Category Archives: This Just In

This Just In: James Balog’s View of The Gulf Oil Catastrophe

Cajun oysterman Flip Tayamen with crude oil that leaked into Barataria Bay (part of Mississippi River delta) from the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform in Port Sulpher, Louisiana © James Balog

Jim says:  I was trying to get into the visceral heart of the catastrophe. This is not just a “spill,” a word that makes it sound like its a messy little puddle of milk that a child spilled on a dining room table. This is an epic breakdown of technology and of the human response to that breakdown. In the shots at “The Source,” I’m trying to give an impression of a scene that echoes the naval battles in the Pacific Ocean during World War II. The impact in the hearts of the people comes through in the portraits of the oysterman and shrimpers. The raw evisceration of the earth is represented in the shot of the oil grasses, with the useless containment boom washed up on the shore of an island. Finally, the entire episode has at its heart a bitter paradox: the difference in power between the equipment of oil production and the equipment of oil protection. The power of people and technology and intellectual capital and money is hinted at in the fantastic drilling hardware that’s out at The Source. In contrast, look at the shot of the containment boom anchored in place with a couple of bamboo wands and two-inch PVC stakes: once the oil gets close to shore–and that happened almost continuousyly for the first two months of this fiasco–these flimsy little booms are the best protection modern technology can provide. The boom and their anchors are no more substantial than the fishing weirs used by subsistence fishermen thousands of years ago. In fact, mild squalls and sea chop 1-2 feet high are sufficient to tear the booms right off their moorings, as we witnessed time and again, allowing the oil to keep on coming…

View the entire slideshow of James’ images

All of us have a flawed impression of what oil actually is, because we expereince it only as engine oil for our cars or in small cans of lubricant. In fact, it is a hideously viscous toxin, made up of the still-decaying corpses of ancient marine life. Anything that it touches becomes coated with a huge variety of volatile organic compounds that are poisonous to all forms of life. Go to an oil field like Prudhoe Bay and guess what? You never actually see crude oil: the industry keeps it hidden from view all the way from wellhead to pipeline to tanker to refinery, so unpleasant is the smell of the stuff.

To see more stock photography by James Balog, visit Aurora Photos.

To see James’ assignment portfolio, visit Aurora Select.

This Just In: Hearing Aid Project in Malawi by Andy Richter

Lezina Chikondi, 11, from the Namingazi School is fit with hearing aids at the Starkey Hearing Foundation

There was something beautiful and touching about this 2 month photographic journey that spanned 3 continents and 10 countries for the Starkey Hearing Foundation. Andy Richter clearly captured the new found hope of these hearing impaired children being given a second chance to hear the sounds of life around them. This image is all about the hopeful gaze that flows from her eyes while two technicians outfit each ear with the hearing aids. You can appreciate the fact that the image was captured with just the hands pushing in from the frames edge, leaving the main focus on the subject they effect.

Andy says, “Hearing impaired children came from deaf schools from throughout central Malawi, many over a hundred miles away by bus to attend the 4-day Starkey Hearing Foundation mission at Livingstonia beach on Lake Malawi. This young girl, Lezina Chikondi, 11, from the Namingazi School, is hoping for a brighter future, one filled with sound and communication, as she is fit with hearing aids by one of the SHF’s team. On this day, she walked out of the room, down the stairs and heard waves lap upon the shore for the first time in her life.”

Click here to see a slideshow of the entire story.

To see more work by Andy Richter, visit Aurora Photos.

This Just In: Rock House in Turkey by Renan Rosa

A rock house in Uçhisar Valley, Cappadocia, Turkey. © Renan Rosa

Location, location, location. The richness of color in the stone and sky in this photograph coupled with the absolutely amazing location to build and settle, made this one stand out.

Renan says, “This rock house in the Uçhisar Valley, situated in the heart of Cappadocia, Turkey, was inhabited by natives in the Byzantine Period. The rock formation was used as a fortress against Persian enemies during the same period.”

To see more work by Renan Rosa, visit Aurora Photos.

This Just In: Soccer in Ghana by Nyani Quarmyne

Young men play soccer in a derelict building in Jamestown, a rough neighborhood in Accra, Ghana. © Nyani Quarmyne

Nyani says, “James Town is an old fishing port in Ghana’s capital, Accra. It has strong ties to Ghana’s colonial past, though much of its one-time grandeur has faded. This derelict old building had caught my eye on previous visits to the neighborhood, and the incongruity of a football game inside it was too much to resist. Football is ubiquitous here, especially in the lead up to the World Cup, but dedicated recreation spaces are few and far between so people make their fun wherever they can. The graffiti stood out, too – it’s not something one generally sees here and for me it symbolizes the increasing influence of inner-city (especially Black) America on young Ghanaians.”

To see more work by Nyani Quarmyne, visit Aurora Photos.

This Just In: Marine Recruit by Stacy Pearsall

A marine recruit lifts weights during physical training in Beauford, South Carolina. His military issued glasses are fogged with sweat and dirt. © Stacy Pearsall

When it comes to authenticity of military photography, Stacy comes backed with high flying credentials.  During her 3 tours in Iraq, she earned the Bronze Star Medal and Commendation with valor for heroic actions under fire.  She is also the only woman to have ever won two NPPA Military photographer of the Year competitions. This photograph is part of a larger project that Stacy has been working on that documents all of the military installations in South Carolina. This particular image was made at the Marine Corps basic training installation. The Marine in the picture was in remedial physical training because he could not pass his physical ability test, so the drill sergeant had him lifting weights and running sprints.  This frame captures the reality of the situation perfectly.  From the soldiers facial expression of being utterly worked over, to the military issued glasses, the cracked tooth…..it all comes together as it should.

To see more stock photography by Stacy Pearsall, visit Aurora Photos.

To see Stacy’s multimedia assignment portfolio, visit Aurora Select.