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Sid Grossman
Sid Grossman

Sid Grossman

Country: United States
Birth: 1913 | Death: 1955

Sid Grossman was an American photographer, teacher, and social activist. He was the younger son of Morris and Ethel Grossman. Grossman attended the City College of New York and worked on a WPA street crew. In 1934, he started what would become the Photo League with co-founder Sol Libsohn. Grossman played numerous roles throughout the Photo League's existence (1936–1951) including educator, administrator, reviewer, editor of Photo Notes and founder of Chelsea Document (1938-1940), an indictment of obsolete buildings and substandard living conditions in a New York neighborhood. He enlisted on March 6, 1943 and served in the Sixth Army in Panama during World War II. Grossman's 1940 photographs of labor union activity led to FBI investigations and the blacklisting of the Photo League as a communist front in 1947. In 1949, he opened a photography school in Provincetown, Massachusetts, although he continued to live and teach in NYC part of every year. Grossman was married twice: to Marion Hille and then to Miriam Grossman.

Grossman conducted workshops at the Photo League, the Henry St. Settlement, the Harlem Art Center, and privately in NYC and Provincetown, for almost twenty years. The photographers he taught were many – including Lou Bernstein, Lisette Model, Walter Rosenblum, Louis Stettner, Helen Gee, Arthur Leipzig (who is on record as calling Grossman “probably the most fantastic teacher I ever knew”) and Leon Levinstein. Yet Grossman himself said, “I am not an instructor in any classical sense.” He insisted that his students take on the responsibility for making something of themselves. According to Jewish Museum curator Mason Klein, “Grossman increasingly insisted on the idea of being in the world in a particular manner, engaging with a certain consciousness as a photographer, and connecting to the camera in ways that made photographers question who they were.” One had to “live for photography,” in effect transforming and liberating oneself – in order to become a good photographer.

One description of Grossman's “impassioned, often aggressive workshop critiques” has been provided by one of his students, N. Jay Jaffee, who studied with him in 1948. On the one hand, “He was almost contemptuous; each of us got a taste of his anger and hostility during the course.” Yet, “His genius was in expounding a philosophy of photography that was unique. I had never heard anyone speak on a subject with such depth and enthusiasm. I still recall a phrase he repeated several times: 'The world is a picture.' This simple statement was a profound insight into the method and meaning of photography.” “To Sid, photography was serious, not sacred.” Grossman's first wife, Marion Hille, remarked that he “encouraged his students 'to enjoy themselves right away, to get a feel of taking pictures without technique getting in the way.'”

Jaffee reflected that, “Perhaps, if Sid had lived long enough, he would have also mellowed. Hopefully, he would have received the honor and respect for his brilliance and his work that he so justly deserves.” Today, almost all of the important photographers and educators he influenced and who continued his legacy are also deceased. All that is left are the photographs he and they made – a considerable contribution.

Source: Wikipedia


An influential teacher and activist, Grossman was a founding member of the Photo League, a group of socially-minded photographers that used documentary photography to call attention to poverty and injustice in New York. Showing three ragtag kids, two of whom present their modest toys to the photographer, this image exemplifies Grossman’s humanistic artistic vision, which often testified to the endurance and survival of his subjects. Due to his participation in the Communist Party, the U.S. Government blacklisted Grossman and monitored his activities for several years.

Source: The Met

 

