TIME Photojournalism Links

The 10 Best Photo Essays of the Month

A compilation of the 10 most interesting photo essays published online in March, as curated by Mikko Takkunen

This month’s Photojournalism Links collection highlights 10 excellent photo essays from across the world, including Matt Black‘s work from Guerrero state in Mexico. Black has documented impoverished indigenous communities in southern Mexico for years. This latest work captures communities affected by rampant crime and poverty, including the disappearance of the 43 students from a school in Iguala. The black-and-white photographs are extraordinary and the accompanying short-film, which includes a moving letter from a mother to his lost son, is definitely worth watching. The reporting was supported by a grant from the Pulitzer Center.

Matt Black: Guerrero and the Disappeared (The New Yorker Photo Booth) Watch “The Monster in the Mountains,” a short film based on Black’s work in Guerrero.

Adam Ferguson: The Deadly Global War for Sand (Wired) These stunning photographs document sand mining in India.

Lynsey Addario: India’s Insurgency (National Geographic) Addario’s pictures capture mineral-rich eastern Indian states, plagued by poverty and a continuing Maoist insurgency.

Josh Haner: The Ride of Their Lives (The New York Times) A fantastic year-long project that follows three generations of one rodeo-mad family | More on the Lens blog

Yuri Kozyrev: Cuba (TIME LightBox) TIME contract photographer’s beautiful work from the Cuban capital.

Mathias Depardon: Gold Rivers (TIME LightBox) Construction of the hydroelectric Ilisu Dam in Turkey threatens a cultural treasure.

Lynsey Addario: Afghan Policewomen Struggle Against Culture (The New York Times) A compelling series on Afghani women determined to make a difference.

Newsha Tavakolian: Stress and Hope in Tehran (The New York Times) These excellent portraits paired with insightful quotes give us a peek inside the minds of Iranians.

Eugene Richards: Lincoln (National Geographic) Richards’ photographs trail the assassinated president’s last journey home in 1865 and raise questions about his life and legacy.

Matteo Bastianelli: Young Syrian Refugee’s Journey Through Europe (MSNBC) The Italian photographer has documented a Syrian refugee’s life in Bulgaria and journey to Germany. | More on his agency’s website

TIME Syria

Heartbreaking Photo of Syrian Refugee All Too Real, Photojournalist Confirms

"I was using a telephoto lens, and she thought it was a weapon."

The photojournalist who captured a striking image of a 4-year-old Syrian refugee holding her hands in the air to surrender has confirmed that the viral image was not staged, and that the expression of fear on the girl’s face is all too real.

The image was retweeted more than 11,000 times, according to BBC News, which tracked down the original photographer after questions surfaced about its authenticity.

Osman Sağırlı, a Turkish photojournalist, told the BBC that he was photographing child refugees in the Atmeh refugee camp in Syria last year when the 4-year-old girl in the picture apparently mistook his camera lens for a weapon.

“I realised she was terrified after I took it,” Sağırlı told the BBC, “and looked at the picture, because she bit her lips and raised her hands.”

“Normally kids run away, hide their faces or smile when they see a camera,” he said.

Read more at BBC News.

Read next: Star Wars Landmarks Safe From ISIS, Tunisian Officials Say

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Syria

This Is the Surprising Way Some Syrians Are Protecting Themselves From Snipers

A young boy walks past a makeshift barricade made of wreckages of buses to obstruct the view of regime snipers and to keep people safe in Aleppo, Syria on March 14, 2015.
Karam Al-Masri—AFP/Getty Images A young boy walks past a makeshift barricade made of wreckages of buses to obstruct the view of regime snipers and to keep people safe in Aleppo, Syria on March 14, 2015.

Rebel fighters upended these buses using ropes and pulleys

Correction appended, March 27, 2015

Some buses in Aleppo, Syria, have been reconverted to serve as protection from snipers loyal to the country’s embattled President Bashar Assad.

