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Erwin Olaf
Sebastiaan ter Burg, 2012
Erwin Olaf
Erwin Olaf

Erwin Olaf

Country: Netherlands
Birth: 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

 

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Attar Abbas
Iran/France
1944 | † 2018
Abbas Attar, better known by his mononym Abbas, was an Iranian photographer known for his photojournalism in Biafra, Vietnam and South Africa in the 1970s, and for his extensive essays on religions in later years. He was a member of Sipa Press from 1971 to 1973, a member of Gamma from 1974 to 1980, and joined Magnum Photos in 1981. Attar, an Iranian transplanted to Paris, dedicated his photographic work to the political and social coverage of the developing southern nations. Since 1970, his major works have been published in world magazines and include wars and revolutions in Biafra, Bangladesh, Ulster, Vietnam, the Middle East, Chile, Cuba, and South Africa with an essay on apartheid. From 1978 to 1980, he photographed the revolution in Iran, and returned in 1997 after a 17-year voluntary exile. His book iranDiary 1971-2002 (2002) is a critical interpretation of its history, photographed and written as a personal diary. From 1983 to 1986, he travelled throughout Mexico, photographing the country as if he were writing a novel. An exhibition and a book, Return to Mexico, journeys beyond the mask (1992), which includes his travel diaries, helped him define his aesthetics in photography. From 1987 to 1994, he photographed the resurgence of Islam from the Xinjiang to Morocco. His book and exhibition Allah O Akbar, a journey through militant Islam (1994) exposes the internal tensions within Muslim societies, torn between a mythical past and a desire for modernization and democracy. The book drew additional attention after the September 11 attacks in 2001. When the year 2000 became a landmark in the universal calendar, Christianity was the symbol of the strength of Western civilization. Faces of Christianity, a photographic journey (2000) and a touring exhibit, explored this religion as a political, a ritual and a spiritual phenomenon. From 2000 to 2002 he worked on Animism. In our world defined by science and technology, the work looked at why irrational rituals make a strong come-back. He abandoned this project on the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks. His book, In Whose Name? The Islamic World after 9/11 (2009), is a seven-year quest within 16 countries : opposed by governments who hunt them mercilessly, the jihadists lose many battles, but are they not winning the war to control the mind of the people, with the "creeping islamisation" of all Muslim societies? From 2008 to 2010 Abbas travelled the world of Buddhism, photographing with the same sceptical eye for his book Les Enfants du lotus, voyage chez les bouddhistes (2011). In 2011, he began a similar long-term project on Hinduism which he concluded in 2013. Before his death, Abbas was working on documenting Judaism around the world. He died in Paris on 25 April 2018, aged 74. About his photography Abbas wrote: "My photography is a reflection, which comes to life in action and leads to meditation. Spontaneity – the suspended moment – intervenes during action, in the viewfinder. A reflection on the subject precedes it. A meditation on finality follows it, and it is here, during this exalting and fragile moment, that the real photographic writing develops, sequencing the images. For this reason a writer's spirit is necessary to this enterprise. Isn't photography "writing with light"? But with the difference that while the writer possesses his word, the photographer is himself possessed by his photo, by the limit of the real which he must transcend so as not to become its prisoner." Source: Wikipedia Born a photographer, Abbas is an Iranian transplanted to Paris. He has dedicated himself to documenting the political and social life of societies in conflict. In his major work since 1970 he has covered wars and revolutions in Biafra, Bangladesh, Northern Ireland, Vietnam, the Middle East, Chile, Cuba, and South Africa during apartheid. From 1978 to 1980, Abbas photographed the revolution in Iran, to which he returned in 1997 after seventeen years of voluntary exile. His book Iran Diary 1971-2002 is a critical interpretation of Iranian history, photographed and written as a private journal. During his years of exile Abbas traveled constantly. Between 1983 and 1986 he journeyed through Mexico, attempting to photograph a country as a novelist might write about it. The resulting exhibition and book, Return to Mexico: Journeys Beyond the Mask, helped define his photographic aesthetic. From 1987 to 1994, he focused on the resurgence of Islam throughout the world. Allah O Akbar: A Journey Through Militant Islam, the subsequent book and exhibition, spanning twenty-nine countries and four continents, attracted special attention after the 9/11 attacks by Islamic jihadists. A later book, Faces of Christianity: A Photographic Journey (2000), and touring show explored Christianity as a political, ritual and spiritual phenomenon. Abbas' concern with religion led him in 2000 to begin a project on animism, in which he sought to discover why non-rational ritual has re-emerged in a world increasingly defined by science and technology. He abandoned this undertaking in 2002, on the first anniversary of 9/11, to start a new long-term project about the clash of religions, defined as culture rather than faith, which he believes are turning into political ideologies and therefore one of the sources of the strategic struggles of the contemporary world. From 2008 to 2010 Abbas travelled the world of Buddhism, photographing with the same sceptical eye. 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Gabriele Viertel
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Alberto  del Hoyo Mora
