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 15

We can‘t wait to explore Boston this fall when we host The Design of Business | The Business of Design conference at MIT. Bike-commuting, T-riding, and monorail-tweeting around Boston with transit-oriented 20-something NUMTOT founder Juliet Eldred. [BV]


Observed | May 14

What year is it? Why does it matter? While chronology and dating might not be exciting, they are the stuff that history is made on, for dates do two things: they allow things to happen only once, and they insist on the ordering and interrelation of all happenings. [BV]

“We should not be excessively interested in books”, wrote Roy Gold, biblio-graffiti outsider artist, and a bookish man. [BV]


Observed | May 13

You may not love sports, but it’s hard not to enjoy sports photography, especially for it’s innovativeness. Case in point: Sports Illustrated photographer Neil Leifer hit a grand slam when he set out to capture a double play on film. [BV]


Observed | May 10

In the 1950s and 1960s artists from the Soviet Union looked to the skies and foresaw a Utopia in space. [BV]


Observed | May 09

Early cinema is often remembered as an exclusively black-and-white affair—the bold and often fantastical colors that flickered across the earliest film reels are frequently left out of our greater cinematic history. More neglected still are the women responsible for those dazzling hues. [BV]


Observed | May 08

We’re addicted to likes, retweets, and reshares, and our addiction makes us distracted and depressed. Tristan Harris believes that tech is ‘downgrading humans’ and that the words we use to describe the problem are tepid and insufficient. It’s time to fight back. [BV]

Created for animators aiming to perfect their rendering of animal gaits, this video combines illustration, biology, and physics, and is a joy to watch! [BV]

The compelling history and impressive prints of the earliest printing press in the Uruguayan territory. [BV]


Observed | May 07

Our very talented friend Rob Walker has a new book out today! Get yourself a copy of The Art of Noticing: 131 Ways to Spark Creativity, Find Inspiration, and Discover Joy In the Everyday and be inspired. [BV]


Observed | May 02

Gail Bichler and Jake Silverstein look back at a year designing The New York Times Magazine. [BV]


Observed | May 01

A thoughtful critique (and a few commonsense changes) of Hudson Yards and it‘s walkability: who uses the space, when the space is used, how the space forms community, and how it integrates the the community that surrounds it. [JH]


Observed | April 30

The brain apparently makes no distinction between a broken bone and an aching heart. Rejection actually hurts. [BV]

Influence was worrisome long before it was digital. The word “influence” appears in a quarter of William Shakespeare’s plays, in which the condition of being influenced is rarely happy or dignified. A history of the influencer, from Shakespeare to Instagram. [BV]


Observed | April 29

Lego has come up with perhaps its most ingenious product yet: bricks designed to help children learn Braille. [BV]

Back in the 1960’s, when Penn Station became a subterranean rat’s maze, New York City seemed to be heading very definitely south. [BV]


Observed | April 26

In its original concept, the Appalachian Trail was more than a hiking path. It was a wildly ambitious plan to reorganize the economic geography of the eastern United States. [BV]


Observed | April 24

American food is increasingly channeled through a handful of companies: Amazon, Walmart, FreshDirect, Blue Apron. What do we lose if traditional neighborhood supermarkets go under? Meet the man who’s going to save your neighborhood grocery store. [BV]

Timed to coincide with Easter, Earth Day and, for New Englanders, Patriot’s Day: two billboards outside of Boston. [BV]


Observed | April 23

Public Sans is a new typeface from the US Government. According to the General Services Administration, “sometimes you need [a typeface] that’s simple, neutral, and isn’t Helvetica.” Not sure we agree. [BV]


Observed | April 22

A brief memoir of growing up in the library. [BV]

Where can a teen get a poster in 2019? How does a teenager turn their bedroom into a shrine? A wonderful history of the poster and it’s meaning past, current, and future. [BV]

In honor of Earth Day, three galleries that remind us of the beauty and power of nature: the power of storms from Mitch Dobrowner, amazing landscapes from Leah Kennedy, and Earth from space by Astronaut Scott Kelly. [BV]


Observed | April 19

Spam musubi (a Hawaiian snack of canned meat served on rice and wrapped in nori) and other unintended consequences of cultural exchange. [BV]

Despite their seeming environmental unfriendliness, logos with factories and smokestacks have made a comeback in the US. [BV]


Observed | April 18

Post Typography created an unconventional participatory campaign to support the Baltimore Museum of Art‘s conversation series on art, race, social justice, and imagining the future(s) we want. [BV]

Where do you stand on the “Pedestrian Aggressiveness Syndrome Scale”? Why your brain hates slowpokes. [BV]


Observed | April 17

An in-depth look at how the Second World War warped the way United States mapped the world. [BV]


Observed | April 16

Joshua Dudley Greer logged 100,000 miles between 2011 and 2017, a period defined by the financial crisis and election, documenting what he saw along the U.S. Interstate Highway System. [BV]

Pete Buttigieg may be the first candidate to anticipate (and provide for!) graphic design considerations. [JH]



Jobs | May 19