by TOMEU COLL
It’s a 40-hour train ride from Moscow to Vorkuta. The city, north of Russia’s Arctic Circle, was constructed in the 1930s in large part by prisoners who were part of the Soviet gulag system of forced labor. Many workers died and were buried next to the railroad they were building to connect the city to the outside world.
The long ride offers plenty of time to contemplate this painful history. Vorkuta and other Soviet cities in the Arctic were built upon mining. But many are now shrinking or being abandoned altogether.
I became interested in Russia’s far north because I was drawn to both the history and the modern, day-to-day realities. This relationship between big cities and abandoned places is what interests me.
While many are putting the final touches on their decorated Christmas trees across the country this week, photographer John Lusk Hathaway is more concerned about the trees before they were chopped down.
Hathaway, who has a background in science, always thought it was strange to see trees growing in such rigid patterns, as opposed to the natural way they grow in forests.
via NPR’s Picture Show - Bringing Springfield’s Photos Back To Life
The first photography staff at the Illinois State Journal carried heavy, clumsy and slow Speed Graphic cameras. They shot on glass plates, and only had a few precious exposures to use throughout their day.
After their images were published in the 1920s and ’30s, the glass plates were boxed up and effectively lost in the newspaper archives. Stories vary about how they were saved from a wrecking ball, but the plates eventually wound up at the local Springfield library, which is where Rich Saal found them and began the monumental task of bringing them back to life.
“I’ve figured out that there are more of them when it’s a payday,” photographer Alejandro Cartagena writes to me from Monterrey, Mexico, where he is based.by CLAIRE O’NEILL
More carpoolers, that is — the subject of his latest project, which started somewhat accidentally. Cartagena was commissioned by a group of researchers about usage of a Monterrey street… For the people in these photos, Cartagena contends, carpooling is a necessity.
“If these guys would do the bus route,” he writes, “it would be too expensive for them, since there are no proper mass low-cost transportation systems in place.”
Imagine your kitchen, if you have one. What’s in it? Appliances? Food on the counters? Is it messy or sparse? Fully stocked or running on empty?
These are questions that fascinate commercial photographer Ellen Silverman… It’s what inspired her personal series, Spare Beauty: The Cuban Kitchen, which she shot while on a workshop trip in Havana — now on display at the Umbrella Arts Gallery in New York City for a few more days.
“People are still rationed. They get a ration card and you get a certain amount of food a month,” she explains. “There are supermarkets, but there are very few … people buying food on a daily basis. Not everybody has refrigerators.”
Silverman says Cubans tend to keep appliances for a long time. “They’re adapting, they’re improvising, and they’re doing what they have to do.” Isn’t that, after all, what all the great chefs do?