IN THE NAME OF LOVE

IN THE NAME OF LOVE

Facing discrimination, Uganda's gay community is finding a voice, and Rachel Adams is there to tell their story

Rachel Adams

The world is changing fast. A half century removed from colonialism and a quarter century after the reign of Idi Amin, Uganda is facing all the challenges that come along with an underdeveloped economy and a legacy of political turmoil and sweeping tragedy. More recently though, one story caught the attention of the global community, which shed a troubling light on the tension within Uganda, between old and new ideas. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill, first proposed in 2009 by Member of Parliament David Bahati, represents a substantial threat to Uganda’s LGBT community on the whole, proposing harsh criminalization of homosexual behavior of any kind. In some versions of the bill, offences have carried with them proposed punishments such as life imprisonment and even the death penalty. It would be hard to imagine a more high-tension backdrop for ground level photojournalism than the one UK-born, Cairo-based photographer Rachel Adams has chosen to explore.

There’s something genuinely heroic about the kind of DIY journalism Adams does. With something as simple as a camera and a computer, Rachel’s been able to offer a glimpse into a world, and a set of issues of that might otherwise remain impenetrable. Of course, from afar, it’s the kind of situation that’s easy to moralize about in broad, sweeping terms. But for Rachel, watching from home hardly seemed like something she could do.

And so last year, Rachel found herself in Kampala, Uganda for a small, but momentous event in the history of the LGBT community there: their first pride parade. Through words and images, Rachel told the story of that day–all the way up to its unfortunate conclusion, which included several arrests by local authorities–and soon after attracted the attention of media outlets worldwide. Already, Rachel had captured a powerful moment, a snapshot of a community pushed to the fringes of their society, struggling to be heard, and to find a space in which to celebrate a fundamental piece of their own identities. Since then, Rachel has spent time in Uganda, documenting the issue from all sides, from an intimate portrait series of transgender performers in Kampala, to an in-person interview with Bahati, the man behind the infamous bill, published by Vice late last year. That her own safety and well-being has often been in jeopardy throughout the course of this project isn’t all that surprising, but it should give you an idea of her commitment to great journalism. Recently, I had the opportunity to ask Rachel about her experiences, in Uganda and beyond, and about the stories she’s been able to tell so poignantly.

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COLLABORATIVE PRACTICE

COLLABORATIVE PRACTICE

Transatlantic design duo Department International turn exercise to excellence

Department International

Given the platform we’re working on here, it probably wouldn’t surprise you if I told you how impactful the internet has been on my own creative potential. But honestly, it damn near astonishes me every day. In a strange way, we really have the world at our fingertips here–a vast continuum of dope shit to peruse and creatives to connect with. No partnership illustrates that better than Department International, the design firm and creative experiment founded by Brian Okarski and Bobby Singh, two graphic artists living on opposite sides of the Atlantic.

Forging a friendship and creative practice via the interwebs, NYC’s Brian Okarski and London’s Bobby Singh began their collaboration with a simple goal: creating something, anything, every day for 100 consecutive days, and sharing their favorite work online. As one might expect, all that practice eventually spawned a rather impressive collection of work, the kind that emerges out of close collaboration and a fruitful exchange of ideas. Psychedelic, warped color and stately typography quickly became staples of the iconic images and hypothetical magazine covers created under the Department International banner, and before long, that mass of recreational material caught the attention of those interested in harnessing Brian and Bobby’s keen aesthetic sensibilities. Among those impressed by DI’s output was our good friend Hassan Rahim, who recruited the duo for the latest in his Ghosting zine series, giving the duo the opportunity to curate a stunning collection of work from their contemporaries. Recently, I had the chance to touch base with Brian and Bobby and ask them a few questions about, among other things, where they’ve been, where they’re headed, and even the genius of Soulja Boy.

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FRANK OCEAN FOR BAND OF OUTSIDERS

FRANK OCEAN FOR BAND OF OUTSIDERS

Frank joins the Band for a candid collection of Polaroids

Frank Ocean

Today it seems as though few are surprised by the meteoric rise of Frank Ocean. I remember it was a Facebook post from Nic Nac that introduced me to the gem lying beneath Odd Future’s massive sphere of influence. A classic album, a poignant letter and a couple Grammys later and April 2013 Frank Ocean, quite frankly (pun intended), can do whatever the fuck he wants. For example, lending his likeness to the searingly relevant aesthetic of Scott Sternberg’s Band of Outsiders. Shot in a whimsical fashion by Sternberg himself outside the Los Angeles Times building, these Polaroid portraits place Frank on an illustrious list of creatives who have graced the pages of Band of Outsiders’ understated campaigns. From Jason Schwartzman to Kirsten Dunst, and now Frank, the Band reminds us that often, it’s not always about the clothes, but more so who’s wearing them.

