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By JOHN LELAND

Homesick for the Catskills resorts of her childhood, the photographer Marisa Scheinfeld returned to the bastions of her past as a trespasser and archaeologist.

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The 24th annual National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest is in full swing. The entry deadline has been extended until July 11. The four categories include: Travel Portraits; Outdoor Scenes; Sense of Place and Spontaneous Moments. Last year's contest drew nearly 13,000 images from all over the world. The pictures are as diverse as their authors, capturing an assortment of people, places and wildlife - everything that makes traveling so memorable, evoking a sense of delight and discovery. The following post includes a small sampling of the entrant's work, taken from the editor's picks in each of the categories. (The captions are written by the entrants, some slightly corrected for readability.) And for fun, take a look back at the winners from 2011 at National Geographic Traveler. -- Paula Nelson (54 photos total)
SPONTANEOUS MOMENTS - Marrakech Traveler: It was mid-morning and he must have wanted to ride into the light. I was shooting for the ABC TV show Born to Explore when I snapped this photo. (John Barnhardt/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)

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During his short but noteworthy career, Shane Lavalette has examined distinct regions of the world, illuminating their respective character without succumbing to powerful clichés. At the age of only 25, Lavalette has photographed the west coast of Ireland, a small town in northern India and his native New England. You won’t find any pubs, elephants or lush shots of fall foliage in these collections. Instead, Lavalette combines portraits of ordinary people with pointed images of each area’s commerce, culture and the immediate countryside to create a portrait of a place as it might be seen by a local, but through the eyes of a wandering explorer.

In 2010, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, which for decades has been the leading art museum in the South, commissioned Lavalette to produce a new collection of photographs for their Picturing the South series. “Having grown up in the Northeast, it was primarily through traditional music–old time Blues, gospel, etc.–that I formed a relationship with the South,” Lavalette says of his project. “The region’s rich musical history became the natural entry point for my work.”

As in his previous projects, Lavalette steered clear of standard images of the American South: willows and oak trees wilting in the humid heat; cotton fields and mountain trails. Nor was Lavalette interested in shooting a documentary about Southern music today. Instead he turned to “the relationship between traditional music and the contemporary landscape through a more poetic lens.”

There are scenes of nature, but not the sweeping landscapes often seen in the South. Lavalette shot ripples on a pond, where the towering pines are only visible in the reflection on the water. There’s the graffiti-strewn interior of an old café, with a poster so covered in marker scribbles that it’s nearly unrecognizable. Lavalette shows the collision of modern life and nature in the form of an empty parking lot beside the rusted wall of a warehouse, where kudzu has begun to encroach upon the asphalt.

Music has always permeated the consciousness of the South. The home of blues, gospel, bluegrass and countless combinations of those styles, the South is a region rich with musical heritage, a perfect gateway into understanding the region’s history and its culture today. “Moved by the themes and stories past down in songs,” Lavalette says, “I let the music itself carry the pictures.”

Shane Lavalette is a New-York-based photographer. More of his work can be seen here. The exhibition Picturing the South is on view at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta from June 9 through Sept. 2, 2012.

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On a warm summer day in 2002, in Charlevoix, Michigan, Richard Joseph’s bad luck began. The lawyer, husband, and father of two was walking across the driveway with a bag of garbage when his bare foot slipped in a puddle of water that had collected beneath his car’s air conditioner. His leg gave out and he landed on his back. While nothing was broken, the blow prevented blood from reaching his spinal cord. He laid there for an hour, unable to move, while his daughters watched television in the living room. By the time he was discovered, the damage had been done. He'd never walk again.

Eventually, Joseph would make it back to work at his law firm, although he couldn’t keep up his old pace. By August 2007, complications prevented him...

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North Korea will mark the 100th anniversary of its founding father's birth on April 15. Kim Il-Sung ruled the communist country from its inception in 1948 until his death in 1994. The country is also making international news with the planned launch of a satellite, which concerns many other countries because of the nuclear capabilities of the rocket being used. Officials escorted a group of international media from the capital to the see the rocket in Tongchang-Ri earlier this week. Compiled here are group of recent images from inside the country. -- Lloyd Young (30 photos total)
North Koreans pay their respects in front of two portraits, one of founding leader Kim Il-Sung (left) and the other of his son Kim Jong-Il in Pyongyang on April 9. North Korea is counting down to the 100th anniversary of its founder's birth on April 15 with top level meetings and a controversial rocket launch scheduled in coming days to bolster his grandson's credentials. (Pedro Ugarte/AFP/Getty Images)

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