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Modern Photographers / V

Ian van Coller
South Africa
1970
Ian van Coller was born in 1970, in Johannesburg, South Africa, and grew up in the country during a time of great political turmoil. These formative years became integral to the subject matter van Coller has pursued throughout his artistic career. His work has addressed complex cultural issues of both the apartheid and post-apartheid eras, especially with regards to cultural identity in the face of globalization, and the economic realities of every day life. Van Coller received a National Diploma in Photography from Technikon Natal in Durban, and in 1992 he moved to the United States to pursue his studies where he received a BFA from Arizona State University, and an MFA from The University of New Mexico. He currently lives in Bozeman, Montana with his wife, children, and three dogs, and is a Professor of Photography at Montana State University. His work has been widely exhibited nationally and internationally and is held in many significant museum collections, including The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Getty Research Institute, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Library of Congress, and The South African National Gallery. Van Coller's first monograph, Interior Relations, was published by Charles Lane Press (New York) in 2011. He is a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow and a member of the Piece of Cake collective. Van Coller's most recent work focuses on environmental issues related to climate change and deep time. These projects have centered on the production of large scale artist books, as well as direct collaborations with paleo-climatologists. About Naturalists of the Long Now Climate change has compressed and conflated human and geologic time scales, making it essential to find ways to conceptualize “deep time.” My project, Naturalists of the Long Now, seeks to make notions of deep time comprehensible through visual exploration of glacier ice, as well as other earthly archives. Initially inspired by the 10,000 Year Clock Project of the Long Now Foundation, I have begun collaborating with scientists to make art that challenges viewers to think about the vast scales of geologic time-both past and future-that are recorded not only in the earth’s ice bodies, but in trees, sediments, corals and fossils. Photography is a unique and powerful visual language. However, what that language sometimes lacks is the information needed to bring about understanding of what is represented in the photograph itself. In 2015, I was able to accompany a team of geoscientists who specialize in climate science related to Quelccaya Glacier in Peru. I was astonished at the endurance of these men and women. Every day they would climb to the summit of the glacier at 18,600ft, and then work over 10 hours straight, drilling ice cores, digging snow pits, and collecting data. It would be exhausting work at sea level, let alone at altitude. I realized I really had a lack of understanding of what the scientists were trying to do. Where the symbolic conversations in my ice portraits ended, the deep knowledge of ice possessed by the scientists would sustain and expand it. When I was a young person, I was fascinated by the annotated drawings and paintings of Victorian era naturalists, botanists and ornithologists. These brought together the two things I loved most in the world-art and nature. Since that expedition to Peru, I have started intimate collaborations with scientists by having them annotate directly onto my photographic prints-a contemporary taxonomy of ice and climate-thus re-inventing a genre of naturalist imagery. Naturalists of the Long Now breaks down barriers between art and science, and creates a dialogue between text and image, landscape and viewer, expert and novice, past, present and future. My intention is that Naturalists of the Long Now is to encourage people to think in terms of longer spans of time, and consider what humanity will look like in 100 or even 10,000 years-instead of just considering our personal and immediate desires.
