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Sonia Melnikova-Raich
Sonia Melnikova-Raich
Sonia Melnikova-Raich

Sonia Melnikova-Raich

Country: Russia/United States
Birth: 1947

Sonia Melnikova-Raich was born in Moscow in 1947 and has been living in San Francisco since 1987. She was trained as an artist and architect, with a Master's degree from the prestigious Moscow Architectural Institute. Her approach to photography is shaped by her background in painting and architecture. Influenced by the vision of Russian Constructivists of the 1920s and the photography of the Bauhaus movement, she is interested in exploring the abstract in the material world, drawing the viewer's attention to the inner geometry of the photograph and its compositional structure. Her Light+Shadows series, which revolves around the mystery of perspective and geometry created by light and darkness in the architectural image, was inspired by the words of the famous American architect Louis Kahn: "The sun never knew how great it was until it hit the side of a building."

Distinct from her high-contrast architectural photography, many of Sonia's other works (Within My Sight, Råbjerg Mile Dunes, Waking Dreams, and other series) explore the poetry and mystique of low-light environments, capturing fleeting moments, barely visible, ambiguous or disappearing things. She feels a strong affinity with the Japanese philosophy and aesthetic of wabi sabi, with its reverence for the subtle beauty in old and simple things, and focus on transience and impermanence. She believes that photography is the best medium to express these concepts, as each photograph is inherently an image of disappearance, a reflective connection to the past forever stamped by time.

Since 2005, Sonia's photography has been exhibited locally, nationally, and internationally. In addition to three solo gallery shows in San Francisco, her photographs have been exhibited at LoosenArt Gallery in Rome, Fotogalerie Friedrichshain in Berlin, and various venues in the USA, with some of her works in the permanent collection of the Lafayette Public Library in California. She has been among the winners in many juried competitions, had her works featured in professional photography journals, and was listed in 100 Hot Photographers of 2022 and 2023 by YourDailyPhotograph.com, the project by Duncan Miller Gallery in Los Angeles, an internationally recognized gallery specializing in 20th and 21st Century fine art photography.

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Aaron Blum
United States
1983
Aaron Blum is an eighth generation West Virginian, and creates art deeply linked to his home. Most of his work centers around a single question, what does it mean to be Appalachian? Through this question he address many different artistic concepts from idealized memory vs. stereotypes to ideas of folk taxonomy. His creation process is a diversified approach of image-based media to create a glimpse into his own concepts of Appalachia, and the social fabric of a very large and misrepresented people and place. He pays close attention to the quality of light and the landscape as well as cultural markers to produce a unique version of life in the hills. After graduating with degrees in photography from West Virginia University and Syracuse University, Aaron immediately began receiving recognition for his work including Center of Santa Fe, Silvereye Center for photography, Critical Mass, and FOAM. About The Prevailing Winds of Hills and Heritage Appalachia pulls at me like a haunted memory. There is an ineffable force that compels me to suspend reality and embrace superstition and myth. It is a longing to hold on to my culture and history in spite of the modern world. The nebulous forests, enveloping moss and dark corners seem to tell a purer truth. Storytelling in Appalachia has a long-standing tradition, and it infuses the region with mystery. Using lore, pseudo-scientific study, and personal experiences as a compass I see this place through idealized eyes of wonder, and these images become my personal folklore. They bring to life the fantasies and memories I carry with me. This is a place where you can wash away sin in cool stream waters, where corpse birds come to ferry away souls to the next life, rocks burn and kudzu conceals. This is the place where the prevailing winds whisper old stories to those who know how to listen.
