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Max van der Wal
Max van der Wal
Max van der Wal

Max van der Wal

Country: Netherlands

Max van der Wal has been educated as a sound artist at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, Netherlands and afterwards has broadened his spectrum of work by researching computer graphics and analogue film processes. During his research he has dived deeply into systematic thinking, subjective experience and process. There has always been an underlying need to expose systems by following them extensively or mistreating them. He has taken various notions from the sonic world into the visual domain in computer graphics as well as analogue photography.

Inspired by texts and works of John Cage, van der Wal utilises a variety of processes which lie beyond his control, hereby challenging the notion of perfection in art and life itself. Rather than focusing on preconceived ideals of what a work should look or sound like, he switches the intention towards the unknown and the experimental. The artistic expression is found in the moments in which he intervenes into the processes, imposing a human perspective onto a mindless system. The objects displayed in the frame are no longer the focus of the work, but rather the processes and their unexpected outcome.
 

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Graciela Iturbide
Graciela Iturbide was born in 1942 in Mexico City. In 1969 she enrolled at the age of 27 at the film school Centro de Estudios Cinematográficos at the Universidad Nacional Autónama de México to become a film director. However she was soon drawn to the art of still photography as practiced by the Mexican modernist master Manuel Alvarez Bravo who was teaching at the University. From 1970-71 she worked as Bravo's assistant accompanying him on his various photographic journeys throughout Mexico. In the early half of the 1970s, Iturbide traveled widely across Latin America in particular to Cuba and several trips to Panama. In 1978 Graciela Iturbide was commissioned by the Ethnographic Archive of the National Indigenous Institute of Mexico to photograph Mexico's indigenous population. Iturbide decided to document and record the way of life of the Seri Indians, a group of fisherman living a nomadic lifestyle in the Sonora desert in the north west of Mexico, along the border with Arizona, US. In 1979 she was invited by the artist Francisco Toledo to photograph the Juchitán people who form part of the Zapotec culture native to Oaxaca in southern Mexico. Iturbide's series that started in 1979 and runs through to 1988 resulted in the publication of her book Juchitán de las Mujeres in 1989. Between 1980 and 2000, Iturbide was variously invited to work in Cuba, East Germany, India, Madagascar, Hungary, Paris and the US, producing a number of important bodies of work. She has enjoyed solo exhibitions at the Centre Pompidou (1982), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1990), Philadelphia Museum of Art (1997), The J. Paul Getty Museum (2007), MAPFRE Foudation, Madrid (2009), Photography Museum Winterthur (2009), and Barbican Art Gallery (2012), between others. Iturbide is the recipient of the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Foundation Award, 1987; the Grand Prize Mois de la Photo, Paris, 1988; a Guggenheim Fellowship for the project 'Fiesta y Muerte', 1988; the Hugo Erfurth Award, Leverkusen, Germany, 1989; the International Grand Prize, Hokkaido, Japan, 1990; the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie Award, Arles, 1991; the Hasselblad Award, 2008; the National Prize of Sciences and Arts in Mexico City in 2008; an Honorary Degree in photography from the Columbia College Chicago in 2008; and an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2009.Source: www.gracielaiturbide.org Graciela Iturbide photographs everyday life, almost entirely in black-and-white, following her curiosity and photographing when she sees what she likes. She was inspired by the photography of Josef Koudelka, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Sebastiao Salgado and Manuel Álvarez Bravo. Her self-portraits especially reflect and showcase Bravo's influence and play with innovation and attention to detail. Iturbide eschews labels and calls herself complicit with her subjects. With her way of relating to those she is photographing, she is said to allow her subjects to come to life, producing poetic portraits. She became interested in the daily life of Mexico's indigenous cultures and people (the Zapotec, Mixtec, and Seri) and has photographed life in Mexico City, Juchitán, Oaxaca and on the Mexican/American border (La Frontera). With focus on identity, sexuality, festivals, rituals, daily life, death, and roles of women, Iturbide's photographs share visual stories of cultures in