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Bob Newman
Bob Newman
Bob Newman

Bob Newman

Country: United States
Birth: 1950

Bob began photographing on a regular basis after retiring as a physician. His images document the challenges and culture within marginalized communities, which are often similar to the underprivileged patients he enjoyed serving. After retirement, photography came to occupy much of this time. Initially his forays were associated with photo trips or workshops.

When he first saw images of the Irish Travellers in 2015, he became intrigued. Photographing their culture and lives became his first long-term project. In the last five years, he has returned to visit the Travellers thirteen times, averaging 2-3 visits per year. To date he has visited 30 sites. Returning on multiple occasions has provided an opportunity to take a deep dive into their history and traditions.

Statement
The Irish Travellers is a long-term photographic project that began in 2016. Often referred to as Pavees, they number about 40,000 in Ireland and are ethnically separate from Romani/Gypsies.

No longer nomadic, they now live in extended family roadside camps or halting sites. They are predominantly Irish Roman Catholic, endogamous, and traditional marriages are the norm. The women spend their time with their families, sometimes raising as many as 16 – 18 children. Girls are taught to act and dress provocatively as toddlers.

It is exceedingly difficult for Traveller men to find jobs. The unemployment rate is 84%. Most live on a dole from the Irish Government. With time on their hands, horses and dogs play a major role in their lives.

They face discrimination and racism because of their differences from the Settled Irish. Despite this, they are a remarkably resilient group who highly prize their culture, traditions and family life. This series focuses on Traveller children.
 

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Some of the images depict public displays of "denunciations," where the hair of prominent individuals is shaved. Other images show people bearing "dunce" hats; people with black paint spread over their faces; others wearing signs around their necks with writings that criticize their profession or names. Zhensheng also captured scenes of public executions of counterrevolutionaries who were never given a trial for their alleged crimes. At the height of the Cultural Revolution, Zhensheng was once more sent back to the countryside in September 1969. He was sent to the May 7th Cadre School in Liuhe, a labor camp where he and his wife, Zu Yingxia, spent two years performing hard labor. Zhensheng had taken meticulous care of the documented "negative" images he captured while at the newspaper, hiding them beneath a floorboard of his one-room apartment. The dry atmosphere and mild temperatures of Harbin aided the preservation of the photographic negatives. While he was sent away, Zhensheng entrusted a friend to care for the apartment, and instructed him to never reveal the secrets it contained. Zhensheng returned to the newspaper in 1972 as the head of the photography department, and later became a professor at Peking University in 1982.Red-Color News Soldier"Red-Color News Soldier" is a literal translation of the Chinese characters written on the armband Li Zhensheng wore during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Although, he says he never gave his alliance to Chairman Mao, wearing the arm band gave him unprecedented access to historic events, which have since shaped Chinese culture. [4] The book covers the period from just before the Cultural Revolution in 1965 to just after in 1976. It is separated into five chronological sections: 1964-1966 titled "It is right to rebel"; 1966 titled "Bombard the Headquarters"; 1966-1968 titled "The Red Sun in our hearts"; 1968-1972 titled "Revolution is not a dinner party"; and 1972-1974 titled "Die Fighting." The veteran China analyst John Gittings was among the reviewers who welcomed Li's book. He noted that Li was a Red Guard as well as a photographer and did not deny that he also led "struggle sessions" against innocent victims; but his pictures reflect a deeper desire to record and understand. Li's book was "unique" for a simple reason: "Although the post-Mao Chinese government has labelled the cultural revolution '10 years of chaos,' it still tries to suppress any real inquiry into the countless human tragedies it caused..." The book, which has not been published in China, took many years to publish. Zhensheng's "negative" pictures (those that depicted the atrocities of the cultural revolution) were first revealed publicly in March 1988 at a Chinese Press Association's photography competition in Beijing. The show, entitled "Let History Tell the Future" consisted of twenty images from his collection, which were deemed "counterrevolutionary. " In December of that year, Zhensheng met Robert Pledge, an American who was director of Contact Press Images, an international photo agency, who had come to Beijing. They agreed to work together on a book of Zhensheng's photos, but to wait until the political climate was right. Seven months later, in June 1989, the brutal events of Tiananmen Square made worldwide headlines, and Zhensheng became determined to produce a book to show the world the images from the Cultural Revolution. Work on the book began in 1999. Since Pledge did not speak Chinese, and Zhensheng did not speak English, the two had to coordinate work through the use of translators — many of whom became integral parts of their relationship. Zhensheng sent over 30,000 brown envelopes to Pledge's office in New York City, each containing photographic negatives. A number of the images are self-portraits of Zhensheng. This was the result of always returning to the paper with one extra frame on the film roll; a photojournalism technique of always being prepared to cover a breaking news event at the last minute. Zhensheng would "burn off" the last image with a photo of himself shortly before developing the film. Often the poses were humorous and playful. One such image of Zhensheng exposing his bare chest was published in the book He said he was attempting to recreate the old expression of "baring one's chest in the face of adversity," or in his case, communism. During book tours Zhensheng makes a point to speak of his love for China. He says while he disagrees with the government, he still loves his country and hopes democracy will perhaps prevail in the long-term future. He does not believe his images or the book should be considered anti-Chinese, rather a reminder of the painful past many countries endure during their evolution.Source: Wikipedia
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