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Famous Photographers / J

Colin Jones
United Kingdom
1936
Colin Jones is an English ballet dancer-turned-photographer and prolific photojournalist of post-war Britain. Jones documented facets of social history as diverse as the vanishing industrial working lives of the North East coalfields, Grafters, delinquent Afro-Caribbean youth in London, The Black House, hedonistic 1960s Swinging London with pictures of The Who early in their career, the 1963 race riots in Alabama, Soviet Leningrad, and remnants of a rural Britain now lost to history. Jones was born in 1936. He experienced a war childhood; his father, a Poplar, East End printer, went away as a soldier on the Burma campaign. Jones' family was evacuated to Essex and he attended a succession of thirteen schools whilst struggling with dyslexia, before the age of sixteen, when he took up ballet lessons. In 1960 Jones was called up for national service and served in the Queen's Royal Regiment. Fresh out of the army, Colin joined the Royal Opera House, later moving to the Touring Royal Ballet and embarked on a nine-month world tour. Jones met, and for four years was married to, the great ballerina Lynn Seymour. Whilst on tour and running an errand for Dame Margot Fonteyn, he purchased his first camera, a Leica 3C rangefinder, in 1958 and started taking photographs of the dancers and backstage life during the Australian leg of the circuit. Jones admired the available-light backstage photography of Michael Peto, a Hungarian émigré, who agreed to mentor him. Colin Jones took advantage of the ballet company's travel to photograph extensively in the streets of Tokyo, Hong Kong and the Gorbals, Glasgow in 1961. Driving with fellow dancers from Newcastle to Sunderland that year, he saw, north of Birmingham, coal searchers on the spoil-heaps. In 1962, having changed his career to become a photographer for The Observer he returned to produce a series of photographs recording the vanishing industrial working poor and mining communities in the North East of England, later publishing the essay as the book Grafters. At The Observer he worked alongside photographers Philip Jones Griffiths and Don McCullin. He worked in Fleet Street for several years before turning freelance. Commissioned assignments took him to New York City in 1962; Liverpool docks in 1963; the race riots in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, where he made portraits of both 'Bull' Connor, and Dr Martin Luther King in 1963; Leningrad, USSR in 1964. In 1966 he photographed the British rock band The Who at the beginning of their career, and Pete Townshend, then Mick Jagger in 1967. He travelled to the Philippines in 1969 where he photographed the sex trade. He portrayed significant dancers, including Rudolph Nureyev for several publications. Jones’ work has been published in major publications including Life, National Geographic, Geo and Nova as well as many supplements for major broadsheet newspapers, most prominently The Times, who dubbed Jones "The George Orwell of British photography". In his later career he covered assignments around the world, including Jamaica in 1978; the indigenes of the New Hebrides and Zaire in 1980; Tom Waits in New York, 1981; San Blas Islands in 1982; Ireland in 1984; Xian, China in 1985; Ladakh in northern India 1994 and Bunker Hill, Kansas in 1996. Solo exhibitions have been devoted to his work: The Black House: Colin Jones at The Photographers' Gallery in London, 4 May – 4 June 1977 as well as at many other galleries. Martin Harrison’s Young Meteors associated Jones with other important British photographers including Don McCullin and Terence Donovan. In 2013 the Victoria and Albert Museum acquired three of Jones' historic photographs from The Black House series, along with a photograph by Dennis Morris depicting the original Black House associated with Michael X, both acquired as part of Staying Power, a five year partnership between the V&A and Black Cultural Archives, preserving black British experience from the 1950s to the 1990s through photographs and oral histories. The Arts Council also purchased his work.Source: Wikipedia The art of photography remains so fascinating because of the individuals who arrive from unexpected places and take the medium through a lifetime of changes. The career of Colin Jones has a startling trajectory. He was born in 1936, in time to be a war child, a father away as a soldier, and 13 different schools. An element of chance, as well as talent, led to a scholarship at the Royal Ballet School. The moment that defined Jones's later life occurred as he was driving with fellow-dancers from Newcastle to Sunderland one day in 1961. Travelling north of Birmingham and seeing the winding gear of coalmines had always excited Jones, who was steeped in the books of George Orwell, but now he saw the extraordinary drama of spoil-heaps swarming with coal searchers - an epic of reality and survival. Colin Jones is one of the most celebrated and prolific photographers of post-war Britain. He has documented facets of social history over the years as diverse as the vanishing industrial working lives of the Northeast (Grafters), delinquent Afro-Caribbean youth in London (The Black House), and most recently, the high-octane hedonism of Swinging London with his famous pictures of The Who early in their career. His work has been published in every major publication with any regard for the image and photography. Such as Life, and National Geographic, as well as many supplements for the major broadsheets. He has had solo exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC and at the Photographers Gallery in London, as well as at many other venues internationally.Source: Michael Hoppen Gallery
