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Joseph Rodriguez

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Over a career spanning more than 25 years, photographer Joseph Rodriguez has been photographing the “other” America: Latino and African American communities on the margins of mainstream society. Rodriguez, who is of Latino descent, is an unlikely photographer – the camera became a personal salvation much later in his life after having spent time in and out of jail in Rikers Island, New York. He went, in his words, from shooting dope to shooting photos. This background colors his work with a profound sense of urgency: Rodriguez connects with his subjects in a way few photographers can.

This is poignantly clear in his most recent body of work, an extension of East Side Stories and Reentry, his decades long project on Latino gangs and the struggle to readjust in society after incarceration. This spring, with funding from the Dart Society, Rodriguez photographed Jesse De La Cruz, a former gang member turned author and activist in Stockton and Woodlake, Calif.

The similarities between subject and photographer are striking: while Rodriguez found salvation through a camera, De La Cruz found salvation through writing. He is the author of Detoured: My Journey From Darkness to Light, a memoir chronicling a life of poverty, crime, drugs, imprisonment, and ultimately, redemption.

Rodriguez and De La Cruz both say gang life fills a gaping hole for young men in need of male role models, respect, authority and love: things that are painfully absent from home and the classroom but are abundant on the street. The lack of resources for ex-offenders to ease into the transition, in addition to an overwhelming sense of isolation and alienation from mainstream society, further exacerbates the cycle of imprisonment.

Like Rodriguez, De La Cruz seeks to break this cycle of violence and poverty that has institutionalized an entire generation of young men by sharing his story with others. Speaking to young men in juvenile hall on the visceral realities of incarceration, he challenges them to question their glorification of gang life. And he seeks to replicate, in Stockton, an anti-gang program created in Chicago called the Interrupters, which stops crime at the source by deploying former gang members to intervene in the lives of at risk youth. “In our world these kids have a lot of respect for us because of what we went through and how hard it is to change,” says Rodriguez.

Both photographer and subject seek to interrogate the role of men in Latino culture. For both, it was a struggle to find positive men who, in Rodriguez’s words, “looked and understood where I was coming from.” The fact that they currently play this role is not lost on photographer and subject, and with that comes a responsibility to faithfully own the stories of their community.

“What I’m trying to get at here—the word is masculinity; I’m trying to investigate what that means in terms of our Latino culture. Because it clouds everything,” says Rodriguez. “When you grew up you couldn’t cry. You couldn’t show weakness on the street—they’ll eat you up, so you have to be tougher, you have to show them that you can stand or you didn’t get respect.”

Joseph Rodriguez is a Brooklyn-based documentary photographer. See more of his work here.

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Feature and Essays 

First to Middle East…again….

Great series from Gaza by Andrew McConnell on Panos website…

Andrew McConnell: Leaving Gaza (Panos: September 2011)

Rena Effendi: Women of the Egyptian Revolution (Newsweek: September 2011)

David Levene: The Lives of Palestinians (Guardian: September 2011)

Moises Saman: Post-Gaddafi Tripoli (NYT Lens: September 2011)

Natan Dvir: Eighteen (TIME LB: September 2011) Arab Teens in Israel

Olga Kravets: The Shelter (Salt Images: September 2011)

Adam Ferguson: Afghanistan Soldiers Skyping (TIME LB: September 2011)

Graham Crouch: Red Cross Kabul (FotoStrada: 2011)

To other features…

Joseph Rodriguez: Welcome to Newburgh, Murder Capital of New York (New York Magazine: September 2011) article

Todd Heisler: Sound Stages in New York (NYT Lens: September 2011)

Sven Torfinn: In Uganda, Losing Land to Planted Trees (NYT: September 2011)

Thilde Jensen: Canaries (NYT: September 2011)

Gesche Würfel: Basement Sancturies (Foto8: September 2011) Würfel’s website

Lucy Nicholson: A Gay Military Family (Reuters: September 2011)

Tom Hyde: After the Fall (burn: September 2011)

From VII…

Anastasia Taylor-Lind in VII magazine…see later in this blog post for some VII transition related news…

Anastasia Taylor-Lind:  Resurgence of the Cossacks (VII Magazine: September 2011)

Ron Haviv: Glimpses of the Fall of Tripoli (VII: September 2011)

