Despite Everything, Standing Proud: Portraits of the South Sudanese

In March, I went to South Sudan with the NGO, Tearfund, to document the crisis. I’d been warned about what to expect from a number of photographers. Some had taken me to one side, telling me in hushed tones that famine is one of the hardest things to witness, and cautioned that I should mentally prepare for what I was about to see. Others warned me not to be ‘disappointed’ if I didn’t see the emaciated bodies and scenes from the well-documented famines from the end of the last century. ‘These days it’s more complex, hunger is harder to see, the effects are hidden away.’

The Grisly Spectacle of Lucha Libre Extrema

assignment for a Mexican magazine, photographer Annick Donkers found herself angling for an invitation to a particular car wash outside of Mexico City. On some nights, this car wash transforms into a venue for the hardcore wrestling style called Lucha Libre Extrema. Illegal in the city for its brutality — Annick told me there are “basically no rules” — it’s difficult for journalists and outsiders to get invited. Once inside, she had to protect her camera for fear that it might get shattered when she approached for close shots of the wrestlers. Intrigued by the appeal this extreme sport holds for spectators, which include women and children, Annick says her work aims to observe but not judge. For Polarr, we spoke about the project.

Michelle Van Parys: The States Project: South Carolina | LENSCRATCH

Michelle Van Parys is a beacon in our photographic community here in South Carolina. To say Michelle is hardworking would be an understatement. She built the photo program twenty years ago at the College of Charleston, hired the leading darkroom architect to outfit a workspace for her students, and continues to run her own show all the while making work, publishing and teaching.

A Collective Determined to Share the Untold American Stories

Just recently, a handful of talented photographers launched American Reportage, a collective dedicated to telling stories about the American experience. Founded by photographers Pete Marovich, Justin Merriman, Brian Plonka, Jeff Swensen, Kathleen Flynn and Adria Malcolm, the goal is for its members to produce in-depth stories of people and communities whose voices often go unheard.  

We spoke with two of the founding photographers, Justin Merriman and PhotoShelter member Pete Marovich, about the inspiration behind the project.

John Lusk Hathaway: The States Project: South Carolina | LENSCRATCH

Although we have yet to meet in person, I feel in some ways I know John Lusk Hathaway by the kind of images he makes—down to earth and honest.

For five years now John Lusk Hathaway has been traversing the low country in South Carolina, making connections, driving back roads, taking his time with folks, sometimes with a camera and sometimes without. All the while gaining trust and listening to stories so he can make pictures. It is no wonder his perspective makes us feel we are both a part of while at the same time acknowledging we are not from.

Amid Crisis, Venezuela’s Youth Wait to Live Again – The New York Times

Adriana Loureiro Fernández’s images of the protests and street clashes in Venezuela are dark — masked figures emerging from shadows, backlit by flames or wrapped in swirls of tear gas. People flash a gun or a knife, or show off stones that would soon be launched at police. She gets up close, which is bold considering she once had a fear of crowds. Still, she has gotten used to pushing herself, physically and emotionally, as she witnesses the political chaos that continues to upend her homeland.

Photos of a Strange and Beautiful Australian Mining Town – Feature Shoot

In 2008, French photographer Antoine Bruy spent a year in Australia. When he returned home, he planned to bring with him more than a hundred rolls of film. All of them were lost. “Since then, I kept thinking of going back, to do something about this place,” the artist says.

What The Photo Editor of VanityFair.Com Wants

Last month I was flipping through Vanity Fair, when I caught Chiara Marinai’s name on the masthead. Chiara is the Photo Editor of, which means any imagery you see on their site goes through her first.

I connected with Chiara over email to find out a little more about what her role entails, including some of her biggest challenges, her specific photography needs, and the one thing she does before making a final decision about a photographer.

Twenty-five years after the siege of Sarajevo, exploring the city’s colorful palette – The Washington Post

The images were etched in photographer Nick Otto’s mind as he recently traveled to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Desaturated and monochrome images of war and destruction from the 1990s. The siege of Sarajevo had been the longest siege of a major city in modern warfare. San Francisco-based Otto aimed to tell the story of a city still mired in a long recovery from the fog of war, with high unemployment and a lagging economy. However, when he got on the ground and started working, a different picture began to emerge.