Flokje Van Lith
Netherlands
1969
Flokje van Lith (1969, Leiden, NL) studied photography at the Royal Academy of Arts, the Hague. Van Lith belongs to the first generation of artists to make full use of the newest Photoshop techniques. With apparent ease, she plays with the different realities that have developed independently of one another within the media of painting and photography. But appearance deceives; the making of the photograph is merely the first in a long line of decisions. The task of achieving the right result takes Van Lith weeks and sometimes months. In her work she explores childhood and its underlying traumas and issues as well as the beauty of innocence and adolescence. The final results, complex portraits of children and young adults, not only have a very aesthetic quality but also seem to tell the story of the subject.The influences of the Flemish Primitives, which can be found in the serenity of the works, but also the personal experience of the artist, resonate from the artworks. Van Lith won several awards for her work, such as the Silver Award (International Photography Awards), Silver Award (PX3 - Prix de la Photographie) and Third Place (Kontinent Awards). In addition her works have been exhibited at photo festivals nationally and internationally, such as Photo Festival Naarden and Photoville, New York. Awards: Kontinent Awards: Third Place, Fine-Art/ Single Image/ Professional, International Photography Awards: 8 x Honorable Mention, Fine-Art/ Portrait/ Professional, Fine Art Photo Awards: Professional Nominee, Portrait/Professional, International Color Awards 2015: Honorable Mention, Portrait/ Professional - International Photography Awards 2014: Silver Award, Fine-Art/ Professional - PX3-Prix de la Photographie, Paris, 2014: Silver Award, Fine-Art/ Professional - International Photography Award 2014: 8 x Honorable Mention, Fine-Art/ Professional - New Dutch Photography Talent 2013 - International Photography Award 2013: 4 x Honorable Mention, Fine-Art/ Professional - Photography Masters Cup 2011: 4 x Honorable Mention, Fine-Art/ Professional - International Photography Award 2011: 7 x Honorable Mention, Fine-Art/ Professional. Exhibitions: (Selection), 2015: Aqua Art Miami (USA), Art Fair COLOGNE (Germany), PAN Amsterdam, KunstRai, Rotterdam Contemporary Art Fair, LXRY (the Netherlands), 2014: Affordable Art Fair Hamburg (Germany), PAN Amsterdam, LXRY, Affordable Art Fair, Raw Art Fair, Realisme (the Netherlands), 2013: LXRY, PAN Amsterdam, Affordable Art Fair, (the Netherlands), 2012, Art Miami Context, Photoville New York, Art Wynwood (USA), PAN Amsterdam (the Netherlands), 2011: PAN Amsterdam, Photofestival Naarden (the Netherlands). Publications: 2015: LXRY Magazine, PF Magazine, 2014: Art Photo Feature (USA), 2013: Gooi en Eemlander (the Netherlands) 2012: Volkskrant Magazine, De Telegraaf, Haarlems Dagblad (the Netherlands)
Stephan Vanfleteren
Stephan Vanfleteren studied photography at Lucas Institute in Brussels (1988-1992). From 1993 to 2009, he worked as a free-lance photographer for the Belgian Journal De Morgen and always worked and invested in his own personal projects. Actually, Stephan works for museums, he's publishing his portraits in foreign journals and several foreign magazines. He's cofounder of Hannibal Publishing and Cannibal Publishing. Stephan Vanfleteren is art-director for the two publishing houses. Stephan Vanfleteren studied photography at Lucas Institute in Brussels (1988-1992). From 1993 to 2009, he worked as a free-lance photographer for the Belgian Journal De Morgen and always worked and invested in his own personal projects. Actually, Stephan works for museums, he's publishing his portraits in foreign journals and several foreign magazines. He's cofounder of Hannibal Publishing and Cannibal Publishing. Stephan Vanfleteren is art-director for the two publishing houses. PRICES 1996 - World Press Photo Award - Sports, third prize stories - Boxing in Cuba 1997 - World Press Photo Award - Daily Life, first prize stories - Aids, Kenia 1998 - European Fuji Awards 2000 - World Press Photo Award - Arts and Entertainment, third prize stories, Elvis & Presley 2001 - World Press Photo Award - Children's Award, prize singles - Afghanistan 2001 - European Fuji Award 2007 - Nikon Press Photo Award 2009 - Louis Paul Boon award - Belgium 2010 - Lead Awards: 'Portätfotografie des Jahres', Germany 2011 - Henri Nannen Price, Germany - Tomi Ungerer 2012 - Vijfjaarlijkse Cultuurprijs voor de Provincie West-Vlaanderen 2012 - National Portrait price of the Netherlands - Rem Koolhaas, Dutch architect 2013 - World Press Photo Award - Staged Portraits, first prize stories, People of Mercy 2019 - Henri Nannen Price, Germany - Angels of the Sea - Mare Publication. BOOKS 1999 - Elvis&Presley, with photographer Robert Huber (Switserland) 2000 - Buren, with Mark Power & Eva Leitolf 2003 - Tales from a Globalizing World 2005 - Flandrien - Cannibal Publishing 2007 - Belgicum - Hannibal Publishing 2009 - Portret 1989-2009 - Lannoo 2012 - En avant, marche! - Hannibal Publishing 2013 - Façades & Vitrines (Limited edition 666 exp) - Hannibal Publishing 2014 - MMXIV - De Red Devils - Cannibal Publishing 2014 - Atlantic Wall - Hannibal Publishing 2015 - Charleroi, il est clair que le gris est noir - Hannibal Publishing 2018 - SURF TRIBE - Hannibal Publishing 2019 - PRESENT - Hannibal Publishing 2019 - ONUITGESPROKEN - Hannibal Publishing About PRESENT Stephan Vanfleteren is mainly known to the general public for his penetrating black & white portrait photography, but over the past decades his work has ranged to documentary, artistic and personal pictures. From street photography in world cities like New York to the genocide of Ruanda, from storefront façades to the mystical landscapes of the Atlantic wall, from still lifes to intense portraits. The iconic images sit side by side with unknown treasures in this heavy tome containing no less than 505 photographs. In the very personal accompanying text, Vanfleteren reflects on how his own work and the photography genre as a whole have evolved in recent decades. You get a close-up look at his intriguing career from the very beginning, when he travelled the world with an appetite for action. He also photographed his home country: all of the headline news stories of the 1990s appeared before his lens. Around the Millennium, Vanfleteren started to focus on that which is disappearing. With painstaking attention to nuance he created a visual archive of his homeland and of his fellow Belgians, in his own inimitable style. In the last few years Vanfleteren has brought the world inside, to his daylight studio, resulting in many encounters and portraits. This book includes two new series – not previously published – which were born in the intimacy of his studio: an exploration of the still life and a study of nude photography, both in colour. Present is an impressive overview of Vanfleteren's oeuvre that provides a complete picture of him as a photographer, an artist, and above all a human being who faces life with empathy, wonder, and curiosity. More about PRESENT
Craig Varjabedian
United States
1957
"Craig Varjabedian's photographs of the American West would be the perfect illustrations to a Cormac McCarthy book. They have a surreal beauty and poetic emptiness that border on the fictional. It's as if this isn't the real West, but the West of tall tales and American dreams." Claire O'neill, "The Picture Show," National Public Radio Craig Varjabedian is an award-winning photographer, author, and teacher. His stunning photographs of the people and places of the American West are critically acclaimed, not only for their powerful imagery and artistic composition, but also for their ability to transcend the commonplace-immanently engaging the viewer with scenes that passionately reflect the artist's connection to his subjects. Varjabedian achieves this goal through a skillful visionary acuity and intuition, allowing him to make photographs that expand awareness. As a result, viewers are presented with new ways of seeing and experiencing this region so integral to our collective imagination and our unique American identity. Varjabedian's gift lies in his ability to blend both technical expertise and illustrative narrative-depicting lyrical images that reveal the humanity and character of a vast sometimes barren country known for its legendary beauty and dramatic heritage. Varjabedian's photographs tell contemporary stories that continue to inspire today what has historically been recognized as the "spirit of the Great American West." Craig graduated from the University of Michigan witha Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, and received his Master's degree from the prestigious Rochester Institute of Technology. As a fine art photographer for over forty years, Varjabedian has been widely praised for his masterful images ranging from awe-inspiring, expansive landscapes, to intimate soul-revealing portraits. He is also the director of Eloquent Light Photography Workshops in Santa Fe. In further recognition of his work, Varjabedian has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, and the New Mexico Humanities Council. His photographs have been exhibited in, and his prints collected by, museums around the country, including the William Benton Museum of Art, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, and the Albuquerque Museum of Art. In 1991, Craig received an Emmy Award for his collaboration with award-winning filmmaker Karl Kernberger on the PBS documentary En Divina Luz: The Penitente Moradas of New Mexico. Photographs from this project were published in a 1994 book by the same name. Craig's other books include By the Grace of Light: Images of Faith from Catholic New Mexico (1998), Four & Twenty Photographs: Stories from Behind the Lens (2007); Ghost Ranch and the Faraway Nearby (2009), which received the prestigious Wrangler Award for Outstanding Photography Book from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum; and Landscape Dreams, A New Mexico Portrait (2012), released to coincide with the New Mexico State Centennial. Varjabedian's latest book, Into the Great White Sands, a photographic celebration of White Sands National Monument, was published by the University of New Mexico Press in 2018. The book received a prestigious New Mexico/Arizona Book Award.
