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we tell stories


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we tell stories


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Sacred Ground


© Marc McAndrews

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Sacred Ground


© Marc McAndrews

The story of the Dakota Access pipeline is a long and difficult one to tell. On its face it is the story of the hundreds of Native American tribes that have gathered since the spring of 2016 to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline. Thousands of the Tribe’s supporters have moved into camps just outside of Cannonball, ND in a show of solidarity. 

These high profile protests, however, are a small part of a much larger issue. The pipeline brought to a head conflicts about disputed treaty lands, the historical treatment of Native Americans by the Federal Government and the changing relationship between the predominantly white towns of Bismarck / Mandan and the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation to the south.

The present route for the $3.7 billion pipeline is set to cross under the Missouri River one half of a mile north of the Sioux reservation on land still considered to be unceded under the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851. The oil company has paid for easements on privately owned land which crosses through this disputed territory. Opponents of the pipeline say it threatens the water supply for those downstream pointing out a leak near the river would pour thousands of gallons of oil directly into the reservation’s water source. While the chance of a break occurring is contested both sides admit that the pipeline construction has already disturbed a number of “unexpected discovery” sites considered sacred to the Standing Rock Sioux.

Sacred Ground focuses on the people involved in the decision making process, the elders who’ve lived the history of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the younger generation of Sioux who will continue to live and raise their families next to the river after the dust has settled. 

click to view the complete set of images in the archive

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Brazil’s Warrior Woman


© Joel Redman

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Brazil’s Warrior Woman


© Joel Redman

The humble Babassu palm provides a livelihood for communities of women across North Eastern Brazil. Bread, charcoal, oil and soap are produced from the nut and husk; the surplus is sold on. But production has not always been so peaceful. 

“Brazil’s Warrior Women” touches on the battle to maintain these communities’ way of life. In the face of intimidation and threats from farmers for years, 

Babassu women have negotiated their own terms; creating a grassroots movement and establishing the ‘Free Babassu Law’ in seven states. The law gives landless coconut gatherers rights to collect from palm groves. 

In this series states such as Tocantins show how the “Free Babassu Law” can have a positive effect whereas for some in the State of Maranhao the fight continues for access, though with legislation passed the woman are able to fight back. 

These inspiring women are now able to plan for the long-term, diversifying their business and securing their future. They fight for their families, their forests and the Amazon as a whole.

 

More information and films on the Babassu

Click to view the complete set of images in the archive

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Digging the Future


© Matjaz Krivic

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Digging the Future


© Matjaz Krivic

16-year-old Yakuba emerges from a 50-meter deep hole after another grueling 14-hour work day underneath the panorama of western Burkina Faso. Last year, his uncle and two of his friends died when a nearby mine collapsed. News? Not at all. In this part of Burkina Faso, this is just another day at the "office" for the miners.

Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world, yet ranks fourth in Africa's production of gold. Much of the gold comes from small-scale mines, where children work alongside their parents from dawn to dusk. They only get paid for the amount of gold they find, and sometimes they won't make any money for weeks, even months. The work is hazardous. Mines collapse frequently, and the working environment is intoxicated with dangerous chemicals like mercury, used in the process of extracting gold.

Unfortunately, there is no gold for Yakuba and his team today. Sometimes it can take up to two weeks to find just the equivalent amount of gold used in one smartphone. 

Thousands of Burkina Faso's youths live and work on these sites. Most of them have never been to school. For many of them, the mines are their only home. The International Labor Organization considers mining one of the worst forms of child labor due to the immediate risks and long-term health problems it poses with exposure to dust, toxic chemicals, and heavy metals—on top of back-breaking manual labor.

Men, women, and children dig the mines by hand, and while there are always ropes for the buckets of ore, there are not always ropes available for the boys who scrabble up and down the pits. Finding footholds and handholds in the dirt walls is not a given — but losing your grip can prove fatal. 13-year-old Nuru cannot recall how long he has worked in the mines. He has never been to school and does not know how to read or write. He believes that mining is still better than working on the fields back home where "you farm the land, but don't earn anything." 

Government-approved dealers undoubtedly turn a blind eye to the children of the mines who suffer and die dreaming of their very own "El Dorado" for the sake of our smartphones.

click to view the complete set of images in the archive

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Venice


© Joel Redman

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Venice


© Joel Redman

Venice is a series of images shot around Venice in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, California.

It’s a place of hopes and dreams occasionally fulfilled and sometimes never quite or perhaps impossible to meet. People have headed out West from the times of the Gold Rush to those seeking adventure or new beginnings. Constantly portrayed in Hollywood movies as a mystical magical place of opportunity. 

