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the Big Picture

Category: art

October 9, 2014 Permalink

We've moved!

Six years and 966 entries after this blog launched, it's time for some updates. We've got a new design. The pictures are bigger and you can enjoy them on your phones and tablets.

Check us out at our new home on BostonGlobe.com But, don't worry! All our old entries will remain archived here on Boston.com. If you have any feedback on the changes, please let us know.

— The Big Picture team:

Bill Greene, Director of Photography
Thea Breite, Senior Multimedia Editor
Leanne Burden Seidel, Picture Editor
Lloyd Young, Photo Editor
Joel Abrams, Product Manager


September 4, 2014 Permalink

Burning Man 2014

The Burning Man festival, with a theme of "Caravansary," wrapped up earlier this week 120 miles outside Reno, Nev., in the Black Rock Desert, its home since 1990. Some 65,000 people attended the celebration, which is billed as "an annual experiment in temporary community dedicated to radical self-expression and radical self-reliance." --Lloyd Young (25 photos total)

The art installation Embrace burns during the Burning Man 2014 "Caravansary" arts and music festival in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada on Aug. 29. People from all over the world have gathered at the sold out festival to spend a week in the remote desert cut off from much of the outside world to experience art, music and the unique community that develops. (Jim Urquhart/Reuters)
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May 19, 2014 Permalink

The Ansel Adams Wilderness: A photographic tribute by Peter Essick

Esteemed National Geographic contributing photographer Peter Essick revisited the Ansel Adams Wilderness 75 years after Adams’s photographs made it famous, to pay tribute to Ansel Adams and the California sierra Nevada wilderness area named in his honor. These images come from his new book, ‘The Ansel Adams Wilderness.’ From the books’ introduction: “Like Adams, I am a native Californian familiar with the High Sierra, and some of my first successful photos were of this wilderness area (located between Yosemite National Park and Mammoth Lakes, and renamed for Adams following his death in 1984). For 25 years I have traveled throughout the world as a photographer for National Geographic magazine, but the High Sierra always has had a special place in my heart.” --Thea Breite (30 photos total)

Frost covers an aspen leaf on a cold October morning near Parker Lake. (Peter Essick)
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July 19, 2013 Permalink

Disabled street artist Xi Fu

Xi Fu's story is one that tells of how strong determination and hard work overcame the difficulties of surviving in a society scant in infrastructure and support for the disabled and where they often face discrimination. Surrounded by cloth, paper, brushes and ink, the 34-year-old whose name means 'Seeking Happiness' is a common sight in the underground passes of the bustling shopping district of Xidan or tourist walkways of Houhai in Beijing. With spry dexterity, he uses his feet to mix the paint, lay out his brushes and spread the rice paper he is going to write on. Clasping the brush between his toes, Xi Fu proceeds to mesmerize a rapidly gathering crowd for the next hour with a skillful display of calligraphic art using only his feet. The Chinese characters he writes are often simple but inspirational proverbs like 'zhi zhu chang le' (knowing contentment is happiness) or 'fen jin' (to advance bravely), bringing on smiles of appreciation among his audience as he finishes each work. Since there are no platforms for disabled artists like him to showcase his art, Xi Fu took to the streets, roaming pedestrian underpasses and high traffic tourists sites performing as a street busker in various parts of Beijing. On good days, he could make about 100 RMB (12.44 euros) a day. It is not easy though as he is often hassled by officers from the urban affairs office, otherwise known as Chengguan, whose job include patrolling and removing unlicensed peddlers and beggars from the streets. His condition also limits him to work for a maximum of three hours a day; otherwise it becomes too painful for his body to withstand. His face lights up with his usual cheerful grin however when asked about his dream. 'Being a street busker has allowed me to make many friends and made me very happy. I want to have my own exhibition next and be able to keep doing what I do". (images by How Hwee Young/European Pressphoto Agency) -- Lloyd Young ( 18 photos total)

Chinese disabled artist Xi Fu walks into an underground pass in the shopping district of Xidan in Beijing, China, on June 15. There were no open platforms for disabled artists like Xi Fu to showcase his art in China. He took to the streets, roaming pedestrian underpasses and high traffic tourists sites performing as a street busker in various parts of Beijing. On good days, he could make about 12.44 euros a day. Xi Fu's story is one that tells of how strong determination and hard work overcame the difficulties of surviving in a society scant with infrastructure and support for the disabled and where they often face discrimination. (How Hwee Young/European Pressphoto Agency)
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May 10, 2013 Permalink

