Photography threatens fantasy – or does it?

With her American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar, Taryn Simon goes on the hunt for America’s dirty secrets.

Gaining entrance to places as diverse as a white tiger breeding facility, the JFK Airport quarantine area and virus-research labs, Simon shows the things that are integral to America’s foundation, mythology and daily functioning, but remain inaccessible or unknown to a public audience.

Meanwhile, in her earlier book The Innocents, she shot portraits of more than 80 wrongly accused death-row inmates who were exonerated by DNA testing, and investigated photography’s role in that process.

At issue here was the question of photography’s function as a credible eyewitness and arbiter of justice.

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Created equal: Mark Laita’s insightful photography series

These images are from ‘Created Equal’, the amazing photography project of photographer Mark Laita which focuses on contrasts between people, their lives and their cultures through a series of engaging black and white portraits.

Here are some more photographs from this remarkable series

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Brandon Stanton’s compelling photoblog: Humans of New York

Photographer Brandon Stanton is the brainchild behind the wildly popular blog Humans of New York, otherwise known as HONY.

Stanton spends his days photographing on the streets of New York City, and what truly sets his images apart from those found on other photography blogs is his personal interaction with his subjects.

Now more then a year into his blogging project, Stanton has collected compelling quotes and stories from an estimated 10,000 New Yorkers who he has stopped to photograph along the way. In the meantime, HONY’s follower base has grown to about one million fans.

Be sure to visit Stanton’s Humans of New York blog and, if you haven’t already done so, check out the video clip above for an insightful commentary into his creative inspiration!

Related post: Finding comfort in portraits of Bostonians

Finding comfort in portraits of Bostonians

Brandon Stanton Boston 9

“He was training to be a surgeon when we got married. One night he came home from two days straight on the job, and I’d cooked him dinner. Right before he fell asleep in his plate of food, he asked me what movie I’d like to watch. I thought it was so sweet.”

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Bearing witness – James Nachtwey’s searing images of war

Photojournalist James Nachtwey is considered by many to be the greatest war photographer of recent decades. He has covered conflicts and major social issues in more than 30 countries.

Nachtwey has been a contract photographer with Time since 1984. However, when certain stories he wanted to cover – such as Romanian orphanages and famine in Somalia – garnered no interest from magazines, he self-financed trips there.

He is known for getting up close to his subjects, or as he says, “in the same intimate space that the subjects inhabit,” and he passes that sense of closeness on to the viewer.

In putting himself in the middle of conflict, his intention is to record the truth, to document the struggles of humanity, and with this, to wake people up and stir them to action.

As Nachtwey says:

[Photography] puts a human face on issues which, from afar, can appear abstract or ideological or monumental in their global impact.

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Like to learn more about Nachtwey’s work? Check out the following links…

Inspiring black and white environmental portraits from Junku Nishimura

Film people & street photography inspiration by Junku Nishimura

Born in a small coal-mine village in 1967 in Yamaguchi prefecture, western Japan, Junku Nishimura lived there until he was 18.

After studying Latin American affairs at college in Kyoto, Junku worked as a club DJ, a construction worker and later got a job with a cement manufacturing company, working in tunnel construction sites across the country as a concrete expert.

With a Leica in his hand, he started photographing the places where he worked. After 18 years, Junku quit his job, travelling the world to make photographs. Today he is a freelance photographer based in Nagoya and Yamaguchi.

Of his intimate environmental portraits and street photography, Junku says:

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Be inspired by smartphone photographer Dilshad Corleone

Take three minutes to check out this inspirational, well-shot video featuring some great advice from smartphone photographer Dilshad Corleone about shooting, composing and telling a story with an image.

Of his practice, Dilshad says…

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