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Best of the Web

“A Darkness Visible”
Afghanistan is often seen as a country in need of a solution.   From the Soviet invasion and mujahideen resistance to the Taliban and the American occupation, Afghanistan has often been at the whim of political superpowers.

Photojournalist Seamus Murphy reported from Afghanistan between 1994 and 2010, chronicling people caught in the political turmoil.    “A Darkness Visible: Afghanistan,” looks beyond the stories of conflict, elections and troops movements, to examine 30 years of the country’s history and the lives of the citizens who struggle to find their own way.

“Adrift”

The National Press Photographers Assn. has named Ohio University’s Brad Vest the 66th College Photographer of the Year.  Vest’s multimedia project “Adrift” was awarded first place in the Documentary and General News category.

“Adrift” is the story of Travis Simmons battling his drug addictions and the effect on his family from being in and out of prison.

“NFB High-Rise”

Concrete residential high-rises that can house thousands of residents in one towering monolithic structure are often considered failed social experiments.  Rather than forming communities, these buildings often limit connectivity between residents, isolating inhabitants from neighboring communities and their surrounding environment.  Many of these high-rise projects throughout the world are now decades old, some of the structures are being torn down, some are left to decay, many are still inhabited.

The Nation Film Board of Canada spent two years in a suburban Toronto, Canada, high-rise community, working with the residents, architects and animators to re-imagine high-rise living.  The project looks at the possibilities transforming these often unwelcoming spaces with features such as child-friendly public areas and community gardens, creating an environment that connects residents rather than isolating them.

“Balloons of Bhutan”

In 1972, the fourth king of Bhutan, King Jigme Singe Wangchuck, decided to measure the country’s socioeconomic prosperity based on tenets of Buddhism, coining the term “Gross National Happiness.”

In 2007, artist Jonathan Harris spent two weeks in Bhutan asking people of different ages and backgrounds five questions pertaining to happiness.  Harris gave out balloons based on each person’s level of happiness.  His project “Balloons of Bhutan” looks at a country that bases its success in terms of happiness.

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