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EPF 2011 first selection

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Jeroen Hofman

Playground

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My new project is called Playground. The Netherlands have several training facilities where members of the Fire Brigade, the Police Force and the Ministry of Defense are trained and prepared for a wide range of possible scenarios. Within the boundaries of these grounds it’s all just practice or ‘play’. Outside of them however, things are a lot more serious. My aim was to capture these facilities and the people who are trained there.

 

Bio

Jeroen Hofman graduated in 2002 at he Royal Academie of Arts in The Hague, the Netherlands. Since then he works as a free lance photographer on editorial assignments and non-commissioned projects.

 

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Laia Abril

A Bad Day

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A Bad Day‘ is a multimedia piece that approaches the struggle of bulimia and that is the first chapter of an ongoing long-term project about Eating Disorders. Jo is 21 and suffers from bulimia, a kind of eating disorder. Her obsession is not about being thin; it’s about not gaining weight, in spite of the huge amount of food that she ingests every day. Bulimia has taken all her time and money, and also her passion: dance. ‘If I was not bulimic I would be dancing like before’ Jo says. ‘But ballet is about elegance and perfection, and I’m a crap person in the middle of chaos’. She doesn’t look overweight and she hates her body and can’t see herself in leggings in front of a mirror anymore. She also thinks that her addiction is ‘disgusting’. That’s why she never told anyone ‘ not even her boyfriend ‘ about it. For some reason, she decided to open herself to me.

The project started, after a deep research, shooting for few weeks in November 2010, when I spent my days with Jo in her house in Edinburgh. I woke up with her and listened to her saying: ‘I hope this is going to be a good day’. With her I went to the supermarket and watched movies in her computer. I also saw her going through daily crisis, eating and vomiting immediately after. She confessed to me that she self-injures herself, specifically small cuts in her legs and feet. I saw her good days turning into very bad ones and I saw Jo acting in public as if everything was absolutely fine. And this is actually what this illness is all about, pretending that everything is all right while it’s not. An apparent normality that makes bulimia one of the hardest disorders to diagnose and a devastating killer of female teenagers and young adults worldwide.

The lies and misunderstandings that surround bulimia are what convinced me to further develop this project. I would like my images to catch the contradictory feelings and behaviors that these girls have to go through day after day. My approach is going to be intimate and psychological and will leave in the back the more physical manifestations of the of the disease.

 

Bio

Laia Abril, 25, is a documentary photographer raised in Barcelona. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and studied photography at ICP in New York City. She began working on documentary projects in the Balkans, covering the 13th Funeral of Srebrenica and the Independence of Kosova, first for a Spanish NGO and then for Spanish newspapers. In 2009 and 2010 she was a finalist on the Ian Parry Award participating at the Getty Gallery in London first with her photo project about the young lesbian community in Brooklyn and then with the project ‘The Last Cabaret’ about a porno sex-life club in Barcelona. Her work has been featured in magazines including OjodePez, The Sunday Times magazine, DRepubblica, and COLORS magazine amongst others, and has been recognized with various scholarships. After spending two years at FABRICA (the Benetton research and communication center in Italy) she is currently working as a staff photographer, blogger and Associate Picture Editor for COLORS Magazine combining her freelance career and keeping developing her personal project.

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Laia Abril

A Bad Day multimedia

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Monika Bulaj

Behind the Great Game

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What lies behind the conflicts and power struggles vying for control of the oil resources of Western and Central Asia? The aim of this work – The Central and Western Asia Project - is to give voice to those who are the unwilling protagonists (and often victims) of that which Ahmed Rashid terms The New Great Game, in Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Central Asian republics.
In Afghanistan, a country that was to be saved from itself, despite the millions of dollars in aid and the presence of military personnel, over half of the population depends on food aid for their very survival and the condition of women is still among the worst in the world. Pakistan, increasingly torn apart by civil strife, is the victim of American political myopia that has bred a hatred for the West and has rendered impossible any serious opposition to the extremists, undermining the very founding values of the Pakistani state: democracy, a secular educational system, a functioning civil society.
In the work that I did in this Region (Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Iran) I’ve tried to go beyond the facile geopolitical characterizations of this region and its inhabitants and bring to the light its invisible spaces: spaces that resist the political monochromes, populist rhetoric and imported understandings of radical Islam. There is another, hidden world here, ignored by the media: that of the Sufi, despised by the Taliban; that of Islamised shamanisms  and pre-Islamic traditions; that of the various nomadic tribes and other religious minorities, such as the animists, whose sacred places have long been seen as a powerful threat to the dominance of Taliban Wahabite ideology.
I’m trying to bring to the fore also the condition of women: their struggles with depression and suicide, with the impositions of morality, their aspirations, their sexuality.

