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Original author: 
Eugene Reznik

Almost 1500 photographers applied for the Individual Photographer’s Fellowship grants this year presented by the Aaron Siskind Foundation, honoring the legacy of the legendary photographer best known for pioneering lens-based modernist abstraction.

“He was a wonderful teacher, he was always interested in new ideas and in things that challenged us,” says Charles Traub, president of the Aaron Siskind Foundation and Chair of the MFA Photography, Video and Related Media Department at the School of Visual Arts. “We’re interested in all aspects of the creative photographic medium and all genres of photograph investigation — as long as the work is new and fresh.”

The eligibility requirements for the $5-10,000 grants are exceptionally democratic. They’re open to any professional, a citizen or resident of the United States, “who’s working on a serious body of work, who is trying to do something imaginative, important, moving the dialogue of our medium forward,” Traub says, and adds: “the term ‘professional’ is of course a loosely defined word.”

“There are no strings attached. It’s not like you have to have five million references, and a complete bio and all this stuff. It’s really just what you present.”

The Foundation selects three new judges each year — one from the editorial field, one artist and one curator — with an effort to avoid being East Coast-centric. This year’s judges were Natalie Matutschovsky, senior photo editor at TIME, photographer Andrew Moore, who recently published a new book on Cuba, and Tim Wride, curator at the Norton Museum of Art, formerly at LACMA.

“[The jury] tends to lean towards younger photographers,” since they are the ones who usually bring forth the newest, yet-to-be-recognized work, but occasionally, Traub says, “there is a better known older photographer who does submit new work that surprises the jury.”

This year, six photographers were each awarded $8,000 grants. “We gave six instead of our usual five this year because we just couldn’t pare it down any further,” Traub says. They are:

Michelle Frankfurter presented her series Destino which portrays the “perilous journey of undocumented Central American migrants along the network of freight trains lurching inexorably across Mexico, towards the hope of finding work in the United States.”

Wayne Lawrence documented the diverse experiences of African-American Orthodox Jews living in New York City.

Joshua Lutz presented a conceptual portrait of his mother’s descent into mental illness as “she slowly slipped away from the aggressive paranoia of my youth to an almost calming sense of delusion,” he writes. The series was published as a book titled Hesitating Beauty by Schilt in 2012.

Justin Maxon documented life in Chester, Pa, where industry has collapsed and the murder rate is among the highest in the nation, “a place where a domino effect of socio-economic issues and a long history of government corruption have revealed the community to be a microcosm of the wounds of racism that stain this country today.”

Jenny Riffle  presented a complex portrait of Riley, a scavenger who as a child read “Mark Twain’s stories of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn and decided he wanted to be like those mythical boys. He wanted a life full of treasure and adventure.”

Sasha Rudensky presented her series Brightness which focuses on “an orphan generation of Russians, Ukrainians and Belorussians that came of age in a social vacuum, having disowned their past but lacking any means of orientation within the present.”

“I thought these were all wonderful photographers from diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, from different parts of the country,” Traub says. “Largely, the work had a kind of narrative in it, a sort of structure of a story not told in a linear way and not told necessarily in a traditional documentary way. There was a great deal of technical competence and a kind of idiosyncratic look at life.”

Eugene Reznik is a Brooklyn-based photographer and writer. Follow him on Twitter @eugene_reznik.

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Original author: 
David Von Drehle

In February, Justin Maxon, a photographer and Northern California native, spent several days and nights on Chicago’s South Side for TIME, trying to make fresh images that convey the sadly familiar fact of gun violence in the great but troubled city.

There is a fire, an intensity, to Maxon’s work that may partly be the end result of a journalist in his 20s seeing a story with fresh eyes. But even more, it is a measure of his honest desire to go past the surface of a picture to the complicated humanity that lies at the core of all conflict. These are real people, and left behind are real survivors wrestling with grief, guilt, and anger.

“What I witnessed and gathered from the stories of people living in the South Side is that their community is about survival,” Maxon tells TIME. “With that dynamic comes fight. Violence is built into the structure of survival.”

Maxon questioned how to best represent the complex issues facing the community, revealing just how critical it is to show the nuances when covering an environment saddled by intense transformation. Too often, reports of urban violence begin and end with data: name, age, street address — and how many murders does that make for this year? Maxon’s pictures are the opposite, pulling viewers from the grim facts toward the search for meaning.

