Each year All About Photo commemorates the amazing photographers we lost in 2017, celebrating their lives and paying tribute to their contribution to shaping the past, present and future of photography. As photojournalists, artists, and creators; their photographs were etched in light and engraved into history.
Len Speier 1927 - 2017
Len Speier, b. 1927, was taken with photography from the time his uncle gave him a primitive film developing kit on his 13th Birthday. Despite college, a stint in the Army on Occupation Duty in Japan, followed by Law School and a private practice, he returned to his first love, the photo arts, and has been so engaged for over 40 years.
For Speier, photography is the art of exclusion, the power to create through the camera what is desired to be revealed. It is the seren-dipitous confluence of the eye, brain, sensitivity and the action of the finger on the shutter release. Speier aims to capture humanism and social reality in his work. In addition to photographing extensively in New York, and in various parts of the world, including China, Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Denmark, Surinam and Japan, Speier is also an educator, and has taught photography for many years at The New School, New York University, and the Fashion Institute of Technology, before retiring in 2006. Speiers also mentored gifted high school children in photography for the NAACP program entitled, “ACT-SO” for 10 years.
He has an extensive exhibition record and has been the recipient of several awards, and has work in many collections, including the Permanent Collection of the International Center of Photography; Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; Museum of the City of New York; and the Photo Archive of the NY Public Library. His work has also been published in textbooks, compilations, gallery catalogs magazines, advertisements and book jackets.
Marie Cosindas 1923-2017
Marie Cosindas, a pioneer in the use of color photography, died in her hometown of Boston on May 25 at the age of 93. She had studied textiles and painting at the Modern School of Fashion Design and the Boston Museum School before a 1959 trip to her family's homeland of Greece triggered a passion for photography.
After studying and attending workshops with Paul Caponigro and Ansel Adams, she was referred to Polaroid's Edwin Land in 1962 to test out the company's new instant-developing film. Excelling in experimentation with color film, particularly in its uses for ethereal portraits and still-lifes, she garnered the interest of Museum of Modern Art curator John Szarkowski. He would offer her an exhibition in 1966, making her just the fifth woman in the museum's history of have a solo show. In the press release, Szarkowski stated that her photographs were "as real and as unlikely as butterflies."
Her work fell into obscurity during the 1980s but was revisited in 2013 when two museums — the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Tex., and the Photographic Resource Center at Boston University — presented new looks at her work. During her lifetime, she was the recipient of a Guggenheim Grant, a Rockefeller Grant and two honorary degrees.
Arlene Gottfried 1950-2017
Street photographer Arlene Gottfried died on Aug. 8 from complications of breast cancer. She was 66 years old. Born and raised in Brooklyn, she was the older sister of actor and comedian Gilbert Gottfried, but her compassionate, curious photos of everyday New York City stand on their own.
As a teenager, she received her first camera from her father and would roam her Brooklyn neighborhood photographing her surroundings and interesting characters. After studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and working for an advertising agency, she shot for publications such as the New York Times Magazine, FORTUNE, LIFE and Newsweek. But her street work, captured over the course of three decades, resonated the most.
During the course of her career Gottfried published five books — the first of which, 1999's The Eternal Light, brought her into such close contact with her subject, the Eternal Light Community Singers, that she became a gospel singer herself. (The photo featured in the gallery is from her 2011 book Bacalaitos and Fireworks.) And yet, in an interview with TIME’s Paul Moakley that year, she said that she still felt sometimes that she didn’t know much the business of making a photo book, even though she had clearly proved her aptitude at the process. “I’m good at taking the pictures and putting them in some order,” she said. “For me it’s a way of concluding something.”
Stanley Greene 1949-2017
Photojournalist, World Press Award winner and founding member of Noor photo agency Stanley Greene died on May 19 in Paris after a long battle with cancer. He was 68 years old. Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1949, he received his first camera from his parents at age 11. As a teenager, he joined the Black Panthers and was an anti-Vietnam activist. With the encouragement of renowned photojournalist and former LIFE photographer W. Eugene Smith, Greene pursued photography at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York.
After college he moved to San Francisco and documented the punk scene and produced a body of work called “The Western Front.” He would move to Paris in 1986 and have a brief career as a fashion photographer and was in East Berlin in 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell.
