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Zanele Muholi
Zanele Muholi

Zanele Muholi

Country: South Africa
Birth: 1972

Zanele Muholi was born in Umlazi, Durban, in 1972. She completed an Advanced Photography course at the Market Photo Workshop in Newtown and held her first solo exhibition at the Johannesburg Art Gallery in 2004.

She has worked as a community relations officer for the Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW), a black lesbian organisation based in Gauteng, and as a photographer and reporter for Behind the Mask, an online magazine on lesbian and gay issues in Africa. Her work represents the black female body in a frank yet intimate way that challenges the history of the portrayal of black women's bodies in documentary photography.

Her solo exhibition Only half the picture, which showed at Michael Stevenson in March 2006, travelled to the Market Photo Workshop in Johannesburg and the Afrovibes Festival in Amsterdam.

In 2008 she had a solo show at Le Case d'Arte, Milan, and in 2009 she exhibited alongside Lucy Azubuike at the CCA Lagos, Nigeria.

She was the recipient of the 2005 Tollman Award for the Visual Arts, the first BHP Billiton/Wits University Visual Arts Fellowship in 2006, and was the 2009 Ida Ely Rubin Artist-in-Residence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).



Muholi's photography has been compared to the way W.E.B. DuBois subverted the typical representations of African Americans. Both Muholi and Du Bois have created an archive of photos, working to dismantle dominant, pre-existing perceptions of the subjects they chose to photograph. Muholi views their work as collaborative, referring to the individuals they photograph as "participants" rather than as subjects. Seeking to empower their subjects, Muholi often invites participants to speak at events and exhibitions, adding the participant's voice to the conversation. Through their artistic approach they hope to document the journey of the African queer community as a record for future generations. They try to capture the moment without negativity or focusing on the prevalent violence, portraying the LGBTQI community as individuals and as a whole to encourage unity. Thus, their work can be considered documentative, recording the overall community LGBTI of South Africa and their challenges, and at times, more specifically the struggle of black lesbians.

Before 1994, black lesbian voices were excluded from the making of a formal queer movement. Muholi's efforts of creating a more positive visualization of LGBTI Africans combats the homophobic-motivated violence that is prevalent in South Africa today, especially in the case of black lesbians. While black women's bodies appear frequently throughout sexualized pop-culture, black lesbians are viewed (through the lens of the patriarchy and heteronormativity) as undesirable. This negative view of homosexuals in Africa lead to violence, such as murder and rape, and rejection from their families. Muholi's Zukiswa (2010), shows an African lesbian woman making eye contact with the viewer, displaying an unwavering gaze of confidence, self-awareness, and determination. This example encourages awareness, acceptance, and positivity with the queer community as well as South Africa.

Although Muholi became known as a photographer who engaged with the then-invisible lives of black lesbians in South Africa, they began to recognize this idea of "gender within gender." In 2003, and their sense of community definitively began to include trans people. Muholi was employed as a photographer and reporter for Behind the Mask, an online magazine on LGBTI issues in Africa.

Muholi first received global attention from the art world in 2012 at Documenta, a world-famous exhibition of modern and contemporary art in (Germany), for a series of portraits of lesbians and transgender participants titled: Faces and Phases. The photos were also exhibited at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.

Source: Wikipedia


 

