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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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Alex MacLean
United States
Pilot and photographer, Alex MacLean, has flown his plane over much of the United States documenting the landscape. Trained as an architect, he has portrayed the history and evolution of the land from vast agricultural patterns to city grids, recording changes brought about by human intervention and natural processes. His powerful and descriptive images provide clues to understanding the relationship between the natural and constructed environments. MacLean’s photographs have been exhibited widely in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia, and are found in private, public and university collections. He has won numerous awards, including the 2009 CORINE International Book Award, the American Academy of Rome’s Prix de Rome in Landscape Architecture for 2003-2004, and grants from foundations such as the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting in 2014. MacLean is the author of eleven books including, Up on the Roof: New York's Hidden Skyline Spaces (2012), Las Vegas | Venice (2010), Chroniques Aeriennes: L'art d'Alex MacLean (2010), Alex MacLean: Given a Free Hand (2010), OVER: The American Landscape at the Tipping Point (2008), Visualizing Density (2007), The Playbook (2006), Designs on the Land: Exploring America from the Air (2003), Taking Measures Across the American Landscape (1996), Look at the Land; Aerial Reflections of America (1993) and Above and Beyond; Visualizing Change in Small Towns and Rural Areas (2002). MacLean maintains a studio and lives in Lincoln, Massachusetts. Sea Level Rise On the shoreline of the Atlantic coast from Maine to Florida, rising salt water will impact over 100 million people. As a result, our nation will spend unimagined fortunes to adjust both gradual and abrupt disruptions of rising ocean waters. Sea level rise occurs when warmer temperatures associated with climate warming melt land ice and thermally expand the volume of seawater. Although sea level is now rising in fractions of inches, the impact will accelerate, with mean sea level predicted to be 3 to 6 feet higher by the end of the century. Even though many people are skeptical of climate change, and certainly not engaged in actions to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gasses, there is no denying that sea level rise, enhanced by storms and storm surges, causes erosion, flooding, dislocations, and will result in catastrophic damage along our coastlines. This problem is a significant cost factor reflected in financial markets for hazard insurance and appraisal of real estate values. Sea level rise is a relentless, visible indicator of a warming climate, which cannot be ignored.
Toby Old
United States
1945
Toby Old was born in Stillwater, Minnesota in 1945. He started out majoring in biology at Hamline University, then moved on to the University of Minnesota where he trained to be a dentist. At the height of the Vietnam War he was drafted into the Army Dental Core. While serving in North Carolina, he began to explore art history and photography. After a 1976 summer workshop at Apieron Photographic Workshops in Millerton, New York, Old moved to New York City. He began working on his first extended series of the disco scene in 1976-1981. For this body of work, Standard Deviation, he was awarded a grant from the New York State Council of the Arts. In 1981 he received an NEA Survey Grant to document lower Manhattan below Chambers Street, and has continued photographing this section of the city since, includes an extended series on the boxing world. In the late 1980s he moved to upstate New York, where he began to document local events including county fairs and Civil War reenactments. He also began photographing national events such as the Kentucky Derby, Frontier Days, Mardi Gras, and spring break. Toby Old’s book, Times Squared, was offered through the 2005 Subscription Program and is still available for purchase in the Light Work Shop. Old participated in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence Program in 1980. Toby Old captures animation in his photography, depicting both realistic and exciting observations of human life. Drawing on the inspiration of photographers of the 1960s, he has traveled the country photographing in many different environments, including street performances, beaches, fairs, fashion shows, nightclubs, boxing events, parks, and Fourth of July celebrations. His images capture extraordinary moments in human action and social and cultural experiences as they unfold. His photographs are not the kind to be taken in quickly, but images to be examined and scrutinized for details. According to Ted Hartwell, curator of photography at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, “Old’s work has always been characterized by a solid technical mastery of the medium-format camera as the tool for his wonderfully zany, insightful, and intelligent observations of the American scene.”Source: Light Work
Félix Bonfils
France
1831 | † 1885