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THICK

THICK

Exploring standards of beauty at home and abroad


Photography By Matt Blum

The other day, a girlfriend and I were walking the streets of Brooklyn when a young gentleman tapped me on the shoulder and told me I was a “thick ass white girl”. My girlfriend was immediately horrified and called his remarks rude, disgusting, and insulting. Her sticking up for me was lovely, but she was making me feel wrong for feeling flattered.

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THE ART OF CURATION

THE ART OF CURATION

Raise your hand if you've heard of Haw-lin. Some would probably label it "your favorite blogger's favorite blog," or something lightweight pretentious like that. But at its core, Haw-lin is a great resource for creatives. The brainchild of Nathan Cowen…

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HYENA MEN

HYENA MEN

South African photographer Pieter Hugo captures a unique partnership forged on survival

“Get it how you live.” It’s a phrase Benny Basic and the Big Tymers made prevalent in my life since the early 2000’s. Broadly speaking, more or less, it means do what you gotta do to make ends meet. Do what you gotta do to survive. The phrase comes to mind when examining the work of South African photographer Pieter Hugo, whose documentary work has shed light on one of Nigeria’s most extraordinary yet controversial business practices.

Pieter happened upon the traveling circus of Hyena handlers, known simply as “The Hyena Men”, after a cell phone photo of the troupe was reproduced in a South African newspaper. Provoked by the photograph, Hugo ventured to the city of Abuja, Nigeria to meet the group, traveling with them for a number of days to document their practice. The images he collected while travelling with the group tell a captivating story–a tale of tradition, economic strife and ultimately, survival. Read on for a look inside the world of the Hyena Men.

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TECHNO TUESDAYS

TECHNO TUESDAYS

Illustrator Andy Rementer lends his perspective on the unwavering marriage between man and machine

Look around you as you glare into your computer screen for the (insert large number)th consecutive day. If you’re anything like me, our somewhat troubling relationship with technology grows stronger by the day. It all happened so fast. Regardless, it seems as though, with each passing day, our dependency upon our phones and computers brings us farther from self-reliance, making our gizmos and gadgets more of a necessity than an accessory.

Luckily, there are those with skills that feel the same. Offering his clever perspective on this ever-evolving partnership, renaissance creative Andy Rementer has garnered global acclaim for his vibrant imagery. Penning colorful illustrations for global publications such as the New York Times and The New Yorker, while also collaborating with boutique mainstays like ONLY NY and Apartamento Magazine, it seems as though Rementer has managed to create his own distinguished aesthetic unto himself. While his personal site features much of his recent work, today we’d like to share with you Andy’s self made comic series, aptly titled Techo Tuesday. Combining Andy’s beloved illustrations with shrewd comic commentary on the role technology plays in our lives, Techno Tuesdays is a strip accessible to anyone living in the digital age.

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MOMENTS FROM A DANGEROUSLY CURIOUS EYE

MOMENTS FROM A DANGEROUSLY CURIOUS EYE

A brief collection of images from our first exhibition at Oakland Art Murmur

This past Friday was a special one. A stepping stone for us in our journey and a moment to remember for a number of reasons. If you’ve stepped inside a Wine & Bowties party before, with the exception of two, the intention more times than not has been to throw bangers. Complete, utter, unadulterated bangers. But this one was different. It wasn’t “crackin,” and it wasn’t going ham, per se. It was just settled, and it felt right. Somehow we brought the grown ups out, and also the kids, making myself, Will and some other 20-somethings the middle children within this eclectic night. It was kinda beautiful.

Many a thank you to go around for this event. First and foremost to Barry’s family for allowing us to share Barry’s work with a new audience. And also much love to the Scrivani family for providing us the space to hold our first art exhibition in Oakland, and the wisdom to help us do it right. To our friends and family who attended the opening, thank you for being a part of such a unique night. In the years to come we’ll look back and understand the significance of it all, but for now, let’s enjoy the moments that Barry captured in his time. A Dangerously Curious Eye runs from now until March 30th, and you can join us for the artist talk this Saturday from 4pm to 6pm at Warehouse 416.

