Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Ill Mags

So with a little bit of time on my hands these days being a grad and all, I've been able to find some nice solid photo magazines to share.

On my way home from Colorado I was able to browse the legendary Tattered Cover bookstore and came across a publication called Daylight that claims to be a documentary photography magazine. It displays a few portfolios based on the theme and each portfolio has an introduction. The issue I was able to see was "Global Commodities" and so there was photos on gold mines in Mongolia, guns in Latin America and fake paintings in China. The photos and concepts are interesting, but there could have been more literature.

The next magazine is actually an online publication called "Almanac." It is relatively new and is currently on its second issue. The website, which is updated monthly, is extremely well designed with various essays and even an audio recording of photographer Leonard Freed. I'm excited to see where this magazine goes in the future and maybe I'll even end up submitting to it.

The last magazine isn't new to me but it does have a new issue. I thought I would give the link for JPG magazines new issue. They like making PDF files of their entire magazine even though they also sell it in print. If you are published in the magazine then you get $100 and a free subscription. I think I will try to win a free one rather than paying. Here is the new issue, enjoy its two covers and themes beauty redefined, breakthrough and entropy.

JPG Issue 10

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Happy Late Africa Day

I would like to wish everyone a happy Africa Day, though I must apologize because the holiday was actually on Friday May 25th. Unfortunately I was in transit from my former house in Colorado Springs to my current residence in the great state of Wisconsin, so I was unable to cover the monumental holiday on the actual day. Africa Day is celebrated to comemorate the founding of the Organization of the African Union back on May 25th, 1963. The OAU is the organization that eventually evolved into what is now known as the African Union, the flag of whom is displayed above. In celebration of this day let us take some time and learn about what is going on in Africa these days. Check the links to see the latest news and reports:
BBC Africa
New York Times Africa
Damn, there's a lot going on.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Out of Control Number of the Month

I have been following the situation in Zimbabwe for a couple of years now, ever since my first class at Colorado College (the institution from which I graduated yesterday). My first college class was called "Issues in Contemporary Africa" and it was taught by a Professor from Zimbabwe known as Solomon Nkiwane. Solomon's class was very interesting to me and his stories from all over Africa have become legend. As would be expected, he was particularly knowledgable about the sub-saharan state of Zimbabwe and its current deterioration under the poor leadership of Robert Mugabe. Over the years since I have been paying attention, standards of living have decreased in Zimbabwe as AIDS has spread and the currancy has lost much of its value. This brings us to the "Out of Control Number of the Month." The monthly number is Zimbabwe's monthly projection of annual inflation. When the number is released every month it astounds me every time (though it probably shouldn't). Last month's figure was around 2200%, but that is nothing compared to this month's figure of 3713.9% reported by the BBC, quite a jump in just one months time. The New York Times reported that a singe sheet of toilet paper, not a roll, just one single sheet costs about Z$417, though the cost is likely much higher now. While products like toilet paper may be luxuries for many, the problem with inflation this high is that food becomes unafforadable. The cost of flour can rise to heights that cause it to be too expensive to bake bread, leaving many hungry people. As Mugabe blames this trend on sabotage by the Global North inflation continues to rise. Mugabe take responsibility and help your people!

Powerful Man or the Most Powerful Man?

I have been thinking about films set in Africa and which ones I like the best and The Last King of Scotland came to mind. I would strongly recommend everyone to watch that movie. The film is well made and the acting is good, though the real treat is listening to the Swahili that the Ugandans occasionally speak to each other. The Last King of Scotland is about the rise and fall of Idi Amin, the dictator ruling Uganda in the 1970's. I find real footage of him very intresting and his arogant, optimistic personality is one to marvel at. Check out this video and see what I mean.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The End, or New Beginnings?

It is with great sadness that I must acknowledge that my college career has come to an end. My final class period was this morning, during which I gave a presentation on the use of nonviolent action by activists in Africa's last territory, Western Sahara. While the utilization of nonviolent tactics by Sahrawis for the sake achieving their self determination from Morocco is a fairly complex issue, I thought I would share some of the movements more artistic aspects. One incredible website called Sandblast features some powerful photographs and poetry by Sahrawis. Here is a single poem, one of many at Sandblast:

"Voices" by Zahra El Hasnaoui

May you think
your voice reaches me not.
May you fear
the wicked wind hushed it,
before it filled up my senses.
May you dream
of muted echoes
and mirrors blinded.
Your words
choke my throat
in their way out
in black and white.
I sometimes manage to spit
but almost always swallow
rage, blood,
land, peace.
I wish to chain
your hands
to mine,
the gloomy ceiling
open to the stars.
I wish I could
lave the wrath
in your guiltless eyes.
Thirty mouths
chanted history,
as nobody could
nothing can tame
the soul-touching voices.

(Dedicated "To the Saharawi voices
abducted in jails and graves.")

These artistic expressions display the true feelings of those whose livelihoods are intertwined with a region whose fate remains undecided. Read the poems, view the photographs and strive to feel a little closer to a people you may have never known existed.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Half of Toure Toure

I know I've been planning on posting some of my own photos up here for awhile, but you'll just have to wait one more day. In the meantime, I present to you a video with some photographs and the music of one of my new favorite African musicians, Daby Toure.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Heroic Photography

Popular Photography online recently ran a feature called "Heros of Photography" about 10 photographers that push the photographic envelope with their creative style. From that list of the ten great ones, the photographs of Brent Stirton, a South African really stood out. He has perfected the photojournalistic technique, having traveled all throughout Africa, Asia and the Middle East. His body of images is one that is similar to what I would like to strive for in my future endeavers. The Pop Photo article about Brent says,

"If Brent Stirton is a hero, the word must be synonymous with "enigma." Under no circumstance could Brent be called a small man, yet he manages to be invisible. He blends into the scenery or, perhaps, becomes a part of it in a way that he clearly captures in his images. There is nothing voyeuristic about Brent's work. In contrast, something very unusual happens when you look at Brent's photos. You don't feel as if you are examining his subjects but, rather, that they are examining you. "I see you," his subjects seem to say, "and I know you can change the world, so you had better get to work."

That description too is what I would identify as a similar vision to my own. The idea of immersing yourelf in another culture and capturing striking images representative of that culture without exploiting, or destroying it.

Its nice to know that someone has successfully been able to go places similar to those I would like to go, but at the same time it puts the pressure on the next generation of photographers like myself to be extra creative and extrordinarily prolific. With that, take in the splendor of Brent's work and please visit his website and the Pop Photo article for more of his work and the work of the other so-called heroes.

Pop Photo's Heroes of Photography
Brent Stirton Website
Listen to Brent Speak about a few of his images, many of them dealing with AIDS, as part of AOL's Behind the Lens series.
AOL's Behind the Lens