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Fausto Podavini
Photo by Francesca Stella
Fausto Podavini
Fausto Podavini

Fausto Podavini

Country: Italy

Fausto Podavini was born in Rome, where he still lives and works. His passion for photography began when he was 18, first as assistant and studio photographer, then working on ethnological and social reportage. In 1992, he worked at MIFAV, the photography museum at Tor Vergata University in Rome and then studied at the John Kaverdash photography academy in Milan, taking a master’s degree in reportage. Podavini left studio photography to dedicate himself exclusively to reportage, and is nowadays a freelance photographer, collaborating with a number of NGOs. He has covered issues in Italy, Peru, Kenya, and Ethiopia, where he is currently developing personal photographic projects.

Italian social reportage photographer Fausto Podavini is honoured this year as both third place winner in the 2013 Sony World Photography Awards Lifestyle category as well as first prize for the 2013 World Press Photo's 'Daily Life' category. His winning series, follows the relationship of Mirella and Luigi as Mirella cared for for husband at home in Rome. Married for over 40 years, Luigi began experiencing symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. For six years, Mirella tended to her husband's needs due to the progressive degenerative illness. After five years of living with Alzheimers, Luigi no longer recongised his wife; he died in May 2011 with her at his bedside. Podavini's intimate and delicate series follows Mirella for four years. WPO's Kaley Sweeney spoke to the photographer a bit more about his experiences developing the long term project.

(Source: World Photography Organisation)

 

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William Eugene Smith
United States
1918 | † 1978
William Eugene Smith was an American photojournalist known for his refusal to compromise professional standards and his brutally vivid World War II photographs. Smith graduated from Wichita North High School in 1936. He began his career by taking pictures for two local newspapers, The Wichita Eagle (morning circulation) and the Beacon (evening circulation). He moved to New York City and began work for Newsweek and became known for his incessant perfectionism and thorny personality. Smith was fired from Newsweek for refusing to use medium format cameras and joined Life Magazine in 1939 using a 35mm camera. In 1945 he was wounded while photographing battle conditions in the Pacific theater of World War II. As a correspondent for Ziff-Davis Publishing and then Life again, Smith entered World War II on the front lines of the island-hopping American offensive against Japan, photographing U.S. Marines and Japanese prisoners of war at Saipan, Guam, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. On Okinawa, Smith was hit by mortar fire. After recovering, he continued at Life and perfected the photo essay from 1947 to 1954. In 1950, he was sent to the United Kingdom to cover the General Election, in which the Labour Party, under Clement Attlee, was narrowly victorious. Life had taken an editorial stance against the Labour government. In the end, a limited number of Smith's photographs of working-class Britain were published, including three shots of the South Wales valleys. In a documentary made by BBC Wales, Professor Dai Smith traced a miner who described how he and two colleagues had met Smith on their way home from work at the pit and had been instructed on how to pose for one of the photos published in Life. Smith severed his ties with Life over the way in which the magazine used his photographs of Albert Schweitzer. Upon leaving Life, Smith joined the Magnum photo agency in 1955. There he started his project to document Pittsburgh. This project was supposed to take him three weeks, but spanned three years and tens of thousands of negatives. It was too large ever to be shown, although a series of book-length photo essays were eventually produced. From 1957 to 1965 he took photographs and made recordings of jazz musicians at a Manhattan loft shared by David X. Young, Dick Cary and Hall Overton. In January 1972, Smith was attacked by Chisso employees near Tokyo, in an attempt to stop him from further publicizing the Minamata disease to the world.Although Smith survived the attack, his sight in one eye deteriorated. Smith and his Japanese wife lived in the city of Minamata from 1971 to 1973 and took many photos as part of a photo essay detailing the effects of Minamata disease, which was caused by a Chisso factory discharging heavy metals into water sources around Minamata. One of his most famous works, Tomoko Uemura in Her Bath, taken in December 1971 and published a few months after the 1972 attack, drew worldwide attention to the effects of Minamata disease. Complications from his longterm consumption of drugs, notably amphetamines (taken to enable his workaholic tendencies), and alcohol led to a massive stroke, from which Smith died in 1978. He is buried in Crum Elbow Cemetery, Pleasant Valley, New York. Smith was perhaps the originator and arguably the master of the photo-essay. In addition to Pittsburgh, these works include Nurse Midwife, Minamata, Country Doctor, and Albert Schweitzer - A Man of Mercy. Today, Smith's legacy lives on through the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund to promote "humanistic photography." Since 1980, the fund has awarded photographers for exceptional accomplishments in the field. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)
Sem Langendijk
The Netherlands
1990
Sem Langendijk is a documentary photographer with an interest in communities and their habitat, the urban environment and spatial arrangements. He observes the identity of a place, the impact communities have on their environments, and how space functions within the structures of a city. Langendijk shoots on large and medium format cameras, and aims to imbue his subjects with a certain tranquility. He continues to balance his work on the very narrow edge between visual storytelling and poetic personal documentation. Langendijk studied documentary photography at the Royal Academy of Arts, The Hague. In 2018, he was a recipient of the Mondrian Fund Stipendium for Emerging Artists and his work is exhibited at multiple art fairs and festivals, most recently 'The American Landscape', a group show travelling the US with The Gallery Club. He is currently working in Amsterdam, Londen and New York, on a personal body of work, continuing his research about the former Docklands. As an artist I intend to raise questions about the concept of 'the city' in our time. What role does history play in the identity of place, and feeling of belonging? How does ownership of (private) property relate to the right of the city? Through working with communities and researching their habitats I try to reveal (economical and political) systems that influence today's city life. My visual work is loosely related to social geography and anthropology, as I do field research and create visual notes. I combine this with more structured and methodological work, such as typologies. With these approaches I mean to reflect upon, as well as creating a more personal excerpt of, reality.
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