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Robert Bergman
© Robert Bergman
Robert Bergman
Robert Bergman

Robert Bergman

Country: United States
Birth: 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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More Great Photographers To Discover

Loretta Lux
Germany
1969
Loretta Lux was born in Dresden, East Germany and is a fine art photographer known for her surreal portraits of young children. She currently lives and works in Monaco. Lux graduated from the Academy of Visual Arts in Munich in the 1990s, and debuted at the Yossi Milo gallery, New York in 2004. The show put both Yossi Milo and Loretta Lux on the map, selling out and setting prices never before seen from a new gallery. In 2005, Lux received the Infinity Award for Art from the International Center of Photography. Her work has since been exhibited extensively abroad, including solo exhibitions in 2006 at the Fotomuseum Den Haag, The Netherlands, and the Sixth Moscow Photobiennale. Her work is included in numerous museums collections worldwide, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; J.Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Art Institute of Chicago; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Fotomuseum, den Haag; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid and Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland, and National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan. She has had portfolios featured in numerous fine art magazines. The artist executes her compositions using a combination of photography, painting and digital manipulation. Lux's work usually features young children and is influenced by a variety of sources. She originally trained as a painter at Munich Academy of Art, and is influenced by painters such as Agnolo Bronzino, Diego Velázquez, Phillip Otto Runge. Lux also owes a debt to the famous Victorian photographic portraitists of childhood such as Julia Margaret Cameron and Lewis Carroll. Source: Wikipedia Loretta Lux was born in Dresden, Germany, in 1969. In 1989 she left East Germany for Munich, a few months before the fall of the Berlin Wall. From 1990–96, she studied at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich. Trained as a painter, Lux began taking photographs in 1999. Although Lux first experimented with self-portraits in works like The Hush (1999) and Self-Portrait (2000), she soon transitioned to images of children and adolescents, typically the offspring of friends who she often used as models. Her subjects, with gazes ambiguously empty yet psychologically activated, assume formal poses and appear in calculated garb and hairstyles. Employing photography, painting, and computer manipulation, Lux alters the images, extracting extraneous details, distorting proportions, and setting the children against mediated backgrounds that exist somewhere between Old Master paintings and cheesy studio-portrait backdrops. Lux's earliest works set children against icy blue skies, for example in Troll (2000), Lois (2000), and Isabella (2001). In 2001, while the skies continued to serve as backdrops in some works, Lux began to increasingly stage her images within barren pale pink interiors; such images include Hidden Rooms (2001) and Study of a Girl (2002). In several works including The Book (2003), Lux borrowed poses from Balthus, endowing those works with the rigidity and sense of perversion that characterized the French artist's oeuvre. Lux moved to Ireland in 2004 and increasingly depicted pairs of children rather than the solitary figures that occupied her earlier work. In her images of siblings like The Walk (2004), The Irish Girls (2005), and Hugo and Dylan (2006), the figures are psychologically isolated and physically interact quite gingerly with minimal and half-hearted gestures, perhaps an arm around a shoulder. Lux photographed the twins Sasha and Ruby (2005), girls who again sat for multiple images the artist produced in 2008. In 2007 Lux created her first self-portrait in seven years, this time occupying the pale blue and pink world of the children and bearing their ambiguous, confounding expression. Solo exhibitions of Lux's work have been organized by Stadtmuseum in Muenster (2003), Fotomuseum den Haag in The Hague (2005), Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Monterrey (2008), and Kulturhuset in Stockholm (2009), among others. Lux's work has also been included in major exhibitions such as Arbeit an der Wirklichkeit, German Contemporary Photography at the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo (2005–06), Global Feminisms at the Brooklyn Museum (2007), Family Pictures at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York (2007), and the Havana Biennale (2009). In 2005 she received the Infinity Award for Art from The International Center of Photography in New York. Lux lives and works in Monaco. Source: Guggenheim
Henri Cartier-Bresson
France
1908 | † 2004
