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Paul Strand
Paul Strand
Paul Strand

Paul Strand

Country: United States
Birth: 1890 | Death: 1976

Paul Strand was born in New York City. As a teenager, he was a student of renowned documentary photographer Lewis Hine at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School. A visit to Gallery 291 (owned by Alfred Stieglitz) proved to be a strong influence on Strand, who began to take photographs of his own. He experimented with abstraction but also used his camera as a means to promote social reform. Alfred Stieglitz praised these early efforts and featured Strand's work in his gallery and in his magazine Camera Work. In the early 1920s, Strand began to work in motion pictures as well as still photography. In June 1949, Strand left the United States to present a film in Czechoslovakia, an event which marked the beginning of his self-imposed exile overseas due to the prevailing climate of McCarthyism in America. He settled in Orgeval, France and in the ensuing years photographed extensively, and also produced six book "portraits" of places: Time in New England (1950), La France de Profil (1952), Un Paese (1955), Tir a'Mhurain / Outer Hebrides (1962), Living Egypt (1969) and Ghana: An African Portrait (1976). Strand died in 1976.
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Tina Modotti
Italy / United States
1896 | † 1942
With her camera, Tina Modotti presents a distinctive vision of 1920s Mexico. As a Hollywood actress turned Comintern agent, Modotti used photography as an artistic and political outlet. Born​ in Udine,Italy,​ ​Modotti emigrated to San Fransico at the age of sixteen. She quickly established herself as a successful actress and modeled for notable photographers including Jane Reece and Edward Weston. The latter became her lover and artistic mentor. In 1923, Weston and Modotti set up a successful portrait studio in Mexico City. While there, Modotti moved within avant-garde circles, befriending Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. It was during this period in Mexico that she developed her passion for both photography and politics; this culminated in a solo exhibition at the National Library in 1929 which emphasized the revolutionary quality of her work. A year later Modotti was exiled from Mexico because of anti-communist sentiments and in 1931 she set aside a promising career in photography to devote herself entirely to political activism. She worked as a Comintern agent until her death in 1942. Although her life and photographic style are often linked with Edward Westo​n, her political engagement and the eye for composition she harnessed to express it are her own. Calla Lilies (1925) represents a cool appraisal of natural beauty and shows Modotti’s interest in formalism, something she shared with Weston, as she emphasizes the stark lighting, the near symmetry, and the tactile presence of the flowers. In Workers Parade (1926), however, while Modotti’s skill in formal composition is still evident, as the lighting and angle emphasize the repeated pattern of the hats, this dramatic view of a May Day parade in Mexico City reveals Modotti’s Communist sympathies and her ambition to use photography to promote political change.Source: Hundred Heroines Tina Modotti was an Italian American photographer, model, actor, and revolutionary political activist for the Comintern. She left Italy in 1913 and moved to the USA, where she worked as a model and subsequently as a photographer. In 1922 she moved to Mexico, where she became an active Communist. Modotti was born Assunta Adelaide Luigia Modotti Mondini in Udine, Friuli, Italy. Her mother, Assunta, was a seamstress; her father, Giuseppe, was a mason. In 1913, at the age of 16, she immigrated to the United States to join her father in San Francisco, California. Attracted to the performing arts supported by the Italian émigré community in the San Francisco Bay Area, Modotti experimented with acting. She appeared in several plays, operas, and silent movies in the late 1910s and early 1920s, and also worked as an artist's model. In 1917, she met Roubaix "Robo" de l'Abrie Richey. Originally a farm boy from Oregon named Ruby Ritchie, the artist and poet assumed the more bohemian name Roubaix. In 1918, Modotti began a romantic relationship with him and moved with him to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the motion picture industry. Although the couple cohabited and lived as a "married couple", they were not married. She was listed as a U.S. citizen in the 1920 Los Angeles township census. Often playing the femme fatale, Modotti's movie career culminated in the 1920 film The Tiger's Coat. She had minor parts in two other films. The couple entered into a bohemian circle of friends. One of these fellow bohemians was Ricardo Gómez Robelo. Another was the