Jean-Francois Jonvelle
France
1943 | † 2002
Jean-François Jonvelle, born on October 3, 1943, in Cavaillon was a French photographer of fashion, glamor and portraiture. Work on the release of 20 ans magazine and then work on Dim, Dam, Dom, Vogue, Stern, Gala, Elle. In the 1960s, Jonvelle was assistant to Richard Avedon. During his career, he made many portraits of women, often his friends: natural young people, often naked, unconcerned. Unlike other fashion and glamor photographers, who offer a provocative woman, Jean-François Jonvelle's performance is much softer, more natural, more jovial but equally sensual. He died at the age of 58 years of terminal cancer, 15 days after it was detected on January 16, 2002, in Paris.Source: Wikipedia Jean-François Jonvelle was snatched by the hand of death with a suddenness to match the photographs that were his life. Just as that life was dedicated to capturing these stolen moments, so death followed suit, carrying him off in the midst of life. A tumor was discovered in early January, a final farewell just a fortnight later. He was gone in a flash. As I turn the pages of my friend’s last book my eyes mist over. My tears dissolve Jonvelle’s photographs into the soft focus of a David Hamilton. Jonvelle’s work is often described as being – in the time-honored formula – ‘sexy but not vulgar’. I prefer his own description of what he sought out: ‘la poésie du quotidien’, ‘the poetry of the everyday’. Photographs freeze moments of truth, all you have to do is choose the ones that do it best. "I tell myself that the present and the future don’t exist", he also used to say. "Everyone, every day, creates their own past." The quality that makes his images more moving than the rest is their vulnerability. Jonvelle taught me one crucial lesson: in photography, as in literature, what counts is feeling. Eroticism and tenderness are not sworn enemies. A downy arm, the frail nape of a neck, an uptilted breast, the curve of a back beneath the sheets, damp hair, closed eyelids, the trace of a kiss on the neck all these can be arousing. Jonvelle’s women are fresh and natural because they are unaware of our gaze. Jonvelle makes adoring voyeurs of us all. He shows us why heterosexuality can be so painful: everywhere, in every house and every bathroom, paradise lurks. Paradise delicately removes her T-shirt, brushes her teeth, buttocks pert, the curve of her breasts taut, timeless. Suddenly paradise parts her legs in silence, biting her fingernails as she looks you straight in the eye, teasing you as she waits for you on the sheets. Jonvelle is in paradise now, but for him nothing has changed: he was already there in his lifetime. As I gaze in wonder, the way I always do, at these images, so far removed from the familiar clichés, my thoughts turn to the beautiful women he immortalized. Photographs fix the fleeting, immortalize the ephemeral. Many of the women Jonvelle photographed are now old or dead, but – thanks to this photographer who is now also dead – their perfection will never fade. Every one of Jonvelle’s photographs is a declaration of love. One day, at my request, he photographed Delphine Vallette, the mother of my daughter. I wanted to give this brunette whom I loved a portrait. Never have I felt such a cuckold – though in the most erotic of ways. Beauty is an evanescent mystery that some artists have the ability to capture. As I look again at these wonderful images, I’m reminded of the title of that American comedy Drop Dead Gorgeous. Jonvelle’s work as a whole is not an ode to femininity; the story it tells is of the battle to vanquish death by means of the celebration of desire. All these shoulders caught by surprise, these half-seen breasts, these finely- arched insteps, these flawless backs, this sensual solitude, this calm between two storms, all these beautiful women who don’t give a damn are simply doors softly opened, through which we may catch a glimpse of eternal life. -- Frédéric Beigbeder Jean-François Jonvelle was born in 1943 in Cavaillon, south of France. Soon he will sell famous melons to buy Hasselblad. Its inspirations will come from the painting of Balthus, Bacon, of Schiele, but the true influence comes from films from Mankiewicz, Lubitsch, Fritz Lang, Orson Welles, Arthur PEN, Minnelli and more recently of Terry Gillian of which it acknowledges to have seen eleven times the film Brazil; Finally its preferred film: Jules and Jim of François Truffaut. In 1959, it is the photographer George Glasberg who initiates him with photography while making him make the turn of France of the cathedrals. It is a photographic revelation which will leave it never again. At the age of 20 he becomes the assistant of the American photographer Richard Avedon. After this enriching experiment he becomes his own 'Master' whose favorite subject will be the woman. Her mom and her small sister of whom he always was very near will be her 'first agreeing victims'. Then come the first 'muse' and accomplice, Tina Sportolaro whom he meets in 1982 and with which he carries out some of his more beautiful images. Will be then Béatrice, Myriam and many others.Source: The Eye of Photography
Kenneth Josephson
United States
1932