This photo, taken in the rebel-controlled Bustan al-Qasr neighborhood on March 14, is by Karam Al-Masri, a young Syrian who became a photographer following the uprising in his country that has now spilled into four years of civil war. “I wasn’t a photographer before,” he tells TIME. “But I started to cover the events to show what is going on in my country.”

Agence France-Presse distributes Al-Masri’s photographs.

“The Ahrar al-Sham brigade [a group that adheres to the conservative Salafi interpretation of Sunni Islam] placed the buses in such a way,” he says. “They used ropes, pulleys and a number of men to get the buses in such position. They are [blocking] the view of regime snipers.”

These upended buses are now a common sight in Aleppo, says Al-Masri, with several neighborhoods using the crude set-up to bring back a fragile sense of security to a city divided between forces loyal to the government and a slew of disparate insurgent groups.

Correction: The original version of this story misstated the date Karam Al-Masri’s photograph was taken. It was March 14.

TIME photography

Bearing Witness to the Legacy of War

Photographer Giles Duley, who lost three limbs in Afghanistan, speaks about his new project

In 2011, photographer Giles Duley began a project that would document the lasting effects of war on people living in cities and towns across the globe where the fighting had ended many years, even decades ago.

That year, while patrolling in Afghanistan with American troops, Duley stepped on an Improvised Explosive Device. The blast nearly took his life; he lost both legs and an arm. After a year in the hospital and nearly 30 operations, Duley returned to photography with a new determination to finish his project, which he calls Legacy of War. The project encompasses 14 countries and comprises photographs, original poetry and music.

Last month, he launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the project, which you can contribute to here. Below, TIME Multimedia Editor Mia Tramz caught up with Duley as he continued his work on the project from Cambodia.

TIME LightBox: What’s the scope of the project and the idea behind it?

Giles Duley: The idea came to me I guess four or five years ago. A lot of my work has been documenting the effects of conflict over the years. One of the things I noticed was that there was a lot of commonality between the stories that I heard, and so I became interested in trying to bring all these different stories together. I was actually going to Afghanistan to start the project when I got injured, so I thought it would never actually happen. My plan was if I could get working again, I would return to doing this project.

The thing that really strikes me is that a war doesn’t end when a peace treaty is signed. In school, as you’re growing up, you’re always taught about the dates of a particular conflict. And I was interested [by] what happens after this final date; what happens when the conflict is supposedly finished. Because what I’ve experienced in my work was that the war is not over if people are still dying from it, if they’re still injured, if their lives are still impaired by it.

My idea was to try and bring together stories from approximately 14 countries, showing various themes that kind of crop up in post-conflict countries. That might be land contamination from land mines, from UXOs and it might be the effects of things like Agent Orange or depleted uranium. But it’s also looking at the physical effects on people who are living with injuries, and people living with the psychological trauma of conflict. I wanted to bring all these different stories together and just get people to reflect on the fact that conflict doesn’t end when a peace treaty is signed.

TIME LightBox: Which countries will you be covering and how did you choose them?

Giles Duley: One of the things I kind of want to do is to bring together stories that may be a little bit more familiar to us with stories that are less familiar. Hopefully, by bringing them together, you get to understand the similarities. In the United States, I wanted to look at the effects of trauma on former combatants, especially soldiers from [the] Vietnam War, how their lives have been affected. The same in the U.K. looking at injured servicemen and [those] with PTSD. Then it’s countries like Vietnam with Agent Orange and UXO; Cambodia, Colombia, Laos and other countries like it by land mines. I’ll be doing stories in Angola, which has a huge legacy of war; in Congo or the DRC, I’ll be looking at the effects of sexual abuse in both men and women. In Northern Ireland, I’m looking at the effects of the troubles, [which have] caused poverty and other social issues.

Other countries [will include] Gaza, [where] I’ll be looking at the long-term effects of conflict there. I’ve already done a story on the refugees in Lebanon, a country which really had two tiers of refugees from war. I’ll be looking at refugees in Sahel Sahara. It’s a vast cross-section of stories.

