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Christine Armbruster
Christine Armbruster
Christine Armbruster

Christine Armbruster

Country: United States

Although a recent graduate of Brigham Young University with her Bachelor of Fine Art degree in Photography (2012), Christine Armbruster has managed to work on various projects and get published internationally. Working as a photojournalist in the Dominican Republic, Christine created her first solo show called "Working Identities: a collection of portraits from the Dominican Republic" which showed for a full year in 2009. This show was viewed all over Utah and various pieces won awards for documentary photography. The photojournalism work completed while there was published all of the world for papers such as USA Today and Dominican Today. Next on the list was Bosnia. Armbruster got grants and went to Sarajevo where the project, "Mortar Shells and Cigarettes", was completed. Walking the streets of Sarajevo for over a month, she captured these as a reaction to a city still recovering from war. The show exhibited in Utah as well as pieces were sent away to competitions in Texas. Prior to going to Bosnia, Armbruster started what would turn into a 2 year project in Utah, photographing town with populations of 800 people or less, called "Population 800." This small town documentary has shown throughout Utah and became her senior thesis for graduation. Since those shows have been completed, Armbruster has since traveled extensively to shoot two more projects still being edited. The first in collapsed Soviet towns and the second of Bedouins living in caves in the Arabian Desert. Additionally, Armbruster has blended her documentary interests with her commercial photography degree to work for international clients. Some of these clients have included The Travel Chanel, KT Tape, Blendtec Blenders, The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints, Chicago Cultural Center, Petra Caravan Tours, and Bedouin Brothers Tour Group. Armbruster is committed to exploring the world of social change through art. Blending her education of commercial photography with her candid aesthetic, she is able to tell stories and capture people in their natural elements. She is currently based out of Chicago, working as an editorial travel photographer.

About Working Identities: The first woman in this series is the inspiration behind this project. As I was walking around the market near my Dominican home, I came across an older woman by the name of Rosa Santana. I photographed her at her vegetable cart, she then grabbed my hand and insisted that I photograph every member of her family in our little community. Leading me inside stores converted out of modest houses and through narrow alleyways into small-enclosed spaces made of stucco with a single mattress inside. Each new home, whether large or small had a family member inside to be photographed. One of her daughters particularly struck me by the way she showed me the objects on the wall illustrating her own three children. As I thought about these seemingly strange dolls and single photograph nailed to the wall, I began to realize how not only do they represent her children, but the different ways we represent and give an identity to the people around us. As I photographed in the Dominican Republic, I began to realize that I was categorizing people, trying to collect one of everything for myself. These people I was collecting were not based on location or look, but rather by profession. I looked for the stereotypical from the butcher to the security guard, but then to the boy who fixes bicycles in front of his house in Santo Domingo and the even younger children who pick coffee beans in the mountains of Jarabacoa. Each of these people have an identity created not by the symbolic objects used to represent them, but rather by an occupation. With this some gain a definition in society, while others are generalized. I chose to explore these occupations not just as types, but rather go deeper to discover each person as individuals. How each person is an individual although they may do the same thing as handfuls of others everyday, how we are all Working Identities.

Source: www.christinearmbruster.com



All About Photo: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?

Christine Armbruster: "It wasn't until I was twenty that I even considered it. I had always wanted to be in filmmaking and it wasn't until I was on my first real film set involving a week of 15-hour days that I decided I should reconsider. So i went with the next closest thing which was photography, and it just kind of stuck."

AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?

CA: "After my freshman year of college I was inspired by a good friend who studied photography and got my first "good camera". For months I photographed so many close up shots of industrial parts and weird metal things. My first memorable photographs, however, that I really feel like began to develop my style, are a few portraits of train hoppers in Austin, Texas later that summer. I sat on the ground with them and got to know them before asking to photograph their faces covered with tattoos and their accompanying dogs. Ever since I have been a little obsessed with train hoppers and spent handfuls of time with them. It's a surprise to me that I have still yet to hop a train of my own."

AAP: What or who inspires you?

CA: "Life around me and newness inspires me. There was once a photographer who said that when he stays in one place for too long he goes blind. I feel very similar. I unfortunately never photograph where I live after I have been there for a few months, it is just so common to me. But that is something I am working on so I can practice sitting still for slightly longer stints. He said he hadn't paid rent in 16 years, I feel like that could become my fate which is both exciting and daunting to me."

AAP: How could you describe your style?

CA: "I would describe my style as very natural and quiet. I am not in your face and not trying to be loud and force heart wrenching subjects on you. I just want things to be as they are, as beautiful and simple as they are in natural light, portraying people are the strong individuals as they are."

AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?

CA: "I try to use film as much as possible. Digital just doesn't do it for me. There is something natural and more real to me when I use film. Maybe it is because I slow down or take the images more seriously. I have a Bronica ETRS medium format camera with a fixed 85mm lens that is always on my back loaded with Kodak Portra film."

AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images?

CA: "I can't hold still long enough to edit my images! I would rather be shooting than in front of a computer, which is partially why I shoot so much film. When I first started photographing, I got a job with a newspaper. With newspapers heavily editing images will cost you your job. It got me in the practice of shooting right the first time and learning how to shoot without relying on Photoshop to make my images speak."

AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?

