August this year I traveled to George Town on the Malaysian island of Penang for Obscura photo festival, where Trading to Extinction was exhibited at an amazing location in the centre of the old city. Besides being a brilliant photo festival, I saw some incredible projections and exhibitions. I also caught up with some old friends and made some new ones. One of those new friends was a young Iranian photographer called Fatemeh Behboudi. I was introduced to her through Maggie Steber, who was having a workshop at the festival. Fatemeh Behboudi presented a body of work consisting of about 50 images. A month on, some of these images are still in the forefront of my mind. The project was about the public hanging in Iran, and the work was incredibly powerful. Here’s a young lady who a few years ago had never used a camera, however the project was complete with the maturity of a person that has been photographing for many years. Fatemeh Behboudi had worked the story – she moved around the subject so you got a very good understanding of the emotional implications of being there. If you’re interested in seeing and knowing more about Fatemeh Behboudi, here’s a link to a The New York Lens blog interview with her.
I’ve just added a new portrait section to my site; I love this quote by Susan Sontag on the subject of portraiture. “To photograph people is to violate them, by seeing them as they never see themselves, by having knowledge of them that they can never have; it turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed. Just as a camera is a sublimation of the gun, to photograph someone is a subliminal murder – a soft murder, appropriate to a sad, frightened time.” – Susan Sontag,
Nicholas Cage on the set of Bangkok Dangerous
August 12 is International World Elephant Day to hopefully bring attention to the urgent plight of Asian and African elephants. The elephant is loved, revered and respected by people and cultures around the world, yet we balance on the brink of seeing the last of this magnificent creature.
In Nepal a large bull elephant in Chitwan National Park sits with its leg chained. The 50 year old beast is restrained as it has killed five mahouts (handlers) in its lifetime. 2002
The wildlife business is the third largest illegal trade in the world, rivalled only by guns and drugs. Strong beliefs in obscure parts of traditional Chinese medicine have driven this development. According to ancient custom, animal parts are imbued with ‘magical’ properties. Some believe, for example, that eating the flesh of a tiger will make them strong. Despite scientific studies proving such superstitions wrong, the trade in animals and animal parts continues largely unchecked, fuelled by desire, greed and corruption. The problem seems insurmountable; one way of curbing the rampant killing and decreasing the demand for rare animals is to educate future generations and counter antiquated and false believe.
From the Trading to Extinction project. Photo by Patrick Brown © 2014 Panos Pictures, to order a copy of Trading to Extinction please visit http://www.dewilewis.com/
I’m really looking forward to catching up with some old friends and making some new ones, I’ll be in Penang at this years Obscura festival, exhibiting Trading to Extinction at Poh Hock Seah and wonderful outdoor venue. I hope to see you there.
Exhibitions, Obscura 2014
Trading to Extinction – Launch: 16 Aug, 4pm 11-31 Aug / 10am-6pm / Venue: Poh Hock Seah
For more information please visit- Obscura link http://www.obscurafestival.com/2014/trading-to-extinction-by-patrick-brown
It’s Global Tiger day, to day. In the decade that I have been documenting the illegal animal trade I have never seen a wild tiger or an elephant for that matter, believe me I have tried. However I have seen 100’s and 100’s of caged tigers across the Asian region. What scares me the most, when one looks at the many NGO web site’s working on this subject of illegal animal trade, you get a sense that everything is wonderful, there’s pictures of tigers walking through 13 foot elephant grass, and elephants roaming on the savanna’s, as the sun is setting behind them. I’m sorry but this isn’t the truth. These animals are being slaughtered at an unprecedented rate. We should never shy away from the truth no matter how unpalatable it is. From the Trading to Extinction project. Photo by Patrick Brown © 2014 Panos Pictures.
If you’re interested in purchasing a copy of Trading to Extinction, please visit the Dewl Lewis web site, click here
A stuffed tiger on display in a Chinese medicine shop in the coastal town of Phan Thiet, Vietnam
Early this year I met Stephen Summer, a truly inspirational man with a great soul. In the late 90’s a new science has emerged which is now called Mirror Therapy, I followed Stephen around Battembong in western Cambodia, as he rode around the Cambodian countryside teaching Cambodian land mine victims about mirror therapy. Phantom pains at their worst are a chronic pain that is truly debilitating. Stephen Sumner who lost his left leg when he was hit by car in Italy and left for dead 2006, is travelling around Asia on his bike, with this cost affective self administered treatment to help treat land mines victims of who are suffering from phantom pains. Mirror Therapy helps heal phantom pains, which is coursed by neurological disorder that an individual experiences relating to a limb or an organ that is not physically part of the body. He has Laos and Sri Lanka to travel too next. If you’re interested in reading more about Stephen Sumner and phantom pain please visit Stephen’s site, called – Me & My Mirror
The feature story was written by Srinath Perur, if you’re interested in understanding more about this very cost affective treatment, click here
As world looks towards Rio de Janeiro, my colleague and friend Zackary Canepari from Panos Pictures takes a look at daily life in this vast metropolis, away from the official preparations and the frantic activity. You can also follow Panos photographer’s who’ll be regularly posting images from around the world on the subject of football and World Cup, via the Panos Instagram account.
