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Robert Virga
Robert Virga
Robert Virga

Robert Virga

Country: United States

Robert Virga is a photographer residing in the New York City metropolitan area. Though largely self-taught, he has taken Master Classes with Mary Ellen Mark and Bruce Davidson. Working with film and the traditional darkroom, his street photography portrays a social landscape of extremes, capturing reality at its most expressive. Richly emotional, lyrical and untainted by interference or staged detail. A tableau of relationships, the human condition, life and death. Reminding us of how large a fraction of what we see won't exist in its present form only a moment from now.

A humanist portrayal...candid and without comment or sentimentality, un-selfconscious in its theatricality and self-presentation. Displaying ourselves with grace and self-confidence, a sense of timelessness...and a little humor. In solitude and freed from any mystery.

Social documentary and romanticism combined in the same instant. Our lives, in a matter of seconds, are caught in the act... where the obvious and mundane transition into something more provocative.

His work has been featured in both solo and group exhibitions in the United States, Italy and Spain. In addition, he has been published and reviewed in, among others, Black and White Magazine, Photography Gala Awards, FotoNostrum Gallery, Urban Photo Awards, and winner of the 14th Pollux Street Photography Award.
 

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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."
Roger Grasas
Spain
1970
Roger Grasas (Barcelona, 1970) begins his professional career as a photographer in 1998 documenting cooperation projects for national and international foundations and NGOs as well as for UNESCO. Since then, traveling becomes the core of his artistic work, translating his experiences and reflections into visual arts. Between 2005 and 2009 he is the director of the BisouFoto communication studio and co-founder of the phototroupe Studio agency. In both projects he is in charge of the commissions related to travel photography, editorial portrait and social report. Regular contributor to several Spanish and international publications. In 2009 he moves to Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) where he leads the foundation of the photography department at Imagine Communication, a high end quality agency for social photography and events. During his stay in Saudi Arabia and later on until 2016 he develops the project 'Inshallah', a personal project about the extreme transformation of Middle eastern societies through the urban contemporary landscape in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Emirates, Oman etc. His body of work approaches the role and importance that technology reveals within the post-modern digital society, the state of strangeness and confusion that human being suffers in the contemporary landscape and the increasingly connections between art and science. Sociopolitical issues such as globalization and philosophical concepts such as the 'difference', 'hyperreality' and 'alienation' generated by the postcapitalist society and the accelerated implementation of new technologies are also common places of their work. Since 1997 he has combined his professional activity with teaching in photography. Between 1997 and 2004 he teaches Photography and Landscape Production courses at the UPC's Image and Multimedia Technology Center. He also works as an academic at the Groc School of Plastic Arts (Barcelona), at the Communication Faculty of the National Autonomous University of Mexico and at the Mamori Art Lab Foundation in Brazil. He has also given various workshops and seminars related to travel anthropology and contemporary society such as "The Art of Travel: Photography and Travel" and "Why Travel? Ethics and Aesthetics of Leisure and Tourism". His His works have been exhibited on galleries of Spain, France, Netherlands, Germany, U.S.A., El Salvador, Saudi Arabia and Mexico. About 'Min Turab' In the space of a few decades, the landscapes of the Arab Gulf region have undergone a wholesale mutation driven by increased income from the oil, globalization and mass tourism. These countries have seen so a huge transformation, moving from the nomadic lifestyle of the bedouin tribes to a hi-tech urban society. The work takes the title from an arabic expression meaning “from the land”, and is an observation of this process oscillation between these two poles: an austere, traditional civilization on one extreme, and a postmodern culture under the powerful influence of capitalism and consumerism on the other. Founded on the idea of travel as an artistic method, these photographs hold up a mirror to the dyad of nature and technology in a place where the old and the new come together and the lines between them blur. This tension is evident both in the vast desert landscapes and in the images of cities, where the past and the future are compressed into the close quarters of the present. These representations of the landscapes of Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Qatar throw into sharp relief the binary opposition of the natural and the constructed. This sense of dislocation feeds into this idea of travel as an artistic dérive, drifting with no particular destination in mind, in search of new situations and experiences. In these dreamlike images, the author reflects on the concepts of the real and the unreal, with viewers left uncertain as to what is really going on. Almost completely lacking in human presence, these photographs show the mark left upon the landscape by consumer society at the same time as they seek out the beauty in strangeness. With a dry wit, the artist focuses his gaze on the idea of the simulacrum. The visual and conceptual glimpses of this world documents the colonization of contemporary landscapes by technology and the alienation of human beings in the digital societies of the Arabian Gulf countries. These images of silent architecture do not offer viewers any conclusions, but rather invite them to reflect and leave the way clear for a multiplicity of interpretations that connect with viewers' own imaginary.
