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Magnum’s Quarantine Conversations April 2, 2020

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RAFAL MILACH

“A key focal point of my current artistic practice is the clash between non-heroic gestures and ostensibly neutral spaces, which are in fact set against a political background of current events. The oppressive nature of the areas I investigate is reflected in architecture, objects, and suitably formatted social structures.”

- Rafal Milach

 

Rafal Milach’s work explores themes of history and transformation—particularly within the former Soviet bloc—using a myriad of mediums such as photography, conceptual art, books, video and curation. Though he initially tackled subjects through a traditional documentary perspective, his later projects draw on a more conceptual approach.

Milach was born in 1978 in Poland and grew up during the collapse of the Soviet bloc. He studied graphic design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice, Poland, before ‘falling in love’ with photography the first time he picked up a camera. He later studied at the ITF Institute of Creative Photography of the Silesian University in Opava, Czech Republic, where he is currently a lecturer.

His works have been widely exhibited in Poland and worldwide, and can be found in the collections of the MoMA Warsaw, CCA Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw, the ING Polish Art Foundation, Kiyosato, the Museum of Photographic Arts (Japan), and Brandts in Odense (Denmark).

Milach joined Magnum as a Nominee in 2018.

It is one of the most enduring images of 20th-century protest: a young woman holding a single chrysanthemum before a row of bayonet-wielding soldiers. Marc Riboud’s original photograph from the 1967 anti-Vietnam March on the Pentagon became synonymous with the Flower Power movement of the period. The history of photography has produced countless spine-tingling confrontations such as this, between peaceful protesters and impassive authority figures. In 1989, it was a man staring down a column of tanks at the Tiananmen Square protests. In 2000, it was a Palestinian boy throwing a stone at an Israeli tank on the Gaza Strip. In 2018, it was a Black Lives Matter protester in a flowing summer dress facing down armed officers in riot gear.

Rarely is life as clear cut as these images of social conflict suggest, which is the reason we’re drawn to them. The strongest protest photos are those that encapsulate the intensity of a political battle — be it for peace, justice or equality — in a single image. Yet how much do these snapshots really help us understand the complexity of human rights struggles around the world?

Rafal Milach’s photos from the July 2017 protests outside parliament in Warsaw were taken 50 years after Riboud’s. They depict the dozens of roses stuck on crowd control barriers, alongside signs and placards brought by protesters fighting for Poland’s judicial independence. For the last two years, Milach has been attending demonstrations against the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, the right-wing populist party which swept to power in 2015, and its controversial legal changes, which include enforcing stricter abortion laws, censoring speech around the Holocaust, and placing the country’s courts under political Control.

“For a regular person from outside of Warsaw, judiciary independence seems to be an abstract issue compared to your life and your daily problems. When there is no institution or body that can control the government — that means autocracy. Whenever a government can do whatever they want it becomes dangerous. They have absolute freedom to do whatever they want in a legislative way,” says Milach. Meanwhile, Poland is in the midst of its own media war. When state owned media is reporting that people support the bills and the government, Milach says that it’s his artistic duty to “respond with the tools that I have”.

“How could I represent the mood of the demonstrations without reproducing news photography?”

- Rafal Milach

 

Diary of a Pandemic

The first in a weekly series of curations of images made by Magnum photographers around the world, working and living under varying degrees of social restriction.

The  COVID-19 outbreak has seen most Magnum photographers restricted in their movements. As part of an ongoing photographer-led initiative, Magnum photographers are sharing information, updates, and new work made in these strange and difficult times.

This work will be shared through Magnum Photos’ Instagram in the form of albums and Instagram Stories takeovers, as well as here. Over coming weeks, Magnum will be featuring a series of edits of these images, made by project leader Peter van Agtmael, alongside personal notes and reflections from Magnum photographers on how they are experiencing the unfolding situation.

The ongoing  COVID-19 crisis has resulted in most Magnum photographers being restricted in their movements.

