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Gilles Nicolet
Gilles Nicolet
Gilles Nicolet

Gilles Nicolet

Country: France
Birth: 1960

I am a self-taught photographer who spent 35 years living and working in Africa, with long stays in Somalia, West Africa and Tanzania. I started out as an agricultural engineer but soon switched to photography in order to follow an old passion. I have since shot numerous stories for all sorts of magazines, including the Sunday Times Magazine, National Geographic Magazine, Geo, the Smithsonian and Paris-Match.

I have a special interest in anthropology and ethnography, something that - I hope - has helped me capture the essence of my subjects. In the past most of my stories where about rare traditions that somehow linked man and wildlife, but Africa has changed a lot in the last few decades and unfortunately most of these traditions have now disappeared. My recent work has therefore been more personal and contemplative and less focused on narrative picture stories meant for magazines. In fact, today my interest lies in the convergence between art and documentary photography. I have also moved away from color photography and now only shoot in black and white.

My work has received several major awards, including a World Press Photo Award and a Fuji Award. My latest project on the Swahili Coast also obtained the following recognitions:

2017 HIPA Hamdan International Photography Awards - 2nd Prize, Portfolio Category
2017 Elliott Erwitt Havana Fellowship - Nominee
2017 Seventh Annual Exposure Photography Awards - Winner
2017 IPA International Photography Awards - 2nd Prize, People/Culture Category
2017 Meitar Award - Nominee
2017 Monochrome Photography Awards - Photojournalism/Professional - Two Honorable Mentions
2017 Monochrome Photography Awards - People/Professional - Honorable Mention
2018 CAP Contemporary African Photograph
y Prize - Finalist
2018 SIPA Contest - Honorable Mention 2019 SOPHOT Award - Winner

This work on the Swahili Coast is featured in "Swahili", a book released by Contrejour Publishers in May 2019 (available on amazon.fr and amazon.co.uk).

Six degrees south
The Zanzibar archipelago, an highly evocative name even for those who are quite unable to locate it on a map, lies six degrees south of the Equator.

It is also the exact geographical center of the Swahili Coast, a unique physical, historical and cultural entity running from Southern Somalia to Mozambique, which first grew in the 10th century through trade with the Arab world, India and China. Gold, coconut, ebony, mangrove wood, sisal, myrrh and the infamous slave trade helped make the wealth of this region, slowly shaping it and giving it its unique present character.

For a thousand years now, wooden dhows have sailed these lonely shores, with their characteristic white cotton sails, using the monsoon winds to help traders move goods between Africa and Arabia. And for a thousand years too, fishermen have ploughed these rich seas for their bounty of fish, contributing with the traders to the emergence of rich city-ports like Stone Town or Mombasa.

But all of this is changing now. A combination of overfishing by both local and foreign ships, population increase, changes in weather patterns as well as the recent discovery of huge gas fields in the region, is threatening this fragile equilibrium. The fishing communities that occupy these shores are particularly at risk, and it could be that we are now witnessing the last of fishing and sailing traditions that had remained largely unchanged since Ibn Battuta, the famous 12th Century Arab explorer, first described them in his travel memoirs.

