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Abbas, Magnum Photographer, Dies at 74 April 26, 2018

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Abbas, the Iranian photojournalist and Magnum photographer, died in Paris today at the age of 74.

His passing was announced by Magnum, which published an obituary and a set of the late photographer’s photos.

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Magnum photographer Abbas, who passed away earlier today aged 74.  

11:10 PM – Apr 25, 2018

Abbas: 1944 – 2018 • Magnum Photos

Abbas, the photographer who ‘writes with light’ dies in Paris aged 74

Abbas (full name Abbas Attar) had a photography career that spanned six decades and is known for his intense photos of wars and revolutions in countries around the world (Biafra, Bangladesh, Northern Ireland, Vietnam, the Middle East, Chile, Cuba, and South Africa). In his later years, Abbas turned his camera toward the subject of religion.

The photographer joined the prestigious Magnum Photos cooperative in 1981 after being a member of the French agencies Sipa Press (1971 to 1973) and Gamma (1974 to 1980). After documenting the Iranian revolution between 1978 and 1980, Abbas spent 17 years traveling and photographing around the world in voluntary exile from his homeland.

As a result of the revolution, though, much of his subsequent work focused on the global rise of Islamism as well as other religions, including Buddhism, Hinduism, and Judaism.

“He was a pillar of Magnum, a godfather for a generation of younger photojournalists,” says Magnum president Thomas Dworzak. “An Iranian transplanted to Paris, he was a citizen of the world he relentlessly documented; its wars, its disasters, its revolutions and upheavals, and its beliefs – all his life.

“It is with immense sadness that we lose him. May the gods and angels of all the world’s major religions he photographed so passionately be there for him.”

The British Journal of Photography shared this interview with Abbas after speaking with the photographer at the Visa pour l’Image photojournalism festival in 2009:

Throughout his career, Abbas focused on telling in-depth stories with his photos rather than capturing single “decisive moments.” According to Magnum, Abbas believed these to be two distinct approaches to photography.

“[O]ne is writing with light, and the other is drawing with light,” the photographer once said. “The school of Henri Cartier-Bresson, they draw with light, they sketch with light. The single picture is paramount for them.

“For me, that was never the point. My pictures are always part of a series, an essay. Each picture should be good enough to stand on its own but its value is a part of something larger.”


End of the Road: Annie Leach RIP April 26, 2018

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Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Time has caught up with one of the most recognised faces of Anzac Day in WA.

World War II veteran Anne Leach died in Claremont, aged 102, marginally short of her 103rd birthday and Anzac Day continued without her. Somehow it wasn’t the same. I have photographed her regularly since the early 1990′s and I felt connected with her and looked for her whenever I attended the Anzac Day parade, whether I was working for a newspaper or just recording the event for posterity. She had a presence and a vitality that stamped itself on the ceremony and it is with sadness that I note her passing.

Mrs Leach was synonymous with Perth’s Anzac Day parade, known for her original World War II nursing uniform, service medals and bright lipstick.

Born Letitia Anne Sylvie Metzke in Meekatharra in 1914, she applied to join the Australian Army Nursing Service in 1939. In 1941, she headed for the Middle East where she served in Palestine, Syria and Egypt with the 2/7th Australian General Hospital and the 110 Australian General Hospital in Perth.

Vernon Leach and Annie Leach met in the Middle East

After the war, Mrs Leach returned to nursing as a volunteer and had long associations with the Red Cross, Royal Flying Doctor Service and the Returned and Services League.

She was awarded the Florence Nightingale Medal by the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1983 and an Order of Australia Medal in 1994.

“She was just such an inspiration, not just to us but to most people she met,” Mrs Leach’s daughter Margaret Burridge said.

Ms Burridge said Anzac Day meant “everything” to her late mother.

“She just said you can never forget,” she said.

Anzac Day 2018 Photographs Bohdan Warchomij

Ukrainian artist Aleksey Kondakov: Art Work from Mythology into the Street Life of Kyiv Ukraine April 24, 2018

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Ukrainian Art Director and  artist Aleksey Kondakov photoshops art work from mythology and antiquity into modern-day Kyiv and Naples. His work has touched and affected people and has magazine publishers clamouring for his imagery.

