Photographs on the Brain

Photographs on the Brain

Edited by Bryan Formhals

jfpetersphoto:

Sergio Flores in El Monte, Calif
Last week I shot a great portrait assignment for MSNBC about how cities are challenging deportation policies. The subject was Sergio Flores who like many others have faced ICE’s (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) deportation dragnet which can result in folks with spotless criminal records face the prospect of deportation, often over minor infractions. Please checkout the great piece by Amanda Sakuma here.
An aggressive campaign by ICE – called Secure Communities – to uproot undocumented criminals from within communities has instead led to a dramatic uptick in deportations of families like Flores’s who have spotless records. Under the program, local cops act as immigration agents and send fingerprints from people arrested or booked into custody to cross-check with immigration databases. They are asked to detain inmates for an extended period to buy time for federal immigration officials to take over custody, based solely on the person’s immigration status.
But a growing number of major cities are refusing to cooperate, undermining the controversial immigration program, which launched under President George W. Bush and was expanded by President Obama.
Los Angeles is one of the latest cities to stop directing undocumented immigrants toward deportations, joining Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., Miami, Philadelphia and more than 140 other counties in defying Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

jfpetersphoto:

Sergio Flores in El Monte, Calif

Last week I shot a great portrait assignment for MSNBC about how cities are challenging deportation policies. The subject was Sergio Flores who like many others have faced ICE’s (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) deportation dragnet which can result in folks with spotless criminal records face the prospect of deportation, often over minor infractions. Please checkout the great piece by Amanda Sakuma here.

An aggressive campaign by ICE – called Secure Communities – to uproot undocumented criminals from within communities has instead led to a dramatic uptick in deportations of families like Flores’s who have spotless records. Under the program, local cops act as immigration agents and send fingerprints from people arrested or booked into custody to cross-check with immigration databases. They are asked to detain inmates for an extended period to buy time for federal immigration officials to take over custody, based solely on the person’s immigration status.

But a growing number of major cities are refusing to cooperate, undermining the controversial immigration program, which launched under President George W. Bush and was expanded by President Obama.

Los Angeles is one of the latest cities to stop directing undocumented immigrants toward deportations, joining Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., Miami, Philadelphia and more than 140 other counties in defying Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Often, it is a single image that comes to represent big complicated events. The children fleeing napalm in Vietnam, an incinerated soldier along a “highway of death” during the gulf war, or the hooded prisoner standing on a box in Abu Ghraib. Barbie Zelizer, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, says social media has not fundamentally altered the vocabulary of war. “It is a difference of degree, not of kind,” she said. “There are more pictures more frequently from more people, but they still serve the same purpose, which is to give us a glimpse, a window, into conflict.”
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bloodoftheyoung:

www.maxpinckers.be

Will They Sing Like Raindrops or Leave Me Thirsty (2013)

Visually inspired by the culture of Bollywood—with its dramatized body language, passionate romance, and clashes between tradition and contemporary mores—Pinckers’s delicately constructed situations, and the genuine characters that populate them, are more fragile and nuanced than their cinematic ur-narratives, carefully balancing real-life constraints with the starry-eyed sensations of love. He captures the paradoxes of romance in a city where different generations, religions, and the push-and-pull of past and future have a stronghold on society and culture, even on the film industry.

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greatleapsideways:

Before I started working on Terry I had this constant thought: if a photodocument refers more to something unreal than to something real, what is it in fact a document of? This question formed the backdrop in front of which I started exploring the office as an environment. I myself worked in a small office as a social work intern for ten months, before I went to the Academy of Arts. At the time I felt this constant urge to escape from the here and now into something private, into thought, into a distant view. Even though I didn’t start out with a clear idea of what I was looking for, or what I wanted to tell, this feeling came back to me very strongly when I starting photographing it many years later for Terry.

— from How Terry Likes His Coffee: a conversation with Florian van Roekel, just uploaded at thegreatleapsideways.com.

