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Maynard Switzer
Maynard Switzer
Maynard Switzer

Maynard Switzer

Country: Canada

Maynard Switzer was born in Los Angeles and is a professional freelance travel and documentary photographer. He is a graduate of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and a former assistant to legendary photographer Richard Avedon. He has taught at the International Center of Photography in New York City and has written many magazine articles about travel photography. His love of foreign cultures and their fascinating customs has been the main catalyst for Maynard’s photography around the globe. Maynard has had his photography published in National Geographic Traveler Magazine, Geo Magazine, Afar Magazine and the prestigious Fine Art Spanish Magazine Art Fotografico.



Statement
There are approximately 195 independent countries in the world and an estimated 6,800 different languages spoken, and often times there is a breakdown in communication. Some caused by language barriers, other times lost or inadequate translation and sometimes a woeful attempt at hand signals. However, images are universally understood. The cliché "a picture is worth a thousand words" certainly rings true. Pictures speak a thousand words to a thousand different people in a thousand different ways. This global understanding has been the main reason that I have been documenting various cultures around the world. Over the past 20+ years I have concentrated on photographing people and their various ways of life that seem to have been left behind by the world's rush to modernize. Certain aspects of these various cultures seem to be in a time warp, many within their own country. The photographs presented here are part of a long-term project photographing some of these people that live and work in challenging environments that time seems to have forgotten and whose way of life may never be seen again.
 

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Roger Ballen
United States
1950
One of the most influential and important photographic artists of the 21st century, Roger Ballen's photographs span over forty years. His strange and extreme works confront the viewer and challenge them to come with him on a journey into their own minds as he explores the deeper recesses of his own. Roger Ballen was born in New York in 1950 but for over 30 years he has lived and worked in South Africa. His work as a geologist took him out into the countryside and led him to take up his camera and explore the hidden world of small South African towns. At first he explored the empty streets in the glare of the midday sun but, once he had made the step of knocking on people's doors, he discovered a world inside these houses which was to have a profound effect on his work. These interiors with their distinctive collections of objects and the occupants within these closed worlds took his unique vision on a path from social critique to the creation of metaphors for the inner mind. After 1994 he no longer looked to the countryside for his subject matter finding it closer to home in Johannesburg. Over the past thirty five years his distinctive style of photography has evolved using a simple square format in stark and beautiful black and white. In the earlier works in the exhibition his connection to the tradition of documentary photography is clear but through the 1990s he developed a style he describes as 'documentary fiction'. After 2000 the people he first discovered and documented living on the margins of South African society increasingly became a cast of actors working with Ballen in the series' Outland (2000, revised in 2015) and Shadow Chamber (2005) collaborating to create powerful psychodramas. The line between fantasy and reality in his subsequent series' Boarding House (2009) and Asylum of the Birds (2014) became increasingly blurred and in these series he employed drawings, painting, collage and sculptural techniques to create elaborate sets. There was an absence of people altogether, replaced by photographs of individuals now used as props, by doll or dummy parts or where people did appear it was as disembodied hands, feet and mouths poking disturbingly through walls and pieces of rag. The often improvised scenarios were now completed by the unpredictable behaviour of animals whose ambiguous behaviour became crucial to the overall meaning of the photographs. In this phase Ballen invented a new hybrid aesthetic, but one still rooted firmly in black and white photography. In his artistic practice Ballen has increasingly been won over by the possibilities of integrating photography and drawing. He has expanded his repertoire and extended his visual language. By integrating drawing into his photographic and video works, the artist has not only made a lasting contribution to the field of art, but equally has made a powerful commentary about the human condition and its creative potential. His contribution has not been limited to stills photography and Ballen has been the creator of a number of acclaimed and exhibited short films that dovetail with his photographic series'. The collaborative film I Fink You Freeky, created for the cult band Die Antwoord in 2012, has garnered over 125-million hits on YouTube. He has taken his work into the realms of sculpture and installation, at Paris' Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature (2017), Australia's Sydney College of the Arts (2016) and at the Serlachius Museum in Finland (2015) is to name but a few. The spectacular installation at Les Rencontres d'Arles 2017, "House of the Ballenesque" was voted as one of the best exhibitions for 2017. In 2018 at the Wiesbaden Biennale, Germany, another installation "Roger Ballen's Bazaar/Bizarre" was created in an abandoned shopping centre. Ballen's series, The Theatre of Apparitions (2016), is inspired by the sight of these hand-drawn carvings on blacked-out windows in an abandoned women's prison. Ballen started to experiment using different spray paints on glass and then 'drawing on' or removing the paint with a sharp object to let natural light through. The results have been likened prehistoric cave-paintings: the black, dimensionless spaces on the glass are canvases onto which Ballen has carved his thoughts and emotions. He also released a related animated film, Theatre of Apparitions, which has been nominated for various awards. In September 2017 Thames & Hudson published a large volume of the collected photography with extended commentary by Ballen titled Ballenesque Roger Ballen: A Retrospective.
