Afar girl’s eyes, Danakil, Ethiopia by Eric Lafforgue
Posts Tagged With: travelling
Photojournalist Steve McCurry is best known for shooting one of the most famous photographs ever taken -– 1985′s “Afghan Girl,” an image of a young girl with sea green eyes staring defiantly into the camera. But war and those affected by it are not his only subjects. “Like most photographers, I’m fascinated by people in everyday situations,” he says. “The work I do is mostly wandering and observing human nature and human activity, working and playing and leisure time. As you’re walking around the streets of China, India, New York, whererver -– it is fun to photograph people simply doing things.”
One of his ongoing projects is compiling a collection of photos of people reading, entitled “Fusion: The Synergy of Energy and Words” (Part I and Part II). The idea to shoot photos of people reading was itself prompted by his relationship with legendary Hungarian photographer André Kertész, who was also fascinated with images of people reading. (You can view a gallery here).
McCurry’s photos cross these cultural and socioeconomic boundaries. His personal favorite of his collection is a photo of a young Thai man reading a book while nestled up to the back of an elephant, shot earlier this year (and reproduced below). Among the two dozen images posted online is photo of a group of Chinese men perusing newspapers through a shop window, another of an Afghan shopkeeper reading in his modest stall, and one Italian monks in contemplation with their Bibles.
As a photographer, McCurry is always on the hunt for the “unguarded moment,” that slice of time that reveals something personal and honest. “Reading offers a time for contemplation. Even in Afghanistan, where life is not easy, you notice people in unlikley circumstances reading,” he says. “I have a picture of a man in a manhole (below) -– he was using it as a bomb shelter between air raids — who was reading the book. Reading is something any literate person is drawn to do and it becomes a part of your life. It’s just one of the things that connects us all together, that reminds us that we’re all the same.”
I’m longtime fans of photojournalist Peter Menzel, whose visual anthropology captures the striking span of humanity’s socioeconomic and cultural spectrum. His Hungry Planet portrayed the world’s sustenance with remarkable graphic eloquence, and today I’m turning to some of his earliest work, doing the same for the world’s shelter: Material World: A Global Family Portrait — a beautiful visual time-capsule of life in 30 countries, captured by 16 of the world’s leading photographers.
In each of the 30 countries, Menzel found a statistically average family and photographed them outside their home, with all of their belongings. The result is an incredible cross-cultural quilt of possessions, from the utilitarian to the sentimental, revealing the faceted and varied ways in which we use “stuff” to make sense of the world and our place in it.
Though the book is now 17 years old, it is still relevant and it’s still a curious meta-evidence for the material world we live in. Some of these families may have more today, but the disparity is probably the same in most cases. It still circulates. And for another excellent companion read, see Menzel’s 1998 follow-up, Women in the Material World — a fascinating look at an even more intimate aspect of the human family.
Mali: The Natomo Family
It’s common for men in this West African country to have two wives, as 39-year-old Soumana Natomo does, which increases their progeny and in turn their chance to be supported in old age. Soumana now has eight children, and his wives, Pama Kondo (28) and Fatouma Niangani Toure (26), will likely have more. How many of these children will survive, though, is uncertain: Mali’s infant mortality rate ranks among the ten highest in the world. Possessions not included in this photo: Another mortar and pestle for pounding grain, two wooden mattress platforms, 30 mango trees, and old radio batteries that the children use as toys.
Well known for his eye-opening book Material World: A Global Family Portrait where he asked an average family in 30 locations to empty out their homes to show their possessions, Peter Menzel came up with another brilliant book idea. He teamed up with his wife, Faith D’Aluision, and together traveled the world exploring how the eating habits differ from country to country. Then the duo presented their results in a photo album, called Hungry Planet: What the World Eats.
Apart from being interesting and educative, the project brings up some social issues. The exposed weekly grocery list provides information not only about dietary habits, but also about health, economy, lifestyle, etc. It also clearly shows the division between the first world and the developing countries. Interestingly, less affluent families eat more nutritious food than those who could actually afford it. On the contrary, more economically stable families eat more processed food, while fresh products constitute just a small part of their diet.
The wife and husband’s team visited 24 different countries and 30 families to photograph them at home, at the market, and surrounded by their weekly food supplies.
Chad: The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp
Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23
Favorite foods: soup with fresh sheep meat
What was your favorite toy as a child? In Gabriele Galimberti’s wonderful series Toy Stories, which I recently spotted over at Feature Shoot, the Italian photographer traveled the world to photograph children with their most prized possessions, be they pink or blue, new or old, plentiful or scarce. The resulting photo series is in turns haunting and funny, but Galimberti’s reports from the field are equally interesting. “The richest children were more possessive. At the beginning, they wouldn’t want me to touch their toys, and I would need more time before they would let me play with them,” Galimberti says. “In poor countries, it was much easier. Even if they only had two or three toys, they didn’t really care. In Africa, the kids would mostly play with their friends outside.”
