The Witness Trees of The American Civil War

Across the United States there are hundreds and thousands of trees that have stood around for many centuries and bore witness to the history in that area. Some of these trees were present during key events in American history like the Civil War battles. Historians call these trees “witness trees”. They were present when soldiers marched on to the battlefields and they stood silently as the soldiers fell. Many Civil War witness trees took bullets along with thousands of men. Many of them still hide bullets within their trunks.

In the early 1930s, the United States War Department thought some of these “witness trees” were important enough to mark and sometimes, protect. Small brass tags were placed in some of the trees, and lightening rods were … Read the rest

Building a career as a self-taught photographer

“I’m a workaholic… but I work by my own rules,” says Lola Paprocka, sipping a cup of tea in Huck’s 71a Gallery. “It’s really hard for me to obey.”

DIY has become second nature for Lola since moving to London from Poland at the age of 18, when she could barely speak English. “I never really felt like I belonged anywhere,” she says. “I always felt like a bit of a weirdo who didn’t fit in.”

Within a few years, Lola was managing tattoo shops and meeting like-minded creatives, figuring out her own path. In 2010, she inherited her first camera – an old Zenit belonging to her mum – before a trip to Australia.

Tentatively, Lola began to shoot drunk friends here and there

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Old Sarum of Salisbury

Old Sarum in Salisbury, England, is a historically important archeological site consisting of an Iron Age hillfort and what little remains of an 11th century royal castle and cathedral. Located about two miles to the north of the city center, this is where the history of Salisbury began. The site has been occupied successively by the Romans, the Saxons, and the Normans before the foundation of New Sarum, or Salisbury, in the thirteenth century.

Old Sarum was settled as early as 3000 BC. However, the protective hill fort was constructed only around 400 BC. It’s an impressive earthwork consisting of an outer ring of defensive wall and an inner rampart rising at an angle. The oval-shaped hill measures 400 meters by 360 meters across. Shortly after … Read the rest

Hill of the Buddha

The Hill of the Buddha is a giant Buddha statue located atop a small hill near a cemetery in the Japanese island Hokkaido. The statue was built some 15 years ago, but it was only in December 2015, that the landscape around it was sculpted to highlight the massive figure.

“The aim of this project was to build a prayer hall that would enhance the attractiveness of a stone Buddha sculpted 15 years ago,” explains architect Tadao Ando. “The site is a gently sloping hill on 180 hectares of lush land belonging to a cemetery. The statue is 13.5 meters tall and weighs 1500 tons. It is made of fine, highly selected solid stone. Until now, the Buddha statue has stood alone in the field, giving … Read the rest

The Berlin zine exploring the everyday reality of migrant life

With the refugee crisis still affecting millions of lives globally, there’s no doubt migration is one of the most pressing issues of recent years. Yet NANSEN – a magazine about migrants, written largely by migrants – offers a unique perspective in migration reporting by dedicating each issue to a single one, telling the individual stories of one person at a time.

Through a series of interviews, illustration and photography, the Berlin-based publication, which launched last week, explores each individual migrant’s experience and paints a picture of their wider community, turning statistics into life stories of real people. Here, we speak to Vanessa Ellingham, the magazine’s editor, to find out more why she set up the magazine and where she hopes it will go in future.

How Read the rest

Why geek culture is taking over Africa

A counter-intelligence agent who operates across Southern Africa. A powerful superhero who, when inflamed, becomes part razor. Labour migrants seeking to travel from Zimbabwe to the much more prosperous South Africa.

These are just some of the characters who populate current Zimbabwean comics. And ground zero for bringing all these voices together is a one-room office in an affluent part of Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, where the animation studio Makanimation is based. Here, Makanimation’s creative director, Tinodiwa Zambe Makoni, and comics creator Eugene Ramirez Mapondera, of Enigma Comix, operate the non-profit Comexposed, which is dedicated to strengthening the young but thriving geek subculture of Zimbabwe’s cities.

This duo – who are boyish, smiley, and eloquent – were fellow lecturers five years ago at an … Read the rest

Pride is a protest, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise

Last Saturday, three Free Pride activists and two members of AntiFa were arrested during the Glasgow Pride parade. The reason? Protesting the strong presence of police at pride, who, at this particular event, were there not only taking part in the walk while uniformed, but also leading the march.

The three protesters, all of whom are part of the NUS, attempted to unfold a banner in front of officers before the march set off, in a bid to put LGBTQ activism back at the forefront of the parade. They were quickly tackled to the ground and detained, later to be charged with breaching of the peace.

The other two arrests happened in a separate part of the parade, as the police took issue with a member … Read the rest

Elche, The City of Palm Trees

In the city of Elche, in Spain, there is a large grove of palm trees that’s the only one of its kind in Europe, and one of the largest palm groves in the world. Elche has more palm trees than people. According to some estimates, there are between 200,000 and 300,000 trees here distributed across hundreds of orchards. 

Palm trees have existed in Elche for some 2,500 years. The first specimens were probably planted in the 5th century BC by Carthaginians who settled in south-east Spain. But the formal landscape of palm groves with elaborate irrigation systems that exist today was first laid out by the Muslims towards the end of the tenth century AD, when much of the Iberian peninsula was Arab.

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The Palm Grove Read the rest