Lydia Panas is an award-winning photographer whose work has been exhibited widely throughout the United States and abroad, and has won numerous awards. She was one of nine International Discoveries, Houston Fotofest in 2007. Her work is included in numerous collections, including Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Brooklyn Museum, and Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago. Lydia has degrees from Boston College, the School of Visual Arts, New York University/International Center of Photography, as well as an Independent Study Fellowship from the Whitney Museum of American Art. Lydia has taught photography at a number of institutions, including The Museum of Modern Art, Lafayette, Muhlenberg and Moravian Colleges, Kutztown University, The Maine Media Workshops, The Vermont College MFA program, and the Baum School of Art/Lehigh Carbon Community College.
Arantxa Cedillo is one of those unique documentary photographers who has the ability to reinterpret difficult situations into work that is artistic, poignant and meaningful. Her sensitivity to her subjects and her ability to tell stories in unique ways make her a gifted seer. I am featuring her project, Cambodian Children at Risk, where she manages to obscure the identity of her subjects, yet create compelling diptych portraits.
Arantxa was born in Madrid and studied the Photojournalism and Documentary Photography Program at the International Center of Photography.
Her work has received several international awards such as the Ian Parry Award (2005, UK), the Kiyosato’s Young Portfolio Acquisitions (2005, 2006, Japan), the Magenta Foundation’s Emerging Photographers Award (2008, 2011, Canada), the Alexandra Boulat Scholarship TPW (2008, Italy), and numerous others. Arantxa has been widely published with clients such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Time Magazine, The New York Times, CNN, New York Magazine, the Sunday Times Magazine, the Christian Science Monitor, GEO, Colors, Le Monde, Marie Claire, El Pais Semanal, Io Dona, The Australian and DU among others.
Her work has been widely published in galleries around the world including the Canon Japan Gallery (Tokyo), Getty Images Gallery (London), International Center of Photography (New York), New Orleans Photo Alliance (New Orleans), Center for Photography at Woodstock (Woodstock), Toronto Image Works Gallery (Toronto), Mogliano Veneto (Treviso) and the Royal University of Fine Arts (Phnom Penh).
She is currently based in Kathmandhu, Nepal, and her work is represented by Getty Images Global Assignment.
Cambodian Children at Risk it is a project produced, within the IOM “Human Rights Protection for Trafficking Victims through Legal Support” Project and funded by the Italian Cooperation.The primary concern was to present children at risk without showing their faces or any other feature that could lead to their identification, which was a very significant and creative challenge. It was done working with households and local communities in Cambodia to show the lives and livelihoods of children at risk. This project was produced in collaboration with Damnok Toek, Krousar Thmey and Mith Samlanh, and with the support of the Royal Government of Cambodia.
Malis’s family were very poor, with no rice, no land to grow food, no tools for farming. When she was in Grade 2, she dropped out of school and the whole family went to Vietnam to beg. When Malis was about ten, she decided to go back with her aunt to earn money for her parents by washing dishes. At the border, the police let her through, even though she had no papers, because she was very small.
Her friends introduced her to a family where she washed dishes and mopped floors for a month, but then they asked her to go back to her family in Cambodia. Malis went home, but later returned to Vietnam with a broker from her village to work as a beggar. Shortly after she arrived, Malis got lost in Ho Chi Minh City for a year.
A “black lady’ (who had darker skin than Malis) took her to a household in southern Vietnam, which used to be Cambodian territory. She did housework for a Khmer-speaking family, earning 20,000 Vietnamese Dong (US1) a day. Although the family did not mistreat her, Malis was afraid that they would keep her forever. The broker did not help her to go home. In fact, when her parents went to court in Cambodia to try to trace her, the broker ran away from the village.
When she was three years old, her mother gave her to another family to take care of her. When she was eight, she was passed on to a second family, and when she was 11, to a third. It is believed that all the families beat her. One day when she was washing the dishes, the mother beat her, so she ran away. She slept outside and people recognized her, so she ran away again. An NGO found her and contacted the third family, but when the mother arrived Champa ran away again. She went to a pagoda and was cared for by the nuns for a few weeks, but girls are not allowed to live in pagodas, so the monks were not comfortable with having her. The NGO contacted Damnok Toek, who took her to the Day Care Centre.