“These are communities of strength and hope,” Maxon says. “Where people come together to grieve but to also encourage and inspire. I obviously had to illustrate the story of violence, but I was most interested in searching for how the community was trying to critically engage with the issue in an adaptive and positive way.”

Click here to read editor-at-large David Von Drehle’s full magazine story on Chicago and Mayor Rahm Emanuel available exclusively for TIME subscribers.

Not a subscriber? Subscribe now or purchase a digital access pass.

Justin Maxon is a Northern California native whose recent work When the Spirit Moves (featured on LightBox June 10, 2011) documents Chester, Pennsylvania—a community facing upwards of 300 unsolved murder cases since the mid-nineties.

David Von Drehle is an editor-at-large for TIME, where he has covered politics, breaking news and the Supreme Court since 2007. He is the author of four books, including Abraham Lincoln and America’s Most Perilous Year, published in 2012, and Triangle: The Fire That Changed America

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(author unknown)

The 25th annual National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest is under way, and entries will be accepted for another six weeks, until June 30, 2013. First prize winner will receive a 10-day Galapagos expedition for two. National Geographic was once more kind enough to allow me to share some of the early entries with you here, gathered from four categories: Travel Portraits, Outdoor Scenes, Sense of Place, and Spontaneous Moments. Photos and captions by the photographers. [42 photos]

A fennec fox walks against the wind in Morocco. The fennec, or desert fox, is a small nocturnal fox found in the Sahara Desert in North Africa. (© Francisco Mingorance/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)    

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I’ve been an ISO50 reader for a long time—long before Jakub and I put on Ghostly International Roller Hockey Team jerseys and took to a rink in rural New Jersey to embarrass the label—and so when Jakub invited me to take a whack at a guest post, I naturally jumped at the chance. (Meanwhile, does anyone want my (priceless) jersey?)

I’ve since moved to California, where I work out of the Los Angeles “Vitsoe apartment,” which is both the home I share with my wife, and a unique space where we show Dieter Rams’ 606 Universal Shelving system deployed in all ways. From straightforward bookshelves, to workstations, to room dividers, kitchen shelving, and closets, it’s pretty much all represented here (we specifically chose an apartment without any built-in storage).. As a former dj and avid collector of music, my favorite use of the system is for media storage. After all these years of collecting vinyl, I’m finally able to put it all on shelves that will not bow under the weight. Vinyl collectors: contact me, it’s more affordable than you’d think!

I thought it might make sense to do a first post about some of the songs that have been keeping me going while working out of the apartment—and since it’s a Vitsoe apartment, share some images of the shelving put to use for various media, plus the beautiful Dieter Rams equipment we listen to it all on.

LornWeigh Me Down (Illum Sphere Remix).
Unbelievably beautiful reworking of one of my favorite tracks on Lorn’s new album “Ask the Dust.” I’m huge fan of his heavy hitting beats, but this is a nice change of pace, skillfully re-tooled by Illum Sphere. For a taste of Lorn’s own softer side, check out ‘Pause’ from his ‘Self Confidence Vol.2′ unfinished / unreleased / demo tracks over at the Brainfeeder site. A strange anomaly in a very dark oeuvre.

YppahBlue Schwinn.
I’m a huge fan of Joe Corrales’ work as Yppah, it’s sort of a shoegazy version of Bonobo, a combo that is pure win in my book. This track is from his third and most recent release on Ninja Tune, “Eighty One.” Anomie Belle’s vocals are a great addition in an instrumental sense, I love how she’s just swirling around in the background and I’m unable to make out the words.

Lost TwinSoothing Words.
There’s no shortage of great producers in Brighton these days. I can’t remember exactly how, but I found him via Bandcamp, and to my pleasant surprise, he’s offering the whole ‘Birds’ album for free. I would have no problem paying full price (and then some) for his work. Although obviously entirely different in tone, there’s something a little Burialesque about the auto-tuned quick vocal snippets.

DextroRing Cycle.
I’m not sure exactly why Dextro has stayed off most people’s radars for so long: He deserves far more exposure in my opinion. His first release was on Border Community, then the subsequent releases were through his own imprint, 16K Records. Maybe that’s why. I don’t know. What I do know is that his sound manages to successfully bring together elements of Ulrich Schnauss, Slowdive, and dare I say it, BOC. His last album, Winded, from 2009, is a real gem. I’m hoping he follows it up soon, it’s been too long.

