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Sabine Weiss
Self portrait 1954
Sabine Weiss
Sabine Weiss

Sabine Weiss

Country: Switzerland
Birth: 1924 | Death: 2021

Sabine Weiss was born in Switzerland in 1924. In 1942, she wonders what she will do with her life, and decides that she should become a photographer because it is what she loves to do. She is the daughter of a mother who showed her art galleries and Roman churches at a very young age, and of a researcher chemist father who loved to see her print her little photos with the resources available at the time.

From 1942 until 1945 she was an apprentice at Boissonnas in Geneva, house of a dynasty of photographers that celebrated its 80th birthday.

In 1945 Sabine Weiss moved to a studio in Geneva, but in 1946 she decided to leave the city of her childhood to live in Paris. She knew there was no turning back. She asked Willy Maywald to become her assistant. In 1949, she met the painter Hugh Weiss and realized right away that she would spend her life with him. Sabine Weiss left Maywald, where she mastered her craft and started a long career, experimenting fashion, photojournalism, advertising and everything else she was asked to do.

During her free time, she liked to immortalize the depths of man in all simplicity. Her photographs moved Edward Steichen when preparing his major exhibition "The Family of Man" therefore he decided to present three of her images.

In recent years, Sabine Weiss has dedicated her time to exhibitions that showcase the humanist side of her work because it meant a lot to her.

Key dates
1924 July 23rd Birth at Gingolph in Switzerland, Naturalized French in 1995.
1942-45 Apprentice at Boissonas in Geneva
1945 Swiss diploma of photography
1946 Settles permanently in Paris
1946-50 Assistant of Willy Maywald
1950 Weds the American artist Hugh Weiss
1951 Works for several advertising agencies
1952-61 Contract with Vogue Magazine (Fashion and Assignments)
1952 Enters the Agency Rapho
1952 Free-lance for major magazines in the USA and in Europe like Paris Match, Life, Time, Newsweek, Town And Country, Fortune, Holiday, European Travel And Life, Esquire... covering countries in Europe, Africa, North America and Asia.

Most recent exhibitions:
2014 Vannes, Festival de la Photo de Mer "Portugal, 1954"
2014 Zürich, Photobastei, Rétrospective
2014 Genève, Galerie Patrick Cramer, Portraits d’artistes (Giacometti et Miro)
2014 Salon de la Photo, Paris, Porte de Versailles, rétrospective « Chère Sabine » (Tribute to the photographer's 90th birthday)

Decorations
1987 Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of Arts and Letters)
1999 Officier des Arts et des Lettres (Officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres)
2010 Ordre national du Mérite (French National Order of Merit)