His father died after falling from a palm tree. When he was eight, his mother and sister forced him and his two brothers to go to Phnom Penh. There he earned about 6,000 riel (US 1.50) a day begging, while his brothers earned 10,000 Riel (US 2.50) washing dishes. They all slept together on the street.
Chan started working in front of the Royal Palace, but gangsters beat him up and took his money. One night, they put tissues between his toes and lit them. He got scared, and started walking around all night to stay awake. The gangsters forced him to sniff glue and use yama. He began to want to use it because it made it possible for him to work at night, and made him feel happy. A foreigner took him and one of his friends to a hotel, but the police arrived before anything happened. He decided to stop using yama.
Chan fell sick, and his sister-in-law, who sold toys in front of the Royal Palace, took him to Mith Samlanh. Eventually, his sister-in-law asked if he could live there. Now he studies part-time at Mith Samlanh and part-time at public school, where he is in Grade 4.
He came to Phnom Penh with his grandmother when he was ten because his father beat him. He collecting recyclables and helped his grandmother to sell flowers in front of the Royal Palace, where they lived on the street.
An American man met him while he was taking a bath outside the Palace. The man took him for walks, bought him food and new clothes, took him to study English, and abused him. About eight months later, the man was arrested and Kdeb was asked to testify against him. The man was sent to prison and ordered to pay compensation, but it is unclear if this was ever paid.
His grandmother rented a place near the market, and Kdeb lived there with her. But the situation was not safe because the police “cleaned the streets”, so Mith Samlanh moved him to the centre, where he lived for about six months. He now lives with his grandmother again and continues studying at Mith Samlanh.
Kdeb likes football, especially Christian Ronaldo, and likes drawing nature pictures, such as landscapes and flowers. He says, “I would like to study more, but I don’t know what. In future, I would like to be a policeman.”
Klok spent four years in Bangkok, begging on bridges, to support his parents and six siblings, under close watch by the broker who took him there.
When he was 11 years old, Klok was caught by the police. He was put in a detention centre with about 30 other children. Some tried to escape or fought with each other, but Klok did not do that, because he wanted to go back to Cambodia.
Kolap grew up working amid garbage, but education is now giving her a chance to grow in healthier soil.
Champey has been studying at Krousar Thmey for five years. She is slow at learning because she cannot see much and is still in Grade 1, but she is a very good student. She always sits in the front row of the class, does everything at school and participates in all the activities.
Palmer Davis creates photographs that explore the mysterious and the magical in the everyday. His pictures evoke a sense of place and time and tell a story. Whether the setting is natural or man-made, an expansive landscape or an intimate space, it is always a personal interpretation, viewed through a prism of memory, dream, myth and desire. His photographic eye has been developed over a thirty-year career as an award-winning advertising creative director at Young & Rubicam, Ally & Gargano, Darcy Masius Benton & Bowles and other Madison Avenue agencies. He studied photography and filmmaking at Hampshire College, California College of Arts and Crafts, N.Y.U. and The International Center of Photography, where he is now a member of the faculty. Davis lives in New York with his wife and three sons.
2012 is turning into the year of the Japanese photobook exhibition. After Contemporary Japanese Photobooks at The Photographers’ Gallery in London, New Yorkers now have the 10×10 Japanese Photobooks Reading Room to look forward to from 28-30 September. 10×10 is a 3-day pop-up reading room sponsored by the International Center of Photography Library with 100 Japanese photobooks selected by 10 specialists (=10×10). Since this event is also sponsored by the Photobook Facebook Group, there had to be some online action too, so the organizers have asked 10 people from the Internet to each select 10 books, which, according to my stellar arithmetical abilities, gives us a total of 200 books. For my list, I have tried to select books that represent different facets of Japanese photobook production over the last 60 years (I have managed to get one book from every decade since the 1950s). I should also mention a few obstructions in my selection. Firstly, I was asked not to select books that had already been selected other participants. As I tend to do things at the last minute, I had to make a few changes to my initial selection. Secondly, I have only selected books that I own so I could include some (rather poor quality) photographs of them. So without further ado…
Hiroshi Hamaya, China as I Saw It [Mite Kita Chugoku].