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Lewis Hine
United States
1874 | † 1940
Lewis Hine was an American sociologist and photographer known for using his camera as a tool for social reform. His photographs were instrumental in changing child labor laws in the United States. Lewis Hine was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, on September 26, 1874. After his father was killed in an accident, Hine began working and saved his money for a college education. He studied sociology at the University of Chicago, Columbia University, and New York University. He became a teacher in New York City at the Ethical Culture School, where he encouraged his students to use photography as an educational medium. Hine led his sociology classes to Ellis Island in New York Harbor, photographing the thousands of immigrants who arrived each day. Between 1904 and 1909, Hine took over 200 plates (photographs) and came to the realization that documentary photography could be employed as a tool for social change and reform. In 1907, Hine became the staff photographer of the Russell Sage Foundation; he photographed life in the steel-making districts and people of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for the influential sociological study called The Pittsburgh Survey. The next year, he became the photographer for the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC), leaving his teaching position. Over the next decade, Hine documented child labor, with a focus on the use of child labor in the Carolina Piedmont, to aid the NCLC's lobbying efforts to end the practice. In 1913, he documented child laborers among cotton mill workers with a series of Francis Galton's composite portraits. There were two things I wanted to do. I wanted to show the things that had to be corrected. I wanted to show the things that had to be appreciated. -- Lewis Hine Hine's work for the NCLC was often dangerous. As a photographer, he was frequently threatened with violence or even death by factory police and foremen. At the time, the immorality of child labor was meant to be hidden from the public. Photography was not only prohibited but also posed a serious threat to the industry. To gain entry to the mills, mines and factories, Hine was forced to assume many guises. At times he was a fire inspector, postcard vendor, bible salesman, or even an industrial photographer making a record of factory machinery. During and after World War I, he photographed American Red Cross relief work in Europe. In the 1920s and early 1930s, Hine made a series of work portraits, which emphasized the human contribution to modern industry. In 1930, Hine was commissioned to document the construction of the Empire State Building. He photographed the workers in precarious positions while they secured the steel framework of the structure, taking many of the same risks that the workers endured. To obtain the best vantage points, Hine was swung out in a specially designed basket 1,000 ft above Fifth Avenue. At times, he remembered, he hung above the city with nothing below but "a sheer drop of nearly a quarter-mile." During the Great Depression Hine again worked for the Red Cross, photographing drought relief in the American South, and for the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), documenting life in the mountains of eastern Tennessee. He also served as chief photographer for the Works Progress Administration's National Research Project, which studied changes in the industry and their effect on employment. Hine was also a faculty member of the Ethical Culture Fieldston School. In 1936, Hine was selected as the photographer for the National Research Project of the Works Projects Administration, but his work there was not completed. The last years of his life were filled with professional struggles by loss of government and corporate patronage. Hine hoped to join the Farm Security Administration photography project, but despite writing repeatedly to Roy Stryker, Stryker always refused. Few people were interested in his work, past or present, and Hine lost his house and applied for welfare. He died on November 3, 1940, at Dobbs Ferry Hospital in Dobbs Ferry, New York, after an operation. He was 66 years old. In the early days of my child labor activities I was an investigator with a camera attachment... but the emphasis became reversed until the camera stole the whole show. -- Lewis Hine Hine's photographs supported the NCLC's lobbying to end child labor, and in 1912 the Children's Bureau was created. The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 eventually brought child labour in the US to an end. After Hine's death, his son Corydon donated his prints and negatives to the Photo League, which was dismantled in 1951. The Museum of Modern Art was offered his pictures and did not accept them, but the George Eastman House did. In 2006, author Elizabeth Winthrop Alsop's historical fiction middle-grade novel, Counting on Grace was published by Wendy Lamb Books. The latter chapters center on 12-year-old Grace and her life-changing encounter with Lewis Hine, during his 1910 visit to a Vermont cotton mill known to have many child laborers. On the cover is the iconic photo of Grace's real-life counterpart, Addie Card (1897–1993), taken during Hine's undercover visit to the Pownal Cotton Mill. In 2016, TIME Magazine published