National Geographic Traveler Magazine: 2013 Photo Contest

The National Geographic Traveler Magazine photo contest, now in its 25th year, has begun. There is still plenty of time to enter. The entry deadline is Sunday, June 30, at 11:59 p.m. Entrants may submit their photographs in any or all of the four categories: Travel Portraits, Outdoor Scenes, Sense of Place and Spontaneous Moments. The magazine's photo editors showcase their favorite entries each week in galleries. You can also vote for your favorites. "The pictures increasingly reflect a more sophisticated way of seeing and interpreting the world, making the judging process more difficult," says Keith Bellows, magazine editor in chief. (The captions are written by the entrants, some slightly edited for readability.) As always, you can take a look at some of last year's entries and winners.. -- Paula Nelson ( 40 photos total)

OUTDOOR SCENES - Portrait of an Eastern Screech Owl - Masters of disguise. The Eastern Screech Owl is seen here doing what they do best. You better have a sharp eye to spot these little birds of prey. Okeefenokee Swamp, Georgia, USA. (Photo and caption by Graham McGeorge/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)
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March 22, 2013 Permalink

Smithsonian Magazine 2012 Photography Contest: 50 Finalists

The Smithsonian magazine's 10th annual photo contest's 50 finalists have been chosen, but there's still time for you to vote for the Readers Choice winner! This year's competition has drawn over 37,600 entries from photographers in 112 countries around the world. Editors will choose a Grand Prize Winner and the winners in each of five categories which include The Natural World, Americana, People, Travel and Altered Images. Voting will be open through March 29, 2013. -- Paula Nelson ( 22 photos total)

THE NATURAL WORLD - An Onlooker Witnesses the Annular Solar Eclipse as the Sun Sets on May 20, 2012. Albuquerque, New Mexico, May 2012. (Colleen Pinski/Peyton, Colorado/Smithsonian.com)
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January 14, 2013 Permalink

Fashion weeks

For some, fashion is a corporate industry. For others, it's an artistic expression. And for still others, it's an embrace of cultural traditions. Fashion is a shallow pursuit in the eyes of many, and a deep embodiment of identity for others. Definitions of what is fashionable are myriad and contradictory, but the annual spectacle of the presentation and the scramble of the preparations endure long after this year's look is forgotten. Venues vary from a junkyard in Sao Paulo to the Royal Albert Hall in London. Creations from the absurd to the avant-garde by turns entertain, inspire, or pay homage. Gathered here are images from fall and winter shows both famous and obscure. -- Lane Turner (38 photos total)

Audience members watch a model during the J. Mendel Spring/Summer 2013 show at New York Fashion Week on September 12, 2012. By exposing for the darkened audience, the photographer overexposed the brightly lit model. (Andrew Burton/Reuters)
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November 28, 2012 Permalink

Protests return to Tahrir Square

Protestors once again have massed in Egypt's Tahrir Square and around the country in opposition to their ruling leader. Yesterday a crowd of more than 200,000 gathered in growing opposition to President Mohamed Morsi's decree last Friday that granted him sweeping constitutional powers. Tahrir Square became the epicenter of the protests in early 2011 that led to the resignation of former president Hosni Mubarak. -- Lloyd Young ( 28 photos total)

Egyptian protesters shoot fireworks as they demonstrate against President Mohamed Morsi's decree, in Tahrir Square on Nov. 27. Thousands took to the streets across Egypt to protest a decision by President Mohamed Morsi to grant himself sweeping powers. Protesters in Cairo converged on Tahrir Square where a sit-in began on 23 Nov. after the Islamist leader signed a decree making all his decisions and laws immune from legal challenge. (Andre Pain/European Pressphoto Agency)
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June 22, 2012 Permalink

National Geographic Traveler Magazine: 2012 Photo Contest

The 24th annual National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest is in full swing. The entry deadline has been extended until July 11. The four categories include: Travel Portraits; Outdoor Scenes; Sense of Place and Spontaneous Moments. Last year's contest drew nearly 13,000 images from all over the world. The pictures are as diverse as their authors, capturing an assortment of people, places and wildlife - everything that makes traveling so memorable, evoking a sense of delight and discovery. The following post includes a small sampling of the entrant's work, taken from the editor's picks in each of the categories. (The captions are written by the entrants, some slightly corrected for readability.) And for fun, take a look back at the winners from 2011 at National Geographic Traveler. -- Paula Nelson (54 photos total)

