The Village – Nadia Sablin


Nadia Sablin documents a Russian village and how it has changed over a decade.

I’ve been coming to the Russian village of Alekhovshchina for a decade, and in this time I have watched it change little by little – the children growing up, their mothers struggling to make a living, their fathers often absent. The village is a paradise for the young – there is a wildness to the lack of supervision and infrastructure, a freedom that is beautiful for a time. There aren’t many choices when it comes to professions in this remote village, surrounded by forests. Logging is the main source of income, saw mills taking over abandoned collective farms, eighteen-wheelers dwarfing the wooden houses that belong to their owners, the sound of chainsaws breaking the heavy silence of country living.

As Russia changes, the village feels reverberations. One year there were suddenly migrant workers taking labor jobs and renting houses from the locals. The native villagers sneered at the newcomers, but accepted the rent money and the cheap labor. When the Ruble fell in 2014, many families started raising pigs, goats and chickens – a better choice than working a job for a salary that doesn’t cover expenses even if it is paid on time. The families that have befriended me over the years are showing a strain – there is more talk of fights and cheating. Family and love are that much more fragile, when there is not much else to rely on.

The economic issues that seem abstract and remote in the press have a very real and direct effect on the villagers. My photographs from Alekhovshchina are a way for me to explore and describe a world that doesn’t fit into the neat narrative of “Putin’s Russia” put forth by both Eastern and Western media. It is more beautiful and complicated than either side would have us believe, more tragic and hopeful.

The facts:
Nadia Sablin
You can see more of Nadia’s work here.
All photos: © Nadia Sablin
All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.






The Last Road North – Ben Huff

Ben sent me this info about his series The Last Road North. A link to purchase his book is below.

Completed in 1974, Alaska’s Dalton Highway (known locally as the haul road) is the northernmost road in America. At 489 miles, the predominately dirt road follows the upper half of the Trans Alaska Pipeline, and is maintained exclusively as the transportation route for the oil fields at Prudhoe Bay. The road was opened to the public in 1994.

My journeys on the road began with a day trip to the Arctic Circle, with my wife, in the summer of 2007. Later that Fall I would make my first considered photographs from the road.

For five years, off and on, I drove. North and South. Boom and Bust. All seasons. I slept in my truck and awoke to make pictures under midnight sun and noon darkness. I took comfort in silence, open space and the generosity of strangers.

I went looking for the frontier that I was promised, and found a complex landscape, and a road that served as a physical and psychological line between wilderness and progress. I drove, like others I met on the road, to drive as far as I could drive.

I hitched my wagon to the great American need to point my wheels toward the Western horizon. To see for myself. When I ran out of West, I went North.

The facts:
Ben Huff
You can see more of Alex’s work here.
For more information about Ben’s book, click here.
All photos: © Ben Huff
All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.






Lou Jones’s panAFRICAproject


Lou Jones’s panAFRICAproject.

Over the past few years, long-time friend, and Boston photography icon, Lou Jones has been working on an amazing series of photographs. The photos are part of his panAfricaproject. Lou characterizes the panAfricaproject as redefining the modern image of Africa” and he has set out to create a contemporary visual portrait of modern Africa devoid of popular preconceived, Western ideas.

The project has been self-funded up to this point. Lou has set up a page on Kickstarter to help continue to fund this very important project. I’ve contributed to the project and I hope you will consider funding the project as well. The link to his Kickstarter page is here.

Lou sent me the following background on the project:
For decades, media coverage of continental Africa has been both naïve and slanted, creating an imbalanced portrait and false stereotypes of African culture. This has caused great damage to the perceived image of Africa. In the past, the African Union even threatened to sensor coverage by Western media due to this portrayal of something that is far more complex than poverty and conflict.

For years, Lou Jones and his studio have embarked upon an ambitious long-term project to document the positive aspects of everyday life across the African continent. One country at a time, we are creating a repository of imagery, illustrating categories like education, commerce, culture, agriculture, sports and more. By steering away from negative issues and instead documenting accomplishments and the rising middle-class traditions, we hope to re-introduce the positive values of today’s Africa.

The facts:
Click here to go to the panAFRICAproject Kickstarter page.
All photographs © Lou Jones.






Transformadoras – Sarah Pabst

Sarah Pabst’s series “Transformadoras “ give us a glimpse into the difficult lives of two Argentinian transsexuals.

From Sarah’s website:
Cintia and Cecilia, both transsexuals, try to make a living in the streets of Mar del Plata, Argentina. Although Argentina adopted a law in May 2012 that guaranties free choice of identity, transsexuals are still discriminated and prostitution is still often the only chance for an income. Mar del Plata, called La Feliz (The happy one), is not only Argentina‘s capital for summer tourism but also for prostitution and human trafficking.

About Sarah:
Sarah is a German-born (1984) documentary photographer and painter and lives since 2013 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Besides her personal intimate work she mainly focuses on women and identity topics. Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally.

She was awarded with the 3. Prize in the ‘Women in Society’ Category of the Picture of the Year (POY) LATAM 2015, the Canon Profifoto Förderpreis (Grant) in 2014 and her work was published in Vice, Lensculture, Le Monde Diplomatique, Profifoto, Burndiary, Zeit Online, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Revista Pecado, Brigitte Young Miss, Deutsche Welle and the Max Planck Journal, among others. She’s a featured Instagram photographer since 2015.

“To me, photography is a way to tell someone’s story through your very subjective and emotional view. I am not interested in the big issues, but in the small stories of people anyone would listen to. To these people that let me be a part of their lives for a moment that can be a miserable, difficult or also euphoric one, I have a responsibility. “

The facts:
Sarah Pabst
You can see more of Sarah’s work here.
All photos: © Sarah Pabst
All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.






Scrapbook – Francesco Merlini

Francesco Merlini uses both black and white as well as color to capture the offbeat and sensuous moments of his life.

From Francesco’s website:
I was born in Aosta in 1986. After a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Design at the Politecnico University of Milan, I have devoted myself completely to photography.

After covering Italian news (with publications among the others on L’Espresso, Internazionale, Gioia, Anna, Rolling Stone, D La Repubblica, Le Monde, Tageszeitung, Wired), now I work mainly on personal long-term projects, corporate-works and editorials.

In 2012, I have been published on the book MONO vol. one alongside renowned photographers such as Roger Ballen, Daido Moryiama, Anders Petersen and Antoine D’agata.

Among many reviews on renowned photography sites, I have been featured on TIME Lightbox among the new most interesting black&white photographers.

I’m represented by the photo-journalism and story-telling agency Prospekt and since 2015 my work is represented also by the Stockholm-based Stain Gallery.

I live in Milan.

My photos have been featured on Gup Magazine, Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazine, Fototazo, Urbanautica, Lens Culture, Gomma, Augenblicke, Phases Magazine, Archivo Zine, Marie Claire Italy, Dodho Magazine, Blow Photo Magazine, Emaho Magazine, Der Grief Magazine, Dienacht Magazine, Life Framer, Il Fotografo Magazine, Shots Magazine, Unless You Will, Wayneford’s Posterous, Fotografia Magazine, One Giant Arm, Diorama Mag, Monovisions, Mimik Magazine, Pizza Magazine, Dry Magazine, Milano Città Aperta, Lamono Magazine, Fotovisura, Swide, Devora Ran, Artwort, Mutantspace.

The facts:
Francesco Merlini 
You can see more of Francesco’s work here.
All photos: © Francesco Merlini
All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.






Seeing The World In Stereo


I came across these very amusing stereographs recently on

They are from the Boston Public Library’s extensive photography collection. You can see more examples here.

The Boston Public Library Print Department has several thousand more in their collection. Here is the background information from the Boston Public Library’s listing on

The Boston Public Library Print Department holds nearly 5,700 stereographs, the majority of them are regional views of America, with emphasis on Boston and New England. The collection, comprised of several donations, also includes international views, comic series, and stereographs for testing stereo depth perception.

