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Elisabeth Sunday
Elisabeth Sunday

Elisabeth Sunday

Country: 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.
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Filip Gierlinski
United Kingdom
My uncle is a very accomplished craftsman and very keen and skilled amateur photographer. I always loved to see him draw, paint, design and gave me my fist Minolta x370 35mm manual camera when I was about 8, so it started there. At school and Uni I studied art subjects. I graduated in Graphic Design, worked for a year as a junior designer, but all the time thought I wanted to be the guy who came into our office with a contact sheet of commissioned photography, and not the guy sitting at a screen and designing the layouts for his photos. A friend was working in a Commercial Photo studio and needed some summer intern cover, and I jumped at the chance. 3 months tuned into nearly 4 years at the studio, and I learnt the skills, techniques, discipline, equipment and it opened my eyes to the industry and business of commercial photography. I have always had a passion for travel and I was eager to get outside, into the sun, and shoot people and places...we worked on products, catalogues and room sets at the studio which was an amazing experience and training, but not what I most desired to be shooting. I was fortunate enough to learn my trade in the days of film, and came to professional photography just as digital was breaking in and the industry was opening up and shifting. This gave me the technical skills of shooting on film for many years, and the ability to by my first semi-pro digital slr and advertise online for freelance jobs - so I had the best of (understanding) both worlds. After some travel and teaching TEFL with my wife, we came back to the UK and I started to freelance, shooting mostly art projects, working for the Arts Council and delivering educational programmes, and all the time slowly building up my freelance business. So since about 2003 I have worked as a commercial and corporate photographer, covering a wide range of subjects and industries and have had the opportunity to work with some amazing and diverse clients. The work as a tutor gives me the opportunity to travel and practice my craft and I bring that inspiration back to my business. Part of my early freelance work was shooting business portraits, and so I started to advertise specifically for Corporate Headshots and Portraits as a separate arm of my work, and this has become the main source of my income and commissions over the past few years. I have shot for huge companies with 1000's employees, as well as small businesses, professionals and entrepreneurs. I try to bring a sense of style and creativity, and an editorial feel to the ‘Corporate Headshot' and think that defines me with a distinctive look and product. I enjoy bringing a bit of creativity and style into the corporate world in my own little way, and years of shooting 1000s of people means I can read with my sitters quickly, make them feel at ease and connect with them which is something that shows through in my portraits. The skill is to do that within the 4 or 5 minutes I have with each person, sometimes up to 60-100 times a day! Most recently I shot a campaign for a bowling alley company, working with a sports marketing agency, and so in between my corporate work and travels, I work with agencies for hospitality, sports and automotive industries. Working on set with director Shane Meadows was a great experience, as well as shooting the bands I loved since I was a kid from the press pit and back stage at rock festivals - a real pinch yourself moment. As I often photograph a lot of faces and people in my daily work, it is always nice to get a luxury hotel commission where it's all about the rooms and design, architecture and details and make for a pleasurable change of pace. I was born in Poland in 1977, at 2 months packed into basket and flown to Tunis as my father was a civil engineer and contracted out there for a few years. We then lived in Poland and France and then moved to the UK when I was a child and so travel is in my blood. Since then I have been lucky to visit so many amazing countries. I have never really had money to just go travel, but always seeked out jobs where I could see the world. I have spent time as a tour guide in South America, teaching English in Nepal and India, and more recently working as a tutor has taken me all over the world. I have been lucky enough to be able to balance seeing the world, with a family life and earning here in the UK. I don't shoot travel stock or go with any intent to produce a commercial library, but more to see the people, to document their lives, to capture a story, as I feel my travel images are much more personal stories and of a more editorial feel than commercial. This may all change as i shoot new projects and seek to follow my vision. It is still my dream to find a way to move more towards travel and editorial commissions but I am lucky to be able to make ends meet through a job that I love every day.
