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Jeff Brouws
Jeff Brouws
Jeff Brouws

Jeff Brouws

Country: United States
Birth: 1955

Jeff Brouws, born in San Francisco in 1955, is a self-taught artist. Pursuing photography since age 13, where he roamed the railroad and industrial corridors of the South Bay Peninsula, Brouws has compiled a visual survey of America's evolving rural, urban and suburban cultural landscapes. Using single photographs as subtle narratives and compiling typologies to index the nation's character, he revels in the "readymades" found in many of these environments. Influenced by the New Topographic Movement, the artist books of Ed Ruscha (to whom Brouws paid homage with his Twentysix Abandoned Gasoline Stations project in 1992) as well as the writings of cultural geographers like J.B. Jackson, Dolores Hayden, John Stilgoe, Mike Davis and Leo Marx, Brouws has combined anthropological inquiry with a somber aesthetic vision mining the overlooked, the obsolete, and the mundane. Initially engaged with what Walker Evans termed the "historical contemporary" along America's secondary highways beginning in the late 1980s, over the following twenty years Brouws has extended this inquiry into the everyday places occupied by most Americans – the franchised landscapes of strip malls, homogenized housing tracts and fast food chains.

Since moving to the Northeast in the late 1990s, Brouws has also investigated inner city areas, abandoned manufacturing sites, and other commercial ruins found in Buffalo, Detroit, Cleveland and Youngstown. His photographs of these discarded spaces—the byproducts of de-industrialization, white flight, disinvestment, and failed urban policy—suggest an underlying disparity throughout a country that purports economic equality and social justice for all.

Alongside his photographic practice, for the past thirty years Brouws has researched and written about the historic and aesthetic development of railroad photography in America, authoring and editing numerous books on the subject including The Call of Trains: Railroad Photographs by Jim Shaughnessy, A Passion for Trains: The Railroad Photography of Richard Steinheimer, and his most recent publication (edited with Wendy Burton) Some Vernacular Railroad Photographs.

In 2013 Brouws (along with co-editors Wendy Burton and Hermann Zschiegner and authors Phil Taylor and Mark Rawlinson) published Various Small Books: Referencing the Various Small Books by Ed Ruscha (MIT Press). This was a multi-year, collaborative project involving ninety artists from around the world. Honoring Ruscha’s seminal books from the 1960s and 70s like Twentysix Gasoline Stations, VSB went on to become the defacto catalog for the Ed Ruscha: Books & Co exhibition staged at the Gagosian Gallery, New York and the Museum Brandhorst in Munich.

