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Michele Zousmer
Michele Zousmer
Michele Zousmer

Michele Zousmer

Country: United States

Michele Zousmer is a humanitarian and fine art photographer. The camera is her tool to give voice to marginalized communities and witness the human experience. Michele's work celebrates each individual's strength and beauty, as well as their vulnerability and spirit, going beyond how one presents oneself to the world. They are infused with her almost overwhelming empathy.

Michele believes a photograph can create a lasting impression of emotion, curiosity, love, and ultimately hope of mankind. It can help people heal, give them dignity, and feel empowered. Her photographs reveal insights into the lives of people we wouldn't otherwise meet. Through her world travels, Michele meets people from different walks of life, listening to their stories and sharing intimate moments with them. The permission they grant and openness they offer by inviting them into their world never ceases to move Michele. The soulfulness of her images comes from developing relationships with the people she engages with. Michele truly believes that even though we may have differences on the outside, inside we are all the same. The images are infused with her almost overwhelming empathy.

Statement
"My mind, my eyes, and my heart have been opened by my experiences. My life has been forever changed. I hope my work inspires others to feel we all matter and to care more profoundly. Engaging in the world and becoming open to different cultures and traditions allows for more conversation on diversity and equality. Photographs hold the power to connect people and create understanding. This is why I do what I do." - Michele Zousmer
 

