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Robert Mapplethorpe
Robert Mapplethorpe

Robert Mapplethorpe

Country: United States
Birth: 1946 | Death: 1989

Robert Mapplethorpe was born in 1946 in Floral Park, Queens. Of his childhood he said, "I come from suburban America. It was a very safe environment and it was a good place to come from in that it was a good place to leave."

In 1963, Mapplethorpe enrolled at Pratt Institute in nearby Brooklyn, where he studied drawing, painting, and sculpture. Influenced by artists such as Joseph Cornell and Marcel Duchamp, he also experimented with various materials in mixed-media collages, including images cut from books and magazines. He acquired a Polaroid camera in 1970 and began producing his own photographs to incorporate into the collages, saying he felt "it was more honest." That same year he and Patti Smith, whom he had met three years earlier, moved into the Chelsea Hotel.

Mapplethorpe quickly found satisfaction taking Polaroid photographs in their own right and indeed few Polaroids actually appear in his mixed-media works. In 1973, the Light Gallery in New York City mounted his first solo gallery exhibition, Polaroids. Two years later he acquired a Hasselblad medium-format camera and began shooting his circle of friends and acquaintances—artists, musicians, socialites, pornographic film stars, and members of the S & M underground. He also worked on commercial projects, creating album cover art for Patti Smith and Television and a series of portraits and party pictures for Interview Magazine.

In the late 70s, Mapplethorpe grew increasingly interested in documenting the New York S & M scene. The resulting photographs are shocking for their content and remarkable for their technical and formal mastery. Mapplethorpe told ARTnews in late 1988, "I don't like that particular word 'shocking.' I'm looking for the unexpected. I'm looking for things I've never seen before … I was in a position to take those pictures. I felt an obligation to do them." Meanwhile his career continued to flourish. In 1977, he participated in Documenta 6 in Kassel, West Germany and in 1978, the Robert Miller Gallery in New York City became his exclusive dealer.

Mapplethorpe met Lisa Lyon, the first World Women's Bodybuilding Champion, in 1980. Over the next several years they collaborated on a series of portraits and figure studies, a film, and the book, Lady, Lisa Lyon. Throughout the 80s, Mapplethorpe produced a bevy of images that simultaneously challenge and adhere to classical aesthetic standards: stylized compositions of male and female nudes, delicate flower still lifes, and studio portraits of artists and celebrities, to name a few of his preferred genres. He introduced and refined different techniques and formats, including color 20" x 24" Polaroids, photogravures, platinum prints on paper and linen, Cibachrome and dye transfer color prints. In 1986, he designed sets for Lucinda Childs' dance performance, Portraits in Reflection, created a photogravure series for Arthur Rimbaud's A Season in Hell, and was commissioned by curator Richard Marshall to take portraits of New York artists for the series and book, 50 New York Artists.

That same year, in 1986, he was diagnosed with AIDS. Despite his illness, he accelerated his creative efforts, broadened the scope of his photographic inquiry, and accepted increasingly challenging commissions. The Whitney Museum of American Art mounted his first major American museum retrospective in 1988, one year before his death in 1989.

His vast, provocative, and powerful body of work has established him as one of the most important artists of the twentieth century. Today Mapplethorpe is represented by galleries in North and South America and Europe and his work can be found in the collections of major museums around the world. Beyond the art historical and social significance of his work, his legacy lives on through the work of the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. He established the Foundation in 1988 to promote photography, support museums that exhibit photographic art, and to fund medical research in the fight against AIDS and HIV-related infection.
 

