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Ray K. Metzker
Ray K. Metzker

Ray K. Metzker

Country: United States
Birth: 1931 | Death: 2014

Ray K. Metzker (10 September 1931 – 9 October 2014) was an American photographer known chiefly for his bold, experimental B&W cityscapes and for his large "composites", assemblages of printed film strips and single frames. His work is held in various major public collections and is the subject of eight monographs. He received awards from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts and Royal Photographic Society.

Metzker was born in Milwaukee and lived in Philadelphia from the 1960s until his death. He was married to the photographer Ruth Thorne-Thomsen. He was a student of Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind at the Institute of Design in Chicago. He taught for many years at the Philadelphia College of Art and also taught at the University of New Mexico.

After graduate studies at the Institute of Design in Chicago, Metzker travelled extensively throughout Europe in 1960-61, where he had two epiphanies: that "light" would be his primary subject, and that he would seek synthesis and complexity over simplicity. Metzker often said the artist begins his explorations by embracing what he doesn't know.

Source: Wikipedia


After a career that spanned five decades and saw him pioneer a new and singular visual idiom, Ray K. Metzker has been recognized as one of the great masters of American photography. Characterized by composites, multiple-exposures, solarization, the superimposition of negatives, and the juxtaposition of images, Metzker’s work pushed the boundaries of what seemed formally possible in black and white photography.

Metzker enrolled at the Institute of Design, Chicago in 1956, a school which at that time was being referred to as the New Bauhaus, where he studied with fellow modernist photographers Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind. After obtaining a master’s degree from the Institute in 1959, Metzker’s work began to garner increasing attention and critical regard, first and foremost from Edward Steichen, who, at that time, was the curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Metzker’s first solo show would happen at the Museum of Modern Art in 1967.

Retrospectives of his work were organized in 1978 by the International Center of Photography in New York and in 1984 by the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, a show which then traveled to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, the International Museum of Photography, Rochester, and the National Museum of American Art, Washington, DC. In 2011 a major career retrospective of Metzker’s work was organized by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, which traveled to the The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the Henry Art Museum in Seattle.

Ray K. Metzker died in October of 2014, at 83 years of age, in the city of Philadelphia.

Source: Howard Greenberg Gallery


Metzker has dedicated his career to exploring the formal potentials of black-and-white photography, but they are not his exclusive concern. "When you look at the multiples, you are aware of patterning and so forth," he says, "but there is still identifiable subject matter; frequently there are people there; there is a rhythm to those people." Metzker's 1959 thesis project, My Camera and I in the Loop, takes downtown Chicago as its subject, but renders it in experiments that tell more about photography than they do about the city. The pictures from this project were exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago (1959-1960), and included in the issue of Aperture devoted to the students and professors of the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago (1961).

Ray Metzker's images question the nature of the photograph and photographic "reality." Through cropping, multiple imagery, and other formal inventions, his work explores options for transforming the vocabulary of the photograph. Untitled from 1969 illustrates the simple method of manipulating objective information through juxtaposition: two distinct women on the beach enter into a yin-yang relationship of line and gesture. The photograph is part of a series of pictures made from 1968 to 1975 of beach-goers in New Jersey. "The more fashion conscious probably go to other beaches, but what Atlantic City has – and what attracted me to it – is diversity," Metzker said. Of the content of the pictures and his working method, Metzker added, "What appears in the pictures was the subject's decision, not mine. I took what they presented – delicate moments – unadorned and unglamorous, yet tender and exquisite." Metzker used a 1975 National Endowment for the Arts fellowship to pull the series together as Sand Creatures, later published as a book in 1979. There are no diptychs in the book, though the woman in sunglasses at the bottom of Untitled (1969) is included as a solo picture.