(Tokyo: Kawade Shobo Shinsha, 1958).
In 1956, just before Mao’s Great Leap Forward, Hamaya travelled through China to Canton, Shanghai, Xian, Lanzhou, Urumchi and Beijing. As with most of his early work, these photographs focus on the local folklore and people’s everyday life. Although it is not self-published, this is one of the most self-made photobooks that I know of. Hamaya took the photographs, wrote the text, designed the book inside and out (which leads to some unusual layout choices) and used his own calligraphy on the cover and for the fantastic end papers (a hand-drawn map of the route he took through China). With the gorgeous gravure printing of the period thrown in for good measure, this is one of those “They don’t make ‘em like this anymore” books.
Naoya Hatakeyama, A Bird: Blast #130. (Tokyo: Taka Ishii Gallery, 2006).
I tried to avoid choosing personal favourites for this list, but I have to confess that this is one of them. The book is a kind of outtake from Hatakeyama’s Blast series on the explosions used in limestone quarrying. The Blast pictures are frame-by-frame deconstructions of explosions of limestone taken with remote cameras in order to get as close as possible to the action. When going through his contact sheets, Hatakeyama discovered that a bird had flown through the frame for the duration of one such blast. The book starts just before the charges are set off and ends as the dust is still settling in the air. Throughout, the bird continues its flight, only adjusting its course slightly in order to avoid the disturbance below. The drama and violent beauty of the explosion is made to feel almost insignificant by this bird flying across the sky. The production of the book is nothing special, but then it doesn’t need to be… in a way it reminds me of the flipbooks I loved so much as a kid. As an aside, Hatakeyama’s Blast series has, amazingly, never been published as a book, but thankfully that is soon going to be put right.
Eikoh Hosoe, The Butterfly Dream. (Kyoto: Seigensha, 2006).
Eikoh Hosoe has produced some of the great and most elaborate Japanese photobooks. The first two editions of Barakei and the first edition of Kamaitachi are some of the most sought after books on the market. This book from 2006, devoted to the late Butoh dancer, Kazuo Ohno, deserves to be better known. As with Tatsumi Hijikata, who collaborated with the photographer to embody the kamaitachi, Hosoe photographed Ohno throughout his dancing career until his death in 2010. Hosoe made the book as a gift for Ohno’s century of life and it was published on the dancer’s birthday. The Butterfly Dream was designed as a companion piece to Kamaitachi, so that each of the two masters of Butoh would have their own. The brilliant Tadanori Yokoo designed the slipcase for the book, just as for the 2005 Kamaitachi reprint produced by Aperture.
Mao Ishikawa. Hot Days in Camp Hansen [Atsuki Hibi ni Camp Hansen]. (Okinawa: Aaman Shuppan, 1982).
This is the first of two books on Okinawa in my selection. Ishikawa’s first book, Hot Days in Camp Hansen is a very unusual beast. Photography was still a male-dominated world in Japan in the late 1970s and a female photographer from Okinawa would have had virtually no opportunities to publish her work at that time, let alone work has uninhibited as this. The book focuses on the girls who worked in bars catering for the American GIs near the US military bases. To do this project Ishikawa became one of these girls herself, working in one bar for a period of around 2 years. The result is an astonishingly frank but joyous and affectionate portrait of the girls she worked and lived with and the GIs who frequented the bar. One of a kind.
Kikuji Kawada, The Last Cosmology: Photographs. (Tokyo: 491, 1995).
Kawada is known—almost exclusively—for his 1965 book The Map [Chizu], an extraordinary photographic object that now fetches astronomical prices at auction. Whereas Chizu was a kind of mental map of the horrors of the Pacific War, The Last Cosmology is Kawada’s personal map of the cosmos. Like many of his books, it combines seemingly unrelated images: long exposure photographs of of the night sky (Kawada is an amateur astronomer) are interspersed with visual fragments that echo the celestial patterns. Less elaborate in its construction than Chizu, like all of Kawada’s books, it is still beautifully produced.
Jun Morinaga, Kawa, Ruiei / River, Its Shadow of Shadows (Tokyo: Yugensha, 1978).
