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Olivia Milani
Olivia Milani
Olivia Milani

Olivia Milani

Country: Switzerland
Birth: 1984

Artist and photographer Olivia Milani has been captivated by images and the power of visual language since she can remember.
Olivia studied photography at Central Saint Martins in London, graduating with a Postgraduate degree in Photography.
Through her curious, inquisitive and lyrical looking, she creates subtle, open narratives that usually develop into long term projects. Travel is an important source of inspiration for her work. As much as representing outer places or destinations, her dreamlike images conjure inner landscapes suggestive of internal states and the fluidity of emotions.
Partly constructed, partly simply observed or gathered as they happen in the moment, her images are often situations encountered by chance which she then invests with symbolism, mythological and literary references.
Her work has been exhibited internationally and she has enjoyed collaborations with many gifted artists. Growing up in the context of a multicultural background in the Italian speaking region of Switzerland, she lives and works in London, England and feels at home in the world.
Olivia sees photography as a tool for outer and inner exploration and discovery. Approaching her work with serious playfulness, she likes to let its meaning unfold.

Eastern Winds
Eastern Winds is about a journey of tracing my roots and reconnecting the fragmented aspects of my family past. It all started when I opened an old suitcase filled with photographs and letters - the remnants of my grandmother Lydia's life in Russia. The photographs were mainly portraits from 19th and 20th century Russia. Their soulful and enigmatic quality captured me immediately and led me on a voyage, first inner and imaginary, and eventually outer - like following a river back to it's source, I decided to travel to Russia.

Starting in Moscow, I crossed the country by land, from West to East, travelling along the Trans-Siberian railway route all the way to Siberia, that to me felt like the far northern edges of the world. As I was travelling through the immense vastness of the endless Russian plains, I was imagining the lives and destinies of my ancestors. A great stillness stretched around me and it felt as if the limitlessness of these landscapes was re-shaping my inner geography, linking me back to the continuum of my ancestral connections.

My grandmother Lydia was born in Moscow to a Russian mother and Swiss father. All I know is that during the time of the political turmoil of the Russian Revolution her family got torn apart and she had to flee Russia over night. She was 20 and travelled to Switzerland on a cargo train with one sister. She never saw her family and homeland again.

