Beacon

Mallakhamb: ‘History’s Hardest Sport No One Knows’

Beacon | January 11, 2014

20

One of its foremost coaches and scholars once described India’s Mallakhamb to me as “history’s hardest sport that no one knows.”  In an ongoing multimedia project, I explore the tension between the familiar and unfamiliar in South Asian and Middle Eastern sporting, performance, and ritual.  Mallakhamb is endlessly photogenic, but images and descriptions of its stark apparatus and breathtaking feats often further dislodge unfamiliar witnesses from their points of reference.  In advance of an upcoming Dubai workshop on my efforts to both document the sport and capture the challenges of this very documentation, take a sneak peak at some of my visual work.

Tailing Arabia’s Last Leopards: An Environmental Reporting Trip Through Yemen (FULL SERIES)

Beacon | January 10, 2015

IMG_4299

Presented in full: Gaar Adams’ five-part series detailing his weeklong 2014 expedition in Yemen to track the Arabian leopard – one of the rarest animals in the world.  From the Western Highlands to the depths of the Southern Mountains, join the 1,000-kilometer journey from rusted-out pickup trucks with rifle-wielding mango farmers to cave-homes hewn out of sheer cliffs in search of the elusive big cat. With stories of extremism and conflict dominating media coverage of Yemen, take a rare inside look at the ecological surprises nestled amidst the country’s isolated valleys as Adams investigates the barrage of threats assailing some of the most remote and least studied natural environments on the planet.

Tailing Arabia’s Last Leopards: An Environmental Reporting Trip Through Yemen (Part V)

Beacon | January 7, 2015

IMG_4453

In early 2014, I joined a weeklong expedition through Yemen’s Haraz Mountains and Western Highlands to track the Arabian leopard – one of the rarest animals in the world. This is the conclusion to my five-part series detailing the 1,000-kilometer journey that took me from rusted-out pickup trucks with rifle-wielding mango farmers to cave-homes hewn out of sheer cliffs in search of the elusive big cat. With stories of extremism and conflict dominating media coverage of Yemen, take a rare inside look at the ecological surprises nestled amidst the country’s isolated valleys as I investigate the barrage of threats assailing some of the most remote and least studied natural environments on the planet.

Tailing Arabia’s Last Leopards: An Environmental Reporting Trip Through Yemen (Part IV)

Beacon | December 17, 2014

IMG_4018

In early 2014, I joined a weeklong expedition through Yemen’s Haraz Mountains and Western Highlands to track the Arabian leopard – one of the rarest animals in the world. This is the conclusion to my five-part series detailing the 1,000-kilometer journey that took me from rusted-out pickup trucks with rifle-wielding mango farmers to cave-homes hewn out of sheer cliffs in search of the elusive big cat. With stories of extremism and conflict dominating media coverage of Yemen, take a rare inside look at the ecological surprises nestled amidst the country’s isolated valleys as I investigate the barrage of threats assailing some of the most remote and least studied natural environments on the planet.

Tailing Arabia’s Last Leopards: An Environmental Reporting Trip Through Yemen (Part III)

Beacon | November 8, 2014

IMG_3932

In early 2014, I joined a weeklong expedition through Yemen’s Haraz Mountains and Western Highlands to track the Arabian leopard – one of the rarest animals in the world. This is the conclusion to my five-part series detailing the 1,000-kilometer journey that took me from rusted-out pickup trucks with rifle-wielding mango farmers to cave-homes hewn out of sheer cliffs in search of the elusive big cat. With stories of extremism and conflict dominating media coverage of Yemen, take a rare inside look at the ecological surprises nestled amidst the country’s isolated valleys as I investigate the barrage of threats assailing some of the most remote and least studied natural environments on the planet.

Tailing Arabia’s Last Leopards: An Environmental Reporting Trip Through Yemen (Part II)

Beacon | July 8, 2014

IMG_3571

In early 2014, I joined a weeklong expedition through Yemen’s Haraz Mountains and Western Highlands to track the Arabian leopard – one of the rarest animals in the world. This is the conclusion to my five-part series detailing the 1,000-kilometer journey that took me from rusted-out pickup trucks with rifle-wielding mango farmers to cave-homes hewn out of sheer cliffs in search of the elusive big cat. With stories of extremism and conflict dominating media coverage of Yemen, take a rare inside look at the ecological surprises nestled amidst the country’s isolated valleys as I investigate the barrage of threats assailing some of the most remote and least studied natural environments on the planet.

