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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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August Sander
Germany
1876 | † 1964
August Sander (17 November 1876 – 20 April 1964) was a German portrait and documentary photographer. Sander's first book Face of our Time (German: Antlitz der Zeit) was published in 1929. Sander has been described as "the most important German portrait photographer of the early twentieth century." Sander was born in Herdorf, the son of a carpenter working in the mining industry. While working at a local mine, Sander first learned about photography by assisting a photographer who was working for a mining company. With financial support from his uncle, he bought photographic equipment and set up his own darkroom. He spent his military service (1897–99) as a photographer's assistant and the next years wandering across Germany. In 1901, he started working for a photo studio in Linz, Austria, eventually becoming a partner (1902), and then its sole proprietor (1904). He left Linz at the end of 1909 and set up a new studio in Cologne. In 1911, Sander began with the first series of portraits for his work People of the 20th Century. In the early 1920s, he came in contact with the Group of Progressive Artists (Kölner Progressive) in Cologne, a group as Wieland Schmied put it, "sought to combine constructivism and objectivity, geometry and object, the general and the particular, avant-garde conviction and political engagement, and which perhaps approximated most to the forward looking of New Objectivity [...] ". In 1927, Sander and writer Ludwig Mathar travelled through Sardinia for three months, where he took around 500 photographs. However, a planned book detailing his travels was not completed. Sander's Face of our Time was published in 1929. It contains a selection of 60 portraits from his series People of the 20th Century. Under the Nazi regime, his work and personal life were greatly constrained. His son Erich, who was a member of the left wing Socialist Workers' Party (SAP), was arrested in 1934 and sentenced to 10 years in prison, where he died in 1944, shortly before the end of his sentence. Sander's book Face of our Time was seized in 1936 and the photographic plates destroyed. Around 1942, during World War II, he left Cologne and moved to a rural area, allowing him to save most of his negatives. His studio was destroyed in a 1944 bombing raid. Sander died in Cologne in 1964. His work includes landscape, nature, architecture, and street photography, but he is best known for his portraits, as exemplified by his series People of the 20th Century. In this series, he aims to show a cross-section of society during the Weimar Republic. The series is divided into seven sections: The Farmer, The Skilled Tradesman, Woman, Classes and Professions, The Artists, The City, and The Last People (homeless persons, veterans, etc.). By 1945, Sander's archive included over 40,000 images. In 2002, the August Sander Archive and scholar Susanne Lange published a seven-volume collection comprising some 650 of Sander's photographs, August Sander: People of the 20th Century. In 2008, the Mercury crater Sander was named after him. (Source: wikipedia.org)
Barry Salzman
United States
1963
Barry Salzman is an award-winning contemporary artist who currently works in photography, video and mixed media and whose projects have been shown widely around the world. He lives and works between New York City and Cape Town, South Africa. His photographic work in particular, began with a fascination for the practice as a teenager, during a time when it served as a way for him to grapple with the racial segregation in apartheid South Africa. Today, his work continues to explore challenging themes around social, political and economic narratives, often coming down to the core concept of identity. Acutely relevant and brave in its willingness to confront, Salzman's photography garnered the 2018 International Photographer of the Year Award in the Deeper Perspective category at the International Photography Awards for his project, The Day I Became Another Genocide Victim, which endeavors to humaize victims of the Rwandan genocide. For the last six years, Salzman has worked on ongoing projects that attempt to challenge the universal fatigue around the genocide narrative. Mostly, he applies visual tools of abstraction to landscape images shot at precise locations around the world where acts of genocide were perpetrated as a means of reminding us that 'that place' can be 'any place'. In writing about his ongoing genocide landscape work Salzman says, "The landscape witnesses all. It sheds its leaves in cover-up and complicity. But through its rebirth, so it rejuvenates. It carries with it the traces of the past and promises of the future. It triumphs over trauma. It is inextricably intertwined with our darkest moments and brightest days." The following images were made in Ukraine, Poland and Rwanda at precise locations where acts of genocide were perpetrated. For additional information, please see: www.barrysalzman.net
Karen Knorr
United States
1954
