Archive: photography
These men have a very unusual relationship with their animals

These men have a very unusual relationship with their animals

Pieter Hugo - Mallam Galadima Ahmadu with Jamis, Nigeria 2005
Mallam Galadima Ahmadu with Jamis, Nigeria 2005

Pieter Hugo is one of South Africa’s most recognizable photographers most notably known today for his Hyena and Other Men series. Pieter has made a habit of photographing African landscapes and its marginalized people, so it does not come as a shock that his body of work consists of peculiar subjects such as albinos, the blind and even AIDS victims lying dead in their coffins. Pieter has never been afraid to push boundaries and it shows in his photographs. The end goal of many of his celebrated works has been to address the complex realities of race and identity issues in marginalized African societies through his photographs.

Case in point, Hugo’s the “The Hyena and Other Men” (2005-2007), which is by far one of his most talked about project was not planned and was serendipitous in many ways. It all started after Hugo received an email from a friend containing images of Nigeria’s Gadawan Kura, or hyena handlers in 2003. These hyena handlers were later to become the primary subjects of the “The Hyena and Other Men” series. As well as being displayed in numerous exhibitions from all over the world, the photographs of the Hyena Men have been converted and posted as memes all over the internet, appropriated by world-class performers such as Beyonce and been published into a now rare book.

It is easy to see why the Hyena Men from Nigeria garnered so much critical acclaim. The pictures were photographed during the Hamattan season, which helped to bring a dusty and raw quality to the photographs. The dusty quality was important in helping to highlight the staggering kinship between these beasts and the people that live comfortably around them. Because hyenas are typically not found communing with people side by side, it is almost impossible for anyone to look away at the trans-species relationship unfolding in what appears to be a community marginalized by poverty and rural life.

The photographs play a critical role in raising questions of how and to what extent animals and humans can live together. Although Hugo captured the images of the men and their hyenas during their moments off stage, it remained clear that the men were still performing in a sense, in complicity with the photography, while the hyenas remained tamed and chained. This helps to point out that although the men and hyenas communed together, it is still very evident that one species has more power over the other, a state that will most likely never change.

Pieter Hugo - Mallam galadima ahmadu with jamis, nigeria, 2005
Mallam Galadima Ahmadu with Jamis, Nigeria 2005

Pieter Hugo - Mallam Mantari Lamal with Mainasara, Nigeria 2005
Mallam Mantari Lamal with Mainasara, Nigeria 2005

Pieter Hugo - Mallam Mantari Lamal with Mainasara, Nigeria 2005
Mallam Mantari Lamal with Mainasara, Nigeria 2005

Pieter Hugo - Mallam Umaru Ahmadu with Amita, Nigeria 2005
Mallam Umaru Ahmadu with Amita, Nigeria 2005

Pieter Hugo - Mohammed Rabiu with Jamis, Asaba, Nigeria 2007
Mohammed Rabiu with Jamis, Asaba, Nigeria 2007

Pieter Hugo - Mohammed Rabiu with Jamis, Ibusa, Nigeria 2007
Mohammed Rabiu with Jamis, Ibusa, Nigeria 2007

Pieter Hugo - Mora, Ajasco and handler, Lagos, Nigeria 2007
Mora, Ajasco and handler, Lagos, Nigeria 2007

Pieter Hugo - Motorbike rider with Amiloo, Nigeria 2005
Motorbike rider with Amiloo, Nigeria 2005

Pieter Hugo - Mummy Ahmadu and a snake charmer with a rock python, Abuja, Nigeria 2005
Mummy Ahmadu and a snake charmer with a rock python, Abuja, Nigeria 2005

Pieter Hugo - Mummy Ahmadu and Mallam Mantari Lamal with Mainasara, Abuja, Nigeria 2005
Mummy Ahmadu and Mallam Mantari Lamal with Mainasara, Abuja, Nigeria 2005

Pieter Hugo - Nura Garuba and friend with their monkey, Abuja, Nigeria 2005
Nura Garuba and friend with their monkey, Abuja, Nigeria 2005

Pieter Hugo - Pieter Hugo - Abdullahi Ahmadu with Mainasara, Nigeria 2005
Abdullahi Ahmadu with Mainasara, Nigeria 2005

Pieter Hugo - The Hyena Men of Abuja, Nigeria 2005, II
The Hyena Men of Abuja, Nigeria 2005, II

Pieter Hugo - The Hyena Men of Abuja, Nigeria 2005
The Hyena Men of Abuja, Nigeria 2005

