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Imani McCray
Imani McCray
Imani McCray

Imani McCray

Country: United States
Birth: 1992

"Born in Baltimore Maryland 1992, the probability of me being dead or negative statistic was inherited from birth. With the help of those who have come into my life, I have triumphed over those odds and wish it help others overcome their adversity. Progressive art aids social justice by using its polyrhythmic mediums to give form to the thoughts, needs, and pains of a broken society. As an advocate for social justice and artist, my goal is to use impactful images, easily accessible copy, and strategic design to engage and inspire my audience. Passion, deception, faith, and spontaneity, are constant themes throughout our world. Navigating these experiences through different mediums is my attempt to shape this reality with imagination and passion. Photography and graphic design are the mediums I nurture as a way of bringing tangibility to my imagination."

Statement
"2020 has presented the world with a myriad of challenges being met in succession. The events that continue to transpire are radically reshaping our societies and mindsets. People have been tasked with navigating the well-being of themselves, their livelihood, and conscious contribution to change. Our individual and collective ability to adapt is continually being pushed. With the future uncertain, we must be proactive in creating our reality. We must be the change we want to see. Be The Change is a multifaceted photo-journalistic design series highlighting some amazing people working to shape a better future through vast forms of social justice. I progress the second issue is focused on documenting the changes our society is going through from the frontline.

As a minority I have marched in solidarity with others striving to defend our most basic human rights to life, to freedom, to vote, and to love in public without the threat of an oppressive society continuing to cause us harm. Protesters have occupied streets and been used in social justice movements to remind others of our humanity. January 6th was a sight that should have been relegated only to horror movies and pre-reconstruction ignorance-not 2021.

What we witnessed wasn't protest-peaceful or otherwise. It was an insurrection and the manifestation and mass personification of white privilege and fragility. The mob implored the tactics of a victimhood mentality, while simultaneously showing a broad sense of entitlement. They should be held accountable for their actions and not allowed to shrink back into the shadows of ignorance and hate.

For the last four years, we have watched as America's darker truths were aired for the entire world to see. We have watched white privilege documented and the murder of black bodies go without justice. America has never been the land of the free, but we have always believed we can be more. The entire world has had to adapt to the adversity of a global pandemic and overcome the fear of the unknown. The American dream is based on success through adversity. The American reality is adversity reveals character and many Americans should be ashamed of what happened on January 6 and all that led up to it. From the ones that stormed the Capitol with malicious intent to the ones that allow ignorance to go unchecked, and all the in-between-we all hold responsibility. There is always room to be better and be the change you want to see. As Amanda Gorman, National Youth Poet Laureate said at the inauguration of a new President, 'There is always light if we're brave enough to see it. There's always light if we're brave enough to be it.' I aim for my photography and Be the Change to be a path forward with both truth and light."
-- Imani McCray
 

