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Micha Bar-Am
Micha Bar-Am

Micha Bar-Am

Country: Germany
Birth: 1930

Micha Bar-Am is a German-born Israeli journalistic photographer. His images cover every aspect of life in Israel in the past sixty years. Since 1968 he has been a correspondent with Magnum, the photographic cooperative. From 1968 to 1992, he was The New York Times photographic correspondent from Israel. He has published several books of photography, beginning in 1957. His work is held in numerous international museums and institutes throughout the world.

Born in Berlin to a Jewish family, Bar-Am moved with his parents in 1936 to then British Mandate of Palestine. He attended local schools. He was drafted in 1948 and served during the 1947–1949 Palestine war, when he was part of the Palmach Unit. Afterward, he worked several jobs, including as a locksmith and a mounted guard, before becoming a photographer. In 1949 he co-founded the kibbutz Malkia in Galilee. Later he became a member of Kibbutz Gesher HaZiv.

In the early 1940s, Bar-Am started taking pictures of life on a kibbutz; he used borrowed cameras until he bought a Leica. After his military service, he began photographing more seriously.

After publishing his first book, Across Sinai (1957), Bar-Am gained work as a photographic reporter and in the editorial staff of the Israeli Army magazine, Ba-Mahaneh, from 1957 to 1967. In 1961 he covered the Eichmann trial.

In 1967 he covered the Six-Day War, during which time he met Cornell Capa. Many of his war images brought him renown. Since 1968, he has been a correspondent for Magnum Photos. In 1974 he helped Capa found the International Center of Photography in New York City. In 1968, Bar-Am also became the photographic correspondent from Israel for The New York Times, a position he held until 1992. From 1977 to 1992, he was head of the department of photography at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

He continues to work on his photography. He writes about his work:

"I keep my internal eye open for that other, metaphorical image that transcends illustration to achieve a wholeness of its own. I strive for the elusive entity that is both evidence and evocation, public record and personal vision."

He says that he has adopted Robert Capa's saying, "If your photographs aren't good enough, you weren't close enough," but has added a caveat:

"If you're too close you lose perspective. It is not easy to be fair with the facts and keep your own convictions out of the picture. It is almost impossible to be both a participant in the events and their observer, witness, interpreter. The effort brings great frustration, and equally great reward."

Source: Wikipedia


Born in Berlin in 1930, Micha Bar-Am emigrated to Israel (then Palestine) with his parents at age six. During his youth, Bar-Am became active in the pre-state underground and was drafted in 1948. After serving in the war, he helped found the Kibbutz Malkiya in Galilee. Soon after, Bar-Am moved to Kibbutz Gesher-Haziv, where he took his first photographs of archeological digs in the Judean desert. He borrowed his camera from an American member of his kibbutz who teased that though Bar-Am’s photographs were better than his own, they would never be used, as Bar- Am was only a “kibbutz dilettante.” Bar-Am proved this statement wrong; his work was soon published in the Israeli Army magazine Bama Hana. In 1957, he was offered a full time job as a staff photographer for the magazine.

In the following years, Bar-Am continued to document the Israeli army. In 1967, he photographed the Six-Day War, during which he met Cornell Capa. Capa and Bar-Am became friends and he introduced Bar-Am to Magnum, a photographic co-operative where Bar-Am would become an associate. In 1968, Bar-Am began his career as a New York Times correspondent and documented the Israeli Palestinian conflict from Suez to the Golan Heights.

Bar-Am was closely involved with the founding of the International Center of Photography in 1974, working alongside Cornell Capa as a curator. He became the Curator of Photography for the Tel Aviv Art Museum in 1977. He left this position in 1992, and has been working on his own photography ever since.

Though often classified as such, Micha Bar-Am is not merely a photojournalist (an assignation Bar-Am himself refuses). His work represents more than documentation of the action of war. Bar-Am’s photography captures the changed lives and lifestyles of Israeli men and women as a result of the years of conflict. His carefully composed shots contain a thoughtfulness and artfulness often unseen within documentary photography. His work continues to be published and exhibited around the world.

