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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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Sem Langendijk
The Netherlands
1990
Sem Langendijk is a documentary photographer with an interest in communities and their habitat, the urban environment and spatial arrangements. He observes the identity of a place, the impact communities have on their environments, and how space functions within the structures of a city. Langendijk shoots on large and medium format cameras, and aims to imbue his subjects with a certain tranquility. He continues to balance his work on the very narrow edge between visual storytelling and poetic personal documentation. Langendijk studied documentary photography at the Royal Academy of Arts, The Hague. In 2018, he was a recipient of the Mondrian Fund Stipendium for Emerging Artists and his work is exhibited at multiple art fairs and festivals, most recently 'The American Landscape', a group show travelling the US with The Gallery Club. He is currently working in Amsterdam, Londen and New York, on a personal body of work, continuing his research about the former Docklands. As an artist I intend to raise questions about the concept of 'the city' in our time. What role does history play in the identity of place, and feeling of belonging? How does ownership of (private) property relate to the right of the city? Through working with communities and researching their habitats I try to reveal (economical and political) systems that influence today's city life. My visual work is loosely related to social geography and anthropology, as I do field research and create visual notes. I combine this with more structured and methodological work, such as typologies. With these approaches I mean to reflect upon, as well as creating a more personal excerpt of, reality.
Francis Frith
United Kingdom
1822 | † 1898
Francis Frith was an English photographer of the Middle East and many towns in the United Kingdom. Frith was born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, attending Quaker schools at Ackworth and Quaker Camp Hill in Birmingham (c. 1828–1838), before he started in the cutlery business. He suffered a nervous breakdown in 1843, recuperating over the next two years. In 1850 he started a photographic studio in Liverpool, known as Frith & Hayward. A successful grocer, and later, printer, Frith fostered an interest in photography, becoming a founding member of the Liverpool Photographic Society in 1853. Frith sold his companies in 1855 in order to dedicate himself entirely to photography. He journeyed to the Middle East on three occasions, the first of which was a trip to Egypt in 1856 with very large cameras (16" x 20"). He used the collodion process, a major technical achievement in hot and dusty conditions. Photographs taken by Frith are held in the Conway Library of Art and Architecture at the Courtauld in London. When he had finished his travels in the Middle East in 1859, he opened the firm of Francis Frith & Co. in Reigate, Surrey, as the world's first specialist photographic publisher. In 1860, he married Mary Ann Rosling (sister of Alfred Rosling, the first treasurer of the Photographic Society) and embarked upon a colossal project—to photograph every town and village in the United Kingdom; in particular, notable historical or interesting sights. Initially he took the photographs himself, but as success came, he hired people to help him and set about establishing his postcard company, a firm that became one of the largest photographic studios in the world. Within a few years, over two thousand shops throughout the United Kingdom were selling his postcards. Many of his photographs were collected into published volumes. Initially these works were compiled by established publishing companies. However, by the 1860s, Firth realized that he could profit from publishing his own images and established the publishing company F. Frith & Co. Frith died at his villa in Cannes, France, on 25 February 1898, aged 75. His family continued the firm, which was finally closed in 1971. Following closure of the business, Bill Jay, one of Britain's first photography historians, identified the archive as being nationally important, and "at risk". Jay managed to persuade McCann-Erikson the London advertising agency to approach their client Rothmans of Pall Mall on 14 December 1971 to purchase the archive to ensure its safety. Rothmans went ahead and acquired the archive within weeks. Frith was re-launched in 1975 as "The Francis Frith Collection" by John Buck, a Rothmans executive, with the intention of making the Frith photographs available to as wide an audience as possible. On 25 August 1977, Buck bought the archive from Rothmans, and has run it as an independent business since that time – trading as The Francis Frith Collection. In 2016 the company completed a two-year project to scan the entire archive and now holds over 330,000 high resolution digital images. The company website enables visitors to browse all 330,000 Frith photographs, depicting some 7,000 cities, towns and villages.Source: Wikipedia Born into a Quaker family in 1822 in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, Francis