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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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I describe myself as an artist using a camera rather than as a photographer since I am more concerned with creating an emotional connection with the viewer rather than technical perfection. After living most of my life in the Pacific Northwest, I went to Greenland in 2017 and everything changed. I fell in love with the high arctic. In 2018 I had artist residencies in both Svalbard and Iceland. In 2019, at a time when most people my age are thinking about retirement and grandchildren, I packed seven suitcases, and moved to Longyearbyen. Now I live in the world's northernmost town on the archipelago of Svalbard. I work almost exclusively in the arctic. My work, both painting and photography, have been exhibited nationally and internationally. In 2019 I was honored to receive the Vision Excellence Award from the Miami Photography Center during Art Basel Miami for best work in a series. Svalbard: Land without Borders which is an ongoing project. My work has been collected by Adobe, Corel Draw, and the City of Seattle. About the work: In the arctic, glaciers ten thousand years old rise in shimmering cliffs of light. These ice rivers calve towering icebergs with life spans of only two years. The paleocrystic beauty of the high arctic is as rich as any Tahitian sunset. There is a struggle between those who would exploit the arctic, and those who would preserve it. I have chosen to document these changes in Svalbard, the last land without borders on our planet. My goal is to engage a heart-felt reaction in the viewer. I believe the artist must have a passion for her subject, and a core need to communicate that passion. My hope is that my work will show the arctic's beauty so that people will choose to preserve it. We need the ice. Not just for environmental reasons, but also to maintain the last truly wild, untouched place on our crowded planet.
Cao Luning
China
1990
Cao Luning is a street photographer who lives in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China, a city of 8 million people. He only started to do photography 3 years ago and all learnt by himself. For Cao Luning, photography is a means of getting to know and expressing himself. Just like the saying "You are what you read", he also believes "You are what you shoot". He's extremely crazy about Street, Travel and Documentary photography, and the uncertainty and infinite possibilities of them fascinate him. They are just similar to life, you never know what you are going to get tomorrow. You may capture some nice shots, or you might come back empty-handed. Street photographer is his identity. Cao Luning is a street wanderer and likes to watch people. He can linger on the streets all day long without feeling tired or fed up. When he shoots, he focuses on the serendipity of specific colors, light and shadows, gestures and the implied humor of scenes. Cao Luning reckons framing is crucial to a good photograph, and he's been greatly influenced by Henri Cartier-Bresson and his "The Decisive Moment Theory", which He thinks is something that every photographer should pay attention to. His mentors are Mangum Photographer Alex Webb and his wife Rebecca Norris Webb, and they both helped him a lot in developing his own vision. In his opinion, given different situations and scenarios, a good street photographer should swiftly apply different compositions that best suit the scenes, instead of using one or two methods for all situations, because that's not a creative process, it's just mechanical repetitions. Statement I'm a street photographer who started to do photography 3 years ago. For me, photography is a means of getting to know and expressing myself. Just like the saying "You are what you read", I also believe "You are what you shoot". I'm extremely crazy about Street, Travel and Documentary photography, and the uncertainty and infinite possibilities of them fascinate me. They are just similar to life, you never know what you are going to get tomorrow. You may capture many nice shots, or you might come back empty-handed. I'm a street wanderer and I like to watch people. I can linger on the streets all day long without feeling tired or fed up. When I shoot, I focus on the serendipity of specific colors, light and shadows, gestures and the implied humor of scenes. I reckon framing is crucial to a good photograph, and I've been greatly influenced by Henri Cartier-Bresson and his "The Decisive Moment Theory", which I think is something that every photographer should pay attention to. In my opinion, given different situations and scenarios, a good street photographer should swiftly apply different compositions that best suit the scenes, instead of using one or two methods for all situations, because that's not a creative process, it's just mechanical repetitions. Most of the works I submitted were shot during the pandemic in China.. On January 2020, The New Coronavirus Pneumonia (or COVID-19) outbroke in Wuhan, Hubei Province in China and soon spread all over the country. As a result, the Chinese government locked down the whole country, stopped all production activities, restricted intercity transportation, and people were advised not to go outside. I live in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, a city of 8 million people, and when it was shut down, it was a bit like a ghost town in the beginning, not completely empty, but hard to find people on the streets. However, I found out by the Yangtze River and some parks, there are some citizens. People would go fishing, do sports, exercise or simply relax. So I often go to those places with my camera, trying to capture their life under the influence of Coronavirus. The virus has pressed the pause button for most of us, though it's not a good thing, objectively speaking, it gives us a good opportunity to look inside and review our living states. It offers us a window to slow down and appreciate all the good and beautiful things around us as well. In the meantime, we are also given the possibility to do the things that we always wanted to do. We should cherish it and live in the moment, despite how dreadful the epidemic situation might be, life has to go on. I hope you'll enjoy my works and get to know me better by them.
Andre Cypriano
Brazil
1964
A native of Brazil, André Cypriano was born in 1964 and educated in São Paulo with a university degree in business administration. Concerned with environmental issues, he contributed time and effort as the administrator of "Salva Mar" Save the Sea - a Brazilian organization dedicated to save the whales in North Brazil.In 1990, one year after relocating to the U.S., André began to study photography in San Francisco. He has since completed several projects which have been exhibited in several galleries and museums in Brazil and the USA.André has been a recipient of the first place award in San Francisco City College's Photography Department of Scholarship (July 1992), first runner-up in the World Image Award Competition promoted by Photo District News in N.Y. (Dec. 1992), first place in New Works Awards - promoted by En Foco in N.Y. (July 1998), as well as first place in the Mother Jones International Fund for Documentary Photography (Oct. 1998). As part of a long term project, Cypriano began to document traditional lifestyles and practices of lesser known societies in remote corners of the world with a slant toward the unique and unusual. Thus far, he has photographed the people of Nias, an island off the northwest coast of Sumatra (Nias: Jumping Stones), the dogs of Bali (Spiritual Quest), the infamous penitentiary of Candido Mendes, in Rio de Janeiro (The Devil's Caldron), as well as the largest shanty town in Latin America, Rio de Janeiro (Rocinha - An Orphan Town). His ongoing projects have been used in educational workshops.Currently, André Cypriano works as a free-lance photographer in New York and continues to be involved in social and cultural activities.
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