colorized versions of several of Hine's photographs of child labor in the US.Source: Wikipedia Lewis Hine was trained to be an educator in Chicago and New York. A project photographing on Ellis Island with students from the Ethical Culture School in New York galvanized his recognition of the value of documentary photography in education. Soon after, he became a sociological photographer, establishing a studio in upstate New York in 1912. For nearly ten years Hine was the photographer for the National Child Labor Committee, contributing to exhibitions and the organization's publication, The Survey. Declaring that he "wanted to show things that had to be corrected," he was one of the earliest photographers to use the photograph as a documentary tool. Around 1920, however, Hine changed his studio publicity from "Social Photography by Lewis W. Hine" to "Lewis Wickes Hine, Interpretive Photography," to emphasize a more artistic approach to his imagemaking. Having joined the American Red Cross briefly in 1918, he continued to freelance for them through the 1930s. In 1936 Hine was appointed head photographer for the National Research Project of the Works Projects Administration, but his work for them was never completed. His last years were marked by professional struggles due to diminishing government and corporate patronage, and he died in 1940 at age sixty-six.Source: The J. Paul Getty Museum Born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Lewis W. Hine studied sociology before moving to New York in 1901 to work at the Ethical Culture School, where he took up photography to enhance his teaching practices. By 1904 he had begun a series of photographs documenting the arrival of immigrants at Ellis Island; this project, along with his pictures of harsh labor conditions published in the Pittsburgh Survey, brought his work to the attention of the National Child Labor Committee. He served as its official photographer from 1911 to 1916, and later traveled with the Red Cross to Europe, where he documented the effects of World War I in France and the Balkans for Red Cross Magazine. After returning to the United States in 1922, he accepted commercial assignments, produced another series on Ellis Island immigrants, and photographed the construction of the Empire State Building. Several of these construction pictures were published in Men at Work (1932), a book celebrating the individual worker's interaction with machines in the modern world. Despite the success of this book, Hine's financial situation became desperate and his photography was virtually forgotten. Berenice Abbott and Elizabeth McCausland learned of his work through the New York City Photo League and mounted a traveling retrospective exhibition of his work to revive interest in it in 1939. Lewis Hine is best known for the documentary images of child labor practices that he produced under the aegis of the National Child Labor Committee from 1911 to 1916. These photographs not only have been credited as important in the passing of child labor laws, but also have been praised for their sympathetic depiction of individuals in abject working conditions. Hine labeled his pictures "photo-interpretations," emphasizing his subjective involvement with his subjects; this approach became the model for many later documentary photographers, such as Sid Grossman and Ben Shahn.Source: International Center of Photography
Yousuf Karsh
Canada
1908 | † 2002
Yousuf Karsh is the most renowned portrait photographer of our time. He has perceptively photographed the statesmen, artists, and literary and scientific figures that have shaped our lives in the 20th century. Known for his ability to transform "the human face into legend," many of the portraits that he created have become virtually the image of the great man or woman they portray, whether Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, Albert Einstein, Georgia O'Keefe or Helen Keller. In other words, "to experience a Karsh photograph is to feel in the presence of history itself." His photographs are in major private and public collections throughout the world, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston holding the largest collection in the US.Source: Weston Gallery Yousuf Karsh was an Armenian-Canadian photographer and one of the most famous and accomplished portrait photographers of all time. ousuf or Josuf (his given Armenian name was Hovsep)[citation needed] Karsh was born in Mardin, a city in the eastern Ottoman Empire (present Turkey). He grew up during the Armenian Genocide where he wrote, "I saw relatives massacred; my sister died of starvation as we were driven from village to village." At the age of 16, his parents sent Yousuf to live with his uncle George Nakash, a photographer in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada. Karsh briefly attended school there and assisted in his uncle’s studio. Nakash saw great potential in his nephew and in 1928 arranged for Karsh to apprentice with portrait photographer John Garo in Boston, Massachusetts, United States. His brother, Malak Karsh, was also a photographer famous for the image of logs floating down the river on the Canadian one dollar bill. Karsh returned to Canada four years later, eager to make his mark. In 1931 he started working with another photographer, John Powls, in his studio on the second floor of the Hardy Arcade at 130 Sparks Street in Ottawa, Ontario, close to Parliament Hill. When Powls retired in 1933, Karsh took over the studio. Karsh's first solo exhibition was in 1936 in the Drawing Room of the Château Laurier hotel. He moved his studio into the hotel in 1973, and it remained there until he retired in 1992. Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King discovered Karsh and arranged introductions with visiting dignitaries for portrait sittings. Karsh's work attracted the attention of varied celebrities, but his place in history was sealed on 30 December 1941 when he photographed Winston Churchill, after Churchill gave a speech to Canadian House of Commons in Ottawa. The image of Churchill brought Karsh international prominence and is claimed to be the most reproduced photographic portrait in history. In 1967, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and in 1990 was promoted to Companion. Of the 100 most notable people of the century, named by the International Who's Who [2000], Karsh had photographed 51. Karsh was also the only Canadian to make the list. Karsh was a master of studio lights. One of Karsh's distinctive practices was lighting the subject's hands separately. He photographed many of the great and celebrated personalities of his generation. Throughout most of his career he used the 8×10 bellows Calumet (1997.0319) camera, made circa 1940 in Chicago. Journalist George Perry wrote in the British paper The Sunday Timesthat "when the famous start thinking of immortality, they call for Karsh of Ottawa." Karsh had a gift for capturing the essence of his subject in the instant of his portrait. As Karsh wrote of his own work in Karsh Portfolio in 1967, "Within every man and woman a secret is hidden, and as a photographer, it is my task to reveal it if I can. The revelation, if it comes at all, will come in a small fraction of a second with an unconscious gesture, a gleam of the eye, a brief lifting of the mask that all humans wear to conceal their innermost selves from the world. In that fleeting interval of opportunity the photographer must act or lose his prize." Karsh said "My chief joy is to photograph the great in heart, in mind, and in spirit, whether they be famous or humble." His work is in permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada, New York's Museum of Modern Art and Metropolitan Museum of Art, George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the National Portrait Gallery in London, the National Portrait Gallery of Australia and many others. Library and Archives Canada holds his complete collection, including negatives, prints and documents. His photographic equipment was donated to the Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa. Karsh published 15 books of his photographs, which include brief descriptions of the sessions, during which he would ask questions and talk with his subjects to relax them as he composed the portrait. Some famous subjects photographed by Karsh were Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke, Muhammad Ali, Marian Anderson, W. H. Auden, Joan Baez, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Humphrey Bogart, Alexander Calder, Pablo Casals, Fidel Castro, Madame Chiang Kai-Shek, Joan Crawford, Ruth Draper, Albert Einstein, Dwight Eisenhower, Princess Elizabeth, Robert Frost, Clark Gable, Indira Gandhi, Grey Owl, Ernest Hemingway, Audrey Hepburn, Pope John Paul II, Chuck Jones, Carl Jung, Helen Keller and Polly Thompson, Grace Kelly, Jacqueline Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, Peter Lorre, Pandit Nehru, Georgia O'Keeffe, Laurence Olivier, General Pershing, Pablo Picasso, Pope Pius XII, Prince Rainier of Monaco, Paul Robeson, the rock band Rush, Albert Schweitzer, George Bernard Shaw, Jean Sibelius, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Andy Warhol, Frank Lloyd Wright, and, arguably his most famous portrait subject, Winston Churchill. The story is often told of how Karsh created his famous portrait of Churchill during the early years of World War II. Churchill, the British prime minister, had just addressed the Canadian Parliament and Karsh was there to record one of the century's great leaders. "He was in no mood for portraiture and two minutes were all that he would allow me as he passed from the House of Commons chamber to an anteroom," Karsh wrote in Faces of Our Time. "Two niggardly minutes in which I must try to put on film a man who had already written or inspired a library of books, baffled all his biographers, filled the world with his fame, and me, on this occasion, with dread." Churchill marched into the room scowling, "regarding my camera as he might regard the German enemy." His expression suited Karsh perfectly, but the cigar stuck between his teeth seemed incompatible with such a solemn and formal occasion. "Instinctively, I removed the cigar. At this the Churchillian scowl deepened, the head was thrust forward belligerently, and the hand placed on the hip in an attitude of anger." The image captured Churchill and the Britain of the time perfectly — defiant and unconquerable. Churchill later said to him, "You can even make a roaring lion stand still to be photographed." As such, Karsh titled the photograph, The Roaring Lion. However, Karsh's favourite photograph was the one taken immediately after this one where Churchill's mood had lightened considerably and is shown much in the same pose, but smiling. In the late 1990s Karsh moved to Boston and on July 13, 2002, aged 93, he died at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital after complications following surgery. He was interred in Notre Dame Cemetery in Ottawa. Source: Wikipedia
