Posts Tagged ‘photography’

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Alessandro Portelli, “Harlan County/Kolkata” (November 2016)

by Alessandro Portelli [ht: db] at Jadavpur University in Kolkata

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Matt Black, “Rainstorm” (York, Pennsylvania, 2015)
[York has a population of 43,718 and 37.1 percent live below the poverty level.]

This and other striking images of poverty in the United States by Matt Black are currently on show in a group exhibition, New Blood, at the Magnum Print Room in London.

Last summer Matt Black left the Central Valley of California, where he lives, to travel 18,000 miles across the US on a road trip that took him through 30 states and 70 of the poorest towns in America. The startling image of a hand resting on a fence post against a barren backdrop was taken in the small town of Allensworth, California, where 54% of the population of 471 people live below the poverty level.

“California always seemed special and unique in terms of how it symbolised promise and progress,” says Black, 45, during a break in shooting landscapes in Idaho, where he’s working on another stage of the same series, Geography of Poverty. “So it seemed somehow symbolic to begin there and travel east, but what has surprised me is the similarities I have encountered as I travelled from one community to another. All these diverse communities are connected, not least in their powerlessness. In the mainstream media, poverty is often looked at in isolation, but it is an American problem. It seems to me that it goes unreported because it does not fit the way America sees itself.”

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Arthur Rothstein, “Resettlement Officials” (Maryland, 1935)

Bill McDowell is an American photographer and curator. For his series Ground, he chose images from the 175,000 commissioned by the U.S. Farm Security Administration in the 1930s and 40s—and was especially drawn to those Roy Stryker damaged with a hole punch to prevent their being used again.

McDowell compares the punched hole to “a portal [that] connects us to post-Depression America” in the wake of the 2007-08 global financial crash.

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Here’s another photo from “1% Privilege in a Time of Global Inequality,” this one by Michael Light:

This gated community in Henderson, Nevada, shows “the environmental effects of our consumption and of our privileged lifestyles,” Little says. You can create an oasis in the desert “if you add a tremendous amount of money and chemicals and water.”

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Here’s another photo from “1% Privilege in a Time of Global Inequality,” this one by Paolo Woods and Gabriele Galimberti:

A man floats in a swimming pool atop Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands Hotel, the city’s financial district looming behind him. Little says that Singapore is a “tax haven”—a place “where it’s legal for major corporations to hide their money from the tax man.”

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How do you photography to represent the grotesque levels of inequality in the world today?

According to Becky Little [ht: sm],

When people think of inequality, they often think first of the lives of the world’s poorest people. . .

1% Privilege in a Time of Global Inequality features 50 images from different photographers that show vast class disparities around the world. By mostly showcasing the wealthy, the book responds to previous photo collections that have documented the poor and struggling in an almost idolizing way.

“When we glamorize or hero-ize the bottom one percent, the struggling migrants, in a sense we accept their plight and say that we, in a sense, permit this to continue happening, this economic injustice,” says Myles Little, the book’s editor.

“Instead of turning people like that into icons or heroes,” he continues, “you might say instead that they are victims of a crime—and it’s not them that we should be interrogating, but maybe the people who put them there.”

As for the photo above, by Mitch Epstein,

A store advertises its going-out-of-business sale. “This is another image that, to me, speaks about the pressures of the middle class,” Little says. “The sadness of being of a hardworking family who is playing by the rules but who still can’t make it.”

 

Photo of the day

Posted: 25 September 2015 in Uncategorized
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Ten photographers have united for Action/2015 to offer their perspectives on equality.*

According to one of the photographers, Susan Meiselas,

I travelled to Wisconsin to look at the state of industry in a city with a rich manufacturing heritage. I found a stark contradiction. On one hand, the wealth and power that the buildings themselves represented and, on the other, the workers who kept the business moving: mostly replaceable labour on minimum wage.

*Photos above: the headquarters of Visual Impressions, a wholesale T-shirt embroidery and impressions business, where Teresa, an embroiderer, has been working for six years.