Gerd Ludwig@gerdludwig

National Geographic photographer, speaker, teacher, author of several photo books, most recently "minus 2/3" and "Sleeping Cars"

https://goo.gl/vLqScN

At the La Gacilly-Baden Photo Festival in Austria a visitor admires of a huge photograph by Paras Chandaria, depicting a giraffe in a nature reserve outside Nairobi, Kenya.

Until September 30th, photographers from all over the world show fascinating work in 35 outdoor exhibitions focusing on geography and the environment. Roughly 2000 photographs in total are displayed in an open air gallery of 2.5 miles length, transforming the gardens, alleyways and squares of the city of Baden into a picture city.

The festival La Gacilly-Baden Photo marks the beginning of a pan-European collaboration between the French photo festival @lagacillyphoto, the Austrian photographer and publisher Lois Lammerhuber and the city of Baden. In 2004, Jacques Rocher set up a photo festival in his birthplace of La Gacilly, Brittany. From his conviction that it is our duty to search for humanistic and sustainable concepts for dealing with nature and living together in peace, he has shaped the festival into an event combining photojournalism, documentary and artistic photography with social relevance. From now on - with a time delay of one year - the exhibitions will travel from La Gacilly, France to Baden, Austria.

@thephotosociety @paraschamdaria #Baden #Austria #photofestival #LaGacilly-Baden


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An alien landscape in Southern California. The mixture of extreme salinity, a high concentration of nutrients from agricultural run offs, algae pigmentation and pollutants turn the water in areas that were once part of the Salton Sea bright orange.  A victim of geography and hard-ball politics, the Salton Sea is California’s largest, most troubled lake. It lies 227 feet below sea level with no outlets and very thirsty neighbors, including a billion dollar farm economy in the bone-dry Imperial Valley, more than 100 golf courses in the adjacent Coachella Valley.

With two feeder rivers and no outlet, the water level depends on evaporation, which in return increases the Salton Sea’s salinity. Now a concern is looming. Already 30% saltier than the Pacific Ocean, the salinity in the Salton Sea is expected to further increase, potentially killing all of its life and turning it into a biologically dead sea.
Over the last 15 years I have made numerous trips to the Salton Sea, photographing for @natgeo, German Geo, for personal projects, and teaching photo workshops on location there.

@thephotosociety  @natgeocreative @natgeo #SaltonSea #California #environment


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From the shores of Southern California’s troubled Salton Sea.

As farmers let their fields go fallow in order to sell water to nearby towns, there is now limited agricultural runoff feeding into California's distressed Salton Sea. This decrease in the water supply was exacerbated by last year’s extreme drought conditions in California, leading to serious concerns about the lake's increasing salinity.
The seashore has receded significantly. The fish in the Salton Sea have been nearly wiped out due to oxygen-depleted waters. Massive fish die-offs struck for years with an estimate of 7 million (!!!) fish dying on a single hot day in August of 1999. Then the shoreline was littered with millions of dead fish which eventually rotted away.

Today the white shore of the Salton Sea is made up of a mixture dead barnacles, pulverized fish bones and some real sand.

@thephotosociety @natgeo @natgeocreative #SaltonSea #California #environment #barnacles


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An alien landscape in Southern California. The mixture of extreme salinity, a high concentration of nutrients from agricultural run offs, algae pigmentation and pollutants turn the water in areas that were once part of the Salton Sea into a bright orange color.
A victim of geography and hard-ball politics, the Salton Sea is California’s largest, most troubled lake. It lies 227 feet below sea level with no outlets and very thirsty neighbors, including a billion dollar farm economy in the bone-dry Imperial Valley, more than 100 golf courses in the adjacent Coachella Valley, and salt laden wetlands hosting a menagerie of wildlife in growing crisis.

With two feeder rivers and no outlet, the water level depends on evaporation, which in return increases the Salton Sea’s salinity. Now a concern is looming. Already 30% saltier than the Pacific Ocean, the salinity in the Salton Sea is expected to further increase, potentially killing all of its life and turning it into a biologically dead sea.

