By Mikko Takkunen
September 23, 2013

Features and Essays

Scientists frequently use mice and rats as test subjects in studies before testing humans, and a new research suggests the gender of the researchers' has a direct impact on those animals. In a Monday article published online in the journal Nature Methods, researchers at McGill University found that male experimenters cause increased stress levels among lab rodents, while the presence of female researchers does not. In the presence of men, rats and mice experience an stress response equivalent to swimming for three minutes or being restrained in a tube for 15 minutes. That's because men secrete many more pheromones, which alert the animals to the proximity of male animals, than women do. The increased stress makes lab animals of both genders less sensitive to pain, which can influence the results of the experiment. "Our findings suggest that one major reason for lack of replication of animal studies is the gender of the experimenter – a factor that's not currently stated in the methods sections of published papers," Robert Sorge, a psychology professor at the University of Alabama who led the study while at McGill, said in a statement. The study marks the first time researchers have directly demonstrated rodents' awareness of the researchers, according to the study's authors.
Marcus Bleasdale / National Geographic

Marcus Bleasdale: The Price of Precious (National Geographic) The minerals in our electronic devices have bankrolled unspeakable violence in the Congo | From the October issue of National Geographic magazine | Related video here

Sven Torfinn: How Babies Are Made (Panos Pictures) Congo

various photographers: Everyday Africa (National Geographic) A group of photographers in Africa share snippets of ordinary life on an Instagram feed called Everyday Africa

Take a look back at the seventh and eighth generations of video game consoles in the final installment of our three-part video series (click here for part one; click here for part two). Hosted by yours truly, this installment features insight from TIME senior editor Matt Vella, Kotaku's Stephen Totilo, IGN's Greg Miller, and Sony's Scott Rohde. Related: The History of Video Game Consoles: Part One The History of Video Game Consoles: Part Two Behind the Scenes: Xbox One Launch Event Behind the Scenes: The Launch of PlayStation 4
Pete Muller for The Monocle

Pete Muller: Mogadishu – Take Off (Monocle) Somalia is a failed state but its airport, once a no-go zone, could offer a glimmer of hope. Writer Tristan McConnell and photographer Pete Muller illustrate the change | Audio slideshow

Benedicte Kurzen: Religious War Along The Tenth Parallel (NOOR) The tenth parallel North runs straight through Africa from Guinea in the west through countries like Ivory Coast and Nigeria up until Somalia in the East. It’s also an ideological front line where Muslims and Christians collide

Ruth McDowall: Nigeria (Photo Booth)

Michael Christopher Brown: Cairo (Magnum Photos) Life after the crackdown

Laura Boushnak: Empowering Arab Women Through Literacy (NYT Lens) Boushnak documented schools and classes in five countries in the Arab world

The reason behind the name of the April 27 episode of Game of Thrones, "Oathkeeper," became obvious about halfway through the show: Jaime Lannister gives Brienne his Valyrian steel sword — a sword he can't make proper use of now that he's missing a hand — and sends her off to keep their promise to find the Stark girls. "They say all the best swords have names," he tells her. What will hers be called? Oathkeeper, natch. Thus Oathkeeper joins a long line of great GoT swords with names, like Ice (Ned Stark's sword, and the source of the steel for Oathkeeper), Widow's Wail (the other sword made from that steel, which went to Joffrey as a wedding present), Needle (Arya's blade), Lightbringer (Stannis' enchanted sword) and Longclaw (the Mormont sword). But is Jaime right about swords and their names? Game of Thrones is fantasy (d'uh) but its links to medieval-ish history are many. At first, the answer seems obvious: once again, d'uh. Arthur had Excalibur. Charlemagne had Joyeuse. El Cid had Colada. Nor is sword-naming limited to European history; Asian and Near Eastern lore has swords of its own. But, though those legendary swordsmen don't approach GoT levels of obvious fiction, the line between medieval folklore and medieval history can get a little blurry when it comes to famous swords. When it comes to King Arthur, for example, historians are still unsure exactly how much historical fifth-century truth lies behind the stories of the king himself — much less his sword. The Arthur story/myth/history illustrates why it's so hard to tell where the custom of sword-naming began: the fact that so many myths involve named swords suggests that there was some real-life practice behind the custom, but the myths are so old — and so likely to have influenced the myths that came after — that historians have trouble pinning down whether that's the case. As Hilda Ellis Davidson explains in her book The Sword in Anglo-Saxon England, literature and folklore have helped pass down the names of famous swords through the ages (in her area of expertise, the earliest examples are in 10th-century heraldic poems based on earlier spoken traditions) but it's "hard to determine how far the naming of swords was a literary convention only, and how far it existed as a practice."
Sergey Ponomarev

