Eric Fichtl


Portraiture is not my strong suit, but over the years I've taken some decent shots of people. I'm indebted to my subjects.

<p>Guitarists Joel Paterson (at right) and Andy Brown with drummer Alex Hall performing at Chicago's legendary Green Mill. <br /></p>
<p>They play a mix of jazz, blues, and pedal-steel guitar pieces just about every Monday night and are well worth catching if you're in town.<br /></p>
<p>A baby bathes in a plastic bucket. The child's family had been displaced by flooding and they were living in makeshift shelters on a plaza near the national congress.</p>
<p>Members of the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo carry a banner displaying portraits of their relatives disappeared by Argentina's military junta of 1976-1983. <br /></p>
<p>Mothers, grandmothers, and other relatives began these marches during the dictatorship, gathering each Thursday at the Plaza de Mayo to demand accountability and justice for their missing loved ones. Their movement adopted the name of the square. <br /></p>
<p>This photo was taken in 1999, 22 years after they had commenced their rallies. They continue marching to this day.</p>
<p>A group of kids very amused to have their picture taken. <br /></p><p>Part of the graffiti reads 'Das dores boavida', which can translate as 'From pain, a good life'.<br /></p>
<p>A woman washing clothes on a winter morning in Langa. </p>
<p>Tango dancers captivate an audience.<br /></p>
<p><em>Autoconvocados</em> (self-organised protestors) from Corrientes province, in Buenos Aires' Plaza de Mayo. Argentina has a rich tradition of autonomous worker movements who eschew formal affiliations with unions or political parties, yet can successfully mount sustained popular protests around shared concerns. <br /></p>
<p>In these protests in 1999, a diverse front of teachers, state employees, farmers, pensioners, healthcare workers, small business owners, transport workers, and the un(der)employed organised months-long demonstrations against government corruption, unpaid wages, and diminishing quality of life in their province. Using tactics such as strikes, roadblocks, <em>escraches</em> (loud demonstrations outside the homes of targeted individuals), and mass marches, they amplified their call for reforms. Six months in, the Corrientes <em>autoconvocados</em> had even brought their protests to the national capital. <br /></p>
<p>Their concerns and protests were an early indicator of the grim politico-economic meltdown that was about to ravage the entire country. </p>
<p>In a rural Salvadoran cooperative, community members march under a banner of the slain Archbishop Oscar Romero, who dared to suggest that peasants like these might deserve an earthly bounty in addition to promises of posthumous salvation. For this heresy, he was assassinated by death squads linked to the Salvadoran establishment – a fate that awaited many of his flock.</p>
<p>Farmers harvesting rice near Ubud.</p>
<p>Two soldiers guard a street corner in central Tame, a town in Colombia's war-ravaged Arauca department. Their presence was part of an attempt to hold the town after it was reclaimed from guerrillas. <br /></p><p>They are laughing at a joke my colleague made about the relative size of their weapons – indeed, the US M60 carried by the soldier at left is a hefty machine gun often fired by a team of two or three gunners, while the soldier at right carries a more standard-issue Galil, an Israeli derivative of the infamous Soviet/Russian AK-47. </p>
<p>Jorge Bernal was mayor of the rural town of Tame in 2003, when my colleague Garry Leech and I interviewed him about the war engulfing his region. Here he shrugs off a fax from the FARC guerrillas denouncing him as a 'narcoparamilitary'.<br /></p>
<p>Two soldiers on sentry duty in Tame, Arauca. Both men were part of Colombia's 'Soldados de mi pueblo' initiative, which inducted locally born men into military service in their own communities in an attempt to bolster security. </p>
