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Martin Munkácsi
Martin Munkácsi

Martin Munkácsi

Country: Hungary
Birth: 1896 | Death: 1963

Martin Munkácsi (born Mermelstein Márton; Kolozsvár, Hungary, May 18, 1896; died July 13, 1963, New York, NY) was a Hungarian photographer who worked in Germany (1928–34) and the United States, where he was based in New York City.

Munkácsi was a newspaper writer and photographer in Hungary, specializing in sports. At the time, sports action photography could only be done in bright light outdoors. Munkácsi's innovation was to make sports photographs as meticulously composed action photographs, which required both artistic and technical skill. Munkácsi's legendary big break was to happen upon a fatal brawl, which he photographed. Those photos affected the outcome of the trial of the accused killer, and gave Munkácsi considerable notoriety.

That notoriety helped him get a job in Berlin in 1928, for the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung, where his first published photo was a race car splashing its way through a puddle. He also worked for the fashion magazine Die Dame. More than just sports and fashion, he photographed Berliners, rich and poor, in all their activities. He traveled to Turkey, Sicily, Egypt, London, New York, and famously Liberia, for photo spreads in the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung. The speed of the modern age and the excitement of new photographic viewpoints enthralled him, especially flying. There are aerial photographs; there are air-to-air photographs of a flying school for women; there are photographs from a Zeppelin, including the ones on his trip to Brazil, where he crosses over a boat whose passengers wave to the airship above.

On March 21, 1933, he photographed the fateful Day of Potsdam, when the aged President Paul von Hindenburg handed Germany over to Adolf Hitler. On assignment for the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung, he photographed Hitler's inner circle, although he was a Jewish foreigner. In 1934, the Nazis nationalized the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung, fired its Jewish editor-in-chief, Kurt Korff, and replaced its innovative photography with pictures of German troops.

Munkácsi left for New York, where he signed on, for a substantial $100,000, with Harper's Bazaar, a top fashion magazine. In a change from usual practice, he often left the studio to shoot outdoors, on the beach, on farms and fields, at an airport. He produced one of the first articles in a popular magazine to be illustrated with nude photographs. His portraits include Katharine Hepburn, Leslie Howard, Jean Harlow, Joan Crawford, Jane Russell, Louis Armstrong, and the definitive dance photograph of Fred Astaire.

Munkácsi died in poverty and controversy. Several universities and museums declined to accept his archives, and they were scattered around the world. Berlin's Ullstein Archives and Hamburg's F. C. Gundlach collection are home to two of the largest collections of Munkácsi's work.

Source: Wikipedia

 