Filippo Venturi
Filippo Venturi is an Italian documentary photographer working on editorial, corporate, commercial assignments and personal projects. His works have been published in different newspapers and magazines such as The Washington Post, Financial Times, Vanity Fair, Internazionale, La Stampa, Geo, Marie Claire, Die Zeit, Gente, D di Repubblica, Io Donna/Corriere della Sera. He cooperates with several agencies in Italy and abroad for advertisement projects. He also pursues many personal stories and projects on the critical issues that he finds interesting. In 2016 his work, "Made in Korea" about South Korea, has been hosted at the Italian Center for Fine Art Photography in Bibbiena, at Modena's Foro Boario as New Talent selected by the Modena Foundation Photography, at Rome's Museum of Contemporary Art (MACRO) as selected Emerging Talent and at Somerset House in London by the Sony World Photography Awards. In 2017 he was the photographer sent by Vanity Fair in North Korea. In 2018 he is Testimonial Photographer for Fujifilm.I work as a multi-disciplinary photographic artist specialising in conceptual documentary and reportage Photography. I look at identity, displacement and the human condition. I also work as a photojournalist, documentary filmmaker and freelance commercial photographer.About Korean Dream Between 1905 and 1945 Korea was dominated by the Japanese, thus becoming a colony of the Empire. In 1945, after Japan's defeat, Korea was involved in the Cold War and became an object of interest for the USA, the URSS and lately for China as well. This brought to the division of the country in two along the 38th parallel and to the Korean War between 1950 and 1953. On the 27th of July of 1953, an armistice was signed but a declaration of peace never followed, leaving the country in a permanent state of conflict. North Korea is officially a socialist State with formal elections but in fact, it is a totalitarian dictatorship based on the cult of the Kim dynasty, practically an absolute monarchy. Since 1948 the country was ruled by Kim Il-Sung, the "Great Leader"; in 1994 his son, Kim Jong-II the "Dear Leader" succeeded him and until in 2011 Kim Jong-Un, his son, the "Brilliant Comrade" became Supreme Leader. North Korea is one of the most secluded countries in the world, we know little about it and the citizens' rights are subdued to the country's needs. Citizens have no freedom of speech, media are strictly controlled, you can travel only with authorization and it is not allowed to leave the country. The few foreign travellers who get the visa can travel the country only with authorized Korean guides, who have also the task of controlling, censoring and finding spies. Pyongyang, the capital, is the centre of all the resources and the country's ambition to boast a strong and modern façade (the rest of North Korea is composed of countryside, rice-fields and villages usually with no water, electricity or gas). The continuous and incessant propaganda against the USA portraits the South Korean population as a victim of the American invasion; young generations live in a constant alert state as if the USA could attack any day. At the same time, the propaganda aims at instilling a great sense of pride for the country's technical progression, fueled by the Supreme Leader and culminating in the atomic bomb and the subsequent tests. Pyongyang youngsters have been educated to be learned and knowledgeable people, especially in the scientific field, to foster the development of armaments and technology, chasing the dream of reuniting Korea in a whole and free state.
