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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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More Great Photographers To Discover

Joseph Rafferty
United States
1976
Joseph Rafferty's projects are his artistic statements. When he was eight, his mother died. She went on vacation to Hawaii, and returned in a coffin. The boy was immediately uprooted from free and love-filled life, and forced to live with a freshly born-again Christian father, who became Joseph's newly self-appointed spiritual leader. An environmental lawyer who didn't ensure the safety of his own child's environment. Joseph's father silenced individuality, demanded polite compliance, and along with his stepmother, kept a still-grieving child tethered to linear thinking, Joseph did not develop the art of verbal expression. He quickly learned to swallow truth and hide pain. Photography became a powerful thread of connection to his emotion and spiritual ideas, laced with the harsh realities of a flawed culture, and the ironies within his family's worldview. Photography was an open window in his prison, giving fresh breath to a starving soul, and it became a pivotal foundation in his metamorphosis. It provided the theatre of the mind with a stage, creating space for growth and transformation beyond the stifling shell that threatened to entomb. Thriving on the sunshine of his bohemian mother's love. Joseph's nonlinear and free imprinting is counterculture's birthplace, San Francisco a land of a thousand languages, a thousand sexualities. This critical period of exposure deep seeded beliefs and values into the young child's subconsciousness he loved to see love. When his mom passed - her fashion colleagues & community sent words of condolences + small gifts of money. During his military enlistment Joseph would return to the photography store his mom frequented. With the small gifts of cash from letters of condolence he purchased large & medium format cameras and tripods. If I purchase cameras she's always with me. In doing so, he channels her instrumental spirit - a spirit guiding him from the pain and anger of his youth, and led to light. Through loving memory of her unconditional support, Joseph's found a peace and purpose in life, grounded in relationships with his partner and their children, mindful of certain pitfalls in our culture, and dedicated to the unedited, true expression of unique experience. Photography has been a life-line of expression during Joseph's stay on earth, feeling most grounded when his ideas materialize to visual imagery. Motivated by a passion for social justice, Joseph lives in a realm of beauty amongst pain. His visual linguistics are sculpted props and drawings, through which his visceral experiences emerge as a visual tapestry. Weaving images that provoke emotion and encourage empathy for others despite differences, Joseph's visuals are moments of "things as they are experienced psychologically, rather than things as they are scientifically" (William Mortensen). His body of work also influenced by early foundational years among the Redwood trees, his service in the United States Military, and his education at Art Center College of Design. Heavily inspired by Arnold Newman's manipulation of existing light, Joseph captures images with all formats of cameras. His photographic subjects begin with an idea explored through sketches further developed through research (literature, current events, locations, and style), and are materialized through intuitively sculpting of props. Each detail becomes a tool in building a landscape of meaning.
Ian Teh
United Kingdom
1971
Ian Teh has published three monographs, Undercurrents (2008), Traces (2011) and Confluence (2014). His work is part of the permanent collection at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) and the Hood Museum in the USA. Selected solo shows include the Jack Shainman Gallery in New York in 2004, Flowers in London in 2011 and the Kunsthal Museum in Rotterdam in 2012. Teh has received several honours, in 2018 he was awarded a travel grant from the Pulitzer Centre for Crisis Reporting and presented his work on climate change at the prestigious 2018 National Geographic Photography Seminar. He is also the recipient of the International Photoreporter Grant 2016 the Abigail Cohen Fellowship in Documentary Photography 2014 and the Emergency Fund 2011 from the Magnum Foundation. In 2013, he was elected by the Open Society Foundations to exhibit in New York at the Moving Walls Exhibition. In 2015, during the COP21 Paris climate talks, large poster images of his work were displayed on the streets of Paris as a collaborative initiative by #Dysturb and Magnum Foundation. He is a co-exhibitor in Coal + Ice, an environmental group show of acclaimed photographers and curated by Susan Meiselas. It was exhibited at the Official Residence of the US Ambassador to France during COP21. Teh’s work has been published internationally in magazines such as National Geographic, The New Yorker, Bloomberg Businessweek and Granta. Since 2013, he has exhibited as well as conducted masterclasses at Obscura Festival of Photography, Malaysia’s foremost photo festival. He is a tutor at Cambodia's Angkor Photo Festival since 2014. Teh is a member of the British agency, Panos Pictures.Source: www.ianteh.com Artist Statement: "Much of my artistic creativity stems from my interests in social, environmental and political issues. I imagine my work as a series of short films made out of stills. They are narratives that are built on moments of time collected over extended periods. Each story is a woven fabric of compositional and colour threads that come together to create a particular ambience intended to both emphasize my perspective on the subject matter and to, hopefully, encourage the viewer to take the narrative beyond the limits of my frame, into a direction that makes the experience of those images more vivid. My photographs have been widely exhibited and featured in several international publications such as, Time, Newsweek, The New Yorker and The Independent Magazine. I was recently awarded the 2011 EF grant from the Magnum Foundation and also received a high commendation for the 2009 Prix Pictet award. In 2001 I was part of the Joop Swart Masterclass. With some friends I founded Deep Sleep Magazine an online publication and recently we founded our own imprint Deep Sleep Editions to have more control of the publishing process. I have published two monographs, Undercurrents (2008) and Traces (2011)."