photographer, Edward Weston. As a young girl in Italy her uncle, Pietro Modotti, maintained a photography studio. Later in the U.S., her father briefly ran a similar studio in San Francisco. While in Los Angeles, she met the photographer Edward Weston and his creative partner Margrethe Mather. It was through her relationship with Weston that Modotti developed as an important fine art photographer and documentarian. By 1921, Modotti was Weston's lover. Ricardo Gómez Robelo became the head of Mexico's Ministry of Education's Fine Arts Department, and persuaded Robo to come to Mexico with a promise of a job and a studio. Robo left for Mexico in December 1921. Perhaps unaware of his affair with Modotti, Robo took with him prints of Weston's, hoping to mount an exhibition of his and Weston's work in Mexico. While she was on her way to be with Robo, Modotti received word of his death from smallpox on February 9, 1922. Devastated, she arrived two days after his death. In March 1922, determined to see Robo's vision realized, she mounted a two-week exhibition of Robo's and Weston's work at the National Academy of Fine Arts in Mexico City. She sustained a second loss with the death of her father, which forced her to return to San Francisco later in March 1922. In 1923, Modotti returned to Mexico City with Weston and his son Chandler, leaving behind Weston's wife Flora and their youngest three children. She agreed to run Weston's studio free of charge in return for his mentoring her in photography. Together they opened a portrait studio in Mexico City. Modotti and Weston quickly gravitated toward the capital's bohemian scene and used their connections to create an expanding portrait business. Together they found a community of cultural and political "avant-gardists", which included Frida Kahlo, Lupe Marín, Diego Rivera, and Jean Charlot. In general, Weston was moved by the landscape and folk art of Mexico to create abstract works, while Modotti was more captivated by the people of Mexico and blended this human interest with a modernist aesthetic. Modotti also became the photographer of choice for the blossoming Mexican mural movement, documenting the works of José Clemente Orozco and Diego Rivera. Between 1924 and 1928, Modotti took hundreds of photographs of Rivera's murals at the Secretariat of Public Education in Mexico City. Modotti's visual vocabulary matured during this period, such as her formal experiments with architectural interiors, blooming flowers, urban landscapes, and especially in her many beautiful images of peasants and workers during the depression. In 1926, Modotti and Weston were commissioned by Anita Brenner to travel around Mexico and take photographs for what would become her influential book Idols Behind Altars. The relative contributions of Modotti and Weston to the project has been debated. Weston's son Brett, who accompanied the two on the project, indicated that the photographs were taken by Edward Weston. In 1925, Modotti joined International Red Aid, a Communist organization. In November 1926, Weston left Mexico and returned to California. During this time Modotti met several political radicals and Communists, including three Mexican Communist Party leaders who would all eventually become romantically linked with her: Xavier Guerrero, Julio Antonio Mella, and Vittorio Vidali. Starting in 1927, a much more politically active Modotti (she joined the Mexican Communist Party that year) found her focus shifting and more of her work becoming politically motivated. Around that time her photographs began appearing in publications such as Mexican Folkways, Forma, and the more radically motivated El Machete, the German Communist Party's Arbeiter-Illustrierte-Zeitung (AIZ), and New Masses. Mexican photographer Manuel Álvarez Bravo divided Modotti's career as a photographer into two distinct categories: "Romantic" and "Revolutionary", with the former period including her time spent as Weston's darkroom assistant, office manager and, finally, creative partner. Her later works were the focus of her one-woman retrospective exhibition at the National Library in December 1929, which was advertised as "The First Revolutionary Photographic Exhibition In Mexico". As a result of the anti-communist campaign by the Mexican government, Modotti was exiled from Mexico in 1930. She first spent several months in Berlin, followed by several years in Moscow. Traveling on a restricted visa that mandated her final destination as Italy, Modotti initially stopped in Berlin and from there visited Switzerland. The Italian government made concerted efforts to extradite her as a subversive national, but with the assistance of International Red Aid activists, she evaded detention by the fascist police. She apparently intended to make her way into Italy to join the anti-fascist resistance there. In response to the