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Professional photographers and amateurs around the globe are invited to participate in the Alfred Fried Award 2017 (@alfredfriedaward). In partnership with UNESCO, the Photographische Gesellschaft (PHG) in Austria and Edition Lammerhuber, this award annually recognizes the world’s best photograph depicting peace. The five finalists will be invited to Vienna, Austria. There the winner will be announced and receive €10,000. In past years the winners received their honors from the hands of Nobel Peace Laureates. The winning photograph will be displayed at the Austrian Parliament for one year before it becomes part of the Parliament’s permanent collection.

For the first time this year, children aged 14 and under can enter the separate Children Peace Image of the Year Award, where the winning image will receive € 1,000. The entry deadline is June 4, 2017. All entries are free of charge.

As a permanent member of the jury, I was happy to see my former assistant, Arthur von Beveren (IG @arthurvanb or arthurvanbeveren.com, become a finalist in 2015. The photograph above is from his entry Regelbau, a study of German WW2 bunkers along the Atlantic coast.

For more information visit www.friedaward.com.

Fukushima Anniversary

March / 10 / 2017

The Long Shadow of Chernobyl - Chernobyl Cleanup: No End in Sight

The renowned British newspaper ‘The Independent’ recently reported that the robots sent into Fukushima for cleanup are “dying” at a rate five times higher than expected. Although designed to survive in highly contaminated areas, large amounts of radioactive material are eating away at the robots wiring – rendering them useless. Read the full article here.

Six years ago, on March 11, 2011, Japan was hit by one of the most severe earthquakes in recorded history. In the subsequent tsunami the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant suffered serious damage that led to several meltdowns in the nuclear reactor releasing large amounts of radioactive materials. It was the largest nuclear accident since Chernobyl.

The news of the robots’ malfunction reminded me of the several times I went into the ill-fated Chernobyl reactor – deeper than any Western still photographer. I had described the harrowing experience in a Proof post on National Geographic a couple of years ago, see it here.

My 20 years covering the aftermath of the Chernobyl catastrophe resulted in the book and iPad App ‘The Long Shadow of Chernobyl’. The app is available from the iTunes store here.

To order a signed copy of my award-winning book The Long Shadow of Chernobyl, go to the store on my website here.

You can also follow me on IG @gerdludwig, where I quite frequently publish images from my forays into Chernobyl.

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National Geographic Magazine just published a gallery of their 52 best photographs of 2016. The images were selected from 107 stories by 91 photographers and out of over two million photographs. Gerd Ludwig’s opening image of his recent story, The Putin Generation, published in the December issue of the National Geographic Magazine leads the selection.

It shows Kirill as he perches on a cornice in Moscow while his friend Dima gets the shot. The 24-year-olds are prominent members of the city’s death-defying “roofer” community, also called skywalkers. They scale Russia’s highest buildings, without safety gear, often entering illegally, bypassing security and using whatever tools necessary to reach their destinations.

You can see the full gallery here.

To see more images from the Putin Generation click here.

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The internationally respected daily German newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, dedicated an entire page to Gerd Ludwig’s long-term project and recently published book, “Sleeping Cars” and includes a six-image selection. With over a quarter of a million copies sold daily, FAZ has the widest circulation of any German daily papers.

In Los Angeles County there are more than seven million registered vehicles. But where do all those cars go to rest? During nightly forays Gerd Ludwig noticed the many covered cars in Los Angeles. They command their own space and enjoy showing off a near architectural presence. A few years ago Gerd Ludwig started to photograph these sleeping cars that wear their covers like nightgowns; some that take afternoon naps or those which sleep in the nude – and a few lucky one that get to sleep together.

See the full article here.

Signed copies of “Sleeping Cars” are available for purchase here.

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Gerd Ludwig was recently interviewed by Alex Kronenburg, journalist for the blog at image management software company FotoWare. The interview spans most of Gerd’s career, elaborating on how he discovered his love of photography, the first assignments at National Geographic, his work in Chernobyl and involvement with The Photo Society.

You can read the full interview here.

