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Intimate portraits of LGBTQ youth living deep in the Amazon rainforest



Daniel Jack Lyons wanted to photograph the lives of marginalized youth in a remote Brazilian region.

While dining at a restaurant in Careiro, a small town deep in the Amazon rainforest, Daniel Jack Lyons was unexpectedly approached by local drag queen artist Wendell.

Two days earlier, the North American photographer met with young community leaders in the hope that some of them could be part of a new project that explores the lives of marginalized youth in a remote Brazilian region. The news spread quickly.

“He came up to me and said, ‘You’re a photographer and I’m a transvestite and you’re going to take a picture of me on Thursday,'” Lyons recalled in a telephone interview.

The pair found each other, and the resulting portrait – Wendell staring defiantly at the camera with a lit match in his mouth – became the lead image in Lyons’ new coming-of-age series, Like a River. But as a photographer and anthropologist, Lyons seems more interested in the human stories behind his photographs.

“Wendell works as a drag queen, but he also runs his mother’s small business selling barbeque (grilled meat) at the market at night,” he said. “She is very ill and he took over the business. So it’s a very delicate thing: he doesn’t want to do it. thrust and (have any resulting discrimination) adversely affect the business on which they depend for survival.

“So, as an overcompensation, she became the ‘mother’ of all non-binary, transgender and gay children in the city,” Lyons added, noting that Wendell opened her home to struggling teenagers and helped transgender youth access hormone therapy. in the nearest city of Manaus.

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About half of those targeted by Lyons’ new book identify as transgender, non-binary, or “gay in some way,” according to the photographer. Credit: (Like a River 2022/Loose Joints)

Settling in Careiro and the nearby Tupana River for eight weeks, Lyons photographed dozens of young people for the series currently running. in exposition at the Rencontres d’Arles photography festival in France. About half of the participants subsequent book are transgender, not binary or “gay in some way,” said the self-identified photographer.

Their stories tell of turbulent sex changes and family tensions. One man Lyons spoke to as part of the project was rejected by his wife and parents and separated from his son after becoming transgender. The photos were also taken amid social stigma in a country where homophobic crime is on the rise and LGBTQ rights seem increasingly threatened (Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who once told Playboy magazine that he “couldn’t love a gay kid,” stated, which disapproves of same-sex marriage laws in the country).

However, the dominant spirit of Lyon’s images is resilience.

“Everyone I’ve worked with has had problems, no doubt about it,” he said. “But it seems that discrimination is understood tacitly. It’s an undercurrent, it’s there, but when I made friends with people, there were a lot of positive conversations.

“There was (a sense of) urgency to celebrate the fact that they can walk around this city and not care what people think.”

cross identities

The title “Like A River”, based on a Brazilian poem of the same name, depicts not only the region’s LGBT communities, but also other groups “living on the fringes,” as Lyons puts it. Her intimate shots capture teenagers involved in artistic and musical subcultures, as well as indigenous youth with complex “cross-sectional identities”.

The photographer also turned his lens on young land activists as environmental threats constantly worry his supporters. He said that since the launch of the project in 2019, fear of illegal mining and deforestation has grown markedly in Careiro.

Lyons also turned his lens on the region’s environment, which he says is under increasing threat. (Like a river 2022/Loose joints)

“Obviously there is a lot of discrimination against gay people, but I think the biggest threat to people is that Bolsonaro created the wild west in the Amazon. There are many fears that illegal loggers and miners will infiltrate the community,” he added. referring to recent reports of miners attacking indigenous villages in search of gold and other resources.

Lyons, who has filmed a series on marginalized youth in Mozambique and Ukraine, treats portraiture as a collaborative act and his models as friends.

The photographer focuses on building relationships before picking up the camera. He usually doesn’t capture people on the day he meets them, and gives employees the power to decide where and how the shoot takes place, including what they wear and how they pose.

“It’s not traditional photojournalism where you come in, take a picture and leave,” explained Lyons, who said he’s been in contact with many of the people featured on “Like a River.”

“It was much more. I wanted to focus on connecting with people and really enjoy the private moments they shared with me.”

“Like a River” exhibited in photography festival Rencontres d’Arles until August 28, 2022 A book from the series published by Loose Joints is now available.

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22 children among 34 killed in Thailand kindergarten attack | Thailand



At least 34 people, including 22 children, were killed this Thursday in an attack on a kindergarten in the Thai village of Uthai Sawan in Nongbua Lamphu province in the northeast of the country, which also injured more than a dozen people. Among the dead were two-year-old children and a teacher eight months pregnant.