deteriorating political situation in Germany and her own exhausted resources, however, she followed the advice of Vittorio Vidali and moved to Moscow in 1931. After 1931, Modotti no longer photographed. Reports of later photographs are unsubstantiated. During the next few years she engaged in various missions on behalf of the Workers International Relief organizations as a Comintern agent in Europe. When the Spanish Civil War erupted in 1936, Vidali (then known as "Comandante Carlos") and Modotti (using the pseudonym "Maria") left Moscow for Spain, where they stayed and worked until 1939. She worked with Canadian Dr. Norman Bethune during the disastrous retreat from Málaga in 1937. In 1939, following the collapse of the Republican movement in Spain, Modotti left Spain with Vidali and returned to Mexico under a pseudonym. In 1942, at the age of 45, Modotti died from heart failure while on her way home in a taxi from a dinner at Hannes Meyer's home in Mexico City, under what are viewed by some as suspicious circumstances. After hearing about her death, Diego Rivera suggested that Vidali had orchestrated it. Modotti may have "known too much" about Vidali's activities in Spain, which included a rumoured 400 executions. An autopsy showed that she died of natural causes, namely congestive heart failure. Her grave is located within the vast Panteón de Dolores in Mexico City. Source: Wikipedia
Wiktoria Wojciechowska
Born 1991, Lublin, Poland. Lives and works in Lublin and Paris. Graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Poland, Wiktoria Wojciechowska was the 2015 winner of the Oskar Barnack Leica Newcomer Award for Short Flashes, portraits of drenched cyclists captured on the streets of Chinese’s metropolis. Between 2014 and 2016 she worked on the series Sparks, a portrait of a contemporary war based on the stories of people living in the Ukrainian conflict. This series received several awards, such Les Rencontres d’Arles New Discovery award’s public prize, Madame Figaro prize and the Prix pour la Photographie, Fondation des Treilles. Labirinto (2017-2019) Labirinto explores the architecture seen as a vector for an ideology, spreading in the inhabitants' thoughts. Architecture stays longer than its creators and might still smuggle fundamental ideas and atmosphere of passed days. Labirinto project is a starting point to discuss how the architecture influence inhabitants and if a city, structured as a symbol of fascist ideology, can become a dwelling for strangers. Wiktoria Wojciechowska works in the area of Agro Pontino in Italy: formerly marshes, which were, throughout centuries, a challenge for the authorities. The Romans, Popes and Napoleon have all tried to drain, recultivate it and build new settlements. The one who achieve the goal was Benito Mussolini, with the help of the hard work of World War I combatants. In the beginning of 30's, the project of foundation of the New Cities (Città nuove) started. The best Italian architects of these times were involved to draw the net of streets on the Pontine plain as on a blank page. They were to arrange the monuments and neighbourhood buildings - following the current of rationalist architecture, adopted by the fascist as the official style of the ideology - of five cities: Littoria, Pontinia, Sabaudia, Aprilia and Pomezia. Designed in the model of "the rural city", they should serve as a renewal of civilisation (Bonifica della cultura) and the so-called Mussolini's Arcadia for a "purified nation" of New Italians. This is how Littoria has been conceived, in 1932, from the mud and has been raised as the first of the five Mussolini's New Cities. Littoria was called the "jewel of Mussolini" and radiated by the combination of a stellate network of streets and curved ring roads, all converging towards the central square (Piazza del Littorio, now Piazza del Popolo). The labyrinth-like city was awaiting the new residents coming from the entire Italy to live in the empty buildings and appreciate the monumental solutions drawn upon the Roman Empire tradition. After the World War II, the city was rebaptized to Latina to obliterate its fascist past and became a temporary asylum for displaced Italians and migrants. Between 1957 and 1991, 80 000 foreigners passed by the refugee camp. They were coming from Eastern Europe, fleeing the communist regimes, from Vietnam, Northern Africa, etc. Despite the official closing of the camp in 1991, the migration is still an ongoing process. Today, the majority of newcomers originate from sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria, Gambia, Ghana, Mali… The artist describes her work: In the middle of the day, during "the siesta", when the city is hot and stuffy, the streets become empty. The pale facades of the buildings reflect the sunlight like mirrors and hurt the eyes. As in De Chirico's paintings, the palisades