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Alex Majoli
Alex Majoli

Alex Majoli

Country: Italy
Birth: 1971

Alex Majoli (b. 1971, Italy) is a photographer whose work has focused on the human condition and the theater within our daily lives. He has received many awards including the Guggenheim Fellowship in 2015, the W. Eugene Smith Grant(2017), the Getty Images Grant For Editorial Photography 2009, and the Infinity Award for Photojournalism in 2003. He has been a member of Magnum Photos since 2001 and is represented by Howard Greenberg Gallery NY.

Source: LensCulture


At the age of 15, Alex Majoli joined the F45 Studio in Ravenna, working alongside Daniele Casadio. While studying at the Art Institute in Ravenna, he joined Grazia Neri Agency and traveled to Yugoslavia to document the conflict. He returned many times over the next few years, covering all major events in Kosovo and Albania.

Majoli graduated from art school in 1991. Three years later, he made an intimate portrayal of the closing of an asylum for the insane on the island of Leros, Greece, a project that became the subject of his first book, Leros.

In 1995 Majoli went to South America for several months, photographing a variety of subjects for his ongoing personal project, Requiem in Samba. He started the project Hotel Marinum in 1998, on life in harbor cities around the world, the final goal of which was to perform a theatrical multimedia show. That same year he began making a series of short films and documentaries.

After becoming a full member of Magnum Photos in 2001, Majoli covered the fall of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, and two years later the invasion of Iraq. He continues to document various conflicts worldwide for Newsweek, The New York Times Magazine, Granta and National Geographic.

Majoli, in collaboration with Thomas Dworzak, Paolo Pellegrin and Ilkka Uimonen, had an extremely successful exhibition and installation Off Broadway in New York in 2004, which traveled to France and Germany. He then became involved in a project for the French Ministry of Culture entitled BPS, or Bio-Position System, about the social transformation of the city of Marseilles. A recently completed project, Libera me, is a reflection on the human condition.

In 2013 Majoli, in collaboration with Pellegrin, completed a massive photographic project in the Congo, which resulted in a his largest book project to date being published with Aperture, in 2015.

Source: Magnum Photos


At the age of fifteen, Alex Majoli joined the F45 photo agency in Ravenna, Italy, and he graduated from the city’s art Institute in 1991. While in art school, Majoli became a member of Grazia Neri Agency and traveled to Yugoslavia to document the ongoing political conflict. In 1995, Majoli published his first book documenting the patients in a mental hospital that was formerly used as a military hospital in Leros, Greece. That same year he traveled to Brazil where he started the project Tudo Bom. In this, he visualizes the darker side of a complex society where daily life is often shaped by hardship and violence. Majoli has been working on this project for twenty years. The series Hotel Marinum that Majoli started in 1998 documents life in harbor cities around the world and was inspired by his life growing up in the port of Ravenna. Majoli has been a member of Magnum Photos since 2001 and has worked on assignments for a variety of publications, including The New York TIME Magazine, Newsweek, The New Yorker, and National Geographic. Majoli has been inspired by the theories of the Sicilian playwright Luigi Pirandello, who believed there is a thin line between theater and real-life and that people take on a role in their daily lives. Over the years, the photographer has examined this philosophy more fully. Majoli does not aspire to document reality. Rather, in his more personal projects, he explores this idea of people as actors in their own lives. In his most recent work, he uses powerful strobe lights to make his subjects aware of the roles they play in the scene that he records. The result is cinematic; the dark surroundings of a scene highlight powerful human emotions.

Source: International Center of Photography


 