Tailing Arabia’s Last Leopards: An Environmental Reporting Trip Through Yemen (Part I)

Beacon | June 12, 2014

IMG_3393

In early 2014, I joined a weeklong expedition through Yemen’s Haraz Mountains and Western Highlands to track the Arabian leopard – one of the rarest animals in the world. This is the conclusion to my five-part series detailing the 1,000-kilometer journey that took me from rusted-out pickup trucks with rifle-wielding mango farmers to cave-homes hewn out of sheer cliffs in search of the elusive big cat. With stories of extremism and conflict dominating media coverage of Yemen, take a rare inside look at the ecological surprises nestled amidst the country’s isolated valleys as I investigate the barrage of threats assailing some of the most remote and least studied natural environments on the planet.

Sandlot Wrestling With South Asian Migrant Workers in Dubai

Beacon | April 11, 2014

IMG_1310

Last week, I published a story for VICE on Pehlwani, an ancient wrestling tradition fading away in its South Asian homeland but still enthusiastically practiced by an eclectic group of Pakistani, Indian, and Bangladeshi migrant workers along the shores of Dubai.  Unfortunately, four weeks of fieldwork and interviews with these fascinating men could not fit into one 1500 word article.  So here, I present a window into some of that time: a written and photographic journey through an afternoon of unguarded conversations on life, sex, and the importance of almonds with the men at the very center of a heated international debate on migrant labor in the United Arab Emirates.

Of Mosques and Bratwursts

Beacon | January 14, 2014

IMG_2644

In 2010, a bitter fight over a 4-acre plot of land embroiled unassuming Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, in a national controversy on race and religion covered by The New York Times, TIME Magazine, and pundits across the nation. Three years later, I return to the place where I grew up and meet the men whose application to convert a former health food store into a mosque spurred an examination into the Islamophobia and paranoia surrounding the changing face of small town America.

Searching For Napa In Nashik

Beacon | December 7, 2013

IMG_2444

Crouching down to toss my dusty bag into the corner of a cramped train compartment, I bash my head against the sharp edge of a metal bunk bed. The last of nine men to pack into our stifling cabin aboard the legendary Pushpak Express, I wedge myself between two burly guys on a cigarette-burned seat and rub at the pain throbbing around my left temple. Too far from either of the fans churning lethargically on the far side of the train, I try leaning forward for some respite from the sticky Mumbai air, cursing Wes Anderson and anyone else who has ever romanticized India’s railways…

From Cairo to Antwerp, With One Chance to Make It Count

Beacon | October 11, 2013

IMG_2379_2

Gymnastics is a sport of dynasties — for over half a century, only Japan, China, and the Soviet Union have stood atop the podium as world champions in the men’s team event (The sole exception? Belarus in 2001, with a team consisting of members who once competed in the Soviet Union’s junior ranks before the country’s dissolution.) For a quarter century between 1978 and 2003, a Romanian woman tumbled her way onto the floor exercise podium at every world championships save for only three odd occasions. And for the past eight Worlds, the United States has medaled in the prestigious women’s all-around competition each year – winning gold five of those times and achieving the feat of winning both gold and silver an astounding three times…

Music of Migrants

Beacon | September 26, 2013

IMG_1012

Forget about his reckless speeding along Abu Dhabi’s coastal highway: my pudgy Keralite taxi driver is much more concerned by his unshakeable belief that he and I are in the middle of a calamitous misunderstanding. Furrowing his dark unibrow, he dials down the Malayali radio station blaring from his blown out speakers and stares at me in the rearview mirror. Again, he asks me the same question he’s repeated three times now, but with this final try, his words are slower and more deliberate…

The Mangrove Keepers
Beacon | September 17, 2013

IMG_0844

I’m watching a lanky Filipino man stand on the edge of Abu Dhabi’s eastern highway, his clothes wet and matted against his gaunt frame. With a bag of clams dragging behind him — leaving a spotty trail of Gulf water in his wake — he squints against the harsh light of the roadside lampposts and darts across eight lanes of traffic. I look back toward the tangle of roots and leaves and seagrass along the shoreline from which he emerged just moments earlier. When I try to relocate his shadow on the other side of the highway amidst the inky darkness of the night, I can only hear the jangle of clams rattling together in his rucksack…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: