All posts tagged: fulbright

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 …

The Year in Pictures 2011: Chicago, New York, New Jersey, Czech Republic, Azerbaijan and Turkey

The Year in Pictures 2011 The annus horribilis of 2011 is coming to a close – a year that will go down as one of dramatic upheaval and revolution alongside 1789, 1848, 1917, 1989, and now, this year. In Egypt, young revolutionaries overthrew the government of Hosni Mubarak after 31 years of subservience to a one-party state bolstered by an omnipresent muhabarata, or secret service, further bolstered by an overreaching military, after Egyptians witnessed similar events in Tunisia lead to the removal of that country’s former leader Ben Ali. Consequently, the domino theory made a surprise return as events in Egypt triggered revolts elsewhere in Bahrain, Libya, Syria and Yemen. Of these, only Libya’s leader fell after rebels received aerial support from NATO war planes; Qaddafi was found hiding in a drainage canal near his hometown of Sirte (or Surt, depending on your news source and spelling) and subsequently dragged through the streets, sodomized with a knife and otherwise tormented before being shot in the head. In the Libyan conflict three photographers lost their lives, …

Bienvenue a Perpignan! / Bienvengut a Perpinya! / Welcome to Perpignan!

They all say the same thing, the first in French, the second in Catalan and lastly English, perhaps the most useless of the languages accept for this week during Visa Pour L’image, as English maintains its credibility as the language of international media still. It is my first trip to the city, to the south of France (previous trips to the country have taken me only to Paris and Bretagne, where my dearest and oldest friend claims deep ancestral roots and where half of her family resides) and to the annual photojournalism festival, likely and perhaps the biggest in the world in its 23rd year. An editor once confided quite privately that the media was so late to catch the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and project images of the destruction of New Orleans worldwide not because President George W. Bush’s response left much to be desired but because the photo editors were on a working vacation in this city, Perpignan in the south of France. In other words, even if you think this annual gathering …

Press Release: Amanda Rivkin Receives Fulbright Award

The Fulbright Program The United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: James A. Lawrence Date: 8/4/11 Telephone: 202-632-3241 Amanda Rivkin Receives Fulbright Award Ms. Amanda Rivkin of Georgetown University has been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Program scholarship to Azerbaijan in Photography, the United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board announced recently. Rivkin is one of over 1,600 U.S. citizens who will travel abroad for the 2011-2012 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also …

From the Archive: The United States of AmeriKitsch

* “Kitsch is the inability to admit that shit exists.” – Milan Kundera Kitsch has the potential to unite all people, irrespective of culture, background, or elitist pretensions. Objects we acquire or accumulate have no meaning until we provide it. The uses for kitsch are infinite. Milan Kundera notes that kitsch is not just the “inability to admit that shit exists,” but also it is the natural aesthetic of all politicians. Last fall in a video interview for Fortnight Journal, I suggested that kitsch might just outlive us all – even the politicians. Yet most moments of pure kitsch happen far away from electoral politics, geopolitics, and the global spotlight. Kitsch injects sentimental into the otherwise mundane. Bob Dylan said “even the President of the United States must have to stand naked,” yet how naked can you be when your person has become part of a larger cult of presidential kitsch? Does kitsch protect? As I prepare to leave the USA for a Fulbright grant to Azerbaijan, I thought it was time to look back …

June Newsletter: National Geographic publishes BTC pipeline / Fulbright to Azerbaijan

This is a pretty special newsletter for me concerning announcements. First, I have graduated from the Georgetown University Graduate School of Foreign Service, which ends a two-year chapter of my life first in Washington, DC and then commuting between there and New York over the past year. While it was a fascinating educational experience, I am ready to move on to new projects and pastures. As a photographer, my work grew as well over those two years, for me most notably last summer when I was a recipient of a National Geographic Young Explorers Grant which facilitated travel photographing the social and economic life along the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline which delivers Caspian crude to the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan by way of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. Recently, this work was published on the National Geographic website in a photo gallery entitled, “At Five Years, BTC Pipeline Moves Oil, Culture,” with accompanying text by Marianne Lavelle. Lastly, the biggest bit of news. As a consequence of this work and my interest in the people, culture and …

From the Archive: The Beginning of a Post-Soviet Dream

Yesterday, I won a Fulbright (!!!) student scholarship to Azerbaijan. Today I began to reflect on what this might mean and began to think of some images, among many other things, that united me to Azeris and other people in the region. Peculiarly, the first thing that came to mind was this quote from my U.S. passport that anyone who has seen it from Bratislava to Baku (if you were a “Seinfeld” fan you must surely remember, “It’s been a long journey from Milan to Minsk…”) cannot help but memorize, recite and possibly even begin to call me “young man”. One friend sent a note when I received the Fulbright, “Go east, young man,” no doubt a tribute to the Horace Greeley quote in the latest U.S. passport design: “Go west, young man, and grow up with the country.” – Horace Greeley Additionally, I combed through some old images to find a few that united east, and west in some interesting form: (It is the 50th anniversary of the Bay of Pigs, celebrated as a …