Photographer #237: Michael Donovan

Monday, February 28, 2011
Michael Donovan, 1977, USA, is a self-taught, highly productive, New York based fashion photographer. Even though photography was always somehow in Michaels life, whether it was shooting for the yearbook in highschool or working for the college newspaper, it wasn't until 2009 that he decided to try to succeed as a fashion photographer in New York. After spending 15 months working on his portfolio he felt the time was right to market himself in 2010. He wants to show people in their most smart, involved, sexiest, real, fun, raw and strongest moments of their personality. The following images come from his portfolio's Give and Take, Free to be Human and Facts of Life.


Photographer #236: Álvaro Ybarra Zavala

Sunday, February 27, 2011
Álvaro Ybarra Zavala, 1979, Spain, is a photojournalist. In India he photographed HIV/Aids patients, as there are currently 2.27 million people that are HIV+. Despite being the fourth largest economy of the world, India only spends 1% of it's GDP in healthcare. Álvaro has concentrated on difficult stories around the globe, from the Haiti earthquake to the drama of the Burmese people and from armed groups in Venezuela to the war in Darfur. The list of countries he has been to is enormous and most of them are conflict zones. He has released five books, has been published in numerous magazines and has exhibited internationally. The following images come from the stories India, Congo and Afghanistan.

Website: &

Photographer #235: Miwa Yanagi

Thursday, February 24, 2011
Miwa Yanagi, 1967, Japan, got recognized in 1994 with her series Elevator Girl which showed groups of uniformed girls in large and sterile interiors. Her photography is often theatrical and manipulated. Her latest series; Windswept Women shows gigantic women of different ages in warrior postures. The final prints are also immense. In My Grandmothers she asked young women to imagine their lives 50 years in the future. She then went on to photograph the women with the use of make-up and other attributes. In Fairy Tale she restaged scenes from fairy tales as Snow White and Cinderella. Her work is mostly about women in combination with the Japanese culture. The following images come from the series Windswept Women, My Grandmothers and Fairy Tale.


Photographer #234: Gert Jochems

Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Gert Jochems, 1969, Belgium, first studied sociology and international relations before studying photography at the school of fine arts in Ghent. Between 2001 and 2005 he traveled to the far corners of Russia. In Siberia he documented the people in the post communist region. In 2005 the series Rus was released as a book. In Gaza Gert made compositions of three images, each time with a wall in the middle. He also focused on Dampremie, a suburb of Charleroi in Belgium, which suffers from high unemployent and poverty. Currently he is concentrating on the theme sex, not the stylized version, but the gritty amateur world of sex and the imperfect imagery. The following images come from the series about sex that is still in progress and the series Rus and Dampremie.


Photographer #233: Michael Light

Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Michael Light, 1963, USA, focuses on aerial photography. He looks at settled and unsettled areas across the USA and explores themes of mapping, human impact on land and environmental issues. He uses a handheld large format camera to make his photographs. He flies the aeroplane himself. He combines the images of each serie into a  narrative sequence and hand-makes mammoth artist's books out of them. Besides his own photography he makes books. Full Moon contains images from NASA's Apollo photographic archive and 100 Suns has images of visible nuclear testing in New Mexico. The following images come from the series White Ranch/Table Mountain/Rooney Valley, Salt River/Deadman Wash/Paradise Valley and Bingham Mine/Garfield Stack.


Photographer #232: Edgar Martins

Monday, February 21, 2011
Edgar Martins, 1977, Portugal, is more than just a landscape photographer. He is known for his stunning images of mostly non-beautiful places. In 2008 he released the book Topologies, containing work from several of his series. He has photographed forests that have suffered from fire, minimalist nighttime beaches with a pitch-black sky, airport runways that resemble runways from another planet and the landscapes of Iceland. Edgar has released several monographs, exhibited throughout the world, won numerous awards and his work is in various public and private collections. The following images come from the series A Metaphysical Survey of British DwellingsWhen Lights Casts No Shadow and The Accidental Theorist.