Christian Chaize
Christian Chaize, a self-taught artist, lives and works in Lyon, France. In 1992, he was awarded the Prix European Panorama de Kodak for Young European Photographer in Arles, France. In addition to his artistic achievements, he enjoys a successful career as a commercial photographer. In 2004, Chaize became intrigued by a small stretch of coastline in southern Portugal. Itching an artistic scratch, he began shooting what was then an entirely new subject matter for him. Using medium and large format cameras, his commitment to photographing a single beach front several times a year since then is now evident in the series, Praia Piquinia. This work has been the focus of two one-man museum shows in Portugal, as well as gallery exhibitions in New York, Berlin, and Lyon. Among other publications, it has been featured in The Collector’s Guide to New Art Photography Vol. 2, BLINK MAGAZINE, Issue No. 13, and Elle Decor. In addition to its popularity on 20×200.com, Praia Piquinia is also the subject of Chaize’s first monograph, published by Chronicle Books in the Spring of 2013. Paradis, images made in the Seychelles, and To Praia Grande, a separate beach series shot in Portugal, have also been exhibited in New York and Berlin, respectively. Future projects will continue to reveal his interest in enlightening the way we look at something that has otherwise become banal, or merely familiar. In the words of Marcel Proust, and in the tradition of all the great modern photographers who came before him, Chaize is always seeking to « have new eyes ».
Nat Fein
United States
1914 | † 2000
Nathaniel Fein (August 7, 1914 – September 26, 2000) was a photographer for the New York Herald Tribune for 33 years. Fein is known for photographing Babe Ruth towards the end of his life, winning the 1949 Pulitzer Prize for his photograph The Babe Bows Out. Fein was born and raised on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. He was a press photographer at the New York Herald Tribune from 1933 to 1966. Known for setting a scene correctly, he would climb buildings and bridges to get the shot he was after. Fein's main subject matter was New York following World War II. Albert Einstein, Ty Cobb, Queen Elizabeth and Harry S. Truman were among the many public figures that he photographed. Nat Fein won more press photo awards than any of his contemporaries. Although considered to be one of the greatest human interest photographers in journalism, he carried the distinction of having taken "the most celebrated photograph in sports history." -- The New York Times, 1992. A resident of Tappan, New York, Fein died on September 26, 2000, at the age of 86.Source: Wikipedia Babe Bows Out", photograph of Babe Ruth during a ceremony at Yankee Stadium to retire his number, 13 June 1948 (This photo won the 1949 Pulitzer Prize for photography) © Nat Fein / Public Domain Babe Ruth’s dominating influence changed the game itself. He became the face of the New York Yankees and embodied the ethos of the game of baseball, American sports culture, and New York heritage. In Babe Bows Out photographer Nat Fein captures the beloved athlete and showman in an image that has become synonymous with the immensity of its subject. Nat Fein began to work for the New York Herald Tribune as a copyboy in 1932. After investing in a camera years later, he became a press photographer for the paper, creating a working relationship that lasted 33 years. While working as a staff photographer at the Tribune, Fein had not been assigned to work on the day that the New York Yankee’s would retire Babe Ruth’s number three jersey. On the day when the Yankees would celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Yankee stadium and retire “The Great Bambino’s” number, the mainstay sports photographer for the Tribune called in sick. Thus, on June 13 of 1948, Nat Fein was set out to cover what many suspected could be Babe Ruth’s last public appearance. While other press photographers attempted to capture a portrait of the great American baseball hero wearing his uniform one last time, Nat Fein, tried to capture the iconic number on his jersey, stating: “All the photographers were in the front, and I wanted to see how he looks from the back. So I figured, well, number three is out. The Babe bows out…” – Nat Fein The final image is filled with emotion, a bidding farewell to the greatest player in baseball. Among an interminable crowd of onlookers and accompanied by current Yankees players, Ruth bows out in the stage where