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EPF 2012 first selection

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Javier Arcenillas

Jisu Ashram

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Only a hundred miles from Kolkata, but immersed in a jungle in which time seems to stand still, a Jesuit missionary group has expanded the meaning of being called “parents”.

In its mission “Jisu Ashram” hosts over a hundred children from families of agriculturists of lower castes. There are a thousand children and parents to represent the only hope for the future of a new generation of young Indians who are suffering, with concealed virulence, an abrupt transition to the modern era, the era of big cities, which work in the field and differ little from slavery.

 

Bio

Humanist. Freelance photographer, member of Gea Photowords.

He develops humanitarian essays where the main characters are integrated in societies that border and set upon any reason or human right in a world that becomes increasingly more and more indifferent.

He is a psychologist at the Complutense University of Madrid. He has won several international prizes, including The Arts Press Award, Kodak Young Photographer, European Social Fund Grant, Euro Press of Fujifilm, Make History, UNICEF, SONY WPY, Fotoevidence POYI.

Currently he is carrying out new ideas in parallel with traditional journalism to spread his projects, and he is making up Audiovisual Projects with diplomatic work.

 

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Valentina Quintano

In The Absence Of Things

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Murmansk (Russia)

The project ‘In The Absence Of Things’ explores life in darkness and the difficulties of true communication between people.

Every year the city of Murmansk (because of its arctic latitude) descends into darkness for forty days; the sun doesn’t even rise above the horizon. These are the ‘Polar Nights’.

This is not a project about Russia, it is a project about being human… and yet the fact that it was shot in Russia does matter.

It was born from an urge to explore darkness. Both the inner human darkness that sits inside each of us in different forms and shapes and moments, and the ‘real’ darkness; the absence of light, the obscurity, the experience of living in a place which is (almost) completely dark for some part of the year.

Early into the project I understood that what really mattered was how the darkness felt, how it slipped under the skin.
There is no story, it is the tale of a feeling because emotions are the unifying element of human kind. They create a bridge over the incommunicability, they allow us to overcome barriers.

The project may seem obscure and schizophrenic in the way images of interiors clash with landscapes, but this reflects the way the people are disconnected from the places, yet also part of them. The anonymity of the subjects and their facelessness was not at first a conscious choice, it happened.

The fragmentary structure of images and text reflects the nature of human existence – we all perceive the world in different ways and because of this, sometimes struggle to communicate our experience, which is influenced by our personal history, our language, our mood, our current context, as well as those of the receiver. Because of the infinite complexity that results from these myriads of factors, our communication is always a continuous process of translations. The lack of a point is somehow the point.

The 2nd part of the project will concentrate on the opposite phenomenon of ‘White Nights’.

 

Bio

Valentina Quintano (b. 1982 in Napoli, Italy), is a photographer who has worked in photojournalism since 2007.

Her work has been featured in some printed and online magazines and newpapers, in three books and in a few joint exhibitions. She has been commended for the Ian Parry Scholarship in 2011 and was among the nominees for the Joop Swart Masterclass 2011.

After having been self-thought and having learnt through assisting, she studied photojournalism in 2009 at the Danish School of Media and Journalism in Rhus, and graduated with a distinction from the MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at London College of Communication in December 2010.

She has been working on personal reportage projects since 2007, as well as on commissioned works.

 

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Hajime Kimura

Matagi

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Man lives freely only by his readiness to die.
-Mahatma Gandhi

One winter day, we pursued black-bears in the deep forest. Nothing around, the sun shining and the air crisp. We had barely eaten anything in more than 4 days. We were just exhausted.

Suddenly one of the Matagi mumbled, having a faraway look on his face.
“What’s that something moving?”

There were, no doubt, two black-bears crossing the iced river.
Once it was made sure with the binocle, they quickly dispersed to their own positions, against the side of the chine, at 1~5km from here.

And it meant the fighting was starting.