Photographer #231: Chema Madoz

Sunday, February 20, 2011
Chema Madoz, 1958, Spain is a photographer with a unique way of looking at objects. By combining or altering everyday objects he creates new worlds and stories. His photography is playful, full of humour and very poetic. At the same time the images by Madoz trigger our brain and confront us in how limited our gaze is when looking at our surroundings. His images are all about imagination and widening our horizon. The images are not digitally manipulated. He has released a vast number of books containing his creations. Chema has exhibited extensively throughout the world and his works are in numerous private and public collections. The following images come from his extensive portfolio.


Of Eagles, Rabbits and Partidges

Friday, February 18, 2011
It is quite remarkable how we often observe the world around us without fully appreciating the depth of time that we are observing. Three species are currently staging a "cat-and-mouse" saga that goes back to the Pleistocene. The game is at least 100 thousand years old!

The "cat" in our game is the majestic Spanish Imperial Eagle, an endangered species which is endemic to the Iberian Peninsula. I watched these birds hunting in the plains of La Janda this week.

There are two "mice" in this story. One is a bird - the Red-legged Partridge (above). The other is a mammal - the Rabbit (below). Both are Iberian endemics too. Hard to believe it may be but the Rabbit evolved within the Iberian Peninsula and has been introduced everywhere else by humans!

The eagle is one among a suite of species (including the endemic Iberian Lynx) that have relied to a large degree on these two prey species. Both reproduce quickly and in large numbers and have been an almost inexhaustible supply of food for these predators.

Rabbits are doing particularly well in La Janda, having recovered from epidemics that have reduced their numbers in recent decades. It is wonderful to see families of them sunning themselves close to their burrows under the cover of wild olives (above). Indeed a millennial sight! Rabbits must have been so numerous that they gave Spain its name. The Roman Hispania was derived from the Carthaginian Ispania which is thought to come from the word Sphan which meant Rabbit. Literally Spain means "Land of Rabbits"!

With the big eagles lurking Rabbits rely on camouflage and keeping still (above) to go by unnoticed. Partridges too are cryptic when seen from above or behind (below).

But Nature generates uncontrollable impulses which can expose prey. Partridges calling out to stake out territories may suddenly become visible (below).

...and the eagles are ready to pounce!

their strategy is to dive from great heights (above) or to approach low with stealth (below)

either way it is a long, tried and tested, method with great rewards...

Above: Spanish Imperial Eagle with Rabbit

It's hard to fathom, watching in awe as these animals play out this game of life an death, that the same sight was seen millennia ago by our Neanderthal cousins. They died out and we have put the eagle's future very much on the balance. How much longer will we allow this millennial game to continue to be played in our skies?

Photographer #230: Dan Winters

Thursday, February 17, 2011
Dan Winters, 1962, USA, is most known for his celebrity portraiture. An endless amount of politicians, musicians and actors have been photographed by Winters. However he does not limit himself to portraiture. Within his photography he also focuses on objects and documentary work. He also draws and makes videos. His photographs have been published in a vast number of magazines and he has received numerous awards for his work. The subjects he chooses to photograph are diverse, from Texas gangs to honeybees to his very own son. His first monograph was released in 2009 with the title; Periodical Photographs. The following images come from the portfolio People; People of Interest, Friends & Neighbors and Actors.


Photographer #229: Albrecht Tübke

Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Albrecht Tübke, 1971, Germany, is a portrait photographer that also focuses on landscapes and objects. Most of his portraits are, whether taken of fashionable ladies in the streets of Italy, citizens of Europe and the US or the inhabitants of a small town called Dalliendorf, taken with the portrayed comletely in the frame, looking into the camera. His series Caves consists of portraits, objects, tins and landscapes. For more than a year Tübke went to the Marble Quarries in Carrara, Toscany. He was fascinated by the strange objects, the wonderful landscapes and the interesting people working there. Albrecht has exhibited extensively throughout the world. The following images come from Citizens, Caves and Heads.


Photographer #228: Victor Cobo

Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Victor Cobo, 1971, USA, is a self-taught photographer who lives and works in New York City. In 1999 he was fired from his first job after college after being caught with inappropriate photographs he had taken on the streets. That's when he began focusing on the margins of society. Cobo functions as both the choreographer and the actor in his images. His subjects, the "renegades, outsiders and survivors," are his reflections and companions in his photographic diaries. In this way his photographs are just as much about himself as they are of his subjects. Victor's work has been featured in numerous magazines an has been exhibited internationally. The following images come from the series Remember when you loved me, The face forgives the Mirror and Down in the Hole.


