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we tell stories


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we tell stories


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The Perfect Place to Die


© Toby de Silva

The Perfect Place to Die


© Toby de Silva

The forest floor is littered with a seemingly endless amount of coloured tape used to mark the locations of new found remains from suicide victims.

The forest floor is littered with a seemingly endless amount of coloured tape used to mark the locations of new found remains from suicide victims.

The first thing you notice is the silence, an uncanny embrace of tranquility paradoxical to the submersion in nature. You don’t hear birds or insects, you don’t hear traffic from the road you just left, if you encounter another person you don’t hear them, they just appear pass by and are gone. Sometimes its a couple of hikers, usually it’s a middle aged man in a business suit. Occasionally the wind will blow the treetops and for a moment there is a feeling of life, but it passes quickly and the silence returns to leave you waiting for the sound of a twig on the floor to snap ominously behind you or for the bear who’s warning sign attached to a lamp post you observed skeptically from the safety of your hire car to come crashing through the undergrowth enraged by your trespassing. But they never materialize and you are alone in a landscape permeated with the resonance of death

The terrain is irregular, an endless grotesque topography of volcanic rock and twisted, tangled trees. Stepping off the few defined trails soon leads to the detritus of despair, the residue of a campsite, a last supper of instant noodles uneaten as there is no source of hot water, cigarette boxes and every type of alcohol, discarded clothing, pornography, the packaging from kitchen knifes and lengths of rope. Then there’s the tape, miles of it going in every direction, some fresh some ancient and frayed, dissecting the forest, each piece with its own story leading to another victim someone once discovered, but in their place are the religious effigies, the bouquet’s and the fruit that the bereaved have left in remembrance

The Aokigahara forest is positioned on the northwestern slopes of Mount Fuji, which towers majestically over it like a benevolent guardian. There are stories of distant generations practicing Ubasute, the abandonment of parents as a form of euthanasia in the forest. In recent times the Aokigahara gained its notoriety through Seicho Matsumoto’s 1960 novel Kuroi Jukai (Black Sea of Trees) wherein a couple of tragic young lovers commit suicide in the forest. The 1993 Complete Manual of Suicide by Wataru Tsurumi, a book that sold over a million copies in Japan that is often reportedly found amongst remains further enhanced the forests notoriety by proclaiming it to be ‘The Perfect Place to Die’. On average around seventy people successfully take their lives each year in the forest from upwards of two hundred who enter with the intention and either reconsider or survive the attempt, making Aokigahara Jukai the worlds leading suicide destination.

 

click to view the complete set of images in the archive

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The One Thing


© Andrea Frazzetta

The One Thing


© Andrea Frazzetta

Burundi: living with less than a dollar a day in the poorest country of the world

In Europe, through agriculture benefit funds, a cow receives an average of 2.9 dollars a day. In many parts of Africa, people live with less than a dollar a day. It is better to live in Europe as a cow, that in Africa as human being
— Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize in Economics

From 1993 to 2006 a catastrophic civil war has devastated Burundi, causing a death toll of over 300,000. 10 years after the official end of the war, Burundi is still trying to get back up on its feet. Following the war, poverty in Burundi increased from 48 to 67 percent of the population. Being ranked as the second most impoverished country in the world, Burundians face a tremendous amount of hardships day after day.

 

The core ofthis reportage is a series of “portrait with object”.
In the West having money means having purchasing power. Accumulating goods, objects, is a symbol of wealth. That which we own owns us. But what objects does someone livingwith less than a dollar a day own?
Residents of Buga Village, the poorest village in the Southern region, are portrayed here with the most precious object they own.

This work’s objective is to tell of Burundi’s rural reality to understand what it means to live with less than a dollar a day, in a territory where the vast majority of the population lives in the countryside.

Burundi is both landlocked and resource poor with an underdeveloped manufacturing sector which makes it very difficult to survive, thus making the country heavily dependent on foreign aid. 
In 2015, Burundi faced another hardship with political turmoil over President Nkurunziza’s heavily debated third term. This drama strained Burundi’s economy and caused blocks in transportation routes which disrupted the flow of agricultural goods. 

To make matters worse, many donors also withdrew their aid, raising tensions throughout the country.  As a result of Burundi’s poverty situation, the median age in Burundi is 17 years old with about 46 percent of the population being 14 years of age or younger. 

