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An-My Lê
An-My Lê

An-My Lê

Country: Vietnam / United States
Birth: 1960

An-My Lê is a Vietnamese American photographer and professor at Bard College. She is a 2012 MacArthur Foundation Fellow and has received the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (1997), the National Science Foundation Antarctic Artists and Writers Program Award (2007), and the Tiffany Comfort Foundation Fellowship (2010). Her work was included in the 2017 Whitney Biennial.

An-My Lê was born in Saigon, Vietnam, in 1960, and now lives and works in New York. Lê fled Vietnam with her family as a teenager in 1975, the final year of the war, eventually settling in the United States as a political refugee. She studied biology at Stanford University, receiving her BA in 1981 and her MA in 1985. She attended Yale School of Art, receiving her MFA in 1993.

Her book Small Wars was published in 2005. In November 2014, her second book, Events Ashore, was published by Aperture. Events Ashore depicts a 9-year exploration of the US Navy working throughout the world. The project began when the artist was invited to photograph US naval ships preparing for deployment to Iraq, the first in a series of visits to battleships, humanitarian missions in Africa and Asia, training exercises, and scientific missions in the Arctic and Antarctic.

Source: Wikipedia


In 1994 An-My Lê returned to Vietnam for the first time and began making a series of photographs informed by her own memories and by the stories and perceptions of her family. Since then her photographs and films have addressed the impact of war both environmentally and culturally. Whether in color or black-and-white, her pictures capture the disjunction between the natural landscape and the intervention of soldiers and machines meant for destruction.

Projects include Viêt Nam (1994–98), in which Lê's memories of a war-torn countryside are reconciled with the contemporary landscape; Small Wars (1999–2002), in which Lê photographed and participated in Vietnam War reenactments in Virginia; and 29 Palms (2003–04) in which United States Marines preparing for deployment playact scenarios in a virtual Middle East in the California desert.

Source: Guggenheim


 

