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Stanley Greene
Stanley Greene

Stanley Greene

Country: United States
Birth: 1949 | Death: 2017

During the early years of his career, Stanley Greene (USA, 1949-2017) produced The Western Front, a unique documentation of the San Francisco’s punk scene in the 1970s and 80s. An encounter with W. Eugene Smith turned his energies to photojournalism. Stanley began photographing for magazines, and worked as temporary staff photographer for the New York Newsday.

In 1986, he moved to Paris and began covering events across the globe. By chance, he was on hand to record the fall of the Berlin Wall. The changing political winds in Eastern Europe and Russia brought Greene to a different kind of photojournalism. He soon found himself photographing the myriad aspects of the decline of communism and the break-up of the Soviet Union.

Stanley was a member of the Paris-based photo agency Agence VU from 1991 to 2007. Beginning in 1993, he was based in Moscow working for Liberation, Paris Match, Time, The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, Le Nouvel Observateur, as well as other international news magazines. In October 1993, Stanley was trapped and almost killed in the White House in Moscow during a coup attempt against Boris Yeltsin. He was the only western journalist inside to cover it. Two of his resulting pictures won World Press Photo awards.

In the early 1990s, Stanley went to Southern Sudan to document the war and famine there for Globe Hebdo (France). He traveled to Bhopal, India, again for Globe Hebdo, to report on the aftermath of the Union Carbide gas poisoning. From 1994 to 2001, Stanley covered the conflict in Chechnya between rebels and Russian armed forces. His in-depth coverage was published in the monograph Open Wound: Chechnya 1994-2003 (Trolley 2003) and in the 1995 publication Dans Les Montagnes Où Vivent Les Aigles (Actes Sud). The work also appeared in Anna Politkovskaya’s book, A Dirty War: A Russian Reporter in Chechnya (2001). In 1994, Stanley was invited by Médecins sans Frontières to document their emergency relief operations during the cholera epidemic in Rwanda and Zaire. He has covered conflict and aftermath in Nagorno-Karabakh, Iraq, Sudan, Darfur, Afghanistan, Kashmir, and Lebanon.

Stanley was awarded a Katrina Media Fellowship from the Open Society Institute in 2006. In 2010, to mark the fifth commemoration of Hurricane Katrina - together with Dutch photographer Kadir van Lohuizen - Stanley made “Those who fell through the cracks”, a collaborative project documenting Katrina's effects on Gulf coast residents. The same year, Stanley’s book Black Passport was published (Schilt). In 2012, Stanley was the guest of honor of Tbilisi Photo Festival and began his project on e-waste traveling to Nigeria, India, China and Pakistan.

Stanley has received numerous grants and recognitions including - the Lifetime Achievement Visa d’Or Award (2016), the Aftermath Project Grant (2013), the Prix International Planète Albert Kahn (2011), W. Eugene Smith Award (2004), the Alicia Patterson Fellowship (1998) and five World Press Photo awards. Stanley presented the Sem Presser keynote lecture at the 2017 World Press Photo Award Festival.

Stanley Greene is a founding member of NOOR. Stanley passed away in Paris, France on May 19th, 2017.

Source: NOOR


Greene was born to middle class parents in Brooklyn. Both his parents were actors. His father, who was born in Harlem, was a union organizer, one of the first African Americans elected as an officer in the Screen Actors Guild, and belonged to the Harlem Renaissance movement. Greene's father was blacklisted as a Communist in the 1950s and forced to take uncredited parts in movies. Greene's parents gave him his first camera when he was eleven years old. Greene began his art career as a painter, but started taking photos as a means of cataloging material for his paintings.

In 1971, when Greene was a member of the anti-war movement and the Black Panthers, his friend, photographer W. Eugene Smith offered him space in his studio and encouraged him to study photography at the School of Visual Arts in New York and the San Francisco Art Institute. Greene held various jobs as a photographer, including taking pictures of rock bands and working at Newsday. In 1986, he shot fashion in Paris. He called himself a "dilettante, sitting in cafes, taking pictures of girls and doing heroin". After a friend died of AIDS, Greene kicked his drug habit and began to seriously pursue a photography career.