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Maroesjka Lavigne
Maroesjka Lavigne (b.1989, Belgium) gained her Masters in Photography at Ghent University in the summer of 2012. Her work has been shown internationally at the Foam Talent exhibition in Amsterdam, The Robert Mann Gallery in New York, Galerie Hug in Paris and Museum Saint Guislain in Gent, Belgium, among others. She self-published a book called ‘ísland’ in 2012 that sold out. In 2014 she published a postcard version of this book. In 2015 she made a commissioned work ‘Not seeing is a Flower’ in collaboration with the Flanders centre in Osaka. This was published in the catalog called Facing Japan. Her latest project 'Land of Nothingness' is made in Namibia and exhibited in the Robert Mann Gallery in New York. She was selected for the Talent Call at Fotomuseum Amsterdam (FOAM) Netherlands 2012 and was the winner of the Emerging Talent competition of Lensculture in 2014 with the series ‘You are More than beautiful‘. In 2015 she won the Harry Penningsprijs in Eindhoven,Netherlands and in 2016 she won 1st place in the Landscape Category at the Sony World Photography Awards. She is currently living and working in Ghent, Belgium.Source: www.maroesjkalavigne.be Island: "Travelling through Iceland for four months, a country I was unfamiliar with: The light was bright, colours were vivid, and by the end of my trip the sun kept on shining all night long. Snow still held the country in its veil, creating a big white void. This has a way of cleaning up the landscape, the scenery gets more graphic. Wondering how this scene would look like in wintertime, I decided to go back for another month in January. The country turns blue at dusk in wintertime. All colours fade. Cities look like scale models seeking shelter from the weather in the shadow of the mountains.It was my intention to express the dazzling moment, that sometimes, time seems to stop."
Laura Heyman
United States
Laura Heyman was born in Essex County, New Jersey. She received a B.F.A in photography from University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA, and an M.F.A. from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, MI. Heyman’s work has been exhibited at Luggage Store Gallery, San Francisco, CA, Deutsches Polen Institute, Darmstadt, DE, Ampersand International Arts, San Francisco, CA, Senko Studio, Viborg, DK, Silver Eye Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA, The Palitz Gallery, New York, NY, Light Work Gallery, Syracuse, NY, The Ghetto Biennale, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Philadelphia Photographic Arts Center, Philadelphia, PA, The Laguna Art Museum, Laguna, CA, The United Nations, New York, NY and The National Portrait Gallery, London, UK.In 2010, she was nominated for a John Guttman Photography Fellowship, and was awarded a Light Work Mid-Career Artist Grant. She has received the Silver Eye Fellowship, a Ragdale Fellowship and multiple NYFA Strategic Opportunity Stipends. 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Working in black and white with an 8x10 camera, I photographed one hundred and twenty people over a period of two weeks.Three weeks later, the meaning of those images shifted with the earthquake. They became both records and memorials. That event also changed the focus of the project, which evolved to include various expanding populations in Port-au-Prince tied to future development and reconstruction.Issues of representation, visual sovereignty and cultural protocol, central to the project from the beginning, became more complicated after the earthquake. When I first arrived in Port-au-Prince, I imagined that positioning myself as a “studio photographer” would allow me to escape or subvert the complex tangle of hierarchies at play in Haiti, as well as in the exchange between photographer and subject. Neither has been the case. Instead, layers of meaning and intention continue to reveal themselves, expanding the project's framework and engaging the myriad contradictions and impossibilities present in the work’s original question.All about Laura Heyman:AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?I began making photographs in high school, and knew I wanted to be a photographer before going to college.AAP: Where did you study photography?At University of the Arts in Philadelphia, I studied with Jack Carnell and Alida Fish. At Cranbrook Academy of Art, where I got my MFA, I studied with Carl Toth, and also Grant Kester, who taught Critical Theory at the school during my first year there.AAP:Do you have a mentor or role model?I don’t know that I’d say I have a mentor – there are peers I look to regularly for advice and feedback on my work.AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?One of my first shots was the stream in my grandparent’s backyard in Phonecia, New York. My grandfather fished there, and my older sister and I used to run around and catch salamanders and frogs.AAP: What or who inspires you?Artists like Collier Schorr, An-My Lê, Roni Horn, Robert Adams, Mark Ruwedel, Pieter Hugo; David Shrigley, Jennifer Dalton Ai Wei Wei; Richard Mosse and Liz Cohen. I’m inspired by artists whose work makes me think, those using humor in their practice, and artists who really put themselves on the line. Books and essays, movies and performance – I’m inspired by a lot of different people and things.AAP: How could you describe your style?The visual style of my work changes according to the subject – a constant is subjects or projects that can and do express a layered viewpoint, or pose a series of questions.AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?While I sometimes shoot digital, mostly I work analogue, with a medium or large format camera. Lately that has meant using Ilford HP5 black and white film with a Deardorff 8X10 camera and a 300 mm lens.AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images?For me, editing (by which I mean deciding what images are included in a series, not post-production) is at least fifty percent of the job. I spend as much, if not more time editing a series as I do producing it.AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?Collier Schorr, Robert Adams, Rineke Djikstra, Zoe Strauss, Luc DelahayeAAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?Know what you want. Shoot twice as much as you think you should. Be prepared to shoot and re-shoot until you get what you want.AAP: Your best memory as a photographer?A number of photographs I made of some friends while we waited in a car for the ferry. It was cold out, and we were all inside, smoking. The images captured the moment and the subjects very precisely – although this was over twenty years ago, they still have an immediacy that thrills me.AAP: Your worst souvenir as a photographer?A little while ago I was shooting some portraits on a very sunny day, and forgot to flag the lens. The negatives l ended up with were completely fogged and unusable.AAP: If you could have taken the photographs of someone else who would it be?Either Robert Adams What We Bought, or Collier Schorr’s Jens F. Both books have a real hold on me – I’m completely consumed every time I open one up. And after years of looking at them, they still surprise and fascinate me.
Bert Stern
United States
1929 | † 2013
Bertram Stern (October 3, 1929 – June 26, 2013) was a self-taught American commercial photographer. He was the son of Jewish immigrants and grew up in Brooklyn. His father worked as a children’s portrait photographer. After dropping out of high school at the age of 16, he gained a job in the mail room at Look magazine. He became art director at Mayfair magazine, where Stern learned how to develop film and make contact sheets, and started taking his own pictures. In 1951, Stern was drafted into the US Army and was sent to Japan and assigned to the photographic department. In the 1960s Stern's heavy use of amphetamines, led to the destruction to his marriage to Balanchine ballerina, Allegra Kent. By the late 1970s Stern returned to the U.S. to photograph portraits and fashion. He was the subject of the 2010 documentary, "Bert Stern: Original Madman," directed by his secret wife, Shannah Laumeister. Ms. Laumeister and Stern never lived together, and Stern had a long standing relationship of 20+ years with Lynette Lavender who was his constant and devoted companion. His first professional assignment was in 1955 for a Madison Avenue advertising agency for Smirnoff vodka. His best known work is arguably The Last Sitting, is a collection of 2,500 photographs taken for Vogue of Marilyn Monroe over a three-day period, six weeks before her death. Stern's book The Last Sitting was published in 1982 and again in 2000. He has photographed Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Drew Barrymore and Lindsay Lohan (recreating The Last Sitting), among others, in addition to his work for advertising and travel publications.(Source: en.wikipedia.org)
