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Bieke Depoorter
Bieke Depoorter

Bieke Depoorter

Country: Belgium
Birth: 1986

Bieke Depoorter (born 1986) is a Belgian photographer. She is a member of Magnum Photos and has published four books: Ou Menya, I am About to Call it a Day, As it May Be, and Sète#15. Depoorter received a master's degree in photography at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent in 2009.

The relationships Depoorter establishes with the subjects of her photographs lie at the foundation of her artistic practice. Accidental encounters are the starting point, and how these interactions naturally develop dictate the nature of Depoorter’s work. Many of her self-initiated projects are about intimate situations in families and in peoples' homes. For her graduation project and her first book, Ou Menya (2011), she made three trips to Russia, photographing people in their homes that she met whilst travelling around. The series won the 2009 Magnum Expression Award. Bieke Depoorter made the work for her second book, I am About to Call it a Day (2014) in a similar way whilst hitchhiking and driving around the U.S.

However several recent projects have been the result of Depoorter questioning the medium. In As it May Be, she gradually became more aware of her status as an outsider, both culturally and as a photographer. So, in 2017, she revisited Egypt with the first draft of the book, inviting people to write comments directly onto the photographs. In Sète#15, and also Dvalemodus, a short film she co-directed together with Mattias De Craene, she began to see her subjects as actors. Although she portrayed them in their true environments, she tried to project her own story onto the scenes, fictionalizing the realities of her subjects in a way that blurred the lines between their world and hers.

In the ongoing project Agata, a project about a young woman Depoorter met at a striptease bar in Paris in October 2017, she explores her interest in collaborative portraiture. It’s an example of Depoorter’s interest in finding people that can work with her in telling a story. These stories are always partially hers, and partially theirs.

In her latest project Michael, she investigates the disappearance and life of a man she met on the streets of Portland in 2015. After giving her three suitcases full of scrapbooks, notes and books, everyone lost sight of him.

Bieke Depoorter became a nominee member of Magnum Photos in 2012, an associate member in 2014, and a full member in 2016. She is the fourth Belgian member of the agency, after Carl De Keyzer, Martine Franck, Harry Gruyaert...

Depoorter has won the Magnum Expression Award, The Larry Sultan Award and the Prix Levallois.

Source: Wikipedia


For the past six years, Bieke Depoorter has spent countless nights photographing perfect strangers—people that she encounters on the street who are willing to open their homes to Depoorter and her camera. The project began when she was travelling on the Trans-Siberian Railway, in 2008. She didn’t speak the language, so photography became her mode of communication. (She carried a letter that a friend wrote in Russian that explained her intent.) After publishing the work as a book, called Ou Menya, Depoorter headed to the United States, in 2010, where she hitchhiked and drove around the country, creating the collection found in her latest book, I Am About to Call It a Day.

The project, both intimate and removed, hinges upon Depoorter’s ability to build trust within a tight timeframe. In many of the photographs, she seems to go unnoticed, capturing the unguarded moments found only in the privacy of one’s own home. “I like the atmosphere of the night,” Depoorter told me. “When people go to sleep, I think it’s most real. No one is looking at them, and they become their true selves.” She told me that her process is intrinsic to the success of her images. “I try to not hope for a picture,” she said. “I am there as a person first, and a photographer second.”

