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photography

Photography by Alicja Wróblewska

Strange Gardens

What is beauty for? What is its source? Polish artist Alicja Wróblewska thinks about such things as she fashions fanciful sculptures, snaps photographs, and creates collages both analog and digital to explore the impact of plastics on ocean health.

 Photo by Christopher Gregory

Street Fighters

On a hot June afternoon, driven by an anxiety that seems to track with the viciousness of the national mood, I visit an arcade to see if it still has the analgesic effect I craved as a lonely teenager, when I felt especially embattled because, as a black person, I’d begun to realize what America might have in store for me.

Photo by Eman Helal

Power Jam

Nouran Elkabbany’s family wasn’t thrilled about the idea of her joining a roller derby team. They worried about all the ways she might damage her body. 

Illustration by Jen Renninger

Kodak Moments

The summer I turned twenty-six, I stopped taking pictures. This wasn’t just out of character—this was abnegation of character, so foundational was my belief in a photographic clenched fist around the past. I have always been a writer, but I’ve never been a competent diarist; until that summer, I had measured out my life with photo sleeves.

Photo by Sarah Rice

Richard Blanco’s Notes to Self

When Two Ponds Press, a fine-art press that produces limited-edition monographs, approached poet Richard Blanco and photographer Jacob Hessler in early 2014 for a theme on which to collaborate, it didn’t take them long to agree on a purpose. Blanco had spent the previous year working on several commissioned occasional poems and had been exploring the role of poetry in public discourse, “the idea of the civic-minded poet—the poet as the village voice, a poetry of social conscience.” Hessler, who uses large-scale landscapes to explore similar ideas of artistic responsibility, shared Blanco’s values and concerns. In light of recent schisms in American political life—eruptions over marriage quality, racial strife, and police violence, for instance—they landed on the idea of boundaries and borders. As Blanco puts it, they sought to examine, through image and verse, “narratives that are manipulated to separate—to divide and conquer. We wanted to investigate and expose those narratives that run counter to the idea of our shared humanity.”

Tokyo Parrots by Yoshinori Mizutani

Tokyo Parrots

Tokyo is a photographer’s dream, a city overflowing with potent imagery. But this sensory input can also be overpowering, making it tough to find a single focus. Photographer Yoshinori Mizutani, though, knew he found a great new subject when he noticed bright, greenish-yellow birds zipping past his house, perching in a large zelkova tree just a stone’s throw away. Not long after that, he spotted a large roost of them on the campus of the Tokyo Institute of Technology—hundreds and hundreds of them banding together. The birds turned out to be rose-ringed parakeets, a nonnative type of parrot that had been imported to Japan over the years as pets, many of which had either escaped or been released and were now thriving in the dense urban environment of the city.


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