 

click to view the complete set of images in the archive

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Calcio Storico


© Clara Vannucci

Calcio Storico


© Clara Vannucci

The world’s most violent game

The "Calcio Storico”, historical football, is a medieval ancestor of a fusion between modern rugby, street fighting and football. Dating back to the 16th century and still played every summer in Florence. 

Four teams, formed by 27 players each, named after four colors (white, red, green and blue) and representing respectively the four neighborhoods of Santo Spirito, Santa Maria Novella, San Giovanni and Santa Croce, face each other every year in the beautiful setting of Santa Croce square under a merciless Tuscan sun, using each part of their body. For injured, no substitutions are allowed, thats why the players, even if with broken bones, keep playing in the field for those endless 50 minutes of the game. 

There are a few rules, but choking, punching, and are allowed, making Calcio Storico a unique sport experience of medieval brutality.

 

click to view the complete set of images in the archive

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Yangon Express


© Andrea Frazzetta

Yangon Express


© Andrea Frazzetta

From night to morning and to the evening. From track number 7 in Yangon Central Station in Myanmar, though the 38 stations that surround the city, spread regularly as if they were notes on a 29 mile music score. 
Outside a landscape mosaic that swing between suburban and rural, each with its own access to the Ciruclar Line.
Danyiangon, Hledan, Kanbe and more. Small stations animated by the overflowing industry of the Burmese people, with goods of all kind spread through the tracks, taxi cabs on pedals waiting for customers, flower importers from the North, daily habits and rituals. Microcosms of landscapes that live their own lives, access points to the great city for thousands of people.
A kaleidoscope of faces, occupations and personal trajectories meeting up on circular trains, 23 each day, that in three hours run through their course and go back to Yangon station, where they had begun. Commuters and occasional travelers, some rare foreign tourist, families and monks, young activists, boys and girls attracted by the city’s vitality and shops.
This is the Circular Line: a split of Burma society, that after decades of regimes and isolation has tasted the first signs of democracy and international openness, at a historical time of transition and deep social, economic and political transformation. 

Now the Yangon’s famous Circular Line is set for a “rising ridership”, with an investment worth billions from Japan to upgrade the 29 miles track set to be undertaken in the 2017-18 financial year.
The Myanmar Railways will receive US$200 million in development financing to upgrade the circular railway line and has set an ambitious target of tripling commuter traffic.

 

click to view the complete set of images in the archive

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Arctic Surfing


© Tim Franco

Arctic Surfing


© Tim Franco

It is 3.30 pm on the Lofoten islands. The sun has set almost an hour ago and the moon rising between two snow mountains reflects its bright light onto the icy beach of Flakstad. Even though we are hundreds of kilometers North of the Arctic Circle , the most popular activity here is surfing . The Lofoten islands are famous worldwide for their scenic fishing villages surrounded by snow mountains, icy bays and northern lights. Although it is cod fishing that has traditionally played the dominant role in the islands’ history a local surfing scene has emerged in the little bay of Unstad, cut off from the rest of the island by mountains. Nowadays, what used to be the village school has become a surf camp welcoming adventurers and professional surfers from all around the world coming to defy the best waves of the Arctic.

 

click to view the complete set of images in the archive

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Humanoid


© Max Aguilera-Hellweg

Humanoid


© Max Aguilera-Hellweg

Hardcover: 96 pages Publisher: Blast Books (March 14, 2017) Language: English ISBN-10: 0922233470 ISBN-13: 978-0922233472

Hardcover: 96 pages
Publisher: Blast Books (March 14, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0922233470
ISBN-13: 978-0922233472

Welcome to the brave new world in which humanoid robots—exciting, thrilling, frightening to some, strange to others, controversial, lifesaving—will change our lives in countless ways. Max Aguilera-Hellweg explores the turning point in the evolution of robot science, where robots are becoming more like humans, crossing the great divide between data processing and sentience. 

 

I could just snap a picture and leave. But it’s not that easy. Humanoids, androids— they make them look like humans. Why make a robot with a head and eyes? Certainly there are robots that don’t have a head or a pair of eyes, robots that could be made or that already exist that are safe for humans to be around, that have the ability to perform various jobs, that are probably cheaper to build, and that may be even better at doing whatever we’d want or need a robot to do. But scientists have found it’s the eye contact that matters: just as important as eye contact is between humans, it is the glue that makes human-robot social interaction work. 

