade in Asia, from ill-equipped rangers patrolling the forests of Thailand to markets in southern China, jam-packed with threatened species. He shows the shadowy smuggling routes that take wildlife products across poorly guarded borders, and shines a spotlight on the sheer inhumanity of man’s treatment of majestic animals like the endangered Indochinese tiger. Brown prowls the markets of Bangkok, where massive ivory elephant tusks—almost surely taken by a poacher—sit in a store window, mute symbols of a murderous trade. Another photograph shows a pile of tiger and snow leopard skins—worth three-quarters ofa million dollars—seized in Thailand’s Chitwan National Park.
Money is what drives the illegal wildlife trade, which is now worth as much as $10 billion globally. Brown notes that a poacher who kills a rhino and removes its horn in India gets $350, but that same horn will sell for $1,000 in a nearby market town, and as much as $370,000 once it reaches dealers in Hong Kong, Beijing or the Middle East. It’s little wonder that international criminal syndicates have gotten into the wildlife trade, which is now estimated to be the fifth most lucrative illegal enterprise in the world. Some of that money flows to international terrorists as well, making wildlife trafficking a security threat, as well as a conservation one.
The good news is that the world is beginning to get serious about wildlife trafficking. On Feb. 11 the U.S. announced a new national strategy for combating poaching, as well as a ban on commercial imports and exports of ivory. Last week British Prime Minister David Cameron hosted the London Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade, the highest-level summit ever on wildlife trafficking. Bringing a halt to poaching will require a commitment from developed nations like the U.S. and England. But as Patrick Brown’s moving photographs show, the battle will be fought in Asia.
Photo report's insight:
Patrick Brown is a multi award-winning English photographer based in Thailand. His work focuses on critical issues across the Asia region. Trading to Extinction is available through publisher Dewi Lewis.
Anders Petersen is noted for his intimate and personal documentary-style black-and-white photographs. He studied photography under Christer Stromholm in Sweden, 1966-1967. In 1967, he started to photograph the late-night regulars (prostitutes, transvestites, drunks, lovers, drug addicts) in a bar in Hamburg, Germany, named Café Lehmitz, and continued that project for three years. His photobook of the same name was published eight years later, in 1978, by Schirmer/Mosel in Germany, and then appeared in France (1979) and Sweden (1982). Café Lehmitz has since become regarded as a seminal book in the history of European photography.One of the photos from this series was later used as the cover art for Tom Waits' 1985 album Rain Dogs.
In 1970, he co-founded SAFTRA, the Stockholm group of photographers, with Kenneth Gustavsson. At the same time, he taught at Christer Stromholm's school. He has been director of the Göteborg School of Photography and Film. He began to photograph for magazines, and he continued his personal photo diary work, which continues to this day. He has photographed for extensive periods of time in prisons, mental asylums, and homes for old people.
In 1978, Petersen received a grant from the Swedish Authors' Foundation. In 2003, he was elected Photographer of the Year at the Recontres d'Arles. In 2007, he was one of four finalists for the £30,000 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize.
Petersen has published more than 20 books, mostly in Sweden, and has had solo and group exhibitions throughout Europe and Asia.
Photo report's insight:
"With the civil war ongoing, Syria's Christians have, just as their brethren in Iraq, been caught in the crossfire: endangered and largely forgotten, they have become victims of someone else’s war. At the time of writing, only the Christians in the north-eastern Kurdish areas are still living in considerable safe conditions. The town of Qamishli, unofficial capital of the syrian Kurds and located directly at the turkish-syrian border has become one of the last safe havens for Syria's Christians and will be the focus of my documentation." - Andy Spyra
Countless photographs have been captured along Brooklyn’s Coney Island and Brighton Beach. From Lisette Model and Weegee’s famous images of bathers on into the present, sun revelers have been an endless source of inspiration to photographers. Spanish photographer Salvi Danés takes us tohis Coney Island in a series he calls Sunday Morning Sports. In one image, a bather descends down jagged rocks into the water, his body engulfed by the textures around him—water, rock, light and body becoming one. The men ofSunday Morning Sports, active and invigorated, are less worried about life than they are about living. We recently caught up with Danés to find out more about this community.
