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This week’s editor

Alex Sakalis, Editor

Alex Sakalis is associate editor of openDemocracy and co-edits the Can Europe Make It? page.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

“Photography is nothing - it’s life that interests me”
- Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1952

We present original photography - from US troops in Afghanistan, Mumbai garbage collectors, to salt lakes in Bolivia - as a way of understanding the world through images.

To see all our slideshows click here. If you would like to submit any photography please email us

On the frontline: citizen journalism in Syria

As the Syrian civil war moves into its fourth year, citizen journalists have filled the gap left by professionals denied access to or evacuated from the most dangerous country in the world for working journalists. But they are painfully aware of the growing uninterest of the international media in the unending conflict.

Violence visited on Cambodian garment workers

Cambodian garment workers make around $80 a month, taking on long hours of overtime in harsh conditions. Now workers across the country are standing up for themselves to demand more—but the fight for a better wage in Cambodia is a dangerous one. At least four garment workers were killed this month during a crackdown on protesters demanding a decent wage from the government and international clothing companies. This video shows the workers who are standing up—and the violence consistently employed to keep them quiet.

Restoring history in China

The combined effects of dogmatic communism and rampant capitalism over the last fifty years have devastated much of China's unique architectural heritage. Edward Denison records in words and images the efforts to preserve what is left for future generations.

Photography for the majority world

Can the western media hegemony be broken? Charlie Devereux talks to Suvenda Chatterjee, director of the Drik photography agency, about a new photographic vision for the world.

Click here to disappear: thoughts on images and democracy

The privatisation of image-making and the manipulation of image-reception in the global, digital age combine to diminish agency and freedom, says David Levi Strauss.

Los Desaparecidos: rescuing real lives

A new exhibition explores one of the terrible legacies of Latin America's dirty wars – the forced "disappearance" of thousands of people across the continent. Rob Cawston reviews, plus, a slideshow of selected images.

Afghan revival

Amidst ongoing violence and fragile politics, how has independent reportage fared in post-Taliban Afghanistan? Charlie Devereux talks to world-renowned photojournalist Reza about his Kabul-based NGO Aïna and ambitions to construct a free Afghan media.

While Susan Sontag lay dying

As a writer Susan Sontag located herself behind her subject. After her death it is her personality that is memorialised. Angela McRobbie deciphers this use of a great intellectual's legacy.

Ethiopia: Digging for blue gold

For over twenty years Ethiopia has been plagued by a recurring food and water crisis. Photographer Carlos Reyes Manzo returns to the landlocked country and documents an all too familiar struggle.

Codename 'Turnstile'

Originally intended as the British government's new home in the case of nuclear war, the underground bunker Codename "Turnstile" is now abandoned and up for sale. What will happen to this relic of the cold war? Jason Orton's haunting photographs capture a lonely subterranean city.

Losing hope in Iraq: Ghaith Abdul-Ahad

"Saddam was the ultimate nightmare… but now things are just bad, really bad." Despite a newly elected government, civil war looms ominously on the horizon: what is happening in Iraq and who holds the power? Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, the award-winning photojournalist, talks to openDemocracy about occupation, insurgency, and how his country fell apart.

Looking at Africa

Okwui Enwezor, curator of an ambitious new exhibition on contemporary African photography, explains how it challenges the conventional images of the continent. Plus, an exclusive slideshow of photographs from the collection.

The British Landscape

John Davies' beautiful panoramic photographs of the British landscape capture an industrial world now lost and a modernity running away from its past, says Ken Worpole.

'7/7: The Longest Week', Thomas Dworzak

Magnum photographer Thomas Dworzak looks in retrospective at the tragedy that gripped London in the aftermath of the 7 July bombings.

Beijing's urban makeover: the 'hutong' destruction

The destruction of Beijing's "hutongs" in advance of the 2008 Olympics has many consequences for China's cultural heritage. Sean Gallagher photographs a swiftly disappearing history.

Morocco unbound: an interview with Yto Barrada

Over the last 15 years, the Strait of Gibraltar has become one of the main gateways for illegal immigration in north Africa. Yto Barrada's photographs, taken between 1998 - 2004, capture the temptations of leaving, and the unfulfilled hopes of escaping into Europe. Charlotte Collins talks to her.

'Requiem in Samba', Alex Majoli

“Even in death they find samba is there.” Living in the poor favelas of Brazil, photographer Alex Majoli encountered a beautiful but violent culture shaped by the constant spectre of death. openDemocracy presents a Magnum slideshow with audio commentary and music, featuring photographs from Sao Paulo to Rio de Janeiro.

