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Original author: 
By JULIE TURKEWITZ

After failing to capture his vision for a project, Ivan Sigal unmoored himself from his preconceived story and went on a dizzying trek through Russia and Central Asia.

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Original author: 
Maria Turchenkova

Despite the reduction of large-scale military operations 10 years ago in Chechnya, a guerrilla war waged by Islamic fundamentalists rages on, and has brought a striking level of violence and bloody insurgency to the neighboring Caucasus republic of Dagestan.

For decades, and in much of the world’s eyes, all the news coming from the North Caucasus seemed focused on the cataclysm in Chechnya. Now, with Grozny slowly emerging from decades of chaos, Dagestan – the largest, most heterogeneous and, today, the most violent republic in the North Caucasus region – is raising its international profile, but for all the wrong reasons.

With a population of about 3 million people, Dagestan — bordering Chechnya, with the Caspian Sea to the east and Georgia and Azerbaijan to the south — is comprised of more then 40 ethnic groups. Ethnic Russians make up roughly four and half percent of the republic’s total population, while political power is held mainly by the two largest groups: the Avar and Dargin, both of whom practice Sufism, or the region’s traditional brand of Islam. Recently, however, Salafism — a puritanical form of Islam practiced largely in Saudi Arabia — has begun to make inroads, further complicating the already tangled political and religious picture.

Split by seemingly intractable social and religious differences and with almost a half of its territory locked down under a special security regimen (CTO, or “counter-terrorist operation”), Dagestan’s populace endures martial law, rigid curfews and random searches enforced by the Russian military.

For most Russian citizens, meanwhile, the North Caucasus is peopled not by neighbors or citizens but by stereotypes. A mountain region, alien and dangerous, it is populated (in the Russian popular imagination) by suicide bombers and terrorists. Period.

The Jamaats—local Islamic societies—comprise the vast majority of active anti-Russian Islamist fighters in Dagestan. Numbering somewhere around 500, by best estimates, Jamaats manage to replace those killed in action with newly joined militants in a remarkably timely manner. The reason for this renewable source of fighters is, in fact, rather simple: namely, the fundamentalists find fertile ground to propagate their ideas in the region’s remote, mountainous villages — as well as via the Internet. As the Dagestan justice system is largely ruled by nepotism, Russian law and order doesn’t have real power and most people find it impossible to receive justice from local authorities. Jamaats’ leaders, meanwhile, claim to be the “legitimate authority of Dagestan” and are candid about their aim of establishing a “fair society” based on Shari’a law. As the years pass, more and more people convert to Salafism.

Dagestan’s society is still deeply split. The gap between the richest and the poorest is enormous — and, like everywhere else, is rapidly growing. Conservatives, including many traditional Muslims, who still feel an allegiance to Russia certainly do not accept the “Islamization” of their country and their culture, while many others simply vote with their passports — emigrating from the republic entirely. The men, women and children who stay behind must somehow find ways to endure in the midst of their country’s hidden war.

Maria Turchenkova is a freelance documentary photographer based in Moscow. She was recently selected to attend the 2013 World Press Joop Swart Masterclass.

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Kaspersky Lab

Researchers have uncovered an ongoing, large-scale computer espionage network that's targeting hundreds of diplomatic, governmental, and scientific organizations in at least 39 countries, including the Russian Federation, Iran, and the United States.

Operation Red October, as researchers from antivirus provider Kaspersky Lab have dubbed the highly coordinated campaign, has been active since 2007, raising the possibility it has already siphoned up hundreds of terabytes of sensitive information. It uses more than 1,000 distinct modules that have never been seen before to customize attack profiles for each victim. Among other things, components target individual PCs, networking equipment from Cisco Systems, and smartphones from Apple, Microsoft, and Nokia. The attack also features a network of command-and-control servers with a complexity that rivals that used by the Flame espionage malware that targeted Iran.

"This is a pretty glaring example of a multiyear cyber espionage campaign," Kaspersky Lab expert Kurt Baumgartner told Ars. "We haven't seen these sorts of modules being distributed, so the customized approach to attacking individual victims is something we haven't seen before at this level."

Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Post-Soviet countries on the Caspian Sea face “the painful period of societal adolescence,” says Berlin-based photographer Mila Teshaieva. Twenty years after the fall of the U.S.S.R., countries in this oil-lush region continue to search for new national identities. Teshaieva’s project Promising Waters explores economic realities in three Caspian Sea states: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. “From almost the very beginning,” she says, “this story was about the dreams and changes both originated in and stimulated by the Caspian resources.”

