We’re proud to show the work of the following artists: Ami Vitale, United States The Guardian Warriors Ami Vitale began The Guardian Warriors project
We’re proud to show the work of the following artists:
Ami Vitale, United States
The Guardian Warriors
Ami Vitale began The Guardian Warriors project ten years ago, after she heard about a plan to airlift four of the world’s last northern white rhinos from a zoo in the Czech Republic to Kenya. It was a desperate, last-ditch effort to save a species. At the time, there were only eight of these rhinos left, all living in captivity. When the artist saw this gentle, hulking creature in the Czech snow, surrounded by smokestacks and humanity, it seemed so unfair. It looked ancient, part of a species that has lived on this planet for millions of years, yet could not survive humanity.
We are witnessing extinction right now, on our watch. Poaching is not slowing down. If the current trajectory of killing continues, it’s entirely possible that rhinos will be functionally extinct in our lifetime. Without rhinos and elephants and other wildlife we suffer more than loss of ecosystem health. We suffer a loss of imagination, a loss of wonder, a loss of beautiful possibilities. When we see ourselves as part of nature, we understand that saving nature is really about saving ourselves. Sudan taught Ami that. These are a series of images about the relationships and bonds between humans and endangered species. They understand how important TRUST is for a healthy planet and not just with one another, but with the creatures we coexist with. We must begin to see our world as part of the natural world; the natural world as part of our world. Our fates are linked. Losing one part of nature, is a loss for all of nature.
Ami Vitale’s journeys as a photographer, writer and filmmaker have taken her to over 100 countries where she has witnessed civil unrest and violence, but also surreal beauty and the enduring power of the human spirit. She has lived in mud huts and war zones, contracted malaria, and donned a panda suit—all in keeping with her philosophy of “living the story.” Ami is an Ambassador for Nikon and a contract photographer with National Geographic magazine. She has documented wildlife and poaching in Africa, covered human-wildlife conflict, and concentrated on efforts to save the northern white rhino and reintroduce pandas to the wild. She has been named Magazine photographer of the year in the International Photographer of the Year prize, received the Daniel Pearl Award for Outstanding Reporting and named Magazine Photographer of the Year by the National Press Photographers Association, among others. She is a five-time recipient of World Press Photos. She recently published a best-selling book titled Panda Love, on the secret lives of pandas. Vitale was the subject of the Mission Cover Shot series on the National Geographic Channel as well as another documentary series featuring Madagascar, Over the Islands of Africa. She lectures for the National Geographic LIVE series, and she frequently gives workshops throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia.
Marlena Waldthausen, Germany
Noiva do Cordeiro (All we need)
Noiva do Cordeiro, a community of 300 women and men in south-eastern Brazil, is one of the most beautiful examples of what women and men are capable of and, perhaps most importantly, where women rule. There is no violence and no church, no hierarchies, no privileges. And the central figure of the village is a modest old lady: Matriarch Delina. In her village, fights are not brought to court but solved in long discussions. Everybody earns the same. For small and bigger investments everybody helps with what they can. Homosexual love is as accepted as heterosexual love. Kids are looked after in turn, the older and the sick are taken care of. In the huge community house in the centre of the village, food is cooked for everybody several times a day. They smoke, dance and celebrate. And – very different from the rest of the country – power lies in women ́s hands. The origin of this female rule lies in the village ́s history. Towards the end of the 1950s, a strict evangelical priest married the then 16-year-old Delina and established a rigid system: No music, no contraception, only long hair and clothes, several daily hours of praying and a woman´s word always less valid than a man’s. In the early 1990s the women finally rebelled and broke with the autocrat. They turned away from his male dominated regime. They banned religion, wanted to live compassionately, without a priest, in a community without prohibition. Trying to classify the community structure of Noiva do Cordeiro, one would probably call them matriarchal, socialist and grass-roots democrats. But people in Noiva don ́t need terms or theories. Their principle is – and that may sound as utopian as it is beautiful – love. Everything else follows.
