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Oliver Curtis
Oliver Curtis
Oliver Curtis

Oliver Curtis

Country: United Kingdom
Birth: 1963

Brought up in the Cotswolds, Curtis began his photographic education studying photography at the renowned course at Filton Technical College in Bristol. He went on to study film and television at the London College of Printing and has been balancing work in stills and moving image ever since. Curtis continues to produce stills portraiture for major broadcasters as well as generating his own projects for exhibition and publication. He sites as key influences William Eggleston, Saul Leiter and Paul Graham.

He continues to plough a distinctly idiosyncratic path as Director of Photography on feature films as diverse as Clare Kilner's The Wedding Date, Frank Oz's Death At A Funeral and Joanna Hogg's Unrelated as well as experimental gallery-based installations such as Gideon Koppel's Borth. He remains in great demand worldwide shooting commercials for high profile clients such as Pantene, L'Oreal, La Perla, Ferragamo, Palmolive, Rimmel, Coca Cola, Sony, Guinness, Canon and Cadbury's.

About Volte-Face:
On visiting the Pyramids of Giza in Cairo in 2012, Oliver Curtis turned away and looked back in the direction he had come from. What he saw fascinated him so much that he has since made a point of turning his back on some of world's most photographed monuments and historic sites, looking at their counter-views and forgotten faces.

Taken over a period of four years, Volte-face is an invitation to turn around and see a new aspect of the over-photographed sites of the world - to send our gaze elsewhere and to favour the incidental over the monumental...

Curtis feels that despite the landmark not being present in the photograph, the images are still suffused with the aura of the construction. The camera lens effectively acts as a nodal point and, by giving the photograph the title of the unseen partner, this duality becomes a virtue.

Volte-face will be published by Dewi Lewis featuring an essay by Geoff Dyer: https://www.dewilewis.com/collections/new-titles/products/volte-face

The first exhibition of the Volte-face project was held at the Royal Geographical Society in London, Sept 2016. The collection has received a great deal of acclaim worldwide and has featured in the Financial Times Magazine (UK), NPR Radio New Hampshire (USA), Liberation (France) Wired.com and BBC World Update amongst many others.

