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Benjamin Barakat
Benjamin Barakat
Benjamin Barakat

Benjamin Barakat

Country: Lebanon/United Kingdom
Birth: 1987

Benjamin Barakat is a Lebanese/English astrophotographer born in England in 1987.
He hosts seminars, workshops & photography expeditions internationally around the world teaching others about the night sky and how to capture it.
He is based out of Switzerland where he is also a researcher at the highest observatory in Europe the Sphinx Observatory on top of Jungfraujoch at 3571m above sea level.
He began photography in 2018 and since then has won many awards and competitions around the world. In 2021 & 2022 he was titled Milky Way Photographer of the year!
His work has been featured by National Geographic, CNN, BBC, Forbes, Guardian, Vice and many more.
Benjamin's main focus has been in the Middle East, venturing to places others dare not to go. He wants to raise awareness and share the beauty of the middle eastern landscapes and night skies.
 

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Mark Tuschman
United States
Over the years I have become more motivated to use my photography to communicate in a more socially conscious way—in a way that exposes people to both the degree of human suffering that exists in today’s world and to the courage and fortitude that people manifest to overcome it. In my travels I can easily imagine that I could have been born into completely different circumstances and my worldview would have been radically different, having been influenced by a completely, radically dissimilar environment and culture. Indeed, I know I have been privileged and fortunate to have been born into an affluent culture with tremendous opportunities. I believe that it is especially important for people in our society to understand other cultures and the enormous difficulties that people in other countries face daily in order to simply survive. The human condition is wrought with great uncertainty and suffering, and yet the human spirit and the hope for a better life can grow stronger in the face of adversity. I am constantly inspired by the profound fortitude of people living in difficult conditions and the empathy and commitment of the many who give counsel and aid to those less fortunate. I believe it as my moral obligation to use whatever talents I have as a photographer to transcend our limited worldviews and to help bridge the gap between cultures of affluence and poverty. Photography is a universal language and it is my hope that my images will move viewers to respond not only with empathy, but also with action. It is my intention to photograph people with compassion and dignity in the hope of communicating our interrelatedness. In the words of Sebastiao Salgado whose work I greatly admire, “If you take a picture of a human that does not make him noble, there is no reason to take this picture. That is my way of seeing things.”
Imed Kolli
France/Algeria
1995
Imed Kolli is a 24-year-old photographer based in Algeria. By the time I was 16, my real eduction came from observing what is happening around me and observing that richness don't comes without struggle, and I was looking for a way to translate what I was seeing through my eyes and photography became my voice in this very big confusing world. I started to realize that photography has the power to change prescriptive on life and surprise people with something they don't usually see and sometimes they don't have any idea existed, and it began to push my life in such dramatic direction towards telling the larger story of what it means to be a human, so I bought my first camera , and that was the beginning. To say that my work is evocative would be something of an understatement. Specializing in harrowing, monochrome photos of people living on the fringes of society. I have been doing photography for the last 7 years, I specialized in street documentation photography toward telling the larger story of what it means to be a human and capturing the human condition. In the last 5 years, I had what you would call much a formal eduction by getting my Bachelor degree majoring photography at the highest institute of perfuming arts and audio visuals here in Algeria, I also had the chance to follow my main passion by continuing my master of fine art online degree program at the Academy of Art University in San-Fransisco. My passion for photography has actually never been stronger than it is today and it's 6 years that I've been making pictures that I've involved in visual storytelling. Most of what I know about the world has come through this medium, through practicing it through, learning about it. I've often said that photography is sort of like a condition that you catch and I caught it when I was 18 years old within about three months of learning about photography and I would say that today 7 years later that condition has never been more severe. During years I became obsessed with the idea of combining photography and documenting the human condition and that maybe that could be a way to bring these theories to the audience and perhaps get to learn and tell about the stories that need to be tell. My practice has always been predicated on international work mostly documenting work, documenting the human condition, but I've also done probably the largest project of my career so far ETERNAL FACES was obviously a domestic project, I spent 3 years on that and actually even since that project, I've continued to look at the issue of aging more so through film and multimedia and as time goes on and this is kind of connected to the question about my passion for photography. I feel like my repertoire for the kinds of stories that I want to do, the kinds of issues that I'm interested in are actually expanding, they're not narrowing, so I'm much more open to working on stories that in the past I might have considered you know softer or irrelevant. I'm talking about the world that is grinding out a lot of a critical issues that humanity is facing today, social issues political issues resource, issues you know climate change, how to deal with a permanent underclass of homelessness, I believe there's so many issues in the world that are critically