Teshaieva’s lens responds to the sense of uncertainty in the region, and her subjects are striking, from migrant Uzbek workers building mausoleums for the new rich in Kazakhstan to refugees living in plywood settlements in Azerbaijan. The desolation and empty landscapes in her photos point to a fragile future. “Fishermen don’t know if they will find fish. Refugees are waiting to learn if they can return to Karabakh. The luxury resort remains empty,” Teshaieva says.

The photographer recalls one moment in her travels that captured the essence of Promising Waters. While she was working in Turkmenistan, her driver could not read the road signs or directions—the alphabet was changed from Cyrillic to Latin 20 years ago, and he has yet to learn the new symbols. Instead, he has resorted to intuition to find his routes. Teshaieva’s narrative in Promising Waters is the same idea: “I want to tell about societies that have lost direction but try to find the way, despite not being able to read signs,” she says.

Mila Teshaieva will be revisiting the region on March 29, 2012 to continue her project. She is a Berlin-based photographer represented by Laif photo agency, Cologne. See more of her work here.

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The Caspian Sea is bordered by five countries, Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan. The Caspian Sea is what remains of the ancient ocean. Around 60 million years ago the this ancient ocean connected the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Due to shifting of continents it lost its connection with the Pacific Ocean and then with the Atlantic Ocean. Chloe Dewe Mathews’ work on the Caspian Sea recently won the British Journal of Photography’s International Photography Award and will be exhibited in London at the Foto8 Gallery from Nov 22nd until Dec 5th. David Land of f2 Magazine caught up with Mathews as she hitchhiked her way back to Britain from China.

Mathews:

“.. I was mostly shooting in Central Asia (Xinjiang China, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan) but now I´m only weeks away from home. My boyfriend (who is also an artist) and I, wanted to do a substantial journey from Asia to Europe without flying, to get a sense of the gradual changes that occur as you move from East to West. We’ve been primarily hitchhiking, and crossing the seas by boat, to get a more immediate sense of the places we are traveling through. Although I did preliminary research, I didn’t want preconceived projects to dictate the way I worked. Rather I wanted to respond to whatever situations we found ourselves in, and once an idea had struck, I could go deeper from there. It´s been a real reconnaissance trip for a lifetime’s work ahead and an education, of course.

One of the biggest challenges has been knowing when to take photographs and when not to. There were periods when I didn’t take out my camera at all, which made me worry that I was wasting opportunities. I had to remind myself that sitting, listening, talking, watching, gathering is as important a part of being a photographer as shooting. Besides, sometimes if you are too busy taking pictures within the boundaries of a certain project, you are blind to what is happening right in front of you. I didn’t want that to happen during this trip.”

All images courtesy Chloe Dewe Mathews/Panos


A woman bathes in a bath of oil at the Naftalan sanatorium. Each session, patients bathe for ten minutes in a tub of crude oil. The oil is heated to 37 degrees for optimum effectiveness, Azerbaijan.


The SOCAR (State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic) oil fields in Ramana on the Absheron Peninsula. Wells in the Caspian were being hand-dug in the region as early as the 10th century and the world’s first offshore and machine drilled wells were built on the Absheron Peninsula during the 1870′s, Azerbaijan.


Boys splash in the Caspian Sea, in the shadow of oil rigs at Sixov beach in Baku, Azerbaijan.


A mother and daughter sit on the artificial sea wall in Astara, near the border with Iran. The Caspian Sea borders are still unresolved between these two countries, almost twenty years after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Both countries claim ownership of lucrative oil fields in the southern waters, which has led to a series of confrontations, as each side has forged exploratory missions to profit from the region, Azerbaijan.


Two sisters run down to the underground mosque in Beket-Ata near the Caspian Sea. They have come on a pilgrimage with their family from Aktau, to pray for the recovery of their uncle, Kazakhstan.


In a coastal cemetery, Uzbek migrant workers wear makeshift masks and sunglasses to protect themselves from the sun’s glare, reflecting off the mussel-chalk they work with. They are building elaborate mausoleums for the newly rich middle class. These grave builders work from dawn til dusk, sleeping on site for months at a time, Kazakhstan.


An Uzbek migrant worker pastes plaster into the cracks of a mausoleum. When the Koshkar-Ata cemetery was first established mausoleums were reserved for local saints, a status that was obtained through wisdom and benevolence, through contributions to the well being of the community. Today the splendid tombs belong to the local oil barons. These grave builders work from dawn til dusk, sleeping on site for months at a time, Kazakstan.

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Features and Essays 

Coming up in National Geographic Magazine’s November issue…

Chuffed to see that Erika Larsen’s Sami series has made it to NatGeo..Looking forward to seeing it in print….