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Bettina Rheims is a French artist and photographer. She is the daughter of Maurice Rheims, of the French Academy. After having been a model, a journalist, and opening an art gallery, she began to be a photographer in 1978 at the age of 26. Initially she did many commissioned works such as albums covers for Jean-Jacques Goldman and photos of various stars. From 1980 she devoted herself solely to photography. She made a series of photographs of strip-tease artists and acrobats, which were shown 1981 in two personal exhibitions, at the Centre Pompidou and at the Galerie Texbraun in Paris. Encouraged by this success, she worked on a series of stuffed animal portraits, which were exhibited in Paris and New York. At the same time she took portrait images for worldwide magazines and advertising campaigns (Well and Chanel), created her first fashion series, worked on cover sleeves, and film posters, and in 1986 directed her first advertising campaign. In 1989 her portraits of women were published in a monograph, Female Trouble, and were exhibited in Germany and Japan. In the following year she made a series of portraits of androgynous teenagers, Modern Lovers, which were shown in France, Great Britain and the United States as well as being issued in book-form. Her series Chambre Close, which was realized between 1990 and 1992 in collaboration with Serge Bramly, had an immense success not only in Europe but all over the world. The book is a collection of photographs of nude young women in various postures. It became a bestseller and is regularly reprinted. In the following years her fame began to become worldwide and she is renowned as a one of the most important photographers not only in Europe, but also in the United States, Japan, Korea, Australia and Moscow.(Source: en.wikipedia.org)
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Austria/United States
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Weegee was the pseudonym of Arthur Fellig (June 12, 1899 – December 26, 1968), a photographer and photojournalist, known for his stark black and white street photography. Weegee worked in the Lower East Side of New York City as a press photographer during the 1930s and '40s, and he developed his signature style by following the city's emergency services and documenting their activity. Much of his work depicted unflinchingly realistic scenes of urban life, crime, injury and death. Weegee published photographic books and also worked in cinema, initially making his own short films and later collaborating with film directors such as Jack Donohue and Stanley Kubrick. Weegee was born Ascher (Usher) Fellig in Z?oczów (now Zolochiv, Ukraine), near Lemberg, Austrian Galicia. His name was changed to Arthur when he emigrated with his family to live in New York in 1909. There he took numerous odd jobs, including working as an itinerant photographer and as an assistant to a commercial photographer. In 1924 he was hired as a dark-room technician by Acme Newspictures (later United Press International Photos). He left, however, in 1935 to become a freelance photographer. He worked at night and competed with the police to be first at the scene of a crime, selling his photographs to tabloids and photographic agencies. His photographs, centered around Manhattan police headquarters, were soon published by the Herald Tribune, World-Telegram, Daily News, New York Post, New York Journal American, Sun, and others.In 1957, after developing diabetes, he moved in with Wilma Wilcox, a Quaker social worker whom he had known since the 1940s, and who cared for him and then cared for his work. He traveled extensively in Europe until 1968, working for the Daily Mirror and on a variety of photography, film, lecture, and book projects. In 1968, Weegee died in New York on December 26, at the age of 69.Weegee can be seen as the American counterpart to Brassaï, who photographed Paris street scenes at night. Weegee’s themes of nudists, circus performers, freaks and street people were later taken up and developed by Diane Arbus in the early 1960s. In 1980 Weegee’s widow, Wilma Wilcox, Sidney Kaplan, Aaron Rose and Larry Silver formed The Weegee Portfolio Incorporated to create an exclusive collection of photographic prints made from Weegee’s original negatives. As a bequest, Wilma Wilcox donated the entire Weegee archive - 16,000 photographs and 7,000 negatives - to the International Center of Photography in New York. This 1993 gift became the source for several exhibitions and books include "Weegee's World" edited Miles Barth (1997) and "Unknown Weegee" edited by Cynthia Young (2006). The first and largest exhibition was the 329-image “Weegee’s World: Life, Death and the Human Drama,” brought forth in 1997. It was followed in 2002 by “Weegee’s Trick Photography,” a show of distorted or otherwise caricatured images, and four years later by “Unknown Weegee,” a survey that emphasized his more benign, post-tabloid photographs. In 2012 ICP opened another Weegee exhibition titled, "Murder is my Business". Also in 2012, exhibition called "Weegee: The Naked City", opened at Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow.Source: Wikipedia
Attar Abbas
Iran/France
1944 | † 2018
Attar Abbas, better known as Abbas, was an Iranian photographer known for his photojournalism in Biafra, Vietnam and South Africa in the 1970s, and for his extensive essays on religions in later years. He was a member of Sipa Press from 1971 to 1973, a member of Gamma from 1974 to 1980, and joined Magnum Photos in 1981. Attar, an Iranian transplanted to Paris, dedicated his photographic work to the political and social coverage of the developing southern nations. Since 1970, his major works have been published in world magazines and include wars and revolutions in Biafra, Bangladesh, Ulster, Vietnam, the Middle East, Chile, Cuba, and South Africa with an essay on apartheid. From 1978 to 1980, he photographed the revolution in Iran, and returned in 1997 after a 17-year voluntary exile. His book Iran Diary: 1971– 2002 (2002) is a critical interpretation of its history, photographed and written as a personal diary. From 1983 to 1986, he travelled throughout Mexico, photographing the country as if he were writing a novel. An exhibition and a book, Return to Mexico: Journeys Beyond the Mask (1992), which includes his travel diaries, helped him define his aesthetics in photography. From 1987 to 1994, he photographed the resurgence of Islam from the Xinjiang to Morocco. His book and exhibition Allah O Akbar, a journey through militant Islam (1994) exposes the internal tensions within Muslim societies, torn