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we tell stories


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we tell stories


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Human + Nature


© Giles Price

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Human + Nature


© Giles Price

On the edge of the Khumbu Glacier and its surrounding moraine, is Everest Base Camp. Situated at an altitude of 5364m and over 1.5km long, this temporary settlement, which exists only from April until early June, is growing every year. Tourism, including trekking and mountaineering, brought in around $520m during 2014 and is the main income for many rural Nepalese people. The Nepalese government generates $2.7m from Everest climbing permits per year, with each pass costing $11,000. Over the last few years the number of climbing companies offering their services has risen, with the biggest change being Nepalese firms joining the competition. This has meant the cost of climbing has fallen as low as $30,000 (US) with a Nepalese company and between $45,000 - $85,000 with a Western organisation.  A Sherpa guiding climbers to the summit – which has one of the highest fatality rates of any job - can earn $7000+ per season, compared to the average Nepalese annual income of around $700. Naturally tensions have occurred between the Sherpa community, who, despite taking all of the risks, have received little government welfare, and the authorities. Following the 2014 avalanche, the government raised its compensation for a death by 50% to $15,000, established a welfare trust for bereaved families and agreed to pay for the victim’s children’s education. Discussions are underway as to how to control the numbers going forward. One suggestion is to ban those under 18 and over 75, those with disabilities, while only experienced climbers who have already scaled medium-sized Himalayan peaks will be issued with permits for Everest. At the end of the day its still the Sherpas who do the work and take the risk, one wonders whether the number of companies providing mountaineering assistance and individuals wanting to scale the peak, will start to change, as discussions about the environmental, economic, social and political impact continue.


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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

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Elysium


© Lorenzo Mittiga

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Elysium


© Lorenzo Mittiga

Carlos Coste has done what no other human was ever expected to do and earned the Free-diving King title among his rivals. Carlos had gained the respect he deserved in the Free-diving scene.

Born in Caracas, Venezuela on February 2nd 1976, is a world class free-diver and record-holder. He started his training in Apnea and Free-diving in 1996, and got his first national record in 1998.

Carlos becomes the first human being to free-dive 100 meter below the ocean's surface by holding his breath and without assistance. The record was approved by Guinness and was thought to be unbeatable back then.


If you would define Carlos, you could describe him as a very determined and dedicated man. His devotion to reach the unknown and to surpass the limits of any other human, leads him to his next challenge: reaching the -200 meter mark in the No Limits; the most extreme and dangerous discipline.

Up until 2016, he had already broken a few records in all kind of free-diving disciplines exploring new challenging depths.

Despite a terrible accident, Carlos Coste has managed to stay among the top free-divers of the world; Incredibly he has been the first human being to travel 150 meters in Dynamic Free-diving. A new record taken on September 2016 where he traveled 177 metres, establishing his twelfth World record in his career. Carlos Coste, a man that has been witness of very incredible endeavors. A man respected by the elite of worldwide free-divers, not just by his competitive attributes but because of his continuous boundary breaking character. Today Carlos is a 12 times free-diving world record holder.

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Hillaryous by Riverboom

Hey you know what? Trump has already changed the world. 

 

Now you don’t need to have a brain anymore if you want to run for president. You can proclaim an invasion on Wednesday and on Thursday just pretend it was a joke. 

That is it. Make jokes! Good jokes, old jokes, bad jokes, dirty jokes, racist jokes, unbearable jokes. That’s the new game to win the presidency.

Edoardo Delille and Giulia Piermartiri of Riverboom have collected evidence of the new trend in American politics. Hilarious!

Shall the Founding Fathers rest in peace. 

 

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West Ham Pride


© Iain McKell

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West Ham Pride


© Iain McKell

4 Generations At The Boleyn

The 2015/16 season will be one that lives long in the memory of West Ham United fans the world over, as the Club bids an emotional farewell to their home of more than 110 years.

Now the last match has played out at the Boleyn Upton Park. The Hammers have moved to the new Stadium at Stratford Olympic Park.

There’s a lot of controversy over this big move. People are worried, even devastated that the Stadium surrounded by terraced streets when gone will destroy the sole of a community permeated in football culture. The Boleyn Stadium will now be demolished, and replaced with modern housing.

The project focusing on the E13 community.

Including social institutions like the infamous Boleyn Tavern, Eel and Pie Café, East Ham Working Men’s Club, local shops selling football merchandise and street venders and fans. What is the future for these icons engrained in West Ham culture.

The father traditionally introduces their children to this spectator’s sport, dressing them in football attire. Passing down this tradition forming family bonds from generation to generation. Capturing the spirit of this strong, proud working class community in the heart of East London.


