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The largest photojournalism festival, Visa pour l’Image, kicks off on Saturday in Perpignan, France — and this year the festivities are sure to be bigger than ever. The festival, which met with extreme skepticism when it was first started by the inimitable Jean-Francois Leroy, is triumphantly celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year.

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The 15th Noorderlicht Photofestival is presenting two major new exhibits, Behind Walls and Beyond Walls, which offer a sweeping overview of Eastern European photography before and after the fall of Communism in 1989. Photography from all the former East Block lands is brought together in one large-scale presentation. Much of the work is being shown for the first time outside its country of origin.

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Photos by Sol Neelman

Ok, so the Games are over. Over dinner with friends, Rob Gauthier of the LA Times and I were talking about how during the middle of the Games, we felt like it’d never end. But then, the night after the Closing Ceremonies, we wondered where did the time go?

Well, here is the Mother Load of images:

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the DPRK invests an estimated 200 million of its people’s man-hours each year in a choreographed extravaganza of gymnastics, music and dancing. That way the politically vetted elite permitted to reside in Pyongyang can watch kids in fuchsia leotards doing back-flips through hula-hoops. They call it the Mass Games, and it’s the most surreal sight in the most bizarre nation on the planet.

Check it out here.

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Journalists and photographers were targeted by police during the aftermath of a demonstration by Free Tibet activists near the Olympic stadium in Beijing

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On Thursday, August 7th, Georgian armed forces entered into the breakaway region of South Ossetia to assert Georgian governance of the region – a de facto (yet largely unrecognized) independent republic that has support from neighboring Russia. Russia responded on August 8th by sending its own military into Georgia – not only into region of South Ossetia – but also into the nearby breakaway republic of Abkhazia and deeper into Georgia itself. Many Airstrikes and ground skirmishes have taken place since, with several parties calling for a cease-fire, but no agreement as yet. Those paying the highest price for the war are the South Ossetian civilians, which may have suffered (depending on who is reporting) between 100 and 2,000 deaths to date

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Photographer Pieter Hugo, whose work I’ve blogged about before, has a spectacular new series of images out about Nigeria’s homegrown movie stars.

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Every so often, I need to dump all this crap out of my head. I’ve spent so much time learning and assimilating so much into the way I shoot that I just need to forget. To let go of everything and just shoot the way I want. To not have to worry about deadlines and expectations. Standards and content. The pictures might be worthless, but at least it instills some new sense of freedom and rekindles that passion that I sometimes lose when photography starts to become work.

Check it out here.

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Writer and photographer Beth Lesser travelled in Jamaica throughout the Eighties with her husband, interviewing musicians for her magazine. Along the way she captured the scene at the time, exploring the period between the death of Marley and ragga’s conquest of America

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There was a pretty big grass fire near the city on Monday. It seemed tame at first, but then it spread rapidly, pushing its way to the edge of many neighborhoods. I ended up abandoning my car and running around the neighborhood following the fire.

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Quote: “For me, photography has become a way of attempting to make sense of the very strange world that I see around me. I don’t ever expect to achieve that understanding, but the fact that I am trying comforts me”

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Brewce Martin began building Skatopia in 1996. Skatopia sits on 88 acres of hilly, forested land in Rutland, Ohio, an Appalachian town with a population of approximately 420, about 20 minutes from the West Virginia state line. Martin has been a skateboarding fanatic since he was a kid. That was in the Seventies; he is 42 now. Martin and his girlfriend, Amber Cavender, revel in the chaos of this year’s Bowl Bash, the annual summertime festival that’s Skatopia’s answer to Woodstock.

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In a thought-provoking photo-essay in Lens Culture, Frank Yamrus shows us 25 “luxury” plastic bottle designs

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After shooting for over an hour, some of the volunteer security started to get very nervous and tried to get us further away from the scene. They first created a Human Great Wall. Didn’t bother me because I’m way taller than them, simply shot over their heads.

That frustrated them, so they created another human fence 3 meters further back and had their tallest kid, 5’10”, stand right in front of me. Still, no affect. Just made me laugh.

Bring it on, Shorty!

Check it out here.

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photos by DAVID WALTER BANKS

Traveling and meeting new folks in this photographic community never ceases to give me the jump-start I need. Here’s some images from the excursion.

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Two of our galleries in edition ten deal with oppression – one in a country currently much in the headlines, Burma otherwise known as Myanmar, the other in the Czech Republic where minority Romany people are, according to our photographer, the victims of racism and discrimination.

Check it out here.

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