Brouws’s photography is represented by The Robert Mann Gallery, The Robert Koch Gallery, The Robert Klein Gallery, and The Craig Krull Gallery. His work is in numerous private and public collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, Princeton University Art Museum and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Lillian Bassman
United States
1917 | † 2012
Lillian Bassman (June 15, 1917 – February 13, 2012) was an American photographer and painter. Her parents were Jewish intellectuals who emigrated to the United States from Russia in 1905 and settled in Brooklyn, New York. She studied at the Textile High School in Manhattan with Alexey Brodovitch and graduated in 1933. While there, she met the photographer, Paul Himmel, and they were married in 1935; Himmel died in 2009 after 73 years of marriage. From the 1940s until the 1960s Bassman worked as a fashion photographer for Junior Bazaar and later at Harper's Bazaar where she promoted the careers of photographers such as Richard Avedon, Robert Frank, Louis Faurer and Arnold Newman. Under the guidance of the Russian emigrant, Alexey Brodovitch, she began to photograph her model subjects primarily in black and white. Her work was published for the most part in Harper’s Bazaar from 1950 to 1965. By the 1970s Bassman’s interest in pure form in her fashion photography was out of vogue. She turned to her own photo projects and abandoned fashion photography. In doing so she tossed out 40 years of negatives and prints - her life’s work. A forgotten bag filled with hundreds of images was discovered over 20 years later. Bassman’s fashion photographic work began to be re-appreciated in the 1990s. She worked with digital technology and abstract color photography into her 90s to create a new series of work. She used Photoshop for her image manipulation. The most notable qualities about her photographic work are the high contrasts between light and dark, the graininess of the finished photos, and the geometric placement and camera angles of the subjects. Bassman became one of the last great woman photographers in the world of fashion. Bassman died on February 13, 2012, at age 94. Source: Wikipedia Lillian Bassman was born in 1917 into an immigrant family of free-thinking intellectuals, and was brought up with a mindset that allowed her to live as an independent and unconventional woman.She worked as a textile designer and fashion illustrator before working at Harper's Bazaar with Alexey Brodovitch, and ultimately becoming a photographer. Bassman's fashion images are unique, and acheieve their effect through manipulation in the dark room. Appearing in Harper's Bazaar from the 1940's to the 1960's, her work was categorized by their elegance and grace.Bassman had transformed these photographs into original works of art through her darkroom techniques in which she blurs and bleaches the images, investing them with poetry, mystery, and glamour. Source: Staley-Wise Gallery Lillian Bassman is one of the great 20th century fashion photographers along with Irving Penn and Richard Avedon. She began her career not as a photographer but as a painter at the WPA and then took courses at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. In 1945, Bassman was appointed Art Director at Junior Bazaar, giving projects to photographers such as Richard Avedon, Robert Frank and Paul Himmel (her husband). Later in 1947, she became the Art Director at Harper’s Bazaar, and her work appeared in Harper’s Bazaar throughout the 1940’s and 50’s. Her work was nearly destroyed in the 70’s by a water leak in her studio, and it was not until the 1990’s that her work was revived. With this new spotlight, Bassman received the Agfa Life Time Achievement Award and the Dem Art Directors Club Award in 1996. During the same year, Bassman began photographing again when she was asked to photograph the Haute Couture collection for New York Times Magazine, the Autumn Collection for Neiman Marcus, as well as work for German Vogue. Her work has been exhibited worldwide. Source: Peter Fetterman Gallery
Dean West
Australia
1983
Dean West “one of the world’s best emerging photographers” (AFTER CAPTURE MAGAZINE), has a highly conceptual and thought-provoking style of contemporary portraiture. His body of work has been featured in top photography magazines, art galleries, and received numerous international awards.Born in small-town rural Australia in 1983, Dean’s love for photography began in his high school’s darkroom- one of the largest darkrooms in the country at the time- and blossomed at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia. After graduating in 2007 with a Bachelor of Photography with majors in visual culture and advertising, Dean formed a partnership, Berg+West, which won nationwide acclaim as a high-end photography and post-production studio. Through clients like the QLD Government and SONY, Dean quickly learned to transform stick figure sketches into intricate composited photographs with immense detail and clarity.In 2008, Dean was included in Saatchi & Saatchi’s collection of the world’s top 100 emerging photographers and went on to win Advertising Photographer of the Year at the International Aperture Awards. With success in advertising and a growing list of collectors- Dean decided to dedicate more of his time to the world of art. In the following years, his series ‘Fabricate’ received worldwide recognition from top photography competitions, including: the International Colour Awards, the Lucie Awards, the Loupe Awards, and in 2009, Dean was the winner of the IV International Arte Laguna Prize, Venice, Italy. This final award being the most prestigious for emerging artists with over 5,000 applicants gunning for the top prize in photography, sculpture and painting. Zoom Magazine quickly nominated Dean in the ‘New Talent’ issue of 2010 and the Magenta Foundation awarded Dean an emerging Photographer of Canada.
Alison Wright
United States
