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Robin Hammond
Robin Hammond
Robin Hammond

Robin Hammond

Country: New Zealand
Birth: 1975

Robin Hammond is the recipient of the W.Eugene Smith Fund for Humanistic Photography, a World Press Photo prize, the Pictures of the Year International World Understanding Award and four Amnesty International awards for Human Rights journalism.

He has dedicated his career to documenting human rights and development issues around the world through long-term photographic projects.

Robin won the FotoEvidence Book Award for Documenting Social Injustice which resulted in the publication of his long term project on mental health in Africa, Condemned. The same body of work was exhibited at the photojournalism festival Visa Pour l'Image in France, and in New York, Italy, Belgium.

Winning the Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Award allowed him to continue his long-term photo project on life in Zimbabwe under the rule of Robert Mugabe. The work culminated in an exhibition in Paris and the publication of his first book 'Your Wounds Will Be Named Silence'. The work went on to be exhibited at Le Recontres in Arles, France and in Milan, Rome, and Cologne and was featured in National Geographic Magazine.

Robin has made a wide variety of other photographic bodies from the impact of climate change on Pacific Island communities to rape used as a weapon of war in Congo and Bosnia, to the poisoning of ecosystems by multi-nationals in developing countries, to the rise of Africa's middle class.

Born in New Zealand, Robin has lived in Japan, the United Kingdom, South Africa and France.
 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Dasha Pears
Russia
1982
Dasha Pears is an award-winning Russian conceptual photographer, currently based in Helsinki, Finland. Dasha uses the instruments of surrealism, color, and photography to speak about deepest psychological matters, including emotions, states of mind and mind shifts. She started her photographic path in 2011, after reaching burnout in a marketing communications career. Having tried many types of photography, Dasha found herself in the conceptual and fine art sphere. Since then her images have been exhibited in Russia, France, Poland, Austria, Italy and Finland. Dasha's photographs can be found on covers of books published in Europe, the United States and South America. In 2016 Dasha started sharing her experience of organizing conceptual photography shoots and producing surrealist artworks in the form of creative photography workshops. Since then she has held over 15 events in Finland and abroad. Statement Photography turned out to be a way of discovering my true self and expressing it. My works are a reflection of this discovery process and I hope that they can help others who are on the same journey as me. In metaphorical ways I try to show and share processes that are going on in many people's minds: dealing with negative self-talk, being overwhelmed by all kinds of emotions, finding that activity that puts you in the state of flow, when time ceases to exist. My photography is influenced by classical fine art, surrealism, as well as fantasy and science fiction books. The instruments of surrealism help me show that the scene is only partially real and that most of it is going on in the character's mind. My works are carefully composed and many of them are leaning towards minimalism. This is my way of expressing that controlling your mind and creating space is crucial for discovering who you are and who you are not.
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Russia
1863 | † 1944
Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky (Russian, August 30, 1863 Russian Empire – September 27, 1944) was a Russian chemist and photographer. He is best known for his pioneering work in color photography of early 20th-century Russia.Prokudin-Gorsky was born in the ancestral estate of Funikova Gora, in what is now Kirzhachsky District, Vladimir Oblast. His parents were of the Russian nobility, and the family had a long military history. They moved to Saint Petersburg, where Prokudin-Gorsky enrolled in Saint Petersburg State Institute of Technology to study chemistry under Dmitri Mendeleev. He also studied music and painting at the Imperial Academy of Arts. In 1890, Prokudin-Gorsky married Anna Aleksandrovna Lavrova, and later the couple had two sons, Mikhail and Dmitri, and a daughter, Ekaterina. Anna was the daughter of the Russian industrialist Aleksandr Stepanovich Lavrov, an active member in the Imperial Russian Technical Society (IRTS). Prokudin-Gorsky subsequently became the director of the executive board of Lavrov's metal works near Saint Petersburg and remained so until the October Revolution. He also joined Russia's oldest photographic society, the photography section of the IRTS, presenting papers and lecturing on the science of photography. In 1901, he established a photography studio and laboratory in Saint Petersburg. In 1902, he traveled to Berlin and spent six weeks studying color sensitization and three-color photography with photochemistry professor Adolf Miethe, the most advanced practitioner in Germany at that time. Throughout the years, Prokudin-Gorsky's photographic work, publications and slide shows to other scientists and photographers in Russia, Germany and France earned