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Miina Savolainen
Miina Savolainen

Miina Savolainen

Country: Finland

Miina Savolainen is a community art oriented photographer and an art and social educator from Helsinki whose works deal social engagement. Alongside her artistic work she explores, teaches and develops the use of photography as a pedagogic and therapeutic method. Her work has resulted in the method of empowering photography. Miina Savolainen, her project The Loveliest Girl In The World and the method of empowering photography have received several awards in Finland. Miina Savolainen is a member of The Finnish Phototherapy Association and The Union of Artist Photographers.

Besides The Loveliest Girl in the World, Miina Savolainen is an instructor in a communal art project concerning fatherhood. For two years now, a group of amateur photographers have been preparing an exhibition on the theme of fatherhood to Helsinki Jugendhall for autumn 2007, using the method of empowering photography. She is currently working on a community art project involving intersexed and transgendered individuals.

The Loveliest Girl in the World is a community art project undertaken by photographer, art and social educator Miina Savolainen with ten girls from Hyvönen Children's Home. It has taken almost a decade to complete. The project is based on the idea of “empowerment” and the belief that everyone has the right to feel unique and special. The fairytale quality of the photographs reveals a truth often obscured by the rough and tumble of daily life - the person each young girl feels she really is inside. It allows the girls to regard themselves as strong and undamaged people. These photographs are deeply authentic, revealing the universal desire to be seen as good and valuable. “Photography can help to show people how they are treasured; how much they mean to me,” writes Miina Savolainen. “Accepting one's own portrait is a metaphor for accepting one’s own personality. During years the photographing has become an intimate and profound way to interact with the girls. This exceptional long-term relationship can be seen in the special kind of openness and intimacy of the photographs. Although the pictures in the series of the Loveliest Girl in the World are artificial and not from the everyday life they are bound to the tradition of realistic photography. The documentary quality of the pictures is multilayered. On one hand the pictures are documents of growing up, the young girls' personalities and dreams. On the other hand the pictures make certain features of the girls visible which cannot be seen in their everyday selves. The childhood of the young who have grown up in a Children's home includes a lot of feelings of being abandoned and of being invisible. It also includes the burden of other people's prejudices, the stigmatisation of being a Children's home resident. The fairytale-like pictures are juxtaposed with real life story that seldom had fairytale qualities. The pictures express sadness but also hope and desire to see oneself in a more gentle way. With the aid of the non-everyday world of the pictures the young have been allowed to be seen and to see themselves differently like never before. The girls do not see the pictures as role-playing. In the everyday life the girls may also lead “roles” which appear wrong and foreign to the girls. The pictures may show, for the first time, a side that the young person holds real and dear to herself, a picture that she wants to cherish in her mind. The Loveliest Girl in the World -pictures are extreme documents: they are pictures of a person’s inner identity. This inner side becomes visible and the deeper emotional “truth” can be reached by mixing the truth and the fiction. Every human being has an inviolable right to feel himself or herself special. The pictures are a proof of conclusiveness of the photograph, which is not only bound to what’s visible. The Loveliest Girl in the World doesn't portray the Children's home residents the way the people living in margins are usually portrayed. The pictures are also something else from the sexist way of how young women and girls are exhibited in today's public places. Above all the fairy-tale feeling of the pictures is metaphorical; it is a longing for a clean, innocent state of dreaming where you can see yourself as a whole and an ideal person, protected from the gaze and the expectations of other people. The series brings up questions on how the present visual culture makes one a part of the society. The pictures of the young in the Children's home tell stories of being a girl and being a human in general. The deepest content of the pictures, the need to be seen, is familiar to anyone. The attempt to learn to see oneself in a more gentle way is especially addressing in our time where people are surrounded by the endless requirements from different fields of life. The Loveliest Girl in the World exhibitions have prompted the public to think about the capacity of the photograph to influence on societal and personal levels. From the point of view of photography the project also raises questions about the author and ethics. This project could be seen as community photography. It includes the models not only in the creation of the photographs but also in the selection of the exhibited pictures.