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Los Trumpistas


© Riverboom

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Los Trumpistas


© Riverboom

We think we know the archetypal Trump voter. He is white, male, blue-collar, frustrated and angry. But is that really the case? Are these the only people that will be voting for the Republican candidate? Trump has defied all predictions and surprised media and commenters more than once. Now it is time to meet some of his most unexpected supporters, the Latinos for Trump. Although his virulent anti-immigration stance, his promise of building a wall along the Southern border (and getting Mexico to pay for it), and his outright racist comments about Latinos make “The Donald” a very improbable champion of the Hispanic community, that is only part of the picture. A quick tour of Facebook pages, forums and blogs reveals a more complex reality. 


It has previously been observed that first and second-generation immigrants who manage to attain the “American Dream” tend frequently to become conservative, and even to develop an anti-immigration stance. Riverboom’s Edoardo Delille and Giulia Piermartiri hit the road this summer in the Southern states to meet the Latinos pledging their vote to the most unexpected Republican candidate in the last century. Along that border, which those Mexicans crossed not long ago, Edoardo and Giulia photographed – in a style reminiscent of classic American iconography, from Norman Rockwell to the Kodak Colorama – these citizens who proudly plant a “Vote for Trump” sign on their front lawns. They will portray these families in their recreational, private, and ordinary moments. They interviewed them about their goals, desires and fears. The best way to try and understand the Trump dilemma is to meet those who will vote for him in November. Ladies and gentlemen, Los Trumpistas! 

 

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Under London


©  Simon Norfolk

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Under London


©  Simon Norfolk

Under London was the cover story for the February 2016 issue of National Geographic magazine

Under London was the cover story for the February 2016 issue of National Geographic magazine

For 2000 years London has buried evidence of itself in archaeological layers which are continually being discovered beneath the growing city’s streets. The Museum of London has the world’s largest collection of artefacts. Given permission to select from any of these five million objects I wanted to return them to the streets where they were found - a kind of unearthing. Inspired by the new Crossrail (a kind of second, deeper London Underground currently nearing completion,) I wanted to portray the city’s wide character but also lift up the layers of history that lie beneath the pavements. The street becomes the museum gallery and the objects I chose become an arc back across two millennia


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War Desert School


© Luca Locatelli

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War Desert School


© Luca Locatelli

How France learn to fight jhiadist in the desert

Djibouti 2016, never like now the historical French base in the Horn of Africa has been covering such strategic role. Navy, air and land forces with more than 2.000 units are dispatched in this territory to control one of the hottest place in the world. Djibouti is a relative small and militarized country just 20 km away from Yemeni coast, overviewing the Suez Canal. It borders with Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia and its landscapes has similarity with the unstable neighborhood countries.

Reddish desert mountains are descending to endless sandy desert valleys. Training facilities and skillful instructors with temperatures that can rise up to 50 celsius degree. A vaste war playgrounds where troops can be trained and the last war technologies can be tested.

The collaboration with the United States, which has a huge base here too, is indeed. It’s not unusual to see Foreign Legion and US marines troops exercise together.

These 2 countries are in fact together in the front line against terrorism.

In the War Desert School their common aim is to learn how to fight jihadist in their most familiar environment, the desert.

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Hijabistas


© Elin Berge / Moment

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Hijabistas


© Elin Berge / Moment

They are called Hijabistas. Young fashionistas that mix street fashion and influences from the catwalks with the Muslim hijab. Through social media they inspire hundreds of thousands of women over the world and their presence also affect the mainstream fashion scene. They are trendsetters and several have become international style icons. 

But they are also provocateurs. The way Muslim women dress is a matter that secular westerners as well as conservative Muslims have a lot of opinions about. The hijab is a minefield. When H&M chosed to include a model in hijab for two seconds in a fashion video campaign last year, the international debate went loud and emotional. France has recently banned the full covering niqab in public places and now also the burkini swimsuit in some cities. On the other hand, the so called ”haram police” – people who think they have the right answers to what is forbidden for a Muslim woman to wear - are persistently present on social media, aggressively banning the hijabistas for their way of dressing and behaving.

The Thompson Reuters State of the Global Islamic Economy valid that the Muslim fashion industry will turn over 488 billion dollar year 2019. And there are no signs that the busy pioneers called hijabistas are going to stop having fun, to inspire others or to continue pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a Muslim women in a western society. Through fashion they show how western and Muslim culture can interlace and change norms.

Elin Berge has met the stars of the Swedish Muslim fashion scene. 

 

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Forgotten People


© Giulio Di Sturco

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Forgotten People


© Giulio Di Sturco

Few have heard of them: they are not criminals, they did nothing, they are men, women and children interned without rights or citizenship. They are the Rohingya of Myanmar, the most persecuted people in the world. Their crime: they are Muslims in a Buddhist country! 

