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Esmeralda Ruiz
Esmeralda Ruiz
Esmeralda Ruiz

Esmeralda Ruiz

Country: United States

Artist Statement: "My childhood was different then most. Growing up with nothing but artists was one thing, but having actually flat lined during a surgery after being diagnosed with a kidney infection changed my life forever. It wasn’t that it left me weak or prevented me from going outside and playing or even going to school with other children but the images that I saw when that moment occurred is what I strive to show in my work today.

A wonderful world where the air was crisp and refreshing, with all of its flowers in bloom, my journey begins down a path with little yellow homes on each side. Beyond the path, a valley flowers appeared. On the right there were rocky mountains so enormous that clouds covered their midsection with their snow covered summits peering through. To my left the sound of the ocean was relentlessly crashing into a cliff. As I crossed my valley of flowers and ascended the cliff, I felt a cool yet, strong breeze off the ocean forcing me back. As I looked up into the vast skies above, I was overcome by the ever so omnipotent clouds with their glorious rays of sunlight beaming through. The feeling of leaping into the breeze and flying towards the light was more then overwhelming. Instead, I greeted it with a smile and made my way back to the valley. Relaxed, laying across its delicate wild flowers, my tranquil body curled up and fell into a deep sleep. Awaking to my mother at my bedside, disappointment overcame me with the realization that it was all just a dream.

Weeks passed, the pain healed but my dream still reigned true. Numerous sketches and endless rants of my new world was all that was real. Having to transition from a world of such perfection to a life of obscurity seemed almost inconceivable. As such, a minor state of depression would set in as my life slowly began to drift back into its regular routine. During this time my only solace came from the amazing work found in books from various art movements and even my favorite childhood cartoons. However, as my healing process dragged on, much of what I know about color (and how I use it today) came from all the extra time spent in my parent’s studio. Watching them work and being surrounded by various mediums helped better understand art as a form of expression. This would inevitably forge my desire to show the world what I had experienced on that fateful day.

As the years pass, my dream still lives within me. My thesis project has only driven my need to share my moment with the world in ways I never thought possible. After much soul searching and numerous critiques, I have come to the realization that my utopia isn’t just a dream; it is in the landscapes that have always surrounded me. Those three minutes had and will always have a tremendous impact on my life. If anything, I learned how fragile life is and to always appreciate the beautiful things in life. Photography has allowed me to show what stands out in my eyes by glorifying it in a photograph. It is the best way that I can communicate what I saw and what I felt at that particular moment. It is the bridge between my past and my present.

Source: Esmeralda Ruiz Website

 

