Reviews and Media
Review and Book of the Week – Blurb
” What happens when you get an incredibly talented group of photographers together? Great art, of course. What happens when those photographers are merely strung together by pixels and have not even met in real life? Well, when it comes to the shared vision of photographers from Photojournale and Fotovision, you get Connections Across a Human Planet, an extraordinary collection of photographs taken worldwide.
The photographs feature cradle-to-grave moments. Hard-hitting, moving, poetic, stark, illuminating, and disturbing – it’s all there in black and white, and color. The book is engrossing and beautifully sequenced, no mean feat given that this was all done virtually.
John Horniblow, one of the book editors, says, a project like this “underscores the possibilities of a borderless and global initiative that is personal and local without the loss of identity.” He’s right – the photographs highlight each photographer’s style and point of view, as well as the unique bearing of each of their subjects, and yet in total the photographs form a powerful narrative.
Many of the photographers will meet for the first time at the book launch on March 30, from 7 to 9 p.m., at the University of California Berkeley School of Journalism Library. All are welcome. There will be a lecture, slideshow, and book signing. Many more celebrations are planned around the globe, so check here for details.
Once again, wow. We look forward to more books from this talented collaboration.”
Review by Melanie Light – Director Fotovision
” Connections Across a Human Planet is a great project and a pretty good book. I like it because I found myself softening and becoming more receptive than I usually am when I look at images about “issues” in the world. When viewing a project about one of the intractable challenges facing the globe I experience an involuntary tightening to steel myself against the inevitable tide of anger, frustration, pain or even despair over the degree of ineptitude of the human race to care for itself. The intention of this book is similar to that singular landmark exhibit, “The Family of Man” in 1955 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The idea for that show was to connect people around the globe after the terrible years of World War II. In those days, the notion of creating a common thread between people over thousands of miles of ocean was truly like connecting to creatures on Mars.
This book has the advantage of the Internet on its side. Not only was this book created in cyberspace, it was published in cyberspace. People in general have become more aware and directly in relation to others around the globe as we now have global citizenry, international chat rooms and myriad ways to connect. Crazily though, we still need projects like this to help us reach out to each with compassion. This book is about the small, universal moments of the human experience, whether that be an image of a herdsman leading his sheep through a busy street in Kolkata, India or an image of a pensive, young, hipster in the Harajuku district of Tokyo. Both are fully engaged in creating the best life they can within the confines of their very different realities. If each had a way to connect to the other, one wonders how their values or daily priorities might shift. But we, the readers, connect to these people (or at least an idea of them) and we can draw that thread between us together.
The photographers are sometimes indigenous to the country where the images are taken and some times they are global citizens, an Italian national living in the US but working in Brazil, for example. This is another great distinction between the social documentary photographers of the fifties, when The Family of Man was mounted. At that time, the field was dominated by the Americans and Europeans. Their voice, their national perspective was a filter for almost all the work of that era. Now, because excellent photographers have evolved to inhabit every quarter of the planet, each photograph embodies the message of that particular photographer. This book is a mixture of styles, b/w and color and images that stretch across decades. I am sure that academics or “purists” would object to this. But the title of the book really says it all – it is so important to reach out, overlook our differences and connect. In the end, though, it turns out that we all have the same desires and hopes.”
Review By Pauline Adamek ArtsBeatLA
Drawing from a stunning collection of photos from some of the world’s finest documentarians, visionaries and front-line photojournalists, some selected images from the Photojournale website are now available in book form, as Photojournale Connections Across a Human Planet.
Featuring photo journal stories and photo documentary from every corner of the world, this remarkable and engrossing book is a companion to the impressive online photo collection.
Photojournale Connections Across a Human Planet is a beautifully unpretentious little coffee-table book that stylishly showcases the contributors and stars of the website by presenting a glimpse of their best work.
