Senior Photo Editor and Multimedia Producer
@ Founder of AsiaJournalist.com
Dirk Claus portfolio on Visura - a professional network to connect with photo editors and art buyers, and build photography portfolio websites. Visura members, like Dirk, share photojournalism, art photography, landscape, travel photography, portraits and more. Dirk has 0 projects, 10 community news posts, and 19 images shared in the photo stream.
Dirk Claus is a senior photo and multimedia editor and photography consultant with over fifteen years experience of producing, commissioning and directing photo assignments in Germany and Asia...
Almost one year after the deadly earthquake, Nepal is facing a fuel and housing crisis. The ethnic Madhesi minority in the border region has been staging violent protests over its representation in Nepal’s new constitution and India is imposing an unofficial blockade over safety concerns. Fuel and goods cargos have all but halted at the border. Antagonism against India is high due to what is perceived as political interference and manifested as the hashtag #BackoffIndia on social media.
Hundreds queue in line for 3-4 days to get patrol and profane gas, and the blockade is disrupting Nepal’s already stretched reconstruction efforts and affecting average Nepali people with price hikes and lack of general necessities. Medical supplies are dwindling and some Nepalis are turning to firewood for cooking.
According to the UN, the earthquake destroyed approximately 600,000 houses and damaged 290,000 in Nepal. Aid groups warn that temporary housings made with corrugated tin and tarp will be inadequate in cold weather, especially in higher altitudes.
Jun Michael Park is a documentary photographer and visual storyteller from Seoul, South Korea.
Jun has worked for Der Spiegel, Welt am Sonntag, Brand Eins, Cicero and Greenpeace Magazine in Germany, LA Times, Financial Times, Bon Appétit Magazine, Lonely Planet Magazine Korea, Save the Children, Asia Society Korea Center and National Film Board of Canada among other publications and organizations.
Jun is a winner of a Silver award in Press-Feature Story category at Prix de la Photographie Paris (Px3) 2015 and is a participant of the Eddie Adams Workshop XXVIII in New York. He is represented by laif agency in Germany and available for assignment and commission worldwide.
“My latest story about Arsenic poisoning victims in Hunan Province, China has been published on Caixin Weekly. The victims live in a village near the highly polluted Arsenic sulphide ore mine and factories, hundreds of people died of skin cancer, lung cancer or liver cancer. Though the government shut down the mine and factory in 2011, but the pollution’s still left over. It’s the dark side of the old economic development mode in China. (by Yuyang Liu, Editors: Lilan Luo, Jia Wan and Sikun Wang)
Read the whole article (in Chinese) and see more pictures on Caixin Weekly:
Born in Ziyang, Sichuan province, Yuyang Liu is currently based in Guangzhou. His photography work focuses on urbanization and immigration issues in a rapidly changing China. He won the 2014 Magnum Foundation Human Rights & Photography Fellowship, through which he studied at an intensive five-week program at New York University. His work has been exhibited in China and the United States. (Chinafile)
Yvan Cohen has been photographing in the Chinatown district of Bangkok for some 6 years now – visiting once or twice a week, mostly at night.
The project doesn’t have a clearly defined starting point because he didn’t plan to document Chinatown; there was no initial goal and no assignment. He was simply drawn to an area that he found visually inspiring because it felt genuine, it felt evocative and it felt connected to the past.
For anyone who knows Bangkok – or at least has an image of the city in their mind’s eye – they will know from his pictures that the districts he has been photographing represent a neglected facet of this metropolis. The typical caricature of Bangkok is a city of exotic temples, gleaming skysrapers, steamy bars, saffron-clad monks and eternally smiling inhabitants.
Yet while much of Bangkok’s appeal is derived from these images of oriental exoticism, the reality is that many local communities and numerous historic buildings have already been devoured by rapid and unplanned development. The Bangkok of the postcard and the travel brochure is fast disappearing.
