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Martin Elkort
Martin Elkort

Martin Elkort

Country: United States
Birth: 1929 | Death: 2016

Martin Edward Elkort (April 18, 1929 - November 19, 2016) was an American photographer, illustrator and writer known primarily for his street photography. Prints of his work are held and displayed by several prominent art museums in the United States. His photographs have regularly appeared in galleries and major publications. Early black and white photographs by Elkort feature the fabled Lower East Side in Manhattan, New York City, showing its ethnic diversity, myriad streets and cluttered alleys. The Coney Island amusement park in Brooklyn was another favorite site during that period. His later work depicts street scenes from downtown Los Angeles and Tijuana, Mexico. Throughout Martin Elkort's long career as a photographer, he always showed the positive, joyful side of life in his candid images.

Born in the Bronx, New York City, Martin Elkort grew up during the Great Depression. Elkort took his first professional photograph at the age of 10 while on a car trip with his parents to Baltimore. During the trip, he took photographs of flooded streets. The Baltimore Sun purchased his photographs of flood scenes and featured one of them on its front page. At the age of 15, he suffered a bout with polio and spent four months in the hospital. When he returned home, his parents gave him his first Ciroflex, a twin-lens reflex camera, that cost them about a week’s salary. After his recovery from polio, he set out around Manhattan taking pictures of whatever interested him.

While studying at New York City's Cooper Union School of Art, Elkort joined the New York Photo League, an organization of photographers that served as the epicenter of the documentary movement in American photography. There he studied under successful photographers including Paul Strand, Aaron Siskind, Sid Grossman, Lou Stoumen, Imogen Cunningham and Weegee, learning to become adept at what he refers to as "stealth photography". With a more refined Rolleiflex twin-lens reflex camera strapped around his neck, he would roam the streets peering down into the 2×2 inch ground glass. He developed the skill of walking right up to a person and taking their photo without them even realizing it. His goal was to capture this post-war period's general optimism and innocence. During this period he worked at the Wildenstein & Company Gallery and later, the Stephen Michael Studio in Manhattan where he further enhanced his photographic knowledge and technique.

In 1948, Elkort showed his pictures of Hasidic Jewish boys playing in the streets to Edward Steichen, who was curator of photography at New York's Museum of Modern Art and probably America's most famous photographer at the time. Steichen rejected his photos, describing Martin's skills as "no better than the other 35 million amateur photographers in the country." Dejected but determined, Elkort worked tirelessly to improve his craft and two years later, he met with Steichen again. This time the famous curator bought three of his images for the museum's collection: Soda Fountain Girl, Puppy Love, and The Girl With Black Cat, all uplifting images of children at Coney Island.

Elkort's photographs (c. 1951) of recently liberated Jewish immigrants learning new work skills at the Bramson ORT (Organization for Rehabilitation and Training) School in Brooklyn offer a rare and intimate glimpse into of their optimistic struggle to integrate into a new society after World War II. Some of his pictures show Jewish workers bearing tattoos evidencing their incarceration in Nazi concentration camps during The Holocaust. In 1951, more than 20,000 Jews received vocational training at the Bramson ORT School. Seamstresses, tailors, pattern makers, pressers; here they learned a trade that was much needed in New York’s growing fashion and garment district. In 2008, Elkort donated 33 of his vintage ORT photographs to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C..

Elkort was a member of New York Photo League from 1948–1951; an editorial associate and contributor to New Mexico Magazine in 1957; a founding member in 2002 of Los Angeles League of Photographers (LALOP); a contributing editor and contributed photographs to Rangefinder Magazine in 2006; and a member of the Photography Arts Council at Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

After receiving a digital camera for his 70th birthday, Martin's photographic career re-ignited. He began to show his current and older work in galleries around the country. He also found a renewed interest in the New York Photo League. In 2002, he co-founded the Los Angeles League of Photographers along with David Schulman and David Stork. Modeled after the New York Photo League, its mission is to expose the wider public to photography's essential social, political and aesthetic values. He also writes articles for magazines dealing with photography including Rangefinder and Black & White Magazine.

