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Georgi Zelma
Georgi Zelma

Georgi Zelma

Country: Russia
Birth: 1906 | Death: 1984

Georgi Zelma (1906-1984) is best known for his photographs of Central Asia in the 1920s, of major industrial projects in the early days of the Soviet Union, and of World War II (especially the Battle of Stalingrad). Zelma was a major contributor to the Constructivist photography movement through the 1920s and 30s, working alongside such masters as Aleksandr Rodchenko, El Lissitzky and Boris Ignatovich.

Source: Nailya Alexander Gallery


Georgi Zelma was born in Tashkent in 1906. The family moved to Moscow in 1921 and Zelma eventually found work at the Proletkino film studios. Later he joined the Russfoto Agency and from 1924 to 1927 was their correspondent in Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Central Asia. A large number of his photographs appeared in Pravda. Zelma served in the Red Army (1927-29) before working briefly in Tashkent. In 1930 Zelma joined Souizfoto Agency and his assignments included taking photographs of collective farms and military exercises. His pictures often appeared in the propaganda magazine, USSR in Construction. During the Second World War Zelma worked for Izvestia and took photographs in Moldova, Odessa and the Ukraine. He also covered the battle of Stalingrad.

Source: Spartacus Educational


Born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in 1906, Georgii Anatolevich Zelma moved to Moscow with his family in 1921, where he began taking pictures with an old 9 x 12 Kodak camera. His first experiences as a photographer took place at the Proletkino film studios and during theater repetitions for the magazine Teatr. He soon joined the Russfoto agency. From 1924 to 1927, he returned to his homeland as a correspondent for Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Central Asia in order to document Islamic culture being reformed by Soviet socialist reconstruction. This work was published in Pravda Vostoka. In 1927, Zelma was enlisted in the ranks of the Red Army, serving in Moscow. After the demobilization in 1929, he returned to Tashkent and worked briefly for the Uzbek cinema chronicles. In Moscow, he entered the team of Soiuzfoto and received a Leica.

Through the 1930s, he was sent on assignment to the mines and factories in the Donbass region, to Collective Farms in Tula province and to the Soviet Military maneuvers in the Black Sea region. He worked with Roman Karmen on the stories The USSR from the Air and Ten Years of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Iakutia, which were published in the propaganda magazine “USSR in Construction”. For this magazine he also collaborated with Max Alpert and Aleksandr Rodchenko. During World War II, he was a correspondent for Isvestiia stationed at the front-line campaigns in Moldova, Odessa, and Ukraine. His most memorable photographs are of the Battle of Stalingrad, where he spent the severe winter of 1942-43.

After the war, Zelma worked for the magazine Ogonek and from 1962 for the Novosti press agency. He died in 1984.

Source: Lumiere Gallery

 