Kenneth Josephson is an American photographer, born on July 1, 1932 in Detroit, Michigan. He completed his elementary education in Detroit. In 1953 after being sent in Germany by the United States Army he was trained in photolithography and aerial reconnaissance photography. In 1957 he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Rochester Institute of Technology, located in New York. There he studied under Minor White. In 1960 he earned a master's degree from the Institute of Design of the Illinois Institute of Technology. While studying there he was influenced by Aaron Siskind and Harry Callahan. After earning his master's degree in 1960 Kenneth Josephson worked at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1960 to 1997, when he retired. In 1963 he co-founded the Society for Photographic Education with thirty other notable photographers. His works in the 1960s and 1970s which were focused on conceptual photography placed him at the forefront of conceptual photography. In 1972 he was awarded with the Guggenheim Fellowship grant by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. In 1975 and in 1979 he was awarded with the NEA grant by the National Endowment for the Arts agency. Many of his collections are found in museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, the National Museum of American Art and The Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris. In 1977 and 1983 many of his works became part of exhibitions in Austria, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and France.Source: Wikipedia Kenneth Josephson is recognized as one of the pioneers of conceptual photography. He has explored the concepts of photographic truth and illusion throughout his career, producing a varied oeuvre that utilizes a range of techniques from collage and construction to multiple exposures and single negative photographs. Focusing on what it means to make a picture, Josephson’s work playfully highlights the illusive nature of photography. New York State (1970) is one of Josephson’s most well known photographs, and one of a much larger series incorporating pictures within pictures. We see the artist’s arm, stretching over a body of water, and just above the horizon line he holds a picture of a ship. Positioning this ship so that it appears proportionally equal to a full-sized ship in the distance, the photograph is deliberately composed to draw attention to its artifice. Source: Yancey Richardson In 1963 he became a founding member of the Society for Photographic Education, and in 1964 his work was included in John Szarkowski’s exhibition, “The Photographer’s Eye,” which traveled internationally to forty venues from 1964 to 1972. Josephson received his first museum retrospective in 1999–2000 at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Whitney Museum. His work is featured in numerous collections around the world and his monographs include: Kenneth Josephson Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, 1983; Kenneth Josephson: A Retrospective The Art Institute of Chicago, 1999; Kenneth Josephson: The First Fifty Years Stephen Daiter Gallery, 2008; Kenneth Josephson: Matthew 2054 Press and Stephen Daiter Gallery, 2012; Kenneth Josephson: Selected Photographs Only Photography, 2013; and The Light of Coincidence: The Photographs of Kenneth Josephson University of Texas Press, 2016.Source: Gitterman Gallery
 JR
France
1983
JR has the largest art gallery in the world. Thanks to his photographic collage technique, he exhibits his work free of charge on the walls of the whole world - attracting the attention of those who do not usually go to museums. Originator of the 28 Millimeters Project which he started in and around Clichy-Montfermeil in 2004, continued in the Middle East with Face 2 Face (2007), in Brazil and Kenya for Women Are Heroes (2008-2011), the documentary for which was presented at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010 (Critics' Week). JR has created "Infiltrating art". During his collage activities, the local communities take part in the act of artistic creation, with no stage separating actors from spectators. The anonymity of JR and the absence of any explanation accompanying his huge portraits leave him with a free space in which issues and actors, performers and passers-by meet, forming the essence of his work. In 2011 he received the Ted Prize, giving him the opportunity to make a vow to change the world. He created Inside Out, an international participatory art project that allows people from around the world to receive a print of their portrait and then billboard it as support for an idea, a project, an action and share that experience. In 2014, working with the New York City Ballet, he used the language of dance to tell his version of the riots in the Clichy-Montfermeil district. He created The Groves, a ballet and short film, the music for which was composed by Woodkid, Hans Zimmer and Pharrell Williams, and which was presented at the Tribeca Film Festival. At the same time, JR worked in the abandoned hospital of Ellis Island, an important place in the history of immigration - and made the short film ELLIS, with Robert De Niro. In 2016, JR was invited by the Louvre, whose pyramid he made disappear the with the help of an astonishing anamorphosis. The same year, during the Olympic Games in Rio, he created gigantic new sculptural installations throughout the city, to underline the beauty of the sporting gesture. JR & Agnès Varda - Faces, Places. In 2017, he co-directed with Agnès Varda "Faces, Place"s, screened the same year in the official selection out of competition for the Cannes Film Festival. The film won the Golden Eye (for best documentary) and was nominated for a Caesar and an Oscar in the same category in 2018. He has received other awards around the world. In 2013, the first retrospectives of JR's work took place in Tokyo (at the Watari-Um Museum) and the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, followed by exhibitions at the Frieder Burda Museum in Baden Baden in 2014, and at the HOCA Foundation in Hong Kong in 2015. He exhibited in 2018 at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris, and in 2019 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) and the Brooklyn Museum. Source: jr-art.net
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