In her debut photobook, Some Kind of Heavenly Fire, Female in Focus winner Maria Lax straddles a blurred line between familiar and foreign
Petronella Chigumbura is a member of Akashinga, an all female anti-poaching unit that operates in Zimbabwe’s Lower Zambezi ecosystem. In Shona – the native language of Zimbabwe – Akashinga means the brave ones. Many of the members are victims of sexual violence and domestic abuse, recruited by the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF), and trained rigorously to serve on Africa’s frontline against poaching.
In Catalina Martin-Chico’s World Press Photo of the Year-nominated image, former guerilla fighter Yolanda is photographed with her husband Michael in their home in the Colombian jungle. It is their sixth pregnancy, but for the first time, Yolanda will be delivering a baby.
Until three years ago, when a peace deal was signed with the Colombian government, Yolanda was a member of the country’s largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc). Pregnancy was forbidden, so many female members underwent abortions. Yolanda has had five abortions – her last pregnancy terminated at six months. “She feels that now, she deserves this baby,” says Martin-Chico.
The photographer and founder of Women Photograph, a platform that elevates the voices and work of women and non-binary visual storytellers, considers the homogeneity of the documentary image
“The language of photography and books is evolving rapidly,” comments Sebastian Hau, as the major book fair he co-founded, Cosmos, separates from the main programme at Les Rencontres d’Arles to return offspace
Shooting meticulously set-up still lifes on film with a large format camera, Lucas Blalock scans his images and digitally manipulates them, creating tricksy, mind-bending work that plays with the boundary between reality and fiction. Now it’s fashionable to talk about fake news, but Blalock got in early, poking holes in our trust in images.
It’s earned him an enviable career, with books published by respected outfits such as Morel Books and Self Publish, Be Happy, and solo exhibitions at private galleries such as the White Cube. Now he’s got his first solo show at a public gallery in the US, the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Los Angeles, where he’s showing images made since 2014. Initially he might have seemed part of a movement, but Blalock has carved out a career on his own.
Through the weird and wonderful worlds she creates, Roy escapes the frustrations of modern existence
In 2013, a proposal to initiate Europe’s largest gold and silver mining project in Roșia Montană, Romania, sparked a series of anti-government protests in dozens of cities across the country. The proposal is still awaiting a parliamentary decision, but among its many contentions are the long-term health effects ofcyanide poisoning – a potentially deadly chemical used to extract gold – and the suspicion of fake documentation, prompted by vested interests within the government. Belgian photographer Tomas Bachot travelled to Romania in 2015, intending to create a documentary project about the state of the mining conflict. After months of travelling through several cities, one of his couchsurfing hosts reacted negatively to his photographs, and said she was unable to support his vision of her country. “I was shocked, because as an image-maker you’re always open to hear feedback, but you’re also scared,” says Bachot. “I realised what I really needed to do, rather than just observing the place and the situation. I realised that what I was doing was a very limited way of meeting people …
Think of a horror or thriller, and you may think of the happy first half hour or so when everything seems to be going just fine. The Stepford Wives’ town initially seems like it’s perfect; The Vanishing opens with a couple going on a holiday. It’s only later that the tone takes a turn for the worse, before descending into something more substantially scary. That shift is something the residents of Amherst, Massachusetts seemingly live in fear of, because – while on the face of it their small town is an idyll – they’re constantly on the alert.
“7.32pm – Residents at The Boulders complained about a man yelling out the window in a foreign language,” reads a police report published in the local paper, the Amherst Bulletin. “The man told police he was just stating his excitement for the dinner he was about to eat.” “5.53pm – A woman called police after being approach by a photographer in downtown who asked if he could take pictures of her feet,” another reads. “The photographer was not located.”
The Arctic circle is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, for the past five years Arctic air temperatures have exceeded all records since 1900. If temperatures continue to rise, scientists expect that the North Pole will be ice-free in summer by 2040.
Ice reflects sunlight while water absorbs it, so less ice means even higher temperatures. But the consequences of disappearing sea ice in the Arctic are more complicated than the obvious impact it has on our global climate. Less ice provides new routes for maritime shipping, and opens up new areas for the exploitation of fossil fuels, transforming the region into a strategic battleground for countries with vested interests – not to mention indigenous villages whose livelihoods are threatened by rising sea levels.
Photojournalists Yuri Kozyrev and Kadir van Lohuizen, who are both represented by NOOR, travelled through the Arctic circle, documenting the startling, and often complicated, effects of Arctic climate change. Arctic: New Frontier is the product of the ninth edition of the Carmignac Photojournalism Award, which each year funds a new investigative photo reportage on a humanitarian and geopolitical issue. An exhibition of over 50 photographs and six videos will be displayed at London’s Saatchi Gallery from 15 March until 05 May.