Projects WE Love: The Last Stand

Marc Wilson is creating beautiful, evocative photographs of the structural remnants of Europe’s military defences in his project “The Last Stand.” With several under his belt, Marc is currently raising funds via IndieGoGo in order to reach his goal of 40-50 structures.

For the past fifteen months I have been researching, reccieing and starting to shoot the photographs that will make up The Last Stand, which aims to document some of the physical remnants of war in the 20th century in the UK and northern Europe. The subjects I am photographing are the remaining military defence structures situated around their coastal areas.

These man-made objects and zones of defence now sit silently in the landscape, imbued with the history of our recent past. Some remain proud and strong, some are gently decaying. Many now lie prone beneath the cliffs where they once stood. Through the effects of the passing years, all have become part of the fabric of the changing landscape that surrounds them.

Whilst I capture the individual beauty of these objects in their landscapes, the series of photographs become much more than a set of traditional landscapes. My aim is that the collection will become a permanent photographic record of the past. A testament to the physical form of the subjects and the histories, stories and memories contained within.

With each passing year the evidence and memories fade a little more and it is especially for this reason that I am undertaking this project. I see each and every landscape as a witness to war with a story to tell, whether it is one of unfulfilled defiance or one of tragedy.

All images © Marc Wilson

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Projects WE Love: Detroit Portraits

Brian Kelly started working on this personal project, “Detroit Portraits” in order to counteract a lot of the negative press the city has been getting.  Now he’s put up a request on Kickstarter to finish it.

We are particularly enamored of projects that find meaning close to home and give voice to people who don’t have a way to speak out to the larger world.  The people in Brian‘s portraits stare right at us and tell us they matter, even when it seems we’re being told they don’t.

As Brian says:

“If you’ve noticed the onslaught of national media attention and the photographs posted to many tumblr sites and photo blogs…you might believe Detroit is already dead and decayed into ruins…there’s no hope for this city…Detroit’s too screwed up.

But I know differently…Detroit is not dead…I know this because I’ve been documenting Detroit’s future…I’ve been photographing Detroit’s people.

The future of Detroit rests with its entrepreneurs, artists, dreamers, musicians, innovators, recovering addicts, urban farmers, clergy, children and educators.”

Please consider helping to finish this project by contributing here
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Projects WE Love: This Wild Idea

Day 1239475 miles driven; 7930 photos taken; 30 cups of coffee; 25 places camped; 70 folks met.

That’s the most current tally for “This Wild Idea,” photographer Theron Humphrey’s one year road trip around America to find, photograph and record the stories of the people he meets.

“The idea is simple, the goal is straightforward, but I need your help! I’m going meet 1 new person a day, everyday, for 365 days. The goal is to makes images that age well and increase in value over time; images that will become part of your family story, which we can pass on to the next generation.”

It’s long been my belief that Americans feel no one listens to them (just check out the Occupy movement for more proof of that) and they want to feel connected to others. That is exactly what “This Wild Idea” is about.  It’s a fantastic example of what you can do by just stepping right outside your door.

As Theron says,

“One day I woke up and realized how amazing it would be to hear my moms voice before she had me, or to hear my great-grandparents voices. To see them living their everyday. And I’ve always admired folks who’ve traveled the country and photographed the world, a lot have done it. And done it better than me. But something that was missing for me were folks’ names, I wanted to know that the photographers loved their subjects, that they shook peoples hands and told ’em that they matter. So This Wild Idea is me getting out there and doing it, living my dream.”

And you can become a part of This Wild Idea is you like.

“The cool part of the project that it’s alive now,” says Theron.  “It’s free to access and look at and remember. Anyone across America can ‘Change my Route‘ and become part of the project. That’s pretty powerful. Instead of folks just being voyeurs to a photo project after the fact, we wanted to use social media to connect folks now.”

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Ole Elfenkämper: Death Or Better Days

A fascinating look at a chrome miners strike in the eastern Albania town of Bulqiza.  The 3 month strike seems to end in the miners favor except that less than 2 weeks later there was a massive explosion that killed one and wounded several others.

And so the mine was closed. The miners were not paid during the strike, and with the mine now closed,  their lives are even more difficult.  Mining is a unforgiving line of work, and this projects allows us a brief look at the lives of those who work underground.

Ole Elfenkämper: Death Or Better Days.

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Has Pepper Spray Cop Gone Too Far?

original photo: Bill Hudson

I’d like to think there is nothing more to add to the “Pepper Spray Cop” meme that’s floating all over the web.  It was funny at first, as people rushed to show off their Photoshop skills by inserting Officer Pike into everything from a painting by Seraut to groups of Muppets.  But then things turned serious, as he started appearing in iconic 20thcentury photographs.

When does something become unfunny?  Is it when every aspect has been exhausted, or when it starts to interfere with our feelings about historical events and their importance?

original photo: John Filo

Is putting him into the infamous Kent State photo, or Nick Ut’s photo of a screaming girl running from a napalm attack, or Robert Capa’s falling soldier going too far?  Does it remove the meaning of these images and the events they portray in order to belabor a joke?

original photo: Robert Capa

Pete Brook of Prison Photography tweeted:

“What does the pepper spray cop meme actually mean?  Well, some of the mash-ups can be funny … but some of them are distasteful. And by distasteful I mean they use a commonly recognised image to grab attention but then belittle the horror of the original event.”

Some have said this is a way to reach a younger audience who might be interested in then figuring out what the context of the photo is after seeing it.  I’m not so sure.  I think there’s a point where you have to realize not everything is fodder for comedy.  It belittles the people in the photos and the people who took the photos at great risk when they are so indiscriminately used for something that has already passed its sell date.

And even the website creator says:

“Lastly, I don’t want to post the one of the naked girl in Vietnam screaming in the road or the guy getting shot in the head so stop sending them. I literally have FIVE THOUSAND submissions of those two pictures. Arbitrary? Sure. Tough luck! Don’t like it? OCCUPY MY ASS. Figuratively.”

Enough already.  I am waiting for the basket of kittens, though.

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Projects WE Love: Picture Black Friday

Picture Black Friday: Best In Show, 2010 © Sandy Carson

Every year, Black Friday rings in the yearly holiday shopping season, with hundreds of thousands of people getting up before sunrise to queue for bargains and deals; when the doors are unlocked, the stores being besieged by their own customers. During Black Friday 2008, security guard Jdimytai Damour, was trampled to death by crazed shoppers as he tried to hold back bargain seekers at a Walmart in Long Island. Unfortunately, the uproar in the media was mostly over by the end of the initial weekend.

Picture Black Friday is a photojournalism project that aims to revisit and analyze a combination of forces- a worsening economy, financial desperation, excitement, fear, and a distinctly American cultural tradition- that culminate the morning after Thanksgiving.
More specifically, Picture Black Friday is an open call for photographers throughout the U.S. to go out and produce images that document Black Friday- how you see it, on your terms. Imagine this project as an open assignment: you have freedom to approach this event from any angle you wish, returning with single images or even a mini-project that documents Black Friday like no other media outlet will.

Picture Black Friday project will be accepting submissions for one week, beginning on Saturday, November 26th through December 5th via their website. Artists can submit up to 5 of their best photographs of and about Black Friday. Photographers may submit a short statement to go along with their images.

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Projects WE Love: Jennifer Schwartz

Jennifer Schwartz’ brilliant “Crusade For Collecting”. Go contribute!

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