“They are neighbors who have always lived together in “Barceloneta”, a neighborhood in Barcelona. They are acquaintances, friends, even relatives, who since they were teenagers, have spent their time having fun doing exercise outdoors and enjoying the sun that the beach offers them.” - Salvi Danes
Every ecosystem has its fragile balance. That much we have already learnt. Scientists routinely now seek to document the excesses that will lead to imbalance, even where they can do nothing about them. And sometimes, just sometimes, legislation and implementation and eventually protection may follow.
The centre of Athens, as I first remember it, was full of life. During the period before the Olympic Games, there was great development. New hotels appeared in order to host the visitors, shops, restaurants and cafes kept sprouting out, it was full of people everywhere. All this happened within a few years. It was as if the city put on new clothes. During the days of the Olympics, the city was clean and well-guarded. You would not see street-merchants, drug-addicts or immigrants, just tourists and people who came in order to have a good time. In my eyes, it looked like another place. As time passed, the city started deteriorating and gradually recovered its previous character. Time passes fast.
The city is now fading. Some people abandon it due to the crisis. Many shops and hotels have shut down, the centre is now almost deserted. People fear they will get ripped-off, they hear that this happens all the time.They even fear seeing all the poverty and destitution, they drug-users who will rip you off for their shot, the women prostituting themselves. But for me, those people were always there. I found them all there when I first arrived as a 9-year old child. They were always there when I was growing up. They are somehow trapped in their lives. The immigrants live in small rooms that they rent, many of them together, without much hope.
The women prostitute themselves even in the streets for 5€. Yet, hanging around with them has been my daily routine. This way, it was easier to approach them. They are sensitive people with a lot of problems, with ruined families behind them. Sometimes they give the impression that no one has cared for them. As if they want someone to talk to, as if they want to get out of the misery they are in. For some of them I had the sense that they were almost looking for someone to open up to and take it all out. Like confessing. What made an impression on me was that they often opened up and talked as if they knew me. I would only shoot when I sensed that they were more comfortable, after some time had passed. The images I have selected are stronger for me, because I know the story behind them. -
Photo report's insight:
Photographer Enri Canaj documents the heart-wrenching decline of a once-prosperous city in his series 'Shadows of Greece.' Plagued by poverty, crime, sex trafficking and the political protests of fascist and anti-fascist groups, Athens no longer offers its citizens a safe environment. Canaj, who migrated to Athens at age 11, takes a special interest in the city's immigrant populace and the agonizing conditions and treatment they are subject to.
Фото и рисунки интересных людей, гламурные фото от лучших фотографов, красивые рисунки замечательных художников. Фанстастическо мышление, рисунки в стиле фентези, сказка, красивые иллюстрации. Профессиональны фото.
In Japan, I discovered the works of Lotte Reiniger. I saw some very good cartoons where the shadows made it very effectively evoking the posture of the protagonists and the plot was more striking narrated.
So I noted in my notebook December 5, 2006: “Shadow and narration. Photography”…
One day, I took my camera and I went down into the courtyard. My 5 year old girl looking for ladybugs and snails in the pile of dead leaves that lay along the shed. She wants to give me the benefit of each of these discoveries.
It is by chance seeing our shadow on the lawn that I remembered the work of Lotte Reiniger.
I came back at home to draw an animal on thick paper. The animal is a fawn paper which I drew the outline of a box that I put on a low wall. The photo was taken at dusk. The best time to photograph the shadows.- Serge Bouvet
This photograph of construction workers casually eating their lunch on a skyscraper beam suspended high about Manhattan can lay claim to being one of the 20th century's most recognisable images.