Pieter Hugo - Umoru Murtala with School Boy, Asaba, Nigeria, 2007
Umoru Murtala with School Boy, Asaba, Nigeria 2007

Pieter Hugo - Umoru Murtala with School Boy, Asaba, Nigeria 2007
Umoru Murtala with School Boy, Asaba, Nigeria 2007

Pieter Hugo - Abdullahi Ahmadu with Emeka, Ibusa, Nigeria 2007
Abdullahi Ahmadu with Emeka, Ibusa, Nigeria 2007

Pieter Hugo - Abdullahi Ahmadu with Emeka, Ibusa, Nigeria 2007
Abdullahi Ahmadu with Emeka, Ibusa, Nigeria 2007

Pieter Hugo - Abdullahi Galadima with the monkey Amiloo, Nigeria 2005
Abdullahi Galadima with the monkey Amiloo, Nigeria 2005

Pieter Hugo - Abdullahi Mohammed with Gumu, Ogere-Remo, Nigeria 2007
Abdullahi Mohammed with Gumu, Ogere-Remo, Nigeria 2007

Pieter Hugo - Abdullahi Mohammed with Mainasara, Lagos, Nigeria (smoking), 2007
Abdullahi Mohammed with Mainasara, Lagos, Nigeria (smoking) 2007

Pieter Hugo - Abdullahi Mohammed with Mainasara, Lagos, Nigeria 2007
Abdullahi Mohammed with Mainasara, Lagos, Nigeria 2007

Pieter Hugo - Abdullahi Mohammed with Mainasara, Lagos, Nigeria 2007
Abdullahi Mohammed with Mainasara, Lagos, Nigeria 2007

Pieter Hugo - Abdullahi Mohammed with Mainasara, Ogere-Remo, Nigeria 2007
Abdullahi Mohammed with Mainasara, Ogere-Remo, Nigeria 2007

Pieter Hugo - Abdullahi Mohammed with Mainasara. Ogere-Remo, Nigeria. 2007
Abdullahi Mohammed with Mainasara. Ogere-Remo, Nigeria 2007

Pieter Hugo - Abdullahi Mohammed with wild dog and antelope carcass, Ogere-Remo, Nigeria 2007
Abdullahi Mohammed with wild dog and antelope carcass, Ogere-Remo, Nigeria 2007

Pieter Hugo - Abu Kikan with Ajasco, Asaba, Nigeria 2007
Abu Kikan with Ajasco, Asaba, Nigeria 2007

Pieter Hugo - Alhaji Hassan with Ajasco, Ogere-Remo, Nigeria 2007
Alhaji Hassan with Ajasco, Ogere-Remo, Nigeria 2007

Pieter Hugo - Amiloo and Clear, Abuja, Nigeria 2005
Amiloo and Clear, Abuja, Nigeria 2005

Pieter Hugo - Animal handler with Ajasco, Lagos, Nigeria 2007
Animal handler with Ajasco, Lagos, Nigeria 2007

Pieter Hugo - Dambe fighter, Kano, Nigeria 2005
Dambe fighter, Kano, Nigeria 2005

Pieter Hugo - Dayaba Usman with the monkey Clear, Nigeria 2005
Dayaba Usman with the monkey Clear, Nigeria 2005

Pieter Hugo - Emeka, motorcyclist and Abdullahi Ahmadu, Asaba, Nigeria 2007
Emeka, motorcyclist and Abdullahi Ahmadu, Asaba, Nigeria 2007

Pieter Hugo - Garuba Yaku with Rando, Nigeria 2005
Garuba Yaku with Rando, Nigeria 2005

Pieter Hugo - Garuba Yawu with Mora, Ogere-Remo, Nigeria 2007
Garuba Yawu with Mora, Ogere-Remo, Nigeria 2007

Pieter Hugo - Handler with School Boy, Lagos, Nigeria 2007
Handler with School Boy, Lagos, Nigeria 2007

Pieter Hugo - Jatto with Mainasara, Ogere-Remo, Nigeria 2007
Jatto with Mainasara, Ogere-Remo, Nigeria 2007

Pieter Hugo - Jatto with Mainasara, Ogere-Remo, Nigeria 2007
Jatto with Mainasara, Ogere-Remo, Nigeria 2007

Pieter Hugo - Jatto with Mainasara, Ogere-Remo, Nigeria 2007
Jatto with Mainasara, Ogere-Remo, Nigeria 2007

