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vladimir vasilev – life in concrete

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Vladimir Vasilev

Life inconcrete

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A concrete city of Bulgarias post-communist world – this is my homeland.It is real, without any decor. The unfinished transition to a European way of life is a bitter reality that cannot be hidden it is visible in the mind.On periodic returns to my native town in the late 2000s, I constantly rediscovered people, and the still slow and painful break with the past andconcrete. Their fate and destiny turned to concrete, a cheaper existence far away from lifes previous harmony. plastic surgery . Concrete has transformed them into itself, into its own fellow grays. The reinforced concrete structures have done a good job they are barriers between the vital biological environment and people, it has broken their contact withnature. Man, like any living creature separated from its natural environment, has changed both physically and spiritually. In these deformed human beings. I tried my best to find the truth.These images are dedicated to: Anyone living and working in the concrete city of the modern world; the cheerful and carefree children playing in a lifeless environment of stone and debris. They are young and energetic enough to get over everything, to stand the changes and recover. They still do not feel the slow withering embrace of reinforced concrete. But it is a hard mission to restore natural harmony for the future.This theater is displayed without makeup or decorations.
BioVladimir Vasilev, 33, was born in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria. He graduated the college of teaching foreign languages in his hometown. He received basic photography training at age 19. In 1996, he enrolled at the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy in Sofia. Three years later, he stopped his studies in order to devote himself to photography entirely.He then worked as an assistant photographer and lighting designer in the advertising studio Karkelanov, Sofia. In 2001, he left for France where he spent 8 years waiting to be a legal resident, all the while following the path of photography.He has been working as an independent photographer since 2008.
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matteo armellini – simon

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Matteo Armellini

Simon / Story of a softgunner

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In these years of virtual reality,
 where children have stopped playing war in the courtyard
 and do it in front of the computer instead,
 there are those who don’t want to miss the adrenalin on the skin.
 Weekly, groups of fans of military tactics come in lost places.
 Wearing uniforms and with weapons in hand, they simulate real battles, 
sometimes recreating episodes of real wars.
 Of course they do it with “toy” guns, rifles that shoot plastic pellets.

What drives these people playing war, at a time when we are bombarded 
with pictures of pain and suffering associated with conflicts?

How could it be that one could confuse the images of a game with images of a real war?

This is the world of SOFTAIR.

The protagonist of this project is 
Simon, aka Sergeant Ramirez, 24th Marines Expeditionary Unit. 
Simon is a young, precarious, man born in the Dominican Republic. Now he lives in Rome in the multi-ethnic neighborhood of San Lorenzo, where
 young people from all over the world live a reality 
made of short-term project contracts and dreams of quick profits.

Softair is a chance at integration. Playing war shares intense emotions with unknown people.
 Despite the fiction, the atmosphere is true and sincere, as are the relationships established between participants.
 Friendship, envy, hate, submission, admiration and loyalty all come to play.

With this long-term project, I am examining in depth 
the concepts of social and sociability, conflicts,
 deviations, and definition of roles, especially in places of male aggregation.


Bio

Matteo Armellini was raised in Rome where he currently lives.
 He studied Sociology at La Sapienza University of Rome and Photography and Visual Arts at European Institute of Design. 
In 2008 he started travelling as freelance photographer through Europe, Asia and South America, focusing on social issues and subcultures.
 His pictures have been published in many magazine, such as The Big Issue Australia, The Times, Aftonbladet, Vice International, The Trip, Fotografijos ratas, Freak and Kult Magazine.


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Matteo Armellini

william eckersley alexander shields – u.s.80

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William Eckersley and Alexander Shields

U.S.80

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These photographs are from a recently completed body of work, titled U.S.80.

U.S.80 was the first coast-to-coast highway in America, pre-dating even the fabled Route 66. It spans nearly 3,000 miles between Savannah, Georgia and San Diego, California, covering an enormous diversity of the American landscape and culture.