Venice in particular epitomises this, as it’s a melting pot of ethnicities and differing types of people, be they actors, creatives, wannabes, opportuntists or folks chasing a dream. 

Shot in September 2016 at a particularly divisive time in the US, prior to the 2016 presidential elections, perhaps this point will be a moment to reflect on “The American Dream” and all that it stands for and conveys. 

As with most cities there are numerous contradictions, the hopes and dreams that people came here with and what they aspired towards, then the often reality of where they find themselves. Venice visually contrasts this at times, with those that perhaps are realising these dreams and those that still yearn too, and at the same time it feels seemingly at ease with these inconsistencies. 

click to view the complete set of images in the archive

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Italian Beauty


© Andrea Frazzetta

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Italian Beauty


© Andrea Frazzetta

More than half of the products used in the cosmetic world sprouts from a golden triangle of 500 companies among Milan, Bergamo and Crema, in the heart of Lombardy, Italy’s richest region. The so-called Lombardy’s “cosmetic valley”, an appealing combination of technology and creative flair.

More than 60 percent of the make up used by women around the world is developed and produced here.

This year’s exports will increase by another 8 percent, thanks to the boom of demands from the United States and from the United Arab Emirates. With the supply industry - made of chemical companies which provide basic ingredients and firms that produce machineries and packaging – the turnover increased to 14 billions Euros and to 200,000 employees.

Italian industry alone is able to run 144 billion Euros, considering the markup, i.e. the reloading of cosmetic houses, retailers and perfumeries.

And yet this is a silent excellence. It is not a practice promoted by the people involved: all brands though, from the largest to the smallest ones, from Russia to Australia, entrust Italian companies with the production of make up, creams and glazes.

The chemical pharmaceutical of these laboratories are the ones who create new recipes, side by side with creative artists, who are focused on thinking about trendy colors. People here think even about the shape of the applicator - drop, disposable or pad? - and on suggesting new advertising campaigns. So, if this year in New York gloss polished is fashionable, it is because someone in Crema has decided so.

Leonard Lauder, octogenarian emeritus president of the luxury giant Estée Lauder, invented, after World War II, the "Lipstick Index", according to which the consumption of beauty products tend to rise in times of crisis: “This thesis still stands: women seek gratification in buying beautiful products, but not being able to spend too much on clothes, they take off the whim by buying lipsticks or nail enamels. That is why many fashion houses invest in beauty, which has also the advantage of ensuring a much higher profit margins than fashion,” carries on the economist: “The manufacturers of beauty are by far the most resilient: at critical times they hold out better against marketplace in a fix."

 

click to view the complete set of images in the archive

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Being Embera


© Joel Redman

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Being Embera


© Joel Redman

The Embera are an indigenous people, living in Panama in the Darien Province on the shores of the Chuunaque, Sambu, Tuira Rivers and it’s water ways. They tend to live in small villages along the banks of these rivers throughout the area. Villages vary in access from some which are accessible to drive to while others require a lengthy journey along the network of rivers via dugout canoe. 

Children who attended education had until recently not been given the opportunity to study their own ancestry and traditions and were steered towards a Panamanian education to the neglect of their own indigenous history, this included being unable to communicate in Embera within the school environment. Therefore many communities are going though a period of transition whereby trying to instil their traditions and culture on their youth once again while they still can. 

These portraits are shot within the village of El Salto, a proud Embera community who are affected by these decisions of identity. They show some of the community in traditional costume prior to a ceremony. 

Traditionally the Embera paint their bodies with dye made from Genipa Americana, the berry of a species of Genip tree. Throughout the year these temporary tattoo’s appear either vivid or slightly faded dependant on how recently they were painted and the prominence of the ceremonies. 

The Embera have strong connections with the forest and have an identity that they are proud of and are endeavouring to keep hold of. 

 

More information and films on the Embera Wounaan

click to view the complete set of images in the archive

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Guna Yala


© Joel Redman

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Guna Yala


© Joel Redman

Guna Yala is an indigenous province in northeast Panama. Guna Yala is home to the indigenous group known as the Gunas. Its capital is El Porvenir. It is bounded on the north by the Caribbean Sea, on the south by the Darién Province and Embera Wounaan, on the east by Colombia, and on the west by the province of Colón.

Guna communities have long been recognised for protecting the forests along their coastline; despite significant threats from farming and industrial logging, they are proven protectors of their ancestral forests. 

Today they face uncertainty over the sea that surrounds their island homes. Increasing encroachment by luxury vessels and at times irresponsible tourism threatens the long term viability of their reefs. Without the support of the government of Panama and clear rights, they face an increasingly bitter struggle to protect the marine biodiversity in these waters.

click for more info and films on the Guna

click to view the complete set of images in the archive

 

 

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There It Is. Take It


© Carl Bigmore

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There It Is. Take It


© Carl Bigmore

'There It Is. Take It.' weaves the past, present and possible future to explore California’s relationship with water, climate change and possible migration on the west coast of America. 