important to look at. Statement This work is being classified as a Street-Portrait Photography which could actually offer a new way of prescriptive of people's portraits in black and white. I tried to reach the authenticity of people who had contracted the bitterness or resentfulness through their lives. The idea comes from street photography and how to shoot homeless, poor people in a beautiful manner from basic. It was all about dramatic situations and the spirituality of portraiture. To me, the most important characteristic was having a sharp eye and being aware of the environment around me. This means looking out for, not just colors, shapes, lights, shadows and so on, but observing my subjects and how they appear and act as well. I exposed the hardships and poor conditions of life of the deprived people through face expression. I did this in an attempt to assuage these problems. Vividly I wanted to expose the realities of squalid living and misery faced by homelessness every day. Harrowing street-portraits photography combined with emotion storytelling, were intended to engage and inform the audience and exhort them to act. What I accomplished by taking these photographs from the streets was to inform the world, How people are suffering every day. I wanted to show the life of these people lived, I had experimented with illustrations that dramatized the devastating human cost of the emotional expressions. I realized finally that only photographs seemed to capture the reality with sufficient resolution to change hearts. The singular emphasis in others on subjects, divested of a story, is all the more remarkable for this reason. In this project, I emphasized the reflective mode over the nature of my body of work envisaging,.The images chosen for The -Eternal Faces- did privilege the inventorial, world of observation and artistic classification as it reflects reality, with the objects taken out of context. There is no doubt that my body of work has profoundly shifted the way that we perceive these people in reality, the sensual appeal of reflection outcome intents in the real world has proved irresistible to photographers including my project Eternal Faces. Beginning with the intent to reflect these people's realities and finding expression in practitioners of widely differing outlooks and goals. Photographing these kind of subjects acquire an aura by being taken from their casual, often overlooked, position and put under intense scrutiny. The outcome intent tool which should look upon my project dispassionately is capable of creating images, filtered through the imagination, which compellingly engages the viewer's imagination and emotions. It wasn't empathy, It wasn't sympathy, it was more of a forced, intrinsic, and integral self-reflection. What I did is photograph emotions, I was photographing the initial moment when I laid eyes on the human being beautiful face shape that reflects the whole story of what it means to be broke, Injured, homeless, beggar and poor underprivileged and sometimes even hopeless. I gave with the often willing and knowing collaboration of my subjects, a metonymic typology of people who lived in dark side of society, representing for us the poor, homelessness, the other half. I was after the general truth of a general category, and the finer truths of individuals necessarily caught my inspiration to pick up this precise subject matter to photograph. The center of each picture was the subject matter: a person and his or her experience at that moment in time. To me and many other progressives, the rock bottom status added them from personal contact with the impoverished even when Christianity and the Social Gospel created a burden to extent charity to the disfranchised and discarded in society. I came imbuing them with the iconic soul of humanity and left almost engaging a subject in eyes contact. All of my photographs with human subjects refer to not where the subject is located, but the person before the lens and how did I visualize their emotions and feelings in a humanitarian neutral way. My images are intended to resonate with the viewer on a spiritual and human level and I try to pack in the metaphysical…attributes which tell their own story. I try to provoke an imaginative and intelligent response from the viewer with a purely visual reference.
Margarita Mavromichalis
Margarita Mavromichalis comes from a family of Greek diplomats and has spent her life living and traveling all over the world. She speaks five languages and studied translation and interpreting. She likes to think that photography is her second language, as it's a universal language, one that is understood by all across the world and conveys messages in the most powerful way. Margarita moved to New York in 2009. She continued her studies for three years at the International Center of Photography where she also served as a Teaching Assistant for several classes. She moved back to Greece from 2013 to 2016 where she devoted most of her work covering the refugee crisis as it developed on the island of Lesvos. She currently lives and works in London. Margarita is mostly attracted to street photography and the elements that evoke emotions and surprise in our everyday life. Furthermore she is passionate about documenting current events that she feels very strongly about, highlighting their social impact. Her work has been displayed in exhibitions in New York, Boston, San Diego, The Museum of the City of New York, the Brooklyn Historical Society and most recently in Budapest, Athens, Paris, Berlin, Barcelona and London. Selected images are part of the permanent collections of the Museum of the City of New York and the Brooklyn Historical Society. She is the winner of the 9th Pollux Awards (2016) and the winner of the 12th edition of the Julia Margaret Cameron Awards (2018) and has been nominated for the 2019 Prix Pictet Hope Award and was recently awarded the 15th edition of the Julia Margaret Cameron Award (2020). In 2021, she won a Gold Medal at the Budapest International Foto Awards, a Silver Medal at the Prix de la Photographie Paris and is an official selection and top 5 at the Tokyo International Foto Awards.
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