The nearly 650 Boston stereographs in this set record the built environment and events from the 1850s to the first decades of the 20th century. Among the topographic and scenic views are panoramas of the city, the Great Fire of Boston (1872), the American Peace Jubilee and Music Festival (1869), and people participating in events of the day.

First produced as entertainment devices, the stereographs are reference tools for depicting buildings no longer extant; changes to Boston Harbor; modes of costume and entertainment of the era; and the importance of the Boston Common and Public Garden in enriching the lives of its citizens.

The facts:
For more information please contact:
Print Department
McKim Building, 3rd Floor
Boston Public Library
700 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02116
617-859-2280 or 617-536-5400




Dongwook Lee – Wozu


Dongwook Lee’s beautifully mysterious black and white nudes called “Wozu.”

Dongwook Lee was born in Daejeon, Korea and is now working out of his studio in Seoul.

From Dongwook’s website:
Dongwook’s notes about his series, “Wozu”.
As seen in the Socrates allegory of the cave, all humans are constantly struggling with their alter egos in the thin boundaries between pain and pleasure.In an endless circle of life and death—born in and cross the water to breathe his last breath—humans have been searching for the reasons for the existence and resisted the world and self-made limitations.
Humans are often depicted as fruits fallen off the trees in the Norse mythology. Likewise, the story of Babel tower, in which the tower is reminiscent of a tall tree, seems to describe a human challenge against God as well as a desperate struggle to climb the tower to find the origin.
My works explicitly show a long history of internal fight, and journey to find raisons d’être (reason for existence) and meanings of humans.

The facts:
You can see more of Dongwook’s work here.
All photos: © Dongwwok Lee. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.





Kitra Cahana – Teens


Kitra Cahana’s series of photographs of teenagers in all their colorful glory.

From Kitra’s website:
Kitra Cahana is a documentary and fine art photographer whose work explores important social, anthropological, and spiritual themes. Born in Miami, but raised in Canada and Sweden, Kitra earned her B.A. in philosophy from McGill University and her M.A. in visual and media anthropology from the Freie Universitat in Berlin. She is one of National Geographic Magazine’s youngest photographers.

As a documentary photographer, Kitra embeds herself in communities, often for months at a time, in order to learn the language of her subjects. She has chronicled the daily lives of teens at a Texas high school, told the story of a Venezuelan cult, followed a group of nomadic youth across the United States. As a fine art photographer, Kitra focuses on the less explicable, often pushing the possibilities of the photographic medium. Her work in this genre deals with themes of the body and spirituality, a topic she took on following her father, Rabbi Ronnie Cahana‘s stroke, which led him to become a quadriplegic. She is also influenced by her grandmother Alice Lok Cahana‘s mixed media abstract paintings, and periodically collaborates with her sister Tamira Cahana.
Kitra is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including the 2013 International Center of Photography’s Young Photographer Award, a TED fellowship, first prize for the 2010 World Press Photo, a scholarship at the Benetton research communication center in Italy, the Thomas Morgan internship at the New York Times, and more.

The facts:
You can see more of Kitra’s work here.
All photos: © Kitra Cahana. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.





Featured Photographer


Keiko Hiromi

Keiko Hiromi (Tokyo, Japan) received a B.A. from Suffolk University and graduated from New England School of Photography in 2005. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally has received recognitions and awards, including The Griffin Museum Emerging Photographer Award, Project Basho Emerging Artist Award and “Best in Show” in The Photo Review.

Her work is in numerous private collections and has been favorably reviewed by Kotaro Iizawa, one of Japan’s most prominent photography critics. She was a finalist for the Pollux Award 2010, a Julia Margaret Cameron Award portfolio finalist, and in 2012, was part of an exhibition during Les Rencontres d’Arles in France.

From Keiko’s website:
Welcome to Jacques Cabaret!

Jacques Cabaret (Est 1931)  is one of the oldest drag queen venues in Boston, MA.  In 2007, as I sat with my friend waiting for the drag show to commence, I sipped on my vodka and listened to the obnoxious bachelorette parties that surrounded us.

