All posts filed under: VII Mentor Program at VII Photo Agency

The Phoblographer ISO 400: Amanda Rivkin Talks About Photojournalism Internationally

“In this episode of ISO 400, we hear from Amanda Rivkin, an American photojournalist currently based in Chicago who has a wealth of international experience, having worked in places like Azerbaijan, Serbia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Turkey. She’s been published in a wide variety of publications, including The New York Times, Le Monde and Newsweek among others. She has a deep understanding of storytelling and an eye for subtlety that you don’t often find in news photographs.” View Julius‘ blog post and watch the video on The Phoblographer.

3 Years Since the Death of Azerbaijani Writer Rafiq Tagi, 3 Years Without Justice for the Family

On November 23, 2011, Azerbaijani writer Rafiq Tagi was stabbed returning home, dying of complications related to the incident a few days later in the hospital. I first met his teenage daughter Gamar at the three-day ceremony, the most important and public part of the elaborate ritual of an Azerbaijani funeral. I spent nearly a year photographing Gamar and her family after, including her brother’s departure for the military after being conscripted for a story, “When A Fatwa Comes True“. Three years later, there are still no answers or arrests made in Rafiq Tagi’s case. Prior to his assassination, he had been jailed by the Azerbaijani government on charges of inciting religious hatred and pardoned by President Ilham Aliyev and an Iranian cleric, the late Ayatollah Fazil Lankarani, had called for his death. This week, Gamar gave the first lengthy interview about her father’s death to an Azerbaijani outlet, Kulis.az. A friend generously provided a translation from the Azerbaijani for me and consented to my posting it here: Rafiq Tagi… I can’t write something after …

Turkvision Song Contest

Last month I went to Eskisehir, Turkey to photograph the Turkvision Song Contest and my agency, VII Photo, has posted the work to their site. The inaugural Turkvision Song Contest in Eskisehir, Turkey was a chance for the Turkish Republic to show off its pan-Turkic ties and build bridges across Ural-Altaic lands. Turkey withdrew from the Eurovision Song Contest in 2012, citing grievances with the voting procedure. Turkish officials also complained loudly that a lesbian kiss in Finland’s performance was against Turkish values. In 2013, Turkvision was created for Turkic countries and republics from the Balkans, like Bosnia and Kosovo, to compete against Turkic populations in places as far away as the tiny, western Siberian republic of Shoria. Hemlines were longer and cleavage less plentiful than at the Eurovision Song Contest, but participants in Turkvision did not shy away from camp. Altai’s Artur Martlujokov crooned “My Altai” in a white tuxedo with pink stage lights illuminating him, Azerbaijan’s Farid Hasanov wore a one-armed, gloved leather jacket and Tuva’s Saylik Ommun gave a bonkers rock, pop, …

The New York Times Magazine: Azerbaijan Is Rich. Now It Wants To Be Famous.

Azerbaijan Is Rich. Now It Wants To Be Famous. by Peter Savodnik Images by Amanda Rivkin February 10, 2013 In March 2010, Ibrahim Ibrahimov was on the three-hour Azerbaijan Airlines flight from Dubai to Baku when he had a vision. “I wanted to build a city, but I didn’t know how,” Ibrahimov recalled. “I closed my eyes, and I began to imagine this project.” Ibrahimov, one of the richest men in Azerbaijan, is 54 and has a round, leathery face with millions of tiny creases kneaded in his brow and the spaces beneath his eyes. He walks the way generals walk when they arrive in countries that they have recently occupied. In the middle of his reverie, Ibrahimov summoned the flight attendant. “I asked for some paper, but there wasn’t any. So I grabbed this shirt in my bag that I hadn’t tried on. I took the tissue paper out, and in 20 minutes I drew the whole thing.” Read more on The New York Times website. The story is available in The New York …

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2012

The following are the most viewed blog posts on this site over the course of 2012 that were published in 2012: 1. Best of 2012: Azerbaijan and Turkey (430 views) The best images from 2012 include images from Azerbaijan and Turkey. 2. CNN Photos Blog: Bachelor Parties in Prague (198 views) When friends living in Eastern European nations began complaining of noisy, drunken tourists in their historical towns, American photojournalist Amanda Rivkin wanted to dig deeper. 3. Baku Nights (164 views) Women dance on the table at the bar Shakespeare in Baku, Azerbaijan on March 17, 2012. 4. EurasiaNet: Baku Is Bulldozing Its Past (70 views) My images of demolitions and reconstruction in Baku illustrated a story by Ulviyya Asadzade and Khadija Ismayilova entitled, “Azerbaijan: Baku is Bulldozing its Past,” for EurasiaNet (April 27, 2012). 5. British Journal of Photography: VII Photo adds four photographers to Mentor programme (54 views) Photographers Laura El-Tantawy, Nafis Ahmed, Jošt Franko and Amanda Rivkin have been selected to join VII Photo’s Mentor Program 6. Look3 Festival of the Photograph: …

2012 A Year of Transition

2012 was luckily not like 2011, a year that goes down with 1789, 1848, 1917, 1989 as a year of revolution.  By contrast, 2012 was a year of transition in most every respect.  Global technologies, movements, ideas, and politics are all in flux; only the economies of the world remain sluggish, with some notable exceptions.  Turkey is one of these exceptions.  By 2023, the centennial of the modern secular Turkish Republic, the currently ruling Justice and Development Party, AK Party according to its Turkish acronym, hopes that Turkey will be counted among the top 10 economies in the world. (A great BBC Global Business report on what could go wrong is well worth a listen.) After finishing my Fulbright grant in Azerbaijan, photographing Azerbaijani Women, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and the Eurovision Song Contest, I moved to Istanbul in September to freelance here in Turkey and the region. I joined the VII Mentor Program where I am working with Ron Haviv on improving my craft for the duration of two years. In this time, I …