Karen Knorr was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany and was raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico in the 1960s. She finished her education in Paris and London. Karen has taught, exhibited and lectured internationally, including at Tate Britain, Tate Modern, The University of Westminster, Goldsmiths, Harvard and The Art Institute of Chicago. She studied at the University of Westminster in the mid-1970s, exhibiting photography that addressed debates in cultural studies and film theory concerning the ‘politics of representation’ practices which emerged during the late 1970s qnd early 1980s. She is currently Professor of Photography at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham, Surrey. Karen Knorr produced Belgravia (1979-1981) a series of black and white photographs with ironic and humorous texts that highlighted aspirations, lifestyle and the British class system under the neo liberalist Thatcher era in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Her most well known work called Gentlemen (1981-1983) was photographed in Saint James’s clubs in London and investigated the patriarchal conservative values of Britain during the Falklands war. Karen ’s work developed a critical and playful dialogue with documentary photography using different visual and textual strategies to explore her chosen subject matter that ranges from the family and lifestyle to the animal and its representation in the museum context. In 1986 her work Connoisseurs used colour to explore connoisseurship regarding authenticity, heritage and art in England. Here she introduced elements and staged events in the architectural interiors of Chiswick House, Osterley Park House and the Dulwich Picture Gallery. The use of text and captioning appeared as a device to slow down consumption of the image and to comment on the received ideas of fine art in museum culture. 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Being for Another (1995), an 18 minute video records a young man caressing an 18th century sculpture by Canova in the Victoria and Albert Museum and three lifeclass models enact the lifeclass on the dissecting table of the anatomy theatre of Uppsala University in Lessons (2002). The introduction of a sound glass sculpture with recorded birdsong responded to the furniture and art collection of The Wallace Collection in 2001 synthesizing a 1960’s Pete Seeger song with an actual blackbird’s sound. In her series Fables (2004-2008) photographs mixes analogue and digital photography playfully reconfiguring tales (Ovid, Aesop La Fontaine) with popular culture (Disney and Attenborough) in museums and heritage sites which include Carnavalet Museum, the Museum of Hunt and Nature in Paris, Chambord Castle and the Conde Museum in Chantilly Castle. The visuality of these photographs is rich with reference to the baroque. 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Karen Knorr celebrates the rich visual culture, the foundation myths and stories of northern India, focusing on Rajasthan and using sacred and secular sites to consider caste, femininity and its relationship to the animal world. Interiors are painstakingly photographed with a large format Sinar P3 analogue camera and scanned to very high resolution. Live animals are inserted into the architectural sites, fusing high resolution digital with analogue photography. Animals photographed in sanctuaries, zoos and cities inhabit palaces, mausoleums , temples and holy sites, interrogating Indian cultural heritage and rigid hierarchies. Cranes, zebus, langurs, tigers and elephants mutate from princely pets to avatars of past feminine historic characters, blurring boundaries between reality and illusion and reinventing the Panchatantra for the 21st century.
Alexis Pichot
France
1980
In 2011, I made the bold decision to redirect my professional life into my self-guided passion, photography. I worked as an interior designer in Paris for more than ten years. Throughout that time I was very focused on the use of space and acquired a sensitivity that has greatly influenced my approach to volume in photography. At night, light and space are my sources of inspiration, experimentation and confrontation - but above all, of fulfilment. I pierce the night using physical movement, as well as using light in order to see beyond what is visible, to a place where the blackness has not yet absorbed everything. I have accomplished various large-scale artistic projects, often in partnership with private and public institutions. Notably, my project with the Hotel National des Invalides - which granted me access to all of the military sites in Ile de France - enabled me to bring to light this fragment of history in a large exposition in the moat of the Invalides. I also had the opportunity to work with the RATP, who commissioned me to enter a disused marshalling yard where their entire collection of rolling stock is preserved, covering 100 years of history. The images created were exhibited during "Les Journées du Patrimoine" (the Heritage Days) within their workshop-museum. The cities and their nocturnal vestiges have been sacred fields of investigation for me, as much for their architectural lines as for the histories to which they bear witness. Arising from an awareness of and sensitivity to modern society - alongside the fact that I live in a city - nature has become my source of regeneration.
