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Melissa Stewart
Melissa Stewart
Melissa Stewart

Melissa Stewart

Country: Australia
Birth: 1963

Born in Melbourne, Australian Photographer Melissa Stewart currently resides between the Victorian country regions of the Macedon Ranges and the Mornington Peninsula. She has an affinity with the Australian landscape, nature and its wilderness. It is through her raw, true Australian aesthetic, she draws awareness towards the environment and the landscape we inhibit to protect it.
Living in the country with horses has helped shape her awareness and interest in connecting and belonging.
After graduating in 1980, she studied Art and Design and then Interior design in 2006 which has only enhanced her focus for detail, shape, line and form, this reflects in her Photography.
Melissa returned to study Professional Photography in 2016 at Photography Studies College in Melbourne, studying part time, she has her final year to complete after deferment in 2019. She has been awarded finalist in Click 17, SE Centre for Contemporary Photography, Brunswick Street Gallery and exhibited in several group shows.
A Finalist in the Australian Photography Awards awarded top 5, Student category and third place student category in the Australian Photography Awards exhibition, 2019.

Statement
Being in nature has always allayed my anxiety; it's my form of meditation. We can so easily forget about those simple needs and pleasure in life.
Isolation has enabled me to reconnect, being at home creates a security a protection and comfort, and it brings me to a peaceful and happier state of mind.
More so now it's imperative to connect with parts of yourself that you haven't before and reconnect with the things that you love.
Given this time to slow down; I have been able to be inspired by books and music, long walks and observing the natural world in a different perspective. I have had wonderful moments where I have really be in awe and wonder with nature, the sea, the trees, and the silence. It is exactly in these moments that we can assess what matters, and what we want our life to mean.
My interest in drawing awareness towards our environment and the landscape motivates my belief that it is essential to our quality and balance of life.
 

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Yas Crawford
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Mariska Karto
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Mariska Karto is an artist/ fine art-photographer born in Suriname (South-America) and raised in the Netherlands. In this age of rapidity and technical development, in which human is exposed to impersonal detachment of current technical era, Mariska Karto creates the vulnerable and intensive dimensions of human feelings and emotions. This all happens in the dreamworld she has created with her technique in which past and present have found their way to each other, in this era of transformation.She talks to you in a language without words using symbolism in a dreamworld of historic paintings atmosphere.Mystique, tragic and erotic are the keywords for her work. Her work are like old stories escaped from an old world of eternal dreams, eternal emotions and eternal feelings that existed for hundred of years but still repeats themselves as in a pattern of an earthy rite, in this new modern contemporary era.Her works are like poems and thoughts, restless ones but are also like whispers of thoughtless experiences, floating in a centuries long movement in time.Artist Statement"My work is based on a period in which photography did not exist, It was not until the end of the 18th century that it was invented. As a result of this, people thought that photography would make the art of painting disappear, especially in the post modern era, the traditional art had to make way for new technical developments. In my work I seek and found a respectful connection of technique and traditional craft through a striking contradiction. Painters in the Baroque/renaissance time were trying to paint as true-to-life with painting-techniques and color applications. What a camera does is portray the world in its realistic colors. That’s the contradiction in my work, it’s the other way around. I shoot realistic images and through an intensive transformation process, the work is changed, true-to-life in the characteristic Baroque colors and style of that time. Eventually, this says nothing about photography and technique, but more about the great masters of that gone era, they were able to be as realistic and accurate as possible with brush and paint the world in all its reality… That’s the great contradiction in my work, I’m leaving the visible reality of our current time, and bring the invisible realism of the past forward in my work. As a result of this, I pull away present time from its structure and then time appears to be just a definition, which slowly fades away, when current and past becomes interwoven with each other.” More background info: "I mix skills from different worlds together. It is a blend of skills of my (I'm originally a painter and sketcher, textiles - I was a textile artist some years ago, photography and image processing) that ultimately meets each other in this form of art. A main factor are also social emotional influences in my life which developed how I see, learn and finally understand things in an essential (psychological) way. All these (artistic) elements from different areas and personal influences come together in a work of mine."