A Sol Mechanic[Almst(Touching)].
I’ll never tire of a good “Everything in Its Right Place” sample. In his own words “it’s less of a remix and more of a branch off. N E Ways.” That’s a good way of describing it, because after that amazing initial drop, the sample gets filtered into the background and the minimal stutter beat takes over.

Geskia!Melamine.
Geskia’s sound is unabashedly Scoott Herren influenced, and most of his work occupies a space dead center between Prefuse and the long gone DeLarosa & Asora projects. This is a compliment, as he pulls off what so many other fail to do successfully.

Jai PaulBTSTU.
There’s been a lot of buzz about this kid from London, and deservedly so. I saw a tweet from Four Tet that said simply: “that Jai Paul track,” which of course sent me into a Google frenzy. What I discovered is that there are literally only two tracks under his belt to date. It sounds like he’s in good hands over at XL, in a recent NPR spot I heard them describe how they are giving him loads of space and time to do what he needs to do, because that’s just how he rolls. He really has a grasp on the “Less, but better” approach.

AutechreSee On See (Pixelord Remix).
The thing I like about this unofficial Pixelord remix of ‘See on See’ from 2010′s Oversteps is that it brings me back to the Tri-Repetae days, when the tracks were grounded in dark emotion, and they would hit you in the gut with crisp, hard beats. They lost me long ago, but it’s nice to be brought back if even for a few minutes.

Rob Fissmer

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Windsor. has the appeal of what James Blake or John Talabot bring to the table but has hints of Berlin’s slower techno charm and has this catchy vocal loop I can’t stop listening to once it settles in.

Chillwave died off as a genre name maybe but it was a good thing, it got rid of the trendy bashing and now the music can live under different names or better yet hybrids of future ideas and even better than that let the music be what it was originally just slow catchy pop, D I A N A just drops one of the best summer tracks i’ve heard all year and i’m just sitting here amazed.

You want the highest quality of Yacht Rock Balearic Nu Disco that will put your dad’s Alan Parson’s LPs to shame? then watch out for and collect all the Windsurf releases.

With a heavier dose of Arp, here’s something to drop in the laps of Drive Soundtrack fans that will stomp that soundtracks head in, pure delight from Marbeya Sound.

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Easing you into this weekend is a mix from one of my favorite producers/DJs San Francisco’s The Beat Broker.

Tracklist:
Klaus Schönning – Cygnus (edit)
Farbror Resande Mac – Magma
Mouth – Udupu
Pharao Black Magic – Amulet (Begin Remix)
Apollo Heights – Sad Cabaret (Phil Mison mix)
Domes – Former State
Heion – Circus
Soft Rocks – Talking Jungle
Max Essa presents Jan Ken Po – Metropolitan Scene
Billy Bogus – Afro Comedy
Chautauqua – Nat’s Theme
Paresse – The Night Before You Came
Pablo – Stratus (Andrew Weatherall remix)

Also, if you’re in Miami tonight i’ll be DJing as Heathered Pearls along with Tycho’s previous tour supporters Beacon, email me if you want to get in jakub at iso50.

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If you’ve ever seen Eliot Lipp live at some point in the last 10+ years you’ve probably recognized his synth styles, I always appreciated Eliot for that and that he’s giving his album away at donation only this week, head over if you get a chance and support that talented bastard.

I’m at the front of the line when if comes to Peter Kersten fans, if its Lawrence or Sten it has my full attention, the perfect marriage of classic Detroit Techno and gentle tweaking making his sound one of the best to lay your head back to.

Dive had to change their DIIV, good it was early on, this is slowly becoming a favorite summer rock cut.

This is only a portion of Edgar Froese’s “Maroubra Bay” I found the vinyl a couple months, the man has one of the best album cover catalogs ever.

image via Michael Chase

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It's time once more for a look into the animal kingdom and our interactions with the countless other species that share our planet. Today's photos include a fiery Spanish festival, a frightening encounter with a leopard in India, a flamingo undergoing laser treatment, a new species named in honor of entertainer Beyonce, and the plight of Ukraine's "vodka bears". These images and many others are part of this roundup of animals in the news from recent weeks, seen from the perspectives of their human observers, companions, captors, and caretakers. [42 photos]

A man rides a horse through a bonfire on January 16, 2012 in the small village of San Bartolome de Pinares, Spain. In honor of San Anton, the patron saint of animals, horses are ridden through the bonfires on the night before the official day of honoring animals in Spain. (Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)

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