All posts filed under: Photojournalism

Peace Signs: Photography as Nuclear Protest

It was a protest that changed history. On 12 December 1982, some 30,000 women marched arm in arm onto Greenham Common in Berkshire, aligning themselves along the entire length of the nine-mile long fence that surrounded the Royal Air Force station. Standing against a backdrop of ribbons in the shape of peace signs threaded through the barbed wire, they protested proposed government plans to turn the green into a US nuclear cruise missile base. Each missile would have four times the destructive power of the atomic bomb that pulverised Hiroshima in 1945. This was one of the key demonstrations in support of the burgeoning anti-nuclear movement of the era, and resulted in a number of peace camps being set up around Britain. What started as a series of marches in the late 1950s, was turning into the mobilisation of hundreds of thousands of protesters asserting their opposition to nuclear weapons. Half a century later, the movement continues to assert its presence. In 2013, thousands of campaigners in Scotland rallied and blocked the Faslane Naval Base, which stored …


Magnum photographer Alex Majoli awarded Guggenheim fellowship

Alex Majoli, who was born in Ravenna, Italy, in 1971 and attended the Art Institute in Ravenna, will use the grant to continue working on his project, exploring “the fragmentation and polarisation of Europe’s identity as it grapples to come to terms with the realisation that it can no longer isolate itself from the crisis unfolding just across the Mediterranean,” Magnum said in a statement. Alex Majoli’s work “focuses on the human condition and the theater within our daily lives,” according to his representatives. Since its establishment in 1925, the Guggenheim Fellowship program has aimed to support artists and scholars in the humanities and social sciences. Diane Arbus, Adam Baer and Shelby Lee Adams are amongst previous photographers to be given funding via the Fellowship. Majoli’s career launched when he photographed the closing of a notorious mental health asylum on the island of Leros in Greece. Leros, the resultant series, his first monograph, was a mediation on the theories of Franco Basaglia, a pioneer of the modern concept of mental health, famous for having abolished the psychiatric hospitals in Italy. Majoli’s early interest …


The Anatomy of Absence: Inside Croatia’s Only Prison for Women

Central Slavonia’s quiet Požega Valley is home to Croatia’s only correctional facility for women. Here, 130 convicts repay their debt to society for crimes of varying villainy; from year-long terms for drug possession or theft to life sentences for murder. Marina Paulenka obtained special permission from the government to photograph the penitentiary, documenting this sensitive social issue over a period of 18 months. The main prison building was first erected at the tail-end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1915, initially a correctional institution for young orphan boys driven off track by petty crime. But, with the arrival of more young girls, it became exclusively female in 1925. The institute closed for a brief period in 1941 and later re-opened as the Požega Penitentiary that it is today. Paulenka’s collection is the first of its kind. It focuses on a hinterland of seemingly banal details that form a comprehensive study of the drudgery of incarceration. The photographs have a calmness of vision that seem to possess a very Balkan minimalism. Paulenka, who doubles up as the director …


Inside India’s newest photography festival

Indian photographer Poulomi Basu is a rising star of documentary photography. Part of VII’s mentor programme, she’s a Magnum Foundation Award winner and was nominated for the Paul Huf Award this year. Even so, she’s sometimes felt jaded with an industry she believes confines itself to a very limited audience. Determined to do something to bring it to a wider public, she joined forces with British filmmaker CJ Clarke and friends to found Just Another Photo Festival, which enjoyed its first edition last September in New Delhi. “We saw an opportunity to do something different: to change the paradigm and put the audience on a pedestal, not the photographer,” she explains.   Just Another Photo showcased work by 150 photographers from over 35 countries, including big names such as Roger Ballen, Philip Toledano and Sim Chi Yin but also grass-roots female photo collectives such as Rawiya and Foto Feminas. “We want JAPF to be global in perspective and have strived to include diverse work that shows new perspectives to an Indian audience,” says Basu. The photographers’ …


IRAQ. Albu Ajeel. February 2, 2016. 10-year-old Sara Adnan Mohamed, draws in a room in the partially burned down house that she shares with her family in the predominantly Sunni village of Albu Ajeel, on the outskirts of Tikrit. Albu Ajeel was under the control of the Islamic State until their retreat from Tikrit in the Spring of 2015.. 