Mikolaj Nowacki: The River Odra (VII Mentor: September 2011) Nowacki’s website

I don’t remember if I posted this already earlier… quite possibly…Lynsey Addario’s NGM series on Baghdad on VII website…

Lynsey Addario: Baghdad (VII Network: September 2011)

Mads Nissen: Bessarabian Blues (Panos: September 2011)

Long 40 photo edit of Andrea Star-Reese’s Urban Cave…

Andrea Star-Reese: Urban Cave (Visionproject.org: 2011)

Maciej Dakowicz Cardiff nightlife photos were heavily discussed last week after being published in Daily Mail…Here the photos in NYT Lens…Comments in the Guardian and BBC

Maciej Dakowicz: Cardiff After Dark (NYT Lens: September 2011)

Myrto Papadopoulos: In the Grecian Caves Where Time Slows  Down (NYT Lens: September 2011)

Kosuke Okahara: Transnistria: An Unrecognized State Caught Between Past and Present (TIME LB: September 2011)

Max Whittaker: 80 on 80 (Prime Collective: September 2011)

David Walter Banks: Craziest Vacation Spots (Newsweek: September 2011)

Washington Post: Reframing Mexico (WP: September 2011) Reframing Mexico project website

John Vink: Cambodia Land Issues (Magnum: September 2011)

Finlay Mackay: London 2012 (TIME LB: September 2011)

Dan Giannopoulos: The Orphaned Elderly of Kathmandu (TIME LB: September 2011)

Peter Funch: Composite Characters (TIME LB: September 2011)

Brian Cassey: Soulless in Seoul (Fotostrada: 2011)

Paul Russell: Country Shows (BBC: September 2011)

“Your friend doesn’t have a fucking pool!” Alec Baldwin and other portraits by Jake Chessum…

Jake Chessum: Celebrity Portraits (Life.com: September 2011)

Agencies

VII Photo is going through some changes… British Journal of Photography’s news editor Olivier Laurent is keeping us up-to-date with news as they come in…So far, BJP has confirmed Stefano de Luigi will be full member, whereas VII Mentor Agnes Dherbeys has left VII to be an independent photographer. At the moment, Olivier has unconfirmed  list of photographers who have been offered  full membership with the agency and I’d imagine we’ll get the confirmations very soon…

BJP: VII Photo in transition (BJP: September 2011)

Stephen Mayes did imply in his comments that not everyone has been accepted, but it it would seen most of the Network photographers, such as Lynsey Addario, Ashley Gilbertson and Tomas van Houtryve,  have been made full members…No word on the future status of previous Network photographers Gafic, Kurzen, Domaniczky, Bouvet, or Bruce at the moment, or any of the VII Mentor photographers apart from Dherbeys…I’d imagine a lot of the Mentor photographers staying in that category, as it was only Network that’s gets disbanded…I have word that no new Mentor photographers were taken in at this time.

I can confirm that Anastasia Taylor-Lind, despite not being included in the BJP’s ‘unconfirmed list’ at time of writing this, has been offered full membership. Until now she was part of VII Mentor.

I was skyping with Anastasia earlier today, and asked about her initial reaction:

After 2 years on the VII mentor program under the guidance of Ron Haviv, I am utterly delighted and honored to become part of VII Photo. The mentor program is a wonderful and successful idea, and something I am really proud to have been part of. I’m excited about my future at VII and being part of an exceptional group of photographers, who are in turn supported by wonderful agency staff.”

Congratulations! Well deserved.  You can find Anastasia’s website here and blog with recent tear sheets here.

Speaking of VII…

Books

Fancy a look inside VII’s upcoming Questions Without Answers book? Yeah? Well, see here for sample pdf.

photo: Joachim Ladefoged from series, A Vanishing Way of Life, 2003

Slideshow in their archive

Should be a great book…. Would also love this…

The New York Times Magazine Photographs (Aperture 2011)

Afterwards: Contemporary Photography Confronting the Past (Thames&Hudson: 2011)

Communities

Emphas.is September 2011 newsletter

Videos

National Geographic: Search for the Afghan Girl Pt 1 |Pt 2 | Pt 3 | Pt 4

Interviews

Kathy Ryan on The New York Times Magazine Photographs book (spd.org: 2011)

