DokFoto 2015 – Day 1

Rusty cars, loads of people, pictures, new friends, old friends, forgotten friends, Boyfriend, war in Gaza, wine, tea, coffee, heavy breathing, books and surprisingly few technical problems. It’s time for DokFoto 2015, Litteraturhuset Oslo. An annual two-day documentary photography festival.

This year’s speakers are Espen Rasmussen, Sim Chi Yin, Harald Henden, Tanya Habjouqa, Laura El-Tantaway and Eugene Richards.

> Hard land of no dreams?

Espen Rasmussen was the opening act. He and his colleague Roy Freddy Andersen is currently working on a multimedia piece named Hard Land.
What is happening to the American Dream when the economy is declining and the industries as workplaces are replaced with the service sector?

The project is about the Rust Belt, but it’s not a case study of Detroit. Neither is it a study of abandoned buildings and urban decay. It’s, on the other hand, a tale of people, history, livelihoods and dreams. Pieces of the puzzle concerning the human condition and connection.

> They can’t tell I’m foreign

Sim Chi Yin is a Singaporean living and working in mainland China. She specialises in documenting current social issues for international news agencies. Her multimedia presentation on the impact of pneumoconiosis on (former) gold mine workers brought the audience to tears.

The work is named Dying to Breathe. Sim Chi Yin talked about her frustrations of not getting published. Being on print in international media gives the Chinese subjects and interviewees a form of much needed security after they’ve spoken up on sensitive issues. The National Geographic is going to publish Dying to Breathe online eventually, but in between Ebola, terrorism, boobs, climate change and wars the everyday tragedies of normal people are easily over looked.

> Know your First Aid skills by heart!

Harald Henden is a news photographer who’s been covering the wars in Gaza for Norway’s largest newspaper (VG). He is a war photographer by trade, in many ways. His show and tell was a mix of strong images and to-do’s (and not’s) in a war zone.

Human tragedies. His own experiences with danger, luck and the roles of journalists in conflict areas. How he found it harder and harder going to these kinds of places, because he by know knew what to expect. What kind of imagery he would bring home. What kind of suffering war brings.

Dokfoto 2015 takes place 6-7. February. 

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