Archive for the ‘Human Rights’ Category
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
Affect/Effect: Photographs That Create Change – Susan Meiselas discusses all potential of photography
“We have to know about each other. Photography gives us that opportunity.”
This is an amazing video where Magnum photographer and Open Society Institute – Moving Walls co-curator Susan Meiselas talks about the impact that photography can make on social consciousness. Her personal website is also very interesting as it includes an audio component on every page with her commentary on her work and photography in general. The Open Society Institute is an extremely important resource for documentary photographers with grants, fellowships, exhibitions, online multimedia and portfolios, and a resource center for a multitude of social programs.
Affect/Effect: Photographs That Create Change – Phil Borges, A child in a far away photograph is given an education
In 2007, FiftyCrows presented an exhibition called Women Empowered, a photography project by Phil Borges, who combined images and stories of courageous women from developing countries. Rooted in his astonishment for the high level of gender discrimination around the world, he wanted to offer examples of women “whose bravery and determination allowed them to move from victim to leader, and speak to the universal themes of courage, empowerment and human rights.”
Another incredible project from Phil, entitled Enduring Spirit was created in conjunction with Amnesty International’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Once again, each of his images was accompanied by a short story about the person and what they do in their daily lives. One of Phil’s images, of a six-year-old girl in Ethiopia struck a man named George so deeply that he was compelled to extend his help from around the world. Yet another moving example of how photography can create change in the world through an individual image.
Buzayan story is as follows: She is six-years-old and lives with her mother and three older sisters in a small Ethiopian village. Her father took a job as a policeman in a neighboring town and later abandoned the family for another woman. Even though it is very expensive for her, Buzayan’s mother is committed to keeping all the children in school. When I asked Buzayan about kindergarten, she squealed with delight and started jumping up and down.
When George saw the image of Buzayan in the book titled “Enduring Spirit” he was so moved by the image of Buzayan that he felt he wanted to help her. He contacted us for information on how to reach her but we were only able to give him the name of the village she lived in. George’s health did not allow him to travel but he had a friend who was visiting Ethiopia and was willing to try to find Buzayan. The effort was successful. George was able to make arrangements to help cover the cost of Buzayans education which he did for several years.
Benedicte Kurzen is a co-founder and member of Eve Photographers and part of the VII Mentor Program. Other projects she has been involved in include a video piece with Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) called Shattered Lives about victims of sexual violence and the physical and psychological services that are offered at MSF clinics. This Day of Change is an incredible collaboration project that involved the photographs from 132 photographers from around the world and their images from 1.20.09, the day the Barack Obama was became the president of the United States. Benedicte’s personal portfolios looks at politics, violence and culture in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as well as AIDS transmission between mother and child in South Africa.
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.
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.