Photographing Delhi’s Inner City Elephants

Due to a government ban, there are now only 13 of the animals left in the city, all microchipped and owned by a few families who mostly live together in unkempt fields under the same bridge.

Dev Hynes, New York, September 2014. Photo by Matthew Leifheit.

Dev Hynes, New York, September 2014. Photo by Matthew Leifheit.

Hobbes Ginseberg is a 20-year-old Los Angeles-based photographer who doesn’t want to make a big deal about their gender but prefers the pronouns she or they. They moved to Seattle after completing high school, and a year and a half after that followed their dreams to Hollywood. We met when I was in LA visiting artists on official VICE business last month, and I was immediately struck by Hobbes’s alert, inquisitive presence. After having known each other for no more than five minutes, we decided we should work together on an issue of MATTEmagazine to be released at the New York Art Book Fair this week at MoMA PS1, and went to the roof of the hotel, where I made the above cover portrait. I only had four frames left on my roll of film, but somehow each picture turned out to be interesting. Hobbes is someone who uses their self-image as their art, so this wasn’t actually that surprising. A mix of politically engaged self-portraiture in photography in the tradition of Catherine Opie, Cobain-scented soft grunge internet phenomena, and something indescribably glamourous and completely their own, Hobbes’s Selfies made me want to find out more about them.

VICE: How did you start taking pictures?
Hobbes Ginsberg:
 I used to do a lot of street photography. Taking pictures started for me on a trip to New York in the summer of 2010 and I had this “professional” point-and-shoot camera that I borrowed from a friend. I started taking photos of all the people I saw on the street who interested me visually. I had a vague idea of what street photography was at that point from deviantART, and on that trip I saw an exhibition by Henri Cartier-Bresson and some other old guy I dont remember. It took off from there. I did a lot of street work in Nicaragua.

When did you start taking pictures of yourself?
About two years ago I stopped shooting outside for a long time, and felt a need to turn inward so I just took a ton of selfies. It was easier for me to try new things that way. I borrowed some lights from the yearbook team at my school, and thats how I first got into studio work.

What kind of role does taking pictures of yourself play in your life?
In terms of my oeuvre, most people care the most about my selfies, and its what cemented my current aesthetic. It also the work I make that is the most cathartic for me. I get into these moods where I feel really shitty, and the way to fix it is to take photos.

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The Ballad of Bimbo the Deer
Nearly two years ago, a reclusive 70-something-year-old named Janet Schwartz was devastated when the law threatened to separate her from her domesticated deer, Bimbo. Conservation officers arrived at her generator-powered plywood shack, plopped miles away from a remote Canadian tourist town called Ucluelet, with orders to take the then ten-year-old deer into their custody.
 
Janet was told she wasn’t allowed to keep her deer anymore because in this part of Canada, it is illegal to keep wild pets as animals. After weeks of stress and fear, Janet reached out to a few media outlets and told her story. She had rescued the deer when it was only a day old, after her neighbors found it lying in the grass near its mother’s dead body. She named the deer Bimbo after a Gene Autry song (“Bimbo Bimbo where you gonna go-e-o”). Janet had raised a buck years before, so her neighbors knew she could provide a suitable home for the fawn. Janet raised Bimbo on goat’s milk and fruits, allowing her to sleep at her bedside every night for the first two years, until she was strong enough to be tethered to a hut on the property.
 
Janet claims after hearing her story, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper reached out to her with a personal phone call to say, “the law will never touch you again.” And, faithfully, the authorities shortly after agreed the deer was not fit to survive in the wild on its own. Now, another two years later, Bimbo is 12 years old and still safely in the care of Janet, although confined to a muddy pen where wild animals such as bears and cougars are a possible threat. Janet takes special precautions at night, however, by allowing the deer to sleep in her living room.
 
“Bimbo comes right up to me to kiss me on the lips, like a man kisses a woman,” Janet told theCanadian National Post last year. “She does the same thing. She kisses.” She explained that their bond is very strong and that the deer is protective when threats such as aggressive dogs or intrusive visitors come her way. She also explained that they sometimes fight, and that the deer rears up and flails her hooves toward Janet in the heat of arguments. Later, Bimbo likes to bury the hatchet by “licking her to death.”
 
Until this year, Janet lived with a man named Mike, who also had a close relationship with the deer. But in recent months Mike has fallen ill, and is currently hospitalized for an indeterminate amount of time. Now Janet lives in the remote and spooky hills outside one of Canada’s biggest tourist destinations alone, with only her beloved Bimbo to keep her company.
 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Ballad of Bimbo the Deer

Nearly two years ago, a reclusive 70-something-year-old named Janet Schwartz was devastated when the law threatened to separate her from her domesticated deer, Bimbo. Conservation officers arrived at her generator-powered plywood shack, plopped miles away from a remote Canadian tourist town called Ucluelet, with orders to take the then ten-year-old deer into their custody.
 
Janet was told she wasn’t allowed to keep her deer anymore because in this part of Canada, it is illegal to keep wild pets as animals. After weeks of stress and fear, Janet reached out to a few media outlets and told her story. She had rescued the deer when it was only a day old, after her neighbors found it lying in the grass near its mother’s dead body. She named the deer Bimbo after a Gene Autry song (“Bimbo Bimbo where you gonna go-e-o”). Janet had raised a buck years before, so her neighbors knew she could provide a suitable home for the fawn. Janet raised Bimbo on goat’s milk and fruits, allowing her to sleep at her bedside every night for the first two years, until she was strong enough to be tethered to a hut on the property.
 