Much has been made of the drought gripping California in recent years; the impact on the state’s huge agricultural industry and the plummeting levels of its vast network of dams is well documented. It is part of the fabric of everyday life, but is also a narrative submerged in the state’s history and mythology. 

In 1913 water began to flow through the Los Angeles Aqueduct from the Owens Valley, travelling 233 miles across the state. Engineered by William Mulholland it facilitated the growth of what we now know as modern day Los Angeles. But it also triggered a ruinous effect on the farming communities along the Owens River, sparking the bitter California Water Wars. It’s the story brought to screen in Roman Polanski’s ‘Chinatown’, one of power, corruption and greed, which continues to present day. 

As Los Angeles expanded, so did the state’s population. Thousands fled the Oklahoma dust bowl drought of the 1930’s to seek riches in California and its fertile lands. But increased demand for water has stretched the state’s resources, and today a new dust bowl has begun to emerge. There are predictions that Californians may face the prospect of leaving in search of a new landscape in the Pacific Northwest.

Travelling along the waterways of California and into the Pacific Northwest the project builds a narrative based around water and drought; how the decline of the environment reflects a much broader decline in contemporary American society; the corrosion of the American Dream and the people that this is impacting upon. As the narrative progresses images of every day life shift to form an epilogue of the possible future; a landscape and its people on the brink.

 

click to view the complete set of images in the archive

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Saint Olaf's Wake


© Kevin Faingnaert

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Saint Olaf's Wake


© Kevin Faingnaert

In Summer 2016, I was able to return to the Faroe Islands, a small protectorate of Denmark in the middle of the North Atlantic, to follow up my previous project, Føroyar. Saint Olaf’s Wake is my latest series about Ólavsøka, the biggest summer festival in the Faroe Islands, and by most Faroese considered as the national holiday of the Faroe Islands.

Originally Ólavsøka was a memorial feast for the Norwegian King Olav the Holy, who brought Christianity to the Faroe Islands and is believed to be the champion of the national independence. Today, each year on 29 July the Faroese people take their national costumes and gather from far and near to fill the otherwise quiet streets of Tórshavn, the smallest capital in the world, to celebrate Ólavsøka and attendcultural and sports events like boat races, football matches, folk music shows and other events. 

One of the highlights of Ólavsøka is the national rowing competition finals. The docks are packed with people cheering for their local rowing teams, who from all over Faroe Islands, compete in different categories, with plenty of glory and honor at stake. 

Olavsoka is a traditional festival that cherishes unity and connectedness of everyone living on the same ground: no matter who you are and where you are, you can't miss the feeling of togetherness of the Faroese.

 

click to view the complete set of images in the archive

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Miss Amazing


© Michelle Groskopf

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Miss Amazing


© Michelle Groskopf

There isn’t a young woman among us who hasn’t dealt with issues of self-worth and acceptance. Are we pretty enough, thin enough, fun enough, nice enough? The list goes on. To be labeled as different or other, taken as an insult, is to assume a life of great difficulty and worthlessness. This attitude is buried like a seed early on in every woman’s life. It takes the strength and love of many to counterbalance it. To raise young woman who champion their otherness as indicative of great strength and power. It takes a community to encourage self-love and esteem. 

Miss Amazing is an organization and pageant whose aim is to empower and celebrate young women with disabilities. As a pageant it forgoes the typical focus on competition choosing instead to celebrate differences, promote cooperation and self-esteem. Although the girls sashay in their best gowns and show off their many talents, everyone leaves that day wearing a crown and carrying a trophy. 

It doesn’t take a pageant win to prove self-worth, these young women rise above challenges every single day. Instead it’s a celebration of each other, because they really are amazing and don’t they just know it. 

 

click to view the complete set of images in the archive

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Baku - Crude Gentrification in the Caucasus


© Tim Franco

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Baku - Crude Gentrification in the Caucasus


© Tim Franco

Dominated by the flame towers, the city of Baku seems to pride itself in its successful oil history. Once known as the black city, the abundance of oil inland and on the caspian sea has seen this fairly new country (Azerbaijan) rise from the ground. Located between two big power of the Region (Russia and Iran) and still involved in an ethnic conflict on its west border with Armenia, the country has been looking for ways to build up a national pride around its successful oil profits.