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Stefano De Luigi
I was born in Koln and spent all my life so far, between Rome, Milan and Paris. Even if we are living in a time where is not really trendy, I feel myself deeply Europeen. I choose photography to became my language, because I felt it is universal, the only filter you have to use is your own mind-eyes. Below the essential of my biography I am a photographer since 1989. I attended 2 years of courses at ISF (Instituto Superiore di Fotografia) in Rome between 1987/89 and moved, for the first time, to Paris from 1989 to 1996, working, among others for the Louvre Museum. Back and forth from France to Italy In 2000 I received the Honorable Mention of Leica Oskar Barnack Award. That same year I started the project Pornoland, a photographic journey on pornographic movie sets around the world. In 2004 Pornoland became a book enclosing 16 pages of text by English writer Martin Amis. Pornoland has been published by : Thames & Hudson, Knessebeck, La Martinière and Contrasto. This work has been exhibited at REA gallery (Paris 2004), Santa Cecilia gallery (Rome 2005), Lanificio (Naples 2006), Festival Transphotographiques (Lille 2007), New York Photo Festival (NY 2011). Personal exhibitions in these years, among others, include WHO Headquarter (Geneva 2010), VII Gallery (New York 2010), 10b Gallery (Rome 2010), Museum of Modern Art (Rovereto 2011), Photofestival (Athens 2011/15), Fondazione Stelline (Milan, 2013) FotoIstanbul (2015) , Candiani Cultural Center ( Venice 2017) Plenum Gallery ( Catania 2018) Museum of Palazzo Ducale ( Genes 2019) Image Gibellina 2021, Photolux (Lucca 2022) Planches Contact (Deauville 2022). From 2003 to 2010, I worked on Blindness-, my main work, which lasted 8 years. A photographic project on the life condition of blind and low vision people, around the world. Blindness received the patronage of Vision 2020- World Health Organisation and won the W.E. Smith Fellowship Grant in 2007. In 2006 I embarked on the project Cinema Mundi, a World Cinema exploration of the alternative cinematographic scene external to the Hollywood dream factory including China, Russia, Iran, Argentina, Nigeria, South Korea and India. Cinema Mundi has been also transformed into a 7 minutes short movie screened at Locarno International Film Festival on August 4th, 2007. I have been awarded in the World Press Photo contest four times in different categories (1998-2007-2010-2011). In 2009 the Moving Walls of Open Society Foundation exhibited my work in Washington and New York. In 2010 I was the recipient of the Days Japan International Photojournalism Award and the Getty Grant for Editorial Photography, Syngenta Prize 2015, CNC grant for the documentary"Mare Amarum" 2019, Planches Contacts grant 2021 and I was the recipient of Strategie Fotografia grant from the Italian Ministry of Culture in 2022. I published 6 books Pornoland (Contrasto 2004), Blanco, (Trolley book 2010) iDyssey, (Edition Bessard 2017) Babel with Michela Battaglia (Postcart 2018) Pornoland Redux (Self-published 2021) Il Bel Paese (L'Artiere 2023). T.I.A Africa is a continent. But Africa is also a well-defined place in my mind. Africa is unique. Every time I have had the opportunity of going there I have come face to face with incredible tragedies but also with the unwavering hope of its people. Ever since my first journey to South Africa in 1989, where I saw Walter Sisulu walk free in Soweto after years of imprisonment, I continue to be both deeply moved and deeply shocked by all the stories I have witnessed and heard. Every time I step onto African soil I know I will experience something deep, something that inevitably leads to a search for the meaning of life, something that, for me at least, surfaces from deep within when I am in Africa. The questions raised call for humbleness, since often they are without answers. We know that the truth often lies in the middle folds of things. This project aims to raise questions and provoke thoughts which could, perhaps, lead to some answers and which in turn could correspond to some truths. I have tried to conceive this project as a poem. Or perhaps it would better be described as a ballad. The ballad with verses which challenge and play with each other. In the space between two facing photographs there is a story. One of the thousand stories I witnessed in Africa, one of the thousand questions I asked myself, one of the thousand experiences I was fortunate to live. The photographs represent the two extremes of the story that links them: the beginning and the end. I couldn't find a better form of expressive language to convey how Africa is an all-encompassing experience for any human being wishing to embrace it to its full. A painful yet joyful ballad of my personal and ongoing relationship with this continent. This is why I have called it "This is Africa". I should probably have called it "This is my vision of Africa" but it didn't sound the same. By no means does this mean it is the only view of Africa. I know it may seem inadequate and subjective. But so is everything in life, I guess. So, This is Africa. Blanco How does the look of a blind person look like? Can the blind show joy, happiness, disappoint, pain, suffering, pity, regret, with the only use of their eyes? The absence of sight can mean also the absence of complicity behind the camera's lens? We always use the term blind to characterize a person, such as blond, fat, poor, rich. And maybe, in some way, it is the truth. It doesn't matter if it happens in Africa, Asia, or the old Europe. The fact is, they cannot see the light, the colors, the daily scenes, how awful or gorgeous they can be. The blind are a contrast. It is easier to ignore them, their handicap is hidden, but they do have it. It's not necessary to turn the face to something or someone else, they won't see it. They seem 'normal', but they're not. They have their own world, the same and another than ours, made of different feelings, different images, different colors. And dark.
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