Dorte Verner
Dorte Verner was born in Denmark and lives in Washington, D.C, USA. She holds a Ph.D. in economics and a passion for bringing change and attention to vulnerable people and voiceless people. Dorte's expertise in international development allows her to understand the reality in the environments she photographs. Dorte has won numerous prizes and awards for her photographs, e.g. she won the Nikon-100-Year Photo Contest 2016-2017, specifically the Most Popular Entry: Disappearing Fishing Method by Moken out of 80,000 submitted photographs. In the 2017, Dorte received first and third prize in Culture and Traditions, respectively in prestigious International Photo Award (IPA) by the Lucie Foundation and the Silver Prize in PX3. Dorte has photographed since 2011 and is a self-taught photographer. Dorte's photography focuses on people that has little voice and never make the news, but who have important knowledge and experiences to share. She captures their strength and beauty through intimate moments. She has focused on nomads, refugees, indigenous people, and people affected by climate change, among other changes. Dorte's portfolio centers on environmental portraits, with images inspired by the lives and livelihoods of people living in extreme situations. These people live in remote geographical locations, including: rural areas in Africa such as refugee camps; the Arabian Desert; Latin America's Amazon and drylands; and Asia's plains and mountains. Dorte's photographs are featured in many shows and galleries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the USA. Currently her photographs are exhibited in The Silk Road, Photography Biennial of Tianshui, China; and in two solo exhibitor shows: The Sahel, The World Bank, USA and Beyond Borders, Henry Luce III Center for Arts and Religion, Washington D.C., USA. They are also on permanent display in International Organizations and published in magazines such as GEO and Vanity Fair and on the cover of books and publications.
Gabriele Viertel
German fine art photographer, born near Cologne, Gabriele Viertel now lives and works in Eindhoven, Netherlands. She grew up as the youngest of 3 children in a rural area with an extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins. Inspired by her father, an avid filmmaker and amateur photographer, she took for the first time at the age of 14 his analogue camera to photograph the children of the family. During the education in technical design, she worked as a model to fund the studie. Completed the degree, Gabriele decided to move on to pursue the international career as a model and worked more than a decade for designers such as Dior and Karl Lagerfeld. Since 2008 she dedicated herself entirely to the art of photography as a freelance artist. Conceptually, Viertel's images play with the dialog between the mediums of painting and photography. The magical, often surreal pictorial language and the chiaroscuro light are characteristic means of expression. The major part of her works is staged underwater. Gabriele has received numerous awards, most recently the platin award of Graphis New York, the gold medal of the International Color Award, the silver medal of Prix de la Photographie Paris as well as the Merit Award of Best of Contemporary Photography, Fort Wayne Museum of Art. Her work has been featured in international exhibitions and publications in Europe and North America, notably the Museum of Art Fort Wayne and the Heritage Municipal Museum Malaga. One book on her work has been published by Associazione Artistico Culturale Cameraraw.it. Gabriele's works are in the public collections of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Indiana USA and the University of Art, Rotterdam NL as well as in various private collections.