constant transitional periods. There's also juxtaposition within her images between urban versus rural life, and indigenous versus modern life. Iturbide's main concern has been the exploration and investigation of her own cultural environment. She uses photography as a way of understanding Mexico; combining indigenous practices, assimilated Catholic practices and foreign economic trade under one scope. Art critic, Oscar C. Nates, has describes Iturbide's work as "anthropoetic." Iturbide has also photographed Mexican-Americans in the White Fence (street gang) barrio of Eastside Los Angeles as part of the documentary book A Day in the Life of America (1987). She has worked in Argentina (in 1996), India (where she made her well-known photo, "Perros Perdidos" (Lost Dogs)), and the United States (an untitled collection of photos shot in Texas). One of the major concerns in her work has been "to explore and articulate the ways in which a vocable such as 'Mexico' is meaningful only when understood as an intricate combination of histories and practices." She is a founding member of the Mexican Council of Photography. She continues to live and work in Coyoacán, Mexico. In awarding her the 2008 Hasselblad Award, the Hasselblad Foundation said: "Graciela Iturbide is considered one of the most important and influential Latin American photographers of the past four decades. Her photography is of the highest visual strength and beauty. Graciela Iturbide has developed a photographic style based on her strong interest in culture, ritual and everyday life in her native Mexico and other countries. Iturbide has extended the concept of documentary photography, to explore the relationships between man and nature, the individual and the cultural, the real and the psychological. She continues to inspire a younger generation of photographers in Latin America and beyond." Some of Iturbide's recent work documents refugees and migrants. In her work Refugiados (2015), offers a stark contrast between love and family and danger and violence showing a smiling mother holding her child in front of a hand-painted mural of Mexico dotted with safety and danger zones. The largest institutional collection of Iturbide's photographs in the United States is preserved at the Wittliff collections, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX.Source: Wikipedia
Joel Bernstein
United States
1952
Joel Bernstein is a photographer, guitarist, and record producer based in Oakland, California. His photographs have appeared as the album covers to, among others, After the Gold Rush, 4 Way Street, Rita Coolidge, Wind on the Water, Running on Empty, CSN, Bob Dylan at Budokan, Rust Never Sleeps, Shadows and Light, and Hard Promises. His photographs have been published in Time, The New York Times, and Rolling Stone, among other publications, and there have been retrospective exhibits of his work in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and London. As a guitarist, he is most noted for support work to his friends David Crosby and Graham Nash, both individually and on their Crosby & Nash records. He has acted as co-producer and archivist with Nash for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and is responsible with Nash for the compilation and production of the box sets Voyage for Crosby, Reflections for Nash, Carry On for Stephen Stills, and CSNY 1974 for the band's tour of that year.Source: Wikipedia Joel Bernstein is an acclaimed rock photos photographer whose work, spanning four decades, chronicles the inner lives and public moments of some of the most important singer-songwriters, performers and musicians of our time. They include Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, Prince, Jackson Browne, Laura Nyro, Tom Petty and many others. Bernstein also became a close friend and musical collaborator with many of his other subjects, playing and singing on their albums and concert tours. But his most important work remains his up-close-and-personal photographs of these singular artists. His preferred method has been to spend as much time as possible with his subjects until the right instant–the perfect moment of intimacy–reveals itself. Bernstein’s many album covers are commonly listed among the most influential in rock's visual history. His first, at age 18, was Neil Young's After the Gold Rush, often cited in Best Album Covers Of All Time lists. His work was featured in the album cover for Joni Mitchell's Hejira, nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Album Cover. Bernstein’s work was also the inspiration for the look of Cameron Crowe's well-received rock film Almost Famous, in which many scenes were precise re-creations of Bernstein's photographs. In 2018, Bernstein received a Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Photography Hall of Fame.Source: Morrison Hotel