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Kim Watson
Kim Watson
Kim Watson

Kim Watson

Country: United States

A multi-dimensional artist with decades of experience, Kim Watson has written, filmed, and photographed subjects ranging from the iconic entertainers of our time to the ''invisible'' people of marginalized communities. A highly influential director in music videos' early days, Watson has directed Grammy winners, shot in uniquely remote locations, and written across genres that include advertising, feature films for Hollywood studios such as Universal (Honey), MTV Films, and Warner Brothers, and publishers such as Simon & Schuster. His passionate marriage of art and social justice has been a life-long endeavor, and, in 2020, after consulting on Engagement & Impact for ITVS/PBS, Kim returned to the streets to create TRESPASS, documenting the images and stories of LA's unhoused. TRESPASS exhibited at The BAG (Bestor Architecture Gallery) in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, September 17, 2022 - October 11, 2022.

Statement
''I'm gonna be an artist!'' That was my childhood mantra—even before I knew what it meant. You see, growing up in St. Albans, Queens and with family roots firmly planted in Harlem, I was surrounded by artistic expression, much of it created by my own family and much more blooming from the talented artists like Count Basie, James Brown and others who lived in our community—a community that would also bring us Run DMC, LL Cool J and Tribe Called Quest.

Yes, I knew the path I would take but had no idea of the journey it would become. Untethered by labels, I have scratched my creative itch through writing, filmmaking, photography, and music; always aspiring to tell a story that touches and inspires us to see the world a little bit differently and with a little more empathy.

It was while living in Brooklyn as a ''struggling artist'' that I truly saw art being used as a powerful social and political tool, capable of engaging, influencing and changing hearts and minds for the better. Since then, I have had the good fortune of both performing and producing music on the New York scene, and following a return to film school, directing a variety of projects, including over 40 music videos with Hip-Hop innovators and Grammy winners alike, from Roxanne Shante to Al Jarreau, receiving Best Music Video nominations from MTV and the Soul Train Awards, as well as NAACP recognition for my presentation of positive images of African Americans. Did I mention a move to Los Angles? Oh well...

My passion for writing led to assignments for Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, Simon & Schuster, Warner Brothers Films, MTV Films, Kidz Bop, movies of the week and the Universal Pictures hit HONEY, starring Jessica Alba. I have partnered on entertainment and tech ventures, consulted on engagement and impact for ITVS/PBS and written, blogged, filmed and photographed around the world, often on assignment and sometimes merely to feed my soul. I guess you could say that I am in love with everything about the creative process, no matter the medium. For these opportunities I am eternally grateful.

For the past year I have been immersed in TRESPASS... photographs and writing which bring focus to Los Angeles' homeless community; sharing the stories we need to hear and connecting with those too often unseen and unheard. I am thankful for the many relationships that have grown out of TRESPASS and the amazing individuals who share their world with me. Please take a look at Trespass as well as the other photo-essays, articles and more, I hope I have found a way to touch your heart, feed your soul and bring us all closer together.