After completing her bachelor’s degree in Regional Studies of Latin America at Cologne University, Germany, in 2012, Marlena started studying Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the University of Applied Sciences in Hanover, Germany with Rolf Nobel. As a freelance photographer she has been working for international media outlets, mainly for the Dutch national De Volkskrant. The artist’s work has been awarded and exhibited internationally. Her latest recognition was an honorable mention at the Unicef Picture of the Year Award and a shortlist position for the Nannen Preis.
Sasha Maslov, Ukraine
Ukrainian Railroad Ladies
Ukrainian Railroad Ladies is a series of portraits of women who work as traffic controllers and safety officers at railroad crossings in Ukraine. These women spend the majority of their long shifts enclosed in the little railway houses built along the tracks specifically for them. The series studies Ukrainian rural and suburban landscapes where the exteriors of these railroad houses play a prominent role. The project depicts the intimate details of interiors of these houses and invites the viewer to meet the Railroad Ladies themselves. Ukrainian Railroad Ladies is also an exploration of Ukrainian mentality, trust and challenge to the existing system, and why this profession still exists in the 21st century, given the almost full automatization of railroad crossings in Ukraine and around the world. It is a study of the anthropological and social aspects of this particular profession and the role and importance of the railroad in Ukraine in general. The country has been consumed by political turmoil: A war in the East and loss of its territory to an aggressive neighbor, never mind the endless corruption and permanently troubled economy. In Ukraine, people pay little attention to the women they see from a train window, standing and most often holding a folded yellow flag (a sign to the train engineer that all is well on the tracks ahead). The yellow flag is a symbolic sign of assurance and trust. Although the country and the world are consumed with much larger issues, the people with folded yellow flags play a big, yet silent role in Ukrainian everyday life. In the storm, it’s often hard to see the lighthouse. Ukrainian Railroad Ladies are that lighthouse. They are a symbol of certain things in this country that don’t change, standing firm in the present as a defiant nod to the past. Unfazed by the passing of trains and time, they are here to stay.
Sasha Maslov was born in Ukraine in 1984. Inspired and taught by his father, Guennadi Maslov, and later his teacher and mentor, Oleg Shishkov, he became an aspiring young photographer who now resides in New York city. Sasha works in editorial photography and is best known for his social documentary projects based around Eastern Europe and especially in his native country.
Dilla Djalil Daniel, Indonesia
The Trust of the Matter
The Friends of the Asian Elephant Hospital (FAE), where the images of The Trust of the Matter were shot, is the first elephant hospital in the world. It is dedicated solely to the care of these giant, yet sensitive and emotional mammals. The hospital was founded in 1993 by a Thai woman called Soraida Salwala. It is located in the Mae Yao National Reserve in Lampang, 75 km outside Chiang Mai, Thailand. The FAE is a non-governmental organisation that gives free care to sick elephants as well as provides free room and board for the mahouts (elephant caretakers), so they can stay on location during the hospital treatment. All of the domestic elephants in this hospital have either been abused, are sick, injured, or expecting elephants, about to have calves. Many of these elephants belong to elephant tourism camps, which are dotted around the vicinity of Chiang Mai. Most of the elephant patients stay in the hospital temporarily, however, there are five resident elephants that have been living there right from the beginning.
Three of them are permanently injured landmine victims, two of which, Motala and Mosha, have each had one of their legs amputated below the knee. Nonetheless, they are quite fortunate, as in 2008 Mosha had her first bespoke prosthetic leg especially crafted and designed for her. She is the first elephant in the word to wear a prosthetic leg. As for Motala, she got her first one in 2009. From time to time Motala and Mosha walk around the compound on their prosthetic limbs. It took years for the vets and paramedics to rehabilitate them and the recovery has been a long journey, involving constant treatment, patience and loving care. Each of these five permanent resident elephants has suffered their own traumatic experiences, as they were not only injured physically, but were also mentally broken. It takes great patience and dedication from the vets, mahouts and hospital staff to gradually build the mutual trust and bond with these gigantic mammals on their long road to rehabilitation.
