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Tim Franco
Self Portrait
Tim Franco
Tim Franco

Tim Franco

Country: France/Poland

Tim Franco is French-Polish freelance photographer based in Shanghai. Since he first came to China in 2005, Tim Franco got fascinated by the fast social and urban transformation that chinese cities where going through. He has spent some time documenting those growth through urban photography but also by studying social changes, such at the underground art world and the social problems related to the evolutions of the cities. Among his projects is a comprehensive depiction of the growth of the alternative music scene in China and particularly Shanghai. The project was synthesized and published in a book, “Shanghai Soundbites”, released in June 2008 in response to the attitude towards cultural expression manifested in the lead up to the Beijing Olympics. Subsequently, the pictures have been included in numerous news and lifestyle publications both in China and abroad.

He now continues his work documenting the urban development of chinese cities and its social impact on the local people. He is also involved in local youth and underground movement both in China and greater asia. Tim Franco is a regular contributor to Le Monde ( newspaper and magazine ), but his work has also been published in the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Bloomberg, Financial Times, Le Point, NRC, Wiwo, Global Journal, Architecture d’Aujourd’hui, The Fader, CNN online, Time Out, Urban.

About the series Vertical Communism
Vertical Communism is a long term project about the city of Chongqing. This city, one of the biggest in central china, went through one of the fastest development process in the country. The main reason is, located upstream of the three gorges dam, the government has welcomed all displaced population from submerged region into its main urban areas. The city is fascinating because of its accelerated development that produced high rises buildings on the side of rivers and mountains, taking away the traditional charms of the old Chang Kai Shek capital, but also because of its political and social history. Once at the hand of the biggest organized crime group in China, the city has been re manipulated into a neo communist style red propaganda machine, led by the highly controversial son of a famous revolutionary named Bo Xilai. With his wife now in prison for the murder of a British national, and his personal implication in corruptions and tortures, Bo Xilai has been quickly removed from any government places in China and the city is looking once again for a new direction.

I personally see Chongqing as a macro representation of the whole China. With its tumultuous political history and its growing social pressure for managing farmers coming into urban areas for a better life, all of it pushed by a constant need of investments and fast modernization, I wanted to portray this view of a growing china, far away from the common views of eastern cities such as shanghai or Beijing. From a photographic point of view, I have decided to shoot the people in their environment. But i have decided to take a step back, using medium format film camera, I want to transmit the feeling of scales that the city and china in general is facing. Urban Scales, Social Scales, the country's biggest problem is now to find a way to link some extremes the highly rich to the very poor, the extravagant to the meaningful. Vertical Communism is a portrait of Chinese a megapolis full of contradiction, trying to keep up with its unpredictable modernization.

Interview with Tim Franco
All About Photo: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?
Tim Franco: There is not a precise moment. When I was young, I loved writing stories, then my passion became music. I always wanted to share my ideas and vision of things through some mediums at the end it became photography.

Where did you study photography?
When I was a kid, my artist mother pushed me from one opening to the other, through museums and galleries. At first I hated it, and then became used to it and started to hang out more and more in her studio, until I took away her old cameras , I have learn through experience, other photographers and reading tutorials.

How could you describe your style?
Photographers tend to be classified, put into boxes, commercial photographer, photojournalists, artists, etc. I never really know how to classify my work. What I love is telling stories, document facts with an artistic esthetic to it. I also enjoy working on creative commercial assignments. I always try to stay simple in the esthetic and subtle about the story.

What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?
For my personal work, I really enjoy medium format. When I see something, most of the time, I ideally want to frame it in square. I don't really like naming brands, they all have different feeling and esthetic and it really depends the look you want to give your image. To name a few I personally work with Hasselblad and old rolleiflex. For commercial work, I use Canon because of their price and availability in terms of lenses.>

Do you spend a lot of time editing your images?
When shooting film, I usually spend very little time editing, just cleaning dust on films and other small details. When shooting commercial work on digital its another story. Clients are very specific about what they want and color out of raw files needs to go through extensive treatment. My photo agency works with a retouching studio for most of our commercial projects.

What advice would you give a young photographer?
Those days, its very easy to call yourself a photographer, grab a camera , a couple of nice prime lenses and you can get some good images. But I think young photographers should really focus on what are they trying to say with their images. What makes a great photo is not the instant esthetic of it but the impact that image will have on its viewer.

An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share?
One of the main project I worked on for the past year is about one particular city in China called Chongqing. Since 2009, I am going there quite frequently, at the beginning for some press assignments since the city have seen lot of interesting political stories and turmoils but also because it fascinates me. Both from an esthetic point of view and from its stories. This giant megapolis has been forcly populated with countryside people and has now a very hard time to deal its urbanization.

