In recent weeks we have been working behind the scenes on new interactive channels for the Magnum Photos website. One of the main focuses is building stronger community portals and creating a more engaging experience with our website. The greatest asset of Magnum is the high standards of quality in regards to our content, and showcasing this work on the blog can be very limiting, so as an online destination we want to offer more to our audience and build a strong community portal. We would like to bring you better ways to view new work and engage with it on a regular basis so we will be reformatting the blog and building coherent photographer channels to integrate the community with activities beyond blogging and we are looking forward to a more productive and mutually beneficial discourse. While we do this we ask for your patience and understanding. Soon there will be so much more for you to enjoy on our website.
After our live interviews with Bruce Gilden, Larry Towell and Peter van Agtmael on Twitter we have another exciting Twitterview coming up this Thursday.
Paul Fusco will take your questions for an hour. Check out his Portfolio page, his moving Magnum In Motion essay "Chernobyl Legacy", "Bitter Fruit" or any of his major features and prepare some questions. Make sure to use #fusco somewhere in your Twitter message as this is the only way for us to see your questions.
The Award program is open to all photographers born after June 1, 1975, living in Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, the Republics of the North Caucasus in the Russian Federation (Daghestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, North-Ossetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karatshaevo-Tsherkessia, and Adigey Republic) and the Russian Federation regions of Stavropol Krai and Krasnodar. Existing United Nations standards on nationality and borders will be utilized for purposes of determining eligibility.
Applicants must submit up to twenty (20) images from a single documentary project situated in the Caucasus (as described above) in digital format, together with a one-page written statement (in English, French, or Russian) describing the project and providing a short biography and the contact information of the photographer.
All entries must be submitted using this form or sent to the Magnum Foundation, c/o Magnum Photos, 19 rue Hegesippe Moreau, 75018 Paris, France, and received by June 15, 2009. Please note « Caucasus Award » on the envelope.
A short-list of entries will be reviewed by a jury composed of the members of Magnum Photos in late June 2009. The jury will propose a winner and two honorable mention recipients to be confirmed by the Board of Directors of the Magnum Foundation. The winner and honorable mention recipients will be notified by the Magnum Foundation by telephone or email and will be publicly announced at an awards ceremony in Tbilisi, Georgia, on September 19, 2009.
In addition to the $5000 first prize to support an ongoing documentary project, the winner will receive a statute presented by a Magnum photographer at an awards ceremony held in Tbilisi, Georgia, on September 19, 2009.
The portfolios submitted by the winner and honorable mention recipients also will be featured on the Magnum Foundation’s website and projected at the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie in Arles, France, and at an R.I.P. Arles-Tbilisi event in Tbilisi, Georgia.
My work on foreclosed homes in Detroit has actually been a continuation of a project that started in Fort Myers, Florida in September 2008. For me the major concentration of the work is on the houses or what’s left of the houses. I chose to photograph them mostly straight on like my street work in a very blunt fashion. To let the houses speak for themselves.
After going to Florida and continuing in Detroit I realized that foreclosure is one part of a circle. There is homelessness, job loss, economic difficulties, etc, etc, etc. In Detroit the problem is not only a subprime problem it’s a problem of people who lost their jobs. And this has been going on for many years. So it’s a much more serious situation. When I went to Detroit - even though I had known that the city was pretty desolate - I was amazed that a major city in America in 2009 can look like this.
Certain areas look like Berlin after World War II or like Beirut. Something is wrong here. Recently I have read books and articles and watched television shows on the foreclosure problem. How can you have a trillion dollar industry that’s not regulated? This was a scam from the beginning - that’s not to say that some homeowners aren’t at fault also, one of the problems is giving mortages to people who have a history of no credit or of bad credit. A big problem in Detroit was people refinancing their morgages and not being able to keep up with their monthly payments. Something is very wrong with a policy like this. But when I arrived in Detroit I saw a city government that does not take care of its people and a lot of those people have stopped caring. I mean I don’t care what the excuse is - how do you leave so many buildings that are almost totally destroyed standing. Kids can get hurt playing in them, it’s a breeding ground for drugs and prostitution. Property values go down, nobody wants to live in these areas, To me it almost seems like they are left standing so that one day they drive everybody out and grand new subdivisions can be made.
What was really sad for me in Detroit was that many of the destroyed houses were well made and beautiful houses at one time, they were like Grande Dames. Detroit at one time had the highest standard of living for blue collar workers because of the auto industry. It’s all gone. This makes the destruction even sader, it’s not like a dilapidated trailer in ruins. There was an elegance here - the houses were beautiful - it’s so sad. There were serious memories in these houses, people lived there for 50 - 70 years. When these houses were built there was pride in craftsmanship and you saw it in the houses. It’s sad.
On Saturday June 8th, 1968 the body of Robert F Kennedy was carried by a special Funeral Train from Penn Station in New York City to Union Station in Washington DC.
Bobby Kennedy’s last words before he lapsed into unconsciousness after he was shot in Los Angeles on the night of June 5th, 1968 were: “Is everybody alright?”
Oscar winning documentary maker Jon Blair is starting work on a ground-breaking documentary based on the memories of those who watched RFK’s funeral train go by. The film will be focusing on the extraordinary photographs taken from the train by Paul Fusco, combined with interviews with some of the tens of thousands of Americans who lined the tracks.
We recently spoke with Francisca Fuentes, the researcher for the project, to learn more about the film. She had this to say: