The problem with aggressively mining a single specific site for over a century is that it tends to damage to the local landscape a bit. In Kiruna, for example—a Swedish town that’s been exploiting its iron ore resources since the 1800s—a huge crack caused by extensive digging is now moving towards the suburbs and threatening to swallow up thousands of homes.
Shark fin demand has gone down so much in China, is it because people now understand how the industry works?
Chan: Yes! In the old days, nobody said where the sharks came from, where their fins came from. I think human beings, everybody has a good heart. When they see what’s happening, they stop eating, they stop buying.
We need education, day by day and month by month, to teach them. If we can use celebrities and famous people at the same time, we can correct and right things more quickly.
Can You Spot the German Army Snipers in These Photos?
If you’ve ever played Call of Duty Online, you’ll know that snipers are very sneaky bastards. But that’s the point. They hide in the distance, camouflaged in their surroundings, and pick you off before you’ve even realised they’re there. In real life, these highly trained marksmen are capable of surviving alone in the wilderness for weeks on end. They diglittle holes—or “nests,” as they call them—and hang out there for a bit before popping up and putting a bullet through someone’s skull from more than a mile away.
Artist Simon Menner was recently granted permission to spend some time with the German Army and its snipers. During the two occasions he visited, he captured the soldiers’ remarkable ability to blend into their environment, producing images that appear to be simple landscape shots until you look close enough to spot the barrel of a gun.
This is a common theme in Menner’s work, which often focuses on information and the ways in which it can be restricted and revealed. Other similar works include minefields in Bosnia, and the more recent book Top Secret (Hatje Cantz, 2013), an extraordinary collection of both ridiculous and shocking images from the Stasi archives.
Mossless in America: Sean Stewart
Brooklyn-based photographer Sean Stewart hails from the industrial city of Pittsburgh, PA. Stewart’s work is quiet and contemplative, and his subject matter is centered around contemporary American issues. His scenes depict everyday normalities: collapsed industry, identical prefabricated houses encroaching on sprawling plains, buses hastily pulling in and out of mall parking lots, and so on. But Stewart’s photographs are particularly arresting because they seem to be detached from the anxious mood these scenes elicit. They’re factual, clean, and seemingly objective, as if he is just hovering above them. We spoke with Sean about objectivity in photography, the decisive moment, and the importance of being part of a photographic community.
Is Australia Going to Kill the Great Barrier Reef on Friday?
The largest reef network in the world may be half dead, but Queensland, Australia needs jobs and Asia needs coal—and coal jobs trump everything. We’ll be reminded of this again on Friday, when the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority decide whether it’s appropriate to dump about 106 million cubic feet of dredged sand on the reef. This is part of a master plan to turn a smallish coal port named Abbot Point into the world’s largest, enabling it to single handedly process half of Queensland’s current coal output, which is also projected to be a third larger by 2030. With 64.6 percent (194.5 million tons) of Australia’s coal shipped out of Queensland in 2012, upping the state’s export capabilities is a priority, even though a bunch of mega-ports sit right next to the Great Barrier Reef. So do we dredge carefully, or do we dredge like we mean it?
Abbot Point is currently one of the smaller ports, about 15 miles north of Bowen and the most northerly in the state. It’s one of several lined up for expansion, but it was the first approved for dredging by Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt, back in December. There were a few ideas for disposing of the dredge spoil, including pumping it back to land, before it was decided that dropping it in the deep water amongst the reef was the way to go/cheap. Allegedly the sand will settle within 7-10 days and the coral won’t be affected, but the locals are up in arms, and according to Felicity Wishart from the Australian Marine Conservation Society, it’s for good reason.