Archive for the ‘Poverty’ Category
Darcy Padilla’s Award Winning Work, “The Julie Project” – Opens THIS Thursday, May 20th, 5:00 – 7:30 PM
JULIE - “For the last 16 years I have been documenting the life of an AIDs-afflicted woman, Julie Baird. Julie has been on her own since her sexually abusive stepfather threw her through a glass window when she was 14 years old. She ran away from home, lived on the street, used drugs, contracted HIV, and had five children. When I first met Julie in February 1993 in the lobby of a SRO hotel in San Francisco’s Tenderloin, she was 18 years old and had just given birth to her first child, Rachel. Julie and Jack Fyffe, the 19 year-old father were both HIV positive. Rachel, they said, was their main reason for living.
Throughout the years I have photographed Julie’s complex story of AIDS, abusive relationships, drug use, multiple homes and poverty. A victim of child abuse, Julie often neglected her own children. A high school dropout, she depends on welfare to feed her family. HIV-positive, she fights to stay off drugs.
Julie’s is a story of a survivor. The telling of it enriches the understanding of the poorest and most desperate among us. I am continuing to document Julie’s life and it is my fervent hope that Julie’s story inspires a greater awareness of the plight of people like her.”
Darcy Padilla’s unflinching portrayal of Julie Baird is one of the most in-depth, visceral, and captivating documentaries in recent memory.
Her work has received numerous grants and awards including an Alexia Foundation for World Peace & Understanding Award, Open Society Institute Individual Fellowship, and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship.
The latest iteration of this paramount work will be on display at Fifty Crows Gallery, beginning with our May 20th opening. Doors will be open from 4 PM to 7:30 PM. Fifty Crows would like to welcome everyone to join us in this momentous event. We hope to see you there.
One of the first posts on the FiftyCrows blog was about Berkeley based photographer, Mimi Chakarova who has been documenting sex trafficking in Eastern Europe and the Middle East for the past eight years. This Thursday, April, 15th from 5:00-7:30, FiftyCrows will be holding an exhibition opening for Chakarova’s work, “The Price of Sex”. The intimate portraits and unique curation transcend the confines of the gallery space to tell the harrowing stories of the women subjected to sexual slavery, harsh abuse, extreme poverty, and devastation hardship. Chakarova will be present at the opening.
Below is the original blog post about Chakarova’s work. There are two short videos that are part of Chakarova’s work on a full length documentary film on the subject. Also, check out the many important links on resources and ways to help.
For over eight years, investigative reporter and photographer Mimi Chakarova has carried out painstaking, often dangerous, on-the-ground reporting into all aspects of the sex trafficking trade from Eastern Europe, including investigations into the countries of origin, the process of transit, and the initial allure and stark realities these women face in the receiving countries. She has slowly built trust and developed relationships with young women in Eastern Europe who have been trafficked abroad. Over the years she has traveled through Eastern Europe, Southern Europe/Mediterranean regions and the Middle East for this project. Her work has won a 2008 Emmy Nomination and a 2008 Webby Award, and has appeared on PBS Frontline/World and CBS 60 Minutes. This long-term project was also awarded the Inge Morath Magnum Photo Grant for outstanding documentary work.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, millions of young women in Eastern Europe came of age amid economic misery. Their childhood fantasies of a better life in the West became a human trafficker’s golden opportunity. Through agents and brokers who arrange the travel and job placements, young women are escorted to their destinations and delivered to their employers. Upon reaching the foreign land, some women learn that they have been deceived about the nature of the work they will do. Most have been lied to about the financial arrangements and conditions of their employment, and most find themselves in coercive and abusive situations from which escape is both difficult and dangerous.
Currently the main destinations for sex trafficking of Eastern European women are Russia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Israel. Most women are proposed work as seasonal and factory workers, waitresses, domestic servants and au pairs. After arriving in the country of destination, their passports, documents, money, and personal belongings are taken away. They become today’s sex slaves, sold and resold like cattle. Those who manage to escape their traffickers are deported. Back home, they rarely tell their loved ones the truth. The stigmatization of prostitution is every family’s deepest shame.