John Thomson
Scotland
1837 | † 1921
John Thomson, one of the great figures of nineteenth century photography, is known for the unusual and exotic nature of his chosen subject matter. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1837, Thomson took up photography as a profession in his early twenties. For ten years, from 1862, he traveled and explored the Far East, visiting Hong Kong, Singapore, Penang and the Malay Peninsula, Siam, Cambodia, Vietnam, Formosa and especially China. Utilizing a large wooden box-type camera capable of accommodating a glass plate of up to 12 x 16 inches, John Thomson photographed commoners and kings, attempting to capture the individual behind the veneer of social status. His photographic record of the Far East documented a complete panorama of the cultures and people of the Far East at a time when Westerners were a few and curious lot. John Thomson not only created a photographic history, but also wrote numerous articles and books on his travels and views of life in the Far East. There is no doubt that it was Thomson’s sympathetic approach to his subjects, and the dignity with which he embued them, as much as his great technical expertise, which enabled him to produce such an outstanding photographic documentary. It is this marriage between sensitivity, technical expertise and sheer professionalism, not to mention his voluminous literary output and descriptions of the scenes and people, which he photographed, that has earned Thomson the title of the ‘first of the great photo-journalists’. His work, which has only recently gained full recognition, represents one of the great photo-historical records in the history of documentary photography. Source Westwood Gallery
Ave Pildas
United States
1939
Thank God I had a really good education. - Ave Pildas Ave Pildas began his arts education as an architecture student, designing department stores, government and medical buildings. Before long, this path felt too conservative and constricting, so he changed majors to design. Creating products, packaging and graphics provided enough diversity, to seem like "complete freedom" at the time. Concurrently, Ave was designing exhibits, displays, graphics and publications for the Cincinnati Public Library. After studying at the University of Cincinnati and graduating from the Cincinnati Art Academy inn 1962, Ave headed east to Pittsburgh, where he worked designing collateral for U.S. Steel, Alcoa, Pittsburgh Plate Glass, Koppers, and Westinghouse. At Westinghouse he met renowned graphic designer Paul Rand. With encouragement from Rand and well-known typographer Noel Martin, Ave traveled to Switzerland and enrolled at the Kunstgewerbeshule, studying typography and graphic design during the Cold War. As a student, he visited every country in Europe and parts of North Africa, often by car. It was at this time that Ave set the lofty goal of "raising the visual conscience" of the world, and, at the conclusion of his studies, accepted a position as assistant professor at Philadelphia College of Art, now the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Since then, he has taught at Layton School of Art, Leicester Polytechnic in Britain, Cal Arts, Art Center College of Design, UCLA, USC, as well as Otis College of Art and Design, where he served as Chair of the Communication Arts Department. He is currently Professor Emeritus at Otis. "Although Pildas was formally trained in Swiss design, he developed an early love for photography in the '60s when he photographed jazz legends like Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane and Dizzy Gillespie for Downbeat Magazine," writes Mae Ryan of Southern California Public Radio/KPCC. For over 50 years, Ave's been taking pictures of diverse subject matter. Many of his images of Hollywood Boulevard from the 1970s reside in the permanent collections of museums and libraries including LACMA and the New York Public Library. He has published three books: Art Deco LA, Movie Palaces, and Bijou, which was released in December 2016 by Nazraeli Press. Ave Pildas provides a fascinating glimpse into how, over the span of four decades, the streets and people of Hollywood Boulevard have both changed and remained curiously the same, writes Haley Evans for Beautiful Decay Magazine. In the studio, Ave is working on a still-life series based on circles, squares, and triangles, substituting geometric objects like pyramids, cubes, and spheres for the typical vase of flowers or table setting. Outside the studio, Ave shoots "Paper Movies". These collages of multiple images are shot in public spaces and allow him to interact with passers by, encouraging them to participate with the photographer and the background. After collecting hundreds of photos, he edits them to tell a visual story, combining them into a single piece. He is also producing short, stop-action videos using still images from "Paper Movies" to promote the series. One of the videos, "Stairway to Heaven," assembled from images of a staircase at The Getty Museum, garnered 40,000 views in a week. Joseph Bellows Gallery Richard Moore Photographs Tufenkian Fine Arts Rock Photography Museum Small Books & Small Prints