A new series, Quarantine Conversations, will see these photographers in frank, and unedited dialogue about work, current affairs, and everything in-between. The pairings for these conversations will be dictated by lottery, with the first installment seeing Rafal Milach and Newsha Tavakolian discuss guilt, dreams, seeing yourself in the other, and Tavakolian’s new project. As the first lottery pick, Milach led the conversation, asking three key questions to Tavakolian. Watch the full video in Newsroom on the Magnum website.

This video series forms part of a broader, photographer-led initiative to document the crisis. One can keep abreast of this new work on Magnum Photos’ Instagram in the form of both Instagram Stories takeovers and daily image updates. Regular curations of these new images will made by project lead Peter van Agtmael and published on the Magnum Newsroom site. See the first in the series, here.

A Storm Cloud off Mettams Pool enters Perth from the Indian Ocean Photo Bohdan Warchomij March 30, 2020

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A threatening storm cloud with sunset fire at its centre appears off the coast of Perth Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Vasco De Gama Enters Fremantle March 30, 2020

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A cruise ship has docked in Western Australia with at least seventy suspected cases of coronavirus on board, according to the vessel’s captain.

German liner the  Artania arrived in Fremantle on Friday evening, with 1,300 people on board, sparking fears its passengers could spread the killer virus after disembarking on Australia’s shores.

The ship’s arrival has forced the state Premier Mark McGowan to desperately ask the Federal Government for help, according to the West Australian.

Meanwhile, also in Fremantle, another cruise ship – the Vasco da Gama – pulled in to dock with hundreds of people crammed together on deck.

Travellers on board the coronavirus-stricken Artania cruise ship were permitted to come ashore – but that was when it was thought they were only seven confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Nine people confirmed or suspected of being infected have disembarked and will be treated in Perth.

Mr McGowan said they had been taken to hospital for an initial assessment then would be quarantined at police academy accommodation.

‘We were unable to secure a Commonwealth facility for this purpose,’ he told reporters on Friday.

The healthy passengers and some crew will be flown to Germany on three planes at the weekend.

Two other people, who are critically ill but not with COVID-19, disembarked on Thursday.

Mr McGowan said one was taken by police boat while at sea but the WA health department expressed concerns for the second person so the ship was allowed to berth in Fremantle.

About 200 passengers onboard the Vasco Da Gama from WA will go into isolation on Rottnest Island for 14 days from Sunday, while about 600 other Australians will go to either Rottnest or another hotel to quarantine for two weeks, then return home for another isolation period.

Mr McGowan said New Zealand passengers will fly home on Saturday. Along with foreign nationals, passengers and crew from other states will remain on the ship until they can be flown home.

The Vasco da Gama left Fremantle on February 12 for an around the world trip but was called home while in Singapore earlier this month after a passenger was suspected, incorrectly, of having COVID-19.

After the trip was cancelled on March 13, all non-Australian and New Zealand nationals and residents were transferred to a sister ship, Columbus.

All Vasco da Gama passengers and crew have been reported to be in good health.

Cruise Ship Artania docks in Fremantle and passengers transferred to hospitals for treatment Photos Bohdan Warchomij March 27, 2020

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A cruise ship carrying coronavirus-infected passengers off the coast of Perth has been allowed to dock due to a second medical emergency on board in the space of 24 hours.

The passengers on board are set to be flown to Germany on charter planes this weekend, with WA officials hopeful the maritime standoff has reached a resolution.

The WA Government had insisted the MV Artania could not come to shore, after spending two days anchored off the Fremantle coast due to seven passengers testing positive to COVID-19.

But their hand was forced overnight when one of the passengers suffered a life-threatening medical emergency, which authorities believe is not related to coronavirus.

St John Ambulance confirmed one person in a critical condition was taken to Fiona Stanley Hospital just before 7:00pm yesterday.

He was the second person to be medically evacuated from the ship after requiring urgent medical assistance, after a man in his 70s was transferred off the vessel by boat yesterday afternoon.

Yesterday, Health Minister Roger Cook said the first patient — a man in his 70s — had a life-threatening condition that was not related to COVID-19 and he was not one

of the seven passengers on board the ship who tested positive.