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"I started to be in photography about 15 years ago. At that time I used to model and participate in shootings. But quite quickly I got bored with posing and was becoming more curious to stand on the other side of the camera. So slowly, but certainly I started my own way in the big universe of photography. I have principles in my shootings and always keep in focus my own style. It’s very important for an artist to both keep his/her unique style and progress in it at the same time. When I shoot women I avoid sexualizing them and even photographing naked bodies there’ll be no sexual vision in the image, but sensual and sophisticated." Anna Laza is an influential visual artist working in Art and Fashion photography. Her projects are focused on finding new innovative styles both shooting and post-processing. Her work has been rewarded and been exhibited internationally, she has won in a number of famous photo contests, including LensCulture, MonoVisions and Minimalist Awards. She is often published in photography magazines and regularly appears on prestigious jury lists for photographic events. Besides her own photography, she is also a creator of the magazine FotoSlovo, which highlights every year new emerging talents in photography from Russia & CIS counties. Metaphysical Body Landscapes "My childhood I've spent at my grandmother's house in Romania, near the Carpathian Mountains. Seeing human's strong bond with the earth, observing nature, landscapes around influenced my understanding of earth beauty and men's connexion with it. All being is something whole, indivisible. Earth, sky, plants, fruits, mountains, rivers, men, women, day, night- all merged together and flow into each other. This process is infinite and harmonious. Men came from the earth, lives on earth and will return to earth. And landscapes of the earth are seen in body curves. Growing up I moved to live in big cities, my grandmother passed away and I felt the loss of spiritual connexion with nature. To reconnect, I start to search the Landscapes in body in my photography."
Vee Speers
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or over two decades, Australian Paris-based artist Vee Speers has established herself in the art world with her unforgettable portraits. Her carefully choreographed images are painterly and ethereal, with a visual and metaphorical ambiguity which challenges established narratives. In her iconic series The Birthday Party, she eternalises the innocence of childhood with timeless portraits that are at once hauntingly beautiful and provocative. She dresses, styles and sometimes masks her characters, creating enigmatic stories to blur the line between reality and fiction and highlighting our need to escape into fantasy. Speers succeeds in choreographing characters that offer allegorical glimpses into life, triggering memories and emotions from our own childhood. From the legend of the Phoenix, Speers draws inspiration for her most recent work Phoenix, an evocative story about passion, love and loss and an homage to the anonymous women. In this series Phoenix, the battles are over and the flames and ashes disappear. Emerging is the emboldening force of liberation as these women of all ages are on the threshold of new beginnings. At once powerful and vulnerable, Speers' portraits are timeless symbols of transformation between life and loss and the renaissance of a new identity. Speers' work has been exhibited in museums, galleries, art fairs and festivals around the world, and published in features and on covers of more than 60 international magazines, with 3 sold-out monographs of her work. Her photographs have been acquired by Sir Elton John Collection, Michael Wilson Collection, Hoffman Collection U.S. , Carter Potash Collection, Morten Viskum Collection, Alan Siegel, Lawrence Schiller, DZ Bank, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Museum 21C, Kentucky, George Eastman House, Beth Rudin Dewoody, Hudson Bay Company Art Fund, CB Collection, Tokyo. More about Vee Speers: AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer? Vee Speers: I’ve always thought photography was magical as my father had his own darkroom. When I went to art school, I realized that the instant way of capturing an image suited my impatient personality. Where did you study photography?QCA, Brisbane, Australia Do you have a mentor or role model?Not really. I don’t like to follow. What or who inspires you?The cinema is a constant source of inspiration. A story is told, and the way it is filmed can transport you to another time or place. Still images can be the same. How could you describe your style?Playful, beautiful, strange, melancholic, obvious and unexpected. Do you have a favorite photograph or series?The Birthday Party and Bulletproof This is two series photographed 6 years apart using the same children. What kind of gear do you use?Polaroid film and medium format cameras. Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose?No, I know right away when I’ve taken a good shot. Or if I haven’t. What advice would you give a young photographer?Know what you want and don’t be distracted from your goal. Don’t listen to what anybody else says. What mistake should a young photographer avoid?Accepting to shoot anything that will compromise his or her personal journey. An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share?Don’t be afraid.What are your projects?Portraits, portraits and more portraits. Your best memory as a photographer?There are so many. Every time I take a great image, I feel so excited, like everything has lined up perfectly. These are the best memories. The compliment that touched you most?A woman once told me that my work had changed her life. If you were someone else who would it be?Diane Arbus, with all those wonderful and strange people to photograph. Your favorite photo book?Lord of the Flies by William Golding.
