All about photo.com: photo contests, photography exhibitions, galleries, photographers, books, schools and venues.
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
 

Inspiring Portfolios

Call for Entries
$10,000 Cash Prizes
All About Photo Awards 2023 - Enter Your Best Single Images
 
Stay up-to-date  with call for entries, deadlines and other news about exhibitions, galleries, publications, & special events.

More Great Photographers To Discover

Mike Magers
United States
1976
Michael Magers is a documentary photographer and journalist based in New York City. He is a frequent collaborator with the highly acclaimed team at Roads & Kingdoms and served as the lead photographer on their award-winning books, Rice Noodle Fish and Grape Olive Pig (as well as contributing to the 3rd book in the series Pasta Pane Vino) published by Harper Collins/Anthony Bourdain. His images are exhibited both internationally and in the U.S. and have appeared in a wide range of digital and print publications including TIME, Smithsonian, Vogue Italia, Huck Magazine, Outside, The California Sunday Magazine, CNN's Explore Parts Unknown, Saveur, New York Times - T Magazine (Instagram Takeover), Grantland, Barron's, The Guardian.com, and L'oeil de la Photographie. Michael's work documenting craftsmanship in Japan was named a 2016 Critical Mass Finalist. About Independent Mysteries Independent Mysteries (pub. November 2019) is the first monograph from documentary photographer Michael Magers. In it, Magers exposes the persistent tension between connection and disconnection -- a feeling of "intimate distance" -- he grappled with while traveling to places like Japan, Haiti, and Cuba for various assignments and personal projects. Drawing on nearly a decade of work, each image can be viewed as a film-still, with little context other than light brushes of human contact, fleeting intimacy, solitude and vulnerability. Every one of the grainy, black-and-white photographs in this book carries with it a secret to be discovered and explored. Read More about Independent Mysteries Book
Marco Panzetti
Marco Panzetti (Italy, 1981) is a freelance documentary photographer, multimedia journalist and visual artist. His work focuses on contemporary issues related to social injustice, migration and collective identity. He successfully carried out projects in Europe, Latin America and Asia, frequently in collaboration or on assignment for nonprofit organizations and media outlets. His long-term body of work on the European migrant crisis, 'The Idea of Europe' (2015 – present) received international recognition including an Honorable Mention at the 2017 Lange-Taylor Prize and the first prize in the video category at the 2017 Migration Media Award. 'The Idea of Europe' is a long-term documentary work on the human impact of the European refugee crisis. Fleeing from conflicts, humanitarian crisis and economical distress in their countries of origin, and escaping the slavery practices commonly reported in Libya, since early 2015 more than 10,000 people lost their lives in the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe, and about 3 million people applied for asylum in EU countries. This huge influx highlighted the limits and unfairness of border control policies and asylum systems still anchored to the post-WWII treaties, and caused a major discussion among the public opinion. Can Europe still indulge in considering itself the cradle of human rights? With this question as motivation and common thread, 'The Idea of Europe' follows the migrants' journey from the desperate Mediterranean crossing to the asylum request in Italy. This project encompasses work from 'In Between', a project done in 2016-2017 from a rescue vessel in the Mediterranean to report on the humanitarian tragedy unfolding in international waters, 'We are not going back', a project work done in 2015-2016 from the disembarking port of Lampedusa and at the Italian border town of Ventimiglia where I documented the migrants' encounter with the resurging (physical, ideological and bureaucratic) walls of Europe, and 'Life after Hell', a project done in 2017 from various reception centres across Italy where I portrayed the daily lives of those waiting for a decision on their asylum request, which could take up to two years.
