TIME Innovation

How the Food We Waste Could Feed Millions

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

These are today's best ideas

1. The food we waste could feed millions.

By Lizzie Dearden in the Independent

2. How a genetically-modified herpes virus ‘cures’ skin cancer.

By Sarah Knapton in the Telegraph

3. Who provides most of America’s mental health care? Our prisons.

By Newt Gingrich and Van Jones in CNN

4. This ‘smart apartment’ will monitor the activity, mobility and even blood pressure of its residents.

By Traci Peterson in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

5. Movies make the best journalism.

By Richard Gehr in the Columbia Journalism Review

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME In Memoriam

In Memoriam: Mary Ellen Mark (1940 – 2015)

Ralph Gibson Mary Ellen Mark photographed in the Fall of 1967.

The American photographer produced some of the most "delicately shaded studies of vulnerability ever set on film"

Mary Ellen Mark, the celebrated photographer best known for her in-depth documentary projects and her portraiture, has died. She was 75.

A humanist photographer, Mark’s work had been widely published in LIFE, the New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and Vanity Fair. During her career, the photographer, who was born in Elkins Park, Penn., near Philadelphia, produced 18 books and was working on her 19th for Aperture. That final project was focused on Tiny, a young prostitute from Seattle whom she had photographed in Streetwise, her much admired opus published in 1988.

Working for LIFE Magazine, Mark had traveled to Seattle in 1983 to work on a story about runaway children. Along with reporter Cheryl McCall, she had chosen Seattle “because it is known as ‘America’s most livable city’,” she wrote in the preface to her book. “By choosing America’s ideal city we were making the point: ‘If street kids exist in a city like Seattle then they can be found everywhere in America, and we are therefore facing a major social problem of runaways in this country.”

MORE: Photographers, Writers and Friends Remember Mary Ellen Mark

Streetwise emerged from the assignment. “In every successful still photographic project that I have completed there has always been a turning point in the story where I felt that perhaps I was working on something that could be very special,” Mark wrote. Streetwise also became a documentary film, directed by the photographer’s husband Martin Bell.

Streetwise, in essence, was the continuation of a body of work commenced with Ward 81, another of Mark’s influential books. In 1976, Mark had spent six weeks in a women’s security ward of the Oregon State Mental Institution, then the only locked ward for women in the state. “I wanted to do an essay on the personalities of people who are locked away to show a little bit of what they’re like, especially the women,” Mark told TIME in 1978. “I didn’t want to show them as exotically crazy.”

TIME’s Robert Hughes, writing on the project, embraced Mark’s photographs. “What resulted was, in fact, a lamentation: one of the most delicately shaded studies of vulnerability ever set on film,” he wrote.

Mark joined Magnum Photos in 1977, becoming one of the agency’s few female photographers. But her time at collective would be brief: she left in 1981 to create her own studio.

“Mary Ellen lived hungrily, fully, and had this extraordinary will and determination,” says Melissa Harris, the editor-in-chief at Aperture Foundation, which published Streetwise in 1988 and will release Streetwise, Revisited this fall. “She wanted to work – she loved being a photographer. She was great with her subjects – working so intuitively – and was able to get at the essence of the people she was photographing, to tell their stories. It mattered to her to represent them faithfully and truly, and not just in the documentary visual sense, but distinguishing each individual for who he or she really was in the world. Her work is humane, all heart.”

She adds: “On another, equally important note, she was the most loyal and generous of friends.”

A devotee of film photography, Mark never truly converted to digital. “I’m staying with film, and with silver prints, and no Photoshop,” she told The Philadelphia Inquirer in 2008. “That’s the way I learned photography: You make your picture in the camera. Now, so much is made in the computer… I’m not anti-digital, I just think, for me, film works better.”

In 2014, she received the 2014 Lifetime Achievement in Photography Award from the George Eastman House as well as the Outstanding Contribution Photography Award from the World Photography Organization.

She is survived by her husband.

TIME LightBox will publish a tribute to Mary Ellen Mark’s extensive body of work on May 27.