between a mythical past and a desire for modernization and democracy. The book drew additional attention after the September 11 attacks in 2001. When the year 2000 became a landmark in the universal calendar, Christianity was the symbol of the strength of Western civilization. Faces of Christianity: A Photographic Journey (2000) and a touring exhibit, explored this religion as a political, a ritual and a spiritual phenomenon. From 2000 to 2002 he worked on Animism. In our world defined by science and technology, the work looked at why irrational rituals make a strong come-back. He abandoned this project on the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks. His book, In Whose Name? The Islamic World after 9/11 (2009), is a seven-year quest within 16 countries : opposed by governments who hunt them mercilessly, the jihadists lose many battles, but are they not winning the war to control the mind of the people, with the "creeping islamisation of all Muslim societies?" From 2008 to 2010 Abbas travelled the world of Buddhism, photographing with the same skeptical eye for his book Les Enfants du lotus, voyage chez les bouddhistes (2011). In 2013, he concluded a similar long-term project on Hinduism with the publication of Gods I've Seen: Travels Among Hindus (2016). Most recently, before his death, Abbas was working on documenting Judaism around the world. Before his death, Abbas was working on documenting Judaism around the world. He died in Paris on 25 April 2018, aged 74. About his photography Abbas wrote: "My photography is a reflection, which comes to life in action and leads to meditation. Spontaneity – the suspended moment – intervenes during action, in the viewfinder. A reflection on the subject precedes it. A meditation on finality follows it, and it is here, during this exalting and fragile moment, that the real photographic writing develops, sequencing the images. For this reason a writer's spirit is necessary to this enterprise. Isn't photography "writing with light"? But with the difference that while the writer possesses his word, the photographer is himself possessed by his photo, by the limit of the real which he must transcend so as not to become its prisoner." Source: Wikipedia Abbas, as he referred to himself professionally, was known for dramatic black-and-white photographs delivered with a point of view, especially in his book Iran Diary: 1971– 2002 (2002), a collection of images and text presented as a sort of journal. When the events that resulted in the overthrow of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi in 1979 began, Abbas supported change, but he soon became disillusioned with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who took over the government. “When the revolution started, it was democratic,” The Toronto Star quoted him as saying in 2013. “It was my country, my people and my revolution. Then, slowly, it was being hijacked.” A turning point, he said, was the execution of four generals after a secret trial. He photographed their corpses in a morgue. “Something that we learned,” he said, “is that the extremists always win. That was my main lesson from the revolution. The extremists were prepared to kill, imprison, torture — everything. So they won.” Abbas was born in 1944 in a part of Iran near the Pakistan border. When he was a boy his family relocated to Algeria; he said that growing up during that country’s war of independence sparked his interest in documenting political events. He taught himself to use a camera, and among his earliest jobs was working for the International Olympic Committee at the 1968 Summer Games in Mexico. He would return to Mexico in the mid-1980s, taking pictures throughout the country over three years and producing the 1992 book Return to Mexico: Journeys Beyond the Mask (1992). In the 1970s he worked for the French agencies Sipa and Gamma. Early in that decade he was in Africa, covering the aftermath of the Biafran war in Nigeria and other events. He then found himself back in Iran. “My family is from Iran,” he told Vice in 2015, “but it isn’t as if I felt particularly Iranian back then. But I did feel that things had to change — you can’t just have some shah making all the important decisions for an entire country.” As the situation became more unstable and it became clear to him that the revolutionaries were no better than the regime they were replacing, he faced pressures from friends. “They urged me not to show the revolution’s negative side to the world,” he said. “The violence was supposed to come from the shah, not the protesters. I told them that it was my revolution as well, but I still needed to honor my duty as a journalist — or a historian, if you will.” He left the country in 1980 and did not return for 17 years. The revolution, though, had instilled in him an interest in what people throughout the world were doing in the name of God. “It was obvious after two years that the wave of Islamism was not going to stop at the borders of Iran,” he said in a video interview with The British Journal of Photography in 2009. “It was going much beyond the borders.” He began by examining that phenomenon, resulting in the book Allah O Akbar: A Journey Through Militant Islam (1994), which recounted his travels through 29 Islamic countries. “When you’ve started with God you might as well stay with him,” he said, explaining why he went on to look at Christianity, paganism, Buddhism and more. It was an examination not of personal faith, he said, but of how faith can be deployed and twisted in other spheres. “What I’m interested in is the political, social, economic, even psychological aspects of religion,” he said, adding, “More and more, nations are defining their identities referring to religion.” If his work often put him in the middle of trouble spots, Abbas was not necessarily interested in images of blood and weaponry. “Most photographers, when they say they’re war photographers, they’re not really war photographers; they’re battle photographers,” he said in the video interview. “War does not limit itself to boom-boom, to the battle itself. Wars are very, very complex phenomenons, because they have a source, and it takes a while to come up, then it happens, and there are consequences. I’m more interested in the why and the afterwards of the wars.” He played down the part of his work that involved putting himself in harm’s way. “They say ‘courage’ — O.K., you have to be courageous,” he said. “But for me courage is a lack of imagination. You cannot imagine that it’s going to happen to you, therefore you go to the battle.”Source: New York Times
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