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Ragnar B. Varga
Ragnar B. Varga
Ragnar B. Varga

Ragnar B. Varga

Country: Norway
Birth: 1974

Ragnar B. Varga is a Hungarian-born Norwegian photographer with a passion for emotive storytelling through his photography. He spent several years discovering the world, living in Hungary, England, Spain as a freelance photographer and even sailing around the globe as a cruise ship photo manager before returning to Norway. The energy and character of all these places have profoundly influenced his art. His passion for photography revolves around contemplating human connection through metaphors found in natural spaces. The photographs are a contemplation of the world around us. They slow time just enough to capture the narratives and anecdotes that can be found in a moment of stillness amidst an otherwise chaotic world. Ragnar currently lives in Bergen, Norway.
 

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Liu Zheng
China
1969
Liu Zheng was born in 1969 in the Hebei Province, China. His signature graytone photographs have for years starkly framed, in political and provocative situations, his human subjects. When he works in colour, the tones are awash in sepia or a doctored saturation that comments on the nostalgic nature of his topics – his Peking Opera series in particular reflects this. Liu's background is not rooted in arts . After majoring in optical engineering at the Beijing Institute of Technology, he joined a local paper as a photojournalist, where he covered the coal mining industry. This laid the foundation for his interest in the lives of the countrymen that toil endlessly; one of his first series as an artistic practitioner explored the lives of ethnic minorities and our perception of them. He continues to eke out of the histories and stories of his subjects and topics in photography, and has published several volumes of his series. Liu Zheng's work has been exhibited in solo shows including Dream Shock, Three Shadows Photography Art Center, Beijing, China (2013); Dream Shock, Zen Foto Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (2009); Liu Zheng: The Chinese, Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, MA (2008); Liu Zheng: Survians, SOHO New Town, Beijing, China (2005); Liu Zheng: The Chinese, Yossi Milo Gallery, New York, NY (2005); Liu Zheng, Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie, Arles, France (2003); The Chinese, Central Academy of Fine Arts Museum, Beijing, China (2001); and Three Realms and The Chinese, Taipei Photo Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan (1998). His works have also featured in group shows including the Minsheng Art Museum in Shanghai, China; Smart Museum of Art in Chicago, IL; The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, LA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan; Asia Society and Museum, New York, NY; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England; and Chambers Fine Art, Beijing, China. He has also participated in the 50th Biennale di Venezia in Venice, Italy and the International Center of Photography Triennale, New York. His work is in the collections of the Guy and Miriam Ullens Foundation, Geneva, Switzerland; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Uli Sigg Collection, Mauensee, Switzerland; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA. He currently lives and works in Beijing, China.
Dale Odell
United States
Dale O'Dell lives in Prescott, Arizona and is a professional photographer and digital artist. He studied photography and philosophy in college and earned a Bachelor's of Science degree in Photography in 1982 from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. Since 1979 he has exhibited in over two-hundred group and solo shows, his works have been exhibited and published internationally and he's written for most of the leading photographic magazines and journals. He is a consummate experimenter and innovator and works with diverse subjects in a variety of styles. He has published nineteen art books and is currently at work on number twenty. He uses modern digital technologies to create artwork in a variety of styles. “Using the power of technology and an active imagination there are few limitations. I've produced straight documentary-style photos, advertising, editorial illustration, street photography, portraiture, landscape, infrared, night and astronomical photography as well as abstract-expressionism, impressionism and surrealism. You won't find me making the same image over and over.” Despite their photographic origins, Dale's images are best described as 'photo/digital artworks' and are not all straight photographs. He has fully embraced the digital revolution of photography to explore expression beyond traditional photographic limitations. Zen Cairns A cairn is a human-made pile (or stack) of stones. The word cairn comes from the Scottish Gaelic: càrn. Cairns are used for a variety of purposes. In modern times, cairns are often erected as landmarks, a use they have had since ancient times and cairns are used as trail markers in many parts of the world. They vary in size from small stone markers to entire artificial hills, and in complexity from loose