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Emma Powell
Emma Powell
Emma Powell

Emma Powell

Country: United States

Emma Powell is an artist in residence and lecturer in photography at Iowa State University. Powell graduated from the College of Wooster in Ohio and received her MFA from Rochester Institute of Technology. Her work often examines photography's history while incorporating historic processes and or devices within the imagery. In her series In Search of Sleep, Powell uses the cyanotype process to create a visual lullaby in wish she explores personal narratives and metaphors.

In Search of Sleep
From my earliest days I have had a difficult relationship with sleep. As a child I avoided it at all costs, especially at night. To get me back to bed, my father used to tell me stories. They were not traditional children’s bedtime stories, but invented tales that began on our quiet street and journeyed down open drains to a dream-world of caverns, forests, and oceans full of unexpected animals and dangers. The story would always find its way back to the real world and end where it had begun, hopefully but doubtfully with me that much closer to sleep.
In Search of Sleep recreates this shadowy realm and allows me to explore my real-life questions, from personal dramas to romantic doubts. The cyanotype process, with its distinctive blue tones, visually traverses the distance between waking and sleeping. These images are also toned with tea and wine to both dull the blues and add warmth. Tea, wine, cyanide – all three of these substances relate to different levels of consciousness that often mirror the mental states evoked by my photographs. In Search of Sleep creates a visual lullaby that allows me to safely explore what I love, what I fear, what I remember, and what I imagine.
 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

