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While neighboring North Korea makes worldwide headlines with threats and demands, South Koreans have adjusted slightly to possible dangers, but largely carry on with their everyday lives. The war that halted in 1953 reverberates strongly today, including the continued strong presence of U.S. military forces near the demilitarized zone that separates the two Koreas. South Koreans have rapidly become a country of digital natives, with city dwellers quickly adopting new technologies. The megacity of Seoul now has a population nearing 11 million -- more than 20 percent of the entire country, all living in one dense, sprawling city, home to highrise apartments, shamanistic shrines, and grand palaces. Collected here are recent images from South Korea. [36 photos]

A South Korean Buddhist hangs colorful lanterns to celebrate the forthcoming birthday of Buddha at the Chogye temple on May 3, 2013 in Seoul, South Korea. Buddha was born approximately 2,557 years ago, and although the exact date is unknown, Buddha's official birthday is celebrated on the full moon in May in South Korea, which is on May 17 this year. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)     

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Original author: 
Vaughn Wallace

On Wednesday, the Open Society Foundations will mark their 20th group exhibition of “Moving Walls” at their new location in midtown Manhattan. Initially conceived 15 years ago as a way to highlight the foundation’s issues and to support documentary photography, the exhibition highlights and adds value to important (and often under-reported) social issues.

Initially, the Foundations’ goals were focused on Eastern Europe and Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. But now, the Moving Walls exhibition encompasses work from around the globe. This year, the exhibition features the work of 5 photographers from China, Russia and Ukraine to Sierra Leone and the countries of the Arab Spring.

On Revolution Road,” a project by TIME contract photographer Yuri Kozyrev, features work from the uprisings and unrest in Egypt, Libya, Bahrain and Yemen. Shot on assignment for TIME, Kozyrev’s work demonstrates both the collective nature of world politics as well as the individual characteristics inherent to each nation’s unique issues. “In the end, the differences between the aftermaths of the region’s revolutions may be more important than their similarities,” he said.

Katharina Hesse‘s project, “Borderland: North Korean Refugees,” tells the individual narratives of North Korean refugees along the Chinese border. Because they’re classified by the Chinese government as ‘economic migrants’, the refugees are ineligible for official UN refugee status. “After experiencing a world like this, it just didn’t feel ‘right’ to take pictures and move on to the next job,” Hesse wrote. She has been shooting the project for nine years.

Juveniles Waiting for Justice” is a project by Fernando Moleres shot in the Pademba Road prison in Freetown, Sierra Leone. There, some 1,300 prisoners languished in squalor, lacking proper hygiene and provisions while awaiting trial. “My Sierra Leone prison photography has been published in the European press,” Moleres said, “but I feel that the story has not exposed a broad audience to this tragedy.”

Ian Teh‘s project, “Traces: Landscapes in Transition on the Yellow River Basin,” explores the existential impact the Yellow River has on the more than 150 million people it directly sustains. “My photographs play with the tension between the Yellow River’s place in Chinese culture and history and China’s emergence as a major economic power,” he said. “By using the landscape, I attempt to show what happens when an area that was largely rural becomes increasingly urban and industrial.”

VII photographer Donald Weber‘s “Interrogations” takes a surreal view on the Russian judicial system. Photographing people inside police interrogation rooms, Weber captures “a place where justice and mercy and hope and despair are manufactured, bought, bartered and sold.” Says Weber: “With each image, I was looking to make a very simple photograph of an actual police interrogation, but also a complex portrait of the relationship between truth and power.”

Moving Walls in on view at the Open Society Foundations at 224 West 57th Street, New York City, from May 8 – December 13, 2013. 

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Bunker_large

Under communism, Albania was in a near perpetual state of paranoia, formally at war with neighboring Greece, and firmly under the control of dictator Enver Hoxha. Reflecting its leader's military mindset, the country constructed some 700,000 concrete bunkers — one for every four citizens — most of which still pepper the landscape today. Dutch photographer David Galjaard shows how the buildings are a constant reminder of the past in Concresco, an award-winning photo book. In an interview with Wired, Galjaard gives the story behind some of the book's most stunning images, and explains how much more there is to Albania than the little concrete domes.

Continue reading…

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Through his Vanishing Cultures Project photographer Taylor Weidman documents threatened ways of life. Regular readers of The Big Picture will recognize his distinctive work from his previous entry here on the Mustang region of Nepal. Weidman writes of the threatened nomadic culture in Mongolia: "Mongolian pastoral herders make up one of the world's largest remaining nomadic cultures. For millennia they have lived on the steppes, grazing their livestock on the lush grasslands. But today, their traditional way of life is at risk on multiple fronts. Alongside a rapidly changing economic landscape, climate change and desertification are also threatening nomadic life, killing both herds and grazing land. Due to severe winters and poor pasture, many thousands of herders have traded in their centuries-old way of life for employment in mining towns and urban areas. The ger (yurt) camps that ring the capital city Ulaanbaatar house a permanent population of displaced nomads. There, they live without running water or a tangible use for the skills and crafts that were practiced on the steppes. The younger generation is no longer learning these essential aspects of their nomadic heritage." -- Lane Turner (29 photos total)
A young nomad herds his animals by motorcycle after an early spring snowstorm. Mongolian herders adopt technology quickly and it is not uncommon to see trucks and motorcycles replacing work animals. (Taylor Weidman/The Vanishing Cultures Project)

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Last night John McAfee was picked up by the Guatemala special police task force for questioning about his illegal entry into the country. His lawyer, Mr. Guerra, accompanied him to Emigrason Albergue in Guatemala City and is attempting to get John out before his press conference tomorrow. Updates to come.

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Self-Taught African Teen Leaves MIT Speechless

Kevin Doe, a young boy from Sierra Leone, baffles his audience as he keeps inventing things by gathering broken electronic parts and putting them together into a new form. 

He has already created batteries for his village, as well as managed to put together his very own FM radio transmitter. The list goes on and on…

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The last time I was in Colombia’s Meta Province was to photograph 35 body bags containing the remains of rebels killed in clashes with the Army. This time, what brought me to Meta was the Joropera...

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