The Photo Blog

Nov. 25 2014 11:01 AM

What It’s Like to Raise a Daughter With Down Syndrome

Sian Davey, a mother of four, was pregnant with her youngest child when she was told that there was a good chance her daughter would be born with Down syndrome. While the decision to go through with the pregnancy was an easy one for Davey, it didn’t prepare her for what it would be like.

In addition to a fear that her daughter Alice would be treated unfairly in a society that she feels gives little or no value to people with Down syndrome, Davey had concerns about how her family would handle things and even her own expectations for Alice. “When you have children with Down syndrome, it becomes about them having Down syndrome,” she said. “They have a condition, it’s almost as if they don’t have a personality and she wasn’t Alice, she was Alice with Down syndrome.” 

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Nov. 24 2014 10:00 AM

The Glory Days of British Professional Wrestling 

Growing up in the 1970s, Peter Byrne loved watching professional wrestling on television. He found boxing too violent, but, with wrestling, “you had pure theater, and a great deal of fun. There were guys bashing the hell out of each other but you kind of knew nobody really got hurt.”

In 1988, Byrne was in his last year as a photography student at Harrogate College of Higher Education in the United Kingdom. For his final project, he spent about three months driving around on Friday and Saturday nights in his friend’s Citroen 2CV photographing professional wrestling events across northern England at venues including the Barnsley Civic, Scunthorpe’s Baths Hall, Wakefield’s Unity Hall, and the Blackpool Tower Circus.

At the time, he had become newly interested in wrestling after reading British wrestler Jackie Pallo’s autobiography, You Grunt, I’ll Groan, which candidly reveals the ways in which professional matches were fixed. “I think deep down everyone knew that, but no one in the wrestling world had come out and said, 'Yes, it’s fixed.’ Jackie Pallo did. So I guess after all this controversy I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, which is why I started the project,” he said via email.

Nov. 23 2014 10:00 AM

A Side of Palestinian Life That Doesn’t Usually Make It Into the News 

Tanya Habjouqa believes it is a disservice to ignore the humor and joy of Palestinian life. Preserving a sense of playfulness and fun despite tremendous obstacles, she said, speaks to the people’s strength and is essential to their survival. Her series, “Occupied Pleasures,” is a portrait of the life that doesn’t often make it in news reports. 

Nov. 21 2014 9:57 AM

Inside India’s Amazing Customized Trucks

India’s highways are hectic. In a single trip, a driver might encounter bikes, motorcycles, ox-drawn carts, rickshaws, pedestrians, and herds of animals. But even among the clutter, it’s hard to miss the trucks. 

Dan Eckstein was traveling through Rajasthan after a 2011 wedding in Goa when he first noticed the colorful, personalized trucks that would later become the subject of his book, Horn Please, to be published by PowerHouse Books in December. 

He returned to India in 2012 and 2013 for two three-week trips, and traveled more than 6,000 miles on highways across the country to photograph the amazing vehicles. Along the way, he stopped at restaurants, repairs shops, truck stops, and roadsides to meet drivers and learn more about India’s unique driving culture.

Nov. 20 2014 12:36 PM

Meet the Supermodels of the Goat and Sheep World

Turns out unruly goats and sheep make for some of the best portrait subjects. Kevin Horan found this out while photographing his neighbor’s sheep for what would become his series “Chattel.”

Horan—who was recently named to the 2014 Critical Mass Top 50, for which I’m a judge—began the series in around 2007 when he moved to the Whidbey Island, Washington, from Chicago, where he had worked as an editorial photographer for 30 years. He noticed some sheep across the street from his home and was intrigued.

Nov. 19 2014 10:50 AM

Why Independent Bookstores Are More Than Just Places to Buy Books

Like the independent bookstores he photographs, Bryan David Griffith is a bit of a throwback. He does have an email address, but if you want to reach him on the phone, you have to dial a landline, and most likely track him down through his answering machine. His yearlong project covering more than 20 independent bookstores around the country was photographed with a large format film camera; he travels to each location from his home in Arizona via a makeshift camper in which he sleeps, loads film, and stores his equipment.

“I’m kind of old school,” he said. “I have an engineering degree, so it’s not like I’m a technophobe. I just haven’t adopted technologies that don't enrich my quality of life.”

Nov. 18 2014 10:15 AM

A Glimpse Inside Crown Heights’ Hasidic Community in the ’90s


When Chie Nishio started frequenting the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights in the mid 1990s, she wasn’t the most likely candidate  to document the neighborhood’s Hasidic community. But Nishio, who immigrated from Japan in 1969, and her camera were welcomed into that famously close-knit world, and her photos, now on display at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Branch, show no signs of being the work of an outsider. 



Living in Manhattan, Nishio would often see men with full beards, black hats, and long coats in the Diamond District. Her husband, a non-observant Jew, had little information to help satisfy her curiosity, so she decided to find out more on her own. Initially, Nishio tried photographing the Hasidim in Williamsburg, but found she “couldn’t make a connection with anybody.” When she tried Crown Heights one day, during the Sukkot holiday, she had better luck.


Nov. 17 2014 11:09 AM

A New York Times Editor’s Photographic Ode to Her Office

It’s hard not to fall in love with the New York Times headquarters, the Renzo Piano-designed 52-story building on Manhattan’s Eighth Avenue. For Kathy Ryan, the director of photography at the New York Times Magazine, the main appeal is the beautiful light inside, which enters the building between irregularly spaced horizontal rods that make up part of a “double-skin curtain wall

Nov. 16 2014 11:00 AM

The Coolest Places in London Are Underground

Bradley L. Garrett, who has a background in archaeology, knew almost nothing about London when he moved there in 2008 to pursue a Ph.D. Now, he’s created the most comprehensive photographic account of subterranean London ever produced: Subterranean London: Cracking the Capital, recently published by Prestel. “It just goes to show how much things can change when you devote yourself to learning a place from the inside out,” he said.

For the last six years, exploring (or writing or talking about it) has “dominated almost every waking hour” of Garrett’s life. He’s also explored in Paris, Chicago, and Las Vegas, experiences which are documented in his first book, Explore Everything: Place-Hacking the City. But when he first started, he was just struggling to get a toehold in London’s exploring community. 

Nov. 14 2014 11:06 AM

The Wonderful World of Cat Shows

Even before the Internet meme’d them, cats have always been a favorite for photographers, something Dustin Fenstermacher knows well, having traveled around the country documenting feline pageants for more than six years.

“I knew other people had done it before, but everyone was doing it differently than how I would do it,” he said about photographing animal shows. “You just have to do it in your own voice.”

Part of that includes finding candid moments or seeking out images that are unintentionally humorous, unlike the title of the series, “M’ow M’rrrrrrow” that is more indicative of Fenstermacher’s sense of humor.