Janet claims after hearing her story, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper reached out to her with a personal phone call to say, “the law will never touch you again.” And, faithfully, the authorities shortly after agreed the deer was not fit to survive in the wild on its own. Now, another two years later, Bimbo is 12 years old and still safely in the care of Janet, although confined to a muddy pen where wild animals such as bears and cougars are a possible threat. Janet takes special precautions at night, however, by allowing the deer to sleep in her living room.
 
“Bimbo comes right up to me to kiss me on the lips, like a man kisses a woman,” Janet told theCanadian National Post last year. “She does the same thing. She kisses.” She explained that their bond is very strong and that the deer is protective when threats such as aggressive dogs or intrusive visitors come her way. She also explained that they sometimes fight, and that the deer rears up and flails her hooves toward Janet in the heat of arguments. Later, Bimbo likes to bury the hatchet by “licking her to death.”
 
Until this year, Janet lived with a man named Mike, who also had a close relationship with the deer. But in recent months Mike has fallen ill, and is currently hospitalized for an indeterminate amount of time. Now Janet lives in the remote and spooky hills outside one of Canada’s biggest tourist destinations alone, with only her beloved Bimbo to keep her company.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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'MATTE' Magazine Presents Ben McNutt

Check out Baltimore artist Ben McNutt’s queer perspective on wrestling in issue 24 of ‘MATTE’ magazine, available now.

Nasty Nails

Photos by Natalia Mantini and styling by Miyako Bellizzi.

An Objective Perspective – An Interview with VICE Photo Editor Matthew Leifheit Speaks 
Kathleen Hefty recently sat down with founder and editor of MATTE Magazine, Matthew Leifheit to get a unique perspective on independent publishing and curating. Not only does Leifheit produce each issue of MATTE largely on his own, he is also the photo editor of Vice Magazine and has an active photography practice. Since 2010, MATTE has dedicated each issue to one photographer; the current one—the magazine’s 23rd and largest yet—features photographer Rachel Stern. The following is a conversation on MATTE’s beginnings, what it means to be an “emerging” artist, and Leifheit’s exciting upcoming collaborations.
—————
Kathleen (Blonde Art Books): I think that the people that follow Blonde Art Books are really interested in gaining insight into the inner workings of small press publishers as well as individual artists’ and curators’ practices so thank you for taking the time. Can you tell me a little about MATTE magazine and how it began?
Matthew Leifheit: It started as a print publication; it was my college thesis. I went to the Rhode Island School of Design, and I worked with this agency one summer—a photo agency in New York— and it dealt with photography in a businesslike way, which is what they do. I feel like artists want to work with other artists, and I don’t think photography should exactly be sold as a product. I think there should always be something sacred about it.The program was very hands on. And especially now looking at [how] MATTE deals with emerging photography and so does Vice, and I feel like that’s like my area. So I pay a lot of attention to the schools. I think if I had gone to SVA or Parsons or something like that I would have come out of it with a much glossier portfolio and a lot more connections and stuff. But at RISD I learned to make things, which is important to me.
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An Objective Perspective – An Interview with VICE Photo Editor Matthew Leifheit Speaks 

Kathleen Hefty recently sat down with founder and editor of MATTE Magazine, Matthew Leifheit to get a unique perspective on independent publishing and curating. Not only does Leifheit produce each issue of MATTE largely on his own, he is also the photo editor of Vice Magazine and has an active photography practice. Since 2010, MATTE has dedicated each issue to one photographer; the current one—the magazine’s 23rd and largest yet—features photographer Rachel Stern. The following is a conversation on MATTE’s beginnings, what it means to be an “emerging” artist, and Leifheit’s exciting upcoming collaborations.

—————

Kathleen (Blonde Art Books): I think that the people that follow Blonde Art Books are really interested in gaining insight into the inner workings of small press publishers as well as individual artists’ and curators’ practices so thank you for taking the time. Can you tell me a little about MATTE magazine and how it began?

Matthew Leifheit: It started as a print publication; it was my college thesis. I went to the Rhode Island School of Design, and I worked with this agency one summer—a photo agency in New York— and it dealt with photography in a businesslike way, which is what they do. I feel like artists want to work with other artists, and I don’t think photography should exactly be sold as a product. I think there should always be something sacred about it.The program was very hands on. And especially now looking at [how] MATTE deals with emerging photography and so does Vice, and I feel like that’s like my area. So I pay a lot of attention to the schools. I think if I had gone to SVA or Parsons or something like that I would have come out of it with a much glossier portfolio and a lot more connections and stuff. But at RISD I learned to make things, which is important to me.

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Portraits from the Largest Flea Market in Prague

Portraits from the Largest Flea Market in Prague

We Talked Delayed Gratification with Photographer Eric Kim

Eric Kim is one of the most popular street photographers the internet has produced. His shots dominate Instagram and Tumblr, and his Youtube videos have lead to a dedicated following of fans. He’s a tech-head’s tech-head, one who also manages to take interesting, thoughtful street photos that are thankfully not of graffiti walls. He was recently in Australia presenting a series of workshops, so we thought we’d interview him and scam some free advice.  

VICE: This is your first time in Australia. Have you seen anything local photographers might underappreciate?
Eric Kim:
 Australia has the best light in the world for photography—number two is Istanbul. I don’t know if it’s because you guys have a wild ozone system… I think it’s because of the longitude and latitude. The angle the light hits, it’s really edgy—and the lights, the shadows, are absolutely incredible. Look at the work by Trent Parke. The light here is just phenomenal. You can’t get this anywhere else in the world.

So you mostly shoot film—is it practical, or are you a bit sentimental?
I started shooting film because I visited friends in Tokyo and everyone there shoots film. At first I’m like, “You’re all just a bunch of hipsters; why are you shooting film?!” I had my Leica M9 and thought I could shoot digital, use post-processing software, and make my shots look like film. It just seemed pointless to me. They’re like, “Nah, Eric, you gotta try it out.”

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