Frith was a remarkable person, philosophical and devoutly religious by nature and pioneering in outlook. He was a complex and multi-talented man who had a formidable instinct for business. By the time he founded his photographic publishing company in 1860 he had already established a wholesale grocery business in Liverpool which was so successful that by the mid 1850s he was able to sell it for a price which made him a the equivalent of a multi-millionaire today. Frith had been a founder member of the Liverpool Photographic Society in 1853 – only 14 years after the invention of photography, 1839. Between 1856 and 1860, as a gentleman of leisure, he made three pioneering and sometimes dangerous photographic expeditions to the Middle East, taking bulky cameras, equipment and glass plates with him and travelling by boat, donkey, mule and camel. These journeys took him to Egypt, Nubia, Ethiopia, Sinai, Palestine, Lebanon and Syria, and established his reputation as an outstanding pioneer photographer. The photographs he took on these expeditions were marketed by the London firm of Negretti & Zambra as hugely popular stereoscopic views, and were also published in London and New York in limited edition part-works of prints, with sales totalling over £3 million in today’s value.Source: www.francisfrith.com
Ruvén Afanador
Colombia
1959
Ruvén Afanador is an internationally renowned photographer of limitless imagination, powerful vision and profound sense of self. He was born in Colombia, and his proud Latin American heritage has inspired his extensive body of work creating an intensely personal language characterized by the balance of bold emotion and delicate nuance. The expressive images in his six books: Torero, Sombra, Mil Besos, Ángel Gitano, Yo seré tu espejo and Hijas del Agua, and his portraiture and fashion editorials, reveal extravagant dreamlike sequences that seem to emerge from Afanador’s original imagination already full grown, always splendid sometimes mischievous, often decadent, all steeped in classic formality. Ruven’s work has appeared in countless publications including New York Magazine, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, The New York Times Magazine, numerous Vogue editions, Tatler, Elle, and The New Yorker. His personal projects have been exhibited in Galleries and Museums in Spain, Italy, Colombia, Argentina, Japan and the United States. His most recent exhibition was at the National Museum of Colombia in Bogota this past winter and spring 2021 and it comprised 60 large format photographs from his Hijas del Agua book project paying homage to the indigenous cultures that have inhabited Colombia for thousands of years. He lives in New York City from where he continues his career photographing the emblematic figures of contemporary fashion, music and film, as well as his personal book projects, always challenging the conventional definitions of gender and beauty. Source: Sarah Laird & Good Company Ruven Afanador was born in Colombia, in the sixteenth century city of Bucaramanga, La Ciudad de los Parques high in the scenic plateau above the Rio de Oro. He lived there until adolescence, surrounded by breathtaking mountains and immersed in old traditions and enchanting rituals that imbued everyday life with mystery and wonderment. Religious ceremonies involved the meticulous costuming of saints and marked every holiday, turning narrow colonial streets into rich visual feasts where ordinary objects acquired symbolic meaning; elaborate beauty pageants showcased glamorous women of deliberate beauty and intentional charm; and long hours were filled with the reading of adventure books or listening to the improbable tales of those coming back from journeys abroad, a peculiar form of imaginary traveling which nurtured an intense curiosity for faraway places. At fourteen, Afanador moved to the United States to attend school in the Midwest, right in the American heartland, a starkly different place from the magical world of his childhood, but one he saw as full of possibilities. And then, while studying art, he discovered photography. “From my first assignment I knew that photography would be my life’s passion”, says Afanador. With that passion, he would transform ordinary reality into captivating splendor. Or, as he himself puts it, “....into my way of seeing things.” After graduation Afanador spent two years in Washington, DC, gaining distinction as a fashion photographer of audacious taste, as well as a portraitist with an original and inventive eye. In 1987 he moved to Milan to broaden his vision, hone his technical skills and build a portfolio. Lack of studio space in the Italian city, forced him to develop techniques for photographing outdoors, in alleyways and streets, on the steps of churches and palazzos, incorporating backgrounds to frame images with texture and depth, a highly conceptual approach that Afanador uses to this day. While in Italy, he also discovered the type of model, that was to become his prototype: interesting rather than conventionally beautiful, of sculpted neck and arms, and the graceful long torso for centuries favored by painters----enigmatic and timeless. He returned from Italy in 1990 with an impressive portfolio, settling in New York and soon coming to the attention of editors at the major magazines. Since then, his distinct fashion editorials, signature advertisements and iconic portraits of the emblematic beauties and powerful male figures of the worlds of contemporary art, literature, music and film, have constantly appeared in the world’s leading fashion, celebrity and portrait magazines. His work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions and installations in galleries, museums and outdoor spaces in Latin America, Europe, Asia and the United States.Source: Fahey/Klein Gallery