 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

David Pace
United States
1951
David Pace is a Bay Area photographer and curator. He received his MFA from San Jose State University in 1991. He has taught photography at San Jose State University, San Francisco State University and Santa Clara University, where he served as Resident Director of SCU's study abroad program in West Africa from 2009 - 2013. Pace photographed in the small sub-Saharan country of Burkina Faso annually from 2007-2016, documenting daily life in Bereba, a remote village without electricity or running water. His work has been exhibited internationally. His African photographs of the Karaba Brick Quarry are featured in the 2019 Venice Biennale in a group show entitled "Personal Structures" organized by the European Cultural Center. His book Images In Transition, a collaboration with gallerist Stephen Wirtz, was published in the spring of 2019 by Schilt Publishing. "Through my photography I want to express to a broad audience what it's like to live in West Africa. The Western media typically shows only the negative side of life in Africa, highlighting war, famine, genocide, and illness. This perspective is newsworthy but it is incomplete and misleading. It fails to capture the richness and complexity of life in small villages where a large percentage of West Africans live and work. Most live simple, meaningful lives. My photography in the remote village of Bereba and the surrounding region portrays a story of life in the community that is largely positive. My work projects a view that may be at odds with the more common perspective, but is no less accurate or realistic. I am committed to communicating the realities of life in West Africa to challenge the negativity that too frequently pervades the images we see." David Pace
Lisa Kristine
United States
1965
Acclaimed humanitarian photographer Lisa Kristine specializes in images of remote indigenous peoples. Best known for her evocative and saturated use of color, her fine art prints are among the most sought after and collected in the world. Lisa has documented in over 100 countries on six continents, using a 19th century 4×5” field view camera for the majority of her work.Lisa Kristine was born in San Francisco, California, on September 2, 1965. She developed an early interest in anthropology and photography. Lisa was mentored in her youth in Silver Gelatin and Cibachrome printing. Following graduation from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco, Lisa photographed for nearly five years in Europe and Asia. Lisa has collaborated with international humanitarian organizations. When the State of the World Forum convened in San Francisco in 1999 and in New York in 2000, Lisa was asked to present her work to help inspire discussions on human rights, social change, and global security. Her work was auctioned by Christie’s New York to benefit the United Nations with Kofi Annan. She was also honored to be the sole exhibitor at the 2009 Vancouver Peace Summit with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Reverend Tutu and award winning Nobel Laureates.In 2010 Lisa collaborated with Free the Slaves documenting modern day slavery. She traveled into the heart of broiling brick kilns, down rickety mine shafts, and into hidden lairs of sex slavery. She bore witness to the most horrible abuses imaginable and the astonishing glimpses of the indomitable human spirit. A groundbreaking photographic book entitled Slavery in which Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote the foreword was released in the fall of 2010. The sales of the book will help to end slavery. John C. Sweeney, Director of the United Nations, says of her work, “Lisa Kristine’s sensitive and beautiful portrayal of isolated and distant peoples helps us to better appreciate the diversity of the world. She captures the sheer beauty of the differences in people and places and allows us to comprehend the shared nature of the human condition: its hope, its joy and its complexity.”Her work is made distinctive by her passion and intuition and her intense interest in the humanity of her subjects. “I want a person to feel at ease with me, so that they remain who they are and are unchanged by a new, foreign element such as a stranger (myself) or a camera. In order for me to photograph a person in this unaffected environment of ‘self,’ there must be a firm trust between us. Without this, one might still create a beautiful image, but not a stirring one. I’m drawn to people who have been living closer to the earth, and who have very old traditions. People who have not, in any way, been altered by modernity.” “The saturation of color opens our eyes to those who are living in ways very different from our own,” says Paul Oppenheimer, a highly regarded philosopher and teacher. “Lisa invites each of us as humans to look into the eyes of those whom we cannot understand—in a setting that does not diminish our differences. In those differences we find the roots of our unity.”The images, both inspiring and evocative, draw a connection between the viewer and the subject. Lisa Kristine’s art is her personal statement about the connection of humanity, and about the diversity, beauty, and hardship of our world. Published in 2003, Lisa’s limited edition hardcover monograph A Human Thread of 120 photographs sold out within a year. The accompanying short documentary film, A Human Thread, explores the process behind the photographs and includes interviews with Kristine as well as footage of her on location. Following on the success of her first book, Kristine published This Moment in 2007. This Moment won the bronze metal for the Independent Publisher Book Awards The book consists of 62 full color plates showcasing her use of the large-format 4x5 field view camera. A second documentary film, Through the Lens, was produced in association with the book. The film illuminates her photographic and artistic process in using a 4x5 large-format view camera.
Arthur Tress
United States
1940
Arthur Tress (born November 24, 1940) is an American photographer. He is known for his staged surrealism and exposition of the human body. Tress was born in Brooklyn, New York. The youngest of four children in a divorced family, Tress spent time in his early life with both his father, who remarried and lived in an upper-class neighborhood, and his mother, who remained single after the divorce and whose life was not nearly so luxurious. At age 12 he began to photograph circus freaks and dilapidated buildings around Coney Island in New York City, where he grew up. Tress studied at Abraham Lincoln High School in Coney Island, and gained a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. After graduating from Bard College in 1962, Tress moved to Paris, France to attend film school. While living in France, he traveled to Japan, Africa, Mexico, and throughout Europe. He observed many secluded tribes and cultures and was fascinated by the roles played by the shaman of the different groups of people. The cultures to which he was introduced would play a role in his later work. Tress spent the spring and summer of 1964 in San Francisco, documenting the Republican Convention that nominated Barry Goldwater, civil rights demonstrations at segregated car dealerships on Van Ness Avenue, and the Beatles launching their 1964 tour. Tress took over 900 photographs that were put away and re-discovered in 2009, and featured in a show at San Francisco's deYoung Museum. He currently resides in San Francisco, California. Source: Wikipedia Arthur Tress began his first camera work as a teenager in the surreal neighborhood of Coney Island where he spent hours exploring the decaying amusement parks. Later, during five years of world travel, mostly in Asia and Africa, he developed an interest in ethnographical photography that eventually led him to his first professional assignment as a U.S. government photographer recording the endangered folk cultures of Appalachia. Seeing the destructive results of corporate resource extraction, Tress began to use his camera to raise environmental awareness about the economic and human costs of pollution. Focusing on New York City, he began to photograph the neglected fringes of the urban waterfront with a straight documentary approach. This gradually evolved into a more personal mode of “magic realism” combining improvised elements of actual life with stage fantasy that became his hallmark style of directorial fabrication. In the late 1960s Tress was inspired to do a series based upon children's dreams that combined his interests in ritual ceremony, Jungian archetypes, and social allegory. Later bodies of work dealing with the hidden dramas of adult relationships and the reenactments of male homosexual desire evolved from this primarily theatrical approach. Beginning in the early 1980s, Tress began shooting in color, creating room-sized painted sculptural installations out of found medical equipment in an abandoned hospital on New York's Welfare Island. This led to a smaller scale exploration of narrative still life within a children's toy theater and a portable nineteenth-century aquarium. Around 2002, Tress returned to gelatin silver, exploring more formalist themes in the style of mid- century modernism, often combining a spontaneous shooting style with a constructivist's sense of architectural composition and abstract shape. In addition to images of California skateboard parks, his recent work includes the round images of the series Planets and the diamond-shaped images of Pointers. Source: www.arthurtress.com