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Sid Grossman
United States
1913 | † 1955
Sid Grossman was an American photographer, teacher, and social activist. He was the younger son of Morris and Ethel Grossman. Grossman attended the City College of New York and worked on a WPA street crew. In 1934, he started what would become the Photo League with co-founder Sol Libsohn. Grossman played numerous roles throughout the Photo League's existence (1936–1951) including educator, administrator, reviewer, editor of Photo Notes and founder of Chelsea Document (1938-1940), an indictment of obsolete buildings and substandard living conditions in a New York neighborhood. He enlisted on March 6, 1943 and served in the Sixth Army in Panama during World War II. Grossman's 1940 photographs of labor union activity led to FBI investigations and the blacklisting of the Photo League as a communist front in 1947. In 1949, he opened a photography school in Provincetown, Massachusetts, although he continued to live and teach in NYC part of every year. Grossman was married twice: to Marion Hille and then to Miriam Grossman. Grossman conducted workshops at the Photo League, the Henry St. Settlement, the Harlem Art Center, and privately in NYC and Provincetown, for almost twenty years. The photographers he taught were many – including Lou Bernstein, Lisette Model, Walter Rosenblum, Louis Stettner, Helen Gee, Arthur Leipzig (who is on record as calling Grossman “probably the most fantastic teacher I ever knew”) and Leon Levinstein. Yet Grossman himself said, “I am not an instructor in any classical sense.” He insisted that his students take on the responsibility for making something of themselves. According to Jewish Museum curator Mason Klein, “Grossman increasingly insisted on the idea of being in the world in a particular manner, engaging with a certain consciousness as a photographer, and connecting to the camera in ways that made photographers question who they were.” One had to “live for photography,” in effect transforming and liberating oneself – in order to become a good photographer. One description of Grossman's “impassioned, often aggressive workshop critiques” has been provided by one of his students, N. Jay Jaffee, who studied with him in 1948. On the one hand, “He was almost contemptuous; each of us got a taste of his anger and hostility during the course.” Yet, “His genius was in expounding a philosophy of photography that was unique. I had never heard anyone speak on a subject with such depth and enthusiasm. I still recall a phrase he repeated several times: 'The world is a picture.' This simple statement was a profound insight into the method and meaning of photography.” “To Sid, photography was serious, not sacred.” Grossman's first wife, Marion Hille, remarked that he “encouraged his students 'to enjoy themselves right away, to get a feel of taking pictures without technique getting in the way.'” Jaffee reflected that, “Perhaps, if Sid had lived long enough, he would have also mellowed. Hopefully, he would have received the honor and respect for his brilliance and his work that he so justly deserves.” Today, almost all of the important photographers and educators he influenced and who continued his legacy are also deceased. All that is left are the photographs he and they made – a considerable contribution.Source: Wikipedia An influential teacher and activist, Grossman was a founding member of the Photo League, a group of socially-minded photographers that used documentary photography to call attention to poverty and injustice in New York. Showing three ragtag kids, two of whom present their modest toys to the photographer, this image exemplifies Grossman’s humanistic artistic vision, which often testified to the endurance and survival of his subjects. Due to his participation in the Communist Party, the U.S. Government blacklisted Grossman and monitored his activities for several years.Source: The Met
Marcin Owczarek
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He continued to photograph the prolific jazz scene, with many of the American jazz artists now living there, he also photographed many French recording artists such as Charles Aznavour, Jacques Brel, Eddy Mitchell and Johnny Hallyday. Paris would be his home for the next 25 years, working from his studio in Paris's Neuilly-sur-Seine neighborhood. He also had a successful career working in advertising, for fashion houses Yves St. Laurent and Dior, as well as many international magazines including Life, Time and early Playboy. In 1980, he left France for a more tranquil life, and moved his family to the Spanish island of Ibiza. During that time he rediscovered his jazz negatives that had been stored in a box under his bed, and in 1985 released his first book, The Eye of Jazz, published by Hachette/Filipachi Publications. In 1988 he moved to London where he had the first exhibition of his jazz photographs at the Special Photographers Company. After rave reviews by the London Times and the BBC, he became an overnight sensation, with 10,000 people coming to the small Notting Hill gallery to view his unseen images. The following year he premiered his first US show, which toured nationally. After living in Europe for over thirty years, he returned to the U.S. In 1992, an exhibit in New Orleans would change his life. He fell in love with the city and moved there to immerse himself in its vibrant and lively jazz scene. He continued to exhibit his work around the world in numerous solo shows. In 1995, Leonard released his second book, Jazz Memories, published by Editions Filipacchi, and in that same year was awarded an "Honorary Masters of Science in Photography" from The Brooks Institute of Photography. 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In the forward to the book, Quincy Jones wrote, "When people think of jazz, their mental picture is likely one of Herman's." Herman Leonard's photographs, now considered fine art collector's items, are a unique record of the jazz scene in the 1940's, 50's and 60's. Throughout his long life, he traveled and lived around the world, capturing images with his distinctive style. Whether he was photographing Miles Davis, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong or a street musician in his home in New Orleans, Herman's smile, warmth and engaging personality continued to open doors for him and his camera; to reveal a world we might have missed. Certainly Herman Leonard's iconic photographs will long be remembered not only for their enduring historic significance, but also for their breathtaking artistic beauty. 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Bruce Davidson
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1933
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