are playing with lights and shades. The emptiness creates an illusion that we are back in the 30s. Only the scratches and coloured patches on the walls unmask the timeworn city. From time to time, human figures flash by in the sun. These are those who get lost in this labyrinth, not knowing the rules of the city. They barely arrived there, but who gets into the labyrinth once, might not be able to wriggle out ever. Today in front of Palazzo M - built in the shape of the initial of Mussolini, a queue of immigrants is standing and waiting for their documents. Wiktoria Wojciechowska observes the city - silent witness of changing times - and recent immigrants, far from being integrated. During the conversations, they often mention the discrimination, preconceived ideas and the fear of locals; their superiority coming from the colonial past, racism. They feel suspended, awaiting decisions and documents, trapped in the city space. The locals expect to move the immigrants out of the cities; they are not to be seen, as they "change the landscape", they should be invisible. The ideology, which sponsored the constructions of the cities, is still lying under their foundation. Hidden but yet vivid, deep inside the consciousness. Looking further, Labirinto can be the metaphor of the current sociopolitical situation of all Europe, where newcomers from other continents are seeking for asylum and acceptance. The fear of locals (who might have been migrants too) remains, and politics don't promote reconciliation. The policy of fear enables the authorities to seize the control of population's thoughts and define the enemy. The works of Wiktoria Wojciechowska are juxtaposing the fascist architecture - undefined corners of streets, scattered walls, and remains of fascist sculptural iconography - and the portraits of recently arrived migrants. As they wander through a temporarily deserted city, occupying the scene of a petrified ideology, the public space, they reveal a striking contrast with this ideology embodied in the architecture.
Josef Koudelka
Czech Republic
1938
Josef Koudelka was born in 1938 in Boskovice, Moravia. He began photographing his family and the surroundings with a 6 x 6 Bakelite camera. He studied at the Czech Technical University in Prague (CVUT) between 1956 and 1961, receiving a Degree in Engineering in 1961. He staged his first photographic exhibition the same year. Later he worked as an aeronautical engineer in Prague and Bratislava. He began taking commissions from theatre magazines, and regularly photographed stage productions at Prague's Theatre Behind the Gate on a Rolleiflex camera. In 1967, Koudelka decided to give up his career in engineering for full-time work as a photographer. He had returned from a project photographing gypsies in Romania just two days before the Soviet invasion, in August 1968. He witnessed and recorded the military forces of the Warsaw Pact as they invaded Prague and crushed the Czech reforms. Koudelka's negatives were smuggled out of Prague into the hands of the Magnum agency, and published anonymously in The Sunday Times Magazine under the initials P. P. (Prague Photographer) for fear of reprisal to him and his family. His pictures of the events became dramatic international symbols. In 1969 the "anonymous Czech photographer" was awarded the Overseas Press Club's Robert Capa Gold Medal for photographs requiring exceptional courage. With Magnum to recommend him to the British authorities, Koudelka applied for a three-month working visa and fled to England in 1970, where he applied for political asylum and stayed for more than a decade. In 1971 he joined Magnum Photos. A nomad at heart, he continued to wander around Europe with his camera and little else. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Koudelka sustained his work through numerous grants and awards, and continued to exhibit and publish major projects like Gypsies (1975) and Exiles (1988). Since 1986, he has worked with a panoramic camera and issued a compilation of these photographs in his book Chaos in 1999. Koudelka has had more than a dozen books of his work published, including most recently in 2006 the retrospective volume Koudelka. Koudelka has won awards such as the Prix Nadar (1978), a Grand Prix National de la Photographie (1989), a Grand Prix Cartier-Bresson (1991), and the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography (1992). Significant exhibitions of his work have been held at the Museum of Modern Art and the International Center of Photography, New York; the Hayward Gallery, London; the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art, Amsterdam; and the Palais de Tokyo, Paris. He and his work received support and acknowledgment from his friend the French photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson. He was also supported by the Czech art historian Anna Farova. In 1987 Koudelka became a French citizen, and was able to return to Czechoslovakia for the first time in 1991. He then produced Black Triangle, documenting his country's wasted landscape. Koudelka resides in France and Prague and is continuing his work documenting the European landscape. He has two daughters and a son. Source: Wikipedia
