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Magnum Foundation

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By DAVID GONZALEZ

In tiny, rented rooms, Mexican women who work as waitresses amid lonely men tend to their families and their culture. Ruth Prieto Arenas followed them from their jobs to their homes.

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Bruce Gilden’s photo series about foreclosed homes, which will be presented this weekend by the Magnum Foundation as part of the Photoville 2012 festival, is a departure from the photographer’s usual working style—and not just because this exhibition is going to be held in a shipping container.

“It’s the only piece I’ve ever done that could be considered photojournalistic, because I work generally like a poet,” Gilden says, meaning that he went into the project with a point of view rather than just looking for people or things that caught his eye. “I take pictures of what I feel, but this is a direct thing: I’m going to photograph houses that are foreclosed.”

Gilden got started on the topic in 2008, as part of a Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund effort to revisit a 1960s project; the idea was that President Obama might present a parallel to President Kennedy, and that it was a good time to look at the state of the country. Gilden intended to go to Florida and photograph the people of Miami Beach, but his wife suggested that foreclosures might be a more appropriate subject. “I didn’t even know really what foreclosure was,” he remembers. “But I went down and did foreclosures, and as I started to do it I started to get annoyed, because I saw it’s like legalized thievery.”He subsequently began to study up on the topic—he says he has now read 20 books on the topic, throws around words like “tranche” and can cite foreclosure rates by state—and the annoyance turned to anger. That anger became the message of the photographs. “I’m not on the one-percent side,” he says.

Video about the project from Gilden’s Kickstarter page

Some people do take advantage of the mortgage crisis as a scam, he says, but mostly it’s the bankers who he sees benefitting. “This just showed me how people in our country get used and abused,” he says. He cites one woman he met in Las Vegas, who earned $40,000 a year and received a $360,000 mortgage; “I mean, you must be kidding me,” he says. He admits that it’s not smart to take such an offer, but in a scenario where banks can get rid of bad mortgages rather than suffering from them, he sees incentive for those in power to convince individuals to take loans they can’t handle.

In the time since Gilden began photographing foreclosed houses, he says the problem has gotten worse. The original photographs of Florida have expanded to include several other states, including Nevada, which he recently visited on a Kickstarter-funded trip. The people he’s met along the way, people who feel taken advantage of, are eager to tell their stories in the interviews he conducts along with his photography. But he says he doesn’t plan to work on this series indefinitely. Next, he’d like to capture the step that sometimes follows foreclosure, life as a long-term resident of a motel. And he doesn’t see improvement coming any time soon: if the people capable of changing the situation benefit from the status quo, he says, why would they ever make those changes?

So even though this recent work is a departure from Gilden’s typical style and process, his interest is consistent when it comes to what he calls the dark side of life. “It’s great to wake up every morning because the world is great,” he says, “but it’s not a wonderful place for everyone.”

More information about Bruce Gilden’s No Place Like Home is available here, through the Magnum Foundation. The Photoville exhibition will be shown June 22 – July 1 in Brooklyn, New York; more information about the festival is available here.

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In the winter of 1955, Parisian high society buzzed in anticipation of a dance on ice to be performed by members of the royal houses of Europe. Inge Morath, 32 at the time, and a newly minted member of the Magnum photo agency, was assigned to cover the charity event, going behind the scenes to document the glamorous participants as they rehearsed for the gala evening. She shot 14 rolls in total, and the material was processed and distributed through the Magnum network, but never found its way into print.

In those days, the agency routinely distributed material shot on spec to a roster of sub-agents and publications, with the understanding that the prints would be returned. In many cases, that never happened; the prints remained in far-away files or gathered dust on the shelves of the recipients. Now, in an effort to reclaim the work, the Magnum Foundation, in partnership with the art magazine Esopus, has initiated a project to seek out that lost material and other works made by its photographers that never found its way into public view. Called “Analog Recovery,” the project is being edited by John Jacob, who is also the director of Morath’s estate. The goal, Jacob says, is to reintroduce a portfolio by a Magnum photographer twice a year. Morath’s Bal d’Hiver, is the first in the series.

Jacob had come across the Bal d’Hiver photos while doing research for another project about Magnum and the world of fashion. To assemble the piece, he used the marks that Morath herself had left on the contact sheets. “She really knew what she was doing with her editing,” he says. “I rarely needed to go beyond what she had selected.” How fitting, then, for the Esopus magazine feature on the photos to honor her astute eye—the issue includes a detachable reproduction of one of the 14 contact sheets, with Morath’s marks still visible.

