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Eugène Atget
Photo Berenice Abbott ca 1924-1929
Eugène Atget
Eugène Atget

Eugène Atget

Country: France
Birth: 1857 | Death: 1927

Eugène Atget was a French photographer who is celebrated for his mixture of urban documentary photography and street photography which recorded the disappearing neighborhoods, street scenes and architecture of Paris. Taken during the period 1897 until his death in 1927, his images formed a huge archive of architectural ornamentation, featuring metalwork, stairways, door knockers and shop signs. Jean-Eugène-Auguste Atget was born 12 February 1857 in Libourne. His father, carriage builder Jean-Eugène Atget, died in 1862, and his mother, Clara-Adeline Atget née Hourlier died shortly after. He was brought up by his maternal grandparents in Bordeaux and after finishing secondary education joined the merchant navy.

Atget moved to Paris in 1878. He failed the entrance exam for acting class but was admitted when he had a second try. Because he was drafted for military service he could attend class only part-time, and he was expelled from drama school. Still living in Paris he became an actor, performing in the Paris suburbs and the provinces. He met actress Valentine Delafosse Compagnon, who became his companion until her death. He gave up acting because of an infection of his vocal chords in 1887, moved to the provinces and took up painting without success. His first photographs, of Amiens and Beauvais, date from 1888.

1890 Atget moved back to Paris and became a professional photographer, supplying documents for artists: studies for painters, architects and stage-designers. Starting 1898 institutions such as the Musée Carnavalet and the Bibliothèque historique de la ville de Paris bought his photographs. The latter commissioned him ca. 1906 to systematically photograph old buildings in Paris. 1899 he moved to Montparnasse.

While being a photographer Atget still also called himself an actor, giving lectures and readings. During World War I, Eugène Atget temporarily stored his archives in his basement for safekeeping and almost completely gave up photography. Valentine's son Léon was killed at the front.

1920-1921 he sold thousands of his negatives to institutions. Financially independent he took up photographing the parks of Versailles, Saint-Cloud and Sceaux and produced a series of photographs of prostitutes. Berenice Abbott visited Atget in 1925, bought some of his photographs, and tried to interest other artists in his work.

1926 Valentine died and Man Ray published several of Atget's photographs in la Révolution surréaliste. Abbott took Atget's portrait in 1927. Eugène Atget died 4 August 1927 in Paris.

Source: Wikipedia


Eugène Atget (1857–1927) turned to photography in his late 40s, building a body of work that described the city of Paris and its environs. In its simplicity and clarity of vision, this project, resulting in over 10,000 photographs, became a modern urban portrait that has influenced many photographers since. Inspired to make a portrait of Paris at the moment when historic Paris was becoming Haussman’s modern Paris, Atget captured the changing city with eloquence and sensitivity.

Atget received little recognition before his death in 1927, but due to the posthumous efforts of photographer Berenice Abbott, his work was preserved, promoted, and gained its rightful place in history. A significant number of his prints, including many negatives, are held by the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., along with the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.