Marco Guerra
Chile
1965
Marco was born in Santiago, Chile, in July 1st 1965. In September 11th of 1973, as the president of Chile was being overthrown by a military coup in the city center, he was struck by the bravery of the photojournalist in the center of it all, risking their life to tell the news story. That day he started to dream in becoming a photographer. Marco got his first photo assistant job at the age of 12, holding a portable flash to photograph Saturday Night Fever children's party, and was amazed how people became egocentric as soon as he pointed the flash in their direction. In 1979 he emigrated with his family to New York city. There he was offered a job working for a photographer who was capturing nights in Studio 54 for Andy Warhol's Interview Magazine. That allowed Marco, to start his aesthetic exploration, and to learn how media and politics shaped the world he was living in. In 1990 he became determined to be a full time artist. He did not allowed himself to do anything that was not related to photography, the history of aesthetic and how we humans interpreted visual information. He started assisting the top International photographers, artist and creative directors of the time and learned to see, analyzed and ask questions. By the mid 1990s he started getting professional assignments as an art, fashion, travel, portrait and advertising photographer for top brands and top magazines like French Vogue, Condé Nast Travel UK, Elle, Harper's Bazaar, New Yorker Magazine, New York Times, and luxury brands such as Levis, Rolex, Ralph Lauren and Bergdorf Goodman, to mention few. By 2001 he started producing, directing and shooting Art films for Ralph Lauren, Rolex and LVMH. In 2002 after meeting and being enchanted by a vision of the American/French/ Moroccan artist Yasmina Alaoui in NYC, they decided to collaborate and explored new areas in Photography, which was changing rapidly because of digital media. By mixing old and new techniques they create "1001 Dreams" series. A project of Love: large formats prints, combining photography and drawing. This work has been exhibited around the world and is part of important collections. Eventually Marco decided to stop doing commercial work and completely focus and explore contemporary art photography. In 2007 after years of soul searching for a non orientalist way to portrait Morocco, he started photographing his Tangiers series over the course of 2 years: Documenting the same street intersection taken from the top of a building, always around 4:30 am in the morning, capturing the intersection of the world of the sexes: the men running home from a long night, and the women starting the work day. This Series was part 2016 Marrakech Biennale, The Pierre Berge Cinematheque Benefit Auction in 2011 in Arle's and Scope Miami 2011 as well print reside in Important collection Internationally. In 2008 to 2012, inspired by a Weston and a paragraph of Neruda ( It is good, at certain hours of the day and night, to look closely at the world of objects at rest.) he set himself with his Rolleiflex , to photograph his “ Volume and lines” series, capturing the stillness and poetry of water cisterns in the palmeraie of Marrakech. This will take several years to shoot. A meditative project, for which he started to spend a lot of time in North Africa. In 2012, Cacerolazo project came alive. Commissioned for the 2012 Marrakech Biennale and inspired by the mood of the time, “Jasmine Revolution” and his childhood memories, marching along the women of Santiago who gathered at dusk , to bang their empty pots and pans in loud and peaceful protest in his native Chile streets. Cacerolazo is a personal examination of the strength and integrity of women and of their power to effect transformation. 10 pieces emerges, each from a mosaic of 119 moments capture with Polaroids, arrayed as tiles. In 2014 he started capturing Moroccan Landscape series, which look natural but have been transformed by humans, and photographed in contemporary neutral tones opposite of a folkloric approach to capturing Morocco. This is an on going project. Next his photography took a big dive to abstraction. Inspired by Sir, Francis Galton and his techniques of composite images, for the next 7 years he would work on composite nudes, cities, monuments and museums. He felt it was the proper choice to speak about time and space repetition. He currently working on composite photography, sculpture project and living between New York and Marrakech.
