Tag Archives: Documentary Work

Tearsheet of the Day | 8 May 2012

Picked up a New Yorker issue dated 7 May, 2012 from a London newsagents’ last night…First time in a while..Would obviously like to read The New Yorker on a regular basis, but there just isn’t enough time nor money to buy  every magazine I want. Nevertheless, trying to keep at least some kind of tabs on the magazine by picking up a copy every now and then.

Anyway. There’s a point here. Really liked this portrait of boxer Claressa Shields by photographer Pari Dukovic.  Very simple, and very nice. Claressa Shields is a young American boxer who’s fighting for a place at this summer’s London Olympics. Long piece about her in the magazine written by Ariel Levy.

Caption: Claressa Shields at Berston’s gym, in Flint, Michigan. 

Pari Dukovic is a photographer whose work I don’t remember seeing before.  Had to have a quick look at his website. He was part of PDN30 in 2011, so I obviously hadn’t done my home work well enough. There’s some documentary work in there, such as the series on Turkish oil wrestling, which you might want to check out (Paolo Pellegrin shot the same subject recently and should you want to compare…you can see Pellegrin’s here.).  I enjoyed the most going through Dukovic’s tear sheets (New Yorker appears to be a regular client). Digging the gritty and grainy quality in some of his work, visible for example in portraits of Elizabeth Warren and Bernadette Peters (you can see those in the tear sheets) . Interestingly, the Shields portrait highlighted here  doesn’t necessarily seem like his usual style at all.

NB. Please excuse the poor reproduction of the tear sheet. You can see in its proper glory on Dukovic’s website. I shot the tear sheet with my iPhone on a moving train… Where I’m writing this post…

Photographer #446: Tomasz Gudzowaty

Tomasz Gudzowaty, 1971, Poland, studied law at the University of Warsaw before starting a career in photography. He started as a nature photographer, turned to social documentary work and is currently focusing on documentary sports photography. He concentrates mostly on non-commercial sports, sports that are not present in the media or those that are somehow different from the mainstream sports. Examples of these activities are pole dancing, sumo wrestling, wrestling and urban golf in India, Lucha Libre; a Mexican version of free wrestling, car racing in Mexico, freerunning, Mongolian horseracing, Chinese gymnasts and synchronized swimming. Tomasz tells his stories in the form of photo-essays. His strong and powerful black and white images are made with a large format analogue camera. His work, consisting of a vast amount of projects, has appeared in numerous exhibitions and magazines as Newsweek, Time and The Guardian and has won a large number of awards amongst which are the World Press Photo and NPPA Best of Photojournalism. The following images come from the essays Naadam Race, Lucha Libre and Pole Dancers’ Families.

Website: www.gudzowaty.com

When the Personal Turns Political: LaToya Ruby Frazier at the Whitney Biennial

From the outset of her career as a young artist, LaToya Ruby Frazier has always found inspiration at home. In thoughtfully constructed black and white photographs she began, in her teens, to document herself and her family life in Braddock, Pa.

“What’s the most intimate thing you can portray? For me, it’s myself,” she says.

The work Frazier has featured in the 2012 Whitney Biennial in New York City, which starts Thursday, builds on the classic documentary work she studied while in college at Syracuse University. Over time, the photographer, now 30, began to incorporate staged narratives and self-portraiture meant to challenge viewers with questions about the artist’s objectivity and representation, and that of her loved ones.

She was inspired by the famous work of the Farm Security Administration photographers like Dorothea Lange, but questioned those images. “We all remember Lange’s photograph of the migrant mother but how many of us remember her name?” she asks. “I felt social documentary can only go so far and I started to think, ‘What if the subjects of the Depression-era images photographed themselves?’”