 

Bio

Free-lance photographer and writer, for GEO, East, National Geographic (Italy), La Repubblica, periodicals by  Gruppo Espresso and Rcs, Courrier International, Gazeta Wyborcza. Born in 1966 in Warsaw, she has completed five-years studies in the Polish Philology on the Warsaw University. She has three sons and worked until 2002 as an actress and dancer. She has published books:  ‘Libya felix’, Mondadori; ‘Figli di No?’ Frassinelli 2006 (minorities and faiths in Azerbaigian); ‘Rebecca e la pioggia’, Frassinelli 2006 (the nomadic tribe of the Dinka of South Sudan); ‘Gerusalemme perduta’ with Paolo Rumiz, Frasinelli 2005 (about the Eastern Christians); ‘Genti di Dio, viaggio nell’Altra Europa’, Frasinelli 2008 (researches in East Europe and Israel), Bozy ludzie, Bosz Editions 2011. More than 50 personal exibitions. Awards: Grant in Visual Arts 2005 from EAJC, Bruce Chatwin Award 2009 ‘Occchio Assoluto’, The Aftermath Project Grant 2010. Her book ‘Genti di Dio’ has just been published in a new and larger edition.

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Monika Bulaj

Central Asia Project

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Nicholas Calhoun

Existing is All

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We never live in the same moments. Although, life may be repetitive with our daily rituals and the things we experience, they are never truly the same. But it’s this illusion that we create, thinking life is vapid, that pushes us to do the ‘unexpected’. Losing ourselves in the moments we tend to forget about the future and dip our toes in the past and experience life.

With boredom we ignite ourselves to experience agony and joy; we scar our selves and our lives, just so we can have a taste of reality. We grow older although not aware of where we are headed.

With only stories that were created to simply be told, we forget who we are. Knowing we exist is all we need to keep us moving along.

Existing is all we do, all we need.

 

Bio

I’m Nicholas Calhoun, I go by Conner though. I have lived in Raleigh NC all my life. There isn’t much to do here except pass time.

My inspirations come from where I live, and the people who surround me.

I use art to better understand who I am and the little things that people tend to not notice.

I’m still young and learning.

 

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Stacy Kranitz

The Other

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My project engages with history, representation, biography, personal narrative, and otherness in the documentary tradition. Each year in Pennsylvania, 500 people come together to reenact the Battle of the Bulge. During the reenactment, I portray Leni Riefenstahl and behave with soldiers, as she would have. I am intrigued by the complex story of a woman with a problematic set of morals. My work aims to understand people beyond the constraints of good vs evil. I have inserted myself into the Nazi reenactor photographs to subvert the viewer’s instinct to dismiss these people as different from themselves. This allows me to reflect upon atrocity, delve into my own relationship with my Jewish heritage, and contemplate the camera’s ability to re-imagine history.

Much of our conception of history is based on images. Historical images have been filtered through media and propaganda. These images become history as generations pass. Images are the dominant force that shape the public imagination. My images of the reenactment are part of the deconstruction process by which images first represent and then replace history.

The next phase of this project will explore Riefenstahl’s life between 1962-1977 when she lived with the Nuba in Sudan. I will visit the same Nuba tribes to focus on the disjunction between her fetishized images and my own exploration of the Nuba’s complex modern reality. The Nuba were victims of genocide during a recent civil war and it has deeply impacted their culture. They were forcibly relocated to camps and Islamicized. Hundreds of thousands died from warfare and starvation.

My project asks how we live in a world where genocide takes place in continuum? It reflects on the history of the documentary tradition as it poses new ways of expressing identity in relation to ‘otherness’. This project deconstructs the notion of the photograph as document, its power as a tool of propaganda, as a witness to history and a call for change.

 

Bio

Stacy Kranitz studied film and photography at New York University. Her work focuses on the ways we express aggression and violence in our daily rituals, habits and pastimes. Additional themes in her work include the relationship between music and culture, the emotional growth of children and environmental racism. She is interested in the theoretical underpinnings that bind together the evolution of the documentary tradition. Her work looks to explore important social issues while commenting on this tradition and challenging its boundaries.

Her clients include Adbusters, Dwell, Elle, ESPN, Entertainment Weekly, Forbes, Fortune, Men’s Journal, Mother Jones, Metropolis, Newsweek, New York Times Magazine, People, Rolling Stone, Spin, Vice, Wall Street Journal and Wired.

She was awarded a Young Photographers Alliance Scholarship Award and also received a Story Project Grant from the California Council for the Humanities. She has shown her work at galleries in NY, CA, LA and FL.

 

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Scott Dalton

So Close, So Far: Daily Life and Cartel Violence in Ciudad Jurez

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Averaging over 3,000 murders a year, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, has become one of the most dangerous cities on earth, a place sometimes called ‘Baghdad on the Border’, or ‘Murder City’.  Located on the US-Mexico border, just across from El Paso, TX, Ciudad Juarez is the epicenter of a struggle between drug cartels that has pushed all of Mexico toward lawlessness. The city has become a bed of tension, its citizens weary and nervous of the gunfire that may erupt at any moment. Yet daily life in Juarez maintains a paradoxical serenity, at once contradictory to and somehow acquiescent in the crisis that is overwhelming the city.