Denis Olivier
France
1969
My first encounter with photography took place when my parents performed some strange static dances with an object in front of their face. Later they would close themselves up in a special room under the house for long periods of time, and no one was allowed in. They diligently made sure that they were left to their own devices while inside. One day I was given permission to enter the room and allowed to stay, but on the condition that I didn't move or went out. I remember there was a unique chemical perfume and a red light. I was bewildered: my parents appeared flashing a white light on a piece of paper using a strange apparatus. Then they dipped it into a clear liquid and Behold! I couldn't believe it, A miracle! They were wizards who created pictures. In the following years I didn't really follow his experiments, I was too young to manipulate cameras and I preferred to draw. Photography, Architecture and Art was always present around us and I still remember the black and white exhibitions that we visited. When I was a teenager, I continued to draw and started to paint a little. I even took part in some local exhibitions. At the age of 17 I began to take some photographs, I was especially fascinated by mineralogical micro mounts. I started studying biochemistry, but after 3 years I changed to Poitiers school of fine-arts, and took an interest in computer graphics and generated imagery. While I was there I meet Alain Fleig who introduced me to art photography. I also felt a need to practice photography, and with a friend we spent a lot of time learning how to develop films and photographs. We did sessions with models, scenery, and discovered France. The second year I had my first personal exhibition in a gallery, which was a great experience, then a training placement with Philippe Salaün, who was at this time Robert Doisneau's developer. Following this I did some jobs for organizations, shows and commissioned works. I then started in December 1995 working with computer graphics and made use of the Internet. I worked in artistic direction for several years, then digital cameras came along and I found a way to work quickly and experiment without using too many resources such as film, chemicals, photo sensitive paper and of course the wonderful resource of water.
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!
Richard Misrach
United States
1949
Richard Misrach (born 1949) is an American photographer "firmly identified with the introduction of color to 'fine' [art] photography in the 1970s, and with the use of large-format traditional cameras" (Nancy Princenthal, Art in America). David Littlejohn of the Wall Street Journal calls Misrach "the most interesting and original American photographer of his generation," describing his work as running "parallel to that of Thomas Struth and Andreas Gursky, two German contemporaries." Littlejohn notes that all three used a large scale color format that defied the expectations of fine art photography at the time. Misrach is widely recognized as "one of this century’s most internationally acclaimed photographers." He is perhaps best known for his depictions of the deserts of the American west, and for his series documenting the changes brought to bear on the environment by various man-made factors such as urban sprawl, tourism, industrialization, floods, fires, petrochemical manufacturing, and the testing of explosives and nuclear weapons by the military. Curator Anne Wilkes Tucker writes that Misrach's practice has been "driven [by] issues of aesthetics, politics, ecology, and sociology." In a 2011 interview, Misrach noted: "My career, in a way, has been about navigating these two extremes - the political and the aesthetic." Describing his philosophy, Tracey Taylor of the New York Times writes that "[Misrach's] images are for the historical record, not reportage." Misrach has been married since 1989 to writer Myriam Weisang and has a son, Jake, from his first marriage to Debra Bloomfield. Misrach's book Desert Cantos received the 1988 Infinity Award from the International Center for Photography, and his Bravo 20: The Bombing of the American West, co-authored with Myriam Weisang Misrach, was awarded the 1991 PEN Center West Award for a nonfiction book. His Katrina monograph Destroy This Memory won Best Photobook of the Year 2011 at PhotoEspaña. He has received numerous awards including four National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an International Center of Photography Infinity Award for a Publication, and the Distinguished Career in Photography Award from the Los Angeles Center for Photographic Studies. In 2002 he was given the Kulturpreis for Lifetime Achievement in Photography by the German Society for Photography, and in 2008 he received the Lucie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Fine Art Photography. In 2010, Apple licensed Misrach's 2004 image Pyramid Lake (at Night) as the inaugural wallpaper for the first iPad. The opening credits of the 2014 HBO series True Detective featured a montage of images from Misrach's Petrochemical America. In 2016, the AIGA selected Border Cantos for its "50 Books | 50 Covers" competition, a "survey of the best in book design represent[ing] perhaps the longest-standing legacy in American graphic design." Source: Wikipedia Richard Misrach is one of the most influential photographers of his generation. In the 1970s, he helped pioneer the renaissance of color photography and large-scale presentation that are in widespread practice today. Best known for his ongoing series, Desert Cantos, a multi-faceted approach to the study of place and man’s complex relationship to it, he has worked in the landscape for over 40 years. A recent chapter of the series, Border Cantos, made in collaboration with the experimental composer Guillermo Galindo, explores the unseen realities of the US-Mexico borderlands. This work was exhibited at the Amon Carter Museum of Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and San Jose Museum of Art in 2016-17. In the most recent chapters, Premonitions and The Writing on the Wall, Misrach documents graffiti on abandoned buildings throughout the Southwest and Southern California, finding an angry and ominous response to the highly charged political climate before and after the 2016 election. Both series premiered at Fraenkel Gallery in 2017. Other notable bodies of work include his documentation of the industrial corridor along the Mississippi River known as “Cancer Alley”, the study of weather, time, color and light in his serial photographs of the Golden Gate Bridge, and On The Beach, an aerial perspective of human interaction and isolation. Recent projects mark departures from his work to date. In one series, he has experimented with new advances in digital capture and printing, foregrounding the negative as an end in itself and digitally creating images with astonishing detail and color spectrum. In another, he built a powerful narrative out of images of graffiti produced in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, made with a 4-megapixel pocket camera. In fall 2012, in collaboration with landscape architect Kate Orff, Misrach launched a major book and exhibition entitled Petrochemical America, which addresses the health and environmental issues associated with our dependency on oil. Source: Fraenkel Gallery
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