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Olivier Unia
Olivier Unia
Olivier Unia

Olivier Unia

Country: France
Birth: 1969

I'm French and I've been living in Morocco for 15 years. I like to say that my work is music and everything else is my passion. I discovered photography at a young age via album covers, storm thorgerson, the square format. but I'd never dared try.

In the early days of covid, we had so much free time that I watched a lot of videos on the internet about photo techniques, the triangle, etc.

I borrowed a camera and went out, in the rare moments I was allowed, to shoot at the skatepark. It took me 10 minutes to set up and trigger the first shot, the skateboard levitating, in focus, the sun behind, I had, thanks to a lot of luck, succeeded in taking my first photo.

What a shock, if I'd missed it I'd have put the camera away in my bag forever, but since then I've done almost nothing else, since then I've had my first solo exhibition, I've been lucky enough to win a few prizes, to be published in a magazine and I travel for photography and the craziest thing is that I get paid for it.

Statement
I look out the window, what's the weather like? Is it raining? How's the sky? And the light?... especially the light. I prepare the bag, the camera, the lenses, which ones to choose? Who am I going to meet? What will I run into? I take several, I take too many, I know... but you never know.

I set off at random, music in my ears, I look for beauty, architecture, the street, people, a look, a cat, shadows and light... especially light. I go out photographing like others go fishing, not because I like fish, but because I love these moments, the silence inside me, and if I come back with a beautiful photo or a 50-kilo trout, that's fine with me, but if I come back empty-handed? I still come back happy.
 

