Tomorrow evening, Friday, April 19, at the International Center for Photography in New York, Erika Larsen will sign her book, Sámi: Walking with Reindeer, which captures the three year journey she took following the reindeer herders of Scandinavia.
Larsen’s in-depth project on Scandinavia’s Sami reindeer herders was published in the November issue of National Geographic magazine and we have published the book at emphas.is this spring.
Her intimate portrayal of the Sami families, their traditions and relationship with nature reveals a unique glimpse into a little known culture. Erika, who learned the Sami language, has long been interested in how people interact with their natural environment:
“I was looking for culture that really could interpret nature’s language,” she said, “and I definitely found that with the Sami.”
Join Erika Larsen for a signing of her book Sámi: Walking with Reindeer.
Amnesty International is an organization we have admired for a long time. Given their strong human rights campaigns and track record of pressing for changes on the ground it is a logical fit for emphas.is. We – as a journalistic organization that sheds light on human rights abuses such as the abuse of Saharawi women in North Africa, the treatment of the mentally ill in East Africa, or the rights of Native Americans in the US – embrace the crossroads of journalism and advocacy work and are finding new ways to collaborate with NGOs and media organizations to raise awareness and bring about change.
These kinds of collaborations on emphas.is take many forms with NGO and other non-profit organizations financially backing a project, providing logistical support to the photographer or by them spreading the word about a project and sharing their networks. Amnesty International in Portugal for instance recently endorsed Joao Pina‘s project “Shadow of the Condor” and started a joint poster campaign with Pina.
Amnesty International is now organizing its Media Awards 2013 in the UK and we would like to help them spread the word. They are inviting entries from exceptional human rights journalists, film makers and photographers whose work has been broadcast or published in the UK between March 2012 and February 2013.
Entries to the Photojournalism categories are free before FEBRUARY 1st.
IMAGE © Mary Turner, Amnesty Media Awards Winner, 2012
Ismene: Non è una questione di principi: semplicemente, non ho la forza di agire sfidando la città.
Uno stereo nel salotto al piano di sopra diffondeva canti coranici ipnotici e cullanti, che impregnavano la casa di una dissonante atmosfera di pace e di riposo. Come se, sotto il sedimento del dolore e del grido contro l’ingiustizia, non ribollisse in fondo alcun odio, alcun desiderio di vendetta. Soltanto un afflato morale intatto e lucido, superiore a qualsiasi autorità costituita dall’uomo.
Dear backers and photographers,
We regret to inform you that Emphas.is has been forced to suspend its operations for the last 48 hours due to a unilateral freeze of our account by PayPal. We have now implemented a temporary solution while we work on a new permanent solution with another Payment Gateway.
We would like to stress that this freeze is entirely without merit. In fact, PayPal’s move seems to have been prompted by Emphas.is’ success. Now that we have raised more than $400,000 in the 18 months since our launch, PayPal apparently deems that its financial risk has increased.
In order to continue the important work on Emphas.is, and to make sure that the photojournalists and their backers are not impacted by PayPal’s decision, we have provided a temporary solution while we implement the new one. You can now pledge your backing to a project and will receive payment details once the project is fully funded.
In the meantime we have appealed Paypal’s decision and are working constructively with our Paypal Account Manager there to resolve the matter.
So what happens now? How are you impacted?
- In the ideal situation Paypal will restore service and business as usual can be resumed soon. In that case all active projects will be extended by the time backings were delayed.
- In the meantime, backers will be asked to simply pledge their support for a specific project. Pledges are commitments to pay at a later date, i.e. when the project is fully funded.
- Once a project is fully funded, backers will receive payment instructions. Payments will be treated either trough bank transfer, or trough an alternative payment gateway.
- All active projects will be extended by the time backings were delayed.
- Backers of open projects that were not successfully funded will of course be refunded according to our standard policy and procedures.
We thank you for your support and for your patience while we find of a solution to a problem that is not of our making.
Amnesty International has become a partner for Joao Pina’s “Shadow of the Condor”.
Amnesty recognizes the importance of Joao’s ongoing photographic project about the legacy of Operation Condor – a secret plan by the military regimes of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay to eliminate their political opposition in the late 70′s.
