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Spanish illustrator Jaume Montserrat has recently shared via email his new series titled, “Emptyland.” His pen drawings all have a “ribbon effect” that relate to a “void” of each animal. To understand this better, we have to travel back in time. While on a flight back home from South America to Spain—Montserrat falls asleep and imagines waking up on an island where he lives for 29 days with other animals. He explains: “On this island, there was only one animal from each specimen [kind of like Noah’s Ark]. All of them were empty, asexual and immortal. They didn’t need to hunt, nor were they scared of being hunted—so there was a perfect symbiosis.” He and the wildlife lived free from worries, and that empty paradise is what sparked these images.

Iguana and giraffe Ribbon flamingo by Jaume Montserrat

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Christianity is on the edge of extinction in its birthplace, the Middle East.
Escaping sectarian violence, kidnappings, religious fatwas, economic hardship and severe persecution, the oldest Christian communities in the world are leaving the region.
Nowadays there are more Iraqi, Turkish and Palestinian Christians living in the Diaspora in Europe, the US or South America than in their native countries, while the current events in Egypt and Syria indicate a similar fate for its Christian population.

With the current speed of this Christian Exodus continuing, out of 12 million Christians in the middle East only 6 million will be left in the year 2020. It’s a real probability that within one generation Christianity, as a live religion and culture, will have vanished from the Middle East. I want to document this vanishing people and culture and record a historic process with severe political, economic and cultural consequences for the Middle East.

Christians have always been part of the intellectual and economic elite of Middle Eastern societies and their migration leads to a brain-drain, sided with the withdrew of financial assets and, equally important, cultural and intellectual force. This lack of resources will only accelerate the problems Middle East as a whole is facing and fuel the vicious circle of poverty, ill-education and extremist violence in the Region.

Working on the project since early 2011, I have repeatedly been to Turkey, Iraq, Egypt, Israel, Gaza and Palestine. During this time I established a network of different NGOs, local churches and individuals that have helped me setting up contacts and logistics needed for this project.
To complete the project, thus to further depict the complexity of the phenomenon and to deepen its understanding, I will need to visit the Christian communities in the remaining countries of the Levant: Jordan, Lebanon, Syria.

 

Bio

Andy Spyra, born 1984 in Germany, is a freelance photographer currently based in Germany. He worked one year as a staff photographer for the local newspaper in his hometown before he became a freelance photographer. He’s working on assignments and personal longtermprojects in the Balkans and more recently in the middle East.

His Projects include a documentation of the ongoing conflict in Kashmir as well a four year long visual engagement with the aftermath of the genocide in Bosnia. Since 2011 he’s been working on a longtermproject about the christian exodus from the Middle East.

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The time to enter the 25th annual National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest is running short -- entries will be accepted for another few days, until June 30, 2013. The 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 later entries with you here, gathered from four categories: Travel Portraits, Outdoor Scenes, Sense of Place, and Spontaneous Moments. Photos and captions by the photographers. Also, be sure to see Part 1, earlier on In Focus. [46 photos]

From the 'Sense of Place' category, a couple paddle out for a sunset surf in the coastal surfing town of Byron Bay, Australia. (© Ming Nomchong/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)     

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Original author: 
Ken Lyons

A tornado touches down near El Reno, Okla., Friday, May 31, 2013, causing damage to structures and injuring travelers on Interstate 40. Another series of deadly tornados swept across Oklahoma injuring hundreds and causing multiple fatalities including a team of storm chasers. Smoke rises from the International Red Cross building after a gun battle between [...]

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Original author: 
Nathan Yau

Dangerous travel

As summer rolls around here on this side of the planet, CBC News mapped countries to avoid in your travel plans, based on foreign travel advisories from the Canada Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

Naturally, Canada isn't colored on the map because the map was made for Canadians, but I think it's safe to assume that they'd be colored green too and most, if not all, of the advisories apply to those of us here in the United States. [Thanks, John]

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Fishermen living around the port of El Callao, Peru have harvested the sea as a means of survival since the 16th century. Now, a global shipping industry giant based in the Netherlands is planning a project to modernize El Callao, Peru’s largest and oldest port. The project will expand port operations over the next couple [...]

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ESSAY CONTAINS EXPLICIT CONTENT

Alejandro Olivares

Living Periferia

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How many times can a person face death in their lives?
Sense it. Feel it. Smell it. Maybe once? Twice? Four times?

The people captured in “Living Periferia” live with it every day of their lives. The violence, the drugs, the weapons, the lost bullets, which take dozens of lives every year… The fights, the battles with the police. Some barely escape. Others fall in the street law and to save them from oblivion their friends and family draw enormous pictures of them on the walls of the shantytown. It’s a posthumous tribute to their courage, their way to remember them as local heroes.

This work dives in a forgotten world, where many times not even mailmen are allowed in. It’s a world that goes beyond poverty. Wide ghettos in the further corners of Santiago where the State has managed for years to dump what they would rather not see. What investments must never see. What rich people should better keep ignoring.

Chile is now one of the richest countries in South America. The government celebrates the 4.4% economical growth in the last year and everyone claps when they say the international crisis hasn’t reached yet. But no one looks at this face of Chile when they receive the applauses. Derelict that generates more derelict. Violence that generates more violence. The toughest and more efficient school of crime. A society inside the society whit their own codes and mechanics that result inconceivable for the rest of the world. The order inside the chaos, where only the one who yells louder, the one who hits harder or the one who shoots faster can emerge. Or survive.

These photos are a personal puzzle about fragmented social representations. The foreign eyes of someone that, of all the going round, ended up being a local. But who’s look reflects the beauty of an ugly and shocking world to the eyes of whom looks from across the street.

 

Bio

Alejandro Olivares (1981) is a Chilean photographer currently living in Santiago, Chile. He is the photo editor of The Clinic Magazine; correspondent for foreign agencies, several international agencies and photographer for “Felicidad” Design Agency in Chile. His work is divided between press coverage and documentary essay.

He has won multiple awards including; National Hall of Press Photo (Chile), Photo of the Year in the bicentenary version of the National Hall of Press Photo (Chile), Photo of the Year in Querétaro Photo Fest in Mexico, along with the second place in documentary essay in the same festival. He was nominated for the Rodrigo Rojas de Negri award in the years 2009, 2011, and 2012 and he was selected for the briefcase visionary PhotoEspaña 2011 in República Dominicana.

His work has been featured in exhibitions in Chile, Spain and the United States and has been published in several Chilean magazines and journals including “Qué Pasa”, “Joia”, “Pound”, “Guamá”, “Artishock” and “La Nación”. He has also published in foreign medias like “Soho” (Colombia), “Internazionale” (Italy), “Focus” (Italy), “10×15″ (Spain), “Piel de Foto” (Spain).

He has been honorably mentioned in the Zoom-In Poverty Contest, from the Agence Xinhua, China.

 

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Alejandro Olivares

 

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