It is precisely Chinatown’s connection to the past, its anti-modern identity and its sense of culture, ancestry and tradition which draws him to it. Chinatown and a few other districts remain islands of authenticity where you can still catch glimpses of what life would have been like in this city decades, or perhaps even a century, ago.
The pictures don’t carry a message per se, they don’t document a burning issue but they are a testament to an aspect of this city’s identity which is increasingly threatened. One day, perhaps not too far in the future, these pictures will serve as a visual bridge to the past and as a poignant reminder of a history and of an identity that risks being completely erased.
See more of Yvan Cohen`s photos about Chinatown at:
Yvan is a founding member of LightRocket, a cutting edge online service for photographers, including secure backup, customizable websites and direct sales. After honing his passion for photography in Europe, Yvan arrived in Asia in 1991 where he has been living and working as a photojournalist ever since. Yvan’s assignments have ranged from shooting fashion in Bangkok to covering major political and social stories across much of Asia.
Fluent in English, French and Thai, he has worked regularly for a range of international publications including, Time, The Far Eastern Economic Review, The Australian, the New York Times and L’Express. Yvan was also a former photographic correspondent for AsiaWeek Magazine.
“Koh Pich, which translates into Diamond Island, sits at the mouth of where the Tonle Bassac river’s journey begins towards Vietnam. Located just in front of Phnom Penh city center, the island didn’t exist half a century ago. Its short existence has been marked by violent evictions in 2006 followed by a tragic stampede during the water festival of 2010 that left at least 339 people dead. Koh Pich has become a showcase for Phnom Penh’s developmental ambitions.
The two-kilometre-long island is home to a golf driving range, the city’s largest international exhibition centre, a fire station, a new city hall and a theatre. The whole project is megalomaniac, and kitsch is on display everywhere.”
In the beginning there was sand. And many castles in the air, but they were still hidden. Koh Pich was like a bucolic pocket close to the city, an excursion goal for my Sunday afternoons. It was bare and raw, and gifted with a lot of shore where I could contemplate why I was not going to the sea.
But step-by-step over the years, the diamonds came together and it was fascinating to observe. One of the first characters to move to the island, just in front of the brand new Koh Pich City Hall, was the white rabbit with its bag of dollars. Of course, I thought of Alice in Wonderland, but this was a completely perverted version of the character. In Alice in Wonderland he has a watch, while the one in Koh Pich has dollars. ‘Time is money’…
This images were taken between early 2012 and March 2015, but my first visit was in 2009. It is as distant as a childhood memory. The first constructions, like Elite Town, already look outdated compared to the serious, Singapore-inspired buildings that are under construction these days. There used to be a water park, but only the dilapidated gate remains. A brand new ruin.
Koh Pich might seem weird or exaggerated, but in fact it is just a perfect mirror to where our society is heading to. It may be a completely artificial place, but there is a mix of recklessness and naivety that you encounter so often in this part of the world. It is not as weird as one imagines at first sight, it is just less hypocritical; people want to have fun and money, period.
One could write long analysis about the names of the streets. Elite Road, for example. Or the last housing society ‘La Seine’ which wants to refer to Paris, to its luxury and lights, but nevertheless refers as well to the ex-colonialists. You can also find Harvard, Princeton or Yale road, and it is scary to imagine that most of the people are not aware of the total irony of those names.
I don’t speak Khmer but I would love to know how the hundreds of workers perceive what they are building. The island is a dead-end, the amusement park is a dead-end. But there are moments of tenderness, young love, and children at play. A recent addition to the island’s numerous characters, a well-sized concrete pig who could be both a kind of guardian angel and a nasty voyeur, may tell you more. (Text and Pictures by Marylise Vigneau)
Marylise Vigneau is a documentary photographer from France and has been mainly documenting life in Asia focusing on cities and on what time and development or isolation do to them. A mix of her “Koh Pich” and “Phnom Penh of the Future”, edited by Françoise Callier, will be screened in the next Angkor Photo Festival: http://angkor-photo.com
Dave Tacon has focused his lens on the glossy decadence of Shanghai, which is undergoing a boom in wealth and self-indulgence not seen since the 1930s. Dripping with diamonds, and partying to excess, the young elite of Shanghai is shown dancing the night away in nightclubs that they were previously banned from entering.