TIME LightBox: How did you arrive at the aesthetic for this project?

Giles Duley: I actually decided to use film for this project — a mixture of 35 mm and medium format. The main reason for film is that I wanted the images to both have a timeless feel and to serve as documents. Many of the photographs will reflect the period when the conflict happened and at the same time, a print made from a negative has a sense of true documentation. In a period when many question the role of Photoshop and other manipulation in documentary photography, I wanted to return to a simpler process.

TIME LightBox: Outside of the photography, what other components are you working into the project?

Giles Duley: I want this to be more than just a set of photographs. As a child, I was really influenced by the poets of the First World War and the black-and-white photographs covering the Vietnam War. They were the two things that really changed my opinion as a very young teenager about conflict. I grew up as a kid [thinking] that I wanted to join the army. I was fascinated by military history. But as I say, it was reading this poetry of people like Sassoon and Wilfred Owen and looking at the photographs of people like Don McCullin that really galvanized something in me, that made me realize the true consequences of war.

I’m very interested in the educational component. I realized that schools are still studying poetry from the First World War. So what I want to do is update that and get poets and musicians writing about current conflicts and their long-term consequences. For me as a photographer, I hope that the poetry and the music will add a different dimension to the work, so that it’s more accessible to people.

TIME LightBox: What’s your process working with these musicians and poets? Are they seeing the photographs you’re making from those particular parts of the world, or are they just writing or creating from their own experiences, or a mix of both?

Giles Duley: Anybody that’s working with me on this project will either be traveling with me at a later stage in the project, or it will be a process of me meeting them, showing them the photographs, and probably most importantly sharing the testimonies of the people who are photographed.

TIME LightBox: What has surprised you most since you started working on this project about what you’re finding?

Giles Duley: I don’t know if it surprised me, but what I’m becoming very aware of is just the enormity of how conflict affects life. [For example], in Vietnam, Laos and Lebanon and Cambodia — you start to look at one story, and immediately that opens up 10 other stories. It’s often in less expected ways or [something] you just don’t think about. Some of the stories are more obvious, like land mines, etc. But when you look at the long-term impact of a child that was born to a woman who was raped, that is a real legacy of war. And they live with that legacy for all of their lives — the psychological trauma of people affected by war is something that is not often talked about or documented, but whole generations of civilians have been traumatized by conflict.

TIME LightBox: Can you talk about where you see the project living when it’s finished and in what form?

Giles Duley: This is a project that has four phases. The first phase is the photographic phase, which is to go out there and document the initial stories. The second phase is to work with poets and musicians to give more depth to the stories. The third phase is then looking at how that body of work comes together through exhibitions and a book. For me that stage is very important because the exhibitions have to be in public spaces. They have to be in places where people interact with these stories who wouldn’t normally go to a photographic gallery.

And I’m also very interested in taking the project back to the countries that I’ve photographed. One of the things that most surprised me is how interested people are in the other countries I’m photographing. People in Northern Ireland are asking me about the people in Rwanda. The people in Vietnam are very interested in stories that I’m going to be doing in Angola, for example.

One of the key elements is, as well as having the photographs exhibited in the public spaces in Western countries, it’s for the exhibitions to return to the countries where these stories first came from, so the stories are shared. Because that’s what it’s all about. It’s about sharing stories. I have no judgments, I have no opinions. I’m merely going out there to try and gather the stories of people affected by conflict and to share those stories.

And then the final stage, the fourth stage, will be educational. And that’s about taking it to schools. It’s about getting it on the curriculum, [so that when] people are taught the historical facts of a conflict, they’re also taught about how a conflict continues to affect people [long after it’s over]. That’s how I see it developing. And hopefully, in the end, it will be something that will kind of take on a life of its own and I can step back and people can continue to share these stories.

TIME LightBox: Your story is also woven into this. How has your experience informed your approach to this project and how it has been integrated into it?

