Striking Portraits Of Mutilated Acid Attack Survivors By Ken Hermann

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Shocking photographs of acid attack victims shine light on Bangladesh’s cruel reality of frequent mutilation acts. The project called “Survivors” was made by an award-winning photographer Ken Hermann and video journalist Tai Klan. The duo visited Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh, aspiring to document the heartbreaking stories of people disfigured by acid attacks.

Rejection to have an affair, refusing to get married, land or marital disputes are the most common reasons for attacks often performed by close relatives, neighbors or a spouse. Majority of such violence acts are directed against young women and children who then are scarred for the rest of their lives. Medical treatments and surgeries are a mere utopia.

But there is an unbelievably inspiring side even to this tragedy: people captured in Hermann’s photographs refuse to see themselves as victims. Their portraits radiate extreme resilience and profoundness. According to the photographer, his goal was to portray these people by emphasizing their beauty and strength rather than displaying them as freaks.

“I have nothing to hide. I look at myself and love myself for who I have become in spite of what I have suffered”,says Umma Aysha Siddike Nila, who was 15 years old when her husband burnt all of her face and parts of her upper arms with acid.

Many people whose lives were affected by acid attacks have devoted themselves to fight against the rooted custom. Thanks to people like Nila and bigger organizations such as Acid Survivor Foundation, there has been an 85% decline in recorded acid attack cases.

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THE SLAP Is A New Social Experiment Where 40 Random People Hit Each Other In The Face

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The Slap, a totally fresh video by filmmaker Max Landis, is a clever response to the famous First Kiss video that went viral three months ago and has been making all of us go awwww up until now. Landis’ video features 40 randomly paired people in a fairly uncomfortable situation – the goal for them was to slap each other in the face. Even if it’s the first time they had met.

According to the author, none of the participants were pressured to do so and all of them were “hit as hard as THEY asked to be hit”. The beauty of this project lies in the contrast between a somewhat violent action of hitting other person and the intimate feeling the participants develop towards each other.

Though Landis really was aiming to mock the famous First Kiss video (which is obvious from the black and white color palette and similar upbeat music), he did go beyond just that. His explanation video called Point Of Impact explains the reasons for him to make “The Slap” in the first place.

“What is violence? It’s really just a label, isn’t it, if you let your mind go to a dark place. I decided to define violence as “non-consensual physical interference;” <…> What is trust? Do you trust someone not to hurt you? Are you even thinking about it? Do you care if they hurt you if you trust them? <…> The theory was: A slap, robbed of its violating context, is more intimate than a kiss. My theory, as it turned out, was right.”

Btw, did you notice the cherry on top? At 1:48, there’s Haley Joel Osment (yup, the kid from The Sixth Sense) being slapped straight into his lush beard.

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David Rochkind Documents The War Against The Mexican Drug Cartels

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David Rochkind’s Heavy Hand, Sunken Spirit is a project about Mexico’s new normalcy: day-to-day violence and corruption due to Mexico’s violent drug war since the rise of former Mexican President Felipe Calderon.

Since his time in office, the battle against the country’s drug cartels has become a priority, and in consequence more than 50,000 people have been killed and kidnapped

The cartels in Mexico are ruthless, meting out an awesome brutality where heads are rolled into crowded discos and dismembered bodies are abandoned on busy streets.

Rochkind images intend to “frame the violence as a symptom”, as opposed to the problem. He is interested in documenting Mexico’s present situations in an unfiltered manner; he says, “when documenting this conflict it is important not to reduce what is happening to a series of nearly anonymous images of carnage that could be happening anywhere.” His honest imagery is not just about violence, though. In nutshell, these photographs tell a story, a present of people whom find themselves in these horrid yet mundane situations. The photograph’s rawness intend to offer a snapshot of history, essentially a set of documents that can be referred to later on, in order to answer questions and redefine Mexican culture in the future.

I chose to work on this project because it represents how a grand, intense struggle can be transformed into quiet, daily dramas that are woven seamlessly into the lives of those involved. I am drawn to extreme crises that become internalized, even routine, to the communities that they touch.

This work was published as a monograph by Dewi Lewis Publishing in December 2012 and was honored by PDN, photo-eye and Professional Photographer Magazine, as book of the year. The project has also been exhibited internationally, including at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Southeast Museum of Photography, the Blue Sky Gallery and others. (via feature shoot)

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Animalistic Paintings with Eastern Aesthetics from Brooklyn Artist Mu Pan

SVA grad Mu Pan brings East Asian woodblock aesthetics to his colorful, animated paintings. Not much of a “Zen” vibe is to be found here, though. Full of life, the Brooklyn artist’s work explodes off the canvas in a rush of sex and violence. Base, animalistic sensibilities are collected and processed en masse within each piece, and hardly any opportunity for impact is passed over. Really engrossing stuff, whether the focus is placed on a few central figures, or all-encompassing atmosphere.

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Melissa Cooke

Never were there lovelier tortured souls. Wisconsin-born and University of Wisconsin at Madison-trained artist Melissa Cooke works primarily in powdered graphite and often casts herself as the subject of her drawn musings. Striking in both subject matter and detail, her creations explore themes of violence, sexuality, and identity. The nuances of story and emotion evoked are powerful, often unsettling. All of this is made by the artist’s skillful hand, guiding her dry brush across thin layers of graphite on sizeable pieces of paper.

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Max Maslansky

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Max Maslansky is a tricky fellow who seems to believe in longshots. His images caress a romantic past, the voyeuristic present, and a violent future. Each image seems to shake with exerted candor, while holding your hand and telling you things will be okay.

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