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 | 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]


Observed | April 11

The toxic disinformation of social media has rendered traditional forms of humor—like satire—quaint and futile. [BV]

In a study of 26,000 people from over 100 countries, dark blue is the world’s most relaxing color, orange is the happiest, and pink is the sexiest. [BV]


Observed | April 10

Ever wondered what a black hole looks like? Scientists reveal the first picture of a black hole. [BV]

Business Insider wrote about a Twitter thread where the Vignelli Center, Michael Bierut, Jesse Reed, and Alexandra Lange chatted about the difficulty of identifying Helvetica. [BV]


Observed | April 09

Nikil Saval in The New Yorker on how “good design” failed us. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]


Observed | April 05

Some Friday fun: “A log flume winds its way around a watery course and slowly climbs the lift hill. Reaching the top, it then hurtles down the slope...Splash!” But what if no one is riding? [BV]

The quest to acquire the oldest, most expensive book on the planet: unwrapping the most beautiful Gutenberg of them all. [BV]


Observed | April 04

“All submission to authority humiliates. All exercise of authority perverts.” Roger Perry‘s photos of London graffiti in a time of recession, poor housing, and urban decay. [BV]

Patagonia will no longer emblazon its products with other companies’ logos unless they commit to using their profits for the greater good. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]


Observed | April 03

Lydian was created by designer and children’s book illustrator Warren Chappell in 1938, but didn’t really find its groove until after World War II when it was the font for Nancy Drew. [BV]

“When I visited for lunch, a few days ago, I found a tawny sea of tight jawlines and Goyard totes, women with blowouts as pristine as their natty Gucci loafers.” A delicious review by Helen Rosner of “the one place in Hudson Yards that feels like New York”. [MB]


Observed | April 02

The MITX DesignTech Summit is coming up next Wednesday, April 10th at the Innovation & Design Building in Boston. Join leaders from JPMorgan Chase, Automattic, Fidelity, athenahealth, Walmart & others as they discuss the business of design. (Check our twitter feed for a discount code.) [BV]

The New Yorker asked five designers, Na Kim, Alex Merto, Paul Sahre, Janet Hansen, and our very own Michael Bierut, to imagine a cover for the Mueller report when it‘s released as a book. [BV]


Observed | April 01

A young paleontologist may have discovered a record of the most significant event in the history of life on Earth: the day the dinosaurs died. [BV]

As we begin to judge the current 50 Covers entries, this collection of 100 brilliant rejected book covers caught our attention. [BV]


Observed | March 28

Hilma af Klint is celebrated as an inventor of abstract art. But she didn’t think of her work as abstract. [BV]


Observed | March 27

A new video about IDEO from Dress Code features over 30+ interviews and is a look behind the curtain at the global design firm, who for 40 years (and counting) has changed the way we think about design. [BV]


Observed | March 26

A stock photo library< created in response to much needed imagery to accompany stories about trans and non-binary people. [BV]


Observed | March 25

John Maeda’s newest design in tech report focuses less on proving design’s value and more on how design’s “seat at the table” has left designers wedged between corporate cultures, ever-changing skill sets, and constant self-reinvention. [BV]


Observed | March 20

From Tristram Shandy to black holes, from Coco Chanel to Johnny Cash, from Francisco Goya to Mark Rothko: Ten ways to look at the color black. [BV]

With storage spaces filled with works that may never be shown, some museums are rethinking the way they collect art, and at least one is ranking what it owns. [BV]


Observed | March 19

In response to last week’s Christcurch mosque shootings, Meena Kadri teamed up with her former Māori language teacher Te Ataahia Castorina to compile a set of Māori words + English translations celebrating unity. If you learn and share 10 Māori words this week, make it these. [BV]


Observed | March 18

Journey back to a time when serifs were Antique, sans serifs were Grotesque, and extra bold faces were Fat. [BV]



Jobs | April 21