Yet, in the run up to its 80th anniversary today it has emerged that, far from catching the subjects unaware, the image was set up as a publicity shot for the Rockefeller Center.
The identity of the photographer of Lunch Atop a Skyscraper is unknown. He or she was among a pack of snappers sent by news agencies to cover the event at the RCA Building. Another, less celebrated, image shows the workers pretending to be asleep on the beam.
Ken Johnston, chief historian and archivist for Corbis Images, which owns the rights to the photo, said: "The image was a publicity effort by the Rockefeller Center.It seems pretty clear they were real workers, but the event was organised with a number of photographers."
The photograph was taken on 20 September 1932, during the construction of the RCA site – later renamed the GE Building – which forms part of the Rockefeller Center.
The original caption on the photo marked that it would be the largest office building in New York City, the archivist said.
There are two excellent photographic essays of Polaroids made in the Mumbai slum Dharavi and the Senen slum of Jakarta by Stephen Dupont, an Australian photographer.
Stephen Dupont has produced a photographs of fragile cultures and marginalized peoples, which capture the human dignity of his subjects, and do so with great intimacy and often in some of the world’s most dangerous regions. His work has earned him prestigious prizes, including a Robert Capa Gold Medal citation from the Overseas Press Club of America; a Bayeux War Correspondent’s Prize; and first places in the World Press Photo, Pictures of the Year International, the Australian Walkleys, and Leica/CCP Documentary Award.
A Tale of Two Slums Part II:
Lauren E. Simonutti, 1968, USA, passed away last week due to complications from her illness. On March 28th, 2006 she started hearing voices and was diagnosed with "rapid cycling, mixed state bipolar with schizoaffective disorder". She felt she was going mad and spent her last years almost in isolation. She turned the camera on herself and the space she was living in. She has left us with an impressive, honest and strong body of work. With her photographs she gave a voice to those that suffer in isolation.
Mental illness is not something easily understood. Most of us only hear about it through television or the cinema, which tends to sensationalize the condition. Rarely do we meet a person truly afflicted with mental illness who can explain it. In 2006, Lauren E. Simonutti started hearing three distinct voices in her right ear, the ear she lost hearing in years prior. After numerous hospitalizations and mis-diagnoses, Lauren was finally given a name to her illness, rapid cycling, mixed state bipolar with schizoaffective disorder, and given proper medicines which allows her to function with great clarity on a daily basis.
Stenram’s most current series, Drape, uses vintage pin-up photographs as its source material. The women in these photographs are posed in interior domestic sets in front of curtains or drapes, offering a glimpse into intimate space. In Stenram’s versions of these images, the curtains are extended to partially obscure the women.
The background envelopes the focal point and the foreground slips into the background. The curtain vacillates between striptease-drape and blind or shutter, reinforcing its role as a barrier between public and private. The resulting image makes no attempt to look ‘real’; rather, it submits to a cut-and-paste collage aesthetic whose ultimate referent is the act of photography itself.
"J’ai encore présent à l’esprit de nombreuses gravures illustrées de John Tenniel, de Cornelis Visscher, d’Émile Bayard, de Léon Benett, de Gustave Doré ou de Thomas Johnson. Je dois beaucoup à ces illustrateurs qui m’ont rendu avide des écrits de Jules Vernes, de Jean de La Fontaine ou de Miguel De Cervantès. Par ailleurs, il m’ont donné le goût des récits d’aventures, d’histoire et de documentaires anciens comme le Petit Journal par exemple.
Les illustrations ont fait entrer dans ma caboche des dizaines de récits visuels sans trop d’effort. C’est la force des images, n’est-ce pas ? Les images font entrer les idées essentielles dans l’esprit avec une grande aisance. Pour l’enfant que j’étais, ce moyen pour retenir certaines choses me convenaient parfaitement. Une cascade de mots ou de chiffres, c’est parfois trop abstrait pour l’imagination. L’image s’efface difficilement de la mémoire." - Serge Bouvet
La mise en valeur d’un visage lors d’un portrait en noir et blanc, impose un traitement gouverné par le choix d’un contraste soigné. L’attrait de la photo se mesurera à l’équilibre de la composition dépendante du style, du contour et de la forme. Pour vous causer de mon approche, je vous propose en outre de télécharger 3 préréglages de qualité du logiciel Adobe Lightroom1 que j’ai conçus pour mes travaux de photographie en noir et blanc. Allons à l’essentiel, téléchargez maintenant gratuitement ces 3 templates Lightroom
Photo report's insight:
(...) Un autre exemple d’application du preset Vintage Duotone Portrait BW – Hight Contrast avec un effet « lost and found » – enjeu esthétique
Tout ne doit pas être éclairé. Bien souvent, il est mieux de suggérer que de montrer quelque chose. C’est ainsi que l’imagination peut se mettre en route. Pour la photo suivante du jeune Jaîn que j’ai prise dans le nord du Rajasthan, j’ai accentué le vignettage et le contraste pour simuler l’effet « lost and found » conceptualisé par Jimmy Wong Howe.
Une partie du sujet se fond dans l’obscurité. Le low key, dans son mouvement qui consiste à cacher des éléments de la figuration dans des noirs profonds, sert le portrait avec richesse et structure, par sa forme, de véritables leitmotivs. L’épure par le noir isole les parties claires en les rendant essentielles à la composition du plan et à la lecture de l’image. Leur importance, leur pouvoir expressif s’en trouvent renforcés en laissant l’excédent figuratif, parfois superficiel, disparaître dans des zones d’obscurité partielles ou complètes.
L’effet « lost and found » immergeant le sujet dans un lieu d’indétermination sombre composée de hautes lumières et d’ombres, renforce le mystère du Jaïn. (...) - Serge Bouvet
A body, used as a canvas, every inch of skin filled with sacred text and figures of mythical creatures, all forming a protective shield. A boxer, a monk, a construction worker, a police man, a soldier, a taxi driver, a shipyard worker, a shaman, a tattoo master; men, women and their inked protection from evil spirits and bad luck. Enter the world of Thailand’s spiritual “yantra” tattoo tradition. - Cedric Arnold
Emerging photographer Andy Spyra (1984, Germany) is currently focusing on two personal, long-term projects in the Kashmir Valley, the location of the longest unresolved conflict in the history of the United Nations. Today, over 700,000 Indian soldiers and paramilitary forces are stationed in the region. This makes Kashmir the most highly militarised zone in the world.
"It was a trip I had always wanted to take; The legendary journey along the Trans Siberian Railway.
Denmark, my native country, you can cross in five hours by train, but in Russia the distances are huge.
I was curious if the connection between people and places would feel different considering the fact that I would pass every tree, every house and every village on my way to Beijing.
The first chock came already when I entered the train. It was completely empty.
The whole idea of the project had been to meet people on the train and make intimate stories from the train compartments. But riding this ghost-train, I had to change the concept:
The intimate work had to come from my encounters with people in the cities and the train became the read thread connecting Moscow, Ulaanbaartar and Beijing.
On the train I ended up with my camera glued to the window photographing the change of landscape as we were let along the russian forests, the mongolian desert and through the mountains to Beijing.
But it was not only Russia, Mongolia and China that was unknown land to me - so was my equipment. It was my first time using a digital camera. Everything was new, but then again, my ambition is always the same; to use the camera as a tool to create contact, closeness and intimacy. I want to meet people, to connect with the cities, to make the places mine, even if it’s just for a short while.
I had the greatest experience in Mongolia, when I ran into a group of Mongolian hunters who invited me to join them on a trip through the mountains that surround Ulaanbaatar.
This reminded me of my life in Greenland. When I was 23 I lived in a small settlement of the East Coast of Greenland, where I was trained as a hunter. The relation you create to nature as a hunter has had a big influence on my life and my work.
