The Photo Blog

Sept. 9 2014 12:13 PM

The Human Cost of South Africa’s Mining Industry 

For more than a century, South Africa has been known for its mineral wealth. Although the country is no longer the leading global exporter of gold, its mineral resources still account for a significant portion of world production and reserves, and the mining industry remains one of the country’s largest industrial sectors.

But mining comes with major social and environmental costs. In 2011, South African Ilan Godfreyreturned to his native Johannesburg from London with the goal of capturing “through the lens the forgotten communities that the mining industry has left behind.” His book, Legacy of the Mine, reflects two years of work looking at the personal tragedies of those who have suffered while business has thrived. “ ‘The mine,’ irrespective of the particular minerals extracted, is central in understanding societal change across the country and evidently comparable to mining concerns around the world,” Godfrey said via email. “This enabled me to channel my conception of ‘the mine’ into visual representations that gave agency to these communities. The countless stories of personal suffering are brought to the surface.”

Video Advertisement

Sept. 8 2014 11:00 AM

The Amazing Animals That Only Come Out at Night 

Traer Scott’s idea to photograph nocturnal animals came, appropriately, just after midnight. It was a summer night, and the sight of moths flying near her porch lights set her mind to “transformation and nightfall, to predators and prey, and then to the bats who eat the moths,” as she wrote in the introduction to her book, Nocturne(Princeton Architectural Press).

Soon enough, Scott, a photographer who previously turned her lens to newborn puppieswild horses, and street dogs, began reaching out to friends and contacts in the animal community in search of nocturnal animals to photograph. She even raised moths at her home for the project. “I felt very beholden to these fragile and beautiful little creatures that we brought into the world and wanted to make their fleeting lives fulfilling in some way,” she wrote.

Sept. 7 2014 1:33 PM

The U.S. Open Like You’ve Never Seen It Before 

It has been nearly 40 years since the U.S. Open was played at The West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, New York, a quick train ride from the tournament’s current location in Flushing.

Forest Hills was home to the U.S. Open during most of the 1970s, an iconic and historic era for tennis: Chris Evert made her Grand Slam debut there in in 1971; Arthur Ashe was the first black man to win a Grand Slam in 1968. It is also the only Grand Slam site that was played on three surfaces: grass, har-tru (clay), and hard court.

Sept. 5 2014 1:15 PM

What Giving Birth Looks Like Around the World 

Alice Proujansky said she felt prepared before giving birth to her son in 2012. By then, she had already photographed nearly 15 births in the United States and around the world and said she felt prepared for the transformative experience.

As a young child, Proujansky had witnessed the births of both her sister and brother but was more fascinated by the wallpaper in the room, choosing that photograph that instead. She took her first photograph of a live birth in 2006 while visiting a hospital in the Dominican Republic where she had volunteered during a semester abroad. It turned out to be a powerful experience for her, one that would ultimately shape her experience as a photographer and begin an ongoing series about birth titled “Birth Culture.”

Sept. 4 2014 12:39 PM

This Hidden Parisian Gem Is 20 Miles Long, and Mostly Off-Limits

La Petite Ceinture (known as the Little Belt in English) is a relic of a bygone era. Built in the 1850s and ’60s, it runs nearly 20 miles around the City of Light along the Boulevards des Maréchaux. It carried passengers until 1934, when automobiles and the underground metro system supplanted it as preferred modes of transport.

Since then, the tracks have had a life of their own. Left largely untended, biodiversity thrived, and, today, the Little Belt is home to more than 200 species of plants and at least 70 different species of animals. In 2008, part of the tracks between the Porte d’Auteuil and the Gare de Passy-la-Muette became accessible as a walking route and nature trail. The rest, as Atlas Obscura notes, is currently off limits, but “its accessibility from nine arrondissements makes it popular with urban explorers.”


Sept. 3 2014 11:17 AM

The Views From These Car Washes Will Make You Want to Wash Your Car

Often, an idea needs to incubate for a little while before it turns into a full-fledged project.

For Mark Lyon, that process took roughly four years. In 2007, Lyon photographed a frozen car wash bay wall and said he was attracted to the symmetry and décor of the space. In 2011, he began shooting car washes in earnest around the New York Hudson Valley and New England areas, eventually creating a series titled “Bay Views.”

Lyon said that although he is drawn to car washes that appear to have been abandoned, most of the 24-hours self-service washes he shoots are still functioning.

Sept. 2 2014 12:32 PM

The Many Stylings of Modern-Day Dandies

Known for their dashing, eye-catching outfits and old-world sophistication, dandies may seem like an easily recognizable and categorized bunch. But after years of hanging out with them, Brooklyn-based photographer Rose Callahan learned that modern-day dandies are a much more diverse group than one might imagine. “The essence of dandyism is that you’re trying to create beauty in the world around you according to your own vision. People have different expressions of how to do that,” she said.

While photographing for her blog, The Dandy Portraits, and her book, I am Dandy: The Return of the Elegant Gentleman (a collaboration with writer Nathaniel Adams), Callahan met men of “extreme elegance” from New York, London, Paris, and the West Coast. Her interest began after she met Lord Whimsey (author of The Affected Provincial’s Companion, Vol. 1) in 2008 and wanted to learn more.

Sept. 1 2014 11:00 AM

Here’s How to Vacation Norwegian Style 

For Norwegians, Syden is many different places, from Mallorca to Gran Canaria to a host of other sunny holiday destinations in Southern Europe and beyond. The term—which means “the south” in Norwegian—commonly refers to any easily accessible summer vacation spot with a “warm climate, access to water in a pool and/or sea, and cheap or at least reasonably priced food and drink,” according to Knut Egil Wang. But the destination really isn’t important; among Norwegians, Syden is like a country of its own, or, more accurately, a state of mind.

Wang spent four years photographing vacationers in Syden for his book, Southbound. “Before this project, I had been stopping by a few Syden-like places while traveling, but I had never gone there on holiday. I think you have to be in the right mindset for what these places have to offer to enjoy being there,” he said via email.

Aug. 31 2014 11:30 AM

A Rock ’n’ Roll Star Who Uses Photography to Embrace the Darker Side of Life 

Victory Tischler-Blue views her photographs as single-framed cinematic dramas. Shot around the American Southwest (mostly within a day’s drive from her home in Palm Springs), her work, shot mostly at night, explores the idea of abandonment from a human and environmental perspective.

“You can go all over the world and describe everything or you can just say, ‘I was there’ and that’s basically what I try to do,” Tischler-Blue said about her photographs. “My work is around this edgy dark feeling about something happening; you might not know the back story but you know something is happening.”

Aug. 29 2014 11:42 AM

These Palm Springers Know How to Live the Good Life

Nancy Baron’s drive from Los Angeles to Palm Springs, California, is barely two hours long, but the catharsis she feels when arriving makes the distance feel far greater.

“I go there as much as I can regardless of how hot it is,” Baron said. “I always have this feeling that I shouldn’t be going, that I have so much to do in L.A., but when I get there and I get out of the car, it’s so relaxing: Everything is different. It smells different, the air feels different, it looks different and it’s completely transformative, it just has a magical feel to it.”

Baron first visited the quirky desert city in the 1970s and fell in love with it while lying by a pool and looking at the snow-capped mountains. A bit more than eight years ago she made it a part-time home.