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Hugo Thomassen
Hugo Thomassen
Hugo Thomassen

Hugo Thomassen

Country: Netherlands
Birth: 1972


Shadow of Truth
In his search for shadow, Hugo Thomassen found light. It is not the play of light that intrigues, but the richness of shadow.

The bottles are what they are, yet they inadvertently evoke associations. Are we looking at a nocturnal cityscape with figures? Are we witnessing a chance encounter, a moment frozen in time, or simply an elegant composition with one or more bottles as the photographic subject? The bottle as a shape.

In actual fact, the bottle has been constructed down in minute detail. Although the associations may suggest coincidence, the composition itself makes no such assumption. After all, it was built layer by layer. Painstakingly so. It is rich in its simplicity. No expense is spared. Each line is deliberate, considered. So much is expressed through so little.

Without warning, this piece sends you soaring into the void - at least it had that effect on me. The void in which there is no time, and the severity of silence reigns. From a compositional standpoint, you have no reference point for space and time. As such, you go on your instincts and create a story yourself. Or you experience it in a meditative sense.

What am I feeling? Is it abandonment, bottomless loneliness? Or am I experiencing silence, light, and intimacy? The image is poetic, still, melancholy, and harmonious. Reassurance emanates from the strict imposition of order. Coincidence is out of the question.

The meaning of the work is hidden in the order that it projects. The interplay of lines formed by light and shadows never becomes a labyrinth, instead forming a guide pointing out the right direction. The photo has a reassuring effect on me which does not indicate a lack of thought. It makes me wander off in my mind’s eye while deciding my own perspective.

This piece puts me outside of time. I can find no links to a memory, something which photography usually excels at. The image is new, though I believe I see a shade of art history through which the influence of Giorgio de Chirico, Morandi, and Night Shadows by Edward Hopper subtly shine through.

The photograph distils the bottle to its purest form. It lays bare its essence. An idea. Is it truth that we see? Reality being exposed? Or are these simply shadows created by shapes? It is this that Thomassen plays with. Is it a single photograph or a picture composed of several images, a multitude of shots? In a sense, the photographic image is attempting to transcend the flatness of the paper.

Photography is the means by which Thomassen explores the world. He exposes order in chaos or reveals an event through an ordering. He is the author of a visual story. His work is a narrative without words. It is excitement without something taking place. It represents an ode to emptiness, silence, and form. The bottle as the bearer of meaning.

Everything has been translated into a language that one does not necessarily need to understand, but that one feels. He finds beauty in the composition of things, of objects. Naturally, a bottle is just a bottle, but in a composition and in relation to other bottles, by sheer coincidence a story is created.

Thomassen brings light and shadow as nuances to that composition. He does not impose hierarchy onto the image. The background, the negative space, is just as important as the bottle. This piece is so streamlined that there are no secondary subjects. Light and shadow are of equal importance, because they need one another.

Hugo Thomassen provides a context to the bottles. It is up to the viewer to make a story out of them - or not, of course. Because what is simply a charming image to one may appear to another as a story about existence and appearances.

