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Famous Photographers / O

Erwin Olaf
Netherlands
1959
Erwin Olaf (b. 1959) is an internationally exhibiting artist with works in the collections of museums and galleries around the world. Olaf has received numerous highly prestigious commissions and awards. Olaf emerged onto the international art scene when his series ‘Chessmen’ won the Young European Photographer of the Year award in 1988. This was followed by an exhibition at the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, with subsequent solo and group shows at major museums and galleries around the world, including Centro de Arte Contemporaneo de Málaga, Museum of Image and Sound in São Paulo, Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin, SECCA in North Carolina and Santiago Museum of Contemporary Art. In 2018 the Rijksmuseum has accuired 500 key artworks from his fourty-year oeuvre for their collection. This follows recent official portraits for the Dutch royal family and the design of the new Euro coin for King Willem Alexander. Rutger Pontzen, art critic for Dutch newspaper the Volkskrant said, ‘Controversial or not, Erwin Olaf does give a picture of the Netherlands’.. ‘and that makes him distinctive in Dutch photography’.. ‘In other words, his oeuvre belongs to the cultural heritage’. Starting his career as a photojournalist documenting the gay scene of the 1980s, Olaf increasingly sought and defined his own subjects, often explored in series of works in black and white (Squares, Chessmen and Blacks) and colour (Mind of their Own, Rain, Hope, Grief, Dusk, and Dawn). In recent years he has developed his themes through the form of monumental tableaux, for which he adopts the role of director as well as photographer. Olaf is a master of this craft, a virtuoso in the fine and subtle arts of photography and drama suffused with stillness, contemplation and dreamlike mystery. He is also a true picture maker, showing a close affinity with Old Masters and contemporary artists alike, from Rembrandt to Mapplethorpe, and in that sense his work emphatically bridges the gap between historical and contemporary picture-making. Now internationally renowned, Erwin Olaf’s photography remains an essential part of the Netherlands’ cultural heritage. Taco Dibbits, Rijksmuseum director, says, ‘his work is deeply rooted in the visual traditions of Dutch art and history’ and that consequently Olaf is ‘one of the most important photographers of the final quarter of the 20th century’. From progression to decay, notions of transformation are prevalent throughout Olaf’s work with a multitude of projects proving his fascination for society’s ever-changing demands, its simultaneous development and devolution of our moral compass, and its cultivated sense of anticipation for an almost-achievable contentment. These are the preoccupations that add a fascinating dimension to ‘Skin Deep’ and ‘Tamed and Anger’, but also colour the tension in ‘Separation’ which explores the artist’s relationship with his mother, the controversial ‘Royal Blood’, the pressures of ageing in ‘Mature’ and the self-portrait series ‘I Wish, I Am, I Will Be’. All these projects reveal the friction of an imperfect reality hidden beneath a perfectly curated façade. His most recent work sees the conclusion of the three-part project ‘Shifting Metropolises’ [working title] - a series of artworks looking at internationally renowned cities undergoing seismic change in the modern world. Rather than fabricating a controlled studio environment, this trilogy is the only time the artist has shot on location, retaining his characteristic cinematic associations to produce a body of work wrought with the genuine emotions and neuroses of these places and their inhabitants. A bold approach to his work has earned Olaf a number of commissions from institutions including Louis Vuitton, Vogue, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, for which he designed the 2016 ‘Catwalk’ exhibition, including a promotional video and photographic campaign. He has been awarded Photographer of the Year in the International Colour Awards 2006 and Kunstbeeld magazine’s Dutch Artist of the Year 2007 as well as the Netherlands’ prestigious Johannes Vermeer Prize. Additional international awards include the Infinity Award from the International Centre of Photography, the Silver Lion at the Cannes Lions Festival for Advertising, and a Lucie Award from the United States for his whole oeuvre. In 2013 he won the commission to redesign the Dutch Euro coins, which have been in circulation since 2014. Olaf has screened video work at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Museum at FIT in New York, and at Nuit Blanche in Toronto with a live score commissioned for his series ‘Waiting’. He has also projected his 30 channel video installation ‘L’Éveil' onto the Hôtel de Ville for Nuit Blanche in Paris, curated by Jean de Loisy (Director, Palais de Tokyo). In March 2018 the Museu da Imagem e do Som in São Paulo hosted a retrospective of his work. In 2019 Shanghai Center of Photography (SCôP) will host a solo exhibition. The Gemeentemuseum The Hague and The Hague Museum of Photography will host an anniversary solo exhibition for Erwin Olaf his 60th birthday, and to celebrate 40 years of photography. In 2019 there will be a new retrospective monograph released, published by Hannibal, Aperture, Xavier Barral and Prestel. Erwin Olaf (born 1959, Hilversum, the Netherlands) lives and works in Amsterdam. Source: www.erwinolaf.com
Ruth Orkin
United States
1921 | † 1985