Erwin Olaf
Netherlands
1959
Erwin Olaf (b. 1959) is an internationally exhibiting artist with works in the collections of museums and galleries around the world. Olaf has received numerous highly prestigious commissions and awards. Olaf emerged onto the international art scene when his series ‘Chessmen’ won the Young European Photographer of the Year award in 1988. This was followed by an exhibition at the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, with subsequent solo and group shows at major museums and galleries around the world, including Centro de Arte Contemporaneo de Málaga, Museum of Image and Sound in São Paulo, Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin, SECCA in North Carolina and Santiago Museum of Contemporary Art. In 2018 the Rijksmuseum has accuired 500 key artworks from his fourty-year oeuvre for their collection. This follows recent official portraits for the Dutch royal family and the design of the new Euro coin for King Willem Alexander. Rutger Pontzen, art critic for Dutch newspaper the Volkskrant said, ‘Controversial or not, Erwin Olaf does give a picture of the Netherlands’.. ‘and that makes him distinctive in Dutch photography’.. ‘In other words, his oeuvre belongs to the cultural heritage’. Starting his career as a photojournalist documenting the gay scene of the 1980s, Olaf increasingly sought and defined his own subjects, often explored in series of works in black and white (Squares, Chessmen and Blacks) and colour (Mind of their Own, Rain, Hope, Grief, Dusk, and Dawn). In recent years he has developed his themes through the form of monumental tableaux, for which he adopts the role of director as well as photographer. Olaf is a master of this craft, a virtuoso in the fine and subtle arts of photography and drama suffused with stillness, contemplation and dreamlike mystery. He is also a true picture maker, showing a close affinity with Old Masters and contemporary artists alike, from Rembrandt to Mapplethorpe, and in that sense his work emphatically bridges the gap between historical and contemporary picture-making. Now internationally renowned, Erwin Olaf’s photography remains an essential part of the Netherlands’ cultural heritage. Taco Dibbits, Rijksmuseum director, says, ‘his work is deeply rooted in the visual traditions of Dutch art and history’ and that consequently Olaf is ‘one of the most important photographers of the final quarter of the 20th century’. From progression to decay, notions of transformation are prevalent throughout Olaf’s work with a multitude of projects proving his fascination for society’s ever-changing demands, its simultaneous development and devolution of our moral compass, and its cultivated sense of anticipation for an almost-achievable contentment. These are the preoccupations that add a fascinating dimension to ‘Skin Deep’ and ‘Tamed and Anger’, but also colour the tension in ‘Separation’ which explores the artist’s relationship with his mother, the controversial ‘Royal Blood’, the pressures of ageing in ‘Mature’ and the self-portrait series ‘I Wish, I Am, I Will Be’. All these projects reveal the friction of an imperfect reality hidden beneath a perfectly curated façade. His most recent work sees the conclusion of the three-part project ‘Shifting Metropolises’ [working title] - a series of artworks looking at internationally renowned cities undergoing seismic change in the modern world. Rather than fabricating a controlled studio environment, this trilogy is the only time the artist has shot on location, retaining his characteristic cinematic associations to produce a body of work wrought with the genuine emotions and neuroses of these places and their inhabitants. A bold approach to his work has earned Olaf a number of commissions from institutions including Louis Vuitton, Vogue, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, for which he designed the 2016 ‘Catwalk’ exhibition, including a promotional video and photographic campaign. He has been awarded Photographer of the Year in the International Colour Awards 2006 and Kunstbeeld magazine’s Dutch Artist of the Year 2007 as well as the Netherlands’ prestigious Johannes Vermeer Prize. Additional international awards include the Infinity Award from the International Centre of Photography, the Silver Lion at the Cannes Lions Festival for Advertising, and a Lucie Award from the United States for his whole oeuvre. In 2013 he won the commission to redesign the Dutch Euro coins, which have been in circulation since 2014. Olaf has screened video work at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Museum at FIT in New York, and at Nuit Blanche in Toronto with a live score commissioned for his series ‘Waiting’. He has also projected his 30 channel video installation ‘L’Éveil' onto the Hôtel de Ville for Nuit Blanche in Paris, curated by Jean de Loisy (Director, Palais de Tokyo). In March 2018 the Museu da Imagem e do Som in São Paulo hosted a retrospective of his work. In 2019 Shanghai Center of Photography (SCôP) will host a solo exhibition. The Gemeentemuseum The Hague and The Hague Museum of Photography will host an anniversary solo exhibition for Erwin Olaf his 60th birthday, and to celebrate 40 years of photography. In 2019 there will be a new retrospective monograph released, published by Hannibal, Aperture, Xavier Barral and Prestel. Erwin Olaf (born 1959, Hilversum, the Netherlands) lives and works in Amsterdam. Source: www.erwinolaf.com
Jacob Riis
Denmark/United States
1849 | † 1914