Born in Chanteloup, Seine-et-Marne, Henri Cartier-Bresson developed a strong fascination with painting early on, and particularly with Surrealism. In 1932, after spending a year in the Ivory Coast, he discovered the Leica - his camera of choice thereafter - and began a life-long passion for photography. In 1933 he had his first exhibition at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York. He later made films with Jean Renoir. Taken prisoner of war in 1940, he escaped on his third attempt in 1943 and subsequently joined an underground organization to assist prisoners and escapees. In 1945 he photographed the liberation of Paris with a group of professional journalists and then filmed the documentary Le Retour (The Return). In 1947, with Robert Capa, George Rodger, David 'Chim' Seymour and William Vandivert, he founded Magnum Photos. After three years spent travelling in the East, in 1952 he returned to Europe, where he published his first book, Images à la Sauvette (published in English as The Decisive Moment). He explained his approach to photography in these terms, '"For me the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity, the master of the instant which, in visual terms, questions and decides simultaneously. It is by economy of means that one arrives at simplicity of expression." From 1968 he began to curtail his photographic activities, preferring to concentrate on drawing and painting. In 2003, with his wife and daughter, he created the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson in Paris for the preservation of his work. Cartier-Bresson received an extraordinary number of prizes, awards and honorary doctorates. He died at his home in Provence on 3 August 2004, a few weeks short of his 96th birthday. Source: Magnum Photos His technique: Cartier-Bresson almost exclusively used Leica 35 mm rangefinder cameras equipped with normal 50 mm lenses or occasionally a wide-angle for landscapes. He often wrapped black tape around the camera's chrome body to make it less conspicuous. With fast black and white films and sharp lenses, he was able to photograph almost by stealth to capture the events. No longer bound by a huge 4×5 press camera or an awkward medium format twin-lens reflex camera, miniature-format cameras gave Cartier-Bresson what he called "the velvet hand [and] the hawk's eye." He never photographed with flash, a practice he saw as "[i]mpolite...like coming to a concert with a pistol in your hand." He believed in composing his photographs in the viewfinder, not in the darkroom. He showcased this belief by having nearly all his photographs printed only at full-frame and completely free of any cropping or other darkroom manipulation. Indeed, he emphasized that his prints were not cropped by insisting they include the first millimetre or so of the unexposed clear negative around the image area resulting, after printing, in a black border around the positive image. Cartier-Bresson worked exclusively in black and white, other than a few unsuccessful attempts in color. He disliked developing or making his own prints and showed a considerable lack of interest in the process of photography in general, likening photography with the small camera to an "instant drawing". Technical aspects of photography were valid for him only where they allowed him to express what he saw: "Constant new discoveries in chemistry and optics are widening considerably our field of action. It is up to us to apply them to our technique, to improve ourselves, but there is a whole group of fetishes which have developed on the subject of technique. Technique is important only insofar as you must master it in order to communicate what you see... The camera for us is a tool, not a pretty mechanical toy. In the precise functioning of the mechanical object perhaps there is an unconscious compensation for the anxieties and uncertainties of daily endeavor. In any case, people think far too much about techniques and not enough about seeing." He started a tradition of testing new camera lenses by taking photographs of ducks in urban parks. He never published the images but referred to them as 'my only superstition' as he considered it a 'baptism' of the lens. Cartier-Bresson is regarded as one of the art world's most unassuming personalities. He disliked publicity and exhibited a ferocious shyness since his days in hiding from the Nazis during World War II. Although he took many famous portraits, his own face was little known to the world at large (which presumably had the advantage of allowing him to work on the street in peace). He dismissed others' applications of the term "art" to his photographs, which he thought were merely his gut reactions to moments in time that he had happened upon. "In photography, the smallest thing can be a great subject. The little human detail can become a leitmotiv." Source: Wikipedia
Gordon Parks
United States
1912 | † 2006