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Emma Powell
United States
Emma Powell is an artist in residence and lecturer in photography at Iowa State University. Powell graduated from the College of Wooster in Ohio and received her MFA from Rochester Institute of Technology. Her work often examines photography's history while incorporating historic processes and or devices within the imagery. In her series In Search of Sleep, Powell uses the cyanotype process to create a visual lullaby in wish she explores personal narratives and metaphors.In Search of SleepFrom my earliest days I have had a difficult relationship with sleep. As a child I avoided it at all costs, especially at night. To get me back to bed, my father used to tell me stories. They were not traditional children’s bedtime stories, but invented tales that began on our quiet street and journeyed down open drains to a dream-world of caverns, forests, and oceans full of unexpected animals and dangers. The story would always find its way back to the real world and end where it had begun, hopefully but doubtfully with me that much closer to sleep.In Search of Sleep recreates this shadowy realm and allows me to explore my real-life questions, from personal dramas to romantic doubts. The cyanotype process, with its distinctive blue tones, visually traverses the distance between waking and sleeping. These images are also toned with tea and wine to both dull the blues and add warmth. Tea, wine, cyanide – all three of these substances relate to different levels of consciousness that often mirror the mental states evoked by my photographs. In Search of Sleep creates a visual lullaby that allows me to safely explore what I love, what I fear, what I remember, and what I imagine.
Miho Kajioka
Japan
1973
Miho Kajioka was born February 21st, 1973 in Japan and studied at Concordia University and the San Francisco Art institute in the 1990s. Kajioka's artistic practice is in principal snapshot based; she carries her camera everywhere and intuitively takes photos of whatever she finds interesting. These collected images serve as the basic material for her work in the darkroom where she creates her poetic and suggestive image-objects through elaborate, alternative printing methods. Kajioka regards herself more as a painter/drawer than as a photographer. She feels that photographic techniques help her to create works that fully express her artistic vision. Her images evoke a sense of mystery in her constant search for beauty. The focused, creative and respectful way in which she uses the medium of photography to create her works seems to fit in the tradition of Japanese art that is characterized by the specifically Japanese sense of beauty: wabi sabi. Wabi has been described as 'serene attention to simple things' and sabi as 'beauty acquired through the patina of time'. The artist regards herself as a maker of objects rather than a maker of photographs, using moments of her everday life as both inspiration and material. Source: Peter Fetterman Gallery Miho Kajioka (b. 1973, Japan, lives in Kyoto) studied fine art in the United States and Canada and started her career as a journalist in her native country Japan. It was after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that Kajioka was reconnected to her photographic art. Two months after the disaster, while reporting in the coastal city of Kamaishi, where over 800 people died, she found roses blooming beside a blasted building. That mixture of grace and ruin made her think of a Japanese poem: In the spring, cherry blossoms, In the summer the cuckoo, In autumn the moon, and in Winter the snow, clear, cold. Written by the Zen monk Dogen, the poem describes the fleeting, fragile beauty of the changing seasons. The roses Kajioka saw in Kamaishi bloomed simply because it was spring. That beautiful and uncomplicated statement, made by roses in the midst of ruin, impressed her, and returned her to photography. The photos presented, span Kajioka's adulthood, including pictures she took while living abroad, as well as scenes she captured in Japan after the disaster. The little pictures of a flower, or a running boy, are scenes from daily life, as it is. These fragments of her life, from various periods and against changing backdrops, are not so different from each other, and the differences that remain aren't important. Happiness, sadness, beauty and tragedy only exist in our minds. Things are just as they are. Since 2013 Kajioka's work has been exhibited in France, the Netherlands, Colombia, the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany and Spain. 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Bruce Weber
United States
1946
Bruce Weber (born March 29, 1946) is an American fashion photographer and occasional filmmaker. He is most widely known for his ad campaigns for Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Pirelli, Abercrombie & Fitch, Revlon, and Gianni Versace, as well as his work for Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair, Elle, Life, Interview, and Rolling Stone magazines. Weber was born in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, to a Jewish family. His fashion photography first appeared in the late 1970s in GQ magazine, where he had frequent cover photos. Nan Bush, his longtime companion and agent, was able to secure a contract with Federated Department Stores to shoot the 1978 Bloomingdales mail catalog. He came to the attention of the general public in the late 1980s and early 1990s with his advertising images for Calvin Klein, and his portrait of the then young actor Richard Gere. His straightforward black-and-white shots, featuring an unclothed heterosexual couple on a swing facing each other, two clothed men in bed, and model Marcus Schenkenberg barely holding jeans in front of himself in a shower, catapulted him into the national spotlight. His photograph for Calvin Klein of Olympic athlete Tom Hintnaus in white briefs is an iconic image. He photographed the winter 2006 Ralph Lauren Collection. Some of Weber's other earliest fashion photography appeared in the SoHo Weekly News and featured a spread of men wearing only their underwear. The photos became the center of controversy and Weber was told by some that he would never find work as a fashion photographer again. This reputation stuck with him, as he says: "I don't really work editorially in a large number of magazines because a lot of magazines don't want my kind of photographs. It's too risky for them". After doing photo shoots for and of famous people (many of whom were featured in Andy Warhol's Interview magazine), Weber made short films of teenage boxers (Broken Noses), his beloved pet dogs, and later, a longer film entitled Chop Suey. He directed Let's Get Lost, a 1988 documentary about jazz trumpeter Chet Baker. Weber's photographs are occasionally in color; however, most are in black and white or toned shades. They are gathered in limited edition books, including A House is Not a Home and Bear Pond, an early work that shows Eric Nies from MTV's The Real World series, among other models. Weber began collaborating with crooner Chris Isaak in the mid-1980s, photographing Isaak in 1986 for his second album, Chris Isaak. In 1988, Weber photographed a shirtless Isaak in bed for a fashion spread in Rolling Stone. Isaak appeared in Let's Get Lost and Weber has directed a music video for Isaak. Weber photographed Harry Connick, Jr. for his 1991 album Blue Light, Red Light. In 1993, Weber photographed singer-songwriter Jackson Browne for his 1993 album I'm Alive.Source: Wikipedia