Gallery Bernstein's work is well known within the world of music, and is included in the permanent collection of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. His work was a key inspiration for the look of Cameron Crowe's well-received rock film Almost Famous, in which many scenes were precise re-creations of Bernstein's photographs. His many album covers are commonly listed among the most influential in rock's visual history. He has been published in a wide spectrum of books on music, musicians, and the music business, as well as in Time, The New York Times and Rolling Stone. He was profiled in MOJO, the esteemed British music publication, which extensively featured his photos of Neil Young. Bernstein maintains that his unique perspective on these artists is the result of spending so much time with them that he was there to observe and capture those unique “perfect moments of intimacy” when they revealed themselves, not by some preconceived set-up. He is currently based in Oakland, California.Source: San Francisco Art Exchange
Vee Speers
Australia
or over two decades, Australian Paris-based artist Vee Speers has established herself in the art world with her unforgettable portraits. Her carefully choreographed images are painterly and ethereal, with a visual and metaphorical ambiguity which challenges established narratives. In her iconic series The Birthday Party, she eternalises the innocence of childhood with timeless portraits that are at once hauntingly beautiful and provocative. She dresses, styles and sometimes masks her characters, creating enigmatic stories to blur the line between reality and fiction and highlighting our need to escape into fantasy. Speers succeeds in choreographing characters that offer allegorical glimpses into life, triggering memories and emotions from our own childhood. From the legend of the Phoenix, Speers draws inspiration for her most recent work Phoenix, an evocative story about passion, love and loss and an homage to the anonymous women. In this series Phoenix, the battles are over and the flames and ashes disappear. Emerging is the emboldening force of liberation as these women of all ages are on the threshold of new beginnings. At once powerful and vulnerable, Speers' portraits are timeless symbols of transformation between life and loss and the renaissance of a new identity. Speers' work has been exhibited in museums, galleries, art fairs and festivals around the world, and published in features and on covers of more than 60 international magazines, with 3 sold-out monographs of her work. Her photographs have been acquired by Sir Elton John Collection, Michael Wilson Collection, Hoffman Collection U.S. , Carter Potash Collection, Morten Viskum Collection, Alan Siegel, Lawrence Schiller, DZ Bank, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Museum 21C, Kentucky, George Eastman House, Beth Rudin Dewoody, Hudson Bay Company Art Fund, CB Collection, Tokyo. More about Vee Speers: AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer? Vee Speers: I’ve always thought photography was magical as my father had his own darkroom. When I went to art school, I realized that the instant way of capturing an image suited my impatient personality. Where did you study photography?QCA, Brisbane, Australia Do you have a mentor or role model?Not really. I don’t like to follow. What or who inspires you?The cinema is a constant source of inspiration. A story is told, and the way it is filmed can transport you to another time or place. Still images can be the same. How could you describe your style?Playful, beautiful, strange, melancholic, obvious and unexpected. Do you have a favorite photograph or series?The Birthday Party and Bulletproof This is two series photographed 6 years apart using the same children. What kind of gear do you use?Polaroid film and medium format cameras. Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose?No, I know right away when I’ve taken a good shot. Or if I haven’t. What advice would you give a young photographer?Know what you want and don’t be distracted from your goal. Don’t listen to what anybody else says. What mistake should a young photographer avoid?Accepting to shoot anything that will compromise his or her personal journey. An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share?Don’t be afraid.What are your projects?Portraits, portraits and more portraits. Your best memory as a photographer?There are so many. Every time I take a great image, I feel so excited, like everything has lined up perfectly. These are the best memories. The compliment that touched you most?A woman once told me that my work had changed her life. If you were someone else who would it be?Diane Arbus, with all those wonderful and strange people to photograph. Your favorite photo book?Lord of the Flies by William Golding.