Gordon Roger Alexander Buchanan Parks (November 30, 1912 – March 7, 2006) was an American photographer, musician, writer and film director. He is best remembered for his photographic essays for Life magazine and as the director of the 1971 film, Shaft.At the age of twenty-five, Parks was struck by photographs of migrant workers in a magazine and bought his first camera, a Voigtländer Brillant, for $12.50 at a Seattle, Washington, pawnshop. The photography clerks who developed Parks' first roll of film, applauded his work and prompted him to seek a fashion assignment at a women's clothing store in St. Paul, Minnesota, that was owned by Frank Murphy. Those photographs caught the eye of Marva Louis, the elegant wife of heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis. She encouraged Parks to move to Chicago in 1940, where he began a portrait business and specialized in photographs of society women. Over the next few years, Parks moved from job to job, developing a freelance portrait and fashion photographer sideline. He began to chronicle the city's South Side black ghetto and, in 1941, an exhibition of those photographs won Parks a photography fellowship with the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Working as a trainee under Roy Stryker, Parks created one of his best-known photographs, American Gothic, Washington, D.C.,[5] named after the iconic Grant Wood painting, American Gothic. The photograph shows a black woman, Ella Watson, who worked on the cleaning crew of the FSA building, standing stiffly in front of an American flag hanging on the wall, a broom in one hand and a mop in the background. Parks had been inspired to create the image after encountering racism repeatedly in restaurants and shops in the segregated capitol city.Upon viewing the photograph, Stryker said that it was an indictment of America, and that it could get all of his photographers fired. He urged Parks to keep working with Watson, however, which led to a series of photographs of her daily life. Parks said later that his first image was overdone and not subtle; other commentators have argued that it drew strength from its polemical nature and its duality of victim and survivor, and so has affected far more people than his subsequent pictures of Mrs. Watson.After the FSA disbanded, Parks remained in Washington, D.C. as a correspondent with the Office of War Information. Finally, disgusted with the prejudice he encountered, however, he resigned in 1944. Moving to Harlem, Parks became a freelance fashion photographer for Vogue. He later followed Stryker to the Standard Oil Photography Project in New Jersey, which assigned photographers to take pictures of small towns and industrial centers. The most striking work by Parks during that period included, Dinner Time at Mr. Hercules Brown's Home, Somerville, Maine (1944); Grease Plant Worker, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1946); Car Loaded with Furniture on Highway (1945); and Ferry Commuters, Staten Island, N.Y. (1946). Parks renewed his search for photography jobs in the fashion world. Despite racist attitudes of the day, the Vogue editor, Alexander Liberman, hired him to shoot a collection of evening gowns. Parks photographed fashion for Vogue for the next few years and he developed the distinctive style of photographing his models in motion rather than poised. During this time, he published his first two books, Flash Photography (1947) and Camera Portraits: Techniques and Principles of Documentary Portraiture (1948).A 1948 photographic essay on a young Harlem gang leader won Parks a staff job as a photographer and writer with Life magazine. For twenty years, Parks produced photographs on subjects including fashion, sports, Broadway, poverty, and racial segregation, as well as portraits of Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, Muhammad Ali, and Barbra Streisand. He became "one of the most provocative and celebrated photojournalists in the United States."Personal life:Parks was born in Fort Scott, Kansas, the son of Sarah (née Ross) and Jackson Parks. He was the last child born to them. His father was a farmer who grew corn, beets, turnips, potatoes, collard greens, and tomatoes. They also had a few ducks, chickens, and hogs. He attended a segregated elementary school. The town was too small to afford a separate high school that would facilitate segregation of the secondary school, but blacks were not allowed to play sports or attend school social activities,[17] and they were discouraged from developing any aspirations for higher education. Parks related in a documentary on his life that his teacher told him that his desire to go to college would be a waste of money. When Parks was eleven years old, three white boys threw him into the Marmaton River, knowing he couldn't swim. He had the presence of mind to duck underwater so they wouldn't see him make it to land. His mother died when he was fourteen. He spent his last night at the family home sleeping beside his mother's coffin, seeking not only solace, but a way to face his own fear of death. At this time, he left home, being sent to live with other relatives. That situation ended with Parks being turned out onto the street to fend for himself. In 1929, he briefly worked in a gentlemen's club, the Minnesota Club. There he not only observed the trappings of success, but was able to read many books from the club library.