The Photo Blog

May 4 2016 10:09 AM

Here’s What the Everyday Lives of Refugees Look Like

Lately, all eyes are on refugees in Europe, but they are just some of the nearly 60 million people fleeing war and persecution around the world—the highest refugee population in history, according to UNHCR, the U.N. refugee agency. The crisis is a global one. 

An exhibit on display at Los Angeles’ Annenberg Space for Photography until Aug. 21, “Refugee,” underscores that point, with images from five international photographers whose work spans fine art, portraiture, fashion, and documentary photography. 

May 3 2016 10:11 AM

Brussels Has an EU Theme Park Filled With Models of Its Most Famous Sites

A host of historic sites are just a train ride away in European Union countries, but at Brussels’ Mini-Europe park, they’re even closer. There, 1-to-25 scale models of Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, and more than 300 other attractions are separated by just a few feet. Tourists love it.


In 2012, British photographer Lewis Bush was looking for a lighthearted break from a weekslong project he was working on about the recession and the subsequent euro crisis in the EU. He had a few days scheduled in Brussels, and taking a friend’s recommendation, he decided to visit Mini-Europe.


“I wasn’t expecting much but I found myself fascinated by the park. It’s too strong a word to describe it as propaganda, but it presents a very particular and clearly pro-EU vision of the continent. This idealized view of Europe was such a contrast to what I had been seeing in recession-wracked countries like Greece and Spain that it really stuck in my mind,” he said via email. 

May 2 2016 11:58 AM

These Photos Show the Stunning Diversity of North America’s Native Bees

In 2014, Clay Bolt, a self-described natural history photographer, started photographing bees in his Bozeman, Montana, garden after reading about colony collapse disorder, the phenomenon devastating honey bee populations around the world. Curious about what he’d captured, he found the bees in his photos weren’t honey bees, which are native to Europe, but rather two different species of native North American bees. In North America alone, Bolt was surprised to learn, there are more than 4,000 native bee species.

“As I began to do more research, I realized that so little was known about our native species, and so at that moment I realized that I could use my photography to begin to tell some of those stories,” he said. 

Ever since, Bolt has been photographing native North American bee species for his project, “Beautiful Bees.” He hasn’t counted how many species he’s photographed, but every time he goes out into the field, he said, he encounters a new one.

May 1 2016 12:00 PM

A Vibrant Look at the Landscape of Botswana 

Photographers often find inspiration in their own backyards. For Chloe Sells, her backyard happens to be the Okavango Delta in Botswana, a place she has called home for 15 years. Her work, a mix of landscapes taken with a large-format camera and manipulated through darkroom and other artistic techniques, was published as a book Swamp,released by Gost.  

Sells, who grew up in Colorado, first came to Botswana on a family trip. “I fell in love, and I never left,” she said. Although she has an affinity for the location, she also fell in love with a man she met during that trip who is now her husband. He owns the lodge she arrived at in a small dugout canoe; the lodge is “completely wild and on an open expanse of land that hasn’t been touched by people.” She never looked back.

“I thought it was the most amazing place I’ve seen,” she said.

A lot of Sells’ time is spent exploring the delta, a “beautiful, magical” place she says is really a swamp that receives rain waters that trickle down from Angola. The landscape changes often, as do the migration patterns of animals; she documents them with the large-format camera because she says it is so “juicy and beautiful and elegant.” Once she’s done shooting, she spends long spells in the darkroom that can last for weeks at a time. She creates a short list of images she’s interested in working on and said the night before she hopes to have “some kind of lightning flash” for inspiration.

April 29 2016 10:09 AM

Here’s Why Drag Queens Around the World Love This Photographer 

Magnus Hastings grew up in London, he says, a “child of drag,” prone to putting on his sister’s clothes and dancing around his childhood home. But he didn’t truly discover the drag world until much later, long after he himself had stopped dressing across gender lines.


In 2003, on a visit to Sydney, Hastings walked into the Arq nightclub and saw the drag queen Vanity Faire lip-syncing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz in a flawless Dorothy outfit. The experience changed his life.