“However, as a precaution he is being treated in a negative pressure room at Fiona Stanley Hospital to ensure we don’t take any unnecessary chances,” Mr Cook said.

Two Red Cross paramedics prepare for the patient handover Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Several ambulances remained parked on standby near the Fremantle passenger terminal this morning along with an Australian Border Force bus.

Passengers to be returned to Germany

The cruise ship operator, German-based Phoenix, has issued a statement saying specially chartered flights would take passengers from Perth to Frankfurt.

Passengers could only take one item of luggage and those who were not German permanent residents would need to have an onward journey from Frankfurt to their home country guaranteed.

“In order to be able to organise this, we are in contact with the respective embassies or consulates,” the statement said.

It remains unclear what will happen to the ship’s crew, while the coronavirus-infected passengers look set to be isolated and treated in WA.

The State Government has been adamant that should happen at a Commonwealth defence facility to ensure those patients are kept away from the public.

None of the 800 passengers or 500 crew on board are Australian, with the majority German, but many understood to be from Austria and Switzerland as well.

The company said passengers from Austria and Switzerland would also be allowed on the charter flights, as long as they had confirmed onward connections to their home countries.

The Vasco da Gama, a ship carrying 800 Australians that operates out of Fremantle, was due to dock today.

But the State Government has asked it to delay docking until Monday, so Rottnest Island can be prepared as a quarantine facility for the 200 West Australians aboard.

The Government said it was speaking to other states and territories about returning the 600 other Australian residents to their home states for a 14-day self-isolation period.

 

The End of Sculpture, The End of Fashion, The End of Covid-19 Photos Bohdan Warchomij March 24, 2020

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Mikaela Castledines’s BLACK EMPERORS display a rare genetic mutation called melanism. Being different is the heart of evolution

Coronavirus crisis: Sculpture by the Sea to close immediately due to COVID-19 pandemic

Monday morning: 23 March 2020 and Cottesloe Beach is so different to the day of its Sculptural inception on the 6th of March.

Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Il Lido is closed, open only to takeaways, the Ice cream shop next door is selling ice cream by the takeaway tub, the sculptures have disappeared and people have vanished from their beloved beach.

COOL SHIT HOMER HOMER Photo Bohdan Warchomij

The government is threatening to close the beach and others to improve social isolating.

Practising Social Isolation Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Olga Cironis Sculpture Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Sculpture by the Sea has announced it is closing down immediately as news spreads that community transmission of COVID-19 has begun in Perth.

The iconic WA event tonight revealed it would be cutting its exhibits three days short amid fears over the spread of coronavirus.

“Given the news that community transmission of Covid-19 has begun in Perth we have decided to close this year’s Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe,” the statement said.

Admitting it would be unable to organise the de-installation and removal of the entire exhibition until Monday, Sculpture by the Sea conceded that most of the sculptures would remain at Cottesloe beach over the weekend, under their usual security measures.

“However, from this afternoon we stopped all interaction by our staff and volunteers with our visitors, and our schools program with artist-led sculpture making workshops will not operate tomorrow or Monday,” the statement said.

“We would like to thank the artists, visitors, volunteers, sponsors, donors and the Town of Cottesloe for how they enthusiastically embraced this year’s exhibition.

“Sculpture by the Sea is about the community, about sharing and being inspired by where we live and the artists in our midst.

Surf Carnival Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Viral Escapade Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Ron Gomboc Sculpture Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Ron Gomboc Sculpture Photo Bohdan Warchomij

The cruise ship Magnifica in Fremantle to refuel after a Covid 19 Alarm Photo Bohdan Warchomij March 23, 2020

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A passenger from the cruise ship Magnifica Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Police and border force officers will meet a cruise ship at the port in Fremantle at 5am on Tuesday to ensure no one leaves the vessel while it is refuelling.

The Western Australian government confirmed late Monday that the cruise ship Magnifica, which is due to arrive at Fremantle at 5am, would be in port to refuel only and that no passengers or crew would disembark.