In a July 1992 letter, Metzker wrote the following about two untitled Sand Creatures pictures from 1969: "The photograph of the double image is from the series entitled Couplets and predates the single image by a number of years. Both pictures were made at beaches along the New Jersey coast: the couplet at Atlantic City, the single frame at Cape May. With both, my camera was an Olympus half-frame, a small amateurish piece of equipment that let me move about freely. The choice of the camera was essential to the development of the series."

Source: Museum of Contemporary Photography


 

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Sid Avery
United States
1918 | † 2002
Sid Avery (October 12, 1918 – July 1, 2002) was an American photographer and director who was best known for capturing the private moments of legendary Hollywood celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean, Marlon Brando, Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn as showcased in his book Hollywood at Home. Avery was born in Akron, Ohio on October 12, 1918. He was only nine months old when they decided to move out to Los Angeles, California, which is where he grew up. Sid Avery received his high school education at the institution of Roosevelt High School. He discovered his love and talent of photography when he was young due to the fact that he was able to work with his uncle, Max Tatch, who was a landscape and architectural photographer. His uncle was able to teach him the skills required to use cameras, film, and darkrooms. After he graduated from high school, Sid Avery worked in a camera store on Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood where he further gained love and inspiration for photography. While working in the shop, he had opportunities to meet many famous photographers. This also encouraged him to take more photography classes. He also gained the experience of being a darkroom assistant. He served in the Army in World War II. When he returned from the war, he began his work of photographing celebrities. Sid Avery eventually became one of the top advertising photographers in Los Angeles. He was also a director of television commercials. Sid Avery was married to Diana Avery. Together they had three children named Sandra Guttman, Marc Avery, and Ron Avery. Sid Avery also had three grandchildren. He founded the Hollywood Photographer's Archive (HPA) and which is known today as mptvimages.com in an effort to preserve the work of the early Hollywood photographers. Sid Avery's work was commonly featured in publications such as Life, Look, Colliers and The Saturday Evening Post. There is a collection of his work, Hollywood at Home: A Family Album 1950-1965, that was published by Crown in the year of 1990. He is most famous for his work of photography that captured the home life of famous celebrities at the time. He captured the celebrities in their own element aside from the glamour of fame. Sid Avery died at the age of 83 on July 1, 2002, in Los Angeles, California.Source: Wikipedia One of six children, Sid Avery was born in 1918 in Ohio and moved to Los Angeles at a young age. Avery repaired a broken brownie box camera that he had found, and with the tutelage of his architectural photographer uncle he began to learn the basics of the photographic profession. By the time he entered Roosevelt High School, Avery’s talent in photography won him numerous prizes and after graduation he landed a job at Morgan’s Camera store on Sunset Boulevard. Avery was pursuing various odd photography jobs when World War II intervened. He was drafted into the Army, assigned to the Signal Corps, and selected to receive six months of training at Life magazine in New York before being sent overseas. Avery was stationed in London and was placed in charge of the Army Pictorial Service Laboratory, where all the stills and combat footage that came out of the European Theater of Operations passed through his hands. This included the detailed, highly classified photomontages of the French coast which were produced for the Normandy invasion. In order to handle this special material, Avery was granted an immediate commission by General Eisenhower himself. Photojournalism publications proliferated during the post-war years, and interest in film stars and their private lives grew to an all time high. During the 1950’s and early 1960’s, Avery photographed screen legends such as Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Clark Gable, James Dean, Marlon Brando, James Stewart, and Alfred Hitchcock. His photographic essays appeared in the pages of The Saturday Evening Post, Look, Photoplay, Collier’s, Reader’s Digest, and many others. Avery’s characteristically low key, unobtrusive manner struck a sympathetic chord with reclusive and difficult personalities like Humphrey Bogart, who generally refused to be photographed. Bogart would eventually allow himself to be photographed by Avery with his pregnant wife Lauren Bacall and his son Stephen at their home. Sid Avery photographs have been exhibited and have been included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and San Francisco, the International Center of Photography in New York, the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in California.Source: Wikipedia