The work featured in the Biennial leaves the confines of her family home and addresses the larger history and representation of Braddock, Pa.—yet it’s all inextricably linked back to Frazier’s life. The first series, called Campaign for Braddock Hospital (Save Our Community Hospital), began when she discovered in her research that the history of Braddock had omitted all the black families that lived there, including that of her own grandfather, who was a steel worker. It didn’t help when the clothing company Levi’s began using Braddock’s industrial history as the inspiration for a major advertising campaign. In one ad, the denim company calls for the “New Pioneers” to “Go Forth” to new opportunities in Braddock and invigorate the town’s growth.

Frazier was left stunned by what she saw as the irony and greed of the ads and eventually repurposed those images in her artwork. The series is made of two parts: first she begins a process of “copy editing” the ads with comments from members of the community, and photographs them. Then she made documentary photos of an actual protest to save the town’s hospital. All the images were made into black and white lithographic prints referencing both turn-of-the-century advertising and social documentary of the 1930s.

In a second series debuting at the Biennial, called Homebody, she created a set of narrative self-portraits in her step grandfather’s now-abandoned apartment in Braddock. The work is a more personal complement to the Campaign series and records a place steeped in memories for Frazier, memories of her deceased grandmother Ruby. The images document a performance in front of the camera as she moves throughout the empty, decaying environment. The Homebody photos expose a fragility that’s often apparent in her work: in an earlier series, The Notion of Family, she had recorded the end of her Grandmother’s life. Frazier herself, her mother and grandmother have all suffered chronic illnesses. Her portraits and self-portraits, she says, “are meant to be factual records of those things and are reflected in the collapsed landscape that is modern day Braddock, Pa.”

“I’m archiving history thats been erased,” she says. “I’m showing what the media is not showing—moments in the town that have been omitted from history and not just African American history, but the working class people I’m speaking about.”

“Braddock started to fall apart when I was born. I’m interested in how I contextualize myself,” she adds. The collapsed interiors and old blankets depicted in the Homebody series don’t provide comfort, only the feeling of whats been lost for Frazier, in a town that’s struggling to move toward an American dream that faded generations ago.

LaToya Ruby Frazier’s work is currently on view in the 2012 Whitney Biennial in New York City. She has previously exhibited her work at The New Museum, MoMA PS1 and The Andy Warhol Museum. She was featured last fall on the PBS program Art 21. To see more of her work click here.

Tim Hetherington


Tim Hertherington, 1970-2011

When thinking about Memorial Day, and our soldiers around the world, I keep coming back to Tim Hetherington and the difficult and meaningful work that he dedicated himself to. Tim was killed on April 20th by a rocket propelled grenade while photographing in the front lines in Misrata, Libya. As a photographer and film maker, he was our eyes, our consciousness, our interpreter of conflict, war, and death. He also brought a humanity and an amazing life spirit to his work. He gave his life for this vision and I want to spend today, not only thinking of Tim, but of those 18 year old young men and women who are too young to deal with the nightmare of war.

Sleeping Soliders Video, 2009
The work was made in 2007-8 while I was following a platoon of US Airborne Infantry based in the Korengal Valley of Eastern Afghanistan. This is a single screen version of the original 3-screen installation that was first show in New York in 2009 (the original 3-screen version was designed as an immerisve installation, and not for the small screen).

Sleeping Soldiers_single screen (2009) from Tim Hetherington on Vimeo.

Tim was born in Liverpool, UK, studied literature at Oxford University and later, photojournalism. At the time of his death, he was living in New York, but was traveling the world as a photo journalist. He is known for his long-term documentary work.

“Tim lived and worked in West Africa for eight years and has reported on social and political issues worldwide. His project Healing Sport was published by Thames and Hudson as part of group project Tales of a Globalizing World (Thames & Hudson 2003). Long Story Bit By Bit:Liberia Retold (Umbrage Editions 2009) narrates recent Liberian history by drawing on images and interviews made over a five year period. A new book, Infidel (Chris Boot Ltd 2010), about a group of US soldiers in Afghanistan, continues the examination of young men and conflict.”