him praise, and in 1906 he was elected the president of the IRTS photography section and editor of Russia's main photography journal, the Fotograf-Liubitel. Lithograph print of Leo Tolstoy in front of Prokudin-Gorsky's camera in Yasnaya Polyana, 1908. Perhaps Prokudin-Gorsky's best-known work during his lifetime was his color portrait of Leo Tolstoy,[6] which was reproduced in various publications, on postcards, and as larger prints for framing. The fame from this photo and his earlier photos of Russia's nature and monuments earned him invitations to show his work to the Russian Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich and Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna in 1908, and to Tsar Nicholas II and his family in 1909. The Tsar enjoyed the demonstration, and, with his blessing, Prokudin-Gorsky got the permission and funding to document Russia in color.[8] In the course of ten years, he was to make a collection of 10,000 photos. Prokudin-Gorsky considered the project his life's work and continued his photographic journeys through Russia until after the October Revolution. He was appointed to a new professorship under the new regime, but he left the country in August 1918. He still pursued scientific work in color photography, published papers in English photography journals and, together with his colleague S. O. Maksimovich, obtained patents in Germany, England, France and Italy.In 1920, Prokudin-Gorsky remarried and had a daughter with his assistant Maria Fedorovna née Schedrimo. The family finally settled in Paris in 1922, reuniting with his first wife and children. Prokudin-Gorsky set up a photo studio there together with his three adult children, naming it after his fourth child, Elka. In the 1930s, the elderly Prokudin-Gorsky continued with lectures showing his photographs of Russia to young Russians in France, but stopped commercial work and left the studio to his children, who named it Gorsky Frères. He died at Paris on September 27, 1944, and is buried in the Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois Russian Cemetery.Documentary of the Russian EmpireAround 1905, Prokudin-Gorsky envisioned and formulated a plan to use the emerging technological advances that had been made in color photography to document the Russian Empire systematically. Through such an ambitious project, his ultimate goal was to educate the schoolchildren of Russia with his "optical color projections" of the vast and diverse history, culture, and modernization of the empire. Outfitted with a specially equipped railroad-car darkroom provided by Tsar Nicholas II and in possession of two permits that granted him access to restricted areas and cooperation from the empire's bureaucracy, Prokudin-Gorsky documented the Russian Empire around 1909 through 1915. He conducted many illustrated lectures of his work. His photographs offer a vivid portrait of a lost world—the Russian Empire on the eve of World War I and the coming Russian Revolution. His subjects ranged from the medieval churches and monasteries of old Russia, to the railroads and factories of an emerging industrial power, to the daily life and work of Russia's diverse population. It has been estimated from Prokudin-Gorsky's personal inventory that before leaving Russia, he had about 3500 negatives. Upon leaving the country and exporting all his photographic material, about half of the photos were confiscated by Russian authorities for containing material that seemed to be strategically sensitive for war-time Russia. According to Prokudin-Gorsky's notes, the photos left behind were not of interest to the general public. Some of Prokudin-Gorsky's negatives were given away, and some he hid on his departure. Outside the Library of Congress collection, none has yet been found.By Prokudin-Gorsky's death, the tsar and his family had long since been executed during the Russian Revolution, and Communist rule had been established over what was once the Russian Empire. The surviving boxes of photo albums and fragile glass plates the negatives were recorded on were finally stored in the basement of a Parisian apartment building, and the family was worried about them getting damaged. The United States Library of Congress purchased the material from Prokudin-Gorsky's heirs in 1948 for $3500–$5000 on the initiative of a researcher inquiring into their whereabouts. The library counted 1902 negatives and 710 album prints without corresponding negatives in the collection.(Source: en.wikipedia.org)
Ernst Haas
Austria/United States
1921 | † 1986
Ernst Haas was born in Vienna and began studying photography at the Graphische Lehr und Versuchsanstalt in Vienna six years before acquiring his first camera in 1946. After several photography-related jobs, he was offered a position at Life, and his first feature article, "Returning Prisoners of War," was published in both Heute and Life in 1949. This prompted Robert Capa to invite Haas to join the Magnum agency, the international cooperative founded by Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger and Chim (David Seymour). Also in 1949, Haas purchased a Leica and began experimenting with color photography, the medium in which his work is best known. His "Magic Images of New York," a twenty-four-page color photo essay, which appeared in LIFE in 1951 was both his and LIFE's first long color feature in print. