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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.
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Rasel Chowdhury
Bangladesh
1988
Rasel Chowdhury is a documentary photographer. Rasel started photography without a conscious plan, eventually became addicted and decided to document spaces in and around his birth place, Bangladesh. He obtained his graduation in photography from Pathshala, South Asian Media Institute, and in due course, he found the changing landscapes and environmental issues as two extremely important subjects to document in his generation. Rasel started documenting a dyeing river Buriganga, a dying city Sonargaon and newly transformed spaces around Bangladesh railway to explore the change of the environment, unplanned urban structures and the new form of landscapes. During the same time, he started developing his own visual expression as a landscape photographer to address his subjects with a distinctive look.All about Rasel Chowdhury:AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?In 2007, when I dropped my moot study (ACCA). Before that Photography was my hobby.AAP: Where did you study photography?I studied photography at Pathshala, South Asian Media Institute. AAP:Do you have a mentor or role model?Yes, Munem Wasif is my mentor who works in Agency VU. And Jemie Penney was my one of mentor from Getty Image when I was selected for the Getty Image Emerging Talent Award in 2012. AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?Yes, I was 6-7 years old. I got a Yashick Auto camera from my father and I took my teacher’s photo by first click. Still I’ve that film in my archive.AAP: What or who inspires you?So many people specially my Family member and friends.AAP: How could you describe your style?I always like calm and quite frame with special faded tone and less contrast.AAP: Do you have a favorite photograph or series?Many, like The Ballad of Sexual Dependence by Nan Goldin, The Americans by Robert Frank and so on. AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?Mostly, I shoot on 35mm film camera and then I crop as 6X7. AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose?Not so much.AAP: What are your projects?Desperate Urbanization, Railway Longing, Life on Water and No Money, No Deal.AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?Lot of photographers like Richard Avedon, Alec Soth, Nadav Kander, Dayanita Singh, Munem Wasif, Antoine D’Agata and so many.AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?Find your strength and believe in it.AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?Don’t be hurry. Be honest.AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share?Desperate Urbanization- a story about dying river.AAP: Your best memory as a photographer?When I shot at Old People Home in Niort, France.AAP: Your favorite photo book?Lots of photo books like Under The Banyan Tree, Belongings, Anticrops and so on.AAP: Anything else you would like to share?Twelve significant photographs in any one-year is a good crop - Ansel Adams.
Jonas Bendiksen
Norway
1977
Jonas Bendiksen is a Norwegian photojournalist based near Oslo. He has published the books Satellites (2006) and The Places We Live (2008) and received awards from World Press Photo, International Center of Photography, National Magazine Awards and Pictures of the Year International. Bendiksen became a Magnum Photos nominee in 2004 and a member in 2008. In 2010 he was its president. Bendiksen was born in Tønsberg, in Vestfold county, southern Norway, on 8 September 1977. He lived in Russia for several years. The time he spent there resulted in his book, Satellites - Photographs from the Fringes of the former Soviet Union, about separatist republics in the former USSR, published in 2006. For three years he photographed slum communities in Nairobi in Kenya, Mumbai in India, Jakarta in Indonesia, and Caracas in Venezuela, for The Places We Live, a book published in 2008, and an exhibition containing projections and voice recordings.Source: Wikipedia Thinking back on the series of events, and “ill-advised” actions he undertook as a photographer in his 20s, Jonas Bendiksen says one of the driving forces of his landmark project, Satellites, was luck. Happening to be in a specific place, at a specific time, is what led the photographer to make some of the series’ most unique and most memorable images. Yet, through all of his reflections on the project, it’s clear that a keen sense of observation, determination in the execution of an idea, and a certain streak of recklessness were all part of the mix. During the collapse of the Soviet Union, economic, political and ethnic disparities gave birth to a series of lesser-known unrecognized republics, national aspirations, and legacies. Crafted from a series of Bendiksen’s photoessays made from 1999 to 2005, Satellites documented these places in transition. Six regions undergoing great social shifts formed the six chapters of the book: the “non-existent” state of Transdniester; the beach resort