From the war-torn regions of Angola (Stephane Lehr), Uganda (Bea Ahbeck), Kenya (Hes Mundt) and Iraq (Walter Gaya); to the scorched and fire-ravaged terrain of California (John Horniblow); to the checkpoints on Palestine’s border (Yaniv Nadav); to the wings, dressing rooms and jails of Thailand, Nicaragua, Spain and Sydney; to the monasteries of India, Singapore and Cambodia and the religious ceremonies of Russia, Turkey, Mexico and Bangladesh; to the exotic urban and simple rural life of Burma and Thailand (John Hulme) – the photos in this elegant collection evoke an astoundingly vast range of emotional responses.
This book is like a fine artisanal sake, the result of a laborious process of distilling the thousands of photographs exhibited on the website. The project’s instigator, and one of the book’s editors and publishers, John Horniblow put together an editorial team with each person representing the Australian, North American, European and Asian perspective. Incredibly, these contributing photographers edited the book virtually, as most of them live on different continents to each other. In fact, few of these artistes behind the lens have even met in person.
While the mission of the website concentrates on developing and digitally publishing – and also promoting – the work of a world-wide community of documentary photographers and photojournalists, the main intention with the publication of these selected works in book form was to create something tangible that complements and contributes value to the virtual product.
Explains Horniblow, “Photojournale is a passion that I’ve devoted a lot of effort to for the past five to six years. It’s really all about bringing together photo-documentary stories from all around the world and celebrating the craft of storytelling. The book itself tells a story, as well.
“The collection of photos selected in Photojournale Connections Across a Human Planet are our human stories, our commonalities and our truths. The selection is not only drawn for their beauty, or their technical excellence, but out of the essence they capture, the universal story they tell, in a captured or latent moment of time, somewhere across our globe. These photos are compassionate, energetic, sometimes fun and celebratory, at other times confronting.”
Adds contributor and co-editor Michael Fox, “From the first time I saw content on the Photojournale website, I was intrigued by the extreme differences, and surprising similarities, shown in photographs from all over the world. With high quality images being submitted from photographers on five continents, it was fascinating to observe how, in one or more ways, we are all connected – belief systems, personal goals, living conditions, employment challenges, interests, family environments, and outlook, on local and international affairs. I was delighted to be invited to help edit this book which, I feel, is a first step in effectively representing humanity as it exists without religious, political, or geographic boundaries.”
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE BOOK:
The diverse stories presented by Stephane Lehr focus on the daily struggles of the forgotten children on the streets of Angola’s war-destroyed capital Lobito (above).
Morgan Hagar’s photo of the hand of a child making a peace sign while clutching a rock, in the shadow of a war zone’s guard tower is especially poignant and chilling.
One of the book’s editors and contributing photographers, Lisa Hogben is a Sydney, Australian-based photographer. Hogben’s photo series chronicles the tensions and dramas of the Sydney City Eisteddfod competition. Featuring seven and eight year old ballerinas, we are reminded of the innocence and beauty of their age. With Little Ballerinas (seen at top), Hogben’s lens captures a tense moment as a young girl’s friend makes a blunder on stage.
SPOTLIGHT ON THE WEBSITE:
Recently uploaded to the Photojournale website is Backstage with the Ladyboys of Thailand, a series by UK photographer John Hulme.
This remarkable collection of black and white images offers us a seldom-seen glimpse into the backstage dressing rooms of a unique set of performers as they apply makeup, elaborate costumes or just chill out.
Thailand’s ladyboys, or ‘katoey’ as they are known locally, are male-to-female transgender persons or effeminate gay males in Thailand. They are amongst the most beautiful and convincing transvestites in the world. An estimated 200,000 of this ‘third sex’ are accepted in this Buddhist society, which places a high value on tolerance, compassion and the belief in past lives.
BOOK PRESS RELEASE:
The narrative of Photojournale Connections Across a Human Planet follows the concept of cradle to grave; Childhood, education/school, adolescence, work, home, ritual, religion, celebration, sport, art, conflict, aging, sickness, death, mourning and remembrance. It’s an emotional and human journey of images drawn from the documentary stories, captured moments or situations from every continent.
Photojournale Connections Across a Human Planet illustrates the common truths that connect the human experience and is represented by photographers from around the world. The book is drawn as an edited anthology of photo documentary and photojournalism stories that are published on Photojournale.com.
Review by Pauline Adamek