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30 km advance in Kherson and “significant victory” in Donbass. How did the last victories of the Ukrainian counter-offensive turn out?



Follow all the news of the war live on the Observer.

The announcement of Russian partial mobilization, the formalization of the annexation of four Ukrainian territories and the threat of the Poseidon nuclear submarine. All these events of recent days show a stronger reaction from Russia and escalation of tension wars in Ukraine. However, almost nothing has changed on the ground since the beginning of September, and Moscow has failed to break Kyiv’s winning streak. Ukrainian troops keep reaching important successes in the counter-offensive in the south of the country and near Lugansk in the east.

It is increasingly likely that Kherson, one of the first cities captured by Russia at the start of the invasion, will soon be back under Ukrainian control. Moscow should not responsiveness strike back soon as the measures recently announced by Vladimir Putin are not yet in effect take a few months until they bring practical effect. For example, with regard to partial mobilization. Soldiers must be trained before they go to the front lines.

Ukraine wants to take advantage of this fact. To that end, he is following the same communications strategy as last month to catch Russian forces in error. The representative of the Ukrainian military from the southern region, Vladislav Nazaro, called for “silence”. “Don’t even report positive news about the actions of our units. Endurance and strength are the secret of our constant movement to victory”, these person in charge, quoted by El País. Paradoxically, Russia revealed the situation on the ground, namely the withdrawal of its troops and the advance of Ukrainian forces.

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The war in Ukraine has entered a dangerous phase of a terrible scenario at the nuclear level – Obozrevatel



European Union (EU) diplomacy chief Josep Borrell said on Wednesday that the war in Ukraine caused by the Russian invasion is now “in a dangerous phase” due to a “terrible scenario” regarding Russian nuclear weapons.

The war continues, and the news from the battlefields is favorable for Ukraine. Ukraine is back on the offensive [mas] The war has entered a new phase, a phase that is undoubtedly dangerous because we are facing a frightening scenario that we must not turn a blind eye to,” said the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

Speaking in a debate at the plenary session of the European Parliament in the French city of Strasbourg, Josep Borrell spoke of “a scenario of conventional war involving a nuclear power, a nuclear power that is now retreating from the usual scenario and that threatens to use nuclear weapons.”

“This is certainly a worrying scenario in which we must show that our support for Ukraine is unwavering,” he stressed.


Despite emphasizing that “Ukraine is advancing on three fronts, in the Donbass, […]in the southern center of Zaporizhia, advancing on Mariupol, and finally on Kherson,” the head of public diplomacy pointed out that Russia “still has a superiority in numbers, superiority in firepower,” so caution is needed.

Earlier today, EU member states reached a political agreement on new sanctions against Russia for invading Ukraine, the eighth package, due to come into effect on Thursday as a “strong response” to the annexation of Ukrainian territories.

Proposed by the European Commission last Wednesday, amid Russia’s “new escalation” with “fraudulent referendums”, partial mobilizations and the threat of nuclear weapons, a new package of EU sanctions includes a ceiling on Russian oil prices, new trade restrictions, depriving Russia of about 7 billion euros revenues, a ban on the export of more products to deprive the Kremlin of key technologies for the Russian military machine, and an update to the list of individuals and entities subject to restrictive measures. .

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In particular, the EU added pro-Russian officials in the Russian-occupied Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions to the list of individual sanctions.

In recent days, there have even been Russian attacks on the area of ​​the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, the largest in Europe, after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization of 300,000 Russian reservists.

“The position of the Russian army is very bad. Including because the Russian soldiers do not know what the war is for, and those 300,000 who will be taken from their native places to the front will understand even less, so the war can be won on the battlefield, but it must be won. in the realm of ideas. In addition to the war itself, there is another war – the war for the supremacy of values, ”said Josep Borrell.

And at a time when there are fears of interruptions in Russian gas supplies to the EU, the head of EU diplomacy stressed that Russian President Vladimir Putin “waits for cold weather, interruptions in gas supplies, high prices and low temperatures in order to undermine the European will and will continue to support Ukraine”.

“Here we need to ask the Europeans to understand what is at stake, because our support for Ukraine is not just a matter of generosity, our support for Ukraine must be unwavering, because the security of Ukraine is inextricably linked to our own security,” he added.

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