Over the last 15 years I have made numerous trips to the Salton Sea, photographing for @natgeo, German Geo, for personal projects, and teaching photo workshops on location there.

@thephotosociety @natgeo @natgeocreative #SaltonSea #California #environment


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The city of Astana - handpicked in the 1990s by President Nursultan Nazarbayev to be the new capital of Kazakhstan - “is brash and grandiose, and wildly attractive to young strivers seeking success” (John Lancaster). In just 25 years the place has become a futuristic city, risen from a forsaken landscape and post-Soviet rubble.  It has exploded in population and is now the country’s second largest city, home to more than 1 million people and an avant-garde architecture.
Baiterek monument and observation tower (in the far center) has become the symbol of Astana and was supposedly  sketched out by President Nazarbayev himself.  It is a modernistic representation of an old Kazakh myth, depicting the tree of life and a golden ball that symbolizes the a golden egg laid by the legendary bird, Samruk. However, some of Astana citizens jokingly call it 'Chupa Chups' because of its similarity to the popular lollipop. And the two golden towers housing governmental offices are often referred to as the Golden Beer Cans.

@thephotosociety @natgeo @natgeocreative #Astana #Kasakhstan #modern #architecture


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Photo by @williamalbertallard, “Buffalo in the Snow”

I am posting this image to support my dear friend William Albert Allard (aka Bill Allard) in his flash print sale of this amazing photograph. Bill is legendary as one of color photography’s most celebrated pioneers.
He wrote about this photograph: “Made in Yellowstone National Park in 1966, this image was part of my first essay I wrote and photographed for National Geographic. The image was taken while in a helicopter, and in this case, the buffalo seemed to challenge us as they plunged through the snow to face us. The combination of the deep snow and the downdraft from the helicopter and the swirling snow created an almost water-color like palette for my Kodachrome transparency.” Go to @williamalbertallard to purchase a signed print.

@thephotosociety @natgeo #buffalo #Yellowstone #flashprintsale #Kodachrome


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May 1st is known as International Workers' Day, Labor Day, or simply as May Day. It is a global celebration in honor of workingmen and women, recognized as a public holiday in most countries around the world.
When I photographed this scene in 1993 for @natgeo inside the Metallurgical Plant in Magnitogorsk - then known as the Lenin Steel Works - it was the world’s largest steel mill. Inside, workers had to withstand hellish conditions, being exposed to a variety of noxious gases, often without respirators. The fumes were then released into the environment without filtration. While the circumstances for workers in the plant in Magnitogorsk have greatly improved, millions of people around the globe are still forced to labor under dangerous, threatening and inhumane conditions.
@natgeo @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #worker #steel #plant #Magnitogorsk #Russia


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An eerie arrangement of dolls in an abandoned kindergarten in the Ukrainian ghost town of Pripyat inside the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

32 years ago, on April 26, 1986 reactor #4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant blew up. The radioactive fallout spread over thousands of square kilometers, driving more than a quarter of a million people in Ukraine and Belarus permanently from their homes. Even after Fukushima it remains the worst nuclear accident to date.

In 2011, the Ukrainian government legalized trips to the Chernobyl exclusion zone allowing it to become a disaster-tourism destination.The most riveting attraction for visitors is the ghost town of Pripyat: dolls are scattered in abandoned kindergartens, floors are rotting, paint is peeling from the walls, and gas masks litter evacuated schools.