For more stories, videos, and images go to: http://priceofsex.org
On the website there are two very important links which provide information on ways to help:
HOW TO HELP – http://priceofsex.org/content/how-help
LINKS & RESOURCES – http://priceofsex.org/content/links-and-resources
Whether it was the day the earthquake hit in Haiti, post aftershock or from six months prior to the natural disaster, when looking at images of the island, the abject poverty, despair, and chaos is apparent and abrasive. In the fall of 2008 photographer/reporter team, Bear Guerra and Ruxandra Guidi traveled to Haiti with a International Reporting Project fellowship from Johns Hopkins University to report on the efficacy of aid. With billions of dollars of aid invested into Haiti, the question on their minds was why no concrete and sustainable improvements had been established for the Haitian people. Together, Ruxandra and Bear created a multimedia piece which contains his black and white photographs and poignant interviews with several officials on Haiti.
What makes Bear and Ruxandra’s work so pertinent post-disaster, is the examination of Haiti’s socio-economic background as the root of the destruction that we see today. In one interview, Anne Hastings, Director Fonkoze, Alternative Bank for the Poor which provides aid to Haiti foreshadows current events when she says, “God forbid the day [a hurricane] hits Port-au-Prince head on because it is going to be really disastrous.” In writing, Bear makes the point that, “Haitians have been left out of the discussions about their own destinies for far too long. If the international community is serious about wanting to help the country rebuild, it must first listen to those who are most affected by their policies.” The multimedia piece concludes with a photographic stare down from the Haitian people, allowing no escape from the penetrating glare of people who need help.
“I look people in the eyes. I don’t go in there as a photographer. The experience is more important than the photographs.”
FiftyCrows: What project are you currently working on?
Andre Cypriano: I am deeply involved in the documentation of slums all over the world, or “favelas” as we call it in Brazil. This long-term project is called “Informal Culture.” By now I photographed over 100 favelas, mostly in Rio de Janeiro, Caracas, Buenos Aires, La Paz and Lima. Soon I hope to be able to document the townships of Africa, India and Mexico. Slum remains vastly misunderstood and under-studied. Still too little is known about the origins, demographics, physical and social structures, traditions, cultural production, internal economies, politics, modes of everyday life, and multiple identities of the place that over 1 billion people call home.
FC: How did you become involved/interested in your current work?
AC: My unusual passport into the “no-go zones” of Rio’s favelas originated in the series, The Devil’s Caldron, documenting the notorious island penitentiary Cândido Mendes. I gained the trust of an inmate, Paulinho, one of the leaders of the infamous criminal organization Comando Vermelho – the CV. Paulinho invited me to photograph the place where he grew up, Rocinha, Rio’s meta-favela, with 250,000 inhabitants. The idea was to show that vibrancy and happiness also exists in the favela. That initial adventure led me to other favelas, in Rio and beyond. They are all different. The more I see, the more I want to see.
FC: Can you talk about the project that you focused on for the IFDP grant?
AC: The ROCINHA portfolio was the one born because of IFDP. This community is a place with extreme emotions. It is a Brazil that you will never find in the Copacabana or Ipanema Beach. The slum spreads from the top to the bottom of a mountain. Ironically, it is surrounded by wealth. Living in tightly-packed claustrophobic, collapsing brick and wood shacks, these people have made a choice. They have decided to survive, using whatever resources are available to them.
Because the residents of this neighborhoods, or developing city really, have been neglected by the government, they have set up their own survival system, one ruled by the C.V. drug-traffickers. What makes it so captivating is how clearly this criminal system both terrorizes and supports the people of the “favela”. This is vividly illustrated by the nefarious role of the police who, on a daily basis, violently extort huge sums of money from these members.
