Tag Archives: Imagery

Violentology: Stephen Ferry Documents the Colombian Conflict

Photographer Stephen Ferry has spent ten years documenting the ongoing internal armed conflict in Colombia — a situation that, he says, is often overlooked or miscast as a ‘drug war’ outside of the country. In his recently-published book, Violentology: A Manual of the Colombian Conflict, Ferry presents a comprehensive look at this incredibly complicated and brutal conflict with the use of his own photographs, historical imagery and text.

Printed on heavy newsprint and produced on the rotary press of the Bogota daily newspaper El Espectador, Violentology’s physicality references the tradition of print journalism  an industry which has played a central role in shedding light on many of the atrocities committed in Colombia.

“The point here is not just to present photographs but also that they be accompanied by an investigation that is very serious,” said Ferry. “And all of that really detailed and important and dramatic information is information that came from the Colombian press. So, I wanted the design to reflect my respect for their practice.”

The book’s outsize pages are the width of magazine spreads, another nod to print journalism, but also, Ferry said, a way to get readers to spend time with the tome.

“The topic is a very serious one and its not necessarily a topic that is in the headlines, so I wanted to use whatever visual and design strategies I could in order to slow the readers’ down and keep people’s attention on the subject,” he explains.

Ferry’s Violentology project was awarded the inaugural Tim Hetherington Grant in 2011 by World Press Photo and Human Rights Watch. Additional support from the Open Society Institute has helped to make the book available in both Spanish and English versions. Selected chapters are also available as downloadable PDFs.

Stephen Ferry is a photojournalist whose work has received numerous honors from World Press and Magnum Foundation among others. See more of his work here.

Violentology was recently published by Umbrage Editions. See more about the book here

Embodiment: A Portrait of Queer Life in America by Molly Landreth


Stella and Sterling, 2007, Seattle, WA, from Embodiment: A Portrait of Queer Life in America
© Molly Landreth

Embodiment: A Portrait of Queer Life in America is an ongoing photography / biography archive project by Molly Landreth. It is rich with imagery, honesty, humor, and individual stories. It’s a celebration of life and love, and it avoids the usual clichés.

Here’s the story about this photo of Stella and Sterling, written 5 years after it was taken:

STELLA 2012:

“Basically, when this photo was taken, me and Sterling had recently broken up. Well, of course, that’s what gives this photo such a strange undertone. I look angry. Well, my choice in eyebrows doesn’t help the situation. Our mattresses had been pushed apart prior to the photo I believe. That was a big deal. I was waiting to hear back about a new apartment and we were awkwardly living together after the break up in a one bedroom. And then the “happy valentines day” box, pinned above our beds. It looks so empty and lonely up there. I remember being excited to be featured in your project and I’m still glad I did it but I also remember thinking we were fooling everyone that we were still together in the photo that so many people who didn’t know us at all would be viewing. Looking back at it years later, I see we weren’t fooling anyone. Though it was an uncomfortable time in my life, I’m happy that you were able to capture the situation so perfectly.”

See many more portraits and related stories from this series here in Lens Culture.

Re Runs: Sarah Hadley

I’m stepping away from Lenscratch this week to work on a new personal website and prepare for upcoming photo activities…wanted to reintroduce you to some wonderful photographers featured several years ago, today with a post on Sarah Hadley that ran in 2009. Sarah is now the Director of the Filter Photo Festival in Chicago, coming up in October.

Chicago photographer, Sarah Hadley, has packed her suitcases and moved to Los Angeles, and the left coast is lucky to have her. Sarah works both as a fine art and editorial photographer, and manages to have a piled-high plate of awards, grants, and exhibitions. Much of Sarah’s fine art work has a reference to dreams, whether it be imagery of the space where we dream the most in Unconscious Terrain, or dreamy interpretations of places around the world.

I think every photographer talks about the magic of seeing that first image appear in a tray of developer and of being hooked for life. I believe a good photograph asks more questions than it answers, and my photography is a way for me to constantly challenge myself to really look at the world around me.

Images from Unconscious Terrain

There is something intangible about the best photographs, something that reminds us of the moment between wake and sleep, and of the beauty that we see and feel but cannot describe, and of our own mortality. These are the kinds of images I try to make.

Images from Venetian Dreams

Re Runs: Hisaji Hara

I’m stepping away from Lenscratch this week to work on a new personal website and prepare for upcoming photo activities…wanted to reintroduce you to some wonderful photographers featured several years ago, today with a post on Hisaji Hara that ran in 2010.

Many photographers, myself included, are inspired by painters. Toyko photographer Hisaji Hara has reproduced art works by Balthus in timeless black and white imagery.

Hara’s tranquil monochrome portraits look strangely familiar — and indeed, all are modeled after paintings by Balthus (1908-2001), one of the most revered artists of the 20th century. Although the figures and background furnishings are not identical to the originals, the compositions are. Through this tableau-vivant-like approach, Hara somehow manages to capture the essence of Balthus’s works.

photograph of Balthus and his wife

Images by Hisaji Hara followed by the paintings that inspired them.

Photo News – Portrait Salon calls for unselected photographs from entrants to this year’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2012

Portrait Salon is planning its second annual ‘Salon des Refuses’ for the unselected photographs from the well-known international Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize.

So, if you have one, two or a few of the 5,280 unselected images from the 5,340 images received by 2,352 photographers, then you can re-submit your images to Portrait Salon via the submissions page. If you don’t feel like doing the maths, this means that 60 images are shown each year. This year, if you have a betting inclination, the odds were a 1:89 chance of getting an image shown.

