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The Archive

Michael Turek
The Economist


Designed by Claudia de Almeida
Cover by Adam Amengual


Designed by Jordan Awan
Cover by Sally Deng

What We Learned This Week: Santu Mofokeng, Photographer of Apartheid Life, Dies at 63

Santu Mofokeng was born in Soweto just months before the 1956 "Treason Trial" of Nelson Mandela and more than 150 others. Raised in an impoverished household by a single mother, Mofokeng attended Morris Isaacson High School, which was a forge for the student uprising in Soweto in 1976: He witnessed his younger brother being beaten by white bullies retaliating for the protests against the government. Mofokeng, who went on to make searing images of everyday life in South Africa's black townships during the era of apartheid, died on Jan. 26 in Johannesburg. He was 63.

Spotlight: "In the Absence" and Other Oscar-Nominated Short Docs

When disaster strikes, whom should you listen to? That question lies at the heart of "In the Absence," one of the short documentaries nominated for an Oscar this year. The 28-minute film focuses on a passenger ferry, the M.V. Sewol, that sank while traveling between the South Korean city of Incheon and Jeju Island on April 16, 2014. As the vessel listed and began to sink, leadership broke down and passengers were told to "Stay put." Too late, the order was given to evacuate. Short of the Week calls the blow-by-blow documentary "a gut-punch, an urgent piece of investigatory journalism where the methodical nature of its process barely masks a deeper anger."

Noguchi's Commission for Idlewild Airport

In 1956, the sculptor Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988) was invited by the architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill to submit a design for a monumental sculpture for the new International Arrivals Building they were designing for Idlewild Airport [now JFK], the world's first large-scale international airport. The totemic column he proposed (above, front) suggests human aspiration for the cosmos and was envisioned as carved from granite and topped by an uprising bird-like abstraction.&nbs...

Spotlight: A Moment from Colombian Photographer David Betancur's Travel Journal

David Betancur travels in order to find "character and scenarios." The Colombian photographer's portfolio is filled with people he finds on assignment and on his excursions throughout his country, which he records in what he calls "a sort of travel journal." Among the images in his journal is a shot of a girl resting on the edge of an abandoned swimming pool. "She told me, 'For enjoying the pool, there is no need to get wet in the water,'" Betancur recalls. His photograph was named a winner of the Latin American Fotografia 8 competition.

American Photography Open 2019: Meet the Winner, Alain Schroeder

Last month we revealed the ten finalists. Today, we introduce the winner of the American Photography Open 2019 competition - Alain Schroeder, a Brussels, Belgium-based photojournalist who has worked all around the globe, from Thailand and Tuscany to Crete and Vietnam. From October 2018 through April 2019, he was in Sumatra, Indonesia, to document efforts to aid the area's critically endangered orangutans. His photograph of an abused three-month-old female orangutan named Brenda being treated for a severely broken arm earned Schroeder the top spot in this year's contest.

The SONY a9: What the Pros Have to Say

"Eventually you knew it had to happen. Sooner or later cameras would get so good at what they did that basically your job as a photographer would be to look for interesting things to shoot and then try not to get in the camera's way as it did it's thing capturing them. I mean, imagine if a camera had pretty much flawless exposure capability, flawless focusing and could fire and focus so fast it never missed a frame?" So writes Jeff Wignall in todays Street Test of the Sony a9 full-frame mirrorless camera. Sony Artisans of Imagery Katrin Eisman, Andy Katz, and Pat Murphy-Racey join in with their takes on the 24.2-megapixel camera that has caused an uproar in the photo industry.