André Kertész
Hungary
1894 | † 1985
André Kertész, born Kertész Andor, was a Hungarian-born photographer known for his groundbreaking contributions to photographic composition and the photo essay. In the early years of his career, his then-unorthodox camera angles and style prevented his work from gaining wider recognition. Kertész never felt that he had gained the worldwide recognition he deserved. Today he is considered one of the seminal figures of photojournalism. Expected by his family to work as a stockbroker, Kertész pursued photography independently as an autodidact, and his early work was published primarily in magazines, a major market in those years. This continued until much later in his life, when Kertész stopped accepting commissions. He served briefly in World War I and moved to Paris in 1925, then the artistic capital of the world, against the wishes of his family. In Paris he worked for France's first illustrated magazine called VU. Involved with many young immigrant artists and the Dada movement, he achieved critical and commercial success. Due to German persecution of the Jews and the threat of World War II, Kertész decided to emigrate to the United States in 1936, where he had to rebuild his reputation through commissioned work. In the 1940s and 1950s, he stopped working for magazines and began to achieve greater international success. His career is generally divided into four periods, based on where he was working and his work was most prominently known. They are called the Hungarian period, the French period, the American period and, toward the end of his life, the International period. Source: Wikipedia André Kertész (1894–1985) has been hailed as one of the most important photographers of the twentieth century. Working intuitively, he captured the poetry of modern urban life with its quiet, often overlooked incidents and odd, occasionally comic, or even bizarre juxtapositions. He endeavored "to give meaning to everything" about him with his camera, "to make photographs as by reflection in a mirror, unmanipulated and direct as in life." Combining this seemingly artless spontaneity with a sophisticated understanding of composition, Kertész created a purely photographic idiom that celebrates direct observation of the everyday. Neither a surrealist, nor a strict photojournalist, he nevertheless infused his best images with strong tenets of both. "You don't see" the things you photograph, he explained, "you feel them." Born Kertész Andor in Budapest, he received his first camera in 1912 and immediately began to make intimate portraits of family and friends, studies of the Hungarian countryside, and scenes of daily life behind the battle lines of World War I. Seeking to make a living through photography, he moved in 1925 to Paris, where he established a successful career as a photojournalist. Buoyed by this accomplishment and inspired by the vibrant artistic community of the French capital, he created some of the most intriguing and celebrated images of the period. In 1936 Kertész relocated to New York in order to further his career. Captivated by the rich visual spectacle of the city and awed by its scale, he used the camera to record both his fascination with, and sense of alienation from, his new surroundings. The images attest to a complicated personal history borne through the political upheavals of two wars and life in three countries. He died at age ninety-one. This exhibition offers a comprehensive overview of Kertész's rich and varied career. Source: The International Center of Photography
Graeme Williams
South Africa
1961
I grew up in the whites-only suburbs of Cape Town, South Africa during the apartheid era, when South African law decreed that 92% of the population were regulated to the status of second-class citizens. My interest in photography began at the age of twelve, but I soon realized that a Kodak Instamatic was never going to produce the results that I wanted. I worked for three years in a bookshop and eventually bought myself a Fujica ST701. It was a real thing of beauty; a single reflex camera with a basic zoom lens, that provided me with the means to control how light formed itself onto the surface of the silver halide film. Sunsets and silhouettes held my attention for a few months, but I had already begun to explore the complex tradition of photographic expression. Life Magazine was for me, at that time, the Holy Grail. Over the years, my enthusiasm for exploring the photographic medium has never diminished. My photographic momentum was temporarily diverted after school by parental pressure to obtain a 'proper' qualification. In my final school year I was both the Dux scholar as well as a first team sportsman, which resulted in me being offered a De Beers bursary to study Geology and Statistics at the University of Cape Town. After graduating, I broke the news to my unnerved parents that I was giving up this career path and instead becoming a property photographer at the local newspaper. In the hierarchy of photographic jobs this is very close to the bottom. My immediate aim was to gain access to unlimited amounts of film and the time to work on my own projects. In 1987 I began photographing a conscientious objector and medical doctor, Ivan Toms, who refused to comply with the apartheid government's military service requirements. He was sentenced to 21 months in prison. The essay, highlighted the absurdity of the political system. Renowned photographer, David Goldblatt , took an interest in this work and this interaction led to a three-decade relationship in which he became both a mentor and a friend. The rights to my essay on Ivan Toms were bought by Life magazine the following year. Much of my work during this period was motivated by the desire to expose the social inequalities and racial divisions within my country. I eventually joined the strongly anti-apartheid collective, Afrapix and later became a founding member and manager of documentary collective, South Photographs. In 1989, the beginning of the end of apartheid was evident. I was eager to situate myself in a position that would afford me the best opportunities to witness the transition to democracy. I joined Reuters News Agency as permanent stringer and for the next five years, I became immersed in the events, both violent and momentous, that led up to the inauguration of Nelson Mandela as president in 1994. Many of my photographs from this period have taken on a life of their own. The image of Nelson Mandela walking out of prison with his wife, Winnie, has been exhibited and published worldwide. In 2008, as Barack Obama fought John McCain for the presidency, Newsweek magazine ran a story asking each candidate to choose an image that best personified their world view. Obama's team chose an image that I photographed in Thokoza township in 1991. Last year the same photograph became central in a high profile image-appropriation dispute between myself and New York artist, Hank Willis Thomas. There was a massive groundswell of support from colleagues and media from around the world. An amicable settlement was reached. Since 1994 I have concentrated on producing personalized and