You walk into a room, you see a humanoid there, you suspend disbelief—you don’t even realize it, but it happens. All of a sudden it has a gender: CB2 is a he, Bina48 is a she, and Valkyrie is a girl; they call her Val for short. You start talking to the robot, or she or he starts talking to you; you’re talking to a machine and it’s talking back to you. Having a robot with a head and eyes, speaking to each other as we do human to human, as opposed to performing complex data entry on a keypad or switching one terminal on, one terminal off, operating a series of switches you’d have to turn on or off to perform a single task, speaking to a robot is ideal. There is no higher means of achieving complex communication with ease and speed than human to human-like communication. Why humanoids, why androids? Robots with heads and eyes allow for more than just speech; nonverbal communication is made possible, when the eyes say one thing and words another, or when the two agree. Nonverbal communication—conscious or unconscious, gestures and signals, the mediation of personal space is just as important and essential as trust is between any two individuals, whether they be human and human, or human and machine.

These photographs were taken in the United States and Japan over a six year period at some of the world's leading research facilities in robot enginerring and laboratrires studying human robot interacton. Robots (artificial intelligence) are already amonst us in ways that we may not even imagined just a few years ago (Siri), and they will become increasingly more apart of our daily lives. These photographs, these robots, represent a catalouge of how science and scientitst has been thinking of this integration, viewing them is a journey into a future that is already upon us, the Darwinian/evolutionary curve of Android, Human, and Human Robot Interaction. The world has changed and will never be the same. They ask the question, what does it mean to be human. Be not afraid.

click to view the complete set of images in the archive

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Cholita


© Susana Raab

Cholita


© Susana Raab

El que no tiene dinga tiene de mandinga. (He that is not Inka is Mandinka).  

 

Peruvian by birth and father, I left the country at the age of two when my parents divorced.  Estranged from my father for nearly all my life, Peru has always been a sort of enigmatic talisman for me, a key piece of a fractured identity.  When I first started visiting the country as a young adult, I was surprised to find myself affectionately called la cholita gringa by my friends and acquaintances.  Surprised because I heard the term used in reference in a variety of manners; different in respect to the taxi driver in the street, versus the friend coming to visit.

Cholo is first recorded in the 17th century in the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega’s Commentarios Reales de los Incas and is used to identify the offspring of native and black parents. Today in Peru cholo, or its masculine or feminine diminutive (cholito/cholita) is a common phrase with positive and negative connotations depending on the context, and reflects the complex, unstated socio-economic rules by which modern day Peru continues to abide.

Yet the word itself conveys one of many paradoxes of Perú: to love and hate something at the same time, to be both mother country and oppressor.  “We are two Perús,” a friend of mine often says. I was drawn to this paradox.

Initially, I began this project as an anthropological look at modern coastal Perú, I wanted to represent this Peruvian under-class - the cholos sin plata, whose representation in modern society is often portrayed as dirty and disreputable, placing them in a more democratic context by using the coast as an ambiguous backdrop to their lives. Later, the project has evolved into something more personal. 

 

The photographs in Cholita, form a family album, wherein I reclaim a lost family and magical kingdom on the Peruvian coast.

 

click to view the complete set of images in the archive

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Fathers


© Gabriele Galimberti

Fathers


© Gabriele Galimberti

It’s a Saturday night in late February. The year is 1986. I am eight-and-a-half years old and I’m getting ready for bed. I’m very excited for the morning to arrive.  That’s because, in just a few hours, something will happen that’s been happening almost every Sunday for the last year. I’ll feel my father’s hand on my shoulder, shaking me awake as his voice says, “Gabri, wake up! It’s six o’clock. We’re going fishing.”  For over a year, ever since my mom gave my dad a little fishing boat, this has been our Sunday routine – my father and I, alone or sometimes with friends, head out to Lake Trasimeno.

It’s a day just for us, a day of waiting, of talking, and of long silences. Luckily, the bursts of good cheer over the catch of a fish aren’t too few or far between.

