Monday November 25th, 2013
by Liz Ream
In 2011, the NBA experienced it’s fourth lockout in history, which lasted for 161 days. The season was cut from 82 to 66 games, and during this time players had no access to NBA team facilities, trainers or staff.
Meanwhile, many players participated in summer leagues to stay in shape. Being an avid basketball fan, Jared Soares became interested in the culture of these summer leagues. And The Goodman League project was born.
Existing amidst the low-income Southeast Washington D.C. neighborhood of Barry Farm, The Goodman League features regulars such as NBA superstar Kevin Durant and Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo, as well as various college stars and talents of all ages. Games are played six days a week from June-August on Barry Farms Dwellings courts, equipped with assigned seats— including season ticket holders and spots reserved for all, from the young crowd to the “9-5 crowd” that heads over after work.
Of course, Jared was conscious of his environment when stepping onto the courts, a place of comfort and home to so many:
“As a photographer entering a new environment, you will always attract attention. People want to know what the weird looking guy with the cameras is doing here and I think it’s important to be able to explain your intentions to potential subjects. With that said, early on in this project I made a point to chat with people and show them some of my past work.”
Jared plans to head back to Barry Farm next summer to continue the project. It has received positive feedback across the board, and was recently published on CNN photo blog.
Just as these athletes take advantage of every opportunity to improve, Jared is doing the same in his craft:
“Just as the players were sharpening their skills on the court, I was refining my skills as a photographer too. One aspect that I wanted to develop was my portraiture and each night gave me the opportunity to practice approaching potential sitters. By nature I’m a shy person, so I tried to push myself to meet new people at each game.”
For more of Jared’s work, check out his website.
Tuesday October 15th, 2013
by Liz Ream
Home to over seven million people, Hong Kong is one of the world’s wealthiest cities. However, despite the surging number of millionaires, many don’t realize that 20% of these seven million inhabitants are living below the poverty line. Not far from the massive shopping centers with their luxury brands, cars and billboards, hundreds of thousands of people live with a single kitchen and shower per apartment floor, but still consider themselves lucky to have a roof over their heads.
Swiss photographer David Carlier was in Hong Kong at the end of August for a photo awards ceremony, and he took the opportunity to document the increasing gap between Hong Kong’s rich and poor.
Although this is different from his normal outdoor and adventure photography, David always tries to take advantage of travels to delve into interesting subjects. He had 48 hours to search and identify the right places to go, climbing nearly 30 buildings in just two days in order to get the shots he wanted, saying:
I took advantage of the trip to make a photo-reportage I had in mind for quite a while about the “two faces” of Hong Kong. I have always been amazed by the contrasts between the huge modern star wars style buildings and the very traditional old streets at the bottom. They live next to each other but never meet.
Although the more modern, Chinese architecture is pressing in, Hong Kong continues to resist it. The old, traditional five story buildings are still up, highly contrasting with the modern skyscrapers that are quickly sprouting. This aligns with the ever increasing economical gap.
David enjoyed the freedom that this project allowed as it attracts a different audience than he would normally aim toward, letting viewers in on something that is personally interesting to him. He has submitted the story to various media outlets and a few contests, receiving positive feedback so far.
View the rest of the project here, and more of David’s work at davidcarlierphotography.com
Friday October 11th, 2013
by Liz Ream
Hetauda, Nepal. A small town about 4-6 hours outside of Kathmandu, of which Lonely Planet says the only reason to stop is to change buses.
This gave Sweden-based photographer Evan Pantiel a good laugh. After traveling to Nepal to shoot two different projects for NGO Care, Evan stopped in Hetauda and lived as a local, documenting their everyday lives, saying that the people and the landscapes in the area are a photographers dream.
Evan gives us a look at the people of Hetauda, describing the Nepalise as the kindest people he has ever come across.
Hetauda Industrial District, although one of the biggest industrial districts in the nation, continues to shrink due to political events. Industries are moving to other countries or shutting down. However, most of the youth from the city are from overseas, in Hetaudan to work and send money back to their families to live on.
Evan described what led him to Nepal:
I am a firm believer of paying it forward in life, and seeing the social and economic situation in Nepal, I decided to see if there was any NGO work to participate in. My best friends mother worked at an NGO in Nepal, and he put me in contact with her. She referred me to her old colleague who works at the NGO Care in Nepal, and he referred me to a woman working at a local regional office there. After many weeks of emailing back and forth, she offered me two projects to document. I took the photos when I finished work and had a few days to myself to explore.
There are multiple reasons photographers shoot personal work, Evan’s being that he can flex his creativity and get up close and personal:
I believe it’s important to be close with the subject, as it has a different feel to the photos rather than if you shot someone with a long lens halfway down the road. That’s why I use a 28mm or a 50mm. It forces you to enter their world.