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United States
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Steve McCurry has been one of the most iconic voices in contemporary photography for more than 30 years, with scores of magazine and book covers, over a dozen books, and countless exhibitions around the world to his name. Born in a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; McCurry studied film at Pennsylvania State University, before going on to work for a local newspaper. After several years of freelance work, McCurry made his first of what would become many trips to India. Traveling with little more than a bag of clothes and another of film, he made his way across the subcontinent, exploring the country with his camera. It was after several months of travel that he found himself crossing the border into Pakistan. There, he met a group of refugees from Afghanistan, who smuggled him across the border into their country, just as the Russian Invasion was closing the country to all western journalists. Emerging in traditional dress, with full beard and weather-worn features after weeks embedded with the Mujahedeen, McCurry brought the world the first images of the conflict in Afghanistan, putting a human face to the issue on every masthead. Since then, McCurry has gone on to create stunning images on all seven continents and countless countries. His work spans conflicts, vanishing cultures, ancient traditions and contemporary culture alike - yet always retains the human element that made his celebrated image of the Afghan Girl such a powerful image. McCurry has been recognized with some of the most prestigious awards in the industry, including the Robert Capa Gold Medal, National Press Photographers Award, and an unprecedented four first prize awards from the World Press Photo contest. The Minister of French Culture has also appointed McCurry a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters and most recently, the Royal Photographic Society in London awarded McCurry the Centenary Medal for Lifetime Achievement. McCurry has published books including The Imperial Way (1985), Monsoon (1988), Portraits (1999 | 2013), South Southeast (2000), Sanctuary (2002), The Path to Buddha: A Tibetan Pilgrimage (2003), Steve McCurry (2005), Looking East (2006), In the Shadow of Mountains (2007), The Unguarded Moment, (2009), The Iconic Photographs (2011), Untold: The Stories Behind the Photographs (2013), From These Hands: A Journey Along the Coffee Trail (2015), India (2015), On Reading (2016), Afghanistan (2017), A Life in Pictures (2018), Animals (2019), In Search of Elsewhere: Unseen Images (2020). @stevemccurryofficial "What is important to my work is the individual picture. I photograph stories on assignment, and of course they have to be put together coherently. But what matters most is that each picture stands on its own, with its own place and feeling" -- Steve McCurry If the photographer's images have made the rounds of newspapers around the world, like the portrait of the young Afghan woman with piercing eyes, it is also due to their aesthetic impact. Steve McCurry spoke of the importance of colour in his photographs, the importance of post-production and retouching, and their ability to touch the viewer: "each single picture has its single story, and we put ours in it" (Steve McCurry). "Sometimes with pictures and photography, what is interesting is that the imagination can go off in different directions. Everything should not be explained" (Steve McCurry): the photographer stresses the importance of leaving their share of mystery to the photographs. Steve McCurry was confronted with the horror of war; his images bear witness to this. If Susan Sontag suggests in Regarding the Pain of Others that photography “beautifies” and “bleaches out a moral response to what is shown”, the photographer brings an entirely different perspective to the issue. He refers to the mission of war reporters to fight against the blindness and ineptitude of public opinion: "Should we be informed about what's happening in our world? Should we let our governments tell us ? I think that would be a very bad idea. [...] Somebody has to go and give us their impression. We need some person to go there and find the truth" (Steve McCurry).Source: www.sciencespo.fr
Jim Ferguson
United States
1954
Recently I "remerged" back into the fine art photography world, but this is my second round of showing and selling work. Years back I received a BFA from San Francisco Art Institute and MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. After getting my BFA, I started contacting galleries. I was successful from the very start with three galleries representing my work and acquisitions by major museums and numerous private collections. In the fall of 2017 I re-emerged into the fine art world full time, introducing my work again to galleries and museums. Since "reemerging" I’ve had a number of successes. I was in an exhibition at Catherine Edelman Gallery and am represented in their Chicago Project. I’ve been included in exhibitions curated by April Watson, Elizabeth Houston, Douglas Beasley and Robert Klein. I’ve also had a One Person exhibition at Workspace Gallery, and was selected for the Top 200 in Critical Mass 2018. Wide Range Statement Traveling through the Southwest for the first time I was photographically hot. My imagery gelled into the beginning of a body of work. This first trip was truly life changing. The Southwest appealed to me so much that I moved to Albuquerque. It served as home base for travels in the West; thus beginning my Wide Range series. I call this series Wide Range because of the open range nature of the American West and the wide variety of subjects I choose to photograph. Man's isolated impacts on the environment stood out more in the broad expanses of the landscape. I sought not to highlight the negative impacts but to utilize the man-made objects to create my images. The juxtaposition of these man-made objects vs. dramatic backgrounds allowed me to visually compact space into layered unity. This series began the visual journey I've traveled with my photography. Unfamiliar Places Statement Unfamiliar Places is a body of autobiographical memories that have been altered by the passage of time rather than by a proactive chemical or digital process. The images were stored on undeveloped film for 20 years, resulting in the degradation of the "latent" image. This work reflect the serendipity that is unique to working with the analogue process and highlights its inherent materiality. The unique process of the degradation of the film over 20 years mirror the historical content of the images. The images are a result of my photographic journey, the degradation of the emulsion in the negatives and the layering of history with the film wrapper's film numbers and dots. They were taken in France Mexico and the U.S. Over the past two decades I continued to photograph, standing guard against the instinct for gratification and instead allowing the pictures to rest peacefully in a dark place. It is now thrilling to finally see that the choice to wait offers its rewards: here are the both subtle diminishments and vital revelations in the aging process. Time has left marks on these images just as the events of a life do.
