Tag Archives: photography

photographer: Anna Ådén

Anna Aden 1

I’m taking a break from everything Amsterdam and moving related to share the photography of Anna Ådén. She is a Swedish art and portrait photographer with an amazing ability to capture scenes of nostalgia and nature. When I first discovered her work, I thought they could be images from a film set for a British period piece – especially the first and last images in this post.

Her photography caught my attention not just for the strong sense of composition, but also for the soft lighting and muted tones she creates. So I wasn’t surprised to learn in this interview that she is also a painter. Check out more of her work on her website or blog.

Lily of the valley

Anna Aden 3

Anna Aden 2

Plainness

Autumn fields

All images by Anna Ådén.

2013 World Press Photo Contest

2013 World Press Photo

For the past three weeks, my life has been all about visual journalism: photography, multimedia productions, and producing content around the judging of the two World Press Photo contests. This was the fourth contest I experienced, and it was the last I will see up close as the move to Portland and the time to say goodbye to an amazing organization draws near.

After working intensely with an amazing team to create the context around the images and judging, the winners were announced yesterday morning. Paul Hansen, a photojournalist from Sweden, was awarded the main prize. In all, the jury awarded 367 images from 54 photographers of 32 nationalities. Some of the single images that most impressed me were from Micah Albert (USA), Wei Seng Cheng (Malaysia), Yongzhi Chu (China), Daniel Rodrigues (Portugal), and Nemanja Pancic (Serbia).

And below, some of the photo stories:

MournfulMournful by Ebrahim Noroozi (Iran)

The Cage
The Cage by Xiaoqun Zheng (China)

Japan After the Wave
Japan After the Wave by Daniel Berehulak (Australia)

Mirella
Mirella by Fausto Podavini (Italy)

The Pink Choice
The Pink Choice from Maika Elan (Vietnam)

Emperor Penguins
Emperor Penguins by Paul Nicklen (Canada)

All winners can be seen in the 2013 Photo Contest gallery.

a week of multimedia

in the judging room

Over the past week, I had the opportunity to watch some amazing examples of visual storytelling today and listen to conversations from its leading practitioners, thanks to the World Press Photo multimedia judging. Now in its third year, I have seen the contest grow from the inaugural year to a refined look at what’s going on in the world of multimedia. In the last days, I watched about 50 of the 287 submitted productions, observing the process as the jury narrowed it down to the final selection and interviewing judges about the winners.

Here is the list of the winners, with two of my favorites embedded below. I can also highly recommend ‘Dreams on Freewheels’ coming out of China. And all the interactive productions are worth the time to explore.

Online Shorts
1st Into the Shadows
2nd Living with a Secret
3rd Aleppo Battleground

Online Features
1st Too Young to Wed
2nd Dying for Relief: Bitter Pills
3rd Dreams on Freewheels

Interactive Documentary
1st Alma: A Tale of Violence
2nd Bear 71
3rd Lost and Found
Honorable Mention UnknownSpring

And below, interviewing Samuel Bollendorff with my favorite cameraman.

interview with Samuel Bollendorff

Lottie Davies: images from Syria

I first discovered the work of London-based photographer Lottie Davies through her series North and have come to admire the way she captures other places and people. A few weeks ago, I was revisiting her portfolio and spotted her images of Syria taken in 2007. A striking contrast from the images we currently see coming out of Syria. I asked Davies to take us back to that trip, the people she met there, and her approach to photographing them and their land.

What led you to work in Syria in 2007?
Lottie Davies: Actually it was a very personal trip – my father is very interested in early Christian architecture, and Syria (Aleppo particularly) was a cultural hub during early Christianity. He wanted to visit the area and learn more about its history, so we went together and split our time between his explorations and my photography. For a female photographer in an Arab country, it was the perfect combination – travelling with my father was considered extremely respectable, so we were welcomed everywhere, and unusually, my father was able to meet women because being with me was considered appropriate.

What was your impression of Syria and its people?
Lottie Davies: Syria is a beautifully verdant, thriving place. The countryside is green, the earth dusty and warm. Aleppo bustles with markets and people selling clothes, SIM cards, and plastic trinkets alongside jewelry, spices, and traditional foods. It is a mixture of medieval fortified city and modern trading centre; ancient temples sit next to apartment blocks covered in satellite dishes. The country’s position means that it has been a meeting point for cultures and peoples for many centuries and that is still very evident in its daily life.

Your images often focus on the people within their cultural context. Why do you take this approach and what did it reveal in the Syria project?
Lottie Davies: I find the differences between cultures totally fascinating, the subtle differences which develop in different climates, different geography, and within different religious and social contexts. That’s what human society is about; how we live together and organize our interactions on a family, local, and international level. I try to approach each project with that in mind, so that I can learn about other cultures and understand the subjects of my photographs better. I feel it is important to at least try to understand someone’s cultural context if you are purporting to represent them.

In Arab countries, welcoming visitors and inviting them into your home is considered extremely important and part of everyday life. My father and I were invited to have tea, coffee, lunch with total strangers who fed and watered us and were genuinely interested in getting to know us. Arab hospitality is famous, of course, and I was struck by the difference to Britain, in my experience. We are so suspicious of ‘foreigners’ here, the last thing we are likely to do is invite a total stranger from another culture into our home and give them lunch and ask about their opinion on the war in Iraq. In Britain, we are much more private. I think we would consider it an imposition on their time, might oblige them to eat with us when they would probably rather be on their own, would we have the right food, we would worry that we would offend them, and let’s face it, we can be fairly xenophobic when the mood strikes.

For me, and my work, the experience was about being open, and just seeing what the day would bring. I had no particular preconceptions about the place or its people, I was simply curious. Of course, at that time there was no war, and although the state had a fairly tight grip on the population, it was beginning to relax (hence the relatively new ability to watch non-state television like CNN and the BBC) and there was no obvious sense of state control. The people I met were just people along the road who live around Aleppo, whose day to day concerns were their family, their jobs, their livestock, what they would eat for dinner, just like the rest of us…

What are your hopes for the people of Aleppo and Syria?
Lottie Davies: Clearly I hope for an end to the conflict as soon as possible, and thereafter peace and self-determination for the Syrian people and others across the Middle East. If I were to go back to Syria and meet those people again, I would wish them Allah yafrijha alekum, which translates as ‘May God free you from your troubles’.

Aaron Hobson: Cinemascapes

Aaron Hobson’s Google Street View edition of Cinemascapes is not the first work of photography that utilizes the navigation tool for artistic purposes. Michael Wolf is a favorite, capturing mishaps and urban moments. In contrast, Hobson explores remote areas not often seen by outsiders. His artist’s statement explains that he is ‘in search of enchanted and remote lands typically only reserved for the eyes of its inhabitants, but now are captured on camera by the automated and aesthetically-neutered street view cars that linger.’

photography by sarah natsumi

Sarah Natsumi is one of those people that oozes creative talent, whether she is taking photographs, making a film, designing a website, or applying a paintbrush to canvas. Her Etsy shop has a beautiful collection of vintage inspired travel photography, from the beaches of Spain and the parks of Amsterdam, to the mountains of Japan and the deserts of Texas. She also has a collection of European city postcards that capture scenes from some of my favorite cities.

I met Sarah in Amsterdam in 2007. She needed a bike, I had an extra one for sale, and a friendship was born. Five years later, she recently returned to her home in Austin, Texas and this city just won’t be the same without her. For now, I have her beautiful Romantic Amsterdam photo collection (below) to remember her by and now a great reason to visit Texas someday.

fine lines

A series of Polaroids by Erin Curry, an artist from Florida. Powerlines gazes upwards to the lines overhead that connect us.