Félix Adrien Bonfils was a French photographer and writer who was active in the Middle East. He was one of the first commercial photographers to produce images of the Middle East on a large scale and amongst the first to employ a new method of colour photography, developed in 1880. He was born in Saint-Hippolyte-du-Fort and died in Alès. Félix worked as a bookbinder. In 1860, he joined General d'Hautpoul's expedition to the Levant, organized by France following the massacre of Christians in the civil conflict between Christians and Druze in Mount Lebanon and Damascus. On his return to France, it is thought that Félix was taught the heliogravure printing process by Abel Niépce de Saint-Victor and opened a printing office in Alès in 1864. Soon after returning from Lebanon, he became a photographer. In 1857, he married Marie-Lydie Cabanis. When his son, Adrien, fell ill, Félix remembered the green hills around Beirut and sent him there to recover, being accompanied by Félix's wife. The family moved to Beirut in 1867 where they opened a photographic studio called "Maison Bonfils". Source: Wikipedia Félix Bonfils and his wife Lydie (1837-1918) came from Saint Hippolyte du Fort in the Gard. As a binder, then a printer, and finally a photographer trained by Niépce de Saint Victor, Félix Bonfils stayed in Lebanon in 1860 during France’s military expedition. He soon decided to transfer his activity there, and so Bonfils’s photographic studio was founded in Beirut in 1867. Bonfils was not a pioneer photography, yet he was the first Frenchman to open a studio in Beirut. His wife, soon assisted by their son Adrien (1861-1929), produced portraits and genre scenes as they travelled throughout Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt, Turkey and Greece before bringing back their shots. The Bonfils studio was above all renowned for its landscapes, sites and views of architecture made first of all for artists, wealthy travellers, art historians and archaeologists, then for an increasing number of tourists. Bonfils immediately became extremely active: at the beginning of the 1870s his catalogue included some fifteen thousand shots, five hundred and ninety-one negatives from Egypt, Palestine, Syria and Greece, and nine thousand stereoscopic views. In 1876, Constantinople was added. A new catalogue resuming these images was published in 1876. These shots were sold one by one on demand, but also brought together in albums. In 1872, Bonfils started out by presenting Architecture antique. Egypte. Grèce. Asie Mineure. Album de photographies published by Ducher in Paris and including fifty albumen originals tipped onto cards with printed captions. For the Paris World Fair in 1878, he produced a series of five volumes entitled: Souvenirs d’Orient : album pittoresque des sites, villes et ruines les plus remarquables… published by their author in Alès in 1877-1878 and covering the Orient from Egypt and Nubia (volumes I and II) to Athens and Constantinople (volume V). Each album included around forty original, tipped-in photographs, as well as an “historical, archaeological and descriptive notice opposite each plate”. These collections were thus offered to the buyers in a finished form, a little like the engraved keepsakes from the 1830s. They won a medal at the World Fair and the department of Stamps at the then Bibliothèque Impériale acquired the entire collection. At this time, the firm, which was now divided between Alès and Beirut, was renamed Bonfils et Cie. 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After his death in 1885, the firm which had opened up several subsidies around the Middle East, was run by his wife and son, until 1895 when the latter turned towards the hotel business. It was only at the death of Lydie Bonfils in 1918 that Abraham Guiragossian, who had been an associate since 1909, brought up the business, which finally closed in 1938. The entire catalogue of works provided by the Bonfils company is as large as it is interesting, especially because these images marry a documentary concern with an aesthetic approach to composition and framing. The large number of photographers explains the obvious fluctuations of quality. The great demand, trade requirements, and the interest of the clientele in the obviously picturesque explains why a part of the production can be judged to be rather mediocre, unjustly obscuring pieces of great quality. 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John Simmons
United States
1950
