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Tim Georgeson Shows the Mystic Hidden World of Cuba

For many stateside Cuba is a land of mystery. Travel between the US and the Caribbean island was almost entirely halted for half a century facing increased tensions between the two countries; a result of political and ideological differences. For pedestrian Americans Cuba represents a sort of other nation, a whole people veiled by government isolation for alleged irreconcilable differences, with a culture that seems impossibly similar. In Tim Georgeson’s latest book of photography, Cuban Mischief, viewers are offered a unique look at the lives of the Cubans whose home is less than half a sea away. Limited financial and asset interaction with the first world means entire sections of Cuban culture are a reflection of a bygone era. Fishtailed cars and mariachi bands populate sandy streets. Fewer than a quarter of the population has access to the internet. Older white tourist women take local boys as weeklong husbands, visiting

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The Competitive World of Japanese Track Cycling

Japanese track cycling is on a whole other level. Following a competitive application process only 10% of applicants are admitted to the Japan Keirin School where they’ll start 15-hour days of training. Once they pass their graduation exams, if they do, they go on to compete in one of the most insular sports communities in the world, where they stand to earn up to $3million annually through their races. Photographer Martin Adolfsson was let into this world to capture the focus, training, and maintenance that makes these competitions work. Day to night, sunshine to rain, running stairs to sprinting cycling indoors, outdoors, and on stationary machines: the training doesn’t end. Martin’s photographs capture the hearts of these moments. Discipline, failure, frustration. A constant battle against the limitations of the rider’s machine and the pressure of headwinds. It’s a constant battle against stasis, and one that can only be won on

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Markus Altmann Catches the Uncatchable

The pursuit of greatness is at once a chase of the unique and a rejection of the pedestrian. To reach the next level, practitioners shrug off their cultural shackles and venture out into the unknown and unexplored. Land Speed Racing is the search for speed. In an attempt to reach the fastest possible speeds in automobiles, land speed racers venture out to deserts and salt flats. They leave civilization behind for alien landscapes offering unimpeded courses where they can peel away from the earth setting new records and breaking boundaries. Photographer Markus Altmann ventured out to El Mirage Dry Lake in the Mojave Desert to find out who these speed chasers are. What he found was diversity. From cars shaped like hot rods, to others that look more like Luke Skywalker’s Landspeeder, the vehicles match the drivers. All ages, races, and genders are represented in the need for speed and

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André Wagner’s Single Frame Stories

Before André Wagner picked up a camera he was a graffiti artist, prowling with cans of paint, adding color to the environments around him. In many ways, his career behind the camera is an extension of his spray days, as he’s used them to inform each other. Using long exposures to capture the movement of light through a composition, each of his photographs becomes a singular distillation of movement and energy. In execution the behaviors are the same, but where spray paint is adding color to a two dimensional surface, painting with light allows for a dynamic reveal of natural colors in a three dimensional space. Where paint covers, light uncovers, and André shows us only what he wants us to see. André has brought his technique through Spain, India, and Germany, displaying his journey as he takes it. The prolonged exposures imply and capture movement. Each beam of light

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Thomas Jackson Composes Artificial Sentience

Swarms are both beautiful and terrifying. Natural convergence means protection in numbers. Starlings fly suspended ballets, herrings turn to amorphous mercury, ants move the earth, one tiny armful of soil at a time. They attack, overwhelm, collect and abscond. They move as one, creating an imposing beast out of forgettable pieces, claiming a piece of the world that one among them could never defend alone. Photographer Thomas Jackson explores the behavior of swarms in his ongoing series “Emergent Behavior,” wherein he constructs artificial swarms from inanimate objects in natural environments. Cheese balls mount a tree, plastic bags circle a stony outcropping, glow sticks converge on a beach. The images are composed plainly, using monofilament lines to hang the objects in midair, composing the impression of sentient behavior. Thomas’ techniques have turned so organic, that most of the images are untouched by postproduction editing. Instead, at times we can see the

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Pascal Shirley Named in PDN’s 30 for 2015

Every year Photo District News hand picks their “30,” a list of new and emerging photographers to watch. The industry looks to this list to see who the big names of tomorrow will be, and this year Pascal Shirley landed squarely on it. The 34-year-old photographer already has an impressive client list including adidas, The North Face, and Google. Pascal brings a fresh take to established brands. PDN chose Pascal based on his unique brand of lifestyle photography where he lets his images take shape in front of him, preferring to step outside of forced composition and inauthentic creation. He arrived at his way of working through studying his own process and sensibilities, relying on friends and mentors who helped guide his path. “Having people critique your work over and over is one of the best things you can do for yourself as an artist,” says Pascal about his own