He was also nominated for an Academy Award, along with Sebastian Junger, for his documentary film, Restrepo, about a platoon of soldiers in Afghanistan.

Diary Video (2010)
‘Diary’ is a highly personal and experimental film that expresses the subjective experience of my work, and was made as an attempt to locate myself after ten years of reporting. It’s a kaleidoscope of images that link our western reality to the seemingly distant worlds we see in the media.

Diary (2010) from Tim Hetherington on Vimeo.

Images from Sleeping Soldiers

If you would care to leave condolences for Tim, please visit: www.timhetherington.org

Photographer #276: Damon Winter

Damon Winter, 1974, USA, is a photographer who is highly competent in various kinds of photography. He is based in New York City and works as a staff photographer for The New York Times. He focuses on photojournalism, documentary work, celebrity portraiture and travel photography. For his work he has traveled extensively to places as Iceland, Japan and Afghanistan. His photo essay on sexual abuse victims in Alaska in 2005 was nominated for a Pullitzer Prize, but it wasn’t until 2009 that he won the Pullitzer Prize for feature photography with his images that captured the different facets of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. The following images come from his portfolio Faces and from the stories Afghanistan and Haiti Earthquake.

Website: www.damonwinter.com

Photographer #271: David Chancellor

David Chancellor, 1961, UK, works and lives in South Africa. He studied at Kent Institute of Art and Design. His work, for which he travels extensively, can be best described as documentary reportage. His series Hunters, which will be released as a monograph in 2011, explores the relationship between man and animal. South Africa currently has the largest hunting industry. His series Elephant Story won a World Press Photo award in 2010. We see local villagers in Zimbabwe that fall upon the body of a dead elephant. Within two hours they reduce the large animal to bones. Besides his documentary work David also focuses on landscape and portrait photography and also photographed his wife and son. His photography is very clean, sharp and bright and takes us deep into the subject of human behaviour. Chancellor was named Nikon photographer of the year three times. The following images come from the series Hunters, Cotton and Elephant Story.


Website: www.davidchancellor.com

Photographer #230: Dan Winters

Dan Winters, 1962, USA, is most known for his celebrity portraiture. An endless amount of politicians, musicians and actors have been photographed by Winters. However he does not limit himself to portraiture. Within his photography he also focuses on objects and documentary work. He also draws and makes videos. His photographs have been published in a vast number of magazines and he has received numerous awards for his work. The subjects he chooses to photograph are diverse, from Texas gangs to honeybees to his very own son. His first monograph was released in 2009 with the title; Periodical Photographs. The following images come from the portfolio People; People of Interest, Friends & Neighbors and Actors.


Website: www.danwintersphoto.com

– Funding Opportunity for documentary photographers

The Open Society Institute (OSI) began its Moving Walls project in 1998, and since then has featured the work of more than 100 photographers. OSI is a private foundation that "aims to shape public policy to promote democratic governance, human rights, and economic, legal, and social reform."

Moving Walls are "an artistic interpretation of the obstacles — such as political oppression, economic instability, and racism — that society often erects and the struggles to tear those barriers down." You can easily see how this project supports their commitment to social justice and human rights.

OSI’s Documentary Photography initiative offers Moving Walls grants, distribution grants to individuals and production grants to organizations. You can read about all three grants here . I had trouble finding specific information on the Production and Distribution grants, however I found plenty of information about the Moving Walls grant.

Photographers are encouraged "to submit documentary work of national or international subjects that coincide with the issues and geographical areas that are principally of concern to OSI." There is no fee to apply.

Grants cover your approved submitted budget for printing, drymounting, and other production costs, a $1,500 royalty payment, and covers costs up to $750 to return your work. Works will be displayed at their exhibition opening October 1, 2009. Previous grantees include Dana Popa , Marcus Bleasdale , and especially notably, Steve Liss .

You can read all the specifics on the application process , but keep in mind that the application/proposal deadline is Friday, December 5, 2008.