Sergey Ponomarev: Damascus (Paris Match)

Andrew McConnell: In Times of War (Panos Pictures) Damascus, Syria

Moises Saman: Syria’s war refugees (CNN Photo Blog)

Mads Nissen: Syria’s Exodus (Panos Pictures) As the conflict in Syria continues, 2,000,000 people have now been forced to flee their homes. Jordan’s Zaatari refugee camp has grown to become the second largest camp in the world

Noriko Hayashi: Unholy Matrimony (Paris Match) The tradition of bride kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan

David Monteleone: Spasibo (VII) Chechnya

Frank Herfort: Post-Soviet Architectural Oddities (CNN Photo Blog)

David Guttenfelder / National Geographic

David Guttenfelder: The Real North Korea (National Geographic) Inside North Korea’s tightly controlled society, the truth is rarely simple | From the October issue of the National Geographic magazine | Related video here

Sim Chi Yin: Casualties of China’s Rapid Urbanization (NYT)

David Guttenfelder: The Crowded—and Epic—Reality of Climbing Japan’s Mt. Fuji (TIME)

Tyler Hicks: Afghan Soldiers Struggle in the Embattled District of Sangin (NYT)

Vivek Singh: Fear and Loathing in North India’s Sugarcane Town (NYT)

Arindam Mukherjee: Anglo-Indian community of Calcutta (BBC)

