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Alex Prager
Alex Prager

Alex Prager

Country: United States
Birth: 1979

Alex Prager (b. 1979, Los Angeles; lives and works in Los Angeles) is a photographer and filmmaker who creates elaborately staged scenes that draw inspiration from a wide range of influences and references, including Hollywood cinema, experimental films, popular culture, and street photography. She deliberately casts and stages all of her works, merging past and contemporary sources to create a sense of ambiguity. Her familiar yet uncanny images depict worlds that synthesize fiction and reality and evoke a sense of nostalgia. Prager cultivates the surreal in her photographs and films, creating moments that feel like a fabricated memory or dream. Each photograph captures a moment frozen in time, inviting the viewer to “complete the story” and speculate about its narrative context. Prager's work often makes the viewer aware of the voyeuristic nature of photography and film, establishing the uneasy feeling of intruding upon a potentially private moment. The highly choreographed nature of her photographs and films exposes the way images are constructed and consumed in our media-saturated society.

Solo exhibitions of Prager's work have been organized at Fotografiska, Tallinn (2020); Fotografiska Stockholm (2019); Fondazione Sozzani, Milan, Italy (2019); FOAM Fotografiemuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands (2019); Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow, Russia, (2019); Musée des Beaux-Arts Le Locle, Switzerland (2018); The Photographers' Gallery, London, United Kingdom (2018); Des Moines Art Center, IA (2017-2018); Saint Louis Art Museum, MO (2015); Galerie des Galeries, Paris, France (2015); Goss Michael Foundation, Dallas, TX (2015); National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2014); Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (2013); SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, GA (2013); and the FOAM Photography Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands (2012). Select group exhibitions featuring her work include Telling Tales: Contemporary Narrative Photography, McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, TX (2016-2014); Open Rhapsody, Beirut Exhibition Center, Lebanon (2015); The Noir Effect, Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, CA (2014); No Fashion, Please: Photography Between Gender and Lifestyle, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria (2011); and New Photography, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2010). Her work is in numerous international public and private collections, including the Kunsthaus Zurich, Switzerland; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, Australia; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Prager has received numerous awards, including the FOAM Paul Huf Award (2012), The Vevey International Photography Award (2009), and the London Photographic Award (2006). Her editorial work has been featured in prominent publications, including Vogue, New York Magazine, and W, and her film series Touch of Evil, commissioned by The New York Times Magazine, won a 2012 Emmy award. Her first major public commission, Applause, for Times Square Arts: Midnight Moment, New York, took place in summer 2017.

Source: www.lehmannmaupin.com

 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Jiri Sneider
Czech Republic
1979
Jiří Šneider was born in 1979 and bred in Český Krumlov where my home is. Photography started to fascinate me around the year 1997. I have always been attracted by black & white photography, hence this constitutes of two thirds of my work. I've focused on portrait and travellers documentary. Recently I have developed more thanks to travelling (Ukraine, Bangladesh, Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, Japan...). These destinations brought up many topics and situations of people at home, at work, going out, in streets, at religious rituals... Hard Workers The Gulf of Bengal, with a population of more than 156 million, keeps its economy running on hard human labour every day. Across the age, gender... older children take care of young children and infants, while parents earn money for daily survival, medical care, housing and other daily necessities. In such working conditions where the human body is exposed to dust, polluted water, fumes from machines and cars for a long time. So that families do not have to waste time commuting to work, they live in simple shelters around the shipyard, the port, or directly in the areas where bricks are made and baked, in villages where they also manually model clay bowls and bake them in primitive kilns. Even whole families work on a landfill, where they sort and recycle garbage for sale to make a living. Brave young people travel west to work in Arab countries near the Persian Gulf to make many times more money in services, auxiliary work and gastronomy, which they regularly send to their families in Bangladesh. The Hard workers project introduces you to black and white photographs of workers who work hard every day for a very small wage. For a journalist photographer and documentary filmmaker, this country is rough but full of many friendly people.