Joe Vitone
United States/Italy
1954
Joe Vitone is a documentary fine art photographer and educator living in Austin, Texas. His work consists of large format portraiture and landscape in the United States as well as panoramic and other views examining cultures abroad. He is Professor of Photocommunications at St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas where he has lived with his family since 1991. He teaches traditional as well as digital photography and electronic media. He has received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in photography and been a Fulbright scholar in Costa Rica as well as a Fulbright Specialist in the Apulia region of southern Italy. In both Costa Rica and Italy, Vitone’s work centers around small-scale family based agriculture. In addition to presentations given in the United States, he has lectured on his photography in Australia, China, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Involved in international education, he has led American students on study abroad programs in China, France, Japan, and Thailand. With a focus on documentary photography, he has worked with students outside of the U.S. in Australia, Costa Rica, France, Italy, and Thailand. His work has been exhibited at a number of venues including one-person exhibitions at the Hungarian Museum of Photography, the Akron Art Museum, and the Instituto Cultural Peruano-Norteamericano. His work is held in a number of collections including the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Center for Creative Photography, the Museum of Fine Art, Houston, Hungarian Museum of Photography, and the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History. About Family Records: These photographs have been drawn from an ongoing series of 4x5 and 8x10 inch (10x12.5 and 20.3x25.4 cm) negative portraits called Family Records which was begun in 1998 to document members of immediate and extended families of the photographer and his wife. 2017 marked 20 years of work on the pictures. The majority of the portrait subjects live in an orbit around the Rust Belt city of Akron, Ohio, former home to the country's major rubber and tire producers including Goodyear, Goodrich, and Firestone. Doylestown, Barberton, and other rural communities neighboring Akron serve as locations for many of these images along with Akron proper. The photographs generate dialogues between one another at a number of levels, some directly, as in lineage and interpersonal relation of mother to daughter, father to son, or brother to sister, and some at less specific and more universal places as well. Comment is made on finding purpose or respite in what can be a painful life, on time and aging, on moving from childhood to adulthood, on relations sustained or lost through the years, on masculinity and femininity, on sensuality and beauty seen not only in youth but in age, and on our valuing of ourselves and others not only because of our strengths but, perhaps even more so, by reason of our vulnerabilities.
Christian Vizl
Mexico
1972
CHRISTIAN VIZL was born in México City and has been a photographer for over three decades. He has won dozens of international professional awards including Wildlife Photographer of the year, International photographer of the year and Sony World Photography awards. He has served as judge in several international underwater photography contests and his images have been published in numerous outlets including National Geographic and Ocean Geographic. Artist Statement "Every since I was a kid, as far back as I can remember, I was attracted to the sea. I dreamt about what lay beneath the waves, and how would it look if suddenly all the water vanished, leaving in stasis all the animals and living creatures. In this way, I could walk inside the ocean and see them all, suspended for a moment in time and space. I have devoted my life to exploring and contemplate the amazing beauty of the ocean and it has been an incredible journey that has brought me a deep feeling of connection with nature, but sadly during my lifetime I have witness the ever-increasing devastation that we humans are creating in this planet. Today the world's Ocean is in grave danger. Overfishing, pollution, plastics, radiation, climate change, acidification and other human pressures threaten the fundamental nature of the ocean and it's animals are being pushed to near extinction. The time to act and reverse our negative impact is now, before it's too late risking loosing everything. The majority of humans see marine animals merely as tons of food, but I see them as so much more than that. They don't have a voice that we can understand, so the higher purpose of my images is to be a voice of the ocean and for the ocean, hoping that people can get a glimpse of who they really are, beautiful sentient individuals, with feelings and different personalities, with complex behaviors and interesting lives that science is only starting to understand. I believe Photography is capable of real service to humanity, promoting empathy and initiating change, so my main purpose as a photographer is to create poetic images showing the incredible beauty of these animals knowing they carry the power of changing our perception and spark the love and empathy that we all have inside. If we want to have a future in this planet, we need to understand that our lives are interconnected to all living animals, and our own well being is directly linked to the well being of these animals. As Dr. Sylvia Earl stated, "No blue no green, if the oceans die, we die" All the images where taken in their natural environment, with great respect to the animals, and for postproduction I only use basic settings in Lightroom." Photography is all about light, and in my opinion, it is the single most important aspect when it comes to creating appealing, inspiring and touching images. Beyond technical issues, what's most important is how I apply and manipulate the light that's available in order to create pictures with dramatic effect, carrying depths of emotion and using contrast and tonalities as means to emphasize form and structure of the scenery. I focus on the emotional impact of the final shot that will connect on a deeper level with the people that observe these photographs. Just as a poet uses words to create poetry, a photographer uses light to create images. So when I'm underwater taking pictures, one of my goals is to create poetic images through the use of light. I try to capture sublime moments of the marine environment, the essence of being there, in that experience and in the presence of that particular animal, capturing their splendor and soul. It's sheer beauty and poetry with images that inspire, make us vibrate through the beauty in every corner of the ocean, an epic sight that make us dream of a better world, where we value and care for all expressions of life.