Giles Duley: No matter what I choose to do for the rest of my life, I will live with the scars, both physically and mentally of what happened. So it’s given me a great understanding. But I think more than that it’s kind of focused my ambition and determination to carry this project through because, as I say, every day now I live with a reminder of what conflict does.

It has opened up communication with a lot of people that may have been more suspicious of why I was doing this story; people who see my personal experience and can relate to it. I guess weirdly, although I may be a lot slower as a photographer now and it may be a bit harder for me to work, there’s probably not a photographer in a better position to actually tell these specific stories about the legacy of war.

TIME LightBox: What do you see as the biggest challenges in getting this project done?

Giles Duley: The biggest challenges on a personal level are the travel, the work. I have no legs and I’ve got one hand, and I travel on my own to do this work. It’s not easy. I must admit last year when I found myself in paddy fields in the rainy season in Laos, trying to carry all my cameras and a backpack and my legs getting stuck in the mud, I was thinking, “O.K., who came up with this idea?” [Laughs.] So the obvious challenges like that are there, that in a weird way as I say, also drive me on to complete the story.

Aside from that, obviously this is a project that I’m self-funding. It’s something that I think is important. A lot of NGOs and nonprofits and charities are helping me with the stories. I have years and years of working with NGOs and they’ve been fantastic in supporting this project. So the likes of MAG, which is a de-mining charity; Handicap International; UNHCR; Emergency, which is an Italian NGO; and Find a Better Way, which is another land-mine charity, have all been supporting it. But at the end of the day, I have to find a way to finance these stories, or at least finance the physical costs of the photographic side of it.

The project really I think for me is the defining project of my life. It will probably be the last major overseas project I do because it’s simply so physically draining and difficult for me. But I am determined to carry this out to the utmost of my ability.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity

Giles Duley is a freelance photographer and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society. Follow him on Twitter @gilesduley.

Mia Tramz is a Multimedia Editor for TIME.com. Follow her on Twitter @miatramz.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: March 18

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

1. What does the world’s indifference to Syria’s horror tell us about ourselves?

By Barry Malone at Al Jazeera English on Medium

2. California has about one year of water left.

By Jay Famiglietti in the Los Angeles Times

3. Traditional democratic institutions are failing. It’s time for an upgrade.

By John Boik, Lorenzo Fioramonti, and Gary Milante in Foreign Policy

4. For the first time in four decades, the global economy grew last year, but carbon emissions didn’t. That’s huge.

By Brad Plumer in Vox

5. Can we build an Internet that includes the hearing impaired?

By Steve Friess in Time

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 war

Death Tolls of World Conflicts Rose Dramatically Last Year

A man carries a wounded person in the rebel-held area of Douma, east of the Syrian capital Damascus, following reported air strikes by regime forces on March 15, 2015.
Abd Doumany—AFP/Getty Images A man carries a wounded person in the rebel-held area of Douma, east of the Syrian capital Damascus, following reported air strikes by regime forces on March 15, 2015.

The crisis in Syria was the deadliest in 2014

The death tolls of the world’s gravest conflicts rose 28 percent between 2013 and 2014, partly due to increased violence from Islamic extremist groups, according to a new report.

In 2014, more than 76,000 people were killed in Syria, 21,000 were killed in Iraq, 14,638 were killed in Afghanistan and 11,529 were killed in Nigeria, according to a Wednesday study from the Project for the Study of the 21st Century, Reuters reports. But the data, whose sources include the United Nations, the U.S. military and the Syria Observatory for Human Rights, paint an incomplete picture.

“Assessing casualty figures in conflict is notoriously difficult and many of the figures we are looking at here are probably underestimates,” Peter Apps, the executive director of PS21, told Reuters. “The important thing, however, is that when you compare like with like data for 2014 and 2013, you get a very significant increase.”

The conflict in Syria was the bloodiest, causing the most deaths for the second year in a row. Outside of the Middle East, the conflict in Ukraine pushed the country up to the list’s eighth place.