The project, its accompanying exhibition and Miina Savolainen has been awarded the Spotlight of the Year 2003 special prize of the jury, the Vision of the Year award 2004, Duodecim Finnish Medical Association’s 2005 Cultural Award, the Young Photographer of the Year award 2005 and the State Award for Children´s Culture 2006. Patricia Seppälä Foundation, the Finnish Cultural Foundation, Finnfoto and the City of Helsinki have supported the production.
 

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Alicia Moneva
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Esther Bubley
United States
1921 | † 1998
Esther Bubley was an American photographer who specialized in expressive photos of ordinary people in their everyday life. She worked for several agencies of the American government and her work was also featured in multiple news and photographic magazines. Bubley was born in Phillips, Wisconsin, the fourth of five children of Russian Jewish immigrants Louis and Ida Bubley. In 1936, while Esther was a senior at Central High School in Superior, Wisconsin, the photo magazine Life first hit the newsstands. Inspired by the magazine, and particularly by the pictures of the Great Depression produced by the Farm Security Administration, she developed a passion for photojournalism and documentary photography. As editor-in-chief of the yearbook, she sought to emulate the style of Life. 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She began working for the Children's Bureau, a federal child welfare agency. Over the next several years, she contributed thousands of images to their files, and her work appeared on more than thirty covers of their journal The Child. In 1949, Bubley's photo essay on mental illness for the Ladies' Home Journal was given the first place award for a feature in the Encyclopædia Britannica/University of Missouri School of Journalism contest, winning Bubley a second set of the Encyclopedia. She continued working for the Ladies' Home Journal, producing a dozen photo stories for their celebrated series "How America Lives," which ran intermittently between 1948 and 1960. In 1951, Bubley began to freelance for Life, eventually contributing 40 photo stories, including two cover stories. Bubley was one of the first women to successfully support herself by working as a freelance photographer for major magazines. In 1951, she also produced a series on the Pittsburgh Children's Hospital for Stryker, who was then establishing the Pittsburgh Photographic Library. Edward Steichen, Directory of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), used 13 prints from this series in the 1952 exhibition Diogenese with a Camera. He also mounted and displayed her contact sheets to show how she used every frame. This series led to medical themes becoming a major part of her portfolio. In 1953, she was hired by UNICEF and the French government to travel to Morocco to photograph a program to treat trachoma, an infectious disease that causes blindness. Bubley entered a photo from this assignment in the international division of a contest sponsored by Photography magazine in 1954. She became the first woman to win first place, and she received a trophy depicting a male photographer. In 1955, Steichen included her work in his monumental The Family of Man exhibition. A year later, Pepsi-Cola International hired Bubley to cover Latin America for their company magazine Panorama. In the mid-1960s, Pan American World Airways sent her around the world twice to make images for their corporate photographic library. In the late 1960s, Bubley reduced her workload as sales of photographic magazines declined, and she wearied off the grueling travel schedule. She spent more time at home in New York City where she pursued projects of personal interest, producing two children's books about animals and a book featuring macro photography of plants. A devoted animal lover, she spent her mornings in Central Park walking her dog, taking photographs, and making notes that she hoped to turn into a book about the park. In 1991 the Minneapolis College of Art and Design awarded Bubley an honorary doctorate. She died in New York City, of cancer, on March 16, 1998. In 2001 a retrospective exhibition of Bubley's work appeared at the UBS Art Gallery in New York City. In 2005 Aperture Foundation published a monograph about Bubley, Esther Bubley: On Assignment by photographic historian Bonnie Yochelson with Tracy A. Schmid, archivist for the Bubley Estate. In 2010, the Library of Congress published the monograph Fields of Vision: The Photographs of Esther Bubley.Source: Wikipedia
Doris Ulmann
United States
1882 | † 1934