Toy Stories doesn’t just appeal in its cheerful demeanor, but it really becomes quite the anthropological study. And, ultimately, these photos give poignant insight into poverty on a very basic level – children’s toys.
Page through a few of our favorites from the series after the jump, and then be sure to head over to Galimberti’s website to see many more.
Tangawizi – Keekorok, Kenya
Out of sight, out of mind, the phrase continues to plague my perspective. I suppose that’s why traveling’s so important. And that’s exactly what Kenyan-born, English-raised, Venice-based documentary photographer James Mollison explores in Where Children Sleep – a remarkable collaborative project between him and American journalist Chris Booth capturing the diversity of and, often, disparity between children’s lives around the world through portraits of their bedrooms. The project began on a brief to engage with children’s rights and morphed into a thoughtful meditation on poverty and privilege, its 56 images spanning from the stone quarries of Nepal to the farming provinces of China to the silver spoons of Fifth Avenue.
Perhaps most interestingly, this project was designed as an empathy tool for nine- to 13-year-olds to better understand the lives of other children around the world, but it is also very much a poignant photographic essay on human rights for the adult reader.
One of the more meaningful photo series I’ve come across in a while, these photographs paint a reality that is difficult to depict through words, revealing shocking differences across countries, going from girls with thousand dollar dresses in their private mansions to shepherd boys sleeping with goats.
Read on to let Chris Booth and James Mollison show you where children sleep.
Lamine, 12, lives in Senegal. He is a pupil at the village Koranic school, where no girls are allowed. He shares a room with several other boys. The beds are basic, some supported by bricks for legs. At six every morning the boys begin work on the school farm, where they learn how to dig, harvest maize and plough the fields using donkeys. In the afternoon they study the Koran. In his free time Lamine likes to play football with his friends.
Russian photographer Murad Osmann creatively documents his travels around the world with his girlfriend, Nataly Zakharova, always leading the way in his ongoing series known as Follow Me To.
With her back turned, never revealing her face to the camera, Osmann’s girlfriend guides us all on a journey across the globe to some of the most beautiful, exotic, and radiant environments. There are also comforting and familiar settings mixed in for good measure.
Whether the couple is spending a romantic night in Moscow, having an exotic adventure in Asia, wandering the streets of Tokyo, or simply going to Disneyland, Osmann keeps a visual record of their escapades as he trails behind his beloved.
He shoots the photos either on his iPhone or digital SLR camera and processes them using multiple filters in the Camera+ app before posting on Instagram.
Enjoy this exciting series and get inspired.
If grandmothers around the world had a rallying cry, it would probably sound something like “You need to eat!”
Photographer Gabriele Galimberti’s Tuscan grandmother Marisa said something similar to him before one of his many globetrotting work trips. To ensure he had at least one good meal, she prepared for him a dish of “ravioli ripieni” before he departed for his tour around the world by couchsurfing. She was not so concerned about the possible risks or mishaps her grandson might face in his adventurous travelling worldwide, but her major concern was, “what will he eat”? That is because only at home you can eat well and healthily. And above all, only your Italian grandmother (and sometimes mum) knows what is best for you.
With the taste of his grandma’s ravioli in his mouth, Gabriele travelled around the world and, next to thousands of other adventures, turned into a curious and hungry grandson for the grannies of all the countries he visited.
Appealing to their natural cooking care and their inevitable pride in their recipe, common factors to all grandmothers in the world, Gabriele persuaded them to do their best in the kitchen. This means moose stake in Alaska and caterpillars in Malawi, delicious, but ferociously hot, ten-spice-curry in India and shark soup in the Philippines.
Delicatessen with Love honors the many grandmas who have shown their grandchildren love through their culinary skills. You can’t help but smile as you flip through the series of happy women who are proudly presenting their favorite dishes, and an unexpected pure overwhelming happiness washes over you.
Maria Luz Fedric, 53, Cayman Islands. Honduran Iguana with rice and beans
Boogert believes that all students worldwide share the same goals: to move forward and establish a career. Their housing — be it a room, an apartment, a dorm or a hut — is as universal as those goals, and the Images Connect project aims to highlight that universality.
He visited 10 countries to capture all of his images: Kenya, Russia, Moldova, Cuba, Bolivia, the Philippines, India, Hong Kong, Italy and his home country of the Netherlands. And even though he chose such a diverse selection of countries, he found much the same thing everywhere he went. “A bed, a small seating area, some posters on the wall and clutter on the ground,” a representation of those goals and, in some cases, the sacrifices required to reach them.
In terms of composition there is room for improvement, but the result is, nevertheless, an interesting insight into students’ lives across many cultures.