John Simmons is a multi-talented artist whose work has spanned across decades. Born in Chicago and coming of age during the Civil Rights Era, Simmons' photography started at the peak of political and racial tension of the 1960s, mentored by a well known Chicago Civil Rights photographer, Bobby Sengstacke. After completing an undergraduate degree from Fisk University in art and photography, Simmons went on to study cinematography at the University of Southern California, and then to move to LA, where he currently lives. In 2004, Simmons was inducted into the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) and now serves as Vice President and as co-chair of the ASC Vision Committee. He is also on the Board of Governors of the Television Academy, working to increase diversity on-set, and taught at UCLA for 26 years before leaving to focus on his photography. Simmons has also filmed music videos and commercials for artists such as Stevie Wonder, Britney Spears, Snoop Dogg and many more. As a filmmaker, Simmons has collaborated with industry giants such as Spike Lee and Debbie Allen, and has served as the Director of Photography for more than 25 television series. Simmons earned an Emmy for his work on Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn. Outside of the aforementioned exhibits, his photographs are also held at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Center for Creative Photography, the David C. Driskell Center, University of Maryland, and Harvard University, where they exhibited in "Time is Now: Photography and Social Change in James Baldwin's America" at the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts. His work is also in the permanent collection of the ASC. Exclusive Interview with John Simmons
Eugenio Recuenco
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From that moment, he continued to create short films and video clips, such as Rammstein's Mein Herz Brennt, for example. He is now preparing his first full length film.Although his photographs had already been shown at the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid, the BAC (Barcelona Arte Contemporáneo), the Naardeen Photo Festival, the FEM (Festival Edición Madrid), Les Rencontres d'Arles, PhotoEspana, Art Toronto, and the Spanish National Library, it was once again in Paris where he would have his first solo exhibit, "Dream and Storm" at the Bertin-Toublanc Gallery.In 2004 he was given the ABC National Photography Award, in 2009 he won Gold and Bronze Awards at the Sol Festival, and in 2006 and 2013 his photographs won Gold Lions at the Cannes Lions Festival.In 2013 teNeues approached him to create his first solo book, Revue, whose launch will coincide with an exhibit at Camera Work Contemporary in Berlin.Eugenio Recuendo currently lives behind a camera.All about Eugenio Recuendo:AAP:Do you have a mentor or role model?To be honest I only have my intuition.AAP: How long have you been a photographer?I think since I was born. Another question is from what moment afterwards and I began taking pictures. Light and its effects have a great influence on me; I was always conscious of what was happening around me. I think that’s the first need a photographer must have.AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?They were some household pictures that I took after my dad finally let me borrow his camera. It was during a school-trip. Those pictures were horrible; and, however they were really symbolic and full of emotions. That’s what magic is all about.AAP: What or who inspires you?Life inspires me.AAP: How would you describe your style?I have no clue. I don’t frown upon a specific style; I just go along doing what I feel is best. I don’t tell myself that things have to be a certain determined way. I start building and end up doing it in a certain way. But it’s all about circumstances, your vibes and needs and priorities when it comes down to transmitting them that end up paving a style for each series.AAP: Do you have favorite pictures or series?I’ve hated all of them at one point or another for not being loyal to what I expected them to be like; and all of them are favorites because there is something from me in all.AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?It depends on each cases. Now more digital, Canon and with Hasselblad; always old ones and which treat the image with honesty. That is why I like old ones, ones that have a less forced definition.AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose?It depends. It's all in the take. After that it's all a question of taking out defects and over all working on the texture and what it looks like in the end.AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?A lot of them. For example I love Paolo Ventura.AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?Shoot and shoot. Above all to shoot what you feel; not what is in fashion.AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?Trying to go too fast and do what is currently succesful. Because when doing that, success will be in another type of photography.AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share?(W)Hole time. A project I would like to take to movie-making. AAP: What are your projects?A book with 365 pictures, it is a poetry about the world we live in and the full-length film that I mentioned before.AAP: Your best memory as a photographer?When I stumble upon a photograph I didn't mean to do.AAP: Your worst souvenir as a photographer?Deal with creative managers who don't have a clear concept of their idea. It happens quite often.AAP:If you were someone else who would it be?I don't know. You can be creative in any activity that humans do.AAP: Your favorite photo book?I have a huge library because I actually love photo books as an object as a whole; regardless of its content.
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