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burn magazine

Emerging Photographer Fund – 2013 Recipient

 

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EPF 2013 Runner-up

Iveta Vaivode

Somewhere on Disappearing Path

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I’ve always been fascinated with family albums. I grew up looking at my parent’s family albums, imagining their lives before me. Trying to reconstruct the memories that I didn’t have, but at the same time living them over and over again in my imagination. Somehow I always felt that the people I saw in these amateur photographs were different from those I saw close to me every day. I felt that photographs, although connected with a certain historical past, worked better as triggers of my own imagination, rather than giving me a specific knowledge of anything else. The ambivalence of the medium of photography, its possibilities and its limitations suggest we should mistrust photography as a record of our lives and histories. Yet there are numerous photographic works that deal with the concept of memory, in which artists become poets rather than historians.

For the last year, I have documented people from a remote village called Pilcene in the Eastern side part of Latvia. My work addresses the idea of looking back as a framing device and a narrative mode. Searching for the last traces of my family in this village, I chase after the people who used to know my grandmother. Through their stories I see the life that has vanished, although most of people still live the way their ancestors used to. In a way, this place has become their lifestyle; one which I feel, is going to disappear soon.

By photographing the life and people of my grandmother’s childhood village I try to recreate the place I never had chance to know. Yet people I met now work as a mirror with a memory helping to reveal the past of my own family.

Bio

I grew up in Riga, Latvia. Having started my photographic career as a fashion photographer, for the past four years I have turned my sight towards more personal projects. In 2008, I received a BA in photography from the Arts Institute at Bournemouth (England). My photographs have been exhibited in Latvia, Lithuania, U.K., France, China and Belgium. I’m also a recipient of the following awards: AOP Student Photographer of the Year (2007); Nikon Discovery Awards (2008) and c/o Berlin Talents (2013).

 

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Adrianne Jeffries

Atm_robbers_large

Defendants Elvis Rafael Rodriguez and Emir Yasser Yeje posing with approximately $40,000 with cash. Source: US Attorney, Eastern District of New York

If you’d been waiting for the ATM inside the deli at East 59th and Third in Manhattan on Tuesday, February 19th around 9:24PM, you would have been annoyed. A young man in a black beanie and puffy black jacket made seven withdrawals in a row, stuffing around $5,620 into his blue backpack. The man wasted no time. He exited the deli and headed up five blocks to repeat the process at four more ATMs, finishing his route at a Chase bank at 69th and Third at 9:55PM, where he made four withdrawals totaling $4,000.

While the man in the black beanie was beelining along the Upper East Side, seven...

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(author unknown)

Simple and efficient, rail travel nonetheless inspires a sense of romance. By train, subway, and a seemingly endless variety of trams, trolleys, and coal shaft cars, we've moved on rails for hundreds of years. Industry too relies on the billions of tons of freight moved annually by rolling stock. Gathered here are images of rails in our lives, the third post in an occasional series on transport, following Automobiles and Pedal power. -- Lane Turner (47 photos total)
An employee adjusts a CRH380B high-speed Harmony bullet train as it stops for an examination during a test run at a bullet train exam and repair center in Shenyang, China on October 23, 2012. (Stringer/Reuters)     

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61k

As usual in this kind of international photo competition, there's a couple of winning shots about Palestine, some portraits of magnificently coiffed people, plenty of violent deaths, prisoners living in dire conditions and almost half of these talented photographers are Italian. I'm very impressed by the Afrometals series, btw continue

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apple

A patent granted to Apple in late-August allows governments to disable iPhones and other smartphones, targeting specific apps even, when they enter what is deemed a "sensitive" area.

U.S. Patent No. 8,254,902, titled "Apparatus and methods for enforcement of policies upon a wireless device," enables phone policies to be set to change "one or more functional or operational aspects of a wireless device ... upon the occurrence of a certain event."

Camera? Off. Voice recorder? Off. No calls out, no calls in. Total blackout; or, for an event like a concert, the organizers could target specifically just recording functions of a user's phone.

Zach Whittaker of ZDnet points out that "although Apple may implement the technology ... it would be down to governments, businesses and network owners to set such policies."

The policies would be activated primarily by GPS and would create a perimeter around a sensitive area–like a building, protest or riot— to prevent users from taking pictures or recording, video, prevent "wireless devices from communicating with other wireless devices" and force devices into "sleep mode," according to the patent. 

The patent notes that "Covert police or government operations may require complete "blackout" conditions" — which essentially gives police a "kill switch" they can flip prior to conducting an operations.

This may seem cool for military purposes abroad, against America's enemies, but domestic applications have other implications — like stifling a successful protest.

Here's Tim Pool—who has live-streamed the recent protests in Spain as well as those of Occupy Wall Street—explaining the implications of the patent.

SEE ALSO: These Are The Scariest Electronic Weapons In The U.S. Arsenal >

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Gaston Lacombe

Captive

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In zoos all around the world, visitors go to admire some of the most beautiful, rare or fierce creatures on Earth, but often fail to notice the deplorable habitats in which they are kept.