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The Czech photographer Miloš Nejezchleb was born in 1978. He lives in the Czech Republic and has got three children. He has only been involved in conceptual photography since 2016; however, he has already won several prestigious international awards. He is the absolute winner of the Fine Art Photography Award in London (2021), where he won the FINE ART PHOTOGRAHER OF THE YEAR title. He is the winner of the Malta International Photo Award (2020), two-time gold medalist in the Trierenberg Super Circuit competition in Linz and he is also, among others, silver medalist in IPA 2021 - International Photography Award. The most characteristic features of his photographs are noticeably colorful elements with a clear focus on the art of photography. Miloš often chooses current social topics, which he processes as stories using photographic series. These stories are narrated by people. He works on such series on his own and ensures the entire Art direction. He himself designs styling, looks for locations and carries out post-production. Besides conceptual art, where he points out currently discussed topics, Miloš has 2long-term thematic photographic cycles which document stories of real people. The most famous of them is photographic cycle "Stronger", in which Milos takes photos of people who have gone through hard times in their lives, and thanks to this experience they have become stronger personalities. Milos is at the beginning of his photographic career. He was fascinated by art photography when he bought his first camera. It happened before the birth of his first daughter. He is currently working on other production-intensive projects.
Sid Grossman
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Sid Grossman was an American photographer, teacher, and social activist. He was the younger son of Morris and Ethel Grossman. Grossman attended the City College of New York and worked on a WPA street crew. In 1934, he started what would become the Photo League with co-founder Sol Libsohn. Grossman played numerous roles throughout the Photo League's existence (1936–1951) including educator, administrator, reviewer, editor of Photo Notes and founder of Chelsea Document (1938-1940), an indictment of obsolete buildings and substandard living conditions in a New York neighborhood. He enlisted on March 6, 1943 and served in the Sixth Army in Panama during World War II. Grossman's 1940 photographs of labor union activity led to FBI investigations and the blacklisting of the Photo League as a communist front in 1947. In 1949, he opened a photography school in Provincetown, Massachusetts, although he continued to live and teach in NYC part of every year. Grossman was married twice: to Marion Hille and then to Miriam Grossman. Grossman conducted workshops at the Photo League, the Henry St. Settlement, the Harlem Art Center, and privately in NYC and Provincetown, for almost twenty years. The photographers he taught were many – including Lou Bernstein, Lisette Model, Walter Rosenblum, Louis Stettner, Helen Gee, Arthur Leipzig (who is on record as calling Grossman “probably the most fantastic teacher I ever knew”) and Leon Levinstein. Yet Grossman himself said, “I am not an instructor in any classical sense.” He insisted that his students take on the responsibility for making something of themselves. According to Jewish Museum curator Mason Klein, “Grossman increasingly insisted on the idea of being in the world in a particular manner, engaging with a certain consciousness as a photographer, and connecting to the camera in ways that made photographers question who they were.” One had to “live for photography,” in effect transforming and liberating oneself – in order to become a good photographer. One description of Grossman's “impassioned, often aggressive workshop critiques” has been provided by one of his students, N. Jay Jaffee, who studied with him in 1948. On the one hand, “He was almost contemptuous; each of us got a taste of his anger and hostility during the course.” Yet, “His genius was in expounding a philosophy of photography that was unique. I had never heard anyone speak on a subject with such depth and enthusiasm. I still recall a phrase he repeated several times: 'The world is a picture.' This simple statement was a profound insight into the method and meaning of photography.” “To Sid, photography was serious, not sacred.” Grossman's first wife, Marion Hille, remarked that he “encouraged his students 'to enjoy themselves right away, to get a feel of taking pictures without technique getting in the way.'” Jaffee reflected that, “Perhaps, if Sid had lived long enough, he would have also mellowed. Hopefully, he would have received the honor and respect for his brilliance and his work that he so justly deserves.” Today, almost all of the important photographers and educators he influenced and who continued his legacy are also deceased. All that is left are the photographs he and they made – a considerable contribution.Source: Wikipedia An influential teacher and activist, Grossman was a founding member of the Photo League, a group of socially-minded photographers that used documentary photography to call attention to poverty and injustice in New York. Showing three ragtag kids, two of whom present their modest toys to the photographer, this image exemplifies Grossman’s humanistic artistic vision, which often testified to the endurance and survival of his subjects. Due to his participation in the Communist Party, the U.S. Government blacklisted Grossman and monitored his activities for several years.Source: The Met
Debbie Fleming Caffery
United States
1948
Debbie Fleming Caffery grew up along the Bayou Teche in southwest Louisiana and still lives in the area. Early on in her career, she was inspired by the work of Dorothea Lange and many of the artists working within the FSA and Federal Arts Project of the WPA during the Depression. Like these forbears, she is interested in telling stories with her pictures, but unlike those earlier photographers, her work is as much artful as it is documentary. Her rich, and dramatic prints are the result of the deep relationships with the people and places she photographs, a visual corollary to the reverence she has for her subjects. Caffery has photographed the sugarcane industry and its community in Louisiana since the late 1970s. She has also photographed in rural villages in Mexico for many years, creating works that draw connections between those communities and the ones in Louisiana that were so familiar to her from her own upbringing. In 2005, Caffery was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship for the work she made of women working in brothels in Mexico. In 2006, she received the Katrina Media Fellowship from the Open Society Foundations to continue to photograph the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Recently Caffery received a commission from the High Museum in Atlanta for their Picturing the South photography initiative. Her monographs include: Carry Me Home (Smithsonian, 1990), The Shadows (Twin Palms Press, 2002) and Polly (Twin Palms Press, 2004), The Spirit & The Flesh (Radius Books, 2009) and Alphabet (Fall Line Press, 2015). Source: Gitterman Gallery
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