Innovative Projects

These image-based projects are a selection from among the many that have creatively dealt with a variety of issues, all of them impacting readers and some provoking larger societal discussions that have led to change. I introduce them to underline their importance, and add background information on those that I have worked on. 

Bosnia: Uncertain Paths to Peace

In 1996 I proposed to the New York Times, for whom I had created the first multimedia version of the newspaper the previous year, a non-linear documentary project on the making of peace rather than of war. Created by the photographer Gilles Peress and myself, "Bosnia: Uncertain Paths to Peace" avoided the spectacular imagery of war and focused instead on the possibilities of making peace among Serbs, Croats, and Muslims. It was an early attempt to engage readers to create their own narratives and contribute differing perspectives on what had occurred...
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An ambitious multi-media project by AJ Contrast of Al Jazeera on the formidable challenges of formerly incarcerated women of color in the United States, where only 4 % of the women in the world live but which houses over 30 % of the world’s women behind bars. Still Here employs a virtual reality experience based upon the composite experience of different women interviewed for the project, augmented reality to experience the gentrification of Harlem from where most of the women depicted come, photographs that follow five women attempting to resume their lives, Google satellite images of the 4,916 prisons, jails and detention centers in the United States, and statistics that make the absurdities of the US prison system explicit. I worked on this project, directed by Zahra Rasool, as the curator of the photographs.
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Curated Projects

Small groupings of projects on similar themes.


Trauma is remembered in different ways...
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There are many ways to engage with time, from celebrating the fractional second to prolonging the experience of reading and writing so that it lasts for centuries...
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Access to Life by Magnum (Exhibition, Book, 2009)

“Access to Life” was a collaboration, beginning in 2007, between Magnum Photos and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Photographed in nine countries by eight photographers, each working over a period of about four months, the project was imeant to demonstrate the efficacy of providing free anti-viral drugs to those who needed them. This exhibition and coffee table book were credited by the Global Fund with helping them to raise one billion dollars, with the Japanese foreign minister asserting that a 45-minute visit to the exhibition resulted in Japan doubling its commitment to $400 million.  

Ausencias (Absences) by Gustavo Germano (Exhibition, 2006)

Gustavo Germano re-photographed people in the same locations where they had been photographed decades earlier—although now these people have significantly aged, and in each photograph there is someone who is obviously missing. The twinned images evoke the lives never lived by those who had been disappeared, and the lives of the living who have had to grow older without their loved ones. The loss is doubled. Germano portrays himself and his siblings, now without their brother who had been disappeared.

Baghdad Calling by Geert van Kesteren (Book, 2008)

To find other truths, given the increased quantity of imagery recently available while sensitive to the contested role of the photographer, there are others who have moved into a role not unlike that of an archivist, or a “metaphotographer,” gathering work from people who, from direct experience, may know the most about a situation. Consider, for example, Geert van Kesteren’s 2008 Baghdad Calling, a collection of cellphone images and testimonies from Iraqi refugees that testify to the profoundly unsettling and long-lasting impact of the war on their personal lives.  In this project van Kesteren combines his own photographs with hundreds of cellphone and digital photographs by Iraqi refugees.

Basetrack 1/8 by Teru Kuwayama and Balazs Gardi (Social media, 2010-2011)

Basetrack was an experimental social-media project, tracking about a thousand Marines in the 1st Battalion, Eighth Marines, during their deployment to southern Afghanistan in 2010–11. A small team of embedded photographers, including project founders Teru Kuwayama and Balazs Gardi, used primarily iPhones along with a Facebook page to connect Marines to their families. They curated a news feed alongside their own efforts, employed Google Maps as an interface, wrote posts in addition to photographing, all with a view “to connect[ing] a broader public to the longest war in U.S. history.” 
Trying to establish transparency in the process, they created an editing tool for the military to censor photographs and texts that might put soldiers in danger, while letting viewers know that segments had been blacked out. The military was also asked to supply reasons for the censorship, which were then made visible when a viewer placed the cursor over the blacked-out section. In large part the project was created out of frustration with mainstream media: “It wasn’t just the military that was discouraging us from making meaningful pictures,” says Kuwayama. “The magazines we worked for—or gave our pictures to—clearly didn’t want them, either. We would come back from an embed, where we’d been in the fight of our lives, and we would get these absurd reasons about how that wasn’t interesting enough to publish or wasn’t right for that week.” 
Family members, not surprisingly, responded quite differently; for example, one mother’s response on Facebook: “It has truly saved me from a devastating depression and uncontrollable anxiety after my son deployed. Having this common ground with other moms helped me so much and gives me encouragement each day.”