Castro Frank
United States
Castro Frank is a Los Angeles based visual artist who has translated his personal experiences of growing up in the San Fernando Valley into a signature journalistic and candid approach to photography. Through captured moments that reveal the overlooked details of everyday life, to double exposures that force a viewer to question their perceptions, and now diving into the realm of abstraction to evoke deep seeded emotions, Castro's work defies the limitations of the photographic medium. Even his portraiture takes on a new life by not only capturing the raw essence of his subjects but the vitality of the city they inhabit. As a growing multidisciplinary artist, incorporating painting and other mediums into his work, Castro continually discovers new ways to envelope the viewer in the experiences encapsulated within his work. ​Castro's work has been exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions across California with institutions including South Grand, Rvcc Gallery, Communion Gallery, and Embed Gallery. The popularity of his work led to commissions from musicians as well as television networks utilizing his work in their stage design. His work has also been featured in large public installations and charity campaigns with nonprofit organizations, such as INCLUSIVACTION, to benefit the Los Angeles community. Additionally, works by Castro is featured in the Jumex Museum's founder, Eugenio Lopez's, private collection. His work received praise in prominent publications such as The Huffington Post and Los Angeles Times. Castro's work continues to evolve into new mediums, methods, and subjects. Through the development of his practice, he is excited to find new ways to capture the everyday. As he journeys on to create astounding imagery he hopes that his work will inspire youth to pursue their dreams. Exclusive Interview with Castro Frank
Wang Qingsong
China
1966
Born in Daqing, Heilongjiang Province, China 1966 1993: Oil Painting Department of Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts, Sichuan, China Lives and works in Beijing since 1993 Awards: 2006 Outreach Award from Rencontres de la Photographie, Arles, France Wang Qingsong graduated from the Oil Painting Department of the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts and currently lives and works in Beijing. After starting his career as an oil painter engaged in the Gaudi movement, he began taking highly staged photographs that explore the influence of Western consumer culture in China. In more recent works he has explored political and social themes including the struggles of the migrant population and Chinese diplomacy. His photographs are known for their massive scale, deep symbolism and careful staging, which can sometimes take several weeks and involve up to 300 extras. Although photography is his main medium, he has explored performance and video art in more recent years. Qingsong’s work has been presented at prestigious galleries, museums and art fairs across the globe including the 55th Venice Biennale China Pavillion (Venice), the International Centre of Photography (NY), the Hammer Museum (Los Angeles), the Victoria and Albert Museum (London), the 42nd Rencontres de la Photographie (Arles), the Daegu Art Museum (Seoul), MOCA (Taipei), the Rockbund Art Museum (Shanghai) and the Mori Art Museum (Tokyo). Wang Qingsong is a contemporary Chinese artist whose large-format photographs address the rapidly changing society of China. His photographs, appearing at first humorous and ironic, have a much deeper message. Critical of the proliferation of Western consumerism in China, his, Competition (2004), depicts the artist standing with a megaphone in front of a city hall covered in advertisements for brands such as Citibank, Starbucks, and Art Basel. "I think it is very meaningless if an artist only creates art for art's sake," he said. "I think it would be absurd for an artist to ignore what's going on in society." Born in 1966 in Heilongjiang Province, China, Wang studied at the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts. Although he was trained as a painter, Wang began taking photographs in the 1990s as a way to better document the tension of cultural shifts. The artist's works have been in exhibitions at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne. Wang currently lives and works in Beijing, China. Source: Artnet
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