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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. 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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
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He also takes part in longer-term projects, such as his So far from God, too close to the USA series, which focused on the impact of violence from the war between drug cartels in Mexico. Sessini reveals that although each visit to a conflict zone has been challenging – with the time he spent in Syria in 2012 being particularly notable for how tough it was, both emotionally and in terms of danger – it has been the stories that he has followed in Mexico that have been most emotionally involving. So far from God, too close to the USA received a number of awards and was published in a book, The Wrong Side, in 2012. Since 2014, Jérôme Sessini has been regularly covering the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Jérôme's work has also been published in distinguished publications such as Time, De Standaard, Le Monde and Stern, and he has exhibited at the Visa pour l'Image International Festival of Photojournalism in Perpignan, France, at the Rencontres d'Arles festival, and the French Ministry of Culture. His photographs are more than photojournalism, as he is keen to point out: "I don't like rigid categories. Sometimes there is art in journalism and journalism in art. Conscience, heart, beauty, balance and loss of balance are essentials for me." Jérôme Sessini has also been nominated for a number of prestigious awards throughout his career, including the news category of the Visa d'Or awards for his work on Libya. His coverage of the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was taken out of the sky by a surface-to-air missile over the Ukraine in July 2014, saw him receive honours at the World Press Photo Awards 2015 (first prize, Spot News, Stories) and The Olivier Rebbot Award from the Overseas Press Club of America. Remarkably, Jérôme also won second prize in the same category at the World Press Photo Awards 2015 for his harrowing Final Fight for Maidan image. Sessini believes in the strength of photographs more than video when it comes to pricking the conscience of people, and he has led workshops designed to help a new generation of photographers to develop their own visual language for documentary and social photography.Source: Canon Europe Jérôme Sessini is one the world’s most prolific and respected names working in the sensitive field of conflict zones and has been dispatched to war-torn countries like Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Libya for international publications. As well as reporting on the frontlines, he has covered social issues such as the drug-related violence on the streets of Mexico, the anti-government protests in Ukraine and indigenous minorities in Cambodia facing forced eviction. Through his work, he is constantly learning, adapting and evolving. Since 2018, Sessini has been documenting the opioid crisis in the United States, where he has travelled to Ohio and Philadelphia to create intimate portraits of the people and places ravages by drug misuse. In 2017, Sessini travelled to remote villages in Cambodia with Samrith Vaing, documenting the life of indigenous minorities facing forced eviction. In 2016, Sessini documented the Kurdish Peshmerga offensive against Islamic State (IS) in the city of Bashiq before crossing the region to cover Iraqi forces pushing towards Mosul. His work has been published by prestigious newspapers and magazines, including Newsweek, Stern, Paris-Match as well as Le Monde and the Wall Street Journal. It has been shown in multiple solo exhibitions around the world including the Visa Photo Festival in Perpignan, at the Rencontres d’Arles, the Bibliothèque Nationale François-Mitterrand, as well as with the French Ministry of Culture. Sessini become Magnum Photos nominee in 2012 and a full member in 2016.Source: Magnum Photos
Oliver Stegmann
Switzerland
1970
I was born in 1970 in Basel, Switzerland. Since my late teen years, photography has become a key medium for me to express myself. Professionally, however, I took a different path, studying economics and now working in a management position. I'm married and a father of two lovely daughters. On many trips to different continents, I have continuously worked on improving my skills as a photographer and on developing my own visual language. I participated in various workshops of well-known photographers such as Mary Ellen Mark, Anders Petersen or Ernesto Bazan. Until 2007 I photographed exclusively with black-and-white film and made all prints in my own darkroom. In 2005, I started scanning the negatives, editing them in Photoshop and creating fine art prints. Two years later, I started to use also digital cameras. My long-term project on circuses behind the scenes is planned to be published as a photo book in 2021. My other on-going personal project is to document the childhood years of my children. Statement I love music, but I have never played an instrument. So the camera has become the "instrument" for my creative work: I compose images instead of songs. I prefer black and white photography because leaving out the colors, the way we usually see the world, directs the viewer's eye to the essence of the image. I have always had a passion for observing people. Their emotions, facial expressions, interactions, activities and personal moments inspire me. Photographing people is a way to communicate with them, to capture perhaps just a fraction of their lives. A powerful photograph becomes a true gift of the moment when it manages to capture some sort of mystery or magic. My photos are meant to transport the viewer into a world less known to them, perhaps reminding them of experiences long past or leading them mentally into a possible future. With my photos I do not want to tell everything, but deliberately suggest unanswerable behind what is shown.