He won his first World Press award in 1994 for his 1993 work in the Russian White House. He was the only western journalist inside during the coup attempt against Russian President Boris Yeltsin. His focused work in conflict zones including Chechnya, Georgia, Afghanistan and Iraq would win him additional World Press awards and other honors including the W. Eugene Smith award in 2004 and the Lifetime Achievement Visa d’Or Award in 2016
Virginia Thoren 1920-2017
Fashion photographer Virginia Thoren, born to Swedish immigrant parents in South Orange, N.J., died on Oct. 27. She was 97 years old. Although not formally trained, she would go on to shoot for magazines such as Vogue and Town and Country and photographed many famous faces of the day, including actor Vivien Leigh and model Suzy Parker.
Before her interest in photography blossomed, she studied advertising and design at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y. She received her degree in 1942 and soon after joined the art department at Vogue, after turning down a position at the Museum of Modern Art. Although hired as an assistant in the art department there, she also became an assistant to Toni Frissell, the leading female fashion photographer of the time.
In 1944, Thoren began working for Albert Woodley and Company, an advertising agency, traveling to France frequently for her work. She bought her first Rolliflex in 1945 and photographed Yves Saint Laurent’s first collection for Christian Dior in 1946. She was awarded a Certificate of Excellence from the American Institute of Graphic Arts in 1954.
Like her mentor, Frissell, she brought her models outside of the traditional studio and photographed them in natural light and real environments. Her early interest in watercolor is also evident in the soft atmospheric lighting and palette of her work. In 2007, her archives were donated to the Pratt Institute Libraries and her work is represented by June Bateman Fine Art.
Robert Delpire 1926-2017
Robert Delpire, the incredible French publisher, curator and editor, died on September 26 in Paris. He was 91. During his extraordinary career, Delpire worked closely with photographers including his wife Sarah Moon and contributed significantly to their visibility thanks to numerous publications and exhibitions.
Delpire published three photography books under the imprint Huit (Eight): Robert Doisneau Les Parisiens tels qu'ils sont (Parisians as They Are, 1954); Henri Cartier-Bresson Les Danses à Bali (Dances in Bali, 1954), and George Rodger Le Village des Noubas (The Village of the Nubas, 1955)
In 1955, he founded his own publishing company Delpire & Co, as well as the magazine L'Oeil, which he ran for eight years. One of his most notorious publication with the Delpire editions in 1957 was The Americans by Robert Frank.
He also organised exhibitions around the world. In 1982, he founded the Centre National de la Photographie (known today as Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume in Paris) and was its director until 1996.
Delpire also had his own gallery, Gallery Delpire, and created Photo Poche, the first collection of pocket-sized books dedicated to photography. Facilitating access to a large audience, Delpire's democratic strategy contributed to produce and disseminate the work of hundreds of photographers.
Robert Delpire won the Prix Nadar, the ICP's Infinity Awards for his Lifetime Achievement, The Cultural Award from the German Society for Photography with his wife Sarah Moon, and received the Royal Photographic Society's Centenary Medal for his contribution to the cultural world.
In 2002, he established the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation.
The life of the photography editor and curator changed the face of the publishing industry. He will be dearly missed.
Don Hogan Charles
Don Hogan Charles, who was the first black photographer to be hired by The New York Times, and who drew acclaim for his evocative shots of the civil rights movement and everyday life in New York, died on Dec. 15 in East Harlem. He was 79.
His niece Cherylann O’Garro, who announced the death, said his family did not yet know the cause.
In more than four decades at The Times, Mr. Charles photographed a wide range of subjects, from local hangouts to celebrities to fashion to the United Nations. But he may be best remembered for the work that earned him early acclaim: his photographs of key moments and figures of the civil rights era.
In 1964, he took a now-famous photograph, for Ebony magazine, of Malcolm X holding a rifle as he peered out of the window of his Queens home. In 1968, for The Times, he photographed Coretta Scott King, her gaze fixed in the distance, at the funeral of her husband, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Pete Turner 1934-2017
Turner, one of the first masters of color photography, died on Sept. 18, 2017, at age 83. Known for his brilliant, saturated color images, his work blurred the line between art and commercial photography. His experiments with color began when he was a teenager in Rochester, N.Y. — home of Kodak — and continued as he studied photography at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) with peers and future photography stars Bruce Davidson and Jerry Uelsmann.