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Mary Ellen Mark
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Mary Ellen Mark is an American photographer known for her photojournalism, portraiture, and advertising photography. She has had 16 collections of her work published and has been exhibited at galleries and museums worldwide. She has received numerous accolades, including three Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards and three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. Mary Ellen Mark was born in suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and began photographing with a Box Brownie camera at age nine. She attended Cheltenham High School, where she was head cheerleader and exhibited a knack for painting and drawing. She received a BFA degree in painting and art history from the University of Pennsylvania in 1962, and a Masters Degree in photojournalism from that university's Annenberg School for Communication in 1964. The following year, Mark received a Fulbright Scholarship to photograph in Turkey for a year. 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Khalik Allah (born 1985) is an American filmmaker and photographer. His 2015 documentary film Field Niggas and his 2017 book Souls Against the Concrete depict people who inhabit the notorious Harlem corner of 125th Street and Lexington Avenue in New York City. His film Black Mother (2018) depicts people on the island of Jamaica. "He favours visual portraits of people on the street – filming their faces for several seconds as they pose as if for a still camera." In June 2020 he became a Nominee member of Magnum Photos. Khalik was born in Brookhaven, New York. His mother is Jamaican and his father is Iranian. He grew up in Suffolk, Long Island, New York, but moved between Queens and Harlem throughout his childhood. His parents met at university in Bristol, England. He is a dual Jamaican-American citizen. He started making movies at age 19 with a Hi-8 video camera. 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Ren Hang
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Ren Hang (Chinese: 任航; March 30, 1987 – February 24, 2017) was a Chinese photographer and poet. During Ren's incipient career, he was known mostly for nude photographic portraits of his friends. His work is significant for its representation of Chinese sexuality within a heavily censored society. For these erotic undertones, he was arrested by PRC authorities several times. He received the backing of the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who included Ren in his 2013 Netherlands show, Fuck Off 2 The Sequel, and curated the photographer's 2014 exhibition in Paris, France. Ren's erotic, playful and casual yet provocative expression gained him worldwide fame. Ren was born in 1987, in a suburb of Changchun, Jilin province, in northeastern China. In 2007, in order to relieve the boredom of studying advertising at college, he bought a point-and-shoot camera and began shooting his friends. As a self-taught photographer, he said his style of photography was inspired by the artist Shūji Terayama. 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Ren also focused on marginalised people in Chinese society with gender identity disorders by 'indeterminating' sex and gender in some of his work: a group of naked bodies stacked together, men wearing silk stockings and wearing lipstick. He denied having a preference in models: “Gender… only matters to me when I’m having sex.” The international quarterly photography journal Aperture used his photo as the cover for its Queer theme. Commentators also see his work, the naked body and the starched penis, as evolving sexual mores and the struggle for creative and sexual freedom in a conservative, tightly controlled society. But Ren Hang also announced "I don't try to get a message across, I don't give my works names, I don't date them. I don’t want to instill them with any vocabulary. I don't like to explain my photos or work as a whole". It has been mentioned that Ren's work is softcore pornography because of the degree of nudity and sex in it, but he also worked with other themes. The most famous was titled My Mum. Although still under a fetishistic atmosphere, posing with usual props in Ren's works like animals and plants, Ren's mother posed as a clothed model, in a light-hearted way to represent her daily life. Ren's photographs have been included in magazines L'Officiel, GQ Style, and Vice. He worked with fashion companies Gucci, Rick Owens, and Loewe. Ren's work is included in Frank Ocean's magazine Boys Don't Cry. Ren Hang is noted to be greatly influenced by Chinese and Asian contemporary art and in particular, Japanese photographer and contemporary artist Nobuyoshi Araki. Ren Hang mainly worked with a simple point-and-shoot camera. He would direct the models as to how to place their bodies and shoot in quick succession. Genitalia, breasts and anuses were not covered up, but featured, or accentuated with props and close-ups. Colors were rich and high in contrast, increasing visual impact. This, along with the fact all bodies were slim, lithe and relatively hairless, made the impact of his photographs more impressive. His work communicated a raw, stark aesthetic that countered taboos and celebrated sexuality and it was this contemporary form of poeticism in a visual context in which Ren Hang expressed themes of identity, the body, love, loss and death. Nudity is not a theme in art that can be widely accepted by the Chinese older generation. Ren Hang's works are sometimes misinterpreted by the public as pornography. Although some have written that Ren Hang used his photographs