Source: The New Yorker


 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Nakaji Yasui
Japan
1903 | † 1942
Nakaji Yasui was one of the most prominent photographers in the first half of the 20th century in Japan. Yasui was born in Osaka and became a member of the Naniwa Photography Club in 1920s and also became a member of the Tampei Photography Club in 1930. His photographs cover a wide range from pictorialism to straight photography, including photomontages. He appreciated every type and kind of photograph without any prejudice and tried not to reject any of them even during wartime. Source: Wikipedia Nakaji Yasui was born in 1903 in Osaka and passed away in 1942. From the 1920s on, Yasui was an active photographer in the Kansai region of Japan; he is now seen as one of the most prominent Japanese photographers of the prewar period. At the very beginning of an era in which Japanese photography would express itself in a way that was both more international and more in step with the times, Yasui produced his photographs while enthusiastically incorporating many new theories of art into his work—and thinking extremely carefully about how these theories might impact his own development within the context of that time in Japan. Although Yasui’s career was short, his work has influenced Daido Moriyama and many other important contemporary Japanese photographers. In 2010, His major photography publications include the essay Landscape Photography in Practice (1938) and the photography book Nakaji Yasui photographer 1903-1942 (2004). Taka Ishii Gallery produced “Nakaji Yasui Portfolio” (a set of 30 modern prints in a limited edition of 15). Source: Taka Ishii Gallery
Robert Frank
Switzerland/United States
1924 | † 2019
Robert Frank was a Swiss photographer and documentary filmmaker, who became an American binational. His most notable work, the 1958 book titled The Americans, earned Frank comparisons to a modern-day de Tocqueville for his fresh and nuanced outsider's view of American society. Critic Sean O'Hagan, writing in The Guardian in 2014, said The Americans "changed the nature of photography, what it could say and how it could say it. it remains perhaps the most influential photography book of the 20th century." Frank later expanded into film and video and experimented with manipulating photographs and photomontage. I’m always looking outside, trying to look inside. Trying to say something that is true. But maybe nothing is really true. Except what’s out there. And what’s out there is always changing. -- Robert Frank Frank was born in Zürich, Switzerland, the son of Rosa (Zucker) and Hermann Frank. His family was Jewish. Robert states in Gerald Fox's 2004 documentary Leaving Home, Coming Home that his mother, Rosa (other sources state her name as Regina), had a Swiss passport, while his father, Hermann originating from Frankfurt, Germany had become stateless after losing his German citizenship as a Jew. They had to apply for Swiss citizenship for Robert and his older brother, Manfred. Though Frank and his family remained safe in Switzerland during World War II, the threat of Nazism nonetheless affected his understanding of oppression. He turned to photography, in part as a means to escape the confines of his business-oriented family and home, and trained under a few photographers and graphic designers before he created his first hand-made book of photographs, 40 Fotos, in 1946. Frank emigrated to the United States in 1947 and secured a job in New York City as a fashion photographer for Harper's Bazaar. In 1949, the new editor of Camera magazine, Walter Laubli (1902-1991), published a substantial portfolio of Jakob Tuggener pictures made at upper-class entertainments and in factories, alongside the work of the 25-year-old Frank who had just returned to his native Switzerland after two years abroad, with pages including some of his first pictures from New York. The magazine promoted the two as representatives of the 'new photography' of Switzerland. Tuggener was a role model for the younger artist, first mentioned to him by Frank's boss and mentor, Zurich commercial photographer Michael Wolgensinger (1913-1990) who understood that Frank was unsuited to the more mercenary application of the medium. Tuggener, as a serious artist who had left the commercial world behind, was the "one Frank really did love, from among all Swiss photographers," according to Guido Magnaguagno and Fabrik, as a photo book, was a model for Frank's Les Américains ('The Americans') published ten years later in Paris by Delpire, in 1958. He soon left to travel in South America and Europe. He created another hand-made book of photographs that he shot in Peru, and returned to the U.S. in 1950. That year was momentous for Frank, who, after meeting Edward Steichen, participated in the group show 51 American Photographers at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA); he also married fellow artist Mary Frank née Mary Lockspeiser, with whom he had two children, Andrea and Pablo. Though he was initially optimistic about the United States' society and culture, Frank's perspective quickly changed as he confronted the fast pace of American life and what he saw as an overemphasis on money. He now saw America as an often bleak and lonely place, a perspective that became evident in his later photography. Frank's own dissatisfaction with the control that editors exercised over his work also undoubtedly colored his experience. He continued to travel, moving his family briefly to Paris. In 1953, he returned to New York and continued to work as a freelance photojournalist for magazines including McCall's, Vogue, and Fortune. Associating with other contemporary photographers such as Saul Leiter and Diane Arbus, he helped form what Jane Livingston has termed The New York School