Shelby Lee Adams
United States
1950
Shelby Lee Adams is an American environmental portrait photographer and artist best known for his images of Appalachian family life. Adams has photographed Appalachian families since the mid-1970s. He had first encountered the poor families of the Appalachian mountains as a child, travelling around the area with his uncle, who was a doctor. His work has been published in three monographs: Appalachian Portraits (1993), Appalachian Legacy (1998), and Appalachian Lives (2003). Adams was the subject of a documentary film by Jennifer Baichwal in 2002 - The True Meaning of Pictures: Shelby Lee Adams's Appalachia. This was shown at the Toronto International Film Festival, and at the Sundance Festival in 2003. The film critiques and defends Adams' method in photographing Appalachian people for his previously published books.Source: Wikipedia Born in Kentucky in the town of Hazard, and later living with his grandparents in Hot Spot, Shelby Lee Adams discovered photography and the arts in high school. It was during this time that the Peace Corps sent a film crew to his town to document the poverty of Appalachia, which sparked Adams' interest in the documentary style. He attended the Cleveland Institute of Art, where in his sophomore year he was exposed to the photographs of the Farm Security Administration. These pictures document the debilitating effects of the Depression in the South during the 1930s. Adams was able to relate to the images and the subjects, inspiring him to make the pictures for which he is now best known, his photographs of the people and culture of Appalachia. He began this project in 1973 and although he has done editorial work for publications like Fortune, GQ, New York Magazine, and the New York Times, he primarily focuses on portraits of the people of Appalachia. Shelby Lee Adams works primarily in black and white. He began with a 35mm camera and then switched to a 4x5. His crisp, poignant images show the people of Appalachia in their simple environments, revealing both the heroic and grotesque side to secluded mountain life. Adams photographs his subjects with an emphasis on the unpretty beauty of their immediate surroundings and their worn faces and clothes, their rudimentary living conditions starkly contrasted against the backdrop of a sublime landscape. But they are not depicted as victims; they confront the camera proudly and matter-of-factly. Shelby Lee Adams considers his subjects his friends, which no doubt lends a level of comfort to the shooting sessions, as they face his large camera. In his most recent work, Adams documents the infiltration of progress and media into the folkways of the Appalachian people, capturing the displacement of an agrarian economy. Drawn to the attractions of pop culture and modern life, the Appalachian people are losing interest in living off the land. Adams' work has received a great deal of recognition. He is the recipient of a survey grant and photography fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (1978, 1992), along with an artist support grant four years running from the Polaroid Corporation (1989-92). His photographs are held in the permanent collections of many museums, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, both in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., the Harvard Fogg Museum in Cambridge, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.Source: International Center of Photography
Dora Maar
France
1907 | † 1997
Henriette Theodora Markovitch (22 November 1907 – 16 July 1997), known as Dora Maar, was a French photographer, painter, and poet. A love partner of Pablo Picasso, Dora Maar was depicted in a number of Picasso's paintings, including his Portrait of Dora Maar and Dora Maar au Chat. She was the only daughter of Josip Marković (aka Joseph Markovitch) (1874–1969), a Croatian architect who studied in Zagreb, Vienna, and then Paris where he settled in 1896, and of his spouse, Catholic-raised Louise-Julie Voisin (1877–1942), originally from Cognac. In 1910, the family left for Buenos Aires where the father obtained several commissions including for the embassy of Austria-Hungary. His achievements earned him the honor of being decorated by Emperor Francis Joseph I, even though he was "the only architect who did not make a fortune in Buenos Aires", but in 1926, the family returned to Paris. Dora Maar, a pseudonym she chose, took courses at the Central Union of Decorative Arts and the School of Photography. She also enrolled at the École des Beaux-Arts and the Académie Julian which had the advantage of offering the same instruction to women as to men. Dora Maar frequented André Lhote's workshop where she met Henri Cartier-Bresson. While studying at the École des Beaux-Arts, Maar met fellow female surrealist Jacqueline Lamba. About her, Maar said, "I was closely linked with Jacqueline. She asked me, 'where