Alberto del Hoyo is a Spanish photographer living in Tenerife. He holds an MBA from the Instituto de Empresa Business School and is a graduate in Business Administration and Photography. His own curiosity about the different forms of life has taken him to remote tribal territories in Asia, South America and Africa in search of the distinctive beauty and variety of his people. In 2016, after 2 years of incursions into the Omo Valley of Ethiopia, he founded Pics 4 Pills. Modest fundraising initiative for the people of the Omo Valley Three years later, at the end of 2018 he published the book Mystic Valley. Photographic travel notebook fruit of 4 years of photographic incursions in the Omo Valley. 100% of the revenues from sales are destined to solidarity projects in the different photographed tribal areas. Also in 2018, Alberto presented the Fine Art portrait exhibition with the same name "Mystic Valley", as a complement of the book. The objective is responsible photographic dissemination. Show the beauty of heterogeneity and cultural identity. About Mystic Valley Nadoria is a 13 years old girl of the Suri tribe in Ethiopia, lives in a small mountain village near the border with Sudan. She is the daughter of one of the elders of the tribe. The size of her ear plate indicates the extent of her dowry. "The bigger my ear plate, the higher number of cows my family will get from my marriage". Barduri, is a young man of 17 years of the same Suri tribe in Ethiopia. He has lost vision in his right eye as a result of a wound during the celebration of the "stick fight", ancestral ceremony consisting of an unprotected one-on-one stick fight battle against young members of the neighboring tribes. The fights can be furious and can result in death. A ritual for the transition of young stars to men. Far from feeling sorry Barduri feels pride, he has shown his family that he is a brave man, he has become a man, a warrior of honor. He has won his right in the tribe to be able to choose his wife and that she respect him. From the beginning of history the human race is composed of a large number of cultures, people and tribes. Each one has its own way of life, values and social rituals. The portraits of these people invite our conscience to remember the importance of understanding cultural identities in all their variety. Portraits of the fragility of a female childhood subrogated to warriors of honor. Portraits of his reality. It is vast, silent. Magical. Omo Valley
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Claudio Rasano lives and works in Basel, Switzerland. His work explores the relationship between spaces and humans, the subject within the space and the space as the subject itself. Rasano has a genuine and identifiable style that crosses documentary and fine art practices. He works with people from similar backgrounds, circumstances and experiences - environmental portraits and landscapes depicting a quiet anthropological commentary. There is a strong relationship between the environmental portraits and the landscape images. He is the recipient of Photovogue Portraits 2017, Taylor Wessing Photographic Prize 2016, Lensculture portrait award Finalists, Syngenta Photography Award Unseen and Life 2017 Framer World Travellers. 2019 Meitar Award for Excellence in Photography at PHOTO IS:RAEL Statement My work may cross countries and continents, but there is one thing that features centrally throughout, people. People are the focal point of his work, whether it's schoolchildren in South Africa or cigarette sellers in Tirana, the story of the country that Claudio is working in is told through its people. "I love to explore the relationship between spaces and humans, the subject within the space and the space as the subject itself, I work with people from similar backgrounds, circumstances and experiences -environmental portraits and landscapes depicting a quiet anthropological commentary. It is important for me to see that there is a strong relationship between environmental portraits and landscape images." His work is focused around the human stories of an area, but in many cases it is not just the person that is of interest. The composition of many of his images, even when portraits, provides a snapshot of the landscapes and built environments that are around the subject. This contextualises many of his photographs, helping you to build a more rounded impression of the individuals based on their surroundings too - the perfect example of this being his image of South African workmen in sodden clothes.
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France
1820 | † 1910
Nadar was the pseudonym of Gaspard-Félix Tournachon. Nadar was born in April 1820 in Paris (though some sources state Lyon). He was a caricaturist for Le Charivari in 1848. In 1849 he created the Revue comique and the Petit journal pour rire. He took his first photographs in 1853 and in 1858 became the first person to take aerial photographs. He also pioneered the use of artificial lighting in photography, working in the catacombs of Paris. Around 1863, Nadar built a huge (6000 m³) balloon named Le Géant ("The Giant"), thereby inspiring Jules Verne's Five Weeks in a Balloon. Although the "Géant" project was initially unsuccessful Nadar was still convinced that the future belonged to heavier-than-air machines. Later, "The Society for the Encouragement of Aerial Locomotion by Means of Heavier than Air Machines" was established, with Nadar as president and Verne as secretary. Nadar was also the inspiration for the character of Michael Ardan in Verne's From the Earth to the Moon. On his visit to Brussels with the Géant, on 26 September 1864, Nadar erected mobile barriers to keep the crowd at a safe distance. Up to this day, crowd control barriers are known in Belgium as Nadar barriers. In April 1874, he lent his photo studio to a group of painters, thus making the first exhibition of the Impressionists possible. He photographed Victor Hugo on his death-bed in 1885. He is credited with having published (in 1886) the first photo-interview (of famous chemist Michel Eugène Chevreul, then a centenarian), and also took erotic photographs. From 1895 until his return to Paris in 1909, the Nadar photo studio was in Marseilles (France). Nadar died in 1910, aged 89. He was buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. Source: Wikipedia
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