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Michael Knapstein
Michael Knapstein
Michael Knapstein

Michael Knapstein

Country: United States
Birth: 1956

Michael Knapstein (born 1956, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, USA) is a fine-art photographer who has earned international recognition for his insightful and nuanced visual exploration of the American Midwest. He now lives in Middleton, Wisconsin.

Michael's photographs began attracting national attention while still in high school. At the age of 17, his work earned its way into the permanent collection of the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, NY. After graduating from the College of Fine Arts and Communication at the University of Wisconsin, Knapstein began a 30+ year career in the world of advertising. He sold his ad agency in 2010 and returned to his first love of photography. Since this reemergence, Michael's work has been recognized with hundreds of awards in some of the world's most prestigious photography competitions. He is a four-time Critical Mass Finalist, Pollux Award Winner and was named International Landscape Photographer of the Year at the 5th Barcelona Foto Biennale in Barcelona, Spain. He was also named one of "14 Inspiring American Artists" by Skillshare and Feature Shoot. His work has been widely exhibited in museums and galleries around the world.

About Midwest Memoir
There is a certain magic to the American Midwest.

Honest. Modest. Understated. Sometimes unappreciated. Often overlooked.

I created Midwest Memoir as a way to help others see the Midwest in a whole new light. The Midwest in which I was raised. The Midwest that shaped my experiences and my artistic aesthetic. The Midwest the way I will always remember it, even though it continues to change and disappear around me.

I think of the Midwest as being classic and timeless in nature. Therefore, I approached this project from a time-honored "straight photography" perspective in the spirit of Group f/64 and gave the work a modernist character with a strong formalist dimension. My approach was informed by the work of mid-century modernist photographers such as Adams, Weston, White, Strand and Evans.

My work was also strongly influenced by the American Regionalism movement and the work of artists who portrayed the American heartland, including Wood, Benton, Curry, Wyeth and Hopper.