(via gregruffing)

Most art critics—the ones writing for specialized art journals, where most art criticism today is found—do little more than mimic the academic discourses of art history and art theory, often poorly, as they apply them to specific instances of art making. So it is with the yelper, who does little more than mimic, often poorly, the vocabulary and style of marketing and journalism. The more the art critic writes the more people pay attention to their name, to their opinion, even though these opinions have no effect on the landscape of the art world, the mechanisms of the market. If the art critic writes enough reviews, they will be invited to gallery dinners where critics are served free food and drinks, and so it is with Yelp—if you yelp enough, your account is ­designated Elite, your ­reviews are elevated to the top of a business’ page, and you’re invited to attend Elite events where yelpers are served free food and drinks.
Peter Simon's Moving On, Holding Still; Kiki McEntee,
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davidsimonton:

Peter Simon’s Moving On, Holding Still (1972) was one of the handful of photography books in our library, two large rooms in the downtown Municipal Building [in Pompton Plains, New Jersey]. Although the others were how-to books, Simon’s was the most instructive. (Since I’m self-taught, I used photography books as textbooks.)

"Simon’s monograph is composed of black-and-white pictures of an array of subjects—from protests in Washington, DC, to the celebration of a sunset on a commune in Vermont—that reflect the dynamic nature of the 1960s and early 1970s. Poring over these images again and again was my ‘foundation class’ in photography.

"My first lesson came courtesy of the cover image. The subject, a tire swing, is very close to the center of the frame—something the how-to books advised against. ‘Rules’ shouldn’t be taken too seriously, I realized….

"[Another] lesson was perhaps the most valuable. In studying these photographs I noticed that, in a picture, things in the background and things in the foreground are all equally visible, and therefore equally important. (Emmet Gowin has stated this succinctly: ‘Everything in a photograph matters.’)

"Simon’s book led me to a crucial understanding of one of the things I find so challenging and stimulating about photography—it is the construction of pictures, the careful putting-together of everything in a scene. When working within the two-dimensional limits of the photograph, the spatial characteristic of depth does not exist. Foreground objects and background objects need to be dealt with equally; they’re [the] building materials. Move the camera even slightly, and [the] composition changes. Ever since then the idea of ‘making’ pictures versus ‘taking’ pictures has been more than mere semantics.

"Peter Simon’s photographs, of both turbulent and tranquil events, are records of acutely felt moments. Decades later, I can still recall my favorites. I feel very fortunate to have found this book when I was receptive to its lessons."

—from “Visual Influences Series: David Simonton,” One, One Thousand: A Publication of Southern Photography

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5centsapound:

Colin Delfosse: The PKK Amazons - Iraq, 2009

Entrenched in the mountainous region of Qandil in Northern Iraq, women of all ages and social conditions, armed with Kalashnikovs, are fighting for their ideals. The movement of Free Women of Kurdistan (PAJK), born from a disagreement with the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party), aims to offer an alternative model for Kurdish and Middle Eastern women. The PKK (considered as a terrorist organisation by the US and EU) influence does not decrease: the repression suffered by Kurds in the region have driven many young women to join the ranks of the guerrilla. Now, more than 2,000 female fighters, mostly from Turkey but also Syria, Iran, Iraq, and Europe, are going underground struggling for freedom and rights of Kurdish people.

(via toxicshock)

But aren’t young people only interested in browsing Tumblr photos and reading sound bites on blogs? Isn’t our “I-get-the-idea” culture killing the spirit of plunging into the depths of a book? Steidl’s outlook is bright. He guest lectures five-six times a week at universities across the globe, and he sees a strong interest in theory of printed matter from the young. The problem to him, is that they have no practice.
An artistic activity such as photography is “literally and figuratively enlivening,” according to Ellen J. Langer, a professor of psychology at Harvard and author of “On Becoming an Artist: Reinventing Yourself Through Mindful Creativity.” “When people are depressed, they tend to retreat from the world. Noticing things in the camera puts you in the present moment, makes you sensitive to context and perspective, and that’s the essence of engagement. I have years of research telling us how good that is for health and well-being.”
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