Pieter Hugo - Mallam Galadima Ahmadu with Jamis and Mallam Mantari Lamal with Mainasara, Nigeria 2005 II
Mallam Galadima Ahmadu with Jamis and Mallam Mantari Lamal with Mainasara, Nigeria 2005 II

Pieter Hugo - Mallam Galadima Ahmadu with Jamis, Abuja, Nigeria 2007
Mallam Galadima Ahmadu with Jamis, Abuja, Nigeria 2007


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Faces of the Arab Spring riots: The public, patriots and villains

Faces of the Arab Spring riots: The public, patriots and villains

Shirin Neshat - Installation view of The Book of Kings at Faurschou Foundation Beijing. Photo by Jonathan Leijonhufvud 1
Shirin Neshat – Installation view of The Book of Kings at Faurschou Foundation Beijing
Photo by Jonathan Leijonhufvud

The Gladstone Gallery and the Faurschou Foundation in Beijing, China are just some of the art spaces that have had the pleasure of exhibiting Shirin Neshat’s The Book of Kings. The exhibition consisted of a total of 56 black and white photos framed in unmated and black frames that were hung across the two galleries. Neshat, “persona non grata” in Iran due to her art, created the photographs to reference a broad array of important and modern political metaphors.

Shirin’s exhibit was motivated by the series of political uprisings, now commonly known as the Arab Spring, which took place throughout different Arab countries between 2011 and 2012. The Book of Kings explored the causal conditions of power within social and cultural structures in the modern society. The title of the installation was inspired by the 60,000-verse historical poem known as Shahnameh or the Book of Kings in English. 11th-century poet Ferdowsi created the ancient poem that inspired the title of the exhibition, and it chronicled the history of Iran throughout its 7th century Islamic conquest of Persia.

Managing to interweave history, politics, and poetry in one exhibition, Shirin Neshat was able to set the series against the backdrop of the Arab Spring perfectly. Just as Ferdowsi cast the Islamic conquest of Persia as a catastrophe, Neshat’s photographs were also created to commemorate the masses of unknown citizens who sacrificed themselves to see justice and political freedom upheld across many Arab and Middle East countries.

Shirin Neshat’s photographs consisted of three groups of large-scale black and white pictures; hand annotated pictures with poetry, and pictures featuring prison writings that had been done in Farsi calligraphy. These three groups of photographs represented the villains, the patriots, and the public that participated in the Arab Spring riots.

The portraits were hung in a grid covering a whole wall. The portraits featured head shots of both serious looking men and women. The subjects represented the nuances of group emotion during the riots from aspiration and resignation to hope and uncertainty.

Unlike the villains’ section, the patriot segment featured torso level portraits of young subjects placing their hands over their chests. The expressions on these subjects were more intense to include expressions of defiance, pride, and even hatred. The calligraphic elements on the skin of these subjects were larger and bolder as if shouting the expressions rather than whispering them.

Lastly, the villains’ category of the series consisted of pictures of older men. The calligraphic details were elaborate and were placed across the bare chest of the male subjects like tattoos. Observed together, all the three categories represented metaphors, symbols, and emotions that accompany political movements like the Arab Spring.

Shirin Neshat - Installation view of The Book of Kings at Faurschou Foundation Beijing. Photo by Jonathan Leijonhufvud
Shirin Neshat – Installation view of The Book of Kings at Faurschou Foundation Beijing
Photo by Jonathan Leijonhufvud

Shirin Neshat - Installation view of The Book of Kings at Faurschou Foundation Beijing. Photo by Jonathan Leijonhufvud
Shirin Neshat – Installation view of The Book of Kings at Faurschou Foundation Beijing
Photo by Jonathan Leijonhufvud

Shirin Neshat - Installation view of The Book of Kings at Faurschou Foundation Beijing. Photo by Jonathan Leijonhufvud
Shirin Neshat – Installation view of The Book of Kings at Faurschou Foundation Beijing
Photo by Jonathan Leijonhufvud

Shirin Neshat - Installation view of The Book of Kings at Faurschou Foundation Beijing. Photo by Jonathan Leijonhufvud
Shirin Neshat – Installation view of The Book of Kings at Faurschou Foundation Beijing
Photo by Jonathan Leijonhufvud

Shirin Neshat - Installation view of The Book of Kings at Faurschou Foundation Beijing. Photo by Jonathan Leijonhufvud
Shirin Neshat – Installation view of The Book of Kings at Faurschou Foundation Beijing
Photo by Jonathan Leijonhufvud