of Abkhazia; the contested region of Nagorno-Karabakh; the Fergana Valley, lying across Uzbekistan, Kyrgyztan and Tajikstan; the spaceship crash zones of the Altai Territory; and the Jewish Autonomous Region of Birobidzhan. Through this collection of vignettes, little-seen in the West at the time, Bendiksen provided an insight into how daily life was lived in liminal places, documenting communities that were experienced the breakdown of Soviet communism in varying ways. Jonas Bendiksen’s sharply evocative images explore themes of community, faith and identity with unsparing honesty. He has made major bodies of work all over the world, at the same time as he always also photographs the daily rhythms of life at home. As well as many critically acclaimed long-form projects he has also produced significant work for many commercial and editorial clients. Bendiksen most recent book The Last Testament from 2017 told the story of seven men who all claimed to be the biblical Messiah returned to earth. His editorial clients include magazines such as National Geographic, Stern, TIME Magazine, Newsweek, The Sunday Times Magazine, The Guardian Weekend. On the commercial side, he has done projects for HSBC, Canon, FUJI, BCG, Red Bull and Land Rover. Bendiksen lives with his wife and three children outside Oslo, Norway.Source: Magnum Photos
Maja Strgar Kurecic
Maja Strgar Kurecic is a fine art photographer and an Associate Professor of photography at the Faculty of Graphic Arts, University of Zagreb, Croatia. She has been involved in photography for over 25 years. At the beginning of her career, Maja engaged mostly in advertising and journalistic projects. The last few years she devoted to projects that fall within the field of abstract photography. She earned international recognition for her recent projects: Other Worlds, Escape Landscapes and Floating Garden that won many international awards. She exhibited photographs on over 50 group and 20 independent exhibitions, held in country and abroad. OTHER WORLDS (2018) In the intimacy of my room, I immerse myself in an unpredictable, hidden world of colors and liquids. I create abstract motives from scratch. With the camera, I approach the subject and stop the moment of the dynamic process of their interaction. What is elusive to the eye in real time becomes visible in photographs... Although these photographs look like an abstract expression of colors and shapes, for me they mean much more. They represent symbolic landscapes - places where I escape from everyday worries and the real world, symbolize my inner world. What drives me in creation is the eternal search for wider horizons, unfettered spaces that transcend the boundaries of where we are physically standing and transcend into the infinite space of the imagination. For me, creation is a journey to freedom, to an open flow of pure ideas.
Graeme Williams
South Africa
1961
I grew up in the whites-only suburbs of Cape Town, South Africa during the apartheid era when South African law decreed that 92% of the population were regulated to the status of second-class citizens. My interest in photography began at the age of twelve, but I soon realized that a Kodak Instamatic was never going to produce the results that I wanted. I worked for three years in a bookshop and eventually bought myself a Fujica ST701. It was a real thing of beauty; a single reflex camera with a basic zoom lens, that provided me with the means to control how light formed itself onto the surface of the silver halide film. Sunsets and silhouettes held my attention for a few months, but I had already begun to explore the complex tradition of photographic expression. Life Magazine was for me, at that time, the Holy Grail. Over the years, my enthusiasm for exploring the photographic medium has never diminished. My photographic momentum was temporarily diverted after school by parental pressure to obtain a 'proper' qualification. In my final school year, I was both the Dux scholar as well as a first-team sportsman, which resulted in me being offered a De Beers bursary to study Geology and Statistics at the University of Cape Town. After graduating, I broke the news to my unnerved parents that I was giving up this career path and instead of becoming a property photographer at the local newspaper. In the hierarchy of photographic jobs, this is very close to the bottom. My immediate aim was to gain access to unlimited amounts of film and the time to work on my own projects. In 1987 I began photographing a conscientious objector and medical doctor, Ivan Toms, who refused to comply with the apartheid government's military service requirements. He was sentenced to 21 months in prison. The essay highlighted the absurdity of the political system. Renowned photographer, David Goldblatt, took an interest in this work and this interaction led to a three-decade relationship in which he became both a mentor and a friend. The rights to my essay on Ivan Toms were bought by Life magazine the following year. Much of my work during this period was motivated by the desire to