his legendary mythology was created. At the time of the photograph in 1948, Babe Ruth had not played for the Yankees for over a decade. Ruth had also been ill for some time, and his appearance had changed; his thin legs and face showed signs of his fragile condition. Fein’s photograph, instead of highlighting the aged features of the passing of time or sickness, captures the silhouette of the baseball giant. The picture presenting Ruth with his classic number three jersey underlines the monumental influence he exuded over the game and New York. The image not only symbolizes a sports hero but a man who was larger than life. His rough childhood with frequent visits to orphanages and hospitals, his kindness to black baseball players in a time of racial inequity, his fondness to volunteer his time for kids sick with Polio, and his larger physique, generate empathy in his farewell photograph. The photograph presents a poetic image that connects us through its resounding human and empathetic quality, connecting the viewer to an unwavering American hero. Babe Bows Out eventually became the first sports photograph to win the Pulitzer Prize. It cemented the importance of the medium of photography. It is considered one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential images of all time and is featured in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the Smithsonian Institute. Never surrendering to sickness or ill-health, the photograph commemorates the hometown hero. It immortalizes the strong and imposing Babe Ruth as the towering figure we remember and speak of today. A man whose recognition has reigned supreme over baseball, New York, and the world of sports for over 100 years. Nat Fein’s Babe Bows Out is one of the most excellent images of baseball lore.Source: Holden Luntz Gallery
Lara Wilde
Germany
1988
Lara Wilde dances in her projects between the themes of raw human emotions and the complexity of the outside world. As a photographer and psychologist she is interested in what moves us as humanity on an individual level. Besides an intensive involvement with her protagonists, she stands for technical perfection in the execution, which has earned her several awards. Since 2016 Wilde is working as a fine art photographer and creative director. Statement A few years ago I moved from a Norwegian village back to Berlin to study photography. What I didn't know back then is that you unlearn being a city person when you are gone long enough. I really thought I would die in the anonymous streets of the city I once loved so much. As you know, when we are determined to solve a problem, we go deeper into it. So I wanted to meet strangers and see how they feel outside of their awesome social herds. A lot of nights I now invited myself to other peoples houses, men and women, all strangers, drinking coffee and photographing them in the process. I shot them in longterm exposures, first, because I didn't want to bring a lot of equipment, but later I enjoyed the slow process, sitting there in darkness and waiting for the picture to come through. For some people, it was torture sitting around in the darkness, confronted with their thoughts without their smartphones, friends or busy surroundings. For me they looked like something was missing when they were just sitting by themselves. It felt really personal watching them trying to get comfortable in this inputless scene, to see them struggle, or to see them think and sometimes sharing the feelings that were coming forward. All these conversations with strangers, waiting around in the dark, gave me a feeling of togetherness, becoming a tiny particles of their lives and giving them something that they normally didn't have: Stillness. They were so open and thankful for conversations and most of the times we talked about the real shit: About being lonely, about dying, about calling our parents and our first love. All the stories found their way into the pictures and reminded me of everything we talked about. But I personally got my Berlin back. Not at the streets, but at the dark corners of their homes. Everything in their homes told their stories as loud as they did and I had the honor of being part of it for a short period of time. I get you now, Berlin-people: You are kind and giving, but you are afraid of being used. You are interested in others, but don't want to be tangled up in other peoples problems. You want to show yourself, but want to be accepted. And if you like it our not, the people around you want that too.