Gerd Ludwig on Deutsche Welle

February / 10 / 2017

The Long Shadow of Chernobyl

As 2016 came to a close, Gerd Ludwig sat down with Deutsche Welle journalist Lena Nozizwe in his home in Los Angeles for an interview. They first discussed the origins of his connection to Russia and how he began photographing the fall of the Soviet Union and other stories for National Geographic Magazine. The interview ends with Gerd describing his recent exhibition and book project ‘Sleeping Cars’.

You can listen to the full interview here.

The Putin Generation

December / 22 / 2016

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Gerd Ludwig’s recent National Geographic story, The Putin Generation, was published in the December issue of the US edition of the magazine and several of National Geographic’s foreign language editions.

Young Russians in their mid twenties were barely 10 years old when Vladimir Putin became prime minister in 1999. By now a whole generation of young Russians has known nothing but his leadership. Their lives have been shaped by economic expansion, autocratic rule, social media and a revived sense of nationalism. They are children of his system, in Russian described as pokolenie Putina, the Putin Generation.

To see images from the story including some unpublished materials, click here.

Sleeping Cars

Gerd Ludwig was interviewed by Christoph Stockburger of Spiegel Online about his new book Sleeping Cars published by Edition Lammerhuber. The large format photo book is being released in Europe in the middle of December and in the US at the beginning of January.

In the article, Gerd shares background information on his Sleeping Cars project and the inimitable connection the cars have to Los Angeles, his home for the last 20 years:

“When working for National Geographic, my documentary-journalistic photographs aim to touch the soul and broaden the mind. In Sleeping Cars I am searching for vehicles that spark emotions. My late night scenes of cars sitting alone on streets in the dead of night possess an inherent mysterious quality, and bring to mind a forgotten movie set of a film noir, both so intrinsic to Los Angeles.”

Read the full Spiegel Online interview here.

To preorder the book in the US click here, in the EU here.

Chernobyl 2013

More than 30 years after Chernobyl reactor #4 blew up, causing the world’s worst nuclear disaster to date, the failed power plant is quickly disappearing from sight. A few days ago, workers began moving a new giant shield to cover reactor #4 along with the so-called sarcophagus, a hastily erected steel and concrete structure that was meant to seal in the smoldering radioactive remnants but is now structurally unsound and leaky. Chernobyl’s new shield, named the New Safe Confinement (NSC), is the largest moveable land-based structure ever built. Read more about the NSC here.

You can learn more about the Chernobyl catastrophe from my book and iPad app, which resulted from decades of covering the aftermath of the disaster: “The Long Shadow of Chernobyl,” available here.

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C40 is a network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change. This year, Mexico City has been selected to host their 6th bi-annual C40 Mayors Summit.

In support of environmental sustainability, the Lucie Foundation is presenting a photographic exhibition on climate change. Originally curated by Susan Baraz and Hossein Farmani for the UN Climate Conference in Paris, this photographic exhibition brings together a group of photographers who have spent a large portion of their careers addressing climate change. Along with revered colleagues such as James Balog, Joel Sartore, Ed Kashi and others, Gerd Ludwig is participating in the exhibition.

The show is on view from November 30, 2016 – January 11, 2017 at the Chapultepec Park in Mexico City.

More information here.

Moscow At Night

This month, Gerd Ludwig was interviewed by David Walker, Executive Editor at PDN, about his upcoming lecture “The Invisible Strobe – Updated” at next month’s PhotoPlus Expo in New York City.

In Walker’s video, he explains how he incorporates small, handheld flashes into his photos to create an evenly balanced look in the final photograph. The lecture follows the release of the German edition of minus 2/3: The Invisible Flash by dpunkt.Verlag and precedes the release of the US edition by Rocky Nook, scheduled for this December. Watch the full video here.

Registration is still open for “The Invisible Strobe – Updated.” The first 100 people to register through the link below will receive 20% off. Register here.

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Gerd Ludwig’s German edition of his new book “Minus 2/3 Reportage- und Straßenfotografie mit dem unsichtbaren Blitz – Eine Meisterklasse” will have its official launch this week at PhotoKina.

