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The Opioid Diaries TIME Photography James Nachtwey (Warning! Graphic Content) April 20, 2018

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The opioid crisis is the worst addiction epidemic in American history. (This amazing account of the crisis from photographer James Nachtwey, TIME’s deputy director of photography, Paul Moakley and TIME magazine touches on the destructive pulse of America’s opioid saga).

Drug overdoses kill more than 64,000 people per year, and the nation’s life expectancy has fallen for two years in a row. But there is a key part of the story that statistics can’t tell.

Over the last year, photographer James Nachtwey set out to document the opioid crisis in America through the people on its front lines. Alongside TIME’s deputy director of photography, Paul Moakley, the pair traveled the country gathering stories from users, families, first responders and others at the heart of the epidemic.

Here, Nachtwey’s images are paired with quotes from Moakley’s interviews, which have been edited. The voices are a mix of people in the photos and others who are connected to them. The Opioid Diaries is a visual record of a national emergency—and it demands our urgent attention.

ADVISORY

Graphic content could be disturbing to some readers

COMMENTARY BY JAMES NACHTWEY

Like most people, I’d heard about the opioid epidemic. It was especially hard to get my mind around a statistic from 2016: almost as many deaths from drug overdoses as in all of America’s recent wars combined. But numbers are an abstraction. I had no idea what it looked like on the ground. The only way to make real sense of it, I told my editors, was to see what happens to individual human beings, one by one.

Photography can cut through abstractions and rhetoric to help us understand complex issues on a human level. Never is photography more essential than in moments of crisis. To witness people suffering is difficult. To make a photograph of that suffering is even harder. The challenge is to remain open to very powerful emotions and, rather than shutting down, channel them into the images. It is crucial to see with a sense of compassion and to comprehend that just because people are suffering does not mean they lack dignity.

Over the past 35 years, my work as a photojournalist has taken me to other countries to document wars, uprisings, natural disasters and global health crises. In revisiting my own country I discovered a national nightmare. But the people living through it aren’t deviants. They are ordinary citizens, our neighbors, our family members. I don’t think I met one user whom I would consider to be a bad person. No one wants to be an addict.

I also saw signs of hope, particularly from the people who are dealing with the crisis at the street level. Some of them are former users who have lifted themselves up and are using their experience to help others. They are refusing to allow our country to be defined by this problem. Instead, they are helping us define ourselves by finding solutions. We must join them.

http://time.com/james-nachtwey-opioid-addiction-america/

Bird Photographer of the Year: (A shortlist). Competition date of entry 20 August 2018 April 12, 2018

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The Bird Photographer of the Year contest fosters a “growing interest and passion for photographing one of the most interesting and engaging areas of natural history.” Much like last year’s collection of awe-inspiring winning photos, this year’s recently released shortlist showcases the unique beauty and behaviors of birds around the world.

The winner in 2016 was Mario Cea Sanchez.

Here is the technical info for the astonishing shoot:

Winner 2016

Special Award: People’s Choice

Mario Cea, Spain

The blue trail

The kingfisher frequented this natural pond every day, and Mario used a high shutter speed with artificial light to photograph it. He used several units of flash for the kingfisher and a continuous light to capture the wake as the bird dived down towards the water.

Technical specification

Canon EOS 7D; 100–400mm lens at 160mm; 1/15 sec at f7.1; 250 ISO; four Godox V860 flashes; LED light lantern; Benro tripod and ballhead; Cable release; Hide.

The Bird Photographer of the Year contest is split into 8 categories. Some, like Best Portrait and Attention to Detail, capture the distinctive features that make the subjects so special. Others, including Bird Behavior and Birds in Flight, showcase the animals in action, while Birds in the Environment and Garden and Urban Birds place an emphasis on the creatures’ surroundings. Finally, the Creative Imagery category gives applicants ample artistic freedom, and the Young Photographer of the Year “aims to encourage and recognize the younger generation of birders and photographers.”

Each grouping has its own shortlist from which the winners will be selected. When picking their victor, the judges will not consider the person behind the camera. On a mission to make avian photography accessible to all, the contest’s organizers—Nature Photographers Ltd and the British Trust for Ornithology—welcome submissions from everyone, whether you’re a “hardened pro” or “hobbyist with a cameraphone.”