Mathilde Pettersen
Mathilde Helene Pettersen, born 1976 in Norway. Photographer and visual artist, lives and work in Kristiansand, south of Norway. Holds a BA in Photography and film from Napier Edinburgh University, Scotland and a MA in Art from the University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway. Pettersen is a member of Association of Norwegian Visual Artist and society of Fine Art Photographers in Norway. Between 2013 and 2015 she was selected for the Norwegian Journal of Photography #2, a program supporting eight independent photographers in Norway, working on long-term projects and published by Journal, Stockholm (2015). In this publication, she chose to show a selection from her project Searching for Cloudberries, which was featured in Time Magazine/Lightbox and SHOTS magazine and exhibited at the Festival Voies Off in Arles, France (2016) and at the Encuentros Abiertos Festival de La Luz , in Buenos Aires, Argentina (2016) and at the Henie Onstad Art center in Oslo, Norway (2019). Her work I need a kiss before they leave was exhibited at the Musée de l'Elysée in Lausanne, Switzerland (2016), Kristiansand Kunsthall, Norway (2017), the International Photofestival PhotoVisa in Krasnodar, Russia (2017) and is currently on show at the Sørlandets Museum of Art (Jun-Nov 2020) alongside photographers as Swedish Christer Strömholm and Anders Petersen and the Norwegian Tom Sandberg, Dag Alveng and Kåre Kivijärvi. Her first photobook I NEED A KISS BEFORE THEY LEAVE was launched at Paris Photo 2019 at the Grand Palais by the German Kehrer Verlag in Heidelberg. Mathilde Pettersen presents two projects: Searching for Cloudberries (2008-), analogue black and white photographs. My projects revolve around portraiture and self-portraiture, and in their themes touch upon motherhood and family as constellations. So does this project, presently spanning ten years now. It takes shape by depicting a sense of dysfunctionality of the infertile female body - a theme that is often taboo in our society - before it turns and grows in a new direction when discovered not, moving on to contemplate the development of the child and the changes of the body of its mother over time in connection with life cycles in nature. I need a kiss before they leave (2011-), digital colour photographs. I NEED A KISS BEFORE THEY LEAVE is an emotional family portrait, filled with immense joy, but also with a disturbing realization of a wonderfulness that cannot be stored. It reflects upon a human desire to freeze time, to forever savoring those moments which are destined to live on only as distant memories. Photography is of course the artistic technique to actually freeze time and to store a split second forever. In this book, Norwegian photographer Mathilde Helene Pettersen captures an entire parenthood, with all its bright and dark moments. I need a kiss before they leave reflects on becoming and being a mother, on building a family, on the immediate and unpredictable, on strengths and fragilities in life, and sometimes on the overshadowing fear of death and the irreversible. From the text in I NEED A KISS BEFORE THEY LEAVE by Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger: First things first: loving is not for the faint of heart. Loving, day af- ter day, requires the courage to handle the disappointment of quotidian love falling short of the ideal of love. It requires even more courage to extend love to societal structures in need of repair. (...) "This is my story." These are the words used by Mathilde Helene Pettersen at the beginning of her book I need a kiss before they leave. The series, consisting of photographs taken with a camera phone over a period of eight years, is a chronicle of childbirth, motherhood, and family life. Pettersen writes that this was a story she hesitated to tell. Pettersen has spoken about the challenge and dichotomy of com- bining motherhood with the work of a photographer. On the one hand, she leads an ordinary enough, down-to-earth life with her family; on the other, she has a life outside the home, working as a photographer. Even in the Nordic countries, this is no simple equa- tion to balance. Although the principle of gender equality in the workplace is firmly established, or at least acknowledged, it re- mains elusive in practice.