Photographer #227: Meike Nixdorf

Monday, February 14, 2011
Meike Nixdorf, 1976, Germany, is a landscape photographer and video artist. She was educated in photography and video at the International Center of Photography in New York. The photographs in her series The Point of View tell stories about different places she visited between 2006 and 2009. She often photographs the same places but with slight changes as framing or the angle at which an image is taken. Besides her focus on her own personal work Meike joined forces with retoucher and photographer Grit Hackenberg in 2008 photographing architecture, landscapes and interiors. The following images come from Photographs I and II of the series The Point of View and from her portfolio In the Meantime.


Photographer #226: Christian Chaize

Sunday, February 13, 2011
Christian Chaize, 1960, France, has had a career as a commercial photographer for the past 20 years. Since 2004 he has become obsessed with a small strip of coastline in southern Portugal. This was a new start for his on-going personal work and has taken precedence over his professional ambitions. In the series Praia Piquinia he focused on one secluded beach front and photographed throughout the years with a large format camera from the exact same spot at the same elevated angle. The results show the variables as light, weather, the ocean and the people on the beach. The following images come from the series Praia Piquinia, To Praia Grande and Paradis.


Diary - The Common Crane

This is the month when the Cranes that have wintered in southern Iberia and Morocco return northwards to their Scandinavian and Russian breeding grounds. The gathering of thousands of Cranes in traditional spots like the old lake of La Janda might convince us that all is healthy with this species. But reading the accounts of the 19th Century naturalists leads us to realise that we are observing a meagre ration of what was once a real spectacle of nature.

One of my favourite accounts of the northward passage of Cranes across the Strait of Gibraltar is Irby's who wrote how: "On the 11th of that month (March), in 1874, Mr Stark and myself had the pleasure of seeing them (the Cranes) on passage; and a grand and extraordinary sight it weas, as flock after flock passed over at a height of about two hundred yards – some in single line, some in a V-shape, others in a Y-formation, all from time to time trumpeting loudly. We watched them for about half an hour as they passed, during which time we calculated that at least four thousand must have flown by. This was early in the morning, and we were obliged to continue our journey; but when we lost sight of the Vega of Casas Viejas, over which the cranes were passing in a due northerly direction, there appeared to be no diminution of their number, and, as my friend remarked, ‘One would not have believed that there were so many Cranes in all Europe.’"

Thirty years later Verner commented how the passage was as spectacular as in Irby's day and noted how: 
"The direction taken by successive flocks, in accordance with observations made by me for me for many years in the same district, is almost invariably the same, namely a line which when plotted on a map passes about 6 miles west of the old town of Tarifa."
It is a danger to highlight the spectacle today as it lulls us into a false expectation that all is well. But the real cause of the decline of the Crane is habitat loss. Places like La Janda, once Spain's largest lake and now sadly drained, and many other wetlands of the Strait of Gibraltar were part of a vast network that supported vast numbers of waterbirds of which the Crane was a spectacular flagship. Even as I write these lines wetlands like the Smir on the Moroccan side of the Strait are being filled to give way to developments. This is particularly ironic as this wetland forms part of an intercontinental UNESCO Biosphere Reserve!

The situation is even sadder. Cranes no longer breed in southern Europe but they did in Irby and Verner's day, la Janda being their last stronghold. Verner (1911) tells us how: "About thirty years ago, considerable numbers of Cranes remained to nest in south-west Andalucia: but constant egging by professional “collectors” has sadly reduced their numbers. In some districts they have ceased to nest altogether while in others where I can recall seeing over thirty pairs in the nesting season there are now hardly half a dozen to be found during the summer months."

So these images are a tribute to a wonderful species and its wetland habitats and a warning: just because we see large flocks of this species (or indeed other animals), it should not be taken to mean that all is well. The wetlands of the Strait of Gibraltar and its birds have been dying a long and lingering death for 150 years. Yet it seems that more emphasis is placed on the wonders of the region than on the rate of loss. In another 150 years it may only be the images that we are left with. And that will be our legacy...