Tag Archives: Magenta Foundation

Benjamin Rasmussen, Kusasi’s grandsons

Benjamin Rasmussen, Kusasi’s grandsons

Benjamin Rasmussen

Kusasi’s grandsons,
The village of Bual, Balabac Island, Philippines, 2012
From the Home series
Website – BenjaminRasmussenphoto.com

Benjamin Rasmussen is a Denver based photographer who spent his childhood with an indigenous group on an island in the southern Philippines, his university years with evangelicals in northern Arkansas, and a year with the descendants of Vikings in the Faroe Islands, a nation of 45,000 residents in the middle of the North Atlantic. This complex background has led him to explore questions of identity, belonging and home. His photography orbits round the idea of place and its importance to the community and the individual. Rasmussen’s work has been selected for the American Photography 26 and 28 Annuals and awarded in 2010 Pictures of the Year International. He has been chosen one of Photolucida’s 2010 Critical Mass Top 50 and included in Magenta Foundation’s Flash Forward Emerging Photographers 2011 and 2012 lists.

Caleb Cole

One of my favorite people and photographers is Caleb Cole.  His work touches on themes of identity, of not fitting in, of the search for self–and much of this exploration is done with humor and an off-filter sensibility. This quote from his bio will give you a idea: “Born in Indianapolis, Caleb is a former altar server, scout, and 4-H Grand Champion in Gift Wrapping. His mother instilled in him a love of garage sales and thrift stores, where he developed a fascination with the junk that people leave behind.”  My kind of guy, indeed.

I am featuring work from two of his new series, Odd One Out and Dolls, recently exhibited at Gallery Kayafas in Boston. Cole is a 2011 St. Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artist Award winner, 2011 Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship Finalist, 2011 Somerville Arts Council Fellowship awardee, 2010 Magenta Foundation Flash Forward Winner, 2009 Artadia Award winner, and a 2009 Photolucida Critical Mass finalist. He regularly exhibits nationally and was featured in Boston Magazine (HOME) as an emerging photographer who is “shaking up New England’s visual arts scene.”

The images in Odd One Out began as found photographs, purchased in antique stores and estate sales, of groups of people during special events, reunions, and family gatherings. The photographs are the spoils of a hunt, the proceeds of afternoons spent looking into the eyes of people I do not know and who may no longer be living. I select images of people who, unlike the rest of the smiling faces in the frame, bear looks of loneliness and longing that stop me in my tracks.

Removed from their original context and meanings, I then digitally alter these photographs to segregate the one from the many, isolating the person from their surroundings by a field of white. The shape of the crowd is maintained, hinting at details of the group of which the person is a part, but with which they do not feel at home. The negation of the group serves to emphasize the presence of the one, to make visible the person who feels invisible. In constructing these images, I tell the story of the outsider, the odd one, those who are alone in a crowd.

Often thought of as toys for children, dolls are models of not only who those children are expected to become as future parents, but also of where they came from, of who they used to be as infants.  Children’s selection o certain dolls is about personal identification, a blank canvas onto which they can project their desires, and caring for the dolls becomes a process of understanding themselves–how is this doll like me or unlike me?  who am I and who will I become?

This is how I approach the selection and alteration of vintage and antique dolls. Through the use of paint, clay, thread, and hair, I remake the dolls in my image, distilling my likeness down to the secondary sex characteristics of a balding head and sideburns, leaving the bodies of the dolls naked and ambiguously gendered.  The process of transformation is a meditation on my body as it once was and will be, my gender and sexuality, how I relate to myself as I age, gain weight, and how I make sense of my mortality.  The dolls serve as external reference points for my own understanding of how my body fits in, how similar or dissimilar it is to those around me, as well as that which makes me recognizable as myself.

