Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up – 5 June 2020

This week on Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up – the experience of an ICU nurse in New York caught on camera in an emotive photo essay, and the Australian photographers who have made the shortlist for Portrait of Humanity 2020. Plus the Alexia Foundation’s 2020 Grant round opens in September (so you have a couple of months to get your project together!).

Photo Essay:

Karen Cunningham – A City Nurse


Karen Cunningham is an ICU nurse in New York City. She is also a photographer. In April, with permission, she took her camera into the ICU at Lenox Hill Hospital where she works, to take pictures of her colleague and friend, Cady Chaplin. The story was published on May 4 in The New Yorker.


These photographs are intimate, visceral and quite frankly, traumatic. They give us an inkling into the life of those that care for us in our most dire moments. Rarely are healthcare workers given a second thought, we (as in society) just expect doctors and nurses to be there for us, to have all the answers. But these professionals are people too and it is under immense strain that they perform their duties everyday, even when they wish they could curl up in bed and shut out the horror of their world.


This collection of pictures moved me in the same way as the portraits of healthcare workers in Pesaro, Italy by visual journalist Alberto Giuliani featured on Photojournalism Now in April. They are important, not only as documents of evidence, as a visual archive of the pandemic, but also as a reminder of the sacrifice that individuals make everyday to enable our society to function. This is humanity.


You can see more pictures and read the full story at The New Yorker.


Portrait of Humanity 2020

POH20 Book CoverLR

There are seven Australian photographers shortlisted in this year’s Portrait of Humanity, a joint project between creator 1854 Media (who also publish the British Journal of Photography) and Hoxton Mini Press who will publish the book. Two hundred pictures have been shortlisted, and all will appear in the book which is available later this month. The winning 100 images will be announced in September and exhibited internationally on Clear Channel digital screens.

The Australians shortlisted are: Brian Cassey, who has two images in the shortlist, Biljana Jurukovski (no photo supplied), Kathryn MacPhee, Haley McHaffe, Anne Moffat, Cathy Ronalds, and Antoine Veling.

© 6447Brian Cassey copy
“Maherttar Ram Tandon is a member of the small Hindu sect Ramnami Samaj in Chhattisgarh, India. Members of the sect are tattooed from the age of two with the text रामराम, Ram Ram, the name of their God Rama. Many, like Maherttar, had their entire bodies completely covered with the sacred tattoo text, making him ’Naksikh’. Members of the low-caste Hindus sect chose to tattoo their bodies as an act of rebellion against discrimination by higher castes. The practice dates back to a century when the Ramnamis were subjected to the now outlawed custom of untouchability.” (C) Brian Cassey
© 6469Brian Cassey copy
“Carol Mayer knows all about being near death and enduring the long agony and recovery from massive burns incurred in a house fire when a young mother. Her family were told she would not survive. However, following a year of operations, skin grafts and intensive care she did survive. Over a decade on Carol now gives her time voluntarily to counsel and help burns victims and assist burns foundations. Carol has long grown accustomed to ‘The Skin I’m In’” (C) Brian Cassey
“This woman is among the millions of people who have been forced to leave their rural surroundings and move to Bangladesh’s capital in search of work. Her home is next to the railway track.” © Kathryn MacPhee
© 1762_Haley McHaffie copy
“It’s true what they say about time. Before too long you run out of it. This was the problem Monty and I had. We’d never spent time together, and we knew very little about one another. I knew I didn’t want to live my life in regret not knowing where I came from or who I really was. I mean, he was one half of me, and I needed to know what half that was. Was it the stubborn part? The creative part? The adventurous part? Whatever it was, living in the Bush with him would help me find out.” (C) Haley McHaffie
AJ 023
“This image is taken from my series Forget Me Not (2015-2019). I have been photographing my visits to my grandmother in Sandakan, Malaysia for the last five years; a process of trying to understand more of who I am and who she is, while watching her lose her independence and sense of self to Alzheimer’s Disease. In August 2019 she passed away, age 90. In loving memory of my grandmother Kong Fung Tsze 1928–2019.” (C) Anne Moffat
“We travelled through Albania with our kids and two backpacks in the Australian winter of 2018. Travel is packed with action and wonder. But it is the in between moments that equally fascinate me: the waiting in strange places, those long pauses we don’t normally experience in day to day life, where our senses are heightened by cultural differences. We had stayed overnight in a private home on a remote lake, with many small beds crammed into one frugal bedroom. My daughter had just woken, and recalibrated her senses in this strange, isolated place.” (C) Cathy Ronalds
Iggy Pop Sydney Opera House
“It might pass for a Caravaggio painting, but this photo of punk icon Iggy Pop was taken at the Sydney Opera House as he performed The Stooges’ 1969 hit “No Fun”. It went viral on social media, gaining over 40,000 ‘likes’, including one from Iggy. I love the dancers’ adulation, Iggy’s cocksure stance with his belt undone and that desperate lunge from a fan wishing to touch him.” (C) Antoine Veling

The shortlisted images will also be projected in space! “1854 Media has teamed up with Sent Into Space, a company that specialises in taking images of the Earth from (the) edge of space…a framed screen…will exhibit all shortlisted images 111,000 feet in the air. A 360 degree camera will be attached so the photographers will be able to see their work against the backdrop of our amazing planet.” Perhaps aliens will enjoy the projections too!


Alexia Grants – Professional & Student Documentary Competition

Newtok, a 380 person Yupik Native village along the Ninglick river in the Kuskokwim Delta area of Western Alaska, is one of the most urgent and extreme examples of climate change today. Photo by Katie Orlinsky, The Alexia 2020 Professional Grant Recipient

The Alexia Grants are designed to aid student and professional visual journalists to create projects that inspire social change. Diversity in topics, creators and approaches including collaborations are encouraged. The Alexia Professional Grant is $20,000 (USD). The Alexia Student Grant is $1000 (USD) plus one semester’s tuition (a fellowship) at Syracuse University, New York which administers the Grant Fund.

Submissions will be accepted from September 14 to October 5, 2020. Winners will be announced on (or around) November 17.

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