I have been gathering pictures from zoos all around for the last three years. I like most zoos — I really do. Some zoos need to be congratulated for making great efforts at conserving endangered species, providing shelter to animals who could not otherwise survive and educating the public on ecological issues.

However, even in the best zoos, there are animals that are stuck in cement enclosures too small for their needs, or in rooms where the only vegetation they see are the plants painted on the wall. I’ve seen animals living in cages where they cannot even sit up, or have no access to daylight or clean water. At these moments, I feel guilty for supporting a system that treats animals cruelly, and at these moments, I take pictures.

 

Bio

Gaston Lacombe is a photographer and filmmaker, originally from the Canadian province of New Brunswick.

He has left his footprints all over the globe, including living in Latvia for 12 years, and is presently based in Washington DC. He completed his Professional Photography degree at the Center for the Digital Imaging Arts at Boston University (Washington DC campus), and also has studied at the B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. level in History.

He specializes mostly in documentary projects that have taking him to all corners of the planet. This includes an art residency in Antarctica with the government of Argentina in early 2012. His work has been shown in PDN magazine, the Washington Post, the Toronto Star, and many other publications. His photos have also been exhibited in solo and group shows in North America and Europe, including at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.

 

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Boris Wertz Version One Ventures

With tens of thousands of new start-ups being created every year, the potential of a company to truly scale and become a large, stand-alone business is more crucial than ever before.

A great product is always the foundation but a clear distribution strategy becomes essential to cut through the noise.  

So most early-stage VCs have started to evaluate investment opportunities with an imaginary benchmark in mind: can this company become a $100 million opportunity?

Generally speaking, there are two ways (and only two ways) to scale a business to hit that $100 million threshold:

  • Your business has a high Life Time Value (LTV) per user, giving you the freedom to spend a significant amount of money in customer acquisition. High LTV can usually be found in transactional or subscription businesses.
  • Your business has a high viral co-efficient (or perhaps even a network effect) that lets you amass users cheaply without worrying too much about the monetization per user or spending money on paid acquisition.

Route One: High LTV per user

The exact definition of a “high” user LTV depends on the specific vertical, so it’s typically better to analyze the ratio between Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC) and the Life Time Value of the customer. In my experience, having an LTV that’s three to four times greater than CAC makes a business (and potential investment) interesting.

The biggest driver for high LTV is repeat purchase behavior (in an e-commerce business) respectively a low churn rate (in a SaaS company). Companies that score highest in this criteria are typically:  E-commerce businesses that fulfill regular needs and offer a differentiated experience or SaaS businesses that help businesses or individuals manage core activities.

As a VC, the biggest challenge in evaluating LTV models is that metrics can dramatically change at scale. For example, Customer Acquisition Costs often increase once the more efficient marketing channels are maxed out and the company needs to find new users through less efficient means. In addition, churn tends to rise as a company grows. Early users of a product are often strong advocates and company ambassadors, while those users acquired through paid marketing channels down the road show far less loyalty.

Route Two: The Viral Effect

The other way to scale a business is through a strong viral and/or network effects that lets businesses grow to tens of even hundreds of millions of users. With this model, user acquisition is generally close to free, and monetization per user is often low (advertising-based or freemium businesses).

Many businesses built in the early days of the Facebook platform (like Zynga) benefitted from a huge viral co-efficient and scaled very rapidly. (As we all know, this is no longer the case as Facebook has essentially removed most of the free viral channels and businesses must now pay for most of their user acquisition via Facebook.)

Even more interesting are businesses that create network effects like marketplaces or social networks. Not only do they acquire lots of users for free due to viral effects but also create important barriers to entry and lock-in effects as the network grows over time.

Startup Purgatory: No Man’s Land

Unfortunately, many consumer internet startups find themselves stuck in the middle of these two strategies: they have a low monetization per user and limited viral effects. That unfortunate combination makes it rather difficult to reach the $100M mark.

As the consumer Internet space becomes more and more crowded, every startup founder needs to be thinking about these two ways to scale a business. Too often I have seen entrepreneurs believe that customers will automatically flock to their cool new service, completely underestimating how tough it is to cut through the noise and build an audience.

To build a standalone company and capture the attention of investors, you need a viable way to scale your business. The earlier you figure this out the better, since it may require you to build your product differently. While the $100 million mark may seem far away in those early days, it’s important to begin thinking about paths to reach this threshold from the start.

 

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textile visualizattion

Gundega Strautmane, a Latvian textile artist and designer, visualizes social and physical networks in a show called Relational Ornaments. The networks are created using various sized pins to depict nodes and threads connecting them to show relationships. Bringing visualization into the tactile world lends it a weight not able to be achieved on a computer screen. It allows the viewer to pause, spend time with the information, feel it, sense it in a more holistic way. The placement of pins and threads is imprecise because they are placed by hand giving the work a very natural, organic feel rather than the rigidity of the exact calculations of programming.

[via The Network Thinkers]

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