Matthew Gamber, Record Player

Matthew Gamber, Record Player

Matthew Gamber

Record Player,
Boston, 2003
From the Countrypolitan series
Website – MatthewGamber.com

Matthew Gamber (b. 1977) holds a BFA from Bowling Green State University, and an MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts / Tufts University. Recent exhibitions include: Second Nature: Abstract Photography Then and Now, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA, 2012 The 2012 deCordova Biennial, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA, 2012; Flash Forward 2011 Exhibition, Magenta Foundation, Toronto, CA, 2011; The Sum of All Colors, Sasha Wolf Gallery, New York, 2011. Awards include: Traveling Fellowship, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 2011; Humble Art Foundation, New Photography Grant, 2011; Grant Recipient, LEF Foundation, New England (awarded for Big RED & Shiny), 2007 & 2005.

Jesse Chehak, Untitled

Jesse Chehak, Untitled

Jesse Chehak

Hartford, Connecticut, 2012
Website – JesseChehak.com

Born in Tarzana, California, Jesse Chehak studied photography and Art History at Sarah Lawrence College and is currently pursuing a MFA at the University of Arizona. Chehak has exhibited his large format prints in galleries and project spaces including Bruce Silverstein (New York), Danese (New York) and the Durham Art Guild (Durham, North Carolina.) He is currently seeking funding to publish his first monograph, Fool's Gold, and a gallery to exhibit and distribute the completed print edition. In 2005, Chehak joined M.A.P. and began executing commercial campaigns and editorial features for clients, including The New York Times, Wallpaper*, Newsweek, GQ, Ogilvy & Mather, Saatchi & Saatchi, Digitas, and others. Chehak has received notable attention for his work, including PDN30 in 2005, The Magenta Foundation's Flash Forward in 2007, a Baum Nomination in 2008, and AP25. He lives in Tucson and Los Angeles.

Donna J. Wan, At the Air Strip

Donna J. Wan, At the Air Strip

Donna J. Wan

At the Air Strip,
, 2012
From the In The Landscape series
Website – DonnaJWan.com

Donna J. Wan is a San Francisco Bay Area artist. She received her BA from Stanford and her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Her work has been shown at Gallery 1401 at the University of Arts, New Mexico Museum of Art, Klompching Gallery, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. She was named a Magenta Foundation Flash Forward 2007 Emerging Photographer and, most recently, received an Honorable Mention award for Review Santa Fe's Project Launch category and the APA/Lucie Foundation Scholarship grant. Her work has been published in Fraction Magazine, Lenscratch, Time Out Chicago, Profifoto, and the Conscientious website by Joerg Colberg and written about by W.M. Hunt and Virginia Heckert of the J. Paul Getty Museum. In 2009, she was an artist-in-residence at The Center for Photography at Woodstock and was invited by Catherine Opie to lecture at UCLA. Collectors of her work include the Pulitzer-Prize winning author Richard Ford and Thomas Kellner." 

Jon Horvath, Untitled (from Wide Eyed)

Jon Horvath, Untitled (from Wide Eyed)

Jon Horvath

Untitled (from Wide Eyed),
Winslow, Arizona, 2012
From the Wide Eyed series
Website – JonHorvath.net

Jon Horvath is an artist and educator residing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He received his MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2008. His work has been exhibited nationally in galleries including: The Print Center (Philadelphia), Macy Gallery at Columbia University (New York), Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, and The Detroit Center for Contemporary Photography. His work is currently held in the permanent collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Haggerty Museum of Art, and is included in the Midwest Photographers Project at The Museum of Contemporary Photography. Horvath was a finalist for the The Greater Milwaukee Foundation's 2009 and 2010 Mary L. Nohl Emerging Artist Fellowship. In 2011, he was named a US Flash Forward winner by The Magenta Foundation. Horvath currently teaches at The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and The Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design.