contemporary bodies of work that reflect this complex country and the continent as a whole. These essays have been shown in solo exhibitions in New York, London, Paris, Cape Town and Johannesburg as well as numerous photo festivals around the world. (Including China, Singapore, Brazil, Cambodia, France, and the USA). I have been privileged to have been included in major international exhibitions showcasing contemporary South African photography; including Figures and Fictions at London's Victoria and Albert Museum, Apartheid and After at Huis Marseille in Amsterdam, Earth Matters at the Smithsonian in New York, The Rise and Fall of Apartheid at the ICP in New York and Being There, at the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris. Awards include the CAP Prize for Contemporary African Photography (Basel) in 2013, and the Ernest Cole Award (South Africa) in the same year. I have continued working on commissioned assignments and traveling to over fifty countries. My photographs have appeared on the cover of Time magazine twice, and have been published in The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, Newsweek, Stern, and many others. Whilst working on my long-term projects, I try to bear in mind how the work will be exhibited and published. So therefore, during the planning and photographing stages, I attempt to create a broad context for my essays, that includes a general look and feel, while creating the space for each image to convey its individual complexity. This need to develop a dual awareness in my personal work has benefitted from a long-term interest in designing and producing photobooks. I have created over 20 publications, some of them winning awards and many being shortlisted in dummy book competitions. During the past five years I have felt a need to shift my attention from South Africa to the America social, political and physical landscape. Some of my motivations for this change in direction have been outlined within the 'Plan' document. In 2016 I was granted a residency in the US by the Ampersand Foundation, giving me an opportunity to develop a body of work that interrogated the social strata within the greater community of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I designed and produced a book called, Diverging Dreamlines that included, portraits, urban landscapes as well as multi-image, digital, illustrations. The publication was chosen as "best of show" in the Annual Photobook Exhibition at the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, Massachusetts. The work was also included in the Unmasked exhibition at Axis Gallery, New York in 2017. Earlier this year (2019) I co-presented a paper, Over Time, at the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA) Congress held in London. Four of my personal essays were incorporated into the presentation, allowing a psychoanalytical exploration into the parallels between this photographic record and South Africa's dynamics and process of change. I have participated in various mentorship programs, supporting students from South African photographic institutions: Tierney Fellowship winners from the University of the Witwatersrand (2018/2019) and the Market Photo Workshop (2015/2016). As well as candidates from the Photographer incubator Program in 2016. Learn more about Graeme Williams on videos: Victoria and Albert Museum Photography and Democracy South African Studios Dwell in Possibility opening Check out Graeme Williams's interview about his latest project America Revisited Discover Graeme Williams' Interview
Matt Wilson
United Kingdom
1969
Matt Wilson’s current body of work is part of an ongoing project, based upon a collection of transient observations, the landscapes of every day life and the people that call those landscapes home. It delves into the artist’s own history, his formative and current years within his home landscape and in the city he now resides and also, those of distant landscapes both literally and metaphorically he has traveled. A subtle, visually rich character study of what makes us who we are and the places we all inhabit and journey to, a chance to observe those looking outward whilst reflectively an opportunity to gaze inward.Source: Susan Inglett Gallery Matt Wilson photographed everywhere in Europe, starting with his native England, but also in France, with which it has its affinities, without omitting the Eastern countries where he still returns frequently between two stays Cuba. More recently, he ended his desire browse new territory: the United States where he lived for ten years. He could be afraid to touch this history, both American photographers are already loaded beautifully. But again, it gives us an amazing vision that reveals by snapshots of landscapes and men burnt by the sun that eventually, anyway, by lying down on this vast landscape to create ineffable moments that we may be fooling yourself and see it in watercolor. Then we could call this work “pictorial metaphor” even if the drift purely pictorial characters Matt Wilson were not so rooted in their time and in their daily lives, although sometimes needy. Because somewhere, if Matt Wilson gives us what he sees through a poetic prism, it is also a reporter and reflects our contemporary society by its subjects but often raw deals at tragic nor misery. His watchful eye is rather benevolent view borrowing a tragicomic light behind the full extent of a deeply humanistic thought.Source: mattwilsonphotography.com
Philipp Bolthausen
United States
Akzidenz currently living and working between Paris and New York. His education focused around art and communication studies in Paris and New York, where he lived and worked for many years before returning to Paris. He presently works as an art director for some of the mosthigh-end luxury brands worldwide.This background has a rooted presence in his work - in that he is less interested in the representational qualities of the photograph, focusing more on the exploration of the fringes of each terrain. This focus stems from the will to not use photography as a traditional means of representation of reality but creating a platform for discourse and thought. In order to achieve this dais, he tries to invent his own visual language, using multi-exposures, superposition, juxtaposition and ‘sequentiality’ to interpret, rewrite and therefore, relate to manufactured experiences which are being created on a daily basis by mass media.In short his photography can be summed into Objects, which create an intrinsic world of their own, or in his own words: “My works aren’t pictures of something, but objects about something.”Akzidenz purposefully chooses to use the 20th century medium of film allowing him to see, and therefore place the present into perspective. The choice of black & white and grain become the signifiers that depict and foster the equivalence of life and shape within his work. The single ‘effects’ of contemporary post-processing are not important to his work, to the point that he refuses to use such ‘effects’ - anything beyond the traditional workflow of the darkroom is prohibited in his work.
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