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John Thomson
John Thomson
John Thomson

John Thomson

Country: Scotland
Birth: 1837 | Death: 1921

John Thomson, one of the great figures of nineteenth century photography, is known for the unusual and exotic nature of his chosen subject matter. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1837, Thomson took up photography as a profession in his early twenties. For ten years, from 1862, he traveled and explored the Far East, visiting Hong Kong, Singapore, Penang and the Malay Peninsula, Siam, Cambodia, Vietnam, Formosa and especially China. Utilizing a large wooden box-type camera capable of accommodating a glass plate of up to 12 x 16 inches, John Thomson photographed commoners and kings, attempting to capture the individual behind the veneer of social status. His photographic record of the Far East documented a complete panorama of the cultures and people of the Far East at a time when Westerners were a few and curious lot. John Thomson not only created a photographic history, but also wrote numerous articles and books on his travels and views of life in the Far East. There is no doubt that it was Thomson’s sympathetic approach to his subjects, and the dignity with which he embued them, as much as his great technical expertise, which enabled him to produce such an outstanding photographic documentary. It is this marriage between sensitivity, technical expertise and sheer professionalism, not to mention his voluminous literary output and descriptions of the scenes and people, which he photographed, that has earned Thomson the title of the ‘first of the great photo-journalists’. His work, which has only recently gained full recognition, represents one of the great photo-historical records in the history of documentary photography.
Source Westwood Gallery
 

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Lauren Semivan
United States
1981
Lauren Semivan (b. 1981) was born in Detroit, Michigan. She received a BA in studio art from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, and an MFA in photography from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Her work has been exhibited at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Detroit Center for Contemporary Photography, The Griffin Museum of Photography, The Hunterdon Art Museum, Cranbrook Art Museum, Paris Photo, and The AIPAD Photography Show among others. She has taught photography at College for Creative Studies, The Ohio State University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Wayne State University. Semivan has received numerous awards for her work including Photolucida Critical Mass Top 50, and The Griffin Museum of Photography’s Griffin Award. In 2014, she was a finalist for The John Gutmann Photography Fellowship, and SF Camerawork’s Baum Award for Emerging Photographers. Her work was recently published in Series of Dreams (Skeleton Key Press, 2018) and has appeared in The New Yorker, Artforum, Harper's Magazine, Interview Magazine, The Village Voice, and Photograph magazine. Semivan’s work is part of permanent collections at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Cranbrook Art Museum, The Wriston Art Galleries at Lawrence University, and The Elton John Photography Collection. She lives in Appleton, WI and is represented by Benrubi Gallery in New York, and David Klein Gallery in Detroit, Michigan. Artist Statement "The staged photograph exists as a document of a pre-conceived, imagined event. It can be compared to a scientific apparatus, utilizing both control and the unknown. My ongoing body of work, Observatory, combines drawing, an archive of objects, and the human presence as a narrative tool. In scientific disciplines, a line is classified as an event. Something as primitive as a scrawl on a surface reveals an aggregate of events, intersecting and changing course. Drawings made on the seamless backdrop describe an emotional space. Science is inherently experiential, as is art making. Knowing and feeling are not separate, and the whole of the environment can be used as a pedagogic instrument. Observatory elegantly draws upon a tension that exists between irrational and physical worlds. Within each image, ghosts of previous drawings create a sense of time suspended, evoking gesture, atmosphere and memory. Photographs allow me to access the extraordinary, to keep a record of dreams, and to employ the unknown. My interest in photography is interdisciplinary and synergistic, informed by the written word, painting, drawing, sculpture, and the raw material of human experience. All images are made using an early 20th century 8x10" view camera. Large format negatives are scanned and printed without digital manipulation in editions of 5 (40"x50") and 10 (24"x30")."Source: www.laurensemivan.com Her ongoing body of work, Observatory, combines drawing, an archive of objects, and the human presence as a narrative tool. Within each image, ghosts of previous drawings create a sense of time suspended, evoking gesture, atmosphere and memory. "Photographs allow me to access the extraordinary, to keep a record of dreams, and to employ the unknown. Science is inherently experiential, as is art making. Knowing and feeling are not separate, and the whole of the environment can be used as a pedagogic instrument. Observatory elegantly draws upon a tension that exists between irrational and physical worlds". Semivan’s work resides in the collections of the Nelson Atkins Museum, Cranbrook Art Museum, and the Wriston Art Center at Lawrence University, and has been featured in Wall Street International Magazine, the New Yorker, Artforum, and Photograph magazine.Source: Benrubi Gallery