Amnesty International teamed up with two creatives from Lisbon, Pedro Bexiga and Marcelo Lourenço from FUEL LISBOA, who approached Pina about his Operation Condor work. The team had already done an Amnesty International awareness campaign with Pina’s work on former Portuguese political prisoners, which won the Lion d’Or in Cannes and is now one of the most awarded campaigns in Portugal ever. Their new campaign below is raising awareness about Pina’s efforts to complete the first comprehensive visual documentation of human rights abuses under Operation Condor.
Operation Condor officially started in late 1975, when the secret services had a meeting in Santiago, Chile, to define a strategy to use common resources and exchange information, manpower and techniques to execute their plan to eliminate the opposition in their countries. Thousands of people, mostly left wing workers and students, were arrested, tortured and executed. Most of the ones who managed to survive sought exile.
The operation resulted in the deaths of at least 60,000 people. A final number could never be confirmed because of the number of mass executions.
“Shadow of the Condor”, on which Joao Pina has been working for 7 years, aims to create a visual memory of these events and this particularly dark period in the history of the region.
Important work is currently being done by the EAAF, The Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team, to recover and identify bodies of disappeared people in Argentina and elsewhere. Trials are taking place in Argentina against perpetrators that are convicting hundreds of people for crimes against humanity. In early July two of Argentina’s former Presidents and military junta chiefs Jorge Rafael Videla and Reynaldo Bignone were convicted to 50 and 15 years in jail for having stolen babies from killed dissidents. These court cases have sparked a movement in the region and are inspiring other countries to do the same.
In Brazil, left-wing president Dilma Rousseff recently nominated a Truth commission to investigate the abuses committed during the military dictatorship. In Uruguay this past March the state has officially apologized for the first time to the victims of the state violence that was inflicted during the iron-fist years of the 60’s and 70’s.
Joao is now in his final phase of his documentation of the Operation Condor. He has already successfully funded part 1 and 2 in Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay on Emphas.is. The third and final phase will allow Pina to complete the work in Paraguay and Bolivia.
Amnesty recommends this project. If you want to help raise awareness, please, check the campaign, share and contribute if you can:
Day by day, hour by hour, our planet’s rarest creatures are being hunted, trapped and slaughtered to feed a global black market in wildlife products.
The trade, worth hundreds of millions of dollars every year, is devastating some of our best loved species and could have irrevocable consequences for life on earth.
For more than ten years, Australian photographer Patrick Brown and British journalist Ben Davies have followed the global wildlife trade and its gruesome pursuit of profit. Their investigations have taken them to some of the most remote corners of Asia to document the poachers, the dealers, the trafficking routes and the battle to save what is left of our dwindling wildlife populations.
“Trading to Extinction” is the result of their decade-long project. Patrick Brown managed to crowdfund the book through Emphas.is with the support of 162 backers who raised $25,820. This is almost $11,000 more than his initial fundraising goal. This beautifully produced black and white photographic book features Brown’s prize-winning images. In one stark portrait, we see an elephant in chains that epitomizes how man has brought down some of nature’s most majestic species. In another, two poachers in a Nepalese jail who face 20 years behind bars if convicted.
Using impeccable contacts with wildlife investigators, conservationists and enforcement agencies, Brown and Davies spent time embedded with various organizations intent upon slowing the trade of exotic animals. The result is an intensely personal story told through photographs and words.
As with drug trafficking, money feeds the animal trade. Its tentacles wrap around the world from the last pristine rainforests in Asia to major cities in the West. A poacher who kills a rhino and removes its horn in India gets $350. That same horn sells for $1,000 in a nearby market town. By the time it reaches Hong Kong, Beijing or the Middle East, the horn is worth $60,000. Tiger bones are worth up to $700 per kilo.
But the fight-back has begun. There is an extraordinary worldwide movement that is bringing together people from diverse backgrounds in a bid to save our most endangered species.
‘Trading to Extinction’ is a compelling expose of the animal trade and a tribute to the men and women who are battling to save our precious wildlife before it is too late.
The project is supported by FREELAND Foundation, an international organization dedicated to stopping illegal wildlife trade and human slavery. FREELAND works throughout Asia, raising public awareness and building local capacity to protect critical ecosystems, wildlife and vulnerable people. For more information, visit Freeland or their facebook page.
About the Photographer/ Author
Patrick Brown is an award-winning photographer whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, TIME Magazine, Newsweek, Vanity Fair, Sunday Times Magazine, Aperture, The New York Times, Stern, Der Spiegel and GEO. Brown’s photographs of the wildlife trade have earned him prestigious awards including second prize in the World Press Photo Awards 2005, Picture of the Year, Days Japan and a 3p Foundation Award. His photographs are featured in Black Market – Inside the Endangered Species Trade in Asia, published by Palace Press. Brown has been a member of Panos Pictures since 2004.