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Haas worked in both black-and-white and color, contributing to LIFE, Look, Vogue, and Holiday. He also worked as a still photographer for films, among them The Pharaohs, The Misfits, and Little Big Man. Haas served as president of Magnum in 1959-60, and as second director for The Bible (John Huston was first director) in 1966. The Creation (1971), a book of his photographs, eventually sold more than 300,000 copies. Ernst Haas pioneered the use of color photography at a time when it was considered inferior to black-and-white as a medium for serious creative photographers. His innovative use of the slow shutter speed, which gave many of his pictures the illusion of movement, and his emphasis on audiovisual presentations (works involving sound, poetry, and pictures) opened many possibilities in color photography and in multimedia art. Although he is famous for his color photography, Haas's black-and-white images are among the most incisive, evocative, and beautiful images of postwar Europe and America, as was demonstrated in ICP's exhibition of his work in 1993. Source: ICP
Newsha Tavakolian
Newsha Tavakolian (born 1981) is an Iranian photojournalist and documentary photographer. She has worked for TIME Magazine, The New York Times, Le Figaro, and National Geographic. Her work focuses on women's issues and she has been a member of the Rawiya women's photography collective which she co-established in 2011. Tavakolian is a full member of Magnum Photos. Born and brought up in Tehran, at age 16, Tavakolian took a six-month photography course, after which she began working as a professional photographer in the Iranian press. She started at the women's daily newspaper Zan, and later worked for other nine reformist dailies, all of which have since been banned. She covered the July 1999 student uprising, using her Minolta with a 50mm lens, and her photographs were published in several publications. However, she was forced to go on hiatus from her photojournalist work following the "chaos" of Iran’s presidential election in 2009. During this time, she began other projects focusing on art using photography as well as social documentary. Tavakolian’s photographs became more artistic and involved social commentary. She got her international break in 2001 at age 21, when she met J.P. Pappis, founder of Polaris Images, New York at a photography festival in Perpignan, France. She began covering Iran for Polaris Images, in the same year, and started working as a freelancer for The Times in 2004. Tavakolian has worked internationally, covering wars, natural disasters and social documentary stories in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Yemen. Her work has been published by international magazines and newspapers such as TIME Magazine, Newsweek, Stern, Le Figaro, Colors, New York Times Magazine, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, NRC Handelsblad and National Geographic. Common themes in her work are photo stories of women, friends and neighbors in Iran; the evolving role of women in overcoming gender-based restrictions; and contrasting the stereotypes of western media. Her photo projects include Mother of Martyrs (2006), Women in the Axis of Evil (2006), The Day I Became a Woman (2010) and Look (2013). Tavakolian was part of the 2006 Joop Swart Masterclass organized by World Press Photo. In 2007 she was a finalist for the Inge Morath Award. Her work has been exhibited and collected at institutions such as the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Somerset House, London. (April 2014), where she was one of eight Iranian photographers featured in the critically acclaimed Burnt Generation exhibition. In June 2015 Tavakolian became a nominee member of Magnum Photos and in 2019 a full member. She lives and works in Tehran and is married to the Dutch journalist Thomas Erdbrink. In 2019, the Iranian authorities barred her from working in the country.Source: Wikipedia Newsha Tavakolian is known for her powerful work covering wars in Iraq and social issues in her native Iran. With clarity and sensitivity, Tavakolian has photographed female guerilla fighters in Iraqi Kurdistan, Syria and Colombia, prohibited Iranian female singers and the lives of people living under sanctions. Over the years, her practice has shifted from photojournalism to photography as art. A self-taught photographer, Tavakolian began working professionally in the Iranian press at the age of 16, at women’s daily newspaper Zan. At the age of 18, she was the youngest photographer to cover the 1999 student uprising, which was a turning point for the country’s blossoming reformist movement and for Tavakolian personally as a photojournalist; a year later she joined New York-based agency Polaris Images. In 2003, she started working internationally, covering the war in Iraq. She has since covered regional conflicts, natural disasters and made social documentary stories. Her work has been published in international magazines and newspapers such as Time Magazine, Newsweek, Stern, Le Figaro, Colors, The New York Times, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, NRC Handelsblad, The New York Times Magazine and National Geographic. Commercial clients include Qatar foundation, who commissioned her to make a book about education around the world and Shiseido, who commissioned a two-year assignment looking at the meaning of beauty in Paris, France.Source: Magnum Photos