Comedian Jim Gaffigan is best known for two things: his children and his love of food. He covered a lot of material about his five kids in his bestselling book, Dad Is Fat — so on his most recent comedy special, Obsessed, which debuted April 27 on Comedy Central and is available now on iTunes, Gaffigan dives deep into his passion for cuisine. Topics include kale propaganda, Southern food and what exactly is the difference between an anchovy and a sweaty eyebrow (hint: nothing). TIME spoke with the stand-up comic about comedy and why there's no need to swear about bacon: Are there things you would never make fun of? As a comedian I have a core belief that anything can be funny, but I am not built in a manner where I need to figure out a way to make abortion funny. There are comedians who are great at that stuff and I’ll leave it to them. I kind of want my comedy… I don’t want anyone in the room to feel uncomfortable. I am not really into "us vs. them" comedy where it’s like, "How ‘bout those idiots?" So you’ll make fun of yourself with your pale skin and sun allergy, but won’t make fun of anyone else’s? I think everyone can relate! But it’s not some sort of elaborate plan — it’s just what works for me. I think comedians get so much credit or criticism for the time of comedy that they just do. It’s just how it comes out. Like Bill Burr is doing the exact right kind of comedy that he should be doing and so is Chris Rock. It’s not like they are both sitting at home thinking, "If only I was a little more angry." You tend to be a very "clean" comic. Is that your default setting? I’m not the kind of person who feels comfortable cursing or talking about some intimate sexual experience in front of strangers, but I curse in everyday life. I think some of it is the topics that I discuss. What’s wrong with your life if you’re cursing about bacon? Do you really need to curse when you talk about doughnuts? But it’s great when some comics curse! Who would want Lewis Black not to curse? Or George Carlin! Exactly. Standup has such a rich tradition of battling censorship. It crosses the line, but that doesn’t mean everyone has to cross the line. [youtube=] Lenny Bruce took his comedy all the way to the Supreme Court. Your comedy probably won't end up there. My comedy isn’t even going to end up on the People’s Court. It’s interesting doing these interviews. I do a special every two years and do a round of interviews with them because you forget… standup is so great, because there’s an honesty to the conversation. You know exactly how you come across. It’s a great opportunity to learn who you are in the context of other comedians or the entertainment industry. I don’t think about myself as clean — we have a tendency to categorize things, and I think the clean thing is kind of silly. It’s not like we live in a culture where someone not cursing is that exceptional. It’s not like people are saying, “Unbelievable, go see this comedian who doesn’t curse for an hour!” That’s not what is going to drive people into a theater. It comes down to funny or not, identifiable or not. I don’t think it’s necessarily what you’re known for, but doing research for this conversation it came up, a lot. I don’t think I had noticed it before. Right. People come up and ask me, “Why don’t you curse?” and I say, “Because Jesus told me not to.” Brian Regan is probably the best comedian on the planet and he doesn’t curse, but it’s a strange thing, because my favorite comedian is probably Dave Attell and he’s filthy! But I don’t think of him as filthy, I think of him as just as funny as Brian Regan. I think there’s just a tendency — you’re a writer, you know this — to look back on what we’ve done and do a surgery on it. “Okay, what made George Carlin great?” What made him great can’t be summed up in one sentence. His career spanned decades. Right, but some people — and I’m being a bit facetious — do think Carlin’s career could be summed up in seven dirty words. Of course there are people who think that. But that’s doing a huge disservice to this incredible wordsmith. Seven dirty words is a brilliant piece of comedy, but when it came out, it was a powerful statement that captured a moment in time and these words that weren’t allowed to be said on television, but now, they are allowed to be said on television and, as an observation, it’s been done. A lot of comedy has been diffused because society has caught up with it. What was once transgressive is now commonplace. Right, look at Richard Pryor! You look at him and a lot of his material — I wouldn’t say ripped off, but a lot of his material has been bastardized by a lot of comedians. You look back at his material and say, “Oh, that is where the joke started.” Something about my material, though, is that I don’t deal in irreverence. “Irreverent” is like liberty or your concept of freedom — it’s constantly shifting. What is considered irreverent today isn’t going to be considered irreverent in ten years. It’s constantly moving. Dealing with nuts and bolts and observational comedy, there is some longevity in it. That’s why a Bob Newhart CD is still funny, but some topical stuff can wear thin. [youtube=] The topics you talk about are things that everyone tends to agree on — everyone loves food, everyone loves doughnuts. Your topics aren’t going to get dated. It’s weird, and again, none of this was intentional — none of it — but I feel like I got lucky. My special Beyond the Pale still sells and it’s because the topics are still relevant. I mean, I’ve definitely written my fair share of jokes about answering machines that are not relevant, but there is something about the topics that still work. If you look at the track names on my CDs, you’d be like, what is that, a shopping list? I love what I do, but there is something about what I do that — there’s not a sexy angle. I’m not talking about stories of me with hookers — I’m talking about doughnuts. There’s an absence of a dynamic taboo breaking. Do you think that has affected your career at all, though? It seems like that could be a positive. I love what I do. Sometimes when I talk to other comics, we get to this point in the conversation where I think, “We get paid to do what we want. That's a victory in itself!” Sure, I can worry about whether I get more attention or less — I mean, I make a living as a stand-up comedian! I can afford to have 5,000 children. That’s a miracle! I grew up in a small town in Indiana where the closest thing to the entertainment industry was the marching band. But, again, I think the type of comedy that I do is authentic to me. I don’t think I can do the Garth Brooks thing and create a dark side version of me. I don’t think it’s either hurt or helped, but I think it’s a miracle that I get to do what I want. We all could have ended up lawyers! No one aspires to do construction on the side of the FDR highway. I want to be sensitive to that, too. I think you can get caught up in all of it, but the entertainment industry is not fair. It’s a weird business. That said, stand-up comedy is the only aspect of the entertainment industry that is somewhat merit-based. If you put in the effort and the time and the audience responds, that’s it. You can’t hoodwink people for a couple of decades. There’s no debate that Bill Cosby and Jerry Seinfeld and George Carlin were great comedians. They had careers that spanned decades. It’s not a fluke. This is your fourth comedy special, so you must be doing something right. This is my fourth special, but stand-up comedy does not feel like a job. The thing that I love about stand-up is that I feel like I’m getting better at it. There’s something very rewarding about that. I can do four specials, because there’s an outlet for it. I can tour and do that. I’m lucky because I can write everything with my wife and we have this collaboration. It works, but I’m not under some delusion that I’m going to be in the same category as Carlin or Seinfeld. How long did it take to write this one? Maybe a year or a year and a half. I feel like this one took less time than the others. I know Louis does an hour a year and the British comics do an hour a year. Jake Johannsen has done a new hour of comedy for like 20 years. 20 years! That’s insane! Different topics take different amounts of time, though. Cheney shoots somebody and then a social satirist gets ten minutes. For me, it takes longer to write an hour and because my topic isn't based on the news cycle, I would rather spend time with the material and make it really good. You do have a lot more children to distract you from writing. Yes, in the end, I would rather be considered a decent dad than a prolific comic. You are fairly prolific, even if you don’t get your one hour a year that other comics are getting. Right, but I have to. I love it, but I have to. I’m constantly touring and there’s an unspoken arrangement that the comedian has with the audience that you’re going to bring new stuff. Otherwise they are not going to come back. I want people to leave one of my shows thinking, “I’m definitely coming back.” So new material is pretty important, but it’s also really fun to come up with. There’s nothing better than coming up with a new joke. Nothing. [youtube=] MORE: Todd Barry Talks Working With Louis CK On His New Crowd Work Tour Comedy Special MORE: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Clown Sex and the Rise of Funny-Naked Women
Fabio Bucciarelli