Polly Gaillard
United States
1965
Polly Gaillard is a fine art photographer, writer, and educator. She is part-time Professor of Art at Furman University and has taught photography workshops and college courses for more than ten years including summers abroad teaching American students in Prague, Czech Republic, and Cortona, Italy. Polly received a Master of Fine Arts in Visual Arts from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2010. She has exhibited her fine art photographs nationally and published a limited edition artist book, Pressure Points, with a foreword by actress Jamie Lee Curtis. Polly's photographic skills traverse contemporary art, documentary, portrait, and traditional photographic practices. She lives in Greenville, SC with her daughter. You, From a Distance Making portraits in a pandemic is challenging if you like to get closer than six feet to your subject. 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There are uncontrollable color shifts due to monitor calibrations; a moire pattern may appear because the screen is refreshing, and the perspective of the body can distort if the phone isn't perfectly parallel to the subject. I won't elaborate on how the highlights and shadows clip. The image noise and pixelation can drive you mad if you don't accept it as divine intervention. I find myself wanting to jump into the scene and move things and bodies, hold reflectors, close blinds, and refrain from making my subject do the heavy lifting. However, I sit behind the computer giving direction to "look to the right, chin down, eyes up, come closer to the camera" and then I embrace every technical flaw as if it's a gift. The power I have over the subject and the limitation I command over the image humbles me. The vulnerability I feel in putting these imperfect images into the world is tempered by the realization that we are all powerless in the face of this pandemic. You, From a Distance reflects the way I have experienced life during the Covid-19 pandemic- a personal feeling of distance and loss but with a desire to hold onto normalcy of making pictures, albeit without influence over the outcome. I am interested in these new ways of seeing each other and being together without being together - I look at you on my computer, in return, you look back at me through a phone or laptop while you can also see yourself in the frame. Who are we looking at - ourselves or others? The intersection of gazes is countless at times; it excites and confuses me. The process of looking and seeing divided by screens changes everything I have learned about image-making. The portraits become my memory of shared moments across time zones with distant faces; the four walls of my house expand into the space of others' homes. The intimacy I feel with the subject ironically is far greater than the portraits I make in-person in a time before social distance. 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Paul Strand
United States
1890 | † 1976
Paul Strand was born in New York City. As a teenager, he was a student of renowned documentary photographer Lewis Hine at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School. A visit to Gallery 291 (owned by Alfred Stieglitz) proved to be a strong influence on Strand, who began to take photographs of his own. He experimented with abstraction but also used his camera as a means to promote social reform. Alfred Stieglitz praised these early efforts and featured Strand's work in his gallery and in his magazine Camera Work. In the early 1920s, Strand began to work in motion pictures as well as still photography. In June 1949, Strand left the United States to present a film in Czechoslovakia, an event which marked the beginning of his self-imposed exile overseas due to the prevailing climate of McCarthyism in America. He settled in Orgeval, France and in the ensuing years photographed extensively, and also produced six book "portraits" of places: Time in New England (1950), La France de Profil (1952), Un Paese (1955), Tir a'Mhurain / Outer Hebrides (1962), Living Egypt (1969) and Ghana: An African Portrait (1976).Source: Robert Mann Gallery Strand married the painter Rebecca Salsbury on January 21, 1922. He photographed her frequently, sometimes in unusually intimate, closely cropped compositions. After divorcing Salsbury, Strand married Virginia Stevens in 1935. They divorced in 1949; he then married Hazel Kingsbury in 1951 and they remained married until his death in 1976. The timing of Strand's departure to France is coincident with the first libel trial of his friend Alger Hiss, with whom he maintained a correspondence until his death. Although he was never officially a member of the Communist Party, many of Strand's collaborators were either Party members (James Aldridge; Cesare Zavattini) or prominent socialist writers and activists (Basil Davidson). Many of his friends were also Communists or suspected of being so (Member of Parliament D. N. Pritt; film director Joseph Losey; Scottish poet Hugh MacDiarmid; actor Alex McCrindle). Strand was also closely involved with Frontier Films, one of more than 20 organizations that were identified as "subversive" and "un-American" by the US Attorney General. When he was asked by an interviewer why he decided to go to France, Strand began by noting that in America, at the time of his departure, "McCarthyism was becoming rife and poisoning the minds of an awful lot of people." During the 1950s, and owing to a printing process that was reportedly only available in that country at the time, Strand insisted that his books be printed in Leipzig, East Germany, even if it meant they were initially banned in the American market on account of their Communist provenance. Following Strand's move to Europe, it was later revealed in de-classified intelligence files, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and now preserved at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona, that he was closely monitored by security services.Source: Wikipedia
