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Louis Faurer
Louis Faurer

Louis Faurer

Country: United States
Birth: 1916 | Death: 2001

Louis Faurer was an American candid or street photographer. He was a quiet artist who never achieved the broad public recognition that his best-known contemporaries did; however, the significance and caliber of his work were lauded by insiders, among them Robert Frank, William Eggleston, and Edward Steichen, who included his work in the Museum of Modern Art exhibitions In and Out of Focus (1948) and The Family of Man (1955).

Growing up in Philadelphia, Faurer showed an early aptitude for illustration. He bought his first camera in 1937 from the photographer Ben Somoroff. After a couple of jobs as a photographic technician, Faurer made his way to Manhattan and into the world of fashion photography. He quickly made contacts that stood him in good stead: Robert Frank, with whom he shared a darkroom/studio and fast friendship, and Walker Evans, whom he'd long admired, who introduced him to Alexander Liberman at Vogue.

Faurer did fashion photography for Vogue, Junior Bazaar, Harper's Bazaar, Mademoiselle, Elle, and Glamour, as well as assignments for Life and Look for more than twenty years. He complained that his work at Life involved too much travel, so he quit in the early 1950s. Most of the prints and negatives of his fashion work have probably been discarded, as Faurer stored them with a friend when he left the country in the late 1960s, then failed to reclaim them.

It is Faurer’s personal work from the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s for which he is best remembered. He photographed the streets of New York City and Philadelphia, capturing the restless energy of urban life. His photographs show the great variety of the city's human face. As Robert Frank said in 1994: "Faurer ... proves to be an extraordinary artist. His eye is on the pulse [of New York City] - the lonely 'Times-Square people' for whom Faurer felt a deep sympathy. Every photograph is witness to the compassion and obsession accompanying his life like a shadow. I am happy that these images survive while the world keeps changing."

Faurer experimented with blur, grain, double exposures, sandwiched negatives, reflections, slow film speeds, and low lighting. His 1950 photographs of Robert Frank and his new wife Mary at the San Gennaro Festival in New York are a case in point, exploiting maximum-aperture shallow depth of field, reflections and halation of out-of-focus light sources for intimate, romantic results. One of the series attracted the attention of curator Edward Steichen who included it in the world-touring Museum of Modern Art exhibition, The Family of Man, seen by 9 million visitors, and in its catalogue, which has never been out of print. As exacting in the darkroom as he was in the field, he was notorious for being a tireless perfectionist when it came to cropping and printing his work.

In the mid-and late 1960s, Faurer experimented with hand-held 16 mm film, using Arriflex and Beaulieu movie cameras, filming in the streets of Manhattan, extending his still camera style into a cinematic medium.

Between 1969 and 1974 he lived and worked abroad, mostly in Paris. From the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, Faurer taught at numerous art schools and universities, including the Parsons School of Design in New York City, Yale University, the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, The New School for Social Research and Stockton State College in New Jersey.

In 1984, while running to catch a New York city bus, Faurer was struck by a car and seriously injured. He never photographed again.

Faurer spoke of his “intense desire to record life as I see it” as his only motivation: “As long as I’m amazed and astonished, as long as I feel that events, messages, expressions and movements are all shot through with the miraculous, I’ll feel filled with the certainty I need to keep going.”

The late Walter Hopps, who was curator of American art at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian's National Collection of Fine Arts, commented on Faurer's work: "I am in awe of the high point he can reach in a photograph such as Family, Times Square, at the center of New York in the center of our century. Perhaps no other American image stands comparison with Picasso’s Family of Saltimbanques, on their imagined European plane in 1905… Faurer stands and lives as a master of his medium."

Source: Wikipedia


 