are those famous surrealists?' and I told her about cafe de la Place Blanche." Jacqueline then began to frequent the cafe where she would eventually meet André Breton, whom she would later marry. When the workshop ceased its activities, Dora Maar left Paris, alone, for Barcelona and then London, where she photographed the effects of the economic depression following the Wall Street Crash of 1929 in the United States. On her return, and with the help of her father, she opened another workshop at 29 rue d'Astorg in the 8th arrondissement of Paris. In 1935 she was introduced to Pablo Picasso and she became his companion and his muse. She took pictures in his studio at the Grands Augustins and tracked the latter stages of his epic work, Guernica. She later acted as a model for his piece titled Monument à Apollinaire, a tribute to the late poet Guillaume Apollinaire. Maar's earliest surviving photographs were taken in the early 1920s with a Rolleiflex camera while on a cargo ship going to the Cape Verde Islands. At the beginning of 1930, she set up a photography studio on rue Campagne-Première with Pierre Kefer, photographer, and decorator for Jean Epstein's 1928 film, The Fall of the House of Usher. In the studio, Maar and Kefer worked together mostly on commercial photography for advertisements and fashion magazines. Her father assisted with her finances in this period of her life as she was establishing herself while trying to earn a living. The studio displayed fashion, advertising and nudes, and it became very successful. She met the photographer Brassaï with whom she shared the darkroom in the studio. Brassai once said that she had "bright eyes and an attentive gaze, a disturbing stare at times". During this time working in advertising and fashion photography, the influence of Surrealism could be seen in her work through her heavy use of mirrors and contrasting shadows. She felt that art should represent the content of reality through links with intuitions or ideas, rather than visually reproduce the natural. Dora Maar also met Louis-Victor Emmanuel Sougez, a photographer working for advertising, archeology and artistic director of the newspaper L'Illustration, whom she considered a mentor. In 1932, she had an affair with the filmmaker Louis Chavance. Dora Maar frequented the "October group", formed around Jacques Prévert and Max Morise after their break from surrealism. Maar had her first publication in the magazine Art et Métiers Graphiques in 1932 and her first solo exhibition was held at the Galerie Vanderberg in Paris. It is the gelatin silver works of the surrealist period that remain the most sought after by admirers: Portrait of Ubu (1936), 29 rue d'Astorg, black and white, collages, photomontages or superimpositions. The photograph represents the central character in a popular series of plays by Alfred Jarry called Ubu Roi. The work was first shown at the Exposition Surréaliste d'objets at the Galerie Charles Ratton in Paris and at the International Surrealist Exhibition in London in 1936. She also participated in Participates in Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York the same year. Surrealist concepts and interests often aligned with the ideas of the political left of the time and so Maar became very politically active at this point in her life. After the fascist demonstrations of 6 February 1934, in Paris along with René Lefeuvre, Jacques Soustelle, supported by Simone Weil and Georges Bataille, she signed the tract "Appeal to the Struggle" written at the initiative of André Breton. Much of her work is highly influenced by leftist politics of the time, often depicting those who had been thrown into poverty by the Depression. She was part of an ultra-leftist association called "Masses", where she first met Georges Bataille, an anti-fascist organization called the Union of Intellectuals Against Fascism, and a radical collective of left-wing actors and writers called October. She also was involved in many Surrealist groups and often participated in demonstrations, convocations, and cafe conversations. She signed many manifestos, including one titled "When Surrealists were Right" in August 1935 which concerned the Congress of Paris, which had been held in March of that year. In 1935 she took a photo of fashion illustrator and designer Christian Berard that was described by writer and critic Michael Kimmelman as "wry and mischievous with only his head perceived above the fountain as if he were John the Baptist on a silver platter". In the 1980s she made a number of photograms. Maar spent her last years in her apartment in Rue de Savoie, in the Left Bank of Paris. She died on 16 July 1997, at 89 years old. She was buried in the Bois-Tardieu cemetery in Clamart. Her experiments with photograms and dark-room photography were only found posthumously.Source: Wikipedia
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