Jacob August Riis was a Danish-American social reformer, "muckraking" journalist, and social documentary photographer. He contributed significantly to the cause of urban reform in America at the turn of the twentieth century. He is known for using his photographic and journalistic talents to help the impoverished in New York City; those impoverished New Yorkers were the subject of most of his prolific writings and photography. He endorsed the implementation of "model tenements" in New York with the help of humanitarian Lawrence Veiller. Additionally, as one of the most famous proponents of the newly practicable casual photography, he is considered one of the fathers of photography due to his very early adoption of flash. While living in New York, Riis experienced poverty and became a police reporter writing about the quality of life in the slums. He attempted to alleviate the bad living conditions of poor people by exposing their living conditions to the middle and upper classes. Riis had for some time been wondering how to show the squalor of which he wrote more vividly than his words could express. He tried sketching but was incompetent at this. Camera lenses of the 1880s were slow as was the emulsion of photographic plates; photography thus did not seem to be of any use for reporting about conditions of life in dark interiors. In early 1887, however, Riis was startled to read that "a way had been discovered to take pictures by flashlight. The darkest corner might be photographed that way." The German innovation, by Adolf Miethe and Johannes Gaedicke, flash powder was a mixture of magnesium with potassium chlorate and some antimony sulfide for added stability; the powder was used in a pistol-like device that fired cartridges. This was the introduction of flash photography. Recognizing the potential of the flash, Riis informed a friend, Dr. John Nagle, chief of the Bureau of Vital Statistics in the City Health Department who was also a keen amateur photographer. Nagle found two more photographer friends, Henry Piffard and Richard Hoe Lawrence, and the four of them began to photograph the slums. Their first report was published in the New York newspaper The Sun on February 12, 1888; it was an unsigned article by Riis which described its author as "an energetic gentleman, who combines in his person, though not in practice, the two dignities of deacon in a Long Island church and a police reporter in New York." The "pictures of Gotham's crime and misery by night and day" are described as "a foundation for a lecture called 'The Other Half: How It Lives and Dies in New York.' to give at church and Sunday school exhibitions, and the like." The article was illustrated by twelve-line drawings based on the photographs. Riis and his photographers were among the first Americans to use flash photography. Pistol lamps were dangerous and looked threatening, and would soon be replaced by another method for which Riis lit magnesium powder on a frying pan. The process involved removing the lens cap, igniting the flash powder, and replacing the lens cap; the time taken to ignite the flash powder sometimes allowed a visible image blurring created by the flash. Riis's first team soon tired of the late hours, and Riis had to find other help. Both his assistants were lazy and one was dishonest, selling plates for which Riis had paid. Riis sued him in court successfully. Nagle suggested that Riis should become self-sufficient, so in January 1888 Riis paid $25 for a 4×5 box camera, plate holders, a tripod and equipment for developing and printing. He took the equipment to the potter's field cemetery on Hart Island to practice, making two exposures. The result was seriously overexposed but successful. For three years, Riis combined his own photographs with others commissioned of professionals, donations by amateurs and purchased lantern slides, all of which formed the basis for his photographic archive. Because of the nighttime work, he was able to photograph the worst elements of the New York slums, the dark streets, tenement apartments, and "stale-beer" dives, and documented the hardships faced by the poor and criminal, especially in the vicinity of notorious Mulberry Street. A particularly important effort by Riis was his exposure of the condition of New York's water supply. His five-column story "Some Things We Drink", in the August 21, 1891, edition of the New York Evening Sun, included six photographs (later lost). Riis wrote: "I took my camera and went up in the watershed photographing my evidence wherever I found it. Populous towns sewered directly into our drinking water. I went to the doctors and asked how many days a vigorous cholera bacillus may live and multiply in running water. About seven, said they. My case was made." The story resulted in the purchase by New York City of areas around the New Croton Reservoir, and may well have saved New Yorkers from an epidemic of cholera. Riis tried hard to have the slums around Five Points demolished and replaced with a park. His writings resulted in the Drexel Committee's investigation of unsafe tenements; this resulted in the Small Park Act of 1887. Riis was not invited to the eventual opening of the park on June 15, 1897, but went all the same, together with Lincoln Steffens. In the last speech, the street cleaning commissioner credited Riis for the park and led the public in giving him three cheers of "Hooray, Jacob Riis!" Other parks also were created, and Riis was popularly credited with them as well.Source: Wikipedia
Peter Sekaer
Denmark
1901 | † 1950