It’s been thirty years since those Sunday mornings, and the most vivid childhood memories I have with my father are, without a doubt, the ones connected to fishing.  He still goes, almost every Sunday. As for me – maybe because I’m hardly ever home, perhaps because, when I am, I’m too lazy to get up at six in the morning – I haven’t gone with him for many years.  Now it’s my brother-in-law and nephew’s turn to go fishing with him.

 

Lately, I’ve been enjoying spending Sundays with my friends, often in the company of their children. Almost everyone around me has become a parent over the last few years. A couple of friends and I are the only ones in our group who still don’t have kids of our own. 

I naturally began to observe how the others were raising their children. I watch them playing together, hear the arguments and the kids’ complaints at mealtimes or at bedtime. I’ve often been the one in charge of the kids when those moments happen.

Just maybe, all of these things are making me start to want to be a father. When I watch my closest friends, as well as all of the fathers that I meet around the world, and when I recall those memories from my childhood of the time spent with my dad, I feel like I’m preparing myself for my moment, if it ever arrives.

That is why I’ve decided to make the relationships between fathers and their children the focus of this project.  Wherever I am in the world, when I meet a father I ask him to tell me about a special moment he has spent with his children and, when I can, I photograph them together.

 

That is how I have put together this collection of stories of fathers and their children – stories that I take as either lessons or advice for those who, like me, might have kids of their own someday.

 

click to view the complete set of images in the archive

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Generation Wealth


© Lauren Greenfield

Generation Wealth


© Lauren Greenfield

Oh please, Americans do not hate the rich; they want to be them. Every American believes that they are the impending rich, and that will never change.
— Fran Lebowitz
Generation Wealth is being published as Donald Trump becomes president of the United States. Perhaps more than any other public figure, Trump represents the culture that Greenfield has chronicled...Trump, and Trumpism, becomes far more understandable after a trip through Greenfield’s America.
— Juliet Schor
Phaidon Hardback English Lauren Greenfield, with a foreword by Juliet Schor 305 x 229 mm, 12 x 9 in 504 pp 625 colour illustrations ISBN-13: 9780714872124 ISBN-10: 0714872121

Phaidon
Hardback
English
Lauren Greenfield, with a foreword by Juliet Schor
305 x 229 mm, 12 x 9 in
504 pp
625 colour illustrations
ISBN-13: 9780714872124
ISBN-10: 0714872121

INTRODUCTION BY LAUREN GREENFIELD - Generation Wealth is the fruition of a twenty-five-year documentary inquiry into what I have called “the influence of affluence.” Consciously at times—and at other times unconsciously—I have captured signs of a seismic shift in our culture. I began to recognize the pattern in 2008, during the financial crisis, and I have been trying to decipher it ever since, both by making new work for this project and by editing the photographs I’ve made throughout my career.

The title of the project and many of the pictures could mislead the reader to think that this is a work about the 1 percent, about people who are wealthy. It is not. This work is about the aspiration for wealth and how that has become a driving force—and at the same time an increasingly unrealistic goal—for individuals from all classes of society. We have less social mobility now than we had in prior generations, and, more than ever before, a greater concentration of wealth is in the hands of the few. Flouting this reality, the “American Dream” has grown to outsized proportions. “People don’t dream in modest terms anymore. They all want to live in Mar-a-Lago with Donald Trump,” says social critic Chris Hedges, whom I interviewed for this book and companion film. As our political system becomes less democratic—with wealthy donors and well-funded special-interest lobby groups exercising disproportionate influence on elections and legislation—we have experienced a democratization of the signifiers of wealth. Luxury for the common man, woman, and child defines the new American Dream. And if you don’t have money, as Emanuel, one of my teenage subjects in Los Angeles, assures us, “There are ways to make it seem like you do.” The aptly named rapper Future explains that the strategy is to “fake it till you make it.” This sentiment is echoed by many of my subjects who seek material-based status, from Minnesota to Milan, South Central Los Angeles to Shanghai, Dubai to Moscow. As Hedges attests, fictitious representations of a luxury lifestyle have replaced actual social mobility. The fact that many of the images in this book appear to be of worlds of wealth and belie their reality is precisely the point for both the subjects and for the image-maker (me) in an image-based culture.