Viktoria Sorochinski, Attachment

Viktoria Sorochinski, Attachment

Viktoria Sorochinski

Montreal, 2006
From the Anna & Eve series
Website – ViktoriArt.com

Viktoria Sorochinski is a Ukrainian-born artist who has lived and studied in Russia, Israel, and Canada prior to settling in New York City, where she acquired her Masters of Fine Arts in 2008. Since 2001 she has participated in various group and solo exhibitions and international photography festivals in Canada, USA, France, Italy, Russia, China, Georgia and Argentina. She is also a finalist and winner of several international photography competitions and awards including Lucie Award – IPA (Discovery of the Year), Magenta Foundation's Flash Forward, PDN Photo Annual, Voices Off Arles, ONWARD, Review Santa Fe, Descubrimientos PHE, BluePrint Fellowship, and Encuentros Abiertos. Her work is widely published in internationally acclaimed magazines, among which are British Journal of Photography, EYEMAZING, NY Times, PDN, GUP, Le Monde, BLINK Magazine, THE PHOTO/ARTVAS, Planeando Sobre BUE, AZART Photo, and many others, as well as in web portals worldwide.

Arantxa Cedillo

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 was alone and lost in a foreign country, not knowing which path would take her home.

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.

Eventually, a social worker found her, and the family she was working for took her to the border, but Malis did not know the way home. By chance, she met someone who knew her father, and he came to collect her. Her father felt very happy when he saw her. Her mother was overjoyed and sorrowful at the same time. She says: “I felt strange when I came back home as I was away for one year. I never went back to Vietnam after that.”

Champa was passed around from family to family, trapped and mistreated, until she finally found a place to call home. 

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.

Champa did not know how to read or write. Even though she was a big kid, she was still in Grade 1. She did not speak and fought a lot. She was very angry and used to cry at night. Two years later, she still gets angry sometimes, but she can speak, read and write. Now she smiles, and likes to play with children and do sewing. She says: “I like living at the school because I learn things. I would like to become a teacher and sew clothes.”

Chan became an addict when a gangster stole his money, bought drugs, and forced him to try them.

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.

Chan likes living alone. He says, “I would like to study mechanics and repair cars.”

Kdeb was preyed upon by a foreigner in public places, because he was living in the open, with no privacy and nowhere to find refuge. 

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.”

Dong spent many years confined to bed, but now he is well-known for performing the peacock dancer
He has been deaf since birth. He is one of seven children. One of his elder sisters is also deaf, and studied at Krousar Thmey, so she taught Dong sign language. As a child, he was never discriminated against. In fact, people liked him a lot. His parents believe that education is very important, because their children it enables their children to live like other people and be included in society. 
Dong was seriously ill as a small child. He had an operation and needed to stay home for a long time. Five years ago, when he was ten, he started studying at Krousar Thmey Since starting school, he has become more polite but he does not play as much as before. He is a normal child and a good student. He has many friends and likes playing games, like bowling and badminton. 
Dong has learned how to be a ‘peacock dancer’ and usually train two hours a week. Now many people in the provinces have seen him and know him. He likes drawing a lot, and when he comes back home from school he either watches TV or dances. 

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.
He is one of seven children in a very poor family, has a deformity of his upper limbs. When he was seven, a broker told his parents that a disabled child could earn a lot of money begging in Thailand. His parents agreed, and paid the broker 3,000 Baht to take him to Thailand, which they promised to pay off from his earnings. 
In Bangkok, Klok got up at 5am every day and worked until 10am, then worked again from 2pm to 6pm. He used to sit down on the street, usually on a bridge, hold an empty bowl and thank people when they gave him money. Every hour or two, the broker came around and collected the money from the child beggars. Klok usually earned about 1000 Baht (US$30). The broker gave him 100-150 Baht (US$3 – US$4.50) and kept the rest. 
Klok rapidly became the main breadwinner in the family, often coming and going to Thailand. He had enough to eat, and had friends and learned to speak Thai, but he did not like begging. His parents did not like it either, but they had no choice.

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. 

Klok now stays at Damnok Toek in Phnom Penh. He cannot be reintegrated into his family, as they are even poorer now that his father has died. He likes Damnok Toek, as he can go to school to learn English and computer. He says, “In the future, I would like to be a translator.”

Trop and his siblings never had a home of their own. Without the kindness of friends, they would have been living on the street. 