The winners of this year’s Bird Photographer of the Year competition will be announced on August 20. Until then, enjoy this amazing selection of shortlisted photos.

The Mind-bending Microscopic crystalline photography of Justin Zoll April 12, 2018

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Justin Zoll’s microscopic photography is one of the most perfect fusions of art and science ever seen. These mind-bending psychedelic images are all created by placing crystallized substances such as menthol, MDMA or caffeine onto a slide and using different light filters to create lurid, kaleidoscopic results.

Justin Zoll describes his process and the procedure: “The process is somewhat specific to the substance I am working with, but in general I will either melt a small amount of material between two glass slides using a small butane torch, or I will dissolve some material in a solvent. If I have a material that melts easily I simply wait for the molten liquid to crystallize as it cools. For many substances this happens within a few minutes.

“In the case of materials I dissolve, a small amount of the solution is deposited on a slide using a pipette and then allowed to dry. Sometimes I use a small hot plate to speed this process but of course different temperatures and drying times produce different results. Once I have my slide prepared I load it onto my microscope stage and begin observation. I use a polarizing filter between my light source and subject, and then another between my subject and my camera sensor.

“The crossed polarizers interact with the birefringent properties of the crystals, resulting in the wide array of colors seen in my images. Nearly all of my photos are stitched panoramas. The sharpness and field of view of a single frame is not usually quite sufficient for my purposes and so I take an array of perhaps 30 images to assemble into a larger final file.

“I do very little post production on my images. They are, as I said, mostly panoramas … but I do not consider this to be in any way manipulation. I might remove the odd sensor dust speck here and there, crop of course, and sometimes a little bit of exposure adjustment and sharpening. Nothing that changes the overall look of the image too drastically from that which is seen directly through the scope. I have an attachment to preserving the truth of the image in a certain sense. This carries over to most of my landscape work as well.

 

“One of the first substances that really surprised me was menthol. It’s quite easy to melt or dissolve and I have yet to get to a point where I feel I have exhausted the possibilities with it. It creates some fantastically diverse structures depending on how it is prepared.

The L-Glutamine and beta alanine series

“I had been experimenting with the crystallization of amino acids for a little while already before I came across this particular combination. I was already very fond of beta alanine as a medium before I combined these two. I actually have to give credit to another photographer who does work similar to mine; a fellow by the name of Matt Inman. I had seen Matt’s work online and really loved the forms of these two substances in combination.

“It took quite a lot of experimentation to produce crystals I was interested in photographing. I have had the best results with a solution of each in a roughly 1:1 ratio in a very high proof vodka. I deposit 100 μL of the resulting liquid on a slide and heat it on a low temperature using my hot plate. No matter how many times I repeat this process with seemingly similar parameters I end up with noticeably different results. Recently, the addition of taurine to this mix has added another layer of complexity to my work with these materials.

The Methodology:

“There’s a lot of trial and error! Once I’ve selected the substance I intend to work with I have to figure out how to crystallize it. Some can simply be melted and will crystallize during cooling. Others must first be dissolved in a solvent and then allowed to dry. Different chemicals are soluble in different solvents so there is certainly some chemistry to learn along the way.

Once my samples are crystallized on glass slides, I explore them through my microscope. It can take many, many slides of the same substance for me to find a suitable composition. Once I think I’ve found an area I’d like to shoot, I take a series of up to 100 shots in a grid pattern, which I later assemble into a panorama. I always look at these slides in the same way I do a landscape. You can’t simply point a camera in any direction in nature and get a beautiful image. The same is very much true here.

Currently, I use an Olympus BH2 microscope which I picked up for a few hundred dollars on eBay. I’ve made a rig to attach my Canon 5DMKIII using PVC pipe and an old body cap. My most often used objective lens is a Nikon Plan Apo 4x. Coupled with the 10x of my ocular lens this gives me 40x magnification in my photos.