Mitch Dobrowner
United States
Yasmine Chatila
Yasmine Chatila was born in Cairo in 1974, growing up between Cairo, Italy, France, and Canada. She graduated with a Bachelor in fine Arts from Parsons School of Design in New York, and Masters in Fine Arts from Columbia University School of Arts in 2002. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Tag Heuer scholarship for eight consecutive years, and a Columbia fellowship. Her work has been exhibited worldwide, including locations like Centre Pompidou in Paris, The Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, and Ludwig Museum in Cologne. Stolen Moments have been published by Rizzoli press in the book New York: A Photographer's City and World Atlas Street Photography published by Yale Press. She has been featured in international publications including Vogue Italia, NBC News, IO Donna, Interview Magazine, Foam Magazine, Art in America, Exit Art, New York Post, Wired Magazine, Blackbook, and many more. Her website has attracted millions of viewers, making her work synonymous with voyeurism in art and conceptual photography. All about Stolen Moments On a quiet winter night, I looked out a window. I could see a building far away, the windows were illuminated, and I could vaguely make out people inside their apartments. When I imagined what they might be doing, my mind fluttered between wild fantasies and mundane clichés. I was curious to compare my expectations to the reality of their lives. After months of continuous observation in different parts of the city, I collected hundreds of photographs of strange, comical, and often haunting moments. At times, I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of human nature when it was not guarded, not self-conscious, and completely uninhibited. This provided me with a stage where it was possible to observe myself in the most secret and vulnerable moments of others. In order to render the subjects unrecognizable, and in an attempt to render them more archetypal, they are taken out of context and displaced from their original habitat.
Wiktoria Wojciechowska
Born 1991, Lublin, Poland. Lives and works in Lublin and Paris. Graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Poland, Wiktoria Wojciechowska was the 2015 winner of the Oskar Barnack Leica Newcomer Award for Short Flashes, portraits of drenched cyclists captured on the streets of Chinese’s metropolis. Between 2014 and 2016 she worked on the series Sparks, a portrait of a contemporary war based on the stories of people living in the Ukrainian conflict. This series received several awards, such Les Rencontres d’Arles New Discovery award’s public prize, Madame Figaro prize and the Prix pour la Photographie, Fondation des Treilles. Labirinto (2017-2019) Labirinto explores the architecture seen as a vector for an ideology, spreading in the inhabitants' thoughts. Architecture stays longer than its creators and might still smuggle fundamental ideas and atmosphere of passed days. Labirinto project is a starting point to discuss how the architecture influence inhabitants and if a city, structured as a symbol of fascist ideology, can become a dwelling for strangers. Wiktoria Wojciechowska works in the area of Agro Pontino in Italy: formerly marshes, which were, throughout centuries, a challenge for the authorities. The Romans, Popes and Napoleon have all tried to drain, recultivate it and build new settlements. The one who achieve the goal was Benito Mussolini, with the help of the hard work of World War I combatants. In the beginning of 30's, the project of foundation of the New Cities (Città nuove) started. The best Italian architects of these times were involved to draw the net of streets on the Pontine plain as on a blank page. They were to arrange the monuments and neighbourhood buildings - following the current of rationalist architecture, adopted by the fascist as the official style of the ideology - of five cities: Littoria, Pontinia, Sabaudia, Aprilia and Pomezia. Designed in the model of "the rural city", they should serve as a renewal of civilisation (Bonifica della cultura) and the so-called Mussolini's Arcadia for a "purified nation" of New Italians. This is how Littoria has been conceived, in 1932, from the mud and has been raised as the first of the five