Ada Trillo
United States
1976
Ada Trillo is a photographer based in Philadelphia, PA, and Juarez, Mexico. Trillo holds degrees from the Istituto Marangoni in Milan and Drexel University in Philadelphia. Trillo's work is concerned with human rights issues facing Latin America. Trillo has documented forced prostitution in Juarez, Mexico, the infamous La Bestia train, the migrant caravans of 2018 and 2020, and the struggles of asylum seekers directly affected by Trump's Remain in Mexico policy. Trillo has exhibited internationally at Saint Josephs University in Philadelphia, The Photo Meetings in Luxembourg, The Passion for Freedom Art Festival in London, Festival Internazionale di Fotografia in Cortona Italy and at the Anya and Andrew Shiva Gallery at the John Jay College in New, York. In 2017, Trillo received a Leeway Foundation Art and Change Grant. Her work has been featured in The British Journal of Photography, The Guardian, and Smithsonian Magazine. Trillo was recently awarded a CFEVA Fellowship by The Center For Emerging Visual Artists and was named the Visual Artist-in-Residence for Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia. Her work is included in the permanent collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and The West Collection. Trillo was awarded First Place in Editorial Photos with the Tokyo International Foto Awards. She was recently awarded the ME&Eve grant with the Center of photographic arts in Santa Fe. Statement I was born in El Paso, Texas but I was raised in Juarez, Mexico. As a teenager, I traveled back and forth between the two cities so I could attend school in the states. Witnessing life on the border as a young adult had a strong influence on my worldview and art practice. After years of working as a painter, I picked up a camera and started making pictures. For the past four years, I've been documenting the journey migrants take to reach the US-Mexico border. In 2017, I photographed aboard the infamous La Bestia, a dangerous journey by a freight train that migrants from Mexico and Central America ride every year to reach the border. In 2018 & 2019 I photographed overpopulated migrant shelters in Juarez and Tijuana. I also traveled with the migrant caravans of 2018 and 2020, from Honduras, through Guatemala, and into Mexico. In 2019, I photographed asylum seekers who were barred entry into the US under Trump's, Remain in Mexico Policy. While the media often covers what is happening at the border, they all too often overlook the individual trials, struggles, and humanity of those seeking to escape violence in pursuit of a better life. Spending countless days and nights living alongside those I photograph, I hope to present an honest, unadulterated view of migrant life. I photograph exclusively with a 35mm camera and fixed lenses. My process of making pictures is about creating real connections with my subjects in search of depth and intimacy in my work. My goal is to humanize their struggle and share their stories with the world.
Joseph Koudelka
Czech Republic
1938
Josef Koudelka was born in 1938 in Boskovice, Moravia. He began photographing his family and the surroundings with a 6 x 6 Bakelite camera. He studied at the Czech Technical University in Prague (CVUT) between 1956 and 1961, receiving a Degree in Engineering in 1961. He staged his first photographic exhibition the same year. Later he worked as an aeronautical engineer in Prague and Bratislava. He began taking commissions from theatre magazines, and regularly photographed stage productions at Prague's Theatre Behind the Gate on a Rolleiflex camera. In 1967, Koudelka decided to give up his career in engineering for full-time work as a photographer. He had returned from a project photographing gypsies in Romania just two days before the Soviet invasion, in August 1968. He witnessed and recorded the military forces of the Warsaw Pact as they invaded Prague and crushed the Czech reforms. Koudelka's negatives were smuggled out of Prague into the hands of the Magnum agency, and published anonymously in The Sunday Times Magazine under the initials P. P. (Prague Photographer) for fear of reprisal to him and his family. His pictures of the events became dramatic international symbols. In 1969 the "anonymous Czech photographer" was awarded the Overseas Press Club's Robert Capa Gold Medal for photographs requiring exceptional courage. With Magnum to recommend him to the British authorities, Koudelka applied for a three-month working visa and fled to England in 1970, where he applied for political asylum and stayed for more than a decade. In 1971 he joined Magnum Photos. A nomad at heart, he continued to wander around Europe with his camera and little else. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Koudelka sustained his work through numerous grants and awards, and continued to exhibit and publish major projects like Gypsies (1975) and Exiles (1988). Since 1986, he has worked with a panoramic camera and issued a compilation of these photographs in his book Chaos in 1999. Koudelka has had more than a dozen books of his work published, including most recently in 2006 the retrospective volume Koudelka. Koudelka has won awards such as the Prix Nadar (1978), a Grand Prix National de la Photographie (1989), a Grand Prix Cartier-Bresson (1991), and the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography (1992). Significant exhibitions of his work have been held at the Museum of Modern Art and the International Center of Photography, New York; the Hayward Gallery, London; the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art, Amsterdam; and the Palais de Tokyo, Paris. He and his work received support and acknowledgment from his friend the French photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson. He was also supported by the Czech art historian Anna Farova. In 1987 Koudelka became a French citizen, and was able to return to Czechoslovakia for the first time in 1991. He then produced Black Triangle, documenting his country's wasted landscape. Koudelka resides in France and Prague and is continuing his work documenting the European landscape. He has two daughters and a son. Source: Wikipedia
Patrick Morarescu
Statement:Due to the natural dynamic and complexity of the individual, I have always been drawn to portraiture. I photograph persons to whom I feel an initial attraction and try to reflect this force in images. A power that you cannot describe in words or in rational concepts but it captures the attention and creates a strong curiosity, a sort of addiction not only to body shapes, eyes, skin tonalities, but to what is behind: the thoughts and the mental state of that persons. And I feel a sort of instinct of possession, a desire to materialize the moment that this person is living. The human presence, with it’s emotionality, is some times too strong; it is almost insulting, shouting to get all the attention: Like a red dot in the green, like a flash in the darkness. To balance that force I need the background, the space that as a negative form defines the contour of the figure. Through that supplementary space I create a whole story. The key of my research lies in the dialogue between the person and its background; sometimes I think I am not portraying a person with a background, but the background with a person; sometimes it is the opposite. The background speaks about fear, happiness, peace, desperation; it speaks about the circumstances through an atmosphere. There is one basic element that is crucial to bring all the elements together: The light. Like a thread that creates structure and consistence in a tissue; the magical substance of photography. It is a physical condition that contains many extraordinary qualities. The photography is a chemical reaction in which the light is transcripted in a plain surface, creating a code that by the eyes suggest reality; but photography is not reality itself but an abstraction of it. And this is the point that fascinates me; the possibility of recreating the reality through the chemical process.
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