Herman Leonard
United States
1923 | † 2010
Herman Leonard was born in 1923 in Allentown, Pennsylvania to Romanian immigrants. At the young age of 9, he first witnessed an image being developed in his brother's darkroom and became enthralled with the magic of photography. As the official photographer for his high school, Herman quickly learned that with a camera in hand, he had an "open sesame" to people and events, that his shyness might have prevented him from experiencing. When it came time for college, Herman chose Ohio University, "The only university at the time that could offer me a degree in Photography." His college studies were interrupted from 1943-1945, as Herman joined the United States Army and was sent to Burma with the 13th Mountain Medical Battalion. He had hoped to be a field photographer, but was ironically assigned as a combat anesthetist when he failed a test, which required him to identify the chemical ingredients of film developer. After the war, Herman returned to college and graduated in 1947 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree. Upon graduation from Ohio University, he took a chance and drove to Ottawa, Canada in hopes of working with a famed portraiture photographer, Yousuf Karsh. Karsh was impressed with his determination and took him on as an apprentice. Herman assisted Karsh in the darkroom and with photographic sittings including, Martha Graham, Harry Truman, and Albert Einstein. Karsh's photographic advice to Leonard, "Tell the truth, but in terms to beauty." During a portrait session with Albert Einstein, Leonard questioned the professor about the connection between a musician and a mathematician. Einstein's response, "Improvisation." Leonard was inspired by these two influential men and applied their credos to his work. In 1948, Herman's passion for jazz brought him to New York City's Greenwich Village, where he set up a small studio at 220 Sullivan Street. He made his way into the swinging clubs of Broadway, 52nd Street and Harlem. With his camera as his free ticket, he offered to shoot publicity stills at the jazz clubs for admission. While shooting at The Royal Roost and Birdland, he quickly developed friendships with the some of the greats of jazz royalty, including Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Lena Horne, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Quincy Jones and many more. His stunning photographs began appearing in Downbeat and Metronome magazines, and on the covers of albums while working for jazz producer Norman Granz. In 1956, he was hired by Marlon Brando as his personal photographer and traveled with him on an extensive research trip throughout the Far East. Upon his return to NYC, he was offered a position at Barclay Records in Paris, France. He continued to photograph the prolific jazz scene, with many of the American jazz artists now living there, he also photographed many French recording artists such as Charles Aznavour, Jacques Brel, Eddy Mitchell and Johnny Hallyday. Paris would be his home for the next 25 years, working from his studio in Paris's Neuilly-sur-Seine neighborhood. He also had a successful career working in advertising, for fashion houses Yves St. Laurent and Dior, as well as many international magazines including Life, Time and early Playboy. In 1980, he left France for a more tranquil life, and moved his family to the Spanish island of Ibiza. During that time he rediscovered his jazz negatives that had been stored in a box under his bed, and in 1985 released his first book, The Eye of Jazz, published by Hachette/Filipachi Publications. In 1988 he moved to London where he had the first exhibition of his jazz photographs at the Special Photographers Company. After rave reviews by the London Times and the BBC, he became an overnight sensation, with 10,000 people coming to the small Notting Hill gallery to view his unseen images. The following year he premiered his first US show, which toured nationally. After living in Europe for over thirty years, he returned to the U.S. In 1992, an exhibit in New Orleans would change his life. He fell in love with the city and moved there to immerse himself in its vibrant and lively jazz scene. He continued to exhibit his work around the world in numerous solo shows. In 1995, Leonard released his second book, Jazz Memories, published by Editions Filipacchi, and in that same year was awarded an "Honorary Masters of Science in Photography" from The Brooks Institute of Photography. Other awards received at this time included the "Milt Hinton Award for Excellence in Jazz Photography," from Jazz Photographer's Association, the "Excellence in Photography Award" from the Jazz Journalists Association, and a "Lifetime Achievement Award" from Downbeat Magazine in 2004. In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed his home and studio when it was flooded with over 8 feet of water. The storm claimed his