These images are a way of weaving back together the broken threads of my family history - a tapestry composed of lost and found family photographs, untold stories and memories half vanished through time.
An act of remembrance and a way of reappropriating my family history and transnational heritage.
Blending the pictures I took during the journey with the photographs of my ancestors is an attempt of linking past and present together, one family member to another, one generation to another. Reconnecting to the ancestors returns us to the river of life that flows from the past into the present moment to nourish us.
 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Cally Whitham
New Zealand
Taking an idealistic view of the world, Cally Whitham records the ordinary, transforming it into a surreal image, reflecting the way things are perceived and altered through nostalgia and memory. Driven by a desire to remember, Whitham uses her camera to collect images, which allows her to preserve her surroundings forever. At the age of 11, she spent Christmas using her first roll of film shooting her favourite things, including her aunt's farm, an old house she wanted to live in and a big tree at the beach. As an adult she returns to similar subjects recaptured in shadows of times past. Based in New Zealand, Whitham finds the subtle, forgotten and overlooked in these locations, which are touched with beauty through their ordinariness and familiarity. Layering her photographs with emotion, the works explore the ways in which personal milieus are captured. Source: www.cally.co.nz The New Zealand photographer Cally Whitham focuses her artistic research on the depiction of everyday life She began photography at 11 years old when accompanying her father who was a painter. He roamed the countryside to do sketches of forests and farms. From an early age she therefore had painting as an artistic reference and mastered the techniques of the Beaux Arts. Source: Yellow Korner Interview With Cally Whitham: AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer? "When I was about 16 I think. I took a class at school and was hooked." AAP: Where did you study photography? "I studied at the Design School, which has since become Unitech." AAP: How long have you been a photographer? "21 years, with a few years break in the middle." AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it? "The first photo I ever took was of my grandparents and brother at a beach. I couldn't believe I was allowed to take a photo!" AAP: What or who inspires you? "Light inspires me. When the quality of light is just right anything seems possible; the unworthy becomes photogenic." AAP: How could you describe your style? "Pictorialism" AAP: Do you have a favorite photograph or series? "Wow, too hard to choose!" AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? "Yes I do. The initial photo is just a part of the process in creating an image. Post production is the place where the image and the vision I had come together. I don't photograph reality but rather create a potential or ideal reality and that potential is added in post production." AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)? "Alfred steiglitz in his early days and Julia Margaret Cameron." AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer? "Have a back job to pay the bills - it's a tough industry now to try to pay a mortgage on." AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid? "Not understanding the business, tax and admin side of being a photographer." AAP: Your best memory has a photographer? "The moments I have realized I was on to something during a shoot."
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Russia
1863 | † 1944
Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky (Russian, August 30, 1863 Russian Empire – September 27, 1944) was a Russian chemist and photographer. He is best known for his pioneering work in color photography of early 20th-century Russia.Prokudin-Gorsky was born in the ancestral estate of Funikova Gora, in what is now Kirzhachsky District, Vladimir Oblast. His parents were of the Russian nobility, and the family had a long military history. They moved to Saint Petersburg, where Prokudin-Gorsky enrolled in Saint Petersburg State Institute of Technology to study chemistry under Dmitri Mendeleev. He also studied music and painting at the Imperial Academy of Arts. In 1890, Prokudin-Gorsky married Anna Aleksandrovna Lavrova, and later the couple had two sons, Mikhail and Dmitri, and a daughter, Ekaterina. Anna was the daughter of the Russian industrialist Aleksandr Stepanovich Lavrov, an active member in the Imperial Russian Technical Society (IRTS). Prokudin-Gorsky subsequently became the director of the executive board of Lavrov's metal works near Saint Petersburg and remained so until the October Revolution. He also joined Russia's oldest photographic society, the photography section of the IRTS, presenting papers and lecturing on the science of photography. In 1901, he established a photography studio and laboratory in Saint Petersburg. In 1902, he traveled to Berlin and spent six weeks studying color sensitization and three-color photography with photochemistry professor Adolf Miethe, the most advanced practitioner in Germany at that time. Throughout the years, Prokudin-Gorsky's photographic work, publications and slide shows to other scientists and photographers in Russia, Germany and France earned him praise, and in 1906 he was elected the president of the IRTS photography section and editor of Russia's main photography journal, the Fotograf-Liubitel. Lithograph print of Leo Tolstoy in front of Prokudin-Gorsky's camera in Yasnaya Polyana, 1908. Perhaps Prokudin-Gorsky's best-known work during his lifetime was his color portrait of Leo Tolstoy,[6] which was reproduced in various publications, on postcards, and as larger prints for framing. The fame from this photo and his earlier photos of Russia's nature and monuments earned him invitations to show his work to the Russian Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich and Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna in 1908, and to Tsar Nicholas II and his family in 1909. The Tsar enjoyed the demonstration, and, with his blessing, Prokudin-Gorsky got the permission and funding to document Russia in color.