Category Archives: IM Magazine

A monthly presentation of new work by invited young women photographers.

Gabriella Demczuk: Baltimore Sings the Blues

Gabriella Demczuk (USA): Baltimore Sings the Blues
Inge Morath Award Finalist, 2016

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“Lady sings the blues. She’s got them bad. She feels so sad. And wants the world to know what her blues is all about” — Billie Holiday, Lady Sings the Blues

My uncle remembers fondly driving a Freezy Palace ice cream truck around West Baltimore the summer before his freshman year of college in 1965. He remembers the “vibrant street life” and the “active, close knit” black middle class community that would line up with “enormous sunny smiles” to hand him silver coins in return for soft serve ice cream cones. It was at this time that West Baltimore was at its finest. The black community was thriving, restaurants and shops were booming, and Pennsylvania Avenue was the hub of entertainment and culture, having showcased some of the biggest artists in history including hometown legend Billie Holiday. Drive through it today and you will see nothing but rows of abandoned homes and blocks of extreme blight, skeletons of an era that once was and fragments of a city that has been plagued by systematic racial inequality, economic disparity, rampant drug abuse, poor education and police brutality.

On April 19, 2015, a 25 year-old Freddie Gray from West Baltimore died under police custody after having suffered a spinal cord injury from his arrest. Days of protests followed which lead to violent clashes with the police on Pennsylvania Avenue just hours after Gray’s funeral on April 27. A long night of rioting broke out all over the city causing $9 million in damages and a staggering increase in the homicide rate that year—344 deaths in total, the highest in decades. Not since the death of Martin Luther King Jr. has Baltimore seen such violence, forcing Baltimore residents, its city council and police department to confront the issues that have long been ignored. Local organizations and activists have kept the conversation going but it will take time and constant perseverance from all sides before real change can be seen.

This project seeks to take a closer look at the issues and changes Baltimore’s underserved and forgotten communities are facing after the national attention surrounding Freddie Gray’s death. For the past three years in which I have been covering Baltimore, I am interested in areas that will have a large impact on the city’s future, particularly in the housing development. Governor Larry Hogan plans to spend $700 million in the next couple years tearing down thousands of blighted homes and investing in low-income housing. There has been much discourse on how to solve the blight problem in the city with many residents hoping to renovate instead of creating more empty lots. I want to look deeper into these policies and what the city has planned for these communities, documenting the buildings before they are torn down. Much of the architectural history in these neighborhoods has already been lost. I hope to research its history and to team up with historians and architects who are working to save what is already there. I also want to look at what the city is doing to redevelop its low-income housing and the many problems its tenants face such as lead poisoning and sanitation.

Daniella Zalcman: Signs of Your Identity

Daniella Zalcman (USA): Signs of Your Identity
Inge Morath Award Recipient, 2016

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As Britain built an empire that would one day hold sway over a quarter of the world’s land surface, Parliament had to decide how to handle its new indigenous subjects. In an 1837 House of Commons Report, the government posited that the only way forward was imposing assimilation. In Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, various iterations of the Indian Residential School system were created — usually church­run boarding schools meant to forcibly assimilate indigenous children into Western culture. Attendance was mandatory, and Indian Agents would regularly visit aboriginal communities to take children as young as two or three from their homes. Many of them wouldn’t see their families again for the next decade, others would never reunite again. These students were punished for speaking their native languages or observing any indigenous traditions, routinely physically and sexually assaulted, and in some extreme instances subjected to medical experimentation and sterilization.

“‘You stupid Indian’ were the first English words I ever learned,” Tom Janvier told me. He was sent to Canadian residential school as a three­year­old, where he was bullied, beaten, and repeatedly sexually molested over a ten year period. “It became self­fulfilling. My identity was held against me.”

The removals continued in Australia until the 1970s. The last residential school in Canada didn’t close until 1996. The U.S. government still operates 59 Indian Boarding Schools today.

The lasting impact on these indigenous populations is immeasurable and grotesque. Thousands of children died while in the system — so many that it was common for residential schools to have their own cemeteries. In Canada, mass graves are being discovered on a near monthly basis. And those who did survive, deprived of their families and their own cultural identities, became part of a series of lost generations. Languages died out, sacred ceremonies were criminalized and suppressed. The Canadian government has officially termed the residential school system a cultural genocide.

The work I’ve shot so far over the past year, based in Canada and the U.S., focuses on the impact of what it means to lose your identity. A disproportionate number of residential school survivors and their immediate family struggle with PTSD, depression, and substance abuse — and this persistent legacy of social and public health consequences needs to be documented and shared. I create multiple exposure portraits of former students still fighting to overcome the memories of their residential school experiences. These individuals are reflected in the sites where those schools once stood, in the government documents that enforced strategic assimilation, in the places where today, native people now struggle to access services that should be available to all Canadians and Americans. These are the echoes of trauma that remain even as the healing process begins.

Indigenous history continues to remain a footnote in our history textbooks, and in mainstream reporting. I hope this work will recast the stories that we are used to telling our children — about Pocahontas and Sacagawea and Columbus and Thanksgiving — and highlight the brutal history of cultural genocide.

Amanda Vincelli: Regimen

Amanda Vincelli (USA): Regimen

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Regimen reflects on processes and outcomes of diagnosis and normalizing perceptions of health. It asks: what is natural? Who and what can we trust? The project explores these questions through the medicinal regimens of one hundred women, ages 21 to 35 — specifically, the motivations behind their often-changing consumption of (or abstention from) pharmaceuticals, supplements, vitamins, and recreational drugs.