<p>Demonstrators from the province of Corrientes took their case to the presidential palace on Buenos Aires' Plaza de Mayo. They were part of broad-based civic movement spearheaded by teachers who were protesting unpaid wages, deteriorating quality of life, and corruption concerns in their provincial government in 1999 – in many ways precursors to the broader meltdown that ravaged Argentina in 2001.</p><p>Her sign reads, 'My struggle will not be in vain, as I am a part of this new history of Corrientes, which I will proudly bring to the classrooms'.</p>
<p>Colombian national police round up unfamiliar faces in Tame, Arauca.</p>
<p>Some of the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo prepare to air their calls for justice directly at the presidential palace in Buenos Aires. Their intense expressions match the determination they have shown in their decades-long struggle for accountability.</p>
<p>Zoila stands in the middle of her kitchen, which doubles as a bakery in central Havana.<br /></p>
<p>A band of musicians performs in a churchyard in Puebla, Mexico.</p>
<p>Two girls explore their flood-damaged former neighbourhood just behind the national congress on the banks of the Paraguay River. Their homes were flooded a few weeks before Christmas in 1997, forcing their already struggling families to relocate to makeshift residences in a public square.</p>
<p>Soldiers from the Colombian Army's Navos Pardo Battalion, based at Tame in the eastern Colombian state of Arauca. Tasked with securing the town and surrounding countryside against guerrilla and paramilitary presence, members of the battalion were implicated in a massacre at the indigenous reserve of Betoyes in May 2003. <br /></p>
<p>The momentarily forlorn faces of shoppers at a market in Rio de Janeiro.<br /></p>
<p>A razpachin (coca plucker) holds handfuls of the innocuous leaves that, after several steps of processing, can become cocaine.</p>
<p>A German fan is slightly outnumbered by Argentine hinchas before their quarter-final match in the 2010 World Cup. The match ended 0-4 to the Germans.</p>
<p>Fishermen sell their catch near the port in Sozopol, Bulgaria.</p>
<p>The NYPD blue are quick to turn out in defence of the white collars of Wall Street. Here, police film, observe, and later arrest peaceful protestors outside the doors of the New York Stock Exchange.</p>
<p>Men concentrate on cooking at a braai in Soweto.</p>
<p>A Colombian soldier with his pet spider monkey.</p>
<p>A goatherd in central Bulgaria.</p>
<p>Vegetable sellers set out their produce at the central market while a youngster waits to play. </p>
<p>In the early 2000s, these two women helped scores of people each day, typing forms and offering advice from the lobby of an administrative office in Sofia. Elsewhere in the city, it wasn't unusual at the time to see entrepreneur typists on the city pavements, typewriter at the ready, near any office where carefully completed forms were a requirement. </p>
<p>A Colombian Army soldier charges ahead. </p>
<p>The biggest party on earth, Rio de Janeiro's Carnaval converts the sprawling city into a festival of samba, smiles, and surreal spectacle for several days. So Bacchic are the festivities, it's hard to fathom that the Carnaval is rooted in Christian tradition. Here, thousands of revelers watch the famed samba schools in their endless and enormous procession through the purpose-built Sambódromo.<br /></p>
<p>Three friends on a Havana doorstep.<br /></p>
<p>A woman selling dried fish in San Salvador's central market.</p>
<p>A man arriving home in Havana.</p>
<p>A man thinks while drinking pulque, a traditional Mesoamerican indigenous drink made from the maguey plant.</p>
<p>Jamaica's Usain Bolt blazes to a new (and still) world record time of 9.58 seconds in the men's 100m sprint at the 12th IAAF World Championships in Berlin's Olympiastadion. Yes, it's hard to take pictures of people that run this fast...<br /></p>
<p>Britain's Nicola Sanders runs the anchor leg of the women's 4x400m final at the 12th IAAF World Championships, at Berlin's Olympiastadion. Initially finishing fourth, the British team was later upgraded to bronze after the Russians were disqualified for doping.<br /></p>
<p>Flagbearers watching the warm-ups at a 2009 match between Energie Cottbus and Hertha BSC in the Stadion der Freundschaft.<br /></p>
<p>Two Mexico City cobblers in their uniquely decorated workshop. <br /></p>