Fabio Bucciarelli: Frustration and Suffering in Haiti’s Mental Facilities (LightBox)

Andrea Bruce: A New Start for Kingston (NOOR) Improvements have been made to curb the violence that has troubled Kingston, Jamaica

On April 10, artist Matt Lubchansky updated his popular webcomic series, Please Listen To Me, with a new comic called “Save Me.” It features a presumably mild-mannered fellow in a polo shirt who spots the “Man Signal” and barrels into a phone booth to emerge as a fedora-masked Not-All-Man, “defender of the defended” and “voice for the voiceful.” He catches the whiff of misandry in the air -- a pink-haired woman in the middle of saying “I’m just sick of how men…” -- and smashes through a plate-glass window to play devil’s advocate. [caption id="attachment_79396" align="aligncenter" width="560"] Matt Lubchansky ([/caption] It’s a sharp, damning satire of a familiar kind of bad-faith argument, the one where a male interlocutor redirects a discussion about sexism, misogyny, rape culture, or women’s rights to instead be about how none of that is his fault. And it struck a nerve. The comic was retweeted and reblogged tens of thousands of times. Nerd hero Wil Wheaton, comedian Paul F. Tompkins, and comics artist Matt Fraction were among its Tumblr boosters. Within a few days, science fiction writer John Scalzi, who frequently wades into feminist discussion, ranted about the “not all men” defense and followed up by posting the comic. Clearly, Not-All-Man is the antifeminist antihero for our times. But his origin story is shrouded in mystery. Certainly Lubchansky’s comic was not the first humorous deployment of the term. For instance, two weeks before the comic came out, a “Not All Men” Tumblr made the rounds. It featured a handful of movie scenes enhanced with a “not all men” speech bubble -- the shark from Jaws jumps in a boat to play devil’s advocate, the chestburster from Alien emerges from a man’s torso to explain that you’re overgeneralizing. And a few days before that, Twitter user @a_girl_irl posted an image of the Kool-Aid man crashing through the wall to deliver the catch phrase. Before its meteoric rise as an object of mockery in the early parts of 2014, “not all men” had a past life as an object of frustration. For feminist bloggers it was a classic derail, a bad-faith argument used to shift the focus of a discussion instead of engaging with it. “I know. Not all men are rapists. Not all men abuse their significant others. Not all men actively oppress women. I get it. Moving on,” wrote blogger elledeevee at Bitchtopia in July 2013. But while it was clearly a source of irritation by mid-2013, and ripe for parody last month, “not all men” is curiously absent from earlier compilations of derailing arguments, including the ever-popular bingo cards that people who write about activist subjects on the Internet often make. Of course, this doesn’t mean people weren’t not-all-menning it up before 2013. As early as 1985, author Joanna Russ expressed a familiar weariness in her feminist love story On Strike Against God: ...that not all men make more money than all women, only most; that not all men are rapists, only some; that not all men are promiscuous killers, only some; that not all men control Congress, the Presidency, the police, the army, industry, agriculture, law, science, medicine, architecture, and local government, only some. But the absence of “not all men” on Internet bingo cards is a striking example of how the phrase, before it rocketed to prominence, went almost unnoticed in online arguments about activist subjects. If a feminist blogger made a derailment bingo card in April of 2013, “not all men” might be the free space in the center. But before last year, the place of prominence currently afforded to the phrase “not all men” was instead held by “what about the men?” and “patriarchy hurts men too” -- pleas for inclusion, not for exemption. Without the assistance of a trained Redditologist, it may not be possible to track down the source of this shift. Most likely “not all men” erupted in several places on the Internet simultaneously and independently, like the invention of calculus -- an idea whose time had come. I asked Matt Lubchansky, the Not-All-Man comic’s creator, if he remembered where he first heard it; he told me that in his experience it arose from nowhere, or more accurately, from everywhere. “I don't recall a very specific instance so much as it was sort of everywhere, very suddenly!” Lubchansky wrote in an email. “But instead of this being something with a single origin, i think this phrase is unique among this kind of stuff because it was actually coming from the mouths of these dopes. Like some dummy would for REAL be coming at people talking about racial or gender equality stuff, waving their arms and saying ‘UM ACTUALLY NOT ME!’” It’s true that previous derailment favorites like “patriarchy hurts men too” were paraphrases in a way that “not all men” is not. The demand is the same -- “please move me to the center of your discussion” -- but “not all men” is, in many cases, straight from the horse’s mouth; even an amateur Reddit spelunker can turn up plenty of sulky or defensive uses of the phrase. “Not all men” also differs from “what about the men?” and other classic derails because it acknowledges that rape, sexism, and misogyny are real issues -- just not, you know, real issues that the speaker is involved with in any way. The “not all men” man, at least in some cases, agrees with you and is perfectly willing to talk about how terrible those other guys are, just as soon as we get done establishing that he himself would never be such a cad. It’s infuriating and unhelpful, but in a way it represents a weird kind of progress. Lubchansky agreed that the shift from “but what about men’s problems” to “not all men are like that” paralleled his own gradual development into a decent human. Perhaps men arguing on the Internet (though not all men!) follow a developmental path that echoes an individual man growing a social conscience, which in a very simplified form goes something like this: Sexism is a fake idea invented by feminists Sexism happens, but the effect of “reverse sexism” on men is as bad or worse Sexism happens, but the important part is that I personally am not sexist Sexism happens, and I benefit from that whether or not I personally am sexist Sexism happens, I benefit from it, I am unavoidably sexist sometimes because I was socialized that way, and if I want to be anti-sexist I have to be actively working against that socialization Is it possible “not all men” rose to prominence when the level of online discourse moved from stage 2 to stage 3? The Not-All-Man hero and his minions are paralyzingly obsessed with protecting their own self-concept, to a degree that prevents them from engaging in sincere discussion. But this contrast -- between “not all men” and earlier derailing tactics, and between “not all men” and its misogynist detractors -- suggests that maybe they also represent a small and subtle shift towards good-faith argumentation. Not all men will make that shift, ultimately. But some is better than none.
Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times