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Bastiaan Woudt
The Netherland
1987
Bastiaan Woudt (1987, NL) is a sought-after photographer that started a mere ten years ago without formal training. Besides his raw talent, he owes his rise in the art world to a strong work ethic and an entrepreneurial edge. From emotive portraits to mystic landscape photography, he is known to capture monochrome minimalism at its finest. Bastiaan Woudt began his journey into photography both by diving into photography books and experimenting with modern techniques. He learnt from the masters such as Irving Penn and Richard Avedon while exploring his own artistic instinct. Soon enough, Woudt was winning International awards and saw his work hung up in high-end galleries. With charcoal tones and elegant compositions, his photography feels like stepping into a modern painting. Light and shadow dance elegantly. You'll find a hint of surrealism as the sober shades ask you to see only the essence and awakens every detail. His work is minimalistic yet moves, playing with the beauty of imperfection — again, inspired by 50s, 60s and 70s photography. He honours this photography while exploring how modern in-camera methods and post-production can elevate the style of today. Woudt uses his gut feeling to guide the process. You’ll rarely find mood boards in his studio or detailed shooting lists. He stumbles on his subjects by letting people and places catch his eye. He distinguishes himself with a signature style and the high-end, artistic quality of his imagery. Besides intricate portraits and minimalistic nudes, he uses his talent to capture places like Nepal and Morocco. Woudt’s work has been exhibited widely at international fairs and museums such as Paris Photo, AIPAD New York, Photo London, Photo Shanghai and Fotografiska. His portfolio includes work for clients such as Harper's Bazaar, British Vogue, New York Magazine and Numéro Paris — to name a few. Besides being a renowned photographer, Bastiaan Woudt has an entrepreneurial side too. A love for photography books and elevated aesthetics inspired him to start his own business. 1605 Publishers is a platform for emerging and established artists and a publishing house for his own photography books as well as those of others. He also offers products like book stands and continues to explore the many possibilities of his business edge. Source: www.bastiaanwoudt.com Bastiaan Woudt has seen a meteoric rise within the world of contemporary photography. After starting his own photography practice from scratch a mere five years ago, with no experience or formal training, Bastiaan Woudt has developed into a photographer with his own distinct signature style - abstract yet sharp, with a strong focus on detail. As a student of the history of photography through devouring photobooks and visiting museums and fairs, Bastiaan Woudt has a strong preference for classic subjects, such as portraits and nudes, and we see references to illustrious periods from photography throughout his work, such as Surrealism and the documentary photography of the 1960s and 70s. But through a sophisticated use of both camera and post-production techniques, which he has taught himself by heavily experimenting with both, Bastiaan Woudt gives his own graphic and wholly contemporary twist to the classical. Bastiaan Woudt has a longstanding fascination with the African continent and photographing the Ugandan countryside, where the Marie-Stella-Maris Foundation supports local drinking water projects, thus was a dream coming true. Bastiaan Woudt went to visit Mukono (Uganda) in October 2017. There, in addition to a commission for the Marie-Stella-Maris Foundation, Bastiaan Woudt was given the opportunity to make his own work. In the short time of this journey, he admirably succeeded to connect with the people of Mukono. This resulted in a wide range of impressive monochrome (b/w) portraits, and surreal impressions of the local landscapes. Altogether, these autonomously produced images very much highlight Bastiaan Woudt's typical, sober and yet very dynamic, aesthetic 'signature' which, despite the early stage of his career, already has brought him wide and international recognition.Source: Jackson Fine Art
Claudio Rasano
Switzerland
1970
Claudio Rasano lives and works in Basel, Switzerland. His work explores the relationship between spaces and humans, the subject within the space and the space as the subject itself. Rasano has a genuine and identifiable style that crosses documentary and fine art practices. He works with people from similar backgrounds, circumstances and experiences - environmental portraits and landscapes depicting a quiet anthropological commentary. There is a strong relationship between the environmental portraits and the landscape images. He is the recipient of Photovogue Portraits 2017, Taylor Wessing Photographic Prize 2016, Lensculture portrait award Finalists, Syngenta Photography Award Unseen and Life 2017 Framer World Travellers. 2019 Meitar Award for Excellence in Photography at PHOTO IS:RAEL Statement My work may cross countries and continents, but there is one thing that features centrally throughout, people. People are the focal point of his work, whether it's schoolchildren in South Africa or cigarette sellers in Tirana, the story of the country that Claudio is working in is told through its people. "I love to explore the relationship between spaces and humans, the subject within the space and the space as the subject itself, I work with people from similar backgrounds, circumstances and experiences -environmental portraits and landscapes depicting a quiet anthropological commentary. It is important for me to see that there is a strong relationship between environmental portraits and landscape images." His work is focused around the human stories of an area, but in many cases it is not just the person that is of interest. The composition of many of his images, even when portraits, provides a snapshot of the landscapes and built environments that are around the subject. This contextualises many of his photographs, helping you to build a more rounded impression of the individuals based on their surroundings too - the perfect example of this being his image of South African workmen in sodden clothes.