Nicola Ducati
Italy
1973
My name is Nicola Ducati I am an Italian photographer, travel and portrait photography is my expressive medium. With my pictures I want to tell stories that create empathy between the viewer and the subject with elegance and authenticity. I was born in a small town among the Italian Alps. I have always lived in a beautiful place that has made me grow and appreciate nature, animals, quiet places and respect for what surrounds us, I think this way of living in the countryside has greatly influenced my photographic sensitivity. I approached the world of photography by chance. As a child, I used to play with an old camera found who knows where, a shabby but fascinating object that soon became a passion. Later, my curiosity led me to experiment with many different genres, from the first landscape, travel photography, and finally the travel portrait. Today I especially like photography, which tells stories but also lets you imagine them, which excites and suggests reflections. A narrating photography. What I like I photograph only what I like and what fascinates me, I am a curious person and i try to find what in the world unites us not what divides us, I mean that I try to bring out those traits of humanity that make us all connected. An exercise to accept with empathy the entropy of our world. My photography is not conceptual, it represents what I see, what I feel important, what excites me or moves me. I love when the emotion and the story hidden inside a picture reaches the observer. I entrust my work and aesthetics photography to the task of telling and giving the observer inspiration and sense of belonging. Photography that responds to this, is a successful one.
Zaharia Cusnir
Moldova
1912 | † 1993
Zaharia Cuşnir (1912-1993) was an amateur photographer born in Rosietici village, Floresti region, Moldova. He was photographing people within 1955-1973, and left a collection of negative films 6x6 cm, from which 3751 were discovered in his abandoned house in 2016. The photographs portray groups, landscapes, scenes from everyday life: work in the kolkhoz, weddings, funerals, national celebrations. Life Zaharia Cuşnir was born as the last child in the family of 16 children in Rosietici village, Soroca district. His father was a Moldovan businessman (born 1870), and his mother was of German origins (born in approx. 1870). Zaharia was born in Bessarabia, at that time part of the Russian Empire, educated in Romania (Iasi city), and after WW-II, became a USSR citizen. He went to school to the neighbouring Rogojeni village and later attended the pedagogical lyceum in Iasi, Romania. He began teaching in Rogojeni, then though he worked in kolhoz, performing works as carrying stones, digging the frozen ground, carrying loam, destroying fences, herding cows. Villagers also remember him as a blacksmith. He also built a family of 4 children with his wife, Daria. Zaharia learned photography from his nephew, who returned from the army. The nephew was living in another village, so they decided to split the territory for the photographic activities. So, Zaharia stayed responsible for the surrounding villages: Caşunca, Rogojeni, Țâra, Ghindeşti, Roşietici, and Cenuşa. The first pictures were taken in 1955. Zaharia was photographing mainly portraits of neighbours and then he was selling the photos. He had a bicycle, which he was usually lending to people for a photograph, as well he had a black blanket, which he was using as a background when he was taking portraits. Up to 1973, he had taken around 4000 pictures of the medium format 6x6 cm. In 1993, after he died, the house was abandoned and the pictures were stocked in a suitcase and placed in the attic. Discovery In spring 2016, Victor Galuşca, being a student at the Academy of Arts in Chisinau, Moldova, arrived in Rosietici village to film his documentary film for the bachelor's degree exam. He entered the abandoned house and found several negative films scattered through the trash all around the floor. Victor inquired from the villagers whose house was it and found the daughter of Zaharia Cusnir, living in the neighbourhood. With her permission, within several days, he picked all of them, and together with his photography professor, Nicolae Pojoga started the cleaning and indexing process of the archive. Among all, there were found old documents, among which was an edited request for admission to the school, adjusted to a stilted language used at the time. There was also found a table of exercises written in Russian Cyrillic script, as well as elementary calculus tests designed for primary school. Other documents and archival remnants reveal a struggle