David Johndrow
United States
David Johndrow is a fine art photographer living in Austin, Texas. After studying photography the University of Texas, he began shooting commercial work as well as pursuing his more personal fine art photography.David’s continuing series, Terrestrials, combines his passion for gardening and photography and features macro nature photographs of animals and plants that inhabit his Hill Country, Texas garden. To realize his vision, he prints with silver gelatin, platinum/palladium, gum-bichromate and gumoil.His photographs are part of the Wittliff Collection of Southwestern and Mexican Photography, as well as in many private collections.All about David Johndrow:AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?I took a darkroom class in art school and fell in love with the process. The first roll of film I shot I processed and printed myself.AAP: Where did you study photography?I learned photography at The University of Texas, but I built my own darkroom and started working on my own. I really honed my printing skills working as a printer in a photo lab. Just the shear volume of work I printed during that time made me a better printer.AAP: Do you have a mentor or role model?I can’t say I had any mentors except for photographers like Irving Penn who I loved and was inspired by.AAP: How long have you been a photographer?I’ve been a photographer for 30 years.AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?My first shot was of my friends who were in a band. I had other friends who were actors and comedians, so I started taking lots of portraits for peoples publicity shots.AAP: What or who inspires you?I am inspired creatively by many different kinds of artists, but my biggest inspiration is the natural world. Rarely do I go in search of photographs; rather things just appear to me when I spend enough time outdoors. Gardening is my biggest obsession next to art.AAP: How could you describe your style?I have lots of styles but my most well know work is done in macro. I guess the one common thing in all my work is a simple graphic composition.AAP: Do you have a favorite photograph or series? I love Matt Mahurin, especially his portraits of Tom Waits. AAP: What kind of gear do you use?I shoot with a Hasselblad on 120 film.AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images?Although I shoot on film, I edit my images on the computer. It helps me group images in a series or arrange them for exhibition.AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?My favorite photographer is Irving Penn.AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?I would tell young photographers to shoot a lot of images, do a lot of experiments, and try to learn some different printing processes.AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?Don’t try and shoot photos of things you think others would like but shoot subjects you are most interested in. Every subject has been done before, so try and put your own spin on it.AAP: What are your projects?The project I’m working on is close-ups of natural textures.AAP: Your best memory as a photographer?My best memory is of shooting the pyramid at Chichen Itsa. It was at the solstice and I wanted a photo of the serpent shadow on the steps, but it was a cloudy, rainy day. Suddenly, right before closing, the sun burst out and I got some great shots.AAP: Your worst souvenir as a photographer?Don’t knowAAP: The compliment that touched you most?“Every time I look at your photograph I see something different”.AAP: If you were someone else who would it be?No one else.AAP: Your favorite photo book?Irving Penn: Passages
Miles Aldridge
United KIngdom
1964
Miles Aldridge rose to prominence in the mid-nineties with his arresting, highly stylised photographs with references to film noir, art history and pop culture. An acclaimed colourist, he renders elaborate mise-en-scènes in a palette of vibrant acidic hues. These glamorous, frequently eroticised images probe society's idealised notions of domestic bliss where sinister undercurrents swirl beneath a flawless surface. Aldridge has worked prolifically for more than twenty-five years, and today he remains one of the few photographers still shooting predominately on film. His creative output encompasses large-scale c-type prints, Polaroids, screenprints, photogravures and drawings. Born in London in 1964, the son of famed art director and illustrator Alan Aldridge, his interest in photography began at an early age when he was given a Nikon F camera by his father. He went on to study graphic design at Central Saint Martins, graduating with a BA in 1987. Aldridge initially worked as an illustrator and music video director, before turning his attention to photography. In 1996 he began working with Franca Sozzani, the legendary editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia, and their boundary-pushing collaboration would continue for twenty years. In addition to the many international editions of Vogue, Aldridge's images have featured regularly in