In the central African country of Malawi a group of boys play football on the bank of lake Malawi.
When I first saw Kitra Cahana work, I was quite simply blown away, what Kitra articulated was refreshing. But what stood out for me was her sensibility of how to get close to her subject at the age of 17. In this MediaStorm film her final quote is that she feels that she has only just found her photographic voice, I can’t even beginning to imagine what her voice is going to be like a few years time, in you’re into photograph a must see film….
Blurring the line between subjects and friends, Kitra Cahana captures a rare level of intimacy with her subjects. As a documentary photographer, her images explore anthropological, social and spiritual themes through a human perspective. See the project at http://mediastorm.com/clients/2013-icp-infinity-awards-young-kitra-cahana
This is taking on from my piece I wrote some month ago about Neorealism and what it is, the film in my view is a must see, especially if going to start work on a project. When I talk about editing, I’m not refer to the image manipulation, but more to do with the image choice and the images sequencing. I enjoy watching well crafted documentaries and feature films, for a number of reasons, but one of the main reasons, which goes un-noticed most of the time – like sound, “you only notice bad sound, never good sound” a quote by a very dear friend Paul Clarke a sound recordist. I love to deconstruct of how a film or documentary has been stitched together, this is where the magic that happens in front of camera, is polished. The edit.
Here is Thelma Schoonmaker, A.C.E. discussing her experiences of editing an improvisational scene from “Raging Bull”. My point I’m trying to make is editing is one of if not the most important elements of photography. An edit can make or break a project.
Instagram 4 months ago posted one of my images from Trading to Extinction, it amazingly reached over 435,000 likes and still rising, it’s quite incredible the power of social media. However its a double edge sword, one must be careful on what one reads but more importantly what one feeds the beast.
I’ll be posting images from time to time on Instagram, so If you’re on Instagram, and you’re interested in following my work please click here. Share the link if you want too…..
The first time I traveled with Jack Picone was back in 2001when fighting broke out between the Shan State Army and the Burmese Army, the fighting spilled over into the town of Mae Sai and Jack and myself headed north to see what was happening. Here’s a few images from that trip Burma border
Since then Jack has become Dr Jack Picone, with a Phd from Griffith University. Last week he asked me to take a portrait of him, with his lovely newly acquired Polaroid Land Camera, using Fuji FP-3000B B+W Film. It was a blast, Jack said “slow is the new fast”. If you’re interested in looking at Jacks incredible body of work, click here
I’ve finally raised the funds to be able to ship the backers copies of Trading to Extinction, a huge thanks goes to Dr Bool Smuts from the Landmark Foundation, who gave TTE $1800 USD towards the shipping costs.
To the backer of TTE send me your details, the books are in UK and Italy, it’s cheeper to ship them from Europe than shipping the books to Thailand and then shipping out all over the world, I need your address and phone…or you’re not going to receive your copy. <email@example.com>
If you’re interested in knowing more about the incredible work that Landmark is doing please visit their site:
A project I worked on with Chris Hufstader late last year for the Oxfam America’s magazine, one of the stories we did was about Cambodian communal land rights. Over the years of working with Oxfam America, I’ve fallen in love with the place. From the mountains in the north to the south, I’ve met some of the most amazing and resourceful people one could ever wish to meet.
If you’re interested in learning more about Oxfam and the Cambodian communal land rights, down load the Oxfam magazine: click here
The Daily Mail on-line has run a piece on Trading to Extinction, click here if your interested
After all these years of hard work, TTE is in the hands of others, Trading to Extinction is now officially a BOOK, the first copies arrived at the Panos office yesterday to coincide with the biggest Global Summit in history on illegal wildlife trade to be hosted by David Cameron in London in on the 12th of February 2014. Trading to Extinction has also been featured on the BBC.
Trading to Extinction is available from Dewi Lewis Publishing ; click here
I never really thought about neorealism, it wasn’t until I saw this short film created for Sight & Sound magazine for their May 2013 edition.
Here’s a wonderful example of two totally different styles, David O, Selznick and Vittorio De Sica. I love how the Italian approaches the simple act of walking or standing for that matter, he’s allowing elements to come in out of the frame, in my view he’s validating the impurities thats makes up the every day events, he allows his frames to breathe. Compared to Selznick approach, which feels contrived – controlling or implying he doesn’t permit actors or his audience to breathe, and in doing so misses the depth and beauty of the mundane that De Sica is able to catch. Patrick Brown
I’ve been going to Rangoon since the late 90’s, I truly love the place. In recent years the city has changed beyond belief, for me the most incredible change is the fact you can walk around Rangoon with your camera over your shoulder, this was a totally “NO NO”, until a couple of years ago. It wasn’t a matter about working the scene and moving around with your camera to get the best angle, it was a matter of waiting for the right moment to be able pull your camera out of your bag, and to take one or possible two frames if you were lucky. Literally just a few years ago, I used to have three names when working there, they were; Andrew Marks, Eric Baldwin, and Peter Sellers. I would use these names if a stranger came up and ask me for my name, because of the Military intelligence. My point being: times have changed now, but has it changed for the Burmese people?