18 September 2008

vewd

Platform 22
Photographs & Text © Nathan Golden

"There are extraordinary children living at the Howrah Railway Station, near Kolkata, India. I was especially moved by their ability to generate a community and to survive — these are very young people, taking care of themselves and each other in an uncaring world — but the tremendous potential that they represent is being wasted from day to day, and in danger of being lost altogether.

Drug usage among minors is spreading like a plague through many societies, creating a global generation of addicted and often abandoned children, bereft of crucial education, family support, and social skills. Most of the kids at Howrah are addicted to Dendrite, a rubber-based glue that provides a quick, powerful high, and that is both cheap and readily available. The kids squeeze Dendrite onto a rag; the fumes are huffed (inhaled) through the mouth. Huffing Dendrite affects the brain almost immediately, altering behavior and frequently producing hallucinations. Solvent fumes can cause extensive damage to the brain and nervous system, liver, kidneys, and heart. Some users will die without warning from an abrupt, acute disturbance of the heart’s rhythm — an event known as SSDS.

Without help, the outlook for these children is bleak. Thankfully a handful of organizations exist to aid the kids, yet none has adequate funding or facilities. My purpose in telling this story is to help bring the needed attention and funding for the creation of a safe place for recovery, readily available to any child who is ready to leave the streets."

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On Life
Photographs & Text ©
Peter Kearns

"I met Krista on Labor Day at a friend's Jell-O wresting party in 2004. It was lime flavored and she was wearing a pink wig. After getting most of the Jell-O out of my hair, we spent the evening drinking, laughing and flirting. She took me home to her apartment where we shot-gunned cans of PBR and listened to old country records. Sometime that evening, probably when she was dancing around in her red cowboy boots while singing along to a Hank Snow record, I fell in love with her. We moved into together shortly after that and were married three years later. Many documentary projects are filled with heartbreak and sorrow. This is filled with love."
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I just discovered a new, extremely promising, magazine devoted to "documentary" photography. I use the quotes because the conception of documentary at work seems to be wonderfully broad. It encompasses both of the two terrific projects shown above. I find each moving in quite different ways. In any case, the magazine is vewd and you can find it here.

One exceptionally cool aspect of the magazine is that it makes available the html code needed to link directly from your web page to the flash version of the various photo essays (vewd already has published five projects other than the two above). That is a smart development, although the images in their slide shows are way, way too big for my blog format. That said, this seems like a terrific technological fix to the tension between enabling bloggers to disseminate and comment on work by talented photographers while allowing the latter to maintain ultimate control over their work. Bravo!

The magazine's editorial statement goes like this:
Vewd is a documentary photography magazine that aims to continue the tradition of storytelling through an ever evolving visual medium. Launched in early 2008, Vewd is committed to bringing to the forefront versatile essays from up and coming but largely unknown photographers throughout the world. The photographs on Vewd and their accompanying stories show the complexity of this world we live in today in a way that mainstream media fails to.

Matt Blalock founded Vewd to form a unique community for new photographers to share their documentary essays. He felt the circle of people who are responsible for exploring and representing the entire world's perspective was too narrow. Vewd aspires to broaden and diversify this circle by bringing in new names, ideologies, and ways of capturing and sharing the world we witness- and are a part of.

Vewd is currently accepting submissions for highly developed documentary photography essays. In addition Vewd is developing a dedicated staff of writers, editors, web designers, interns, and photographers in order for the site to become a dynamic resource that showcases quality essays as well as news and articles pertaining to the documentary photography field.

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