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I arrived in Charlotte, N.C. early on the day of the South Carolina primary and headed straight to Tommy’s Ham House in Greenville. Newt Gingrich was giving an electrifying speech inside as a crowd milled around outside. The previous week I’d covered my first presidential primary in New Hampshire, where many events were disrupted by attention seekers and protesters. Occupy Wall Street supporters came to a Mitt Romney rally and were quickly thrown out by police. At a Ron Paul event, a man with a boot on his head named Vermin Supreme made chicken noises and claimed that if he were elected president, every American would get a pony.

South Carolina was more restrained. There were no active protesters. A lone Ron Paul supporter kept a silent vigil a respectful distance away. Tommy’s Ham House continued to serve breakfast. I didn’t try their famous ham, but their hot cakes were excellent. Gingrich left in a bus with a giant portrait of his face emblazoned on the side. It started pouring and the crowd hid under signs that read, ‘Newt 2012. Rebuilding the America We Love.’

Next, Gingrich stopped at a nearby middle school serving as a voting station. He patiently shook every hand of the assembled crowd, numbering close to a hundred. There were only a few journalists, compared to New Hampshire, where the media often ringed the candidates three or four deep.

One of the last stops of the day was a Gingrich campaign gathering at a Chick-fil-A in Anderson. Like most Gingrich events, it was packed to the brim, with supporters pressing their faces against the restaurant’s windows to get a peek. Sometimes the event locations seemed arbitrary. Why a Chick-fil-A, which was founded in Georgia, instead of a locally-owned business? Another journalist speculated it was because of the widely-promoted Christian values of its founder, Truett Cathy. All the candidates were trying to woo the evangelical base, and nearly everyone at the event was caucasian.

Gingrich would beat Romney to win the South Carolina primary that evening. The victory party that night was restrained, though 1970s and 1980s rock-and-roll classics blared in the packed ballroom. There were a few brief speeches before Gingrich arrived to thank his supporters and attack Barack Obama. Most of the attendees left immediately after the speech was over. I asked where everyone was going and was told the private parties would continue deep into the night.

Peter van Agtmael is a photographer represented by Magnum. His work from Iraq won a World Press Photo award in 2007. More of his work can be seen here.

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In May 2011, Magnum photographers Jim Goldberg, Susan Meiselas, Paolo Pellegrin, Alec Soth and Mikhael Subotzky, as well as writer Ginger Strand, set out from Austin, Texas in an RV. Two weeks and 1750 miles later, they arrived in Oakland, Calif.

Together, they documented their experience, the result of which is a new, limited edition book that launches this week. Postcards from America is a collection of objects: a book, five bumper stickers, a newspaper, two fold-outs, three cards, a poster and five zines, all in a signed and numbered box.

“We knew each other through Magnum, obviously, but we’d never actually tried to work together,” says Soth. “We wanted to see what that would be like, to see if we could create a kind of polyphonic sound. Hopefully the box book achieves that. It also gave us an opportunity to push each other creatively and conceptually, which I think has carried over into our individual work.”

The book does not attempt to document the American Southwest in a traditional sense. Instead, it uses the prototypically western experience of a road trip as an entry point into depicting the region. “Some of us are used to working only on immersive, multiyear projects,” says Subotzky. “Obviously this was very different. Doing it collectively brought a great energy and looseness to the work. The box, with all its moving and arrangeable pieces, really reflects that and reflects what we found on the road—a divided and often contradictory society, unsure about its identity and future.”

The Postcards from America box book, in a signed edition of 500, is available exclusively at www.postcards.magnumphotos.com 

The second Postcards from America project is scheduled to begin this April in Rochester, New York.

To read more about the project background on Lightbox click here. To read a dispatch from the project click here.

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Leonard Freed had seen his fair share of violence. The Brooklyn-born photographer, who died in 2006, spent nearly a decade behind the lens encountering the American Civil Rights movement in the 1960′s as well as events in Israel surrounding the 1967 Six-Day War. So when New York City faced near-bankruptcy and soaring crime rates in the 1970′s, he was prepared to engage the whole rawness of his hometown. But for Freed, rawness did not only mean violence. Instead, the gritty reality also inspired one of the deepest and most complex everyday studies of the storied New York Police Department (NYPD).

Forty years have passed since Freed first began to document these officers. And although his original book, Police Work, published in 1980 and no longer in print, a larger collection of prints from the series is on display at the Museum of the City of New York through mid-March.

Freed began photographing the NYPD as a commission for the London Sunday Times in 1972. When published—accompanied by an article titled “Thugs, Mugs, Drugs; City in Terror”—the collection raised more than an uproar. Mayor Jon Lindsay called the article “a gross insult to the city,” and the Daily News even sued. Freed himself had a different angle on his own photographs. “They wanted blood and gore,” he told Worldview magazine about the article. “But I was more interested in who the police were…I wanted to get involved in their lives.”