Leonard Freed
United States
1929 | † 2006
Leonard Freed was a documentary photojournalist and longtime Magnum member. He was born to Jewish, working-class parents of Eastern European descent. Freed had wanted to be a painter, but began taking photographs in the Netherlands and discovered a new passion. He traveled in Europe and Africa before returning to the United States where he attended the New School and studied with Alexey Brodovitch, the art director of Harper's Bazaar. In 1958 he moved to Amsterdam to photograph its Jewish community. Through the 1960s he continued to work as a freelance photojournalist, traveling widely. He documented such events and subjects as the Civil Rights movement in America (1964–65), the Yom Kippur War in 1973, and the New York City police department (1972–79). His career blossomed during the American civil rights movement, when he traveled the country with Martin Luther King, Jr. in his celebrated march across the US from Alabama to Washington. This journey gave him the opportunity to produce his 1968 book, Black in White America, which brought considerable attention. His work on New York City law enforcement also led to a book, Police Work which was published in 1980. Early in Freed's career, Edward Steichen purchased three photographs from Freed for the collection of the Museum of Modern Art.[ In 1967, Cornell Capa selected Freed as one of five photographers to participate in his "Concerned Photography" exhibition. Freed joined Magnum Photos in 1972. Publications to which Freed contributed over the years included Der Spiegel, Die Zeit, Fortune, Libération, Life, Look, Paris-Match, Stern, and The Sunday Times Magazine of London. In later years, Freed continued shooting photographs in Italy, Turkey, Germany, Lebanon and the U.S. He also shot four films for Japanese, Dutch and Belgian television.Source: Wikipedia Born in Brooklyn, New York, to working-class Jewish parents of Eastern European descent, Leonard Freed first wanted to become a painter. However, he began taking photographs while in the Netherlands in 1953, and discovered that this was where his passion lay. In 1954, after trips through Europe and North Africa, he returned to the United States and studied in Alexei Brodovitch's 'design laboratory'. He moved to Amsterdam in 1958 and photographed the Jewish community there. He pursued this concern in numerous books and films, examining German society and his own Jewish roots; his book on the Jews in Germany was published in 1961, and Made in Germany, about post-war Germany, appeared in 1965. Working as a freelance photographer from 1961 onwards, Freed began to travel widely, photographing blacks in America (1964-65), events in Israel (1967-68), the Yom Kippur War in 1973, and the New York City police department (1972-79). He also shot four films for Japanese, Dutch and Belgian television. Early in Freed's career, Edward Steichen, then Director of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art, bought three of his photographs for the museum. Steichen told Freed that he was one of the three best young photographers he had seen and urged him to remain an amateur, as the other two were now doing commercial photography and their work had become uninteresting. 'Preferably,' he advised, 'be a truck driver.' Freed joined Magnum in 1972. His coverage of the American civil rights movement first made him famous, but he also produced major essays on Poland, Asian immigration in England, North Sea oil development, and Spain after Franco. Photography became Freed's means of exploring societal violence and racial discrimination. Leonard Freed died in Garrison, New York, on 30 November 2006.Source: Steven Kasher Gallery
Herbert List
Germany
1903 | † 1975
Herbert List was a German photographer, who worked for magazines, including Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and Life, and was associated with Magnum Photos. His austere, classically posed black-and-white compositions, particularly his homoerotic male nudes, taken in Italy and Greece being influential in modern photography and contemporary fashion photography. He was born on 7 October 1903 to a prosperous business family in Hamburg, the son of Luise and Felix List. He attended the Johanneum Gymnasium, and afterwards studied literature 1921–23 at the University of Heidelberg. While still a student he became apprenticed in the family company, Landfried Coffee. In 1923, after two years in Heidelberg learning about the coffee trade and attending lectures at the university on Greek art and literature, List traveled for the family business Kaffee-Import Firma List & Heineken, Hamburg. Between 1925 and 1928 he visited plantations and contacts in Guatemala, Costa Rica, San Salvador, Brazil (where he stayed for six months) and San Francisco. During this time he began taking photographs. In 1929 he met Andreas Feininger who inspired his greater interest in photography and gave him a Rolleiflex camera. From 1930 he began taking portraits of friends and shooting still life; was influenced by the Bauhaus and artists of the surrealist movements, Man Ray, Giorgio De Chirico and Max Ernst; and created a surrealist photograph