life's work, some 8,000 silver gelatin photographs that had been hand printed by him, a master printer in his own right. As the storm blew in, Leonard's crew had gathered the negatives and securely placed them in the care of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, where they were stored in an upper level vault. At the age of 82, and with his city in ruins, he decided to move with his family to Los Angeles to reestablish his life and business. In 2006, he released his third book, Jazz, Giants, And Journeys: The Photography of Herman Leonard, published by Scala Publishers, Ltd. In the forward to the book, Quincy Jones wrote, "When people think of jazz, their mental picture is likely one of Herman's." Herman Leonard's photographs, now considered fine art collector's items, are a unique record of the jazz scene in the 1940's, 50's and 60's. Throughout his long life, he traveled and lived around the world, capturing images with his distinctive style. Whether he was photographing Miles Davis, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong or a street musician in his home in New Orleans, Herman's smile, warmth and engaging personality continued to open doors for him and his camera; to reveal a world we might have missed. Certainly Herman Leonard's iconic photographs will long be remembered not only for their enduring historic significance, but also for their breathtaking artistic beauty. They are part of the permanent archives of the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C., where they are considered as essential to American music history as Benny Goodman's clarinet or Louis Armstrong's trumpet. His legacy has continued to be honored with major touring exhibitions of his work including the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles, Jazz at Lincoln Center in NYC, the San Francisco Jazz Center (SFJAZZ), the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, and The Clinton Presidential Center. President Bill Clinton has called Herman Leonard, "The greatest jazz photographer in the history of the genre." In the last years of his life, Herman Leonard's goal was to bring his entire jazz collection, comprising a visual documentation of America's original art form, back to life and preserve it for future generations. Source: hermanleonard.com
Carole Glauber
Israel
1951
Carole Glauber is an internationally exhibiting, award-winning photographer and photo-historian, based in Israel since 2017. She has a B.S.Ed and a M.Ed. and is the author of two books: "Personal History" (Daylight Books) and "Witch of Kodakery: The Photography of Myra Albert Wiggins 1869-1956" (Washington State University Press). Her photographs have been exhibited in the United States and Europe including PH21 Gallery in Budapest, ValidFoto in Barcelona, Festival Pil'Ours in France, and The Center for Fine Art Photography, Blue Sky Gallery, ASmith Gallery, Soho Photo Gallery, the Griffin Museum of Photography, and the Dr. Bernard Heller Museum amongst others in the United States. Her book "Personal History" received a silver medal from the PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris and three gold and bronze medals from the Budapest, Tokyo, and Moscow International Foto Awards. Her photography honors include PX3 Prix de la Photographie, Paris, the International Photography Awards, the Tokyo International Foto Awards, the Julia Margaret Cameron Awards, the Pollux Awards, the Mobile Photography Awards, PHmuseum, and the International Krappy Kamera Competition. She is the recipient of a Peter E. Palmquist Photographic History Research Fellowship, a Winterthur Museum Fellowship, an Oregon Humanities Research Fellowship, and numerous grants for her photographic research. She continues her studies and teaching of History of Photography and making photographs of her experiences and observations based on her curiosity and sense of spontaneity. Statement My book, "Personal History" explores the lives of my sons, Ben and Sam—a span covering 30 years. I used a 1950's Kodak Brownie Hawkeye camera for this work which I tried by chance, and discovered I related to the soft colors, the imperfections, and the transcendent quality of the image. During childhood and adolescence, we first experience the world. Spells are woven, our thoughts wander, curiosity grows, and our memories are sown. Friendships, dream chasing, and absorbing knowledge under the glare of the day can all happen. It is the time to discover by divergent thinking; to create, love, and energize without practical concerns of the day. Travel and seeing the world are fresh. They are like waves lapping on the beach. I invited Ben and Sam to write essays about being photographed by their mother for so many years. In effect, they have the final word. For me, the opportunity to photograph my children is like a calm breeze and now I can run with the memories recorded in the soft imagery of time.