Sandrine Hermand-Grisel
Sandrine Hermand-Grisel grew up in Paris, France and in London, UK. She studied International Law before deciding to dedicate her life to photography in 1997. Influenced by her late mother's sculptures and her husbands paintings and films, she worked on several personal projects before her series Nocturnes was recognized in 2005 by Harry Gruyaert, Bertrand Despres and John Batho for the Prix Kodak de la Critique Photographique. In 2006 she moved with her family to the United States and began experimenting landscape photography with her series Somewhere and On the road. Despite the diversity of her projects she has a unique, very intimate, relationship with her subjects. Photography provides her with a way to express her feelings, like in the series ''Nocturnes'' where she photographed only close friends and family members peacefully abandoning themselves in front of her camera. ''Somewhere'' is her dream of America, a road trip through her adopted country. And ''Waterlilies'' is full of joy and love for her two children as she watched them jumping and playing in pools over and over again. Sandrine Hermand-Grisel not only photographs what she loves, she breaks free from her own reality in her poetic vision of the world. In 2013, she created the acclaimed website All About Photo and now spends most of her time discovering new talents while still working on personal projects. All about Sea Sketches Since I was a little girl my parents insisted that my brother and I accompany them almost every weekend to see an exhibition, a museum or an historic house. What was excruciating at first slowly became a real pleasure. Thanks to them, I had the privilege to see incredible exhibitions both in Paris and London where I grew up. Depending on my age and moods at the time, I favored a century, a movement, a painter... It was love at first sight when I discovered "Wanderer above the Sea of Fog" by Caspar David Friedrich. In the foreground, a young man stands upon a rocky precipice with his back to the viewer. He overlooks a landscape covered in a thick sea of fog. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of nature, the subtle colors, the calm and yet the movement that came from the wind. I perceived the character as content and in harmony with nature and I wondered if one day I would find my perfect place... and many years later, I did. On the west coast of Florida lies Anna Maria, a quaint barrier island nestled in the Gulf of Mexico. The water is warm and turquoise, the sand is white. Well preserved, the birds and turtles come here to nest while the respectful tourists lie on the sand every night to witness the incredible sunsets. Time is suspended. With the romantic painters Turner and Friedrich in mind, I captured a glimpse of Anna Maria, its light, its beaches, its movement, its unleashed elements... I hope you will immerse yourself in my Sea Sketches "paintings" and escape with me, even for the length of a sigh, from the harsh realities of life and share my happy place.
