The Photo Blog

July 29 2014 1:36 PM

How Asian Families Learn to Welcome a LGBTQ Child’s Partner

While LGBTQ rights advocates continue to make strides across the country, many LGBTQ individuals still struggle for acceptance and love within their own families. A recent exhibition, “Our Portraits, Our Families,” at the Museum of Chinese in America, presented by the arts and advocacy group the Asian Pride Project, addressed this situation among Asian and Pacific Islander families by presenting their stories through photography. “If we want to change the culture of homophobia in Asian communities we have to help families process the coming out. There's not a lot of information out there though and a lot of API families are immigrant families, so they don't have the language for it. They’re not used to exposing their issues to other people,” said Aries Liao, the founder of the Asian Pride Project. “We thought the Asian Pride Project would give them access and it might help so parents can feel there's a community out there, that there are faces with which they can identify.”

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July 28 2014 12:12 PM

The Sights and Sounds of Asia’s Incredible Markets

For as long as Peter Steinhauer can remember, Vietnam has been part of his life. His father was a doctor during the Vietnam War, and growing up, Steinhauer would show his father’s photo slides for extra credit in school. After art school, Steinhauer moved to Hanoi with the intent of staying for a few months. He ended up staying seven years. After that, he moved to Singapore, then back to Vietnam, and then lived in Hong Kong for five years. All the while, markets were a part of the daily fabric of Steinhauer’s life, but it wasn’t until 2013, when he was living Singapore, that it occurred to him to do a project on them. “I don't know if it was an epiphany or what, but it just dawned on me that these markets have so much history in them,” he said.

July 27 2014 11:30 AM

Take a Tour of Tokyo in Miniature

Photographer Ben Thomas first visited Tokyo in 2008 and was completely in awe of the size and scale of it. “The culture, architecture and pop culture are on such an extreme scale. It can be scary, fun and complex at the same time,” he said via email. Thomas thought it would be the perfect location to photograph with tilt-shift lenses, which allow selective focusing to simulate miniature scenes. In 2012, he returned to the city to shoot more photos for his book, Tiny Tokyo. “Anything that makes you look at the familiar differently is a fantastic thing. To look at an image that is instantly familiar, but also just a little bit strange causes you to look a bit deeper and explore the scene with fresh eyes,” he said.

July 25 2014 11:22 AM

Combining Images Across Time and Place to Tell a Single Story

David Hilliard’s vibrant, multipanel images find a delicate and unique balance between fact and fiction. Combining frames from his four-by-five view camera shot at different times, Hilliard creates composite panoramic images that are seemingly fluid but instead form a narrative that shifts between time and place. These escapist photographs focus on the ideas of masculinity, identity, and personal relationships through a cinematic style of portraiture.

“Photography, with all of its mechanical dumbness, is believable, right? But when you piece [images] together, there is a lot happening between the moments that you just don’t know. It could be a day or a second. That was amazing to me when I first started to figure it out,” Hilliard said. “[This style] seemed to be the best of everything. It could be cinematic, it could be photographic, it could be fiction, and it could be performance.”

July 24 2014 10:55 AM

Are These Photos Staged? Does It Matter? 

A few years ago, Bradley Peters showed his wife’s 10-year-old nephew an image taken by Garry Winogrand titled Central Park Zoo. While trying to convince the young boy about the magnificence of the photograph, Peters was surprised when he said he didn’t believe the image wasn’t staged. At that moment, Peters became aware of a monumental generational shift regarding the authenticity of photography.

“I grew up with a different faith in what a photograph was describing when compared to his generation,” Peters wrote via email. “My predisposition was that images are truthful, but with the understanding that there was a chance I was being deceived, while his experience is the opposite.”

July 23 2014 11:05 AM

The Way We Eat Dinner Now

Growing up, both of Miho Aikawa’s parents had full­time jobs, which made it difficult for the family to find time to spend together. As a result, it became a rule that they would gather for a family dinner whenever possible. “As a teenager, I was unconcerned about the importance of that family rule. However, now I understand that the dinnertime we had together as a family had irreplaceable value to all of us, and it meant a lot,” Aikawa said via email. “Having dinner is not just about eating food, and dinnertime portrays more aspects of our lives than lunch or breakfast would, since the term ‘dinner’ refers to the main meal in a day. Even if the food provides the necessary nutrition, that alone is not enough. The question is: ‘What is a quality dinner?’”

July 22 2014 1:33 PM

Mesmerizing Portraits That Capture Multiple Moments in a Single Second

For many of us, trying to recall even a handful of conscious moments we have during a day is difficult enough. Imagine trying to remember 40 moments recorded in a single second.

That is part of the inspiration behind Isabel Martinez’s series, “Quantum Blink,” an analog produced project that examines the idea that time consists of a series of “nows” we continually connect like links in a chain.

Martinez said she came up with “Quantum Blink” after reading about a neurophysiologist who discovered that our brain activity oscillates at an average rate of 40Hz which would translate (according to quantum mechanics) to 40 conscious moments a second.

July 21 2014 11:03 AM

The Cold War May Be Over, but Its Decaying Relics Can Be Found All Over Europe 

The Cold War is over, but signs of it still exist all over Eastern and Western Europe. In the course of more than a decade, Martin Roemers traveled to hundreds of locations in 10 countries photographing the often abandoned and decaying underground tunnels, barracks, monuments and other structures that remain decades since the war’s end. “It was a strange conflict. There was no fighting but it left its mark in Europe and you can still see it even today,” Roemers said.


July 20 2014 4:15 PM

Intimate Portraits of the Genderqueer Community in San Francisco

In a way, the evolution of Chloe Aftel’s series “GenderQueer” is parallel to the progress by which we continue to define gender.

Initially, Aftel’s series was titled “agender.” She began it as a personal project by taking a portrait of Edie, who identifies as agender (someone who identifies as as having no gender identify and/or no gender expression), and who was dating Aftel’s friend’s son. Around the same time, Aftel was assigned to photograph an agender teen, Sasha Fleischman, for San Francisco Magazine. While riding a bus in San Francisco, Fleischman’s skirt was set on fire, resulting in second- and third-degree burns. The incident made national news and became an opportunity for exposure to the hardships many people who identify under the genderqueer umbrella face.

July 18 2014 11:16 AM

Are People Invisible Against These Backgrounds, or More Visible Than Ever?

The colors and textures Natalia Wiernik uses as backgrounds for her portraits of both people and inanimate objects is often misinterpreted as the artist’s desire to camouflage her subjects in her images.

For Wiernik, it’s the opposite.

“People in the pictures are not disappearing,” she wrote via email. “I think they are more visible, more memorable; the background can be some kind of continuation of the subjects.