However, Pripyat today bears less than honest witness to its abrupt abandonment as visitors and tour guides have altered its landscapecreating arrangements to be photographed close-up by countless cameras and phones.  The ever-falling chips of chalk from the ceilings have blanketed some of these scenes often creating the illusion for the next visitors that this is how the evacuees hastily abandoned the scene.  @natgeocreative @natgeo @thephotosociety #Chernobyl #nuclear #environment #disaster #dolls #tourism


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Since my first visit in 1993, I have been documenting the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear accident – the failed reactor, the contamination to the land, and the countless victims in the fallout regions.
As we are approaching the 32nd anniversary of the Chernobyl catastrophe, here is a photograph I took in 2005 on assignment for @natgeo. Oleg, 54, and Dima, 13, both suffered from thyroid cancer and received care at a thyroid hospital in Minsk, where thyroid surgery is performed daily. As a liquidator involved in the nuclear cleanup, Oleg was exposed to extreme levels of radiation. This was his third thyroid operation. Dima's mother blames the Chernobyl’s nuclear fallout for her son’s cancer, but Belarusian officials were instructed to downplay the severity of the radiation.
@thephotosociety @natgeocreative @natgeo #Chernobyl #nuclear #thyroid


158

In 2004, on assignment for @natgeo, I spent time with Leonard Knight, a former Vermont welder, handyman, guitar teacher and painter. The renaissance man’s folk-art masterpiece was his coloring and reshaping of the desert landscape using adobe, straw and thousands of gallons of donated paint. Since he began painting this mountainside near Niland in the early 1980s, his creation, "Salvation Mountain", has been visited by thousands of people. He has been recognized as an important naïve artist and the The Folk Art Society of America has declared his mountain a national folk art shrine. Ministers had asked to preach there, but Knight turned them down. “My mountain speaks good enough for itself’” he said. He passed away 4 years ago, but dedicated friends keep his life’s work alive. On Sunday I will take 10 workshop students down to California’s Salton Sea, an area I first encountered nearly two decades ago and where I returned to photograph over and over again ever since. Salvation Mountain will be one of our assignments.
@thephotosociety @natgeocreative #SalvationMountain #LeonardKnight #folkart #Niland #SaltonSea


72

Photo by Jonathan Bachman
Let me share this call for entry with all of you.
The Alfred Fried Photography Award is now open for submissions. You can send in your photograph/s before 27 May 2018 and show the international jury: What does peace look like? For the second time the Fried Award also calls for entries to the Children Peace Image of the Year for youngsters 14 years and under.

Entry to the Alfred Fried Award is free of charge!
The overall winner of the Peace Image of the Year will receive a cash price of €10,000. The photograph will be shown for one year in the Austrian Parliament and will be included in the permanent art collection of the Austrian Parliament.

The Children Peace Image of the Year will receive a cash price of €1,000.  The Special Award of the Jury for the best single picture entry will receive a cash price of €1,000.

The five best works of the Alfred Fried Photography Award and the winner of the Children Peace Image of the Year will be honored with the Alfred Fried Photography Award Medal, the photographers will be invited to attend the award ceremony in Vienna on 20 September 2018, with travel expenses and accommodation paid.
The photograph above by Jonathan Bachman (shared here with his explicit permission) was the winning entry in the single image category in 2017.
Follow the link on my bio for more information on how to submit.


57

Maria and her husband had returned home to their village inside the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone to live out their lives on a contaminated soil instead of dying of a broken heart in an anonymous city suburb.

It’s 40 roughly years ago that the Chernobyl nuclear power plant went first online, but it’s reactor #4 blew up in 1986 after operators botched a safety test. Of all manmade environmental catastrophes in human history, Chernobyl is considered to have caused the most lasting impact. Approximately 350,000 people were forced to evacuate after the explosion. But, disaster be damned, a couple of hundred elderly people have retuned. At first Ukrainian officials discouraged them, but they soon turned a blind eye, allowing them  to stay.  Recently, Ukraine’s minister of ecology announced that his country is talking to a multinational energy company about constructing a giant solar park inside the contaminated Exclusion Zone around the ill-fated reactor. Since my first visit in 1993, I have been documenting the aftermath of accident in dramatic photographs – the failed reactor, the contamination to the land, and the countless victims in the fallout regions, leading to my book and iPad app ‘The Long Shadow of Chernobyl’. @thephotosociety  @natgeocreative @natgeo #Chernobyl #Ukraine #returnee #radiation #contamination #disaster #nuclear #Exclusionzone


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