Artists join forces to raise awareness of press freedom

A new t-shirt campaign aimed at raising awareness of press freedom and human rights has been launched this month by MOTHER Magazine.

The t-shirts on offer has been designed by three prominent young creatives – namely British artist Ed Atkins, Russian rebel author Slava Mogutin, and Sang Bleu editor Reba Maybury. Their merchandise will be on sale until December 1st, with 100 per cent of profits being divided equally between the Freedom of the Press Foundation, Reporters Without Borders and Kaleidoscope Trust.

Design by Ed Atkins

Design by Ed Atkins

According to a spokesperson for MOTHER, the charities were chosen for their incredible work towards promoting freedom of information, media transparency, and LGBTQ rights.

“These are concepts currently under threat, and we wanted to fight back in some way,” they … Read the rest

Confronting the shocking everyday violence of Honduras

I was born in Honduras, Tegucigalpa in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch in 1999. A year later, my family moved to Brighton in the UK, where I have since spent most of my life.

From a young age, I’d heard a lot about the problems in Central America – especially in Honduras, which is often called the “most violent country in the world.” Growing up, I couldn’t understand what was driving people to behave this way or where this violence was coming from.

This year, after turning 18, I returned to Honduras for two weeks to find out more about my country of birth. Even though my Spanish is a bit broken and I wear very British clothes, it was only my shock that … Read the rest

The hidden African history captured by one maverick photographer

In 2011, a box of old photographs changed my life. I spend every summer in South Africa but this particular one was difficult because I experienced a lot of violence, including a carjacking which caused damage to one eye.

People in New York wanted me to come home but I knew from experience that something good usually happens in the last week of every visit. I had bought a stack of photographs in Cape Town and my friend’s daughter said,“You know what? I have this collection of negatives I should give you.”

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They’d been sitting in a garage for 15, 20 years. I pulled out a few, held them up to the light and started freaking out. They were so strong, even in that form.… Read the rest

The Diving Horses of Atlantic City

For nearly half a century, Atlantic City, in New Jersey, United States, was home to an attraction almost too fantastical to believe—an apparently fearless horse with a young woman on its back would leap off a tower some 40 feet high into a pool of water below. The stunt took place at Atlantic City's popular venue Steel Pier, where trained horses took the plunge up to four times a day and seven days a week.

The idea of the diving horse was invented in Texas by ''Doctor'' William Frank Carver, a 19th century sharpshooter who toured the wild west organizing shows with trained animals and shooting exhibitions. The story goes that in 1881, Carver was crossing a wooden bridge over Platte River in Nebraska when the … Read the rest

The Double-Barreled Cannon of Athens

In front of the City Hall of Athens, in Georgia, United States, stands an unusual cannon from the American Civil War. It’s a double-barreled cannon, but unlike other multiple-barrel cannons of the past, the double-barreled cannon of Athens was designed to fire two solid cannonballs connected together by a length of iron chain. The two barrels pointed slightly away from each other, so that when they are fired together the cannonballs would spread to the full length of the chain and mow down enemy soldiers like a scythe cutting wheat on a field, or so was the idea.

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Photo credit: J. Stephen Conn/Flickr

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The Art of Mediaeval Book Repairing

In the early Middle Ages, books were made from animal hides known as parchment, rather than from paper. Preparing the parchment was a delicate business. The freshly skinned hide is first washed to remove blood and grime, and then soaked in a strong alkali solution to loosen out the hairs. After staying in the de-hairing solution for more than a week, the skin is attached to a wooden frame and stretched tight like a drum. While the skin is drying, the parchment maker would take a sharp knife and scrap the skin to remove the last of the hair and get the skin to the right thickness. This was the most delicate part. Too much pressure during the scrapping process or a slip of the knife … Read the rest

Signal Hill: The Birthplace of Modern Communications

Overlooking the harbour of St John's, in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, is a massive piece of rock towering 140 meters above the Atlantic Ocean. The rock, known as Signal Hill, stands on St John's eastern shore across a narrow waterway that leads into the harbour. To the north lies Quidi Vidi Lake, and to the west lies the city towards which the hill descends gently in ridges and valleys. It was on top of this hill, in December 1901, that Guglielmo Marconi stood to receive the world’s first wireless transatlantic transmission.

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Cabot Tower on Signal Hill. Photo credit: Michel Rathwell/Flickr

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Asia’s first major LGBTQ exhibition is opening this week

In a historical move, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei will be the first major-scale public institution in Asia to host an art exhibition entirely focused on the history and struggles faced by the continent’s LGBTQ community.

Spectrosynthesis – Asian LGBTQ Issues and Art Now has been in the works for over two years, and will showcase 51 creations by 22 artists hailing from Taiwan, Singapore, China and Hong Kong, as well as Chinese-American artists based in North America.

The MOCA Taipei website explains: “The exhibition represents the life stories and related issues of the post-war Chinese LGBTQ community as the artworks on view touch upon a profusion of subject matters such as identity, equality, exploitation by mass media, social predicaments, comments on individuals/groups, human desire, … Read the rest

Behind the scenes at America’s new legal cannabis farms

As the daughter of a pot farmer, Kristen Angelo practically grew up in a grow room. The Seattle-based photographer was exposed to cannabis culture at a young age as her family resided on Vashon Island, an enclave of bohemian-living that’s long been associated with guerilla farming. But in the 90s, the Island became swept up in a drug war that ended with Angelo’s father incarcerated in Federal Prison, for what the lead detective considered “the most sophisticated growing operation” he had seen in nearly a decade.

Today, as legislation surrounding cannabis is in a state of flux, Angelo has embraced photography as a way to challenge stigma around the plant. By cutting through the trippy visuals and over-sexed boob/bud shots and instead profiling growers and their … Read the rest