CA: "I am currently really into Jonas Bendiksen and Jim Goldberg. I have always loved Olga Chagaoutdinova, Diane Arbus, and Pierre Verger."

AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?

CA: "Shoot all the time! Someone once told me that you need to make a lot of crap before anything good comes out of it."

AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?

CA: "Following trends. Trends are in my opinion one of the worst things a photographer can follow. Your work will be catchy for a moment then once trends shift you will be left with having to redefine your personal style again only to possibly fall into the same trap. Shoot what you like, it will become your own style. Everyone else is already photographing the trends, try something different. Classic and well done photography will always be in style and you will always have work."

AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share?

CA: "I am currently working on editing a project shot in Jordan about nomads who have been forced into settling but are resisting and moving back to caves and tents as they lived for thousands of years. That is a cool project I worked on all last winter, living in caves, collecting water, and walking with shepherds. That should be a pretty cool project once I get the storyline a little more organized."

AAP: Your best memory as a photographer?

CA: "I am so sentimental. I feel like every time I travel it was the best place yet, every person I photograph is so beautiful and interesting, and that every situation I have been in was the most idea. I guess that is part of the human experience and the glory of photographing. It is an excuse to walk with nomads, a reason to hitchhike across Russia, a motivation to travel and create. I already have a lifetime of memories and stories for grandchildren, and I am only 5 years into my career."

AAP: Your worst souvenir as a photographer?

CA: "I have a good handful of scars from not paying attention to where I'm walking while trying to get an image and a broken camera or two from sandstorms I was not prepared for."

AAP: If you could have taken the photographs of someone else who would it be?

CA: "Pierre Verger. He has such beautiful timeless style and dead perfect tonal ranges. He got to travel the world and experience so many things hands on from the Harlem Renaissance to religious ceremonies from underground cults in Brazil. I think he was working in just the right time and had some of the most guts from any photographer I have ever seen. He wasn't afraid and I love that about him."

 

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His mountain peaks are often densely dark-a kind of velvet darkness that seems full of color."Source: Robert Klein Gallery World-renowned photographer, writer, and broadcaster Tom Ang wrote in 2014 in his book "Photography: The Definitive Visual History" published by DK this text about Wang Wusheng's art works: Oriental perspectives The fusion of classical Chinese fine art with photography was not achieved until the 1940s. It resulted in a distinctive approach to landscape by combining classical forms with a challenge to the Western representation of space. Photography had reached China and Japan by the 1840s, but long remained an imported art form used primarily by foreigners. Fundamentally it was alien to the aesthetics of Asian fine art. The fine detail of a photograph was at odds with the eastern tradition of depicting a scene with just a few brushstrokes. And whereas Eastern art dealt with symbols-mountains representing wisdom, water standing for the flux of life and so on- photography seemed unremittingly literal and heavy-handed to Asian eyes. Eastern art was also fixedly monochrome: black was Heaven's hue, and too much considered bad for the eyes. Three dimensions in two A further element foreign to Asian minds was the handling of perspective-how three-dimensional space was represented on the flat surface of a print or painting. In Europe, 15th-century thinkers, such as the architect Filippo Brunelleschi, showed that a geometrically accurate way to represent objects in space was to depict parallel sides as if they converged toward a vanishing point on the horizon. Early photography reinforced the dominance of this linear perspective in Western art. Classical Asian art was based on different models of space. It showed space with receding planes, in which a nearer object overlaps and covers part of a further object. This was joined to aerial perspective, which exploits how contrast and clarity naturally diminish the further away things are to express receding space. Asian pictorials By the 20th century. even artists in he West were rebelling against geometrical perspective, most visibly in the Cubist movement, which spilled over to montage effects in modernist photography (see pp. 142-43 and Pp.330-31). Finally, in the 1940s, Long Chin-San (also transliterated Lang Jingshan) in Hong Kong marked the first successful fusion of Asian with European modes. Trained in Photography by a brush-and-ink artist, Long considered a traditional painting "as a composite Image of fragmentary visual memories". From this, Long derived composite photographs using subtle toning and multiple printing techniques to place traditional elements such as calligraphically expressive bamboo shoots, leafless branches, and craggy rocks against a plain ground, suspending his subjects In an indeterminate space. Relationships between elements were defined by aerial perspective and overlapping receding planes. Minimal and calligraphic expressions also came naturally to photographers such as Jiang Peng, but Long's best-known students was Don Hong Qai. Modern interpretation China's Huangshan (Yellow Mountains) is a glaciated mountain range much venerated for its exquisite scenery of 72 steep peaks, often shrouded in mist. The Huangshan inspired its own school of painting, which made extensive use of aerial perspective, Wang Wusheng is a leading modern exponent of the style. Wang was working as a news photographer when he turned his attention to the Huangshan in 1973 In his photographs, he exploited the ultrafine grain of Kodak Technical Pan film to create a modern interpretation of inky-black silhouettes are grouped against the smoothly shifting swathes of mist, their softening tones deftly defining distance. This image is part of the Celestial Realm series, published in book form in 2005. In wang's contemporary interpretation of traditional Chinese black-ink painted landscapes, mist separates the deep velvety darkness of the sharply silhouetted rocks and trees in the foreground from the progressively fuzzier bands of trees and rocks.
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