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John Delaney
United States
1963
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United States
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Graeme Williams
South Africa
1961
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Four of my personal essays were incorporated into the presentation, allowing a psychoanalytical exploration into the parallels between this photographic record and South Africa's dynamics and process of change. I have participated in various mentorship programs, supporting students from South African photographic institutions: Tierney Fellowship winners from the University of the Witwatersrand (2018/2019) and the Market Photo Workshop (2015/2016). As well as candidates from the Photographer incubator Program in 2016. Learn more about Graeme Williams on videos: Victoria and Albert Museum Photography and Democracy South African Studios Dwell in Possibility opening Check out Graeme Williams's interview about his latest project America Revisited
Baron Raimund von Stillfried
Austria
1832 | † 1911
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By 1868, after a couple of years adventuring in Mexico, fighting a doomed campaign for the Habsburg Emperor, he had set up a photography studio in Yokohama. The rough and ready port town was hosting its first "globetrotters," a word coined locally to describe the new wave of round-the-world tourists, propelled by the 1869 opening of the Trans-American railway and the Suez Canal. One German globetrotter, Margaretha Weppner, recorded her impressions the same year: "The foreigner in Japan leads an expensive, luxurious life. (The climate) requires that liquors should be taken before breakfast, wine, beer, and champagne at breakfast; the same routine before, at, and after dinner, and brandy and soda all day long." In Yokohama, tourism brought a new demand for "curious" and souvenir photos. Baron Raimund von Stillfried specialized in staged studio portraits featuring models decked out as traditional Japanese "types." These striking hand-colored images were widely copied in Western newspapers and became emblematic of Japan. In the same way that the foreign press today fixates on "weird Japan" stories, Stillfried's images, Gartlan argues, were a popular fiction that exploited Western ignorance. Take, for example, Two Officers - used on the cover of A Career of Japan - that purports to show two samurai with their hair in topknots. The photograph was taken in 1875, four years after the traditional hairstyle worn by Japan's warrior class was banned. It was as a paparazzo that Stillfried first achieved notoriety. Hearing that Emperor Meiji was to visit Yokosuka on New Year's Day in 1872 - the first public appearance by a Japanese monarch - Stillfried was determined to take his picture. According to contemporary accounts, he hid on a ship docked next to the Imperial landing area and secretly photographed the divine countenance through a hole in a sail. Government officials reacted with fury when Stillfried brazenly advertised his scoop, ordering a police raid on his studio. Today, only one print survives. Stillfried was threatened with deportation, and the ensuing scandal reverberated around Asia. Shanghai's North China Daily News said that the crack down was "the most foolish thing we have heard of the Japanese." Partly in order to trump Stillfried, the government commissioned an official portrait of the Emperor the same month. Kuichi Uchida's image of "H.I.M. The Mikado" in Western dress was the state's first foray into visual PR. The Meiji regime may have disapproved of Stillfried, but they admired his talents as a propagandist, and hired him six months later to photograph the newly-colonized territory of Ezo (present-day Hokkaido). Stillfried's photos of the Ainu people were displayed at the 1873 Vienna International Exhibition. Referring to a group Ainu portrait, the Japan Gazette of Jan. 23, 1873, said: "The gift of beauty - has not been vouchsafed to the female descendants of Yesso (Ezo) - whose primitive ugliness of feature is artificially increased by moustachios [sic] tattooed along the upper lip." A separate image of two of the same figures was hand-colored by Stillfried. Gartlan notes that "the selective addition of colors emphasizes the women's tattoos, a traditional practice soon to be banned by the Japanese government." Stillfried's Hokkaido photos may have been displayed in the Japanese pavilion in Vienna but the man himself was barred from joining the official delegation to his home country, due to the lingering scandal over his photo of the Emperor. He reacted with typical bravado by erecting an imitation Japanese teahouse in the exhibition grounds, staffed by teenage Japanese girls imported from Yokohama. The press reacted with thrilled prudence. "How innocent the term (teahouse) sounds to us, but what amount of shame it entails in Japan!" the official exhibition journal reported, while the Chicago Daily Tribune referred to the "Yokohama Belles" as "by no means virgins." Gartlan argues that the teahouse was a respectable project, but the scandal was enough to close it down, leaving Stillfried almost bankrupt. One employee later alleged that the photographer beat his workers, evicted the girls at gunpoint and tried to have the teahouse burned down in order to claim insurance. Returning to Yokohama in 1874, Stillfried's career faltered amid growing competition from Japanese photographers whom he had personally trained, and who were happier to portray their country as a modern nation. His final return to Viennese high society in 1883 coincided with the peak of the European craze for Japan-inspired art - culminating in "The Mikado" and "Madame Butterfly" - that his souvenir photographs had helped to create 15 years earlier. Stillfried's heavily romanticized images had, in Gartlan's words, a "vast impact on how the West perceived Japan at the time." His legacy can still be seen today. Western fantasies of Japan continue to draw on anachronistic assumptions about the country - from ornamental women to picturesque teahouses - and equally inaccurate images of a "futuristic" nation (one where fax machines have no place). Modern-day parallels can also be seen in the book's depiction of Stillfried's expat experiences: the battles with bureaucracy, the government propaganda, the conflicted approach to foreigners - and the drinking.Source: Japan Times
Ralph Eugene Meatyard
United States
1925 | † 1972
