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

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


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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


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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.


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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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Though the thick mist did not lift all day long, people at a graveyard  in Amoeneburg, Germany ware tending to the graves of their loved ones.

This is an unpublished photograph from a story on the Grimm Brothers’ Fairy Tales I shot for @natgeo years ago in my native Germany.

In the early 1800s the Brothers Grimm published a book of fairy tales, largely gathered from storytellers in central Germany. Drawn mostly from oral narratives, their collection includes animal fables, rustic farces and religious allegories that mirrored a medieval worldview with prejudice, crudeness and barbarities. Echoes of the world-famous tales still resound in Germany, in its brooding castles, the gloomy landscapes and deep, dark forests.

@thephotosociety @natgeocreative #GrimmBrothers #fairytales  #Germany #Amoeneburg #fog #graveyard #weather


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A recent visit to Germany (see my earlier post of my hometown Alsfeld) caused me to dig up the story about the Grimm Brothers’ Fairy tales which I had photographed for @natgeo years ago.  In this photograph, a villager peers into the fiery mouth of the communal bake oven in Röllshausen, Germany.The traditional costume the woman wears in the photograph is still worn by a a handful elderly in every day life. Reminiscent of the tale of Hänsel and Gretel, in NatGeo the photograph was accompanied by this quote “Oh, you dear children, who has brought you here? Do come in, and stay with me. No harm shall happen to you. She took them both by the hand, and led them to her little house. Then good food was set before them, milk and pancakes, with sugar..”. In the early 1800s brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published a book of fairy tales that remains unrivaled to this day. It contains such indelible, but sometimes questionable tales as Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, and Cinderella. They are read today in more than 160 languages.

The two brothers, however, did not make up the tales themselves, but gathered them from a variety of storytellers across central Germany. Having grown up in the very region where the Grimm Brothers lived and worked, and having been enthralled since childhood by the setting of the tales, I had returned to Germany to see if I could locate reflections of my early fairy tale dreams. To my surprise I found traces of fairy tales in a series of timeless images from village life, the echoes of the past resounding from brooding castles to deep dark forests, from fire-lit cottages to crooked village streets.

@thephotosociety @natgeocreative #GrimmBrothers #fairytales  #Germany #rurallife


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During a recent portfolio review, while looking for an exemplary photograph of rural life in Germany, I found this older image from a story about the Grimm Brothers’ Fairy Tales I had photographed for @natgeo years ago. It shows a local butcher - hired for domestic slaughters by local farmers - cutting a huge chunk of fatty pork, while the granddaughter of the farmer is watching. One wonders, is she laughing or crying?

In the early 1800s brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published a book of fairy tales that remains unrivaled to this day. It contains such indelible tales as Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Hänsel and Gretel, and Cinderella. They are read today in more than 160 languages. The two brothers, however, did not make up the tales themselves, but gathered them from a variety of storytellers across central Germany.

@thephotosociety @natgeocreative #GrimmBrothers #fairytales  #Germany #domesticslaughter #rurallife


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The Russian city of Yakutsk is geographically located in Eastern Siberia - about 300 miles south of the Arctic Circle. Because of its extreme sub-arctic climate, it is often referred to as the coldest city in the world, with an average winter temperature of - 30ºF (-34ºC). The lowest temperatures ever recorded outside of Antarctica have been measured near Yakutsk at -96ºF (-71.2ºC). Some residents keep their cars running day and night throughout the coldest winter months, out of fear for not being able start them again if turned off.
@thephotosociety @natgeocreative @natgeo #Siberia #Russia #ArcticCircle #snow #winter #landscape


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A covered pickup rests on Chase Avenue in the Culver City neighborhood of Los Angeles. This is a photograph from my long-term project Sleeping Cars. Even after the publication of my fine-art photo book last year, I occasionally continue to photograph resting cars at night throughout the city of LA. Follow @sleepingcars to see more photographs from the project.

Cars are the blood in the veins of LA. They work all day, but where do they go to sleep? The vehicles I photograph rest against backgrounds of varying ambient light on the winding streets of the Hollywood Hills to the flat gridded suburbs of Greater Los Angeles. Nestled in the low-lying fog or mysterious side streets of LA neighborhoods, the vehicles begin to take on personalities of their own. Each car’s distinct surroundings create a different tableau that is meant to tempt the viewer to construct his/her own narrative behind each vehicle.

With voyeuristic pleasure I’ve spied on them in their nightgowns. Occasionally a proud car owner has asked me if I want them to move or uncover the vehicle for the photograph, but generally I don’t like them to disturb the cars in their slumber.

@thephotosociety @natgeocreative @natgeo #SleepingCarsBook #car #LosAngeles #California


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