This includes the rural south, scarred by civil war and civil rights, boom towns of Texas enriched with oil surplus, and creeping scarcity as scrubland gives way to the western deserts along the Mexican border. Having been superseded by interstates, this once thriving road now lies neglected through parts of America that are also frequently overlooked.

During three visits between 2008 and 2009, we travelled U.S.80 several times, building a collection of large and medium format photographs that document the road and its environs. We’ve always had a fascination with America and particularly with the travelogue genre of American film and literature. Through this prism, we wanted to explore our interests in forgotten worlds and slightly wild, inhospitable landscapes, as well as the often transient nature of America’s built environment – something that reflects the history of migration in U.S. culture.

The project was recently published as a book with a foreword by the renowned journalist and broadcaster Jon Snow, and exhibited at Cole Contemporary on Little Portland Street during London’s Frieze Art Fair.


Bio

Eckersley and Shields have been photographing for the better part of a decade, after initially studying at LCC and St.Martin’s. In that time, Eckersley spent a number of years working as an architecture and interiors photographer for a London design agency, whilst Shields worked as a graphic designer for a news channel in Washington DC. However, it is their collaborations that have produced their most arresting work.

Their first project, Left London, was an historic study of derelict sites and buildings around their home city. It reflected their interest in abandoned spaces and garnered wide critical acclaim. After setting up Stucco Press to publish the work as a 176 page book, Sarah Kent (Time Out’s influential Art Editor) was among consenting voices when she asserted that “never before has vanity publishing led to such a splendid publication”.

The success of the book prompted involvement in two high-profile exhibitions- London Stories at Shoreditch Town Hall and the Photo London 2007 exhibition in Old Billingsgate Market. Work from this project is held by various collectors, including the sportswear company Nike, and Sir Elton John.

U.S.80 was published as a book in September 2010, with a foreword by the renowned journalist and broadcaster Jon Snow, and complimented by an exhibition at Cole Contemporary on Little Portland Street during London’s Frieze Art Fair. Eckersley has a further project, with the working title of Dark City, due for publication in 2011.

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US 80 The Book

lea meilandt – the maguires

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Lea Meilandt

The Maguires

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The number of poor families in the United States is growing rapidly these years. Unemployment and expensive housing makes it almost impossible for families all over the country to make ends meet and create a stable and safe everyday life.

The Maguire family from Boston is one of those families. They know what it is like to lose everything. For nearly a year Katie, Bill and their five kids lived in a shelter, after Bill lost his job and the family could no longer afford the expensive housing in the city. Now aided by the state of Massachusetts, the Maguires live in a small house in Medford, just outside Boston. But the family’s financial situation is still far from good. Bill’s new job barely pays for rent and food, and day care, with its extremely high cost, is out of the question. This means that Katie has to stay home all day with the kids, unable to work. The vulnerability of the economic situation has enormous impact on the Maguires. Katie and Bill are exhausted, they worry about loosing the house and they both suffer from low self esteem and anxiety. There is very little energy left for the children. Keeping the family happy and healthy seems an insurmountable challenge.

Portraying the Maguires is an ongoing project; the aim is to document the life of the family as it evolves over the years.
The project won a second prize in Danish POY and a third place in Winephoto 2010.


Bio

Lea Meilandt was born in Denmark in 1982. She studied photojournalism at the Danish School of Journalism and graduated in 2009. Since then she has worked as a freelance photographer based in Copenhagen – primarily working with long term projects on social issues.


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sara katz – the man behind the curtain

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Sara Katz

The Man Behind the Curtain

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When I was growing up, and my dad got into any sort of argument with my mom over something banal (the most common cause being a joke deemed too off-color, annoying, childish, etc.), I would say something in his defense or just affirm my approval by laughing. Even though this argument never actually placated my mom, he would turn to me every time and say, in a tone of voice that suggested this unconditionally proved he was beyond reproof, “See, she thinks I’m funny.” And when my mom gave her follow-up disapproving grunt, he would add with a smirk, “You just don’t understand me. Sara and I understand each other though.” And it was true, we did understand each other. But then I got older, and the more I actually learned about my dad, the more that childhood idolatry faded (like it does with most people at some point). My dad was not the immaculate wizard that I once thought he was. Yet as the bluntness of these pictures suggest, I am still extremely close to my dad. His willingness to participate in this project had no conditions, except his affirmation of my mom’s firm demand for “no naked photographs.” As if they had to ask.