The chief of MATAGI had the last word to go away,”We’re being just for this time.”

Originally, the self-sufficient males living in the deep forest and mountains areas were called “MATAGI” in Japanese. They represent one of the indigenous tribes. Before the 1960′s, most of them lived almost without money.

However, the situation changed in the 1970′s, during the high economic growth. Some of them moved to towns in order to find more modern and comfortable jobs. As the years passed, the Matagi have been considered only as a kind of hunters living in rural areas of Japan. Nowadays, they are facing a possible extinction of their traditions.

 

Bio

Hajime Kimura, born in 1982, in the Chiba prefecture next to Tokyo.

In 2005, he graduated from architecture at Shibaura Institute of Technology in Tokyo.

Since 2006 he has actively photographed Asian countries, including China, Southeast Asia and Japan. He wishes to express the invisible reality of human existence in the world with photography, and aspires to commit to his subjects as best as possible.

 

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Andrei Becheru

The Fountain

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I think you come to grasp a place better when you spend a considerable amount of time there; by seeing and listening to everything around you, you develop a constant connection, you react to it, and then, in the end, you distil everything; in my case, with images.

But, first of all, it needs to be a place where everything is found in abundance. It must be a wild territory. A piece of land with a vast history, a land that still bears the mark of past colonizations. A land battered by the tumultuous feet of several generations who lived, fought and died in this place.

When I started (around 2009), I did not view this material in the form of a project. I was traveling in the South of the country where I live, Romania, I had been exploring photography for two years already when I begun to gradually discover this place called Dobruja.

I had read some material, I had seen some documentaries about the Danube Delta, about the hardships which the people inhabiting this area have become accustomed to, or not. I came to know the story of a mining town built in Romania’s Communist era, hidden behind sedimented hills used for copper extractions.

It is difficult to approach the topic surrounding the prosperity of this mining town in the Socialist era, at this point, but one can track down the drastic consequences brought about by the Post-Communist period, consequences mirrored in the people who remained here, on this land ravaged by the effects of industrialization.

After more than a year of exploring this place and starting from a few “trigger” images which illustrate this scenery, I had the impression that I was beginning to discover and approach different subjects. I thought that these images made up a beginning of something that might subsequently crystallize into individual projects. I continued to photograph the day to day life in this scenery. I was conscious of the diversity of the images gathered, but I could not contain them; I felt the need to spread them out.

 

Bio

I, Andrei Becheru, was born in 1984 in Bucharest, Romania.

From early on I chose drawing and painting as means of expression. I completed my studies in the field of design at the National University of Fine Arts of Bucharest in 2007. Absorbed by a past aspiration, which, in the meantime, had become an inner necessity, I started taking photographs three years ago, first on film, and then adopting the digital medium.

One year into digital photography, I nostalgically returned to images on photographic film that had marked my memory.

Presently, I work as an art director for an online fashion store. In parallel with film photography, I began experimenting with moving pictures using an old video camera.

 

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Kir Esadov

The House That Kir Built

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This is not a reportage type project, although much of it was taken while I was doing reportage work.

You can rather name it a fairytale than a rough veracity of life, although, again, in the heart of any fairytale lays the truth.

Some of it appears as a proof of existence of marvelous events, some of it is just a digital modified shot that has nothing to do with serious documentary type of work. Ultimately, this was not a planned out unified series.

I feel that I can never do consistent photographic series. My goal is to create a massive and complete view of my tiny and immature inner anxiety. Very slowly, step by step, this micro world is forming from pieces, fragments, shards of the physical world.

The house that Jack built. The circus stage that Kir built.

In the course of the story I’d like to take the opportunity and say hello to my mother. Dear Ma, things are going pretty smoothly, though I look worse. Boris has developed metastases, intestines will be removed. Adah already has lost her breast, but do not worry, it is unnoticeable under her clothes and we have been promised to stew a new one soon, we just need to save up a little first.