Rick Loomis: A Soldier’s Wife (LA Times) An Iraq war veteran struggling with PTSD and alcoholism

Martin Schoeller: The Changing Face of America (National Geographic) Unexpected portraits illustrate America’s “melting pot” nature | Related video here

Eugene Richards: When Age Produces Beauty: Photographs of Legends at Work (LightBox) Richards’ to photograph prominent American artists who are in their 80s or about to arrive there

Matt Black: The People of Clouds (Photo Booth) Mixtec migrant workers in California’s Central Valley

Bryan Schutmaat: Grays the Mountain Sends: Poetic Views of the American West’s Darker Side (LightBox)

Kathleen Robbins: Cotton farms fading away in historic Delta (CNN Photo Blog)

Anthony S. Karen: Ku Klux Klan (L’Instant – Paris Match)

Mike Peters: NYC Portraits (Wired Rawfile) Using a camera to cope: reflecting on 9/11 through portraiture

Andrew Lichtenstein: After Oligarchy: New York City’s Mayoral Race (

Curran Hatleberg: On the Road to Photograph America (Slate Behold)

Abelardo Morell: Visions on Earth (National Geographic) Using the ground beneath his feet as a canvas, a photographer inspires fresh appreciation for America’s national parks

Simon Roberts: Pierdom (LightBox) Victorian piers in Britain | Related on BBC website here

Edward Burtynsky: Water (Slate Behold)

Dimitris Michalakis: Burnout (Lens Culture) Greece

Paolo Verzone: Karlberg Military Academy (Agence Vu) Sweden


Magic Johnson is reportedly eager to purchase the Los Angeles Clippers, as the controversy deepens over an audio recording which purports to show current owner Donald Sterling making racist remarks to his girlfriend. Yahoo Sports, citing anonymous sources, reported that Johnson and his investment backers the Guggenheim Partners are interested in purchasing the team. Johnson already co-owns the Los Angeles Dodgers with Mark Walter of the Guggenheim Partners. The group also purchased the WNBA team the Los Angeles Sparks in February when it was about to fold—possibly to win themselves favor with the NBA. [time-brightcove videoid=3513830758001] "This is 100 percent Magic's plan," an anonymous league official involved with the buying and selling of franchises told Yahoo Sports. Johnson was directly referenced in the audio clip leaked by TMZ over the weekend. In the recording the man identified as Sterling admonishes his girlfriend for posting a photo of herself with the basketball legend to Instagram, saying she shouldn't be promoting her associations with black people. On Sunday, Johnson said on TV that Sterling ought to lose his NBA team. Johnson played 13 seasons with Los Angeles' more storied basketball franchise, the Los Angeles Lakers. But a championship-winning coach in Doc Rivers and a run in the playoffs could sway Johnson to take on the Clippers. [Yahoo Sports]

David and Daniel (Roads and Kingdoms) David Burnett tries to meet with Daniel Céspedes, the man in his famous 1973 Chile photograph

The Speed Graphic Returns (Roads and Kingdoms) David Burnett revisits Chile with his Pacemaker Speed Graphic

The Power of Photography (National Geographic) Photographers use their cameras as tools of exploration, passports to inner sanctums, instruments for change. Their images are proof that photography matters—now more than ever.