TIME On Our Radar

9 Mexican Photographers You Need to Follow

Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican culture

Cinco de Mayo is a day that commemorates the unlikely victory of the Mexican troops against the French army in the 1862 Battle of Puebla. Originally celebrated in Mexico, it became popular in the U.S. during the 1940s and it is, today, an opportunity to celebrate Mexican culture and pride. But what do we really know about this iconic country, beyond the usual stereotypes? The prolific Mexican photographic tradition, whose authors have been documenting the country’s most diverse aspects for decades, offers an answer. From religion, colonization and indigenous history to migrations, influences, rituals and the relationship with the territory, these Mexican photographers offer a solid visual analysis of their country culture, issues and archetypes.

Eunice Adorno (Mexico City, 1982) – Eunice Adorno belongs to a new generation of Mexican photographers. Her work focuses mainly on everyday-life stories within and outside the country with a fresh perspective. In the series Flower Woman she has been documenting for a couple of years the lives of women in a Mennonite community in the north region of Durango. Her photographs describe their daily life and the intimate spaces they live in with sensibility. After having been a photojournalist for more than 10 years, she now focuses on her personal photographic and video work.

Luis Arturo Aguirre (Acapulco, Guerrero, 1983) – Luis Arturo Aguirre is another member of this new generation of Mexican photographers. He is best known for is work Desvestidas, in which he portrays transvestites. Aguirre is driven by a fascination for their ability to give new forms to their bodies, choosing to portray them naked with wigs and makeup, a context in which their male body cannot be hidden. His work has been included in Transatlantica, an international itinerant exhibition featuring the work of rising Latin-American photographers.

Alejandro Cartagena (Dominican Republic, 1977) – Alejandro Cartagena deals with the Mexican society of the 21st century and its current issues. In his work we can see the life of suburban areas, the influence of North American culture and the impact of living in a megalopolis. The later aspect stands out in Carpoolers, which narrates in a systematic and striking way the daily migrations of construction workers due to the constantly expanding suburbs of the city of Monterrey. Cartagena’s work is held at SFMOMA, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.

José Luis Cuevas (Mexico City, 1973) The work of José Luis Cuevas focuses on the human figure in portraits shot without filters. His raw, direct and conceptual style allows the spectator to enter the scene and the emotional status of the subject portrayed. In the project Nueva Era, Cuevas expresses his point of view on how religion and spiritualism affect the common Mexican man while guiding us on an exploration of the power of symbolism.

Mariela Sancari (Buenos Aires, 1976) Born in Argentina but photographically raised in Mexico, where she has lived since 1997, Mariela Sancari presents an intimate and metaphoric work that orbits around personal experience. In Two Headed Horses, she faces the loneliness and changes that have affected her life and that of her twin sister after the suicide of their father when they were 14 years old. In Moisés, she stages the fictionalized research of her lost parent with portraits of men of the same age as her father. It’s a striking way of exploring the emotional impact that images can have, while questioning the concept of photography as evidence.

Ruth Prieto Arenas (Mexico City, 1983) The photography of Ruth Prieto Arenas is characterized by a strong and symbolic use of color, which guides the viewers into the stories she narrates. In her most important project, Safe Heaven, she approaches the issue of migration by portraying the lives of young women who moved from Mexico to the U.S. In the series, she uses the color as a metaphor for diversity and acceptance while bringing us into the intimacy of their apartments, where elements like the Virgen de Guadalupe suggest a nostalgia for these women’s home countries.

Francisco Mata Rosas (Mexico City, 1958) Francisco Mata Rosas is considered one of the most influential Mexican photographers of his generation. His works covers many of the relevant themes of the country’s recent history, from the 1990s conflict in Chiapas to the archetypes of the Mexican collective imaginary. In La Linea, he narrates the political and human conflicts that characterize the border between Mexico and the U.S., a place where “dreams rebound.”