Ruth Orkin was an American photographer, photojournalist, and filmmaker, with ties to New York City and Hollywood. Best known for her photograph An American Girl in Italy (1951), she photographed many celebrities and personalities including Lauren Bacall, Doris Day, Ava Gardner, Tennessee Williams, Marlon Brando, and Alfred Hitchcock. Ruth Orkin was born on September 3, 1921 in Boston, Massachusetts to Mary Ruby and Samuel Orkin. Ruth grew up in Hollywood, due to her mother's career as a silent film actress. In 1931, she received her first camera, a 39-cent Univex, and soon began experimenting by taking photographs of her friends and teachers at school. At the age of 17, she decided to bike across America, beginning in Los Angeles, and ending in New York City for the 1939 World's Fair. She completed the trip in three weeks' time, taking photographs along the way. She briefly attended Los Angeles City College for photojournalism in 1940, prior to becoming the first messenger girl at MGM Studios in 1941, citing a desire to become a cinematographer. She left the position after discovering the union's discriminatory practices that did not allow female members. She joined the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps during World War II, in 1941 in an attempt to gain filmmaking skills, as advertisements promoting the group promised. The attempt was not fruitful, however, and she was discharged in 1943 without any filmmaking training. In 1943, Orkin moved to New York City in pursuit of a career as a freelance photojournalist. She began working as a nightclub photographer and received her first assignment in 1945 from The New York Times to shoot Leonard Bernstein. Shortly after, her freelance career grew as she traveled internationally on assignments and contributed photographs to Life, Look, Ladies' Home Journal, and others. Orkin is credited with breaking into a heavily male field. Orkin's most celebrated image is An American Girl in Italy (1951). The subject of the now-iconic photograph was the 23-year-old Ninalee Craig (known at that time as Jinx Allen). The photograph was part of a series originally titled Don't Be Afraid to Travel Alone. The image depicted Craig as a young woman confidently walking past a group of ogling Italian men in Florence. In recent articles written about the pair, Craig claims that the image was not staged, and was one of many taken throughout the day, aiming to show the fun of traveling alone. In 1952 Orkin married photographer, filmmaker and fellow Photo League member Morris Engel. Orkin and Engel collaborated on two major independent feature films, Little Fugitive which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1953, and Lovers and Lollipops (1955). After the success of the two films, Orkin returned to photography, taking color shots of Central Park as seen through her apartment window. Ruth photographed marathons, parades, concerts, demonstrations, and the beauty of the changing seasons. These photographs were the subject of two widely acclaimed books, A World Through My Window (1978) and More Pictures from My Window (1983). Orkin taught photography at the School of Visual Arts in the late 1970s, and at the International Center of Photography in 1980. After a long struggle with cancer, Orkin passed away in her apartment, surrounded by her wonderful legacy of photographs with the view of Central Park outside her window, on January 16, 1985.Source: Wikipedia Ruth Orkin was an award-winning photojournalist and filmmaker. Orkin was the only child of Mary Ruby, a silent-film actress, and Samuel Orkin, a manufacturer of toy boats called Orkin Craft. She grew up in Hollywood in the heyday of the 1920s and 1930s. At the age of 10, she received her first camera, a 39 cent Univex. She began by photographing her friends and teachers at school. At 17 years old she took a monumental bicycle trip across the United States from Los Angeles to New York City to see the 1939 World’s Fair, and she photographed along the way. Orkin moved to New York in 1943, where she worked as a nightclub photographer and shot baby pictures by day to buy her first professional camera. She worked for all the major magazines in 1940s, and also went to Tanglewood during the summers to shoot rehearsals. She ended up with many of the worlds’ greatest musicians of the time including Leonard Bernstein, Isaac Stern, Aaron Copland, Jascha Heifitz, Serge Koussevitzky and many others. In 1951, LIFE magazine sent her to Israel with the Israeli Philharmonic. Orkin then went to Italy, and it was in Florence where she met Nina Lee Craig, an art student and fellow American, who became the subject of American Girl in Italy. The photograph was part of a series originally titled Don’t Be Afraid to Travel Alone about what they encountered as women traveling alone in Europe after the war.Source: Ruth Orkin Photo Archive Boston-born Ruth Orkin grew up in Los Angeles, and the movie industry and music were both formative influences. She attended Los Angeles City College briefly in 1940 before becoming the first female studio messenger ever hired at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in the early 1940s; but with no hope for promotion, she joined the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps, tempted by the promise (empty, as it turned out) that she would be taught cinematography. After completing her service in 1943, she moved to New York and worked as a nightclub photographer. Orkin honed her skills in portraiture by spending the summer of 1946 documenting the Tanglewood Music Festival; later that year, LOOK published her first major photo essay, Jimmy, the Storyteller. She sent the series to Edward Steichen at the Museum of Modern Art in 1947, and he subsequently included her in every group photography show at the museum until his retirement, including the great 1955 exhibition, The Family of Man. Orkin married photographer Morris Engel in 1952, and the couple collaborated on a prize-winning film, Little Fugitive. Their filmmaking endeavors continued through the mid-1950s, and while Orkin continued to photograph, she admitted that still photography "held little interest" after her experience of making a film. Her views of Central Park, taken from her apartment, were published in the 1978 book A World Outside My Window. Orkin's photography is a celebration of fearlessness and vitality. While she accepted specific assignments from The New York Times and various magazines, she also had the freedom to work independently, creating photo essays and photographing famous people with the knowledge that she would be able to sell the resulting work. Like a film director, Orkin created images that appear to be private moments, and lends a Hollywood-style personality to her subjects and landscapes.Source: International Center of Photography