“I started shooting drag because it’s my home and my world and it feels like my family,” Hastings said. 

April 28 2016 12:19 PM

A Chinese Artist Addresses Food Safety and Other Social Issues by Hiding in His Photographs

There’s a good chance you’ve seen some of Liu Bolin’s work. There’s also a good chance you haven’t seen him within that work. The Chinese photographer is known for “disappearing” into his photographs that have been viewed around the world; he even gave a TED talk about his process.

Liu is one of five photographers from around the world included in the United Nations’ exhibit “We Are What We Eat” that touches on concepts linked to population, economic growth, malnutrition, and overconsumption. Other photographers in the exhibition are Edward Burtynsky, Jim Draper, Pepe López and Vik Muniz. In addition, Bolin will also be bestowed the Global Ambassador award on May 7.

Liu’s work has always touched on social issues. In a story that ran on Behold in 2013, Liu said, “The locations I choose must be strongly referenced to some symbols like politics, environment, culture, etc., that I intend to bring up. In my works, the backgrounds express the most important information, conflicts are caused when my body vanishes in different backgrounds, a reflection of society from my point of view.”

April 27 2016 11:04 AM

What Exactly Is Life After Death if You’re a Cryonicist?

While there’s plenty to debate about life after death, what about life after a deep-freeze at minus 196 Celsius (minus 320 Fahrenheit)?

For many people in the cryonics community, this is a very serious and expensive question, one that begins with the definition of death itself. The preservation process begins as soon as possible after “legal death”—the point when a person can no longer be resuscitated by current technology— is announced, and a person can pick to have only his or her brain frozen or the entire body. Many cryonicists, according to the Alcor Life Extension Foundation, believe in theoretical death, that a person’s memory, identity, and personality remain stored inside the brain even after a human being is legally declared dead. They equate the brain to a hard drive in a computer—simply because you turn off a computer doesn’t mean the hard drive is wiped out. They hope in the future the medical community can figure out a way to turn back on whatever caused the body to die so that the mind can once again live.

For a decade, Murray Ballard spent time in the United States, the United Kingdom, and around Europe and Russia meeting with individuals and institutions in the cryonics community. His book, The Prospect of Immortalitywas published by Gost last month.

April 26 2016 10:03 AM

What Learning to Be a Real-Life Crime Scene Investigator Is Like

If you’re a fan of crime shows such as CSI, you might have fantasized about a career in forensics. Jeroen Hofman is a fan of that genre, but instead of abandoning his photography career, he decided three years ago to begin “Forensics,” a project that covers forensic detective studies in academies around the Netherlands. While working on another project about where police, army, and fire departments trained for catastrophes and conflicts, Hofman was introduced to people who work in the forensics industry and was eventually given permission to photograph their facilities.

April 25 2016 10:07 AM

Where the Rich, Famous, and Beautiful Go for a Swim

If you’ve been invited to a pool party at Johnny Pigozzi’s house, Villa Dorane, during the Cannes Film Festival, it means you’re doing pretty well in life. That’s because Pigozzi, a businessman, art collector, and photographer, likes to fill his guest lists with the rich, the famous, and the beautiful.

For decades, gatherings at his family’s Cap d’Antibes home in the south of France—which his father, Simca founder Henri Pigozzi, built in 1953—have welcomed a who’s who of actors, artists, musicians, politicians, and other elites. The proof is in the thousands of photos Pigozzi has taken over the years of his well-to-do friends relaxed and happy in the summer sun. Some of the images are now leaving his vast personal archive and seeing the light of day in an exhibition at New York’s Gagosian Gallery until May 28 and a book, Pool Party, published by Rizzoli.

April 24 2016 10:11 AM

These Gorgeous Images Are What Happens When Science and Photography Collide

To make the image titled Solar PlexusCaleb Charland lay on back at his home in Maine for two hours with his camera resting on the pit of his stomach, shutter open, while mosquitos buzzed around him. Airplanes flew in and out of the frame, and when they appeared in his peripheral vision, Charland held his breath so they would create a straight line.