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Before there was Romney the presidential candidate, there was Romney the romantic. In this week’s cover story, Jon Meacham looks at how Romney’s identity was shaped by his Mormon roots. To illustrate this formative time in the presidential candidate’s life, we turned to a surprising photo found in the archives that shows the rarely-seen personal side of the candidate.

On a recent cover shoot I asked Romney about the image and found out that around 1968, while serving as a Mormon missionary in France, a young Mitt made several photographs with the help of his LDS friends. He described how the photo was taken,  explaining that it was playfully staged for his high school girlfriend and soon-to-be wife, Ann Davies. Romney revealed that the photo is actually one of a series made during his time abroad.

The pictoral gesture worked. Davies joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints prior to marrying Romney in 1969, only months after Romney returned to the U.S. The pair later attended Brigham Young University before settling in Massachusetts, where they raised five sons together.

Paul Moakley is the Deputy photo editor of TIME. 

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Candy Cunningham is the heroine of Bottom of the Ninth, a baseball-themed animated graphic novel set in the future. Images: Ryan Woodward

Say you’ve created something utterly original and you’re inviting skepticism. Say it in the world of comics, with its legions of passionate and knowledgeable fans, and you’re inviting trouble.

Ryan Woodward knows this, which is why he didn’t take lightly his decision to call Bottom of the Ninth, a baseball-themed story set in the future, the “first animated graphic novel.” Although companies like Marvel have long produced online comics with artwork that slides into place, Woodward says the classical definition of animation as “the illusion of life” sets his work apart.

“There is a big difference between the terms ‘motion graphics’ and ‘animation’ that many people don’t know about. If that artwork that you’re creating communicates that there’s a life, a conscience, a living breathing entity that is acting on its own free will, then that is the illusion of life,” says Woodward, “and by definition it’s considered animated. Once I’ve provided the definition and my reason for using that term, I haven’t had one person that has come back and tried to disagree.”

Critics and cynics might argue his point, but they can’t argue his credentials. Woodward has been a Hollywood artist and animator since working on the 1996 film Space Jam, and he’s supplied storyboard art and animation for blockbusters like The Avengers.

Bottom of the Ninth will appear on the iPad and iPhone later this summer, with other platforms coming later in the year. It is set in 2172 in the metropolis of Tao City, where people are obsessed with the sport of New Baseball. The basics of the game remain in place, but players also face artificial gravity and infields that stretch vertically into the sky. The heroine is Candy Cunningham, the 18-year-old daughter of Gordy Cunningham, a major league player on the downside of his career. Candy has inherited some of her father’s athleticism and can throw a fastball approaching 100 mph.

Woodward has written the script for the story, which could encompass several installments. The initial app introduces us to Tao City, the characters and the conflict Candy Cunningham feels about her sporting fame and her father’s lessons about true happiness.

Woodward first thought of the story in 2005 but set it aside to pursue other projects. He began thinking about it again in November as he grasped the potential of iPad apps to combine the experiences of watching a film and playing a game. He threw himself into the animation in January, working with a design and technical team of five people to plan the visual elements. Artistically, Woodward found inspiration from half a dozen styles, from European comics to the classic newspaper strips of yore, to create a realistic, yet nostalgic, look.

The trickiest steps weren’t creative, but administrative. Creating an animated graphic novel required figuring out basic things like getting files from one artist to another and getting designers and coders to work efficiently.

Along the way, two moments of serendipity convinced Woodward he was on the right track. The first came during a Facebook chat with Tyson Murphy, one of his Brigham Young University animation students. Murphy mentioned that his father, former Atlanta Braves standout Dale Murphy, might be interested in helping out. The two-time National League MVP ended up providing the voice of Murph, a former player turned announcer, and giving script feedback from someone who’s stood in the batter’s box. In a nod to Murphy’s career, the trailer promoting the app shows a Dale Murphy baseball card fall from a drawer onto a copy of Bottom of the Ninth.

“[Ryan] is so good at what he does and it looked like a lot of fun,” Murphy says. “It’s just such a unique project. It’s something that for an old-timer like me to be involved in, it’s just a thrill.”