Meeting the Mongolian hunter, I immediately felt like putting the camera on a shelf and picking up the riffle. When he shot and slaughtered a deer, we drank the warm blood and ate the raw liver together." - Jacob Aue Sobol
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is home to the deadliest war in the world today. An estimated 5.4 million people have died since 1998, the largest death toll since the Second World War, according to the International Rescue Committee (IRC).
IRC reports that as many as 45,000 people die each month in the Congo. Most deaths are due to easily preventable and curable conditions, such as malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia, malnutrition, and neonatal problems and are byproducts of a collapsed health care system and a devastated economy.
The people living in the mining towns of eastern Congo are among the worst off. Militia groups and government forces battle on a daily basis for control of the mineral-rich areas where they can exploit gold, coltan, cassiterite and diamonds.
After successive waves of fighting and ten years of war, there are no hospitals, few roads and limited NGO and UN presence because it is too dangerous to work in many of these regions. The West’s desire for minerals and gems has contributed to a fundamental breakdown in the social structure.
Photo report's insight:
Marcus Bleasdale was born in the UK to an Irish family, in 1968. He grew up in the north of England and initially studied economics and started work as an investment banker. Although he was a director in a large international bank he resigned in the mid 1990s and began to travel through the Balkans with his camera.
He returned to study photojournalism at the prestigious London School, during which time he won the Ian Parry, Young photographer Award for his work on the conflict in Sierra Leone. He has established himself as one of the worlds leading documentary photographers concentrating on Conflict and Human Rights.
He has been awarded many of the worlds highest honors for his work and continues to highlight the effects of conflict on society. He is a member of the photo agency VII. He lives with his wife Karin Beate in Oslo, Norway.
Gian Luca Groppi is a modern storyteller, who mixes cards and genres, giving his works a caustic lyricism that deliberately does not offer solutions or panaceas, but is rather an attempt at trying to shake us from widespread social and emotional inertia.” And here he is again the "storyteller", who brings together in this exhibition years of works that he himself calls "his only children."
There are many interpretations of yoga, both in India and in the western world. In the Vedic religious tradition, yoga is seen as a pathway to achieving spiritual enlightenment through physical training and as a way of living in harmony with your body and nature. It is also an accepted form of gymnastics and is often used as therapy. Yoga, with its Indian roots stretching back 2000 years, is not typically associated with sport since it does not involve any competition. However, every three years, pilgrims, spiritual masters, and yogis travel to India for the Kumbh Mela Hindu feast. Different schools and sects meet to display their achievements in the practice of yoga and pranayama (control over the breath).
It’s the biggest gathering of people in the world. One of Shiva’s manifestations, the god Nataraja, is the patron saint of the event. Over time, the rules of competition were formally organized and most recently, yoga asana has been included in modern sport yoga. Yogis who participate in the contest are separated into age groups and perform in singles, pairs, or groups. But even with all these formal rules and regulations, the technical aspect does not eclipse the spiritual. The official rules of the Yoga Federation of India state that “while performing yoga positions the contestant should show his/her happiness and spirituality.” This helps keep contestants in touch with teachings of the ancient Hindu masters, who regarded happiness as a task well within the reach of all humans.
The sacred tattoos in Thailand are much more than just an art form, and with a culture deeply rooted in superstition and spirituality, such tattoos are believed to have magical and healing powers. Thai men and also women have their sacred tattoos done at Buddhist temples, for protection against evil spirits, and as good luck charms.
Here's a gallery of monochrome photographs of Muay Thai training made in Bangkok by the talented Mark Carey. These appealed to me as they were photographed away from the glitzy lights of the top Muay Thai arenas in Bangkok, but show the rather edgy side of the sport...as I tried to do in my recent photo essay of the Muay Thai ring in Loi Kroh Road in Chiang Mai.