Ludo Diels
 

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Marcos Zegers
Chile
1987
I am a Chilean photographer, with a background in architecture and with a strong interest in geopolitical, territorial and migration conflicts. My work focuses on long-term documentary projects in which I illustrate urgent situations through a careful and studied proposal. My work has been exhibited in Chile (Animal, Ekho Gallery), and fairs in London, Paris, Shanghai and New York and I participated in photo festivals as PhotoEspaña (Esp), Format (UK) and FIFV (Chile). Recently my documentary project was published on The New York Times which gave me the opportunity to start working as a freelancer for the same newspaper. I teach at the University Diego Portales in Chile where I currently live. About Mining and Exodus in the Atacama Desert This visual essay is the narrative of an endless journey through the desert and the Andes Highlands in Bolivia and Chile. A paused and deep journey through places full of memory. What appears to be photographs of elements randomly dispersed throughout the territory, when consciously grouped together, are transformed into a linear narrative linked to the extractive era. Like a map that is revealed in parts, a harsh story uncovers the relationship between mining activities and cultural displacements, all united under a common element in dispute, water. Following the course of the extractive history of colonial Latin America, what was rubber in Iquitos, cane in the Caribbean, gold in Guanajuato or silver in Potosi, in Chile was the nitrate (saltpetre). For almost two centuries, the Atacama Desert has been a constant source of mineral resource extraction. The "Saltpetre Offices" have left the mark of an era of wealth and exploitation. Today the situation repeats itself as an exact cycle: what was nitrate, passed to copper, and today, it turns to lithium. Right in the middle of this extractive history are the woman and the man who inhabited the territory. On the one hand, there is the Aymara woman who walks and grazes the cattle in the Andean mountain range. She has not seen the face of the mining company. However, they critically meet in the use of the same resource: water. The excessive water consumption by mining companies has dried the soil, making livestock and agriculture unviable. Consequently, the highlands man has been forced to go down to work in the city, where possibly, the job to which he aspires, is precisely in mining. This uncovers a vicious circle which is greatly enhanced by the government's lack of attention to these isolated areas. The risk is profound. The desert has not been completely unravelled. It continues to have lots of minerals, and at the same time, it stalks a climate change that will not stop any time soon. In Chile the water is sold, the water rights belong to private. This situation has alarmed the inhabitants of this territory, amongst organizations and activists who wage real legal battles in the courts. This visual essay, far from addressing the issue on all its extents, seeks to contribute to the latent conversation about extractive practices and the current economic model in Chile. To bring back this apparently scenic desert to an urgent reality, promoting a reflection that contributes to the appreciation of rural territory and its culture.
Flokje Van Lith
Netherlands
1969
Flokje van Lith (1969, Leiden, NL) studied photography at the Royal Academy of Arts, the Hague. Van Lith belongs to the first generation of artists to make full use of the newest Photoshop techniques. With apparent ease, she plays with the different realities that have developed independently of one another within the media of painting and photography. But appearance deceives; the making of the photograph is merely the first in a long line of decisions. The task of achieving the right result takes Van Lith weeks and sometimes months. In her work she explores childhood and its underlying traumas and issues as well as the beauty of innocence and adolescence. The final results, complex portraits of children and young adults, not only have a very aesthetic quality but also seem to tell the story of the subject.The influences of the Flemish Primitives, which can be found in the serenity of the works, but also the personal experience of the artist, resonate from the artworks. Van Lith won several awards for her work, such as the Silver Award (International Photography Awards), Silver Award (PX3 - Prix de la Photographie) and Third Place (Kontinent Awards). In addition her works have been exhibited at photo festivals nationally and internationally, such as Photo Festival Naarden and Photoville, New York. Awards: Kontinent Awards: Third Place, Fine-Art/ Single Image/ Professional, International Photography Awards: 8 x Honorable Mention, Fine-Art/ Portrait/ Professional, Fine Art Photo Awards: Professional Nominee, Portrait/Professional, International Color Awards 2015: Honorable Mention, Portrait/ Professional - International Photography Awards 2014: Silver Award, Fine-Art/ Professional - PX3-Prix de la Photographie, Paris, 2014: Silver Award, Fine-Art/ Professional - International Photography Award 2014: 8 x Honorable Mention, Fine-Art/ Professional - New Dutch Photography Talent 2013 - International Photography Award 2013: 4 x Honorable Mention, Fine-Art/ Professional - Photography Masters Cup 2011: 4 x Honorable Mention, Fine-Art/ Professional - International Photography Award 2011: 7 x Honorable Mention, Fine-Art/ Professional. Exhibitions: (Selection), 2015: Aqua Art Miami (USA), Art Fair COLOGNE (Germany), PAN Amsterdam, KunstRai, Rotterdam Contemporary Art Fair, LXRY (the Netherlands), 2014: Affordable Art Fair Hamburg (Germany), PAN Amsterdam, LXRY, Affordable Art Fair, Raw Art Fair, Realisme (the Netherlands), 2013: LXRY, PAN Amsterdam, Affordable Art Fair, (the Netherlands), 2012, Art Miami Context, Photoville New York, Art Wynwood (USA), PAN Amsterdam (the Netherlands), 2011: PAN Amsterdam, Photofestival Naarden (the Netherlands). Publications: 2015: LXRY Magazine, PF Magazine, 2014: Art Photo Feature (USA), 2013: Gooi en Eemlander (the Netherlands) 2012: Volkskrant Magazine, De Telegraaf, Haarlems Dagblad (the Netherlands)
Scott M. Fincher
United States
1946