Dora Maar
France
1907 | † 1997
Henriette Theodora Markovitch (22 November 1907 – 16 July 1997), known as Dora Maar, was a French photographer, painter, and poet. A love partner of Pablo Picasso, Dora Maar was depicted in a number of Picasso's paintings, including his Portrait of Dora Maar and Dora Maar au Chat. She was the only daughter of Josip Marković (aka Joseph Markovitch) (1874–1969), a Croatian architect who studied in Zagreb, Vienna, and then Paris where he settled in 1896, and of his spouse, Catholic-raised Louise-Julie Voisin (1877–1942), originally from Cognac. In 1910, the family left for Buenos Aires where the father obtained several commissions including for the embassy of Austria-Hungary. His achievements earned him the honor of being decorated by Emperor Francis Joseph I, even though he was "the only architect who did not make a fortune in Buenos Aires", but in 1926, the family returned to Paris. Dora Maar, a pseudonym she chose, took courses at the Central Union of Decorative Arts and the School of Photography. She also enrolled at the École des Beaux-Arts and the Académie Julian which had the advantage of offering the same instruction to women as to men. Dora Maar frequented André Lhote's workshop where she met Henri Cartier-Bresson. While studying at the École des Beaux-Arts, Maar met fellow female surrealist Jacqueline Lamba. About her, Maar said, "I was closely linked with Jacqueline. She asked me, 'where are those famous surrealists?' and I told her about cafe de la Place Blanche." Jacqueline then began to frequent the cafe where she would eventually meet André Breton, whom she would later marry. When the workshop ceased its activities, Dora Maar left Paris, alone, for Barcelona and then London, where she photographed the effects of the economic depression following the Wall Street Crash of 1929 in the United States. On her return, and with the help of her father, she opened another workshop at 29 rue d'Astorg in the 8th arrondissement of Paris. In 1935 she was introduced to Pablo Picasso and she became his companion and his muse. She took pictures in his studio at the Grands Augustins and tracked the latter stages of his epic work, Guernica. She later acted as a model for his piece titled Monument à Apollinaire, a tribute to the late poet Guillaume Apollinaire. Maar's earliest surviving photographs were taken in the early 1920s with a Rolleiflex camera while on a cargo ship going to the Cape Verde Islands. At the beginning of 1930, she set up a photography studio on rue Campagne-Première with Pierre Kefer, photographer, and decorator for Jean Epstein's 1928 film, The Fall of the House of Usher. In the studio, Maar and Kefer worked together mostly on commercial photography for advertisements and fashion magazines. Her father assisted with her finances in this period of her life as she was establishing herself while trying to earn a living. The studio displayed fashion, advertising and nudes, and it became very successful. She met the photographer Brassaï with whom she shared the darkroom in the studio. Brassai once said that she had "bright eyes and an attentive gaze, a disturbing stare at times". During this time working in advertising and fashion photography, the influence of Surrealism could be seen in her work through her heavy use of mirrors and contrasting shadows. She felt that art should represent the content of reality through links with intuitions or ideas, rather than visually reproduce the natural. Dora Maar also met Louis-Victor Emmanuel Sougez, a photographer working for advertising, archeology and artistic director of the newspaper L'Illustration, whom she considered a mentor. In 1932, she had an affair with the filmmaker Louis Chavance. Dora Maar frequented the "October group", formed around Jacques Prévert and Max Morise after their break from surrealism. Maar had her first publication in the magazine Art et Métiers Graphiques in 1932 and her first solo exhibition was held at the Galerie Vanderberg in Paris. It is the gelatin silver works of the surrealist period that remain the most sought after by admirers: Portrait of Ubu (1936), 29 rue d'Astorg, black and white, collages, photomontages or superimpositions. The photograph represents the central character in a popular series of plays by Alfred Jarry called Ubu Roi. The work was first shown at the Exposition Surréaliste d'objets at the Galerie Charles Ratton in Paris and at the International Surrealist Exhibition in London in 1936. She also participated in Participates in Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York the same year. Surrealist concepts and interests often aligned with the ideas of the political left of the time and so Maar became very politically active at this point in her life. After the fascist demonstrations of 6 February 1934, in Paris along with René Lefeuvre, Jacques Soustelle, supported by Simone Weil and Georges Bataille, she signed the tract "Appeal to the Struggle" written at the initiative of André Breton. Much of her work is highly influenced by leftist politics of the time, often depicting those who had been thrown into poverty by the Depression. She was part of an ultra-leftist association called "Masses", where she first met Georges Bataille, an