Graciela Iturbide (Mexico City, 1942) – Graciela Iturbide studied cinema at the Universidad Autónoma de Mexico where she worked as a personal assistant for Manuel Alvarez Bravo, the father of Mexican photography. With a dramatic use of black and white, Iturbide covers daily life across the country with a particular focus on the role and condition of women in Mexican society. In Los Que Viven En La Arena, she documents a community living in the Desierto de Sonora; in her series El Baño De Frida, she portrays the intimacy of Frida Kahlo’s bathroom.

Pedro Meyer (Madrid, 1935) Born in Spain, Pedro Meyer quickly moved to Mexico where he developed a career narrating the culture in Mexico and Latin America. His photography, often provocative and visionary, explores the limit of the visual language and questions the limit of traditional photojournalism. One of the most celebrated photographers of the continent, Meyer is considered a pioneer of Mexican photography as well as an early adopter of digital photography. In 1991 he launched the first CD-Rom with images and sound while in 1994 he founded the prestigious photography portal Zone Zero. In 2008 he presented Heresies, a retrospective of his work that was shown in more than 60 galleries across 17 countries simultaneously.

Giuseppe Oliverio is the Founder and CEO of the Photographic Museum of Humanity.

TIME Nepal

Watch This Touching Movie About the Aftermath of Everest Avalanche

"This is our tribute to the fallen."

Climbers on Everest who were caught in an avalanche triggered by Saturday’s earthquake in Nepal have made a short film about the hours and days following the disaster.

The touching video, created by Canadian filmmaker Elia Sailkaly, shows the moment the avalanche hit Everest’s base camp and the rescue efforts immediately following it.

“Our hearts go out to those affected by the earthquake in Nepal, and we pray for the more than 4,000 people who lost their lives on April 25, 2015,” the caption to the video reads. “This is our experience at Mount Everest Base Camp after the avalanche. This is our tribute to the fallen.”

TIME europe

Watch Fighters Literally Go Medieval on Each Other in This New Documentary

Fighters down swords and shields in medieval copmetition

If Game of Thrones has you hankering to see a real-life sword-fight or jousting match, consider a trip to the Battle of the Nations. The annual European event involves fighters in actual armor, using real weapons (that have been blunted for safety) competing across a variety of events. A new documentary from distributor Journeyman Pictures chronicles the 2014 event, which took place in Trogir, Croatia. The video features both fighters and fans donning actual medieval garb, competing in both one-on-one bouts and large-scale pitched “battles.”

The Battle of Nations begins in May this year in Prague, Czech Republic.

TIME India

A Documentary on Cricket Demigod Sachin Tendulkar Is in the Works

Red Carpet Studio - 2015 Laureus World Sports Awards - Shanghai
Ian Walton—Getty Images/Laureus Former Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar attends the 2015 Laureus World Sports Awards at Shanghai Grand Theatre on April 15, 2015, in Shanghai

The sporting legend turned 42 on Friday

Fans and well-wishers of Sachin Tendulkar (there are literally billions of them) were devastated when the legendary Indian cricketer announced his retirement from the sport two years ago. But as India’s “god of cricket” turns 42 on Friday, his supporters around the world have something to look forward to.

Tendulkar is busy shooting a documentary feature on his life, and a photograph released by Indian news channel CNN-IBN shows him deep in conversation with the film’s British director James Erskine next to a trunk of his most treasured possessions.

Producers of the film, which was announced earlier this year, are reportedly targeting a 2016 release on big screens. The film does not have a title yet, but some of Tendulkar’s 9.08 million Twitter followers might get to decide that.

TIME movies

How a Photo Reveals an Early Encounter Between Abraham Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth

See a clip from the HBO documentary 'Living With Lincoln'

It was 150 years ago this week, on April 14, 1865, mere days after the Confederate surrender at Appomattox, that President Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth. The act put an end to the life of one of history’s most revered men.

As shown in the exclusive clip above, a photograph from the time provides evidence for a claim that circulated in the days following the crime: that Booth was actually within firing range of the president during Lincoln’s second inauguration, about a month before the assassination actually took place.