Rustam has AIDS. Marta also doesn’t seem very well, but she is always a pain in the s. Neither of them wants to take their pills. Galya has spread her arms and is waiting for applause. A grave has spread its legs and is craving love. Music is starting.

Nevertheless, this story is not about social issues, this story is about the egocentrism of the author who creates some kind of refuge where it is possible to shelter, to forget, so that all our grudges, all our fears would not seem so significant.

A music is starting. A fever is rising. Strike the violin, touch the lute. To wake yourself and to hop into dense weekdays. To give blood for some tests and to leap into a magic world right away. We are invincible while we jump.

 

Bio

Kir Esadov was born in 1988 in Moscow to a circus family.

He received a B.A. in social pedagogy in 2008. After graduating, he worked at a special orphanage for children with severe speech disorders.

In 2011 he graduated from the Rodchenko’s Art School. He had three solo exhibitions in Russia and he also had several group exhibitions in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Kiev, Zrenjanin, Belgrade.

He has participated at QueerFest 2011 in St. Petersburg and Fotofest 2012 in Houston. At the moment he works as freelance theatre photographer.

 
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Aaron Vincent Elkaim

Fort McKay: Sleeping With The Devil

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For thousands of years the Cree and Dene people of the Athabasca River in Northern Alberta have watched, as the tarry sands along their banks oozed into the river and stuck to their feet.

In the 1950s Premier Earnest Manning was devising a plan to detonate an atomic bomb underground, in an attempt to extract these difficult deposits of oil. At that time the Reserve of Fort McKay, situated 63 km North of Fort McMurray, had no roads connecting it to the rest of Canada. They lived from a traditional lifestyle of hunting and trapping, but as 83-year-old elder Zackary Powder says, it’s not like it used to be, everything has changed.

Today the worlds largest and most environmentally destructive oil extraction project, the Alberta Oil Sands, surround them. Where trappers cabins once stood are now toxic lakes of mine tailings, and endless moonscapes that have been stripped of their bitumen-laced sand with electric shovels five stories high.

Aware to the futility of resistance, the people of Fort McKay decided to partner with industry in 1986. Entrepreneurial endeavors, employment and industry compensations have provided economic prosperity the likes of which few Canadian First Nations have experienced. It is said to be the richest reserve in Canada, but the people here know their prosperity is not without consequence. As elder and former Syncrude electrician Norman Simpson says, sometimes you have to sleep with the Devil.

Stories of moose hunts and life in the bush are told with enthusiasm and pride, but, as industry grows, the land succumbs. The rivers and fish are poisoned, their tap water is no longer potable, the animals are keeping their distance, and the quality of wild meat is in question. Cancer, respiratory disease, drug addiction and other illnesses plague the community. In a country where the norm for reserves is high poverty, unemployment and dismal housing, Fort McKay is marketed as a success story, but the people here know the truth is much more complicated.

 

Bio

Aaron Vincent Elkaim (b.1981) is a documentary photographer, whose work has earned international recognition.

Aaron received a BA in Cultural Anthropology and Film Studies in his hometown of Winnipeg, Canada, before he found photography.

Currently based in Toronto, Aaron approaches his subjects through an anthropological lens with a focus on cultural and historical narratives that reflect and inform his own sense of the world. Though born of individual experience, Aaron’s work seeks to provide its audience with new and varied perspectives on the complexities of humanity and its environment.

His work has been exhibited at Fotographia International Photography Festival in Rome, Voices Off Rencontres d’Arles, the NY Photo Festival, and the Reportage Photography Festival in Australia. His Clients include the Globe and Mail, The Canadian Press, and the Wall Street Journal.

Aaron is a founding member of the Boreal Collective.

 

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Boreal Collective

 

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Massimo Berruti

Pakistan: Fade Into Dust

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Pakistan is considered to have had a key role in the start of the war on terrorism, as probably it will have a main role in the history of its end.