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William Eggleston
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1939
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Writer Richard Woodward, who has viewed the footage, likens it to a "demented home movie", mixing tender shots of his children at home with shots of drunken parties, public urination and a man biting off a chicken's head before a cheering crowd in New Orleans. Woodward suggests that the film is reflective of Eggleston's "fearless naturalism—a belief that by looking patiently at what others ignore or look away from, interesting things can be seen." 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William Eugene Smith was an American photojournalist known for his refusal to compromise professional standards and his brutally vivid World War II photographs. Smith graduated from Wichita North High School in 1936. He began his career by taking pictures for two local newspapers, The Wichita Eagle (morning circulation) and the Beacon (evening circulation). He moved to New York City and began work for Newsweek and became known for his incessant perfectionism and thorny personality. Smith was fired from Newsweek for refusing to use medium format cameras and joined Life Magazine in 1939 using a 35mm camera. In 1945 he was wounded while photographing battle conditions in the Pacific theater of World War II. As a correspondent for Ziff-Davis Publishing and then Life again, W. Eugene Smith entered World War II on the front lines of the island-hopping American offensive against Japan, photographing U.S. Marines and Japanese prisoners of war at Saipan, Guam, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. On Okinawa, Smith was hit by mortar fire. After recovering, he continued at Life and perfected the photo essay from 1947 to 1954. In 1950, he was sent to the United Kingdom to cover the General Election, in which the Labour Party, under Clement Attlee, was narrowly victorious. Life had taken an editorial stance against the Labour government. In the end, a limited number of Smith's photographs of working-class Britain were published, including three shots of the South Wales valleys. In a documentary made by BBC Wales, Professor Dai Smith traced a miner who described how he and two colleagues had met Smith on their way home from work at the pit and had been instructed on how to pose for one of the photos published in Life. Smith severed his ties with Life over the way in which the magazine used his photographs of Albert Schweitzer. Upon leaving Life, Smith joined the Magnum Photos agency in 1955. There he started his project to document Pittsburgh. This project was supposed to take him three weeks, but spanned three years and tens of thousands of negatives. It was too large ever to be shown, although a series of book-length photo essays were eventually produced. From 1957 to 1965 he took photographs and made recordings of jazz musicians at a Manhattan loft shared by David X. Young, Dick Cary and Hall Overton. In January 1972, William Eugene Smith was attacked by Chisso employees near Tokyo, in an attempt to stop him from further publicizing the Minamata disease to the world. Although Smith survived the attack, his sight in one eye deteriorated. Smith and his Japanese wife lived in the city of Minamata from 1971 to 1973 and took many photos as part of a photo essay detailing the effects of Minamata disease, which was caused by a Chisso factory discharging heavy metals into water sources around Minamata. One of his most famous works, Tomoko Uemura in Her Bath, taken in December 1971 and published a few months after the 1972 attack, drew worldwide attention to the effects of Minamata disease. Complications from his long-term consumption of drugs, notably amphetamines (taken to enable his workaholic tendencies), and alcohol led to a massive stroke, from which Eugene Smith died in 1978. He is buried in Crum Elbow Cemetery, Pleasant Valley, New York. Smith was perhaps the originator and arguably the master of the photo-essay. In addition to Pittsburgh, these works include Nurse Midwife, Minamata, Country Doctor, and Albert Schweitzer - A Man of Mercy. Today, Smith's legacy lives on through the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund to promote "humanistic photography." Since 1980, the fund has awarded photographers for exceptional accomplishments in the field.Source: Wikipedia Born and reared in Wichita, Kansas, W. Eugene Smith became interested in photography at the age of fourteen, and three years later had begun to photograph for local newspapers. He received a photography scholarship to the University of Notre Dame, but he left after a year for New York, where he joined the staff of Newsweek and freelanced for LIFE, Collier's, Harper's Bazaar, The New York Times, and other publications. Beginning in 1939, Smith began working sporadically as a staff photographer for LIFE, with which he had a tempestuous relationship throughout the rest of his career. During World War II he was a war correspondent in the Pacific theater for the Ziff-Davis publishing company and LIFE, for whom he was working when he was severely wounded in Okinawa in 1945. After a two-year recuperation, he returned to the magazine and produced many of his best photo essays, including Country Doctor, Spanish Village, and A Man of Mercy. In 1955, he joined Magnum, the international cooperative photography agency founded by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, George Rodger and Chim (David Seymour), and began work on a large photographic study of Pittsburgh, for which he received Guggenheim Fellowships in 1956 and 1957. Smith continued to freelance for LIFE, Pageant, and Sports Illustrated, among other periodicals, for the rest of his career. From 1959 to 1977, he worked for Hitachi in Japan and taught at the New School for Social Research and the School of Visual Arts in New York and the University of Arizona in Tucson. His last photo essay, Minamata, completed in the 1970s, depicted victims of mercury poisoning in a Japanese fishing village. Smith is credited with developing the photo essay to its ultimate form. He was an exacting printer, and the combination of innovation, integrity and technical mastery in his photography made his work the standard by which photojournalism was measured for many years. In recognition of his outstanding contribution to the development of photojournalism, the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund was established after his death to support the projects of photographers working in the tradition he established. Source: International Center of Photography
