Category Archives: IM Mag 2012/2013

Dina Zhuk: Got a mark on a hand

Dina Zhuk (Belarus): Got a mark on a hand

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“I don’t know, nothing happened and something happened at the same time. When did it all start? How? Failed to mention. (laughing) Yes, it could be like that from the very beginning. Like that – what do I mean? I don’t know. Do we really live bad? Like all the rest. Do I love? I think, yes. Yes, for a long time. We have been living together more than a year. Am I happy? (thinking) I was happy when it all started then we moved, began to live together, but for the last several months something unnatural began to happen. No, we don’t discuss that. Everything is so tangled, I can’t clear up a mess. One day I want to be with him, the next day I don’t. Yes, something is going on with him either. Painful? I got used, you know. Yesterday he took me so strong by the hand and began to kiss. Continue reading Dina Zhuk: Got a mark on a hand

Yang Zhou: Daytime Escape

Yang Zhou (China): Daytime Escape

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Always, we have an unspeakable pitiful feeling towards an aged beauty. A writer could create huge amount of words for this vague sorrow, but in fact, what the sorrow implies is that old age is the opposite of everything we considered valuable: youth, power, beauty, etc. In our subconsciousness, we fear the process of aging. To me, this fear is more deeply rooted: my grandma’s an Alzheimer disease sufferer. She was well educated and worked as award-winning designers in fabric factories. I was shocked and frightened by how her mind had deteriorated.

However, this fear towards old age inspired me to seek knowledge of it. Therefore, summer 2010, I became frequenter of a sheltered home for the elderly people in London, interviewing and taking portraits of the residents there. During my shooting process, I was impressed by their calm and their willingness to accept it and change it into something productive. It made me feel ashamed when one of them said “Worrying about it won’t change anything, so it’s better to channel your energy into something else”. As one of them said, the elderly are very diverse. Therefore I began this project “Daytime Escape”, which takes a close look into a daytime caring centre for the elderly in a neighbourhood upon my returning to Shanghai, China. Continue reading Yang Zhou: Daytime Escape

Aparna Jayakumar: Goodbye Padmini

Aparna Jayakumar (India) – Goodbye Padmini,  An Ode To Bombay’s Black-and-yellow Padmini Taxis

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Bombay’s ubiquitous black and yellow taxi is an iconic image of the city. The 1100D, or the ‘Premier Padmini’ as it is called here, was originally manufactured in India between 1964 and 2000 by the Italian company, Fiat. The charm of the Padmini taxi is unique, with its disco-lights, over the top interiors, flowers and incense sticks, brightly coloured seat covers, zany taxi art and icons of various Gods, or Bollywood stars (or both side by side). There is much old-world romance associated with these sleek black and yellow wheels. They are an inextricable part of the Bombay experience.

Bombay’s taxis turned 100 in 2011. Motorized cabs replaced the horse-driven Victoria buggies in 1911 and have been serving the city ever since. But instead of celebrating, Bombay’s taxi drivers have had much to worry about. The number of taxis plying the streets is in steady decline. In 1997, Bombay had over 60,000 taxis to cater to a population of 8 million. Today Bombay’s population is well over 20 million but there are only around 40,000 cabs. Continue reading Aparna Jayakumar: Goodbye Padmini

Maria M. Litwa: Inside Geneva Camp

Maria M. Litwa (Poland/Germany): Inside Geneva Camp

‘Inside Geneva Camp’ is a multimedia story about three young women who live in Geneva Camp in Dhaka. It’s the largest ghetto-like settlement for the Urdu speaking minority – locally known as ‘Biharis’ – in Bengali speaking nation of Bangladesh. A place where a huge number of this language minority lives since 40 years. Education and also marriage seem to be the only possibilities for women to escape from this stigmatized spot and to become integrated into the Bangladeshi society.

The enmeshment of the history of the ‘Bihari’ community and the personal statements of Rina (14, housewife), Shabnam (20, student) and Putul (24, teacher) allows an empathetic insight into the lives of those who still suffer from the consequences of the Partition of British India in 1947. Continue reading Maria M. Litwa: Inside Geneva Camp

Yen Nie Yong: Past Lives

Yen Nie Yong (Malaysia): Past Lives

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We leave, thinking we don’t want to return but when we finally do, wish we’d never left. Moving to the city almost a decade ago, I thought I could always find my hometown as I’d left it. But my visit last year dispelled the nostalgia. Confronted by an acute sense of unfamiliarity with the former landscape of my past and its current inhabitants, I embarked on a journey to photograph towns and places that friends and strangers have called home in Malaysia. These towns were once lively, bustling with economic activities and the symbol of wealth and glory. But they have since faded. Continue reading Yen Nie Yong: Past Lives

Alice Carfrae: Tin Girls

Alice Carfare (UK): Tin Girls

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It is said that in Sindhupalchok, Nepal, you can tell which household has sold a daughter, or lost a mother by looking at the rooftops of the villages. The ones with the newer corrugated tin as opposed to the traditional timber and slate indicate that there has been a sacrifice made. A selfless act to try and better the family’s situation. The unaffectionate nickname given to these women who gave their lives is ‘Tin Girls’. Nepal is one of the major source countries for trafficked women in South Asia.