That proof of a near-miss is just one of the ways that photographs have illuminated Lincoln’s story. In the HBO documentary Living With Lincoln, from which this exclusive clip is taken, Peter Kunhardt explores his family’s history collecting Lincoln artifacts and photographs like this one—a hobby, obsession and calling that has come down through the generations for a century and a half. The Kunhardt family’s collection has contributed to the ways the world remembers Lincoln—their pictures include the portraits used to design the penny and the five-dollar bill—and also links the 16th President to, oddly enough, LIFE Magazine and the children’s book Pat the Bunny.

Living With Lincoln premieres on HBO on April 13.

TIME movies

These Men Are Reenacting a War Many Others Want to Forget

The new documentary 'In Country' introduces a group of Vietnam War reenactors

As the sesquicentennial of the Civil War winds to an end, the hundreds of Americans who regularly reenact that conflict are likely to get plenty of attention. The reenactment at Appomattox is going on right now, in fact.

But the Civil War isn’t the only American conflict that draws citizens, decades later, to replay its battles. In their new documentary In Country (in theaters April 10 and VOD April 28), filmmakers Mike Attie and Meghan O’Hara follow a group of men who, for one weekend a year, recreate the Vietnam War.

They wear the uniforms. They carry the weapons. They even, as shown in the clip above, use the lingo that would have been heard on those battlefields (even when some of that language is offensive). The experience is so immersive that Attie and O’Hara had to dress as war correspondents in order to get approval to film the weekend.

But the time-travel aspect of war reenactment is, the filmmakers say, a little stranger when the war is still relatively fresh. As the 40th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon approaches — the war concluded at the end of April, 1975 — Vietnam remains raw.

“When I heard it I couldn’t believe it,” Attie recalls. “Why would someone want to recreate this war that was so divisive? Both Meghan and I were born after the war ended, but it still seemed like something that was fresh and controversial.”

Whereas Civil War and Revolutionary War reenactments are often family-friendly events, a Vietnam reenactment lacks the distance that neuters the violence. Attie says there was a joke in his high school that the school year would conveniently end before history class got to the Vietnam War, because nobody wanted to talk about it. It felt, he says, like a conflict that people didn’t want to remember — even though the men in his new film are proof otherwise.

And their remembering is not just a matter of learning about the history, obsessing over details like how long the soldiers’ hair would have been in one year versus another. It’s also an exercise in empathy, the movie posits, as veterans in the group are able to revisit their real experiences or, in one particular case, impart their wisdom on a soon-to-be Marine along for the ride.

“It made me think, when does history become History with a capital H, and have the teeth taken out of it a little bit?” O’Hara says. “These men are trying to wrestle with it and it seems so soon.”

TIME review

The Enduring Importance of the Last Man on the Moon

Good times: Gene Cernan (left) and fellow moon walker Jack Schmitt, during the Apollo 17 mission, photographed by crew mate Ron Evans
NASA Good times: Gene Cernan (left) and crew mate Ron Evans, during the Apollo 17 mission, photographed by crew mate J

Jeffrey Kluger is Editor at Large for TIME.

A new documentary about astronaut Gene Cernan is far more than the story of one person's life

Correction appended, April 7

Real astronauts never say goodbye. At least, not the way you’d think they would before they take off on a mission that could very well kill them. They’re good at the quick wave, the hat tip, the catch-you-on-the-flip-side wink. But the real goodbye—the if I don’t come home here are all the things I always wanted to say to you sort of thing? Not a chance.

But Gene Cernan, commander of Apollo 17, tried to split the difference—as a scene in the new documentary The Last Man on the Moon sweetly captures. Before Cernan headed off for his first trip to the moon, the Apollo 10 orbital mission, which was the final dress rehearsal for the Apollo 11 landing a few months later, he mailed his young daughter Tracy a letter. It was written on the fragile onion skin that was air mail stationery, back in the era when the very idea of air mail carried a whiff of exotic distance.

Cernan was a young man when he wrote the letter in 1969, and is a much older man, at 81, when he returns to it in the film. “You’re almost too young to know what it means to have your Daddy go to the moon,” he reads aloud, “But one day, you’ll have the feeling of excitement and pride Mommy and Daddy do. Punk, we have lots of camping and horseback riding to do when I get back. I want you to look at the moon, because when you are reading this, Daddy is almost there.” If the Navy pilot who once landed jets on carrier decks and twice went to the moon mists up as he reads, if his voice quavers a bit, well what of it?

