Category: VII Stories

We asked Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter followers to submit questions about fake news as it relates to photojournalism for the next installment of 7 with VII where VII photographers answer your seven questions.

Click here for the answers from VII members Anush Babajanyan, Ashley Gilbertson, Ed Kashi, Ilvy Njiokiktjien, Nichole Sobecki and John Stanmeyer, and VII Mentor Program photographer Arnau Bach.

“The Spirit of Sauna” by Esa Ylijaasko

The Spirit of Sauna

by Esa Ylijaasko / VII Mentor Program

You’re watching the red moon rising from the east under the northern lights while your sweaty body is still in shock after sitting in a hot and steamy tent. A bat hunts at shore of a lake – you’re connected with the mother nature.

 

A myth says that saunas have a power of healing. People use to heal themselves self by whipping their bodies in steamy saunas with birch whisks usually. You thank the spirit with a ritual when you throw heat on the huge pile of hot stones – calling the spirit of Sauna.

Not even a long time ago people use to give births in saunas – some would also take the last journey there.

Sauna is a sacred place to all Finns. The architecture reminds one of a religious buildings. It’s a religion. We build saunas in the most creative ways… in a car, a boat, a tent or even a train. It’s the first thing we build in a new home, it’s the first thing we do after a long trip. It’s a temple where everybody is equal. All undressed and naked. Men and women. It’s confessional where the sins are washed away.

“Kissing Death” by Ali Arkady

“Kissing Death”

by Ali Arkady

The mission of ERD (Emergency Response Division), turned from small to big after the entry of ISIS to Al-Anbar province in Iraq (2014). They fought real battles in Tikrit, Bije, Diala, Al Faluja and Al Mosul (2014).

ERD consists of three units: reconnaissance, snipers, and task force. Captain Omar Nazar is the head of Task Force and Corporal Haider Ali works in the same branch. Their squads were trained by the coalition forces, including various types of raids, as well as day and night operations.

 

Their mission is to achieve special operations against ISIS on the information provided by reconnaissance (intelligence branch). Omar and Haidar believe that they’re fighting against the most fierce enemy in the world — ISIS. But they are confident because they have returned victors after every battle, and inflicted huge losses on ISIS’ ranks.

Ali Arkady received the authorization from the Commander in Chief of the ERD forces (Col. Thamer Mohammed Ismail — battle name Abu Turab) in order to follow these forces to work on a photo story and a documentary. Arkady followed them from battles in Tikrit, Falluja and ultimately the ongoing battle for Mosul.

What began for Ali as a positive story about Shia and Sunni Iraqi soldiers fighting on the same side against a mutual enemy, turned into a horrific journey that included torture, rape, killing and thieving of innocent Iraqi civilians by the ERD.

There are hundred of images, tens of videos and audio tapes documenting these war crimes available.

Featured Publication

“Bound. Tortured. Killed” — The Toronto Star

“My story quickly changed. It is here that I became witness to torture, imprisonment, arrest … and killing.”

View the article

by Linda Bournane Engelberth

“Wind, Sand and Stars”

by Linda Bournane Engelberth

I am a Norwegian/Algerian artist raised in Norway by my Norwegian mother, and without knowing my Algerian father and his family. I have always been curious about my other country of origin. As a teenager, I finally made contact with my father and more recently, my wider family in Algeria. When my Berber grandmother turned 100, she wrote me a letter so that I wouldn’t forget about my father’s homeland. This project is an attempt to research my own identity as a western woman investigating this foreignness that makes up half my bloodline.

 

As a stranger, with a feeling of being on the outside, I have walked the streets of Algiers trying to connect. I have documented everything from the city to the life of my family. I have been interested in the smaller details: street signs in Arabic, a cactus growing through the fence and people in the streets. These photos are attempts to absorb the nuances of life in Algiers. They are my first steps into a culture that feels like it should be part of me, but which I do not yet know.

This is an ongoing project.

“Borderline North Korea” by Tomas Van Houtryve

Buildings are seen through a storm in Yanji, China. The city of Yanji is a major hub for North Korean escapees and defectors.

“Borderline North Korea”

by Tomas Van Houtryve

With the same ruthless skill that it keeps its population in check with, North Korea also keeps journalists in the dark. But another sketch of the country can be made from the outside, by tracing the contours of its borders. This project documents North Korea’s 1400 km border with China and the D.M.Z. which separates it from South Korea. These are little known landscapes, where refugees, smugglers, soldiers and spies exist on the fringes of the world’s most enigmatic country.

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08835

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Photographers

Members

  • Anush Babajanyan
  • Jocelyn Bain Hogg
  • Zackary Canepari
  • Stefano De Luigi
  • Jessica Dimmock
  • Linda Bournane Engelberth
  • Danny Wilcox Frazier
  • Ziyah Gafic
  • Ashley Gilbertson
  • Ron Haviv
  • Ed Kashi
  • Maciek Nabrdalik
  • Ilvy Njiokiktjien
  • Carlos Javier Ortiz
  • Ruddy Roye
  • Nichole Sobecki
  • Tomas Van Houtryve

Emeritus

  • Gary Knight
  • Antonin Kratochvil
  • Joachim Ladefoged
  • Paul Lowe
  • Christopher Morris
  • Franco Pagetti
  • Daniel Schwartz
  • Maggie Steber
  • John Stanmeyer
  • Sara Terry
  • The Estate of Alexandra Boulat

Mentor Program

  • Ali Arkady
  • Arnau Bach
  • Mojgan Ghanbari
  • Furkan Temir
  • Esa Ylijaasko

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