"I personally see Chongqing as a macro representation of the whole China. With its tumultuous political history and its growing social pressure for managing farmers coming into urban areas for a better life, all of it pushed by a constant need of investments and fast modernization, I wanted to portray this view of a growing china, far away from the common views of eastern cities such as shanghai or beijing. From a photographic point of view, I have decided to shoot the people in their environment. But I have decided to take a step back, using medium format film camera, I want to transmit the feeling of scales that the city and china in general is facing. Urban Scales, Social Scales, the country's biggest problem is now to find a way to link some extremes the highly rich to the very poor, the extravagant to the meaningful. Vertical Communism is a portrait of chinese a megapolis full of contradiction, trying to keep up with its unpredictable modernization."

Your best and worst memory as a photographer?
Being a professional photographers gives you a chance to go to many great places and meet amazing people. Sometimes the best memory is all the instants that led you to take a particular photo, the untold stories. What happened in the discussion you had with the person you were about to portray, how did you get to this fantastic point of view etc. For worst memory there is always issues of dealing with authorities, this large gap of misunderstanding between the photographer wanting to tell a story and a person not allowing you to shoot. This is always very annoying.

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Filip Gierlinski
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Martin Elkort
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1929 | † 2016
Martin Edward Elkort (April 18, 1929 - November 19, 2016) was an American photographer, illustrator and writer known primarily for his street photography. Prints of his work are held and displayed by several prominent art museums in the United States. His photographs have regularly appeared in galleries and major publications. Early black and white photographs by Elkort feature the fabled Lower East Side in Manhattan, New York City, showing its ethnic diversity, myriad streets and cluttered alleys. The Coney Island amusement park in Brooklyn was another favorite site during that period. His later work depicts street scenes from downtown Los Angeles and Tijuana, Mexico. Throughout Martin Elkort's long career as a photographer, he always showed the positive, joyful side of life in his candid images. Born in the Bronx, New York City, Martin Elkort grew up during the Great Depression. Elkort took his first professional photograph at the age of 10 while on a car trip with his parents to Baltimore. During the trip, he took photographs of flooded streets. The Baltimore Sun purchased his photographs of flood scenes and featured one of them on its front page. At the age of 15, he suffered a bout with polio and spent four months in the hospital. When he returned home, his parents gave him his first Ciroflex, a twin-lens reflex camera, that cost them about a week’s salary. After his recovery from polio, he set out around Manhattan taking pictures of whatever interested him. While studying at New York City's Cooper Union School of Art, Elkort joined the New York Photo League, an organization of photographers that served as the epicenter of the documentary movement in American photography. There he studied under successful photographers including Paul Strand, Aaron Siskind, Sid Grossman, Lou Stoumen, Imogen Cunningham and Weegee, learning to become adept at what he refers to as "stealth photography". With a more refined Rolleiflex twin-lens reflex camera strapped around his neck, he would roam the streets peering down into the 2×2 inch ground glass. He developed the skill of walking right up to a person and taking their photo without them even realizing it. His goal was to capture this post-war period's general optimism and innocence. During this period he worked at the Wildenstein & Company Gallery and later, the Stephen Michael Studio in Manhattan where he further enhanced his photographic knowledge and technique. In 1948, Elkort showed his pictures of Hasidic Jewish boys playing in the streets to Edward Steichen, who was curator of photography at New York's Museum of Modern Art and probably America's most famous photographer at the time. Steichen rejected his photos, describing Martin's skills as "no better than the other 35 million amateur photographers in the country." Dejected but determined, Elkort worked tirelessly to improve his craft and two years later, he met with Steichen again. This time the famous curator bought three of his images for the museum's collection: Soda Fountain Girl, Puppy Love, and The Girl With Black Cat, all uplifting images of children at Coney Island. Elkort's photographs (c. 1951) of recently liberated Jewish immigrants learning new work skills at the Bramson ORT (Organization for Rehabilitation and Training) School in Brooklyn offer a rare and intimate glimpse into of their optimistic struggle to integrate into a new society after World War II. Some of his pictures show Jewish workers bearing tattoos evidencing their incarceration in Nazi concentration camps during The Holocaust. In 1951, more than 20,000 Jews received vocational training at the Bramson ORT School. Seamstresses, tailors, pattern makers, pressers; here they learned a trade that was much needed in New York’s growing fashion and garment district. In 2008, Elkort donated 33 of his vintage ORT photographs to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.. Elkort was a member of New York Photo League from 1948–1951; an editorial associate and contributor to New Mexico Magazine in 1957; a founding member in 2002 of Los Angeles League of Photographers (LALOP); a contributing editor and contributed photographs to Rangefinder Magazine in 2006; and a member of the Photography Arts Council at Los Angeles County Museum of Art. After receiving a digital camera for his 70th birthday, Martin's photographic career re-ignited. He began to show his current and older work in galleries around the country. He also found a renewed interest in the New York Photo League. In 2002, he co-founded the Los Angeles League of Photographers along with David Schulman and David Stork. Modeled after the New York Photo League, its mission is to expose the wider public to photography's essential social, political and aesthetic values. He also writes articles for magazines dealing with photography including Rangefinder and Black & White Magazine. As of March 2014, Elkort's work is widely exhibited and can be found in the permanent collections of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.; the Museum of Modern Art in New York City; The Jewish Museum (Manhattan) in New York City; the Columbus Museum of Art; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles; as well as many corporate and private collections.Source: Wikipedia