to challenge Chinese cultural norms of shame around nudity, he did not believe he was challenging the stereotype and leading a revolution. For him, nudity and sexuality are natural themes which he used in his work. "Nudes are there since always. We were born nude. So talking about revolution, I don't think there's anything to revolutionize. Unless people are born with clothes on, and I want to take their clothes off, then I think this is a revolution. If it was already like that, then it's not a revolution. I just photographed things on their more natural conditions." He said he was not trying to liberate nudity and sexuality since he believed that the Chinese young generation was open-minded and less affected by the old-fashioned cultures. When Ren Hang talked about the question whether the topic of sexuality was still a taboo in China, he said: "I don't think it's related to our times, these are individual cases. Like how to say it, I think it depends on different people, it doesn't really relate to other things. I was not in the whole parents told you that you can only have sex if you get married era. The time after I grow up was already over that period, it was already different like everyone was already more relaxed."Source: Wikipedia Flesh, corpses, souls and bland flashlights, all composite into seconds or milliseconds of lights and shadows, projecting onto the film that never knows how to lie. Focus gathering and the shutter releasing, connecting his unpretentious, rebellious, wild and free perspectives towards the naked human body. The images look so natural, yet fun and unexpected. One soul after another all blossom like a newborn baby, urging to crawl out of his mother’s womb, dying to be redefined. In this era that we live in, being censored by the Chinese government has almost become a stamp of approval for contemporary artists. Ren Hang, a young man with a mature look and tanned skin, hair as short as a Chinese soldiers’, always carrying an irresistibly cute and innocent smile on his cheeks. He is, perhaps, the sole artist and photographer with the most edgy outlook towards the naked human body. Ren Hang continues to stress the fact that he is “boring“. Especially when asked about those basic questions of his inspirational origins and meanings behind the photos, he always just smiles naively, shakes his shoulders and says, “I don’t really know. I never really thought about it.” Perhaps he is such a paver, heading towards the direction of happiness and creative freedom without realizing the pathways he has left behind. You might find him confusing and puzzling, but he has the ambience of such kindness that you would always trust that no evil can come out from him. He is merely a pure form of naked human beings. Source: ITSLIQUID
Shannon Taggart
United States
Shannon Taggart is an artist and author based in St. Paul, MN. In a past life, she contributed to printed publications including TIME, Newsweek, New York Times Magazine, Discover, New York, Wall Street Journal and Reader’s Digest. Her work has been exhibited internationally and recognized by PDN, Nikon, Magnum Photos + Inge Morath Foundation, American Photography, International Photography Awards and the Alexia Foundation for World Peace. Her first monograph, SÉANCE (Fulgur Press), was published in 2019. Currently, she is working on an illustrated book about The Society for Research on Rapport and Telekinesis (SORRAT), one of the most exotic cases within the history of psychical research.Source: www.shannontaggart.com As a teenager, photographer Shannon Taggart was introduced to the world of spiritualism after a medium told her cousin details about her grandfather’s death that proved to be true. The reading had taken place at the Lily Dale Assembly in New York, the world’s largest spiritualist community. Curious but with reservations, Taggart headed to Lily Dale to delve into the history of spiritualism thinking she would learn what all the tricks of the trade were, but she didn’t end up getting the explanations she thought she would. Instead, she discovered a mysterious world she began to document with her camera. She certainly wasn’t the first photographer to do this, as spiritualism and spiritualist photography have long been connected. Both surfaced in the mid-1800s in Rochester, N.Y.,—home of Kodak. At the time, spiritualists naturally gravitated toward this new technology in hopes of recording what they had been experiencing. One of the most well-known spiritualist portraits of this era purports to show the ghost of President Abraham Lincoln with his hand placed nonchalantly on the shoulder of his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln. When Taggart first began taking photos at Lily Dale, she remained an observer. After the first year, she became involved as a student and a participant while continuing her photography. Although at first she had a hard time understanding spiritualism, Taggart was curious and said she has since experienced numerous mysterious experiences that have helped her tap into her own creative process. One of these inexplicable events occurred during one of her first visits to the Lily Dale Museum. Taggart said that a large purple orb appeared on the shoulder of a woman she was photographing, but she wasn’t shooting into the sun. “When I brought a copy back for her, she calmly said, ‘Oh, that’s Bob,’ her deceased husband. She was thrilled with the picture,” Taggart said. Taggart was also interested in physical mediumship, which claims to involve perceptible manifestations—such as loud raps or voices—and is practiced outside the New York community. While at Lily Dale, she met a medium who suggested she visit England, where, along with other parts of the United Kingdom and Europe, a “new age of physical mediumship” was happening. Taggart said one of the strangest things she witnessed happened during the mediumship of Gordon Garforth, a deep trance and physical medium in Stansted, England. Garforth told Taggart that his hands enlarge during his séances. About 20 minutes into one, Garforth’s wife, who operates as his “spirit control,” said that the spirits were going to work with his hands. While seated under a dim red light, Garforth held out his hand to Taggart. “Unbelievably to me, it seemed to effortlessly stretch, and the entire hand became large, instantly. I gasped and yelled ‘Oh my God!’ ” Taggart remembered. She said that the 30 other people in the room also reacted with amazement; she worried the experience was merely “hypnotic” and that her camera, set to one-second exposures, wouldn’t capture the growth. “The photographs made seem to confirm a distorted large hand … I was able to sit with Gordon on two additional occasions and I saw the same thing,” Taggart said. While some of her experiences struck Taggart as downright supernatural, some of her images were more straightforward, including her photo of bent spoons. It may not come as a surprise to learn the spiritualists bend them with their hands as a sort of symbolic connection to what they believe to be possible. “It is taught as an exercise of the power of the mind, a physical example of our ability to do things that seem impossible,” said Taggart of her most asked-about image.Source: Slate
David Octavius Hill
Scotland
1802 | † 1870
David Octavius Hill was a Scottish painter, photographer and arts activist. He formed Hill & Adamson studio with the engineer and photographer Robert Adamson between 1843 and 1847 to pioneer many aspects of photography in Scotland. Hill was born in 1802 in Perth. His father, a bookseller and publisher, helped to re-establish Perth Academy and David was educated there as were his brothers. When his older brother Alexander joined the publishers Blackwood's in Edinburgh, Hill went there to study at the School of Design. He learned lithography and produced Sketches of Scenery in Perthshire which was published as an album of views. His landscape paintings were shown in the Institution for the Promotion of the Fine Arts in Scotland, and he was among the artists dissatisfied with the Institution who established a separate Scottish Academy in 1829 with the assistance of his close friend Henry Cockburn. A year later Hill took on unpaid secretarial duties. He sought commissions in book illustration, with four sketches being used to illustrate The Glasgow and Garnkirk Railway Prospectus in 1832, and went on to provide illustrations for editions of Walter Scott and Robert Burns. In the 1830s he is listed as living at 24 Queen Street, in Edinburgh's New Town. In 1836 the Royal Scottish Academy began to pay him a salary as secretary, and with this security he married his fiancée Ann Macdonald the following year. After the birth of their daughter, Charlotte Hill, Ann was invalided, and died on 5 October 1841, aged 36, and was buried with her family in Greyfriars Churchyard in Perth. Charlotte Hill went on to marry the author Walter Scott Dalgleish LLD and is buried in Grange Cemetery. During this period he lived at 28 Inverleith Row in Edinburgh's northern suburbs and he continued to produce illustrations and to paint landscapes on commission. Hill was present at the Disruption Assembly in 1843 when over 450 ministers walked out of the Church of Scotland assembly and down to another assembly hall to found the Free Church of Scotland. He decided to record the dramatic scene with the encouragement of his friend Lord Cockburn and another spectator, the physicist Sir David Brewster who suggested using the new invention, photography, to get likenesses of all the ministers present. Brewster was himself experimenting with this technology which only dated back to 1839, and he introduced Hill to another enthusiast, Robert Adamson. Hill and Adamson took a series of photographs of those who had been present and of the setting. The 5 feet (1.5 m) x 11.4 feet (3.5 m) painting was eventually completed in 1866. Hill moved to "Calton Hill Stairs" in 1850. Their collaboration, with Hill providing skill in composition and lighting, and Adamson considerable sensitivity and dexterity in handling the camera, proved extremely successful, and they soon broadened their subject matter. Adamson's studio, "Rock House", on Calton Hill in Edinburgh became the centre of their photographic experiments. Using the calotype process, they produced a wide range of portraits depicting well-known Scottish luminaries of the time, including Hugh Miller, both in the studio and outdoors, often amongst the elaborate tombs in Greyfriars Kirkyard. They photographed local and Fife landscapes and urban scenes, including images of the Scott Monument under construction in Edinburgh. As well as the great and the good, they photographed ordinary working folk, particularly the fishermen of Newhaven, and the fishwives who carried the fish in creels the 3 miles (5 km) uphill to the city of Edinburgh to sell them round the doors, with their cry of "Caller herrin" (fresh herring). They produced several groundbreaking "action" photographs of soldiers and - perhaps their most famous photograph - two priests walking side by side. Their partnership produced around 3,000 prints, but was cut short after only four years due to the ill health and death of Adamson in 1848. The calotypes faded under sunlight, so had to be kept in albums, and though Hill continued the studio for some months, he became