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Brian Shumway Visits His Old Happy Valley

Every life is chaptered by its own adventure, tragedy, and drama. Experience is relative, and each journey is uniquely valuable. Brian Shumway’s childhood history is contemporarily remarkable in how sheltered he was growing up. With a family tree ridged and forked by suicide, alcoholism, and mental illness, he and the generation after him found a Happy Valley in the Wasatch Mountains’ Utah valley. The largely white, affluent community saw little crime and conventional conflict. But human nature will cast a shadow on any valley. Brian’s experience growing up was not without its own drama, and Brian’s series, “Happy Valley” works to bring voice to the subterranean unease he felt growing up in his pocket of America. “The surrounding environment and people who inhabit it may be beautiful but something slightly unsettling lurks just below the surface,” Brian explains the series. “I was looking for moments and expressions which I felt

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Landon Nordeman Takes Us Backstage

You know their faces, and you follow their exploits, but have you seen what really happens behind the scenes? Once again, Landon Nordeman brings us backstage at New York Fashion Week, revealing the inner workings of the glamour that arrests the imaginations of so many. His photographs show us our favorite celebrities in moments when they’re not exactly camera ready, the reading material of models between laps on the catwalk, and at least one moment with Jell-O shots. Fashion is about aesthetic, and making people into the picture of beauty is not as pretty as it seems. Chaos reigns behind the scenes, and between the carefully calibrated photo ops are moments that we may not be meant to see. But these are the moments of true living: these are the tent poles to the unvarnished reality we too willfully forget or ignore. Flashes of light and pockets of darkness turn

Making Lives Out of Our Nothings

Pigeons are the rats of the sky. Detritus in fauna form, they’re the biological leavings of a city. They eat our trash, and scurry out from under our steps (perhaps not quickly enough as clubbed feet and matted wings prove). The ultimate living inconvenience, they have become a part of a city’s backdrop, living and pulsing, but overlooked with disgust. In his book “Pigeons”, photographer Stephen Gill gives us access to the corners that humans have willfully forgotten, surrendering them to the travails of the shy, city vultures. What Stephen shows us is that on the other side of human disregard are lives, whether we name them distinguished or not. In the edges and dark corners of our forgotten spaces, they build social ecosystems out of what we reject. Lucky enough for the pigeons, humans waste untold amounts: Half finished snacks become full meals. Disposed packing materials, used once and

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Franck Bohbot Shows Us the Cultural Through Line

Like shoes and beer, everyone needs a haircut. Barbers will always have a vocation at any time and in every culture. Each community and era will have their own version of a salon, but the haircuts will always happen. How they get there, and their arena, is singular to each group. And photographer Franck Bohbot is working to show the diversity inherent in these cultural crucibles. Franck’s series “Cuts” bring us into the varied worlds of barbershops all over New York City. From the end of the (subway) line in Queens, to the gilded streets of Alphabet City, to the white leathered Upper East Side, to linoleum tiled Brooklyn, each image is a primer of the values of its visitors. Each photograph is a window into the neighborhood it inhabits, populated by the men and women behind the chair. These are their domains, each a master of the form in

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Jim Krantz Gives Us the American West We Imagined

The tradition of the Wild West is a tenant of American social history. Tales of cowboys and trains, wild horses and dust storms populate the imaginations of adults and children alike. There’s as much of a rich history as there are threads of fictional inspiration, all tethered to the truth of our shared cultural past. Even though the most famous Western films are in black and white, that world is still very much alive in the American West, acting as a stage for the lives of real life cowboys. Photographer Jim Krantz has built his career on opening a window to this world that lives and breathes whether we watch or not. From the cattle drive to the rodeo, there’s inherent intensity and a direct interaction between humans, nature, and animal. These daily stories are the stuff of legend, and Jim’s photography works to bridge the gap between legend and

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Gregg Segal Lures Us In with Toxicity

Humans are not adapted to the nighttime. We adapt the nighttime to us, bringing the day with flashlights and floodlights. Our eyes aren’t made to cut through the dark, so we bring the light. But what if we could see how the residue of light moves through the unseen world after sunset? Gregg Segal answers that question in his series “Nightscape” that is on view at Spot Photo Works in Los Angeles through March 3. Los Angeles is lit from every angle at every moment, and cameras give us the ability to catch even the smallest rays, and how they fill the darkest corners. The pollution in LA is at once an expanding hazard while also offering a unique artistic opportunity. “At night, the foul, chemical filled air traps the city’s excessive artificial light, and in these long exposure images, our skies turn deep emerald-green, lush amber, eggplant purple, and