Gabriel Isak
Sweden
1990
Gabriel Isak was born in 1990 in Huskvarna, Sweden. In 2016, he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Photography at Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California. Isak has exhibited his work at solo exhibitions at The Cannery Gallery, San Francisco, California and his works have been included in various important exhibitions including "Acclimatize" at Museum of Modern Art, Stockholm, Sweden and "Culture Pop" at M Contemporary, Sydney, Australia. Isak lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden, from where he travels all around the world for personal and commissioned projects. Artist Statement Gabriel Isak's art entails surreal and melancholic scenes where he invites the viewer to interact with the inner world of solitary figures that symbolize our own unconscious states. He uses photography as a medium to draw and paint surreal images, minimal and graphic in its aesthetic, rich in symbolism and emotion, focusing on themes inspired by human psychology, dreams and romanticism, as well as his own experiences, especially the years he went through depression. Isak's work is a serene and melancholic meditation that stills the chaos of life and transforms into an introspective journey that questions the depths of existence. The objective of Gabriel Isak's art is to shine a light on the experiences of being and the states of mind those brings along. His subjects are anonymous, imprisoned in monochromatic settings, so the viewer can envision oneself as the subject, reflecting back on one's own experiences and journey in life.
Francesco Ridolfi
Francesco Ridolfi is an Italian portrait photographer who usually shoots for advertising and editorial projects. Born and raised in Bologna, Italy, he now splits his time between Brussels, Milan and Bologna, working for different clients and assignments in the editorial and commercial field. Some of his most recent clients includes: Rolling Stone Magazine, Auchan, Louis Vuitton and Tetra Pak. All about Francesco Ridolfi: AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer? The photography passion came to me long ago, since I was a child. But maybe I started to realize it could be turned into a profession around the 2006. How long have you been a photographer?Professionally speaking, since 2008. What or who inspires you? Well, maybe it could sounds expected, but for me inspiration is everywhere! I think that the process of developing an idea it's like connecting dots. More dots you have (experiences, visual references, interests,..) more chance to come out with something original and great! How could you describe your style? I'm pretty sure it could be described as clean and precise. And actually it's what I'm looking for in my photos. I prefer to take away instead of add something: less is more for me. Do you have a favorite photograph or series? Speaking of my work, for the efforts done, I surely like the Chess Portraits here presented. But from my previous works, I'm attached to a John Landis' portrait I took a couple of years ago and a series of black and white portraits I took in Cuba Cublanco Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose? Actually not so much, I prefer to do as much as possible on camera. The editing process consists mainly in color correction and general cleaning of the photos. Favorite(s) photographer(s)? Erwin Olaf, Martin Schoeller, Richard Avedon. What advice would you give a young photographer? If I had to suggest something to a young or an aspirant photographer, for sure I will advice him of the importance of the profession's business side. It's something you have to take really seriously, if you want to survive out there.What mistake should a young photographer avoid?Think that to be a photographer (and making a living with it) it's enough just take good pictures. An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share? Less is more. But also, try to convey an idea through your photos. An idea adds much more than technique and Photoshop. About "Room 322""The airy luminosity of an ethereal space, aseptic and suspended, contrasts with the stolidity of these bodies - less than perfect in their awkward and authentic humanness. Statically present, the hotel room preserves its non-connection to sundry turn-taking occupants: its stillness heightens the tension they feel inside, which rips itself free of these contentless surroundings. Thus, from the bottom of a bathtub, contrasting perceptions emerge: appearance and reality, restlessness holding itself still, past within present; authenticity within fiction."
