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


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 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.

scandinavian moments

The eleven photographers that make up Moment Agency spend much of their time capturing stories around the world. This summer, they are returning to their homes in Scandinavia on a road trip that will take them from the north of Norway, across Sweden, to the southern tip of Denmark. Working from their own perspectives, the work will collectively become a document of Scandinavian identity today. They’re raising money for Scandinavian Moments on Emphasis.

wedding photos

A selection of our wedding photos is on the website of our amazing wedding photographer. Choosing a photographer was one of the most important decisions we made while planning our wedding. And we couldn’t be happier with her results. Thank you so much Christine!

2012 World Press Photo Contest

This morning, I headed to the Amsterdam City Hall for the announcement of the winners of the annual World Press Photo contest. The past two weeks have been a blur of interviews, website preparations, and, of course, looking at tens of thousands of photographs. Tonight I will celebrate, not think about photography, and get some much needed sleep.

Now it is time for everyone else to enjoy this fantastic collections of images. The jury awarded 350 images by 57 photographers. Some of the singles that impressed me include the photos by Samuel Aranda, Damir Sagolj, Denis Rouvre, Vincent Boisot, and Jenny E. Ross. And for the photo stories:

Never Let You Go by Alejandro Kirchuk

Interrogation Room by Donald Weber

Rhino Wars by Brent Stirton

Pastoral by Alexander Gronsky

Child Brides by Stephanie Sinclair

Photography: Vladimir Longauer

Lost in the photography of Vladimir Longauer, an Irish photographer capturing quiet scenes in medium and large-format film.

the people of Afghanistan

My thoughts again returned to the people of (and in) Afghanistan with this beautiful video by Lukas and Salome Augustin, looking beyond the images of conflict and occupation to the people and their lives (via).

Some of the footage makes an appearance in the recently-published MediaStorm production A Darkness Visible: Afghanistan by photographer Seamus Murphy.

All images are stills from the video.

spoon fork bacon

The new food blog Spoon Fork Bacon is a delicious feast in itself. The photography is top notch, the styling inspired, and each post sprinkled with complementary design elements.

First on my list to try out are the grilled zucchini tacos, the spinach and ricotta stuffed shells, and the simple blackberry jam. Served up with a kiwi capiroska or sweet cherry gin and tonic.

Images courtesy of Spoon Fork Bacon. Photography by Teri Lyn Fisher and styling by Jenny Park.

photography: Jonathan Levitt

The photography of Jonathan Levitt makes me want to jump into the storyline. Quiet scenes from an idyllic land craft tales of vast fields, plentiful food, and old friends. See more on his blog Grassdoe.

Photos used with permission from the photographer.

Weekend Links #34

Weekend Links is a collection of the interesting bits and pieces that I’ve come across on the streets and online. The weekly post is my chance to share with you a few things from the week, in a list compiled during the weekend. I hope you enjoy them as well.

A few things I enjoyed over the last week:
1. Receiving tickets to see The Avett Brothers at Paradiso thanks to a dear colleague (pictured above via)
2. Watching Jack Goes Boating at the open air film festival Pluk de Nacht
3. Reading an interesting interpretation of a book I recently re-read,  Seeing Catch-22 Twice
4. Contemplating the dangers of fast fashion again while reading The Tyranny of Trends (via @tout_moi)
5. Enjoying Rachel’s stories of short fiction on Elephantine
6. Viewing Don McCullin’s lost negatives of the Berlin Wall

dear photograph

Dear Photograph is a collaborative project that gathers photos from the recent past that align scenes with photos from the distant past in the same location. Beneath each image is a short note to the photograph, reminiscing on past moments. This concept of layering different moments in time is well known, but I like that the final photo that we see only hints at the memories captured within the imagery.

launching the new World Press Photo website

On Monday, we launched the new World Press Photo website. An intense and amazing project that I have been working on for the past year with fantastic colleagues and coworkers. From design and content strategy to IA and development, I walked through it all and am very proud of the result. A showcase for photojournalism in context. Below is a photo gallery overview page.

One of my favorite features is our collection of lectures, interviews, multimedia, and other productions, which share the insights of photojournalists and the work of our organization.

There is also a dedicated gallery for young, emerging photographers who have participated in the annual masterclass.

A website rich in content, with much more to come in the next months. See more at www.worldpressphoto.org

Weekend Links #31

Weekend Links is a collection of the interesting bits and pieces that I’ve come across on the streets and online. The weekly post is my chance to share with you a few things from the week, in a list compiled during the weekend. I hope you enjoy them as well.

A few things I enjoyed over the last week:
1. Browsing the imagery on Someplace : Something, a feast of contemporary photography (pictured above, photo by Jo Metson Scott, via another something)
2. Watching the amazing talk by Jim Gilliam about what can happen when humans are connected, entitled ‘The internet is my religion‘. Amen
3. Art bombs in Amsterdam and beyond, Dutch protesting cultural funding cuts (pictured below)
4. Drinks at my favorite Vesper, my favorite cocktail bar in Amsterdam

Weekend Links #30

Weekend Links is a collection of the interesting bits and pieces that I’ve come across on the streets and online. The weekly post is my chance to share with you a few things from the week, in a list compiled during the weekend. I hope you enjoy them as well.

A few things I enjoyed last week:
1. Seeing a performance of Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises as part of the Holland Festival (pictured above, photo by Mark Barton)
2. Watching this impressive time-lapse video
3. Watching Conan O’Brien’s commencement speech delivered at Dartmouth
4. Renewing my admiration for the canine species with this Fresh Air interview and these photos
5. Getting a glimpse at Platon’s portraiture work, which has come together in the publication of his book Power. Browse the collection of photos on The New Yorker and watch him speak about the project here (pictured below)

interview: Callum Ross

There is an interesting tension in the photography of Callum Ross. At first glance, the scenes of nature in his images appear to be calm. But between the quietness, there is a sense of anticipation, waiting.

Ross left his homeland Australia to study photography in the UK in 2010. During that time, he produced the series West. Here, I speak with Ross about his imagery, inspiration for West, and the themes within it.

How did you get into photography?
Callum Ross: I’ve always been very involved in photography. My first infatuation with taking pictures began when I was a child with a Kodak disposable, trying to capture whales from the headland.

Could you describe a bit of your photographic journey over the past year, being enrolled in a dedicated study and also undertaking this in another culture?
Callum Ross: I spent the better part of 2010 furthering my photographic studies in Plymouth, UK. Moving to Plymouth was the most challenging and rewarding experience. My influences and inspirations broadened dramatically, and I really defined my photographic approach. I studied with the most beautiful people, who’s photographic work I really admired and drew from. Pursuing what you love in another culture opens your mind to a whole new realm of ideas and possibilities.

What is the idea behind the series West? How is it related to your earlier series La nature d’être?
Callum Ross: I’m interested in that initial moment of desire to search beyond the floor of consciousness for a broader awareness of being. ‘West’, I think subconsciously further refines these ideas. Being foreign to my surroundings, ‘West’ allowed for a deeper connection with the natural world, and portrayed a sense of journey within the landscape.

From what I have seen, your photography often captures scenes in nature. Why are you drawn to this? What themes are you exploring?
Callum Ross: From a very young age I’ve spent a lot of time in nature, so I guess I’ve always been drawn to places where nobody else goes. Its almost like a longing for freedom, my own little escape. Different themes are always evolving and operating within the work. I definitely aim to explore transfiguration, and the way the human mind struggles to break from the external world into a sort of internal one.