Shirin Neshat - Installation view of The Book of Kings at Faurschou Foundation Beijing. Photo by Jonathan Leijonhufvud
Shirin Neshat – Installation view of The Book of Kings at Faurschou Foundation Beijing
Photo by Jonathan Leijonhufvud

Shirin Neshat - Installation view of The Book of Kings at Faurschou Foundation Beijing. Photo by Jonathan Leijonhufvud
Shirin Neshat – Installation view of The Book of Kings at Faurschou Foundation Beijing
Photo by Jonathan Leijonhufvud

Shirin Neshat - Installation view of The Book of Kings at Faurschou Foundation Beijing. Photo by Jonathan Leijonhufvud
Shirin Neshat – Installation view of The Book of Kings at Faurschou Foundation Beijing
Photo by Jonathan Leijonhufvud

Shirin Neshat – Salah (Patriots), 2012, from Book of Kings
Shirin NeshatSalah (Patriots), 2012, from The Book of Kings

Shirin Neshat - Sara Khaki (Patriots), 2012, from Book of Kings
Shirin NeshatSara Khaki (Patriots), 2012, from The Book of Kings

Shirin Neshat – Roja (Patriots), 2012, from Book of Kings
Shirin NeshatRoja (Patriots), 2012, from The Book of Kings

Shirin Neshat - Muhammed (Patriots), 2012, from Book of Kings
Shirin NeshatMuhammed (Patriots), 2012, from The Book of Kings

Shirin Neshat - Nida (Patriots), 2012, from Book of Kings
Shirin NeshatNida (Patriots), 2012, from The Book of Kings

Shirin Neshat - Mana (Masses), 2012, from Book of Kings
Shirin NeshatMana (Masses), 2012, from The Book of Kings

Shirin Neshat - Salah (Masses), 2012, from Book of Kings
Shirin NeshatSalah (Masses), 2012, from The Book of Kings

Shirin Neshat - Sara Nafisi, 2012, from Book of Kings
Shirin NeshatSara Nafisi, 2012, from The Book of Kings

Shirin Neshat – Amir (Villians), 2012, from Book of Kings
Shirin NeshatAmir (Villains), 2012, from The Book of Kings

Shirin Neshat – Sherief (Villains), 2012, from Book of Kings
Shirin NeshatSherief (Villains), 2012, from The Book of Kings

Shirin Neshat – Bahram (Villains), 2012, from Book of Kings
Shirin NeshatBahram (Villains), 2012, from The Book of Kings

Shirin Neshat - Detail of Bahram (Villians), from Book of Kings
Shirin Neshat – Detail of Bahram (Villains), 2012, from The Book of Kings

Shirin Neshat in her studio working on Roja from "The Book of Kings"
Shirin Neshat in her studio working on Roja from The Book of Kings


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How North Korea likes to present itself to the world

How North Korea likes to present itself to the world

Philippe Chancel - Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006
Philippe Chancel – Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006

Every year, North Korea holds a lavish and extravagant celebration for its ruler known as the Arirang celebrations. The Arirang celebrations can be classified in the same category as the Olympic celebrations. The audience is always treated to a highly choreographed show, the likes of which have only ever been seen at the Olympics.

The Arirang celebrations are a combination of dance, music, art, and patriotism, performed by tens of thousands of gymnasts and dancers. Not many people have ever photographed the Arirang celebrations, but French photojournalist Phillipe Chancel has. The Arirang festivities depict a well-known Korean song by the same name. The Arirang song tells the tale of a young couple that is forcibly torn apart. In this case, the song refers to the division of North and South Korea.

Over the past 20 years, Phillipe Chancel has been taking photographs in North Korea that explore the complex, shifting and ever-growing territory where art, photojournalism, and documentary meet. Phillipe is constantly evolving and so are his projects. His Arirang series focuses on the images that world is confronted with when they do an internet search of North Korea versus what actually happens in the state of North Korea. His photographs of the Arirang festivals offer audiences an unparalleled and uncontrolled image of a tainted version of North Korea.

Most of Chancel’s photographs feature dancers at the festival who move in such a synchronized and uniform fashion that from a distance, it appears as if you are watching the transitions on a TV screen. The Arirang festival offered Chancel some of the best visual materials for the photographic series, which he also titled Arirang.