Trop is the youngest of three children, whose parents died when the children were small. They went to live with their grandmother, who worked as a cake seller, but she had no house so they used to live with the neighbours. Trop was happy to help his grandmother sell cakes, and to clean the house. 
The two older children went to study at Mith Samlanh. Then their grandmother became very sick, so she and Trop also moved to Phnom Penh to live with their mother’s friend, their “godmother”. At first his grandmother could not sell anything and she was very sick with a muscular disease, so he gave her massages and did everything he could to help. 
Trop started studying at Mith Samlanh two years ago. His brother studies laundry and his sister studies hairdressing. Trop has now been reintegrated into public school, where he is studying in Grade 5. He is very honest and gets top grades every month. His friends like him because he is very clever, and the other students often ask him for help. 
 He says, “I like Phnom Penh because it is a happy place and easy to live in. The thing I like most is studying.”

Kolap grew up working amid garbage, but education is now giving her a chance to grow in healthier soil. 
Her father was an alcoholic who beat his wife and never shared the little money he earned. When she was four, her parents separated and her mother took Kolap and her younger brother to live with their grandmother, then went to look for her husband. Neither of the parents has been seen since. 
Kolap’s grandmother worked as a street hawker around the ferry terminal area in Neak Loeung. The household now had ten mouths to feed. Kolap helped around the house, but when she was seven, her grandparents decided they needed her to earn an income too. Kolap got up at 4am every day to go out scavenging with her aunt, and went back to the house twice a day to cook rice for the family. She usually earned about 2,500 Riel (US 80 cents) a day, but if she did not earn anything she was afraid to go home. 
A social worker from Damnok Toek met Kolap and gradually persuaded her grandparents to let her do classes at the Drop-In Centre for two hours a day. Late last year, she began attending full time. Damnok Toek supported her with her school materials, meals, clothes, healthcare and counseling. She goes to school very early so that she can still go scavenging, and earns about 2000 Riel (US 50 cents) a day. 
Now Kolap is in Grade 1 and can read, write and do arithmetic. She has started talking a lot more, but if the teachers ask about her problems, sometimes she just shakes her head and cries. She dreams of becoming a traditional dancer. She says: “I am very happy when I dance.”

Bopha felt closely tied to her father, and always tried to care for him, even though he did not treat her well. 

Bopha’s mother abandoned the family when the children were small. Their father brought them to Phnom Penh to live with her aunt, but her father, who is mentally ill, was rough and abusive, so her aunt kicked them out. 
They lived on the street, working as beggars and scavengers, and sometimes took care of people’s shoes at the pagoda. Their father would talk loudly to himself about politics and his children, and get into fights. Bopha was scared of him, because he would beat them and swear at them, but she still wanted to take care of him. 
The Mith Samlanh staff asked her aunt if the children could go to study at the centre. Bopha’s father claimed the children had been taken away from him by force, and one day he beat the security guard. He complained to Court, but when the Court asked them where they wanted to live, the children chose Mith Samlanh. 
When Bopha was 11, her father had a job and a rented house. Bopha lived with him for two years, until it became impossible. She went back to Mith Samlanh, but asked for permission to visit her father once a week to help him with his job. After he assaulted her, they refused to allow her to go anymore. 
Now Bopha lives at Mith Samlanh and is studying in Grade 5. She studies arts, such as drawing, dancing and singing, and likes reading books, watching TV and helping with the cooking. She says, “In future, I would like to work as a teacher for Mith Samlanh and work for a company, perhaps as an accountant.”

Champey probably lost her sight when she was left under a tree as a baby.

Champey was abandoned as a baby by her mother under a tree near a lake. People say that insects ate her left eye while she was lying there, and she can only see a little through her right eye. Champey is also deaf. When she was four years old, an orphanage found her and brought her to Krousar Thmey. 
A Korean NGO took her to Korea to have a cochlear implant installed. This is an amplifier that is surgically inserted into her ear.

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. 

Champey likes reading books and drawing pictures, and playing as if she was cooking. 
The teacher says that she cannot control her sometimes when she doesn’t concentrate. When she needs something she just goes and gets it. For example, when she is hungry, she goes to the street and begs. Now she is changing that attitude a bit and has started asking for things when she needs them. 
Champey does not know why she cannot see. She is a happy child, and never asks questions about what happened to her.