“Portrait Salon is a type Salon des Refuses – an exhibition of works rejected from a juried art show – which has a long tradition as a fringe way of showcasing artists’ work that may otherwise go unseen. Devised in 2011 by James O Jenkins and Carole Evans, Portrait Salon aims to show the best of the unselected entries from the 2012 photo portrait prize.

“Portrait Salon will celebrate the best of the rejected work in the form of a projection and newspaper launch in November. In order to maintain a high standard of imagery, the projection will be curated. This year, we are delighted to have the help of Open Eye Gallery curator Karen Newman, Hat Margolies from Lucid Rep and photographer Dan Burn-Forti.”

Filed under: Photographers, Photography Awards & Competitions Tagged: Carole Evans, competition, James O Jenkins, National Portrait Gallery, Photography, Portrait Salon, Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize

Summer reruns: Slimeface

Summer reruns: This post previously ran on August 8th, 2009

Paul Tarin, aka Slimeface, recently added me as a contact on JPG Magazine. With a name like that, you think, who the hell is this? So I checked him out. Turns out that Slimeface has been a long-haul trucker for over 30 years, who also happens to be a photographer, and is taking full advantage of his unique perspective of our country’s endless highways to capture real “on the road” imagery. I admire his hard work and envy seeing the vistas and beauty that he captures on a regular basis. His enthusiasm for his craft, his desire to learn and connect with other photographers, even writing his own photography blog, all while spending hours behind the wheel, makes him quite remarkable. Finding his work has given me a new perspective on tuckers and travel and certainly makes me want to gas up the car and get going.

I’m a 53 year old long haul trucker and have been trucking for over 30 years. Currently I travel coast to coast pulling a tanker full of food “grade A” products such as milk, cream, liquid eggs, yeast and assorted juices. Driving on an average of 700 miles a day doesn’t leave much time for sightseeing but I take advantage of every opportunity and stop I make to take pictures of the places and people I come across.

Behind the Cover: Capturing the American Dream

To define the American Dream in words is simple enough: “the perennial conviction that those who work hard and play by the rules will be rewarded with a more comfortable present and a stronger future for their children,” writes Jon Meacham in this week’s cover story. To capture the American Dream in one image is a trickier task.

“There were so many ways to show the American Dream, from imagery of people coming over to America by boat and seeing the Statue of Liberty to the dot com era and everything in between,” says Jeff Minton, who photographed this week’s cover. “Ultimately, we went with a more simple approach—showing the perfect lawn, and letting the viewer imagine the broader implications that the picture might represent.”

That perfect lawn was actually a sod farm located about an hour outside of Los Angeles. After hoisting his camera onto a crane, Minton controlled the digital capture from a tent 40 ft. below, where he set up different vignettes with models and props within the frame of his lens. “This kind of image would have been easy to composite together with stock images,” he says. “But it seemed like such a romantic idea—much like the American Dream—to actually photograph different scenes by camera.”

Jeff Minton is a Los Angeles based photographer. See more of his work here.

MORE: Read this week’s cover story on the American Dream

Jonathan Stead

Sometimes I see projects where the imagery, process, and presentation are a perfect fit–and Jonathan Stead’s compelling and poignant series, Fragile Mind, about his grandmother’s journey through dementia and ultimately into death is one of them. His images are perfect reflections of an experience layered with fragility, sadness, and memory.

Jonathan lives in Sheffield, UK, where he runs workshops in analogue photography. He received his undergraduate degree in graphic design at the University of Lincoln and is currently in the process of finishing of his MA in photography at Manchester Metropolitan University. His work concentrates on the hand crafted and “considered nature” of analogue photography. Jonathan’s work uses historic and alternative processes and techniques to create work that is timeless and has an ethereal beauty.

Fragile Mind: Fragile Mind documented my Grandmothers struggle with dementia and, as it turned out, the last few months of her life. During my weekly visits I became fascinated by the syndrome and how it began to claim her personality and ultimately her identity.

It led me to ask questions about our memory, it’s fragility and how it defines us.

The events that led to this project began over three years ago when my Grandmothers husband died and she started to become increasingly withdrawn and confused. Perhaps it was the lack of focus, the lack of someone to care for but over the following year or so she became increasingly vulnerable and dementia started to become noticeable which led to her being moved to a care home.

I was struck by how this condition made her withdraw and become increasingly isolated and internal. As destructive as the syndrome is, it is also fascinating in terms of how the various stages affect a person. Her stock answer became ‘no’ (to cut the conversation), she began to talk less and less, and in the last six weeks she never opened her eyes. At this point the only things that seemed to get through were music (she used to tap her feet to the beat) and touch.

When she was younger my Grandmother’s two passions were sewing (she was a professional seamstress) and dancing. There were a few times when I would visit her and she would be in her own little world tapping her feet or trying to hem the dress that she sat it, I found these moments fascinating – was she lost in some kind of dream state? Her version of now seemed to be the reality of twenty years ago.

My work does not usually follow this documentary route especially involving people and at times I felt a little intrusive and almost as if I was doing something wrong. But the more the project developed the more documenting this time in my Grandmothers life became appropriate. I never set out to create a beautiful body of work I wanted to capture the monotonous nature of her days, the glimpses of emotion and the sense of loss I was witnessing.

The project aims to convey the vulnerable nature of us and of our minds. I chose to use glass plates to reflect the fragile nature of my subject. Showing the translucent glass plates without any frame echo’s the fragility that I saw in my Grandmother. The plates that I am most fond of are the ones where the emulsion was made to come away from the glass during processing. These fragmented elements, the mistakes and the organic qualities of these flaws were what I was searching for, they for me, sum up her last few days.

Installation Images