less active and abandoned the studio, though he continued to sell prints of the photographs and to use them as an aid for composing paintings. In 1862 he remarried, to the sculptor Amelia Robertson Paton, 20 years his junior, and around that time took up photography again, but the results were more static and less successful than his collaboration with Adamson. He was badly affected by the death of his daughter and his work slowed. In 1866 he finished the Disruption picture which received wide acclaim, though many of the participants had died by then. The photographer F.C. Annan produced fine reduced facsimiles of the painting for sale throughout the Free Church, and a group of subscribers raised £1,200 to buy the painting for the church. In 1869 illness forced him to give up his post as secretary to the RSA, and he died in May 1870. Hill is buried in Dean Cemetery, Edinburgh - one of the finest Victorian cemeteries in Scotland. He is portrayed in a bust sculpted by his second wife, Amelia, who is buried alongside him.Source: Wikipedia
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Exclusive Interview with George Byrne
George Byrne is an acclaimed Australian photographer known for his striking use of color and composition. Byrne's work often captures urban landscapes with a minimalist and abstract aesthetic, transforming ordinary cityscapes into vivid, painterly images. His distinctive style highlights the beauty in everyday scenes, emphasizing geometry, light, and shadow to create visually captivating pieces. Byrne has gained international recognition for his unique approach to photography, blending elements of fine art and documentary to offer a fresh perspective on the urban environment.
Barbara Cole and Wet Collodion Photographs
Cole is best known for her underwater photography, but her other studio practice during the cold months in Toronto is an ongoing series of wet collodion photographs. This heavily analog process from the 19th Century is a years-long endeavor of revitalization and experimentation, offering modern day viewers an understanding of what it took to develop photographs in the early days of its invention. Cole has added her own unique take on the process by adding a layer of color in contrast to the usual sepia tones associated with the genre. The resulting wet plate photographs are tactile and dimensional dances between light and shadow, past and present, depicting women in timeless dreamscapes. We asked her a few questions about this specific project
Exclusive Interview with Michael Joseph
I discovered Michael Joseph's work in 2016, thanks to Ann Jastrab. I was immediately captivated by the power of his beautiful black and white photographs from his series 'Lost and Found.' His haunting portraits of young Travelers have stayed with me ever since.
Exclusive Interview with Debe Arlook
Debe Arlook is an award-winning American artist working in photography. Through color and diverse photographic processes, Arlook’s conceptual work is a response to her surroundings and the larger environment, as she attempts to understand the inner and outer worlds of human relationships. Degrees in filmmaking and psychology inform these views.
Orchestrating Light: Seth Dickerman Talks About his Passion for Photographic Printmaking
Seth Dickerman is a master manipulator of the wide spectrum of light densities that reflect off the surface of a photographic print and enter into our field of vision. His singular intent in making prints is to bring out the best an image has to offer, which means giving an image the ability to hold our attention, to engage us, and to allow us to discover something about an image that is meaningful and significant.
Exclusive Interview with Michel Haddi
Photographer and film director, Michel Haddi has photographed many high-profile celebrities while living in the USA including, Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, David Bowie, Uma Thurman, Francis Ford Coppola, Cameron Diaz, Faye Dunaway, Nicholas Cage, Johnny Depp, Heath Ledger, Angelina Jolie, Janet Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, and many others. He also manages a publishing house, MHS publishing, which publishes his own books. Currently based in London we have asked him a few questions about his life and work
Exclusive Interview with Sebastien Sardi
In 2008, Swedish photographer Sebastian Sardi, inspired by an article exposing hidden mining-related incidents, embarked on a photography journey. Without formal training, he explored mines and ventured to India's Jharkhand state to document coal miners in Dhanbad, known as the "coal capital." His project, "Black Diamond," captured the lives of people, including men, women, and children, dedicated to coal extraction in grueling conditions.
Exclusive Interview with Debra Achen
Monterey-based photographer Debra Achen was born and raised near Pittsburgh, PA, where she developed a passion for both nature and art. She studied a variety of studio arts, including drawing, painting, and printmaking in addition to her training in traditional film and darkroom photography. Her project 'Folding and Mending' won the September 2022 Solo Exhibition. We asked here a few questions about her life and work.
Exclusive Interview with Steve Hoffman
Steve Hoffman is a documentary photographer who has who spent the last dozen years working with and photographing the people that live the housing projects in Coney Island. He was the winner of the July and August 2022 Solo Exhibition. We asked him a few questions about his life and work.
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Solo Exhibition July 2024
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