Stories from Quick Reads and Photography
Far West China interviewed Ryan Pyle, a Shanghai-based photographer who recently published a photographic documentary of Xinjiang titled “Chinese Turkestan”:
The news is so segregated and so focused on conflict areas that places like Xinjiang get left off the map. When the spotlight does turn there, it’s all about the violence that is happening there. It’s had its problems, sure, but there is so much more of a story to tell.
Before I first went to Xinjiang in 2001, I was sitting in a hostel in Beijing and people were saying “Don’t go to Xinjiang” and the Chinese and other foreigners were saying “Don’t go to Xinjiang.” But I went out there, and I had the most amazing time. It was such and eye-opening experience.
Blogger Passang Tshering, a high school teacher from Wangdue, Bhutan, wrote in his blog on 31 August, 2014, about an image of Lord Buddha's face formed out of natural rock located on the elephant shaped hill on which the famous Wangdue Dzong is built. He posted photos of the site and wrote:
I don't understand how this place is not recognized as one of the holy Buddhist sites, though some people already knew about it.
Tshering writes in a follow-up post that his post about the face of Buddha has become popular and many are flocking to the site:
It was on Sunday I posted the story and by Monday I started receiving pictures from people who went there to see for themselves. By Wednesday the site was crowded with people, and that evening authorities decided to put fence around it. Today when I went there I could see long queue of people across the river, and many breaking through the fence already. On the other side of the river cars and people are causing traffic jam on the national highway. This is more than the attention one can ever ask for.
A not-for-profit, self-financed group of artists calling themselves Kooperacija (“Cooperation”, Macedonian slang for a general store in small villages) hosted an exhibition titled “Melting Point: Art as Anti-Hegemonic Propaganda” [en, mk, with photos] in Skopje recently.
As reported [mk] by several news outlets that cover culture [mk], including Belgrade-based SEE Cult [sr], the event presented works by several individuals and groups of world renowned artists. Among them were pieces by Vitaly Komar, IRWIN, Santiago Sierra, DETEXT, as well as by some of the most vibrant artists from the region, like Nemanja Cvijanović, Ibro Hasanović, Igor Toševski, Kristina Gorovska & Jure Lavrin, Ines Efremova, Filip Jovanovski, O-P-A, and others.
The group of artists who put together the exhibition described it on their pages as:
Kooperacija is an initiative whose purpose is artistic activity outside the inert institutional frameworks, thus suggesting an exceptional approach to the creation and experience of contemporary art [...]
[Its] basic strategy is the occupation of temporarily free space dispersed throughout the urban landscape and exhibiting through a chain of blitzkrieg events. The desired effect is a constructive dialogue regarding the re-questioning of the critical positions in art and producing a favorable environment for a free exchange of ideas, experience and freedom of expression.
Alta Gracia [es] is located in the department Santa María, province of Córdoba, Argentina. It's listed as World Heritage Site and among its attactions we find the Che Guevara Home Museum [es]. From there, Argentinian blogger Laura Schneider [es] provides us a photo gallery of the museum.
On her blog, Laura adds: [es]:
Con un estilo inglés conserva su forma pero ahora llena de fotografías, recortes de periódicos, el cuarto de Ernesto, la famosa motoneta y el diario que guarda los relatos de su vida. Emplazada en un barrio con muchas casas del mismo estilo.
Como permiten tomar fotografías, previo haber pedido permiso, les dejo acá algunas para que se entusiasmen y visiten el museo. Este se encuentra en el Barrio Carlos Pellegrini, – Avellaneda 501. El valor de la entrada es muy baja (no vale la pena ponerlo aqui) y se utiliza para el mantenimiento del lugar.
With a British style, it's form has been preserved but now it's full of photographs, Ernesto's bedroom, the famous scooter and the journal that keeps accounts from his life. It's located on a neighborhood with many houses with the same style.
As photographies are allowed, at previous request, here I share some of them to fill you with excitement so you visit the museum. It's located on Carlos Pellegrini neighborhood – Avellaneda 501. The ticket fare is very low (it's not even worth to be mentioned) and it's used for maintenance.
If you are passionate about photojournalism, follow Laura's stories on her Twitter account: @LauraSchne.
Sada Tangara, a photographer and blogger based in Dakar, Senegal posted a photoreport on the rise of vigilante justice on the streets of Dakar, capital city of Senegal. He explains the genesis of his project and why this type of popular justice is prominent in Dakar [fr] :
Il faut savoir qu’à Dakar, quand un délinquant se fait attraper par une foule alors qu’il vient de commettre un crime ou un délit, il est systématiquement tabassé, grièvement blessé et meurt parfois des suites de ces coups. J’ai donc voulu comprendre ce cycle de violence et montrer la vengeance disproportionnée que subissent parfois les délinquants en retour de leurs actes [..] Pour les Dakarois, cette justice populaire est un moyen d’effrayer les agresseurs et d’essayer de les dissuader de revenir dans leur quartier.
In Dakar, when an angry crowd manages to catch a delinquent that has just committed an infraction or a crime, he is systematically beaten, and is often seriously injured and may even die. I wanted to understand this cycle of violence and to show the disproportionate violence that some of these delinquents suffer as a result of their actions [..] For the people of Dakar, this type of popular justice is a way to scare potential perpetrators and to deter them from coming back to their homes.
