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Miguel Ángel Sánchez

Ulu Pamir

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Miguel Ángel Sánchez traveled in 2012 with his studio to Ulu Pamir, Turkey, a far place in the middle of Turkish Kurdistan, hidden between mountains with very hard winters and connected by a tortuous path to Van Lake. 30 years ago, this land was the witness of the arrival of a group of unusual people with unusual features.

These people, originally from Kyrgyzstan, came walking from far away, from Pamir, with the promise of a better and safer life hosted by the Turkish government, avoiding the war with USSR.

30 years later, people from this place fight against the government´s abandonment and harassment of the PKK guerrilla warfare.

Miguel Ángel portrayed the inhabitants from this small village and their will to preserve their roots and traditions despite being far away from their original land.

 

Bio

Miguel Ángel Sánchez (Madrid 1977), Spanish photographer based in Cairo since 2009.

For years he combined his development as an artist with his work in a commercial photography studio, until, in 2009, he decided to completely turn over to his creative side and opened his own photography studio in Cairo (Egypt).

His studio in Cairo is the base where he works and prepares projects developed in Egypt for the last four years, but he is also a study itinerant photographer who takes his workspace to any corner of the world: Asia, Middle East or black Africa. The Gaddafi war in Libya, the Ulu Pamir besieged by the PKK in Turkish Kurdistan, the Gaza Strip after Israel bombing and Lebanon after Hariri are some of the ports reached by Studio Al Asbani.

Miguel Ángel Sánchez also combines his work as a studio photographer with photojournalist and cameraman in conflict zones where he covered the war in Libya, the Egyptian revolution and the Gaza Operation Pillar of defense, among others.

His work has been published by national media such as El País, and international as The New York Times, Le Monde, New Yorker, Photo Raw, La Lettre de la Photographie, etc.

 

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Miguel Ángel Sánchez

 

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Ira Block

9/11: Faces Of Hope

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Thousands of survivors have walked the difficult path of recovery since the September 11, 2001 bombings of the World Trade Center.

And although I began documenting this horrific event shortly after the attacks, focusing on the people who emerged from the burning twin towers alive proved to be not only a daunting, but also a highly emotional task. Previously, I shot a story on the efforts to rebuild the downtown area and I also photographed the Twin Towers of Light on the six month anniversary of the attacks, but this was a different challenge.

I started by photographing the personal objects that were carried out of the towers and also the items that were salvaged during the clean-up process from the rubble. A pair of men’s loafers worn during the escape from a crumbling tower, a framed family picture carried by a woman whose thoughts were of surviving for her children, a crushed fireman’s helmet discovered buried under debris, all speak of the personal experiences that keep the memory of history vivid and fresh, even as the immediacy of tragedy fades.

Taking these pictures was a very emotional experience for me, knowing that some of the items I was shooting belonged to people who had perished. I had access to Hangar 17 at Kennedy International Airport, where some of the large pieces of the Twin Towers were being stored. Photographing what were once the two tallest buildings in the world, now reduced to fragments of metal was unnerving. I began to realize that documenting personal items and pieces of the Towers was not giving me the mood I wanted to achieve. It was too somber, too devastating. Ten years after the tragedy, my goal was to focus on the positive. To achieve this, I shifted my perspective to the living.

If these photos have a mission, it if this: to capture the images of the survivors, those who have moved forward anchored by faith, fortitude or family and those who still struggle with a healing process that remains painful, drawn out and elusive. Each has a story to tell.

Following the 10 year anniversary of the attacks, these photos were exhibited at Fotocare in New York City.

 

Bio

Ira Block is an internationally renowned photojournalist, teacher, and workshop leader who has produced over 30 stories for the National Geographic Magazine and its affiliates N.G. Traveler and Adventure.