The true cost of nuclear energy

On the 20th anniversary of the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl, photographer Pierpaolo Mittica argues that the hidden legacies of this terrible accident must be exposed. Plus, an exclusive photo slideshow of images from affected regions in Ukraine and Belarus.

Made in Italy

openDemocracy presents the work of five young photographers documenting the state of modern Italian society.

The Crosses of Juárez

Since 1993 thousands of Mexican women have been systematically abducted, raped, tortured and killed, and those responsible for the crimes have largely remained free. Carlos Reyes-Manzo documents in images and words a terrible and touching situation that shows no sign of abating.  

'Crossings: photographs from the US-Mexican border', Alex Webb

The US-Mexico border, stretching over 3000 kilometres, is the most frequently crossed border in the world. In a special interactive slideshow including audio commentary and music, renowned Magnum photographer Alex Webb showcases over 30 years of photography from this fascinating borderland region.

Snötäckt: under a blanket of snow

Nina Mangalanayagam follows the poignant story of her elderly Sri Lankan father recently relocated to northern Sweden. “Image of the week” returns with this beautiful slideshow by a young photographer to watch.

After the wave

A year after the Indian Ocean tsunami struck, killing at least 250,000 people in twelve countries, two exhibitions in London document the recuperation of a devastated region. Tim Hetherington, a photojournalist, and Annie Dare, a facilitator for the participatory photography agency PhotoVoice comment on their personal experiences and introduce slideshows of images from the respective projects.

Picturing hope: lives of the global HIV+

On World Aids Day 2005, openDemocracy showcases the work of photography NGO Picturing Hope, and learns the benefits of teaching children affected by HIV how to document their lives in pictures

The other side of the street

Mexico City is one of the largest urban concentrations in the world: a population of over 20 million which includes at least 14,000 children living on the streets. In a special slideshow feature, Robin Hammond photographs 12- to 18-year-olds caught up in the world of drugs, sexual exploitation, hunger, disease, danger, and death.  

Departures

What do you get when you pair a Hungarian writer-photographer with a Pakistani musician? Answer: sublime photographs of the Danube, a narrated short story, set to the sound of the tabla and atmospheric Punjabi vocals, all presented in a multimedia slideshow format. Yep, only on openDemocracy!

The seeing eye: photojournalism in a digital age

Is photojournalism dying? A new anthology, “Things As They Are: Photojournalism in Context since 1955” gives a definitive answer to an argument that has raged for decades, says Adrian Evans.

Liberia's election: changing the picture?

As the votes are counted in Liberia’s historic presidential election, Charlie Devereux speaks to award-winning photographer and Monrovia resident Tim Hetherington about his images of and hopes for the troubled state.

The Gaza pull-out: in photos

Gush Katif on the south-west edge of the Gaza strip was the largest bloc of Israeli settlements in Gaza, home to more than 4,000 settlers. openDemocracy presents seven exclusive images from prize-winning photographer Chris Anderson’s feature on last month’s historic pull-out.

Traces of war: Dutch and Indonesian survivors

The photojournalist Jan Banning listens to and portrays Dutch and Indonesian prisoners-of-war forced into slave labour and denied even minimal rights by their Japanese captors during the brutal Pacific war of 1941-45. openDemocracy presents three portraits of extraordinary resilience and quiet heroism from his prize-winning book “Traces of War”.

Introduction

East Asia was one of the most brutal killing-grounds of the second world war.

London through refugee eyes

“While still in Africa I used to think there were no trees in London.” On World Refugee Day, young refugees present their fresh photographic vision of London life.

'Viet Nam at peace': the empire strikes back

Philip Jones Griffiths, one of the world’s most acclaimed war photographers reflects on a thirty-year love affair with Vietnam, its people and the resistance it still offers. Plus exclusive images from his new book “Viet Nam at Peace”.

NorthSouthEastWest

Ten leading photographers from the world-famous Magnum agency travel to twelve locations around the world, capturing both the impacts of global warming and the solutions – the best ways to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Their pictures show how climate change affects people in a myriad of ways – from health and food supplies to human rights and livelihoods. They show that global warming is far more than “just” an environmental issue.

Disembodied eyes, or the culture of apocalypse

Is photography a threat to memory? Marina Warner on how images can dissolve rather than preserve the past.

Purple Hearts: Back from Iraq

“The dead tell no stories. It is the wounded that survive and present us with our own complicity”. To mark the second anniversary of the start of the Iraq war, openDemocracy presents ten portraits from “Purple Hearts: Back from Iraq”, the acclaimed photography collection on wounded American soldiers, by the award-winning photographer Nina Berman.

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