Making Connections:
Photographic Storytellers From Around the World

Akitunde AkinleyeA (Nigeria), Oded Balilty (Israel), Katja Gauriloff (Lapland), Altaf Qadri (Kashmir), Chris Rainier (National Geographic Society), Sarah Del Seronde (Arizona),Paul Stoll (Arizona), A Yin (Inner Mongolia) and Shahidul Alam

Monday, October 1, 2007 | 7:30 - 9:00pm | Kresge Auditorium | Free and Open to All

Presented with the National Geographic Society The National Geographic Society’s All Roads Film Project recognizes and supports indigenous and underrepresented storytellers from around the world who are documenting their changing cultures and communities through photography and film. For the third consecutive year of this popular program, we present talented artists from Israel, Kashmir, Lapland, Mongolia, Nigeria, and the United States who have been selected by the National Geographic Society to present their work and reflect on ways their images and stories make connections that help create a more just and beautiful world. The All Roads photographers will be joined by Chris Rainier of the National Geographic Society and photographer Shahidul Alam, founder of the Drik photo agency in Bangladesh.

Akintunde Akinleye took up photography as a hobby during his school days before joining Daily Independent Newspapers in Nigeria as a staff photographer in 2003. He holds a master’s degree in Educational Technology from the University of Lagos and is the first Nigerian photographer to have received the prestigious World Press Photo award.

Oded Balilty was born in Jerusalem in 1979. In 1998 he served as a photographer for the Israeli Defense Forces magazine. In 2002, at the peak of the Israeli-Palestinian intifada, he began working for the Associated Press in Jerusalem. In addition to Israeli-Palestinian issues, Balilty has covered the 2003 NATO Summit in Istanbul, the 2004 elections in Ukraine, and the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. This year he received the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News Photography for his photograph of a lone Jewish woman defying Israeli security forces as they remove illegal settlers in the West Bank.

Katja Gauriloff was born in Inari, Northern Lapland where her grandmother is the most famous Skolt Sámi traditional storyteller. She has studied film directing at the Tampere School of Art and Media. Today she is a film director and part-owner of Oktober Production Company. A Shout into the Wind is her first documentary film.

Born in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian-administered Kashmir, in 1976, Altaf Qadri trained as a computer engineer before he made photography his profession. Growing up amid the turmoil of mass uprisings against Indian rule, he realized that a camera can serve as an important tool to give people a voice. He began his photojournalism career with local dailies in 2001 and joined the European Pressphoto Agency wire service in 2003. He has been covering the Kashmir conflict extensively for several years and hopes his pictures convey the grassroots situation of Kashmir and how it affects all aspects of life.

CHRIS RAINIER (National Geographic Society)
Chris Rainier is considered one of today’s leading documentary photographers. His mission is to record images of the disappearing cultures and tribes remaining on the planet. His photographic essays have appeared in a range of national and international publications and are in numerous permanent collections around the world. In addition to Keepers of the Spirit and Where Masks Still Dance, he has recently published Ancient Marks, a book documenting tattooing and scarification around the world in both traditional and contemporary cultures. From 1980 to 1985, he was a photographic assistant to the late Ansel Adams. Chris is now a National Geographic photographer, co-director with Wade Davis of the Society’s Ethnosphere Project, and a major force behind the All Roads Film and Photography Program.

Sarah Del Seronde is the daughter of a Diné mother and French father. Her bicultural identity shaped her educational pursuits, interests in travel and global indigenous peoples, and the desire to be a bridge between cultures. She obtained her master’s degree in the American Indian Studies program at the University of Arizona in 2000.

PAUL STOLL (Arizona)
Paul Stoll is of Tongan and German-American descent. A graduate of the Zaki Gordon Institute, he is co-founder of Aboriginal Lens Ltd., an independent multimedia production company based in Flagstaff, Arizona.

A YIN (Inner Mongolia)
Born into a poor herdsman’s family in Inner Mongolia, A Yin is a self-taught freelance photographer. In 1998, he started a project on the vanishing nomadic tribes in the Wu Zhu Qin grasslands under the documentary title Mongolian. He set up a commercial studio that he self-funded to finance his personal work. Yin continues to follow the traditional lifestyle of a Mongolian herdsman while carrying out his project to document the destruction of the grasslands. As well as documenting the disappearing lifestyle, he uses his photography to raise awareness of the plight of the grasslands.

Shahidul Alam is a media activist and journalist from Bangladesh. He studied and taught chemistry at London University before taking up photography while hitchhiking through the US and Canada in 1980. In 1984 he returned to his hometown, Dhaka, where he photographed the democratic struggle to remove the autocratic president, General Hossain Ershad. There he set up the Drik Agency, the Bangladesh Photographic Institute, and Pathshala: The South Asian Institute of Photography. He has been a recipient of the Mother Jones, Howard Chapnick, and Andrea Frank awards. He is director of Chobi Mela, the festival of photography in Asia, and has chaired the World Press Photo international jury. He is an honorary fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a board member of the National Geographic Society, and the Eugene Smith Foundation. A recognized leader of campaigns against the digiital divide and colonialism in the digital arena, he is currently visiting professor at the University of Sunderland and a Regents' Lecturer at UCLA for 2006–2007.

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