VII Observations

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Women's Day, Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, 2004
Photo by Alexandra Boulat


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Uncertain Journeys, Lesbos, Greece, 2015
I felt conflicted about photographing the refugees as they arrived in Greece.


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U.S. Marines, Fallujah, Iraq, 2004
Combat engulfed the forces’ advance, as insurgents engaged them with sniper fire and RPGs in one of the fiercest battles yet


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Syrian Refugee, Lesbos, Greece, 2015
...their journey had not ended—it was just their next step into the unknown.


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Subway Attendant, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2007
The idea that ’life imitates art’ takes on a whole new meaning in North Korea.


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Polluted Garden, Romania, 1995
Broken Dream: Twenty Years of War in Eastern Europe


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Mustard Field, Bangladesh, 2015
Places in this photograph do not exist anymore.


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GoGo Anna, NYC, 2005
Immediately after photographing Anna she barked at me...


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Fur Coat, Dongling, China, 2012
I was stepping out of a car on a trip to a village in landlocked Anhui province in central China when she caught my eye.


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Faith, Swiebodzin, Poland, 2011
Representing transcendent aspects through a visual art as photography is an interesting challenge.


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Displaced Women, Sudan, 2007
I could not have imagined what a powerful moment it would represent.


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Dancer, Verona, Italy, 2004
“...and the magic appeared and she made my day.”


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Cheerleaders, Lexington, KY, 2005
It was the stark contrast that makes a photographers job so crazy and wonderful sometimes.


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Chechen Fighters, Contact Sheet, Grozny, Chechen Republic (Russia), 1995
At that moment in time there was not a more dangerous place on earth.


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Balloons, Kabul, Afghanistan, 2002
Children are allowed again to enjoy kites and other items banned by the Taliban


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Light Overcoming Darkness
Donald Trump kisses his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on July 20, 2016.


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Older Sisters Rule
A young girl dreams of becoming a summer festival queen like her older sister, Conesville, Iowa.


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Your Civic Duty, An Incredible Right
A woman casts her ballot in the Afghan presidential election in Herat, Afghanistan, on Oct. 9, 2004. For the first time in 20 years, Afghan women were allowed to vote in the 2004 presidential election.


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The Three Amigos
In 2000, November 7th was election day. And what a day it was.


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The Rough Rider
Supporters of Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega attack elected Vice President Guillermo (Billy) Ford in Panama City, May 10, 1989.


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I Do Solemnly Swear
President-elect Barack Obama is sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts as the 44th president of the United States on the West Front of the Capitol as his wife Michelle looks on in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 20, 2009.


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Make America Great Again?
Inside the convention the Jumbotron projected a vision of strength and unapologetic aggression. Speech after speech worked to reinforce the need for order and security.


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Who Needs a Hug?
US President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton embrace on the third day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 27, 2016, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


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Trick or Treat
Children across the country celebrate Halloween dressed as goblins, Hollywood starlets, and super heroes. Pictured here in Tampa, FL, Wonder Woman, Cat Woman, and Princess Leia prepare for Halloween treats and frightful adventures.


The Editors
Announcing VII Observations
VII Observations is a new partnership between VII and Design Observer.



Observed | May 06

Last week Microsoft announced that they wanted the Twitterverse‘s help picking a new default font. This seemingly trivial choice by Microsoft will determine what works looks like for hundreds of millions of people. (via Blake Eskin) [BV]


Observed | May 05

In conjunction with the Walker Art Center, BluDot announces OpenStudio: a free design program for kids aged 9 to 14. [JH]


Observed | May 04

Titus Kaphar signs with UTA where he’ll start developing film projects based on his paintings. [JH]


Observed | May 03

A new site celebrating the Uruguayan publication La Semana highlights the personal and public triumphs of this memorable newsweekly. (In English and Spanish.) [JH]

Rhode Island’s license plate—known affectionately as the wave, and designed by Rhode Island native and RISD graduate Tyler Smith—will be redesigned by the, um, public. Holding an open design contest is bold and exciting;, writes architecture critic Will Morgan. It is also a recipe for disaster. [JH]

Wallpaper offers a superb roundup of advocacy and support groups working for equity, inclusion, and change in deisgn and related industries. [JH]


Observed | April 28

Lehrer Architects LA‘s second Tiny Home Village project has opened this week to residents in North Hollywood. Yet tiny houses aren’t always loved. Discuss! [BV]

How to really look at art: an eight-step guide by Antwaun Sargent. [JH]


Observed | April 27

Dwight Garner reviews the new novel by Rachel Cusk and notes its unusual (and seemingly deliberate) type choice: Optima! “Optima is unusual to see in a novel,” Garner observes. “I tried using it to type this piece. It made me feel I was working on Laurie Anderson’s laptop.” [JH]

At the nation’s newspaper of record, the term “Op-Ed”—a relic of an older age and nod to an older print newspaper design—is being retired from duty. [JH]

How mathematicians use their chalkboards to reveal the conceptual and visual beauty of their discipline: a new book by photographer Jessica Wynne. [JH]


Observed | April 21

Astrid Cooper is a curator in Bath, England. Also, she is five years old. [JH]

A new illustrated children’s book—featuring a flying gherkin—from Foster + Partners. [JH]


Observed | April 20

Introducing the whitest paint ever invented. [JH]

Just in time for Earth Day: Belgian artist Alain Verschueren’s Portable Oasis lets you spend quality time in the garden while social distancing at the same time. [JH]


Observed | April 19

Influential American architect Donald P. Ryder—who in partnership with J. Max Bond, Jr. was widely regarded as the most influential African-American architect in New York—has died at the age of 94. [JH]

Design ... and tasers. (Via Jeffrey Kittay) [JH]

Italy, meet Baltimore! [JH]


Observed | April 16

When wayfinding meets letterpress. [JH]


Observed | April 15

From trade catalogues to children’s stories, Dutch graphic designers during the first half of the 20th century produced a memorable body of work that deserves revisiting. [BV]


Observed | April 14

Everything you need to know about what’s happening in type today, from Monotype. [BV]

A collection of hand-lettered Marvel Comics titles, curated by Reagan Ray. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]


Observed | April 13

Plagiarism? Target? Discuss! [JH]

When good design makes bad cities—and how it can make them safer for women. [JH]


Observed | April 12

Behold: the cyborg—sorry, fashion mask. [JH]


Observed | April 08

The Huntington Library has a history of inequity. Can it pivot toward inclusivity? (via Blake Eskin) [BV]


Observed | April 07

Memory as inventory: a beautiful tribute in the New York Times. [JH]


Observed | April 06

Overlooked no more: The IBM Poster Program: Visual Memoranda features work by Ken White, John Anderson, Tom Bluhm and photographer Rodger Ewy among others like, um, Paul Rand. [JH]


Observed | April 05

Blending is the new branding. (Blend = Brand ± Transparency ± Framing ± Bespoke ± Blur) [BE]


Observed | April 01

Harvard’s GSD Introduces its own design imprint. [JH]



Jobs | May 08