The Photo Blog

June 1 2016 10:08 AM

Don’t Mess With These Armed Civilians Who Patrol Arizona’s Border

The U.S. Border Patrol can only cover so much of America’s vast border with Mexico. Arizona Border Recon, or AZBR, wants to help make up the difference.


Founded in 2011, the group describes itself as an “intelligence-gathering organization.” Its volunteer members, which include military veterans as well as law enforcement and security workers, patrol the state’s Southern border several times a year, keeping watch primarily for drug traffickers. If they spot people crossing the border, they intercept them and hand them over to the authorities. 


Like other armed civilian groups in Arizona and beyond, AZBR can be seen as either selfless or dangerous, but when Cory Johnson first heard about the group through the 2015 documentary Cartel Land, he wasn’t interested in passing judgment. He was simply curious to know more about the group, whose strongly held convictions fascinated him.

May 31 2016 10:19 AM

Gorgeous, Cinematic Photos From a Bygone Era of New York City

Looking at Robert Herman’s photographs of New York in the 1980s is a little like watching a movie. Taken in an era of New York City that has become more beloved and romanticized the further we move away from it, Herman’s work has a cinematic quality that is hard to miss.

May 29 2016 10:05 AM

Instagram Photographers Capture the USS Bataan’s Journey to Fleet Week

Military ships from around the country converged on New York City on Wednesday for the start of Fleet Week, an annual celebration of seafaring service members since 1984.


As part of a Marine Corps initiative to diversify its social media reach, four photographers active on Instagram were allowed to experience the voyage to New York aboard the USS Bataan (LHD-5), an amphibious assault ship outfitted for 3,200 Marines and sailors. Over three days, as it traveled from the Norfolk Naval Base in Virginia to Manhattan, Anthony B. Geathers, Pablo Unzueta, Balazs Gardi, and Anastasia Taylor-Lind observed target practices, landing exercises, and everyday scenes of life at sea, sharing images and stories of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit with tens of thousands of followers along the way.

May 27 2016 10:29 AM

These Photos of TV Sets Celebrate Life’s Mundane Moments

As Joy Episalla traveled around the world, she stayed in a number of hotels and crashed in rooms belonging to friends and family. She documented those visits through a single photograph of their television sets that became part of the appropriately titled “TV Series.” For Episalla, the photographs represent a kind of portal that enables the viewer to catch a glimpse of her fleeting presence in those spaces.

“That seemed to me to be the most interesting, that the room has been used now by me, but also because places that you stay, thousands of other people have stayed there, too, but you come in and it’s all fresh and all new and then you come in and make it your own,” she said. “It’s also this thing about public and private. Usually you turn on the TV and you bring the public into the private, but here is the opposite: We’re brining the private into the public and I’m also making my own content.”

Episalla began the project in 1998 in Naples and continued taking the photographs as she traveled the world. She said all of the images in the series represent the “parting shot” when she would exit the space for good. She said she only takes one shot and that whatever is reflected in the TV from wherever she is standing becomes the image.

Although Episalla began the work using film photography and consistently took the images, she didn’t begin to print them until 2005 when she discovered the benefits of using Photoshop. That allowed her to crop out the backgrounds within the shot, leaving only the parameter of the television screen and what was reflected within them.

“Photoshop is another kind of camera for me,” she said. “I knew I loved [the work], and I knew there was something there, but I had to wait [for Photoshop].”

May 26 2016 10:11 AM

Meet the People of the Tibetan Diaspora

Italian photographer Albertina d’Urso went to Tibet for the first time in 2000, eager to experience firsthand a culture she’d only read about in books. The encounter was not what she’d expected.

“Once I arrived there I could see that even though the beautiful nature and architecture were still quite unspoiled, people were scared to speak. They were even afraid to answer a simple question like ‘Are you Buddhist?’ Of course no one ever talked about the Dalai Lama, as saying his name can lead you to prison,” she said.

A few years later, when visiting a camp for Tibetan refugees in Bylakuppe, India, d’Urso had an entirely different experience. Though far from their homeland, the Tibetans she met could freely practice their religion and speak about their beliefs. 

May 25 2016 11:02 AM

The Majesty of Our National Parks, Captured in Images From the Mid-1800s to Today

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the formation of the National Park Service. To commemorate the centennial, the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York, will present an exhibition about our parkland and how we see these spaces through photography.

May 24 2016 10:05 AM

Hanging Out After School With New York City Students

When school lets out for the day, New York City students inhabit a world all their own. As Cassandra Giraldo documents, it’s a place of special sincerity and subtle poetry, where the exuberance and fragility of youth is most genuinely on display.

May 23 2016 10:04 AM

Gorgeous, Diverse Images Created by Legendary Magnum Photo’s Newest Nominees

Few do documentary photography quite like the members of Magnum Photos.

“Magnum Photos: New Blood,” a recently ended exhibition at New York’s Milk Gallery, testified to the legendary 69-year-old international cooperative’s enduring standards of excellence, as well as its commitment to showcasing diverse voices and innovative approaches to storytelling.

The exhibit showcased the work of six photographers in the nominee stage of membership—five admitted in 2015 and one admitted in 2014. After extensive portfolio development and review, the photographers progress through the ranks until they can be considered for full membership.

May 22 2016 10:04 AM

What It Was Like to Grow Up Gay in Ireland

On May 23, 2015, Ireland became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote. Irish journalist Charlie Bird witnessed the celebrations and decided on that day to interview and photograph those directly affected by the law’s passage. The project was published as a book, A Day in May, this month by Merrion Press.

“The amazing scenes of joyous celebration in cities, towns, and villages across Ireland on that sunny spring afternoon were shown across the world,” Bird wrote via email. “For many, including myself, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Over two months, Bird conducted 80 interviews (52 are included in the book) from people across Ireland who shared stories about what it was like to grow up gay. He found many of his subjects through word of mouth and recommendations from people he met. His only criterion when interviewing his subjects was that he wanted people to tell the stories—of both tolerance and abuse—in their own words.

May 20 2016 10:03 AM

The Outlandish, Otherworldly Costumes of London’s “Night Flowers”

As the sun goes down, London’s “Night Flowers” start to wake up.

Who are Night Flowers? According to Damien Frost, who’s borrowed the term from performer Maxi More, they’re “a loose-knit community of drag queens and kings; club kids; alternative queer, transgender, and gender-queer people; goths; artists; and cabaret, burlesque, and fetish performers” who bring the beautiful and the bizarre to the city’s streets.


In 2014, Frost, an artist and graphic designer, had the goal to set out after work with his camera and make a photo of an interesting Londoner every day of the year. On late-night strolls through SoHo, where he works, and East London, where he lives, he started encountering the elaborately dressed people who’ve come to make up his book, Night Flowers: From Avant-Drag to Extreme Haute-Couture, which Merrell Publishers released in March.