Patrick Morarescu
Statement "Due to the natural dynamic and complexity of the individual, I have always been drawn to portraiture. I photograph persons to whom I feel an initial attraction and try to reflect this force in images. A power that you cannot describe in words or in rational concepts but it captures the attention and creates a strong curiosity, a sort of addiction not only to body shapes, eyes, skin tonalities, but to what is behind: the thoughts and the mental state of that persons. And I feel a sort of instinct of possession, a desire to materialize the moment that this person is living. The human presence, with it’s emotionality, is some times too strong; it is almost insulting, shouting to get all the attention: Like a red dot in the green, like a flash in the darkness. To balance that force I need the background, the space that as a negative form defines the contour of the figure. Through that supplementary space I create a whole story. The key of my research lies in the dialogue between the person and its background; sometimes I think I am not portraying a person with a background, but the background with a person; sometimes it is the opposite. The background speaks about fear, happiness, peace, desperation; it speaks about the circumstances through an atmosphere. There is one basic element that is crucial to bring all the elements together: The light. Like a thread that creates structure and consistence in a tissue; the magical substance of photography. It is a physical condition that contains many extraordinary qualities. The photography is a chemical reaction in which the light is transcripted in a plain surface, creating a code that by the eyes suggest reality; but photography is not reality itself but an abstraction of it. And this is the point that fascinates me; the possibility of recreating the reality through the chemical process." -- Patrick Morarescu
Jeff Wall
Canada
1946
Jeffrey "Jeff" Wall, OC, RSA is a Canadian artist best known for his large-scale back-lit Cibachrome photographs and art history writing. Wall has been a key figure in Vancouver's art scene since the early-1970s. Early in his career, he helped define the Vancouver School and he has published essays on the work of his colleagues and fellow Vancouverites Rodney Graham, Ken Lum, and Ian Wallace. His photographic tableaux often take Vancouver's mixture of natural beauty, urban decay, and postmodern and industrial featurelessness as their backdrop. Wall received his MA from the University of British Columbia in 1970, with a thesis titled, Berlin Dada and the Notion of Context. That same year, Wall stopped making art. With his wife, Jeannette, a native of England whom he had met as a student in Vancouver, and their two young sons, he moved to London to do postgraduate work at the Courtauld Institute from 1970-73, where he studied with Manet expert T.J. Clark. Wall was an assistant professor at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (1974-75), associate professor at Simon Fraser University (1976-87), taught for many years at the University of British Columbia and lectured at European Graduate School. He has published essays on Dan Graham, Rodney Graham, Roy Arden, Ken Lum, Stephan Balkenhol, On Kawara, and other contemporary artists. In 2002, Wall was awarded the Hasselblad Award. In 2006, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Jeff Wall was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in December 2007. In March 2008, Wall was awarded the Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement, British Columbia's annual award for the visual arts.Source: Wikipedia Jeff Wall was born in Vancouver in 1946. Attentive to the accidental encounters that can inspire an image, he recreates flashes of inspiration obtained from sources as varied as personal recollections to something noticed on the street, to daydreams, and encounters with paintings or photographs. With an idea in mind, Wall goes to exacting lengths to produce the picture, which may include constructing a scene from scratch, factoring in the position of the sun over several weeks, and improvisational rehearsals with performers. Wall’s pictures include both fantastical scenes—a picnic with vampires, dead troops conversing, a grave flooded by the ocean—and vernacular images of people on the margins of society or in moments of exchange and quiet contemplation. Orchestrating his compositions with the creative liberties that a painter would take, the curious magic and discipline of Wall’s work is that it all takes place in a state of photographic realism where every action, object, and condition is simultaneously artificial and entirely natural. Often printed on the grand scale of a history painting - exhibited either as backlit lightboxes akin to advertising displays or as crisp inkjet and silver gelatin prints - Wall’s works reveal their poetic potential through portraying empathetic characters, picturing impossible vantage points, and capturing elusive moments.Source: Art21 Wall has said, "The only way to continue in the spirit of the avant-garde is to experiment with your relation to tradition" (Artnews, Nov. 1995, p.222). In 1977, during a visit to the Prado in Madrid, he was moved by the paintings of Velázquez and Goya. He felt that, due to what he saw as the dominance of photography and film, it was no longer possible for modern artists to paint like the great masters. Seeking a new method to represent everyday life pictorially, Wall found a suitable medium in advertising hoarding lightboxes, and made his first backlit transparencies in 1978. Early works, such as The Thinker (1986) based on Rodin's sculpture of that name, referred directly to great works in the history of art. Recently, he has more actively explored the literary and filmic aspects of his art. The majority of his pieces are set in Vancouver and contain references to art, the media, and socio-economic problems.Source: Tate