Ben Davies is a Bangkok-based journalist whose work has appeared in a wide range of distinguished publications and media including the International Herald Tribune, the London Telegraph, the Wall Street Journal and the BBC. He is the author of Black Market – Inside the Endangered Species Trade in Asia. He has also written and photographed five other books around Asia including Living with Spirits – A Journey into the Heart of Thailand.
Emphas.is is the first crowdfunding platform devoted exclusively to photojournalism. It connects photojournalists directly with their audience, and in the process creates an alternative funding source for in-depth visual journalism. On Emphas.is photojournalists pitch their projects directly to the public. It is the public, rather than editorial boards, that gets to decide whether a story or book is worth doing. By agreeing to back a story, members of the public are making sure that the issues they care about receive the in-depth coverage they deserve. In exchange backers are invited along on the journey.
Just last week Patrick Brown was followed by a team from VICE into China, where he was documenting the illegal animal trade.
What seems like an unlikely marriage between a magazine that thrives on counter-culture, and a raunchy sense of humor, and a photojournalist, who is very serious about exposing the illegal wildlife trade in Asia – a topic to which he has dedicated 10 years of his life-, might well be a very effective way to get the message out far and loud beyond the photo crowd and animal rights activists.
Vice launched Picture Perfect last year – a video series dedicated to documenting the work and lives of their favorite photojournalists. Each month, they go behind the scenes to explore the artistic process of creating visual stories. They aim to show the successes and challenges these photographers are facing while covering to all corners of the Earth.
In their upcoming episode they will air their visit to Patrick Brown in Bangkok where they talked about the craft of photography and his forthcoming book, Trading to Extinction, for which he is currently raising funds on Emphas.is. Footage will also show Brown in Guangzhou, China, where he was photographing restaurants that buy and serve exotic animals. His China trip wrapped up his decade-long project on the animal trade.
Vice will air its documentary on “their favorite photographer hard at work” on April 4th. Be sure not to miss it.
The making-of-zone on Emphas.is is the place where photographers update their backers. Once a photographer is on the road and producing his story, he will share insights into the production of his story, and share tales from the journey in the form of videos, images and blog posts.
Tomas van Houtryve, a member at VII, is currently producing part of his project “Borderline: North Korea”. Since he recently managed to enter the Demilitarized Zone he has opened up the making-of-zone of his project.
As photographer, Tomas has been fascinated with North Korea for years. He visited Pyongyang twice, but there was a limit of how much he could see or learn from the inside. Next, his curiosity took him to the Chinese-North Korean border with the help of a grant from the Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund. He managed to meet with several North Koreans who had left their country in the past year. They told him of recent food shortages, ongoing power cuts, and the shocking brutality or authorities.
He now started the second phase of his North Korean border project, tracing the North-South Korean frontier and the D.M.Z. Here is part of Tomas’ update from the road:
“After a long wait, I received a message that the South Korean army had granted me access to the D.M.Z. The location was the farthest observation post on the east side of Korea, near the Sea of Japan.
Accompanied by my Korean friend, Woohae, and an employee of the Ministry of National Defense, we left a military hostel at 6:00 am. It was still dark and snowing as we headed out.
We had to pass through two fortified gates before we reached the outpost. The first gate is called the CCL, or Civilian Control Line. Here our documents were checked with a list of authorized visitors, and we were issued blue armbands marked “Press” in English and Korean. Once inside the first gate, a Jeep escort lead the way into the D.M.Z.
The second gate is called the SLL, or Southern Limit Line. I shot video as we passed through. Then we passed a series of anti-tank columns and headed up an extremely steep and icy hill. As our tires started slipping, I noticed the small triangular signs on both sides of the road warning of land mines.
The escort Jeep ahead of us started slipping, even though they had on snow chains. We didn’t have chains. Half way up the hill our car’s tires spun until we couldn’t advance. We gingerly backed into a parking spot on the edge of the mine warning signs. Then we loaded into the South Korean military Jeep to continue to the top.
After we arrived at the observation post, I met with two U.S. Army soldiers who were stationed there as observers. One of them had been there for two and a half years, and he said I was the first Western photographer he had seen.