between life and death for the majority of the population; these include bread allowances and checks listing debts. Further Development The archive has a high resonance and was appreciated within several exhibitions: at the Museum of Art of Moldova (curated by Cervinscaia Nadejda) and the Romanian Peasant Museum in Romania in 2018, and at the Ethnographic Museum of Transilvania, the Subway Gallery of the House of Arts in Timisoara, Romania and at the Museum of Ethnography and Folklore MARAMUREş from Baia Mare, Romania in 2019. In 2017 a Moldovan Publishing house Cartier published a photo album "Lumea lui Zaharia" ("Zaharia's World"). At the beginning of 2020, was launched the website and facebook page, aiming to give open access to the usage of the Zaharia Cusnir archive. The team is working on few coming exhibitions in Europe in 2020.
Billy & Hells
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Wiktoria Wojciechowska
Born 1991, Lublin, Poland, Wiktoria Wojciechowska lives and works in Lublin and Paris. Graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Poland, Wiktoria was the 2015 winner of the Oskar Barnack Leica Newcomer Award for Short Flashes, portraits of drenched cyclists captured on the streets of Chinese’s metropolis. Between 2014 and 2016 she worked on the series Sparks, a portrait of a contemporary war based on the stories of people living in the Ukrainian conflict. This series received several awards, such Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie New Discovery award’s public prize, Madame Figaro prize and the Prix pour la Photographie, Fondation des Treilles. Labirinto (2017-2019) Labirinto explores the architecture seen as a vector for an ideology, spreading in the inhabitants' thoughts. Architecture stays longer than its creators and might still smuggle fundamental ideas and atmosphere of passed days. Labirinto project is a starting point to discuss how the architecture influence inhabitants and if a city, structured as a symbol of fascist ideology, can become a dwelling for strangers. Wiktoria Wojciechowska works in the area of Agro Pontino in Italy: formerly marshes, which were, throughout centuries, a challenge for the authorities. The Romans, Popes and Napoleon have all tried to drain, recultivate it and build new settlements. The one who achieve the goal was Benito Mussolini, with the help of the hard work of World War I combatants. At the beginning of the '30s, the project of the foundation of the New Cities (Città nuove) started. The best Italian architects of these times were involved to draw the net of streets on the Pontine plain as on a blank page. They were to arrange the monuments and neighborhood buildings - following the current of rationalist architecture, adopted by the fascist as the official style of the ideology - of five cities: Littoria, Pontinia, Sabaudia, Aprilia and Pomezia. Designed in the model of "the rural city", they should serve as a renewal of civilization (Bonifica della cultura) and the so-called Mussolini's Arcadia for a "purified nation" of New Italians. This is how Littoria has been conceived, in 1932, from the mud and has been raised as the first of the five Mussolini's New Cities. Littoria was called the "jewel of Mussolini" and radiated by the combination of a stellate network of streets and curved ring roads, all converging towards the central square (Piazza del Littorio, now Piazza del Popolo). The labyrinth-like city was awaiting the new residents coming from the entire Italy to live in the empty buildings and appreciate the monumental solutions drawn upon the Roman Empire tradition. After World War II, the city was rebaptized to Latina to obliterate its fascist past and became a temporary asylum for displaced Italians and migrants. Between 1957 and 1991, 80 000 foreigners passed by the refugee camp. They were coming from Eastern Europe, fleeing the communist regimes, from Vietnam, Northern Africa, etc. Despite the official closing of the camp in 1991, migration is still an ongoing process. Today, the majority of newcomers originate from sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria, Gambia, Ghana, Mali… The artist describes her work: In the middle of the day, during "the siesta", when the city is hot and stuffy, the streets become empty. The pale facades of the buildings reflect the sunlight like mirrors and hurt the eyes. As in De Chirico's paintings, the palisades are playing with lights and shades. The emptiness creates an illusion that we are back in the 30s. Only the scratches and colored patches on the walls unmask the timeworn city. From time to time, human figures flash by in the sun. These are those who get lost in this labyrinth, not knowing the rules of the city. They barely arrived there, but who gets into the labyrinth once, might not be able to wriggle out ever. Today in front of Palazzo M - built in the shape of the initial of Mussolini, a queue of immigrants is standing and waiting for their documents. Wiktoria