conical rock piles to delicately balanced sculptures and elaborate feats of megalithic engineering. Cairns may be painted or otherwise decorated, whether for increased visibility or for religious reasons. The Zen Cairns came into existence as a result of researching what other photographers had done with the cairn as subject. I look at others' works to see what's already been done with the subject. This helps me to avoid repeating what others have done and (hopefully) forge my own path of originality with the subject. As I studied the myriad of cairn photos online I saw some that made me look twice and carefully consider the laws of gravity. While I saw many examples of true 'balance artistry' when stacks of rocks seemed to be magically balanced for real, I also saw images that really did defy the law of gravity. These were 'impossible' stacks of rocks that, at first glance, looked 'real,' but they were, in fact, held together with metal rods or glue. These were probable yet impossible cairns. A quick look at these could easily fool the viewer. Looking at the probable yet impossible cairns I thought I could create a series of physically impossible yet visually probable cairns - after all, I do have Photoshop. Almost immediately I could see the finished images in my minds-eye. I went to my sketchbook and very quickly did a series of drawings - which came to me full-blown, complete with titles! I already had the river rocks in my studio so I photographed them all twice, with lighting from two different directions, allowing me to use them in different ways in Photoshop yet keep a consistent direction of light. With the image fully-formed in my mind's eye I created a portrait-studio type background which would be lit oppositely from the rocks. I did a quick version of this background as a proof-of-concept (which worked) and then went to various paint and lighting programs to create the actual background. Interestingly, each new and improved background failed to work in the image and I ultimately ended up using the original proof-of-concept background. Sometimes you get it right the first time but you've got to do the extra work anyway so you know the first one really does work and you didn't quit too soon. For consistency I used the same background for all ten images. Using my sketches as guides I assembled each image from individually photographed river rocks. I added shadows to simulate what it would really look like as a set in the studio. I sharpened all the rocks to enhance their texture and softened the background to create a more three-dimensional effect. I worked in black and white to emulate the luminosity of classic B&W still-life prints from the darkroom. It is my hope that the direction of light, shadows and texture induces an emotional response of 'reality' in the viewer before the intellect of analysis informs them, 'this is not real.'
David Hurn
United Kingdom
1934
David Hurn is a British documentary photographer and member of Magnum Photos. Hurn was born on 21 July 1934 in Redhill, Surrey, England. He was raised in Cardiff, Wales. Because of his dyslexia he joined the school camera club. After leaving school he headed for London, hoping to become a photographer. Hurn is a self-taught photographer. He began his career in 1955 when he worked for Reflex Agency. He gained his reputation as a photojournalist for his documentation of the Hungarian revolution of 1956, and is featured in two of Ken Russell's films for the Monitor television arts' series, A House in Bayswater (1960), and Watch the Birdie (1963). In 1965 he became associated with Magnum Photos and became a full member in 1967. In 1963, Hurn was commissioned by the producers of the James Bond films to shoot a series of stills with Sean Connery and the actresses of From Russia with Love. When the theatrical property Walther PPK pistol didn't arrive, Hurn volunteered the use of his own Walther LP-53 air pistol. The pistol became a symbol of James Bond on many film posters of the series. In 1967 Dino de Laurentiis asked Hurn to travel to Rome to shoot photos of Jane Fonda in Barbarella. Hurn returned to Wales in the late 1960s, initially living in a van for a year photographing the country. He was married from 1964-71 to American actress Alita Naughton (1942-2019), best known for her role in Ken Russell’s French Dressing (1964). In 1973 he set up the School of Documentary Photography in Newport, Wales. Eventually, he turned away from documentary photojournalism, bringing a more personal approach to his image making. He says, "There are many forms of photography. I consider myself simply a recorder of that which I find of interest around me. I personally have no desire to create or stage direct ideas." His book, Wales: Land of My Father (2000), illustrates the traditional and the modern aspects of Wales. In 2001 he was diagnosed with colon cancer but made a full recovery. He continues to live and work in Wales, and has donated a collection of photographs taken by him and other leading contemporary photographers, including Henri Cartier-Bresson, Eve Arnold, and Bill Brandt, to the National Museum of Wales. Hurn has been an avid collector of photography. Remarkably, he has amassed his private collection by swapping works with other photographers. The collection National Museum Cardiff comprises approximately 700 photographs. Swaps: Photographs from the David Hurn Collection, National Museum Cardiff, Wales, September 2017 – April 2018. In 2017 Hurn donated 1500 of his photographs, and 700 of other peoples' photographs, to Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales. He built his private collection of other peoples' work by swapping prints with them. National Museum Cardiff held an exhibition of the latter collection in 2017/2018, entitled Swaps: Photographs from the David Hurn Collection.Source: Wikipedia
