The Clever Shepherd Alfredo Caliz Beirut Corniche Merhnoosh Khadivi State of the World Marcelo del Pozo Lhasa Train Rene Limbourg Best Served Cold Guillaume Herbaut Mirror Image Laura Hunter Next of Kin Benedicte Kurzen American Day Psychosis Muzi Quawson Diamond Matters Kadir van Lohuizen Givaer Knut Egil Wang Life on the Line Michael Zumstein
The weather is unseasonably balmy in England and frosty in Chicago; Mother Nature showing her wrath for all we have wrought on her planet. Into this tumultuous climate, a new issue of EI8HT is born, on not quite such an epic scale, yet the stories chosen to convey our Relationships theme are imbued with an unshakeable strength; a remarkably feminine strength, it seems to me. This power is evident in both the women who are the photographic subjects and the photographers of these stories. Like the Great Mother herself they too have immense fortitude.
In the pages of EI8HT this issue, we meet women who are building bridges and defying the odds. Take for example, Promise, Sylvia and Sipathi in South Africa. Or women who are fierce and unforgiving like an Albanian wife with a vengeance to uphold. Or indeed Emma Hunter, photographed by her sister, who is now winning her personal battles against self-harm and anorexia. Take the proud women on the Norwegian island of Givær who are instrumental in maintaining family ties and the tradition of farming, or the less conventional spirit of Amanda Jo Williams as she makes a claim for her own identity as well as being mum to twins Ginger and Hominy.
Mothers, it is apparent, bear the brunt but they also restore our will to go on. Tim Minogue’s loving memories of his late mother are a touching and evocative tribute to that matchless maternal power, as well as to the enduring profundity of photography. Elsewhere in the magazine we can see the footprints of mothers, their sons, daughters, brothers, sisters. A train ride through the heart of the Congo acts as a microcosm for life itself, travelling towards a distant destination with you friends, family or strangers as companions. And still in Congo we witness the beginning of another trail, the diamond trail. It begins in the open cast mines of Africa and ends in the high class boutiques of western jewellery shops.
“All life is here” would be a fitting title to this issue since the photographs grant us a ringside seat from which to observe the continual cycle of births, deaths, marriages and a lot of hard work. These are the essential elements to all our lives and this is why we have chosen Relationships for this issue to illustrate the point. EI8HT does not offer a solution to life’s hardships and injustices but I believe that this issue shows that harnessing the power of the mother could teach us all to tread more gently on the Earth.