Kawa is a study of Tokyo’s waterways as they were slowly being choked by the economic boom of the postwar years. This is a book of texture: Morinaga focuses almost exclusively on the surface of the water, as it bubbles, froths and stagnates in the mud. One of the most remarkable things about Kawa is its design by Sugiura Kohei, the man behind many of the best Japanese photobooks of the 60s and 70s. His use of gatefolds slows the reading process down and draws you in to Morinaga’s muddy, claustrophobic, abstract world and the way in which the images are integrated into the pages of text at the end of the book is masterful. Morinaga was W. Eugene Smith’s assistant for his Minamata project and the latter contributed a short text to this title.
Seiji Shibuya, Dance (Tokyo: Akaaka, 2011).
For my money, Akaaka has been the most interesting photobook publisher in Japan over the last few years. Shibuya’s previous book Birth, was a little too perfect for me, a succession of achingly beautiful images that didn’t really go anywhere. Dance is a much stronger book, particularly thanks to the edit and the sequencing of the images where little series appear and disappear like musical riffs. The book was made from Shibuya’s entire archive and the edit took around one year, using some images that Shibuya had apparently forgotten about. The book isn’t driven by a concept or idea, but instead seems to focus on conveying a certain mood, a kind of sunny melancholy. This book also has my favourite cover of recent years, not so much for its cover image but because of the thick textured paper on which it is printed which just makes you want to pick it up.
Akihide Tamura, Afternoon. (Tokyo: Match and Company, 2009).
If most photobooks are novels, Afternoon is more of a short story. With a mere 23 plates of black-and-white landscapes over 32 pages, the book is remarkably economical but very well made… not an ounce of excess fat here. Tamura was one of the photographers featured in the landmark New Japanese Photography show at the MoMA in 1974. My sources (ahem, Wikipedia) tell me that he shot the stills for several of Akira Kurosawa’s late movies, but I know very little about him apart from that. I know a little more about the publisher, Match and Company. They are the Machiguchi brothers, a cross between rock stars and book designers. Their books are immediately recognisable—maybe even a little too recognisable—with their clean, minimalist style and they are one of the few Japanese publishers with an eye for roman typography. They have also developed an interesting model, designing, producing and selling their books themselves through their online shop bookshop-m.
Shomei Tomatsu, Okinawa, Okinawa, Okinawa. (Tokyo: Shaken, 1969).
Although far less elaborate than those of Eikoh Hosoe, Tomatsu’s books have also become some of the most highly collectible postwar Japanese photobooks. Okinawa, Okinawa, Okinawa is a somewhat lesser known title, which, you guessed it, focuses on the islands of Okinawa. Tomatsu has always been fascinated by the Americanization that took place in Japan after the war and in the 1960s he travelled to Okinawa, where the US has maintained a major military presence, to photograph. The islands became a major subject for his work and eventually his home (he has lived there for many years now), not only because of the US military presence, but also for their natural beauty and way of life so far removed from the intensity and chaos of Tokyo. In some ways this is a protest book (the slogans on the cover call for an end to the US occupation of the islands), but it also shows Tomatsu’s burgeoning interest in the beauty of Okinawa and its way of life. Some of Tomatsu’s color photographs of Okinawa appear in the current issue (#280) of Aperture magazine.
Yoshihiko Ueda, Quinault (Kyoto: Seigensha, 2003).
In the summer of 1990 while scouting for a location for a fashion shoot, Yoshihiko Ueda, a successful fashion photographer, had a “moment of vision” when he discovered the extraordinarily lush Quinault rainforest to the west of Seattle. Ueda eventually returned with an 8×10″ camera and color film to try and recapture the feeling he first had in discovering Quinault. The images in the book are taken at eye-level in very low light to convey the feeling of wandering through this dense forest. The book is beautifully and very subtly printed on a thick matte paper in an oversize format to retain some sense of the imposing scale of the forest. If you are unfashionable enough to appreciate natural beauty, this one is for you.