Builder Levy
United States
New Yorker Builder Levy has been photographing America and her inhabitants for the past 50 years. His social consciousness took him to significant areas of our country during tumultuous times. His commitment to aesthetically [or artistically] documenting the world around him earned him the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship in 2008. Levy's work is in more than 50 public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, High Museum of Art, International Center of Photography, Victoria and Albert Museum, and La Bibliotheque Nationale. He is also the author of two published photographic books. Source: Arnika Dawkins Gallery Intertwining social documentary, art and street photography, Builder Levy has been making photographs as objects of art that celebrate the human spirit for almost fifty years. He was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (’08), an Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellowship (‘04), a Furthermore Grant (‘03), Puffin Foundation Grant (‘01), and National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artists Fellowship in Photography (‘82), and two commissions from the Appalachian College Association (’95 and ‘02). Levy’s two books are Images of Appalachian Coalfields, Temple Univ. Press, with a foreword by Cornell Capa, and Builder Levy Photographer, A.R.T. Press, with an introduction by noted photo historian Naomi Rosenblum. Levy has exhibited in more than 200 shows, including more than 50 one-person exhibitions in New York City, throughout the United States and around the world. In the Fall 2011, he is included in the exhibits Coal + Ice, curated by Susan Meiselas & Jeroen de Vries, a project of the Asia Society, at the Three Shadows Art Centre in Beijing; Posing Beauty, curated by Deborah Willis at Fisher Museum of Art, USC, Los Angeles (9/11-12/11); Photo Folio at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (10/11-1/12); at the Arnika Dawkins Gallery (Black & White and Color), (with 13 photographs) (10/1-10/29/11) in conjunction with Atlanta Celebrates Photography; and Mirrors and Reflections: A Group Show, curated by Evelyne Z. Daitz with co-curator Alison Bradley at the Robert Anderson Gallery at 24 West 57th Street, New York (11/17/11-1/7/12) The High Museum of Art included Levy’s photographs in the historic exhibition, Road to Freedom: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement, 1956-1968 (and the accompanying eponymous book/catalogue), curated by Julian Cox. It opened at the High Museum of Art in 2008, and traveled for two years to museums in D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City. The Rubin Museum of Art in NYC featured 14 of Levy’s photographs in the show Mongolia: Beyond Chinggis Khan, 11/06-4/07. Levy’s work is in more than 50 public collections in the US and around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, High Museum of Art, International Center of Photography, Victoria and Albert Museum, and La Bibliotheque Nationale. His photographs are featured in more than 25 books including, Harlem, A Century in Images, Studio Museum of Harlem, Skira/Rizzoli 2010, Freedom, Phaidon Press, 100 New York Photographers, Schiffer Press ‘09, Deborah Willis’ Posing Beauty, Norton Press, ‘09, Coal Country, Sierra Club Books, ’09, and Road To Freedom: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement, 1956-1968. He was the featured artist (with 22 photos) in Appalachian Heritage, (Spring 2010). His subjects include inner-city New York City where he was a NYC teacher of at-risk adolescents for 35 years; coalfield Appalachia (spanning more than 40 years), civil rights and peace demonstrations (in the 1960s), Mongolia and other developing nations. He is completing a new book, Appalachia USA. Source: builderlevy.com
Louis Stettner
United States
1922 | † 2016