Steve Schapiro
United States
1934 | † 2022
Steve Schapiro discovered photography at the age of nine at summer camp. Excited by the camera's potential, Schapiro spent the next decades prowling the streets of his native New York City trying to emulate the work of French photographer Henri Cartier Bresson, whom he greatly admired. His first formal education in photography came when he studied under the photojournalist W. Eugene Smith. Smith's influence on Schapiro was far-reaching. He taught him the technical skills he need to succeed as a photographer, but also informed his personal outlook and world-view. Schapiro's lifelong interest in social documentary, and his consistently empathetic portrayal of his subjects, is an outgrowth of his days spent with Smith and the development of a concerned humanistic approach to photography. Beginning in 1961, Schapiro worked as a freelance photojournalist. His photographs have appeared internationally in the pages and on the covers of magazines, including Life, Look, Time, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Sports Illustrated, People and Paris Match. During the decade of the 1960s in America, called the "golden age in photojournalism," Schapiro produced photo-essays on subjects as varied as narcotics addition, Easter in Harlem, the Apollo Theater, Haight-Ashbury, political protest, the presidential campaign of Robert Kennedy, poodles and presidents. A particularly poignant story about the lives of migrant workers in Arkansas, produced in 1961 for Jubilee and picked up by the New York Times Magazine, both informed readers about the migrant workers' difficult living conditions and brought about tangible change-the installation of electricity in their camps. An activist as well as documentarian, Schapiro covered many stories related the Civil Rights movement, including the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the push for voter registration and the Selma to Montgomery march. Called by Life to Memphis after Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, Schapiro produced some of the most iconic images of that tragic event. In the 1970s, as picture magazines like Life folded, Schapiro shifted attention to film. With major motion picture companies as his clients, Schapiro produced advertising materials, publicity stills and posters for films as varied as the Godfather, the Way We Were, Taxi Driver, Midnight Cowboy, Rambo, Risky Business and Billy Madison. He also collaborated on projects with musicians, such as Barbra Streisand and David Bowie, for record covers and related art. Schapiro's photographs have been widely reproduced in magazines and books related to American cultural history from the 1960s forward, civil rights, and motion picture film. Monographs of Schapiro's work include American Edge (2000); a book about the spirit of the turbulent decade of the 1960s in America, and Schapiro's Heroes (2007), which offers long intimate profiles of ten iconic figures: Muhammad Ali, Andy Warhol, Martin Luther King Jr., Robert Kennedy, Ray Charles, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, James Baldwin, Samuel Beckett, Barbra Streisand and Truman Capote. Schapiro's Heroes was the winner of an Art Directors Club Cube Award. Taschen released The Godfather Family Album: Photographs by Steve Schapiro in 2008, followed by Taxi Driver (2010), both initially in signed limited editions. This was followed by Then And Now (2012), Bliss, about the changing Hippie Generation (2015), BOWIE (2016), Mercicordia (20126) an amazing facility for people with developmental problems, and in 2017 books about Muhammad Ali and Taschen's The Fire Next Time with James Baldwin's text and Schapiro's Civil Rights photos from 1963 to 1968. Since the Metropolitan Museum of Art's seminal 1969 exhibition, Harlem on my Mind, which included a number of his images, Schapiro's photographs have appeared in museum and gallery exhibitions world-wide. The High Museum of Art's Road to Freedom, which traveled widely in the United States, includes numerous of his photographs from the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King Jr. Recent one-man shows have been mounted in Los Angeles, London, Santa Fe, Amsterdam, Paris. And Berlin. Steve has had large museum retrospective exhibitions in the United States, Spain, Russia, and Germany. Schapiro continues to work in a documentary vein. His recent series' of photographs have been about India, Music Festivals, and Black Lives Matter. Schapiro's work is represented in many private and public collections, including the Smithsonian Museum, the High Museum of Art, the New York Metropolitan Museum and the Getty Museum. He has just Received the James Joyce Award and fellowship to University College in Dublin/ Previous recipients included Bishop Tutu, Jesse Jackson and J.K. Rowling Discover Steve Schapiro's Interview
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