PHOTOS BY BRADLEY LEACH
Dancer, writer, and director Weléla Mar Kindred radiates peace and warmth. Her presence is like a hug. I met her in Paris a few years ago, and my life has been all the sweeter because of our meeting. Last year I invited her to spend a week with me in a mini-residency. Each morning I woke to gentle music, and she would make me tea and lead me in quiet morning rituals. I guess it was I who benefited from the residency. Weléla is the choreographer and artistic director for LVMB (pronounced LAMB), a sensual dance theater “where performers experiment with conceptual ideologies and explore the human story,” and during our tea-sharing, she taught me a lot about her life as an African-American woman in France. She opened up my imagination and introduced me to new and challenging ideas (and to the poetry of Yasiin Bey). Before she left Paris, we shot a photo series with Bradley Leach. Since then Culture Keeper contributor Linda Swan has spent time formally interviewing Weléla, the fruit of which we’ll publish next week.
-- Jonathan Randall Grant, Culture Keeper Creative Director
Bradley Leach is a Paris-based narrative and fashion photographer and videographer with a fetish for the ‘80s-‘90s, 35mm film, and grunge lifestyle. His photos often portray an emphasized sense of vibrant colors and utilize harsh, on-camera flash to achieve a playfully rebellious result.
STORY BY LAURA M. FABRYCKY
Whether or not you’re an adherent to the Christian faith, today’s big anniversary marks an event whose effects have been so far-reaching that they helped create the cultural milieu you were born into. Laura Fabrycky’s current abode in Germany—the country in which Martin Luther made his 95 theses public 500 years ago today, on October 31, 1517—has given her a front row view of Germany’s public commemorations of the anniversary of the Reformation. This 16th century religious movement was ultimately marked by the rejection or modification of some Roman Catholic doctrine and practice and by the establishment of the Protestant churches. Laura reflects on how Luther’s work might inspire our own.
BY JOEL CARILLET
Joel Carillet's 2017 travels have included stretches of time in a country that regularly dominates the world's news cycles. In this photo essay for Culture Keeper, he introduces us to people and stories that don't make the headlines, but that are just as instructive in creating a true portrait of Iraq as are all the other stories we hear.
STORY BY HEATHER M. SURLS
Who are the characters who would give life to a story about your neighborhood? Here, Heather Surls answers that question about her own neighborhood by introducing us to those who inhabit its daily comings and goings in Amman, Jordan.
Last week we depended on words to recount a story of travel to Iona, Scotland. In today's article the voyage is recounted solely through the images captured by a group of photographers who traveled together to the legendary island.
STORY BY DEVON ANNE FARMER
PHOTOS BY JC JOHNSON
This week our Culture Keeper passports take us to the famed but tiny Scottish island of Iona for a fleeting moment of reflection, as recounted by our newest Culture Keeper contributor.
In A.D. 563 after being banished from his native Ireland, St. Columba landed on Iona in the Southern Hebrides with the intention of bringing Celtic monasticism and Christianity to Scotland as penance. The island happened to be the first spot he reached from which he could no longer see the outline of his beloved Ireland in the distance.
PHOTOGRAPH BY JC JOHNSON & STORY BY KAMI L. RICE
A real life scene has been turned miniature through the magic of photography. This miniaturized scene inspired a tiny fictional tale that invites you to discover the other stories hiding in this image. We invite you to explore the world with us, letting your imagination play along as you do. The world can always use more play.
STORY BY JONATHAN RANDALL GRANT
It is an act of courageous vulnerability to share a Paris city guide. This guide is as much a confession as a resource. No matter what places are shared, I am sure to get a few Parisian friends who think to themselves: "There is no way I would be seen there, dead or alive!... Of course it was okay to be seen there a few weeks ago, but we don't go there now."
STORY AND PHOTOS BY HOLLY WREN SPAULDING
MADE: A series of conversations with artists about how they navigate impasses and discover breakthroughs in their work.
To reach Karen Dolmanisth’s studio, I must first navigate a series of stairs, metal doors, and maze-like corridors in an old mill building in Florence, Massachusetts. Then follows a tunnel of books, artwork, costumes, and other ephemera gathered and carefully placed over the twenty years she has worked in this space.
STORY AND PHOTOS BY NICK ST.OEGGER
In this series, we offer you a little window onto life in one corner of the world or another. Enjoy peeking through the curtains with us!
The late afternoon sun beats down on the open central square of Kuta, where the old men have retreated to the shadows of a café, smoking and quietly chatting. It’s market day, and a woman with her fruit stand braves the heat with her friends. I pick up a few apples and figs, but when I reach for some money, she smiles and waves it away, telling me in Albanian that it is a gift.
Editor’s Note on behalf of the Culture Keeper team.
BY KAMI L. RICE
While we hadn’t planned to post new content in August, in order to give us time to prepare fresh articles to kick off the fall edition of Culture Keeper, the recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the conversation they have set off have prompted us out of our planned quietness.