[20] When the Wall Street Crash of 1929 brought an end to the club, he jumped a train to Chicago, where he managed to land a job in a flophouse.Parks was married and divorced three times. Parks married Sally Alvis in Minneapolis during 1933 and they divorced in 1961. He married Elizabeth Campbell in 1962 and they divorced in 1973. Parks first met Genevieve Young in 1962 when he began writing The Learning Tree. At that time, his publisher assigned her to be his editor. They became romantically involved at a time when they both were divorcing previous mates, and married in 1973. They divorced in 1979. For many years, Parks was romantically involved with Gloria Vanderbilt, the railroad heiress and designer. Their relationship evolved into a deep friendship that endured throughout his lifetime.Parks fathered four children: Gordon, Jr., David, Leslie, and Toni (Parks-Parsons). His oldest son Gordon Parks, Jr., whose talents resembled his father, was killed in a plane crash in 1979 in Kenya, where he had gone to direct a film. Parks has five grandchildren: Alain, Gordon III, Sarah, Campbell, and Satchel. Malcolm X honored Parks when he asked him to be the godfather of his daughter, Qubilah Shabazz. Gordon Parks received more than twenty honorary doctorates in his lifetime.He died of cancer at the age of 93 while living in Manhattan, and is buried in his hometown of Fort Scott, Kansas.(Source: en.wikipedia.org)
Charles Nègre
France
1820 | † 1880
Charles Nègre (French: 9 May 1820 - 16 January 1880) was a pioneering photographer, born in Grasse, France. He studied under the painters Paul Delaroche, Ingres and Drolling before establishing his own studio at 21 Quai Bourbon on the Île Saint-Louis, Paris. Delaroche encouraged the use of photography as research for painting; Nègre started with the daguerreotype process before moving on to calotypes. His "Chimney-Sweeps Walking", an albumen print taken on the Quai Bourbon in 1851, may have been a staged study for a painting, but is nevertheless considered important to photographic history for its being an early instance of an interest in capturing movement and freezing it forever in one moment. Having been passed over for the Missions Héliographiques which commissioned many of his peers, Nègre independently embarked on his own remarkably extensive study of the Midi region. The interesting shapes in his 1852 photograph of buildings in Grasse have caused it to be seen as a precursor to art photography. In 1859, he was commissioned by Empress Eugénie to photograph the newly established Imperial Asylum in the Bois de Vincennes, a hospital for disabled workingmen. He used both albumen and salt print, and was known also as a skilled printer of photographs, using a gravure method of his own development. A plan commissioned by Napoleon III to print photographs of sculpture never came to fruition, and in 1861 Nègre retired to Nice, where he made views and portraits for holiday makers. He died in Grasse in 1880.
Elisabeth Sunday
United States
Elisabeth Sunday has been photographing indigenous people across the African continent for the last 26 years. Using a flexible mirror she created for the purpose (and hand carries unaccompanied to some of the most remote and dangerous spots on earth), Sunday has created her own analog process that prefigured Photoshop that she calls "Mirror Photography". Her method of photographing her subjects emphasizes and enhances their grace, elongating the body and the folds of their garments, creating an impressionistic effect one might be used to seeing in painting but which is unexpected in a medium from which we often expect a more literal representation. The effect is closer to that of dance, in which the body has reshaped itself and learned to move in a way that proclaims and exaggerates all its best qualities, while momentarily silencing its flaws, and in which movement itself has an aesthetic, rather than merely practical, purpose. Typically Sunday captures an elongated vertical reflection, rushing and bleeding like a single expressive brush stroke. Although Sunday herself is never visible in the frame, she is as much actor as she is director within the drama of these photographs, as she strives to represent not so much the personal characteristics of her subjects, but an essential gesture that connects a given incarnation with the long history of the soul. In her Anima and Animus series, Sunday mediates on eternal masculine and feminine energies, using warlike Koro men and nomadic Tuareg women as subjects. The Anima women are hidden under flowing garments, slanting to left or right or reaching upward like dark flames against the steady white curve of a dune. The Animus figures rise like tough young trees or spears, rooted somewhere beneath the picture plane. Grace and violence here seem cast together in a solid block, As with so many of Elisabeth Sunday's figures, these seem composed of stone or bone more than living flesh. Elisabeth Sunday has shown in galleries and Museums the world over including the Cleveland Museum of Art, Centre cultural Calouste Gulbenkian, Paris, France, the African American Museum, Los Angeles; International Photography Biennial, Brecsia, Italy, UC Berkeley Art Museum; Salle d' Exposition, Arles, France, Le Maison de la Photographie, Aosta, Italy, Exploratorium Museum, San Francisco, CA Smithsonian Anakostia Museum, Center for African American History and Culture, Washington D.C. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and The Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Her work is included in major collections: The Corcoran Art Gallery, The University Art Museum at Berkeley, The Cantor Art Center at Stanford University, The Los Angeles Museum of Art, The Museum of Fine Art-Houston, Le Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris, France, The San Francisco Museum of Art, and The Eastman Kodak Collection. Her private collectors include Graham Nash, Quincy Jones, Gloria Steinem, Linda Grey, Bill Cosby, Bonnie Raitt and Alice Walker.Source Frank Pictures Gallery