Source: International Center of Photography


 

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John Coplans
United Kingdom
1920 | † 2003
John Rivers Coplans was a British artist, art writer, curator, and museum director. His father was Joseph Moses Coplans, a medical doctor and a man of many scientific and artistic talents. His father left England for Johannesburg while John was an infant. At the age of two, John was brought to his father in South Africa; from 1924-1927 the family was in flux between London and South Africa, settling in a seaside Cape Town suburb until 1930. Despite the instability of his early home life, Coplans developed an enormous admiration for his father, who took him to galleries at weekends and instilled within him a love for exploration, experimentation, and a fascination with the world. In 1937, John Coplans returned to England from South Africa. When eighteen, he was commissioned into the Royal Air Force as an Acting Pilot Officer. Due to his hearing being affected by a rugby match, two years later, he volunteered for the army. His childhood experience living in Africa led to his appointment to the King’s African Rifles in East Africa. He was active as a platoon commander (primarily in Ethiopia) until 1943, after which his unit was deployed to Burma. In 1945 Coplans returned to civilian life and decided to become an artist. After being demobilised, Coplans settled in London, rooming at the Abbey Art Centre; he wanted to become an artist. The British government was giving grants to veterans of the war, and he received one such grant to study art. He tried both Goldsmiths and Chelsea College of the Arts, but found that art school did not suit him. He painted part-time for clients including Cecil Beaton, Basil Deardon whilst running his business John Rivers Limited which specialised in interior decorating. In the mid-1950s, Coplans began attending lectures by Lawrence Alloway at the Institute of Contemporary Arts. Here he was introduced to the budding Pop Art movement, which he would become deeply involved in as both critic and curator. His experience viewing exhibitions such as the Hard-Edged Painting exhibition (ICA, 1959) and New American Painting (The Tate, 1959) helped to solidify his growing passion for not just Pop Art, but American art as well. During this period he struggled as a young artist to find his artistic voice, and developed an abstract painting practice which reflected trends of tachism and Abstract Expressionism pioneered by Americans Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. Coplans would later refer to this early painting work as "derivative"; these paintings were shown in exhibitions at the Royal Society of British Artists (1950) and later at the New Vision Center. In 1960, Coplans sold all of his belongings and moved to the United States, initially settling in San Francisco and taking a position at UC Berkeley as a visiting assistant design professor. Here he met gallerist Phil Leider, the future editor of ArtForum. Leider connected Coplans to John Irwin, who wanted to start a magazine. Coplans convinced Irwin that the West Coast needed an art publication: one that gave voice to art that was important, but had not yet received critical attention. He further suggested that it should be published in square format so that both vertical and horizontal images would be viewed equally, thus giving birth to ArtForum's iconic shape—and to the successful foundation of ArtForum itself. Coplans was a regular writer for the magazine. His perspective on art writing was anti-elitist, using popular appeal and excitement over new work to “stimulate debate and awareness” especially for West Coast artists. Finding himself conflicted between his painting and writing careers, he chose the latter and devoted the next twenty years of his life to the magazine, as well as curatorial pursuits and a career as a museum director. It was not until 1981, at the age of 62, that he returned to his career as an artist.Source: Wikipedia John Coplans had a career in reverse. He was 60 by the time he established himself as a photographer, having already had a long and active life as a curator, editor, writer, artist and decorator. A pioneer of selfportraiture, he took large format black-and-white close-ups of his bare body that sent ripples of shock, recognition and frequent praise through the international art world. A major element in the fascination was an obsession with one of our few remaining taboos: the process of ageing and physical decrepitude. And with the anonymity of identity: in Coplans' words, "To remove all references to my current identity, I leave out my head." The blow-ups of sagging flesh, creased folds, odd protuberances and body hair of an old man become the documentary tale of the decline of Everyman. After a brief spell teaching at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1962 Coplans co-founded Artforum magazine and, for the next two decades, his career was to be as artistically various as it was financially precarious. Artforum was intended to combat the anti-intellectualism Coplans felt he had encountered at Berkeley, and the notion that there was nothing to be said about art, since you either made it or looked at it. His whole background was in stimulating debate and awareness, at a popular rather than an elite level. Inevitably, as he later explained, "The thing was how to get the eastern establishment to read about west coast art". Within five years, the