If you pause for a moment, perhaps you'll feel the humid air of an approaching thunderstorm, or catch the smell of fresh laundry as it dries in the summer breeze. That is my Midwest Memoir.
 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Eric Kim
United States
1988
Eric Kim is an international street photographer currently based in Los Angeles. Through his blog and workshops, he teaches others the beauty of street photography, how to find their own style and vision, as well as how to overcome their fear of shooting strangers. In the past he has done collaborations with Leica, Magnum, as well as Invisible Photographer Asia. He is currently an instructor at UC Riverside Extension, teaching a university-level street photography course. Last year he was also one of the judges for the London Street Photography Festival. He has exhibited his work at the Leica stores in Singapore, Seoul, and Melbourne. He has taught workshops in Beirut, Seoul, Tokyo, Amsterdam, Berlin, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Sydney, Melbourne, Zurich, London, Toronto, Mumbai, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Kota Kinabalu.Source: Expert Photography Artist Statement "My first interest in street photography happened by chance. I was standing at a bus stop and I saw a man with horn-shaped glasses reading a book. There was something so genuine and unique about the moment. My heart was palpitating and the second I brought my camera to my eye, he looked directly at me and I instinctively clicked. My heart froze, but I made my first street photograph, without even realizing it. Being interested in both street photography and the approach, I started to experiment shooting street photography using my background knowledge studying sociology at UCLA. I started experimenting getting very close when shooting, and surprisingly never got punched in the face for taking photos (yet). Now through my blog and my workshops, I travel the world and teach others the beauty of street photography and how people can overcome their fear of shooting strangers. Teaching is my passion, and in the past I taught a photography class to under-privileged youth in Los Angeles, I taught a university-level online course at UC Riverside extension, and even a Sociology of Facebook and Online Social Networks while a student at UCLA. I also love participating in collaborations as I am currently a contributor to the Leica blog, I was one of the judges for the London Street Photography Contest 2011, and have done two collaborations with Samsung (I starred in a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 commercial and a campaign for the Samsung NX 20 camera). I have also been interviewed by the BBC about the ethics of street photography. I have had some of my work exhibited in in Los Angeles and at the Leica stores in Singapore, Seoul, and Melbourne. I have also taught street photography workshops in Beirut, Seoul, Tokyo, Amsterdam, Berlin, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Sydney, Melbourne, Zurich, London, Toronto, Mumbai, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Kota Kinabalu (and more to come). My motto is always to shoot with a smile, and from the heart."
Michael Young
United States
Michael Young is a New York-based photographer. His work has been shown internationally in Switzerland and Australia as well as nationally in New York City, Kentucky, Colorado, Oregon and Massachusetts. His work will be on display this coming spring at Fotofestival Lenzburg's "Search for Beauty" open-air show. He was a finalist in Shoot the Frame's Shoot the Face competition this past January and won 2nd place in color photography from the Plymouth Center for the Arts in Massachusetts. His work will be published later this year in the first annual Feature Shoot's The Print Swap book. Additionally, his work has previously been published in Spunk [arts] Magazine, Taking Pictures (Black Box Gallery), and The Literate Image (Plymouth Center for the Arts). Michael has a MA in Teaching from New York University and a BA in Spanish Language & Literatures from Yale University. Artist Statement Starla, Photographer in Her Studio is part of of the series Ashes to Ashes/Dust to Dust that I began eight years ago when I first visited my partner's family, the Groves, in western Kentucky. Since I grew up in the northeast, my upbringing was different from my partner's, and initially I thought that I had little in common with his family. As an outsider I received a lukewarm welcome by many, but I remained intrigued by his family. It was my camera that afforded me an invitation into their lives and helped me build meaningful relationships with his relatives. As the project has continued, not only have I become closer to my partner's family, but I have also been fortunate to document a part of the US that has been ignored by many and deemed "flyover country." The Groves, who have lived in Muhlenberg County for generations, are a microcosm for Muhlenburg county. Most are hardworking coal miners, farmers, nurses, and entrepreneurs looking to better their lives. Sadly, however, some have lost parents to addiction and others have passed due to overdoses. Like many rural towns in the Bible Belt, industry continues to leave the area. While well-paying jobs in the coal industry disappear, miners must travel about an hour to find lucrative work. When Trump announced promises to rollback legislation restricting coal emissions, many in the community grew excited for a return to the prosperous past that has for many years been slipping away. These images show the dichotomy between the current stark realities and flickers of hope and beauty as the county works to rebuild and redefine itself.
Anita Conti
France
1899 | † 1997
Anita Caracotchian was born in Ermont in Seine-et-Oise to a wealthy Armenian family. She spent her childhood being educated at home by different tutors and travelling with her family, gradually developing a passion for books and the sea. After moving to Paris, she concentrated on writing poems and the art of book binding. Her work got the attention of celebrities and she won different awards and prizes for her creativity in London, Paris, New York and Brussels. In 1927, she married a diplomat, Marcel Conti, and started traveling around the world, exploring the seas, documenting and reporting what she saw and experimented. Spending time on the fishing boats for days and even months on certain occasions gave her a deeper understanding of the problematic faced by the fishermen. In between the two world war, she developed the technique of fishing maps apart from the already used navigational charts. For two years, from one vessel to another, she observed the French fishermen along the coast and Saharan Africa discovering fish species unknown in France. She published many scientific reports on the negative effects of industrial fishing and the different problems related to fishing practices. From 1943 and approximately for 10 years, she studied in the Mauritian islands, Senegal, Guinea and Ivory Coast, the nature of the seabed, different fish