But it said the Magnifica’s operator MSC Cruises had provided “inconsistent” information, leading to an earlier statement from the premier, Mark McGowan, that 250 of the ship’s 1,700 passengers had reported suffering upper respiratory illness, and that the ship was hoping passengers would be able to disembark. This information led to a statement that appears to have been inaccurate and panicked. It has since been defended by the West Australian government.

“Over the past 24 hours the vessel had provided inconsistent advice to both the state and federal governments, about the health of its passengers and its intentions around disembarkation,” a statement from the WA government said.

The Magnifica, which departed Wellington, New Zealand, on 9 March, also stopped in Hobart on 13 March but passengers and crew were barred from disembarking. It had a scheduled stop in Sydney on 15 March. Guardian Australia has asked New South Wales authorities how many, if any, passengers disembarked.

Passengers from the cruise ship Magnifica Photo Bohdan Warchomij

McGowan said earlier on Monday that he had received a request from MSC Cruises to allow the ship to dock and refuel.

Photo Bohdan Warchomij

The Magnifica arrives in Fremantle predawn Photo Bohdan Warchomij

The Act of Love, a street art campaign in New York created by Arina Voronova March 19, 2020

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At a construction site on the Lower East Side, there’s a set of posters far different than the rest: they show photographs of people kissing while wearing surgical masks. Art in the age of Covid-19? Perhaps. But also a call for unity as the nation faces pressure living under the weight of pandemic.

With New York City close to a full lockdown, a local photographer has sought to bring a message of love at a difficult time. The Act of Love is a street art campaign across Manhattan and Brooklyn created by Arina Voronova.

“While scientists are working on finding a cure for the virus, we, humans, can only spread love and support each other,” said Voronova.

While roughly 500 posters have already gone up, 500 more will be distributed across New York this month, according to the artist. She also hopes to shed a light on the discrimination that Asian Americans are experiencing at the moment.

“A lot of people won’t even walk through Chinatown right now,” she said. “What does Chinatown in New York City have to do with the virus, when you think about it? It could have started anywhere in the world, but people have this reaction.”

AAP to close after 85 years of contribution to the Australian Media landscape March 13, 2020

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Dalai Lama in Perth Photo Bohdan Warchomij

AAP newswire service closes after 85 years with 500 job losses, blames free online content

By business reporters Nassim Khadem and Rachel Pupazzoni

Updated Tue at 3:39pm

The news that the wire agency AAP was closing in June 2020 struck with me with a heavy heart after working for them for a number of years. The agencies record of documenting news and history within Australia’s borders was exemplary and vital for the local media landscape and for the international market. I am assuaging my sense of loss by using some of the photos I took for AAP to illustrate this story from the ABC.

Bohdan Warchomij Photographer

Australian newspapers
PHOTO: AAP, which is owned by major newspaper publishers including News Corp, provides a range of services to media companies. (ABC News)
RELATED STORY: Australia is a casual work nation and many jobs may be automated, OECD says
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RELATED STORY: ’Invest in journalism’: Fairfax Media staff message to management

After 85 years of operation, national news agency Australian Associated Press (AAP) will close its doors, with about 500 job losses at the newswire service.

Heath Ledger Memorial Service Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Key points:

  • AAP will close its doors after 85 years in operation as major shareholders decide to pull the plug on the newswire service
  • AAP is owned by Nine, News Corp Australia, The West Australian and Australian Community Media.
  • Media companies all around the world have faced disruption amid falling revenues

 

AAP, which is owned by a number of major news outlets, provides a range of services to media companies including newswires, subediting and photography.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd COAG Perth Photo Bohdan Warchomij

AAP is owned by Nine, News Corp Australia, The West Australian and Australian Community Media.

Chief executive Bruce Davidson on Tuesday said the business was no longer viable in the face of increasing free online content.

The service will close on June 26.

AAP’s Pagemasters editorial production service will also close at the end of August.

“The shareholders of AAP have decided to close the operation,” Mr Davidson said.