More than 20 years ago, he began incorporating small handheld flashes into his photography with the aim of creating an evenly balanced look in the final photograph. These small flashes also alleviated the burden of carrying heavy equipment and allowed him to be flexible and inconspicuous when moving around in the field. Over the years, he has refined his use of small flash to hone his technique even further. The flash appears so subtly in the final image that it is easily mistaken for natural light — hence an invisible flash.

A book signing is scheduled for 11am this Saturday, September 24 at the dpunkt.verlag stall, located at Hall 4.1 Booth C27/D24. We hope to see you there!

Pripyat, Ukraine

Gerd is honored to be stepping in for Jim Brandenburg in connection with his exhibition “A Pristine Vision” at this year’s PhotoKina in Cologne, Germany. Jim is an internationally renowned film maker, National Geographic photographer, environmentalist and has published numerous best sellers.

In Jim’s words:
“This week National Geographic Germany is sponsoring my retrospective exhibit ‘A Pristine Vision’ at Photokina, the world’s premier photo expo in Cologne, Germany. My plan was to do a presentation on Thursday, Sept. 22, but after climbing on a glacier recently in the Swiss Alps while filming for a new movie, an injury progressed into the need for a minor medical procedure which prevents international travel. I will share more about the new movie later. Gerd Ludwig, a National Geographic colleague with much experience and many stories will be filling my time slot.”

Gerd’s talk and image presentation titled “Winds of Change” will be held this Friday, September 23 at Passage 4/5 Stand A 31, beginning at 8pm. The presentation will follow an awards presentation for National Geographic Deutschland’s ‘Photo of the Year’ contest that Gerd helped judge this summer.

More Than Just a Picture

September / 15 / 2016

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Titled ‘More Than Just a Picture’ – Hayden Sedar of SVPN Magazine interviewed former National Geographic Director of Photography Kent Kobersteen and Gerd Ludwig in anticipation of their upcoming workshop at The Center in Sun Valley, Idaho. Leading up to the workshop, Kent and Gerd will present a joint evening lecture.

Read the interview here.

More information on the workshop and lecture here.

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Capturing quality images at high ISO’s has not only opened up new avenues for shooting in natural-light, it also has turned handheld strobes into powerful lighting tools. For more than twenty years, Gerd Ludwig has been a master of using small TTL-flashes in unusual and unpredictable ways – to emphasize his message, offer a sense of place, maintain atmosphere, and create a personal vision, while simultaneously avoiding the obvious “strobe” look. He will show a wide range of potential uses, from utilizing strobes at high-speed sync in broad daylight to enhancing extreme long exposures at night by firing the flash(es) multiple times. Throughout the lecture he will share his secrets and show examples both from his personal projects and his many years of photographing on assignment for National Geographic. Finally, Ludwig will share his secrets to surviving in today’s marketplace, using crowd-funding, social networking and new media to get personal projects financed and seen by a wider audience.

Sponsored by Canon USA, the 2-hour seminar takes place at the Jacob Javits Convention Center on Thursday, October 20th, from 2-4pm.

For more information and to register: here.

PDN PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo is the most important event in the photo industry. Designed for professionals and advanced amateurs in the photographic and imaging industries, PDN PhotoPlus Expo showcases the latest advances in photography. Attendees are able to explore exhibits and attend a wide variety of photography and imaging seminars.” target=”_blank”>http://www.photoplusexpo.com/conference/conference-schedule.shtml

PDN PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo is the most important event in the photo industry. Designed for professionals and advanced amateurs in the photographic and imaging industries, PDN PhotoPlus Expo showcases the latest advances in photography. Attendees are able to explore exhibits and attend a wide variety of photography and imaging seminars.

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Gerd Ludwig is teaming up with former National Geographic Director of Photography Kent Kobersteen to teach a masterclass at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts from September 30 – October 5, 2016. They will also present a joint lecture the night before, on September 29.

Participants in the masterclass will be challenged to produce their very best work on subjects about which they feel strongly. Students will select a subject and shoot an essay during the week. The daily work will be critiqued by Ludwig and Kobersteen, and suggestions will be offered. In addition, Ludwig and Kobersteen will give presentations of their and other photographers’ work to make instructive points and to inspire.