species and their nutritional values in regards of protein deficiency for the local populations. Gradually, she developed better preservation techniques, fishing methods and installed artificial dens for further studies. She even founded an experimental fishery for sharks. She became more and more conscientious of the misuse of natural resources by the fishing industry and the major waste that could be prevented. In 1971 she published L’Ocean, Les Betes et L’Homme, to denounce the disaster that men create and its effects on the oceans. Through many conferences and forums and for the rest of her life, she advocated for the betterment of the marine world. She died on 25 December 1997 in Douarnenez.Source: Wikipedia Born in 1899, Anita Conti was recruited in 1935 by French Fisheries Authorities to conduct scientific experiments at sea and to assess fish resources. In 1941 she embarked on a trawler bound for Western Africa and spent the next ten years exploring the mangrove swamps between Senegal and the Ivory Coast, observing and assessing the techniques of traditional fishermen, meeting with local elders, establishing new fisheries... The hair-raising account of her attempts at catching the "Giants of the warm seas", such as sawfish and sharks, bears witness to her intrepid nature. Yet one can also feel her strong desire to contribute to a worthwhile cause. Exploring the swamps is not seen as an unilateral exploitation of African resources by Europeans : it is a genuine attempt at sharing knowledge. Source: aflit.arts.uwa.edu.au Born just before the 20th century started, Anita Conti represents a piece from the past. During her teenage years, she developed a passion for books and sea and started photography in 1914. Indeed, for almost a hundred years, she has been gathering more than 40,000 photographies. Anita was what we can call today an engaged pioneer. Recruited by French Fisheries Authorities to conduct scientific experiments at sea and to assess fish resources, she was the first french female oceanographer. In 1939, she's been the first woman to embark in the service of the National French Navy, and, thus, became the first woman to work on a military ship in wartime. In charge of developing a new technique for fishing maps, she embarked on a trawler bound for western Africa in 1941. During 10 years, she explored the West African coasts, from the Mauritian islands to Senegal and from Guinea to Ivory Coast. She insured a resupply program for the population and the French army. Her goal was to save population from hunger and find nutritional solutions in regards of their protein deficiency. During a decade, she travelled the world, explored the seas, documented and scientifically reported the negative effects of industrial fishing. "To be able to exploit the sea, you must enter into the sea" she used to say. Her African experience helped her to denounce the impacts of plundering the oceans and the major waste of marine resources. "Seas are under threat" she claimed. She tried to find fishing methods like fish farming to avoid overfishing.Source: Panthalassa
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
Mark Coggins
United States
1957
Mark Coggins is a crime-fiction novelist and photographer. Five of his six award-winning novels are illustrated with images taken by him. His photos have been exhibited in galleries across the country and have been featured in books of other authors, notably Red Mist by Patricia Cornwell and A Lover's Discourse: Fragments by Roland Barthes. He has written about photography for View Camera magazine and is a contributor to Getty Images.All About Photo: When did you realize you also wanted to become a photographer?Mark Coggins: I've been interested in photography for a long time. I had a darkroom with a friend in grade school where I developed and printed pictures I took with an old 35mm Bolsey rangefinder camera my father gave me, but didn't really get serious about it until my mid-30's when I took a view camera class with Mark Citret. All About Photo: Where did you study photography? With whom? Mark Coggins: I've taken a number of classes and workshops with Mark Citret. While Mark is primarily a large-format photographer and I was initially interested in large format as well, I've evolved into more of "street photographer" using digital 35mm equivalents. However, I believe the training in large format has given me a deeper appreciation of composition, depth of field and exposure that is quite beneficial in making my images. All About Photo: Do you take photographs between books or at the same time? Mark Coggins: I move fluidly between writing and photography, doing both pretty much at the same time. When I photograph to illustrate my novels, of course, the two are yoked together in the service of the same goal. All About Photo: Does your writing influence your photography or vice versa? Mark Coggins: A bit of both. Originally, I was using photography to document street scenes I wanted to describe in my books. Then I hit upon the idea of including the photos I was taking in the books. Later I began to alter the plot of my books to have an excuse to include photos I liked that I had taken without reference to a particular scene. All About Photo: What lead you to photography and why? Mark Coggins: In the very beginning, it was the photos my father had taken during the Korean War with the 35mm Bolsey camera he eventually gave me. My mother recently found a box of his old negatives and slides, and several images-particularly of Korean children-are quite good. All About Photo: Do you remember your first shot? What was it? Mark Coggins: I don't remember the first photo I took, but I do remember the first one I developed and printed (around the age of 12). It was a snapshot of a large toy rubber beetle of my brother's. Not great art! All About Photo: What was your first paid assignment/job? Mark Coggins: The first print I sold was the photo of two chess pieces on a board that was used for the cover of my first novel, The Immortal Game. Several bookstores carried prints of the photo to sell to collectors who had enjoyed the book. All About Photo: What or who inspires you? Mark Coggins: I photograph street scenes from cities throughout the world. What inspires me most is capturing groups of people interacting or engaged in a common activity, rather than simply taking street portraits of individuals, although I have plenty of those in my portfolio. All About Photo: How could you describe your style? Mark Coggins: I like sharply focused images with a full tonal range, pulling in as much detail as I can in the shadows. Most all my work is black and white with a colder toning. All About Photo: Do you have a favorite photograph or series? Mark Coggins: "Geisha Confidential." It was taken one evening in Kyoto, Japan. I was walking down a back street in the older part of town when a cab with a geisha pulled up. The cab driver went in to an adjacent building to retrieve a second geisha. The photo documents the moment when the second joined the first and they began an urgent conversation.I like the