Helen Levitt
United States
1913 | † 2009
Helen Levitt was an American photographer and cinematographer. She was particularly noted for her street photography around New York City. David Levi Strauss described her as "the most celebrated and least known photographer of her time." Helen Levitt was most well known and celebrated for her work taking pictures of children playing in the streets. She also focused her work in areas of Harlem and the Lower East side with the subjects of her work many of which were minorities. There is a constant motif of children playing games in her work. She stepped away from the normal practice set by other established photographers at the time by giving a journalistic depiction of suffering. She instead chose to show the world from the perspective of her children by taking pictures of their chalk art. She usually positions the camera and styles the photo in a way that gives the focus of her photography power. Her choice to display children playing in the street and explore street photography fights against what was going on at the time. Legislation being passed in New York at the time was limiting many of the working classes' access to these public spaces. Laws were passed that directly targeted these communities in an attempt to control them. New bans on noise targeted working-class and minority communities. There was a movement to also try to keep children from playing on the street believing it is unsafe for them out there. Instead encouraging safe new areas that were usually built more in upper and middle-class areas. Helen Levitt instead exploring the narrative of those who lived in these areas and played in these streets was a way further to empower the subjects of her photos. Levitt was born in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of May (Kane), and Sam Levitt. Her father and maternal grandparents were Russian Jewish immigrants. She went to New Utrecht High School but dropped out in 1931. She began taking photography when she was eighteen and in 1931 she learned how to develop photos in the darkroom when she began working for J. Florian Mitchell, a commercial portrait photographer in the Bronx. She also attended many classes and events hosted by Manhattan Film and Photography League. This was also around the time she was exposed to the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson at the Julien Levy Gallery, who she was also able to meet through the league. His work became a major influence for her photography as it inspired her to change from her current more journalistic and commercial approach to photography to a more personal one. In 1936, she purchased a Leica camera (a 35 mm range-finder camera). In While teaching art classes to children in 1937 for the New York City's Federal Art Project, Levitt became intrigued with the transitory chalk drawings that were part of the New York children's street culture of the time. She began to photograph these chalk drawings, as well as the children who made them for her own creative assignment with the Federal Art Project. were ultimately published in 1987 as In The Street: chalk drawings and messages, New York City 1938–1948. She continued taking more street photographs mainly in East Harlem but also in the Garment District and on the Lower East Side, all in Manhattan. During the 1930s to 1940s, the lack of air conditioning meant people were outside more, which invested her in street photography. Her work was first published in Fortune magazine's July 1939 issue. The new photography section of the Museum of Modern Art, New York included Levitt's work in its inaugural exhibition in July 1939. In 1941, she visted Mexico City with author James Agee and took photos of the area. In 1943, Nancy Newhall curated her first solo exhibition Helen Levitt: Photographs of Children. In 1959 and 1960, she received two grants from the Guggenheim Foundation for her pioneering work in color photography. In 1965 she published her first major collection, A Way of Seeing. Much of her work in color from 1959 to 1960 was stolen in a 1970 burglary of her East 12th Street apartment. The remaining photos, and others taken in the following years, can be seen in the 2005 book Slide Show: The Color Photographs of Helen Levitt. A second solo exhibit, Projects: Helen Levitt in Color, was held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1974. Her next major shows were in the 1960s; Amanda Hopkinson suggests that this second wave of recognition was related to the feminist rediscovery of women's creative achievements. In 1976, she was a Photography Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts. Levitt lived in New York City and remained active as a photographer for nearly 70 years. However, she expressed lament at the change of New York City scenery: "I go where there's a lot of activity. Children used to be outside. Now the streets are empty. People are indoors looking at television or something." She had to give up making her own prints in the 1990s due to sciatica, which also made standing and carrying her Leica difficult, causing her to switch to a small, automatic Contax. She was born with Ménière's syndrome, an inner-ear disorder that caused her to "[feel] wobbly all [her] life." She also had a near-fatal case of pneumonia in the 1950s. Levitt lived a personal and quiet life. She seldom gave interviews and was generally very introverted. She never married, living alone with her yellow tabby Blinky. Levitt died in her sleep on March 29, 2009, at the age of 95.Source: Wikipedia
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