Photo: Ebrahim Noroozi

Snapshots of a Year | Amuse's Favourite Photo Stories of 2018

A round-up of our best shots and photo-led stories of last year

by Amuse Team and Clem Fiell
Dec 31 2018, 1:51pm

Photo: Ebrahim Noroozi

From the North Korean Mass Games via Colombian Narco-terrorism to the banal balconies of Benidorm, in 2018 Amuse showed you the world through the eyes of some of the best photographers on the scene. As part of our countdown to an even bigger and better 2019, we have collected together ten of our favourite Amuse photo stories of the past twelve months. Enjoy!

Nothing symbolises Hong Kong’s dense urban sprawl better than the neon sign; a potent symbol of modernity which burns seedily in the dark. In this series, photographer Christopher Button captures those lights on 35mm film with painterly skill. It is a portrait of Hong Kong seen in reflections, long exposure blurs and the ever-present glare of the neon tube.

John Hinde might be the most successful photographer you’ve never heard of. A pioneer of the sugary-sweet postcard style that swept the world half a century ago, his images have graced the souvenir racks of a thousand international gift shops. In the ‘Greetings From’ series, Amuse dug into the vast archive of Hinde’s work – and explored the nostalgic hopes, dreams and stereotypes that make them tick.

Martin Errichiello and Filippo Menichetti are natives of Calabria; the historically beautiful toe of Italy’s booted foot. For the ‘In Fourth Person’ series they travelled the A3 highway – a grand concrete spine which connects the region – searching for the post industrial scars that litter the heart of their land. From bridge demolitions to hazard tape fluttering in the breeze, they beautifully capture the eerie moments which make up the aftermath of Italy’s grand experiment with modernity.

North Korea is notoriously closed to the outside world. For those who find a way inside, the country has a way of pasting a happy facade over the dictatorial oppression it practices. Think mass synchronised dances and pastel shaded housing blocks. For this spellbinding photo series, photographer Dan Medhurst travelled with Amuse’s senior editor Tristan Kennedy to the hermit kingdom. There they began to peel back the propaganda – revealing the unfamiliar dignity of the North Korean people as they try to survive under the Kim dynasty's iron fist.

Mads Nissen spent eight years with FARC rebels, coke smugglers and everyday Colombians. Documenting one of the most murderous countries on the planet, Nissen shows the stark, everyday reality of this brutal country.

Grant Fleming is the gonzo photographer of your dreams. Throughout his tumultuous 30 year career he has lived through a hell of a lot – evading mortal danger everywhere from Panama to South Africa – and committed a good proportion of it to film. Amuse contributor Tom Armstrong sat down with Fleming to discuss the lot. What he got was a lifetime of anecdotes so extreme they require photographic evidence to be believed.

Roberto Alcaraz is a Benidorm native. He knows the package holiday haven like the back of his hand and recognises it for what it is – a place of contradictions. A seaside paradise transformed to an industrial fun factory. A sleepy town with the most high-rise buildings per capita in the world. With an impeccable intuition for architectural geometry and detail, Alcaraz uses this understanding of his home town to elevate its most mundane features into something quite sublime. Give your eyeballs a holiday.

Given the string of political upsets which have sprung from the American heartland over the past few years, there is perhaps no better time to pay close attention to the rural United States. In this series of eerily still images, Patrick McCormack paints a beautiful portrait of the uncanny quiet which defines the American small town.

Paris Photo, the grand annual exhibition of international photography, is an essential staple of the art lovers calendar. This year Amuse social editor Clem Fiell paid it a visit with the aim of rounding up the best photographers working in travel journalism. She returned with a handful of emerging international creatives who are each able to show us the world in a way we have never seen before.

Vicente Munoz, born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, captures his hometown as if it were an alien world. Using a military-grade stock of infrared film, his cityscape images draw a shocking red hue from every piece of plantlife or negation in view. What results is a fascinating inversion of the usual urban scene – with the last vestiges of the natural world triumphantly visible over the grit and grime of Ecuadorian city life.

North Korea