magazine was relocated to Manhattan, with Coplans acting as west coast editor. As a museum curator, he enjoyed similarly shifting fortunes. His first project was a pop art exhibition at the Oakland art museum, and, in 1963, he became director of the university gallery at Irvine, organising an important show by Frank Stella. From 1967 to 1971, he transferred to the Pasadena art museum. Alongside established artists like Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and Donald Judd, he gave Robert Irwin, Richard Serra and James Turrell their first shows. In 1971, Coplans moved to New York to became editor of Artforum, and, in 1975, published his own version of events leading to the bankruptcy and takeover of the Pasadena art museum, “Diary Of A Disaster.” During his seven years at the helm, Artforum increasingly jettisoned the militant formalism with which it had been identified, and became a platform for the catholicity of Coplans' artistic tastes, including19th-century photography and contemporary European abstract art. In 1978, the publisher gave Coplans the choice of buying the magazine or quitting. Not being in a position to do the former, he became director of the Akron art museum in Ohio, where, again, he combined curatorial work with launching a new magazine, appropriately named Dialogue. He also published books on photographers, ranging from Weegee to Brancusi, and started his own photographic experiments. By 1980, Coplans was back in New York, and the following year had his first solo show at the Daniel Wolf Gallery. At last, he had found not only the medium but also the subject of his artistic expression. He called his works auto-portraits, and, created by means of a live-feedback video camera with an automatic shutter, they honed in on the physical landscapes of the body with all the sculptural focus - but without the distortions of the lens - of Bill Brandt's Perspective Of Nudes (1961). This was to become Coplans' constant subject matter. In 1986, he had his first show of self-portraits at the Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York. Sandra Phillips, the long-time photography curator at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, immediately saw the importance of the work. His first major museum exhibition followed at SF MoMA in 1988, and the exhibition traveled on to the Museum of Modern Art in New York that same year. The work was rapidly acquired and shown by the The J. Paul Getty Museum, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Whitney Museum of Art; in 1997 (the same year he remarried), a major retrospective was staged MoMA PS1 Contemporary Art Centre in Queens. He published books of the work, principally the anonymous-sounding A Body, Body Parts and A Self-Portrait, and finally Provocations, which includes his photo-essays and criticism. Coplans has a daughter, Barbara, and a son, Joseph; he has two granddaughters. He was married four times. His fourth wife, photographer Amanda Means, is the Trustee for the John Coplans Trust in Beacon, New York. John Coplans was born June 20, 1920 in London and died on August 21, 2003 in New York.Source: The John Coplans Trust
Aurore Valade
France
1981
Aurore Valade is a French photographer born in 1981. She creates images that play with the iconic register of scenography. In these elaborate stagings, we are often confronted with clichés, meaningful reflections of a social, economic, or cultural situation in contemporary life. In 2008, she won the HSBC Prize for Photography for a series in which she photographs people who perform their own roles, in their interiors. From there, his work evolved into a political approach to the image. In 2015, she was an artist member of the Casa de Velázquez (Académie de France in Madrid), where she initiated research on indignation which gave rise to the Digo yo and Se manifester series, for which she obtained the Photo Folio Prize. Review of the Rencontres d'Arles1 Festival in 2017. Very elaborate, the staging of his photographs can be considered as "significant reflections of a social, economic or cultural situation of our time but also certain values ​​which question the limits of privacy."Source: Wikipedia It has been said that intimacy is connected to the art of talking about life. That art is precisely what Aurore Valade’s project summons. Her starting point is the art of conversation: con-verse means to go with another, to walk along the same road together, and that is what gives rise to the collaboration between the artist and those she photographs. Aurore Valade explores an “intimacy liberated” by the desire to share the voice and listen to other voices of those who recognize that every life is exceptional, for, each time, that life is always the only one that can be lived. Each of these photographs shows a shared space that concentrates and exudes that irreducible, excessive vitality. That is why Aurore Valade wanted to explore the specific space in which there is a constant tension between the intimate and the political, where its liberation is always transgressive and inhabits the very heart of revolt.Source: Arles - Les Rencontres de la Photographie
David LaChapelle
United States
1963