The solvent I use most often is actually just very high proof vodka, as many things are soluble in ethanol.”

http://www.justinzoll.com

CBRE Urban Photographer of the Year competition: the theme “The Perspective of Connectivity” April 11, 2018

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The CBRE Urban Photographer of the Year competition has just revealed its 2018 winners. The focus of the competition is urban environments, with this year’s theme asking photographers to examine cities from a perspective of connectivity. The resulting winners highlight some amazing snaps that often illustrate the growing disconnect between people and their lived environments

The overall winner of the competition this year was an image from Richard Morgan titled “What are you looking at?”. The photograph, taken in Poznan, Poland shows a group of people focused on a tourist attraction, all experiencing the scene through their smartphones except for one bemused old man.

BLAZING SWAN: Kulin Photos Bohdan Warchomij April 2, 2018

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Blazing Swan is an annual festival held in Kulin, 300 kilometres away from Perth,  during the Easter long weekend. It’s an official Australian counterpart of the American ‘Burning Man’ event and attracts people from all walks of life – challenging their collective attitude and their philosophies of life.

Upon arriving at the entrance to Jilakin Rock City (the land where the festival is held) my car was stopped by a beautiful woman called Cat with blue lipstick and a fashionable bikini. She welcomed me to Blazing Swan and talked about protocol, the need to ask permission when hugging a stranger and my expectations of the event. The introduction to the festival was communal and positive. And then we crossed into the world of the Blazer.  It almost appears as though a god from an alternate zone has thrown together a circus, a costume shop,  fire throwers and incredibly warm people into a test tube, mixed them up and poured the amalgam out to produce a new breed of human. Mutant vehicles drive around the ground filled with people clothed in wild, fabulous costumes. And sometimes just unclothed and perfectly comfortable.

A submarine pumps out techno. A pirate ship with black sails swims by. The Canadian ambassador with a maple leaf stamp and a pad cavorts in red lace knickers and nothing else. He pours maple syrup down people’s throats.

People on the salt lake adjacent to Blazing Swan take mud baths and come back naked to the camp. There is a spirit of expression and adventure on the site.

There are no household musical acts but Zoobreak with vocalist Vanessa Raspa get the crowd dancing. There are DJ’s in all the theme camps and the music pumps throughout the night.

And then the Swan blazes. It is almost spiritual.

It is impossible to sleep.

It is a world of new possibilities.

The Power of Sport: Sam Kerr in the spotlight for the Matildas Photos Bohdan Warchomij March 27, 2018

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On a sad day when the Australian cricket side was disgraced there was some redemption for the nation when the Matildas outplayed a Thai side that barely challenged them at the NIB Stadium in East Perth. The five goal scoring spree could have doubled if  the quality on display had played to capacity.

Australia’s Sam Kerr in attack Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Sam Kerr  was the inspiration for the young fans attendant who greeted her every touch with rapture. Her replacement after 55 minutes without scoring was  met with dismay but the juggernaut rolled on and the goals kept coming. This was the first Matildas International in Perth but it left a pleasant taste. FFA chief executive David Gallop said: “It is great to be able to be here in Perth, playing on a great surface.”

Michelle Hayman takes a selfie with young fans Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Coach Alan Stajcic was pleased with the result but felt the team should have scored more: “Good scoreline but I know we’ve got so much more in us.”

Perth Zoo celebrates Giraffe Calf Photos Bohdan Warchomij March 27, 2018

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The pairing of adult giraffes Kitoto and Armani has led to the birth of Kamili, a Swahili word for perfection who performed happily for a media contingent at the Perth Zoo today.

She was curious, kicked up her heels several times and raced around the zoo enclosure. Perth Zoo senior Keeper Kaelene McKay said:

“In December Kitoto travelled 4200 kms from Taronga Zoo in Sydney to be paired with our bull, Armani, as part of the Australasian Giraffe Breeding Program.”

“We were thrilled to observe mating attempts shortly after her arrival, and 15 months later we were elated to welcome a calf.”

Including Kitoto and Armani’s calf there have been nine giraffes born at Perth Zoo since 1995. The aim is to maintain genetic diversity between the regional populations to provide a safety net against extinction.