Louis Stettner was an American photographer of the 20th century whose work included streetscapes, portraits and architectural images of New York and Paris. His work has been highly regarded because of its humanity and capturing the life and reality of the people and streets. Starting in 1947, Stettner photographed the changes in the people, culture, and architecture of both cities. He continued to photograph New York and Paris up until his death. My way of life, my very being is based on images capable of engraving themselves indelibly in our inner soul’s eye. -- Louis Stettner Louis Stettner was born in Brooklyn, New York, where he was one of four children. His father was a cabinet maker, and Louis learned the trade when young, using the money he earned to support his growing love of photography. He was given a box camera as a child, and his love affair with photography began. His family went on trips to Manhattan and visited museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where his love of art began. At 18, in 1940, Stettner enlisted in the United States army and became a combat photographer in Europe for the Signal Corps. After a brief stint in Europe he was sent to New Guinea, the Philippines, and Japan. Back from the war Stettner joined the Photo League in New York. Stettner visited Paris in 1946 and in 1947 moved there. From 1947 to 1949 he studied at the Institut des Hautes Études Cinématographiques in Paris and received a Bachelor of Arts in Photography & Cinema. He went back and forth between New York and Paris for almost two decades and finally settled permanently in Saint-Ouen, near Paris, in 1990. Stettner still frequently returned to New York. Stettner's professional work in Paris began with capturing life in the post-war recovery. He captured the everyday lives of his subjects. In the tradition of the Photo League, he wanted to investigate the bonds that connect people to one another. In 1947 he was asked by the same Photo League to organize an exhibition of French photographers in New York. He gathered the works of some of the greatest photographers of the era, including Robert Doisneau, George Brassaï, Edouard Boubat, Izis, and Willy Ronis. The show was a big success and was largely reviewed in the annual issue of U.S. Camera. Stettner had begun a series of regular meetings with Brassaï who was a great mentor and had a significant influence on his work. In 1949, Stettner had his first exhibition at the Salon des Indépendants at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris. Brassaï showed me that it was possible to find something significant in photographing subjects in everyday life doing ordinary things by interpreting them in your own way and with your own personal vision. -- Louis Stettner In 1951 his work was included in the famous Subjektive Fotografie exhibition in Germany. During the 1950s he freelanced for Time Magazine, Life, Fortune, and Du (Germany). While in Paris he reconnected with Paul Strand, who had also left New York because of the political intolerance of the McCarthy era—Strand had been a founder of the Photo League that would be blacklisted and then banned during those years. In the 1970s Stettner spent more time in New York City, where he taught at Brooklyn College, Queens College, and Cooper Union. In his own work, Stettner focused on documenting the lives of the working class in both Paris and New York. He felt that the cities belong to the people who live there, not to tourists or visitors. His upbringing caused him to take great care in capturing the simple human dignity of the working class. He also captured noteworthy architectural images of both cities, including bridges, buildings, and monuments. Stettner produced well-known images, including: Aubervilliers, Brooklyn Promenade, Twin Towers with Sea Gull, Penn Station, and the Statue of Liberty, Battery Park. In his nineties, Stettner turned to a large format camera of the dimensions used by his hero, Paul Strand; an 8×10 Deardorff in order to photograph details of the landscape of Les Alpilles in Provence where Van Gogh often painted, assisted by his wife Janet. Stettner received numerous honors, and in 1950 he was named Life's top new photographer. In 1975 he won First Prize in the Pravda World Contest. Louis Stettner’s works are posthumously managed by the Louis Stettner Estate.Source: Wikipedia
Rafał Milach
Poland
1978
Rafał Milach is a Polish visual artist and photographer. His work is about the transformation taking place in the former Eastern Bloc, for which he undertakes long-term projects. He is an associate member of Magnum Photos. Milach's books include 7 Rooms (2011), In the Car with R (2012), Black Sea of Concrete (2013), The Winners (2014) and The First March of Gentlemen (2017). He is a co-founder of the Sputnik Photos collective. He won a 2008 World Press Photo award. 7 Rooms won the Pictures of the Year International Best Photography Book Award in 2011. In 2017 his exhibition Refusal was a finalist for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize. Milach was born in 1978 in Gliwice, Poland. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice in 2003 and the Institute of Creative Photography (ITF), Silesian University in Opava, Czech Republic. With ten other Central Eastern European photographers, he co-founded Sputnik Photos, a collective documenting transition in post-Soviet states. For his first book, 7 Rooms (2011), Milach accompanied and photographed seven young people for several years living in the Russian cities of Moscow, Yekaterinburg and Krasnoyarsk. In the Car with R (2012) was made on a 10-day road trip, driving 1450 kilometers around Iceland's circular Route 1. Milach made photographs and his local guide, the writer Huldar Breiðfjörð [de], made diary entries. Black Sea of Concrete (2013) is about the Ukrainian Black Sea coast, about its people, of whom he made portraits, and the abundant Soviet-era geometric blocks strewn along the coastline. Milach spent two years in Belarus from 2011 exploring