He began photojournalism in 1989, when his image ("Kisses to All, Berlin Wall") of a tutu-clad girl with a champagne bottle became a symbol of the fall of the Berlin Wall. While working for the Paris-based photo agency Agence Vu in October 1993, Greene was trapped and almost killed in the White House in Moscow during a coup attempt against President Boris Yeltsin. He has covered the war-torn countries Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iraq, Somalia, Croatia, Kashmir, and Lebanon. He has taken pictures of the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 and the US Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Since 1994, Greene is best known for his documentation of the conflict in Chechnya, between rebels and the Russian armed forces, which was compiled in his 2004 book, Open Wound. These photos have drawn attention to the "suffering that has marked the latest surge in Chechnya's centuries-long struggle for independence from Russia". In 2008, Greene revealed that he had hepatitis C, which he believed he had contracted from a contaminated razor while working in Chad in 2007. After controlling the disease with medication, he traveled to Afghanistan and shot a story about "the crisis of drug abuse and infectious disease". Greene has lived and worked in Paris since 1986.

He said: "My wife has left me but instead of becoming an alcoholic, I would go and shoot war."

Source: Wikipedia


Wars and Victims
February 18, 2008

"It remains essential for journalists to scour the ground, unimpeded, using the only weapons we know. Our cameras, notebooks and voices make us the unwelcome pests of aggressors around the world. Witnesses are inconvenient. Yet as most of my colleagues will agree, countries such as Irak, Chad, The Caucasus, and Chechnya, are becoming harder to cover.

In the world of spot news, publications don't want to pay for long engagements in complicated zones because its getting much harder to afford it. Authorities block access. And the lack of access, infrastructure and personal security makes logistics a nightmare.

Despite the odds, sometimes the effort can make a difference, and those rare moments never cease to satisfy in a profession that is otherwise lonely, demanding and thankless. Journalism rewards you with long days and even longer nights. There is no such thing as taking pictures from a place of safety, and you often pack your feelings in a suitcase until you can return to ‘reality.’

Some colleagues living in this perpetual emotional yo-yo are able to maintain a relationship, money in the bank, and perhaps even their sanity. If you're like the rest of us not born under that star, you never stop trying to find it. For the last fifteen years I have bore witness to long histories of invasions, mass migrations, conflicts, wars and destructions.

This group of images is to provide a body of work that is about war and victims but also, it's about photojournalism and the importance of those photo-correspondents that are passionate about shining the light in dark places. The resultant series of black and white and color photographs are more than a mere documentation of the darkness which exists in the world. Journalists today are like disaster tourists going from one hot place to the next. It has never been my intention to be such a photographer. I think it is better to build a full body of work which demonstrates the longevity of a working photojournalist, today and yesterday. I think that this should be taken into consideration when looking at this work. It is a fragment, taken from longer and larger photo-essays."

-- Stanley Greene (Sometimes We Need Tragedies)

Source: fragments.nl

 