A launch party for the issue, along with a small exhibit of the photographs will be held on Nov. 2 at Esopus Space in New York at 6 p.m. Select photos from the project will also be sold as prints by the online gallery 20×200, with proceeds benefitting the Magnum Foundation.

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Features and Essays

Always been a big Erika Larsen fan…

Erika Larsen: Sámi 2007-2011 (Phaidon website)

Sumit Dayal: The New Tibetans (TIME Lightbox)

Mark Henley: Bank on Us (Panos Pictures)

Lynsey Addario: The New Saudi Life (VII Magazine)

Two new features up on Reportage by Getty Images site this week… the first one isn’t that new though… It’s Ed Ou’s terrific series from Vancouver, which you probably remember from Lens blog earlier this year…

Ed Ou: A Safe Place (Getty Reportage)

Jonathan Saruk: The Strikers: Kabul’s Bowling Alley (Getty Reportage)

Stephanie Sinclair in NYT Mag again…

Stephanie Sinclair: Families (NYT Magazine)

Michael Christopher Brown: China’s Red Restaurants  (Newsweek)

Stefan Bladh: A Family Revisited (TIME Lightbox) Bladh’s website

Lynsey Addario: Muslim Women (New Yorker Photo Booth)

Robert Nickelsberg: A Long and Distant War: Photos from Afghanistan, 1988-2009 (TIME LB)

Mat Collishaw: Last Meals on Death Row, Texas (TIME)

Tim Hetherington’s photos now available in the Magnum Photos archive…480+….Hetherington’s Diary is on Magnum in Motion…

Tim Hetherington: Diary (Magnum in Motion)

Stuart Franklin: Walls That Talk: Libya’s Abu Salim Jail (Magnum Photos)

Peter diCampo: Ivory Coast (TIME)

George Georgiou: Fault Lines: Turkey East West (Panos)

Adam Hinton: Transporting Tokyo (Panos)

Josef Koudelka: Gypsies (TIME LB)

Chris Keulen: Italienische Reise (Panos)

Mark Rykoff: Russian Dacha Diary (TIME)

Giorgos Moutafis: Athens on the Brink (New Yorker Photo Booth)

James Whitlow Delano: Climate Change: Europe’s Shrinking Alpine Glaciers (Photographer’s archive)

Kenneth Jarecke: Game Time: Nebraska’s Farewell to the Big 12 (TIME LB)

Tomas van Houtryve: Borderline : Norther Korea (Magnum Foundation)

Nick Brandt: Portraits of Wildlife in East Africa (NYT Lens) Brandt’s website

As recommended by Christopher Morris…

Enrico Dagnino: Libya (Le Monde)

Also from Libya…

Baptiste Giroudon: Tripoli Rebels (Photographer’s website)

Articles

C.J. Chivers on Tyler Hicks…

NYT Lens: Tyler Hicks: A Decade in Afghanistan (NYT)

On Bob Dylan’s paintings plagiarism controversy…

NYT: Dylan Paintings Draw Scrutiny

Guardian: Bob Dylan in plagiarism row over paintings

Richard Prince: Bob Dylan’s Fugitive Art (New York Review of Books)

I looked into the Dylan paintings myself after, and noticed that two of Gagosian gallery’s four different covers of Bob Dylan: Asian Series catalogue are based on a Bruce Gilden photo and a Jacob Aue Sobol one

The final news regarding VII transition…

PDN: VII Photo Agency Brings in New Members

BJP: VII Transition

Andrea Bruce, who chose not to apply for VII membership has joined NOOR…

BJP: NOOR Images adds Andrea Bruce and Giancarlo Ceraudo as new members

TIME Lightbox: Inside the Mind of a Master Photo Editor (TIME)

Panos Pictures: George Georgiou at MoMA in NY

Real Screen:  Junger making HBO doc on Tim Hetherington

Warren Winter: Freshman Freelancing: Photo Agency Freelancing Fact & Fiction (Photo Brigade)

Digital PhotoPro: Ron Haviv: The Impotence Of Authority

BJP: Sipa founder Gökşin Sipahioğlu dies

Bill Hunt’s new book and exhibition Unseen Eye (TIME LB)

6 Tips to Get Your Fine Art Photography Featured Online (PhotoShelter)

The fake that wasn’t…

PetaPixel: Amazing Reuters Photo of Rebel Firing RPG was Not Photoshopped

The Hacker Factor blog: Without a Crutch

PetaPixel: Nikon says “A Photographer Is Only as Good as the Equipment He Uses”

NYT T Magazine: A Nanny’s Diary (NYT T Mag)