He began his career as a newspaper photographer, earning numerous press club awards. As an expert in lighting, Ira is sought after for assignments ranging from shooting ancient artifacts in Greece to photographing dinosaur fossils in the Gobi desert and documenting Moche mummies in Peru. His momentous coffee table book “Saving America’s Treasures” was a collaborative effort among the Clinton White House, National Geographic Society, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Ira’s unique vision and outstanding lighting skills have made him the “go to photographer” for complex assignments.

He taught the first creative, digital photography class at the School for Visual Arts in New York City and is frequently called upon to review and critique the latest digital cameras and lenses. He works closely with National Geographic Expeditions lecturing and teaching photography around the world. Ira has also taught workshops in Bangkok and Maine, Abu Dhabi and San Diego, Boston, Seattle and New York City.

In addition to his editorial work Ira shoots commercial and corporate images, portraits, promotional materials and advertising for leading institutions. He also produces corporate digital webcast videos. His photographic exhibit “Faces of Hope”, portraits of survivors and images of objects retrieved from the aftermath of the World Trade Center tragedy, are part of the permanent collection of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.

His most recent story in the October National Geographic “Earth Before the Ice”, investigates a prehistoric global warming. Ira lives in New York City with his wife and is a frequent blogger on the latest digital camera equipment and gear, lighting techniques, and creative vision in photography.

 

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Ira Block

 

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It's only sleeping

Breaking news, if you were reading the internet a couple of days ago. Following a brief ARG, a tiny, hopeful squeak of detail has emerged for the next game from Amnesia devs Frictional. Frankly anything is more useful than ‘it might be set in China, possibly‘, but in this case we have a couple of pieces of creepy, bloody concept art and a possible title.

That title? ‘A Machine For Pigs.’ Which sounds ever so slightly like a change of direction for George R.R. Martin’s reader-mocking novels, but also appears to refer directly to the abbatoir-esque scenes in the concept art. But is that the real name, or just a codename? I’ve done some research into animal-slaughtering equipment and come up with some EXCITING ALTERNATIVES.
(more…)

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[While the new Indie Royale game bundle that we co-created with Desura is running, we'll be profiling each of the four games featured in it, giving our honest opinion on the pluses and minuses of each title.Today, we take a look at Fractal, Cipher Prime's too-smart-for-its-own-good block puzzler. ]

Want something hardcore? Great. Put down that copy of Left 4 Dead you have there. Play Fractal. Cipher's Prime's lovely block puzzler is Bejeweled for Rubik's' Cube enthusiasts, a casual masocore game for intellectuals. Is this a good thing? That depends. How much do you enjoy beating your head against a wall? Fractal, in spite of how the randomly generated hexagons will make you curse, is a lot of good, clean fun. You just have to be prepared to be deeply, truly and irrevocably frustrated.

The basic premise behind Fractal is a simple one. Your goal here is to compose as many shapes of identical hue as you can in as few moves as possible. What makes it different from its predecessors is how you're supposed to accomplish all of this. Instead of lines, you'll be building hexagons. Instead of an orderly descent from the top of your screen, you will see hexagonal tiles blossoming at random across the game board. Instead of time, you have a certain amount of 'pushes' (you create 'blooms' by nudging shapes across the board) allocated.

It's tougher than it sounds. Fractal is not the sort of game that holds your hand. After the introductory level, you're pretty much on your own. There are no hints, no sly nudges in the right direction. There is no way to clear unfortunate gridlocks, no means to break free from an impossible conundrum. Unless you're particularly talented at this sort of game, you will see more than your fair share of restarts. At times, it can feel as though Fractal is as much about luck as it is about strategy.

This can be both good and bad. On one hand, it keeps you on your toes. On the other, well, it can get annoying. Really annoying. Fractal is one of the few games out there that is unafraid to intimate that you may be, in fact, a lot less intelligent than you initially believed. But if you're willing to deal with that, Fractal has a lot to offer. The pacing of the levels in the Campaign mode feels just right. The Arcade mode, freed from the push restriction, will easily devour hours of your time. I haven't played the Puzzle mode yet but if the rest of the game is any indication of what things will be, it should be pretty good as well.