SPONTANEOUS MOMENTS - Marrakech Traveler: It was mid-morning and he must have wanted to ride into the light. I was shooting for the ABC TV show Born to Explore when I snapped this photo. (John Barnhardt/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)
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June 1, 2012 Permalink

Centuries of traditional cheese making

Oscypek is a smoked cheese made of salted sheep’s milk, made exclusively in the Tatra Mountains region of Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The first mention of cheese production in the Tatra Mountains dates back to the 15th century - in a document from 1416. The flavor of the cheese depends very much on herbs, grass (eaten by the sheep) and the time of year the cheese is made. Some people claim that it tastes best in the spring, because the milk is full of fat. Everything is made by hand by The Gorale (literally, highlanders), a group of indigenous people found along the southern Poland region of Podhale, in the Tatra Mountains. There is also a significant population of Gorale in Chicago, Illinois. The Gorals spend weeks outside their home, living in a small wooden house, while looking after their herd. It is akin to a nomadic life from May to September, and a difficult life as well. They start early in the morning and milk the sheep three times a day. A friend introduced photographer Michal Korta to Baca (the sheep’s master) Wojciech (chief of the working group of Gorals). He spent 3 days documenting the process of producing the traditional Oscypek. -- Paula Nelson (28 photos total)

The sheep are gathered in the early morning by the shepherd. (Michal Korta)
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March 5, 2012 Permalink

Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest: 50 Finalists

The Smithsonian magazine's 9th annual photo contest finalists have been chosen. The contest attracted over 14 thousand photographers from all 50 states and over 100 countries. Fifty finalists from 67,059 images were selected by Smithsonian editors. Those editors will also choose the Grand Prize Winner and the winners in each of the five categories which include The Natural World, Americana, People, Travel and Altered Images. Photos were selected based on technical quality, clarity and composition, a flair for the unexpected and the ability to capture a picture-perfect moment. (Smithsonian invites everyone to select an additional "Readers' Choice" winner by voting through March for their favorite image on line.) -- Paula Nelson (25 photos total)

BEHIND THE BLUE Lilongwe, Malawi, May 2011 (Paolo Patruno/Bologna, Italy)
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February 17, 2012 Permalink

A glimpse of fashion week 2012

The models descended on the city, along with photographers, stylists, makeup artists, celebrities, editors and of course, fashion groupies during New York fashion week. During the week, more than 300 designers presented their fall 2012 collections to journalists, buyers and the occasional celebrity at Lincoln Center, Milk Studios and other venues. In this post, we take a look behind the scenes, get a glimpse of the runway and end it with a bit of whimsy. -- Paula Nelson (EDITOR'S NOTE: There will not be a Big Picture post on Monday, February 20 due to the President's Day holiday.)(42 photos total)

Makeup is applied backstage before the Rebecca Taylor Fall/Winter 2012 show during New York Fashion Week, Feb. 10, 2012. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)
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February 10, 2012 Permalink

2012 World Press Photo Contest Winners

By the numbers: 5, 247 Photographers, 124 Nationalities, 101, 254 pictures. Three hundred and fifty images by 57 photographers of 24 nationalities were awarded prizes in nine categories. To view the entire collection of winning images from the 55th World Press Photo Contest: 2012 World Press Photo. -- Paula Nelson (16 photos total)

2012 World Press Photo of the Year: A woman holds a wounded relative during protests against President Saleh in Sanaa, Yemen, Oct. 15, 2011. (Samuel Aranda/The New York Times)
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January 20, 2012 Permalink

Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival 2012

The annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival has been held since 1963, interrupted for a number of years during the Cultural Revolution until it was resumed in 1985. Harbin is the capital of Heilongjiang province, in northeastern China. It is nicknamed "Ice City" and aptly so for winter January temperatures that average minus 18 degrees Celsius, under the influence of the cold winter wind from Siberia. The festival officially starts January 5th and lasts one month, although exhibits often stay open longer, weather permitting. Harbin is one of the world's four largest ice and snow festivals, along with Japan's Sapporo Snow Festival, Canada's Quebec City Winter Carnival and Norway's Ski Festival. -- Paula Nelson (28 photos total)