Kamil Vojnar
Czech Republic
1962
Kamil Vojnar was born in the former Czechoslovakia in 1962. He studied at the School of Graphic Arts in Prague and began his career as a Graphic Designer. He left the country illegally (still Communist at the time) and moved to Vienna, and then eventually became a US citizen and finished his studies at the Art Institute of Philadelphia. He continued his career in Graphic Design which later led to illustration and imagery based on photography, working mostly for book and music publishing houses in New York City. At the same time, he continued to make his own imagery. After meeting his partner and having children, going back and forth between France and New York, they finally settled in St. Remy de Provence in South France where Vojnar has concentrated on his own work since 2005. He opened up an Atelier in St. Remy and then one in Paris in 2009, both of which carry his own work.His work consists of images digitally layered from many different photographs and textures. They are mixed-media archival prints on fine art paper or mounted on canvas. Some of his images are layered pictures printed on semitransparent Thai paper. These unique photomontages are then varnished with oil and wax, and on occasion painted with oil paints. Kamil, as a painter, points out, “In a painting, you can paint anything you want. In the photographic [medium], it must, on some level, exist first. That tension between what exists and what is made up is what interests me.” Thus, his images are often subject to very different interpretations (Source: Verve Gallery) About ElsewhereWell, … why … why "e l s e w h e r e"…?Because, … not really here, because not there or … over there, because … somewhere else, … "e l s e w h e r e"!!!In thousand years old small town in south France, I have little studio, tiny Gallery, up on the main street.People from all around the world come to this town. They walk it's ancient streets. Some see my place, some walk in and look around.And they ask … why, … the sky outside is blue, … the buildings ochre yellow, the olive trees pale green, … why are those pictures musty, sepia, dark. Why is their soul heavy? What happened? What has happened to me!And I say … I don't know, … they come to me that way. They are not really from here, they are not so much from there. They arrive from ..."elsewhere". I am just a pair of hands making them happen.I didn't look for them, I didn't choose them. They came to me, … they choose me!Artist? No. … Common' I am no Artist! I just make those little pictures. Just because they happen to me.And because … I cannot do anything else. I cannot do anything else, at least, until every last of them is out, … done.Just a pair of hands I am. Always struggling to let the image out. Always behind in my ability to execute on the paper what pours from ..."elsewhere", via my mind, my heart.It feels like, … really I have no personal connection to those pictures. I am not guilty.Don't ask me what they are, … what they mean. I don't know.Like orphaned kids, I collect them, feed them to grow.They have to be done. They have to get out there.If not me, … then who?Some are easy. Impatiently they bursting out into the openOthers play hide and seek. They leave a hint, they take me all over wrong paths, all around. They let me sweat, they let me freeze. They drag me through dry, dusty deserts, soak me in deepest seas. My shirt is bloody. My face is wet. Sometimes … sometimes I cry. Pure impossibility overwhelms me. Impossibility to make them happen as they appear to me. In their translucent light, through the tears, I see them, … I almost see them.No, I am no Artist. I just … I am just trying to do, … what I … almost … see.Yes, it's true! … I am making one picture over and over again.The same sofa, the same dress, the same image of Jesus on the wall in the background, as I have had throughout my childhood.Wings? … Yes, sometimes, there are wings. But those who carry them, they are no angels.They just want to be free. Pair of wings is like a passport to get away. To get to … elsewhere.E l s e w h e r e, … they say, it's not the destination, it's the journey, that counts.Therefore my little pictures are the humble documentation of that journey.They are the journey!Journey to … e l s e w h e r e!
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