Catching flux

first_imgAustralian photographer Stephen Dupont has spent years documenting dissonance.Dupont began working in Papua New Guinea in 2004, spending time with the gangs of Port Moresby, the nation’s capital and one of the world’s most crime-ridden cities.More recently, in 2011, Dupont traveled around the country, documenting a culture in transition as a Robert Gardner Fellow in Photography from Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. The fellowship, which supports a documentary photographer in an in-depth endeavor examining “the human condition anywhere in the world,” was created by documentarian and author Gardner in 2007.Dupont’s project examines the impact of globalism and the creep of Western lifestyles into a nation where traditional ways have long held sway.Dupont has long been interested in the clash of cultures. Living in Australia, he was first drawn to Papua New Guinea after two friends, a filmmaker and a photojournalist, traveled there. During his fellowship year, he focused on three areas: Port Moresby, a melting pot of the nation’s many tribes, rife with modern urban problems including crime, slums, unemployment, and AIDS; the fishing communities along the Sepik River, the country’s longest; and the tribes of the remote highlands, whose rugged terrain and isolated valleys still provide some insulation from the outside world. He took thousands of images using five different photographic formats, including Polaroid film and large-format, 4-by-5 cameras.Dupont’s work is on display through September at the Peabody Museum. The exhibition features diaries and large images that take the viewer to a country in flux, and also chronicle daily life — mothers sitting with their children, people dashing for shelter from a sudden downpour, a rugby team praying together before a match.The images hold echoes of Australia’s influence on the lowlands and the highlands’ eroding traditions. Dupont, who will participate in an online “webinar” on his work on June 27, found fertile ground at Sing-Sings, cultural events created by colonial authorities as a way to get highland tribes to interact peacefully. The events, which Dupont described as “tribal Woodstocks,” draw thousands to observe and participate in tribal dance, singing, and other competitions.To document the Sing-Sings, Dupont set up a portable portrait booth, using black or white sheets as backgrounds to isolate the subjects. But instead of using physical supports to hold the backdrop, Dupont had bystanders hold up the sheet. He then pulled back the frame to include the helpers around the edges. Where a portrait against a neutral background might be taken anywhere in the world, this technique allowed him to incorporate the flavor of the setting within the images.The Sing-Sing pictures show the subtle — and sometimes not so subtle — intrusion of Western influence into what is intended to be a traditional tribal display: one woman wears a white brassiere with otherwise traditional garb, while a man wears a drum made from a large plastic container on a sling around his neck.Dupont said the Sing-Sings have visibly changed since his first visit to the country in 2004. In addition to the Western items working their way into people’s dress, advertising is everywhere, with Digicel, the country’s leading mobile phone carrier, surpassing even Coca-Cola.“I was there in 2004 and there was far less advertising there,” Dupont said. “How will this look in 10 years’ time?”To get a sense of how people dress while away from the competitions, Dupont visited a traditional tribal area in the southern highlands. But a nearby liquid propane plant had brought in roads and infrastructure and moved people off their land. While some older people maintained traditional dress, most of the younger people wore Western clothes, adorned with a lone piece of traditional jewelry.“It’s the death of their culture. How long will it be before it’s completely gone?” Dupont asked.He may be around to find out. Though he has already done a lot of work there, the intersection of globalization and traditional culture is a rich subject area, and the diversity in Papua New Guinea means there’s still plenty to do.“New Guinea has really gotten into my blood,” Dupont said. “I feel as if I’ve only scratched the surface.”last_img read more

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Ferdinand hungry for more medals

first_imgRio Ferdinand will never be content with his massive medal collection. Ferdinand is about to embark on his 12th season at Manchester United, knowing his testimonial against Sevilla on August 9 will be the first game of the David Moyes era to be played at Old Trafford. With six Premier League titles, a Champions League and two League Cups to look back on after 432 appearances for the Red Devils, Ferdinand has every reason to be satisfied with himself. He is not though – not when he shares the same dressing room as Ryan Giggs. “I’m not happy with what I have won, not when I can look around at people in the changing room and know they have got more than me,” he said. “You always aim for the people above. That is what I did the day I walked through the door. I looked around and saw people with three, four, five titles and thought ‘I want to have that’. You set yourself targets all the time. I am never going to sit in that changing room and think ‘I am happy with what I have done’.” With Paul Scholes now retired, Ferdinand only trails Giggs in the medal stakes. Yet there are plenty just behind, including Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra, Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick, who have all been involved in the last five title-winning campaigns. Even Jonny Evans has three, underlining the vast disparity in trophies between the United players and their new manager. Yet rather than intimidate Moyes, Ferdinand feels it will be an advantage to the Scot, who must navigate a particularly difficult start to the campaign whilst getting to grips with what many view as the impossible task of replacing Sir Alex Ferguson. “The new manager is going to want to put his own imprint on the team. That is what you would expect as players. We are open-minded to that,” he said. “But hopefully the fact he has got people in there who know how to get the job done will give him a little bit of time. The team can be on auto-pilot, with the manager just tinkering with things to make sure it is done in the right way. “If we need to change tactics, that is when the manager comes into his own, with whatever training methods he wants to use. In terms of going out on a Saturday and getting games won, a lot of us have been doing it for years. That is why we have been here for so long and won so many things.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

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M-DCPS Reaches Agreement with Teachers Union

first_imgReferendum eligible full-time instructional personnel, as defined by Section 1012.01, Florida Statutes, will benefit from: •         An average of 15.3 percent retirement-accruing supplement “Despite the economic challenges this country is facing, Miami-Dade County Public Schools is once again demonstrating its unwavering commitment to teachers with an agreement that honors their work in and out of the classroom,” said Schools Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho. “Through the supportive leadership of our School Board, we are able to provide our educators with a long-term solution that offers them peace of mind during these uncertain times.” School support personnel ineligible under the referendum will receive a three percent salary adjustment. Today, Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) reached a tentative agreement with the United Teachers of Dade (UTD), which highlights the District’s appreciation for its educators. •         An increase to all unit teachers whose base salary is below $47,500 to ensure their new base is above the new starting salary of $47,500 Today’s agreement with the UTD continues to establish how funds raised by the voter-endorsed Secure Our Future Referendum, and contingent on the Governor’s approval of the Teacher Salary Increase Allocation, will benefit educational staff at M-DCPS.  Schools Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho bumps elbows with UTD President Karla Hernandez-Mats after a tentative agreement is reached. •         A 2.0 – 4.33 percent increase overall (referendum and base) compared to 2019-2020 •         A new minimum teacher starting salary of $47,500 •         A 2.5 percent stipend “Our hardworking educators are the backbone of our school system, as evidenced by their dedication to providing a seamless transition to online learning this school year. It is our duty and responsibility to ensure they receive the compensation package they so justly deserve,” said School Board Chair Perla Tabares Hantman. All employees will be offered the Employee Benefit Program of three open access plans, one of which is provided at no cost to employees. The agreement will go to the union’s membership for ratification and to the School Board for approval.last_img read more

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