Tourists visit ice sculptures during the testing period of the 13th Harbin Ice and Snow World in Harbin, Heilongjiang province. The Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival officially launched January 5, 2012. (Sheng Li/Reuters)
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January 6, 2012 Permalink

National Geographic Photography Contest Winners: 2011

More than 20,000 photographs, from over 130 countries were submitted to the National Geographic Photography contest, with both professional photographers and amateur photo enthusiasts participating. The grand prize winner was chosen from the three category winners: Nature - Shikhei Goh, People - Izabelle Nordfjell, Places - George Tapan. Shikhei Goh, of Indonesia, took the grand prize honors with his amazing photograph of a dragonfly in the rain and will be published in the magazine. The competition was judged on creativity and photographic quality by a panel of experts composed of field biologist and wildlife photojournalist Tim Laman, National Geographic photographer Amy Toensing and National Geographic nature photographer Peter Essick. The winning submissions can be viewed at http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/photo-contest/ - Paula Nelson (14 photos total)

Grand Prize Winner and Nature Winner - SPLASHING: This photo was taken when I was taking photos of other insects, as I normally did during macro photo hunting. I wasn’t actually aware of this dragonfly since I was occupied with other objects. When I was about to take a picture of it, it suddenly rained, but the lighting was just superb. I decided to take the shot regardless of the rain. The result caused me to be overjoyed, and I hope it pleases viewers. Batam, Riau Islands, Indonesia (Photo and caption by Shikhei Goh)
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November 18, 2011 Permalink

National Geographic Photo Contest 2011

There's still time! The deadline for entries for this year's National Geographic Photo Contest is November 30. Photographers of all skill levels (last year more than 16,000 images submitted by photographers from 130 countries) enter photographs in three categories: Nature, People and Places. The photographs are judged on creativity and photographic quality by a panel of experts. There is one first place winner in each category and a grand prize winner as well. The following is a selection of 54 entries from each of the 3 categories. The caption information is provided and written by the individual photographer. -- Paula Nelson (54 photos total)

LONE TREE YELLOWSTONE: A solitary tree surviving another harsh winter in Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. (Photo and caption by Anita Erdmann/Nature/National Geographic Photo Contest)
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September 26, 2011 Permalink

China: Daily Life Sept. 2011

This Big Picture post gives us a glimpse of daily life in parts of China, documented by wire photographers from the Associated Press, Reuters and Getty. The post begins with a short essay by Reuters photographer Jason Lee. Lee photographed six-year-old Wang Gengxiang, known as the "Masked Boy." Gengxiang was severely burned in an accident involving a burning pile of straw last winter. Most of the skin on the little boy's head was burned off, requiring him to wear a full surgical mask. The mask is said to prevent his scars from becoming infected. According to the local media in the village where Gengxiang was photographed, the doctors cannot continue his skin-graft surgery until his damaged trachea (or windpipe) is strong enough. The Lee essay is following by a black slide, and then more "slice of life" photography from a still somewhat mysterious China. -- Paula Nelson (50 photos total)

Wang Gengxiang on Children's Day, June 1, 2010, and after he was severely burned in an accident, at Mijiazhuang village on the outskirts of Fenyang, North China's Shanxi province, September 9, 2011. Gengxiang, age 6, known as "Masked Boy", was severely burned in an accident involving a burning pile of straw last winter. (Jason Lee/Reuters)
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September 12, 2011 Permalink

Ground Zero: September 11, 2001 - September 11, 2011

One of the most indelible memories in the collective psyche of Americans - and the world - comes from the images of the World Trade Center following the terrorist attacks on the United States, September 11, 2001. Yesterday, Americans and the world collectively remembered those who lost their lives in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania ten years after that unforgettable day. This post (edited by Leanne Burden) shows the transformation, of what became known as Ground Zero, over the last ten years. A memorial rises from the ashes of that day on September 11, 2011. -- Paula Nelson (41 photos total)

Photos by Space Imaging’s IKONOS satellite showing the World Trade Center complex in Manhattan, New York, collected on June 30, 2001 showing the 110-stories twin towers; on September 15, 2001 showing the remains of the 1,350-foot (411.48-meter) twin towers of the World Trade Center, and the debris and dust that have settled in Ground Zero, four days after the terrorist attacks; and June 8, 2002, showing the progress in the reclamation of Ground Zero where the twin towers of the World Trade Center once stood. AFP/Space Imaging
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September 7, 2011 Permalink