Mussolini's New Cities. Littoria was called the "jewel of Mussolini" and radiated by the combination of a stellate network of streets and curved ring roads, all converging towards the central square (Piazza del Littorio, now Piazza del Popolo). The labyrinth-like city was awaiting the new residents coming from the entire Italy to live in the empty buildings and appreciate the monumental solutions drawn upon the Roman Empire tradition. After the World War II, the city was rebaptized to Latina to obliterate its fascist past and became a temporary asylum for displaced Italians and migrants. Between 1957 and 1991, 80 000 foreigners passed by the refugee camp. They were coming from Eastern Europe, fleeing the communist regimes, from Vietnam, Northern Africa, etc. Despite the official closing of the camp in 1991, the migration is still an ongoing process. Today, the majority of newcomers originate from sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria, Gambia, Ghana, Mali… The artist describes her work: In the middle of the day, during "the siesta", when the city is hot and stuffy, the streets become empty. The pale facades of the buildings reflect the sunlight like mirrors and hurt the eyes. As in De Chirico's paintings, the palisades are playing with lights and shades. The emptiness creates an illusion that we are back in the 30s. Only the scratches and coloured patches on the walls unmask the timeworn city. From time to time, human figures flash by in the sun. These are those who get lost in this labyrinth, not knowing the rules of the city. They barely arrived there, but who gets into the labyrinth once, might not be able to wriggle out ever. Today in front of Palazzo M - built in the shape of the initial of Mussolini, a queue of immigrants is standing and waiting for their documents. Wiktoria Wojciechowska observes the city - silent witness of changing times - and recent immigrants, far from being integrated. During the conversations, they often mention the discrimination, preconceived ideas and the fear of locals; their superiority coming from the colonial past, racism. They feel suspended, awaiting decisions and documents, trapped in the city space. The locals expect to move the immigrants out of the cities; they are not to be seen, as they "change the landscape", they should be invisible. The ideology, which sponsored the constructions of the cities, is still lying under their foundation. Hidden but yet vivid, deep inside the consciousness. Looking further, Labirinto can be the metaphor of the current sociopolitical situation of all Europe, where newcomers from other continents are seeking for asylum and acceptance. The fear of locals (who might have been migrants too) remains, and politics don't promote reconciliation. The policy of fear enables the authorities to seize the control of population's thoughts and define the enemy. The works of Wiktoria Wojciechowska are juxtaposing the fascist architecture - undefined corners of streets, scattered walls, and remains of fascist sculptural iconography - and the portraits of recently arrived migrants. As they wander through a temporarily deserted city, occupying the scene of a petrified ideology, the public space, they reveal a striking contrast with this ideology embodied in the architecture.
Steeve Luncker
Switzerland
1969
Born in 1969 in Switzerland, Steeve Iuncker lives and works in Geneva. He studied at the Photography School in Vevey and is Agence VU' member since 2000.“Press photographer (he works part-time for a daily newspaper), Steeve Iunker tirelessly questions the role(s) of photography and of the image in the fields of information and documentary today in a radical and political way…[his work] aims to get close to the taboos relating to the body, to death and to the standard social conception of big issues that affect human thought. Either he stays with an Aids patient in the terminal phase, he represents the professional life of an old prostitute, he confronts himself with the crisis in Gaza, he stores images of celebrities adorned with diamonds at Cannes Festival, discovers the backstage area of a fashion show, follows the police while investigating on crimes, or reveals the astounding world of plastic surgery, Steeve Iunker doesn’t chase icons. He shows. In a realistic, free and salutary way. Even if it might seem provocative or shocking. He only wants us to agree to see. To be responsible and clear-sighted.”Christian Caujolle.He has recently finished the first phase of a project dealing with the subject of death. He wishes to expose to Geneva the realities that its police department, University Institute of Legal Medicine and the Murith Funeral Services must face regularly. The second ongoing phase of the project consists of photographing the places and traces behind individual deaths in order to reveal an often unknown reality that is tossed into the realm of fiction by Hollywood movies. Source: Agence VU
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