There are wars and conflicts, with trenches, soldiers, weapons and sponsors. And there are eternal nights of hallucinations that you get used to: this is the nightmare in which they are stranded. 

In Myanmar there are about three million Muslims out of a population of sixty million: around 5 percent of the population. 

Of these, about one million are only in the northwest of the country, the Bay of Bengal, in Rakhine, subjected to harsh apartheid regime.

In 120 thousand surviving internees in about forty camps; others are born within the villages, held hostage by predators, subjected to extortion and forced labor.

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Young Dubliners


© Daragh Soden

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Young Dubliners


© Daragh Soden

‘Young Dubliners’ is a celebration of the unique character of Dublin’s youth. During a time of economic struggle in Ireland, a housing shortage in Dublin and austerity measures squeezing public services and domestic budgets, the young people of Ireland’s capital are championed in empowering portraits as they make the transition to adulthood.

These young Dubliners are at a time in their lives when they will make decisions that will affect their futures and may determine the course of their lives. Yet, they are subject to forces beyond their own direct control. Their futures, their fates, are not entirely in their own hands. They have already inherited circumstances of differing fortune and will inherit the positive and negative effects of actions taken by the powers that be.

The subjects of the work are united in their youth, but are divided in Dublin. ‘Young Dubliners’ presents young Dubliners presenting themselves, in their own environments. There is a consistent approach in empowering the subject of each photograph, however the setting of each photograph varies. Around the figure in the foreground, the extent of social division in Dublin is apparent.

 

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Mega Mecca


© Luca Locatelli

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Mega Mecca


© Luca Locatelli

A building boom in the city’s sacred center has created a dazzling, high-tech 21st-century pilgrimage.

In recent years Mecca, the spiritual centre of Islam, has become one of the most sought after and luxury destinations in the world.

The soaring economic growth of Muslim countries has exponentially increased the number of people who want to, and can afford to visit Mecca, both for the grand Hajj pilgrimage and, above all, for the minor Umrah pilgrimage, which is a less demanding, year-round occasion for visits to the holy sites and for general family entertainment. The pressing demand for visas has stimulated the kingdom of Saudi Arabia to invest millions and millions of dollars on improving and increasing the infrastructure and hospitality of the religious centre. And this has transformed the sacred city into a sacred metropolis.

The 1,970 feet high Bell Tower complex detains several world records: the highest hotel in the world, the highest clock tower, the clock with the biggest face and the largest surface area of skyscrapers in the world. In 2011, Hotel Tower became the 3rd tallest building in the world, exceeded only Burj Khalifa in Dubai and the Shanghai Tower in China. Roads, health centres and public transportation have been added to the large construction sites for renovation of the Great Mosque and for building super luxury hotels with five stars and above. These luxurious new buildings will complement the more than 500 shops that already exist in the area surrounding the Kaaba, where they sell top Western brand names such as Rolex, Ferrari, H&M, Burger King, Starbucks, and many more can be purchased in the shopping centres near the Masjid al-Haram (the largest mosque in the world) and the Kaaba, the most sacred Muslim site in the world.

But this is just the beginning. The combined business turnover of Mecca and Medina is considered to be 120 million dollars a year, a figure which is destined to grow even more. Twenty billion dollars will be invested over the next ten years on projects already underway, causing a real estate market explosion that has pushed the average price up to 15,000 dollars per square meter, with record peaks for locations with a view of the Kaaba. If you still think Muslims arrive at Mecca on the back of a camel, you'd be as disappointed as you would be suprised to see a Christian pilgrim arriving in St. Peter's square on horseback. By the same token, anyone who imagines Mecca to be the epicentre of Islamic terrorism would be disappointed to discover the peaceful family picnics and copious scent of flowers that pervade the square in front of the Great Mosque.

What we find at Mecca is precisely what we can find in any other major religious centre around the world: souvenirs, impressive architecture, museums with endless queues to get in, and classy restaurants alongside the common rites and practices of a religion whereby spirituality, humanity and the needs of our consumer society peacefully coexist.

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This project was commissioned by The New York Times Magazine under the title Mecca Goes Mega.  A Virtual Reality component also ran later 

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Sugar Paper Theories


© Jack Latham
text by Gisli Gudjusson

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Sugar Paper Theories


© Jack Latham
text by Gisli Gudjusson

Publisher: Here Press 310 x 230mm, 180pp 46 colour photographs, 37 black & white photographs 8 illustrations, 9 press cuttings text by Professor Gisli gGudjónsson CBE Perfect bound card cover with cloth spine Price £35 ISBN: 978–0–9935853–2–6

Publisher: Here Press

310 x 230mm, 180pp
46 colour photographs, 37 black & white photographs 8 illustrations, 9 press cuttings
text by Professor Gisli gGudjónsson CBE
Perfect bound card cover with cloth spine
Price £35
ISBN: 978–0–9935853–2–6

Forty years ago, two men went missing in southwest Iceland. The facts of their disappearances are scarce, and often mundane. An 18-year-old set off from a nightclub, drunk, on a 10-kilometre walk home in the depths of Icelandic winter. Some months later, a family man failed to return from a meeting with a mysterious stranger. In another time or place, they might have been logged as missing persons and forgotten by all but family and friends. Instead, the Gudmundor and Geirfinnur case became the biggest and most controversial murder investigation in Icelandic history.

