Archive for the ‘Humanitarian Causes’ Category

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is home to the deadliest war in the world today. An estimated 5.4 million people have died since 1998, the largest death toll since the Second World War, according to the International Rescue Committee (IRC).

You can see the impressive multimedia photographic work by Marcus Bleasdale [from Agency VII] at MediaStorm. If you are interested you can purchase a DVD or a book of this heartbreaking work, and if you are generous you can donate at any organization mentioned in the article. It is really a shame for all humanity that this world is still experiencing never ending tragedies like this one in Congo … sadly, it is just one more among others.


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Reading the forums over at Lightstaker, I found information about a very interesting workshop in photojournalism that I thought some of you may find interested. If you have a passion for photojournalism this could be a great and unique opportunity. The cost is kept low as the instructors are offering their services probono.

A tution of $500 USD gets you: access to workshop opening night social, all workshops, instructor presentations, panel discussions, portfolio review sessions, projections, closing night party and slideshow, invitation to a “working dinner” of your choice. Travel to and return from Mexico City and lodging are not included in the tuition fee.

The list of instructors is really outstanding: Lynsey Addario, Kael Alford, Jon Anderson, Samantha Appleton, Paula Bronstein, Andrea Bruce, Michael Robinson Chavez, Tewfic El-Sawy, Stanley Greene, Jason P. Howe, Hugo Infante, Scott Mc Kiernan, Brian Storm, Kadir Van Lohuizen, Ami Vitale, Holly Wilmeth, Adriana Zehbrauskas.


The genesis for this idea came from a conversation held some time ago on the Lightstalkers website, an online gathering place for photojournalists and travelers. There were- and are- a host of wonderful workshops out there; however, after looking around for some time, we came to the conclusion that there were a) few for people from developing nations and b) few that a photojournalism student from Europe or the US (officially a student or informally, we don’t care) could realistically afford. We also felt that, while attending a workshop for $4000 with one or two great photographers was wonderful, it could be more beneficial to create a workshop where many more instructors came, creating an impromptu community of sorts. A workshop where getting into the field, producing real reportage, getting honest, real feedback, and making new friends and developing contacts were first and foremost. – [Foundry Photojournalism Workshop, About]

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Peter van Agtmael with a group of Afghan soldiers [abc news]

Over at Conscientious, Jöerg Colberg has posted a very interesting conversation with documentary photographer Peter van Agtmael [published also at PopPhoto.com].

It is refreshing to see new emerging photographers, some in their 20s like Peter, making a difference with their work. You can also read another interview with Peter van Agtmael at Smithsonian.com and an interesting photo diary by Peter published at abcnews. Some aditional images from Peter’s can be seen here.

“I get really frustrated when I hear excuses about not publishing pictures in the name of protecting the privacy of wounded soldiers. With few exceptions, the folks I’ve met have wanted others to see what they went through in their name. I think the real problem is that America has a guilty conscience and we don’t want to see the pain caused by our folly.” – Peter van Agtmael

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A bit out of topic for this blog but I wanted to pass it around for your interest. It is worthwhile to read. Please take a look and act if you can.


The Problem: How Your Investments are Funding Genocide (pdf)

The Solution: How Divestment Can Help End the Genocide in Darfur (pdf)

Millions of investors are unaware that their savings are invested in companies that help fund genocide in Darfur. Since 2003, Darfur in western Sudan has been embroiled in a deadly conflict. As many as 400,000 innocent civilians have been killed; 2.5 million people have been forced to flee their homes and now live in internally displaced persons or refugee camps; and more than 3.5 million men, women and children are now struggling to survive. Divestment creates economic pressure to help hasten the end of the genocide in Darfur. Divestment is the sale of stock in companies most culpable of helping to fund genocide in Darfur. Divestment also includes a commitment not to buy stock in such companies until the genocide ends.

Support Federal Divestment Legislation
This bill, which would put much-needed pressure on Sudan to end the violence, has already passed in the House.
However, the bill will need widespread Senate support to ensure it becomes law.

Sign the Petition
I call on Franklin Templeton, JPMorgan Chase, Fidelity Investments, Capital Group (American Funds), Vanguard, and other firms to divest from companies that help fund genocide in Darfur.

Download the compete divestment guide [pdf]

Learn more, act, more tools, national ads, divestment guide. SaveDarfur.org


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by Jordi Bieber (Agency Noor)

Nine renowned photojournalists have created a new photo agency called Noor. The mission: to tell what happens in the world no matter the restrictions for publications no matter how how hard it is to learn about it. It is refreshing to see that these values lead the work of photojournalism.

Noor is: Samantha Appleton (United States), Jodi Bieber (South Africa), Philip Blenkinsop (Australia), Pep Bonet (Spain), Jan Grarup (Denmark), Stanley Greene (United States), Yuri Kozyrev (Russia), Kadir van Lohuizen (The Netherlands) and Francesco Zizola (Italy)

As a collective with a non-profit arm, Noor has high ambitions. Its members hope the arrangement will give them time and freedom to tell important international stories, work on collaborative projects, explore non-traditional avenues of funding, and get the work seen – beyond the constraints of magazine assignments.

