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Isa Leshko
Isa Leshko
Isa Leshko

Isa Leshko

Country: United States
Birth: 1971

Isa Leshko is a fine art photographer living in Philadelphia, PA. She has had solo exhibitions at the Corden|Potts Gallery, the Galveston Arts Center, the Griffin Museum of Photography, the Houston Center for Photography, the Silver Eye Center for Photography, and the Richard Levy Gallery. Her prints are in numerous private and public collections including the Boston Public Library, the Harry Ransom Center, Haverford College, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Her images have been published in print and/or online editions of The Atlantic, The Boston Globe, Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, The Guardian, Harper’s Magazine, The New York Times, Photo District News and Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin.

In 2012, Isa received both the Houston Center for Photography Fellowship and the Silver Eye Center for Photography Keystone Award for her Elderly Animals project. She was nominated for the 2011 Santa Fe Prize for Photography and was named a finalist for the 2011 New Orleans Photo Alliance Clarence John Laughlin Award.

Isa grew up in Carteret, NJ and received her BA from Haverford College, where she studied cognitive psychology and neurobiology. She spent the 1990s working for dot.com startups as a project manager and software engineer before she discovered her passion for photography. She has lived in Houston, TX, Salem, MA and Providence, RI.
 

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Matthew Portch
United Kingdom
1970
I was born and raised in Bristol, England through the '70s and '80s in a typical suburb. As a child, television and movies were my favourite distraction, especially anything from the United States. The backdrop of the North American scenery felt like an exotic antidote to the humdrum of the English city suburbs and countryside. I was a keen illustrator spending hours pouring over the minutia of the subject matter. I wanted my drawings to feel as close to reality as possible. This work saw me enrolled in college at a young age where I studied Photography and Graphic Design. Drawing on my childhood memories, the visuals of the American landscape remained a major influence on my photography. I became inspired by North American photographers of the '60s and '70s who were prevalent in using large format film. This laborious system of capture enhanced these seemingly ordinary looking street scenes and vistas with fastidious detail. I discovered a more modern process in the form of a technical camera, digital back, and precision optics, then proceeded to cast my own journey. I like my pictures to be aesthetically simple, clean and graphic, which resonates with my background in design. I prefer the images to retain an air of perplexity, so keeping them free of people and any notable present-day object helps suspend them in a moment in time. As with most large format photography techniques, when I photograph a scene I capture everything across the frame in complete focus. This can lend a heightened sense of reality. Given each picture is deliberately simple and mundane – the detail of the capture is just as important as the subject matter and becomes a character of the image in itself. I use the full size of the sensor and prefer not to crop. Restricting myself to this discipline is almost a digital reverence to large format film. My creative vision is to capture a calm and melancholic disposition in the landscape and create a scene of discernible simplicity to evoke an emotional and response from within. About Lost America Lost America examines a quiet stillness in a forgotten landscape that is, in a sense: 'on-pause'. Backwater towns and rural corners are juxtaposed with the ambiguity of detached suburbia. Places appear frozen in time, their inhabitants absent or long since departed. Ardently stagnant in their appearance, the images aim to unlock a moment of reflective contemplation and instil a melancholic feeling of familiarity. One might not notice or acknowledge these spaces, especially when viewed within the vast stretch of America's panorama. Yet, when framed as a single vignette, the places can appear to echo a moment of mournful reverie. Or, for some, they might behold an alluringly sombre, everlasting impression.
Debbie Miracolo
United States
1953
Debbie Miracolo is a photo-based artist interested in transition and passage of time. A former graphic designer with a fine art education, she creates inventive images with a sharp attention to detail and composition, often with a generous sprinkling of emotion and whimsy. She attributes her outlook to memories of an introverted childhood infused with make-believe worlds and storybooks. By transforming rather than documenting truth, her interpretations of humanity, nature, and train travel serve as seductive invitations to linger, question, and weave a story of one's own. Growing up as an only child in a home with her European parents and grandmother made her childhood reality different from that of her friends. She was introverted, shy, and intimidated by the world around her, but found that creating art alleviated some of the loneliness she felt and helped her to express her feelings. By the time she finished high school she had become skilled at drawing and painting. At Rochester Institute of Technology she earned a BFA, studying printmaking, photography, and art history, and later moved to New York City to pursue her artistic dreams. There she began a 15-year career as a graphic designer in the busy publishing and advertising industries. With the birth of her two sons and subsequent move to a Victorian house in a suburban New York town, she shifted all of her energy, diving into motherhood, and for several years the creative spirit within her lay patiently dormant. As most artists know however, that spirit never truly leaves, and as her children approached adolescence she could sense it regaining strength. Feeling drawn to photography once again, Debbie made the decision to revisit the medium as an art form. She began taking classes and workshops at the International Center of Photography, gaining mastery of the craft and honing her own personal vision. From there, there was no turning back, and she has been making and focusing on her art ever since. Debbie's work has been published, notably on the cover of Geo Wissen Magazine and most recently, in F-Stop Magazine. Her images have been exhibited