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Rinko Kawauchi
Rinko Kawauchi

Rinko Kawauchi

Country: Japan
Birth: 1972

Rinko Kawauchi is a Japanese photographer. Her work is characterized by a serene, poetic style, depicting the ordinary moments in life. Since she began her photographic career, Kawauchi's photographs contained a unique aesthetic and mood, capturing intimate, poetic, and beautiful moments of the world around her. They often have brilliant and radiant light that gives them a dream-like quality. The sublimity of her photographs is further enhanced by her use of soft colors as well as her awareness of the beauty in even the most average moments.

There is not one specific theme or concept that Kawauchi chooses to explore with her image creation; rather, she does it spontaneously, observing and reacting to everything that is around her before doing any sort of editing. She focuses on just shooting, and photographing everything that attracts her eyes before looking back and thinking about why she was interested in those subjects. Another subject that she explored in her book, Ametsuchi, was the practice of religious ceremonies and rituals that hinted at an earthly cycle involving the concepts of time and impermanence. In the book, she depicts Japan's Mount Aso, a sacred site for a Shinto ritual called yakihata, and its volcanic landscape. The ritual is a long-standing tradition dating back about 1,300 years in which farmland is burned yearly to maintain its sustainability for new crops as opposed to using chemicals, and the communities at Aso are among the few that continue this tradition. Ironically, witnessing essentially the rebirth of farmland take place, Kawauchi claims that she burned away her old self and was reborn herself.

In her book Halo, she continues to explore that theme with different rituals at other locations. She traveled to Izumo, Japan to witness a ritual that involves the lighting of sacred flames to welcome the gods. She also went to the Hebei province of China to see new year celebrations, including a 500-year-old tradition of throwing molten iron at the city walls to make their own fireworks.

Kawauchi became interested in photography while studying graphic design and photography at Seian University of Art and Design where she graduated in 1993. She first worked in commercial photography for an advertising agency for several years before embarking on a career as a fine art photographer. She has mentioned that she continues to work the advertising job. Her background and experience with design have influenced the edits and arrangements of photos in her series. Kawauchi often thinks about new ways to see her photographs, allowing her to continue to find new meaning and significance in her work. There is little known about her personal life and family, but through her photo book Cui Cui she portrays the memories of her family, which she has said to have been shooting for over a decade. The photos in the said book capture all the ordinaries and emotions of life, ranging from the happiness of childbirth to the heartbreak of death.

At age 19, she began making prints of her first black-and-white photographs, and it wasn't until five years later that she started printing color photographs. After experimenting with different cameras, she decided to stay with the Rolleiflex, which she still uses.

In 2001, three of her photo books were published: Hanako (a Japanese girl's name), Utatane ("catnap"), and Hanabi ("fireworks"). In the following years she won prizes for two of the books in Japan. In 2004 Kawauchi published Aila; in 2010, Murmuration, and in 2011 Illuminance.

Kawauchi's art is rooted in Shinto, the ethnic religion of the people of Japan. According to Shinto, all things on earth have a spirit, hence no subject is too small or mundane for Kawauchi's work; she also photographs "small events glimpsed in passing," conveying a sense of the transient. Kawauchi sees her images as parts of series that allow the viewer to juxtapose images in the imagination, thereby making the photograph a work of art and allowing a whole to emerge at the end; she likes working in photo books because they allow the viewer to engage intimately with her images. Her photographs are mostly in 6×6 format. However, upon being invited to the Brighton Photo Biennial in 2010, Kawauchi first photographed digitally and began taking photos that were not square.

Kawauchi also composes haiku poems. She lived for many years in Tokyo and in 2018 moved to the countryside on the outskirts of the city.
 