The second stroke of serendipity came when the project entered its final stages and Woodward discovered there was a real-life Candy Cunningham. In 1931, a 17-year-old girl named Jackie Mitchell signed a contract to pitch for the minor-league Chattanooga Lookouts. In an exhibition game that spring, Mitchell struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in succession. The next day, baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis voided her contract, declaring women unfit to play baseball because it was “too strenuous.” Enthralled by the story, Woodward stayed up all night reading about Mitchell and decided he had to dedicate part of his story to telling hers.

“I couldn’t have been more surprised if Luke Skywalker showed up on my doorstep,” Woodward says. “It was just a fictional character completely coming to life.”

          

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TEDxBYU - Christopher Mattson - Design For The Developing World

Engineer, Christopher Mattson describes what made the difference between his team's successful and unsuccessful designs for the developing world. Christopher A. Mattson is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Brigham Young University. He earned his PhD from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER award focusing on designing for the developing world. Before working at BYU, Mattson was global director of engineering design and research at ATL Technology. While at ATL Technology, he led the design of products that have been used by more than 15 million people around the world. He established and managed ATL Technology's Silicon Valley office, and ATL technology's twenty-five person Engineering Design Center in mainland China. In thespirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)
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ESSAY CONTAINS EXPLICIT CONTENT

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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ESSAY CONTAINS EXPLICIT CONTENT

EPF 2011 Finalist

Dominic Bracco II

Life and Death in the Nothern Pass

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“There are two ways of thinking about living here; either you go on every day and when it’s your turn to die you die, or you live every day in fear.”
- Daniel Gonzalez, 26, a resident of Ciudad Juarez who later moved to El Paso, Texas.

Sprawled across the tail end of the Rocky Mountains where the starved Rio Bravo pushes mud through a barren desert valley sits Ciudad Juarez, arguably the most violent city in the world — historically known as ‘El Paso del Norte’ or ‘The Northern Pass.’ The last three years the city of 1.5 million has seen over 8,000 murders.

As the drug war rages on violence has become more sporadic and faceless. Random crime has increased. Car jacking, robberies, and assaults are a daily occurrence.In the past five years, over 10,000 businesses have closed in Ciudad Juarez and up to 230,000 people have fled their homes. The economic downturn has exacerbated destabilization.

Drug bosses often offer the equivalent of a factory worker’s weekly wages to perform an execution. The most vulnerable social group is ‘Los Ninis’, young men and women who earned their name from the phrase ‘ni estudian, ni trabajan’ (those who neither work nor study).

According to a recent study by the Colegio de La Frontera Norte, up to 45 percent of all Juarez residents between 14 and 24 fall into this category and make up a quarter of the city’s total homicide victims. Massacres of Juarez’s youth are common – they have been gunned down at parties and targeted at rehab centers. They are killed indiscriminately.

The first mass killing of youths took place in January 2010 when 15 teenagers were gunned down at a party. Another massacre of 14 teenagers took place in October.

Without work or real incentive to work, young people are increasingly turning to the cartels. According to Miguel Parea, a local Juarez journalist, the mentality of many youth is fatalistic: “they say it’s better to die young as a rich man, than to die poor as an old one,” Parea said.

An earlier edit of the project was published on BURN Magazine, sections of the project have been published in The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal.

Bio

Dominic Bracco II specializes in documenting the effects of Mexican and North American policies on the border region where he was raised. He has degrees in journalism and Spanish literature from The University of Texas at Arlington. Past clients include The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The New York Times Sunday Magazine. Dominic is also a founding member of the collective Prime. He is based in Mexico City. His project “Life and Death in The Northern Pass” was a 2011 Alexia Foundation Professional Grant Finalist, won 2nd place in spot news in the 2011 POYi competition, and was a finalist for the 2011 Michael P. Smith Fund For Documentary Photography.

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www.dominicbracco.com

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What makes this festival so amazing is not just the crowds of people and the color but also that it is taking place in Utah County.

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