As a photographer I am interested in the often-fragile relationship between people and the places they live, in how individuals, environment, and history combine to create a region with its own culture. In my project ‘So Close, So Far: Daily Life and Cartel Violence in Ciudad Juarez’, I am exploring these ideas through images of daily life in a place where the drug war calls the very concept of “daily life” into question.  Combining environmental portraits and documentary reportage, I hope to document this tragic and historic time in the life of this city, when cartel violence forges an uncertain new reality.

Porfirio Diaz, a former president of Mexico, is famously quoted as saying, ‘Poor Mexico, so far from God, so close to the United States’. This proximity has had a profound influence on the history of Ciudad Juarez. Renowned in the past for bandits, smugglers, and revolutionaries, it is now the stage upon which drug cartels are enacting a bloody struggle for control of the lucrative drug routes leading north into the US. With over 30,000 cartel related deaths in all of Mexico since 2006, the country has an uncertain future. In Ciudad Juarez the government has been reduced to picking up bodies and tallying the dead, impunity has spread, life has become cheap, and murder is easy. Yet somehow life goes on.

 

Bio

Scott Dalton is a photographer based in Houston, TX and a graduate of UT Austin in Photojournalism. He was based for 14 yrs in Latin America, mainly in Bogotà, Colombia where he photographed the drug war. He has photographed in conflict zones in Colombia, Nepal, and Gaza; and he has also covered major stories and events throughout Latin America. He spent a year with a paramilitary gang in Medellin directing the award winning film ‘La Sierra’. And he has even been kidnapped by Colombian rebels while on assignment for the LA Times in 2003.

He now works on long-term personal projects shot on medium format film. Currently his focus is the border town of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Before that he spent four years photographing a region in Colombia that influenced the writings of Gabriel Garcìa Màrquez. His photos have appeared in National Geographic, Harper’s, Time, The New Yorker, GEO and many other outlets. In 2009 he was nominated for the Santa Fe Prize and was Top 50 in Critical Mass.

 

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Scott Dalton

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Teresa Cos

I Was There – Observations on “The Society of The Spectacle”

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“I Was There” is the first chapter of a long term (lifetime) project which explores western society and its obsession with success. I started by depicting the worlds of art, fashion and culture, where anxiety and struggle for success, together with the desperate need for recognition and approval are ubiquitous; where people live with the constant fear of being considered losers. The images have been taken in 2010 at Venice Architecture Biennale, Venice Film Festival, Milan and London Fashion Weeks, Frieze Art Fair in London and Paris Contemporary Art Fair (FIAC).

I chose these events because they are globalised examples of a bubble (for instance the art industry) that is on the verge of explosion. As wrote Jean Baudrillard: When one looks at the emptiness of current art, the only question is how much such a machine can continue to function in the absence of any new energy, in an atmosphere of critical disillusionment and commercial frenzy, and with all the players totally indifferent? If it can continue, how long will this illusionism last? A hundred years, two hundred? This society is like a vessel whose edges move ever wider apart, and in which the water never comes to the boil.

If one substitutes current art with current society the equation doesn’t really change, does it? And who are these indifferent players, if not us? I want to keep on exploring and understanding photographically the Hyper reality created by consumerism, where people aspirations are dangerously confused with the models of living that the society of the spectacle is constantly selling us and where need has become desire and admiration envy.

To me, it is fundamentally important to understand these social dynamics because, by creating the idea that through a selfish individualism everybody can finally reach extreme forms of wealth and success, one drastically contributes to the social and economic disparities in this world.

 

Bio

I was born and grew up in a small town called Latisana, in the North East of Italy, a one hour drive from Venice, where I ended up living for six years as an architecture student. It is thanks to architecture that I discovered photography, because it taught me to look at the world through different eyes.

After graduating in 2008, I was in the Italian team of architects and urbanists in the international table of consultation wanted by the French government to produce ideas for the future of Paris. I lived for seven months in the suburbs of the French capital, producing my first important body of work, Banlieue 08/09, that allowed me to be accepted last year onto the Photojournalism & Documentary Photography MA program at London College of Communication, where I graduated with Distinction.

I live and work in London and I am also part of the photography collective Five Eleven Ninety Nine.

 

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Teresa Cos

Collective Five Eleven Ninety Nine

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Charlotte Tanguy

NYX

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In St-Petersburg, pollen comes out of poplars that were massively planted there after the second World War, in order to fill the holes in the city. Because so many of them were planted, and the pollen started to pollute the city, people became allergic to these pollen.

