Tag Photography

City Silhouettes by Jasper James

Beijing-based photographer Jasper James has a wonderful series of portraits of people reflected against cityscapes. The images are all composed in camera—no compositing or Photoshopping beyond simple contrast adjustments. The result—giant humans superimposed on tiny buildings—inverts the usual urban experience, where the buildings dwarf each individual.

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from “City Silhouettes,” by Jasper James, 2010 :: via Feature Shoot and Petapixel

Originally published at culture-making.com.

Guarding Matisse, photo by Andy Freeberg

From a series of in situ portraits of the women who oversee Russian art museums—a job which is probably by turns incredibly boring and incredibly interesting. Sitting for hours in the presence of a painting is something that few of us have the patience for, even if we do have the opportunity.

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Originally published at culture-making.com.

Terraced Rice Field, Yunnan, China, photo by Thierry Bornier

Cultivation meets topography, this stunning landscape looks more like a geological map than somebody’s workplace.

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Terraced Rice Field,” Yunnan, China, by Thierry Bornier, National Geographic Daily, 22 June 2010

Originally published at culture-making.com.

Everyday South Africans and their bicycles

Upon viewing the new Shakira World Cup song’s video, an African historian friend of mine tweeted “Planning to cringe all month w/ South Africa standing in as the ‘real Africa.’ Drums + Feathers anyone?” Hopefully the soccer coverage will dig a bit deeper than that, or at least provide the world with a few urban African cliches to balance out the rural ones. On a more positive note, I really like these portraits of South African cyclists, which are paired with interviews about the pictured bikes and (as if they hadn’t won my heart already), Google Maps pinpointing each photo’s exact location. The photographers are raising money to publish a hardcover book of the portraits.

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Originally published at culture-making.com.

OK, and now can we get one with the torn shirt? Thanks!

Frustrated with the way he saw poor people depicted in typical journalism and fundraising campaigns, a Canadian volunteer with Engineers Without Borders is photographing low-income rural Malawians he knows both as they’d typically be seen by the West, and as they prefer to see themselves. Evidently one difficulty in making the “poor” photos is getting his subjects to keep a straight face.


Bauleni Banda, sustenance maize farmer, Chikandwe, Malawi

The truth is that the development sector, just like any other business, needs revenue to survive. Too frequently, this quest for funding uses these kind of dehumanizing images to draw pity, charity, and eventually donations from a largely unsuspecting public. I found it outrageous that such an incomplete and often inaccurate story was being so widely perpetuated by the organizations on the ground – the very ones with the ability and the responsibility to communicate the realities of rural Africa accurately.

This is not to say that people do not struggle, far from it, but the photos I was seeing only told part of the story. I thought that these images were robbing people of their dignity, and I felt that the rest of the story should be told as well. Out of this came the idea for a photography project, which I am tentatively calling “Perspectives of Poverty”. I am taking two photos of the same person; one photo with the typical symbols of poverty (dejected look, ripped clothes, etc.), and another of this person looking their very finest, to show how an image can be carefully constructed to present the same person in very different ways. I want to bring to light some of the different assumptions we make about a person, especially when we see an image of “poverty” from rural Africa.


from “Perspectives of Poverty,” by Duncan McNicholl, Water Wellness, 28 April 2010 :: via Aid Watch

Originally published at culture-making.com.

Migrant family, photo by Dorthea Lange

This is one of Dorthea Lange’s FSA photos that I hadn’t seen before. I like the aesthetics (the cris-crossing musical-instrument vectors; the look of concentration on the mandolin-kid’s face), but more than that I appreciate its depiction of “dust bowl refugees” not just as weather-beaten victims, but as culture makers (and -keepers) in their own right. The photo is part of the recently-published paperback anthology Hard Luck Blues: Roots Music Photographs from the Great Depression.

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“Migrant family from Arkansas playing hill-billy songs,” Farm Security Administration emergency migrant camp, Calipatria, California, photo by Dorothea Lange, February 1939 :: via the Oxford American,

Originally published at culture-making.com.

Street photography by Matt Stuart

I love Matt Stewart’s mannered, witty, sometimes downright cheeky street photos—the black & white and colour sections of his site are worth full perusal. The photos are all about finding echoed gestures and surprising, double-take juxtapositions. Sometimes it can feel like a one-trick project, but the one trick always leaves me smiling.

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Soho,” by Matt Stuart, 2010 :: via More Intelligent Life

Originally published at culture-making.com.

Dancers Among Us, by Jordan Matter

Artist’s description: “Dancers Among Us is a collection of NYC dance photographs featuring members of the Paul Taylor and Martha Graham Dance Companies. This is an ongoing project that began in the spring of 2009. There were no trampolines or other devices used for these images.” The entire series is lots of fun, but I love the interplay of artistic exchange—gifts offered, gifts received—in this one.

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Jamie Rae Walker and Annmaria Mazzini,” photo by Jordan Matter, from the series Dancers Among Us, 2009–ongoing :: via kottke.org

Originally published at culture-making.com.

Persona, photos by Jason Travis

TMN’s link-description for this photo series nails it: “Pictures of what (extremely similar) Atlantans carry around in their bags”. Once you get over your wish that the photographer had cast his net a little more broadly, there’s still a lot of interest and wit here. The things these people carry at once offer us a view of people’s public personae and a peek into what remains hidden. There’s a whole gigantic “What’s in your bag?” photo pool on flickr, a reminder that this sort of hiding/sharing/defining is by no means limited to hipsters in Atlanta.

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“Mariel Diptych,” from Persona, by Jason Travis, 2009–2010 :: via The Morning News

Originally published at culture-making.com.

Church of the Immaculate Conception, Port-au-Prince, by Allison Shelley

From a beautiful and moving series of post-earthquake photos by a Washington, D.C.-based photojournalist.

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Originally published at culture-making.com.