Sean Gallagher
United Kingdom
1979
Sean Gallagher is a British photographer and filmmaker, who has been in Asia for over 15 years. Based out of Beijing, China, he specialises in covering issues surrounding the climate crisis and other global environmental issues for some of the world's leading news outlets. He creates innovative photographic, video and multimedia projects that highlight individual's stories from communities that are affected by issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, desertification and deforestation. He is a 8-time recipient of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting travel grant, his images are represented by the National Geographic Image Collection and he is a Fellow of the UK Royal Geographical Society. He graduated in Zoology from university in the United Kingdom and it is his background in science that has led to much of his work being focused on communicating environmental issues through visual storytelling. His selected awards include; Environmental Photographer of the Year - Changing Environments Prize (2019), Resilience Science Journalism Fellow - Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at City University New York (2019), Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Science Journalism Fellow (2017), Environmental Film of the Year - Winner - 'The Toxic Price of Leather', Environmental Photographer of the Year Competition (2014), Published 'Meltdown', a multimedia eBook documenting China's environmental crises in the early 21st Century (2013). Photography and Climate Change Awareness
C.E. Morse
United States
1952
I was born in Camden, Maine and loved vintage cars since I can remember; I bought my 1936 Pontiac at age 15 as soon as I had my driver's license. I didn't pick up a camera until I was in college at Rhode Island School of Design. I remembered all the incredible images that I used to see in vintage auto boneyards while I was sourcing parts for my '36 Pontiac and various other classic cars that I had collected,including a '29 Essex, a'41 Packard & 'a 54 Nash, so I started to bring my camera to the boneyards instead of my wrenches and shot abstract details of dented car fenders, old safety glass, rusty doors, and old chrome. I was so excited by this photography that I switched majors from sculpture to photography and was fortunate enough to study with Aaron Siskind; graduating with a BFA in photography in 1974. I also attended The Maine Photographic Workshops (now Maine Media Workshops), where I mentored with Paul Caponigro, Arnold Gassen and John Loengard. later on I took courses in digital printing at MECA (Maine College of Art). I hunt "Wild Art" : abstract details of found objects. I particularly like the contradictions of what I capture: the images are abstract, yet they are real the images are painterly, yet they are photographs the images are beautiful, yet come from discarded deteriorating derelict objects the images are from seemingly permanent subjects yet the are prone to disappear overnight (often my photographs are all that is left). I also appreciate the mystery of the unknown history of my various discoveries as well as acknowledging their wabi sabi nature. When people view my work they have to reach deep into personal experience and imagination. Being abstract and virtually unrecognizable my images may evoke a memory, an emotion, or a reminder of something visually similar and are sure to beg the question: "what is it?", thereby starting the conversation... "It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see." Henry David Thoreau
Jonathan Jasberg
United States
1977
I'm a full-time vagabond, traveling to visit and photograph locations that interest me from a cultural perspective. This has lead me to over 60 countries in the past 11 years, with my main focus on an in-depth exploration of Japan where I have made roughly 20 long visits to learn the culture and the language to a high level of proficiency. After spending the first 6 months of the coronavirus pandemic in Japan, I was forced to leave due to my visa running out, and on a whim I returned to Cairo, Egypt, a City I had briefly visited in 2018. Egypt and Japan are vastly different, but I find the same fascination with both locations and decided to start my 2nd long term project in Cairo, where I have now made 3 more lengthy visits in the last 2 years since I last left Japan. Cairo: A Beautiful Thing Is Never Perfect The project borrows its title from an ancient Egyptian proverb, and came about from a chance encounter with an older Egyptian man who stopped me and asked why I was photographing. At the time, I was overwhelmed by the scene in front of me and motioned to it stating 'just look at it, it's beautiful'. The older man looked, looked back at me and shook his head stating 'beautiful? it's an old mess' and he walked on. The project focuses on showing candid beautiful moments of daily life of a complex city that most tourists quickly skip over after a brief visit to the pyramids and museum, moments and scenes that are also easily overlooked by locals who have grown too familiar with their surroundings.
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