Last but not least, the music's a joy. With every combo you weave, the soundtrack grows exultant. As you draw closer to the end of your quota of pushes, the score grows listless and dark. It's not integral to the game. You could easily play Fractal without sound. Nonetheless, it definitely enriches the title.

So, yes. Fractal is awesome. Fractal will also hurt your brain. It might even make you feel rather stupid. If you're inclined towards a cerebral exercise, you'll probably enjoy the game. Otherwise, you may want to consider slyly delivering it onto the doorstep of that one friend of yours that is too smart for his own good.

Official website here, and you can buy it as part of Indie Royale's 'New Year Bundle' for the next few days. We also did a profile/review of Super Crossfire too!

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RFK shot

Busboy Juan Romero tries to comfort Presidential candidate Bobby Kennedy after he was shot on June 5, 1968 at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

Photo: Bill Eppridge

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Bill Eppridge knows the rules of photography have changed. The ways of the ’60s, when he was a staff photographer at LIFE magazine, are long gone: Staff photo positions are near extinct, everyone with an iPhone now claims to be a photographer and film seems to be a four-letter word of antiquity.

That said, Eppridge, who has shot many of the historic events of the last half-century, believes the power of documentary photography will always live on, no matter how many photos are out there in however many formats.

“The best still images, they just nail you, you remember them,” he says, as is evidenced by his iconic work.

Millions of people likely have one of his images burned into their consciousness and will always remember certain events the way Eppridge saw them — from his photo of Bobby Kennedy lying nearly lifeless on the floor of the Ambassador Hotel, to his shots of the Beatles arriving in the United States for the first time.

“The process of keeping that iconic image in your head is important,” he says.

For Eppridge, still images can only do their job if you give them time to sink in. As someone who came from the analog world, where people got much of their news from magazines with ample photo spreads, Eppridge says he’s not impressed with many of the ways we choose to view photography today.

“The speeding up of the universe has not helped the type of photographic journalism that we used to do,” he says. “Consequently, we are going to have to start thinking of changing our methods of working and find a way that the person can look at the image and retain that image.”

Eppridge is not a luddite; he just doesn’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water. He posts his photography on the internet, he shoots with digital cameras and he thinks there’s a place for multimedia projects that combine the still frame with video and audio. But he’s also made sure his work continues to find a home in print magazines, books and gallery shows.

The importance of having time to absorb the still frame comes from his desire to use photography as a tool for change. An image needs to be remembered in order to make a difference. After years of documenting environmental disasters, murder and war, Eppridge no longer believes in objectivity. Instead, he hopes his work has educated the world about the events he’s covered and has helped avoid repeating past mistakes.

“You stay objective until the point where you understand what is right, and what is proper,” he said. “Once you see that, I don’t think the objectivity remains.”

Eppridge says there are several instances where he went into a situation with an open mind but quickly formed an opinion about what he thought was right or wrong. In Vietnam he tried to appreciate the situation facing American soldiers, but he couldn’t look past the atrocities they committed, either.

During the funeral for James Chaney — one of three Civil Rights leaders murdered by the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi in 1964 — he says it was difficult to see the disdain the family received from the surrounding white community while suffering through a tragic personal loss.

“The treatment of the Chaney family was hateful and I couldn’t remain objective,” he says. “If you’re any kind of a journalist, you don’t remain objective.”

Several of Eppridge’s most moving frames from the Chaney funeral are currently hanging in a larger show of his work at the well-known Monroe Gallery in Santa Fe. He was also recently honored with the 2011 Lucie Award for Achievement in Photojournalism, an honor awarded to him by his peers.

Ultimately, Eppridge says he hasn’t given up on the power of photography or any kind of documentary work. While the days of 20-page spreads in LIFE magazine might never come back, he knows people are still out there telling stories for the right reasons.

“We’re in such a state of transition, I don’t think any of us can predict where we’re going to go,” he said. “But I can tell you one thing, we’re gonna’ win, the good people will end up on top, and that story has to be told.”

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