“I suppose I’m attracted to cities with bad reputations,” says Dave. “Before I first visited Shanghai in 2010, I read the book Shanghai: The Rise and Fall of a Decadent City by Stella Dong. This inspired me to see if there are any connections between the hedonistic Shanghai of the past and the Shanghai of today.
“I always had my camera with me when I went out in the evening and was interested in shooting the Chinese club scene as social documentary, rather than as stereotypical event photography of grinning, posing partygoers. I wanted to give the feeling of being an observer within this theme park of hedonism.”
Most of Shanghai’s luxury nightlife still takes place around the Bund, the city’s historic waterfront built during a century of colonial rule. By the 1930s, the swampy port of Shanghai, divided into British, French and international concessions – each exempt from Chinese law – had grown into one of the world’s most famous skylines. It was largely built with drug money from the opium trade, and the price paid by the Chinese was humiliation and exploitation.
Dave’s extensive collection of images seems to capture the bygone era of debauchery, and mingles it with today’s celebrations of excess. Bright bubblegum colours and reportage-style captures of fleeting expressions make the viewer feel as if they are glancing into worlds within bubbles – frozen moments of nightclub frenzy. But the challenges of taking the photos were many.
Dave Tacon is a Shanghai-based photographer and writer. He is the 2012 winner of the Walkley Award for Best Freelance Journalist of the Year and a two-time finalist in Australia’s National Photographic Portrait Prize. His work has appeared in such publications as Rolling Stone, Newsweek, Wall Street Journal, CNN, Al Jazeera. GEO, Stern, Der Spiegel and many more. He is available for assignment throughout Asia.
In May 2015, hundreds of refugees from Myanmar arrived in Aceh Province, Indonesia. Some of them found their own way ashore while most were rescued at sea by Acehnese fishermen. They have been given urgent humanitarian assistance by the Indonesian Government and local communities in different parts of Aceh, including Lhoksukon, Kuala Cangkoi, Kuala Langsa, Bayeun, and Kuala Simpang.
Fauzan Ijazah, also known as Yo Fauzan to his friends, is a photographer/ photojournalist currently based in Indonesia. His work appeared in many publications, The New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Global Post, BBC, National Geographic Documentary, Associated Press (AP), NPR, The Guardian, Politiken, PDN, New Internationalist, Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, Devex, L’Express, STERN, among others.
He also has been working on photo assignments for organizations like Save The Children, International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC), Norwegian Red Cross, Canadian Red Cross, USAID, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Terre de Homes, Panos, Islamic Relief, HIVOS, World Bank, Plan International, Save The Children New Zealand, United Nations High Commisioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Each year, men and women leave Aneda’s province in Indonesia in their hundreds to hire out as migrant workers– for places as varied as Kuwait, Hong Kong and Singapore. Foreign lands offer what home cannot – an escape from poverty.
But the dream of earning money abroad often goes awry. In order to leave, most take on large debts during the recruitment and training stage. These debts later create the conditions for a pliable workforce – willing to work long hours but afraid to complain about exploitative conditions.
Problems are especially acute for female domestic workers, who work in private residences and who make up the majority of Indonesia’s 6.5 million migrants. According to the ILO, up to 80 per cent of these domestic workers endure isolation, underpayment, long working hours, forced labour, human trafficing and violence.
Dreaming Singapore’ investigates the movement of migrants from Indonesia to Singapore, one of the busiest migratory pathways in Southeast Asia.
It follows three different women at various stages of their journey: from training centres in Indonesia, to daily life in Singapore, and finally the return home.
Published on RUOM, an organic collaboration between photographers, journalists, videographers, and researchers, drawn together by a passion for social documentary work.