anti-fascist organization called the Union of Intellectuals Against Fascism, and a radical collective of left-wing actors and writers called October. She also was involved in many Surrealist groups and often participated in demonstrations, convocations, and cafe conversations. She signed many manifestos, including one titled "When Surrealists were Right" in August 1935 which concerned the Congress of Paris, which had been held in March of that year. In 1935 she took a photo of fashion illustrator and designer Christian Berard that was described by writer and critic Michael Kimmelman as "wry and mischievous with only his head perceived above the fountain as if he were John the Baptist on a silver platter". In the 1980s she made a number of photograms. Maar spent her last years in her apartment in Rue de Savoie, in the Left Bank of Paris. She died on 16 July 1997, at 89 years old. She was buried in the Bois-Tardieu cemetery in Clamart. Her experiments with photograms and dark-room photography were only found posthumously.Source: Wikipedia
Alexis Pichot
France
1980
In 2011, I made the bold decision to redirect my professional life into my self-guided passion, photography. I worked as an interior designer in Paris for more than ten years. Throughout that time I was very focused on the use of space and acquired a sensitivity that has greatly influenced my approach to volume in photography. At night, light and space are my sources of inspiration, experimentation and confrontation - but above all, of fulfilment. I pierce the night using physical movement, as well as using light in order to see beyond what is visible, to a place where the blackness has not yet absorbed everything. I have accomplished various large-scale artistic projects, often in partnership with private and public institutions. Notably, my project with the Hotel National des Invalides - which granted me access to all of the military sites in Ile de France - enabled me to bring to light this fragment of history in a large exposition in the moat of the Invalides. I also had the opportunity to work with the RATP, who commissioned me to enter a disused marshalling yard where their entire collection of rolling stock is preserved, covering 100 years of history. The images created were exhibited during "Les Journées du Patrimoine" (the Heritage Days) within their workshop-museum. The cities and their nocturnal vestiges have been sacred fields of investigation for me, as much for their architectural lines as for the histories to which they bear witness. Arising from an awareness of and sensitivity to modern society - alongside the fact that I live in a city - nature has become my source of regeneration.
Baron Raimund von Stillfried
Austria
1832 | † 1911
Baron Raimund von Stillfried, also known as Baron Raimund von Stillfried-Rathenitz (6 August 1839, in Komotau – 12 August 1911, in Vienna), was an Austrian photographer. He was son of Baron (Freiherr) August Wilhelm Stillfried von Rathenitz (d. 1806) and Countess Maria Anna Johanna Theresia Walburge Clam-Martinitz (1802–1874). After leaving his military career, Stillfried moved to Yokohama, Japan and opened a photographic studio called Stillfried & Co. which operated until 1875. In 1875, Stillfried formed a partnership with Hermann Andersen and the studio was renamed, Stillfried & Andersen (also known as the Japan Photographic Association). This studio operated until 1885. In 1877, Stillfried & Andersen bought the studio and stock of Felice Beato. In the late 1870s, Stillfried visited and photographed in Dalmatia, Bosnia, and Greece. In addition to his own photographic endeavours, Stillfried trained many Japanese photographers. In 1886, Stillfried sold the majority of his stock to his protégé, the Japanese photographer Kusakabe Kimbei, he then left Japan. He left Japan forever in 1881. After travelling to Vladivostock, Hong Kong and Bangkok, he eventually settled in Vienna in 1883. He also received an Imperial and Royal Warrant of Appointment as photographer.Source: Wikipedia To many in the West, Japan is an exotic country, seen through the distorting lens of tourist cliches: cherry blossoms, geisha, samurai, kamikaze. In that sense, little has changed since the Meiji Era (1868-1912), when Japan was first promoted abroad as a sort of Oriental theme park. Baron Raimund von Stillfried, a 19th-century pioneer of photography in Yokohama, was the first in Japan to recognize the new medium's potential as a global marketing tool. Adept at producing theatrical souvenir photos, Stillfried also took the first ever photograph of Emperor Meiji and shocked Vienna when he imported Japanese teenage girls to the city to work in a mock teahouse. A Career of Japan by Luke Gartlan, a lecturer in art history at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, is the first comprehensive study of Stillfried's extraordinary life and works. Written for an academic readership using the language of critical theory, Gartlan's account of a scandal-prone impresario resonates with contemporary parallels. Baron Raimund Anton Alois Maria von Stillfried-Ratenicz was born in Austria in 1839 and spent his childhood in military outposts on the fringes of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1864, aged 24, he chose life as a cabin boy in a ship headed for Peru instead of an aristocratic military career. By 