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Michele Zousmer
United States
Michele Zousmer is a humanitarian and fine art photographer. The camera is her tool to give voice to marginalized communities and witness the human experience. Michele's work celebrates each individual's strength and beauty, as well as their vulnerability and spirit, going beyond how one presents oneself to the world. They are infused with her almost overwhelming empathy. Michele believes a photograph can create a lasting impression of emotion, curiosity, love, and ultimately hope of mankind. It can help people heal, give them dignity, and feel empowered. Her photographs reveal insights into the lives of people we wouldn't otherwise meet. Through her world travels, Michele meets people from different walks of life, listening to their stories and sharing intimate moments with them. The permission they grant and openness they offer by inviting them into their world never ceases to move Michele. The soulfulness of her images comes from developing relationships with the people she engages with. Michele truly believes that even though we may have differences on the outside, inside we are all the same. The images are infused with her almost overwhelming empathy. Artist Statement "My mind, my eyes, and my heart have been opened by my experiences. My life has been forever changed. I hope my work inspires others to feel we all matter and to care more profoundly. Engaging in the world and becoming open to different cultures and traditions allows for more conversation on diversity and equality. Photographs hold the power to connect people and create understanding. This is why I do what I do." - Michele Zousmer
Toby Old
United States
1945
Toby Old was born in Stillwater, Minnesota in 1945. He started out majoring in biology at Hamline University, then moved on to the University of Minnesota where he trained to be a dentist. At the height of the Vietnam War he was drafted into the Army Dental Core. While serving in North Carolina, he began to explore art history and photography. After a 1976 summer workshop at Apieron Photographic Workshops in Millerton, New York, Old moved to New York City. He began working on his first extended series of the disco scene in 1976-1981. For this body of work, Standard Deviation, he was awarded a grant from the New York State Council of the Arts. In 1981 he received an NEA Survey Grant to document lower Manhattan below Chambers Street, and has continued photographing this section of the city since, includes an extended series on the boxing world. In the late 1980s he moved to upstate New York, where he began to document local events including county fairs and Civil War reenactments. He also began photographing national events such as the Kentucky Derby, Frontier Days, Mardi Gras, and spring break. Toby Old’s book, Times Squared, was offered through the 2005 Subscription Program and is still available for purchase in the Light Work Shop. Old participated in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence Program in 1980. Toby Old captures animation in his photography, depicting both realistic and exciting observations of human life. Drawing on the inspiration of photographers of the 1960s, he has traveled the country photographing in many different environments, including street performances, beaches, fairs, fashion shows, nightclubs, boxing events, parks, and Fourth of July celebrations. His images capture extraordinary moments in human action and social and cultural experiences as they unfold. His photographs are not the kind to be taken in quickly, but images to be examined and scrutinized for details. According to Ted Hartwell, curator of photography at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, “Old’s work has always been characterized by a solid technical mastery of the medium-format camera as the tool for his wonderfully zany, insightful, and intelligent observations of the American scene.”Source: Light Work
Lucien Clergue
France
1934 | † 2014
Lucien Clergue was born in Arles. From the age of 7, he learned to play the violin. Several years later, his teacher revealed to him that he had nothing more to teach him. From a family of shopkeepers, he could not pursue further studies in a conservatory. In 1949, he learned the rudiments of photography. Four years later, at a corrida in Arles, he showed his photographs to Pablo Picasso who, though subdued, demanded to see others. Within a year and a half, young Clergue worked with the goal of sending photos to Picasso. During this period, he worked on a series of photographs of traveling entertainers, acrobats and harlequins, the Saltimbanques. He also worked on a series whose subject was carrion. On 4 November 1955, Lucien Clergue visited Picasso in Cannes. Their friendship lasted near 30 years until the death of the Master. The book, Picasso my Friend retraces the important moments of their relation. Clergue has taken many photographs of the gypsies of southern France, and he was instrumental in propelling the guitarist Manitas de Plata to fame. In 1968 he founded, along with his friend Michel Tournier the Rencontres d’Arles photography festival which is held in Arles in July. His works was presented during the festival from 1971–1973, 1975, 1979, 1982–1986, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1994, 2000, 2003, 2007. Clergue has illustrated books, among these a book by writer Yves Navarre. Clergue’s photographs are in the collections of numerous well-known museums and private collectors. His photographs have been exhibited in over 100 solo exhibitions worldwide, with noted exhibitions such as 1961, Museum of Modern Art New York, the last exhibition organized by Edward Steichen with Lucien Clergue, Bill Brandt and Yasuhiro Ishimoto. Museums with extensive inventory of photographs by Lucien Clergue include The Fogg Museum at Harvard University and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. His photographs of Jean Cocteau are on permanent display at the Jean Cocteau Museum in Menton, France. In the US, the exhibition of photographs of Jean Cocteau was premiered by Westwood Gallery, New York