[Reuters]

TIME Syria

U.S. Says It’s Unclear Whether Drone Lost in Syria Was Shot Down

(WASHINGTON) — An unarmed U.S. Predator drone aircraft went down in Syria, but it’s not clear whether it was shot down as claimed by the Syrian government, U.S. officials said Tuesday.

Syria’s SANA state news agency said Tuesday that the country’s air defenses shot down a U.S. drone in a northwestern province along the Mediterranean coast.

A U.S. defense official said that at about 1:40 p.m. EDT, U.S. military controllers lost contact with an MQ-1 Predator over northwest Syria. The official said there was no information to corroborate the claim that it had been shot down.

The U.S. official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, so spoke on condition of anonymity.

U.S. drones are operated over Syria to provide reconnaissance of certain parts of the country.

TIME Syria

U.K. Arrests 3 Teens Stopped in Turkey on Way to Syria

The male trio left Britain several days ago, traveling to Spain and then flying from Barcelona to Turkey

(LONDON) — Three male teens from Britain who reached Turkey before being deported to the U.K. and arrested are believed to be the latest examples of a worrying trend — the rising number of young Britons seeking to travel to Syria to join extremists there.

The three suspects were being questioned at a central London police station after their alleged bid to get to Syria, coming soon after three British schoolgirls managed to elude authorities and get to Syria last month. The girls are believed by police to have joined Islamic State militants in their self-declared caliphate in parts of Syria and Iraq.

British police said the three males, two 17-year-old boys and a 19-year-old man, have been arrested on suspicion of planning terrorist acts. They haven’t been charged and their names haven’t been released.

When the schoolgirls managed to slip into Syria despite a search by both Turkish and British authorities, there was finger-pointing on both sides. Things were quite different Sunday, as Turkey and Britain hailed the fruits of their cooperation.

The male trio left Britain several days ago, traveling to Spain and then flying from Barcelona to Turkey. They were detained in Istanbul Friday after British officials notified Turkish authorities.

British legislator Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said the case shows that the number of young Britons trying to reach the conflict zone in Syria “is on a much larger scale” than had been thought.

Vaz praised Turkish authorities for acting quickly to prevent the teens from entering Syria.

Police counterterrorism officials and security services personnel have said their resources have been badly stretched as they try to maintain surveillance on the growing number of individuals interested in joining the extremists. They have warned that some who return after spending time in the conflict zone plan to launch attacks inside Britain.

A senior Turkish government official, who can’t be named because of Turkish rules that bar civil servants from speaking to journalists without prior authorization, said the two 17-year-old boys had been detained at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen airport Friday by Turkish authorities who were acting on intelligence provided by British officials.

The teenagers were planning to travel to Syria, the official said. Turkish authorities believe they wanted to join IS extremists, but the official cautioned that they weren’t “100 percent” certain that was their aim.

The 19-year-old man was detained at the airport after questioning by police based on profiling at the airport, the official said. British police originally believed only two teens were traveling, but soon learned that a third was involved.

They were deported to London on Saturday — instead of Spain as is the normal procedure in Turkey — because Britain insisted that they be returned to Britain, the Turkish official said.

The Turkish official described the incident as a “‘joint Turkish-British operation,” and said Turkey welcomed the timely intelligence provided by Britain.

“Turkey is doing all that it can to stop the passage into Syria, but there has to be cooperation,” the official said. “This operation shows what can be achieved when there is cooperation.”

Turkey’s strategic position as a convenient link between Western Europe and Syria has meant that an increasing number of Britons have traveled there to use it as a jumping off point to enter Syria and link up with IS.

British police say roughly 700 Britons have traveled to Syria to join extremists. Recent cases indicate a growing number of young women are traveling there to become “jihadi brides.”

Authorities say Internet-based social media have made it much easier for young Britons to communicate with extremists inside Syria and that many are also drawn by websites touting the attraction of living under Islamic law.