The Visual Village (National Geographic) James Estrin on photography at 125 | Related gallery here

Twenty-three Columbia and Barnard students have filed a federal complaint that alleges violations of Title IX, Title II and the Clery Act by the University. The complaint comes after months of students advocating for changes in the way the administration handles cases of sexual assault. The 100-page complaint alleges that the University allows accused perpetrators of sexual assault to remain on campus, has too-lenient sanctions for perpetrators, discourages victims from reporting assault and denies accommodations to students with mental health disabilities (which they say result from their attacks). The students also claim that LGBTQ students are discriminated against in advising, counseling and Greek Life. Title IX protects students from gender-based discrimination, including sexual assault, on campus. The Clery Act requires all colleges and universities to disclose information about crime on or near their campuses. Title II protects students from disability-based discrimination. By filing all three complaints, the students hope to hold the university responsible for not only allegedly mishandling rape cases but also for the way they deal with students who have mental health issues after being attacked. “We’ve seen two town halls and a couple of emails, and as a survivor and an ally to survivors, that’s not enough," Mary Seitz-Brown, a senior and one of the students who filed the complaint, told the Columbia Spectator. "That’s not enough to make me feel safe. We’re afraid, to be honest, that when the summer comes, that’ll be an excuse not to follow through on these promises." She added, “The thing to highlight here is how much this is not just about sexual violence but mental health as well." One of the complainants said that she was placed on disciplinary and academic probation because she was a "mental health liability" after she was allegedly assaulted. The filing also says that the University failed to accomodate a transgender student. The student says there is a “general ignorance and hostility towards my gender identity … even [the] dismissal of my rape because it didn’t fit the normative ‘boy-rapes-girl’ narrative.” In January, student Anna Bahr interviewed three sexual assault survivors in Columbia's Blue and White. All three women alleged that they were assaulted by the same man, and all said they had bad experiences with the administration after reporting their assault. One student said she was raped anally and her testimony was questioned by a "specially trained panelist" who didn't "understand how it's possible to have anal sex without using lubrication first." Columbia's President called for increased sexual assault transparency after the story was published. He claimed that several initiatives were already on the way. But that's not enough for students. "I don’t trust the University to take my experience or my safety more seriously than they take their own public image," Cami Quarta, one of the Columbia complainants said in the filing. If Columbia is found in violation of the Cleary Act, it will have to pay $35,000 per violation. If it is found in violation of Title IX and Title II, it will be subject to federal review and could lose federal funding. Students at Columbia join several of their peers at other schools in filing Title IX complaints: sixteen students filed a complaint against Yale University in 2011; complaints were filed against University of North Carolina, Vanderbilt, Amherst, UConn in 2013; and a student filed a Title IX lawsuit against Northwestern in February—to name a few. The proliferation of complaints has prompted a White House task force to protect students from sexual assault. [Columbia Spectator]
Agence LeJournal/SIPA via TIME

Witness to a Syrian Execution: “I Saw a Scene of Utter Cruelty” (LightBox) images from a photojournalist chronicles a harrowing scene near Aleppo

An execution in Syria (Paris Match)

In Aleppo clinics ‘you walk on blood’, says photojournalist (

Why Syria’s images of suffering haven’t moved us (Washington Post)

How Photographic Technology Shapes Our Understanding of War (Atlantic) As cameras have evolved, we’ve been exposed, more intimately, to conflict

Vietnam War Photos That Made a Difference (NYT Lens) Richard Pyle, the last surviving Saigon bureau chief for The Associated Press during the Vietnam War, recounts how the wire service marshaled the talents of a legendary corps of photographers in pursuit of the truth.