Ed Kashi
United States
1957
Ed Kashi is a photojournalist, filmmaker and educator dedicated to documenting the social and political issues that define our times. A sensitive eye and an intimate relationship to his subjects are signatures of his work. As a member of the prestigious photo agency VII, Kashi has been recognized for his complex imagery and its compelling rendering of the human condition. “I take on issues that stir my passions about the state of humanity and our world, and I deeply believe in the power of still images to change people’s minds. I’m driven by this fact; that the work of photojournalists and documentary photographers can have a positive impact on the world. The access people give to their lives is precious as well as imperative for this important work to get done. Their openness brings with it a tremendous sense of responsibility to tell the truth but to also honor their stories.” Kashi’s images have been published and exhibited worldwide. Another of Kashi’s innovative approaches to photography and filmmaking produced the Iraqi Kurdistan Flipbook with MediaStorm, which premiered on MSNBC.com in December 2006. Using stills in a moving image format, this creative and thought-provoking form of visual storytelling has been shown in many film festivals and as part of a series of exhibitions on the Iraq War at the George Eastman House. Also, an eight-year personal project completed in 2003, Aging in America: The Years Ahead, created a traveling exhibition, an award-winning documentary film, a website and a book which was named one of the best photo books of 2003 by American Photo. Along with numerous awards, including Second Prize Contemporary Issues Singles in the 2011 World Press Photo contest, UNICEF’s Photo of the Year 2010, a Prix Pictet 2010 Commission and honors from Pictures of the Year International, Communication Arts and American Photography, Kashi’s images have been published and exhibited worldwide, and his editorial assignments and personal projects have generated six books. In 2008, Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta was published, and June 2009, saw the publication of Kashi’s latest book THREE, based on a series of triptychs culled from more than 20 years of image making. In 2002, Kashi and his wife, writer/filmmaker Julie Winokur, founded Talking Eyes Media. The non-profit company has produced numerous short films and multimedia pieces that explore significant social issues. The first project resulted in a book and traveling exhibition on uninsured Americans called, Denied: The Crisis of America’s Uninsured. “Ed Kashi is intelligent, brave and compassionate. He always understands the nuances of his subjects. He fearlessly goes where few would venture. And he sympathetically captures the soul of each situation. Ed is one of the best of a new breed of photojournalistic artists.” -- David Griffin, Visuals Editor, The Washington Post Ed Kashi talks about Climate Change Abandoned Moments
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Like 17th-century Dutch painters who made otherwise ordinary interior scenes appear charged with meaning, Pennsylvania-based photographer Jessica Todd Harper looks for the value in everyday moments. Her third monograph Here (Published by Damiani) makes use of what is right in front of the artist, Harper shows how our unexamined or even seemingly dull surroundings can sometimes be illuminating
Exclusive Interview with Roger Ballen about his Book Boyhood
In Boyhood (published by Damiani) Roger Ballen's photographs and stories leads us across the continents of Europe, Asia and North America in search of boyhood: boyhood as it is lived in the Himalayas of Nepal, the islands of Indonesia, the provinces of China, the streets of America. Each stunning black-and-white photograph-culled from 15,000 images shot during Ballen's four-year quest-depicts the magic of adolescence revealed in their games, their adventures, their dreams, their Mischief. More of an ode than a documentary work, Ballen's first book is as powerful and current today as it was 43 years ago-a stunning series of timeless images that transcend social and cultural particularities.
Exclusive Interview with Kim Watson
A multi-dimensional artist with decades of experience, Kim Watson has written, filmed, and photographed subjects ranging from the iconic entertainers of our time to the ''invisible'' people of marginalized communities. A highly influential director in music videos' early days, Watson has directed Grammy winners, shot in uniquely remote locations, and written across genres that include advertising, feature films for Hollywood studios such as Universal (Honey), MTV Films, and Warner Brothers, and publishers such as Simon & Schuster. His passionate marriage of art and social justice has been a life-long endeavor, and, in 2020, after consulting on Engagement & Impact for ITVS/PBS, Kim returned to the streets to create TRESPASS, documenting the images and stories of LA's unhoused. TRESPASS exhibited at The BAG (Bestor Architecture Gallery) in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, September 17, 2022 – October 11, 2022.
Exclusive Interview with Julia Dean, Founder of the L.A. Project
Julia Dean, Founder of the Los Angeles Center of Photography, and its executive director for twenty-two years, began The L.A. Project in 2021. A native Nebraskan, Julia has long sought to create a special project where love for her adopted L.A., and her passion for documentary photography can be shared on a grander scale.
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All About Photo Awards 2023
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