But following a gory, despair-laden presentation of previous work by its members, the agency was already fielding questions about whether it can find a market for this intense – and intensely depressing – storytelling.

“We don’t apologize for ruining your day and making you think hard about things,” said Noor photographer Samantha Appleton, answering the complaints about the presentation. “Some people probably will have a problem with that, and those are the people we’re trying to reach the most.” – from PDN online

Samantha Appleton (USA, 1975): Samantha Appleton has worked on self-motivated projects primarily in the Middle East and Africa, and on migrant workers in North and Central America. Samantha participated in the
2005 World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass, was one of the “30 Under 30” photographers featured in Photo District News and has won a first place award for feature photography from “Pictures of the Year”. Her two main clients are Time magazine and The New Yorker. Samantha resides in Portland (Maine) and New York.

Jodi Bieber (South Africa, 1966) – Jodi is best known for her body of work on the youth living on the fringe of society in her own country, South Africa, and her recently published book featuring this project, Between Dogs and Wolves – Growing up with South Africa. She has also worked extensively in other parts of the world. Jodi has won eight World Press Photo Awards, lectured in photography and participated in exhibitions internationally. Jodi is based in Johannesburg.

Philip Blenkinsop (Australia, 1965) – Since arriving in Asia in 1989, Philip’s name has become synonymous with forgotten conflicts. From weeks spent traversing the mountains of East Timor with Falintil
guerrillas, to tribal war and cannibalism in Borneo, to the tragic plight of Hmong Veterans and their families lost deep in the heart of Laos’ forbidden zone. Philip’s most recent reports have been with the New People’s Army in the Southern Philippines and Thailand’s Southern insurgency. When not in the field, Philip resides in Bangkok.

Pep Bonet (Spain, 1974) – Pep’s work focuses on African issues and long-term projects. His work on social issues such as HIV/AIDS has led to two photography books and 35 exhibitions worldwide. His most known work is “Faith in Chaos”, an ongoing photo essay on the aftermath of the war in Sierra Leone. Pep is currently finishing a project on Somalia. He was the 2005 winner of the Eugene Smith Humanistic Grant, in addition to other international grants and prizes. Pep lives in Mallorca.

Jan Grarup (Denmark, 1968) – Over the last 18 years, Jan has traveled the world documenting many of the defining moments of history. From the fall of the communist regime in Romania to the current occupation of Iraq, he has covered numerous wars and conflicts, including the genocide in Rwanda. He has documented daily life on both sides of the intifada with his stories “The boys from Ramallah” and “The boys from Hebron”. In 2006 he published the book Shadowland. Jan is a recipient of numerous awards and resides in Copenhagen.

Stanley Greene (USA, 1949)– Stanley Greene has worked extensively all over the world. His most well-known body of work is his coverage of the war in Chechnya. He is a recipient of the Eugene Smith Humanistic Grant and numerous other awards. Stanley is based in Paris and New York.

Yuri Kozyrev (Russia, 1963) – Yuri has been a photographer for the last twenty years. He has covered conflicts in the former Soviet Union, the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and has lived and worked most of the past five years in Iraq, working for Time magazine. He has received the International Center of Photography’s Infinity Award, as well as the
Olivier Rebbot Award for best magazine story. Yuri is based in Bagdad and Moscow.

Kadir van Lohuizen (Netherlands, 1963) – Kadir has covered conflicts in Africa and elsewhere, but is probably best known for his projects on seven rivers of the world and the diamond industry. He has received numerous prizes, including two World Press Photo awards. He has twice been a World Press Photo Contest jury member, and has published four photo books. Kadir is based in Amsterdam and New York.

Francesco Zizola (Italy, 1962) – Francesco has photographed the world’s major conflicts and its hidden crises. His latest book “Iraq” published with Amnesty International (2007), document the beginning of Iraq II, a never ending war – a war without witnesses, a war which has become off limits for photographers. His book, Born Somewhere (2004), was the result of 13 years covering the situation of children around the world in 28 countries. His book, Born Somewhere (2004) was the result of 13 years covering the situation of children in 28 countries around the world. He has received numerous international awards and prizes, including, the World Press Photo of the Year in 1996, documenting the tragedy of land mines in Angola, seven World Press Photo awards and four Pictures of the Year Awards. Francesco lives in Rome.

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© Sebastião Salgado

Via the blog “Apple Tee” by Jim Korpi, comes a referral to an interview published recently in LA Weekly with master photographer Sebastião Salgado (interview page 1, page 2). This is a man that fascinates me. Photography is his voice to communicate his connection with the planet, his connection with humanity. Most of all, he is a humanist in search of social justice, and photography is his way to speak.