Philippe Marchand
Philippe Marchand was born in 1961, self-taught photographer. He lives in Nantes in the West of France. He collaborates with numerous advertising and illustration agencies where his photographies contribute to the promotion of renowned brands. He is also developing a personal work on the link between man and the sea. We find in the pictures he brings back from his hikes all the Power and the magic of the places he goes through. Its aesthetic approach, the technical constraints it imposes on itself contribute to the creation of a singular photographic universe and resolutely personal. This award-winning work is regularly published in the international press. About The Man and the Sea "The sea is present in everyone's imagination, it means dream and adventure, but also mystery and fear. What I am trying to develop through the link that unites man with the sea concerns the emotions that the ocean can arouse in each of us, through evocative images. Not the translation of reality. In the manner of the pictorialists whose movement originated at the end of the 19th century and for whom the image must go beyond the reality photographed. I try to capture the atmosphere of the place, the poetry and the mystery that surrounds it. The shooting is the first part of a process that also includes a long work in "darkroom" to try to recreate the 'Feeling' of the moment". Philippe Marchand, photographer of seafarers. Black, white, shadow, light, what can be seen and what can be guessed, the ocean and those who are close to it. Philippe Marchand opens the world of the sea to us in its most intimate and human aspects. His approach is sensitive, full of nuances and modesty. Philippe Marchand's photos are like fragments of history. He highlights the relationship between the sea and people: how they look at it, how they approach it and the intimacy they share with it through their activities and passions. Man's imprint on the seascape and the ocean's imprint on the lives of men, even in their attitudes and faces. The secret communion between people and the sea. The artist has opted for the panoramic format and black and white. Facing the ocean, the format imposed itself. The immensity of the sea is exalted, the fragility of men is highlighted. With black and white, more timeless than colour, Philippe shows us the permanence of the places and gestures of the unchanging world of the sea. We have the feeling that time stands still. There is no rush, no run. Life has always had the rhythm of the ocean. Through a subtle play of contrasts, greys and light, a real "paw stroke" of the photographer, the images are linked together, inseparable, part of a whole, of a universe where Philippe invites us to share his emotions. The grain, very present, attenuates, coats the real and reinforces the poetic side of the images. The characters are most often from the back or almost from the back, partly hidden by the play of shadows. The gaze is discreet, never really, never completely encompassing them. There is like a mystery in the air, which Philippe lets us "glimpse"...
Dasha Pears
Russia
1982
Dasha Pears is an award-winning Russian conceptual photographer, currently based in Helsinki, Finland. Dasha uses the instruments of surrealism, color, and photography to speak about deepest psychological matters, including emotions, states of mind and mind shifts. She started her photographic path in 2011, after reaching burnout in a marketing communications career. Having tried many types of photography, Dasha found herself in the conceptual and fine art sphere. Since then her images have been exhibited in Russia, France, Poland, Austria, Italy and Finland. Dasha's photographs can be found on covers of books published in Europe, the United States and South America. In 2016 Dasha started sharing her experience of organizing conceptual photography shoots and producing surrealist artworks in the form of creative photography workshops. Since then she has held over 15 events in Finland and abroad. Statement Photography turned out to be a way of discovering my true self and expressing it. My works are a reflection of this discovery process and I hope that they can help others who are on the same journey as me. In metaphorical ways I try to show and share processes that are going on in many people's minds: dealing with negative self-talk, being overwhelmed by all kinds of emotions, finding that activity that puts you in the state of flow, when time ceases to exist. My photography is influenced by classical fine art, surrealism, as well as fantasy and science fiction books. The instruments of surrealism help me show that the scene is only partially real and that most of it is going on in the character's mind. My works are carefully composed and many of them are leaning towards minimalism. This is my way of expressing that controlling your mind and creating space is crucial for discovering who you are and who you are not.
Bill Gekas
Australia