Dilla Djalil Daniel (b. 1966) is a Jakarta based documentary photographer. Her first introduction to the camera was when her father gave her a boxy Kodak camera for her 9th birthday. Ever since then she has been something of a shutterbug. Dilla obtained her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Indonesia, majoring in English Literature. Dilla’s first photography mentor was her late father, and for many years she shot her objects intuitively, relying on her feelings, sensitivity and a good eye. In 2010 she decided to join a photojournalism workshop in Bangkok. She finally found the genre that suits her the most, which is storytelling by using her camera. One workshop inevitably leads to another, and she found herself attending more and more documentary and photojournalism workshops.
Dilla is an alumnus of the Foundry Photojournalism workshop, the Momenta Documentary workshop and the Obscura Workshop. These overseas workshops also suited her well, as she loves adventurous travelling. In the course of these workshops she has been fortunate to have had an impressive list of various award-winning photojournalists as her mentors. For Dilla, photography is the medium that enables her to express her feelings. It is an art form that sees the camera as a brush and light as paint, and the intent is always to narrate a story. It is her wish to carry on telling stories through her pictures, the stories she feels like telling, for as long as she can.
Nadja Hallström, Sweden
The Last Wild Horses
The horse is a universal symbol of freedom. While the majority of Americans value wild horses and want to see them preserved and protected, the Bureau of Land Management who is in charge of all public land, plans to eradicate wild horses and continues to allow intensive commercial livestock grazing on public lands. Chasing such a strong symbol of freedom because of profitable interest becomes a reminder of the distance between reaching the dream of freedom (how it once looked) and the cynicism that often characterises people’s view on nature today. What happens when we fail to protect the wild animals, when we tame nature into an obedient tool? The hunt for the last wild horses is a prey on a threatened species, like so many before. But also a predatory act on man’s dream of being able to live with the wild, to be in harmony with nature instead of being its superior.
The pictures featured in the series The Last Wild Horses were taken at a Wild Horse Rescue Center in the US. At the center, people are working to rehabilitate wild horses and teaching them to trust people. In her images, Hallström depicts the people who are rehabilitating these wild horses and who are fighting for their survival. A friend of hers, Diane Delano, started the nonprofit Wild Horse Rescue Center in Florida about 20 years ago. Since then, she and her volunteers have saved hundreds of horses, including also other animals. Once a wild horse has been captured by the Bureau of Land Management, it is illegal to release them into the wild again. Diane’s goal is to rehabilitate and tame these horses so that they will be able to trust people and get new loving homes. Diane is currently taking care of 47 horses. Her home is a fantastic place and the animals thrive there. The photographer also visited South Dakota, Utah and Colorado to meet other amazing people who are working in this field. Majority of photographs featured in The Last Wild Horses were taken in 2019.
Nadja Hallström (b. 1980) focuses primarily on the artistic expression within photography. Her work spans within the fields of wild horses, portraits and personal projects. Hallström grew up in Stockholm within the family of a rich art tradition. She works as a freelance photographer and is widely assigned by different book companies, film companies and magazines. Hallström has lived and worked in Stockholm, Berlin, New York and in Greece. She has received grants from The Swedish Art Committee (2018), The Swedish Journalist Organization (2018), The Film base (2017), Helge Ax:son Johnsons (2016), Längmanska Culture Fund (2012) and Helge Ax:son Johnsons (2009).
