Life-Size Photos of Real People used for Target Practice in USA

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Human photos of armed aggressors, overlaid with internal anatomy drawings (to help improve target practice), are just one form of many used in shooting galleries around the USA.
From Erik Kessels’ latest book, Useful Photography #011.

This bizarre and unsettling photobook reproduces lots of examples of how life-size photographic images of humans are used at shooting galleries for target practice throughout the USA. This photographic “art form” has been thriving for “decades” mainly in the States.

Dutch Publisher Erik Kessels says “Target practice in the US and this collection takes many forms. From masked intruders to terrorist invaders; from hostage situations to anatomy targets; from Osama Bin Laden brandishing a rifle to law enforcement officers brandishing a badge; from bombers to rottweilers. Find your favourite to force you to shoot and think.”

See and read more in LensCulture.

Photo portraits of eccentric beach-goers, with pride and dignity

Orchard Beach: The Bronx RivieraFrom Orchard Beach © Wayne Lawrence / INSTITUTE

Beach-goers near the Bronx in New York may look eccentric to many people. However, Wayne Lawrence’s portraits reflect the dignity and pride of a community standing in defiance of popular opinion.

Wayne spent six years making a remarkable set of portraits, soon to be published in a book and the highlight of an exhibition at the Bronx Museum. Read and see more in LensCulture.

Roger Ballen video: The Dark Side, Psychology, and Photography

roger-ballen-lensculture-contemporary-photographyBite © Roger Ballen

Roger Ballen’s photographs are dark, haunting, disturbing, bizzare, and difficult to forget. While we were moving much of our all-time favorite content from LensCulture to our cool new online platform, we came upon this articulate 10-minute video interview with photographer Roger Ballen. He’s both funny and serious, and very straightforward in the way he talks. Ballen is generous as he provides valuable insight into his unique approach to image-making, psychology in art, and more.


77 winning photographs: San Francisco International Photography Awards 2013


Ophelia © Renée Munn, Canada, 1st Place, Gold

Judging by the superb photographs in this exhibition — which come from photographers in 24 countries around the world— there is no doubt that the medium of photography is alive and well and thriving as a vital form of art in the 21st century.

As editor of LensCulture, I was honored to be the sole juror for this year’s San Francisco International Photography Awards. Here are the 6 top winners and 71 finalists: 77 great photographs.

Reviewing the entries for this international competition was a joy. I was delighted by the rich diversity of work submitted — not only in technique and subject matter — but in the range of artistic approaches with which photography serves as a universal visual language to communicate ideas, information, emotions and more.

From the thousands of compelling entries, what bubbled to the top is an eclectic mix, a truly subjective selection, but one that demonstrates the vibrancy of richly varied photographic practices across many genres from all corners of the globe.

Likewise, these award winning photographs prove that it does not require an expensive, “professional” camera to make award-winning work — these images include work made with old-fashioned alternative processes, hand assembled collages, large format film cameras, plastic “toy” cameras, the latest digital cameras and mobile phones.

What seems more important than photo equipment, is attaining a heightened way of seeing, and an ability to capture *that* in a compelling manner.

Each of these winning images benefits from careful viewing: the more you look, the more you will see and appreciate.


Welcome to the new LensCulture blog!

From the photo series Scenes from Life © Lucie & Simon

Now in our 10th year, we’re expanding our scope and vision at LensCulture!

We hope to delight you, often, with inspiring posts about how people are using contemporary photography around the world — in art, media, politics, commerce, propaganda and popular culture. Join us, and participate in our bold new vision to connect photographers and photography lovers via one great, dynamic platform.

Cheers, and please let us know what you think.

Jim Casper, founder and editor

Announcing the Winners: 21 New & Emerging Photographers from LensCulture

A new special issue of LensCulture features the award-winning work of 21 current photography students and recent graduates from around the world. It’s an amazingly rich, fresh, diverse selection — inspiring, informative and thought-provoking.

These 21 new & emerging talents were selected from many hundreds of serious photographers who sent in their work from 43 countries for the first annual LensCulture Student Photography Awards.

The winners represent new work from 11 countries.

 The 21 award-winning photographers for 2013 are:

Grand Prize Winner:
Maroesjka Lavigne

Honorable Mentions:
Alejandra Carles-Tolra

Alena Zhandarova
Benjamin Ziggy Lee
Carlotta Cardana
Daniele Pintore
Dayna Bartoli
Domenico d’Alessandro
Ilona Szwarc
Jeremy Underwood
Katerina Slesar
Konstancja Nowina Konopka
Marcella S. Davis
Michelle Norris
Mindaugas Azusilis
Nik Lee
Sabine Pearlman
Sara Marie Ramsøe
Sarah-Marie Land
Sergey Shubkin
Won Kim


Support the crowdfunding platform that supports photographers

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The brilliant crowdfunding platform for photographers and visual storytellers,, needs funding itself. They have hit that critical point in a start-up’s life cycle where they have proven the idea to work, but now they need to scale up to get to sustainability. Co-founder Tina Ahrens says, “With half a million dollars raised for visual journalism so far we know it works, but venture capital with a social spin is hard to come by.”

At a time when we all really need long-form visual storytelling — a genre that is dying quickly in the economically disrupted models of contemporary photojournalism, documentary photography, book and magazine publishing — the people at have stepped in with their own great ideas, and their own money, to help talented photographers connect with a geographically dispersed audience.

The individual funders who donate $10, $25, or more, truly appreciate the time, trouble, vision and perseverance required to do the research, planning, shooting and marketing to share important stories from around the world.

Photographers CAN make a difference in the world — and the community that joins together to raise some cash for those photographers make a huge difference too. We’re all in this world together, and smart, ethical, compassionate groups like deserve all the support we can offer. Please donate something today!