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Showing posts from July, 2011

Travel writing ethics from trauma journalism

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Photo by mlgroveruk The Mac McClelland article on PTSD should force a look at the ethics of travel writing.. A couple of months back, Mac McClellands provocatively-titled personal account of the effects of PTSD after working in Haiti started a storm of debate around issues of journalistic ethics.In her article, Mac shared the story of a Haitian rape victim (though her name was changed) without her consent. To further compound the issue, it later emerged that the victim had in fact explicitly requested Mac not to use her story. While the ethics of telling the details of a victims story when they have explicitly withdrawn consent are pretty straightforward, the debate gradually morphed into larger considerations of consent more generally.Frankly, when telling the stories of individuals that travelers meet particularly when those individuals may be poor, disempowered or traumatized the dynamic between travel writer and subject is not that much different. In many situations, it might be qu…

Bringing peace home from Thailand

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Photos by author Thailand made a profound impact on Jessica Festa. Shes learning to breathe through it. I USED TO pass by the Dipamkara Meditation Center everyday without ever giving it a second look. I didnt even know it existed. But since returning from Thailand, Ive been visiting the Buddhist meditation center every week.My first meditation experience came during a trip to Thailand. Julie and I were visiting Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, a Buddhist temple in Chiang Ma.I dont think Im going to make it to the top without slipping and breaking my skull, my friend said while looking at the 309 steps leading up to the temple.You better try, I warned her, we have to make it up there in time for evening prayer.The walk up the stairs was slick from the rain as we slid in our flip flops, almost falling several times. Although there was an option to take a cable-car up to the top, we thought it would be more of an accomplishment if we walked.We took pictures of the 360 degree views of the city from…

The Bamiyan Buddhas return

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A photo of what isn't, by Tracy Hunter Archaeologists in Afghanistan have begun the painstaking work of rebuilding the remains of the famous Bamiyan Buddhas. BACK IN 2001, despite a worldwide outcry, the Taliban moved to destroy the two giant Buddha statues in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. At the time, after firing at the statues for several days with artillery, then Information Minister Qudratullah Jamal complained about the difficulty of the task:this work of destruction is not as simple as people might think. You cant knock down the statues by shelling as both are carved into a cliff; they are firmly attached to the mountain.Then they got down to business with anti tank mines, dynamite and, finally, a rocket fired at the remains of one of the Buddhas heads. By the time the task was done, they were thought to be thoroughly destroyed.Fast forward a decade, and United Nations-funded archaeologists and work crews have begun the difficult task of trying to undo the destruction wrought on the …

Bit by bit, the Bamiyan Buddhas return

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A photo of what isn't, by Tracy Hunter Archaeologists in Afghanistan have begun the painstaking work of rebuilding the remains of the famous Bamiyan Buddhas. BACK IN 2001, despite a worldwide outcry, the Taliban moved to destroy the two giant Buddha statues in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. At the time, after firing at the statues for several days with artillery, then Information Minister Qudratullah Jamal complained about the difficulty of the task:this work of destruction is not as simple as people might think. You cant knock down the statues by shelling as both are carved into a cliff; they are firmly attached to the mountain.Then they got down to business with anti tank mines, dynamite and, finally, a rocket fired at the remains of one of the Buddhas heads. By the time the task was done, they were thought to be thoroughly destroyed.Fast forward a decade, and United Nations-funded archaeologists and work crews have begun the difficult task of trying to undo the destruction wrought on the …

The desert and the Embodied Deity

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Photo: John Bruckman. All others by author. Mary Sojourner and her son take a walk into the desert. MY ADULT SON once lived with me in a one-room cabin on a Mojave desert mesa. He is a writer and a musician. He was living in LA and worked as an extra at minimum wage. My son hung on for nine years but when his landlord jacked up the rent and the
price of gas escalated, his bank account had nowhere to go but down.We moved around each other in 500 square feet of space. We moved around what can and cant be seen. One night we walked out into the desert. I took him to the ruins of what might have been a smelter and a four-room house. A stone well is still there. Kids had filled it with dead branches, wire, and cans. I thought of how the desert eats everything.Further up the dirt road, we turned toward the east. The sun burned polished copper over the mountains behind us. The light on the mountains ahead flared hot rose, then cooled to ultra-violet*. We walked up the narrow dirt road, past a go…