1868, after a couple of years adventuring in Mexico, fighting a doomed campaign for the Habsburg Emperor, he had set up a photography studio in Yokohama. The rough and ready port town was hosting its first "globetrotters," a word coined locally to describe the new wave of round-the-world tourists, propelled by the 1869 opening of the Trans-American railway and the Suez Canal. One German globetrotter, Margaretha Weppner, recorded her impressions the same year: "The foreigner in Japan leads an expensive, luxurious life. (The climate) requires that liquors should be taken before breakfast, wine, beer, and champagne at breakfast; the same routine before, at, and after dinner, and brandy and soda all day long." In Yokohama, tourism brought a new demand for "curious" and souvenir photos. Baron Raimund von Stillfried specialized in staged studio portraits featuring models decked out as traditional Japanese "types." These striking hand-colored images were widely copied in Western newspapers and became emblematic of Japan. In the same way that the foreign press today fixates on "weird Japan" stories, Stillfried's images, Gartlan argues, were a popular fiction that exploited Western ignorance. Take, for example, Two Officers - used on the cover of A Career of Japan - that purports to show two samurai with their hair in topknots. The photograph was taken in 1875, four years after the traditional hairstyle worn by Japan's warrior class was banned. It was as a paparazzo that Stillfried first achieved notoriety. Hearing that Emperor Meiji was to visit Yokosuka on New Year's Day in 1872 - the first public appearance by a Japanese monarch - Stillfried was determined to take his picture. According to contemporary accounts, he hid on a ship docked next to the Imperial landing area and secretly photographed the divine countenance through a hole in a sail. Government officials reacted with fury when Stillfried brazenly advertised his scoop, ordering a police raid on his studio. Today, only one print survives. Stillfried was threatened with deportation, and the ensuing scandal reverberated around Asia. Shanghai's North China Daily News said that the crack down was "the most foolish thing we have heard of the Japanese." Partly in order to trump Stillfried, the government commissioned an official portrait of the Emperor the same month. Kuichi Uchida's image of "H.I.M. The Mikado" in Western dress was the state's first foray into visual PR. The Meiji regime may have disapproved of Stillfried, but they admired his talents as a propagandist, and hired him six months later to photograph the newly-colonized territory of Ezo (present-day Hokkaido). Stillfried's photos of the Ainu people were displayed at the 1873 Vienna International Exhibition. Referring to a group Ainu portrait, the Japan Gazette of Jan. 23, 1873, said: "The gift of beauty - has not been vouchsafed to the female descendants of Yesso (Ezo) - whose primitive ugliness of feature is artificially increased by moustachios [sic] tattooed along the upper lip." A separate image of two of the same figures was hand-colored by Stillfried. Gartlan notes that "the selective addition of colors emphasizes the women's tattoos, a traditional practice soon to be banned by the Japanese government." Stillfried's Hokkaido photos may have been displayed in the Japanese pavilion in Vienna but the man himself was barred from joining the official delegation to his home country, due to the lingering scandal over his photo of the Emperor. He reacted with typical bravado by erecting an imitation Japanese teahouse in the exhibition grounds, staffed by teenage Japanese girls imported from Yokohama. The press reacted with thrilled prudence. "How innocent the term (teahouse) sounds to us, but what amount of shame it entails in Japan!" the official exhibition journal reported, while the Chicago Daily Tribune referred to the "Yokohama Belles" as "by no means virgins." Gartlan argues that the teahouse was a respectable project, but the scandal was enough to close it down, leaving Stillfried almost bankrupt. One employee later alleged that the photographer beat his workers, evicted the girls at gunpoint and tried to have the teahouse burned down in order to claim insurance. Returning to Yokohama in 1874, Stillfried's career faltered amid growing competition from Japanese photographers whom he had personally trained, and who were happier to portray their country as a modern nation. His final return to Viennese high society in 1883 coincided with the peak of the European craze for Japan-inspired art - culminating in "The Mikado" and "Madame Butterfly" - that his souvenir photographs had helped to create 15 years earlier. Stillfried's heavily romanticized images had, in Gartlan's words, a "vast impact on how the West perceived Japan at the time." His legacy can still be seen today. Western fantasies of Japan continue to draw on anachronistic assumptions about the country - from ornamental women to picturesque teahouses - and equally inaccurate images of a "futuristic" nation (one where fax machines have no place). Modern-day parallels can also be seen in the book's depiction of Stillfried's expat experiences: the battles with bureaucracy, the government propaganda, the conflicted approach to foreigners - and the drinking.Source: Japan Times
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