Burning Man at 25 years

The 25th Burning Man festival, with a theme of "Rites of Passage," took place Aug. 29 to Sept. 5, 2011, 120 miles outside Reno, Nev., in the Black Rock Desert, its home since 1990. Some 50,000 people attended the week-long celebration, which is billed as "an annual experiment in temporary community dedicated to radical self-expression and radical self-reliance." The event, which is more a temporary city than a traditional festival, arose from a bonfire held on the Summer Solstice at Baker Beach in San Francisco in which a wooden man a dog were burned in a spontaneous act of self-expression by local artists and their friends. -- Lloyd Young (29 photos total)

Cooper Brawn dances as the Temple of Transition burns during the Burning Man 2011 "Rites of Passage" arts and music festival in the Black Rock desert of Nev., Sept. 4. More than 50,000 people from all over the world have gathered at the sold out festival which is celebrating its 25th year. (Jim Urquhart/Reuters)
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August 24, 2011 Permalink

Krishna Janmashtami

Indian Hindu devotees throughout the world celebrate Janmashtami, which marks the birth of Hindu God Lord Krishna with enormous zeal and enthusiasm. Children and adults dress as the Hindu God Krishna and his consort Radha in bright, elaborate costumes and jewelry. Human pyramids form to break the 'dahi-handi' or curd pot. The large earthenware pot is filled with milk, curds, butter, honey and fruits and is suspended from a height of 20 - 40 feet. Participants come forward to claim this prize by constructing a human pyramid, enabling the uppermost person to reach the pot and claim its contents. -- Paula Nelson (27 photos total)

An Indian schoolboy is dressed as the Hindu God Krishna. (Rajesh Kumar Singh/Associated Press)
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April 11, 2011 Permalink

China: daily life

Each day, wire service photographers from around the world file photos to their member papers that fall under the category of "daily life." On February 8, 2011, I posted a Big Picture that featured some photography from Pakistan under that heading. The images document what we call in newspaper terminology, "slice of life" photography. They are ordinary, random moments captured around a city or in the countryside and they give us just a glimpse of something in that particular place that we might not ordinarily be able to experience. The images in this post are by photographers from the Associated Press based in China. Again, they contain very little caption information and are intended to provide a small window into another culture perhaps far from our own yet reflecting elements of universality. (Note: These images were collected over the first three months of 2011.) -- Paula Nelson. (34 photos total)

A visitor peeks inside a scenery board used to fence off a construction site at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China. (April 1, 2011) (Andy Wong/Associated Press)
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April 1, 2011 Permalink

Afghanistan, March 2011

Every month in the Big Picture, we revisit Afghanistan, to see the people, to see our troops and troops from other nations, to get a sense of the country. President Hamid Karzai said recently his security forces will soon take charge of securing seven areas around Afghanistan, the first step toward his goal of having the Afghan police and soldiers protecting the entire nation by the end of 2014. Our troops are due to begin coming home this July. There is still work to be done. Many of the photos featured in this post show the celebration of the Afghan New Year. The festival to celebrate new year's starts on March 21 and is celebrated in Turkey, Central Asian republics, Iraq, Iran, Azerbaijan, as well as war-torn Afghanistan and it coincides with the astronomical vernal equinox. One of the most popular places to bring in the new year, Mazar-i Sharif, attracts hundreds of thousands of Afghans. -- Paula Nelson (35 photos total)

Afghan children play as they eat ice lollies in Kabul on March 21, the Afghan New Year. (Dar Yasin/Associated Press)
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February 16, 2011 Permalink

New York Fashion Week: Behind the scenes

The first New York Fashion Week in 1943 (then called Press Week) was the world's first organized fashion week. It was designed to attract attention away from French fashion during World War II, when industry insiders were unable to travel to Paris to see the fashion shows. As fashion has evolved, so has the New York event, now branded Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and held in February and September each year. It's one of four major fashion weeks held around the world, along with London, Paris, and Milan. Each year, the 232,000 attendees at the two New York Fashion Weeks account for more than $466 million in direct visitor spending and contribute to $1.6 billion in annual tax revenue to the city's fashion industry. More than $40 million annually is spent on meals at local restaurants; nearly $30 million on taxis, Town Cars, and public transportation; and an additional $56 million at area hotels. This is a look behind the scenes, behind the fashion. -- Paula Nelson (Editor's Note: Monday, February 21, is President's Day. We'll return with Wednesday's post.) (36 photos total)