An increasing number of women are being trafficked from Nepal to the middle east to work as domestic slaves. They are recruited by ‘agencies’ who promise an escape from the hardship they often face at home. Few are lucky and manage to make a meagre wage to send back home but most have their passports visas and belongings stripped from them on arrival and are forced into slavery. Most only return when they have become to sick to work because of exhaustion, pregnancy or STIs contracted through rape. These women are often overworked, routinely beaten, raped and tortured. Continue reading Alice Carfrae: Tin Girls

Eunice Adorno: Flower Women

Eunice Adorno (Mexico): Flower Women

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Flower women is an approach of the life stories of a group of Mennonite women who have allowed me to photograph intimate spaces and daily experiences within their community, Nuevo Ideal, in Durango, and The Onda Zacatecas. The images focus on the emotional bonds between these women and reveal peaceful and harmonious moments which lead us to perceive their lifestyles as more than simply conservative and rigid. 
Our dialogues was in Spanish, or the High and Low German they speak amongst themselves, or through signaled gestures. But the real communication is through feelings shared between the women and me, and framed inside the pictures – passions, friendships, secrets, pleasures, and amusements. Continue reading Eunice Adorno: Flower Women

Maria Pleshkova: Days of War, a Pillow Book

Maria Pleshkova (Russia): Days of War, a Pillow Book

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‘War’ and ‘Waiting’ begin with the same letter. I’m not a soldier’s mother, neither am I a soldier’s wife. But I know what it feels like when the loved one goes to war. It happened to me – and war became a very personal matter. It became part of my life, of my thoughts and soul. For a while it dominated me. I spent my time waiting, worrying, counting days and hoping for the best. I couldn’t unglue myself from thinking about the conflict zone, I spent days following the news and photos. I began to have dreams about war. I wished I had been there. Every single day I was hoping to get a message from my friend saying that he was alive and well. Sometimes I felt it was the conflict zone – not my peaceful city – where real life was going on. I felt like a character in a play or simply a puppet. Everything around me seemed artificial. War was being fought out there. And everything was changing: the country and people in distant places, the global political situation… I was changing, too. Now it’s all over. But I think that war left a stigma on me,a kind of incurable deformity.

Carlotta Zarattini: The White Building

Carlotta Zarattini (Italy): The White Building, A Mirror of Cambodia
Inge Morath Award Finalist, 2012

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Families and businessmen, elderly and children, drug addicts and poets, all live in the same building, a unique microcosm of Cambodian society. The White Building mirrors Phnom Penh’s hidden soul. It throbs and hums like a hodgepodge construction, but carries a distinct flavor left since its construction in 1963, when it was supposed to host the athletes of the Southeast Asian Peninsular Games. Now a mixture between a slum and a sanctuary, its residents include poets and illiterates, newly-weds and mistresses. As sunlight shines through window slits and shadows are cast on its white walls, the people within learn to tell time. Life in the White Building remains a distinctly Cambodian narrative, plastered by graffiti and stories that reach into memories and dreams.

In the 1960s Cambodia saw a renaissance in architecture and the arts. Phnom Penh flourished. Amidst a positive outlook on the potential for a bright future, one of history’s darkest chapters was about to begin. The Khmer Rouge regime took power in 1970. Cambodia changed forever. During the following years, the country saw its colors fade. Eyes lost shimmer. Continue reading Carlotta Zarattini: The White Building

Isadora Kosofsky: Selections from The Three and This Existence

Isadora Kosofsky (US): Selections from “The Three” & “This Existence”
Inge Morath Award Recipient, 2012

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“The Three,” the first section of my long-term project, documents Jeanie, 82, Will, 84, and Adina, 90, individuals bound by their relationship. They view their connection as a shield from the loneliness of aging. Even though Jeanie, Will and Adina’s relationship began at a senior care facility, the outside world is more like home. For them, the care center is a reminder of solitude. Attempting to find solace within themselves, they seek escape with each other. In describing their bond, Will shares, “We live above the law. Not outside the law, but above the law. We are not outlaws.”

Through their relationship, Jean, Will and Adina challenge socio-cultural norms projected about the elderly. Jeanie, reflecting on her life, confides, “I do not wish to assume all the garments of maturity.” Most of the women I photograph have felt marginalized as females; now Jeanie seeks empowerment, reiterating, “I want to be free.” For many of my subjects, aging is often paradoxically a form of both loss and liberation. The grief following my grandmother’s death led me to document the lives and relationships of the elderly, particularly women, in Los Angeles over the course of four years. Continue reading Isadora Kosofsky: Selections from The Three and This Existence