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Todd Webb
United States
1905 | † 2000
Todd Webb (September 5, 1905 – April 15, 2000) was an American photographer notable for documenting everyday life and architecture in cities such as New York City, Paris as well as from the American west. His photography has been compared with Harry Callahan, Berenice Abbott, Walker Evans, and the French photographer Eugène Atget. He traveled extensively during his long life and had important friendships with artists such as Georgia O'Keeffe, Ansel Adams and Harry Callahan. He photographed famous people including Dorothea Lange. His life was like his photos in the sense of being seemingly simple, straightforward, but revealing complexity and depth upon a closer examination. Capturing history, his pictures often transcend the boundary between photography and artistic expression. Webb was born in Detroit in 1905 and grew up there and in a Quaker community in Ontario. From 1924 to 1929 he worked as a bank teller and clerk at a brokerage firm in Detroit; in another account, he was a successful stockbroker during the 1920s but lost his earnings during the Crash before the Depression. During the Depression beginning in 1929, he moved to California and worked as a prospector and earned a meager living. During these years he also worked as a fire ranger for the United States Forestry Service. Webb reportedly wrote short stories which were unpublished. After 1934, Webb returned to Detroit and worked for the automobile manufacturer Chrysler in their export division. In 1937, he visited a friend in Panama in search of gold, but had little success. But in Panama, he brought along a camera donated by his former employer, Chrysler. Webb returned to Detroit and studied at the Detroit Camera Club. He met photographer Harry Callahan. In 1940, he completed a ten‑day workshop with Ansel Adams as his teacher. In 1941, he visited Rocky Mountain State Park with Harry Callahan, and realized during this trip that he was drawn more to the urban cityscape, and although he found Adams to be an inspiration, he would not make photographs like his teacher. During World War II, Webb was a photographer for the United States Navy and was deployed to the South Pacific theater of operations. After World War II, in 1945, Webb moved to New York City and began his career as a professional photographer. He made key friendships with Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O'Keeffe as well as Beaumont Newhall, Berenice Abbott, Helen Levitt, and Minor White. Webb began a remarkable project of walking the streets of New York City with his heavy camera and tripod and photographing people and buildings he encountered. What set these photos apart was their "straightforward, descriptive clarity" even though they were often of familiar views. One large 10-foot–long panorama photograph which was critically acclaimed showed a section of Sixth Avenue from 43rd–44th streets which, in 1991, was seen as a "visual time capsule of the city" and was described as a "stunner." Webb's photos reflected the photographer's sense of discovery and captured the times, such as photos of hand-painted banners over apartment house doors saying "Welcome Home, G.I.s". In one photograph, Webb went to the top of the RCA Building and shot south using a backlit technique, which captured the Empire State Building at night. The best photographs, according to New York Times art critic Charles Hagen, contained the "simple geometries of urban architecture" in a "simple elegance"; Hagen thought Webb's New York City photographs were his best. In 1946, he had the first solo exhibition of his photographs at the Museum of the City of New York. In 1947, Webb was hired by Fortune magazine and he worked with professional photographers funded by the Standard Oil Company led by Roy Stryker and the group included notable photographers such as Sol Libsohn. According to the New York Times, the team of professional photographers was "given amazingly free rein by its corporate sponsor" to produce a documentary about oil. One of these photographs, Webb's Pittsburgh Panorama (ca. 1950) shows a grim industrial view towards Pittsburgh from a hill near Westinghouse Bridge that takes in a bare river valley across which snake highways and railways and a row of tall smokestacks in the distance. Curator Edward Steichen selected it for the 1955 Museum of Modern Art exhibition The Family of Man, seen by 9 million visitors on its world tour. However, in his memoir, Webb records his disappointment with the way images were "over-enlarged to billboard size" losing "all the qualities that make photographs unique." Webb traveled to Paris in 1949 and married fellow American Lucille Minqueau. In Paris, Webb produced a "vivid record" of the city which earned him recognition. Then, Webbs moved back to New York City to live in Greenwich Village in 1952. In 1955, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to photographically record pioneer trails of early settlers of the western United States. He was hired in 1957 by the United Nations to photograph its General Assembly. He won a contract to photograph Sub–Saharan Africa in 1958. The Webbs moved to Santa Fe in New Mexico around 1961. Webb's photos of his friend Georgia O'Keeffe suggested not only a "loner, severe figure and self-made person" but that there was an "intense connection" between Webb and O'Keeffe. While O'Keeffe was known to have a "prickly personality", Webb's photographs portray her with a kind of "quietness and calm" suggesting a relaxed friendship, and revealing new contours of O'Keeffe's character. Webb's landscape photographs as well as photos of the artist walking among the sagebrush bring O'Keeffe to life "even in pictures where she doesn't appear", according to Chicago Tribune art critic Abigail Foerstner. His photos suggest an "ageless spirit" which was "weathered and indomitable" like desert rock formations. These photos were done using matte finish paper and appear in a book entitled Georgia O'Keeffe: The Artist's Landscape. The Webbs lived in the Provence region of France, around 1970, and he continued to photograph regularly, and later lived, for a period, in Bath, England. The Webbs finally settled in the state of Maine, living in the city of Portland, based on the suggestion of a friend. In 1978, Webb won a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and continued to live and work in Maine. Source: Wikipedia Up until the 1980's, Todd Webb photographed and produced a unique body of work, which has attained an important place in the annals of American photographic history. Frequently referred to as "an historian with a camera," Webb's rich images document life all over the world. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, and is included in numerous museum collections including the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Minneapolis Art Institute, and the Chicago Art Institute. Todd Webb died in May, 2000 at the age of 94 in Central Maine. His life was like his photographs; at first they seem very simple, without obvious tricks or manipulation, but upon closer examination, they are increasingly complex and marvellously subtle.Source: Todd Webb Archive Todd Webb used documentary photography to convey a sense of intimacy and curiosity in the relationship between history, place, and people. Although Webb initially pursued photography to augment his writing, by 1940 he saw it as his central passion. In his hometown of Detroit, Webb attended camera club meetings where he took up with fellow novice Harry Callahan, and the more experienced Arthur Siegel. In 1941, Ansel Adams led a workshop for the camera club that profoundly influenced the ambitions of both Webb and Callahan. Todd Webb’s humanistic approach to documentation allowed him to create a compelling narrative whether he was working in the great cities of the world or within the vast American landscape. The Todd Webb Archive contains personal papers and photographic materials related to his long career as a photographer, including correspondence, biographical files, exhibition documentation, manuscripts, journals, extensive files of negatives, contact sheets, and over 1,400 fine prints.Source: Center for Creative Photography
Andreas Gursky
Germany
1955