So Freed did, accompanying the officers during drug busts, protests and murders that furthered a common, negative perception of the storied NYPD. But the photographer also saw a complex picture. He was on scene as a policewoman played duck-duck-goose with neighborhood kids. Elsewhere, Freed’s lens captured an African-American woman who embraced a white officer and quipped, “Isn’t he cute?” And above all, he saw a force made up of people were more like the rest of the middle class than many Americans thought. “I chose this title (Police Work),” Freed once said, “because the police are workers, they are not in command, they are not the mayor, they are not the lawyers. They are ordinary working people.”

Freed worked on his Police Work collection for nearly a decade and eventually published more than 100 images. “As a series, it is one of his best,” says Sean Corcoran, curator of prints and photographs at the Museum of the City of New York. “The more you see, the more you see all the angles.” Many of Freed’s photos are framed in very close proximity. “You are right there in the middle of it all,” says Corcoran. “He is not standing back. He is not behind that police tapeline. He is in there with them, experiencing things with them.”

This newfound nearness opened many Americans to the police world for the first time. In his day, there was no Law and Order or CSI. “Today we think we know what it is to be a cop based on these shows,” says Corcoran. “But these guys are working with type writers, and they are wearing very loud plaid. In some sense, his pictures are more real than the T.V. shows because he doesn’t pull punches—there are a couple of really tough murder scenes in these pictures. It goes back to the reality of the policeman’s experience.”

Police Work is on display at the Museum of the City of New York through March 18.

Elizabeth Dias is a reporter in TIME’s Washington bureau. Find her on Twitter @elizabethjdias.

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If a photographer cares about the people before the lens and is compassionate, much is given. It is the photographer, not the camera, that is the instrument.”—Eve Arnold

Photographer Eve Arnold, who died Thursday morning at the age of 99, is probably best remembered for her celebrity photographs of Marilyn Monroe, made over the span of a decade from the early 1950s to those taken on the set of the movie star’s final film, The Misfits. But Arnold also traveled the world to make equally exceptional photographs of the poor and disposed.

Arnold, the daughter of Russian-Jewish immigrants, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1912. In the late 1940’s, she studied photography—alongside Richard Avedon—under inspirational art director Alexei Brodovitch at the New School for Social Research in New York. Her first photo story documented African-American fashion shows in Harlem and the project would lead directly to her being granted unprecedented access by Malcom X to document the Black Muslims and the way they worked over the next two years.

In the early 1950’s, she began working for the photo news publications of the day, first for Picture Post, then Time and Life magazines. And in 1957 she became the first woman photographer to join Magnum Photos.

She will perhaps be best remembered for her exceptional photographs of people: the famous, politicians, musicians, artists —among them Malcolm X, Joan Crawford, Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman, Jacqueline Kennedy and Monroe. “I look for a sense of reality with everything I did,” she once said. “I didn’t work in a studio, I didn’t light anything. I found a way of working which pleased me because I didn’t have to frighten people with heavy equipment, it was that little black box and me”

But it is the long term reportage stories that drove Arnold’s curiosity and passion. She traveled extensively to make work on regions that had been off limits to the west—to China, Mongolia, the Soviet Union, and also to Cuba, South Africa and Afghanistan. In 1971 she made a film, Women Behind the Veil, going inside Arabian harems and hammams.

Arnold continued to work for respected publications, most notably the Sunday Times color supplement. In 2003 she was honored with an OBE in recognition for her services to photography. Her work is renowned for its intimacy. Whether photographing celebrity or the everyday, Arnold’s portraits are magical, memorable and enduring.


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In our latest photo essay made in collaboration with Magnum Photos, we follow Bruce Gilden to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Bruce Gilden first traveled to Haiti in 1984 and made 19 trips over the course of 10 years, culminating in his book titled, quite simply, “Haiti”. In February and March 2010, he went back to Port-au-Prince to witness firsthand what had happened in the wake of the earthquake. What he found was a city destroyed and people who are poor of everything but grace, pride and a distinctive soul. During his most recent trip this past September, he went back to document a refugee camp that has sprung up across the street from the half-destroyed presidential palace in downtown Port-au-Prince. In this video, Gilden shares his audio, video and photo captures of this neighborhood of decorated huts built out of scavenged corrugated tin and cardboard, recreated with all the elements of Haitian life as if the people knew right away that this temporary settlement would be their long term home.

You can also read our interview with Bruce Gilden on the Leica blog: bit.ly/BGSpirit

 

ASX CHANNEL: BRUCE GILDEN

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Bruce Gilden first traveled to Haiti in 1984 and made 19 trips over the course of 10 years. In 2011, he photographed the temporary structures in Port-au-Prince in digital and in color for the first time.

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Tanzania has faced double HIV/AIDS epidemics: an old generalised epidemic, (more than 6% prevalence in the general population) and more recently, a new concentrated one among injecting drug users (IDUs). Dar Es Salam is one of the areas most affected by this last epidemic.

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