The lights are dim, the music starts, and the opening number begins.  As I watched these really tall women work the stage and interact with the audience, I was blown away by their raw and uncut power.

Off and on, over the past five years, I would frequent Jacques to make photographs of the girls.  After seeing their stage show, I was really interested in capturing them behind the scenes – The making of a drag queen.  One weekend when I didn’t make it to a performance, one of the girls said to me, “Keiko, you missed your routine last week.”  I was really happy to hear that – the girls now refer to me as their Ninja photographer.

I have been afforded the opportunity to get to know the queens and the people at Jacques, not just as subjects but also as individuals.  The spotlight continues to shine on them through my photographs.

Just the Facts:
Keiko Hiromi is represented by Panopticon Gallery
Panopticon Gallery

502c Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
617 267-8929
Jason Landry, Owner | Gallery Director
Hours: Tue–Sat 9:00-4:30pm

Photo above: A Portrait of Katya, from the series Jacques, 2012
All photographs copyright the artist.

Katya in Mirror, from the series Jacques, 2012

Portrait of Mizery, from the series Jacques, 2011

Featured Photographer: Rick Ashley


Rick Ashley

Marblehead’s Horrible Parade
and the kids that love it.

Why wait until Halloween to dress up your kids and parade them through the streets of town when you can do it on the Fourth of July?

I became a fan of Rick Ashley’s “Horrible” photos when I first saw them several years ago. What struck me was their humorous blend of all American hometown fun and misguided child humiliation. To me, the photos seemed strogest when viewed as a group and, to that end, Rick has just published as a hardcover book via Blurb with over 40 of the photos.

The text consists of newspaper articles that begin in 1887 with a mention of the “Antiques and Horribles – March of the Procession of Celebrants Parade” and end with the “Annual Horribles Parade“ at the 2012 Fourth of July Marblehead celebration.

Here’s Rick’s introduction to the book:
A Horrible Adventure

Since the late 70s I have been photographing the Horribles Parade in Marblehead. After seeing recent Horrible photographs on my website, a friend, who is both a collector and curator of photography, noted, “This is a book.” And now it is. It is a collection of photographs from the last six years, which are not meant to be an historical portrait or full document of the Parade. I photographed what I saw.

While editing, I realized these photographs needed context. I soon discovered that most people in town knew as little as I did. After a few days scouring the Internet and perusing Abbott Library’s microfilm collection, I realized this is a job for a historian, not a photographer. Most of the text provided in the following pages comes from newspaper clippings, along with a few anecdotes from local historians and multiple parade organizers.

I asked Rick a couple of questions about the photographs.
PW: Did you get a sense as whether it was the kid’s or the parent’s idea to be part of the parade?
RA: If you look at photographs and movies of the parade from the 40’s and 50’s, you see a line of kids dressed in all manner of costume marching along the adult lined streets of Marblehead. Years later, as parents wanted their younger children to participate in the parade, you began to see adults accompanying the children. Many of the photographs I have taken recently show adults out numbering the children in the parade. I hope to be camera-ready for the parade, in which all are walking and no-one lines the streets.

PW: Were the kids in the photos really as miserable as they seem to be or did you have to do a search for your subjects?
RA: Starting in 2006, after a hiatus of several years, I began photographing the Marblehead Horribles Parade again. Each year I would download the photos, make a quick edit, and move on. After several years of photographing, I started to compile my favorites. It was at that point I noticed that the kids expressions ranged from bored to despondent. Each year was the same. I know my own proclivities so I looked at all of the photos that I had taken; no change. While compiling the photographs for the book I decided to check some local news photographs to see if I was presenting a “fair and balanced” look. I am at least as confident as FOX News that I have done exactly what I wanted.

Just the Facts:
Marblehead’s Horrible Parade
and the kids that love it
Rick Ashley
Hardcover, 70 pages, Large Format Landscape
40+ color photographs
Available at Blub here.

Photoweenie Editor’s Note: Rick was kind enough to allow me to design the book. It is the third book of Rick’s photographs that we worked together on. The other two are 94 Pleasant Street and Prom Couples.

You can see more of Rick’s work here.