Exhibit APR 8, 2017 - AUG 13, 2017 Location Annenberg Space for Photography 2000 Avenue of the Stars Los Angeles, CA 90067

Exhibit
APR 8, 2017 - AUG 13, 2017

Location
Annenberg Space for Photography
2000 Avenue of the Stars
Los Angeles, CA 90067

As a photographer and filmmaker, and in a variety of media, from analog to digital, I have been asking questions about the culture of materialism, the cult of celebrity, and presentation-based status since my first major project, Fast Forward: Growing Up in the Shadow of Hollywood, which I began in 1992 and published as my first book in 1997. That work explored those themes in the context of youth culture in Los Angeles and was inspired by my own high-school experience. At the time, I was struck by the early loss of innocence in our media-saturated culture, taking stock of a generation impacted by what I called “the values of Hollywood.” In that early work, I documented the excesses of the affluent, the attraction of what we now term “bling” among the poor, and the desire for fame and status-based image across boundaries of class, race, and neighborhood. What started to emerge in front of my camera was the dramatic influence of commercial pressures on young people’s values and behavior, as well as an unexpected homogenization of youth culture resulting from the shared consumption of increasingly ubiquitous media messages. I remember saying on the radio, while discussing my Fast Forward book, that despite the dramatic divisions in the city revealed by the L.A. riots, which I had covered in 1992, rich kids and poor kids had found common ground that their parents had not, and it was a shared love for Versace. ..Click to read the entire introduction essay by Lauren Greenfield

click this link to view the complete set of images in the archive (same order as in the monograph)

Front and back cover of Phaidon monograph below, plus sample pages...pre-order here

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The Invisible Wall


© Susana Raab

The Invisible Wall


© Susana Raab

Washington East of the Anacostia River

Washington, DC is one of the most income-stratified cities in the United States. Its populace includes the country’s wealthiest, highest-educated people along with the poorest and least-educated citizens. In the space between these disparities exists an invisible wall comprised of race and class, a seemingly impenetrable frontier, obfuscated by government policy and physical terrain. Yet it is possible to witness this divide in the areas East of the Anacostia River. That the District of Columbia’s East of the River communities are located within the boundaries of the federal city owes more to founding father Thomas Jefferson’s need for symmetry and square than logic. The rigidity of man over environment forced the incorporation of these communities - though separated from the mainland by a virtual moat.

The Anacostia River, named after the tribe of Native Americans that once populated its then pristine shores, does not flow. Instead, it rises and falls with the tides of the Chesapeake Bay. Likewise Anacostia, one neighborhood of 11 whose name has become representative for all, has owed its prosperity and decline to federal government policies, which have impacted the lives of the citizens of these communities.

Historically this segregated area evolved from Native American fishing ground, tobacco plantations built by slavery, to village and farmlands following the Civil War, where large tracts of its land were bought by the newly created Freedmen’s Bureau for freed slaves. Following World War II, when the Federal Government increased in size, the government built modest homes for returning white veterans and the increasing labor force of civil servants. It was during this time that the federal government sought to make Washington an example one of the world’s great capital cities and would initiate the urban planning policies that would have disastrous effects on the East of the River communities and DC’s African American populace.

As the government sought to clean up the slums around the U.S. Capitol and Mall, all public housing was eliminated in the area and moved wholesale across the Anacostia River. Demographics changed almost overnight, and the social landscape was overwhelmed by insufficient social and municipal supports.

This ongoing body of work looks at the east of the River and far eastern communities of Washington, D.C. 

 

click to view the complete set of images in the archive

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The Sanctuary of Baseball


© Finn O'Hara

The Sanctuary of Baseball


© Finn O'Hara

A photo essay about the young & talented baseball players of Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic. Away from the glare and scrutiny of the big baseball academies down south in Santo Domingo, this publicly funded academy in the small northern beach town of Las Terrenas is turning out world class baseball players, including the late Yordano Ventura of the Kansas City Royals.

 

click to view the complete set of images in the archive 

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Palhetas


© Bruno Morais

Palhetas


© Bruno Morais

The Fashion industry, specially womans fashion, is one of the most visible and lucrative in the world and every year experts and connoisseurs urge to be the first in predicting what the trends will be. Some patterns are easy to identify and fashion seems to play with the audience´s emotions and nostalgia to recycle old trends and relaunch as “in” what was “out” 3 years ago. Fashion became almost a science but the more sophisticated it is, the less linked it becomes to normal women´s reality and choices.

