Video Post: Against All Odds

Against All Odds: HIV/AIDS Epidemic Among Indigenous Papuans from Andri Tambunan on Vimeo

I don't often feature the work of other photographers on this blog but Papua is a place that has a special kind of hold on me.  Andri Tambunan is a young documentary photographer working to bring awareness to the large and growing AIDS situation in Papua.  My family and I lived there for a year so I can speak from personal experience to many of things that he is talking about and the situation is alarming.  Human trafficking of sex trade workers into this area is a huge problem and when you combine that with the prevalence of AIDS it ends up being a death sentence for many of these women.  No foreign journalist can get a visa to to enter Papua so many of the issues and events that happen there are almost completely unreported in the world's press.  We saw and heard pitched battles with gunfire, explosions and helicopters flying all night as independence fighters battled with government forces and none of this made it out to world press.  Andri's photographs carry a power and immediacy that reflects the dire situation yet also reflects the hope and the spirit of these wonderful people.  Check out his blog for more images.

-Russell Berg

Good Design

We should not have to use things that are ugly or unwieldy, kludgy or confusing.  For some time I was unhappy with the way that my blog appeared.  It was dark and heavy and I think, for some people, difficult to read.  I had originally chosen dark colours to make the photos stand out.  Visually, I wanted the photographs to be the primary source of light on the browser image.  This works great for high contrast, highly saturated images but not so well for a more muted, subtle image and even less well for black and white.  Good design is very difficult to do and I am a bit of a hack at it but I feel like I know it when I see it.  At least, there are objects in my life that are well designed that I love to use, that I love to hold in my hands, that have an appearance that announces its presence yet fits comfortably into the world in which it exists.

Dieter Rams is really the godfather of modern industrial design and I really appreciate the principals by which he works.  Take a look and listen to a few of them.  He is a really interesting guy.

I cannot take credit for the design of my blog.  One of the reasons that I chose Squarespace to host my blog is because of the very well designed templates that they make available to the user.  Very beautifully useful.  I took one of their templates and tweaked it a little.  I hope it works better for you and is more pleasing to use.

-Russell Berg

Crazy Speed

 My wife, daughter and I were up on Giant's Head Mt. in the Okanagan and we came across some long boarders who were about to ride down it.  This seemed incredible to me, the single land road down the mountain was three kilometres of nine percent grade with very sharp switch back turns every couple of hundred metres.  I went up and talked to them for a while and asked if it would be ok if we would take some photos and video as they went down the mountain.  We went down ahead of them and waited at one of the corners.  They went by a couple of times and then I asked if they had ever done a chase car so that I could record them from behind.  They agreed and Madison Bucsu, a local long-board maker, drove down behind them at high rates of speed with me hanging out the window with my 7D.  My daughter took all of the stills in the video with my XSi and did a wonderful job.  We had a wonderful time, and as so often before the most memorable times that we have on holiday happen when we are willing to just start up a conversation with someone.

-Russell Berg