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Toby Old
Toby Old

Toby Old

Country: United States
Birth: 1945

Toby Old was born in Stillwater, Minnesota in 1945. He started out majoring in biology at Hamline University, then moved on to the University of Minnesota where he trained to be a dentist. At the height of the Vietnam War he was drafted into the Army Dental Core. While serving in North Carolina, he began to explore art history and photography. After a 1976 summer workshop at Apieron Photographic Workshops in Millerton, New York, Old moved to New York City. He began working on his first extended series of the disco scene in 1976-1981.

For this body of work, Standard Deviation, he was awarded a grant from the New York State Council of the Arts. In 1981 he received an NEA Survey Grant to document lower Manhattan below Chambers Street, and has continued photographing this section of the city since, includes an extended series on the boxing world. In the late 1980s he moved to upstate New York, where he began to document local events including county fairs and Civil War reenactments. He also began photographing national events such as the Kentucky Derby, Frontier Days, Mardi Gras, and spring break. Toby Old’s book, Times Squared, was offered through the 2005 Subscription Program and is still available for purchase in the Light Work Shop. Old participated in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence Program in 1980.

Toby Old captures animation in his photography, depicting both realistic and exciting observations of human life. Drawing on the inspiration of photographers of the 1960s, he has traveled the country photographing in many different environments, including street performances, beaches, fairs, fashion shows, nightclubs, boxing events, parks, and Fourth of July celebrations. His images capture extraordinary moments in human action and social and cultural experiences as they unfold. His photographs are not the kind to be taken in quickly, but images to be examined and scrutinized for details. According to Ted Hartwell, curator of photography at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, “Old’s work has always been characterized by a solid technical mastery of the medium-format camera as the tool for his wonderfully zany, insightful, and intelligent observations of the American scene.”