During an artist residency in the Italian city of Naples, Alexey Kondakov was creatively compelled to craft a new series of images that blend classical art with contemporary city scenes. For this latest project, Kondakov has integrated historical artworks of angels, muses and mythological creatures into the streets and sights of Naples. Sixteen digital collages have been drawn from the artist’s own daily life experiences in the city, investigating and illustrating the various qualities of the urban fabric. Kondakov presents a re-interpretation of Naples and Kyiv as seen through the eyes of classical paintings, forming a personal portrait of these cities.

The Challenging Words of Patrick Brown: In response to receiving a First Prize in the general news singles category World Press Photo April 24, 2018

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Photo Patrick Brown

I’d like to thank the World Press Photo for this tremendous honour a 1st prize in the general news single category. I’d like to salute my fellow nominees; whose work is a testimony to their dedication to the craft of storytelling, I’m very proud to be sharing the bench with them tonight. Ivor PrickettAdam Ferguson, Toby Melville and huge congratulations to Ronaldo Schemidt.

Thank you also to my editors at UNICEF - Christine Nesbitt Hills and Jean-jacques Simon - for trusting me to follow my journalistic instincts; without the access that UNICEF gave me this photograph, and many others I took in Bangladesh, would not exist.

When I was told that this picture had been nominated for the Photo of the Year I wont lie to you I found it very challenging. I submitted this image as part of a body of work and didn’t expect it to be selected individually. The possibility of receiving an accolade for an image of dead children didn’t sit well with me. To reconcile this, I’d like to tell you about the context of this photograph and how it was taken.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has called the crackdown in Rakhine State, Burma, “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”. There is nothing clean about Ethnic cleansing – up close and on the ground, it’s murder, it’s rape, it’s people being slaughtered in the most systematic and barbaric way. It’s people – like the ones in this photograph. While euphemisms and diplomatic language can obscure the true horror inflicted by oppressive regimes, photography cuts through all the cold clinical terminology. Through photographs we’re forced to confront the cruel reality of what ethnic cleansing really looks like.

I was in Bangladesh on the 28th of September when I received a phone call from a colleague, telling me that a boat carrying Rohingya refugees from Burma had capsized. It was early evening but the sky was already black due to a massive thunderstorm rolling in off the Bay of Bengal. The fury of the storm was like nothing I’d experienced before and all I could think of, if you’re willing to take on the Bay of Bengal in monsoon season, what you’re running from must be truly horrific.

In this case, 15 people drowned. When I arrived at the scene, there were cars blocking the road, there were police, local and international press, and the fisherman who had helped carry the bodies up to the coast road. Amid this chaos, I looked at the bodies lit by car headlights and noticed how the rain had gently molded the fabric that covered them to the point you could make out their individual features. The resulting photograph captures a moment of stillness, which is ultimately a photograph of ethnic cleansing.

This image SHOULD upset you. It’s not the photograph itself that’s horrific; it’s what it illustrates. These children have names, a mother, a father, brothers and sisters, grandparents… They fled their home in fear, braving the Bay of Bengal in the middle of a monsoon storm. The day after this picture was taken, I photographed survivors burying them in a mass grave. Tragically, they’re just a small part of a much, much bigger story.

I’ve worked in Asia for nearly 20 years and have spent a large portion of that time documenting the conflict between the government of Burma and its ethnic minorities – not just the Rohingya, but also the Kachin, Kayin, Shan and others. They all have horror stories of war and persecution. In northern Shan and Kachin states today, there’s a full-scale war, with roughly 100,000 people displaced by fighting and the Burmese military has denied access to humanitarian organizations. This type of persecution and the attempt to prevent the story from being told is nothing new in Burma.

What’s new is the sheer scale of the crackdown in Rakhine State – its comparable to what took place in Rwanda or the Bosnian civil war. In a story this big, I believe my role as a photographer is to bear witness and to try and show the reality – no matter how gruesome, or sad, or how upsetting it may be.

By honouring all the photographers in the room tonight for their commitment to transformative storytelling, the World Press Photo helps us as photographers to draw worldwide attention to the often very tragic subjects that we document. For this, I am truly grateful.

World Press, thank you for this incredible honour.


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.


Graphic content could be disturbing to some readers


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.


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.”


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.”