Pakistan is “the country” on the front line of the War on Terror, the most directly involved and afflicted, with the military operation launched in Swat Valley in may 2009 and the subsequent one in South Waziristan, which together have caused 4 million of evacuees. But the involvement shown so far is not yet sufficient for the U.S. Administrations.

After the announcement of Osama Bin Laden’s killing by the hands of a US operative commando on Pakistani soil, the relations between the two countries seem doomed to crash.

More than during the past Musharaff regime, Pakistani developement is connected and subordinate to the international policy. Its economy is fully financed by the US and the IMF, even though Pakistan is a country that by the richness of its soil could be mostly independent.

The fast and constant rise of taxes is at the root of the impoverishment of its society.

Meanwhile, wealth more and more concentrated in the hands of a few, is creating available ground for ignorance and extremism to grow, fertilized by the rising rage of the poor against their governors.

If on one hand Pakistanis, through examples like the lawyer movement, are showing their awareness and their will to contribute to a better society, fighting for their rights, on the other hand the same people has fallen under a heavy physical and psycological pressure of terrorism and recession.

The purpose of this project is to look through the changing society of Pakistan and the upward spiral of violence this country has fallen into since September 2001. A spyral that is driven by something invisible, its first target being the people. Something that risks to invest us all.

 

Bio

Massimo Berruti was born in 1979 in Rome, Italy, where he actually lives.

In 2003, after a short course of photography, he stopped his studies in biology to go deeper in photography. Freelance photographer, from 2004 he started to work in Eastern Europe, and mostly in Italy. Here he worked on immigration, suburbs and the industry crisis: parts of his work was published in a book called “Made in Italy”.

His professional career began when working with the most important Italian and European magazines such as l’Espresso, Internazionale, D la Repubblica delle Donne, Le Monde2 and The Independent.

In 2008 he began traveling to Central Asia, particularly to Pakistan and Afghanistan, where he is documenting the changing society. He won two World Press Photo: in 2007 (Second Prize Reportage in “Contemporary issue”) and in 2011 (Second Prize Stories in “General news”).

 

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Christopher Capozziello

A State Of Mind

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This story began two years ago at a funeral home in the center of my hometown in Connecticut.

I stood in a line of a thousand or so people, with my good friend Laura, and her mother Bea. As we mourned the death of our friend Vinnie, a recovering drug addict, who relapsed and died of a heroin overdose, Bea told me how Vinnie had helped Monica, her youngest daughter, detox from heroin 5 months prior. She explained how afraid she was that his death would put Monica into a tailspin. Unfortunately, that is how this story goes.

When Monica was a young child, the pastor of the church she and her family attended, allegedly molested her over a 5-year period. When she was 18, she told her family what happened. Her accusations have never been confirmed and since the offense took place so long ago, Monica’s parents cannot bring suit against the pastor. Her parents believe this explains her many years of drug abuse.

Last year, Monica became pregnant with a man she met in rehab in Florida. Monica and Kyle stayed clean for 7 months before they both relapsed; just two months before the birth of their daughter Juliette. Following the birth, they both continued to intravenously use opiates.

When the baby was born, Bea traveled to Florida to help her daughter’s transition into motherhood. While Bea was there, Kyle became extremely volatile one night, and threatened to kill Monica, yet they remain a couple. Before Bea left for Connecticut, Monica told her to take Juliette, ‘I can’t raise her like this, not while I’m using.’

Today, baby Juliette is safe with Bea and her husband Don, in Connecticut, while Monica remains in Florida. I plan to investigate deeper into the molestation allegations.

 

Bio

Christopher Capozziello (born 1980) is a freelance photographer and a founding member of the AEVUM photography collective.

His work is primarily about inviting the viewer into personal stories in order to understand different facets of life. His projects often make unpleasant realities beautiful, not by misleading anyone, but by allowing the viewer to stop and look more deeply at the subject.