Attar Abbas
Iran/France
1944 | † 2018
Abbas Attar, better known by his mononym Abbas, was an Iranian photographer known for his photojournalism in Biafra, Vietnam and South Africa in the 1970s, and for his extensive essays on religions in later years. He was a member of Sipa Press from 1971 to 1973, a member of Gamma from 1974 to 1980, and joined Magnum Photos in 1981. Attar, an Iranian transplanted to Paris, dedicated his photographic work to the political and social coverage of the developing southern nations. Since 1970, his major works have been published in world magazines and include wars and revolutions in Biafra, Bangladesh, Ulster, Vietnam, the Middle East, Chile, Cuba, and South Africa with an essay on apartheid. From 1978 to 1980, he photographed the revolution in Iran, and returned in 1997 after a 17-year voluntary exile. His book iranDiary 1971-2002 (2002) is a critical interpretation of its history, photographed and written as a personal diary. From 1983 to 1986, he travelled throughout Mexico, photographing the country as if he were writing a novel. An exhibition and a book, Return to Mexico, journeys beyond the mask (1992), which includes his travel diaries, helped him define his aesthetics in photography. From 1987 to 1994, he photographed the resurgence of Islam from the Xinjiang to Morocco. His book and exhibition Allah O Akbar, a journey through militant Islam (1994) exposes the internal tensions within Muslim societies, torn between a mythical past and a desire for modernization and democracy. The book drew additional attention after the September 11 attacks in 2001. When the year 2000 became a landmark in the universal calendar, Christianity was the symbol of the strength of Western civilization. Faces of Christianity, a photographic journey (2000) and a touring exhibit, explored this religion as a political, a ritual and a spiritual phenomenon. From 2000 to 2002 he worked on Animism. In our world defined by science and technology, the work looked at why irrational rituals make a strong come-back. He abandoned this project on the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks. His book, In Whose Name? The Islamic World after 9/11 (2009), is a seven-year quest within 16 countries : opposed by governments who hunt them mercilessly, the jihadists lose many battles, but are they not winning the war to control the mind of the people, with the "creeping islamisation" of all Muslim societies? From 2008 to 2010 Abbas travelled the world of Buddhism, photographing with the same sceptical eye for his book Les Enfants du lotus, voyage chez les bouddhistes (2011). In 2011, he began a similar long-term project on Hinduism which he concluded in 2013. Before his death, Abbas was working on documenting Judaism around the world. He died in Paris on 25 April 2018, aged 74. About his photography Abbas wrote: "My photography is a reflection, which comes to life in action and leads to meditation. Spontaneity – the suspended moment – intervenes during action, in the viewfinder. A reflection on the subject precedes it. A meditation on finality follows it, and it is here, during this exalting and fragile moment, that the real photographic writing develops, sequencing the images. For this reason a writer's spirit is necessary to this enterprise. Isn't photography "writing with light"? But with the difference that while the writer possesses his word, the photographer is himself possessed by his photo, by the limit of the real which he must transcend so as not to become its prisoner." Source: Wikipedia Born a photographer, Abbas is an Iranian transplanted to Paris. He has dedicated himself to documenting the political and social life of societies in conflict. In his major work since 1970 he has covered wars and revolutions in Biafra, Bangladesh, Northern Ireland, Vietnam, the Middle East, Chile, Cuba, and South Africa during apartheid. From 1978 to 1980, Abbas photographed the revolution in Iran, to which he returned in 1997 after seventeen years of voluntary exile. His book Iran Diary 1971-2002 is a critical interpretation of Iranian history, photographed and written as a private journal. During his years of exile Abbas traveled constantly. Between 1983 and 1986 he journeyed through Mexico, attempting to photograph a country as a novelist might write about it. The resulting exhibition and book, Return to Mexico: Journeys Beyond the Mask, helped define his photographic aesthetic. From 1987 to 1994, he focused on the resurgence of Islam throughout the world. Allah O Akbar: A Journey Through Militant Islam, the subsequent book and exhibition, spanning twenty-nine countries and four continents, attracted special attention after the 9/11 attacks by Islamic jihadists. A later book, Faces of Christianity: A Photographic Journey (2000), and touring show explored Christianity as a political, ritual and spiritual phenomenon. Abbas' concern with religion led him in 2000 to begin a project on animism, in which he sought to discover why non-rational ritual has re-emerged in a world increasingly defined by science and technology. He abandoned this undertaking in 2002, on the first anniversary of 9/11, to start a new long-term project about the clash of religions, defined as culture rather than faith, which he believes are turning into political ideologies and therefore one of the sources of the strategic struggles of the contemporary world. From 2008 to 2010 Abbas travelled the world of Buddhism, photographing with the same sceptical eye. In 2011 he started a similar long term project on Hinduism. A member of Sipa from 1971 to 1973, then of Gamma from 1974 to 1980, Abbas joined Magnum Photos in 1981 and became a member in 1985. Source: Magnum Photos
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