For millions of years only dramatic shifts in terrain informed the reading of the earth’s surface from space. Now the cumulative light from highly urbanized areas creates a new type of information and understanding of the world that reflects human’s dominance over the planet. Christina Seely's Lux, titled after the system unit for measuring illumination, presents photographic portraits of cities within the most brightly illuminated regions on the NASA map of the night earth. This project is inspired by the disconnect between the immense beauty produced by human-made light and the complexity of what this light represents. Lux, focuses on cities in the United States, Western Europe and Japan. These economically and politically powerful regions not only have the greatest impact on the night sky but this brightness reflects a dominant cumulative impact on the planet. Collectively they emit approximately 45% of the world's CO2 and (along with China) act as the top consumers of electricity, energy and resources. In order to suggest the interchangeability of urbanization and the unilateral impact of these cities on the global environment each photographed location in the series, is indicated by the central latitude and longitude of the depicted city and is simply titled Metropolis. For most of human history, light has signified hope and progress. In Christina's project, light also paradoxically denotes regression or transgression - an index of the complex negative human impacts on the health and future of the planet.

Simon Menner's project Metacity records the informal structures of the homeless in the cities of Mumbai, Chicago, and Paris. Each of these cities was created from plans that oftentimes reflected the interests of elites, and not the realities of the poor. The port city of Mumbai adapted the British colonial model; Napoleon III commissioned Baron Georges-Eugene Haussmann in 1852 to devise the plan that still defines Paris with its large boulevards and open spaces, and the Merchants Club of Chicago sponsored the renowned 1909 Daniel Burnham Plan of Chicago. Although all three plans endeavored to have a profound impact on a city's society and arguably did they inevitably failed to anticipate evolving urban requirements. Menner's photographs question whether there exist common elements of poverty in different cities around the globe. Menner is not as interested in documenting the homeless existing in the classic slums of third world countries, but in the individual homeless person and how he or she inhabits the modern city.

The work of Miguel Rio Branco, as a painter, film maker, installation maker and photographer, has an almost physical effect on the viewer. This effect is caused by his choice of colour, theme, and manner of presentation. As a visual artist, Rio Branco takes his subject matter from the world around us. He is primarily oriented to occurrences on the fringes of society. Branco does not shy away from situations that symbolize loneliness, power, sex, and violence.


"I never wanted to be a photographer. When I was a child the only photographer i knew was a very sad man who came to our school to take group portraits. He looked shabby and smelled of alcohol and never talked. Sometimes i saw him on the street dressed in a cartoon hero outfit. There were many photographers like him in public parks and promenades. That sad and lonely image of a photographer had stuck in my head for a very long time. It never crossed my mind that photography could be art, that it could be as expressive as painting or music."

Rena Effendi has been active as a photographer since 2001 and from the outset, her interest has been social documentary photography. Her work focuses on themes of urbanization, post-conflict societies, and the oil industry’s effects on people’s lives. In 2004, Effendi was a winner of the “Fifty Crows” International Fund for Documentary Photography competition. In 2005 she was selected to participate in the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass and recieved honourable mention in National Geographic’s “All Roads” photography competition. In 2006 Effendi was a winner of the Getty Images Editorial Photography Grant and Mario Giacomelli Memorial Fund award. In 2007, Effendi was chosen by the Photo District News magazine as one of 30 emerging photographers to watch. The same year, Effendi was selected as a finalist for the Magnum Photos Inge Morath award, in 2007, Effendi exhibited in the Venice Biennale.


Brent Stirton

Brent Stirton took a photograph (2007) that shocked the world when it was published in Newsweek — a picture of a dead 500-pound male gorilla named Senkwekwe, one of six endangered mountain gorillas who had been murdered, execution-style, in the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
In the photo, Senkwekwe is strapped on his back, on a litter made of saplings. More than a dozen African men are carrying him — gently, respectfully — out of the jungle that was supposed to be his sanctuary.
When Stirton took that photo, one pressing question was still unanswered: Who would do such a thing, and why?
Stirton recently got a chance to investigate the answer. He was the first photojournalist allowed back into the part of Virunga where the mountain gorillas live — a section now controlled by a militia.

What Stirton and writer Mark Jenkins learned was that the answer is complicated: The story is a kind of microcosm of the war in the Congo and the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide. It involves brutal militias, corruption, smuggling and an unfolding environmental nightmare.
But it is also a story of simple horror, and of a moving human response. Stirton tells Terry Gross that the evacuation of the gorillas' bodies from Virunga was unlike anything he'd seen in more than a decade of covering some of the planet's worst atrocities.
"I've never seen that degree of stoicism, or sobriety, or somberness," Stirton says. "It was a very sober affair. There was no talking. ... For many moments at a time the only thing you could hear was the sound of people walking. ... I've never seen that before, even when people were collecting the bodies of humans, when I've seen massacre sites."
A Refuge, Sitting Squarely in the Crossfire
Mountain gorillas are among the world's most endangered species; only an estimated 720 of the primates remain alive today.
The DRC's Virunga National Park is in the same region where researcher Dian Fossey studied the gorillas — and battled poachers — four decades ago.
But the 2007 killings bore none of the hallmarks of poachers, who usually take the adult animals' heads and hands as trophies, and carry off the gorillas' young for sale on the black market. The victims were simply slaughtered — as a message, most preservationists think.
One theory that Stirton has come to believe:
It was part of an ongoing struggle over illegal charcoal production in the park's ancient hardwood forests — a struggle that involves corrupt Congolese army factions and more than one Hutu militia.


Richard D. Schoenberg has been a photographer for 30years. Originally from the New York City area, he worked for several entertainment newspapers. During that period he compiled a portfolio of rock photos that were published in 2002. The book titled, "Seventy Nine - Eighty" documents some of the early performances of the B-52's, John Mellencamp and The Pretenders.
Having spent two and half years working on, "The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday", a 288 page book about the training of the US Navy SEALs, it was published in December, 2004.

(2008 – International Photography Awards 1st Place – People/Lifestyle -/- 2008 – International Photography Awards 3rd Place – Editorial/Essay)