Bosnia: Uncertain Paths to Peace by Gilles Peress, , edited by Fred Ritchin (Interactive Photo Essay, 1996)

The Times nominated it for a Pulitzer Prize in public service, but it was immediately rejected for not being on paper. In Print magazine Darcy DiNucci wrote: “… the site indeed pioneers a new form of journalism. Visitors cannot simply sit and let the news wash over them; instead, they are challenged to find the path that engages them, look deeper into its context, and formulate and articulate a response. The real story becomes a conversation, in which the author/photographer is simply the most prominent participant.” Joe Goia, writing in Salon, cited “the McLuhanesque consequences of photography freed from the confines of material reproduction.” He responded to the relative insubstantiality of the screen-based photographs: “They seem barely more permanent than the moments they presume to record. Quick to load, the photos present themselves with the ease and weight of dreams.”

Cairo Open City edited by Florian Ebner and Constanze Wicke (Exhibition, Book, 2013)

A moving demonstration of the kinds of photographs that locals make vs. the outsider professional photojournalist who tend to make images that match preconceived notions of conflict.

Camera Buff by Krzysztof Kieślowski (Film, 1979)

One of the great movies on how owning a movie camera, and being the first one in town to have one, changes one’s life, one’s role in society, and one’s marriage. The camera introduces a strong potion of voyeurism, branding, political correctness, and a loss of intimacy.

Cent mille milliards de poèmes | 100,000 Billion Poems by Raymond Queneau (Book, 1961)

Cent Mille Milliards de Poèmes (100,000 Billion Poems) is an early demonstration of the potentials of hypertext in which ten sonnets of fourteen lines each can be rearranged so as to provide the reader with more than a million centuries of reading, creating new poems that the poet had obviously never written. The lines in the book were cut into strips that revealed individual lines of the sonnets beneath them, and recombined with a folded piece of paper to hold them in place.

Chasing the Dream curated by Fred Ritchin (Exhibition/website, 2005)

For Chasing the Dream, photographs were made by Diego Goldberg and texts written by Roberto Guareschi profiling eight young people from around the world, each highlighted as grappling with issues related to one aspect of the Millennium Development Goals. The two Argentines also conducted short workshops for the youth in the eight places they visited, asking them to photograph what they liked or did not like; the resulting imagery and text then constituted the other major section of the exhibition and website created by PixelPress for the UN. The idea was then to have the spouses of the leaders of more than a hundred countries in attendance for the September 2005 Millennium Summit visit the exhibition, guided by Nan Annan (UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s wife). Unfortunately, due to the need for extra temporary offices, the exhibition space was unavailable during the three-day summit.

Children of Ceausescu by Kent Klich (Book, 2001)

An indictment by a Swedish photographer, trained initially as a psychologist, of the orphanage system under Romania’s dictator. Children were given injections of blood rather than vitamins, some of which contained the HIV virus. His work is introduced by the Romanian-born Nobel Prize-winning author, Herta Müller.

Constellations (77 million paintings) by Brian Eno (Generative artwork, 2006)

In the visual realm, in 2006, Eno created Constellations (77 million paintings), a generative artwork in which approximately three hundred of his paintings are mutated to continually form imagery that neither Eno nor anyone else had ever seen previously. Brian Eno’s Constellations (77 million paintings), 2006, is a generative artwork in which some three hundred of his paintings are mutated via algorithms to form images that the artist has never seen before. According to Eno, a viewer would have to look for about 450 years to be sure of seeing an image twice.

Correspondance New-Yorkaise by Raymond Depardon (Newspaper, Book, 1981)

Produced for the French newspaper Libération and its picture editor, Christian Caujolle, this work exemplified the potentials of the “New Photojournalism.” Every day over the course of a month, Depardon transmitted a photograph and a short, diary-like text about New York and his own personal issues, which were published on the newspaper’s foreign-affairs page. Told in both the first- and third-person, his chronicle transcended the normal news filters, presenting the photoreporter as subjective, intimate and discerning. It was a pioneering effort foreshadowing today’s blog culture in which the personal and anecdotal are given prominence.