Li Zhensheng
China
1940
Li Zhensheng (born September 22, 1940) is a Chinese photojournalist who captured some of the most telling images from the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, better known as the Chinese Cultural Revolution. His employment at the Heilongjiang Daily, which followed the party line, and his decision to wear a red arm band indicating an alliance with Chairman Mao Zedong, allowed him access to scenes otherwise only described in written and verbal accounts. His recent publication of the book, Red-Color News Soldier exhibits both the revolutionary ideals and, more notably, many of the atrocities that occurred during the Cultural Revolution. The Heilongjiang Daily newspaper had a strict policy in accordance with a government dictate that only "positive" images could be published, which consisted mostly of smiling revolutionaries offering praise for Chairman Mao. The "negative" images, which depicted the atrocities of the time, were hidden beneath a floorboard in his house before he brought them to light at a photo exhibit in 1988. Early life Li Zhensheng was born to a poor family in Dalian, which is located in the northeastern province of Liaoning, China. At the time of his birth this was Kwantung Leased Territory, where Japan maintained the puppet regime, Manchukuo. His mother died when he was three, and his older brother, who was a member of the People's Liberation Army was killed during the Chinese Civil War. Zhensheng helped his father, who was a cook on a steamship and later as a farmer, until Zhensheng was 10-years-old. Zhensheng quickly rose to the top of his class despite starting school late. He later earned a spot at the Changchun Film School, where he acquired much of his photographic knowledge. In 1963, he briefly achieved a job at the Heilongjiang Daily, however the Socialist Education Movement soon intervened and he ended up back in the countryside for nearly two years, living with peasants and studying the works of Chairman Mao. Cultural Revolution Zhensheng returned to Harbin just months before the outbreak of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in the spring of 1966. A lack of photographic film, marauding Red Guards, and a political dictate against photographing the negative aspects of the revolution restricted what he was able to portray. He soon realized that only people wearing the red-colored arm band of the Red Guards could photograph without harassment. To achieve this, he founded his own small rebel group at the newspaper. Zhensheng then captured some of the most horrific acts of the Cultural Revolution. His collection includes photos depicting dehumanizing tactics used by the Red Guards to humiliate or degrade alleged counterrevolutionaries. Some of the images depict public displays of "denunciations," where the hair of prominent individuals is shaved. Other images show people bearing "dunce" hats; people with black paint spread over their faces; others wearing signs around their necks with writings that criticize their profession or names. Zhensheng also captured scenes of public executions of counterrevolutionaries who were never given a trial for their alleged crimes. At the height of the Cultural Revolution, Zhensheng was once more sent back to the countryside in September 1969. He was sent to the May 7th Cadre School in Liuhe, a labor camp where he and his wife, Zu Yingxia, spent two years performing hard labor. Zhensheng had taken meticulous care of the documented "negative" images he captured while at the newspaper, hiding them beneath a floorboard of his one-room apartment. The dry atmosphere and mild temperatures of Harbin aided the preservation of the photographic negatives. While he was sent away, Zhensheng entrusted a friend to care for the apartment, and instructed him to never reveal the secrets it contained. Zhensheng returned to the newspaper in 1972 as the head of the photography department, and later became a professor at Peking University in 1982. About Red-Color News Soldier Red-Color News Soldier is a literal translation of the Chinese characters written on the armband Li Zhensheng wore during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Although, he says he never gave his alliance to Chairman Mao, wearing the arm band gave him unprecedented access to historic events, which have since shaped Chinese culture. The book covers the period from just before the Cultural Revolution in 1965 to just after in 1976. It is separated into five chronological sections: 1964-1966 titled "It