Wojciechowska observes the city - silent witness of changing times - and recent immigrants, far from being integrated. During the conversations, they often mention the discrimination, preconceived ideas, and the fear of locals; their superiority coming from the colonial past, racism. They feel suspended, awaiting decisions and documents, trapped in the city space. The locals expect to move the immigrants out of the cities; they are not to be seen, as they "change the landscape", they should be invisible. The ideology, which sponsored the construction of the cities, is still lying under their foundation. Hidden but yet vivid, deep inside the consciousness. Looking further, Labirinto can be the metaphor of the current sociopolitical situation of all Europe, where newcomers from other continents are seeking asylum and acceptance. The fear of locals (who might have been migrants too) remains, and politics don't promote reconciliation. The policy of fear enables the authorities to seize control of the population's thoughts and define the enemy. The works of Wiktoria Wojciechowska are juxtaposing the fascist architecture - undefined corners of streets, scattered walls, and remains of fascist sculptural iconography - and the portraits of recently arrived migrants. As they wander through a temporarily deserted city, occupying the scene of a petrified ideology, the public space, they reveal a striking contrast with this ideology embodied in the architecture.
Lewis Hine
United States
1874 | † 1940
Lewis Wickes Hine (September 26, 1874 – November 3, 1940) was an American sociologist and photographer known for using his camera as a tool for social reform. His photographs were instrumental in changing child labor laws in the United States. Lewis Hine was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, on September 26, 1874. After his father was killed in an accident, Hine began working and saved his money for a college education. He studied sociology at the University of Chicago, Columbia University, and New York University. He became a teacher in New York City at the Ethical Culture School, where he encouraged his students to use photography as an educational medium. Hine led his sociology classes to Ellis Island in New York Harbor, photographing the thousands of immigrants who arrived each day. Between 1904 and 1909, Hine took over 200 plates (photographs) and came to the realization that documentary photography could be employed as a tool for social change and reform. In 1907, Hine became the staff photographer of the Russell Sage Foundation; he photographed life in the steel-making districts and people of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for the influential sociological study called The Pittsburgh Survey. The next year, he became the photographer for the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC), leaving his teaching position. Over the next decade, Hine documented child labor, with focus on the use of child labor in the Carolina Piedmont, to aid the NCLC's lobbying efforts to end the practice. In 1913, he documented child laborers among cotton mill workers with a series of Francis Galton's composite portraits. Hine's work for the NCLC was often dangerous. As a photographer, he was frequently threatened with violence or even death by factory police and foremen. At the time, the immorality of child labor was meant to be hidden from the public. Photography was not only prohibited but also posed a serious threat to the industry. To gain entry to the mills, mines and factories, Hine was forced to assume many guises. At times he was a fire inspector, postcard vendor, bible salesman, or even an industrial photographer making a record of factory machinery. During and after World War I, he photographed American Red Cross relief work in Europe. In the 1920s and early 1930s, Hine made a series of work portraits, which emphasized the human contribution to modern industry. In 1930, Hine was commissioned to document the construction of the Empire State Building. He photographed the workers in precarious positions while they secured the steel framework of the structure, taking many of the same risks that the workers endured. To obtain the best vantage points, Hine was swung out in a specially designed basket 1,000 ft above Fifth Avenue. At times, he remembered, he hung above the city with nothing below but "a sheer drop of nearly a quarter-mile." During the Great Depression Hine again worked for the Red Cross, photographing drought relief in the American South, and for the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), documenting life in the mountains of eastern Tennessee. He also served as chief photographer for the Works Progress Administration's National Research Project, which studied changes in the industry and their effect on employment. Hine was also a faculty member of the Ethical Culture Fieldston School. In 1936, Hine was selected as the photographer for the National Research