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Photography #1 – Ami Vitale

africaHello again everybody, this few next months I want to focus mainly on photography and topics connected to it. Of course – from time to time – there will be something different and as usual I will share my inspirations. But – that’s decided – next few months let’s take a trip all around the world, through many eyes and cameras.

So my first guest here today is Ami Vitale. If you know her – good for you, if you don’t – you better catch up 🙂 She is mostly travel photographer who loves to document different cultures. She was working for National Geographic, Newsweek, Smithsonian Magazine, Geo, Time and many more.

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In total she visited  around 85 countries! She gained many, many awards and her projects were exhibited worldwide.

From practical point of view, being asked for her equipment she said:

“I have used Nikon bodies and Nikkon lenses since I began and am currently using the D4, D800 and Df. My choice of lenses really depends on the nature of the assignment. If I am shooting wildlife, I need longer lenses like the 400mm with an extender or the 80-400mm. Most of my work is close and intimate so my workhorse is the 24-70mm or the fixed 24mm 1.8. I like to travel light and often bring just 1-2 bodies with a wide and a longer zoom, two SB-910 speedlights, radiopoppers, a gold reflector and my Manfrotto tripod. If I’m going to a remote place, I carry Goalzero solar panels and am now using the F-stop backpacks for most of my travel.”

My favorite pictures of her are the ones taken in Guinea Bissau. In 2001 she presented this one of the poorest countries on earth. The topic she focused on was  village life and female circumcision  . She returned to Guinea in 2011 and she revisited the village that she saw in 2001.

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This is what she was saying on her blog about her journey with Guinea Bissau:

Young and very green, I had applied for a grant from them back in 2000, on a whim. To my delight and horror, I got it – even beating out some National Geographic photographers I heard, who had also applied that year. I had no idea what I was doing and was terrified. But the foundation felt there was something special about my proposal to document a small village in an unstable country torn apart by war. They took a risk on me back then and changed the course of my life.”

I remember the most pictures of a female circumcision in Guinea Bissau, it’s just taking my heart and it’s smashing it.

Here are some of the most famous photographs of Ami, also the ones from Guinea Bissau, I hope somebody will take a moment and appreciate her work and also – the magic on the photos and social stories she captured.

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And my favorite picture:

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Let’s begin! – The inspiration for today – Jonas Bendiksen

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I have a lot of “favourite” photographers that inspired or inspire (because some of them are alive…ekhm…still :P) me all the time. Jonas Bendiksen is one of them. He’s a Norwegian photographer, born in 1977 – so that gives him 35 years old, right? 😛

 

He began his career at the age of 19 as an intern at Magnum’s London office. After that, he travelled to Russia and started his own work as a photojournalist. He joined Magnum Photos exactly in 2004 (became a full member in 2008). He spend several years in Russia and create a project that was published as the book “Satellites (2006)”. That is a photo from that project:

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What is so special about him? I really appreciate the fact that his work is concentrating on isolated communities and people living in circumstances, where nobody wants to live. For example, for the project called “The Places We Live”, he was taking pictures from urban slums worldwide. He won many awards (World Press Photo and others) and since 2004 he is working for National Geographic.

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I think the best way of introducing him is just to show his work that speaks for itself.

Here, he was photographing skiing at the foot of Mont Blanc. He was using Leica S2 in one of the toughest conditions.

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His attitude toward nowadays photography summarize in one of the things he said:

“I love working on stories that get left behind in the race for the daily headlines – journalistic orphans. Often, the most worthwhile and convincing images tend to lurk within the hidden, oblique stories that fly just below the radar.”

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If I didn’t convince you, I can’t do nothing about it. Let me try just last two attempts.

Here you can know him a little bit better:

And here you can see the amazing “The Places We Live” Project, presented in a unique form: http://www.theplaceswelive.com/

Thanks for reading, Kasia 🙂