Death in the Making by Robert Capa (Book, 1938, 2020)

Photographed by Robert Capa, Gerda Taro and David “Chim” Seymour, and designed by André Kertesz, this is a cri de coeur made during the Spanish Civil War against the horrors of fascism by a photographer who, like the others, took sides.

Decisive Moment by Henri Cartier-Bresson (Book, 1952, 2015)

Called “Images à la Sauvette” (Images on the Sly) in French and “The Decisive Moment” in English, this book, with a wrap-around cover by Henri Matisse, is one of the most influential in the history of photography as an exemplar of how image and design can together make statements that transcend that of any single photograph, commingling together in what is more than a book of photographs but what is now called a photobook. “To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition in a fraction of a second of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression,” the author wrote in his Zen-like way. Clément Cheroux’s 2015 re-issue provides an enormous amount of valuable contextualizing information.

Diary by Tim Hetherington (Video, 2010)

Tim Hetherington, a wonderfully experimental, thoughtful and smart image maker who embraced a variety of new and old media strategies, was tragically killed in Libya while covering the conflict there. His intimate video, Diary, explores his multi-faceted life as someone who chose to witness the most brutal conflicts and report back on them while trying to survive intact as a human being filled with curiosity and the longing to understand. 
I first met Tim at PixelPress when we published his “House of Pain” multimedia work on an emergency room in Wales, and he remarked on how difficult it was at that time, soon after he finished graduate school, to find anyone who understood what he was doing. I could only sympathize – it was one of the projects from PixelPress that I showed in 2002 at the Arles Photography Festival when we were booed off the stage, forced to stop, and a large segment of the audience walked out—they had difficulty appreciating at that time what could be done differently with digital media.

Digital Diary: Witnessing the War by Brian Palmer (Web project, 2004)

Photographer-writer Brian Palmer went to Iraq for six weeks in 2004 to follow the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. He posted his observations weekly on PixelPress so that families in the United States could better understand the lives of their loved ones serving in Iraq. The chess game with a U.S. soldier and two translators, the “turkey object” that they were served so unlike the ceremonial turkey that President Bush held up while visiting the troops at Thanksgiving, the transformation from civilian Goth to institutional Marine, all brought back the war in ways that were intimate and useful. 
Linked to by “,” it was as if the photographer had become an extra set of eyes representing the families. This photography was not of strangers for strangers but of a community for those who did not make the trip. When a young woman’s boyfriend was killed in Iraq, the photograph became essential as the last testament to his existence. “I saw the article, ‘Digital Diary Witnessing the War,’ last week and was hoping to see it again. Is there any way I can get a copy of it? My daughter’s boyfriend was with that unit and she did not get an opportunity to see the diary. Unfortunately he was the young Marine who was mentioned in the 6th week because he was killed. We would be VERY interested in having a copy of the full six weeks if at all possible.”

Earthrise by Bill Anders (Photograph, 1968)

Environmental concerns had been sparked a few years earlier by a man we might now call a “citizen journalist,” astronaut Bill Anders. On Christmas Eve, 1968, at the end of an enormously turbulent rife with political upheaval, Anders photographed the earth from his perch on an Apollo spacecraft, for the first time depicting our planet as fragile and alone in the cosmos. Earthrise, as the photograph was called, was placed on a U.S. postage stamp and inspired Earth Day, celebrated for the first time by millions on April 22, 1970, sixteen months after Anders made the image.

El libro que no puede esperar | The book that cannot wait published by Eterna Cadencia (Book, 2012)

El libro que no puede esperar (The book that cannot wait), created in 2012 by a small publisher in Buenos Aires called Eterna Cadencia, comes sealed in a plastic wrapper. Once opened, the book’s ink begins to disappear until, a few months later, the words disappear. It gives a sense of urgency to reading these young Latin American writers, and is a reminder of the precariousness, and importance, of a physical object. Can a photobook do the same?