A model prepares backstage at the Rebecca Minkoff Fall 2011 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion week at The Theatre at Lincoln Center, in New York City. (Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for IMG)
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February 11, 2011 Permalink

World Press Photo: winners

On the morning of February 11, 2011, the international jury of the 54th World Press Photo Contest named a photo by South African photographer Jodi Bieber, World Press Photo of the Year 2010. The image is a portrait of Bibi Aisha, disfigured as punishment for fleeing her husband's house, taken in Kabul, Afghanistan. Over 5,691 photographers entered 108,059 images in the 2011 World Press Photo Contest and after the two-week judging period, 56 were named winners in nine categories. It is a prestigious contest and an honor to be named a winner. The following post shares 23 of those winning images. For more on the contest, including a time-lapse video of the jury room being set up, to hear the jury chairs discuss the images that were named winners, and to learn more about the competition, World Press Photo -- Paula Nelson (23 photos total)

Bibi Aisha, an 18-year-old woman from Oruzgan province in Afghanistan, fled back to her family home from her husband's house, complaining of violent treatment. The Taliban arrived one night, demanding Bibi be handed over to face justice. After a Taliban commander pronounced his verdict, Bibi's brother-in-law held her down and her husband sliced off her ears and then cut off her nose. Bibi was abandoned, but later rescued by aid workers and the U.S. military. After time in a women's refuge in Kabul, she was taken to America, where she received counseling and reconstructive surgery. Bibi Aisha now lives in the United States. World Press Photo of the Year 2010, Jodi Bieber, South Africa, Institute for Artist Management/Goodman Gallery for Time magazine.
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June 29, 2010 Permalink

Glastonbury Festival 2010

Last weekend in Glastonbury, England, on a site covering 1,000 acres, the 40th annual Glastonbury Festival was held at Worthy Farm. Started by a dairy farmer, Michael Evis in 1970 it has grown into the largest music festival in Europe. This year's headline acts on the main stage included Muse, Gorillaz and Stevie Wonder. Thousands of attendees were treated to a sunny weekend in the country with plenty to see, hear and experience. Collected here are 40 images from Glastonbury 2010 for its 40th anniversary. (40 photos total)

The first of the 140,000 music fans due at this year's Glastonbury Festival enjoy the sunset at Worthy Farm, Pilton on June 23, 2010 in Glastonbury, England. The gates opened this morning at 8am to what has become Europe's largest music festival and is celebrating its 40th anniversary. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
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February 22, 2010 Permalink

Backstage during Fashion Week

It's the season of Fashion Week, from Bryant Park in New York last week to London this week, and Milan, Los Angeles and Tokyo next month. As designers and their models gather to present their newest collections to the world, photographers are on hand to take thousands of pictures, most during the actual show - with a few photos from the backstage of each show sent across the wires as well. I've gathered a handful of those backstage glimpses from recent fashion shows, most taken in New York, and share them with you below. (30 photos total)

A model has her makeup done backstage before presenting the Vena Cava Fall 2010 collection during New York Fashion Week February 11, 2010. (REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi)
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February 12, 2010 Permalink

Dance around the world, part II

We humans are natural dancers - bodies in rhythmic motion completely alone, or in groups large and small, or in front of an audience. Dancers can communicate ideas, preserve cultural identities, strengthen social bonds, or just have a lot of fun. Collected here is another recent group of photographs of us, human beings around the world, professional and amateur, in motion for all of the reasons above and more. [Previously: Dance around the world, part I] (35 photos total)

A dancer of the Momix Dance Theatre Company performs a scene of "Bothanica" at the Olympic Theatre in Rome February 3, 2010. (REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi)
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October 7, 2009 Permalink

The Berlin Reunion

Earlier this week, 1.5 million people filled the streets of Berlin, Germany to watch a several-day performance by France's Royal de Luxe street theatre company titled "The Berlin Reunion". Part of the celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Reunion show featured two massive marionettes, the Big Giant, a deep-sea diver, and his niece, the Little Giantess. The storyline of the performance has the two separated by a wall, thrown up by "land and sea monsters". The Big Giant has just returned from a long and difficult - but successful - expedition to destroy the wall, and now the two are walking the streets of Berlin, seeking each other after many years apart. I'll let the photos below tell the rest of the story. (35 photos total)

