May 2017

  • Flowers of Ethiopia
    Image from Ethiopia, by Robin Yong

    The Omo Valley of Ethiopia, known as one of the cradles of humanity, has been home to a diversity of tribes for centuries. The Gibe III Dam in the Omo Valley has threatened traditional life in the region since its construction began in 2008. The Dam was projected to provide Ethiopia a significant surplus of electricity, which it would sell to neighbouring Kenya, Sudan, and Djibouti generating approximately $407 million per year. The Ethiopian government came under fire for approving construction of the Dam despite environmental and cultural impact reports that projected potentially disastrous consequences for indigenous residents in the Omo Valley and Lake Turkana region, both of whom rely on the seasonal flooding of the river for their livelihoods. Since the Dam’s construction, the Omo River has not flooded and satellite imagery has shown that the lake’s shoreline has receded by as much as 1.7 kilometers and its water level has dropped by approximately 1.5 meters.  The Dam also supports new plantations of water-intensive crops, which have resulted in the forced relocation of an estimated 260,000 people from 17 ethnic groups. Human rights groups have expressed concerns that inter-ethnic conflict may increase as communities compete for scarce resources.

    Robin Yong is a street photographer and medical doctor based in Canberra, Australia. He enjoys traveling to far flung locales and familiarizing himself with the local living conditions to better advise patients in his travel medicine practice.

  • The Red Carpet
    Image from Peru, by Musuk Nolte

    This photograph, taken on the steps of the Palace of Justice in Lima, Peru, depicts The Red Carpet: a series of citizen interventions in the public space that symbolize the ongoing struggle for Peruvian women’s sexual and reproductive rights.  The activists in the photograph advocate for women’s choice in reproductive matters, holding a sign that translates to “let her decide”. In the 1990s, hundreds of thousands of Peruvian women were sterilized in hospitals and medical clinics, many of whom were poor and/or indigenous. The sterilizations frequently took place without the woman’s knowledge or against her will.

    Musuk Nolte is a graduate of Centro de la Imagen in Lima, Perú. His work includes documentary and artistic photography and has been showcased around the world, including at MALI (Lima Art Museum), the SIPF (Singapore Photography Biennial), lll Daegu Photo Biennial in Korea, III Photoquai Biennial, Recontres d´Arles in France and the Angkor Photography Festival.

  • Zero Tolerance
    Image from Philippines, by Linus Escandor II

    Onlookers cast shadows over the body of a man killed by unknown gunmen on San Francisco Street, Mandaluyong City, Philippines on October 25, 2016. The unidentified victim's head is covered with black cloth and his hands are tied behind his back. Killings such as this one have become common under Rodrigo Duterte’s presidency. Human rights organizations have called for the International Criminal Court to investigate unlawful killings tied to the President's anti-drug campaign.

    Linus Escandor II is an independent photojournalist from Manila, Philippines. His works has been published in newspapers and online. He is currently working on a long-term project on Philippines' war on drugs.

  • Prison Stripes
    Image from Guatemala, by Sandra Cuffe

    In 2015, a major crackdown on government corruption rocked Guatemala following an eight-month investigation led by the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala. On April 16, 2015, several high-level government officials were arrested for their alleged involvement in La Línea, a corruption ring that was defrauding the country of millions of dollars in customs revenue. 

    On May 30, 2015, thousands of people gathered in Guatemala City's central plaza to protest government corruption and demand the resignation of then President Otto Pérez Molina. The protest came after numerous graft scandals led to a Cabinet shake-up and the resignation of then Vice President Roxana Baldetti. Above the crowd, a papier maché Pinocchio dressed in a striped prison uniform holds the message, "Lying, thieving, corrupt politicians, TO JAIL!" 

    In September 2015, Otto Pérez Molina resigned after he was stripped of prosecutorial immunity by a Congressional vote of 132-0. He was arrested the day after he resigned. Baldetti had been arrested on fraud charges the previous month.

    Sandra Cuffe is a freelance journalist based in Central America, where she covers environmental, indigenous, and human rights issues.

  • Let's Go To Jail Big Sister!
    Image from South Korea, by Alfonso De Gregorio

    What are the standards of transparency and integrity for political elites in your country? Investigations into South Korea’s then President Park Geun-hye, her aide Choi Soon-sil, and several senior staff members began in October 2016, after it was alleged they used their influence to extort money from several prominent businesses, including Samsung. It was reported that Samsung paid $18 million to a consulting firm controlled by Choi Soon-sil, spent another $8 million supporting the Korean equestrian team where Choi’s daughter Chung Yoo-ra is a rider, and purchased an $830,000 horse for Chung. The political scandal was widely publicized and culminated in Park’s impeachment in December of that year. In March of 2017 South Korea’s Constitutional Court upheld the impeachment in an 8-0 decision marking the first time a sitting democratically-elected president has been removed from office in South Korea. This photograph captures the indignation of South Koreans over that scandal with a sign that translates to, “Let’s go to jail big sister.” The scandal sparked several weeks of protests in South Korea. 

    Alfonso De Gregorio is an Italian documentary photographer based in the United Arab Emirates. He believes that photography can spotlight social, cultural, and environmental realities and, in doing so, provide a powerful and political commentary about the world we live in.

  • Amendment (N)one
    Image from the United States, by Marcus Escribano

    This photograph investigates the tension in the United States between the First Amendment, which enshrines the right to free speech, and the growing perception that individuals’ free speech rights are being increasingly curtailed. Practices such as the “global gag rule,” which censors employees of non-governmental organizations from discussing abortions and the arrests and aggressive prosecution of those protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock, North Dakota have drawn criticism from members of the U.S. Congress as well as human rights and civil rights groups. This curtailment in individual speech rights comes in contrast to the growing entitlement of corporations’ free speech rights.  In 2010, for example, the U.S. Supreme Court in the Citizens United case granted expanded First Amendment free speech rights to corporations, thus allowing them to spend unlimited funds in municipal, state, and federal elections. This ruling has led to a dramatic increase in political campaign funding by corporations and has been viewed by many as a controversial means for wealthy business owners to dominate political discourse in the US.

    Marcus Escribano is an American photography student from Danbury, Connecticut. His work was part of the Rome exhibition of “The Image of the Savage, and has also been in several publications, including Art Reveal and CreativPaper.