Telling the Stories Behind the Images of ‘War/Photography’ Exhibition (PBS)

The “Shame of Memory” Haunts a War Photographer (NYT Lens)

Updated 11:56 a.m. on April 28 Those employees at the happiest place on earth? Some of them are homeless parents, according to the Associated Press. Many Walt Disney World employees cannot afford the average $800 per month rent while being paid a starting minimum pay of $8.03 per hour working at the park. Meanwhile, any one person pays about $100 just for admission to Orlando's theme parks. 1,216 families in Florida's Osceola County are living out of hotels because they cannot afford to live anywhere else and because the county does not have any shelters. Many small hotel owners—running mom-and-pop businesses—have complained to the county sheriff that families are overcrowding rooms and unable to pay long-term. Some have even filed lawsuits. (Larger, more expensive hotels that house many of the tourists visiting Disney World don't have to deal with the same issue.) Advocates blame the problem on low wages and comparatively high rent given those salaries in the 300,000 person county. According to census figures, the median income in Osceola County is just $24,128 a year. A Disney spokesperson said it's "a stretch to make a connection between our strong collective bargaining offer to Cast Members and the homeless issue in Central Florida." "Walt Disney World is actively involved with community organizations to help address homelessness in Central Florida and its underlying causes," spokesperson Jacquee Polak. "Our efforts range from financial contributions and in-kind support to volunteer service."   Walt Disney World, the area's largest employer, may end up forking over more money (up to $10) to its employees as contracts are being negotiated with the resort's biggest union group. [AP]
Glenna Gordon

Everyday Nigeria — Not Idealized, Not Debased (NYT Lens) A Nigerian writer has teamed up with photographers to provide words and pictures of daily life that challenge stereotypes about the country and the continent

After the gold rush: former mining towns captured on camera (Guardian) Bryan Schutmaat photographed the dying days of the mining industry in remote US towns.

Almost Human: Mary Ellen Mark’s Photos of Animals (LightBox) A new show in Oaxaca, Mexico highlights Mark’s work in the animal kingdom

At Photoville, Tyler Hicks’s Photographic Year (NYT Lens) At the Photoville photography exhibition in Brooklyn, shipping containers house picture presentations, including one that showcases a year’s worth of assignments from The Times’s staff photographer Tyler Hicks

Reimagining a Tragedy, 50 Years Later (NYT Lens) Dawoud Bey explores the relationship of past to present with diptychs of people the same age as the victims of the 1963 Birmingham church bombing — both at the time of the bombings and in the present day.

Antonio Olmos’s The Landscape of Murder project (BJP)

Once upon a time in America: National Geographic’s images from the golden age of Kodachrome (Independent) Nathan Benn spent two decades shooting 10,000 rolls of film for ‘National Geographic’. Twenty years after his final commission, his work remains as fresh and evocative as ever thanks to the unique properties of Kodachrome.

England’s ‘Non-Conformists’: Early work by Martin Parr (CNN Photo Blog)

Paris In My Time: Mark Steinmetz’s Homage to the City of Lights (LightBox)

What’s The Landscape Of Modern Landscape Photography? (Picture Show)

Mystery in the Sky: A Legendary Photo (Slowly) Gives Up Its Secrets (LightBox) A new documentary film — and a previously unpublished image — shed light on one of the most famous, and most widely misinterpreted, photographs of the 20th century: ‘Lunch Atop a Skyscraper.’

Pieter Hugo: seeing South Africa anew (Guardian) Kin, a moving new exhibition in New York, asks troubling questions about the photographer’s conflicted homeland | Photos here