With this recent work I have tried to testify to the unique beauty and timelessness of the Swahili Coast, and to record it for generations to come. It is a personal, melancholic, sometimes dreamy vision of a place and a culture that are very dear to my heart but which, I now realise, may soon disappear.
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Netherlands-based Iranian documentary photographer Hossein Fardinfard (born 1985) took an unconventional path to his profession. After majoring in cartography, geomorphology, and IT, ultimately he discovered his aptitude for visual storytelling at the age of 30. Fardinfard came to see photography as a means for observing society more intimately, and for knowing himself more deeply in turn. He has thus come to specialize in photography that explores social observation, human rights, and identity. "I like storytelling not only as a process of documenting but also as a means for exerting a constructive influence on society, something like what Lewis Hine, the pioneer of photojournalism, did in his era in the USA. My relationships with photography subjects enhance my understanding of concepts like human rights. To understand this keyword, I need to know people first. Through knowing them, my spiritual investment in human rights has grown remarkably." In the second phase of Fardinfard's artistic life -- at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague -- he had the chance to reflect more intently on the meaning and philosophies of photography and the pictorial arts. This experience also equipped him with principles of psychology and sociology that he readily applied to his photographic gaze. "It's more thrilling when I can find a scientific explanation of the social behaviors and interactions I'm capturing. I believe we can talk about Human Rights in scientific terms. There should be a point where the hard and soft sciences meet. I try to connect them and then visualize that point."
Jo Ann Chauss
United States
1954
Jo Ann Chaus is an American photographer from and based in the New York metro area She holds two certificates from the International Center of Photography in New York City. In 2016 Jo Ann self-published "Sweetie & Hansom", a 60-image book with original text exploring family, relationships and loss. Her current body of work, "Conversations with Myself", is a collection of performative self-portraiture that explores women's roles and identity, currently under edit for publishing. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, and she holds special recognitions and awards: Critical Mass Top 200 2020, 2019, 15th Julia Margaret Cameron Award for Women Photographers Winner Self Portrait Series, 14th Julia Margaret Cameron Awards Honorable Mention, Winner 13th Pollux Awards non-professional category, Critical Mass 2019 Top 200, Klompching Fresh 2019 Finalist, PDN Emerging Photographer Fall 2019 Winner, , Candela Unbound8! and 9! juried exhibitions, Permanent Collection in the Center for Creative Photography Qualities of Light Exhibition, Juror's Choice South East Center for Photography Portrait Exhibition 2019. Statement Jo Ann's work is a visual record of her interactions with and with-in her environment, and her curiosity to explore and discover personal truths, whether found or assembled, as metaphors for her inner landscape. She expresses the joys and pathos of a life, as seen and felt by the young girl within who became the woman, the mother, and the wife. Her perspective is through the eyes of an elder in our society, contemplating the challenges and incongruities of her own will, desire and constraints within a historical context. Heightened and enhanced by the literal light of day, it is an examination of life's ambiguities: the close and the distant, the beauty and the grit, the singular and the plural, satisfaction and longing, together and apart… all relentlessly seeking to understand and witness herself, past, present and future.
Mona Kuhn
Brazil
1969
Acclaimed for her contemporary depictions, Kuhn is considered a leading artist in the world of figurative discourse. Throughout a career spanning more than twenty years, the underlying theme of her work is her reflection on humanity's longing for spiritual connection and solidarity. As she solidified her photographic style, Kuhn created a notable approach to the nude by developing friendships with her subjects, and employing a range of playful visual strategies that use natural light and minimalist settings to evoke a sublime sense of comfort between the human figure and its environment. Her work is natural, restful, and a reinterpretation of the nude in the canon of contemporary art. For the past two decades, the Los-Angeles based artist's works have been shown steadily, revealing an astonishing consistency in technique, of subject and of purpose. In 2001, Kuhn's photographs were first seen by an influential audience during the exhibition at Charles Cowles Gallery in Chelsea, New York. Kuhn's distinct aesthetic has propelled her as one of the most collectible contemporary art photographers-her work is in private and public collections worldwide and she is represented by galleries across the United States, Europe and Asia. Kuhn was born in São Paulo, Brazil, in 1969, of German descent. In 1989, Kuhn moved to the US and earned her BA from The Ohio State University, before furthering her studies at the San Francisco Art Institute. She is currently an independent scholar at The Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. Occasionally, Mona teaches at UCLA and the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Mona Kuhn's first monograph, Photographs, was debuted by Steidl in 2004; followed by Evidence (2007), Native (2010), Bordeaux Series (2011), Private (2014), and She Disappeared into Complete Silence (2018/19). In addition, Kuhn's monograph titled Bushes and Succulents has been published by Stanley/Barker Editions, with a debut at Jeu de Paume in Paris, in 2019. A stunning career retrospective of Mona Kuhn's Works has been published by Thames & Hudson, Spring 2021. Kuhn's forthcoming publication Kings Road, will be published and released by Steid this Spring 2022. Mona Kuhn's work is in private and public collections worldwide, including The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Hammer Museum, Perez Art Museum Miami, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Kiyosato Museum in Japan. Kuhn's work has been exhibited at The Louvre Museum and Le Bal in Paris; The Whitechapel Gallery and Royal Academy of Arts in London; Musée de l'Elysée in Switzerland; Leopold Museum in Vienna Austria, The Polygon Gallery in Vancouver Canada, Taipei Fine Arts Museum in Taiwan and Australian Centre for Photography. Mona Kuhn lives and works in Los Angeles. I'm most comfortable representing the nude as minimal and timeless. I like to cherish the body as a source of inspiration, as a platform for metaphors, for intimacy and complexities of human nature. It is my way of investigating the deepest questions about life.
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