is right to rebel"; 1966 titled "Bombard the Headquarters"; 1966-1968 titled "The Red Sun in our hearts"; 1968-1972 titled "Revolution is not a dinner party"; and 1972-1974 titled "Die Fighting." The veteran China analyst John Gittings was among the reviewers who welcomed Li's book. He noted that Li was a Red Guard as well as a photographer and did not deny that he also led "struggle sessions" against innocent victims; but his pictures reflect a deeper desire to record and understand. Li's book was "unique" for a simple reason: "Although the post-Mao Chinese government has labeled the cultural revolution '10 years of chaos,' it still tries to suppress any real inquiry into the countless human tragedies it caused..." The book, which has not been published in China, took many years to publish. Zhensheng's "negative" pictures (those that depicted the atrocities of the cultural revolution) were first revealed publicly in March 1988 at a Chinese Press Association's photography competition in Beijing. The show, entitled "Let History Tell the Future" consisted of twenty images from his collection, which were deemed "counterrevolutionary. " In December of that year, Zhensheng met Robert Pledge, an American who was director of Contact Press Images, an international photo agency, who had come to Beijing. They agreed to work together on a book of Zhensheng's photos, but to wait until the political climate was right. Seven months later, in June 1989, the brutal events of Tiananmen Square made worldwide headlines, and Zhensheng became determined to produce a book to show the world the images from the Cultural Revolution. Work on the book began in 1999. Since Pledge did not speak Chinese, and Zhensheng did not speak English, the two had to coordinate work through the use of translators — many of whom became integral parts of their relationship. Zhensheng sent over 30,000 brown envelopes to Pledge's office in New York City, each containing photographic negatives. A number of the images are self-portraits of Zhensheng. This was the result of always returning to the paper with one extra frame on the film roll; a photojournalism technique of always being prepared to cover a breaking news event at the last minute. Zhensheng would "burn off" the last image with a photo of himself shortly before developing the film. Often the poses were humorous and playful. One such image of Zhensheng exposing his bare chest was published in the book He said he was attempting to recreate the old expression of "baring one's chest in the face of adversity," or in his case, communism. During book tours Zhensheng makes a point to speak of his love for China. He says while he disagrees with the government, he still loves his country and hopes democracy will perhaps prevail in the long-term future. He does not believe his images or the book should be considered anti-Chinese, rather a reminder of the painful past many countries endure during their evolution.Source: Wikipedia
Richard Murai
United States
1952
"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes." --Marcel Proust, 1923, La Prisonierre The world's sacred sites are visually rich and historically significant and provide sanctuary for spiritual reflection and creative exploration and discovery. They're striking archeological sites but first and foremost, they serve as vital and revered centers of pilgrimage, prayer and meditation. These images are excerpts of my visits to these sacred spaces and are evidence of an ongoing journey that examines intense spiritual devotion and religious fervor, past and present, within unique and distinctive cultures. They are multi-dimensional and compelling for both the photographer and the viewer and document golden ages of past millennia and cultures seeking to reconcile ancient traditions with conflicting modern values. Devotees seek serenity and escape from centuries of conquest and political upheaval, or the effects of poverty, global climate change and modernization. As we confront a perplexing, irrational and precarious world situation ongoing geo-political unrest and violence has caused fractious dissension and a difficult emotional time for all. Reluctance to accept diverse cultural, political, religious attitudes both here and abroad adds to the fear, cynicism and confusion. Becoming sensitive to unfamiliar cultures can quell much of this anxiety and may encourage tolerance and compassion. After transitioning from thirty-five rewarding years in photographic education, Richard lives in Monterey, CA, and continues to passionately pursue his creative artmaking. His ongoing fascination with world religion and culture has generated repeated visits to locations within India, Asia, South America, the Middle East, Russia and Europe. His work has been exhibited widely, has garnered awards from All About Photo, Center for Photographic Art, Spider Awards, and Travel Photographer of the Year, and have been featured in respected publications including B&W Magazine, Silver Shots International, Shots, Photographer's Forum and multiple issues of Lenswork print and special editions. His photographs are included in various private and corporate collections and is represented by the Weston Gallery, Carmel, CA
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