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Andreas Gursky
Andreas Gursky

Andreas Gursky

Country: Germany
Birth: 1955

German photographer. Shortly after Gursky was born, his family relocated to Essen, and then to Düsseldorf, West Germany in 1957. Gursky’s parents ran a commercial photography studio, but Gursky had no plans to join the business. He attended the Folkwangschule in Essen (1978-80) with a concentration in visual communication and the goal of becoming a photojournalist, but was unsuccessful with finding work. Encouraged by fellow photographer Thomas Struth, Gursky entered the prestigious Kunstakademie, Düsseldorf in 1980 and in his second year began studying photography under Bernd and Hilla Becher. Although the Becher’s preferred black and white photography, Gursky only worked in color, and with the help of his friends set up a color darkroom in 1981. By integrating the “systematically objective and rigorously conceptual”* documentary style of the Bechers’ photography with his taste for color, Gursky began to explore the contemporary culture of the world. Gursky had his first exhibition in 1981 featuring his series Pförtnerbilder (1981-5), a collection of works depicting pairs of German security guards. After graduating from the Kunstakademie in 1987, Gursky focused on photographing urban landscapes, both interior and exterior, and began to increase the size of his large format prints. Gursky had his first solo gallery show in 1988, at the Galerie Johnen & Schöttle. A rise of interest in the international art market for photography paired with the growing popularity of the Becher’s circle brought Gursky much commercial success. Gursky began the infamous May Day series (early 1990’s) in reaction to the biggest economic slump of recent history. A combination of the collapsing stock market with the growth of a dynamic drug-addicted rave scene inspired this photographic compilation. During this time, Gursky traveled to a number of international cities such as Tokyo, Los Angeles, Stockholm, Cairo and Hong Kong in order to photograph the masses – busy stock exchanges, manufacturing plants, industrial-looking apartment buildings, crowded arenas and swarming clubs. Gursky was one of the first contemporary photographers to use new digital photo editing techniques on his large format photographs. In 1999, Gursky created 99 Cent, the first in a series of photographs of discount stores, which “was quickly recognized as one of his most important works and placed in major museums around the world.”* Gursky’s retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 2001, which included the work May Day IV, confirmed him as one of the greatest artistic visionaries of his generation.
Source Sotheby’s, London
 

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Patrick Zachmann
Patrick Zachmann (b. 1955) has been a freelance photographer since 1976. He joined Magnum in 1985 and became a member in 1990. Zachmann has dedicated himself to long-term projects on the cultural identity, memory, and immigration of different communities. In 1989, his story on the events of Beijing’s Tiananmen Square was widely published in the international press and his work was awarded the prestigious Prix Niepce. Zachmann’s published books include Enquête d’Identité ou Un Juif à la recherche de sa mémoire (1987) and W. ou L’Œil d’un Long Nez (1995). Zachmann’s directed films include the short film, La Mémoire de Mon Père (My Father’s Memory), and the feature-length films Allers-retour: Journal d’un Photographe (Round trip: diary of a photographer) and Bar Centre des AutocarsSource: The Eye of Photography For more than 40 years, Patrick Zachmann has produced acclaimed, long-term projects that use photography and film to explore themes of memory, identity and immigration. He has documented the Chinese Diaspora, Jewish identity and the plight of migrants in Marseilles, all the while pushing himself to subvert his ‘style’ by working with both analogue and digital, colour and black and white, and using multimedia formats. “I don’t want to repeat myself like many photographers do by developing a special style,” he says of his practice. Zachmann was born in 1955 in Choisy-le-Roi, France and became a freelance photographer in 1976. In 1982 he began an in-depth project on the Naples police and mafia, which resulted in his first monograph, Madonna! (1983), accompanied by a fictional novel inspired by his pictures. Following that he began a seven-year study of Jewish identity in France—finishing with his own family—which resulted in his second book, Enquête d’identité. Un Juif à la Recherche de sa Mémoire / Investigation of Identity. A Jew in Search of his Memory (1987). In 1989, his coverage of the events in Tiananmen Square, Beijing was widely published in the international press. In the same year, he was awarded the prestigious Prix Niépce for his work. To mark the twentieth anniversary of the events on Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989, Zachmann made a web-documentary Generation Tiananmen in 2009, shown on Le Monde, Der Spiegel and Al Jazeera’s websites. He is represented by Magnum Gallery, Clair Gallery (München) and Beaugeste Gallery (Shanghai).Source: Wikipedia
Beverly  Conley
United States