prestigious titles including Harper's Bazaar, Numéro, W, The New York Times Magazine and The New Yorker. Aldridge develops each new photographic narrative by rendering his initial thoughts in ink or pencil sketches with washes of watercolour and pastel. These drawings and storyboards are an essential early stage in his creative process. He believes that 'fiction and theatricality can be more truthful than documenting reality' and translates his sketches into meticulously arranged compositions to create images reminiscent of film stills: frames snatched from a broader story. Aldridge notes that many of his favourite moments in cinema are, as he describes, "closeups of a woman's face thinking", and he shares Hitchcock's ability to create powerful moments of suspense, turning viewers into voyeurs. In Aldridge's Chromo Thriller (2012) there is a palpable resonance with David Lynch's neo-noir mystery Blue Velvet, where immaculate façades hide darkly strange stories. As one author has noted: "Aldridge's female protagonists recall the glamour and splendour of Isabella Rossellini's character whilst at the same time remaining suggestive of something more sinister." Only rarely does he allow the real world to encroach upon the imagined realm. Through his lens, even reality appears artificial. In the series Capital Gains (2007) and Open Tour (2008) the cities of Washington DC and Paris look cleaner and sleeker than ever before. In The Last Range of Colours (2007), a lone figure in a children's playground evokes both the Technicolor splendour of The Wizard of Oz and the haunting dreamscape of a Giorgio de Chirico painting. A recurring theme throughout Aldridge's oeuvre is the false promise of luxury. Psychedelic interiors are furnished with the trappings of mid-century suburban comfort: gleaming kitchen appliances, candy-coloured telephones and well-groomed pets denote success. The work conflates historic and modern motifs and makes subtle reference to the art historical canon. The project Immaculée (2007) points to Catholic depictions of female saints in ecstasy, whilst his portraits of Lily Cole (2005) and Maisie Williams (2017) draw inspiration from Northern Renaissance masters such as Albrecht Dürer and Hans Holbein. Pop Art tropes feature predominantly: Coca-Cola logos (3D, 2010; A Family Portrait #14, 2011), soup cans and tomato ketchup bottles (A Drop of Red #2, 2001; First Impressions, 2006) all form a striking part of his visual lexicon. His fascination with art history led Aldridge to undertake projects with several significant contemporary artists including Maurizio Cattelan, Gilbert & George and Harland Miller. For the project (after Cattelan) (2016), he was invited by Cattelan to respond to the Italian artist's exhibition, Not Afraid of Love, in the grand neoclassical rooms of the Monnaie de Paris. The resulting series of c-type photographs depicts statuesque nudes dominating Cattelan's hyperreal sculptures in a series of absurdist tableaux. A second series, titled Love Always and Love All Ways after Gilbert & George (2016), was made with the British duo at their London townhouse. Drawing on the conventions of Victorian melodrama, Aldridge devised a series centred around the story of an enigmatic young visitor staying at the house for the weekend. In a further nod to Victoriana, the images were printed using the nineteenth-century photogravure process, whereby an etched copper plate produces highly detailed intaglio prints. The monotone prints were augmented with blocks of bold colour and hand-painted details to create a contemporary aesthetic. His most recent collaboration was with Harland Miller, known for his paintings of imaginary book covers that were partly inspired by Alan Aldridge's 1960s designs for Penguin paperbacks. In a satisfying symmetry, Aldridge transformed Miller's paintings into real books, used as props in his photoshoot. The resulting screenprints evoke the grainy colour supplements of Aldridge's youth and were published by Poligrafa, Barcelona's renowned fine art publisher, who launched them at the 2017 edition of Art Basel Miami Beach. Poligrafa went on to publish the subsequent screenprint series New Utopias, which they exhibited at the 2018 edition of Art Basel. Most recently, Tan Lines, one of Aldridge's largest screenprints to date, was unveiled by Poligrafa at the 2019 edition of The Armory Show, New York. Aldridge's major museum exhibitions include his upcoming retrospective Virgin Mary. Supermarkets. Popcorn. Photographs 1999 - 2020 at Fotografiska, New York, which opened 7th May 2021 having first appeared at Fotografiska Museum, Stockholm (2020-2021), solo shows at The Lumiere Brothers Photography Centre, Moscow (2019) and OCA, São Paulo (2015) and I Only Want You to Love Me at Somerset House, London (2013). In 2014, he was commissioned by Tate Britain to create a photographic installation in response to Mark Gertler's 1916 painting Merry-Go-Round. London's National Portrait Gallery houses a large collection of Aldridge's portraits and his work is held in prestigious museums and institutions around the world including the Victoria and Albert Museum and British Museum in London, the Fondation Carmignac and the Palais Galliera in Paris, the Davis Museum at Wellesley College, Massachusetts and the International Center of Photography in New York. -- Susanna Brown Curator of Photography Victoria and Albert MuseumSource: milesaldridge.com
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