It's hard to believe that not long ago, the movie industry wasn't completely dominated by superhero franchises. Big-budget blockbusters have always received the most attention and the largest audiences, but as recently as 10 or 15 years ago, the form wasn't a sea of mutants and masked crime-fighters. These days, it seems like studios think they need a superhero franchise just to keep up with the competition (when Sony rebooted Spider-Man in 2012, many believed they did so to avoid losing the rights to the character). Warner Bros. did little to dispel that notion on Sunday night, confirming that a Justice League film had been greenlit for a likely release in either 2017 or 2018. The movie, which would be the second sequel to last summer's Man of Steel (the tentatively titled Superman vs. Batman is slated for 2016), will feature Henry Cavill as Superman, Ben Affleck as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Ray Fisher as Cyborg and, undoubtedly, countless others (Matt Damon?!). It's merely the latest development in the ongoing arms race between Warner, Marvel (The Avengers), Sony (Spider-Man) and Fox (X-Men). After the enormous success of The Avengers in 2012, it became apparent that one titular superhero wouldn't be sufficient for record-breaking box office draws — and studios were likely further emboldened by the warm critical reception that Joss Whedon's star-studded film received. Last year, Warner responded with Man of Steel while Fox churned out a standalone Wolverine film and Marvel added the second and third installments, respectively, of Thor and Iron Man. This year, we have a second installment of the Captain America franchise, an Amazing Spider-Man sequel, a super-sized time-traveling X-Men film and Guardians of the Galaxy, which also takes place in the same augustly named Marvel Cinematic Universe that hosts the Avengers. Anyone looking for a breather won't find it anytime soon, with the Avengers sequel leading next year's crop of superhero entries and Sony looking to spin off Spider-Man with Sinister Six and Venom films. Oh, and Marvel announced earlier this month that it has movies plotted through 2028. Its target audience hasn't even been born yet. The message is clear: Blockbusters of the future aren't driven by actors or directors or stories — they're driven by universes. And not just any universes, mind you, but huge, sprawling, dynamic universes designed to dominate both the big screen and small. Both Marvel and DC Comics have already begun exploring television — the former with cult favorite Arrow (and, starting in the fall, The Flash) on The CW and the latter with the less well-received Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D on ABC. Whatever the shortcomings of Agents, they haven't seemed to deter Marvel's quest for superhero domination — Marvel's Joe Quesada revealed yesterday that the studio's first Netflix show, Daredevil (rumored for a 2015 release) will show the "street level noir side of Marvel." The rampant growth of these universes demonstrates the increased interest of audiences in stories more commonly associated with television, where writers have the time to develop more nuanced characters and worlds; episodic-style viewing is more addictive, and more satisfying, than a self-contained feature. But episodic television isn't designed to support the big-budget needs of these movies, rich with explosions and chases and calamities, which is why the movie feels like the right medium. And though some have bemoaned this increasingly homogenous approach to box office domination, there's little arguing with its effectiveness. Five of the eight biggest opening weekends of all time belong to superhero films (the other three belong to the Hunger Games and Harry Potter — universes of a slightly different sort). Compare that with the stars previously capable of carrying a film to more than $100 million at the box office simply by adding their name above the title. Will Smith's widely panned After Earth netted just $60 million at the domestic box office and neither Oblivion nor Jack Reacher cracked $90 million domestically for Tom Cruise. Yes, bigger and bigger names are signing on for superhero roles (and countless more have been attached in the never-ending flurry of rumors), but it's worth remembering that Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Andrew Garfield and Henry Cavill weren't on the A-list before donning their costumes. If this truly is both the present and future of big-budget films, it's fair to say that audiences could do worse. The dedication to telling a more complete story in multiple media shows that Hollywood is evolving, taking advantage of the tools at its disposal. Justice League may be the most recent demonstration of the desire to expand a superhero universe, but it won't be the last.
PhotoBookStore Vimeo

Simon Roberts – Pierdom (Photobookstore on Vimeo) Video browse through of Roberts’ new book

Andy’s World: Rare Photographs From Warhol’s Own Camera (LightBox)

Sitting for a Portrait by Nadav Kander (NYT magazine 6th Floor blog)

Amy Winehouse posing for Back to Black – Mischa Richter’s best photo (Guardian)

Maja Daniels’ best photograph: the Malroux twins on the streets of Paris (Guardian)

Featured Photographer: Troi Anderson (Verve Photo)

Featured photographer: Amanda Berg (Verve Photo)

High society hairdresser’s secret life as street photographer (BBC)

Interviews and Talks

Pamela Chen / National Geographic

The Photographers on Photography (PROOF) National Geographic photographers on the power of photography

Yuri Kozyrev (Ideas Tap) Kozyrev on covering conflict

Moises Saman (Wired Rawfile) Conflict photographer’s best pictures are some of humanity’s worst moments

Marcus Bleasdale (National Geographic) Bleasdale on working in Congo

Martin Schoeller (PROOF) Schoeller on intimate portraiture

Noriko Hayashi (Panos Social) Hayashi recently won the Visa d’or Feature prize

Art Greenspon / AP

Art Greenspon (LightBox) Peter van Agtmael interviews Greenspon about his famous Vietnam War photograph

Steve McCurry (Telegraph) Audio slideshow | McCurry explains the stories behind some of his most iconic images

Conversation With Nick Nichols and Brent Stirton (PROOF)

Alessandra Sanguinetti (Vice)

Elliott Erwitt (

Michael Christopher Brown (

Bruno Stevens (Foto8)

Jonathan Klein (BJP) Getty Images’ Klein: “We need new economic models”

Simon Baker (Emaho magazine) Tate Modern’s curator of photography, says: ‘Europe’s no longer the home of photography’

Kate Peters (

Jake Naughton (NYT Lens)

Mikko Takkunen is an associate photo editor at Follow him on Twitter @photojournalism.

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