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A DANGEROUSLY CURIOUS EYE

A DANGEROUSLY CURIOUS EYE

The story behind Barry Shapiro's iconic portrait of the edge of San Francisco

Barry Shapiro
Photography By Barry Shapiro

When I first cracked open the cover of Barry Shapiro’s A Dangerously Curious Eye, I was floored. I had been told, in brief, what to expect–essentially an extensive collection of black and whites, shot in Hunter’s Point and other San Francisco neighborhoods during the turbulent 1970’s and early ’80s. Had that been all I found, it still would have been entirely worth the read. But what I did in fact find, was something more than just photojournalism–something much more resonant, much more powerful. This was indeed a portrait of a community in all its complexity–sometimes Barry’s lens reflects heartbreaking poverty and sadness, other times, pride and exuberance. There were nudes and neighborhood scenes, kids playing and drunks boozing, and running through each shot, a sense that Barry had captured a moment unlike any other.

Here in this collection, alongside its value as historical document, we get a genuine sense of Barry’s personality, and his deep fascination with the edge. Before and after the decade he spent exploring one of San Francisco’s poorest and most marginalized neighborhoods, his work reflected a passion for telling stories that might not otherwise reach the surface. More than anything though, this collection captures his instinctive talent for identifying and preserving the moment. From the candor of those Hunter’s Point portraits to the momentary, drive-by glimpses afforded by his Through the Window series, there’s an almost preternatural sense of serendipity surrounding these images. Naturally, the story of how these images found their way to us, the audience, is a serendipitous one indeed. Read on to learn more about A Dangerously Curious Eye.

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FRUITS & VEGETABLES

Heidi Voet lends her perspective on the perception of beauty

A comical glance into the construction of vanity, beauty and health, Fruits & Vegetables is among Heidi Voet‘s most engaging works. Positioning images of naked women cropped from Chinese magazines alongside vegetables, the resulting work takes on new meaning on closer inspection. Cropping out the top or lower half of the photographs, and replacing the missing body parts with vegetables, the juxtaposition helps to relate Heidi’s commentary. As the organic vegetables age and rot, the falsehoods of enduring beauty and eternal youth perpetrated by the photographs are revealed. In a sense, a duality of timelessness and ephemerality is related powerfully through the work as the fresh vegetables visually complete the young bodies–though both are inevitably destined to fade. I sometimes wonder if pretty girls ever feel trapped by their beauty, but let’s save that conversation for another day.

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THE HEMLOFT

THE HEMLOFT

Software engineer turned carpenter Joel Allen's treehouse in the middle of the Canadian wilderness

Building a tree house is already an arduous task within itself. But building a tree house in the middle of the woods solo, in Whistler, British Columbia on government property might sound damn near insane to anybody–aside from Joel Allen, that is. A software developer turned carpenter, Joel ventured into the Canadian wilderness to construct an egg shaped abode with no electrical power in the fall of 2008.

After going broke in the wake of a botched retirement campaign at the ripe age of 26, it was a by-chance encounter with a true wilderness man that compelled Joel to set out on his own, living out of his car while seeking out adventure at every turn. Turned on to the art of “sports sleeping”–the competition of seeing who could sleep in the most outrageous environment outside of a bed–by a friend, Joel was soon inspired to create the HemLoft.

Keeping it a complete secret for nearly three years after its construction, Joel only began to reveal the house’s existence recently. The house itself, a product of the painstaking process of walking each tool and material into the woods, and then walking all of the excess waste back out, is a true a labor of love, and one that Joel isn’t looking to part with any time soon.

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CITY BY THE LAKE

CITY BY THE LAKE

Rio-based photographer Tiago Sperotto on his photographic journey back home to Porto Alegre

Photography by Tiago Sperotto

It was 2010 when I first connected with Tiago Sperotto. On the verge of being fired from my first post-college job as a barista, on my last day, Tiago approached me with a simple question. “Dude, do you know anyone that needs some photography work done?” It was a serendipitous question, as the Bowties, still in its infantile stages, was in dire need of a shooter to add to the team.

From there, the rest is history, although our journey is still only beginning. Lending his photographic skills to a number of shoots for us over the years, it was love that eventually brought Tiago back to his native country of Brazil in 2011, where he still lives today. Currently residing in Rio, but raised in Porto Alegre, Tiago’s most recent work showcases some of the gorgeous environs the city has to offer. Chatting about his upbringing in Porto, the city’s evolution, and the magic of Guaiba Lake, Tiago offered some insight into what makes Porto Alegre so special.

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