Source: Light Work


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Marie-Laure Vareilles
- Testify to the variety of cultures on our planet.Education: Interior architect. I travelled on all continents, camera in hand, to testify of the diversity of countries on our planet. Over the years I have experienced different cultures, landscapes, encounters … The cultures of the entire world are in constant evolution. My work is to serve the memory of the people and their countries all around the world.- Creation of photo montage : imagine a universe of possibilities, elaborate the encounter of the unlikely. Mixing elements, transforming scale relations, rejecting logical constructions... Today I give a new life to the thousands of negatives taken, recreating imaginary worlds where poetry, dreams and surrealism alternate.- Permanent exhibition : Marseille : galerie Massalia; Vaison la Romaine, in the old town : atelier ANSATU & MAILOAll about Marie Laure Vareilles:AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?It was not my dream.AAP:Do you have a mentor?I remember about the first exhibition I have visited : it was Salgado with beautiful works in black and white. The subject he had worked on was men working by hand, all over the world... Beautiful.AAP: How long have you been a photographer?I took my first photo in 1985, while traveling in Turquey. It was my first trip alone abroad and I wanted to share my impresion with my family. Taking photos seemed to be the best medium for sharing places I had visited, people I had met.AAP: What or who inspires you? Since I am travelling and taking photos, I have realised how fast our world is changing. Faster and faster. Shooting is a way to keep testimony from a time which doesn’t exist any more : the more I travel, the more I realise that our differences are less and less visible.AAP: How could you describe your style?I shoot what I see, very quickly. But as soon as light is changing I shoot again ! Landscape, architecture, sky, people... many subjects can be interesting for the montages I create when I come back in my studio.AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?Since the begining, I am working with Nikon cameras. During the last few years, I have definitly adopted digital camera. My last one is the D-800.AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images?Not enough : after shooting, I spend a lot of time creating montages. For this reason I keep each photo, just in case ! But it might be a problem in the futur with hardware !AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?They are so many. Editing a list would be a nightmare. Especially if I forgot to mention some of them.AAP: Your best memory has a photographer?I will never forget my experience in Bangladesh. I had never seen so many people working by hand, what ever they do, transport, create, make… they do not use use any machine. They work hard in bad conditions but they keep smiling!AAP: Your worst souvenir has a photographer?I had a bad time in Guinea. Working for an editor who wanted me to take photos from the Niger river and the every day life. The problem is I had to deal with blackmail from the people who were supposed to help me.
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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
August Sander
Germany
1876 | † 1964
August Sander was a German portrait and documentary photographer. Sander's first book Face of our Time (German: Antlitz der Zeit) was published in 1929. Sander has been described as "the most important German portrait photographer of the early twentieth century." Sander was born in Herdorf, the son of a carpenter working in the mining industry. While working at a local mine, Sander first learned about photography by assisting a photographer who was working for a mining company. With financial support from his uncle, he bought photographic equipment and set up his own darkroom. He spent his military service (1897-99) as a photographer's assistant and the next years wandering across Germany. In 1901, he started working for a photo studio in Linz, Austria, eventually becoming a partner (1902), and then its sole proprietor (1904). He left Linz at the end of 1909 and set up a new studio in Cologne. In 1911, Sander began with the first series of portraits for his work People of the 20th Century. In the early 1920s, he came in contact with the Group of Progressive Artists (Kölner Progressive) in Cologne, a group as Wieland Schmied put it, "sought to combine constructivism and objectivity, geometry and object, the general and the particular, avant-garde conviction and political engagement, and which perhaps approximated most to the forward looking of New Objectivity [...] ". In 1927, Sander and writer Ludwig Mathar travelled through Sardinia for three months, where he took around 500 photographs. However, a planned book detailing his travels was not completed. Pure photography allows us to create portraits which render their subjects with absolute truth, truth both physical and psychological. That is the principal which provided my starting point, once I had said to myself that if we can create portraits of subjects that are true, we thereby in effect create a mirror of the times in which those subjects live. -- August Sander Sander's Face of our Time was published in 1929. It contains a selection of 60 portraits from his series People of the 20th Century. Under the Nazi regime, his work and personal life were greatly constrained. His son Erich, who was a member of the left-wing Socialist Workers' Party (SAP), was arrested in 1934 and sentenced to 10 years in prison, where he died in 1944, shortly before the end of his sentence. Sander's book Face of our Time was seized in 1936 and the photographic plates were destroyed. Around 1942, during World War II, he left Cologne and moved to a rural area, allowing him to save most of his negatives. His studio was destroyed in a 1944 bombing raid. Sander died in Cologne in 1964. His work includes landscape, nature, architecture, and street photography, but he is best known for his portraits, as exemplified by his series People of the 20th Century. In this series, he aims to show a cross-section of society during the Weimar Republic. The series is divided into seven sections: The Farmer, The Skilled Tradesman, Woman, Classes and Professions, The Artists, The City, and The Last People (homeless persons, veterans, etc.). By 1945, Sander's archive included over 40,000 images. In 2002, the August Sander Archive and scholar Susanne Lange published a seven-volume collection comprising some 650 of Sander's photographs, August Sander: People of the 20th Century. In 2008, the Mercury crater Sander was named after him.Source: Wikipedia I never made a person look bad. They do that themselves. The portrait is your mirror. -- August Sander
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A multi-dimensional artist with decades of experience, Kim Watson has written, filmed, and photographed subjects ranging from the iconic entertainers of our time to the ''invisible'' people of marginalized communities. A highly influential director in music videos' early days, Watson has directed Grammy winners, shot in uniquely remote locations, and written across genres that include advertising, feature films for Hollywood studios such as Universal (Honey), MTV Films, and Warner Brothers, and publishers such as Simon & Schuster. His passionate marriage of art and social justice has been a life-long endeavor, and, in 2020, after consulting on Engagement & Impact for ITVS/PBS, Kim returned to the streets to create TRESPASS, documenting the images and stories of LA's unhoused. TRESPASS exhibited at The BAG (Bestor Architecture Gallery) in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, September 17, 2022 – October 11, 2022.
Exclusive Interview with Julia Dean, Founder of the L.A. Project
Julia Dean, Founder of the Los Angeles Center of Photography, and its executive director for twenty-two years, began The L.A. Project in 2021. A native Nebraskan, Julia has long sought to create a special project where love for her adopted L.A., and her passion for documentary photography can be shared on a grander scale.
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All About Photo Awards 2023
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