El Salvador: Work of Thirty Photographers by Harry Mattison, Susan Meiselas, Fae Rubenstein (Book, 1984)

A collaborative work by thirty photographers on the daily life of the people of El Salvador, rather than just the violence that they were required to photograph for the newsmagazines. It was a pioneering effort in re-seeing people caught in conflict zones as more than the perpetrators and victims of violence, but people with their own lives, jobs, joys, families and dreams.

End of the Game by Peter Beard (Book, 1963)

An early and influential photobook that experimented with layout and perspective to signal the plight of the elephants in Africa.

Every 17 Seconds: A Global Perspective on the Aids Crises by Brian Weil (Book, 1992)

A powerful record of urgency, pain and resistance. Over a period of seven years the photographer and AIDS activist traveled to England, New York, Thailand, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Zimbabwe, and South Africa to photograph people involved in the war against AIDS.

Exploding into Life by Eugene Richards (Book, 1986)

An extraordinarily profound and heartfelt exploration of breast cancer by the photographer and his partner Dorothea Lynch who was suffering from the disease.

Extreme Ice Survey by James Balog (Photo program, 2007)

In James Balog’s “Extreme Ice Survey,” begun in 2006, cameras are positioned in remote arctic and alpine areas, automatically photographing the melting of the ice to help calculate precisely the impact of global warming,. According to the Extreme Ice website at the time: “Currently, 34 cameras are deployed at 16 glaciers in Greenlad, Iceland, the Nepalese Himalaya, Alaska and the Rocky Mountains of the U.S. These cameras record changes in the glaciers every half hour, year-round during daylight, yielding approximately 8,000 frames per camera per year.” 
And the glaciers are quite alive. “Everybody thinks that glaciers are these big, dead, static objects where nothing happens,” Balog remarked. “Well, guess what? . . . they’re reacting to climate all the time. The smaller the glacier, the faster it reacts to the local climate, sometimes in weeks or months.” 
As a human being and as a father of two girls, he says, “I just can’t stand the thought that it could be our generation that leaves this planet in disastrously damaged condition.” But he believes that there is a crucial role for him and for others: “Dealing with climate change is certainly an economic problem, and it’s certainly a technological problem and a policy problem. But I’ve come to the conclusion that the bigger problem is perceptual and psychological…I want to use the camera as a vehicle for changing perception, […and to keep people] from avoiding responsibility, and keep them from being complacent.”

Fata Morgana by Josep Renau (Book, 1977)

Celebrated photo-collages by a Spanish artist indicting the American way of life as exploitative, militaristic, in love with its own media, and in the thrall of greed. One wonders why there is not more use of the collage as a form today.

Femmes Algériennes 1960 by Marc Garanger (Book, 1982)

The work of a French military photographer forced to make identity photographs of Algerian women who never showed their veiled faces except to their immediate families; their pride, confusion, and resistance is evident in his imagery. Later, when Garanger returned, he found that the photographs were valued by those he photographed as a record of that time.

Four Frames on America by Fred Ritchin | The New York Times (Op-Ed, 1991)

This was a once-a-year project on July 4, Independence Day in the United States, for a photographer to choose one of his or her images and make a comment on the state of the country. It was followed by Five Frames on America the next year.

Gloucester Photographs by Nubar Alexanian (Interactive web project/book, 2001)

Gloucester, Massachusetts, a magnet for tourists as well as a full-time fishing village, is shown so that by placing the cursor on Nubar Alexanian’s photographs of the beautiful landscapes one can find a second layer reveal-ing the workaday life of those for whom it is home—a giant fish eye, fisher-men, local children.

Grandma’s Not Shovel-Ready! Signs From 9/12 and the Tea Parties of 2009 by unknown (Book, 2010)

A right-wing celebration published by Let Freedom Ring of the anti-government protest movement in the United States.

Growing Up Female by Abigail Heyman (Book, 1974)

A landmark exploration in photography and text of the feminist movement from a personal point of view, from the photographer’s own abortion to the various forms of discrimination against women in the work force and at home.

Here We Are by Mengwen Cao (Multimedia piece, 2016)

A very moving recounting of the honesty, love and pain involved in coming out to one’s parents who are on the other side of the globe via FaceTime.