While part of this project is photojournalistic in nature, a documentation of a day in the life of 60-year-old David Alexander Katz, the other half is about my own experience of what it is like to go home when home has lost its authority. As an only child who spent the vast majority of her first five years within five hundred feet of her house (and after that, evenly split between school), it perhaps took me longer than most to realize that the vocabulary, lifestyle, and values of my family were not universal. Now, to return home is to feel like a well-informed guest. I am still in the know. I am well schooled in the lingo and rituals, and yet I have also gained the outsider’s critical eye for detail. Parts of my dad that never seemed interesting or unique (i.e. worth photographing) now appear like new discoveries.

If there was a challenging aspect to this project it was that, while away from home I was confident in the idea, but after being home for a bit to shoot it became difficult to see the point. As my dad put it after he took in the work for the first time, “I dunno Sara, I’m proud, but it just looks like a bunch of pictures to me.” At times I’ve felt the same way.


Bio

Sara Katz was born in Baltimore in 1985, graduated from Bard College in 2007, and currently resides primarily in Brooklyn.


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brandan gomez – things that never happened

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Brandan Gomez

Things That Never Happened

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These are the images of what never happened, but should have. They express what really moves the world: desires, deep desires that start forming in your early years, and crystallize inside your chest when you begin to understand the world that surrounds you. Because what never happened is not real, it has never been photographed- because it doesn’t exist. It has just emerged from the collective subconscious into a medium format black and white negative.

So the author is lucky to have received these images.

It all happened in a very small coastal village in the North of Portugal called Costa Nova. This place has special light because it has the Atlantic Ocean on the west and a water channel on the east. The piece of land is five kilometers long and two hundred meters wide. There is always some mist floating in the air and water acts like a mirror; light reflects in every object and somehow blinds you enough to see what has never happened.

The essay will grow with the chance to return to Costa Nova and see the light again.


Bio

Brandán Gómez is a photographer. He is based in Santiago de Compostela, a religious pilgrimage center in the north west of Spain. He has also worked in Madrid and Torino. The first approach into photography was before he can remember, watching his father work in the family black and white lab as a very small child.

He has been producing photographs for more than ten years, although he has made his living directing others for advertising projects. As a photographer he has made several collective exhibitions. His work has been published in regional magazines and specialized online media.


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Brandan Gomez

michael christopher brown – libya

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ESSAY CONTAINS EXPLICIT CONTENT

Michael Christopher Brown

Libya

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LIBYA
Since arriving ten days ago, I have tried to understand the situation here in Libya. People swap facts, predictions and rumors, the news feeds me information, but the complexity of the conflict makes it impossible to fully comprehend. Once a picture is taken or a word is written it is already old news. There seems to be no way to catch up, as the database of history is filed before it is processed. And as a result I have become more confused. But I can attest to one reality, shown in these photographs. They form a loose record of my experience during the war in Libya.

CAIRO TO BENGHAZI (FIRST JOURNAL ENTRY)
Around midnight we piled into a tiny car and drove for 7 hours, from Cairo to the eastern border of Libya. A wide eyed nicely dressed Egyptian city man, our driver with slick black greasy hair, persuaded military officer after officer standing beside tanks that he had foreigners and therefore special privilege to pierce the curfew barriers and drive west, as if in a high-speed chase on empty highways, past the beautiful night city of Cairo and into a deep desert countryside as cigarette smoke escaped out the window. Somewhere sometime we passed the pyramids, not too longer after a pit stop with a McDonald’s and a shopkeeper selling ‘StarFuck’ ashtrays shaped as green coffee cups. The jetlagged dreams of 3 packed in a backseat took us elsewhere as the sun rose over the Mediterranean just beyond the sand dunes. The barren desert, looking left to nowhere looking right to the sea. The towns were simple shacks and here and there and rare were men in long robes without faces standing still. Wearing white robes and black robes, with camels near the sandy highway.