Peter Sekaer was a Danish photographer and artist. Born in Copenhagen, Denmark, Sekaer came to New York in 1918 to seek freedom and opportunity. By 1922 he had a reputation as a master sign painter and had his own successful business producing posters. Several years later he began to take classes at The Art Student's League. Sekaer soon became acquainted with Ben Shahn, who may have been the one to introduce him to photography and who later introduced him to Walker Evans. After 1933, he devoted himself exclusively to photography, studying with Berenice Abbott at the New School for Social Research, and assisting Walker Evans on the project of photographing the Museum of Modern Art's African sculpture collection. In 1936 Sekaer accompanied Evans, who was hired by the Resettlement Administration (RA, later to become the FSA) on a photographic journey throughout the South, often shooting the same subject. Like many of his contemporaries, Sekaer sought to capture the real world with photographs that combined artistic expression with a personal commitment to social change. From 1936 to 1942 Sekaer became a professional photographer and was hired by the federal government agency, the Rural Electrification Administration (REA), and later became the head of the REA's graphic department. In 1938 the REA sent Sekaer to the United States Housing Authority (USHA). The photographs Sekaer made for the USHA, an agency primarily concerned with the removal of city slums and sponsorship of public urban housing, reveal his continued interest in the richness of human experience and environment. Transferred again in 1940 Sekaer photographed Navajo and Pueblo Indians for the Office of Indian Affairs. That same year, he worked as photographic researcher and still photographer for the REA film Power and the Land. After 1942 he continued working for other federal agencies photographing briefly for the Office of War Information (OWI), and the American Red Cross-agencies whose agendas conflicted with his own, and limited his freedom in artistic expression. Continually frustrated by this, Sekaer left Washington, DC for New York where he freelanced for several years, doing fashion and editorial assignments until he died of a heart attack at the age of 49 in 1950. Although Sekaer's photographs were widely published and exhibited during his lifetime, his work largely became forgotten after his death until an exhibition held in 1980 at the Witkin Gallery in New York and later in 1990 at the Royal Library in Copenhagen for which a catalog was published. Many of Sekaer's photographic prints can be seen in the public collection of the Royal Library in Copenhagen. The High Museum of Art in Atlanta acquired a trove of more than seventy rare vintage prints by Sekaer, the largest holding of its kind in any American art museum. Many of these works have never been on public view. From June 2010 until January 2011, the museum staged an exhibition of Sekaer's work titled Signs of Life.Source: Wikipedia
Patrick Morarescu
Statement "Due to the natural dynamic and complexity of the individual, I have always been drawn to portraiture. I photograph persons to whom I feel an initial attraction and try to reflect this force in images. A power that you cannot describe in words or in rational concepts but it captures the attention and creates a strong curiosity, a sort of addiction not only to body shapes, eyes, skin tonalities, but to what is behind: the thoughts and the mental state of that persons. And I feel a sort of instinct of possession, a desire to materialize the moment that this person is living. The human presence, with it’s emotionality, is some times too strong; it is almost insulting, shouting to get all the attention: Like a red dot in the green, like a flash in the darkness. To balance that force I need the background, the space that as a negative form defines the contour of the figure. Through that supplementary space I create a whole story. The key of my research lies in the dialogue between the person and its background; sometimes I think I am not portraying a person with a background, but the background with a person; sometimes it is the opposite. The background speaks about fear, happiness, peace, desperation; it speaks about the circumstances through an atmosphere. There is one basic element that is crucial to bring all the elements together: The light. Like a thread that creates structure and consistence in a tissue; the magical substance of photography. It is a physical condition that contains many extraordinary qualities. The photography is a chemical reaction in which the light is transcripted in a plain surface, creating a code that by the eyes suggest reality; but photography is not reality itself but an abstraction of it. And this is the point that fascinates me; the possibility of recreating the reality through the chemical process." -- Patrick Morarescu
Advertisement
All About Photo Awards 2023
March 2023 Online Solo Exhibition
All About Photo Awards 2023

Latest Interviews

Exclusive Interview with Patrick Cariou
For more than 25 years, French photographer Patrick Cariou has traveled to places around the globe, documenting people living on the fringes of society. Whether photographing surfers, gypsies, Rastafarians or the rude boys of Kingston, Cariou celebrates those who meet the struggles of life with honor, dignity and joy. Bringing together works from his groundbreaking monographs including Surfers, Yes Rasta, Trenchtown Love and Gypsies, Patrick Cariou: Works 1985–2005 (published by Damiani) takes us on a scenic journey around the world, offering an intimate and captivating look at cultures that distance themselves from the blessings and curses of modernity.