Many people can’t tell when photos are fake. Can you? – The Washington Post

In a test designed by Nightingale and taken by more than 700 men and women, participants could tell an image was faked only 60 percent of the time — a little better than if they guessed completely at random. And with the correct picks, only 45 percent of participants could pinpoint what had been changed in a photo. (Men were slightly more adept at finding the specific change.)

Finding Visual Poetry in Russia – The New York Times

A woman bundles up behind a jumble of mismatched chairs. A man at a table leans into his palm. A veiled woman averts her eyes as she steps into the light. Some of these photos are sentences, others phrases, and still others seem to be straight out of a Joseph Brodsky poem. For Igor Posner, they represent the “half-seen, half-recollected” return to his hometown — St. Petersburg — where he had not been since coming to America as a 20-year-old Jewish refugee in the early 1990s.

Powerful portraits confront the politics of race and representation – Feature Shoot

Visual activist photographer Zanele Muholi has her first solo exhibition opening this month at the East London gallery Autograph ABP. For more than a decade, she has focused on documenting black LGTBQI people in South Africa. Her ongoing portrait series Somnyama Ngonyama was inspired by her experiences on the road and the socio-political events she encountered along the way. Using her body as a canvas, her psychologically driven portraits confront the politics of race and representation.

When Education Is Hijacked by War – The New York Times

In 2014, Diego Ibarra Sánchez was photographing at a school in Iraq. The building was pockmarked with craters from mortar shelling that obliterated an Islamic State encampment that had sought refuge there. In one classroom, Iraqi soldiers kicked around the head of an Islamic State fighter like a soccer ball. A severed leg sat atop a desk behind them.

Exploring the Unusually High Suicide Rates in Lithuania | FotoRoom

When he learned that Lithuania’s suicide rates are almost three times higher than the rest of Europe—especially among adult men living in Lithuania‘s countryside—31 year-old German photographer Hannes Jung was made curious to find out more about the reasons of such numbers. After consulting a range of experts on the subject, he discovered that the general causes of this phenomenon may date back to the history of the country’s post Second World War years; but he also realized that no wide assumptions can be made

Tracy Fish: The States Project: South Carolina | LENSCRATCH

When the Road Seeks sets us in the midst of a short story with each image we read. We open our eyes and we feel the atmosphere, curiosity, the romanticized history of the landscape, solitude, and slight quirkiness that is part of the multi-faceted country in which we live.

Burned-out buses, unexploded missiles: a photographer on the road through Syria. – The Washington Post

“We wanted to understand who is really ruling the country now, to see if there will be a chance of reconciliation in the close future,” photographer Christian Werner told In Sight. He and reporter Fritz Schaap drove the route in Syria that took them through the three largest cities, Aleppo, Latakia and Homs. In a two-part essay for Der Spiegel, Schapp described part of their route, which Werner’s photos echo. “Burned-out military vehicles and buses line the route while unexploded missiles jut from the brown, barren soil like cactuses.”

Now That You’re Outraged, Register Your Damn Copyright – PhotoShelter Blog

In the US, a photographer does own the copyright the moment he/she presses the shutter. But damages for willful infringement are generally capped at the market value. Presumably $25 in Dubler’s case since that is the precedent he set. But when you register your image with the US Copyright Office, you can be awarded up to $150,000 per image for a willful infringement plus legal costs.

LENSCRATCH Student Prize Honorable Mention Winner: Marlena Jablonska | LENSCRATCH

Join us in congratulating Marlena Jablonska for her honorable mention in the 2017 Lenscratch Student Prize.  It is understandable the desire to re-image old fables as their themes are reminiscent of development and coming of age. Within contemporary photography, fables have been prompts for tableaux, and other narrative driven projects, to dress up these very humanistic, basic themes.  Marlena, dissecting what exactly fables are, finds herself returning home and photographing the changes that she faces.  Her introspection becomes the story, lore in real-time, void of color and excitement as she navigates through spaces once familiar.  This perspective, highlighted by Marlena’s somber aesthetic, provided a peculiarity that we agreed was unique and deserving of recognition.