PetaPixel: An Eye-Opening Look at How Many Conflict Photos Are Staged

Joop Swart Masterclass preview (World Press Photo)

BJP: Fifty-two weeks on the streets

BJP: Apple adds new photography features with updated iPhone 4S

Life: Looking for Heroes 

Guardian: Featured photojournalist: Ahmad Masood (Guardian)

Verve: Kenneth O’Halloran (Verve Photo)

Guardian: Photographer Kevin Cummins’s best shot

TIME Lightbox: Fields of Vision: The Early Work of Gordon Parks

BJP: Agency Balcony Jump lands on the iPad

Firecracker: Sophie Gerrard

Guardian: Street Photography Now Project: shoot on sight

Interviews

Seamus Murphy (NPR)

Davide Monteleone (BJP)

Damon Winter & Marcus Yam (NYT Lens)

Nigel Bennet (Conscientious)

Kate Brooks (BBC)

David Kasnic (DVAfoto)

 Chloe Dewe Mathews (BBC)

Exhibitions

Don McCullin at Tate Modern : London : Until 4 March 2012

Awards, Grants, and Competitions

BJP: Chloe Dewe Mathews wins BJP’s International Photography Award

BJP: Facundo Arrizabalaga wins IPA single image prize

National Geographic 2011 photo contest 

multiMedia 

American Journal

Agencies

Paolo Woods joins INSTITUTE

VII : Events, Exhibitions & News Listings, October 2011

Photographers

Daniel Britt

To finish off… the latest from Shit Photojournalists Like

And don’t forget to Think Different.

RIP Steve Jobs

photo: Diana Walker

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Opening night of photographer Krissanne Johnson’s exhibit “I Love You Real Fast,” will include a slide show and conversation moderated by photographer and President of the Magnum Foundation, Susan Meiselas. Ms. Johnson writes about her project on young women in Swaziland:

“Coming of age for Swazi girls is tough. A tiny African nation of one million, Swaziland is ruled by one of the world’s last remaining absolute monarchies. Its age-old tradition of polygamy and relaxed attitude toward sexuality is a devastating combination for young women: Swaziland reports the highest percentage of HIV positive people in the world, with the hardest hit being women aged 15-29. For every two young Swazi women, one is HIV positive. It should come as no surprise that life expectancy has dropped from 61 to 31 over the past ten years.
After living and studying in South Africa in 1998 for a year, I returned over the years. After graduate school I knew I wanted to begin a long term personal project in the region. I made my first self-funded trip in 2006 to begin documenting the lives of young Swazi women.”

Catch the opening and discussion at The Half King at 505 West 23rd Street in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood on October 4th, 2011. Curated by the husband-wife team writer Anna Van Lenten and Newsweek photo editor, James Price, the Half King Photography Series emphasizes photojournalism with bi-monthly exhibits and salon-style discussions. All images courtesy Ms. Johnson.


A young girl wears a miniskirt in rural Swaziland. Western dress such as miniskirts has been deemed “unSwazi” and used to justify acts of physical abuse against young girls and women. A new report found that one in three girls has experienced sexual violence by age 18 in Swaziland. The Report was commissioned by UNICEF and the CDC.


Young Swazi girls run and dance as they join 40,000 virgin girls during the Umhlanga Dance, a right of passage into womanhood. Each year King Mswati III continues the practice of polygamy and chooses one of the girls to be his wife.


Young Swazi girls sing and jest to passing cars as they join 40,000 virgin girls as part of the annual Umhlanga Dance.


A new bride cries before entering her new husband’s homestead after symbolically saying goodbye to her family.


A teenager practices a flip off a wall in an urban neighborhood. He has joined his friends to create a hip hop dance crew in attempt to keep them off the streets and away from crime and drugs. Unemployment is forty percent in the country and leaves many teenagers leaving high school struggling to find a job.


Swazi high school students compete at a cheerleading competition between various local schools.


High school girls joke and dance to music during a hip hop dance competition held at a private high school in Swaziland. While some Swazis can afford private education, two thirds of Swazis live below the poverty line.


An 20-year old HIV positive woman dances in her room while visiting with friends. Since her young son died in September due to AIDS she has been depressed and drinking. She refuses to take the ARVs.


Health counselor demonstrating how to use a female condom to a group of women.


Young Swazi women and men party at a local nightclub in Manzini, Swaziland. Life expectancy in Swaziland has dropped to under 32 years of age.


A young HIV positive woman, 19, swims at the natural hot springs swimming pool in Swaziland. She is scared to start taking ARV’s due to stigma surrounding the drugs. She now dreams of joining the army because the salary would help support her young newborn child.

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