Ralph Eugene Meatyard (May 15, 1925 – May 7, 1972) was an American photographer from Normal, Illinois, U.S. Meatyard was born in Normal, Illinois and raised in the nearby town of Bloomington. When he turned 18 during World War II, he joined the United States Navy, though he did not serve overseas before the war ended. After leaving the force he briefly studied pre-dentistry, before training to become an optician. He moved with his new wife Madelyn to Lexington, Kentucky to continue working as an optician for Tinder-Krausse-Tinder, a company which also sold photographic equipment. The owners of the company were active members of the Lexington Camera Club, for which the Art Department of the University of Kentucky provided exhibition space. Meatyard purchased his first camera in 1950 to photograph his newborn first child, and subsequently worked primarily with a Rolleiflex medium-format camera. He joined the Lexington Camera club and the Photographic Society of America in 1954. At the Lexington Camera Club he met Van Deren Coke, who exhibited work by Meatyard in an exhibition for the university entitled Creative Photography in 1956. During the mid-1950s, Ralph Eugene Meatyard attended a series of summer workshops run by Henry Holmes Smith at Indiana University, and also with Minor White, who fostered Meatyard's interest in Zen Philosophy. An autodidact and voracious reader, Meatyard worked in productive bursts, often leaving his film undeveloped for long stretches, then working feverishly in the makeshift darkroom in his home. "His approach was somewhat improvisational and very heavily influenced by the jazz music of the time." He used his children in his work addressing the surreal "masks" of identity. Much of his work was made in abandoned farmhouses in the central Kentucky bluegrass region during family weekend outings and in derelict spaces around Lexington. Some of his earliest camera work was made in the traditionally African-American neighborhood around Lexington's Old Georgetown Street. Meatyard was a close acquaintance of several well-known writers in the Kentucky literary renaissance of the 1960s and 1970s, including his neighbor Guy Davenport, who later helped compile a posthumous edition of his photos. In 1971, Meatyard co-authored a book on Kentucky's Red River Gorge, The Unforeseen Wilderness, with writer Wendell Berry. The two frequently traveled into the Appalachian foothills. Berry and Meatyard's book contributed to saving the gorge from destruction by a proposed Army Corps of Engineers dam. Meatyard's ashes were scattered in the gorge after his death. Meatyard was also a friend and correspondent of Catholic monk and writer Thomas Merton, who lived at the Abbey of Gethsemani, a Trappist monastery just west of Bardstown, Kentucky. Merton appeared in a number of Meatyard's experimental photographs taken on the grounds of the monastery, and they shared an interest in literature, philosophy, and Eastern and Western spirituality. Meatyard wrote Merton's eulogy in the Kentucky Kernel shortly after his death in Bangkok, Thailand, in December 1968. Meatyard died four years later, in 1972, of cancer. Though Lexington was not a well-established center of photography, Meatyard did not consider himself a "Southern" or regional photographer. His work was beginning to be recognized nationally at the time of his death, shown and collected by some prominent museums and published in magazines. He exhibited with photographers including Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, Minor White, Aaron Siskind, Harry Callahan, Robert Frank, and Eikoh Hosoe. By the late 1970s, his photographs appeared mainly in exhibitions of 'southern' art, but have since attracted renewed interest. His best-known photography featured dolls and masks, or family, friends and neighbors pictured in abandoned buildings or in ordinary suburban backyards.Source: Wikipedia Ralph Eugene Meatyard lived in Lexington, Kentucky, where he made his living as an optician while creating an impressive and enigmatic body of photographs. Meatyard’s creative circle included mystics and poets, such as Thomas Merton and Guy Davenport, as well as the photographers Cranston Ritchie and Van Deren Coke, who were mentors and fellow members of the Lexington Camera Club. Meatyard’s work spanned many genres and experimented with new means of expression, from dreamlike portraits—often set in abandoned places—to multiple exposures, motion-blur, and other methods of photographic abstraction. He also collaborated with his friend Wendell Berry on the 1971 book The Unforeseen Wilderness, for which Meatyard contributed photographs of Kentucky’s Red River Gorge. Meatyard’s final series, The Family Album of Lucybelle Crater, are cryptic double portraits of friends and family members wearing masks and enacting symbolic dramas. Museum exhibitions of the artist’s work have recently been presented at Art Institute of Chicago; The Philadelphia Museum of Art; the de Young Museum, San Francisco; The International Center of Photography, New York; Cincinnati Museum of Art, Ohio; the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson; and Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas. His works are held in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, J. Paul Getty Museum, The Eastman Museum, and Yale University Art Gallery, among others. Monographs include American Mystic, Dolls and Masks, A Fourfold Vision, and The Family Album of Lucybelle Crater and Other Figurative Photographs.Source: Fraenkel Gallery
Stephen Albair
United States
1942
Stephen Albair was born in Massachusetts and raised in New Hampshire. He currently lives and works in San Francisco. Educated at Illinois State University in Design, he is a self-taught photographer, lecturer and a college teacher, for over 40 years. His work in tableau photography began in 1974 with the purchase of a 35mm Nikkormat, which has remained the only camera for his work. Numerous exhibitions and installations have been staged in the US and Thailand. He has authored three books with a fourth book currently in progress. The images are mostly rooted in memoir built on found objects with Art Historical references. The focus is not so much on a series of images but rather a board range of subject matter, from early memories, to the current political landscape. His photos represent intuitive responses to ideas through self-reflection. By mastering the techniques of tableaux photography he has created a significant body of work that have enhanced his skill as an artist and storyteller. Statement Photography is a unique way of seeing the world. Life's ambiguities, love, loss, and longing, are my subject matter. These ideas evolve through a meaningful search for content, with no specific audience in mind. Ultimately, an audience perceives all content based on their own personal experiences. Familiar objects trigger our memory, reminding us of how we understand the world. I constantly search for unique objects that speak to me. My set-ups are arranged to illustrate an intention, an action that something has just happened -or is about to. Tableau photography provides the stage, much like actors in a play. The procedure of building a photograph creates an air of playfulness that allows for a different way of thinking about common human experiences. The audience is delivered thought-provoking ideas tinged with humor in a fabricated world. This process playfully exposing the surreal nature of reality and questions what is real or simply realistic—leaving the viewer to decide. Hidden Gardens - Secret Views
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