Not only did pictures of the festival give an enhanced understanding of life in Pyongyang, but the photos also helped to give a glimpse of propaganda. The propaganda filled backdrops, and the colorful matching outfits make a silent but clear statement that has helped people gain a better understanding of the eerie nation.

The celebration also reflects the significant artistic capabilities that human beings are capable of while highlighting the tyrannical rule that North Korean citizens are made to endure in the 21st century. On one side, the photographs make North Koreans appear like ordinary people participating in a run of the mill celebrations. However, on the flip side, these people live a very different existential experience where they are segregated from the rest of the world. Luckily for us, photographers like Chancel provide an insider’s look into the most unknown country in the world.

This is Chance’s second North Korean installation which he released after his first project DPRK. DPRK brought him the international recognition that resulted in publications and exhibitions of his works in several prestigious publications and galleries.

Philippe Chancel - Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006
Philippe Chancel – Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006

Philippe Chancel - Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006
Philippe Chancel – Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006

Philippe Chancel - Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006
Philippe Chancel – Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006

Philippe Chancel - Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006
Philippe Chancel – Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006

Philippe Chancel - Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006
Philippe Chancel – Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006

Philippe Chancel - Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006
Philippe Chancel – Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006

Philippe Chancel - Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006
Philippe Chancel – Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006

Philippe Chancel - Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006
Philippe Chancel – Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006

Philippe Chancel - Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006
Philippe Chancel – Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006

Philippe Chancel - Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006
Philippe Chancel – Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006

Philippe Chancel - Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006
Philippe Chancel – Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006

Philippe Chancel - Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006
Philippe Chancel – Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006


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Impressive photos of massive industrial landscapes show China’s transformation

Impressive photos of massive industrial landscapes show China’s transformation

Edward Burtynsky - Manufacturing #17, Deda Chicken Processing Plant, Dehui City, Jilin Province, 2005
Edward BurtynskyManufacturing #17, Deda Chicken Processing Plant, Dehui City, Jilin Province, China, 2005

For Edward Burtynsky, photography is much more than immortalizing a scene; while his focus is on taking photos, he is keen on sharing his point of view with the rest of the world. One of the most outstanding aspects of his works is his ability to connect to the real world. China for instance is a massive country, comprised of 3.7-million-square-miles of manufacturing landscape and that means people are busy all the time. What is a picture of China without a hint of humanity? The many pictures Burtynsky has taken of China appear to be carefully thought out; each one makes use of a location that not only captures what is happening on a large-scale, but also the people who make it happen.

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This city has never appeared on any official maps

This city has never appeared on any official maps

Nadav Kander - The Polygon Nuclear Test Site I (after the event), Kazakhstan, 2011
Nadav KanderThe Polygon Nuclear Test Site I (after the event), Kazakhstan, 2011

If it were possible to take a picture of the entire earth’s surface, the mosaic of human co-existence would be a sight to behold. Some areas are military grounds, mining cities or tourist destinations while others are education hubs just to mention a few. It is hard to appreciate that in the midst of all that are secrets as deep as the mystery of death. In the Dust series, as created by Nadav Kander’s, images of crows illuminated against the light of the moon in the darkness symbolizes how difficult it is to hide the truth. These images appear in the first three spreads, perhaps to prepare one’s mind to the secrets about to be uncovered.

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Everything they own: Intimate portraits of Chinese families

Everything they own: Intimate portraits of Chinese families

Huang Qingjun – Family Stuff
Huang QingjunFamily Stuff

Normally, life is viewed from the perspective of people as they appear in public. It is not unusual to come across a rich looking individual only to realize that their background or where they call home is not as lavish. When what we consider to be normal is transformed inside out, then a whole new dynamism of sights emerges. When Huang Qingjun took his first family picture of such nature in 2003, it would be the beginning of a new view in photography. Together with Ma Hongjie, they have for 10 years now been capturing scenes of life in its fragility.

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Pyongyang interiors in unexpected and bizarre colors

Pyongyang interiors in unexpected and bizarre colors

Oliver Wainwright - National Drama Theatre, Pyongyang
Oliver WainwrightNational Drama Theatre, Pyongyang, 2015

Oliver Wainwright North Korean Interiors documents the unique architecture and the interiors of various regions of North Korea and its capital Pyongyang. Not many photographers get the opportunity to explore this isolated country owing to its closed state; however, Wainwright took the opportunity and ran with it. The interiors that he documented were very kitsch and retro as they were originally created to adorn important theaters and buildings that were designed during the Soviet era.

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