In St-Petersburg, I met Lielia during these so-called “white nights”, 21st of June 2010. I saw her walking through a cloud of white dots, pollen. She refused to be photographed, but took me to her home anyway. She showed me a cut out photograph of her son Anton, a journalist who got killed in St-Petersburg in 2000.

Her dog, a dalmatian, was jumping on me.

This project is about hopelessly trying to own absence… a walk with no beginning and no end through St-Petersburg, haunted by Anton’s photograph.

I came back to see Lielia in St-Petersburg in February, and will go there next time in June.

 

Bio

Born in 1979 in Lyon, France. Based in Paris.
Graduated from Ecole Nationale des Arts decoratifs de Paris (ENSAD) in 2004, started photography in 2008, and joined Agence Vu’ in January 2011.

 

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Charlotte Tanguy

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Diarmait Grogan

New Way Home

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‘New Way Home’ incorporates autobiographical elements into a non-linear narrative on longing, loss, joy, intimacy and vulnerability. The result is a subjective reflection on the human condition. Disparate experiences coalesce in a body of work that is ultimately concerned less with an external reality than with highlighting ‘fragmentary moments of interior significance’.

As individuals we have this desire to relate everything to ourselves.  I’m always looking for new images to replace the ones I’ve already made, to express the same feelings more succinctly or more accurately. This is why there is a certain anxiety present in my work, alongside a sense of melancholy. Perhaps it’s about my own fear of disappearance. The camera is an extension of my longing, a yearning for associations, for meaning and for stability in the face of mortality. But the images are made with the understanding that any such stability is a phantasm. Any truths expressed in the work are always partial and contingent.

Authenticity is what I’m striving for. I only want to work in a territory that I’m intimately familiar with. The raw material of the work is natural, but as soon as an image is made it becomes a kind of fiction. I find that tension between truth and fiction, objectivity and subjectivity, to be endlessly fascinating.

 

Bio

Diarmait Grogan was born in Ireland in 1983. He studied photography in the Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Dun Laoghaire, graduating with first class honors in 2008. His work has been exhibited internationally, including an exhibition as part of the ‘Exposure’ program of Format09 International Photography Festival in Derby, UK. He recently presented his first solo show in his home city of Dublin.

 

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Blog

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G.M.B. Akash

The Bitterest Pill – A new danger for child sex workers in Bangladesh

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800 women and girls live and work inside the fortress-like brothel in Faridpur, central Bangladesh. Many of them are underage, and most receive no pay because they are chhukri – bonded workers. That girl as young as 12 should be condemned to a life of sex slavery is bad enough, but they also face a new horror, one that could snuff out any chance of a future they might have had.

The horror is a steroid called Oradexon, a drug identical to one used to fatten cattle for market. The girls are given Oradexon by their madams in order to make them look older and more attractive to prospective clients. One of its side effects is water retention, oedema, which can result in a ‘plump’ look that is considered attractive by some Bangladeshi men.

The drug is highly addictive and has severe long-term health implications, impairing the kidneys, increasing blood pressure and interfering with normal hormone production.

Nodi 15, is one of many girls who use the drug. She says she doesn’t have another name – ‘I’m just Nodi – it means River’ – and she has been in the brothel for two years. Many of the girls here have been sold by their stepmother or even their own mothers – and some are second-generation sex workers, born to a prostitute and an unknown client. ‘I started taking the cow drug a year ago, and I take two tablets a day,’ Nodi says. She thinks it makes her look healthier. ‘The customers like us to look healthy. I got a little plumper when I started taking the drug.’ The existence she describes is a miserable one. ‘How can I be happy here? God knows – there is no happiness here,’ she says.

In a conservative country prostitution is will of fate. No one knows the Story of those faceless girls who may be sold by their boyfriend, husband or parents. No basic right, having no admiration for own self & torture of uncertainty made them unvoiced. Whenever I met those young girls I tried to be one of them. They have no dreams; they only live in reality which is killing them ever.

 

Bio

My journey to the world of photography began long ago. For years I have been travelling widely, covering various social issues faced by the lesser known people, particularly in my country Bangladesh.

My work has been featured in many major international publications including: National Geographic, Vogue, Time, Sunday Times, Newsweek, Geo, Stern, Der Spiegel, The Fader, Brand Ein, The Guardian, Marie Claire, Colors, The Economist, The New Internationalist, Kontinente, Amnesty Journal, Courier International, PDN, Die Zeit, Days Japan, Hello, and Sunday Telegraph of London.

In 2002 I became the first Bangladeshi to be selected for the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass in the Netherlands. In 2004 I have received the Young Reporters Award from the Scope Photo Festival in Paris, again being the first Bangladeshi to receive the honor. In 2006 I was awarded World Press Photo award and released my first book First Light.

 

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G.M.B. Akash

A photojournalist’s blog

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