Someone sure wanted people to know that he was thankful for Togolese President Faure Gnassingbé generosity. This week, a giant billboard was raised in Lomé, Togo that praised the president's action in favor of providing lunch for school children. The billboard seen below reads in french :” Thanks Daddy Faure for the children's school lunch“. Togolese citizens were taken aback by the message and its exuberance. They took to twitter to poke fun at the Billboard and create the hashtag #merciPapaFaure (Thank you Daddy Faure).
— Kelly Adediha (@KellyGeek) September 11, 2014
OK, how about some fun with the hashtag #mercipapaFaure ?
The photo above has been shared widely on twitter. Adzima provides some background on the state of the affair for the Togolese children at school.
Aleksandar Lambros, a Serbian-born photographer currently living and working in Monaco, has been snapping photos of tell-tale details of Belgrade's architectural history and collecting them on his blog.
While the city still retains snippets of Roman and Ottoman architecture, as parts of the city were under both Roman and Ottoman rule throughout history, most of what is today downtown Belgrade expanded during the 19th century, under the still very visible influence of the highly popular European Art Nouveau movement of the late 19th and early 20th century.
Lambros has captured some of the most interesting decorative details on Belgrade's older buildings in a set of 18 photographs that depict the quaint, unique mixture of Serbian culture with a well-known European architectural style. The full set, along with Lambros’ other work, is available on his blog.
Marcelino Torrecilla N. has started a series in Spanish called Stories from Gaza. The first installment by this United Arabe Emirates based Colombian was published on El Tiempo of Bogotá and tells a story of two Gulf News journalists in Abu Dhabi.
Taking pictures in the Gulf is challenging and even when trying to take pictures of women. But Palestinians are used to be photographed. The media are friends of the Palestinians and they know that. as Torrecilla translates:
In Gaza it is very different. With one of the highest concentrations of media in the world, the people of Gaza are used to being photographed. Not only this, but they welcome the eyes of the world. The Palestinians don't have an army to fight with. They have the rocks they throw at Israeli soldiers and they have their tears.
For more stories about the Gaza Strip in Spanish told by an eye witness, follow Marcelino Torrecilla's updates on Twitter.
Barcelona- based Andrea Collazo writes on Profesora de Informática (Computing teacher; es) a post about how to use a mobile phone to take pictures, while enjoying her vacation. You should pay attention to:
Resolución: para obtener las mejores fotos, asegúrate de que la cámara tenga señalado en sus opciones el tamaño mayor, es decir la mayor resolución. Las imágenes pesarán más y ocuparán más memoria pero así tendrás las fotos en la mejor resolución que tu Smartphone tenga.
Trata de no usar el flash: el flash hace que las fotos sean menos naturales y que los objetos y figuras aparezcan más planas.
Evita el Zoom: El zoom hace que tus imágenes se pixelen. Mejor acercarte o tomar la foto con la distancia real, luego podrás editar la foto y obtener lo que deseabas.
Busca un apoyo: para evitar que la fotografía salga borrosa por el movimiento, sobre todo si es un momento en que no hay mucha luz.
Investiga los modos de la cámara: los modos de tu smartphone te ayudarán a sacar la mejor foto según la situación.
Resolution: to take better pictures, make sure the camera is set up on its bigger options, that is, the higher resolution. Images will occuy more memory, but you'll have the pictures with the best resolution your smartphone has.
Avoid the flash: it makes pictures look less natural and objects and images appear flatter.
Avoid the zoom: it makes your images pixeled. It's better if you get closer to take the picture o take it with the actual distance, then you will be able to edit the picture and get what you were looking for.
Get a foothold, as to prevent the picture to be blurry due to movement, especially if there is not much light at the time.
Find out the camera modes: your smartphone modes will help you making the best picture, according to the situation.
For updates with other recommendations from Collazo, look for her Twitter account.
Argentinian journalist and travel blogger Wenceslao Bottaro describes [es] the experiences during his trip to Neuquén Province, department of Zapala, specifically the Qinchao township [es], home of the namesake Mapuche community. He notes that the tourist attraction in Zapala appear in any guide nor travel agency. That's why he traces the direction and show photos of what would be the journey on the Route 40 (Argentina):
El pozón del Covunco se encuentra a unos 25 km de Zapala y está ubicado en un tramo del arroyo que atraviesa el territorio de la comunidad mapuche Quinchao.
Sentado en la cima de una extraña roca horadada por el tiempo, pensaba en Zapala. Pensaba que su clima y su geografía ponían a prueba la voluntad de los habitantes, pero también que, como un dios algo sádico aunque benévolo, recompensaba su persistencia en querer habitarla con joyas naturales como el pozón del Covunco.
The Covunco pool is located 25 km from Zapala in a part of stream that flows through the territory of the Quinchao Mapuche community.
While I sat on the top of a strange rock perforated by time, I thought about Zapala. I thought its climate and geography tested the will of its inahbitants, but also that, just as a sadist though benevolent god, has rewarded people's persistency by populating it with natural jewels, as Covunco river pools.
Bottaro ends up his story inviting everyone to Neuquén, on the way to Caviahue, or South, on the way to San Martín de los Andes. Please, visit at least for one day the department of Zapala.
You can follow Wenceslao on Twitter.