So what differentiates a portrait of a person from a picture of an object? Essentially nothing. A photographer's purpose is revelation. In the street or in the corporate suite the imperative is to take surfaces into the interior so that the viewer comes to understand something about what has been presented. This could be an aspect of personality or the structure of a design. In short, one can say no more than one can see. Early in my career, I used to fantasize that I could be a Beethoven of photography. The idea contradicts the central principle of the medium. What distinguishes photography from the other arts is time. Unlike music, which takes a single idea and expands it, photography interrupts the continuum and digests it into an exquisite moment where understanding, composition and action intersect. All this is expressed succinctly in poet e.e. cummings's introduction to his volume "Is Five": "I am abnormally fond of that precision which creates movement." In my eyes, photography also adheres to Francis Bacon's maxim, "The contemplation of things as they are without error, without confusion, without substitution or imposture is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of inventions." That is why I love both nature and the street and quest for the image that sits on the cusp of the real and surreal. For the most part, I do not manipulate the images in the digital "darkroom" any more than I would have were I using techniques of the old "wet" darkrooms. Mostly, I adjust luminosity. My background is print journalism. I edited photography and foreign and national news for the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times for many years before deciding to rededicate myself to my passion. It has been, as the great Edward Steichen once said about the photographic act, "Incredibly easy and impossibly difficult." Nevertheless, the results have been good, and I have won national, international and art fair awards since my return to photography in 2006. My images are in collections all over the U.S. and in Germany, Poland, Denmark and Venezuela. I hold a bachelor's in English from Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill., and have studied photography in too many workshops to enumerate. I live in Chicago.
Alain Laboile
France
1968
I was born on the 1st of May, 1968, in Bordeaux. After an half-hearted schooling, I live of odd jobs until 1990, the year I met Anne. It was the time of my opening to art.I accompanied Anne, student in Art History, to her lectures.It is in the darkness of the crowded amphitheatres that I witnessed heatedly the dissection of the Italian Renaissance artworks. Drawing being my ally since childhood, I can let myself drift into this third dimension by making plaster portaits in a corner of the studio we share. Then came, through a random reading, my fascination for insects. Jean-Henri Fabres's Souvenirs entomologiques will inspire me and accompany me for several years.Plaster and stone slowly fade away to let the rusty iron turn into shaggy insects.On the top of a hill near Bordeaux ,in Gironde, our house fills up with kids.My activity is taking off, and I need to take some photos of my sculptures. That's precisely at that moment, in 2004, that I accidently dive into photography, or more accurately macrophotography, were insects are predominant.Three years later, insects went into hiding under the leaves, my six children are born, and we have left the hill for the stream on the edge of the world. My photo-diary was established without my really noticing, It now seems vital and everlasting. About "La famille" I'm a father of six. Through my photographic work I celebrate and document my family life:A life on the edge of the world, where intemporality and the universality of childhood meet. Day to day I create a family album that constitues a legacy that I will pass on to my children.My work reflects our way of life,revolving around their childhood. My photographs will be the testimony of that. In a way my approach can be considered similar to the one of an ethnologist. Though my work is deeply personal, It's also accessible,addressing human nature and allowing the viewer to enter my world and reflect on their own childhoods. Fed everyday and shared with the world via the internet, my photographic production has became a mean of communication, leading to a questionning about freedom, nudity, being and having. Exclusive Interview with Alain Laboile: All About Photo: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?I was working as a sculptor. In 2004 I bought my first camera to photograph my sculptures and my passion for insects drove me to practice macrophotography. After the birth of my last two daughters I raised little by little my lens towards my family. The passion was born and did not leave me any more since 9 years.Where did you study photography?I am totally self-taught. When I began, I had a very limited photographic culture, no technique. I learned by sharing my photos on forums on the web, by receiving critics which allowed me to progress.Do you have a mentor or role model?I met the famous American photographer Jock Sturges during the summer 2012. He became a good friend, a kind of spiritual father who accompanies me in my artistic route. I owe him a lot. Do you remember your first shot? What was it? I think It was a macrophotography showing a mating of slugs. What or who inspires you? My work is extremely personal because it concerns my family life and our little offbeat lifestyle. I try to be inspired by nobody. It is the spectators of my work, that sometimes establish comparisons. Sally Mann’s work is often mentioned. How could you describe your style? An Internet user compared one day my photographic style with street photography. I think that if indeed I lived in town I would practise street photography. But living in the countryside, I photograph my family in its close environment, on the deep. Do you have a favorite photograph or series? I like very much the work of joseph-Philippe Bevillard, His series of portraits of Irish gypsies is fascinating. What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film? I worked for a long time with a Canon 5 D Mark III camera and 35 mm f1,4 lens. I now own a Leica M monochrom which I use with a 35 mm f1,4 Leica lens. Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose?I am very selective. I do not hesitate to delete all the photos which do not satisfy me totally. What advice would you give a young photographer?I would say to him that he should not focus on the equipment nor to be intimidated by the lack of technique, all this is secondary. It is necessary to let speak its instinct, accept the criticism. What are your projects?I will publish a book with Steidl Verlag in 2014. An exciting project! Your best memory as a photographer?My publication in the NY times in 2012. I had made several interviews before and I made a lot since but that this has a real symbolic value ! AYour worst souvenir as a photographer?In 2009, I had to stop photography for several months. I needed money and I sold my photographic stuff. A nightmare! The compliment that touched you most?One day Jock Sturges let this comment on one of my photos: "It's wonderful images like this that reinforce my realization that you are my favorite living photographer. Amen " If you were someone else who would it be?I am not certain to want to be somebody else but I would have liked to began to practise photography 20 years earlier. An anecdote?I won a big Canon competition. I left exploring the canopy in the rainforest of kakamega in Kenya. I was accompanied by a crew managed by Peter Webber the director of the movie “Girl with a pearl earring” and “Hannibal Lecter”. We ate spaghetti bolognese together in the middle of the jungle. Fabulous memories a little bit crazy! Anything else you would like to share?I published my first book "Waiting for the postman" in november 2012 . My next exhibition will take place in Santa Monica (California) at dnj Gallery from november 2nd ( 2013) to January 4 th( 2014)
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