As the title of the movie makes clear, Cernan was the last of the dozen men who set foot on the moon, and the 24 overall who journeyed there. No human being has traveled further into space than low-Earth orbit since Cernan climbed up the ladder of his lunar module in December of 1972, closed the hatch and headed for home. That makes it a very good time for a movie that can serve as equal parts biography, reminiscence and, yes, cultural reprimand for a nation that did a great thing once and has spent a whole lot of time since trying to summon the resolve, the discipline and the political maturity to do something similar again.

The Last Man on the Moon, which premiered at Austin’s South by Southwest festival in March and was later shown at the Toronto Film Festival, had a long provenance, beginning eight years ago when director Mark Craig, who had read Cernan’s book, requested an interview. Cernan agreed and six months later Craig got back in touch and said he wanted to make a movie based on his memoir.

“My first answer was, ‘Who would be interested in a movie about me?'” Cernan tells TIME. The answer he got impressed him: “This movie is not going to be about you.” It was, instead, going to be about the larger story.

That story, as Cernan and Craig came to agree, would be about the lunar program as a whole and the up-from-the-farm narrative of so many of the men who flew in it, as well as the random currents of fortune that saw some those men make it from terrestrial soil to lunar soil, while others perished in the violent machines that were necessary for them to make those journeys.

So we see the wreckage of the jet that killed astronauts Charlie Bassett and Elliott See, the prime crew for the 1966 Gemini 9 flight, an accident that required backup pilots Tom Stafford and Cernan to go in their place. We see Gemini 9 unfold, a mission that could have claimed Cernan too. The absence of handholds on the spacecraft and the poor state of knowledge about maneuvering in space left him whipping about at the end of his umbilical cord during his spacewalk, his visor blinding him with fog and his suit swelling so much in the surrounding vacuum that he could barely get back inside through the hatch.

We see, wrenchingly, Martha Chaffee, Cernan’s one-time neighbor and the wife of his close friend Roger—one of the three astronauts who died in the Apollo 1 fire in 1967—describing the moment she learned the terrible thing that had happened to her husband. “That evening, January 27th, a Friday, I was giving my kids hot dogs,” she says, fighting back tears these 48 years later, “and somebody said there’d been an accident. So when Mike Collins came to the door, I knew, I knew, I knew right away. I said, ‘I know, Mike, but you’ve got to tell me.’ And he did.”

Cernan is philosophical about the deaths—losses as inevitable as the very physics of space travel—and sees neither plan nor order in them. “I went to the cemetery at Arlington and I see Charlie’s and Roger’s headstone and say, ‘Why them, not me?'” he says. “Fate. Fate picked Neil [Armstrong] to be first on the moon, not [head astronaut] Deke Slayton. The point is, here we are, so what do we do with it?”

What Cernan has decided to do with it, in the ninth decade of his life, is tell the story of where America went before, make the case for going again and, importantly, remind children that while not every life mission involves going to the moon, each requires the same ferocious focus and commitment. He knows—perhaps immodestly, but surely accurately—that that message carries a special resonance when it comes from the likes of him.

“I realize that I’m the last man on the moon and that the more of us who leave this Earth permanently the more we’re appreciated,” he says. “I want to inspire a young kid to dream about being a doctor, a teacher an engineer, a scientist. I want that young kid to believe he could do things other people said he couldn’t, wouldn’t do.”

Yes, that’s a message American kids are bottle-fed almost from birth. But when it’s spoken by a man who lived on the moon for three remarkable days, who would come inside from work in the evening, shake the lunar dust off his suit, smell its strange gunpowder scent, then go out the next morning and leave prints that endure on the windless lunar surface to this day, it’s something else entirely. Cernan, last among the moonwalkers, may be first in the enduring good he does with the journeys he made.

Correction: The original version of the photo caption accompanying this story, using information from NASA, misidentified the astronaut on the right. He is Ron Evans.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

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