its dire economic and political situation. Belarus is "a country caught between the ultra-traditional values of an older Soviet era and the viral influence of western popular culture." Milach was interested in the clean, tidy glamorous facade maintained by the state. His book The Winners (2014), portraits of winners of various "Best of Belarus" state and local contests promoted by the government, is a typology of state propaganda. It depicts mostly people, but also anonymous interiors that had won awards. The obscure official prizes are intended to foster national pride but to an outside audience might appear tragicomic. Milach travelled around the country working in the role of "an old-fashioned propaganda photographer". He was guided by the authorities as to who, where and how to photograph, a process which only improved his revealing the ideology of the state. Milach has said "the winners are everywhere, but the winnings are not for the winners – they are for the system", "the state is not interested in individuals, only in mass control." The First March of Gentlemen (2017) was made on a 2016 residency at Kolekcja Września to make work about life in Września. The town is synonymous with the Września children strike, the protests of Polish children and their parents against Germanization that occurred between 1901 and 1904. In 2016, there were many demonstrations by Citizens of Poland, a civic movement engaged in pro-democracy and anti-fascist actions, opposed to the political changes brought about by the government led by the Law and Justice (PiS) party. Milach's book of collages mixes illustrations of the children's strike with characters that lived in Września during the communist era in the 1950s and 1960s taken by local amateur photographer Ryszard Szczepaniak. This "delineates a fictitious narrative that can be read as a metaphor, commenting on the social and political tensions of the present day." Milach is an associate member of Magnum Photos. He is married to Ania Nałęcka-Milach and is currently based in Warsaw.Source: Wikipedia Rafał Milach was born in 1978 in Gliwice and is currently based in Warsaw. He graduated in graphic design from the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice, as well as studies at the Institute of Creative Photography of the Silesian University in Opava, Czech Republic, where he’s offering lectures. He’s also a professor at the Krzysztof Kieślowski Film School in Katowice Poland. In 2008, he received first prize in the Grand Press Photo competition and in 2011 he received an honorable mention in the Magnum Expression Award Competition. In 2008 he received first prize in the Grand Press Photo competition and in 2011 he received an honorable mention in the Magnum Expression Award Competition. In 2013 he was among the 10 laureates of Magnum’s 2013 Emergency Fund grants, which allowed him to continue his Winners project, set in Belarus and giving viewers an intimate look at the "last dictatorship in Europe." At the 2012 edition of the Month of Photography in Bratislava Milach’s 7 Rooms were announced the best contemporary books in the CEE Region this year, along with two other albums published by Sputnik Photos – Stand By and Distant Place. About his style of photography, he says the key to his craft is filtering his subject through his own consciousness to find a novel, distinctive perspective on an object or issue, even if it has been portrayed by dozens of photographers. "It’s about finding something interesting for us", he told, "something we want to speak about. I believe there are no bad subjects, there are only bad productions."Source: Culture.pl
Szymon Barylski
Poland
1984
Szymon Barylski Polish freelance photographer born in 1984 based in Ireland. He has been published, among others, The Irish Times, National Geographic Poland, The Eye of Photography, Edge of Humanity Magazine. He has had a number of exhibitions in many countries including 3rd Documentary Photography Days in Istambul, MIFA Photography, The SE Centre for Photography- Documentary Photography. His pictures were awarded in many competitions. Szymon is involved in documentary photography and photo essays. Photographing for he is a tool for exploring and learning about the world. He tries to tell a story and show it directly. In his opinion, people are an inexhaustible topic and a source of inspiration. Szymon said: „When traveling, I meet people; as a result, I create the image of my relation with them. The exploration of the environment where I take photos allow me to create emotional and convincing scenes.“ He thinks you cannot photograph the things you do not know well. That is why he prepares himself for each project individually, accurately, going into detail in the newspapers and on the Internet. Next, he looks for an inspiration in other photographer’s photos and conversations, as a result, he can create real pictures. His own narrative presented in his photos are at the same time very personal and common. Szymon thinks that a lot of people can identify themselves with his works. Photographer wish his photos could increase individual and collective awareness about the social, political and economic need and urge people to act, be part of positive changes.
LaToya Ruby Frazier
United States
1982
LaToya Ruby Frazier is an American artist and professor of photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. From Braddock, Pennsylvania, Frazier began photographing her family and hometown at the age of 16, revising the social documentary traditional of Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange to imagine documentation from within and by the community, and collaboration between the photographer and her subjects. Inspired by Gordon Parks, who promoted the camera as a weapon for social justice, Frazier uses her tight focus to make apparent the impact of systemic problems, from racism to deindustrialization to environmental degradation, on individual bodies, relationships and spaces. In her work, she is concerned with bringing to light these problems, which she describes as global issues. Speaking to The New York Times about her position, Frazier said: "We need longer sustained stories that reflect and tell us where the prejudices and blind spots are and continue to be in this culture and society... This is a race and class issue that is affecting everyone. It is not a black problem, it is an American problem, it is a global problem. Braddock is everywhere." Frazier has been extensively educated in photography through education at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania (BFA), Syracuse University (MFA), the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program, and she was the Guna S. Mundheim Fellow for Visual Arts at the American Academy in Berlin. The photographic work of LaToya Ruby Frazier includes both images of personal spaces, intensely private moments and the story of racial and economic injustice in America. Her work includes raw portraits of friends and family members in intimate moments and examples of social injustice. As Frazier explains, "the collaboration between my family and myself blurs the line between self-portraiture and social documentary". Often her work focuses on the plight of her home town of Braddock, Pennsylvania which became financially depressed after the collapse of the steel industry in the 1970–80s. With black and white photographs, Frazier highlights the beauty of Braddock and how this town has impacted her family's life along with other residents. Her still photographs have a raw sense of strength and vulnerability juxtaposed in an honest and personal way. Besides working on her most famous work Notion of Family, Frazier has worked with other contemporary issues such as the Flint water crisis. This particular project depicts and focuses on a young woman and her family living their everyday lives amongst the crucial water conditions within their lower-class Flint community. She recently contributed photographs to a New York Times project, Why America's Black Mothers and Babies are in a Life-or-Death Crisis. Informed by documentary practices from the turn of the last century, Frazier explores identities of place, race, and family in work that is a hybrid of self-portraiture and social narrative. Her primary subjects of these portraits are Frazier's Grandma Ruby (1925-2009), her mother (b. 1959), and the artist herself. The crumbling landscape of Braddock, Pennsylvania, a once-thriving steel town, forms the backdrop of her images, which make manifest both the environmental and infrastructural decay caused by postindustrial decline and the lives of those who continue—largely by necessity—to live among it. As Frazier says, "I see myself as an artist and a citizen that's documenting and telling the story and building the archive of working-class families facing all this change that's happening, because it has to be documented." Through her own family she has been able to recount the history of Braddock by way of the generations who experienced it. Her work begins dialogues about class structure, history, and social responsibility. A 2018 special issue of Atlantic Magazine featured aerial photography and an essay by Frazier documenting the impact of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. on the landscapes of Memphis, Chicago and Baltimore. Frazier's work was featured in the 2019 New York Times Magazine Money Issue for her photo essay on the people of Lordstown, Ohio after the General Motors plant shut down.Source: Wikipedia Frazier’s radical empathy has brought her to places whose occupants have every reason to distrust outsiders. She photographs communities gutted by unemployment, poverty, racism and environmental degradation, seeking out subjects dehumanized or ignored by the mainstream media. At 39, she sees her life’s work as an archive of humanity, one that particularly documents the courage and diversity of blue-collar workers and the consequences of the policies that condemn them to struggle. For her, this is what it means to be a patriot. “I am showing these dark things about America because I love my country and countrymen,” she said. “When you love somebody, you tell them the truth. Even if it hurts.” Socially conscious artistic practices may be in vogue these days, but Frazier goes beyond hollow claims of “raising awareness” with an essay in a magazine or a show at an art museum. She is the rare photographer who approaches relationships with her subjects as lifelong commitments, and who tries to make substantial, material differences in their lives. Frazier’s conviction in art that involves — and transforms — entire communities aligns her with Rick Lowe, an artist who, with his collaborators, famously converted an underserved swath of Houston into a nexus for housing, art programming and neighborhood development activities. She also carries on the legacy of the German artist Joseph Beuys, who believed that participatory art could heal society. Frazier, though, pursues these conceptual ideals while still producing formally elegant images using traditional techniques. Working mainly with a medium-format camera and black-and-white film, her intimate domestic portraits and expressive landscapes are classically beautiful, even when they depict harrowing realities. Making photographs as poetic as they are political is, for Frazier, a way of honoring her subjects. “She doesn’t pop in and pop out,” said the artist Carrie Mae Weems, Frazier’s friend and early mentor. “These are long-term projects that deeply matter, not only to her but to the community and, ultimately, I think, to the nation.”Source: The New York Times
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