Emmanuelle Becker
France/United States
Anna Grevenitis
France / United States
1974
French-born visual artist Anna Grevenitis found photography in a meandering way: her formative years were filled with the study and teaching of the English language and literature, but when her daughter was born--and a year later her son--her world naturally morphed into full-time mothering. Drawing on the experiences of the domestic to inform her daily practice, she uses her home as a stage and her body and the body of others in her familial sphere as characters to deliver, in her photographs, the essence of what she wants to express about family and the self. For her work, the act of performing is an essential step in image making. Nowadays she divides her time between research and creation, and she is interested in building long term projects in photography as an act of establishing visual memory and engaging in social visibility. Her photographs have been exhibited both in the United States and internationally. Statement REGARD /ʁə.ɡaʁ/ verb 1. To consider or think of (someone or something) in a specified way. When my daughter was born, I was told that she had the “physical markers” for Down syndrome. A few days later, the diagnosis of Trisomy 21 was confirmed with a simple blood test. Today, years later, Luigia is a lively teenager, yet these “markers” have grown with her, and her disability remains visible to the outside world. As we try to go about our ordinary lives in our community--getting ice cream after school, going grocery shopping or walking to the local library--I often catch people staring, gawking, or side-glancing at her, at us. Even though their gaze feels invasive, I perceive it as more questioning than judging, at least most of the time. With this on-going series REGARD, I am opening a window into our reality. To emphasize control over my message, these everyday scenes are meticulously set, lit up; they are staged and posed. The performers are my daughter and me. The double self-portraits are purposefully developed in black and white, for by refusing the decorative and emotionally evocative element of color, I aim to maintain a distance between us and them. The composition of the photographs expresses routine, domestic acts in which I address the viewers directly: look at us bathing; look at us grooming; here we are at bedtime; this is us on a random day at the beach. In each scene, the viewers are plunged into the outside perspective. At first glance, it may seem that I am offering us as vulnerable prey to their judgment, yet in fact I am guarding our lives, and the viewers are caught gawking--my direct gaze at the camera. My series is very basic in its concept: it shows a child, it shows a mother, it shows them living at home, performing familial acts. Because I believe in the connective power offered by the depiction of domesticity, I hope that REGARD helps the audience rethink some of their assumptions about people living with disabilities and with this, I hope my series finds a humble spot within the movement that helps people with disabilities gain visibility.
Thomas Wrede
Germany
1963
Thomas Wrede was born in 1963 in Iserlohn (Germany). He studied Fine Art in Muenster and Berlin. From 1998 until 2005 he taught photography at the Kunstakademie Muenster. During the last few years numerous exhibitions presented his works in- and outside of Germany. Particularly, the solo exhibitions at the Museum Kunst der Westkueste, Alkersum (2010), the Kunsthalle Bielefeld (2010) and at the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Koeln (2007) and the following group exhibitions should be mentioned: at the National Museum for History and Art, Luxembourg (2013), the Seoul Museum of Art, South Korea (2011) and the Art Museum, Wuhan, China (2009). Since 1998 Wrede has shown his works in several galeries of the United States (New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles). Wrede's photographs have also been placed in these major art collections: Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Landesmuseum Muenster, The West Collection Philadelphia, Kunst-am-Bau-projects in Berlin for the German State, UBS Zuerich & Lucerne, DZ-Bank Frankfurt. The artist won some important awards, among others the Karl-Hofer-Preis of the Hochschule der Kuenste Berlin. Thomas Wrede published all photographic series in several nice books. About Real Landscape Thomas Wrede already counts as an established position to the Duesseldorf photography scene. His large-format, quiet, but also dramatic landscape photographs fascinate in a particular way, as the observer immediately feels himself confronted with all the facets of human existence. Idyll and catastrophe, longing and debacle form the fine line of atmospheres which through Wrede's complex direction have a thought-provoking effect. Scenic cloud formations or glistening sunsets at the horizon blur the boundaries further. The point of origin of his photographic works is time and again the longing for nature. Wrede thereby utilizes in his 'Real Landscapes'-series requisites from model railways, placing miniature houses and trees into real nature – at the beach, into the snow or in a nearby puddle. Yet, only a small excerpt of nature measuring at most a few steps in circumference is of concern. The observer's perception is thus set on the wrong track because in the photograph the whole setting is perceived in line with the size of the trees and houses. The illusion, generated through the inconsistencies and discrepancies of the proportions, is the result of Wrede's skilful use of his analogue plate camera with wide angle – he interferes with scales and reduces distances. A puddle thereby becomes a lake, a pile of snow turns into snowcapped mountain ranges and a few centimetres of even sand become a milelong beach. (from the Press Release by Beck & Eggeling)
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