FiftyCrows Blog

Social Change Photography

Archive for the ‘Poverty’ Category

Darcy Padilla’s Award Winning Work, “The Julie Project” – Opens THIS Thursday, May 20th, 5:00 – 7:30 PM

leave a comment »

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.

Exhibition Opening: Mimi Chakarova, “The Price of Sex” – Thursday, April 15 , 5:00-7:30pm

leave a comment »

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.

chakarovascreenFor 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.

BACKGROUND

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

http://www.mclight.com/

Written by Zara Katz

April 12, 2010 at 10:59 am

Bear Guerra – Before the Quake

with one comment

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.

By Bear Guerra and Ruxandra Guidi
Many people are aware that Haiti’s history is a troubled one. Since becoming the first black republic in 1804 after a successful slave rebellion, it has known few periods of social, economic, and political stability. What many people aren’t aware of, however, are the roots of Haiti’s current situation. Its complex history traces back to the US’s refusal to recognize the country’s independence for more than 50 years, and there is no doubt that the relationships that Haiti has had with France, the United States, and the international community have had a direct and lasting influence on shaping the country’s current situation.

This slideshow, and the stories we produced after our 2008 trip, represent the first parts of an ongoing project. Bear will be returning to Haiti over the coming months to document the clean-up and reconstruction, as well as reporting on more smaller projects to help Haitians escape extreme poverty.
Look at more multimedia stories from Bear and Ruxandra at Fonografia Collective.

Marizilda Cruppe – Brazilian EVE Photographer

leave a comment »

cruppe1

Marizilda Cruppe is a Rio de Janeiro-based photographer, shooting mostly for O Globo (Brazilian Newspaper and media group) Sunday magazine supplement. Her personal work is concentrated on examining Brazilian social inequality, poverty and human rights violation. She is also a founder member of EVE Photographers. In 2010, Marizilda will be part of the World Press Photo Jury for News and Documentary.

Portfolios:

Pastor Marcos

SF River transpostion

Brazilian northeast migrants

Keeping the Faith

Written by Zara Katz

October 29, 2009 at 5:45 pm

Photo Fund Update Part 2: What Andre Cypriano has to say about working in “no-go-zones”

leave a comment »

02_1

“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?

27_1AC: 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.12_1

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.

11_1FC: 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.

04_1

Written by Zara Katz

October 15, 2009 at 9:34 am

Photo Fund Winner Update: Andre Cypriano

leave a comment »

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.

homepage

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.

www.andrecypriano.com

Written by Zara Katz

October 14, 2009 at 9:59 am

affect/effect: Photographs That Create Change -Ed Kashi’s Story

leave a comment »

Consider the metaphor of a grain of sand: one grain in a thousand is insignificant, while it can also be unique in shaping everything that it touches. Now apply this idea to photography. Countless photographic images give us a consciousness about what is going on in the world, but our lives are awash with powerful images, most of which fall away by day’s end. A sub-clause to the metaphor: even if that one image (grain of sand) does produce an emotional response, it is rare the feeling that the image elicited will inspire action.

But what happens when one grain of sand (image) gets stuck in your eye so persistently that you must make a move to change the way you feel? The affect/effect: Photographs That Create Change series will feature stories from photographers and friends of photography that share how one image affected an individual to make a profound effect in the world.
Our first story comes from internationally renown photojournalist and close friend of FiftyCrows, Ed Kashi. It is close to impossible to make a short list of Kashi’s credentials as he has worked extensively in Israel, Iraq, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Nigeria, Europe, and the United States, to name a few and often shoots stories for National Geographic and the New York Times. During a three year period, Kashi documented the effect of the oil industry on the people and environment of Nigeria which he titled Curse of the Black Gold. Although Nigeria has one of the highest oil revenues in the world, most of the people live on less than one dollar a day. Kashi gives a brief recount about one of his photographs that created change for a boy in Nigeria:

-1

“A month or so after it came out we got a call from a woman named Betty in upstate New York. She asked for a copy of the picture and we thought, Oh gosh, this is some crackpot. (Because the image is so intense) Anyway, we gave her a copy of the picture and then six months later she contacted us and she said, “I just want you to know that through my church I found that boy and he is now enrolled in school and I’ve extracted him out of this absolute dead end – because this job, which was also a very dangerous and unhealthy job … and now he’s going to school.” When those things happen…. I’ve been fortunate that that’s happened a few times in my career so far where there’s actually an image or a body of work that catalyzed action.”

Written by Zara Katz

September 18, 2009 at 4:27 pm