House of Bondage by Ernest Cole (Book, 1967)

Subtitled “A South African Black Man Exposes in His Own Pictures and Words the Bitter Life of His Homeland Today,” Cole was only 27 years old when this lacerating indictment of apartheid was published, resulting in his exile from his native country. It is a landmark book of resistance.

I Protest! by David Douglas Duncan (Book, 1968)

A small 1968 book by David Douglas Duncan, called I Protest!, was a condemnation of U.S. military policy in Vietnam from a photographer (and former Marine) known for his glorifying imagery of soldiers’ valor in World War II and the Korean War, as well as in Vietnam. (Philip Caputo’s 1983 novel DelCorso’s Gallery, pits a Duncan-like character named P. X. Dunlop, seeking heroes, against a McCullin-like character named Nicholas DelCorso, haunted by the horrors of war, each despising the other’s approach.)

Image Atlas by Taryn Simon and Aaron Swartz (Website, 2012)

Image search in different countries produces different results. This experiment, by photographer Taryn Simon and programmer Aaron Swartz, not only shows cultural and political differences, but gives a sense of the biases inherent to search engines.

Inside Out by JR (Photo project/installation, 2013)

French artist JR, in his “Inside Out” project, has created photo-booths that print oversized portraits of subjects. In one of many such installations worldwide, at the 2011 Arles photography festival the prints floated down from a processor high overhead, after the visitors signed a pledge to use the photographs to impact society in a positive way. The self-representation is meant to increase the impact of individuals and their stories on their own societies, with the stipulation that the images are not to be used for publicity for any organization, including NGOs.

Is Anyone Taking Any Notice? by Don McCullin (Book, 1973)

Doubt as to the eventual impact of one’s images has long been central for many of the most talented and committed observers. Even during that most visually explored of conflicts, the Vietnam War, the title of Don McCullin’s book of excruciating war imagery—Is Anyone Taking Any Notice? (1973), or The Destruction Business in the British edition (1971)—reflected the photographer’s enormous misgivings as to the efficacy of witnessing in media: misgivings, along with guilt, that still remain with him decades later.

akaKurdistan by Susan Meiselas (Website/book,1997)

With the growing interest in imagery, archives are playing a bigger role, used as a resource to recall and relegitimize a cultural identity; in some cases the Web may be a helpful platform to research a people’s past for those who lived it. Kurdistan was erased from the map after World War I when the Middle East was divided up by the countries that won the war, leaving the Kurdish people without a homeland, the largest ethnic group in the world without their own nation. As a response, Susan Meiselas created a method for the Kurds to crowd-source their own history—and it would become an influential model. After she had gone to northern Iraq to photograph the refugees and mass graves left by Saddam Hussein’s brutal 1988 Anfal campaign of annihilation against the Kurds, she was inspired to seek out and copy photographs and other artifacts of Kurdistan from family albums, official archives, and elsewhere, placing what she found on a website: The site also solicited work for a visual history from the Kurdish community. Members of the dispersed people were able to com-ment upon and contextualize the imagery, adding their own stories. A subsequent book, Kurdistan: In the Shadow of History, was published in 1997, with Meiselas’s own photographs included; it was described in the New York Times Book Review as “the family album of a forsaken people, the archive of a nation that has not been permitted to exist.”                                                                           

L’Homme au carnet | The Address Book by Sophie Calle (Book, 1983)

Calle also made photographs, accompanied by her writing, based upon encounters with people whose names she had found in an address book that she picked up on the street (she photo-copied it and mailed it back to its owner) in order to create, without his knowledge, a “metaportrait” of the man it belonged to, Pierre D. (In one such meeting, Calle noted: “In a bar in Montparnasse . . . she tells me ‘It was during the week following his mother’s death that his hair turned white.’” The project was first published in serialized form in the newspaper Libération over the course of a month in August–September 1983. The Address Book was published in its entirety in English by Siglio in 2012.

La Casa Que Sangra | The House That Bleeds by Yael Martínez (Multimedia piece, 2013)

This work by Yael Martinez, a former student, makes the tragic reality of those forcibly disappeared in Guerrero, Mexico, highly personal, emotional, the stuff of unrelenting dreams and nightmares. It marks a move away from the more removed, traditional third-person observer documentary work to a witnessing that involves one’s own grief and fears, articulating the phantasmagoric horror that surrounds the brutal facts of an unfathomable situation.