Kenro Izu
China
1949
Kenro Izu (b. 1949) was born in Osaka, Japan. During his studies at Nippon University, college of art, Izu visited New York in 1970 to study photography, and subsequently decided to stay and work. In 1975, after working as an assistant to other photographers, Izu established Kenro Izu Studio in New York City, to specialize in still life photography, both commercial and fine art. In 1979, Izu made his first trip to Egypt, which inspired him to begin his series Sacred Places, an exploration that is still in progress. In 1983, a platinum print by Paul Strand inspired Izu to take a step toward developing his own contact-printing process using Platinum/Palladium, using a super large format camera. Since then, all of Izu's work is produced by the same technique, mostly in a 14x20 inch format. Izu's still-life images include floral and anatomical subjects. In 2000, Izu started experimenting with a technique of Cyano over Platinum to achieve deep blue-black. The body of work entitled, Blue, was completed in 2004. As Izu continues his series, Sacred Places, he has traveled to Egypt, Syria, Jordan, England, Scotland, Mexico, France and Easter Island (Chile). More recently, he has focused on Buddhist and Hindu monuments in South East Asia: Cambodia, Burma, Indonesia, Vietnam and, most recently Bhutan and India. Izu's work has been exhibited in numerous museums including the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of Smithsonian Institution, Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Art, Cleveland Museum of Art, Peabody/Essex Museum, Museum of Photographic Art, Rubin Museum of Art, among others. He has published several books of his work including: Sacred Places, Kenro Izu Still Life, Passage to Angkor, and Eternal Light. In 1985, after a several visit to Cambodia to photograph the Angkor Wat, Izu decided to build and operate a free pediatric hospital, and founded a not-for-profit organization, Friends Withou A Border, to help children of Cambodia who suffer from lack of medical facilities and severe poverty. The Angkor Hospital for Children, which opened in 1999 in Siem Reap , Cambodia is now an official medical education center. Izu has been the recipient of the Catskill Center for Photography Fellowship in 1992, a NEA grant in 1984, the New York Foundation for Arts grant in 1985, the Lou Stouman Award in 1999, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2001, the Vision Award from the Center for Photography at Woodstock in 2005 and a Lucie Award in 2007. Source: Howard Greenberg Gallery
Angela Bacon-Kidwell
Angela Bacon-Kidwell is an award winning photographer and visual artist that lives and works in Texas. Angela has a BFA from Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, Texas, with specialization in painting and photography. Her work emerges from her journey of recovering a sense of self, strength and spirituality through an examination of her identities as daughter, granddaughter, wife, mother and artist. Her photographic work has received numerous awards and honors and has been exhibited and published both nationally and internationally. Recent awards and recognition’s include: nominated for the Santa Fe Prize for Photography in 2011, Finalist for the John Clarence Laughlin Award, First place in the Palm Springs Photo Festival, First Place in the Texas Photographic Society International Competition and 2012 lecture at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles.She is currently represented by Afterimage Gallery, Dallas, Texas, Wallspace Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA and Galerie BMG, Woodstock, NYHome by Nightfall (2012-2014)Silence ceased for him in 2011 not a whisper, but a relentless roaring thunder molding his spirit into mourning In his misery, a new vaporous malice was brewing the ringing was a warning tinnitus and cancer were converging Every known eradication was pursued He and I, separated by many miles, shared a need for solitude cultivated by lucid country drives We drove separately through the dark districts of our minds invariably contemplating what was to come, a symbiotic transitory landscape emerged and the thunder soared in 2013 Questions, Answers, Questions, Answers Questions, Answers, Questions, Answers Questions, Answers, Questions, Answers all tedious throbbing answers How many miles in a life? What shape is the color grey? When does an echo become whole? During the three years of relentless discord, I created images of these ambiguous queries emoting, sensing, seeking There is a truth in "big" questions with small answers Clarity in the midst of chaos Hope in the face of despair Silence returned for him on May 24, 2014 He was my father.
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