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France
1985
Jonk discovers photography at the age of 11 when his parents send him for a language exchange to the USA, where each of the ten children forming the group lives with a different host family. The few souvenir pictures shot with the famous disposable orange cameras were his firsts. For the following six years, he travels each winter to a new family in a different state, and in the meantime upgrades his gear with a basic analogue camera. After having swapped it for a pocket numeric device, he realizes his first solo trip, at the age of 19. This trip to Barcelona changes his life, and he comes back with two passions that won't leave him: travels (he has since visited more than 70 countries) and urban art (street art and graffiti), whose discovery gave him his first photographic subject that still occupies him today. Living in Paris, he discovers urban exploration at the end of years 2000 through rooftops, subways and the city's unofficial catacombs. At that time, he finds another subject: documenting the unseen side of the city and invest in his first digital reflex camera, an APS-C. Climbing roofs to see her from the top, going at night in subway tunnels or spending whole days underground in the catacombs exploring the tens of kilometers of galleries looking for beautiful carved rooms: he finds in that activity a thrill, the adrenaline that he looks for in his life. These urban explorations, and his search for unseen graffiti, bring him to abandoned places, where graffiti artists often go to paint, to be alone and able to take time to make bigger and better paintings. After some time frequenting these artists, he starts himself to paint there and adopts the nickname “Jonk”. At that time, he also sticks his travel pictures on the walls in the streets. Visiting abandoned places looking for graffiti, he realizes the intensity of the atmospheres and the beauty of the spectacle of time passaging: rust, decaying and peeling painted walls, broken windows, Nature taking over create unbelievable, highly photogenic sceneries. For him, such sceneries feel like infinite poetry. Traveling, painting, sticking, photographing, roaming on roofs, metros and catacombs, a very time-consuming job don't leave him enough time to do everything. At the hour of choices, he drops the spray, the pot of glue, the height and the undergrounds to stay with the photography of lost places, even if he could not get rid of his nickname, symbol of his graffiti artist times, highly important to him. He then continues to travel, almost exclusively looking for abandoned locations to shoot, with or without graffiti. He upgrades his gear again with one, then two, full-frame reflex. Today, he has visited more than one thousand and five hundreds of them in around fifty countries on four continents. With time, his interest focuses on what appears to him to be the strongest in this vast subject of abandonment: Nature taking over. It is poetic, even magic, to see this Nature retaking what used to be hers, reintegrating through broken windows, cracks on the walls, spaces built by Man and then neglected, until sometimes guzzling them up entirely. This topic naturally imposed itself to him due to the ecologic consciousness that moves him since his youngest age and to the strength of the message it carries: the question of the place of Man on Earth and its relationship with Nature. She is stronger, and whatever happens to Man, She will always be there. In March 2018, he releases the book Naturalia on the topic and currently works on volume II for which Yann Arthus-Bertrand wrote the preface. In June 2018, at age 33, he quits his job in the finance to fully dedicate himself to this project. With this series, as a photographer Jonk tries to humbly contribute to make people aware of the critical ecological situation we are all in. Since, four other books were released. His work has been featured in prestigious paper publications (Der Spiegel, Corriere della Sera, Lonely Planet, Le Monde, GQ, Telerama…) as well as on prestigious web platforms (National Geographic, New York Post, Smithsonian, ArchDaily, AD, BBC, The Guardian…). He received various distinctions in recognized international contests with Honorable Mentions (International Photography Awards, ND Awards), nominations (Fine Art Photography Awards), Silver Awards (Tokyo International Foto Awards, Moscow International Foto Awards), places in shortlists (Arte Laguna Prize, Environmental Photographer of the Year, Royal Photography Society, Felix Schoeller Photo Award, Siena International Photo Awards), places of finalist (InCadaquès International Photo Festival, Nature Photographer Of The Year, Umbra Awards) and winner of the Chelsea International Photography Competition and the Earth Photo 2020 Photo Competition. His work has been part of many group shows across the world (Paris, London, Lisbon, Rome, Athens, Budapest, Moscow, Seoul, Tokyo, Singapore, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, New York…) as well as many solo shows in Paris, the main ones being in Paris 20th district City Hall “Salon of Honor”, at the OECD, the Forum des Halles and the Nicolas Hulot Foundation for Nature and Man. In October 2020, Jonk realizes his first solo shows abroad. The first one is the central show of Home Expo in Luxembourg, the most important Fair of the country. Consisting of 91 photos, this exhibition is also his biggest show to date. He simultaneously conducts five solos show in China for the Franco-Chinese Environmental Month. They take place at the Park View Gallery of the magnificent Design Society in Shenzhen, the French Institute of Beijing, the Kingold Century Center of Guangzhou, the Westred Art Museum of Harbin and the Parc Hongmei of Shenyang. Jonk had set a first foot in China the year before by giving a conference on his Naturalia series in Shenzhen. It was his second after a TEDx given in Paris in 2018. Several exhibitions of Naturalia are planned for 2021 and 2022. Naturalia: Chronicle of Contemporary Ruins As a child, I saw a wildlife documentary that marked my life. It focused on the melting of the ice caps and its consequences on polar bears' life. I still remember this bear that struggled to swim and find a piece of ice floe. It seems that "children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression." (Dr Haim Ginott). This vision marked me so much that during all my childhood, every time any of my parents did anything that seemed bad for the environment, it told them this sentence: «Watch out, you kill the bears!!" This ecological consciousness, that moves me since my youngest age, has little by little focused my interest on abandoned places reclaimed by Nature. She is stronger, and whatever happens to Man, She will always be there. Moreover, Naturalia: Chronicle of Contemporary Ruins asks a fundamental question: that of the place of Man on Earth and his relationship with Nature. Far from being pessimistic, and at a time when Man's domination of Nature has never been so extreme, it aims to wake our consciousness. Man builds, Man abandons. Every time for his own peculiar reasons. Nature does not care about those reasons. But one thing is for sure, when Man leaves, She comes back and She takes back everything. In his poem Eternity of Nature, brevity of Man, Alphonse de Lamartine writes "Triumph, immortal Nature! / Whose hand full of days / Lends unlimited strengths / Times that always rise again!" In her inexorable progression, She starts reclaiming the outsides of a Taiwanese reservoir (Picture 1) before infiltrating the insides of a Croatian castle (2) or a Belgian greenhouse (7). Then, She grows in the atrium of a Polish palace (8) or a Cuban theater (9) before invading a Montenegrin castle (10). Then, given more time, imprisons a Taiwanese mansion with her strong roots (20). The next steps? Collapse and burial. French poet Léo Ferré said "With Time goes, everything goes". So, when Nature and Time will have taken back what Man abandons, what will be left of our civilization?
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