Josef Sudek
Czech Republic
1896 | † 1976
Josef Sudek was a Czech photographer, best known for his photographs of Prague. Sudek was originally a bookbinder. During The First World War he was drafted into the Austro-Hungarian Army in 1915 and served on the Italian Front until he was wounded in the right arm in 1916. Although he had no experience with photography and was one-handed due to his amputation, he was given a camera. After the war he studied photography for two years in Prague under Jaromir Funke. His Army disability pension gave him leeway to make art, and he worked during the 1920s in the romantic Pictorialist style. Always pushing at the boundaries, a local camera club expelled him for arguing about the need to move forwards from 'painterly' photography. Sudek then founded the progressive Czech Photographic Society in 1924. Despite only having one arm, he used large, bulky cameras with the aid of assistants. Sudek's photography is sometimes said to be modernist. But this is only true of a couple of years in the 1930s, during which he undertook commercial photography and thus worked "in the style of the times". Primarily, his personal photography is neo-romantic. Sudek's restored atelier in Prague – Újezd His early work included many series of light falling in the interior of St. Vitus cathederal. During and after World War II Sudek created haunting night-scapes and panoramas of Prague, photographed the wooded landscape of Bohemia, and the window-glass that led to his garden (the famous The Window of My Atelier series). He went on to photograph the crowded interior of his studio (the Labyrinths series). His first Western show was at George Eastman House in 1974 and he published 16 books during his life. Known as the "Poet of Prague", Sudek never married, and was a shy, retiring person. He never appeared at his exhibit openings and few people appear in his photographs. Despite the privations of the war and Communism, he kept a renowned record collection of classical music. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)
Justine Kurland
United States
1969
Justine Kurland was born in Warsaw, New York. She earned her B.F.A. from the School of Visual Arts in 1996. She went on to Yale University and graduated with an M.F.A. in 1998. Kurland first gained public notice with her work in the group show Another Girl, Another Planet (1999), at New York's Van Doren Waxter gallery. The show included her large c-print staged tableau pictures of neo-romantic landscapes inhabited by young adolescent girls, half-sprites, half juvenile delinquents. This was her first exhibition of a photographic interest that lasted from 1997, when she began taking pictures of her mentor Laurie Simmons's babysitter and her friends, to 2002. Altogether, Kurland published 69 pictures of girls in a series called Girl Pictures. The staged photos take place in urban and wilderness settings, with girls depicted as though to imply they are runaways, hopeful and independent. As landscapes, she chose the "secret places" of late childhood; wasteland on the edges of suburbia, "owned" only by a feral nature and unsupervised children. Her book Spirit West (2000) featured similar work on a more ambitious scale. In early 2001 Kurland spent several months in New Zealand, where she created similar work with schoolgirls there. In her show Community, Skyblue (2002), Kurland turned to document the utopian communes of Virginia and California, highlighting the unworldly aspirations of the communards by having them appear naked in her pictures and showing them as only distant figures in their landscape. In 2003 she had European solo shows Golden Dawn (London) and Welcome Home (Vienna), based around these series of commune images. Old Joy (2004) turns to men. She shows visionaries trekking naked into the wilderness, where they undergo spiritual experiences. In her 2004 show Songs of Experience, she explored medieval and Biblical imagery. In 2005 she had a solo show in Japan. After having a son, Kurland began to photograph pregnant women and new mothers (Mama Baby, 2004-2007). Her son's interest in trains would lead her to photograph hobos and trains from 2007 to 2011 (This Train Is Bound for Glory); as he grew up, she became interested in American masculinity, and created photographs of cars and mechanics (Sincere Auto Care, 2014-2015). Kurland's work appears on the cover and liner notes of French electronic/shoegaze group M83's 2004 album Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts, as well as the covers of the EP releases for the album. In an article in ArtForum (April 2000) she talked of her inspirations: "I'm always thinking about painting: nineteenth-century English picturesque landscapes and the utopian ideal, genre paintings, and also Julia Margaret Cameron's photographs. I started going to museums at an early age, but my imagery is equally influenced by illustrations from the fairy tales I read as a child." Selections from her work Highway Kind were published in the book The Open Road: Photography & the American Road Trip by David Campany.
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