The project is comprised of photographic portraits of each woman, still lifes of the medicines they each consume (if any), and written/audio testimonies explaining their respective motivations. These meetings took place from late 2014 through 2015 in New York, Amsterdam, London, Montreal and Los Angeles.

The project focuses on the medicine consumption of women because this is an area where they face special pressures, particularly around reproductive health and body image. Crucially, the project came into being in urban centers where young professionals tend to be subject to high productivity standards. For as much as Regimen is a project about young women, it reflects on a general pressure in ultra-competitive societies for people to outperform their natural dispositions.

Jennifer Lynn Morse: Black, White & Grey

Jennifer Lynn Morse (USA): Black, White & Grey

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In this series the subjects are John Dugdale and Rey Clarke. John is blind. He is a survivor of the AIDS crisis. He is also a renowned photographer. John and Rey are partners. Rey is John’s visual translator. Rey is also an artist. Rey is sighted.

John is White, Rey is Black. John cannot see Rey.

In the world they have created, the stigma of these things don’t matter. They don’t infringe on their beauty or ability to help each other. This is a story of survivors.

Kristina Syrchikova: Funeral Dress

Kristina Syrchikova (Russia): Funeral Dress

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Cancer problem remains relevant in modern society. According to World Health Organization’s information, every year in the world more than 7.5 million people die of cancer. In Russia at the end of 2012 more than 3.0 million patients were registered at cancer care facilities. Every minute 1 cancer is diagnosed. During the last 10 years the number of cancer patients has increased to 25.5%. In 10 years – if the situation doesn’t change – the number of patients will increase to 15-20% more. In 60% of cases the disease is diagnosed on III-IV stage. Annual economical cancer loss complies more than 90 billion rubles. Continue reading Kristina Syrchikova: Funeral Dress

An-Sofie Kesteleyn: A Lamb named Beauty

An-Sofie Kesteleyn (Belgium): A Lamb named Beauty

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A lamb named Beauty
shows the life of two twin sisters Kimberly and Gwendolyn. The series started in 2007, when the sisters were 10 years old. They live in a Flemish village in Belgium, close to where I grew up. I tried to give a candid impression about how the twins take care of each other, and the many animals that are gathered around them. The twins seem to live in a domain all of their own, taking strength from their love from one another.

The title is named to their lamb ‘Beauty’, who is also grown up today. I got to know the girls when they were ten years old and have continued to photograph them off and on ever since. As the twins grow up, carefree play makes way for increasing self-consciousness.

Marina Paulenka: The Other Home

Marina Paulenka (Croatia): The Other Home

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The Other Home is documentary photography project in which I show a female prison inmates through the justice system at the penitentiary in Pozega, Croatia, and way of life in it, where I question the issue of freedom, surveillance, home and otherness. Požega Penitentiary is the only female penitentiary in Croatia where over 130 prisoners serve a sentence of imprisonment of at least six months and up.

Given that historical reductive forensic portraits delete all of their representation except criminal identity, my photographs depict the existing scenes of women’s rooms, dorms, cells, bathrooms and ‘private’ and ‘personal’ stuff. Continue reading Marina Paulenka: The Other Home

Sofia Valiente: Miracle Village

Sofia Valiente (USA): Miracle Village
Inge Morath Award Finalist, 2015

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In South Florida, off the coast of Lake Okeechobee, lies a community called Miracle Village. It is home to over 150 sex offenders. The village was founded five years ago by a Christian ministry that seeks to help individuals that have no place to go when they leave prison. The residency restrictions in Florida make it so that sex offenders must live a minimum of 2,500 feet from any school, bus stop, or place where children congregate.

In reality, this is a very difficult restriction to abide by. Before coming to the village many of Miracle Village’s residents were homeless. The village is connected to the small town of Pahokee (population 8,000) and is 40 miles from the medium populated towns of Palm Beach County. The rectangular compound, made up of 52 off-white duplexes on six streets and two roads, is surrounded by sugarcane and cornfields. Continue reading Sofia Valiente: Miracle Village

Danielle Villasana: A Light Inside

Danielle Villasana (USA): A Light Inside
Inge Morath Award Recipient, 2015

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In Peru, a country with a highly machismo, conservative, religious and transphobic culture, transgender women are extremely marginalized and discriminated against in society. Persecution begins early, causing them to abandon their studies and families. With few options or support, many practice sex work where they live in compromised conditions throughout their lives with limited opportunities for social security, higher education or employment outside the streets. With few avenues for upward mobility, they are sequestered in hostile environments characterized by rejection, fear and exploitation.

As sex workers with no legal protections, they are at greater risk of violence and sexual and substance abuse, and are less able to protect their health. In fact, eighty percent of trans homicides worldwide occur in Latin America. Without legal protections or recognition, many cases of violence and death in Peru go undocumented, leaving these human rights violations invisible. Continue reading Danielle Villasana: A Light Inside

Gaia Squarci: Broken Screen

Gaia Squarci (Italy): Broken Screen

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“When you’re losing sight, the world starts to appear fragmented, like through a broken screen. Then you stop understanding where light comes from.” – Dale Layne

The blind live in a sighted world. They function in a system constructed on the rules of seeing. Many of them could once see, but after going blind they were forced to reinvent themselves, and their quality of life became deeply affected by disability law, support in the private sphere, and the level of awareness in the society around them. Continue reading Gaia Squarci: Broken Screen