Danfung Dennis : Hell and Back Again (NYT Lens: September 2011)

Alec Soth (The New York Times Magazine’s 6th Floor blog: September 2011)

Victoria Will trying to convince 35mm photographers to try out Hasselblad…tasteful advertising….(unlike)

Victoria Will (Hasselblad US: 2011)

Fred Ritchin : What Matters Now (La Lettre: September 2011)

Steve McCurry (Oprah)

Michael ‘Nick’ Nichols : National Geographic photographer ditches website, turns to the iPad (BJP: September 2011)

Olivia Arthur (IdeasTap)

Farzana Wahidy (NYT Lens: September 2011)

Elizabeth Hingley (e-photoreview: September 2011)

Erik De Castro : Back in Afghanistan, ten years later (Reuters photo blog: September 2011)

Nick Oza (Image Deconstructed: September 2011)

Articles

“Hard times have spawned great art — but not these hard times, it seems.”

LA Times: Where’s today’s Dorothea Lange? (LA Times: September 2011)

Guardian: The excess is not in alcohol but in Britain’s self-loathing  (Guardian: September 2011) Maciej Dakowicz’s pictures of Cardiff revellers are lapped up by a country that pictures itself as broken, boozing, morally sick

PhotoShelter blog has a piece about the most dangerous places to work as a photographer…

photo: Sebastian Meyer

PhotoShelter: The 14 Most Dangerous Locations For Photojournalists (PhotoShelter: September 2011)

NYT piece on AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus’ At War exhibition in Berlin…

NYT: At Berlin Show, One Photographer’s View of the Post-Sept. 11 World (NYT: September 2011)

Reportage by Getty Images:  “Hi, my name is Spain, and this is my story.”(Reportage: September 2011)

From Telegraph's Telephoto...

Telegraph: Afghanistan? There’s an app for that (Telegraph: September 2011) The humble iPhone is changing photography on the frontline

Telegraph: Revealing landscapes: the photography of Joel Sternfeld (Telegraph: September 2011)

BJP: Could Once Magazine, an iPad-only photography magazine, represent a new revenue stream for photojournalists? (BJP: September 2011)

BJP: Harry Ransom Center acquires Elliott Erwitt’s archives (BJP: September 2011)

BJP: Ways of Looking Bradford photography festival (BJP: September 2011)

Guardian: Featured photojournalist, Mark Blinch (Guardian: September 2011)

Verve: Chelsea MacLachlan (Verve: September 2011)

PDN: Beatles Photographer Robert Whitaker Dies

PDN: Top 10 iPad photo portfolio Apps for the iPad

Bill Gates v. Photojournalists (Concertiumnews.com: 2011)

Seven by Five: Who is using your photos without permission?

Awards, Grants, and Competitions

Application open for the inaugural Tim Hetherington grant

News and Documentary Emmys : Tim Hetherington’s and Sebastian Junger’s Restrepo won two Emmys (Outstanding Continuing Coverage of a News Story, Long Form, and an editing award for Outstanding Individual Achievement In A Craft)

Luis Valtuena International Humanitarian Photography award

New Scholarships Available For Photojournalists Returning To School : NPPA

Lucas Dolega Award

TIME is looking for the best young photographers of 2011…NB. Only US students need apply it seems

TIME : Next Generation : Submissions will be accepted beginning October 3, 2011, at 12 a.m. EST, until midnight on October 17, 2011. Winners will be announced on LightBox on October 26, 2011.

Jobs

Ben Curtis, Middle East photo editor for AP, named chief photographer for East Africa

Part time multimedia coordinator :  ActionAid : London

Fundraising

Human Right Watch: Facing Power: A Print Sale to Benefit Human Rights (HRW)

Events

Festival of Photography : Wild Day : Sunday 2 October 2011 : Royal Geographical Society : London | full program PDF

Services

Luxlab

To finish off…

Rude hand gestures of the world

If you are like me and not really into computer games, perhaps this ‘war journalism game’ Warco will get even us excited…or not…

Warco

and…

10 photo compliments

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Features and Essays - Magnum Photos: Where Artists and Writers Live and Work (Slate: August 2010)

