Many of our regular readers are no doubt aware of the simmering controversy over Jill Greenberg‘s “End Times,” a series of photos depicting children crying. We first showed the work back in March with a podcast interview with Greenberg. In April, a blogger who goes by the pseudonym Thomas Hawk wrote a post called Jill Greenberg is a Sick Woman Who Should Be Arrested and Charged With Child Abuse, which ignited a full-fledged conflagration that only spread from there. The most reasoned analysis we’ve seen on the issue comes from Jim Lewis writing on Slate.com: “Photography tends to magnify and distort both deeds and misdeeds-more so than other art forms, and in fact more than almost any activity I can think of. The specter of exploitation hovers over it, and it’s this, I think, that accounts for Hawk’s disproportionate outrage. … Jill Greenberg is decidedly not one of the best, but her clumsiness inadvertently reveals a fundamental truth: Taking a picture is a deep and ethically complex thing to do, and everyone who engages in it is compromised, right from the start.”
When The Sacramento Bee throws the full weight of its resources behind a project, good things happen. The latest special report from the Bee is called “A Mother’s Journey,” and it’s an all-access look into a year in the life of a mom and her son who is suffering with cancer. Reporter Cynthia Hubert and photographer Renée C. Byer recorded the good, the bad and the ugly with this family’s fight for survival. The four-part series just wrapped up in the print Bee, but there are plenty of photos and videos online.
Two recent projects by American photographers offer interesting insights into the Muslim world. Photographer Stephanie Sinclair photographs child brides in Afghanistan for The New York Times, exposing what to Western eyes seems a cruel fate but is rather commonplace in countries such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Nigeria. Another good project deserving attention is Kate Brooks‘ look at Muslim women’s fashion from the streets of Beirut to the fashion runways of Cairo, which can be see on TIME.com (beware of the audio though, which sounds a little rough; the pictures and captions should suffice). Both photographers have immersed themselves in Muslim culture over the last several years, and their expertise shows. But we’re still viewing the Muslim world through a Western lens. Surely there are Muslim photographers doing good work (one we know of is Iranian Newsha Tavakolian of Polaris Images and the Eve collective). If you know of others, drop us a note at email@example.com.
The VII Photo Agency has scheduled its next seminar to take place at New York City’s Parsons School of Design on Sunday, September 17. This one-day seminar will feature photographic presentations by Eugene Richards, Lauren Greenfield, Christopher Morris, James Nachtwey and John Stanmeyer, as well as portfolio reviews and panel discussions. One-day seminar tickets are $100 or $50 for students. Limited portfolio review packages with seminar passes are $300. For more information on the seminar and these other related events, visit the VII Photo website at www.viiphoto.com/event.html. Also see American Photo’s Calendar section for other events in your area.