Christopher’s work has been honored by World Press Photo, Pictures of the Year International, the Alexia Foundation, the Aftermath Project Grant, PDN Photo Annual, Photolucidas Critical Mass, Review Santa Fe, American Photography, Communication Arts, National Press Photographers Association, among others.

He currently lives in Milford, Connecticut, where he accepts assignments and works on long-term personal projects.

 

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Christopher Capoziello

 

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Lisandre St-Cyr Lamothe

Transplanter

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Fugitive beauty is everywhere, given to those who can grasp it.

“Transplanter” is the result of living four years in the countryside where I have observed life as it is and not as it should be. I search for delicate light on still life, humans and landscapes, so as to materialize a feeling of peace.

Today, the majority of humans live in cities but there is still a land that we cultivate and which, in turn, sustains us. With this project, I wanted to praise this natural beauty and invite people to consider and recognize the fragility of the land.

 

Bio

After having studied Photography in CEGEP de Matane in 2007, Lisandre St-Cyr Lamothe became acquainted with the mountain pastures of Switzerland where she worked as a shepherdess.

Since then, she has and continues to renew these experiences by trying to “transplant” herself into the countryside where rain and sun punctuate the seasons and the daily work. She searches for scenes of life among the peasants and in people living a simple life, bringing to mind bucolic Dutch paintings.

In the meantime, she has done a three-month internship at the Digital department of Magnum Paris and participated in numerous group exhibitions in Quebec, the United States, France and Spain. In January 2012 she has also completed a one-year artist residency in photography in Spain, allowing her to further the research away from cities while staying in touch with the contemporary photography world.

 

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Mette Frandsen

Sin City

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Mickey

I meet Mickey at a traffic light two blocks from the center of Las Vegas.

He’s carrying a heavy suitcase and the brutal and inhuman desert sun is making him sweat. He takes a break in the shadow. I ask him about the suitcase.

- I just found it in the dumpster, he tells me. It has a sticker on it: Fabulous Las Vegas!

Inside of the suitcase he finds a half-eaten pizza, soap and old worn out clothes. Mickey spends every day walking the streets of Las Vegas, looking in dumpsters for things he can use. Once he found a wedding dress. It was brand new.

Mickey came to Vegas ten years ago to drink him self to death. Today he’s homeless and located, together with his friends, on the corner of The Strip, the five-mile long stretch through Vegas with all the casinos.

Mickey shows me his right hand. You can’t count the knuckles, it’s that swollen.

- I had to get up and defend a lady because someone harassed her. In our ‘family’ we take care of each other. They paint each other’s toenails black with a marker, when one of them falls asleep – they think it’s funny.

The next time I meet Mickey, he’s skinny and the hair is long. The ‘family’ isn’t there anymore. I ask him, how he’s doing. He doesn’t say much but:

- I’ve lost track.

 

Don

Don had money. He moved to Vegas twelve years ago to play poker.

I can’t ask him what he did before he came to Vegas. That’s the only thing I can’t ask him. He lost his job when the recession hit and lived on the streets for about a year. He was scared and longed for the life he once had.

Don still plays poker. Not like before, but at cheaper gambling tables, where the stakes are lower. He meets women at the casinos, but they are all after the money, he says. He doesn’t like women of his own age, but prefers them younger.

Don thinks Las Vegas is a lonely place and when I ask him who his best friend is, he answers:

- My best friend is me! Me, me, me.

 

“There’s nothing fake about Las Vegas – it’s very real, welcome to Sin City”

 

Bio

I’m Mette Frandsen. 36 years old. Currently based in Copenhagen, Denmark.

I teach at different workshops, lecture on my projects, do freelance jobs and work around the world.

• BA in photojournalism, Danish School of Journalism

• Attended Fatamorgana, Danish School of Documentary- and Art Photography

‘Sin City’ has won prizes and has been exhibited at selected locations and galleries in Denmark.

 

Mette Frandsen

 

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