View more of Evan’s work at evanpantiel.com
Monday October 7th, 2013
by Liz Ream
Imagine swimming in the midst of a giant feeding frenzy of exotic fish— a school so dense you can’t see your own hand in front of your face. Imagine following this school deeper and deeper into the depths of Lake Tanganyika, off the coast of Tanzania. You must remain aware of not only your air supply, depth and safety equipment, but also of your camera and the underwater world you are there to capture.
Justin Bastien doesn’t have to imagine. The location photographer just wrapped a shoot in Tanzania for the National Science Foundation, where he experienced these things while shooting motion and still images to be used in an online interactive tour featuring the underwater world of Lake Tanganyika.
As one could assume, this project presented multiple challenges for Justin. The shoots took place in a remote location with limited resources and alongside of potentially dangerous wildlife: hippos, crocodiles and his least favorite, water cobras. With no chance of replacing any failed or lost camera equipment, it was a priority to treat his gear with extreme care throughout the duration of the shoot. Justin elaborated on the challenging environment:
The challenges and problem solving for a project like this, along with the great location and subject matter, create unbelievable experiences and images to match. Shooting underwater for extended periods of time isn’t easy. Scuba diving and working underwater really has to be second nature so you can focus on capturing just the right moment.
Apart from this, Justin said that the most difficult part of the shoot was directing intricate shot sequences to ensure that the timing between the wildlife and various divers would line up for the final images. He succeeded, saying “With enough attempts and a few lucky moments with the wildlife, we were able to get exactly what we needed.”
One thing that Justin always tries to do while on assignments is to shoot something meaningful for himself. He was inspired by lives of the Tanzanian people that depend on this ecosystem for their food and livelihood—the fishermen, the people in the markets selling the fish and the boat repairmen. All of this was only a glimpse into the vast interconnectedness of these people to their fragile ecosystem.
The images that Justin processed in his hot, little “mosquito research shack” have received a positive response so far. He is already considering a return visit to Tanzania to continue capturing its rich ecosystem, bold beauty and intriguing culture.
Justin learned a few lessons on his trip, but the insight he gave us seems to transcend image making:
Make the most of every second of your life, wake up early, stay up late and shoot as much as you can. When you come home all you have is beautiful fading memories, but creating images you love, bringing them to life through a print and revisiting the experience can never be taken away.
View video footage of Justin’s journey to Tanzania below. Find more of his work on his website at justinbastien.com and follow him on Instagram.
Tuesday September 17th, 2013
By Karrisa Olsen
The Nanking Massacre of 1937.
Ever heard of it? Even supposing that your answer is yes, chances are that you associate the time with events of the Holocaust and World War II. That was the case for Cairo-based photographer Amanda Mustard until age 16, when a high school history teacher covered the topic despite it not being a part of the curriculum. Now 23, Amanda has dedicated time researching and creating awareness about the incident. Through her photographs, she illustrates the impact the genocide has had on the lives of survivors.
Beginning on December 13, 1937, the Imperial Japanese Army invaded Nanking, China for six weeks, mass-murdering an estimated 300,000 disarmed soldiers and civilians during it’s gruesome stay. This included as many as 80,000 women who were brutally raped (it is also referred to as the Rape of Nanking). To date, an apology was never addressed by Japan, and some deny such matters ever took place. Despite the discrepancies, victims have had no choice but to face the harsh realities and build their lives around them.
Beginner’s advice ignited Amanda’s idea:
After starting my career as a photojournalist, one of the first things I was told was to shoot the stories that speak to you the most. This was the first thing that popped into my head.
With fewer than 200 survivors remaining, she knew to act fast. Without time to apply for grants, Amanda turned to the public, creating a Kickstarter campaign proposing a goal of $5,000 to fund full travel expenses for her juncture in China. The page raised a total of $7,464.
While attempting to reach out to sources, she came in contact with the mother of the late Iris Chang (author of The Rape of Naking), who invested trust in her project and assisted in accessing subjects. Once equipped with valuable contacts, she began her journey. However, bumps in the road were faced shortly after her arrival. She explains:
I was in China for over a month, and it wasn’t until over halfway that I even saw a survivor, almost three weeks until I spoke to one. It was incredibly stressful; I was on a tight schedule and budget, and definitely had a mid-project meltdown where I didn’t think it was going to be possible.
Amanda believes this was due to the political nature of the topic, paired with the lack-of-awareness they assumed she possessed as a Western journalist. However, she managed to make progress when she approached survivors at the 75th anniversary event at Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall, where potential subjects were gathered to embrace their past, free from the interest of outsiders.
From there, the project came to life.
Survivors and their families began welcoming her into their homes and shared their vivid memories and visible scars. Although the stories tell of tragedy, the portraits shine with strength.
View more of Amanda Mustard’s work here.