I am in the final stages of finessing my new film shot in Iraq and Syria. After a ruthless and exhausting 6 years of war in Syria, only the most ideologically strong militias have managed to flourish, absorbing various fragmented rebel factions and uniting them under strict philosophies. The warring creeds could not be any more different. One seeks a decentralized, secular, grassroots version of democracy, while the other seeks a radical interpretation of an Islamic State. Yet, on both sides, soldiers dream of establishing their own version of Utopia, ideologically shaping the world beneath their feet. For over 8 months, international journalists and photographers have been blocked from entering the regions of Northern Syria controlled by the SDF due to a strict embargo enforced by all surrounding countries. At the time of writing, the SDF are less than 10 kilometers from the outskirts of the city itself. My journey began in Kobane- a city of anomalies. To understand the new battle for Raqqa, we must first understand the significance of what happened here. In July of , the Syrian Arab Army abandoned Kobane and other Kurdish enclaves of Syria to dedicate their dwindling resources to other areas of the country in conflict with both a rebellion and jihadist insurgency.
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By now, everyone has read or heard about the Associated Press article throwing shade at flossing. To summarize: Last year, the AP, under the Freedom of Information Act, asked the departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture to provide the publication with evidence that flossing works. Reviewing about 25 studies comparing the effects of brushing alone with brushing and flossing, the AP concluded the research used to previously recommend flossing did not actually meet the criteria that the Department of Health and Human Services requires to write something into its Dietary Guidelines. The studies the government did have, said the AP, suffered from short durations and small sample sizes.
We very well could be inside a cliche Americana film scene as envisioned by cosmopolitan advertising agency people from New York. But the dive bar is not a movie set— years of dust from the cotton harvest of the farms nearby have caked into the wood siding outside, and those layers are too real of a detail for an art department to capture. We have come to photograph this real thing. The next day begins a year long photo project for an agriscience company, Corteva. We meet the rest of the team in our hotel lobby, unaware of the ultimate bond we will all grow into through the work and travel ahead. It was the ultimate adventure into a world often overlooked, but essential to all life as we know it— the farm. When creating the images, you may see us hanging from a plow at dusk in Oklahoma. You might find us on a skiff in Vietnam, or caught in a torrential downpour in Brazil. Maybe we are in the back of rickshaw in India, or inside a dusty corn silo in Wisconsin. This is what we set out to capture.
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