expose the social inequalities and racial divisions within my country. I eventually joined the strongly anti-apartheid collective, Afrapix, and later became a founding member and manager of the documentary collective, South Photographs. In 1989, the beginning of the end of apartheid was evident. I was eager to situate myself in a position that would afford me the best opportunities to witness the transition to democracy. I joined Reuters News Agency as a permanent stringer and for the next five years, I became immersed in the events, both violent and momentous, that led up to the inauguration of Nelson Mandela as president in 1994. Many of my photographs from this period have taken on a life of their own. The image of Nelson Mandela walking out of prison with his wife, Winnie, has been exhibited and published worldwide. In 2008, as Barack Obama fought John McCain for the presidency, Newsweek magazine ran a story asking each candidate to choose an image that best personified their worldview. Obama's team chose an image that I photographed in Thokoza township in 1991. Last year the same photograph became central in a high-profile image-appropriation dispute between me and New York artist, Hank Willis Thomas. There was a massive groundswell of support from colleagues and media from around the world. An amicable settlement was reached. Since 1994 I have concentrated on producing personalized and contemporary bodies of work that reflect this complex country and the continent as a whole. These essays have been shown in solo exhibitions in New York, London, Paris, Cape Town, and Johannesburg as well as numerous photo festivals around the world. (Including China, Singapore, Brazil, Cambodia, France, and the USA). I have been privileged to have been included in major international exhibitions showcasing contemporary South African photography; including Figures and Fictions at London's Victoria and Albert Museum, Apartheid and After at Huis Marseille in Amsterdam, Earth Matters at the Smithsonian in New York, The Rise and Fall of Apartheid at the ICP in New York and Being There, at the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris. Awards include the CAP Prize for Contemporary African Photography (Basel) in 2013 and the Ernest Cole Award (South Africa) in the same year. I have continued working on commissioned assignments and traveling to over fifty countries. My photographs have appeared on the cover of Time magazine twice, and have been published in The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, Newsweek, Stern, and many others. Whilst working on my long-term projects, I try to bear in mind how the work will be exhibited and published. So, therefore, during the planning and photographing stages, I attempt to create a broad context for my essays, that includes a general look and feel while creating the space for each image to convey its individual complexity. This need to develop a dual awareness in my personal work has benefitted me from a long-term interest in designing and producing photobooks. I have created over 20 publications, some of them winning awards and many being shortlisted in dummy book competitions. During the past five years, I have felt a need to shift my attention from South Africa to the American social, political, and physical landscape. Some of my motivations for this change in direction have been outlined within the 'Plan' document. In 2016 I was granted a residency in the US by the Ampersand Foundation, giving me an opportunity to develop a body of work that interrogated the social strata within the greater community of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I designed and produced a book called, Diverging Dreamlines that included, portraits, urban landscapes as well as multi-image, digital, illustrations. The publication was chosen as "best of the show" in the Annual Photobook Exhibition at the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, Massachusetts. The work was also included in the Unmasked exhibition at Axis Gallery, New York in 2017. Earlier this year (2019) I co-presented a paper, Over Time, at the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA) Congress held in London. Four of my personal essays were incorporated into the presentation, allowing a psychoanalytical exploration into the parallels between this photographic record and South Africa's dynamics and process of change. I have participated in various mentorship programs, supporting students from South African photographic institutions: Tierney Fellowship winners from the University of the Witwatersrand (2018/2019) and the Market Photo Workshop (2015/2016). As well as candidates from the Photographer incubator Program in 2016. Learn more about Graeme Williams on videos: Victoria and Albert Museum Photography and Democracy South African Studios Dwell in Possibility opening Check out Graeme Williams's interview about his latest project America Revisited
Anthony Goicolea
United States/Cuba
1971