From organizing international events (European Games, Formula one amongst others), the country has invested a lot into impressive infrastructure and working together with big names in architecture to gentrify and modernise its capital city . Oil money has even sometimes ignited dreams of giant projects such as the Kazar island, a Dubai-like housing project with the highest scryscraper in the world surrounded by luxury residences that has seen a brutal stop. Other original projects involve the white city located in what was once the center of the oil industry in downtown Baku, based on Haussmanian / Parisian architecture. With the fluctuation of oil prices, the economy of Azerbaijan is at risk.

From war migrant camps to futuristic architecture, this photo series portrays the capital city of a the land of fire !

 

click to view the complete set of images in the archive 

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Danakil


© Andrea Frazzetta

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Danakil


© Andrea Frazzetta

If you go to Danakil seeking adventures, you will not be able to go beyond your own shallowness. Which will appear unbearable even to you. The white-hot sun, the indifference of the Afars, the monotony of a desert devoid of colors will make you feel naked and helpless. And your balance, both mental and physical, will be in danger of going into pieces. You have to be able to defend yourself in the Danakil. You have to show, especially to yourself, to have a soul of a poet. The ones who venture to go to the Danakil do it to change their point of view.
— From the book “Dancalia” by A.Semplici

My career as a photographer has actually begun in Africa and there is a place in the African continent where I always wanted to go: a place that is the cradle of humanity and yet seems to be also the origin of each and all of the colors and shapes that fill our eyes.
Endless stretches of salt, lakes with psychedelic colors and active volcanoes: this land, which is constantly changing, is heaven and hell together - an ancestral place where you can still watch the phenomena that gave rise to the world: the Danakil. (The remains of Lucy, the most famous hominid fossil ever discovered, dating to 3.2 million years ago, were found right in the Danakil Depression during the 70's).

Located in the northern part of the Afar’s Triangle, which takes its name from the nomadic people who live there, the vast Danakil depression is the place where the constantly expanding of three tectonic plates join together, close to the border area among Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti.

This land made of fire, salt and lava close to the Rift Valley - the long breach that bisects the continent - is the cradle of a “New Ocean”, intended to form as a result of the strong thinning of the earth's crust and of a new possible flooding of the Red Sea.
It is from the retreat of the sea, evaporated twenty thousand years ago, that the Danakil has gained its peculiarity: to be a spread of evaporitic rocks that gives rise to the Great Plain of Salt - a desert which stretches for about 600 kilometers.

This is one of the most vulnerable places of our world: the fire is just below our feet, five kilometers away. There is a crust that is subjected to stresses of all kinds, a part of the planet where you feel the throbbing heart of the Earth.
In this vast plain, the Afars’ huts built with mud and twigs appear like a mirage. These nomads, who are mainly devoted to sheep farming and to the extraction of minerals, live in one of the most inhospitable places on earth, with very little vegetation and temperatures that can reach 45 degrees.

I have tried to explore this area by following the journey of the nomadic Afars, in a caravan, along the Salt Route.
The Danakil has always held a special place in my imagination. One of the outermost places of Africa, where lights and colors are difficult to tame. A test bed, a challenge that so far I could only have imagined.

click to view the complete set of images in the archive

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Inside The Night


© Franck Bohbot

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Inside The Night


© Franck Bohbot

Inside The Night takes us on a mysterious and nocturnal road trip. At night, life is different and so are the people. The scenes in this series are real and captured unposed inside bars, restaurants and clubs. 

The Photographer is the witness of what happens in places where men and women of his time go out. New Orleans is the first stop chosen by Franck Bohbot to start this project. Each image tells a story. True to the artist’s aesthetics, the result is a series of images suffused with poetry that seem to be coming straight from the pages of an American crime novel or a comic book.

 

click to view the complete set of images in the archive

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Well Heeled


© Dougie Wallace

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Well Heeled


© Dougie Wallace

Dougie Wallace had enough of getting chased down the road and told to delete the picture he’s just taken; he’s now turned his camera on man’s best friend and the strange world of pet parents. Dogs don’t talk back and their owners stand by with pleasure while their 'offspring’ leap around enjoying being snapped. Anthropomorphic parents spend as much on pet grooming as they would on their own hair. Dougie Wallace has used his acute observation and innate wit to portray this phenomenon in his new series Well Heeled. Wallace’s dogs have human expressions, humorous thoughts and collude with the viewer with knowing eyes to camera.

 

Well Heeled captures details in a dog's eye view that bipeds wouldn’t normally see. Behind the coiffured and pampered ‘children in fur coats’ the focus is on their claws, their paw pads, their incisors, drool drenched beards and watery eyes. Their canine traits erupt throughout the photographs and leave the viewer in no doubt that they are animals who would rather be chasing rabbits in a field and chewing bones than getting carried about wearing a Swarovski crystal encrusted collars and Louis Vuitton lead. 

click to view the complete set of images in the archive