Erika Larsen: Sami Reindeer Herders (NGM)

Pascal Maitre,Joel Sartore, and Carsten Peter: Rift in Paradise—Africa’s Albertine Rift (NGM)

I’m sure you’ll remember this too..

Timothy Archibald: Echolilia (NGM)

Two series by Stephanie Sinclair…This one is terrific…

Stephanie Sinclair: Hillary’s Angels (VII)  Women working as secretary of state’s security detail

Stephanie Sinclair: Phiona Mutesi, a Ugandan chess prodigy (VII Magazine)

Libya…

New Magnum in Motion piece by Moises Saman on Libya’s last days Gaddafi’s rule…

Moises Saman: Theater of War (Magnum in Motion)

Another Magnum photographer’s, Alex Majoli’s series in Newsweek….

Alex Majoli: Libyans in a Strange Land (Newsweek)

Mauricio Lima for the New York Times:

Mauricio Lima: In Surt, Chronicle of a Death Foretold (NYT Lens) Libya

Elsewhere in Middle East…

Alfredo D’Amato: Early Days of Spring (Panos) Tunisia

Portraits of Occupy Wall Street protestors in Zuccotti Park by Martin Schoeller in New Yorker and Sasha Bezzubov in TIME …

Bezzubov’s series on Lightbox opens with a crowd shot that was printed double spread in the magazine… See below how that and the portraits were used in print…

Sasha Bezzubov: Taking It to the Streets (Lightbox)

I haven’t seen how Schoeller’s portraits were used in print…

Martin Schoeller: Portraits From Occupy Wall Street (New Yorker)

To other things…

Global warming and rising sea level…

Amelia Holowaty Krales: Tuvalu, an Island in Danger (NYT Lens) Amelia Holowaty Krales’s website

Jocelyn Carlin: Global Warming’s Front Line (Panos)

Robin Hammond: Tuvalu Sunset (Panos)

James Whitlow Delano: The True Price, With a Hidden Cost (NYT Lens)

Tomas van Houtryve: Borderline: Bordeline: In the Shadow of North Korea (Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund)

Three Lynsey Addario series..This first one’s from the States…and her road trip with Joe Klein…

Lynsey Addario: Return to the American Road (Lightbox)

Lynsey Addario: Abandoning a Controversial Tradition (NYT) Genital cutting, Senegal

Lynsey Addario: Iraq Investors (VII)

Donald Weber: Quniqjuk, Qunbuq, Quabaa (VII)

John Vink: Cambodia 2011 Floods (Magnum)

New work from some of the Cesuralab photographers…

Luca Santese, Gabriele Micalizzi: Roma Violenta (Cesuralab)

Andy Rocchelli: Anzhi Makhachkala (Cesuralab) Makhachkala is the capital of Daghestan

Chien-Chi Chang: Burma: Land of Shadows (Magnum)

Sebastien Liste: Urban Quilombo (burn)

Kyoko Hamada: Letter to Fukushima (New Yorker)

Carolyn Drake: Among the Animals in Turkey (New Yorker)

Doug Richard: American Suburb (project website)

Boogie: The View From Kingston, Jamaica (AnnalsofAmericus)

Lizzie Sadin: Young and Imprisoned (NYT Lens) Sadin’s website

Ashley Gilbertson: MREs (Slate) includes a short interview with Gilbertson

Ryan Pfluger: Milwaukee’s Alliance School, the only gay-friendly charter school in the U.S. (Lightbox)

Richard Misrach: The Oakland-Berkeley Fire Photos  (Lightbox)

Sophie Gerrard: Protectors of Sight (BBC)

Samuel Hauenstein Swan: Somalis seek refuge in Ethiopian camps (Guardian)

Samuel: Hauenstein Swan: Tackling life-threatening child malnutrition in Chad (Guardian)

Elliott Erwitt:  Sequentially Yours (Lightbox)

Brent Stirton: The Malapa Fossils (Reportage)

Peter Dench: Dench’s England (NYT Lens)

Jules Allen: The Sweet Science of Body and Soul (NYT Lens) Allen’s website

Spike Johnson: Dale Farm Eviction (Foto8) Johnson’s archive

Kieran Doherty: Royal Wootton Bassett repatriations (Guardian)

Articles

Pretty gruesome images today in the videos showing Gaddafi captured and eventually killed…New Yorker’s Jon Lee Anderson comments…

C.I.A. agent Felix Rodriguez, left, with Che Guevara, center, before Guevara was executed in Bolivia, in 1967. Photograph: AP Photo/Courtesy of Felix Rodriguez.