Kent Kobersteen was Director of Photography and Senior Editor at National Geographic magazine from February 1998 until January 2005. He joined the National Geographic in 1983 as a picture editor. Kent currently conducts photographic workshops and lectures internationally on the philosophy, ethics, and business of photojournalism.

In the evening presentation on September 29, Gerd Ludwig will speak about several of his projects for the National Geographic Magazine and show his work. Kent Kobersteen will speak about the Geographic’s philosophy of photographic communication and present a show in which three National Geographic photographers show their work and talk about their working methods.

Lecture
Thursday, September 29, 2016
Cost: $10 members / $15 nonmembers
Information & tickets available here: http://sunvalleycenter.org/event-calendar/inside-national-geographic-kent-kobersteen-gerd-ludwig/

Masterclass
Friday, September 30 – Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Cost: $800 members / $850 nonmembers
Information & reservations here: http://sunvalleycenter.org/event-calendar/taking-next-step-advanced-photography-kent-kobersteen-gerd-ludwig/2016-09-30/

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Interviews and articles about Gerd Ludwig’s “Sleeping Cars”:

LA Times
National Geographic PROOF
Slate Magazine
Maclean’s Magazine
PDN
LensCulture
Wired
L’Oeil de la Photographie
La Mono Magazine (Spanish)
Pirelli

Video & Radio Interviews with Gerd Ludwig about “Sleeping Cars”:

Fahey/Klein Gallery
KPCC/NPR Take Two
Epson, “Print Your Legacy”

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With the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster approaching this April, The Long Shadow of Chernobyl will be exhibited at Galerie ZAHRADNIK in Prague from May 12 through July 10, 2016. 

Gerd’s captivating images of his nine visits to Chernobyl in 20 years tell tragic stories of the lives of the victims, the Exclusion Zone and the abandoned city of Pripyat – and he ventured deeper into the belly of the beast than any Western still photographer, repeatedly documenting the destroyed reactor #4, which will soon disappear under a New Safe Confinement.

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Gerd Ludwig will speak in conversation with Stern author Hans-Hermann Klare at the Körber Foundation in Hamburg, Germany, on April 7, 2016, just a couple of weeks before the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The event will focus on Gerd’s work in Russia and Chernobyl. A livestream of the lecture will be available for those unable to attend.

Gerd will share his experiences capturing the colossal changes since the dissolution of the Soviet Union to today. Resonating with a full scale of emotion, his images have garnered him distinction as the world’s foremost color photographer documenting the region. From the broken empire’s legacy of environmental exploitation, to the warp-speed economic transformation of Russia, Ludwig reveals a many-faceted people, by turns suspicious and sympathetic, greedy and generous, stoic and exuberant.

The Körber Foundation takes on current social challenges with its operational projects, in its networks and with cooperation partners, based on the principle that social development calls for critical reflection. Founded in 1959 by the entrepreneur and instigator Kurt A. Körber, the foundation is now active both nationally and internationally with its own projects and events from its locations in Hamburg and Berlin.

Information here: http://www.koerber-stiftung.de/koerberforum/programm/details/termin/fremder-nachbar.html

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Gerd Ludwig will be serving on the Jury for the Alfred Fried Photography Award for the third year in a row. The Fried Award is given annually by The Photographische Gesellschaft (PHG) in Austria and Edition Lammerhuber in partnership with UNESCO, the Austrian Parliament, the Austrian Parliamentary Reporting Association and the International Press Institute (IPI). The award recognizes the world’s best photograph on the theme of peace.

Submission for the award is free of charge and the submission deadline is June 1, 2016. The Alfred Fried Award Ceremony takes place this year on September 20. The winning photographer will receive an award of 10,000 euros, and the winning photograph will be displayed at the Austrian Parliament building for a year. At the end of the year, it will then be added to the permanent collection of the Parliament. Additionally, five photographers will be selected to receive the Alfred Fried Peace Medal.

For more information on the award and submission process, visit http://www.friedaward.com.

Above: Photographer Arthur van Beveren was one of the 2015 Alfred Fried Medal winners for his work “Regelbau.”

You can follow Arthur on Instagram at: @arthurvanb