Australia-based photographer Bill Gekas has a real knack for portraiture, particularly the kind that results in an homage to many Old Masters of classic paintings, including artists like Vemeer and Rembrandt. Using his five-year-old daughter as the model, Gekas recreates many mid-18th century settings that are inspired by portraits of adults from famous paintings. He styles the environment and his daughter to fit the time period, and uses strobe lights to maintain the appearance of soft, natural lighting. The self-taught photographer learned on 35mm and has since turned to digital techniques. He uses post-processing to put the final touches on each of his photographs. Through hard work, experimentation, and a grand vision, the talented artist has successfully produced an extensive collection—a tribute to both the well-known artists as well as to his young daughter. As Gekas has evolved as a photographer, so has his unique style. He says "Don’t be scared of taking certain elements from different works and molding them into something to call your own. You might like the lighting from a photo you saw somewhere, a prop from another photo, colors from another. The key is not to limit yourself with the excuse, ‘It’s all been done before.’ Yes, many things have been done before, but with some careful thought you can adjust a concept to give it your signature. Experiment!”From www.billgekas.comMy name is Bill Gekas and I was born and live in Melbourne, Australia. A self taught photographer that learnt the technicals of photography using a 35mm film slr camera from the mid 90's and switched to digital in 2005, practicing the art of photography and constantly refining my style. Source: My Modern Met
El Lissitzky
Russia
1890 | † 1941
Lazar Markovich Lissitzky, known as El Lissitzky, was a Russian artist, designer, photographer, typographer, polemicist and architect. He was an important figure of the Russian avant-garde, helping develop suprematism with his mentor, Kazimir Malevich, and designing numerous exhibition displays and propaganda works for the Soviet Union. His work greatly influenced the Bauhaus and constructivist movements, and he experimented with production techniques and stylistic devices that would go on to dominate 20th-century graphic design. Lissitzky's entire career was laced with the belief that the artist could be an agent for change, later summarized with his edict, "das zielbewußte Schaffen" (goal-oriented creation). Lissitzky, of Lithuanian Jewish оrigin, began his career illustrating Yiddish children's books in an effort to promote Jewish culture in Russia. When only 15 he started teaching, a duty he would maintain for most of his life. Over the years, he taught in a variety of positions, schools, and artistic media, spreading and exchanging ideas. He took this ethic with him when he worked with Malevich in heading the suprematist art group UNOVIS, when he developed a variant suprematist series of his own, Proun, and further still in 1921, when he took up a job as the Russian cultural ambassador to Weimar Germany, working with and influencing important figures of the Bauhaus and De Stijl movements during his stay. In his remaining years he brought significant innovation and change to typography, exhibition design, photomontage, and book design, producing critically respected works and winning international acclaim for his exhibition design. This continued until his deathbed, where in 1941 he produced one of his last works – a Soviet propaganda poster rallying the people to construct more tanks for the fight against Nazi Germany. In 2014, the heirs of the artist, in collaboration with Van Abbemuseum and leading worldwide scholars on the subject, established the Lissitzky Foundation in order to preserve the artist's legacy and to prepare a catalogue raisonné of the artist's oeuvre.Source: Tate Margarita Tupitsyn included the essays by Ulrich Pohlmann and Mathew Drutt in her book Beyond the Abstract Cabinet (1999). This book was aimed at an audience with an interest in Russian photography and modernism. The essays in this book brought Lissitzky’s work to limelight. The essays mention various aspect of his work. From 1922 to 1925, Lissitzky experimented with photograph collage and photograms. While working on photograms, Lissitzky experimented with photomontage as well. He was able to achieve vibrant compositions using several printing exposures in order to utilize the effects of transparency. These experiments help him in many advertisements he produced starting from 1924 until 1925. Lissitzky was among the first avant-gardists to revive the photogram or cameraless photographic image, combining this technique with experiments in montage to generate fantastic portraits and design proposals. Largely using photography, Lissitzky also rethought the illustrated book as an architectural form, to be tabbed through, unfolded in all directions, and made into a fully three-dimensional object. These many ideas were deployed in the service of artists and arts organizations, as well as, above all, institutions of the Soviet state, on whose behalf Lissitzky was committed to “influencing the human psyche” collectively and in the public realm. He survived the reversals of fortune suffered by so many politically committed artists in the 1930s but had chronically poor health and died of tuberculosis.Source: The Art Institute of Chicago
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