City. In 2007, the city of Arles honored Lucien Clergue and dedicated a retrospective collection of 360 his photographs dating from 1953 to 2007. He also received the 2007 Lucie Award. He is named knight of the Légion d'honneur in 2003 and elected member of the Academy of Fine Arts of the Institute of France on 31 May 2006, on the creation of a new section dedicated to photography. Clergue is the first photographer to enter the Academy to a seat devoted to photography.Source: Wikipedia (…) Until I saw Picasso…I lived in the most perfect solitude and did my work without thinking of anything beyond that. After seeing Picasso and being received by him in Cannes when he repeated: “I’ve never seen anything like it, I’ve never seen anything like it”, I thought, or rather I let myself be convinced that despite my 21 years the time had perhaps come to begin showing my work. -- Correspondence Jean Cocteau, Lucien Clergue Lucien Clergue frequented Pablo Picasso for twenty years, being received on numerous occasions at his villa the California, in Cannes and at Notre-Dame-de-Vie in Mougins where he made his last portrait of the artist in 1971, two years before his death. Picasso, enthusiastic about Clergue’s images of dead animals and the circus children, considered him to be a greater photographer than Henri Cartier Bresson, and complimented him by saying: Clergue’s photographs are the good Lord’s sketchbooks! Or again was quoted in one of Cocteau’s lettres to Clergue, dated 1956: Picasso told me… his complete admiration for your series Stomachs. “You could, he said, sign Renoir”. Thanks to Picasso, the young photographer was able to meet not only Jean Cocteau, but also the historian and art collector Douglas Cooper, who opened up his extraordinary collection of books and artworks to the young man, avid for visual stimulation. Picasso’s generosity to Clergue and his admiration for the work of the budding photographer resulted in many collaborations, notably Picasso’s illustration for the cover of Corps mémorable in 1957, where Clergue’s images accompanied Paul Eluard’s poems; or again, the poster for Clergue’s first exhibition in Cologne in 1958 and then the cover for the book Poesie der Photographie in 1960.Source: lucien-clergue.com
Francis Haar
Hungary
1908 | † 1997
Francis Haar born as Haár Ferenc was a Hungarian socio-photographer. He studied interior architecture at Hungarian Royal National School of Arts and Crafts between 1924 and 1927. His master was Gyula Kaesz.He started working as an interior architect and poster designer in 1928, and taught himself photography. In 1930 he became acquainted with Munka-kör (Work Circle) led by socialist avant-garde poet and visual artist Lajos Kassák, who just returned from Vienna. Kassák pointed out that the photography is more than the painting and can access to such part of reality that cannot be accessed by painters. Kassák's motto was photography is the real child of our age not the painting. That was a life long inspiration to Francis. He became an active and leading member of the Munka Kör, his partners in socio-photography were among others Sándor Gönci, Árpád Szélpál and Lajos Lengyel, who later became renowned graphic artist and book designer. The first socio photo exhibition ever in Hungary was held in 1932, which brought the first success to Francis. His first photo studio was opened in Budapest in 1934. Some of his photos were exhibited at the Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne in 1937, so Francis Haar decided to move to Paris where he established himself as a portrait photographer. However in 1939 he was invited by Hiroshi Kawazoe to Japan and the International Cultural Society of Japan (Kokusai Bunka Shinkokai) officially arranged his trip. With help of Japanese friends he opened and operated his photo studio in Tokyo between 1940 and 42. The Haar family was evacuated to Karuizawa in 1943 and they spent 3 years there. He became the photographer of Yank, the Army Weekly magazine of the U.S. occupation forces in Japan, and subsequently filmmaker with U.S. Public Health and Welfare Section (1946-48). Again his Tokyo photo studio was opened in 1946 and was in active business until 1956. His wife Irene opened the famous restaurant Irene's Hungaria in Ginza, downtown Tokyo, which was frequented by celebrities, intellectuals, army men and sports people from all over the world besides the Japanese. Accepting a challenge he moved and worked as photographer for the Container Corporation of America, Chicago from 1956 until 1959. He returned to Tokyo and operated his photo studio again for a year. 1960 brought a great decision and the Haars moved to Hawai'i and Francis started his photo studio there. He taught photography at the University of Hawai'i between 1965 and 1985. He became the production photographer for the Kennedy Theater, the University of Hawai'i Drama Department. Francis Haar died at the age of 89 in Honolulu.Source: Wikipedia
Carlos Javier Ortiz
United States
Carlos Javier is a director, cinematographer and documentary photographer who focuses on urban life, gun violence, racism, poverty and marginalized communities. In 2016, Carlos received a Guggenheim Fellowship for film/video. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in a variety of venues including the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; the Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts; the International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, NY; the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago; the Detroit Institute of Arts; and the Library of Congress. In addition, his photos were used to illustrate Ta-Nehisi Coates' The Case for Reparations (2014) article, which was the best selling issue in the history of the Atlantic Magazine. His photos have also been published in The New Yorker, Mother Jones, among many others. He is represented by the Karen Jenkins-Johnson Gallery in San Francisco. His film, We All We Got, uses images and sounds to convey a community's deep sense of loss and resilience in the face of gun violence. We All We Got has been screened at the Tribeca Film Festival, Los Angeles