titled Metaphysique in a style he called fotografia metafisica in homage to De Chirico, his most important influence during this period. List used male models, draped fabric, masks and double-exposures to depict dream states and fantastic imagery. He has explained that his photos were "composed visions where [my] arrangements try to capture the magical essence inhabiting and animating the world of appearances." While there are surface similarities to Nazi imagery of the athletic male body—that of Leni Riefenstahl for example—unlike them, List's pictures of friends are portraits as much as they are nudes, nor did List endorse Nazi ideas, nor did his work influence National Socialist photography. He never published his male nudes in his own lifetime, and kept them hidden in his mother's house in a sack he called his poison bag". He was however influenced in his depiction of romantic paganism by the Jugendbewegung youth and physical health movement, though he did not join any of its associations, and some of the ideals of the Jugendbewegung were co-opted by the Nazis (though they later denounced the movement) and influenced their idealizing Romantic realism. List in his own notes uses a pun—"Das Objektiv ist nicht objectiv,"—to emphasize his creative, non-realist, application of photography. The lens is not objective. Otherwise photography would be useless as an artistic medium. -- Herbert List In 1936, in response to the danger of Gestapo attention to his openly gay lifestyle and his Jewish heritage, List left Germany for Paris, where he met George Hoyningen-Huene with whom he travelled to Greece, deciding then to become a photographer. In 1937 he worked in a studio in London and held his first one-man show at Galerie du Chasseur d'Images in Paris. Hoyningen-Huene referred him to Harper's Bazaar magazine, and 1936–39 he worked for Arts et Metiers Graphiques, Verve, Vogue, Photographie, and Life. List was unsatisfied with fashion photography. He turned back to still-life imagery, continuing in his fotografia metafisica style. From 1937 to 1939 List traveled in Greece and took photographs of ancient temples, ruins, sculptures, and the landscape for his book Licht über Hellas. In the meantime he supported himself with work for magazines Neue Linie, Die Dame and for the press from 1940 to 1943, and with portraits which he continued to make until 1950. In List's work the revolutionary tactics of surrealist art and a metaphysical staging of irony and reverie had been honed in on the fashion industry that relied on illusion and spectacle which after World War II returned to a classical fixation on ruins, broken male statuary and antiquity. In 1941, during World War II, he was forced to return to Germany; but because one of his grandparents was Jewish he was not allowed to publish or work professionally. In 1944 he was drafted into the German military, despite being of partly Jewish ancestry. He served in Norway as a map designer. A trip to Paris allowed him to take portraits of Picasso, Jean Cocteau, Christian Bérard, Georges Braque, Jean Arp, Joan Miró, and others. After the war, he photographed the ruins of Munich where he continued to live until 1960, working mainly for the Swiss magazine Du, with freelance photo essays for Heute, Epoca, Look, Harper's Bazaar, Flair, and Picture Post. He was made art editor of Heute magazine, published by the Allied occupying forces, in 1948. In 1951, List met Robert Capa, who invited him to work as a contributor to Magnum, but he rarely accepted assignments. For the next decade he produced copious work in Italy. During this time he also started using a 35 mm film camera and a telephoto lens. He was influenced by his Magnum colleague Henri Cartier-Bresson as well as the Italian neorealist film movement. In the 1950s he also shot portraits of Marino Marini, Paul Bowles, W. H. Auden, and Marlene Dietrich in 1960. Over the period 1949–62 he visited Italy, Greece, Spain, France, Mexico, and the Caribbean. List's 1950 picture of a woman, her black dress spread about her, reclining at a respectable distance from an elderly man reading, with one leg of his trousers rolled above his socks and garter, both enjoying the spring sunshine on the front steps of the Glyptothek in Munich, was selected by curator Edward Steichen for the world-touring Museum of Modern Art exhibition The Family of Man, seen by 9 million visitors. In 1964 List was awarded the David Octavius Hill Prize of the Gesellschaft Deutscher Lichtbildner. Herbert List is best known for his book Junge Männer (1988) which contains more than seventy images of young men lounging in the sun, wrestling and innocently regarding the camera lens. It is introduced by Stephen Spender in whose autobiographical novel The Temple, written in 1929 but not published until 1988, List is fictionalized as Joachim Lenz. List gave up photography in the early 1960s to concentrate on his collection of Italian Old Master Drawings. He died in Munich on 4 April 1975, and his archive was absorbed in the Ratjen collection which was later acquired by the National Gallery of Art in Washington.Source: Wikipedia
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