of photographers (not to be confused with the New York School of art) during the 1940s and 1950s. In 1955, Frank achieved further recognition with the inclusion by Edward Steichen of seven of his photographs (many more than most other contributors) in the world-touring Museum of Modern Art exhibition The Family of Man that was to be seen by 9 million visitors and with a popular catalog that is still in print. Frank's contributions had been taken in Spain (of a woman kissing her swaddled babe-in-arms); of a bowed old woman in Peru; a rheumy-eyed miner in Wales; and the others in England and the US, including two (one atypically soft-focus) of his wife in pregnancy; and one (later to be included in The Americans) of six laughing women in the window of the White Tower Hamburger Stand on Fourteenth Street, New York City. The truth is somewhere between the documentary and the fictional, and that is what I try to show. What is real one moment has become imaginary the next. You believe what you see now, and the next second you don’t anymore. -- Robert Frank Inspired by fellow Swiss Jakob Tuggener's 1943 book Fabrik, Bill Brandt's The English at Home (1936), and Walker Evans's American Photographs (1938), and on the recommendation of Evans (a previous recipient), Alexey Brodovitch, Alexander Leiberman, Edward Steichen, and Meyer Schapiro, Frank secured a Guggenheim Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in 1955 to travel across the United States and photograph all strata of its society. Cities he visited included Detroit and Dearborn, Michigan; Savannah, Georgia; Miami Beach and St. Petersburg, Florida; New Orleans, Louisiana; Houston, Texas; Los Angeles, California; Reno, Nevada; Salt Lake City, Utah; Butte, Montana; and Chicago, Illinois. He took his family along with him for part of his series of road trips over the next two years, during which time he took 28,000 shots. 83 of these were selected by him for publication in The Americans. Frank's journey was not without incident. He later recalled the anti-Semitism to which he was subject in a small Arkansas town. "I remember the guy [policeman] took me into the police station, and he sat there and put his feet on the table. It came out that I was Jewish because I had a letter from the Guggenheim Foundation. They really were primitive." He was told by the sheriff, "Well, we have to get somebody who speaks Yiddish." ... "They wanted to make a thing out of it. It was the only time it happened on the trip. They put me in jail. It was scary. Nobody knew where I was." Elsewhere in the South, he was told by a sheriff that he had "an hour to leave town." Those incidents may have contributed to the dark view of America found in the work. Shortly after returning to New York in 1957, Frank met Beat writer Jack Kerouac "at a New York party where poets and Beatniks were," and showed him the photographs from his travels. However, according to Joyce Johnson, Kerouac's lover at the time, she met Frank while waiting for Kerouac to emerge from a conference with his editors, at Viking Press, looked at Frank's portfolio, and introduced them to each other. Kerouac immediately told Frank, "Sure I can write something about these pictures." He eventually contributed the introduction to the U.S. edition of The Americans. Frank also became lifelong friends with Allen Ginsberg, and was one of the main visual artists to document the Beat subculture, which felt an affinity with Frank's interest in documenting the tensions between the optimism of the 1950s and the realities of class and racial differences. The irony that Frank found in the gloss of American culture and wealth over this tension gave his photographs a clear contrast to those of most contemporary American photojournalists, as did his use of unusual focus, low lighting, and cropping that deviated from accepted photographic techniques. This divergence from contemporary photographic standards gave Frank difficulty at first in securing an American publisher. Les Américains was first published in 1958 by Robert Delpire in Paris, as part of its Encyclopédie Essentielle series, with texts by Simone de Beauvoir, Erskine Caldwell, William Faulkner, Henry Miller and John Steinbeck that Delpire positioned opposite Frank's photographs. It was finally published in 1959 in the United States, without the texts, by Grove Press, where it initially received substantial criticism. Popular Photography, for one, derided his images as "meaningless blur, grain, muddy exposures, drunken horizons and general sloppiness." Though sales were also poor at first, the fact that the introduction was by the popular Kerouac helped it reach a larger audience. Over time and through the inspiration of later artists, The Americans became a seminal work in American photography and art history, and is the work with which Frank is most clearly identified. In 1961, Frank received his first individual show, entitled Robert Frank: Photographer, at the Art Institute of Chicago. He also showed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1962. By the time The Americans was published in the United States in 1959, Frank had moved away from photography to concentrate on filmmaking. Among his films was the 1959 Pull My Daisy, which was written and narrated by Kerouac and starred Ginsberg, Gregory Corso and others from the Beat circle. The Beats emphasized spontaneity, and the film conveyed the quality of having been thrown together or even improvised. 