Joni Sternbach was born in the Bronx, New York. She graduated from New York University/International Center of Photography (ICP) with an M.A. in Photography in 1987. She was part of the adjunct faculty at NYU for over 20 years, and is currently a faculty member at ICP and CAP workshops teaching wet plate collodion. Sternbach uses early photographic processes to create contemporary landscapes and seascapes. Her photography has taken her to some of the most desolate deserts in the American West to some of the most prized surf beaches in the world. Her solo exhibition, SurfLand, which captures portraits of surfers in tintype, has exhibited at the Peabody Essex Museum and Blue Sky Gallery and will be on view at the Southeast Museum of Photography in 2012. A monograph of the SurfLand images was published by Photolucida in 2009. She is represented by Rick Wester Fine Art in New York City and Edward Cella Art and Architecture in Los Angeles.
Tema Stauffer is a photographer and writer and a curator for Culturehall. She graduated from Oberlin College in 1995 and received a MFA in Photography from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1998. Her work has been exhibited at Jen Bekman Gallery and Daniel Cooney Fine Art Gallery in New York, as well as galleries and institutions nationally and internationally. She currently teaches at the School of the International Center of Photography, Ramapo College, and the College of Staten Island and co-taught a photography workshop at Toxico Cultura in Mexico City. She also writes a blog about photography, PalmAire, and contributes to other arts publications. In 2010, she was awarded an AOL 25 for 25 Grant for innovation in the arts. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
›› Throw out your SLR? App-maker Hipstamatic announced its plans to launch the Hipstamatic Foundation for Photojournalism to educate and support ”the next generation of photographic storytellers using smartphones with Hipstamatic.” Photojournalist Brad Mangin posted “How I Made Instagram Images That Were Good Enough for Sports Illustrated,” an essay about how he got a portfolio of iPhone Instagrams published, and how you can too. Traditional photojournalists everywhere are groaning, but check out Benjamin Lowy’s blog featuring his reports from Libya via Instagram (supported in part by a Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund grant) and judge for yourself.
›› The Associated Press has announced that it will be using robotic cameras (in addition to its team of photographers) to photograph the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. These cameras, which have been mounted on ceilings and the bottom of pools, will provide an otherwise impossible perspective on the games. On the heels of the highly controversial Olympics Portraits that made the rounds on the web earlier this month, LightBox tells the story of The Best Magazine Assignment Ever, photographer’s Neil Leifer’s 1984 “Olympic Odyssey Around the World” during which he traveled to 13 different countries to create a collection of images that would appear in TIME’s preview of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
›› The New York Times Lens Blog published a collection of color slides taken by groundbreaking American photographer, musician, writer and film director Gordon Parks in 1956, images from his “Segregation Series” that had been thought lost until they were found at the bottom of a box this spring. The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture opened Gordon Parks: 100 Moments, a retrospective focusing on the photographer’s work in Harlem and Washington D.C. in the 1940s. The International Center of Photography opened an exhibition of Parks’ photographs in May, and they’ll be on view until January 2013. Parks, who died in 2006, would have been 100 this year.
›› What does the future hold for photography publishing? The British Journal of Photography reported on the growing body of work being printed on newsprint, profiling publications by Jason Larkin, Guy Martin, Alec Soth, and Rob Hornstra, who are enthusiastic about the medium’s affordability and impermanence. Joerg Colberg discussed how serious photography might best use the internet as a means of dissemination.
›› The Guardian’s Geoff Dyer profiles StreetViewer photographer Michael Wolf, as well as Doug Rickard whose forthcoming monograph A New American Picture sparked lively debate on our Facebook page last week, some condemning his practice as lazy appropriation, and others praising its conceptual ingenuity. In discussing Rickard, Dyer links “this new way of working” to the candid photography traditions of Paul Strand, Robert Frank, and Walker Evans: “The shifting spirit of Robert Frank seems also to be lurking, as if the Google vehicle were an updated incarnation of the car in which he made his famous mid-50s road trip to produce his photographic series, The Americans.” In other virtual reality news, StreetView now includes images from the Antarctic huts of explorers Shackleton and Scott, providing yet more digital space for such artists to explore.
Julia Gillard was born in Illinois. She is a graduate of the International Center of Photography’s Photojournalism and Documentary Photography Program. Her work has been exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum, The New York Historical Society, powerHouse, Capricious Space, Galleri Lundh Åstrand (Stockholm), and has appeared in New York Magazine, Mother Jones, The Fader and the New York Times. Her new series, Greetings From Florida is being exhibited through July 30th at This Must Be The Place in Brooklyn, New York.