Alison Wright, a New York based documentary photographer, has spent a career capturing the universal human spirit through her photographs and writing. For many of her projects Alison travels to the remotest regions of the globe photographing endangered cultures and people while documenting issues concerning the human condition. Wright’s photography is represented by the National Geographic Society and has been published in numerous magazines including National Geographic, National Geographic Traveler, National Geographic Adventure, Outside, Islands, Smithsonian Magazine, American Photo, Natural History, Time, Forbes, O: The Oprah Magazine and The New York Times. She is a recipient of the Dorothea Lange Award in Documentary Photography, and a two-time winner of the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award. Wright’s photographs have also been published in a number of her books including The Spirit of Tibet: Portrait of a Culture in Exile, The Dalai Lama: A Simple Monk, Faces of Hope: Children of a Changing World, and a variety of National Geographic books. On January 2, 2000 Alison’s life was nearly cut short during a horrific bus accident on a remote jungle road in Laos. Wright’s memoir, Learning to Breathe; One Woman’s Journey of Spirit and Survival, chronicles this inspirational story of survival and years of rehabilitation, and her ongoing determination to recover and continue traveling the world as an intrepid photojournalist. Alison has photographed for a variety of humanitarian organizations and in the spirit of helping the communities that she photographs, Wright is the founder of the Faces of Hope Fund that helps provide medical care and education to children in crisis around the world. Source: alisonwright.com
Jean-Christophe Béchet
Born in 1964 in Marseille, Jean-Christophe Béchet lives and works in Paris since 1990. Mixing B&W and color, silver and digital prints, 24x36 and medium format, polaroids and photographic 'accidents', Jean-Christophe Béchet seeks the "right tool" for each project, the one that will allow him to obtain a meaningful dialogue between an interpretation of reality and the photographic material. Inheritor of "street photography", whether it be American, French or Japanese, he likes to refer to his photographs as INHABITED LANDSCAPES. His glance on the world is constructed book by book, the area provided by the printed page being his "natural" field of expression. His photographs belong to several private and public collections and they have been showcased in more than sixty exhibitions since 1999, including at the Rencontres d'Arles in 2006 ("Urban Policies" series) and in 2012 ("Accidents" series) and the 'Mois de la Photo' (Month of Photography) in Paris, in 2006, 2008 and 2017. He is also the author of more than 20 books. FRENCHTOWN Project created for the Festival L'Oeil Urbain at Corbeil Essonnes Wedged between several highways and the National Road 7, the City of Corbeil-Essonnes is located 40 km south of Paris. It is the last city in the Paris' belt. As soon as you cross its limits, you are in the middle of nature. Too far from Paris to benefit from its proximity, it's neither in the provinces. This "in-between" gives rise to a feeling of strangeness and uneasiness. In this city, I felt I was in a typical and genuine French city and at the same time in a detective film. I had the impression of being a foreign visitor, an investigator, who was exploring a "French Town" to solve a minor incident. My photos are the result of a year of observation. I worked as a visual writer. Far from hot topics and for a long period of time, I captured the small details of everyday life and built an authentic story. Without forgetting that photography never shows reality, or truth, but an idea of reality. And it's already a lot... JCB
Builder Levy
United States
New Yorker Builder Levy has been photographing America and her inhabitants for the past 50 years. His social consciousness took him to significant areas of our country during tumultuous times. His commitment to aesthetically [or artistically] documenting the world around him earned him the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship in 2008. Levy's work is in more than 50 public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, High Museum of Art, International Center of Photography, Victoria and Albert Museum, and La Bibliotheque Nationale. He is also the author of two published photographic books. Source: Arnika Dawkins Gallery Intertwining social documentary, art and street photography, Builder Levy has been making photographs as objects of art that celebrate the human spirit for almost fifty years. He was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (’08), an Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellowship (‘04), a Furthermore Grant (‘03), Puffin Foundation Grant (‘01), and National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artists Fellowship in Photography (‘82), and two commissions from the Appalachian College Association (’95 and ‘02). Levy’s two books are Images of Appalachian Coalfields, Temple Univ. Press, with a foreword by Cornell Capa, and Builder Levy Photographer, A.R.T. Press, with an introduction by noted photo historian Naomi Rosenblum. Levy has exhibited in more than 200 shows, including more than 50 one-person exhibitions in New York City, throughout the United States and around the world. In the Fall 2011, he is included in the exhibits Coal + Ice, curated by Susan Meiselas & Jeroen de Vries, a project of the Asia Society, at the Three Shadows Art Centre in Beijing; Posing Beauty, curated by Deborah Willis at Fisher Museum of Art, USC, Los Angeles (9/11-12/11); Photo Folio at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (10/11-1/12); at the Arnika Dawkins Gallery (Black & White and Color), (with 13 photographs) (10/1-10/29/11) in conjunction with Atlanta Celebrates Photography; and Mirrors and Reflections: A Group Show, curated by Evelyne Z. Daitz with co-curator Alison Bradley at the Robert Anderson Gallery at 24 West 57th Street, New York (11/17/11-1/7/12) The High Museum of Art included Levy’s photographs in the historic exhibition, Road to Freedom: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement, 1956-1968 (and the accompanying eponymous book/catalogue), curated by Julian Cox. It opened at the High Museum of Art in 2008, and traveled for two years to museums in D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City. The Rubin Museum of Art in NYC featured 14 of Levy’s photographs in the show Mongolia: Beyond Chinggis Khan, 11/06-4/07. Levy’s work is in more than 50 public collections in the US and around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, High Museum of Art, International Center of Photography, Victoria and Albert Museum, and La Bibliotheque Nationale. His photographs are featured in more than 25 books including, Harlem, A Century in Images, Studio Museum of Harlem, Skira/Rizzoli 2010, Freedom, Phaidon Press, 100 New York Photographers, Schiffer Press ‘09, Deborah Willis’ Posing Beauty, Norton Press, ‘09, Coal Country, Sierra Club Books, ’09, and Road To Freedom: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement, 1956-1968. He was the featured artist (with 22 photos) in Appalachian Heritage, (Spring 2010). His subjects include inner-city New York City where he was a NYC teacher of at-risk adolescents for 35 years; coalfield Appalachia (spanning more than 40 years), civil rights and peace demonstrations (in the 1960s), Mongolia and other developing nations. He is completing a new book, Appalachia USA. Source: builderlevy.com
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