Stephen Wicks
United States
Stephen Wicks' attraction to photography began during his childhood. He says he was inspired by the photo essays in LIFE Magazine. Each week when a new issue arrived it seemed like the world beyond his home was in his hands and he had feelings for and wanted to meet the people who appeared in the pictures and visit the places he saw on the pages in the magazine. Wicks has always had a deep interest in all forms of communication. He says his attraction to the visual world and belief in the power of images triggered his imagination, cultivated his intuition, awakened within him a natural curiosity and an instinct to questioning everything. These qualities have been the inspiration for Wicks to follow parallel careers as an imagemaker and visual educator. As an artist Stephen Wicks has been using photography, videography, monologues and soundscapes to tell stories about the things he see's, questions and values. His motivation has been to create picture stories, in print and now also on the screen, to share with others what he has experienced, discovered and captured. During his early career Wicks created traditional B&W photo essays with up close and personal photographs made, often while living with his subjects over a long period of time, and returning many years later to see and capture changes in their lives. More recently, Wicks has been making digital color photographs of landscapes, places and objects found in spaces shared by the natural landscape and built environment. Although these photographs are void of people, he believes a human trace is visible in each picture and, with this in mind, he see's his Nature/Culture images as social landscapes. It is precisely the absence of people along with a sense of their presence, as seen in the marks and artifacts left in the environment, he now finds most fascinating. Stephen Wicks is currently developing two presentation/performance/storytelling projects: PICTURE STORIES: a series of live presentations based on thematic video vignettes, photographs and monologues about American people, places, experiences and events; including a dialogue with the audience (in development / launch: September 2019) BEING THERE: his YouTube Channel - a video magazine about American Culture - including picture stories, video journals and commentary on education, art, communication, politics, economy, media (in development / launch: October 2019)
Lu Nan
China
1962
Lu Nan is a contemporary photographer who was born in Beijing, China in 1962. After working for National Pictorial for 5 years, he decided to become an independent photographer. From 1989 to 1990, he shot a series of images of the living conditions of patients in Chinese mental hospitals. From 1992 to 1996, he shot a series of images about Catholicism in China. From 1996 to 2004, he shot a series of images of the daily life of Tibetan farmers. Lu Nan is known as "the most legendary photographer in China". He is also the only Chinese contemporary photographer chosen by Aperture magazine as a topic colon. Lu Nan is constantly invited to participate in numerous exhibitions; however, he is extremely selective about the exhibitions he is involved with. Lu also refused to have his portrait taken by others, so it’s very rare to see any photo documentations of him. For fifteen years, Lu has been leading a life that is almost like a monk, spending his time working and studying, as he believes that “good stuff comes out of reticence.” Since 1989, Lu Nan has spent 15 years completing his trilogy of photographic series: The Forgotten People, China's Catholicism and Four Seasons in Tibet. These images have allowed Nan to place himself in the international spotlight. But perhaps more importantly, he became one of the first people who exposed another side of Chinese society; people often considered outcasts. “I just respect them and care about them… They are the same as us,” said Lu as a reminder that all human beings are equal and deserve dignity. His black and white photographs depict people within their own environment by using a rather straight glance, which is yet associated with delicate contrasts and elegant compositions.Source: Wikipedia Correspondent for the prestigious international cooperative Magnum Photos since the 1990s, Lu Nan 呂楠 (born in 1962 in Beijing) is an independent photographer who has been documenting marginalized people in China. His pivotal series started in 1989 with The Forgotten People: The Condition of China’s Psychiatric Patients. Pursing his intentions to document Chinese people from the margins of society, his subsequent series captured members of the Catholic Faith (On The Road: The Catholic Faith in China, 1992-1996), peasants’ life in Tibet (Four Seasons: Everyday Life of Tibetan Peasants, 1996-2004), and prisoner’s conditions (Prisons of North Burma, 2006).Source: photographyofchina.com “In 15 years, not a day went by when I didn’t question my own work,” says Chinese photographer Lu Nan, in an interview included in his new book Trilogy. “That’s why I scrutinize what I was doing by means of reading. This mode of assessing action through thought and assessing thought through action helped me to complete these projects." “The trilogy is concerned with human beings. I hope that by looking into real life, I’ll find something fundamentally and enduringly human.” Lu Nan isn’t well known outside China but this book, his first in English, should change all that. It collects together three projects he shot over 15 years – The Forgotten People, a look at the lives of Chinese psychiatric patients, shot from 1989-1990; On the Road, a look at the lives of Catholics in China, shot from 1992-96; and Four Seasons, a look at the lives of rural Tibetans, shot from 1996-2004. These microcosms are apparently very different and yet, to Lu Nan, they’re intimately interrelated. Inspired by image-makers such as Josef Sudek and Sebastiao Salgado and extremely well-read, Lu Nan says the three projects represent the three states of life – The Forgotten People is about suffering and adversity, On the Road purification, and Four Seasons about a blessed, serene state.Source: British Journal of Photography
Noell Oszvald
Hungary
1990
Noell Oszvald was born in Hungary in 1990. While preferring to be labeled as a visual artist, Noell Oszvald uses the photographic medium as the raw material through which she channels her emotions. Favoring black and white in order to avoid any distraction that may be created by colors, she strips her images to their bare essence. Her compositions rely on pure straight lines into which the subject fuses, hence rubbing off all hierarchy within the components. The resulting sobriety, reinforced by the choice of a square format, acts as a breeding ground to a complex melange of subtle feelings derived from her melancholy and loneliness. Indeed, while all facial features are deliberately kept hidden, Oszvald’s work could easily fall within the self-portrait category; “they’re reflections of who I am,” says the artist about her images. However, the spectral presence of the character merging with its surroundings, the full-fledged role played by the environment and the powerful sensitivity that exudes through, are closer to the conceptual photography of the similarly precocious Francesca Woodman. Yet, more than her self, Oszvald conveys an apparent yet suspicious sense of calmness, well guarded by a perfectly controlled composition. In addition to the lines dividing space, the impeccable geometric interactions and the sharp contrast between the various shades of black are brought into opposition with the muffled silence of her quiescent emotions. It triggers a delicate duality, which underlies a rich and complex inner world. The reassuring perfection of these images acts like a robust armor to the highly sensitive Oszvald, who despite her young age, proves herself to be an accomplished artist. “My aim is to set up concepts using the human body as a base, while not making it the main focus of the picture. The result is a still image that is built around a person, but all parts of the whole are of equal importance. I reduce my pictures to content, composition, and form because this minimalist approach allows me to put equal emphasis on the idea behind the artwork and the entirety of the image. Portraying a sense of calmness with images that are built up based on geometric shapes is a recurring theme of my work.”Source: Artpil Noell Oszvald only shoots in black and white because she finds colors to be distracting. “I feel the same way about clothes and other matters of appearance, which why I like to reduce my images to forms, composition and content.” When asked what the story is behind one of her photo, Prejudice, Noell Oszald shared this, “I had the idea of Prejudice in my mind for a long time before I finally made it. I was very unsure about it, because I wanted the picture to look absolutely the way it does now, but to achieve this composition I had to paint the bird in, in not exactly the right position. I feared people would pick on me and call me ignorant, because the image is not precise. I was afraid of being judged while working on a picture about prejudice. How ironic.” As you look through Oszvald's beautiful and sometimes haunting images, you can't help but feel a mix of emotions. They all fall in the conceptual photography field, meaning, they illustrate an idea but one that Oszald believes should be personal to the viewer. “I don't want to tell people what to see in my images,” explains Oszland, “this is the reason why I never really write any descriptions other than titles. It shows what I wish to express but everyone is free to figure out what the picture says to them. It's very interesting to read so many different thoughts about the same piece of work.”Source: My Modern Met
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