Rocinha reputation is so bad that it is very difficult to convince teachers to work in the community. This is partly due to the pervasive culture of violence and apathy in which community behavior repels even such basic assistance. The resultant violence is so extreme that these days, when a shoot-out erupts between C.V., the police or different criminal factions, children continue to play, refusing shelter, inured by the frequency of such activities. Despite all this, nothing is being done to change life in the favelas. As a result, the violence has grown to a point where it is defining Rio de Janeiro globally.
FC: What was the significance of winning the IFDP in your career?
AC: It was my first major award. And besides the great finance support at the time, it was very important for my self-esteem. Because of the IFDP’s world recognition many doors have been opened. Still today, 10 years later, I continue to gain benefits from the award.
FC: Can you give a piece of advice to others doing important work with social change photography?
AC: Don’t leave your portfolio(s) hidden inside the drawers. And never believe that just because you didn’t win one competition, it means that your work is not important or good. I did apply for the IFDP 4 times before I won. It is very important to understand that, maybe because of personal reasons, whoever is judging can be attracted to a different work than yours. Maybe it is just not the right time for that subjected at that institution. Or maybe your photo style was not interesting to just that group of judges. Keep trying. Keep on a strait body of work, with a solid style, clean and good quality presentation.
FC: Please comment on your connection to your subject matter and the importance of working in your own country/region?
AC: I look people in the eyes. I don’t go in there as a photographer. When I’m inside, I eat with the locals, I play sports with them, and I participate. That is very important for me. The experience is more important than the photographs. I love Rocinha and lived there for 30 days. My work happens to help to make changes, but it is not really my intention. The social change comes as it is supposed to come.
After living in the USA for over 20 years, I feel like an outsider in Brazil. That helps to see things that Brazilians are not seen on their daily lives, things that is right there, in front of every one. Things that only happens in Brazil. As a Brazilian and American citizen, living in both countries, I am able to express my feelings to the subject in a global and natural way. Many Brazilians think that my Rio’s Favela portfolio, as another example, is an apology to the C.V. criminal organization, but instead, it is history that I am documenting, like the Italian mafia of NY.
Brazilian photographer, Andre Cypriano prefers to photograph the unique and unusual aspects of distinct cultural enclaves. Within his own country he has made a point of looking at the livelihood of the largest favela (slum) in Rio de Janeiro and the brutal prison, Candido Mendes. It was his work photographing the people of the drug-run favela called Rocinha- An Orphan Town that won him the IFDP in 1999.
Cypriano won the National Geographic “All Roads” photography award in 2005, the New Works award from En Foco N.Y. in 2002, and the World Image Award from PDN in 1992. He has also participated in the Bolsa Vitae de Artes in Sao Paulo and the Caracas Think Tank. Cypriano has published several books of his work, conducted educational workshops and exhibited in Brazil, Europe and the US.
Now located in New York City, Cypriano works as a freelance photographer doing both social documentaries and editorial/fashion photography.
Over the years, along with the many winners of the International Fund for Documentary Photography, FiftyCrows has also honored other exceptional photo-essays. One such person that we recognized in 2003 was Brazilian photographer Pedro Lobo whose look at the favelas (shantytowns) of Rio de Janeiro offered a regal sense of home in contrast to the impoverished environment. Lobo achieved this through his use of photography in reference to architectural art history documents. He singled out individual homes from the thousands and documented them as if they were important monuments.
Lobo states: “I photograph these buildings in the same way that I would photograph monuments or privileged mansions. I construct these images with geometry, composition and a carefully planned structure, searching for a contemporary result that includes historical references to art and, in particular, to photography.”
Be aware that the intention of Lobo’s images is not to depict poverty, violence or misery, but to honor the human beings that struggle for survival with respect to their environment and livelihood. These are the homes of families, single mothers and widows- as well as drug lords, religious bosses and public authorities. His images glorify the rich colors which are traditional to Brazil and remind us of vibrancy of life that exists within the favelas.