Doris Ulmann was an American photographer, best known for her portraits of the people of Appalachia, particularly craftsmen and musicians, made between 1928 and 1934. Doris Ulmann was a native of New York City, the daughter of Bernhard and Gertrude (Mass) Ulmann. Educated at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School, a socially liberal organization that championed individual worth regardless of ethnic background or economic condition and Columbia University, she intended to become a teacher of psychology. Her interest in photography was at first a hobby but after 1918 she devoted herself to the art professionally. She practiced Pictorialism and was a member of the Pictorial Photographers of America. Ulmann documented the rural people of the South, particularly the mountain peoples of Appalachia and the Gullahs of the Sea Islands, with a profound respect for her sitters and an ethnographer's eye for culture. Ulmann was trained as a pictorialist and graduated from the Clarence H. White School of Modern Photography. Other students of the school who went on to become notable photographers include Margaret Bourke-White, Anne Brigman, Dorothea Lange, Paul Outerbridge, and Karl Struss. Her work was exhibited in various New York galleries, and published in Theatre Arts Monthly, Mentor, Scribner's Magazine, and Survey Graphic. Ulmann was married for a time to Dr. Charles H. Jaeger, a fellow Pictorialist photographer and an orthopedic surgeon on the staff of Columbia University Medical School and a likely connection for her 1920 Hoeber publication The Faculty of the College of Physicians & Surgeons, Columbia University in the City of New York: Twenty-Four Portraits. This was followed in 1922 by the publication of her Book of Portraits of the Medical Faculty of the Johns Hopkins University; the 1925 A Portrait Gallery of American Editors, and in 1933, Roll, Jordan Roll, the text by Julia Peterkin. The fine art edition of Roll, Jordan Roll is considered to be one of the more beautiful books ever produced. In an interview with Dale Warren of Bookman, Doris Ulmann referred to her particular interest in portraits. "The faces of men and women in the street are probably as interesting as literary faces, but my particular human angle leads me to men and women who write. I am not interested exclusively in literary faces, because I have been more deeply moved by some of my mountaineers than by any literary person. A face that has the marks of having lived intensely, that expresses some phase of life, some dominant quality or intellectual power, constitutes for me an interesting face. For this reason the face of an older person, perhaps not beautiful in the strictest sense, is usually more appealing than the face of a younger person who has scarcely been touched by life." Ulmann's early work includes a series of portraits of prominent intellectuals, artists and writers: William Butler Yeats, John Dewey, Max Eastman, Sinclair Lewis, Lewis Mumford, Joseph Wood Krutch, Martha Graham, Anna Pavlova, Paul Robeson, and Lillian Gish. From 1927, Ulmann was assisted on her rural travels by John Jacob Niles, a musician and folklorist who collected ballads while Ulmann photographed. In 1932 Ulmann began her most important series, assembling documentation of Appalachian folk arts and crafts for Allen Eaton's landmark 1937 book, Handicrafts of the Southern Highlands. In failing health, she collapsed in August 1934 while working near Asheville, North Carolina, and returned to New York. Ulmann died August 28, 1934. Upon Ulmann's death, a foundation she had established took custody of her images. Allen Eaton, John Jacob Niles, Olive Dame Campbell (of the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina), Ulmann's brother-in-law Henry L. Necarsulmer, and Berea schoolteacher Helen Dingman were named trustees. Samuel H. Lifshey, a New York commercial photographer, developed the negatives Ulmann had exposed during her final trip, and then made proof prints from the vast archive of more than 10,000 glass plate negatives. (Lifshey also developed the 2,000 exposed negatives from Ulmann's last expedition, and produced the prints for Eaton's book.) The proof prints were mounted into albums, which were annotated by John Jacob Niles and Allen Eaton, chair of the foundation and another noted folklorist, to indicate names of the sitters and dates of capture. The Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia organized a major retrospective of her work in 2018 and published the largest book on her work to date. The Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division holds more than 150 photographic prints by Ulmann.Source: Wikipedia
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