Sara and her family recently returned to Albu Ajeel after being displaced to Kirkuk for almost two years. Upon their return, Sara's family found their village mostly destroyed and their home partially burned down.

In order to help Sara and other families cope, the International Committee of the Red Cross distributes food parcels to returnees and has also rehabilitated the water supply to Albu Ajeel residents.

Moises Saman on Iraq’s civil war

Moises Saman is one of the leading conflict photographers of his generation. In recent years, he has worked in Afghanistan, Egypt and Libya. But the Spanish photographer is best known for his ongoing ability to photograph the war in Iraq, first the American war with Saddam Hussein, and then their occupation of the country, and then the ongoing civil war that still besets Iraq. In 2016, 13 years after the invasion, Iraq is no closer to being a settled, secure nation.  Following the “surge” of American combat troops in 2007, a fragile ceasefire seemed to descend over the majority of the country, a peace which sustained until the last soldiers departed in December, 2011. But, when the Americans left, they also left behind unresolved problems that, after a period of relative calm, have reared again. Now he has returned to Iraq, on commission for The Red Cross, to show displaced families unable to access the most basic sanitary needs, due to their failed state and total lack of local governance. Photographing on commission for The New Yorker (for whom he has also covered the Arab Spring and …


Chernobyl: 30 Years After the Disaster

At 1:23 am, on the morning of 26 April, in 1986, in the Ukranian town of Pripyat, an explosion tour through the sky. The explosion took place at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, under the jurisdiction of the Moscow authorities of the Soviet Union. The plant was derelict, and operators had botched what should have been a routine safety test. The reactor went into meltdown, they couldn’t contain it, and Chernobyl spewed radioactive particles high into the  atmosphere. The nuclear waste, with a half-life of hundreds of thousands of years, spread over much of the western USSR and Europe. Even sheep on the remote islands off Scotland were found infected with radiation from Chernobyl. Long-term effects on the local and global environment are still being investigated. Today, the Chernobyl Power Plant sits fenced inside a 30 kilometre Exclusion Zone. The reactor itself remains encased inside a 24-story concrete and steel sarcophagus, one erected in a few hours after the accident. Chernobyl is the subject of $2.2 billion clean-up. Workers, wearing protective suits and breathing respirators, can still only work one 15-minute shift …


Hasaka, Syria - August 1, 2015. A doctor rubs ointment on the burns of Jacob, 16, in front of a poster of Abdullah Ocalan, center, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, at a YPG hospital compound on the outskirts of Hasaka. According to YPG fighters at the scene, Jacob is an ISIS fighter from Deir al-Zour and the only survivior from an ambush made by YPG fighters over a truck alleged to carry ISIS fighters on the outskirts of Hasaka. Six ISIS fighters died in the attack, 5 of them completely disfigured by the explosion (c) Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

Giving a human face to ‘the other side’ at this year’s WPP

“Mauricio Lima’s image of the young Islamic State fighter is fascinating,” says Vaughn Wallace, who was on the Documentary jury of the World Press Photo competition this year. “It’s quite possibly the first time an Islamic State fighter has been portrayed on such an intimate, visual level.” As Wallace says the image, which shows a 16-year-old fighter named Jacob being treated for severe burns, puts a very different face on a figure usually vilified in the Western media – but for Wallace, this is one of the things that helped win it first prize in the General News Singles category. “Mauricio’s image really stands out in contrast to the ways we typically engage with the IS visually, often through propaganda sourced from social media,” he explains. “Mauricio’s image tells a story and gives a human face to ‘the other side’, sitting in the same tradition as Ghaith Abdul-Ahad’s work embedded with Al-Qaeda in Yemen and Kate Brooks’ photographs of government forces during the early years of the Syrian Civil War. Images like Mauricio’s provide context and perspective to multi-dimensional, highly-political conflicts.” Wallace is the deputy photo editor at Al Jazeera America, the international news broadcaster part-funded …


In Amsterdam the jury is working on the World Press Photo Contest 2015. After the specialized jury selected the first batch, the general jury decides who the final winners will be.