Furthermore she has been involved in the following books: Personligt: samtal med fritänkare (portraits of Georg Klien, Stellan Skargård, Lena Andersson, Sara Mohammad, Christer Fuglesang, Eva Dahlgren, among others) and En röd stuga med en halvmåne på gave’ (portraits of Jessika Gedin, Sverker Sörlin, Paulina Neuding and Heide Avellan). Hallström has exhibited in solo shows at Eyubi Stockholm (2007), Elverket Stockholm (2008), Neg Pos Frankrike (2009), and in group shows at Planket Stockholm (2007), Mois off de la Photo Paris (2008), M&C Saatchi London (2008), Centre for Photography Stockholm (2009), Moderna Museet Stockholm (2009), the Swedish Embassy Berlin (2010), Planket Stockholm (2011), Planket Berlin (2011), Väsby Konsthall (2011), The Vanderbilt Republic Gowanus Loft New York (2012), Planket Stockholm (2013) and Gallery Kontrast (2014).
Lauren Forster, United Kingdom
God Has No Favourites
God Has No Favourites is an intimate photographic document that explores Lauren family’s response to her mother’s diagnosis of secondary brain cancer until her death on the 17th August 2018. The artist’s parents were officers in the Salvation Army for 45 years; the majority of those years were served abroad as missionaries in Africa. They moved back to the UK in 2016 when her mother’s cancer spread to the brain and her father became her primary carer. The project in its nature was a therapeutic collaboration for the family and shows the intimate moments shared during this time.
“I hope that the images will reveal the loving and trusting complexion shared among our family whilst also exposing the struggles and pain caused by such an experience”, Lauren expressed. Despite the subject being intensely personal, the images try to transcend this and speak of a more universal narrative about love, family, loss, strength and fragility that any viewer could understand. The artist’s family is a microcosm for this dynamic, occurring all too often within families who are also experiencing much of the same struggle. Subsequently the work is raw, showing a certain vulnerability without aspiring to be sentimental.
Everyone experiences death alone, death separates us from everyone around us and it is an experience that we cannot share with anyone else. Humans have had to face death and mortality since the beginning of time, but our experience of the dying process has changed dramatically in recent history. Death used to be sudden, unexpected and relatively quick, people did not fear death as much as they do now. Having conversations about death occur far too infrequently. In case of Lauren’s mother, she believed that she was going to be healed by God until the day she died. When the artist asked her father why God would let her mum suffer and die, he simply replied, “because God has no favourites.”
Lauren Forster is a portrait and documentary photographer; her work mainly addresses sociological issues and explores the human condition with her family playing a central role to her work. Her work has been exhibited and published internationally, with exhibitions in the UK, Ireland, Italy, New York, Malaysia, New Zealand, Korea and Japan. Features of her work have been published in National Geographic magazine, British Journal of Photography and in Fotoroom. She was a participating artist published in the book On Death in collaboration with Humble Arts Foundation which was voted by Time as one of the best photobooks of 2019. In 2018 she was a winner of Portrait of Britain, a finalist in the Royal Photographic Society International Photography Exhibition 161, winner in the International Photography Awards: Photo Essay and Feature Story, winner of the Source Magazine Graduate Photography award and was invited to take part in the 209 Women exhibition at the Houses of Parliament. In 2019 she was shortlisted for the Wellcome Photography Prize, Portrait Salon award and the Kuala Lumpur International Photography Portrait Award.
Alexis Vasilikos, Greece
Alexis Vasilikos’ series Balancing Act revolves around the idea of minimum gestures between people and our environment. Gestures that are vital in the construction of trust; vital to life today. His work consists mainly of small and medium format prints. Prints that require intimacy between the viewer and the subject. “Trust is natural to us, it is there by itself, we are trusting life naturally. What comes out of trust, is a sense of balance – trust brings balance and balance brings trust. These two are interconnected.” Christina Androulidaki
Alexis Vasilikos (b. 1977) is an Athens-based visual artist who works primarily with photography. His work revolves around peripatetic photography, meditation and energetic editing, and is deeply influenced by Eastern mysticism. He studied photography in Athens, at Focus and A.k.t.o. and attended the Art History course of D.A.M.S. in Bologna. Since 2012 he is the co-editor of Phases Magazine, an online publication that showcases fine art photography. He is also represented by CAN Christina Androulidaki Gallery.
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