David LaChapelle (born March 11, 1963) is an American commercial photographer, fine-art photographer, music video director, and film director. He is best known for his photography, which often references art history and sometimes conveys social messages. His photographic style has been described as "hyper-real and slyly subversive" and as "kitsch pop surrealism". Once called the Fellini of photography, LaChapelle has worked for international publications and has had his work exhibited in commercial galleries and institutions around the world. David LaChapelle was born in Hartford, Connecticut to Philip and Helga LaChapelle; he has a sister Sonja and a brother Philip. His mother was a refugee from Lithuania who arrived at Ellis Island in the late 1960s. His family lived in Hartford until he was 9. He has said to have loved the public schools in Connecticut and thrived in their art program as a child and teenager, although he struggled with bullying growing up. Then he moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, with his family, where they lived until he was 14, before moving back to Fairfield, Connecticut. He was bullied in his North Carolina school for his sexuality. When he was 15, he ran away from home to become a busboy at Studio 54 in New York City. Eventually, he returned to North Carolina to enroll in the North Carolina School of the Arts. His first photograph was of his mother Helga on a family vacation in Puerto Rico. LaChapelle credits his mother for influencing his art direction in the way she set up scenes for family photos in his youth. LaChapelle was affiliated in the 1980s with 303 Gallery which also exhibited artists such as Doug Ait. After people from Interview magazine saw his work exhibited, LaChapelle was offered work with the magazine. When LaChapelle was 17 years old, he met Andy Warhol, who hired him as a photographer for Interview Magazine. Warhol reportedly told LaChapelle "Do whatever you want. Just make sure everybody looks good." LaChapelle's images subsequently appeared on the covers and pages of magazines such as Details, GQ, i-D, The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, The Face, Vanity Fair, Vogue Italia, and Vogue Paris. LaChapelle's work has been called "meticulously created in a high-gloss, color-popping, hyper-realistic style", and his photos are known to, "crackle with subversive – or at least hilarious – ideas, rude energy and laughter. They are full of juicy life." In 1995 David LaChapelle shot the famous 'kissing sailors' advertisement for Diesel. It was staged at the peace celebration of World War II and became one of the first public advertisements showing a gay or lesbian couple kissing. Much of its controversy was due it being published at the height of the Don't ask, Don't tell debates in United States, which had led to the U.S. Government to bar openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual persons from military service. In a long article published by Frieze in 1996, the advertisement was credited for its "overarching tone of heavy-handed humor and sarcasm". In September 2011 when the Don't ask, Don't tell law was finally removed by President Barack Obama, Renzo Rosso, the founder and president of Diesel, who originally had approved and pushed for the advertisement, said "16 years ago people wouldn't stop complaining about this ad. Now it's finally accepted legally." Themes in LaChapelle's art photography, which he has developed in his Maui home, include salvation, redemption, paradise, and consumerism. It is clear that LaChapelle's moving in this, "new direction highlights his interest and understanding of both contemporary practice and art history". LaChapelle's images "both bizarre and gorgeous have forged a singular style that is unique, original, and perfectly unmistakeable." His photographs have been collected in a number of books. LaChapelle Land (1996) was selected as one of 101 "Seminal Photographic Books of the Twentieth Century" and is "highly valued by collectors". His second book, Hotel LaChapelle (1999), was described as a "garish, sexy, enchanting trip". Heaven to Hell (2006) featured "almost twice as many images as its predecessors", and "is an explosive compilation of new work by the visionary photographer." LaChapelle, Artists and Prostitutes (2006), a limited-edition, signed, numbered book contains 688 pages of photographs taken between 1985 and 2005. Artists and Prostitutes was published by Taschen and includes a photograph of the publisher Benedikt Taschen in a sadomasochism scene.Source: Wikipedia David LaChapelle is a celebrated American photographer and video artist. He is perhaps best known for his commercial fashion portraits of celebrities and models, including photos of Amanda Lepore and Angelina Jolie. LaChapelle’s signature blend of colorful, conceptual imagery bears the influence of both Surrealism and Pop Art. Often humorous or provocative, his use of full or partial nudity in numerous advertisements and editorial shoots prompted Helmut Newton to remark, “A lot of the nudity is just gratuitous. But someone who makes me laugh is David LaChapelle. I think he's very bright, very funny, and good.” An avid consumer of pop culture, LaChapelle is also inspired by the breadth of art history, frequently evoking the compositions or poses of Renaissance paintings. Born on March 11, 1963 in Fairfield, CT, LaChapelle’s early work was noticed by Andy Warhol, who then offered him a job at Interview Magazine in the 1980s. His photographs are included in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Portrait Gallery in London, and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, among others. He currently lives and works in New York, NY.Source: Artnet
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