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As some critics have pointed out, this is perhaps because Frank began playing with constructed images more than a decade after Robert Rauschenberg introduced his silkscreen composites—in contrast to The Americans, Frank's later images simply were not beyond the pale of accepted technique and practice by that time. Frank and Mary separated in 1969. He remarried, to sculptor June Leaf, and in 1971, moved to the community of Mabou, Nova Scotia in Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia in Canada. In 1974, his daughter, Andrea, was killed in a plane crash in Tikal, Guatemala. Also around this time, his son, Pablo, was first hospitalized and diagnosed with schizophrenia. Much of Frank's subsequent work dealt with the impact of the loss of both his daughter and subsequently his son, who died in an Allentown, Pennsylvania hospital in 1994. In 1995, in memory of his daughter, he founded the Andrea Frank Foundation, which provides grants to artists. After his move to Nova Scotia, Canada, Frank divided his time between his home there, in a former fisherman's shack on the coast, and his Bleecker Street loft in New York. He acquired a reputation for being a recluse (particularly since the death of Andrea), declining most interviews and public appearances. He continued to accept eclectic assignments, however, such as photographing the 1984 Democratic National Convention and directing music videos for artists such as New Order ("Run"), and Patti Smith ("Summer Cannibals"). Frank produced both films and still images, and helped organize several retrospectives of his art. His work has been represented by Pace/MacGill Gallery in New York since 1984. In 1994, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. presented the most comprehensive retrospective of Frank's work to date, entitled Moving Out. Frank died on September 9, 2019, at his home in Nova Scotia.Source: Wikipedia I have been frequently accused of deliberately twisting subject matter to my point of view. Above all, I know that life for a photographer cannot be a matter of indifference. Opinion often consists of a kind of criticism. But criticism can come out of love. It is important to see what is invisible to others—perhaps the look of hope or the look of sadness. Also it is always the instantaneous reaction to oneself that produces a photograph. -- Robert Frank
Jeremy Cowart
United States
At his core, Jeremy is an artist. Starting out as a painter first, Jeremy fell in love with the creative process. He then went on to study graphic design in college and founded his own graphic design company, Pixelgrazer, in 2001. Jeremy really only began taking pictures to bring texture into his design work. But before he knew it, he realized that photography was his true passion. So in April of 2005, Jeremy switched over to it full time and he has never looked back. In a relatively short amount of time, Jeremy earned the respect of artists, photographers, and celebrities alike. Now hailed as one of the trailblazers in the industry, Jeremy sees photography as a natural extension of his passion for the arts. Jeremy has taken portraits of many familiar names such as Taylor Swift, Tim Tebow, The Kardashians, Sting, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Heidi Klum, Gwyneth Paltrow, The Civil Wars, Emma Stone, Courtney Cox, and Ryan Seacrest, just to name a few. His clients, mostly entertainment based, include ABC, FOX, A&E, F/X, Discovery Channel, ESPN, People, US Weekly, VIBE, E!, Universal Records, Sony Records and Warner Brothers Records. His work has been published in Rolling Stone, ESPN Magazine, People Magazine, USA Today, Fast Company, NYTimes, TIME, Nylon and more. There's always something interesting going on in Jeremy's world. His humanitarian projects have been featured on CNN.com as international leading headlines twice, he shot the cover of Tim Tebow's NY Times best-selling autobiography, and he recently starred in an episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. In addition to all that, Jeremy is something of a social media/technology guru. He's a featured user on Google+ with over a million followers, he won the Celebrity TwitChange campaign last year that raised thousands of dollars to fight global poverty, and he's currently working on his first iPhone app to be released Summer 2012. Photography has taken Jeremy to six continents. He traveled with Britney Spears in 2009 as her "Circus World Tour" photographer, documented seventeen countries with the Passion World Tour in 2008, and has been on numerous trips to Africa and Haiti with various organizations. From all his travels, Jeremy has released 3 Photography books, "Hope in the Dark", "The Poor Will Be Glad" and "Awakening", and he's currently working on a 4th new book, "What's Your Mark?" with Zondervan Publishers due out Fall 2012. Jeremy also spends his time on community projects, brainstorming innovative ways to use his camera to make an impact. In January 2010, after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Jeremy responded with his "Voices of Haiti" photo essay, letting the people of Haiti write their own thoughts and prayers on found rubble. This project was displayed prominently at the entrance of a very important gathering of world leaders at the United Nations in March of 2010. They were meeting to discuss the rebuild of Haiti and they ended up pledging ten billion dollars to the effort. On that day, Jeremy's "Voices of Haiti" project proved that art can help change the world. In August of 2011, Jeremy traveled to Rwanda with filmmaker Laura Waters Hinson to document survivors and perpetrators of genocide who have reconciled and are living life together peacefully in the same community. Inspired by the "Voices of Haiti" photo essay, the portraits in this series captured genocide survivors standing with the killers of their families, who they've now forgiven. Many of the portraits were captured at the scene of the crime to help display the power of true forgiveness. The series ended up being featured on CNN.com as a worldwide leading headline on Monday, November 7th, 