in a number of galleries in New York City, Boston, St. Petersburg, Fl. and Middlebury, Vt. as well as online media. About Imagined Moments from the Porch "It was a bewildering, absurd world I found myself in during the first chaotic months of the Covid-19 outbreak. Through incongruous juxtapositions, metaphor and a bit of whimsy, these photo composites of my neighbors portray the surreal, confused and off-kilter feeling I had then, and which still lingers today. With many of us sheltering in place, pedestrian traffic had increased remarkably in my quiet town. People paraded by on the street, some of whom I'd never seen before; young and old, parents with children, and more and more dogs as the weeks went by. I began to photograph what I observed from the steps of my front porch and, over a period of four spring and summer months, the project evolved. The idea to reconstruct the photographs came to me when I needed to switch out a person, and with that one manipulation, it became clear that I would take the series in a more imaginative direction. As the virus numbers increased and the news became more alarming by the day, I digitally rearranged my characters in more unlikely ways. It was as if my wish to change reality and my doubts about what to believe were coming through in my images. Imagined Moments from the Porch is a kind of theatrical narrative made up of fictional scenes I compose to depict my off-beat version of these dark, confusing, and upside-down days." -- Debbie Miracolo
James Van Der Zee
United States
1886 | † 1983
James Van Der Zee was an American photographer best known for his portraits of black New Yorkers. He was a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Aside from the artistic merits of his work, Van Der Zee produced the most comprehensive documentation of the period. Among his most famous subjects during this time were Marcus Garvey, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson and Countee Cullen. Born in Lenox, Massachusetts, Van Der Zee demonstrated an early gift for music and was initially aspired to a career as a professional violinist. Van Der Zee's second interest was in photography. He bought his first camera when he was a teenager, and improvised a darkroom in his parents' home. He took hundreds of photographs of his family as well as his hometown of Lenox. Van Der Zee was one of the first people to provide early documentation of his community life in small-town New England. In 1906, he moved with his father and brother to Harlem in New York City, where he worked as a waiter and elevator operator. By now Van Der Zee was a skilled pianist and aspiring professional violinist. He would become the primary creator and one of the five performers in a group known as the Harlem Orchestra. In March 1907, Van Der Zee married Kate L. Brown and they moved back to Lenox to have their daughter, Rachel, born in September. Soon after, they moved to Phoebus, Virginia. In 1908, their son, Emile, was born but died within a year from pneumonia. In 1915, he moved to Newark, New Jersey, where he took a job in a portrait studio, first as a darkroom assistant and then as a portraitist. That same year, he converted to Catholicism and began taking assignments from the Church. He returned to Harlem the following year, just as large numbers of Black immigrants and migrants were arriving in that part of the city. He set up a studio at the Toussaint Conservatory of Art and Music with his sister, Jennie Louise Van de Zee, also known as Madame E Toussaint, who had founded the conservatory in 1911. In 1916, Van Der Zee and Gaynella Greenlee launched the Guarantee Photo Studio on West 125th Street in Harlem. They married in 1918. His business boomed during World War I, and the portraits he shot from this period until 1945 have demanded the majority of critical attention. In 1919, he photographed the victory parade of the returning 369th Infantry Regiment, a predominantly African American unit sometimes called the "Harlem Hellfighters." During the 1920s and 1930s, he produced hundreds of photographs recording Harlem's growing middle class. Its residents entrusted the visual documentation of their weddings, funerals, celebrities and sports stars, and social life to his carefully composed images. Quickly Van Der Zee became the most successful photographer in Harlem. Among his many renowned subjects were poet Countee Cullen, dancer Bill ("Bojangles") Robinson, Charles M. "Daddy" Grace, Joe Louis, Florence Mills, and black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey. By the early 1930s, Van Der Zee found it harder to make an income from his work in photography, partly because of the strained economic circumstances of many of his customers and partly because the growing popularity of personal cameras reduced the need for professional photography. Van Der Zee worked predominantly in the studio and used a variety of props, including architectural elements, backdrops, and costumes, to achieve stylized tableaux vivant in keeping with late Victorian and Edwardian visual traditions. Sitters often copied celebrities of the 1920s and 1930s in their poses and expressions, and he retouched negatives and prints heavily to achieve an aura of glamour. He also created funeral photographs between the wars. These works were later collected in The Harlem Book of the Dead (1978), with a foreword by Toni Morrison. In 1982, at age 96, Van Der Zee photographed 21-year-old painter Jean-Michel Basquiat for the January 1983 issue of Interview magazine. Van Der Zee died in Washington, D.C. on May 15, 1983. Ten years later the National Portrait Gallery exhibited his work as a posthumous tribute. In 1984 Van Der Zee was inducted into the International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum. It’s a hard job to get the camera to see it like you see it. Sometimes you have it just the way you want it, and then you look in the camera and you don’t have the balance. The main thing is to get the camera to see it the way you see it. -- James Van Der Zee Works by Van Der Zee are artistic as well as technically proficient. His work was in high demand, in part due to his experimentation and skill in double exposures and in retouching negatives of children. One theme that recurs in his photographs was the emergent black middle class, which he captured using traditional techniques in often idealistic images. Negatives were retouched to show glamor and an aura of perfection. This affected the likeness of the person photographed, but he felt each photo should