As of March 2014, Elkort's work is widely exhibited and can be found in the permanent collections of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.; the Museum of Modern Art in New York City; The Jewish Museum (Manhattan) in New York City; the Columbus Museum of Art; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles; as well as many corporate and private collections.

Source: Wikipedia


 

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In May 1906, Käsebier joined the Professional Photographers of New York, a newly formed organization that Stieglitz saw as standing for everything he disliked: commercialism and the selling of photographs commercially rather than for love of the art. After this, he began distancing himself from Käsebier. Their relationship never regained its previous status of mutual artistic admiration. Eduard Käsebier died in 1910, finally leaving his wife free to pursue her interests as she saw fit. She continued to follow a separate course from that of Stieglitz and helped to establish the Women's Professional Photographers Association of America. In turn, Stieglitz began to publicly speak against her contemporary work, although he still thought enough of her earlier images to include 22 of them in the landmark exhibition of pictorialists at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery later that year. The next year, Käsebier was shocked by a highly critical attack made by her former admirer, Joseph T. Keiley, that was published in Stieglitz's Camera Work. Why Keiley suddenly changed his opinion of her is unknown, but Käsebier suspected that Stieglitz had put him up to it. Part of Käsebier's alienation from Stieglitz was due to his stubborn resistance to the idea of gaining financial success from artistic photography. If he felt a buyer truly appreciated the art, he often sold original prints by Käsebier and others at far less than their market value and, when he did sell prints, he took many months before paying the photographer of the work. After several years of protesting these practices, in 1912, Käsebier became the first member to resign from the Photo-Secession. In 1916, Käsebier helped Clarence H. White found the group Pictorial Photographers of America, which was seen by Stieglitz as a direct challenge to his artistic leadership. By this time, however, Stieglitz's tactics had offended many of his former friends, including White and Robert Demachy, and a year later, he was forced to disband the Photo-Secession. During this time, many young women starting out in photography sought out Käsebier, both for her photographic artistry and for inspiration as an independent woman. Among those who were inspired by Käsebier and who went on to have successful careers of their own were Clara Sipprell, Consuelo Kanaga, Laura Gilpin, Florence Maynard, and Imogen Cunningham. Throughout the late 1910s and most of the 1920s, Käsebier continued to expand her portrait business, taking photographs of many important people of the time, including Robert Henri, John Sloan, William Glackens, Arthur B. Davies, Mabel Dodge, and Stanford White. In 1924, her daughter, Hermine Turner, joined her in her portrait business. In 1929, Käsebier gave up photography altogether and liquidated the contents of her studio. That same year, she was given a major solo exhibition at the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences. Käsebier died on October 12, 1934, at the home of her daughter, Hermine Turner. A major collection of her work is held by the University of Delaware. In 1979 Käsebier was inducted into the International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum.Source: Wikipedia
Rosita Delfino
I started getting interested in photography in 2009 and since then I have been emotionally struck by the picture's power of communication. Photography is a dimension where pictures enhance the words and become means of expression of our inner world, through the filter of our eyes they have the power of changing the reality. It is a never ending dialogue between appearing and being, a wonderful journey in the female dimension, where the body is no more bound to space and time but opens to a dreamlike atmosphere. I often think of a sentence by Francesca Woodman, 'you'll get excited when looking at an image but you'll never know what's behind it'.Rosita DelfinoAll about Rosita Delfino:AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?In 2009 I realized that the camera has a big power for communicating the feelings of my soul. So I decided to start taking pictures. When I take picture I feel free.AAP: What or who inspires you?I bought a lot of photographic books and I was amazed by Francesca Woodman, Christy Lee Rogers, Alexei Vassiliev's pictures and so on. They express the concepts of their soul through a non-objective representation of the reality, where the time is hanging and feelings, fears, desires are mixed. I find myself through the style of these photographers.AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images?I usually work with a photographic project. Using digital editing I feel in front of a painting and I create the pictures depending on my state of soul and it takes a lot of time.AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share?I imagine myself in this Francesca Woodman's sentence: "Ti ecciterai osservando un'immagine ma non saprai mai cosa vi è dietro". ("You will be excited seeing a picture, but you'll never know what is behind that.")
Rajan Dosaj
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