___

Suzan Fraser reported from Ankara.

TIME

ISIS Claims Australian Involved in Suicide Attack

ISIS claims that the Melbourne teenager blew himself up in coordinated attacks in Iraq.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria claimed on social media that an Australian teenager who joined its ranks blew himself up in an attack in Anbar province, west of Baghdad.

The extremist group circulated on Twitter on Wednesday an image that claims to show 18-year-old James Bilardi of Melbourne preparing for an attack and appears to show him driving a battered SUV, Australia’s ABC reports. The images and claims—which use Bilardi’s pseudonym Abu Abdullah al-Australi—have not been independently confirmed.

“There are unconfirmed reports to this effect. This is a horrific situation, an absolutely horrific situation,” Prime Minister Tony Abbott said, according to ABC. “It shows the lure of this death cult to impressionable youngsters.”

An estimated 90 Australian citizens have joined ISIS, according to Australian security forces, and twenty have died.

On Wednesday, at least a dozen car bombs exploded in a coordinated attack in Anbar province targeting Iraqi forces.

[ABC]

TIME Syria

U.N. Security Council Comes Under Fire Over Failure to Help Syrians

Syrian refugee Rifaa Ahmad, 50, cuddles her granddaughter at an informal tented settlement near the Syrian border, on the outskirts of Mafraq, Jordan, March 8, 2015.
Muhammed Muheisen—AP Syrian refugee Rifaa Ahmad, 50, cuddles her granddaughter at an informal tented settlement near the Syrian border, on the outskirts of Mafraq, Jordan, March 8, 2015.

Millions of Syrians are in still in need of humanitarian assistance

BEIRUT — More than 20 international aid groups sharply criticized the United Nations Security Council on Thursday, saying it has failed to implement three resolutions passed last year seeking to boost humanitarian assistance to Syrian civilians caught in the country’s civil war.

The 21 humanitarian and human rights organizations delivered a “failing grade” for world powers and the broader international community as Syria’s uprising against President Bashar Assad entered its fifth year. The conflict, which began with peaceful protests before escalating into a voracious civil war, has touched off a devastating humanitarian crisis that has engulfed the broader region.

Since the conflict began, more than 220,000 people have been killed and 1 million wounded. Nearly 4 million Syrians have fled and registered as refugees in neighboring countries, while another 7.6 million people are displaced inside Syria. All told, an estimated 12.2 million Syrians are in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the U.N.

The spiraling crisis spurred the Security Council — usually paralyzed by divisions on Syria — to pass three resolutions last year aiming to increase humanitarian aid. The latest resolution, approved unanimously in December, extended cross-border aid deliveries to Syrians in rebel-held areas without approval from Damascus.

But the aid groups say diplomacy has not translated into action on the ground.

“The bitter reality is that the Security Council has failed to implement its resolutions,” said Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council. “Last year was the darkest year yet in this horrific war. Parties to the conflict have acted with impunity and ignored the Security Council’s demands, civilians are not protected and their access to relief has not improved.”

Andy Baker, the head of Oxfam’s response to the Syria crisis, said the U.N.’s words “now ring hollow.”

“The last year has seen little concrete action from parties to the conflict and governments with influence to tackle the spiraling humanitarian crisis in Syria,” Baker said. “What good is a resolution to a mother whose house has been bombed and children are hungry if it is ignored and undermined?”

In their 27-page report, the aid organizations say the number of people in need in hard-to-reach areas has nearly doubled in the past year to 4.8 million. The number of children in need of assistance has risen to 5.6 million, up 31 percent on last year, they said.

Funding, meanwhile, has not kept pace with needs. In 2013, 71 percent of the funds needed to support Syrians displaced in the country as well as refugees were provided. Last year, only 57 percent of the necessary funds were granted, the groups said.

The aid groups and human rights organizations that signed the report include the International Rescue Committee, the Norwegian Refugee Council, Handicap International, the Syrian Relief Network, Oxfam and others.

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