Paul Outerbridge
United States
1896 | † 1958
Paul Outerbridge, Jr. was an American photographer prominent for his early use and experiments in color photography. Outerbridge was a fashion and commercial photographer, an early pioneer and teacher of color photography, and an artist who created erotic nudes photographs that could not be exhibited in his lifetime. Paul Outerbridge, while still in his teens, worked as an illustrator and theatrical designer creating stage settings and lighting schemes. After an accident caused his discharge from the Royal Canadian Naval Air Service, in 1917, he enlisted in the U.S. Army where he produced his first photographic work. In 1921, Outerbridge enrolled in the Clarence H. White school of photography at Columbia University. Within a year his work began being published in Vanity Fair and Vogue magazine. In London, in 1925, the Royal Photographic Society invited Outerbridge to exhibit in a one-man show. Outerbridge then traveled to Paris and became friends with the artists and photographers Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, and Berenice Abbott. In Paris he produced a layout for the French Vogue magazine, met and worked with Edward Steichen, and built the largest, most completely equipped advertising photography studio of the times. In 1929, 12 of Outerbridge's photographs were included in the prestigious, German Film und Foto exhibition. Returning to New York in 1929, Outerbridge opened a studio producing commercial and artistic work, and began writing a monthly column on color photography for the U.S. Camera Magazine. Outerbridge became known for the high quality of his color illustrations, which were done in those years by means of an extremely complex tri-color carbro process. In 1937, Outerbridge's photographs were included in an exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art and, in 1940, Outerbridge published his seminal book, Photographing in Color, using high quality illustrations to explain his techniques. Outerbridge's vivid color nude studies included early fetish photos and were too indecent under contemporary standards to find general public acceptance. A scandal over his erotic photography led to Outerbridge retiring as a commercial photographer and moving to Hollywood in 1943. Despite the controversy, Outerbridge continued to contribute photo stories to magazines and write his monthly column. In 1945, he married fashion designer Lois Weir and worked in their joint fashion company, Lois-Paul Originals. He died of lung cancer in 1958. One year after his death, the Smithsonian Institution staged a one-man show of Outerbridge's photographs. Although his reputation has faded, revivals of Outerbridge's photography in the 1970s and 1990s has periodically brought him into the public's awareness. Source: Wikipedia
Emin Özmen
Turkey
1985
Emin Özmen (born 1985) is a Turkish photographer, photojournalist and film maker based in Istanbul. He has worked especially on Turkey, on refugees and in the wider Middle East, including Syria and Iraq. In 2013 he founded a photography cooperative named Agence Le Journal, which is based in Istanbul. In 2017, he became a nominee member of Magnum Photos. He currently lives in Istanbul.Source: Wikipedia In 2008, he published two photobooks, "Humans of Anatolia" and "Microcredit Stories in Turkey", a collection of stories on women who were able to access a microcredit in Turkey. That same year, he obtained a degree in media photography and documentary (photography) at the University of Art and Design in Linz, Austria. In 2011, his work on drought in Somalia was published in a book and he worked on the disaster of Tohoku Earthquake and economic protests in Greece. The following year, he covered the Syrian civil war and ISIS crises in Iraq. Since 2012, Emin Özmen is working on his longterm project "Limbo - Les Limbes" and has undertaken a long work of photographic documentation with the populations uprooted by the spiral of conflicts. He has traveled many times to Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Italy and France to meet people who were forced into becoming “refugees”.Source: www.eminozmen.com Emin Özmen is concerned with documenting human rights violations in his home country of Turkey and around the world. His deeply affecting work has brought attention to the suffering of those who are victim to natural disaster, civil unrest and corruption. Since a few years, he has been working on his two long-term projects: Limbo - Les Limbes, which documents the populations uprooted by the spiral of conflicts and Hidden War about the Kurdish conflict that has simmered for decades in Turkey. He worked in South Sudan in 2018 on the adversity and resilience of life in a Protection of Civilians camp and surrounding villages. In 2019 he travelled to Venezuela, where he covered the humanitarian crisis inflicting the country. His work has been published by TIME Magazine, New York Times, Washington Post, Der Spiegel, Le Monde magazine M, Paris Match, Newsweek, among others. Özmen has won several awards, among them two World Press Photo awards and Public Prize of The Bayeux Calvados awards for war correspondents. He was a member of the jury of 2016 and 2018 World Press Photo Multimedia contests.Source: Magnum Photos
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