Beverly Conley is a documentary photographer in Benicia, California. She has found true satisfaction in long-term self assigned projects that have focused on individuals and contemporary society. Her quest has allowed her to enter the private world of Gypsies in England, the Cherokee Nation in Northeastern Oklahoma, steelworkers in Weirton, West Virginia and the Cape Verdean Communities in Boston and the Cape Verde Islands. Solo exhibitions include the Fort Smith Regional Art Museum in Arkansas, the Black Arts Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the Museum of Native American History and Culture in Bentonville, Arkansas, the Boston Public Library and the George Meany Center for Labor. Her work has been featured in juried exhibitions and group shows such as the Festival of American Folklife at the Smithsonian Institution and the Cleveland Museum of Art. She is represented in numerous permanent collections including the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Toledo Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Museum of London, the New York Public Library, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Boston Public Library, the Museum of Native American History and Culture in Bentonville, Arkansas and the Cleveland Public Library. Beverly is the recipient of a 2002 Michigan Creative Artist Grant and she has received awards from the Utah Press Association, the International Regional Magazine Association and an excellence award by Black and White Magazine for their 2017 Special Issue. She is a member of the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP). Life in the Ozarks: An Arkansas Portrait My ongoing project began in 2003 with a drive down a rural country road. I had recently moved to Fayetteville and was anxious to explore my new surroundings. The resulting images tell the stories of people, events and everyday life in and around small towns in the rugged Ozark Mountains. They represent different aspects of these communities – young and old, recent immigrants, preachers, cowboys, farmers and those whose families have lived in the Ozarks for generations. I am interested in documenting the vestiges of an older Ozarks. There is a sense of timelessness that I want to convey in my work. I am drawn to the less travelled back roads where catfish are caught bare-handed, folks gather on porches to play bluegrass and subsistence farming is still in existence. Living and photographing in the same place gave me the opportunity to observe the changes of a region in transition. Northwest Arkansas experienced tremendous growth in the last decade with rural communities inching closer and closer to cities. I really imagined this unique Arkansas heritage would be lost. What I have since discovered is the resilience and self- sufficiency of a complex culture that stands with one foot in the present and the other in the past. An individual might have a day job at a Walmart but returns to a hand built home and the traditions of the 'holler' at night. Through these photographs and words it is my intention to preserve and share the richness of this Southern way of life with a broader audience.
James Van Der Zee
United States
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James Van Der Zee was an American photographer best known for his portraits of black New Yorkers. He was a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Aside from the artistic merits of his work, Van Der Zee produced the most comprehensive documentation of the period. Among his most famous subjects during this time were Marcus Garvey, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson and Countee Cullen. Born in Lenox, Massachusetts, Van Der Zee demonstrated an early gift for music and was initially aspired to a career as a professional violinist. Van Der Zee's second interest was in photography. He bought his first camera when he was a teenager, and improvised a darkroom in his parents' home. He took hundreds of photographs of his family as well as his hometown of Lenox. Van Der Zee was one of the first people to provide early documentation of his community life in small-town New England. In 1906, he moved with his father and brother to Harlem in New York City, where he worked as a waiter and elevator operator. By now Van Der Zee was a skilled pianist and aspiring professional violinist. He would become the primary creator and one of the five performers in a group known as the Harlem Orchestra. In March 1907, Van Der Zee married Kate L. Brown and they moved back to Lenox to have their daughter, Rachel, born in September. Soon after, they moved to Phoebus, Virginia. In 1908, their son, Emile, was born but died within a year from pneumonia. In 1915, he moved to Newark, New Jersey, where he took a job in a portrait studio, first as a darkroom assistant and then as a portraitist. That same year, he converted to Catholicism and began taking assignments from the Church. He returned to Harlem the following year, just as large numbers of Black immigrants and migrants were arriving in that part of the city. He set up a studio at the Toussaint Conservatory of Art and Music with his sister, Jennie Louise Van de Zee, also known as Madame E Toussaint, who had founded the conservatory in 1911. In 1916, Van Der Zee and Gaynella Greenlee launched the Guarantee Photo Studio on West 125th Street in Harlem. They married in 1918. His business boomed during World War I, and the portraits he shot from this period until 1945 have demanded the majority of critical attention. In 1919, he photographed the victory parade of the returning 369th Infantry Regiment, a predominantly African American unit sometimes called the "Harlem Hellfighters." During the 1920s and 1930s, he produced hundreds of photographs recording Harlem's growing middle class. Its residents entrusted the visual documentation of their weddings, funerals, celebrities and sports stars, and social life to his carefully composed images. Quickly Van Der Zee became the most successful photographer