In the 1970s theories about the disappearances fixated on Iceland’s anxieties over smuggling, drugs and alcohol, and the corrupting influence of the outside world. The county’s highest levels of political power were drawn into the plot. But ultimately, a group of young people on the fringes of society became its key protagonists. All made confessions that led to convictions and prison sentences. Yet none could remember what happened on the nights in question.

Now a public inquiry is uncovering another story, of how hundreds of days and nights in the hands of a brutal and inexperienced criminal justice system eroded the link between suspects’ memories and lived experience.

Jack Latham photographed the places and people that feature in various accounts of what happened to Gudmundor and Geirfinnur after they vanished. He spent time with the surviving suspects, as well as whistle blowers, conspiracy theorists, expert witnesses and bystanders to the case.

In Sugar Paper Theories, Latham’s photographs and material from the original police investigation files stand in for memories real and constructed. Gisli Gudjusson, a former Reykjavik policeman and forensic psychologist whose expert testimony and theory of memory distrust syndrome helped free the Birmingham Six and Guildford Four – and are now central to the Gudmundor and Geirfinnur inquiry – provides a written account of the case. 

Sugar Paper Theories is the recipient of the 2016 Bar Tur Photobook Award. The book will be published in September by Here Press in association with The Photographers’ Gallery.

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First Job


© Gabriele Galimberti

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First Job


© Gabriele Galimberti

One’s first job is rarely forgotten. It is the beginning of adulthood, a rite of passage and a turning point. For numerous workers, only 30 years ago, the first job was often the only one, as people could remained in the same company for a lifetime, just being gradually promoted or slightly changing ones positions with seniority. In today’s scenario all is temporary, as the dream of a life position has forever vanished. Usually the first job is the first of a long list that will follow. In the wake of the worst economic crises in modern history, where for many young adults there seemed to be actually no possibility for a first job at all, Gabriele Galimberti explores the world of employment of today’s youth. In the style that has become his trademark, this is a project that will be carried out in all the 5 continents where the global theme does not obscure, but actually heightens the local specificities. Each one of the subjects whose portrait has been taken has an individual story that feeds into a larger narrative on how the world we live in is changing. From China to Germany, from Colombia to the U.S. we get a personal introduction to tomorrow’s workforce.


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Exploring a Himalayan Glacier


© Simon Norfolk

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Exploring a Himalayan Glacier


© Simon Norfolk

A few of the 200,000 glaciers in the world are well studied but the 9,000 in India are mostly unexamined. This is remarkable considering the future of the high mountain climate is crucial to the three great rivers which are born here, the Ganges, Indus and Brahmaputra and the 700 million people who depend upon their waters. In the Chinese Himalayas, researchers have performed thorough surveys, but, according to one American scientist, “the other side is a black hole.” The reasons are largely financial: India is a relatively poor country. According to one researcher adequate funding levels need to be 30-40 times higher.

 

For this reason Chhota Shigri glacier has been chosen as one of the benchmark glaciers in the Indian Himalaya. The Glacier Research Group, Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi has been carrying out Mass Balance Studies in this Glacier since 2002. Chhota Shigri and the other glaciers of the eastern Himalayas are unusual in that, unlike the majority of the world’s glaciers, which get most of their snow from winter storms, they get much of theirs from the summer monsoons, which tend to insulate them from more rapid melting. (Most of the glaciers of the Karakoram Mountains, in Pakistan for example, are not receding at all; it’s one of the few places in the world where this is the case.) The weather in India has been fluctuating wildly; 2015 was the driest in decades and early 2016 broke records for high temperatures. Glaciers are uniquely sensitive recorders of changes in climate, and their ice contains indications of past temperature, precipitation, and volcanic activity, as well as the effects of greenhouse gases. The ice cores collected by the JNU scientists on Chhota Shigri make up an archive of the Earth’s weather over the past millennia. But the glacial ice is disappearing, and so is the archive itself. “We are trying to document the history of climate,” says one glaciologist. “If it’s not done now, it will never be done. We’re on a salvage mission.”

text: © DEXTER FILKINS

This story was commissioned by The New Yorker