transcend the subject. His carefully posed family portraits reveal that the family unit was an important aspect of Van Der Zee's life. "I tried to see that every picture was better-looking than the person ... I had one woman come to me and say 'Mr. VanDerZee my friends tell that's a nice picture, but it doesn't look like you.' That was my style", said VanDerZee. Van Der Zee sometimes combined several photos in one image, for example by adding a ghostly child to an image of a wedding to suggest the couple's future, or by superimposing a funeral image upon a photograph of a dead woman to give the feeling of her eerie presence. Van Der Zee said, "I wanted to make the camera take what I thought should be there." Van Der Zee was a working photographer who supported himself through portraiture, and he devoted time to his professional work before his more artistic compositions. Many famous residents of Harlem were among his subjects. In addition to portraits, Van Der Zee photographed organizations, events, and other businesses.Source: Wikipedia
Carlos Javier Ortiz
United States
Carlos Javier is a director, cinematographer and documentary photographer who focuses on urban life, gun violence, racism, poverty and marginalized communities. In 2016, Carlos received a Guggenheim Fellowship for film/video. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in a variety of venues including the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; the Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts; the International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, NY; the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago; the Detroit Institute of Arts; and the Library of Congress. In addition, his photos were used to illustrate Ta-Nehisi Coates' The Case for Reparations (2014) article, which was the best selling issue in the history of the Atlantic Magazine. His photos have also been published in The New Yorker, Mother Jones, among many others. He is represented by the Karen Jenkins-Johnson Gallery in San Francisco. His film, We All We Got, uses images and sounds to convey a community's deep sense of loss and resilience in the face of gun violence. We All We Got has been screened at the Tribeca Film Festival, Los Angeles International Film Festival, St. Louis International Film Festival, CURRENTS Santa Fe International New Media Festival, and the Athens International Film + Video Festival. Carlos' current project is series of short films chronicling the contemporary stories of Black Americans who came to the North during the Great Migration. Beginning with his mother-in-law's story, Carlos is exploring the legacy of the Great Migration a century after it began. For Carlos, who moved back and forth between Puerto Rico and the U.S. mainland as a child, the story of a displaced people in search of stability and economic opportunity resonates with his own. Carlos' work has been supported by many organizations including: the University of Chicago Black Metropolis Research Consortium Short-term Fellowship (2015); the Economic Hardship Reporting Project (2015); the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting (2013); the California Endowment National Health Journalism Fellowship (2012); the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation (2011); Open Society Institute Audience Engagement Grant (2011); and the Illinois Arts Council Artist Fellowship Award (2011). In addition to his photography and film, Carlos Javier has taught at Northwestern University and the University of California, Berkeley. He lives in Chicago and Oakland with his wife and frequent collaborator, Tina K. Sacks, a professor of social welfare at the University of California, Berkeley.
Thomas Wrede
Germany
1963
Thomas Wrede was born in 1963 in Iserlohn (Germany). He studied Fine Art in Muenster and Berlin. From 1998 until 2005 he taught photography at the Kunstakademie Muenster. During the last few years numerous exhibitions presented his works in- and outside of Germany. Particularly, the solo exhibitions at the Museum Kunst der Westkueste, Alkersum (2010), the Kunsthalle Bielefeld (2010) and at the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Koeln (2007) and the following group exhibitions should be mentioned: at the National Museum for History and Art, Luxembourg (2013), the Seoul Museum of Art, South Korea (2011) and the Art Museum, Wuhan, China (2009). Since 1998 Wrede has shown his works in several galeries of the United States (New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles). Wrede's photographs have also been placed in these major art collections: Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Landesmuseum Muenster, The West Collection Philadelphia, Kunst-am-Bau-projects in Berlin for the German State, UBS Zuerich & Lucerne, DZ-Bank Frankfurt. The artist won some important awards, among others the Karl-Hofer-Preis of the Hochschule der Kuenste Berlin. Thomas Wrede published all photographic series in several nice books. About Real Landscape Thomas Wrede already counts as an established position to the Duesseldorf photography scene. His large-format, quiet, but also dramatic landscape photographs fascinate in a particular way, as the observer immediately feels himself confronted with all the facets of human existence. Idyll and catastrophe, longing and debacle form the fine line of atmospheres which through Wrede's complex direction have a thought-provoking effect. Scenic cloud formations or glistening sunsets at the horizon blur the boundaries further. The point of origin of his photographic works is time and again the longing for nature. Wrede thereby utilizes in his 'Real Landscapes'-series requisites from model railways, placing miniature houses and trees into real nature – at the beach, into the snow or in a nearby puddle. Yet, only a small excerpt of nature measuring at most a few steps in circumference is of concern. The observer's perception is thus set on the wrong track because in the photograph the whole setting is perceived in line with the size of the trees and houses. The illusion, generated through the inconsistencies and discrepancies of the proportions, is the result of Wrede's skilful use of his analogue plate camera with wide angle – he interferes with scales and reduces distances. A puddle thereby becomes a lake, a pile of snow turns into snowcapped mountain ranges and a few centimetres of even sand become a milelong beach. (from the Press Release by Beck & Eggeling)
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