 

Launching a Stadium: Perth Photos Bohdan Warchomij March 26, 2018

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Sydney star Lance Franklin dominated in the first game for AFL premiership points at the just-opened home of West Coast and Fremantle, powering the Swans to a first-up win.

Sydney won the game which was evenly balanced at the 3/4 huddle 18.7  (115) to 13.8 (86).

It is fitting that a West Australian would be the one to claim the plaudits in front of the biggest West Australian crowd for a football game. The 53,553 people who created the record just probably would have preferred it wasn’t a full forward in red and white.
A brass band marching outside the stadium kept the crowd entertained. The huge Camfield Pub fed and watered the crowd efficiently and Sydney returned home with the spoils. The Eagles were competitive at times but Franklin’s eight goals were the difference between the the two teams.

French artist Valérie Belin Painted Ladies March 26, 2018

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Over the past two decades, French artist Valérie Belin has created a body of work that challenges and manipulates the indexical nature of the photographic surface to explore ideas of beauty, artifice, and illusion. Her most recent series, Painted Ladies, is composed of 8 large-scale black-and-white photographs and is currently on view at Edwynn Houk Gallery, in New York.

Painted Ladies continues Belin’s fascination with the human body as a powerful vessel for abstraction and projected meaning. Inspired by early twentieth-century expressionist painters, Belin collaborated with make-up artist Isamaya Ffrench to paint models with various brushes in the manner of initiatory tribal rituals. These brushes lend their names to the individual titles of the works, such as Lady Round BrushLady Pastel, and Lady Inpainting, and also mirror the equivalent digital retouching tools found in the image-processing software that Belin employs.

Belin has stated that her work originates from painting. In these works, the models’ faces are metamorphisized and reduced to canvas-like surfaces, whose expressions have been assigned and actualized by the artist. The pictorial quality of each image, abstracted beyond portraiture, is created by the painterly interventions on the models before the photograph is taken and the digital processing of the images after the photography occurs. This interrogation regarding the nature of the image, the process involved, and what the viewer is actually looking at, creates a sense of uncertainty that questions the power of surface as a signifier. Presenting these meta-clichés in a larger-than-life scale, the series reframes the recurring questions of the relations between photography and painting, figuration and abstraction, and reality and fiction. A challenging series of portraits.

‘Albatross’ A Film by Photo artist Chris Jordan March 24, 2018

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Photo Chris Jordan

In 2009 lawyer turned photographer Chris Jordan travelled to Midway island in the Pacific and bore witness to tens of thousands of dead albatrosses on the ground, their stomachs filled with plastic.

After eight years of filming the life cycles of these elegant birds, ‘Albatross’ was created – a visual odyssey examining how human materialism has impacted in a deadly manner on the natural world.

The power of the film is that probably for the first time we experience the tragedy of this from the point of view of the albatrosses themselves.

We see the astonishing mating rituals of the albatrosses, the rigidity with which they protect their single eggs, the tragedy of plastic waste passed on as food by the parent birds, the regurgitation of the plastic waste as the

fledglings prepare for their ocean life, and their silent, painful death from plastic toxicity.

Film Still

I saw this film at the TRANSITIONS FILM FESTIVAL at Luna Cinema in Leederville last night, and there are two more films showing, ‘FREE LUNCH’ on Saturday 24th March at 8 pm and ‘A SILENT TRANSFORMATION’ ON SUNDAY 25th of March at 8 pm.

all of them thought provoking and important.

“On Midway Atoll, a remote cluster of islands more than 2000 miles from the nearest continent, the detritus of our mass consumption surfaces in an astonishing place: inside the stomachs of thousands of dead baby albatrosses.

The nesting chicks are fed lethal quantities of plastic by their parents, who mistake the floating trash for food as they forage over the vast polluted Pacific Ocean.

For me, kneeling over their carcasses is like looking into a macabre mirror. These birds reflect back an appallingly emblematic result of the collective trance of our consumerism and runaway industrial growth.

Like the albatross, we first-world humans find ourselves lacking the ability to discern anymore what is nourishing from what is toxic to our lives and our spirits. Choked to death on our waste, the mythical albatross calls upon us to recognize that our greatest challenge lies not out there, but in here.”

— Chris Jordan