One (more) Day on Earth on 11/11/11

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A truly global documentary on the human condition finally comes together. WEVE POINTED your attention to this project before, back when it was a pup sniffing for enough funding at Kickstarter to finish.Well, the good news is that it was indeed completed.The idea was simple. On 10 October 2010, willing individuals all over the world shot images, recorded video, did whatever they felt inspired to do to capture the human condition across the planet that day.The result was an avalanche of content that has been painstakingly edited into a DVD which can be purchased to support the continuation of the project. The rest available as a giant, interactive archive of life across the world on that day. You can even sign up to contribute to the project in future.Some days its easy to forget that we share the block with our neighbours, nevermind that we share the planet with people many degrees more diverse, from places we havent imagined. One Day on Earth serves to remind us of the diversity of the…

The wolves that battle inside us

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Photo: sociotard The choice is always ours. THIS ONE CAME to me on my StumbleUpon toolbar from Matador contributor and former BNT editor, Alex Andrei. Apparently its been making the Internet rounds these days, but his post is the first Ive read of it. I love the message so am passing it along here. EnjoyOne evening an old Cherokee told his grandson
about a battle that goes on inside all people.He said, My son, the battle is between two
wolves that dwell inside each and everyone of us.One is Evil.
It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed,
arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority,
lies, false pride, superiority and ego.The other is Good.
It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility,
kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity,
truth, compassion and faith.The grandson thought about it for
a minute, and then asked his grandfather:Which wolf will win?The old Cherokee simply replied:
The one you feed.

Shooting film as art in Penang

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Image from thirtysix A ragtag group of photographers takes an assortment of cameras to Penang to create art. AS FILM PHOTOGRAPHY takes its last breaths worldwide, the medium continues to find photographers who revel in using it for artistic projects of various kinds. The Negative Effect is a lo-fi documentary shot in Malaysia which follows a group of enthusiastic photographers who still use everything from Lomos to old-style polaroid cameras to make their pictures.The group leaves for Penang island with the intention of shooting a series of images across wildly different cameras in different areas before bringing them together in an impromptu exhibition titled Gia Gia Kua Kua (walk walk & see see) a day later.As the project unfolds, the photographers explore what photography means to them, their affection for cameras that to some no longer have a place in the world. In a way, the awkwardness of film photography in a digital world dovetails with the experience of being a teenager a…

Don McCullin & Eugene Richards in conversation

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Photo bykrystian_o An examination of the strain in conflict and documentary photography. ITS NOT EVERY DAY that two great photographers conduct a conversation like this. Don McCullin is arguably one of the most famous conflict photographers in a generation. Eugene Richards is well known for his images from places in society that few ever journey to see.In discussion, the two men examine their work, backgrounds and the emotional toll that their photography has exacted:[Richards] Youre with people who are being tortured or people being shot at and they turn around and give you their food. Thats when I fucking lose it. Or you go to a cancer ward, and youre with a bunch of women, all of them have breast cancer and all they do is share with each other. Then I fucking fall apart. Its been the case that I can handle it all until the beautiful thing happens.Read the full conversation over at PDN Online.

Mini documentary for urbex fans

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Photo by richardstupart A mini documentary exploring the motivations and adventures of some of the sneakiest photographers. URBAN EXPLORATION, or urbex for short, is the practice of entering interesting, inaccessible, often dilapidated and frequently forbidden places in the urban landscape in order to take interesting photographs from the inside.Some urban explorers do it to obtain unique images from unlikely locations, others for the sheer thrill of sneaking past cameras and guards. Crack the Surface, a mini-documentary following some of the projects of an urbex crew in what appears to be London, makes for a fascinating insight into what drives someone to risk a fine or worse to go where few photographers dare.If you dig the mini-doccie, then take a peek at the Silent UK website as well, for more details on some of the projects the group has completed in the past.Crack The Surface Episode I from SilentUK on Vimeo.

Interview: Joao Amorim explores our crisis of consciousness

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Filmmaker Joao Amorim shares his views on 2012, the role of psychedelics, and why we are the only ones who can save ourselves. ON May 12, 2011, you may have noticed there was no Rapture. Contrary to the predictions, the real date has now been revised to October 2011. Or maybe before. Or after. Or, could the end of the Maya calendar on Dec 21, 2012 signal the end?Brazilian filmmaker Joao Amorim, in this film 2012: Time For Change, decided to explore a different perspective on the coming cataclysm. He believes 2012 can herald a historic awakening, a transition from the destructive practices of humanity, to a new paradigm that aligns itself with the fundamental nature of life.Watch the trailer:
I caught up with Joao Amorim to dive deeper into the themes of the film, and how we can become active co-creators of this shift.BNT: We believe our present challenges stem from our materialist culture reaching our ecological limits. Yet, the issue goes even deeper than that. Can you explain why th…