Anthony Goicolea is a New York-based fine art photographer. Goicolea's photographs frequently deal with issues of androgyny, homosexuality, and child sexuality. Goicolea, Cuban-American and gay, was educated at the University of Georgia and studied painting, photography, and sculpture at that institution. He holds an MFA in fine arts from the Pratt Institute. He made his debut in 1999, and now shows work with Postmasters gallery in New York and Aurel Scheibler in Berlin, Germany. In 2005, he received the BMW-Award for Photography. Some of his work features photographs of "pre- to barely pubescent boys" (Art in America, Dec, 2001) in elaborately staged tableau settings, commonly showing multiple boys wearing traditional private school uniforms either engaged in school-life or recreation after school — but with often transgressive and erotic twists in their activities. Of great interest in these compositions is the fact that Goicolea himself portrays all of the boys in his photographs through the astute use of costumes, wigs, make-up, and post-production editing via the software Adobe Photoshop; "always looking uncannily like a boy on the edge of puberty" (The Advocate, August 14, 2001). Therefore, despite having numerous figures in them, Goicolea's photographs are actually very complex large-scale self-portraits, and are always done in a flawlessly realist manner. The pioneering fine-art photographer Cindy Sherman is an apparent influence on Goicolea's work, given her own extensive use of self-portraits and emphasis on sexually-charged narrative topics. Sherman and Goicolea have also had several joint exhibitions. His work can be strongly compared to similar manipulated and/or staged art photography featuring children and adolescents, such as that of Bernard Faucon, Loretta Lux, and Justine Kurland. Recently, Goicolea has also been producing and exhibiting his drawings, which follow much of the same subject matter as his photographs. He has also published several books. Goicolea is also represented by Gow Langsford Gallery based in Auckland, New Zealand.Source Wikipedia
Robert Bergman
United States
1944
Over more than 50 years, largely outside the mainstream, Robert Bergman has pursued a vision of advancing psychological and philosophical depth in photography and of transcending the boundaries between painting and photography. In Toni Morrison's words in her introduction to his classic 1998 book A Kind of Rapture, his color portraits are "... a master template of the singularity, the community, and the unextinguishable sacredness of the human race." In his Epilogue to that book, the pre-eminent art historian, Professor Meyer Schapiro, wrote, "... his recent color portraits ... have no forerunners in photography. ... he has introduced the processes of unification, as in painting, with the search for harmony, movement, variety and distinction within it, beyond what I have ever seen in a photograph.... His finest works bring to mind some of the greatest painted portraits. ... truly profound works of art." Placing Bergman in the context of other, better known master American photographers, John Yau, poet, critic, and author of The United States of Jasper Johns, has said, "Diane Arbus, Robert Frank, Garry Winogrand, and William Eggleston. ...he is certainly in their league. ... One day Bergman will get credit for the richness of his photographs, the way they transcend image." Robert Bergman is currently producing a limited edition KEY SET of new master prints of 150-200 photographs that, together with the 51 A Kind of Rapture prints, will reveal the organic unity, the arc, of his creative journey: black & white street work of people and cityscapes; black & white portraits in nursing homes; black & white abstracts; hundreds of color portraits on the streets of American cities; and most recently, large-scale color abstracts. Bergman has had solo exhibitions at The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, MoMA/P.S.1 in New York, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Yossi Milo Gallery in New York, and Michael Hoppen Contemporary in London. Group shows include the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, MoMA, the Ackland Art Museum in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and the "Come Together: Surviving Sandy" exhibition in Brooklyn, NY. In addition to the collections of the Hill Art Foundation and Agnes Gund, President Emerita, MoMA, and numerous other individual's collections, Robert Bergman's work is in the permanent collections of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, which recently acquired a vintage set of the 51 A Kind of Rapture color portraits, the Cleveland Museum, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, The National Gallery of Art, the 21C Museum in Louisville, KY. His work has also been highlighted in books, magazines, and newspapers in the United States, Great Britain, France, and Germany as well as on National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting System. He received the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in 2017.
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