“It certainly has little to do, in some ways, with the quality, the accuracy the speed and heritage of the AAP news operation over many, many years.”

Bruce Davidson AAP.jpgPHOTO: AAP CEO Bruce Davidson says shareholders have made the decision to end their use of AAP newswire service with “very heavy hearts”. (Rachel Pupazzoni, ABC News.)

 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Parliament that AAP journalists have a proud and wonderful history covering Australian federal politics.

“When you have such an important [publisher] such as AAP coming to an end … that is a matter of real concern,” he said.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese also addressed reporters in Parliament, saying “you will leave a massive void in terms of information coverage”.

“Democracy should not be taken for granted,” he said.

“It relies upon communication of what happens in this place and the Australian public will be less informed as a result of the decision today.”

Guns and Roses Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Mr Davidson said media companies all over the world had faced financial disruption, and there would be about 500 people at AAP impacted by the closure. This includes about 180 journalists.”We’ve seen a lot of cutbacks, closures, a reduction in news coverage by the traditional media companies across Australia; across the rest of the world,” Mr Davidson said.

“Newsagencies have endured [a tough environment] for quite a long time, but we are now in a situation where too many of our customers are not wanting to pay for our content.

“Too many of our customers are relying on what is on Google, what’s out there on Facebook in terms of their content generation.

But he said AAP shareholders including Nine and News Corp would now likely hire more journalists within their own organisations.

“There will be more jobs for journalists at News [Corp] and Nine, and I’m sure other outlets at well,” Mr Davidson said, but added that with AAP’s end, there may be fewer journalists working in the Australian media landscape generally.

Ben Cousins playing for the Eagles in Perth Photo Bohdan Warchomij

‘A great loss’ for journalism

AAP chairman Campbell Reid, also a News Corp executive, described the newswire as Australian “journalism’s first responder”.

“It is a great loss that professional and researched information provided by AAP is being substituted with the un-researched and often inaccurate information that masquerades as real news on the digital platforms,” Mr Reid said.

The MEAA had written to AAP editor-in-chief Tony Gillies seeking urgent clarification of reports of job cuts.

MEAA media director Neill Jones said in a statement on Tuesday that AAP had loyal and hard-working staff.

“Australians rely on the hard work of AAP reporters, photographers and sub-editors whenever they open a newspaper or click on a story on a website,” he said.

“Their work may often go unattributed and without a byline, but without it, Australians would be less informed about politics, sport, crime and other news.”

Time to get serious: Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection for the Covid-19 Virus March 13, 2020

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With the Grand Prix in Australia being cancelled and the USA closing down travel inbound from the European Union and the NBA closing its doors to the public it is time to get serious and cautious with the corona virus Covid-19.

The World Health Organisation is recommending that people take simple precautions to reduce exposure to and transmission of the virus, for which there is no specific cure or vaccine.

The UN agency advises people to:

Toiletgate: Eliza’s comment on Australia’s newest paranoia Photo Bohdan Warchomij March 11, 2020

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Eliza, the Swan River statue known for the garish costumes in which pranksters have draped her  continues her role as commentator and satirist of Australian life.

The sculpture of a woman poised to dive into the river was unveiled in March 2007 to mark the site, off Mounts Bay Road, where the much-loved Crawley Baths were located from 1914 to 1964.

Eliza’s Fremantle-based sculptor Tony Jones is the artist who gave her a new life. In that short life, Eliza has quietly developed a cult following.

Lairs have dressed her in costumes that range from a Santa Claus outfit (including beard), a Melbourne Cup frock complete with champagne flute and a Scotch College uniform.

During the Tour de France, one wag paddled a bicycle out to Eliza and tethered it to her bronze frame.

“I was reasonably anxious when it started happening,” Jones said of the hijinks.

 ”But people told me to calm down and not be so anxious.

“It indicates a level of shared ownership, I suppose.”

In her latest riposte she comments on covid19 which is making waves around the world. The stockpiling of toilet paper and hand sanitiser is a reaction to

the Australian public’s paranoia regarding the perceived health threat.