Bite! magazine » Documentary Portraiture

Waltzing With Normalcy

A photo essay by Keith Dannemiller on Paloma, a fifteen year-old girl growing up in an orphanage Ciudad Juárez due to her mother’s potential to be abusive and who celebrates her Quinceañera – a Mexican rite of passage for girls – sponsored by the city government. With an introduction by TIME magazine photo editor Mark Rykoff.

These Images Represent Orania As It Is Today

Daniel Cuthbert is one of our guest curators. He is also a documentary photographer. Daniel’s view on Orania may contradict certain reports that have been published in the press. To me, one of the most important aspects of being a photographer is going out into the world unbiased, to view with my own eyes and to listen. Daniel has done just that. In this case, the outcome is a set of photographs that allow viewers their own thoughts on the post-Aaprtheid situation of white “boers.” Looking at the set as a whole, I think of loneliness, of loosing touch with the world.

The Way These Bodies Are Strained

Mathieu Pernot’s work analyzes the relationship between the individual and the power exerted by different social institutions. The artist uses the photographic medium at the same time that he questions its normative effects. What is particularly interesting is that his work does not only offer an état de lieux but each project could also seen as a piece of active resistance. Pernot’s opposition is silent, far from touching on the spectacular. It is solid and advances progressively.

Two Stories From Iraq

Two photo series from Iraq by Julie Adnan. The first, Born In Prison, shows women with their young children, photographed in prison in Erbil, Iraq. The second shows installations made with survivors of the 1988 gassing of Halabja, using photographs of their deceased family members.

The Khumbu Attracts Visitors From Around The Globe

Khumbu, also known as the Everest region, is one of the three sub-regions of Sherpa settlement in the Himalayas. The region attracts visitors from around the globe; mountaineering and tourism has now replaced traditional trade and farming to become the backbone of the Khumbu economy and culture. The high Himalayan and inner Asian ranges have the largest areas covered by glaciers and permafrost outside the polar regions. The ice and snow provides important short and long-term water storage that serves more than 1.3 billion people in the downstream basin areas of ten large Asian rivers that originate in the mountains. Imja glacial lake, created only in the last century by a prodigious retreat of the glacier, is cited by researchers as a potential disaster for Khumbu: An outburst would sweep away many a downstream settlement, destroy infrastructures and jeopardize communities, and forever destroy parts of an ancient culture. There is very little documentation of the human aspect: How do Khumbu people perceive this threat? What change in climate have they experienced? What alarms them most?

Balika Mela – Fair For Girls

I have photographed in rural Rajasthan for ten years now, in villages. Over the years I developed a relationship with the NGO Urmul Setu Sansthan, in Lunkaransar town, where I knew I could always stay when I was passing through. In 2003 they organised a Balika Mela – or fair for girls, attended by almost fifteen hundred adolescent girls from 70 odd villages. At the Mela, I created a photo-stall for people to come in and have their portraits taken, and then buy at a subsidised rate. I had a few basic props and backdrops – whatever we could get from the local town on our limited budget, but it was fairly minimal, and since it’s dusty and out in the desert everything would keep getting blown around anyway. Some of the girls who posed for these pictures also went on to learn photography in the workshops that we started in May of that year, and two years later they documented the fair themselves.

Hunters Of The Far North

Yagi’s documentation of the Eskimo and Aleut is beautiful to look at. He works in a manner that has completely disappeared in my part of the world, photographing on 8 by 10 inch sheet film – the size of a magazine page – and printing them on hand coated paper. This method is a perfect mirror for the subject matter of this work, the disappearing cultures of the Northern native people. It results in a body of work that is both beautiful and sad to look at, as it underlines the fact that the developments described in Yagi’s project statement are irreversible and picking up speed. Viewing these photographs feels like looking at the past, while, in fact, we are looking at a disappearing present.

To Sleep Well Is More Important Than Food And Water

Victor Yuliev’s photo essay on an emergency shelter for homeless people in St. Petersburg, Russia. Yuliev: To sleep well is more important than food and water. Absence of sleep even during one night influences the attention and visual perception in a very negative way. A permanent shortage of sleep can cause psychic disorders. In the wintertime, the charitable organization Nochlezhka places a large military tent in the city to provide approximately seventy homeless people with a place to sleep.

This Is Not A Story Of Death, But A Story Of Life

I began shooting ‘Days with my father’ about a year after my mother died. The purpose became clearer, as time progressed. It was to make a still film. An abstract assortment of linked recollections. My father’s stories, and how he told them. His eyes, when he was going to say something funny. His white hair, in the afternoon sun. I wanted to remember the personality that shone through the haze of his fading memory. And I wanted to revel in his humor, that had remained hidden for years in the strong shadow of parenthood. I wanted to record all of this, before he died. To document the love between us, and by reflection, the love we both had for my mother.

From The Border With Turkey To The Border With Iran

Today, Armenia is at a crucial point in its history, transitioning from a state of religious and cultural communities to a state of political sovereignity. Located at the center of the Caucasus, Armenia is becoming an important player on the international geopolitical chessboard. Territory, religion and society are the three fundamental aspects that I try to deepen and that led me to travel to locations across the country, from the border with Turkey to border with Iran, passing through the autonomous region of Nagorno-Karabakh.