in Harlem. Among his many renowned subjects were poet Countee Cullen, dancer Bill ("Bojangles") Robinson, Charles M. "Daddy" Grace, Joe Louis, Florence Mills, and black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey. By the early 1930s, Van Der Zee found it harder to make an income from his work in photography, partly because of the strained economic circumstances of many of his customers and partly because the growing popularity of personal cameras reduced the need for professional photography. Van Der Zee worked predominantly in the studio and used a variety of props, including architectural elements, backdrops, and costumes, to achieve stylized tableaux vivant in keeping with late Victorian and Edwardian visual traditions. Sitters often copied celebrities of the 1920s and 1930s in their poses and expressions, and he retouched negatives and prints heavily to achieve an aura of glamour. He also created funeral photographs between the wars. These works were later collected in The Harlem Book of the Dead (1978), with a foreword by Toni Morrison. In 1982, at age 96, Van Der Zee photographed 21-year-old painter Jean-Michel Basquiat for the January 1983 issue of Interview magazine. Van Der Zee died in Washington, D.C. on May 15, 1983. Ten years later the National Portrait Gallery exhibited his work as a posthumous tribute. In 1984 Van Der Zee was inducted into the International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum. It’s a hard job to get the camera to see it like you see it. Sometimes you have it just the way you want it, and then you look in the camera and you don’t have the balance. The main thing is to get the camera to see it the way you see it. -- James Van Der Zee Works by Van Der Zee are artistic as well as technically proficient. His work was in high demand, in part due to his experimentation and skill in double exposures and in retouching negatives of children. One theme that recurs in his photographs was the emergent black middle class, which he captured using traditional techniques in often idealistic images. Negatives were retouched to show glamor and an aura of perfection. 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Jean-François Jonvelle, born on October 3, 1943, in Cavaillon was a French photographer of fashion, glamor and portraiture. Work on the release of 20 ans magazine and then work on Dim, Dam, Dom, Vogue, Stern, Gala, Elle. In the 1960s, Jonvelle was assistant to Richard Avedon. During his career, he made many portraits of women, often his friends: natural young people, often naked, unconcerned. Unlike other fashion and glamor photographers, who offer a provocative woman, Jean-François Jonvelle's performance is much softer, more natural, more jovial but equally sensual. He died at the age of 58 years of terminal cancer, 15 days after it was detected on January 16, 2002, in Paris.Source: Wikipedia Jean-François Jonvelle was snatched by the hand of death with a suddenness to match the photographs that were his life. Just as that life was dedicated to capturing these stolen moments, so death followed suit, carrying him off in the midst of life. A tumor was discovered in early January, a final farewell just a fortnight later. He was gone in a flash. As I turn the pages of my friend’s last book my eyes mist over. My tears dissolve Jonvelle’s photographs into the soft focus of a David Hamilton. Jonvelle’s work is often described as being – in the time-honored formula – ‘sexy but not vulgar’. I prefer his own description of what he sought out: ‘la poésie du quotidien’, ‘the poetry of the everyday’. Photographs freeze moments of truth, all you have to do is choose the ones that do it best. "I tell myself that the present and the future don’t exist", he also used to say. "Everyone, every day, creates their own past." The quality that makes his images more moving than the rest is their vulnerability. Jonvelle taught me one crucial lesson: in photography, as in literature, what counts is feeling. Eroticism and tenderness are not sworn enemies. A downy arm, the frail nape of a neck, an uptilted breast, the curve of a back beneath the sheets, damp hair, closed eyelids, the trace of a kiss on the neck all these can be arousing. Jonvelle’s women are fresh and natural because they are unaware of our gaze. Jonvelle makes adoring voyeurs of us all. He shows us why heterosexuality can be so painful: everywhere, in every house and every bathroom, paradise lurks. Paradise delicately removes her T-shirt, brushes her teeth, buttocks pert, the curve of her breasts taut, timeless. Suddenly paradise parts her legs in silence, biting her fingernails as she looks you straight in the eye, teasing you as she waits for you on the sheets. Jonvelle is in paradise now, but for him nothing has changed: he was already there in his lifetime. As I gaze in wonder, the way I always do, at these images, so far removed from the familiar clichés, my thoughts turn to the beautiful women he immortalized. Photographs fix the fleeting, immortalize the ephemeral. Many of the women Jonvelle photographed are now old or dead, but – thanks to this photographer who is now also dead – their perfection will never fade. Every one of Jonvelle’s photographs is a declaration of love. One day, at my request, he photographed Delphine Vallette, the mother of my daughter. I wanted to give this brunette whom I loved a portrait. Never have I felt such a cuckold – though in the most erotic of ways. Beauty is an evanescent mystery that some artists have the ability to capture. As I look again at these wonderful images, I’m reminded of the title of that American comedy Drop