After presenting the recipients of the 2017 W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund in Humanistic Photography awards on October 18, 2017 (Daniel Garcia Castro, Edmund Clark and Alex Majoli), The Eye of Photography joins the organization and features the works of the prize finalists.
As much as possible, I worked from instinct. Taking photos resembles an improvised game. I feel that the more a photo is spontaneous and unplanned, the more it becomes alive, the more it moves from showing to existing.
We began with Alec Soth, who welcomed the new year from St. Paul, Minnesota. Gueorgui Pinkhassov showed us Moscow, from a candlelit Orthodox Christmas celebration and a look at life across the city. Dominic Nahr documented his trip home, to Hong Kong, to visit his mother, and Bieke Depoorter took her first trip to northern Norway. Finally, Jacob Aue Sobol’s portraits of Milwaukee brought us full circle, back to the Midwest. Here’s a look at highlights from the month
“I enjoy taking part in life,” says Magnum photographer Jacob Aue Sobol. “When I photograph someone, it’s all about the exchange with that other person and what happens there. It’s as much about myself and what grows from this encounter as it is about the subject.”
The Magnum photographer Jacob Aue Sobol rode the Trans-Siberian Railway through Russia, Mongolia, and China to create his new series, “Arrivals and Departures.” “The work,” he explains, “is a travel through time. Mile by mile, we cross the post-Communist superpowers and gradually move closer to something that once was distant and exotic.”
Magnum photographer, Jacob Aue Sobol (1976, Denmark), grew up in the suburbs of wonderful Copenhagen. At the age of 22 he graduated from the European Film College and gained entry to The Danish School of Documentary and Art Photography "Fatamorgana".
I admire all the people I take pictures of because they put themselves in a very vulnerable position. They trust me and I trust them, and it is important for me that there’s a mutual understanding of this. That we’re communicating in a way where it’s not just ‘me looking at them’, but there’s an exchange of emotions and life.
I arrive in Ulaanbaatar after four days on the train. It’s a relief to get off and be amongst people again. The Mongolians. I feel it right away. These people are proud and strong, but they’re also caught in a strange connection between the present and the past.
Even though I am a photographer, I try to avoid being a voyeur. It has always been my ambition not only to look, but also take part in life, which can be quite frustrating, especially if you have a tight deadline. If I meet someone playing soccer in the street, I immediately feel like playing with them instead of just watching. I never found it interesting to look at someone from the other side of the street, or to be “invisible” as a photographer. I hope this is the reason why people never feel like a voyeur looking at my images– because you feel that you are taking part.
In this series of images I show the isolated and trapped residents of Southeastern Ohio. From Hercules the German Shepherd, chained to his house in the snow to Timmy, asleep on the couch, trapped in his body and requiring around the clock care from his family. Despite their bleak surroundings there is still a sense of whimsy and beauty in the lives of the region’s occupants. They opened their homes to me and this is my love song to the place I once lived.