Project of the Works Projects Administration, but his work there was not completed. The last years of his life were filled with professional struggles by loss of government and corporate patronage. Hine hoped to join the Farm Security Administration photography project, but despite writing repeatedly to Roy Stryker, Stryker always refused. Few people were interested in his work, past or present, and Hine lost his house and applied for welfare. He died on November 3, 1940, at Dobbs Ferry Hospital in Dobbs Ferry, New York, after an operation. He was 66 years old. Hine's photographs supported the NCLC's lobbying to end child labor, and in 1912 the Children's Bureau was created. The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 eventually brought child labour in the US to an end. After Hine's death, his son Corydon donated his prints and negatives to the Photo League, which was dismantled in 1951. The Museum of Modern Art was offered his pictures and did not accept them, but the George Eastman House did. In 2006, author Elizabeth Winthrop Alsop's historical fiction middle-grade novel, Counting on Grace was published by Wendy Lamb Books. The latter chapters center on 12-year-old Grace and her life-changing encounter with Lewis Hine, during his 1910 visit to a Vermont cotton mill known to have many child laborers. On the cover is the iconic photo of Grace's real-life counterpart, Addie Card (1897–1993), taken during Hine's undercover visit to the Pownal Cotton Mill. In 2016, TIME Magazine published colorized versions of several of Hine's photographs of child labor in the US.Source: Wikipedia Lewis Hine was trained to be an educator in Chicago and New York. A project photographing on Ellis Island with students from the Ethical Culture School in New York galvanized his recognition of the value of documentary photography in education. Soon after, he became a sociological photographer, establishing a studio in upstate New York in 1912. For nearly ten years Hine was the photographer for the National Child Labor Committee, contributing to exhibitions and the organization's publication, The Survey. Declaring that he "wanted to show things that had to be corrected," he was one of the earliest photographers to use the photograph as a documentary tool. Around 1920, however, Hine changed his studio publicity from "Social Photography by Lewis W. Hine" to "Lewis Wickes Hine, Interpretive Photography," to emphasize a more artistic approach to his imagemaking. Having joined the American Red Cross briefly in 1918, he continued to freelance for them through the 1930s. In 1936 Hine was appointed head photographer for the National Research Project of the Works Projects Administration, but his work for them was never completed. His last years were marked by professional struggles due to diminishing government and corporate patronage, and he died in 1940 at age sixty-six.Source: The J. Paul Getty Museum Born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Lewis W. Hine studied sociology before moving to New York in 1901 to work at the Ethical Culture School, where he took up photography to enhance his teaching practices. By 1904 he had begun a series of photographs documenting the arrival of immigrants at Ellis Island; this project, along with his pictures of harsh labor conditions published in the Pittsburgh Survey, brought his work to the attention of the National Child Labor Committee. He served as its official photographer from 1911 to 1916, and later traveled with the Red Cross to Europe, where he documented the effects of World War I in France and the Balkans for Red Cross Magazine. After returning to the United States in 1922, he accepted commercial assignments, produced another series on Ellis Island immigrants, and photographed the construction of the Empire State Building. Several of these construction pictures were published in Men at Work (1932), a book celebrating the individual worker's interaction with machines in the modern world. Despite the success of this book, Hine's financial situation became desperate and his photography was virtually forgotten. Berenice Abbott and Elizabeth McCausland learned of his work through the New York City Photo League and mounted a traveling retrospective exhibition of his work to revive interest in it in 1939. Lewis Hine is best known for the documentary images of child labor practices that he produced under the aegis of the National Child Labor Committee from 1911 to 1916. These photographs not only have been credited as important in the passing of child labor laws, but also have been praised for their sympathetic depiction of individuals in abject working conditions. Hine labeled his pictures "photo-interpretations," emphasizing his subjective involvement with his subjects; this approach became the model for many later documentary photographers, such as Sid Grossman and Ben Shahn.Source: International Center of Photography
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