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Personal & professional musings

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Soon after I started meeting families at the Cambodian temple on Argyle Street in Chicago (see part one of these blog posts), I would noticed groups of young men lurking in the back of the temple during events. They'd come in, meet some family obligation, but quickly leave to hang out on the corners of Argyle and Glenwood Avenue, about a block away. The photos here start...

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It's been 28 years since I decided to pursue photography as a career. In the spring of 1991 I returned from a trip to Thailand after spending 4 months teaching english and photographing in Cambodian refugee camps for the American Refugee Committee in my spare time. I had already spent a year in Thailand in 1988 studying the language and teaching english with the plan of becoming an academic, but 1991 was the point where I decided to change...

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Recent corporate work for Mainland Construction Materials in nearby Vancouver, Canada.

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I moved to France from Japan in 2003, just in time to start getting access to photograph Airbus's latest project, the giant A380 double decker aircraft. On my first trip down to Toulouse to see the first plane under final assembly, Airbus PR folks picked me up at the local train station, drove me to an outer fence and pointed to the airplane in a hanger about 200 meters away with the hanger doors open. Needless to say, I wasn't happy and...

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Things I won't do again: ride my motorcycle into a small Japanese town right after a nuclear accident. Luckily the Geiger counter gave me a clean bill of health. Tokai-mura, Japan. 1999. On assignment for Newsweek Magazine.

I still think about the people I photographed over the two days I was in Tokai. The years of fear...

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While I do far less editorial photography these days, it's always good to occasionally have a newspaper assignment thrown at you at the last minute, to test my editorial chops. On Monday I drove up to Mt. Rainier National Park on assignment for the...

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Watch the first of two episodes I was featured in for Arirang TV, Korea's national TV network, in their "In Frame" series. The twelve-part series followed mainly Magnum photographers around the country and when I was asked to do two episodes I agreed on one condition, I could work in the southern port city of Busan where my wife was born and later adopted. I spent an amazing and exhausting week there just after the end of the summer tourist...

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After 25 years of working as a documentary photographer one skill I've learned is to enter a space to work quietly and effectively, making people I'm photographing comfortable with my presence. Skills that work really well when I get asked to create what I call "corporate documentary" images, photographs of real employees at work, created with minimal impact to the work day that allow companies to show their staff in the best and most natural...

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One of my favorite stories to work on over the years was on Yashiro Island, a tiny goldfish shaped island in Japan’s southern Seto Sea, south of Hiroshima. The island was one of the last places in Japan to get regular electricity in the 1970s, and the eastern half of the island, Towa district, has the distinction of being "Japan’s oldest town" with the highest average aged population in a nation...

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My work on the cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in this month's High Country News. The magazine is a real gem of a publication and in an era of shrinking print media, it stands out for its coverage of the American West.

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My work on the Amazon Spheres in this month's Landscape Architecture Magazine. To see more images from the shoots, click here for exterior images, here for interior work.

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Work from an assignment in Novyy Urengoy, in Siberia, Russia, for BusinessWeek Magazine photographing a new pipeline bringing gas from Siberia to western Europe.

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Work from 2018 shot across the country for Summit Materials is finally on their new website. Great project to work on with a great team.

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"Do you photograph children?"

"Only my own, I can't stand other people's children".

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I often get asked what’s the hardest story I’ve ever had to photograph. In 2008, I traveled with New York Times correspondent Bill Yardley to Chewelah, Washington to interview Jeffrey Schrock, 39 at the time, and a devout Mennonite. Mr Schrock and his wife had lost all five of their children in a car accident when a truck driven by Clifford Helm crossed a median on U.S. 395 and drove into oncoming lanes, hitting the Shrock family's truck. Mr....

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A few years back The New York Times asked that I follow the cast and producers of HBO’s “Game of Thrones" around for a couple of days while they were on a tour to promote the new season of the show. Apparently I’m one of the few people who hadn’t seen it (and still haven’t, I don’t have cable!) so I knew little about the show and even less about the actors. This probably helped because unlike the thousands of screaming fans who showed up...

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stuart@isett.com