As a dive guide and underwater photographer you live in the water. It’s your job to dive almost everyday, in all sorts of conditions. While working on a live aboard dive vessel in the Similan Islands National Marine Park, off Thailand’s west coast, there was one site in particular that had it’s own personality amongst the crew.
Named Tachai, it is a series of pinnacles, rising from the bottom over 60M deep, to near the surface, slightly offshore between the Surin Islands in the North and the Similan Islands in the South. It’s one of the most popular stops for dive operators in the marine park and renowned for it’s marine life encounters and varying conditions. Offshore winds and swell can make for difficult entries and exits, along with strong currents in between the pinnacles. Off the boat and down a wavering buoy line to 16m quickly, without much visual reference, is the preferred method. Whenever we dived at the site, the whole crew was extra vigilant.
I had the opportunity as the vessels staff photographer, to dive the area many times over the season and to witness how significantly it can change from one day to the next. I experienced that the ocean comes alive when the weather turns, and as night approaches and learned it was a privilege we don’t often experience. This provided an understanding of how delicate the balance is between our marine life and their environment. The photographs are encounters and behaviors I witnessed at those times, when the currents were strong, the weather gloomy or after dark.
The sobering news is that this region, like most of the ocean, is in serious peril. It faces an onslaught from a number of angles – pollution, overfishing, lacking resource management, political instability. Conservation has become a necessity. In what took hundreds of hours and a season to capture, could have been seen on a single trip, just a decade ago. The agreed view is that our ocean’s are approaching critical condition. Our megafauna are vanishing – sharks, rays, turtles, tuna, along with base of the food chain, the small planktonic plants and animals, that support the system as a whole. Climate change is fostering conditions that are causing the acidity in our oceans to increase.
Although not visible, this change is so significant that entire eco-systems are affected and species are disappearing. All the animals depicted rely directly on these planktonic creatures to survive. This area attracts life because of the nutrient rich currents that rise from the deep and wash over it’s pinnacles. They represent the result of a cycle, that begins with the sun, descending to the bottom and returning with life from the depths to nourish and sustain.
All pictures and text by Grant Stirton. Visit his website to see more pictures:
Grant Stirton is a Canadian photojournalist based in Toronto, specializing in underwater and adventure. He is a passionate conservationist and has focused on issues looking at how people, marine life, environments and culture intersect.
The province of Xinjiang (« new frontier » in chinese) is located in the far western region of China, it is the biggest province of the country and it is bordering 8 other countries such as Tajikistan and Afghanistan or India and Mongolia. Xinjiang has a long history of discord between China’s authorities and the Uighur ethnic minority. The Uighurs of Xinjiang are one of 55 minorities in China and they are ethnically and historically closer to the Muslim Turkic group of Central Asia.
As Xinjiang is a significant source of raw material and energy (40% of China’s coal), the central governement of China has been working hard on controlling and exploiting the resource rich Xinjiang by establishing a tight social, cultural and religious regulation system and by resettling millions of eastern Han chinese (the ethnic majority in China) into the wild western region of Xinjiang. It is called the « Go west » campaign.
Raphaël Fournier: Born 1978, Paris, France. After completing a Master’s degree in linguistics, Raphaël taught French in the U.K., Hong Kong and in mainland China before turning to photography in 2008 after an internship at Time magazine photo department. He currently resides and works in Paris after several years spent in Asia and more recently a year in Turkey, two countries on which his focus remains strong. Raphaël also developped a significant interest for urban related issues and developments.
Delighted to introduce AsiaJournalist.com, an online magazine created with the objective of promoting and showcasing media stories and news related to Asia. Updated on a weekly basis, this work-in-progress blog features photo and multimedia essays, schools, festivals, newspapers, as well as articles about Asian topics.
The blog is accepting submissions and proposals for new stories, ideas, links, facts, information, etc to make the experience more comprehensive.