All posts filed under: press

Columbia Journalism Review: A photojournalist tells the stories of Chicago police torture victims

Jackie Spinner, a professor at Columbia College who has invited me to speak to her international reporting classes several times and ex-Washington Post correspondent in Baghdad and elsewhere, wrote the first little bit of press about my current oral history and portrait project on victims of Chicago municipal police torture under former Commander Jon Burge. Burge was on active duty with the Chicago Police Department from 1973-1991 and subsequently fired in 1993 after an array of crimes involving the abuse of suspects in custody were exposed on his watch, including but not limited to beatings, burning and electro-torture. Graciously, Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) has ran a couple of the press photographs including one of Marvin Reeves, a man so gentle he was like an uncle when we spoke for nearly two hours in his sister’s Bronzeville apartment. He received a multi-million dollar settlement from the city of Chicago for the injustices done to him. From Jackie’s article: Now Rivkin, who grew up in the city, plans to spend the next year photographing these men and …

Deutsche Welle: A rare win for accountability advocates in Chicago

I was quoted briefly late last week in a Deutsche Welle article, “A rare win for accountability advocates in Chicago,” in connection with my efforts to document the stories and faces of the torture victims of Area 2 and Area 3 from 1973-1991 under former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge: For the first time in 35 years, a Chicago officer faces a first-degree murder charge for an on-duty fatality. The period includes scores of police killings and 20 dismissed complaints alleging bias, violence and illegal searches by Van Dyke. It also includes many of the years in which Chicago police ran a torture regime in which more than 200 men, the vast majority of them black, were shocked, beaten and subjected to mock executions. In May, the city council agreed to pay out $5.5 million to survivors of the program, many of whom spent years in prison after confessing under duress to crimes they had not committed. The city also continues to pay Commander Jon Burge, who ran the program, a $3,000 monthly pension. “His …

The Phoblographer: National Geographic Photographers Talk About Their Scariest Moment

The Phoblographer writer Julius Motal asked me a few months back to tell him about a scary moment in the field while working on my National Geographic Young Explorer Grant projects in the Balkans and the Caucasus. I thought there was one important and not so obvious lesson worth sharing from my experiences: “Don’t trust Google Maps in conflict or post-conflict zones as the roads may be mined,” said photojournalist Amanda Rivkin who worked on two projects in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus with National Geographic Young Explorers Grants from the Expeditions Council. Unless the area has been substantially surveyed, it can almost be impossible to know where landmines are. Landmine accidents are an uncomfortably common occurrence, particularly in post-conflict zones. In some places, landmines aren’t discovered until they’ve gone off. In others, they’re well documented like in the Falkland islands where there are cordoned-off no-go zones. Penguins there have, however, capitalized on them because they’re light enough to not set them off. People, however, are not so fortunate. When data or a “Beware Mines” …

Telluride Mountainfilm Wrap-Up + Press

Over the Memorial Day weekend, I was in Telluride, Colorado for the Mountainfilm Festival thanks to the support of National Geographic Expeditions Council and the Young Explorers Grant Program. It was a fantastic weekend spent in the company of some great friends, and when it was over and our presentations complete, we sat down and watched my beloved “politics by another means” Eurovision Song Contest. But once it was really over, the local indy paper, the San Juan Independent, came knocking and sent over some questions for a Q + A. Here are the parts that are relevant generally to photography today: […] Q: As a photographer, how do you believe technology has and will affect the field of photojournalism, if at all? Specifically, we are seeing more advanced cameras and equipment at more affordable prices, including GoPros and camera phones, and more “average Joe’s” being able to capture images and moments they could not years ago. Is this a good thing for photojournalism and photography or does it have a negative impact? A: A …