Colour trends for 2015 included, amongst other, Carter Plum, Blue Danube, Cinnamon Slate and Patriotic White according to Benjamin Moore (an expert). However the translation of these predictions and trends has very little impact in real life and remains an endogamic game for an industry that is flying so high that it forgot its reason to be.

The photographic essay Palhetas aims to analyse the normality of everyday´s fashion in women around the world and to bring an ironic perspective on the body of the woman as the platform and the inspiration for advertising and fashion. This is an ongoing series that has already documented women in Brazil, Mexico, Ecuador, Morocco, Benin, Austrália and Índia.

click to view the complete set of images in the archive

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We Trust


© Cristina De Middel

We Trust


© Cristina De Middel

With only a few hundred years of history within the Modern Era the United States of America seem now to be facing the decay of their time as a model of civilisation.

More significant than the predictable economic defeat against asian markets, the American way of life is no longer a miraculous recipe for success and well- being.

I personally belong to a generation that has grown surrounded by images, jingles and stories imported from the United States of as valuable cultural assets and now I see how all these models are starting to get rusty. 

Documentary projects are normally expected to give a vision of reality with certain accuracy, but in this case it is almost impossible to remain impartial and not to start working on one´s opinion at the basis. 

I admit this is just a portrait of a nation builton my own disenchantment, which I guess is common in all of those who have grown up watching Hollywood moviesand repeated themselves hundred times “Just do it” before facing a challenge.

North America put the man on the moon and the atomic bomb into practice. They started and finished wars. They can designate what is evil and what is good with a press conference from the White House and they can even fix the price ofmoney. They own the records and the gold medals and they composed the original soundtrack of the last century. 

They can make us dream with our potential as modern citizens but also can make us be ashamed of being humans. 

And all this just with only a few hundred years of history within the Modern Era.

 

click to view the complete set of images in the archive

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Bail Bond


© Clara Vannucci

Bail Bond


© Clara Vannucci

Bondsmen, defendants and bounty hunters

Publisher: Fabrica First edition Pages: 136 Format: 21 x 28 cm Language: English-Italian ISBN:978-88-98764-921

Publisher: Fabrica
First edition
Pages: 136
Format: 21 x 28 cm
Language: English-Italian
ISBN:978-88-98764-921

Bail Bond is a visual tale set in contemporary New York. By weaving together stories of bondsmen, defendants and bounty hunters, the reportage sheds light on an unexplored edge of law and order in the US, a place where crime and security collide and amalgamate, leaving no room for the spectator to take side. 

In the US legal system, a person accused of committing a crime is called defendant: assumed innocent, he must be proven guilty, or else released. While waiting for judgment, defendants can live as free men and women, as long as they pay a sum of money, considered a guarantee for their appearance in court on the dates assigned for the trial. When defendants cannot pay, bondsmen act as guarantors by providing the requested money and assuming the responsibility to force recalcitrant defendants into court on their day, with the help of bounty hunters.

click to view the complete set of images in the archive

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Vera Y Victoria


© Mar Saez

Vera Y Victoria


© Mar Saez

Publisher: André Frère Éditions Pictures and texts: Mar Sáez 80 pages 16,5 x 21,8 cm 43 trichrome pictures Swiss binding French / English

Publisher: André Frère Éditions
Pictures and texts: Mar Sáez
80 pages
16,5 x 21,8 cm
43 trichrome pictures
Swiss binding
French / English

Vera confessed to Victoria that she was transsexual the day they kissed for the first time. It was in a park. It did not change anything. For the four years that they were together, they loved each other as they had never loved anyone before.

For that part of their lives, Vera and Victoria were no longer two people, they merged into one. They built a home together filled with dreams and future projects. Indifferent to the prejudice of others, they surrendered to love and passion. 

Vera and Victoria is a visual diary shot between 2012 and 2016 in which I have portrayed the intimate universe of the young couple. A universe in which new facets of a relationship as intense as theirs come to the surface. No better or worse than anyone else.

 

click to view the complete set of images in the archive