A police boat makes its way past the "Big Giant" of the French theatre company Royal de Luxe, who is lifted out of the water in Berlin on October 3, 2009. Part of an open-air theatre spectacle with two marionettes named Little Giantess and Big Giant seeking each other out, visiting various historical sites in the Berlin, as part of celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of the falling of the Berlin wall. (JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)
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October 2, 2009 Permalink

Tango

On September 30th, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) added 76 new items to its "List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity", for safeguarding and preservation. The "Intangible" list is a companion to UNESCO's World Heritage list, which focuses on physical sites worldwide. Submitted jointly by member states Argentina and Uruguay, the "symbolic universe" of tango was among the traditions added to the list. Tango is a deep-rooted tradition of dance, poetry and song, tied closely to the Rio de la Plata region of the two countries, and remains popular in competition, for pleasure, and for health - doctors worldwide are experimenting with tango as dance therapy to treat problems ranging from Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease to phobias and marital breakdowns. (29 photos total)

A couple dances during the inauguration of the 2009 Tango World Championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina Sunday Aug. 23, 2009. (AP Photo/ Natacha Pisarenko)
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July 10, 2009 Permalink

The 2009 Venice Biennale

Since 1895, the Venice Biennale, a contemporary art exhibition, has been held in Venice, Italy every two years (with a few breaks). This year Venice is hosting the 53rd Biennale, which includes an international art exhibition, an architecture exhibition and festivals of contemporary music, dance, and theater - as well as the Venice Film Festival. The 53rd International Art Exhibition titled "Making Worlds", opened to the public on June 7, and will remain open until November 22, 2009. Collected here are a few images from the recent vernissage (opening) of the art exhibition and of Venice itself. (29 photos total)

Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto breaks mirrors during a performance for the creation of his "Twentytwo less two" installation on the second day of vernissage of the 53rd Biennale International Art Exhibition in Venice, Italy, Friday, June 5, 2009. (AP Photo/Alberto Pellaschiar)
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June 29, 2009 Permalink

Glastonbury 2009

Over the weekend, approximately 190,000 people made their way to Worthy Farm in western England to attend the 2009 Glastonbury Festival. Attendees came to see performances at what is billed as "Europe's largest open-air music festival" on many stages over four days - headliners included Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, and a reunited Blur. Rainy weather did little to dampen the mood, as attendees enjoyed themselves in tent cities, concert performances, dance tents, and the surrounding countryside of Somerset, England. Collected here are a handful of images from this year's festival. (33 photos total)

Festival-goers walk through a camping area in the early hours of the second day of the annual Glastonbury Festival near Glastonbury, England on June 27, 2009. (Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images)
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February 6, 2009 Permalink

La Princesse in Liverpool

Today's entry is a collection shared by photographer Peter Carr, from an event in Liverpool, England last year. Said Peter: "As part of Liverpool's Capital of Culture year, the French group La Machine were commissioned to create a large piece of street theatre, on the scale of their earlier work, the Sultan's Elephant. Many were expecting to see something using the iconic Liverbirds, the symbol of the city but instead we got a spider. The total cost of the event was £1.8 million and caused some complaints about how the funds could better be used. It also attracted protests from arachnophobe groups about how it would terrify some people. Despite these complaints the event drew in over 200,000 people in the few days it was on and produced something wondrous that got everyone in the region talking." All photos and captions courtesy Peter Carr, who has agreed to answer questions in the comments below. (23 photos total)

On Wednesday 3rd September 2008 Liverpool awoke to find a giant spider hanging from the side of a building. A team of scientists planned to move the spider to their research post setup by Albert Docks in the morning. Here, days later, the 50-foot tall "La Princesse" climbs back onto Concourse House and is dusted by magic snow sending her to sleep for the night. (© Peter Carr)
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October 22, 2008 Permalink

Lighting up the night

Berlin, Germany is hosting its "Festival of Lights" this week, until October 26th. Dozens of landmarks are lit up with lamps, projectors and lasers, accompanied by fireworks and other events. We humans light up the night for many reasons, practical, artistic - even reasons with more meaningful messages. Pictured below are night scenes from Berlin and around the world, illuminated in interesting ways. (21 photos total)

The "Siegessaeule" (Victory Column) is illuminated during a rehearsal for the upcoming "Festival of Lights" in Berlin, Germany on October 13, 2008. Several landmarks of the German capital, including boulevards, squares, towers, historical and modern buildings will be illuminated from October 14 to 26. (REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz)
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