“I don’t know who you know, or how you managed to get access, but it is rare to be allowed up here, especially to take pictures. A South Korea TV crew visited last year, but they were only allowed to film that lake on the North Korean side of the border. They weren’t allow to aim their cameras anywhere else,” he said as he pointed to a frozen lake about 2 km in the distance.
There were restrictions placed on me too. I wasn’t allowed to photograph the South Korean guard posts on top of the hills on either side of the central observations post. They also told me not to take pictures of their weapons and electronic jamming equipment. But they did let me walk along the fence with patrolling soldiers and take many photos from the terrace around the post…”
To see the images, follow Tomas on his journey. People who sign-up and pay $10 to help fund the project on Emphas.is will get the back-story as he makes my way along the border. You are encouraged to ask questions, post comments, and get involved with the issue on a deeper level.
De février 2012 à mars 2013, l’ethnologue Yann Borjon-Privé et le photographe Nicolas Mingasson vont mener expédition ethno-photographique le long de la rivière Khatanga en Russie. Au programme : la réalisation portrait après portrait d’une cartographie humaine de la région. Les photos seront prises en noir et blanc argentique et les entretiens filmés.
Engagés dans une démarche originale et inédite, l’ethnologue et le photographe vont croiser leurs regards et enrichir réciproquement leurs travaux dans le but d’étudier et témoigner des changements culturels, sociaux, économiques et environnementaux rapides auxquels ces populations se trouvent confrontées.
Cette mission est la première étape d’un vaste projet autour de l’Arctique. D’autres expéditions sont prévues, toujours en partenariat avec une équipe d’ethnologues, pour réaliser un tableau de l’ensemble des populations de l’Arctique. Ce travail sera présenté dans le cadre de l’Observatoire Photographique de l’Arctique.
Sometimes you go to cover a revolution and you find yourself in the middle of an all-out war. The uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt were dangerous enough, but it wasn’t until Libya that the Arab Spring turned into a real war. Like the Libyans themselves, many journalists were caught off-guard. Michael Christopher Brown, 33, a China-based US photojournalist, was one of them.
MC Brown was wounded in the same incident in Misrata that cost the lives of his colleagues Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros. It was the second time he was wounded in the war in Libya. Now he is raising funds through Emphas.is to go back to Libya to find out what lies behind the frontline conflict.
He spoke recently with fellow journalist Gert Van Langendonck about that day in Misrata and why he wants to go back.
MC Brown: When I arrived in Libya on February 26 we were all expecting to cover a revolution, but we quickly found ourselves in the middle of a war. I had only planned to come for a few weeks because we thought it would all be over fairly quickly. I don’t even consider myself a war photographer. Had I known what it would turn into, I probably would have left. But by then I had become more involved and I felt this need to go with it. So I stayed.
You were shot in the leg once in Libya but never even stopped working. Then came the terrible incident in Misrata in which Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros died. Tell us about Misrata.
MC Brown: We had spent the whole morning on Tripoli Street [the frontline at the time] inside a building where Gaddafi soldiers were holed up out, and there was fighting going on inside the building.
That’s the same building where Chris Hondros shot his last pictures. That was insane, covering a battle inside a house.
MC Brown: Yeah, it was pretty nuts. It was a three-story building on Tripoli Street where at one point maybe 30 to 40 rebel fighters went in. Gaddafi soldiers were shooting into the stairwell; they were throwing grenades; rebel soldiers were throwing grenades back at them. Outside they were using RPGs and anti-aircraft guns. It was really intense.
Didn’t you say to yourself, “This is too crazy, I didn’t sign up for this”?
MC Brown: At some point we had decided it was getting too sketchy. In the morning the rebels had the momentum, but by the afternoon things had changed. We were going back up the street, away from where the fighting was, when the mortar came in.
A Libyan friend of ours actually has video of the mortar coming in. You can see it hit; there’s a cloud of smoke and then you see the trucks driving by. It shows how disorganized it is.
What happened to Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros has reminded the world of the incredible risks journalists, and especially photojournalists, take to get the story. What went through your head after the mortar hit?
MC Brown: Yes, for sure. As soon as I was hit, the only thing that goes through your head is, “It’s not worth it.” I was hit in the shoulder by shrapnel and there was a lot of blood coming out. It was literally a river of blood. I thought I was hit much worse than it turned out. So the only thing going through my head was, I have to get out of here, it’s not worth it. I mean, just to get a few pictures of guys with guns shooting at each other?