Violeta Sofia
Violeta Sofia is a photographer, artist and activist whose journey is as rich and diverse as her artistic portfolio. Born in Cameroon and raised in Spain from a young age, Violeta's multicultural upbringing deeply influences her work, which often explores themes of identity, diversity, and human connection. From a tender age, Violeta exhibited a passion for the arts, nurtured by her father, a photography enthusiast. At just eight years old, she picked up her first camera, embarking on a lifelong love affair with photography. Despite facing challenges and discrimination during her school years. Violeta persevered, fuelled by her parents' unwavering support for her creative talents. After studying media studies in university, Violeta found herself drawn back to her first love: photography. Her first photography jobs was freelancing in makeover and model agencies, where she developed model portfolios and gained confidence in posing and communicating with subjects. This experience laid the foundation and the confidence to work with high-profile clients, including celebrities, where she often had mere minutes to establish a connection and capture their essence. As a fine artist and portrait photographer, Violeta has made significant strides in the art world. Her work has been exhibited at prestigious institutions such as the National Portrait Gallery and Christie's, showcasing her ability to blend creativity with a powerful narrative. Additionally, she has graced the covers of renowned publications like Elle Italia, Deadline Hollywood, and The Telegraph, cementing her status as a prominent figure in the industry. In addition to her artistic pursuits, Violeta is also a passionate activist, advocating for female inclusivity and representation in the arts. Through her photography, she seeks to challenge stereotypes and highlight the diverse experiences of women, particularly those of colour. Today, Violeta's work transcends mere portraiture; it serves as a powerful tool for storytelling and self-expression. Through her lens, she seeks to bridge divides and celebrate the beauty of human diversity. Whether she's capturing the vulnerability of a celebrity or the authenticity in her fine art photography, Violeta Sofia continues to inspire and challenge perceptions through her art and activism. Statement: In my artistic journey, whether capturing the essence of a celebrity or exploring the complexities of identity through fine art, I am guided by a profound sense of gratitude for the path I've traveled thus far. My photography is not merely a visual expression, but a conduit for protest to fostering connection and understanding. With my conceptual art, my ultimate goal is to contribute to a more inclusive and equitable society. Through the sharing of untold narratives and diverse viewpoints, I strive to dismantle stereotypes and foster a world grounded in diversity, compassion, and positive change.
Rafał Michalak
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1971
Lives and works in Wroclaw, Poland. He studied political science and public relations. Graduate of Academy of Art and Design in Wroclaw with a Master of Arts (Media Art Department). A member of The Association of Polish Art Photographers (ZPAF). He has been associated with the advertising industry and commercial photography for years. In his everyday work he deals with brand communication issues as well as visual identity development for companies and corporations. At the same time, he is actively engaged in creating his own original photography, thereafter presented in exhibitions and published in trade magazines. Winner of many photographic praises and commendations. Human being as individuality and its place in the so fast altering world are the key factors of Michalak’s photographic research. In his photography he is mostly consumed with transgression understood as a conscious and intentional exceeding of bounds and limits that we impose on ourselves or encounter. At the same time, it provides a way to learn more about the hidden depths and makes it possible to experience reality from different points of view. Transgressive approach has characterised Michalak’s personal style of representation, regardless of used technique and medium, ever since he knowingly engaged in fine-art photography. Transgression determines his personal choices in terms of subjects he approaches, and even more so, the message, i.e. the idea behind a photograph, which he believes to be essential.
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