[8] In the course of ten years, he was to make a collection of 10,000 photos. Prokudin-Gorsky considered the project his life's work and continued his photographic journeys through Russia until after the October Revolution. He was appointed to a new professorship under the new regime, but he left the country in August 1918. He still pursued scientific work in color photography, published papers in English photography journals and, together with his colleague S. O. Maksimovich, obtained patents in Germany, England, France and Italy.In 1920, Prokudin-Gorsky remarried and had a daughter with his assistant Maria Fedorovna née Schedrimo. The family finally settled in Paris in 1922, reuniting with his first wife and children. Prokudin-Gorsky set up a photo studio there together with his three adult children, naming it after his fourth child, Elka. In the 1930s, the elderly Prokudin-Gorsky continued with lectures showing his photographs of Russia to young Russians in France, but stopped commercial work and left the studio to his children, who named it Gorsky Frères. He died at Paris on September 27, 1944, and is buried in the Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois Russian Cemetery.Documentary of the Russian EmpireAround 1905, Prokudin-Gorsky envisioned and formulated a plan to use the emerging technological advances that had been made in color photography to document the Russian Empire systematically. Through such an ambitious project, his ultimate goal was to educate the schoolchildren of Russia with his "optical color projections" of the vast and diverse history, culture, and modernization of the empire. Outfitted with a specially equipped railroad-car darkroom provided by Tsar Nicholas II and in possession of two permits that granted him access to restricted areas and cooperation from the empire's bureaucracy, Prokudin-Gorsky documented the Russian Empire around 1909 through 1915. He conducted many illustrated lectures of his work. 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Outside the Library of Congress collection, none has yet been found.By Prokudin-Gorsky's death, the tsar and his family had long since been executed during the Russian Revolution, and Communist rule had been established over what was once the Russian Empire. The surviving boxes of photo albums and fragile glass plates the negatives were recorded on were finally stored in the basement of a Parisian apartment building, and the family was worried about them getting damaged. The United States Library of Congress purchased the material from Prokudin-Gorsky's heirs in 1948 for $3500–$5000 on the initiative of a researcher inquiring into their whereabouts. The library counted 1902 negatives and 710 album prints without corresponding negatives in the collection.(Source: en.wikipedia.org)
Peter Ydeen
United States
1957
Peter Ydeen currently lives in Easton, Pennsylvania and works in New York City. He studied painting and sculpture at Virginia Tech, under Ray Kass, (BA), Brooklyn College under Alan D'Arcangelo and Robert Henry and Phillip Pearlstien, (MFA Fellowship) and at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (Scholarship) with visiting artists, Francesco Clemente, Judy Pfaff, William Wegman, Mark Di Suvero and others. After his studies were completed, Peter made his way in a variety of jobs, including set construction, lighting, illustrations, architectural modeling working in architecture, stage, advertising and film. Later, after marrying his wife Mei li, they opened a gallery in New York City selling African, Chinese and Tibetan sculpture. Over the last several years Peter has concentrated on photography where he is able to use the many years spent learning to see. All about Easton Nights Easton Nights is a story which grew from the unique and uncommon valley in which the city lies; and is told with the images of unpeopled landscapes taken at night. Here, in the small hours, the world we see as mundane, cascades into dream. Like a surreal scene from a Guillermo del Toro film, trash bins and Toyotas, stop signs and doorways; all become animated. They lean; they stretch, and emanate, all with umbrageous hues, which seem to exhale from the nights own personal color wheel. Scattered signs give the words, marking our place in time, while the geometries show our relentless effort to arrange our world in a box. These are our stages, with the houses our beehives, the machines our toys, and the doors our portals. Complete they are a mimesis of our daily life, as can only shown in the mystical emptiness of night. Then with the dawn comes the beginning, where we all wake, then act; all while these magical and romantic worlds return to sleep.
Roman Vishniac
Russia
1897 | † 1990
Roman Vishniac was a Russian-American photographer, best known for capturing on film the culture of Jews in Central and Eastern Europe before the Holocaust. A major archive of his work was housed at the International Center of Photography until 2018, when Vishniac's daughter, Mara Vishniac Kohn, donated it to The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at the University of California, Berkeley. Vishniac was a versatile photographer, an accomplished biologist, an art collector and teacher of art history. He also made significant scientific contributions to photomicroscopy and time-lapse photography. Vishniac was very interested in history, especially that of his ancestors, and strongly attached to his Jewish roots; he was a Zionist later in life. Roman Vishniac won international acclaim for his photos of shtetlach and Jewish ghettos, celebrity portraits, and microscopic biology. His book A Vanished World, published in 1983, made him famous and is one of the most detailed pictorial documentations of Jewish culture in Eastern Europe in the 1930s.[2] Vishniac was also remembered for his humanism and respect for life, sentiments that can be seen in all aspects of his work. In 2013, Vishniac's daughter Mara (Vishniac) Kohn donated to the International Center of Photographythe images and accompanying documents comprising ICP's "Roman Vishniac Rediscovered" travelling exhibition. In October, 2018, Kohn donated the Vishniac archive of an estimated 30,000 items, including photo negatives, prints, documents and other memorabilia that had been housed at ICP to the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, a unit of the University of California at Berkeley's library system. Source: Wikipedia