image both because I was so extraordinarily fortunate to be in a position to take it and because I did a fair amount of editing to achieve the nourish atmosphere (I believe) it conveys. All About Photo: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film? Mark Coggins: I mostly use Fujifilm rangefinder digital cameras, which is perhaps appropriate since my first camera was the Bolsey rangefinder. I also have a full-frame Nikon DSLR that I use for non-street photos. All About Photo: What is the influence of digital technology on your photography? Mark Coggins: Although my serious interest in photography began with my involvement with large format film photography, I was never that good a printer. It wasn't uncommon for me to like the Polaroid proof I took of a particular shot more than I did of the final print. If, as Ansel Adams said, the negative is the score and the print is the performance, I was blowing it during the performance. Digital has made me a better performer. All About Photo: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose? Mark Coggins: I do a fair amount of editing. I often crop, convert to black and white, dodge and burn where necessary and try to make sure I've gotten as much detail in the shadows as I can. I also tone my images on the colder range of the scale. All About Photo: How do you choose your subjects? Mark Coggins: I look for interesting people interacting in interesting ways on the street. All About Photo: Favorite(s) photographer(s)? Mark Coggins: Oh, there are so many. Mark Citret, of course. From there, in no particular order, Sally Mann, Edward Weston, Ruth Bernhard, Eugčne Atget, Diane Arbus, Robert Frank, Henri Cartier-Bresson. All About Photo: What advice would you give a young photographer? Mark Coggins: I can't tell you how to do this, but I do believe it is important: to develop one's own style. It took me a long time to do it, and I only realized I had done so long after the achievement. It's not a paint-by-numbers type goal. All About Photo: What mistake should a young photographer avoid? Mark Coggins: Although I've been guilty of it myself, I see a lot of photographers over-manipulating images. Perhaps it's the influence of Instagram filters. All About Photo: What are your projects? Mark Coggins: I shot continuously in my home city of San Francisco, but for some reason, my best photos seem to come during travel to foreign countries. I'm planning a trip to several new (to me) European cities this summer. All About Photo: Your best memory as a photographer? Mark Coggins: When the Patricia Cornwell's publisher contacted me about using my photo of Savannah's Colonial Park Cemetery for the endpapers of her novel Red Mist. All About Photo: Your worst souvenir as a photographer? Mark Coggins: Over-exposed 4x5 negative of what I was certain to be a great shot when I didn't properly seat the bag bellows of my large format camera. All About Photo: The compliment that touched you most? Mark Coggins: When my mother hung one of my (really not very good) photos in her living room next to a watercolor by very accomplished artist. All About Photo: Your favorite photo book? Mark Coggins: Along the Way by Mark Citret. All About Photo: An anecdote that comes to your mind? Mark Coggins: I lived next to Ruth Bernhard in San Francisco for several years. I'm embarrassed to admit that I didn't really understand her importance to the photography world until I met her at a party. All About Photo: Anything else you would like to share? Mark Coggins: Another anecdote: when I shut down my darkroom, I sold my sink to music photographer Tom O'Neal, who photographed the cover of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's Deja Vu album.
Lee Jeffries
United Kingdom
Lee Jeffries lives in Manchester in the United Kingdom. Close to the professional football circle, this artist starts to photograph sporting events. A chance meeting with a young homeless girl in the streets of London changes his artistic approach forever. Lee Jeffries recalls that, initially, he had stolen a photo from this young homeless girl huddled in a sleeping bag. The photographer knew that the young girl had noticed him but his first reaction was to leave. He says that something made him stay and go and discuss with the homeless girl. His perception about the homeless completely changes. They become the subject of his art. The models in his photographs are homeless people that he has met in Europe and in the United States: «Situations arose, and I made an effort to learn to get to know each of the subjects before asking their permission to do their portrait.» From then onwards, his photographs portray his convictions and his compassion to the world. "If you will forgive my indulgence, This work is most definitely NOT photojournalism. Nor is it intended as portraiture. It's religious or spiritual iconography. It's powerful stuff. Jeffries gave these people something more than personal dignity. He gave them a light in their eyes that depicts transcendence, a glimmer of light at the gates of Eden, so to speak. The clarity in their eyes is awesome to behold, as if God is somewhere in there. He has made these people into more than poor old broken homeless people lazily waiting for a handout from some urbane and thoughtful corporate agent. He infused them with light, not darkness. Even the blind guy has light pouring from his sightless eyes. I think Jeffries intended his art to honor these people, not pity them. He honors those people by giving their likenesses a greater meaning. He gives them a religious spiritual significance. He imbues them with the iconic soul of humanity. I think that's what he was trying to do, at least to some degree thereof." Source: www.yellowkorner.com Lee Jeffries leads a double life – as a full-time accountant near Manchester, and in his free time as an impassioned photographer of the homeless all over the world. A self-taught photographer who started out taking pictures of stock in a bike shop, his epiphany came in April 2008 when, on the eve of running the London Marathon, he snatched a long-lens image of a homeless girl huddling in a doorway, and felt compelled to apologize to her when she called him out for it. Their resulting conversation changed not only his approach to photography; it changed his life. Since that day Lee has been on a mission to raise awareness of – and funds for – the homeless. His work features street people from the UK, Europe and the US whom he gets to know by living rough with them, the relationship between them enabling him to capture a searing intimacy and authenticity in his portraits. He has published two critically acclaimed fund-raising books, Lost Angels and Homeless, worked with the Salvation Army on a major campaign, and donated the half-dozen cameras he's won in prestigious imaging competitions to charity. He estimates he's given thousands of pounds of his own money to help those he photographs. All this, and he's still 'an amateur'. Source: Nikon In-Frame Read our Exclusive Interview with Lee Jeffries
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