Exclusive Interview with Niko J. Kallianiotis
Niko J. Kallianiotis' Athênai in Search of Home (published by Damiani) presents photos taken in and around Athens, the city in which he grew up. The images reflect the artist's eagerness to assimilate back into a home that feels at once foreign and familiar. Throughout the years the city and the surrounding territories have experienced their share of socio-economic struggles and topographic transformations that have altered its identity. The city of Athens in Kallianiotis' photographs is elliptically delineated as a vibrant environment that binds together luxury and social inequality. The photographer depicts a city in which the temporal and the spatial elements often clash with each other while conducting his research for a home that has changed over the years as much as he did.
Exclusive Interview with Ave Pildas
My new book STAR STRUCK focuses on the people and places of Hollywood Boulevard. Soon after I moved to Los Angeles in the '70s, I started shooting there. I was working at Capital Records, just a block and a half away, as a one of four art directors. At lunchtime, we would go out to eat at the Brown Derby, Musso, and Franks, or some other local restaurant, and I got to observe all the activity that was occurring on Hollywood Boulevard. It was amazing and it was fun, even though the location was ''on the turn''.
Exclusive Interview with Elaine Mayes
In The Haight-Ashbury Portraits, 1967-1968 (published by Damiani) during the waning days of the Summer of Love, Elaine Mayes embarked on a set of portraits of youth culture in her neighborhood. Mayes was a young photographer living in San Francisco during the 1960s. She had photographed the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and, later that year the hippie movement had turned from euphoria to harder drugs, and the Haight had become less of a blissed-out haven for young people seeking a better way of life than a halfway house for runaway teens.
Exclusive Interview with Theophilus Donoghue
A new release, Seventy-thirty (published by Damiani) depicts humanity's various faces and expressions, from metropolitans to migrants, unseen homeless to celebrities such as Robert De Niro, Muhammad Ali, Rene Magritte, Janis Joplin, and Andy Warhol. Steve Schapiro photographs early New York skateboarders while Theophilus Donoghue documents current Colombian breakdancers. Alternately profound and playful, father and son's photographs capture a vast range of human emotions and experiences. For this project, Schapiro selected images from the 60s civil rights movement and, with Donoghue, provided photos from today's Black Lives Matter protests and environmental rallies.
Exlusive Interview with Jessica Todd Harper about her Book Here
Like 17th-century Dutch painters who made otherwise ordinary interior scenes appear charged with meaning, Pennsylvania-based photographer Jessica Todd Harper looks for the value in everyday moments. Her third monograph Here (Published by Damiani) makes use of what is right in front of the artist, Harper shows how our unexamined or even seemingly dull surroundings can sometimes be illuminating
Exclusive Interview with Roger Ballen about his Book Boyhood
In Boyhood (published by Damiani) Roger Ballen's photographs and stories leads us across the continents of Europe, Asia and North America in search of boyhood: boyhood as it is lived in the Himalayas of Nepal, the islands of Indonesia, the provinces of China, the streets of America. Each stunning black-and-white photograph-culled from 15,000 images shot during Ballen's four-year quest-depicts the magic of adolescence revealed in their games, their adventures, their dreams, their Mischief. More of an ode than a documentary work, Ballen's first book is as powerful and current today as it was 43 years ago-a stunning series of timeless images that transcend social and cultural particularities.
Exclusive Interview with Kim Watson
A multi-dimensional artist with decades of experience, Kim Watson has written, filmed, and photographed subjects ranging from the iconic entertainers of our time to the ''invisible'' people of marginalized communities. A highly influential director in music videos' early days, Watson has directed Grammy winners, shot in uniquely remote locations, and written across genres that include advertising, feature films for Hollywood studios such as Universal (Honey), MTV Films, and Warner Brothers, and publishers such as Simon & Schuster. His passionate marriage of art and social justice has been a life-long endeavor, and, in 2020, after consulting on Engagement & Impact for ITVS/PBS, Kim returned to the streets to create TRESPASS, documenting the images and stories of LA's unhoused. TRESPASS exhibited at The BAG (Bestor Architecture Gallery) in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, September 17, 2022 – October 11, 2022.
Exclusive Interview with Julia Dean, Founder of the L.A. Project
Julia Dean, Founder of the Los Angeles Center of Photography, and its executive director for twenty-two years, began The L.A. Project in 2021. A native Nebraskan, Julia has long sought to create a special project where love for her adopted L.A., and her passion for documentary photography can be shared on a grander scale.
Call for Entries
All About Photo Awards 2023
Win $10,000 Cash Prizes & International Press