Monday May 20th, 2013
by Maria Luci
Kazakhstan-based photographer Ikuru Kuwajima is known for his sprawling landscape images and vintagesque photos of Eastern Europe and Asia. His “Cossacks” series documents, in this same style, the resurgence of the Crimean Cossack community. What’s most interesting about the photos is that they’re captured in a manner that intimately draws the viewer in, while simultaneously leaving an air of mystery around the subjects.
Since the Soviet Union’s collapse, Cossacks have been reviving their traditions mainly in Ukraine and Russia. In Crimea, a number of active Cossack communities have sprung up in the decade. Some of them are also tied to pro-Russian movements, as ethnic Russians still dominate the demography in Crimea. Before the Soviet Union, Cossacks formed independent military communities, with a large degree of autonomy. They were known as brave soldiers with skillful horsemanship, having fought many wars for hundreds of years. However, Cossacks’ activities and tradition were suppressed during the Soviet era. After the Soviet collapse, Cossacks have been active in restoring their traditions, often working as security guards in each community and organizing events to commemorate Cossacks’ historic events to reaffirm their identity.
I was inspired to photograph this project because, to me, it seems that the rise of the Cossack movement is a search for lost identity. Also, they were quite friendly and open—and their close ties with horses, military training, orthodox Christianity and their complex historical background interested me greatly.
View more at ikurukuwajima.com.
Monday May 20th, 2013
by Maria Luci
Running through western Indonesia, The Citarum River plays an important roll in the lives of those who live along its banks. Almost five million reside in the river’s basin, and its waters support locals through agriculture, fishing, cooking and bathing. It’s also one of the most polluted rivers in the world.
Polluted purple water in the Citarum
Recently, Greenpeace decided to bring attention to toxic state of the Citarum. To do so, they enlisted the help of Jakarta-based documentary photographer, Andri Tambunan. Greenpeace’s director of photography had become familiar with Andri’s work after judging and awarding Andri the Reminders Project Asian Photographers Grant. Andri is drawn to documenting social issues and layered stories; he prides himself on investing a great deal of time and effort into his photo essays, which allows him to capture “rare moments of intimacy, vulnerability and sincerity.” It was this passion and talent that made Andri the perfect photographer to take on the Citarum.
A local resident of Cilawengke village washes dishes with water contaminated by toxic wastes.
Andri received the assignment just 48 hours before he needed to ship out. With so little time to prepare, he threw himself into research and planning. Greenpeace asked for photographs that would connect the audience to those impacted by the river’s pollution. He would be spending time with families who live along the river, as well as the illegal dumping of toxic waste and the culprits behind it. Andri adds, “They wanted me to convey the importance of the Citarum River to the families and communities that depend on it for their daily needs and livelihoods.”
Pak Ade catches fish at the Citarum River. The fish population has significantly declined over the years.
Once at the river, Andri spent a week with several local families, documenting their daily activities and taking portraits. He says, “Fortunately, Greenpeace had already established a great rapport with the families in those communities. Many were hospitable and showed us around. We didn’t encounter any hostility while shooting. But one of the challenges was photographing the dump sites undetected because the factories could send their enforces to rough us up, or even worse, threaten to hurt the families that helped us.” Luckily, Andri got away with his photographs undetected, his only issue coming from falling off a ladder and bruising his ribs while trying to get a higher vantage point.
Toxic industrial wastes illegally dumped into the Citarum River.
Along the way he met some interesting people, including a village elder whose part time job is fishing dead bodies out of the river—”he keeps a log of all the bodies he’s recovered.” Andri also learned that 80% of the water in Jakarta, where he lives, comes from the Citarum River. “I only drink bottle water now, because boiling the water will not get rid of the metal trapped inside.” But most importantly, he captured the culprits behind the polluting, including one of the biggest and most popular clothing companies in the world, GAP Inc.
Toxic wastes illegally dumped into the Cihaur River which feeds directly to Citarum River.
Andri’s pictures are now being used in a Greenpeace campaign to promote detoxing the river. It specifically calls out GAP Inc and has brought attention to the locals’ plight. Brands like Victoria’s Secret, Benneton Group, Zara, Mango, Esprit and Levi’s have all committed to “detoxing”, and Greenpeace hopes their campaign will convince current polluting offenders to do the same.
A Greenpeace ad featuring Andri’s photo.
View more of Andri’s work at andritambunan.com. The rest of his Citarum photos can be viewed here.
Saturday May 18th, 2013
Rock and Ice
Friday May 17th, 2013
Astronaut covers Space Odyssey.
A feast fit for a king. Photo by Winnie Au
What can we build with all the LEGO bricks ever made?
Awesome photo series inspires awesome marriage proposal.
The ahhh effect.
We’ll get you started with an easy one. Photo Tony Burns
Great photo bombs.
50 greatest movie villains of all time.
Abandoned Star Wars film sets.
Marooned Star wars villain. Photo by Jessyel Ty Gonzalez
Freaky Photoshopped tongues in ads.
The most important Kickstarter of our time.