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My new book STAR STRUCK focuses on the people and places of Hollywood Boulevard. Soon after I moved to Los Angeles in the '70s, I started shooting there. I was working at Capital Records, just a block and a half away, as a one of four art directors. At lunchtime, we would go out to eat at the Brown Derby, Musso, and Franks, or some other local restaurant, and I got to observe all the activity that was occurring on Hollywood Boulevard. It was amazing and it was fun, even though the location was ''on the turn''.
Exclusive Interview with Elaine Mayes
In The Haight-Ashbury Portraits, 1967-1968 (published by Damiani) during the waning days of the Summer of Love, Elaine Mayes embarked on a set of portraits of youth culture in her neighborhood. Mayes was a young photographer living in San Francisco during the 1960s. She had photographed the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and, later that year the hippie movement had turned from euphoria to harder drugs, and the Haight had become less of a blissed-out haven for young people seeking a better way of life than a halfway house for runaway teens.
Exclusive Interview with Theophilus Donoghue
A new release, Seventy-thirty (published by Damiani) depicts humanity's various faces and expressions, from metropolitans to migrants, unseen homeless to celebrities such as Robert De Niro, Muhammad Ali, Rene Magritte, Janis Joplin, and Andy Warhol. Steve Schapiro photographs early New York skateboarders while Theophilus Donoghue documents current Colombian breakdancers. Alternately profound and playful, father and son's photographs capture a vast range of human emotions and experiences. For this project, Schapiro selected images from the 60s civil rights movement and, with Donoghue, provided photos from today's Black Lives Matter protests and environmental rallies.
Exlusive Interview with Jessica Todd Harper about her Book Here
Like 17th-century Dutch painters who made otherwise ordinary interior scenes appear charged with meaning, Pennsylvania-based photographer Jessica Todd Harper looks for the value in everyday moments. Her third monograph Here (Published by Damiani) makes use of what is right in front of the artist, Harper shows how our unexamined or even seemingly dull surroundings can sometimes be illuminating
Exclusive Interview with Roger Ballen about his Book Boyhood
In Boyhood (published by Damiani) Roger Ballen's photographs and stories leads us across the continents of Europe, Asia and North America in search of boyhood: boyhood as it is lived in the Himalayas of Nepal, the islands of Indonesia, the provinces of China, the streets of America. Each stunning black-and-white photograph-culled from 15,000 images shot during Ballen's four-year quest-depicts the magic of adolescence revealed in their games, their adventures, their dreams, their Mischief. More of an ode than a documentary work, Ballen's first book is as powerful and current today as it was 43 years ago-a stunning series of timeless images that transcend social and cultural particularities.
Exclusive Interview with Kim Watson
A multi-dimensional artist with decades of experience, Kim Watson has written, filmed, and photographed subjects ranging from the iconic entertainers of our time to the ''invisible'' people of marginalized communities. A highly influential director in music videos' early days, Watson has directed Grammy winners, shot in uniquely remote locations, and written across genres that include advertising, feature films for Hollywood studios such as Universal (Honey), MTV Films, and Warner Brothers, and publishers such as Simon & Schuster. His passionate marriage of art and social justice has been a life-long endeavor, and, in 2020, after consulting on Engagement & Impact for ITVS/PBS, Kim returned to the streets to create TRESPASS, documenting the images and stories of LA's unhoused. TRESPASS exhibited at The BAG (Bestor Architecture Gallery) in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, September 17, 2022 – October 11, 2022.
Exclusive Interview with Julia Dean, Founder of the L.A. Project
Julia Dean, Founder of the Los Angeles Center of Photography, and its executive director for twenty-two years, began The L.A. Project in 2021. A native Nebraskan, Julia has long sought to create a special project where love for her adopted L.A., and her passion for documentary photography can be shared on a grander scale.
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