Dead Gorgeous. Jonvelle’s work as a whole is not an ode to femininity; the story it tells is of the battle to vanquish death by means of the celebration of desire. All these shoulders caught by surprise, these half-seen breasts, these finely- arched insteps, these flawless backs, this sensual solitude, this calm between two storms, all these beautiful women who don’t give a damn are simply doors softly opened, through which we may catch a glimpse of eternal life. -- Frédéric Beigbeder Jean-François Jonvelle was born in 1943 in Cavaillon, south of France. Soon he will sell famous melons to buy Hasselblad. Its inspirations will come from the painting of Balthus, Bacon, of Schiele, but the true influence comes from films from Mankiewicz, Lubitsch, Fritz Lang, Orson Welles, Arthur PEN, Minnelli and more recently of Terry Gillian of which it acknowledges to have seen eleven times the film Brazil; Finally its preferred film: Jules and Jim of François Truffaut. In 1959, it is the photographer George Glasberg who initiates him with photography while making him make the turn of France of the cathedrals. It is a photographic revelation which will leave it never again. At the age of 20 he becomes the assistant of the American photographer Richard Avedon. After this enriching experiment he becomes his own 'Master' whose favorite subject will be the woman. Her mom and her small sister of whom he always was very near will be her 'first agreeing victims'. Then come the first 'muse' and accomplice, Tina Sportolaro whom he meets in 1982 and with which he carries out some of his more beautiful images. Will be then Béatrice, Myriam and many others.Source: The Eye of Photography
Stefano Galli
Italy
1981
Stefano Galli is an Italian photographer born in 1981. After graduating at the University of Turin, with a BA in cinema, he moved to Copenhagen, Denmark, where he worked with director Lars Von Trier. During these years he attended Fatamorgana, The Danish School of Art & Documentary Photography. Fascinated with traveling and the discovery of new environments, Galli is currently working on a new series that belong to a trilogy started with 'Cars' and followed by '80 Skies'. He recently terminated a non-narrative documentary-film, based on the stories of random people met along a journey through the USA. Galli exclusively works on a traditional analog way, both in his motion and still project. Currently based in Los Angeles. About '80 skies'Gazes at the sky. The beauty and power of pure light entering the camera. A project that recalls Claude Monet’s study of the influence of light on objects. Stefano Galli brings his own light studies to the extreme, focusing on the sky and its myriad variations. In “80 SKIES”, the protagonists of Galli’s frames are airplanes or - better said - the small shapes that fly over our heads daily. Because of their height in the sky and the sunlight by which they are surrounded, the shapes Galli captures become something entirely different than just giant devices that move hundreds of human beings. In many cases, the planes are insignificant elements when compared to the magnificence of the heavens. In fact, the eye of the viewer becomes lost in the contemplation of the colors, in the totality of the photographs; looking at these images, the impression of hearing the deafening noise or the usual imagery of the airplane is not perceived. Fascinated by movement and travel, Stefano Galli dedicates this project to the aircraft for the purpose of studying the sky. The result is a creative pictorial but also a tiring study that begins in the early hours of dawn and ends with the fall of the sun. Pushing 35mm negatives to the extreme through a 90mm lens, he lets the film be flooded by the infinite heavenly hue, the changing colors of the horizon sometimes grayish, or yellow and pink, the broad spectrum of colors that characterize the sky. The intensity of the light seems to struggle with the film speed, so the photographs are characterized by a thick grain that gives the picture a three-dimensional effect, as if it had been given a brushstroke.A photographic project that shows the endless variations of the light system in which we live. About 'Cars': Stefano Galli’s work documents his journey of crossing deserts, through forgotten villages, on remote and empty roads. In ‘Cars’ , geography is just as important as photography even if in his shots - distinctive sharp cuts - he leads away from the dusty streets and daily life. Galli conducts the imagination to an elsewhere where lines play with material and shape, where the tail lights and fenders are transformed into surreal and alien beings. Yet ‘Cars’ goes far beyond a mere figurative research, the work is conducted with rigor and awareness, typical of a geographer or an archivist. In fact, Stefano meticulously notates the physical location of the intersection shown in each photograph. Therefore, the project goes beyond the cult of the American car. Through this adventure, Galli tracks and defines - snap after snap - a cognitive path of the new continent. So there is an aspect that links these works to a deep investigation of American society and to aspects of decay and yet, mixed with a splendor that still dazzles. The essence of his idea lies not only in the aesthetics of the work, but also in his decision to show the layers of dust on the cars, the broken headlights and swollen wheels. In this series, a fascination with America remains. A fascination with all its vastness and complexity, which attracts and disturbs at the same time. Discover Stefano Galli's Interview
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