Something Old, Something New, Something…; What’s New And Exciting Around The Web Page 2
Matilde Gattoni is a free-lance documentary photographer based in the United Arab Emirates whose reportage work focuses on water problems around the world caused by drought, desertification, and ecological changes. The heart of her portfolios is found in the four “Reportage” collections. In “Sonapur, the dark side of Dubai,” she captures workers building the amazing architecture for which Dubai is world famous, taking you behind the jackhammers to show the workers’ dormitories and their life away from Dubai’s glittery skyline. In the brief photo essay titled “Back to Life, Indonesia,” she takes us into a completely different world full of occasionally colorful, even joyful, images. “Being 20 in Agadez, Niger” should be must viewing for youthful readers who might want to place their lives in context with other young people around the world. In all of these photo essays, Gattoni appears all but invisible to her subjects, allowing her subtle color images to capture a world few Americans get to see. In addition to her socially conscious work, Gattoni’s portfolio includes “Architecture” and “Portraits.” What I found interesting is the dichotomy between her soaring architectural images captured in color and the quieter, more intimate photographs made in black and white. Both groups of images show enormous amounts of style mixed with an extensive knowledge of the craft of photographing interiors, something that’s a challenge on both aesthetic and technical levels. Her portraiture, whether formal or documentary, tends to be environmental in nature and sensitive in temperament.
This month’s Reader’s Homepage belongs to Irene Abdou, a world-traveling photographer and Shutterbug reader whose base is Germantown, Maryland. The first thing you’ll notice about Abdou’s images are the eyes of the people she photographs. Most of the time, especially with children, they are full of warmth and trust. This says a lot about Abdou as a photographer and as a person. These people who she’s photographed in the most Third World of countries look at her with affection and maybe hope; hope that her images will alert the world to their situation and maybe, just maybe, make us care enough to do something. Her images in the “Asia” portfolio will surprise many people who when they think “Asia” also think “Japan,” but here she shows there is more to Asia than sophisticated economies such as Japan’s. Her best images are not the traditional travel photographs that she occasionally attempts but photographs of people, especially children, who are captured with not only supreme technical skill but with extraordinary passion. This can be most strongly seen in Abdou’s portfolios that feature topic-based, not geographic subjects.
The wide-ranging images found in “Spirit of Humanity” represent a latter-day Family of Man collection of images of old and young people showing how the world outside our borders lives day-to-day. I’m guessing that for some readers this will come as a surprise. All of these images are captured with a surprising use of bright colors and occasionally seasoned with sepia-toned monochrome photographs that enter the portfolio as counterpoint. Before leaving the site, be sure to read “24 Hours in Dakar” for an illuminating mixture of text and photographs demonstrating what the life of a travel photographer is really like. And nope, it’s not about sipping martinis in a luxury lounge in the Sydney airport.