Archive for the ‘Survival’ 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.
In 2004, FiftyCrows awarded Stephanie Sinclair one of her first photography grants. Last week, Stephanie was selected as one of four photographers for the 2010 Whitney Biennial. Next year’s biennial reflects the selected artists’ response to the hardships and joys of the past two years.
Known for her depiction of women’s issues and her ability to expose horrific situations, Sinclair’s 2004 International Fund for Documentary Photography photo essay was no exception. “Self-Immolation: Afghan Women Cry Out For Help” showed the women in the burn unit of the Herat Public Hospital. In the five subsequent years since winning the IFDP award, Sinclair’s work has continued to examine topics of women and war, establishing her as one of the most prominent photojournalists today.
Sinclair is currently working on a project that examines child brides in Afghanistan, South Asia, Ethiopia, Latin America and the United States. This work will be exhibited at the FiftyCrows Gallery in San Francisco in July of 2010. Sinclair’s deep interest in exposing women’s issues around the world led her to start Photobetty, a photography group that supports female photojournalist and female centered photo essays.
Sinclair worked for Corbis in Iraq and Lebanon and as a staff photographer for the Chicago Tribune. She has been published in The New York Times Magazine, US News and World Report, TIME, DoubleTake and Stern. Sinclair’s numerous honors include: CARE International Award for Humanitarian Reportage, a $15,000 Alexia Foundation grant and one of the W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography fellowships. Most recently in March 2009 Sinclair was asked to be full member of VIIphoto agency.
The liveBooks blog, RESOLVE is “a collaborative online community that brings together photographers and creative professionals of every kind to find ways to keep photography relevant, respected, and profitable.” The editor of Resolve, Miki Johnson, writes and features posts about a variety of topics in the photography industry from new business models to traditional documentary projects. She strives to highlight how and why people are doing what they are doing in the photography world as well as the details and importance of the specific project they are working on. On the FiftyCrows blog I will feature Resolve posts about photojournalist and documentary photography related issues that provide insight on how photography continues to create social change.
Should photojournalist seek out the silver lining?Posted by Miki Johnson Considering that today is World AIDS Day, this seemed like the perfect time to highlight a new book from photographer Karen Ande, Face to Face: Children of the AIDS Crisis in Africa. Although hardly the first person to document this topic, Karen’s emphasis on telling positive stories is unusual. And her technique presents a hard — but important — question for documentary photographers: Do too many images of suffering make people feel helpless to improve things?
Miki Johnson: Tell me about the book you just released with Ruthann Richter, Face to Face: Children of the AIDS Crisis in Africa. What was the impetus of this project and what were you hoping to achieve with it?
Karen Ande: This book represents the culmination of seven years of work. The project began in 2002 when I was traveling in Kenya with my husband and friends. Our tour guide asked me if I’d like to visit an orphanage she had opened in the town of Naivasha and photograph the children, whose parents had died of AIDS.
I agreed to do it, thinking it would be a one-time visit that might result in a few shots she could use for fundraising. I did not realize that the children would charm me and that their survival hung in such a delicate balance. The orphanage ran out of rice the day I was there.
We left them with some money for food and I eventually went home and began to print the photographs. When I saw the images emerge in the developing tray I realized that I had an opportunity and a decision to make. I could choose to become involved in this issue or not. I chose to get involved, to reach out to nonprofits who were already supporting projects, to make multiple trips to document this issue. It has taken an enormous amount of time and personal finances, but I have never looked back.
I am driven by this issue — 12 million children have been orphaned by AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. There is little infrastructure to care for the children, but many local people whom I have met through NGO’s have creative viable projects that make a difference in these children’s lives. I hope this book will convince people to take a close look at the children I’ve met and begin to care enough to try to help them.
MJ: You’ve said that when you started photographing it was important to you to focus on the positive, things are getting better and people who are making a difference. Why was this so important to you?
KA: People do not hang around to be depressed. The media overexposes us to images of suffering I think, consistently giving us two messages: 1) there is really nothing one person can do to affect these overwhelming problems, and 2) money donated to Africa will be diverted by corrupt governments and aid agencies and never get to the people who need it.
In fact there is a great deal one person can do if they know how. If you donate to organizations working with in-country activists who know and understand their communities’ needs, the money is not wasted. In fact it is often the best way to help, as these projects are generally successful and sustainable. We list many NGO’s in our book that support these types of projects. Read the rest of this entry »
Justyna Mielnikiewicz was born in Poland and now lives in Tbilisi, Georgia. Her journalism focuses on issues of politics and war in the South Caucasus by looking at the daily lives of the people and their environment. She also photographs the lives of the Russian Army and the Georgian Army in the process of training, fighting and dying. The depth, contrast and grain of Justyna’s black and white images in the Caucasus and Caspian captures an antiquated sense of life not unaware of the modern era. Justyna is a co-founder and member of Eve Photographers and Sputnick Photos.
“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.