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Ellen Cantor
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David LaChapelle
United States
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David LaChapelle (born March 11, 1963) is an American commercial photographer, fine-art photographer, music video director, and film director. He is best known for his photography, which often references art history and sometimes conveys social messages. His photographic style has been described as "hyper-real and slyly subversive" and as "kitsch pop surrealism". Once called the Fellini of photography, LaChapelle has worked for international publications and has had his work exhibited in commercial galleries and institutions around the world. David LaChapelle was born in Hartford, Connecticut to Philip and Helga LaChapelle; he has a sister Sonja and a brother Philip. His mother was a refugee from Lithuania who arrived at Ellis Island in the late 1960s. His family lived in Hartford until he was 9. He has said to have loved the public schools in Connecticut and thrived in their art program as a child and teenager, although he struggled with bullying growing up. 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United States
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John R. Pepper
John Randolph Pepper, (1958) is an Italian photographer, screenwriter, theatre and film director, the son of sculptress Beverly Pepper and journalist/writer Curtis Bill Pepper, editor of Newsweek and manager of its Rome office. He was born and raised in Rome; lives in Palermo and works worldwide. Pepper started his career in Black & White analogical photography with an apprenticeship to Ugo Mulas at 14. He published his first photograph at 15 and had his first show at 17. He studied History of Art at Princeton University, where he was also the youngest member of the exclusive painting program, '185 Nassau Street'. He then became a 'Directing Fellow' at The American Film Institute, (Los Angeles) and subsequently worked as a director in theatre and film for 20 years. For thirty years, he dedicated himself to photography while directing both theatre and film. During that time he continued to take photographs with his Leica camera always using the same Ilford HP5 film stock. John R. Pepper, represented by the Art of Foto Gallery (St. Petersburg, Russia) and The Empty Quarter Gallery (Dubai, UAE), is a 'Cultural Ambassador' of numerous Italian Institutes of Culture in may parts of the world. Since 2008 he has exhibited his different projects 'Rome: 1969 - An Homage to Italian Neo-Realist Cinema', 'Sans Papier', 'Evaporations' in the United States, France, Italy, the Middle East and Russia. He has published three books and is represented in several major museums around the world. Since 2015 Pepper has been working on his project 'Inhabited Deserts', where he explores deserts and their effect on time, history and people. 'Inhabited Deserts' debuted in Paris in November 2017; in September 2018, with the support of the Italian Embassy in Iran and the Italian Foreign Ministry, Pepper exhibited at the Aaran Projects Gallery in Tehran where he was one of the first Italian photographers since the Iranian Revolution of 1979. In November 2018, after participating at Paris Photo with the Galerie Sophie Scheidecker, 'Inhabited Deserts' went to Tel Aviv, Israel, representing Italy at the 6th International Photo Festival 'Photo Is:Rael'. From December 12th 2018 to February 15th Inhabited Deserts was presented at The Empty Quarter Gallery in Dubai, U.A.E. with curatorial text by Kirill Petrin. Subsequently the show opened on March 19, 2019 in Saint Petersburg, Russia, at the Art of Foto Gallery and shortly thereafter, on April 18th, it returned to Tel Aviv at the NOX Contemporary Gallery. In 2020 Inhabited Deserts will be seen in the United States and Italy. Per John Pepper "When talking about photography, we're talking about time. The image is fixed in time. We also talk about black and white and color, digital and film, reality and punctum - the critical concept of the French philosopher Roland Barthes, denoting the wounding, personally touching detail, which establishes a direct relationship with the object or person within it. Is a photographer an artist or not? The ones who feel they are, modestly define themselves as artisans. Still others, who do not think of themselves as photographers will snap photos relying on destiny's outcome. Finally, there are the ones who fantasize conceptual sequences snapped in extravagant situations - most of which without interest. About photography, much has been said. There are established masters, schools of thought, and many hopes. Yet whoever is sufficiently open to a vision within himself, who has cherished and assimilated the masters, will emerge with something new. Passion triumphs when backed by culture. When looking at one of John Pepper's photographs - the one with the group of people, friends and family, in front of their home, for example - I think of Paul Strand's image in his book, published with Zavattini 'Un paese' del 1955. There is a similar gathering of characters at the doorstep of their home. Time here is not just in the shutter time and lens aperture - a sixtieth of a second at eight - but in the transformation of the people, in the process of revealing themselves. With John, however, the appearances differ from those of Strand - moved up in time as evident in the shoes and pants, the motorcycle helmet, the technology of the wheelchair and the modern necklace of the young girl. They appear happy and to be speaking to the photographer. Despite some apparently expensive upper-class possessions, we perceive they are of a modest condition. In Strand's photograph, there is no doubt they are of peasant culture. Motionless, they stare at the photographer with a serious gaze, though ignorant of the world of images. Today, image is consumerism. It goes beyond diffidence. Everyone can have a camera, a motorcycle helmet and Nike shoes. People are well nurtured; they have even grown in height. With John the scene is of movement. The characters interact with ease, and the photographer is part of the game. He uses black and white film enhanced by the fine art of printing - images stemming from classical photography. John was just a boy when he came to my house in Milan, in piazza Castello, above the studio that once belonged to Ugo. I like to think that the darkroom at that time influenced him. Who knows? However, I do believe that Ugo's work helped him to become a photographer. His reportage in Italy is filtered through the memory of many great photographers - Diane Arbus, Cartier Bresson, Robert Frank, the first Richard Avedon, and William Klein to name a few. He has also traveled through Italy, in the streets and byways of youth, finding dramatic, enlightened faces in the theater of life. His portrait of the religious procession is most beautiful, with a perfect, compact, composition, among astonished angels and those bearing a religious float against a sharp background of light. John lives and works in Palermo, an outward antithesis of New York. An American born and raised in Italy, it is as an Italian that he grasps the vital spirit, the soul, and the humanity of people. His choice to live in a region like Sicily, so full of contradictions and archaic values, will surely help him in chronicling the history of change in our era. Then, apart from making art, he will have absorbed it as his own - a part of his life that will recur in defining time, space, and the evolution of the human condition." Antonia Mulas, Todi, May 5, 2012
Micaela Mau
Germany/Italy
1986
Micaela Mau is a German-Italian artist. She has studied visual communication at the Istituto Europeo di Design in Rome and at the School of Visual Arts in New York as well as Foreign Languages and Literature at the Università degli Studi Roma Tre. While studying and working abroad in Tokyo, Frankfurt, and London she developed an interest in photography, fascinated by the ambiguous relationship between photographic image and reality. She currently lives and works in Florence, Italy. Statement "To me photography is not only a tool to capture fleeting impressions in time and share what caught my attention, but also, and above all, a means of interpreting and reinterpreting reality. My photographic work comprises abstract images that put the bond between photographic reproduction and its referent to the test, often making the original subject almost indistinguishable. Alongside these works I develop more realistic projects concerning our perception of the world and how it is conveyed through photography. Lately I have started to work with analog media, reflecting on the materiality of photographs and negatives, rather than considering them mere image supports. My work is founded on the belief that there is no such thing as an objective photograph. Photography cannot depict reality accurately since the human element – intrinsically fallible and predisposed to subjective perception – pervades all stages of photographic development. Furthermore, the laws of physics, optics and chemistry, pose technical limitations, constraining the medium’s ability to accurately record reality. Last but not least, there’s chance, an unpredictable force capable of influencing the best planned outcomes. Photography, therefore, cannot but be a medium of subjective expression. For this reason I try to embrace the limitations at hand and to make them an integral part of my work." -- Micaela Mau
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