La Jetée by Chris Marker (Film, 1965)

French filmmaker’s Chris Marker’s 1965 La Jetée is an early and influential experiment in hybrid still/moving-image storytelling, coupled with a folding and unfolding treatment of time and memory, in which still photographs function as nodes, brimming with unrealized possibilities–a hypertext in waiting.

Last Supper by Celia Shapiro (Photo project, 2001)

Several artists, including Celia A. Shapiro and James Reynolds, have undertaken projects re-creating the last meals of inmates on death row, as a way of drawing attention to the prisoners’ social backgrounds, personalities, and their executions. The text for Shapiro’s photo-essay, published in Mother Jones in 2004, begins: “When Arkansas executed Rickey Ray Rector back when Bill Clinton was governor, the mentally impaired inmate famously set aside half of his last meal—a pecan pie—for after the execution.”  

Last Suppers by James Reynolds (Photo project, 2009)

Like Celia Shapiro’s “Last Supper,” Jame’s Reynolds’ “Last Suppers” from 2009 re-creates the last meals of inmates on death row. The series was used by Amnesty International to show the last meals of executed men who were later proved or presumed innocent. It contains a photograph of an unpitted olive on a plastic tray, with the explanation: “Victor Feguer asked for an unpitted olive because he thought it might grow into an olive tree from inside him. It was supposed to be [a] symbol of peace.”

Living with the Enemy by Donna Ferrato (Book, 1991)

A ground-breaking book looking at the domestic violence occurring behind closed doors, the first time a photographer had made such violence visible to the public; Ferrato won the Robert F. Kennedy Award for this work and started a foundation for abused women. The work was first published in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

A Love Supreme by John Coltrane (Jazz album, 1964)

Many working in photography find in the rhythms of the photo essay inspiration and resonance in music. Perhaps no one else did what John Coltrane managed to do in expanding sound to places one never knew it could go, and doing it as revelation. So many photographers worked with jazz musicians — Roy DeCarava, Lee Friedlander, Larry Fink, Eugene Smith, among others — somehow making the music visible. Coltrane asks, perhaps, can the visible also be made into music?

Magnum Photobook by Fred Ritchin and Carole Naggar (Book, 2016)

An exploration of the diverse strategies employed by Magnum photographers from the 1930s to the present in making photobooks.

Man with a Movie Camera by Dziga Vertov (Film, 1929)

While some try to move the media revolution forward incrementally, there will be a few who will experiment with ideas that have the potential to more radically shift paradigms, like Borges’s “The Garden of Forking Paths” and the “Aleph,” or Dziga Vertov’s 1929 film “Man with a Movie Camera,” which was, as Vertov famously introduced it, “made with the intention of constructing a genuine international and absolutely visual language of cinema, on the basis of its total separation from the language of theater and literature.”

Mirrors and Windows by John Szarkowski (Exhibition/book, 1978)

In 1978 John Szarkowski, then director of photography at the Museum of Modern Art, curated an influential photographic exhibition titled “Mirrors and Windows.” Trying to make sense of U.S. photography since 1960, the exhibition’s premise was that most photographs fall into one of two categories: the “mirror” photograph tells us more about the photographer, the “window” photograph more about the world. “This thesis suggests that there is a fundamental dichotomy in contemporary photography between those who think of photography as a means of self-expression and those who think of it as a means of exploration,” Szarkowski wrote. Some of the most interesting images exhibited overlapped as both mirror and window, and were shown in a separate room. The exhibition argued that the camera’s mechanical recording of the external world did not guarantee that the photograph’s subject was not, in fact, the photographer.

New Ways of Photographing the New Maasai by Jan Hoek (Book, 2014)

Asking Maasai people living in cities how they would most like to be photographed, the Dutch photographer and teacher Jan Hoek showed their preferences and made the kinds of images requested. Then a group of Maasai voted on the most representative images. This is an interesting, informal experiment in collaboration, involving the subject in the decision-making while rendering the process transparent. It would be interesting if a Maasai photographer asked Dutch people how they would like to be portrayed and published the results—or people within the same country trying to understand others, such as Red and Blue state Americans.