Stefano Fristachi
Italian photographer and photojournalist, lives in Barcelona. He currently works as a freelance with international magazines and works with production agencies. The interest in all social characteristics opens his vision to Anthropological Photography and Reportage, which allow him to better express the feelings of empathy and understanding of the world, and to deepen his interests in all issues of geopolitics and current affairs. Humanidade The warm humanity, the charm of the popular world of Bahia, of the island of Boipeba, and its characters that animate the colorful landscape with their daily struggles and hopes. Their original humor, the wealth that sweats through the adventures of their stories. They live, immersed in their smells, in their instincts, in contradictions and pains, immersed in the shade of palm trees, protected by the coral reef, among a thousand types of mango, fragrant, sweet to the point of redeeming at least in part the echo of the ancient colonialism. The human race beyond all, that work of God conceived in a week, the human race always alive as a burning wound, a beauty, a rot. An eternal fire, death and resurrection, the human race like a diamond, a drop; the human race is the mine of loneliness, the human race is a scratch, a doodle, the face of desire. A great divine synthesis. A subtropical tradition veiled by a flavor of realism with vivid tones, strong accents, a magical realism, a sort of intrinsic narrative power. Rapid images, sometimes suffocating, due to the temperatures, emotional images of poor morality but animated by a turgid variety, the same that populates the lush Bahia. Nobility of mind, baseness of every order and rank, hunger, thirst, disease, and sex, so much sex, that climbs wet everywhere.
Mike Brodie
United States
1985
Claiming inspiration from “old-school American values mixed with a little punk-rock idealism,” Mike Brodie, aka The Polaroid Kidd, hopped trains across the U.S. for seven years, documenting his friends, lovers, and travels with a Polaroid and a 35-millimeter camera and amassing a critically acclaimed body of images. Like a 21st-century Jack Kerouac, replacing pen with pictures, Brodie rode the railways with a motley crew. In 2004, two years into his journeying, he acquired a camera and began photographing this gritty youth subculture. His intimate portraits, saturated with color and often set against moving backgrounds, capture the reality of this life in raw detail—its dirt-encrusted bodies, sickness and exhilaration, dangers and comforts. After traveling more than 50,000 miles through 46 states, Brodie has since become an itinerant mechanic. He says he has abandoned photography—at least for now. Source: Artsy Mike Brodie, best known by his pseudonym "Polaroid Kidd", is a self-trained American photographer from Pensacola, Florida. In 2003 Brodie left home at 18 to travel the rails across America. A friend gave him a camera and he found himself spending three years photographing the friends and companions he encountered with the Polaroid SX-70. Polaroid discontinued SX-70 film, so now he shoots on 35mm on a Nikon F3. His photographs have been featured in exhibits in Milwaukee, at Get This! Gallery in Atlanta and in Los Angeles at M+B Gallery. His work was also selected to appear in the 2006 edition of the Paris International Photo Fair at the Louvre. In November 2007 he collaborated with Swoon and Chris Stain to mount an installation at Gallery LJ Beaubourg in Paris. He also has had collaborative shows with artist Monica Canilao. His photographs largely depict what he refers to as "travel culture", train-hoppers, vagabonds, squatters and hobos. Critic Vince Aletti of artsandantiques.net says of Brodie's work: "Even if you're not intrigued by Brodie’s ragtag bohemian cohort—a band of outsiders with an unerring sense of post-punk style—the intimate size and warm, slightly faded color of his prints are seductive. His portraits... have a tender incisiveness that is rare at any age." Source: Wikipedia Born in 1985, Mike Brodie began photographing when he was given a Polaroid camera in 2004. Working under the moniker 'The Polaroid Kidd,' Brodie spent the next four years circumambulating the United States, amassing an archive of photographs that make up one of the few, true collections of American travel photography. Brodie made work in the tradition of photographers like Robert Frank, William Eggleston and Stephen Shore, but due to never having undergone any formal training he always remained untethered to the pressures and expectations of art market. Brodie compulsively documented his exploration of the tumultuous world of transient subcultures without regard to how the photographs would exist beyond him. After feeling as though he documented all that he could of his subject, his insatiable wanderlust found a new passion, and as quickly as he began making photographs, he has left the medium to continue in his constant pursuit of new adventures. In 2008, Brodie received the Baum Award for American Emerging Artists and has a forthcoming book to be published by Steidl, as well as numerous international shows. Brodie recently graduated from the Nashville Auto Diesel College (NADC) and is now working as a diesel mechanic. Although Brodie has stopped making photographs, the body of work he made in only four short years has left a huge impact on the photo world, and is now being made available to the public. Source: M+B
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