Would Libya be different? Would it be a different world? Something told us so. Something would be there for us. Danger, excitement, importance, freedom, death. Perhaps all. Smoking cigarettes. We arrived beyond Salloum where lines of trucks and cars waited for those leaving Libya. Arms in the air, Egyptians and Chinese and Indonesians crossing to somewhere safe. We moving in the opposite direction, elated. Then more journalists, then some we knew. On the other side more people piled up. A hall full of Indonesians, laying about as if dead so I exchanged my Egyptian money with their Libyan, using a rate in their favor and losing $100 in the process. Something to do. Then we walked the 1000 yards or so to the Libyan gate, guarded by men in plainclothes and rebels.

A man in dark sunglasses glanced suspiciously at us. They inspected our passports, we filled out a quick form and walked to Libya, to a road bordered on both sides by tall cement walls. Two Libyans of about 25 offered to take us to their hometown of Benghazi. We jumped into the van, looking a lot like my Jinbei in China. The concrete walls, looking like blast walls, surrounded trucks and cars wedged together in a narrow dusty strip with men wrapped in scarves holding automatics and eying the interior of our ride suspiciously. They were young men, these rebels, with old men in the background watching. No uniforms, like bandits, they were among the opposition who had recently wrested eastern Libya from Gaddafi. They nodded heads with our driver, who sped up, then sped up again, passing cars and whizzing past a littered landscape of wrecked automobiles and buildings and into an emptier desert than Egypt’s.

Faster faster our driver outsped his buddies in the other van, and his eyes faster than anything existing in the desert that day or anytime before. His eyes beyond the horizon, beyond what was happening in the country. All the fighting could not reach the (what was it in his eyes?) it in his eyes. A few windy turns but not many, the highway whisked through abandoned (after coming from china everything looked abandoned) tiny sand towns with few buildings, all small and plain and square or rectangular against the pastel landscape. But mostly phone lines, empty phone lines carrying messages to the west and we were messengers to the west. Driving faster now our drivers eyes not leaving the road. Faulty communication. I know little Arabic and him the word ‘smoking.’ One stop at a road café we ate tuna sandwiches and photographed a man and his gun. Our drivers buddies caught up and we raced each other down the road, the landscape turning from sand to rock then greenery. It began to rain. We made Benghazi by nightfall and arrived at the African hotel. The first night spent in a real bed in Africa, with dirty sheets and one cockroach.


Bio

Raised in Washington State, Michael moved to New York and began working as a freelance photographer in 2006. His clients include GEO, Time, National Geographic Magazine, Smithsonian, Fortune, The Atlantic and ESPN The Magazine, among others.


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Michael Christopher Brown

michael webster – brooklyn carnival

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Michael Webster

Brooklyn Carnival

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Brooklyn’s West Indian Day Parade takes place every Labor Day weekend. With a crowd of over two million people it is the largest parade in New York City and possibly North America. These photos are not from that parade. They are from preceding events — the Junior Carnival and the J’ouvert Parade.

J’ouvert, pronounced “joo-vay” in Brooklyn, means “opening of the day” or “dawn” in French. It began in Trinidad as a mockery of the French masquerade ball. In opposition to the costumed finery and refined dances of their oppressors, slaves covered themselves in mud, paint or oil and danced to a significantly different beat. Although mostly just a giant party here in Brooklyn, J’ouvert retains something of that political nature to this day.

I stumbled across both of these events while walking around Brooklyn in the early morning and have attended them many times over the years. I believe that, taken together, they provide a revealing portrait of the Caribbean community.


Bio

Michael Webster is a photographer living in Brooklyn.


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Michael Webster