Nuclear Nightmares by Robert Knoth (Interactive photo essay, 2007)

Some fifteen years ago a disc of scanned photographs arrived in my office from a Dutch photographer unknown to me, named Robert Knoth. The photographs were intensely gripping, a multiyear project to document and explore the grim impact on the health of people, particularly children, caused by the nuclear accidents and aboveground testing that occurred in recent decades in eastern Europe. In 2006 PixelPress published “Nuclear Nightmares: Twenty Years after Chernobyl” as a conventionally linear 19-screen photo essay by Knoth and with reporting by Antoinette de Jong, but with a major difference —the photographs would first be seen and pondered alone as images, and only by rolling over them with a cursor could the reader then summon a hidden caption. 
According to Greenpeace, after an exhibition of this work in Kazan, Russia, received extensive media coverage, the provincial government of Tatarstan canceled plans to build a nuclear reactor. More recently, an agency of the federal government there launched a program to relocate families away from the banks of the Techa river, polluted by radiation. The publications of these images and text, in digital and analog forms (a book by Knoth and de Jong, (Certificate No. 000358, was published in Europe), focused and stimulated debates on nuclear power in many countries and contested the points of view of certain international organizations as to its safety. The first week of its publication on PixelPress in 2006 attracted 500,000 readers, an enormous number at that time.

Number 27 by Jonathan Harris (Website, 2002-2018)

Jonathan Harris, as a programmer and artist, is one of the leading voices in what can be done differently and with more complexity once one is willing to embrace the non-linear narrative. Many of his projects are both thoughtful and elegantly presented, with a keen sensitivity to how to engage the reader/viewer. Whale Hunt is shown, for example, in multiple ways, including in a representation that resembles an EKG, linking to the moments when he becomes excited and makes more photographs.

A People War: Images of the Nepal Conflict, 1996-2006 by Kunda Dixit (Book, 2006)

This book of 172 photographs chosen from several thousand that were submitted to journalist Dixit, a response to a debilitating ten-year war in which approximately fifteen thousand people were killed and millions uprooted, is intended as a photography of healing that poses the question “at what cost liberation?”

Picture Imperfect by Kent Klich (Photo project, Book, 2007)

Swedish photographer Kent Klich created a series of images over several decades of Beth R., a former prostitute and drug addict living in Copenhagen (he first chronicled her life in The Book of Beth, published in 1989). More recent photographs of Beth were presented in his 2007 book Picture Imperfect, with case histories and photographs from her family album as a child. The photographs are paired with a DVD of Beth’s daily life for which Beth herself was the primary filmmaker.

Still Here produced by AJ Contrast (Multi-media project, 2020)

An ambitious multi-media project by AJ Contrast of Al Jazeera on the formidable challenges of formerly incarcerated women of color in the United States, where only 4 % of the women in the world live but which houses over 30 % of the world’s women behind bars. Still Here employs a virtual reality experience based upon the composite experience of different women interviewed for the project, augmented reality to experience the gentrification of Harlem from where most of the women depicted come, photographs that follow five women attempting to resume their lives, Google satellite images of the 4,916 prisons, jails and detention centers in the United States, and statistics that make the absurdities of the US prison system explicit. I worked on this project, directed by Zahra Rasool, as the curator of the photographs.

Titicut Follies by Frederick Wiseman (Film, 1967)

A disconcertingly direct and intimate documentary film by Frederick Wiseman exploring the abusively cruel conditions in which men were kept inside the State Hospital for the Criminally Insane at Bridgewater, Massachusetts. The film was controversially banned for a number of years over the rights of privacy of those depicted. In a 2016 interview in Filmmaker magazine Wiseman stated: “’It’s both naive, arrogant, and presumptuous for me or any other filmmaker to say that their film produces social change. In a democratic society people have access to information from so many different sources. You can’t isolate one thing and say that that particular poem or novel or film caused it,’” said Wiseman. “’I like to think the movie may have contributed to [Bridgewater closing], but I actually have no idea.’”

War Against War! by Ernst Friedrich (Book, 1924)

An array of grotesquely painful photographs of destroyed landscapes and maimed soldiers from Wold War I that was meant as an undeniable revelation of war’s catastrophic horrors with the goal of ending war for all time.