2011. Knowing the value that a photograph can have in just one person's life, Jeremy also founded Help-Portrait, a worldwide movement of photographers using their time, equipment, and expertise to give back to those less fortunate. On December 12, 2009, the first world-wide Help-Portrait event provided free portraits for over 40,000 people in 42 Countries. Those numbers have increased significantly over the last 2 years, with 169,523 photos given to date in at least 56 countries. Help-Portrait continues to grow, encouraging all photographers to use their platform to make a difference with their cameras. Lastly, Jeremy's speaking and teaching career has taken off as he spends his time annually traveling around the country speaking at conferences like TEDx, Catalyst Conference, Photoshop World, WPPI, Google Plus Photographers Conference, Photo Plus Expo and many more. He has also hosted 2 of his own LifeFinder Tour's that have taken him all across the country. His LifeFinder Tour is based on his educational DVD, LifeFinder. Jeremy is also an instructor for Scott Kelby's "Kelby Training" and has released 3 classes on the Kelby Training website. Jeremy is a crock pot of ideas, always on low simmer. He doesn't sleep enough. His mind won't let him. Whether it's the next shoot, the next talk, the next book, the next app, or the next humanitarian project, Jeremy just doesn't stop. And that's why his career keeps moving forward. Bouncing back and forth between Nashville and LA, Jeremy draws a lot of inspiration from his amazing wife, Shannon, and their two ridiculously cute and utterly fantastic kids, Adler and Eisley. They also have a dog and a cat, but they are not as inspirational.Source: jeremycowart.com
Paul Outerbridge
United States
1896 | † 1958
Paul Outerbridge, Jr. was an American photographer prominent for his early use and experiments in color photography. Outerbridge was a fashion and commercial photographer, an early pioneer and teacher of color photography, and an artist who created erotic nudes photographs that could not be exhibited in his lifetime. Paul Outerbridge, while still in his teens, worked as an illustrator and theatrical designer creating stage settings and lighting schemes. After an accident caused his discharge from the Royal Canadian Naval Air Service, in 1917, he enlisted in the U.S. Army where he produced his first photographic work. In 1921, Outerbridge enrolled in the Clarence H. White school of photography at Columbia University. Within a year his work began being published in Vanity Fair and Vogue magazine. In London, in 1925, the Royal Photographic Society invited Outerbridge to exhibit in a one-man show. Outerbridge then traveled to Paris and became friends with the artists and photographers Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, and Berenice Abbott. In Paris he produced a layout for the French Vogue magazine, met and worked with Edward Steichen, and built the largest, most completely equipped advertising photography studio of the times. In 1929, 12 of Outerbridge's photographs were included in the prestigious, German Film und Foto exhibition. Returning to New York in 1929, Outerbridge opened a studio producing commercial and artistic work, and began writing a monthly column on color photography for the U.S. Camera Magazine. Outerbridge became known for the high quality of his color illustrations, which were done in those years by means of an extremely complex tri-color carbro process. In 1937, Outerbridge's photographs were included in an exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art and, in 1940, Outerbridge published his seminal book, Photographing in Color, using high quality illustrations to explain his techniques. Outerbridge's vivid color nude studies included early fetish photos and were too indecent under contemporary standards to find general public acceptance. A scandal over his erotic photography led to Outerbridge retiring as a commercial photographer and moving to Hollywood in 1943. Despite the controversy, Outerbridge continued to contribute photo stories to magazines and write his monthly column. In 1945, he married fashion designer Lois Weir and worked in their joint fashion company, Lois-Paul Originals. He died of lung cancer in 1958. One year after his death, the Smithsonian Institution staged a one-man show of Outerbridge's photographs. Although his reputation has faded, revivals of Outerbridge's photography in the 1970s and 1990s has periodically brought him into the public's awareness. Source: Wikipedia
James Van Der Zee
United States
1886 | † 1983
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. This affected the likeness of the person photographed, but he felt each photo should transcend the subject. His carefully posed family portraits reveal that the family unit was an important aspect of Van Der Zee's life. "I tried to see that every picture was better-looking than the person ... I had one woman come to me and say 'Mr. VanDerZee my friends tell that's a nice picture, but it doesn't look like you.' That was my style", said VanDerZee. Van Der Zee sometimes combined several photos in one image, for example by adding a ghostly child to an image of a wedding to suggest the couple's future, or by superimposing a funeral image upon a photograph of a dead woman to give the feeling of her eerie presence. Van Der Zee said, "I wanted to make the camera take what I thought should be there." Van Der Zee was a working photographer who supported himself through portraiture, and he devoted time to his professional work before his more artistic compositions. Many famous residents of Harlem were among his subjects. In addition to portraits, Van Der Zee photographed organizations, events, and other businesses.Source: Wikipedia
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