Source: Fraenkel Gallery



Photos © Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division
 

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Imed Kolli
France/Algeria
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Imed Kolli is a 24-year-old photographer based in Algeria. By the time I was 16, my real eduction came from observing what is happening around me and observing that richness don't comes without struggle, and I was looking for a way to translate what I was seeing through my eyes and photography became my voice in this very big confusing world. I started to realize that photography has the power to change prescriptive on life and surprise people with something they don't usually see and sometimes they don't have any idea existed, and it began to push my life in such dramatic direction towards telling the larger story of what it means to be a human, so I bought my first camera , and that was the beginning. To say that my work is evocative would be something of an understatement. Specializing in harrowing, monochrome photos of people living on the fringes of society. I have been doing photography for the last 7 years, I specialized in street documentation photography toward telling the larger story of what it means to be a human and capturing the human condition. In the last 5 years, I had what you would call much a formal eduction by getting my Bachelor degree majoring photography at the highest institute of perfuming arts and audio visuals here in Algeria, I also had the chance to follow my main passion by continuing my master of fine art online degree program at the Academy of Art University in San-Fransisco. My passion for photography has actually never been stronger than it is today and it's 6 years that I've been making pictures that I've involved in visual storytelling. Most of what I know about the world has come through this medium, through practicing it through, learning about it. I've often said that photography is sort of like a condition that you catch and I caught it when I was 18 years old within about three months of learning about photography and I would say that today 7 years later that condition has never been more severe. During years I became obsessed with the idea of combining photography and documenting the human condition and that maybe that could be a way to bring these theories to the audience and perhaps get to learn and tell about the stories that need to be tell. My practice has always been predicated on international work mostly documenting work, documenting the human condition, but I've also done probably the largest project of my career so far ETERNAL FACES was obviously a domestic project, I spent 3 years on that and actually even since that project, I've continued to look at the issue of aging more so through film and multimedia and as time goes on and this is kind of connected to the question about my passion for photography. I feel like my repertoire for the kinds of stories that I want to do, the kinds of issues that I'm interested in are actually expanding, they're not narrowing, so I'm much more open to working on stories that in the past I might have considered you know softer or irrelevant. I'm talking about the world that is grinding out a lot of a critical issues that humanity is facing today, social issues political issues resource, issues you know climate change, how to deal with a permanent underclass of homelessness, I believe there's so many issues in the world that are critically important to look at. Statement This work is being classified as a Street-Portrait Photography which could actually offer a new way of prescriptive of people's portraits in black and white. I tried to reach the authenticity of people who had contracted the bitterness or resentfulness through their lives. The idea comes from street photography and how to shoot homeless, poor people in a beautiful manner from basic. It was all about dramatic situations and the spirituality of portraiture. To me, the most important characteristic was having a sharp eye and being aware of the environment around me. This means looking out for, not just colors, shapes, lights, shadows and so on, but observing my subjects and how they appear and act as well. I exposed the hardships and poor conditions of life of the deprived people through face expression. I did this in an attempt to assuage these problems. Vividly I wanted to expose the realities of squalid living and misery faced by homelessness every day. Harrowing street-portraits photography combined with emotion storytelling, were intended to engage and inform the audience and exhort them to act. What I accomplished by taking these photographs from the streets was to inform the world, How people are suffering every day. I wanted to show the life of these people lived, I had experimented with illustrations that dramatized the devastating human cost of the emotional expressions. I realized finally that only photographs seemed to capture the reality with sufficient resolution to change hearts. The singular emphasis in others on subjects, divested of a story, is all the more remarkable for this reason. In this project, I emphasized the reflective mode over the nature of my body of work envisaging,.The images chosen for The -Eternal Faces- did privilege the inventorial, world of observation and artistic classification as it reflects reality, with the objects taken out of context. There is no doubt that my body of work has profoundly shifted the way that we perceive these people in reality, the sensual appeal of reflection outcome intents in the real world has proved irresistible to photographers including my project Eternal Faces. Beginning with the intent to reflect these people's realities and finding expression in practitioners of widely differing outlooks and goals. Photographing these kind of subjects acquire an aura by being taken from their casual, often overlooked, position and put under intense scrutiny. The outcome intent tool which should look upon my project dispassionately is capable of creating images, filtered through the imagination, which compellingly engages the viewer's imagination and emotions. It wasn't empathy, It wasn't sympathy, it was more of a forced, intrinsic, and integral self-reflection. What I did is photograph emotions, I was photographing the initial moment when I laid eyes on the human being beautiful face shape that reflects the whole story of what it means to be broke, Injured, homeless, beggar and poor underprivileged and sometimes even hopeless. I gave with the often willing and knowing collaboration of my subjects, a metonymic typology of people who lived in dark side of society, representing for us the poor, homelessness, the other half. I was after the general truth of a general category, and the finer truths of individuals necessarily caught my inspiration to pick up this precise subject matter to photograph. The center of each picture was the subject matter: a person and his or her experience at that moment in time. To me and many other progressives, the rock bottom status added them from personal contact with the impoverished even when Christianity and the Social Gospel created a burden to extent charity to the disfranchised and discarded in society. I came imbuing them with the iconic soul of humanity and left almost engaging a subject in eyes contact. All of my photographs with human subjects refer to not where the subject is located, but the person before the lens and how did I visualize their emotions and feelings in a humanitarian neutral way. My images are intended to resonate with the viewer on a spiritual and human level and I try to pack in the metaphysical…attributes which tell their own story. I try to provoke an imaginative and intelligent response from the viewer with a purely visual reference.
John Novis
United Kingdom
1950
John Novis is photographer and story teller working on environmental issues, particularly climate change for the last 30 years. Climate Change is the biggest global threat ever known to mankind, yet it is the most challenging and difficult subject to visualize to any great effect. Any image presented, be it extreme weather events, scientific evidence or global protests can be argued against by a sceptic media, governments and industry. It is precisely this challenge that drives concerned photographers to push ever more creative photos into the image pool to drive home the importance of this emergency of our times. We are getting somewhere thanks to Greta Thunberg and Environmental groups such as Greenpeace, Extinction Rebellion etc. which provide scope for compelling pictures. Social media has also provided a valuable platform for citizen journalism reporting climate related events as they unfold in real time. How I got there I stared my career in photography in London during the 'swinging 60's 'years working with high profile photographers in Vogue, Apple Corp (Beatles), top Fashion and Industrial photo studios Adrian Ensor Labs up until 1977 when I enrolled on a 3 year 'Creative Photography' course in Nottingham University under the guidance of Thomas Joshua Cooper and Raymond Moore. In 1980 I received a grant from UK South East Arts to make a 30 minute, 16mm film called 'Our trip to the Zoo' analysing the family snapshot with the old Kodak slogan – 'to capture life'. Throughout most of the 80's I worked as a freelance commercial photographer and then in 1989 I joined Greenpeace as an in –house photographer where I was employed until 2015. Just before I joined Greenpeace, I was becoming disillusioned with photography as an instrument for advertising and generating profit. It was though Greenpeace I was able to employ my expertise in photography to produce images that would serve as a wake-up call to the critical state of our environment. As photography became more important to the organisation I became Head of Photography at the international headquarters in Amsterdam, directing major photo projects such as: - Ocean and whaling expeditions, Amazon – Illegal logging, Yunnan, China campaigning against the introduction of GMO rice to the rice growing communities, Climate in Crisis - Yellow River drying up, the Disappearing Glaciers on Everest, Climate and Poverty along the Silk Road in Gansu Province, China - Palm oil production in Riau, Indonesia and 'Forest Solutions' global communities living from the forest management towards a sustainable solution. In addition, I have also worked on numerous successful publications including the nuclear industry of Russia with Dutch photographer Robert Knoth, (Panos) and Bhopal – '' with Raghu Rai (Magnum). My professional services outside Greenpeace have included, organizing and hosting the Beijing Photo Master Classes with World Press Photo winners, member of the jury for the 2007 CHIPP (China International Press Photo Contest) and Member of the Jury and visiting lecturer to Fotopub, Slovenia July 2008. Directing a major exhibition and slide show at 1999 Perpignan, Visa Pour L'image with an interview with Jean Francois Leroy on stage. In 2012 I ran a photo workshop and curated a renewable energy exhibition at the Angkor Photo Festival in Siem Reap, Cambodia and was invited as guest speaker for Wild Photos at the Royal Geographic society in 2011. I am currently working on Climate Emergency events and supporting on line publications with consultancy and archive picture material.
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