International Film Festival, St. Louis International Film Festival, CURRENTS Santa Fe International New Media Festival, and the Athens International Film + Video Festival. Carlos' current project is series of short films chronicling the contemporary stories of Black Americans who came to the North during the Great Migration. Beginning with his mother-in-law's story, Carlos is exploring the legacy of the Great Migration a century after it began. For Carlos, who moved back and forth between Puerto Rico and the U.S. mainland as a child, the story of a displaced people in search of stability and economic opportunity resonates with his own. Carlos' work has been supported by many organizations including: the University of Chicago Black Metropolis Research Consortium Short-term Fellowship (2015); the Economic Hardship Reporting Project (2015); the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting (2013); the California Endowment National Health Journalism Fellowship (2012); the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation (2011); Open Society Institute Audience Engagement Grant (2011); and the Illinois Arts Council Artist Fellowship Award (2011). In addition to his photography and film, Carlos Javier has taught at Northwestern University and the University of California, Berkeley. He lives in Chicago and Oakland with his wife and frequent collaborator, Tina K. Sacks, a professor of social welfare at the University of California, Berkeley.
Yusuf Sevinçli
Turkey
1980
Sevinçli’s images are highly personal, subjective and dreamlike, in which place and time are uncertain, redolent instead of a deeply felt vision of the world. His fleeting images of everyday life have an air of timelessness about them. Aesthetically and formally they manifest Sevinçli’s respect and deep engagement with the history of photography. Yusuf Sevinçli earned a bachelor’s degree in communications at Marmara University (Istanbul) in 2003, and attended a Masterclass dedicated to documentary photography in Sweden in 2005. From that moment on, he started building his own work through different series which include Good Dog (2012), Marseille (2014), Walking (2015) and exhibited in several solo and group shows in Le Botanique (Brussels, Belgium), Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire (Paris, France), Arter (Istanbul, Turkey), Angkor Festival (Angkor, Cambodia), Istanbul Modern (Istanbul, Turkey), Gallery Boavista (Lisbon, Portugal), Atelier de Visu (Marseille, France), Elipsis Gallery (Istanbul, Turkey), Rencontres d’Arles (Arles, France). One of his latest series ‘Dérive’ has been presented in several places in France, such as La Filature in Mulhouse, Le Château d’Eau in Toulouse, L’Atelier, Nantes as well as in Moscow during the city’s Biennal of Photography in 2016. He lives and works in Istanbul. Published books; Good Dog (Filigranes Editions, 2012), Marseille (le bec en l’air, 2014), Walking (Filigranes Editions, 2015), PUT (Fail Books, 2017). Source: Galerist Discover Oculus
Brett Weston
United States
1911 | † 1993
Brett Weston (originally Theodore Brett Weston; December 16, 1911, Los Angeles–January 22, 1993, Hawaii) was an American photographer. Van Deren Coke described Brett Weston as the "child genius of American photography." He was the second of the four sons of photographer Edward Weston and Flora Chandler. Weston began taking photographs in 1925, while living in Mexico with Tina Modotti and his father. He began showing his photographs with Edward Weston in 1927, was featured at the international exhibition at Film und Foto in Germany at age 17, and mounted his first one-man museum retrospective at age 21 at the De Young Museum in San Francisco in January, 1932. Weston's earliest images from the 1920s reflect his intuitive sophisticated sense of abstraction. He often flattened the plane, engaging in layered space, an artistic style more commonly seen among the Abstract Expressionists and more modern painters like David Hockney than other photographers. He began photographing the dunes at Oceano, California, in the early 1930s. This was a favorite location of his father Edward and a location that they later shared Brett's with wife Dody Weston Thompson. Brett preferred the high gloss papers and ensuing sharp clarity of the gelatin silver photographic materials of the f64 Group rather than the platinum matte photographic papers common in the 1920s and encouraged Edward Weston to explore the new silver papers in his own work. Brett Weston was credited by photography historian Beaumont Newhall as the first photographer to make negative space the subject of a photograph. Donald Ross, a photographer close to both Westons, said that Brett never came after anyone. He was a true photographic equal and colleague to his father and "one should not be considered without the other." "Brett and I are always seeing the same kinds of things to do - we have the same kind of vision. Brett didn't like this; naturally enough, he felt that even when he had done the thing first, the public would not know and he would be blamed for imitating me." Edward Weston - Daybooks - May 24, 1930. Brett Weston used to refer to Edward Weston lovingly as "my biggest fan" and there was no rivalry between the two photographic giants. Brett and his wife Dody loyally set aside their own photography to help Edward after he was unable to print his own images due to Parkinson's disease, which claimed Edward's life in 1958. Brett Weston married and divorced four times. He had one daughter, Erica Weston. Brett Weston lived part time on the Big Island of Hawaii and in Carmel, California for the final 14 years of his life. He maintained a home in Waikoloa that was built by his brother Neil Weston, and later moved to Hawaii Paradise Park. He died in Kona Hospital on January 22, 1993 after suffering a massive stroke. Works by Brett Weston are included in collections of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In November of 1996, Oklahoma City collector Christian Keesee acquired from the Brett Weston Estate the most complete body of Weston’s work. Source: Wikipedia
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