Features and Essays - New Yorker Photo Booth: The Road Back to New Orleans (work by Stanley Greene and Kadir van Lohuizen) (New Yorker: August 2010)

Features and Essays - Irina Kalashnikova: North Korea (Reportage by Getty Images: August 2010) Kalashnikova’s website

Features and Essays – NYT Magazine: Documenting the Life of 20-Somethings (NYT Mag: August 2010) 13 young photographers document their generation using iPhones

Features and Essays – Stefano di Luigi: Kenya Drought (VII Magazine August 2010)

Features and Essays - Ian Teh: Dark Clouds [multimedia] (Panos Pictures: August 2010) China

Features and Essays – Robin Hammond: As I See It (Panos Pictures: August 2010)

Features and Essays – Tomas Munita: A Workers’ Revolt Endures in Peru (NYT: August 2010)

Features and Essays - Gareth Phillips: Rogue Tailor Needles Savile Row, Gets Himself a (Law)Suit (WSJ: August 2010)

Features and Essays - Joseph Rodriguez: Personal Violence (Visura: August 2010)

Agencies – Stockland Martel : website : blog

Interviews and TalksEd Kashi : A Photographer’s Journey Near and Far (FORA.tv: August 2010)

Interviews - Charlie Mahoney (BJP: August 2010)

InterviewsRobert Caplin (NYT Lens: August 2010)

InterviewsSteve Peck -Picture Editor, Wired Magazine (Professional Photographer: 2010)

InterviewsJames Mullinger – Photo Editor, GQ Magazine (Professional Photographer: 2010)

Photographers - Benjamin Rasmussen

PhotographersNatalie Behring

PhotographersLuca Tronci

PhotographersLuca Sola

PhotographersCharlotte Kesl

TwitterJason Andrew

Awards - Magnum Expression Award : Deadline August 31 2010

Awards - BJP International Photography : September 30 2010

AwardsTerry O’Neill Award : Deadline October 22 2010

Time for a little rant…

Photo: Daniel Berehulak / Getty Images

There have been a lot of complaints that the international community’s response to the devastating Pakistan floods has been inadequate. It got me thinking of the response and reaction of the Western photojournalism community, more specifically from publishers and photographers. Of course the initial death toll caused by the Pakistan floods is nothing compared to the Haiti earthquake, but its repercussions are in a sense bigger, with 6 million people in desperate need of emergency aid according to the UN. Now I remember, as I’m sure everyone does, how photographers  - both media and self- assigned – rushed to Haiti to cover the earthquake aftermath, but I haven’t seen anything even remotely close to that kind of reaction and response as a result of the Pakistan floods. I wonder why that might be?  After the Haiti earthquake struck, TIME magazine immediately sent two photographers there, Shaul Schwarz and Timothy Fadek, whose work was shown prominently  in a daily updated photo gallery on the magazine’s website, and a week into the aftermath they also dispatched James Nachtwey. I just had a look at TIME’s photo essays page on their website, and there is only one single Pakistan floods gallery, published on August 2, which is made up of photographs taken by EPA, AP, Reuters, and Getty Images photographers. And New York Times, who sent several of their own staffers, including Damon Winter,  and regular freelancers to Haiti, has opted not to send anyone of their own to Pakistan, instead publishing several photo galleries (here, here, and here) made up entirely of wire photographs. So there are photographers on the ground and of course NYT has to be congratulated for publishing some of the work, but I would argue that if a newspaper or a magazine is committed to seriously covering an issue, like both TIME and NYT did in Haiti, they will assign their own photographers. And I would argue that one can potentially receive a more comprehensive view of a catastrophic situation such as the Pakistan floods, at least photographically, by looking at larger bodies of work each done by single observers. I tend to overlook those photo galleries made up of several photographers’ work, those ‘wire galleries’ as I call them, no matter how good the work in them might be – as in the case of Getty’s Daniel Berehulak whose always terrific photos can be seen as part of the only TIME Pakistan floods gallery – and preferring to see work comprising a singular vision such as Alixandra Fazzina’s flood photos on NOOR website. I just hope there were more photographers out there in Pakistan doing this kind of in-depth work. You’d expect so, as you’d expect the aid dollars piling up, considering the magnitude of the natural catastrophe…

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