Jon Lee Anderson: Picturing the Dead (New Yorker)

The day that marked Colonel Gaddafi’s death, marked also 6 months from the death of Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros…Mike Kamber wrote about his friend Hetherington in New York Times Lens blog…

photo: Tim Hetherington

Mike Kamber: A Show of Respect for a Fallen Friend Tim Hetherington (NYT Lens)

C.J. Chivers: On the Day Qaddafi Dies, News – And Art – from Tim. (Journalist’s website)

Hadn’t seen this Hetherington video before…

Tim Hetherington: His Life and His Work (Vimeo)

BJP: Magnum Photos addresses Libyan Secret Service photo archive controversy | David Campbell’s comment

Source magazine: Collecting Photographs, Copyrights and Cash

An invitation to all monochrome photographers (BJP) “Emerging black-and-white photographers are invited to submit their work to Mono, a hardback photobook which will also include Roger Ballen, Anders Peterson and Oliver Pin Fat.”

Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin: Photojournalism and the war of images (Guardian)

Silly…Guardian writes about Chloe Dewe Mathews’ BJP award winning Caspia work and then crops all four of her photos shown…The photos are originally 6×7…I wonder if they’d ever do the same to a painter?

Guardian: Lives bathed in oil: how Chloe Dewe Mathews captured the Caspian coast (Guardian) “In her award-winning Caspian series, the young British photographer explores the healthy and unhealthy relationship between oil and people in a spa town in Azerbaijan”

AP Photographer Ed Reinke Dies After Assignment Injury (PDN)

NYT: Barry Feinstein, Dies at 80

PDN: Barry Feinstein, who took classic shots of Dylan, Joplin, Steve McQueen, Geo Harrison, has died at 80

PDN: Custom Tools of the Trade

LA Times: Movie review: ‘Hell and Back Again’ | Guardian review

NPPA Visual Student: Insights and Experiences from the 2011 Eddie Adams Workshop

BJP’s news editors Olivier Laurent takes a look back at this year’s Visa…

BJP: The Optimists – A look back at this year’s Visa Pour l’Image festival

Photoshelter: Your Year-end Photography Business Plan

Guardian: Featured Photojournalist: Paul Bronstein

Guardian: Photographer Shahidul Alam’s best shot

Ai Weiwei’s Photo Shoot from China (NYT)

Brooks Kraft’s frames on Lightbox prove you don’t need to use a filter app to make a good iPhone photo…Refreshing…

Brooks Kraft: iPhone4 S frames (Lightbox)

Verve: Tessa Bunney

Verve: Rony Zakaria

multiMedia

 Once Magazine for iPad : issue 1 available on iTunes Store

Blogs

The Map is Not the Territory : Vanessa Winship and George Georgiou are exploring America

Awards, Grants, Funds, and Competitions

The Chris Hondros Fund has launched (BJP)

The Chris Hondros Fund website

Krisanne Johnson Awarded the W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography (Time Lightbox)

W. Eugene Smith Grant Awarded to Krisanne Johnson (NYT Lens)

Hondros, Hetherington Prizes Awarded at Eddie Adams Workshop (PDN)

Spanish photographer Daniel Beltrá has won this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year award (BJP)

BJP: Three £3000 commissions up for grabs from Side Gallery

Interviews

photo in tear sheet: Shawn Baldwin

Errol Morris on Photography: Believing Is Seeing (Lightbox)

Henry Rollins (Featureshoot) “interview with Henry Rollins about his new photo book, ‘Occupants’”

Spencer Murphy (SIP)

Don McCullin (BBC Radio)

Old Nachtwey interview from 2002…

James Nachtwey (Apple Canada: 2002)

Yaakov Israel : CPC 2011 Winner (Conscientious)

Exhibitions and Events

Bryan Denton’s Libya exhibition opened on the same day as Gaddafi got killed… Fitting…

Revolution Photographs from Libya 2011 by Bryan Denton : October 20, 2011 – November 19, 2011 : Gulf + Western Gallery  721 Broadway, at Waverly – Ground Floor New York, NY 10003

Tim Hetherington – Visions  : October 22, 2011 till December 02, 2011 United States New York Venue details Bronx Documentary Center 614 Courtlandt Ave (at 151st) Bronx, New York 10451 United States www.bronxdoc.org info@bronxdoc.org

Need help pricing and editioning your work?