Upon graduating from RIT, he was drafted into the Army and stationed in Astoria, N.Y., where he ran the color film lab and was able to continue his personal work. His first major assignment came in 1959 where he traveled to Africa for Airstream and National Geographic. In the mid-1960s he met music producer Creed Taylor, which led to a long partnership with Turner’s images gracing the covers of countless classic jazz albums. (One hundred of these images can be seen in the book Color of Jazz.) Perhaps most famously, an image that Turner shot of giraffe in Amboseli National Park in Kenya while on assignment for the oil company Esso in 1964 became the cover art for Brazilian artist Antonio Carlos Jobims’ 1967 album Wave. Turner's use of filters to manipulate the color in the photo was not done widely at the time, and Turner would later say that the photo was important in his career because it showed him the benefits of breaking the rules. "It said you don’t need to be afraid to experiment,” he said. “Playing things safe is often a mistake."
Turner was named one of the 20 most influential photographers of all time in 2000 by PDN and his archives reside at the George Eastman House in Rochester, N.Y.
Keiichi Tahara 1951 - 2017
Tahara was born in Kyoto. He learned photographic techniques at an early age from his grandfather, who was a professional photographer.
In 1972 in France, he encountered a sharp, harsh and piercing light that he had never experienced in Japan while he was traveling Europe with Red Buddha Theater, where he was a lighting and visual technician. Since then, he remained in Paris for next 30 years and started his career as a photographer.
His first series of work “Ville (City)” (1973–1976) captured the unique light in Paris in black-and-white photography. His next series of work “Fenêtre (Windows)” (1973–1980) awarded the best new photographer by Arles International Photography Festival in 1977 and he moved into the limelight.The following year, he started the new series “Portrait” (1978), then “Eclat” (1979–1983) and ”Polaroid” (1984) and received number of awards such as Ihei Kimura award (1985).
His morphological approach to light has extended to sculpture, installations, and other various method crossing over the genre of photography. In 1993, in moat of the Castle of Angers (1993), the first light sculpture in France, "Fighting the Dragon” (1993) was installed.
His representative work is Garden of Light (Eniwa, Hokkaido, 1989) where light sculptures are installed in a public space that is covered by a meter of snow six months of the year. The light changes in response to music and presents a space of poetic dimensions. Based on the same concept, in the year 2000, Echos du Lumières was installed in the Canal Saint-Martin, commissioned as a public space project by the City of Paris. The spectacle colors from the prisms illuminate the stone wall synchronizing with the sounds.
Others are permanent outdoor installation “Niwa (Garden)” at the Photography Museum in Paris ( Maison Europeenne de la Photographie) in 2001, “ Prtrail de Lumiere” installation as a part of European Capital of culture event “ Lille 2004” in 2004, and “ Light Sculpture” exhibition at Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art museum in 2004.
In 2008, Ginza 888 building was built by his total produce, art direction of the Museum of Islamic Art and he published a photography book.
Keiichi Tahara was one of the jurors of All About Photo Awards 2016.
Ata Kandó 1913 -2017
The Hungarian-Dutch photographer Ata Kando was born in Budapest in 1913. In 1932 she left for Paris with her first husband, the artist Gyula Kando, with whom she had three children. After the war she joined the Magnum photo agency as an assistant. In 1954 she married the Dutch photographer Ed van der Elsken and moved to Holland with him. Kando first made her name with compassionate photographs of refugees fleeing Hungary after the suppressed uprising of 1956 and of aboriginal tribes in Amazonia. At the same time she was taking poetic photos of her own children as well as photographing for a number of fashion houses. Ata Kando also played a significant role for younger generations of Dutch photographers through her teaching at the Enschede Academy of Visual Arts (AKI) and elsewhere. Among her pupils were later luminaries such as Koen Wesing and Ad van Denderen, the latter of whom, together with Leo erken, made the selection for this monograph. Her work has been published in many books in addition to being seen at numerous exhibitions throughout Europe and North America.