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Francis Frith
Portrait, Turkish Summer Costume, 1857 - David Hunter McAlpin Fund, 1966, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Francis Frith
Francis Frith

Francis Frith

Country: United Kingdom
Birth: 1822 | Death: 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


 

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Klavdij Sluban
France
1963
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1910 | † 1990
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Ray K. Metzker
United States
1931 | † 2014
Ray K. Metzker (10 September 1931 – 9 October 2014) was an American photographer known chiefly for his bold, experimental B&W cityscapes and for his large "composites", assemblages of printed film strips and single frames. His work is held in various major public collections and is the subject of eight monographs. He received awards from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts and Royal Photographic Society. Metzker was born in Milwaukee and lived in Philadelphia from the 1960s until his death. He was married to the photographer Ruth Thorne-Thomsen. He was a student of Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind at the Institute of Design in Chicago. He taught for many years at the Philadelphia College of Art and also taught at the University of New Mexico. After graduate studies at the Institute of Design in Chicago, Metzker travelled extensively throughout Europe in 1960-61, where he had two epiphanies: that "light" would be his primary subject, and that he would seek synthesis and complexity over simplicity. Metzker often said the artist begins his explorations by embracing what he doesn't know.Source: Wikipedia After a career that spanned five decades and saw him pioneer a new and singular visual idiom, Ray K. Metzker has been recognized as one of the great masters of American photography. Characterized by composites, multiple-exposures, solarization, the superimposition of negatives, and the juxtaposition of images, Metzker’s work pushed the boundaries of what seemed formally possible in black and white photography. Metzker enrolled at the Institute of Design, Chicago in 1956, a school which at that time was being referred to as the New Bauhaus, where he studied with fellow modernist photographers Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind. After obtaining a master’s degree from the Institute in 1959, Metzker’s work began to garner increasing attention and critical regard, first and foremost from Edward Steichen, who, at that time, was the curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Metzker’s first solo show would happen at the Museum of Modern Art in 1967. Retrospectives of his work were organized in 1978 by the International Center of Photography in New York and in 1984 by the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, a show which then traveled to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, the International Museum of Photography, Rochester, and the National Museum of American Art, Washington, DC. In 2011 a major career retrospective of Metzker’s work was organized by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, which traveled to the The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the Henry Art Museum in Seattle. Ray K. Metzker died in October of 2014, at 83 years of age, in the city of Philadelphia.Source: Howard Greenberg Gallery Metzker has dedicated his career to exploring the formal potentials of black-and-white photography, but they are not his exclusive concern. "When you look at the multiples, you are aware of patterning and so forth," he says, "but there is still identifiable subject matter; frequently there are people there; there is a rhythm to those people." Metzker's 1959 thesis project, My Camera and I in the Loop, takes downtown Chicago as its subject, but renders it in experiments that tell more about photography than they do about the city. The pictures from this project were exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago (1959-1960), and included in the issue of Aperture devoted to the students and professors of the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago (1961). Ray Metzker's images question the nature of the photograph and photographic "reality." Through cropping, multiple imagery, and other formal inventions, his work explores options for transforming the vocabulary of the photograph. Untitled from 1969 illustrates the simple method of manipulating objective information through juxtaposition: two distinct women on the beach enter into a yin-yang relationship of line and gesture. The photograph is part of a series of pictures made from 1968 to 1975 of beach-goers in New Jersey. "The more fashion conscious probably go to other beaches, but what Atlantic City has – and what attracted me to it – is diversity," Metzker said. Of the content of the pictures and his working method, Metzker added, "What appears in the pictures was the subject's decision, not mine. I took what they presented – delicate moments – unadorned and unglamorous, yet tender and exquisite." Metzker used a 1975 National Endowment for the Arts fellowship to pull the series together as Sand Creatures, later published as a book in 1979. There are no diptychs in the book, though the woman in sunglasses at the bottom of Untitled (1969) is included as a solo picture. In a July 1992 letter, Metzker wrote the following about two untitled Sand Creatures pictures from 1969: "The photograph of the double image is from the series entitled Couplets and predates the single image by a number of years. Both pictures were made at beaches along the New Jersey coast: the couplet at Atlantic City, the single frame at Cape May. With both, my camera was an Olympus half-frame, a small amateurish piece of equipment that let me move about freely. The choice of the camera was essential to the development of the series."Source: Museum of Contemporary Photography
Lilian Caruana
United States
"As an immigrant from Italy growing up in New York, I was drawn to observing people and fascinated by differences in cultural behavior. I saw myself always faced with the dilemma of interpreting and reconciling home country with adopted country norms and behavior. Things that were perfectly normal in one culture could be foreign, even problematic, in the other. I developed “antennas” having to constantly read and interpret cultural cues or nuances in interactions with people. This feeling of being an outsider made me want to know more about people, how they lived, what they believed in. Seeking this, anthropology has been a lifelong study that I explore photographically. Photography has served as a passport that allows me entry to worlds normally closed to me. The central theme of my photography is individuals who are outside the mainstream of the larger society. I have photographed immigrants, punks and skinheads, Austrian farmers in the Italian Alps, inner city youth and gang members. My work explores how individuals who, either by choice or because they are seen as “the other,” live outside the dominant culture. My goal is to explore how individuals shape their identity and give voice to their own existence." REBELS: Punks and Skinheads of New York’s East Village "New York’s East Village has always been a haven for strivers, a home for immigrants, artists, poets and later the place where the punk movement was born. In 1984 I moved there and was fascinated by the young people walking around sporting body metal, torn clothing, tatoos, and chains. I photographed them in the streets, in the abandoned buildings they called home and in the clubs like CBGB where they played their hardcore music. These were young people who were looking for a more authentic way to be and did not see a place for themselves in mainstream society. It was exciting to see, in what appeared to be squalor and dissolution, something being born. With grit and ingenuity they took vacant lots filled with rubble and turned them into urban gardens, abandoned buildings into housing, and anger into art, music and community. Despite the drugs, poverty, and violence that battered the East Village at the time, the creative response was there, raw and beautiful, and that is what interested me."
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