Tag Archives: Newsprint

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

apertureWEEK: Photography Reading Shortlist

© International Center of Photography, 2012. Photograph by John Berens.

›› 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.

Sujeto de Derecho

El Comercio is Peru’s main (only) broadsheet newspaper. They are participating in Lima’s Photography Biennial with a show of high minded photojournalism called Sujeto de Derecho (the name means something like “legal person” but there’s probably a second meaning that I’m missing). The show collects various photo essays by current and former photographers for the paper that deal with disadvantaged people struggling (and succeeding) to make a better life for themselves. I’m very jealous of photojournalists in Perú because they get to take pictures in such a visually spectacular country.

Sujeto de Derecho at Casa Rimac

The show is being held at the Casa Rimac in downtown Lima. It looks like an old bank building. The lobby is filled with huge hanging prints by Karen Zárate about a project building a resevoir for herders to water their fields of grass so that their cows can graze and produce milk year round. I felt like the ginormous prints cluttered the space and were a little pretentious but you have got to hand it to paper for going big. The rest of the show meanders through the ground floor of the building with different rooms showcasing the various essays.

La maloca de Babel by Leslie Searles

I was interested in this story by Leslie Searles about a center for indigenous university students in Iquitos that takes the shape of a traditional shelter called a maloca. Here’s a video for the story.

The best part of the show was the flyer. El Comercio, being a newspaper, printed up an insert with all of the stories. They look great–maybe even better than they do on the wall. This is not a dig since this is photojournalism. These photos belong on newsprint.

Newspaper insert for the show (I still have flip-flop tan lines from my two months in the jungle)

Sujeto de Derecho, Pascuala y el Pozo de Agua by Karen Zarate

Sujeto de Derecho, Los Ojos de Parán by Rolly Reyna

The show and insert are sort of the ideal world for photojournalism. All the stories are uplifting and visually compelling. There’s no boring press conferences, celebrity gossip or crass advertising. The show affirms the talent of the paper’s photographers. I wish these essays were on El Comercio’s website (they have an inactive blog of photo essays, Mírate, which hasn’t been updated since Sept. 2010). It would at least make my life easier as a blogger. Here’s a list of all the participating photographers with their website, where I could find one: Karen Zárate, Antonio Escalante (Cerro Cachito), Sergio Urday, Juan Ponce, Ana Cecilia Gonzáles Vigil, Dante Piaggio, Polly Reyna, Sebastián Castañeda, Giancarlo Shibayama, Musuk Nolte, Leslie Searles, Daniel Silva, Enrique Cuneo, Miguel Bellido and Richard Hirano.

Above the clouds. New photo exhibition explores the visual fall-out of the early nuclear age

Thursday 7 March saw the opening of a new photography space, the London arm of Munich gallery Daniel Blau Ltd.

Sandwiched in a narrow space, the gallery has a surprisingly generous floorplan, and its walls now play host to A-Bomb: Pictures of disaster. Photographs of atomic bomb explosions, including tests from America and the Pacific and George R. Caron’s shots from a military plane above Hiroshima, span the early cold war period of 1945-70. Some photos are juxtaposed with fragments of written matter, often no more than a scrawled or typewritten label.


The exhibition is accompanied by a 48-page tabloid (to add to Eye’s teetering pile of newsprint) that acts as a substantial exhibition catalogue – and a morbid keepsake.


By the time of last night’s private view, every print bore a red dot, and the prices (which ranged from around £500 to at least £16,000) were being hurriedly covered up (using stickers or marker pens) by the gallery staff. A single private buyer had snapped up the entire collection.


7 April > 7 May 2011
A-Bomb: Pictures of disaster
Daniel Blau Gallery
51 Hoxton Square
London N1 6PB UK

See also David Thompson’s article about Michael Light’s work in Eye 51, to be republished on the Eye blog next week.

Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It’s available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions, back issues and single copies of the latest issue. For a visual sample, see Eye before you buy on Issuu.