I have a way to photograph. You work with space, you have a camera, you have a frame, and then a fraction of a second. It’s very instinctive. What you do is a fraction of a second, it’s there and it’s not there. But in this fraction of a second [he snaps his fingers] comes your past, comes your future, comes your relation with people, comes your ideology, comes your hate, comes your love — all together in this fraction of a second, it materializes there. -Sebastião Salgado


His latest project, Genesis, is an 8 year journey well into his 4th year of work, is a call to save the planet. He is seeking out locations that are as pristine as they were in primeval times, places that provide hope for the future (interview published at The Guardian).

This is the point for me, that there is a hope. So many times I’ve photographed stories that show the degradation of the planet. I had one idea to go and photograph the factories that were polluting, and to see all the deposits of garbage. But, in the end, I thought the only way to give us an incentive, to bring hope, is to show the pictures of the pristine planet – to see the innocence. And then we can understand what we must preserve.

I had a show of Migrations in Berkeley, and afterward I spoke with the students there about exactly this: the loss of hope in the possibility of survival for our species. Because I was coming from such a hard moment, seeing so much degradation. I lived for about seven years in real desperation — something very difficult, very difficult. And from all that I had seen, I was sure it would be very difficult to go on in another direction. But many things changed after that. For me now, it looks much more hopeful, much more interesting than 10 years before.

But. There is something happening now. We went so deep in these last 30 years, as far as human relations are concerned, as far as concentration of wealth on this planet, as far as environmental destruction, that finally reactions have started to appear, no? We have a big concern today about many things that we didn’t have 10 years before. I see some hope. We know that we are in danger, but we’ve started to react, and many people have started to get together — really get together. There is a wake-up, and this is very important. Now, I am not so sure that we will be destroyed. -Sebastião Salgado

Prints from Sebastião Salgado are exhibited until September 8th 2007 at the Peter Fetterman Gallery in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, California.

I hope that the person who visits my exhibitions, and the person who comes out, are not quite the same,” says Mr. Salgado. “I believe that the average person can help a lot, not by giving material goods but by participating, by being part of the discussion, by being truly concerned about what is going on in the world. -Sebastião Salgado

The following are links to some of his images online: Genesis, Migrations, Other Americas, Workers. There is also a nice gallery at PDN 20 most Influential Photographers and Kodak-PDN online. Mr. Salgado lives in Paris, France, with his family. His wife, Lélia Wanick Salgado, directs their company, Amazonas Images, and has designed his major books and exhibitions

and a short video with his own voice describing his work with UNICEF documenting the eradication of polio.

Sebastião Salgado asking a question at Dropping Knowledge


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From the series “In transition” © Per-Anders Pettersson

I first learned about Per-Anders Pettersson when he won an award of excellence at the 2006 Picture of the Year competition in the category of Science/Natural History with the image of a chimpanzee being washed. I love that image.

© Per-Anders Pettersson

A CHIMPANZEE BEING WASHED” Crew members wash Dola, a chimpanzee, that they bought for US$ 25, while waiting for their boat to leave the Kisangani port for the capital Kinshasa on March 4, 2006 in Kisangani, in Congo, DRC. Dola died a few days later from an unknown disease. Many animals are taken to Kinshasa and sold as pets or for the meat. The Congo River is a lifeline for millions of people, who depend on it for transport and trade. POY64.

Per-Anders is indeed a well known photographer from Sweden who has spent most of the last 10 years in Africa and in particular South Africa. His work documenting the transition to democracy of South Africa is impressive. I love the density of the images (see leading image), the contrast and color saturation, the emotion of the people, the gestures. You will find an slide show of this work at his website “In transition“.

It was a magic time to cover Nelson Mandela’s election campaign and to document people’s happiness. It was finally a hope for change after decades of Apartheid.- Per-Anders Pettersson

I like to link to a recent report of his work covering the humanitarian crisis in the Congo. He covered the Katanga Province in December 2005 to document one of worst humanitarian crises since World War 2. The Congo Republic, a country where four million have died since 1996, mostly from preventable diseases such as malaria, diarrhoea, and malnutrition.

Thousands of refugees gathered at a school in Dubie, Katanga in December 2005.

© Per-Anders Pettersson-Getty Images

One of the top ten underreported stories in 2006 as selected by Time magazine. The Congo is still home to one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. Congo is plagued by malnutrition, and diseases that kill 1,200 people a day. As the UNICEF points out, that is the equivalent of suffering a 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami every six months.

I’m drawn to places like South Africa, like Cambodia, that have suffered terribly and yet survive. I want to be part of people’s daily lives during their most difficult time. I learn so much from these people.

The Katanga crisis was the forgotten crisis. There were very few journalists covering it. They went to other places like Kivu and Goma, and near the Ugandan border, but not Katanga. I was one of the first to cover it. There is still fighting there and still many refugees.-Per-Anders Pettersson

Even in times of crisis, people gather to share a moment of intimacy, a moment to decorate their nails sharing the dye between them. I hope the beautiful colors of Africa, so well captured by Per-Anders Pettersson, will signal a future of hope. As I always like to suggest, if you like to help, visit CARE or Mercy Corps (or any other reputable NGO) and make a donation.

© Per-Anders Pettersson-Getty Images

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