World Press Photo head Lars Boering on introducing stringent new Ethics Code to ensure ‘truth’ of entries

Lars Boering, managing director of the World Press Photo Foundation, has claimed this year’s World Press Photo awards will not be hamstrung by findings of image manipulation, after the introduction of a new Code of Ethics for all entrants. Boering said of the 2016 awards, which were announced today: “We are delighted by the outcome this independent jury produced, and ready to present an exhibition of powerful imagery to an audience that can trust what they see.” The new code of ethics ensured “a transparent and rigorous verification process,” he said, adding: “This resulted in many more entries being checked, but fewer problems than last year being found. In ten days, we will be releasing a detailed technical report reviewing the verification process, and we will then lead the public conversation on these issues.” Last year was not one World Press Photo will remember with fondness, with news breaking – on the day the winners were announced – that more than 20 percent of the final-round entries had been disqualified. The images in question, the jury had decided, had been manipulated after the …


"I was born just 5 months after the day of the explosion. I was a very sickly child and I remember feeling like something was wrong, not growing like a normal child. When I was born I was quickly admitted into the intensive care unit. I had cramps and I was very weak. Half of my childhood, I spent in hospital without receiving a diagnosis. I was treated for bronchitis, then pneumonia, and then neuroses."

World Press Photo’s chair of the ‘People’ jury on looking for strong concepts

“This is the only category where you can have a concept for the photography,” says Narda van t’ Veer, founder of the Dutch photo agency UNIT C.M.A and creator of the Amsterdam-based Ravestijn Gallery, and chair of the People category jury in the 2016 World Press Photo competition. “The other categories – the spot news, general news and so on – are mainly about urgent matters. We were interested in series which, though they might be about urgent matters, could also be considered in a conceptual way, in the way that they’re photographed. That is why we chose Exposure by Kazuma Obara.” Kazuma Obara’s image, which won first Prize in the People stories category, traces the life of a girl born in Kiev just after the Chernobyl disaster. The image was shot on 30-year-old colour film found five kilometres from the abandoned nuclear power plant, and the faded, patchy, grey images eloquently evoke a life also been blighted by the disaster. “It is a beautifully illustrated story,” van t’ Veer tells BJP, “and has a very strong concept”. This conceptual …


After spending two days and two nights sailing on the Mediterranean Sea on the deck of the M.S.F. (Médecins Sans Frontières - Doctors Without Borders) search and rescue ship Bourbon Argos, rescued migrants - still wrapped in their emergency blankets - catch sight of the Italian coast for the first time soon after dawn. 23 August 2015 In 2015 the ever-increasing number of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea on unseaworthy vessels towards Europe led to an unprecedented crisis. Nearly 120 thousand people have reached Italy in the first 8 months of the year. While the European governments struggled to deal with the influx, the death toll in the Mediterranean reached record numbers. Early in May the international medical relief organization Médecins Sans Frontières (M.S.F.) joined in the search and rescue operations led in the Mediterranean Sea and launched three ships at different stages: the Phoenix (run by the Migrant Offshore Aid Station), the Bourbon Argos and Dignity (c) Francesco Zizola

Francis Kohn, chair of the 2016 World Press Photo jury, on judging the prize

“We had a great number of stories, the majority of stories, were on the migrant refugees in Europe,” says Francis Kohn, photo director of Agence France-Presse and chair of the 2016 World Press Photo jury of the prize this year, after judging the general news, spot news and long term project categories. “There is a big gap between these stories and Nepal – a lot on the earthquake in Nepal – I think third would be….attacks in Paris, Charlie Hebdo in January and then in November. The rest [of the stories] are quite spread out.” Making his comments in a video made by the WPP team, Kohn added he was looking for images that witness an important event, as “this is World Press Photo”, but beyond that “obviously a picture has to be strong, compelling, has to work on so many different levels – being there, witnessing, and then it has to tell me something.” But, he cautioned, it doesn’t necessarily have to be in monochrome – as the eventual winner, by Warren Richardson, turned out to …


BJP Staff