German photographer. Shortly after Gursky was born, his family relocated to Essen, and then to Düsseldorf, West Germany in 1957. Gursky’s parents ran a commercial photography studio, but Gursky had no plans to join the business. He attended the Folkwangschule in Essen (1978-80) with a concentration in visual communication and the goal of becoming a photojournalist, but was unsuccessful with finding work. Encouraged by fellow photographer Thomas Struth, Gursky entered the prestigious Kunstakademie, Düsseldorf in 1980 and in his second year began studying photography under Bernd and Hilla Becher. Although the Becher’s preferred black and white photography, Gursky only worked in color, and with the help of his friends set up a color darkroom in 1981. By integrating the “systematically objective and rigorously conceptual”* documentary style of the Bechers’ photography with his taste for color, Gursky began to explore the contemporary culture of the world. Gursky had his first exhibition in 1981 featuring his series Pförtnerbilder (1981-5), a collection of works depicting pairs of German security guards. After graduating from the Kunstakademie in 1987, Gursky focused on photographing urban landscapes, both interior and exterior, and began to increase the size of his large format prints. Gursky had his first solo gallery show in 1988, at the Galerie Johnen & Schöttle. A rise of interest in the international art market for photography paired with the growing popularity of the Becher’s circle brought Gursky much commercial success. Gursky began the infamous May Day series (early 1990’s) in reaction to the biggest economic slump of recent history. A combination of the collapsing stock market with the growth of a dynamic drug-addicted rave scene inspired this photographic compilation. During this time, Gursky traveled to a number of international cities such as Tokyo, Los Angeles, Stockholm, Cairo and Hong Kong in order to photograph the masses – busy stock exchanges, manufacturing plants, industrial-looking apartment buildings, crowded arenas and swarming clubs. Gursky was one of the first contemporary photographers to use new digital photo editing techniques on his large format photographs. In 1999, Gursky created 99 Cent, the first in a series of photographs of discount stores, which “was quickly recognized as one of his most important works and placed in major museums around the world.”* Gursky’s retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 2001, which included the work May Day IV, confirmed him as one of the greatest artistic visionaries of his generation. Source Sotheby’s, London
Dan Fenstermacher
United States
1985
Dan Fenstermacher merges documentary storytelling, and street photography with both humor and activism. Fenstermacher was recently selected as the winner of the 2020 Miami Street Photography Festival International Series Contest and the 15th Annual Smithsonian Photo Contest for the American Experience category. Fenstermacher has photographic experience on four continents including a multi-media internship in Accra, Ghana, as a portrait photographer in Sydney, Australia, a Professor of Fine Arts at Xiangfan University in China, and as an artist-in-residence in San Ramon Costa Rica. His work about mental illness and stigma has been featured in The Huffington Post. He holds a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Photography from San Jose State University, is a member of the Bay Area Photographers Collective, Maverick Photographers, and teaches photography at West Valley Community College. About Food Chain Series Every day the fisherman from the seaside towns of Prampram, Cape Coast, and Ada, Ghana, head out to sea where they fish up to 40 kilometers offshore. For generations families of these communities have fished the Atlantic Ocean. What they catch will determine the livelihood of the community and their families. Rising early to push the canoes in the water and fight with the breaking waves, and after a pause for prayer; the 10-hour workday ensues. Back on land the selling, cleaning, and cooking of the fish is a lively affair. Working hand to mouth, the fish are sold and taken in baskets by families and prepared for frying in oil for the night’s dinner. Some days there are barely any fish from the day’s work. To make matters worse, due to overfishing by many big fleets from China there is a depleted supply of fish. Millions of dollars per year are reported to be taken from the Ghana economy by overfishing from foreign countries. Because of this the government of Ghana has implemented an annual one-month fishing ban on local fisherman. Many do not know how they will make a living for the length of this ban, and fish illegally risking fines in-order-to feed themselves. With supplies of fish dwindling and the broken food chain as a result, these communities have little to fall back on, and the future of the Ghanaian fishing occupation is in danger of being inundated.
Matthew O’Brien
United States
Matthew James O’Brien is a photographer from San Francisco whose work celebrates humanity and the natural world. He studied zoology at the University of California at Berkeley. His understanding of the natural world informs his photography and his understanding of humanity. Across all of his work, regardless of the medium, there is one unifying theme— finding beauty, in any circumstance. That could be in the inner-city schools of Oakland, rural Sinaloa, Mexico caught up in narco violence, the dying ranching community across the bay from San Francisco, or war-ravaged Colombia. His work has been exhibited and collected by various institutions including the Library of Congress, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the California Museum of Photography, the Fries Museum (Netherlands), the Art Science Museum (Singapore) and el Museo de Arte Moderno de Cartagena (Colombia). Among the awards he has received are a Mother Jones International Fund for Documentary Photography Award, a Community Heritage Grant from the California Council for the Humanities, and a Fulbright Fellowship. He was a Creative Uses Consultant for Polaroid, and has worked extensively with Polaroid films, including No Dar Papaya, his eleven-year exploration of Colombia, which became a book (Icono Editorial/Placer Press). O’Brien also works with video, and teaches photography in English and Spanish. He has taught at UC Berkeley, the Universidad de Antioquia and the Universidad de Medellín in Colombia, among other places. His work has appeared in publications from The Washington Post to Camera Arts. His favorite clients to work with are NGO’s that work to make the world a better place.
Vanessa Marsh
United States
1978
Vanessa Marsh is a visual artist working in Oakland, CA. Originally from Seattle, WA, her favorite pastimes are hiking in mossy forests and watching re-runs of NOVA. In 2002 she moved to San Francisco to go to grad school at California College of the Arts and earned her MFA two years later. She moved to Oakland in 2010 where she now lives with her boyfriend and two cats. Some of her favorite places to have exhibited her work include the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, Dolby Chadwick Gallery in San Francisco, Foley Gallery in New York, and the Sun Valley Art Center in Ketchum, ID. She has spent time making work at the Headlands Center for the Arts, The MacDowell Colony, Kala Art Institute and was AIR at Rayko Photo Center. In the spring of 2018 she was an artist in residence at Jentel Foundation in Banner, WY. About The Sun Beneath the Sky "The Sun Beneath the Sky is a series of Lumen prints featuring imagined landscapes highlighted by soft glowing light. In the images, seen and unseen suns illuminate transparent layers of mountains and volcanoes creating dreamlike and atmospheric places. The Sun Beneath the Sky continues my use of cut paper, multiple exposures and dodging and burning techniques to create invented photographic landscapes. First cut paper masks traced from the silhouettes of real mountain ranges are layered on top of silver gelatin paper. The paper is then exposed to sunlight at intervals and then processed to fix the image. The resulting photographs are pastel and ethereal. Through this series I am reflecting upon the nature of light, atmosphere, geology and time." Read more about Falling
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