The Social  : Print Sales: Editioning, pricing, printing, and more : Monday 24 October

Foto8 : Making it Happen Seminar : 26 November 2011 : London

Agencies

VII Newsletter October 2011

photo: Paolo Woods

Institute for Artist Management adds three photographers (BJP)

Books

Magnum Photographers: Women Changing India

Equipment

Canon 1D X (CPN)

Klynt : “the interactive editing & publishing application dedicated to creative storytellers.”

Photographers

Art Streiber

Tiffany L. Clark

Daniel Sullivan

Samuel Hauenstein Swan

Richard Flint

To finish off…. iPhone 4S / Canon 5d MKII Side by Side Comparison

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Chloe Dewe Mathews

Caspian

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When viewed from space, the Caspian has a distinct outline, like an upside down map of the British Isles, and roughly the same size. But the Caspian is no lake, nor is it an ordinary sea; surrounded by vast tracts of desert, hovering half way between Asia and Europe – though belonging to neither, the Caspian is a sea almost lost in the land. I set out to capture the spirit of the illusive region; picking out unusual, poetic and often humorous aspects of everyday lives.
Over the centuries, nearby Empires have come and gone, each leaving its mark: first the Ottomans, then Persians, Mongols and finally, the Russians.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1993, an oil boom brought fresh prosperity to the area. Ports such as Aktau sprang up on the coast of Kazakhstan, where in the cemetery migrant workers now construct elaborate tombs for a new oil-rich middle class.

Across the water in the semi-desert of Azerbaijan, in a sanatorium town called Naftalan, people bathe in unique, chocolate-brown oil, which is believed to have therapeutic properties. It was startling to see an industrial substance so associated with international politics, power and wealth, being used for health and relaxation.

While the economic relationships between Europe and Asia change and ecological conditions on our planet mutate, so do the fortunes sift of the disparate communities who live around this strange sea. Even today, the lives of these people are tied to the landscape as never before.

Bio

My work is a hunt for moments of potency; when the clutter of day-to-day existence falls away to reveal something uncomplicated, something essential.
After a degree in Fine Art at Oxford University, I worked in the feature film industry for four years. Although it was an exciting world to be part of, I found myself questioning its extravagance. I wanted to work on something quieter, more economical, where I had room for spontaneity and intimacy with my subject.

In 2010 I traveled overland from China to Britain, hitchhiking and camping, in an attempt to experience and capture the cultural shift that takes place as one moves from Asia to Europe. During that time I shot projects on the Uighur minority in Western China, the returning waters of the Aral Sea, and the Caspian.
My work has been published in the Sunday Times Magazine, the Independent, Foto8, Vision China and Dazed and Confused magazine, and exhibited in London, Birmingham, Buenos Aires and Berlin.

Related links

Chloe Dewe Mathews

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"Click Trajectories: End-to-End Analysis of the Spam Value Chain" is a scholarly research paper reporting on a well-designed study of the way that spam works, from fast-flux DNS to bulletproof hosting to payment processing to order fulfillment. The researchers scraped mountains of spam websites, ordered their pills and fake software, and subjected it all to rigorous comparison and analysis. They were looking for spam ecosystem bottlenecks, places where interdicting one or two companies could have a major impact on spam.

Figure 1 illustrates the spam value chain via a concrete
example from the empirical data used in this study.
On October 27th, the Grum botnet delivered an email
titled VIAGRA R Official Site. The body of the mes-
sage includes an image of male enhancement pharma-
ceutical tablets and their associated prices (shown). The
image provides a URL tag and thus when clicked
directs the user's browser to resolve the associated domain
name, medicshopnerx.ru. This domain was registered by
REGRU-REG-RIPN (a.k.a. reg.ru) on October 18th --
it is still active as of this writing. The machine providing
name service resides in China, while hosting resolves to a
machine in Brazil. The user's browser initiates an HTTP
request to the machine, and receives content that renders
the storefront for "Pharmacy Express," a brand associated
with the Mailien pharmaceutical affiliate program based in
Russia.

After selecting an item to purchase and clicking on
"Checkout", the storefront redirects the user to a payment
portal served from payquickonline.com (this time serving
content via an IP address in Turkey), which accepts the
user's shipping, email contact, and payment information, and
provides an order confirmation number. Subsequent email
confirms the order, provides an EMS tracking number, and
includes a contact email for customer questions. The bank
that issued the user's credit card transfers money to the
acquiring bank, in this case the Azerigazbank Joint-Stock
Investment Bank in Baku, Azerbaijan (BIN 404610).
Ten days later the product arrives, blister-packaged, in a
cushioned white envelope with postal markings indicating
a supplier named PPW based in Chennai, India as its
originator.

Click Trajectories: End-to-End Analysis of the Spam Value Chain (PDF)

(via MeFi)

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