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Giorgio Di Maio (1963, Naples) begins to take photos during his Architectural studies (1990),where he understood the strength of the photography as a mean to extrapolate from the reality a piece of the reality itself, independent in the shape and in the substance having a own narrative meaning. The expositive activity (since 1992) and the professional one (since 1993) went forward together, and every kind of restructuring activity is an opportunity for linguistic research. In 2003 he held a Master in "Fotografia dello spettacolo" by Silvia Lelli, At European Institute of Design in Milano, that introduced him to a deep research into the American Photography. Between 20017 and 2010, in Basilicata, he developed the series "Paesaggi lucani" and tried in the same period the digital photo machine. In Di Maio, then, woke up his environmental soul that bring the artist in 2011 to a new exhibition "Non è Napoli" dedicated to his own city and its beauty during the rubbish scandal. Since 2013 he slowed down the architect profession starting to study philosophy as theorical support to the practical photography, going from Naples to Milan very often, and vice versa. Then he creates" Armonia nascosta", from his studies, that is written with a specific modus operandi, aware of his reasons and purpose. Starting form Heraclitus, the Hidden Harmony show the transmigration of the mystical and philosophical roots of Paul Klee e Vassilij Kandinskij's abstract art til the photography, transforming it into a growth process both spiritual and social of a man, who goes through the evidence of the visual data looking for the Hidden Harmony as it appears today. Some projects "I sentieri dell'acqua e Chiaroscuro" (2013-2014), "Feminine, Photokina" (2016), "Cristianesimo Arte e Paganesimo" (2017), "Correspondances" (2018), "Milano in Armonia" (2018), "Il mare di Leopardi (2020), always continuing his studies of the immaterial in the material world. In 2017 he published his Photographic-philosophic web site of his research, that will be considered by different international photographic magazines. Then he started an intense exhibitions period, among public exhibition and festivals, having so many positive feedbacks from the public but also from the sector critical. In 2019, the Prof. Guido Ferraro, full professor of "Semiotica e Teoria della narrazione" at Torino's University, named Di Maio's research with those by Franco Fontana, Luigi Ghirri and Mario Giacomelli. Giorgio di Maio goes from a city to another, looking for the Hidden Harmony in nowadays reality. About Hidden Harmony The project that I would represent is the mystical and philosophical roots of Abstract Art transmigration into the Photography. The Art as knowledge tool to understand the sense. Going over the phenomenon, the appearances, searching for the law that create each event, for everyone also individual or being part of a whole. Basically there is the rejection of materialism, the faith in progress and particularly the faith in the spiritual progress of the men helped from the artist which "has in himself a mysterious visionary force....to see and to show". The photographer artist isn't a perfected camera who think that the knowledge and the experiences are only a replica of reality, who limit to reproduction of the exteriority, closed from the barriers of the phenomenon, but he know and must to express an ethical content which he gets from the sensitive data. The equilibrium that comes out from the tens and integration of differences, where the opposites converge completing themselves and the materiality falls to leave space to the spiritual presence, transform every shot in a travel through the space-time instances, instead of being the static representation of the place. In the Photography the language remain the same, using shape and color like the musical notes that touch the soul when you press a key and the human spirit vibrate. The research is the Harmony: to identify in the reality different elements in contrast with each other but in a unitary composition to create a mutual stimulating of the sense of balance and rest. The Peace. The expressionism of Der Blaue Reiter started in the of age of the new spirituality. Instead the wars and the extermination camps comes. It doesn't mean that the materialism has won but only a wrong idea of the temporal date. We don't know how much time need to achieve the spiritual progress of the humanity, maybe thousands of years or more. The important thing is that each era made a new step in right direction and in the contemporary era the Photography could be the most powerful means to give a contribution in this way.
Bryan Adams
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1959
Adams works as a photographer as well as musician, aside from being published in British Vogue, L'uomo Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Esquire, Interview magazine and i-D, among others, he has also shot advertising campaigns for Guess Jeans, Sand, Converse, Montblanc, John Richmond, Fred Perry, and more recently for Escada. He has won Lead Awards twice in Germany for his fashion work, most recently June 2012 and previously in 2006. Other photographic endeavours include founding the art fashion Zoo Magazine, based in Berlin, Germany for which he shoots for regularly. His first book of photos will be released by Steidl in 2012 entitled Exposed. Previous published collaborations include; American Women June 2005, for Calvin Klein in the United States; proceeds from this book went to Memorial Sloan–Kettering Cancer Center in New York City for their breast cancer research for programs, and Made in Canada December 1999 for Flare Magazine in Canada; proceeds went to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Both books were dedicated to his friend Donna, who died of the disease. As a photographer, Adams has worked with many of his musical peers, including Lana Del Rey, The Who, Sting, Shania Twain, Mick Jagger, Arcade Fire, Ray Charles, Tina Turner, Rod Stewart, Robert Plant, Take That, Joss Stone, Plácido Domingo, Sarah McLachlan, Celine Dion, Billy Idol, Moby, Lindsay Lohan, Amy Winehouse, Annie Lennox, Peter Gabriel, Bryan Ferry, Lenny Kravitz, Die Antwoord, and Morrissey to name a few. On 27 November 2000 Adams played onstage with The Who at the Royal Albert Hall. A DVD of the concert was issued. Adams photographed the band and his photos appear in the DVD booklet. In 2002, Adams was invited, along with other photographers from the Commonwealth, to photograph Queen Elizabeth II during her Golden Jubilee; one of the photographs from this session was used as a Canadian postage stamp in 2004 and again in 2005 (see Queen Elizabeth II definitive stamp (Canada)), another portrait of both Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip is now in the National Portrait Gallery in London. Adams supports the Hear the World initiative as a photographer in its aim to raise global awareness for the topic of hearing and hearing loss. He photographed Michael J. Fox and Tatjana Patitz in the 2011 Carl Zeiss AG company calendar in New York City in the summer of 2010. The focus was about the size difference of the subjects in a comedic presentation. In 2011, Adams provided the cover art for Lioness: Hidden Treasures, a posthumous release by Amy Winehouse.Source: Wikipedia Rock Icon Bryan Adams' lifelong interest in photography turned into a vocation when he began shooting for fashion magazines and advertisers more than a decade ago. But it's not all models and celebrities: He most recently turned his lens on 40 British soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. His series Wounded: The Legacy of War, the subject of a 2013 book from Steidl and an exhibit at London’s Somerset House on display this month through Jan. 25, showcases the brutal (and all too common) injuries incurred in battle. "I didn't like the fact that people were getting so badly hurt, so many people were killed, were displaced, forgotten. This is my statement," says Adams, 55. On the legacy of the images, he says, "I hope [people] realize that these guys made an incredible sacrifice. War is disgusting and this is the result of what happens when we decide to beat each other up."Source: Billboard
Tina Modotti
Italy / United States
1896 | † 1942
With her camera, Tina Modotti presents a distinctive vision of 1920s Mexico. As a Hollywood actress turned Comintern agent, Modotti used photography as an artistic and political outlet. Born​ in Udine,Italy,​ ​Modotti emigrated to San Fransico at the age of sixteen. She quickly established herself as a successful actress and modeled for notable photographers including Jane Reece and Edward Weston. The latter became her lover and artistic mentor. In 1923, Weston and Modotti set up a successful portrait studio in Mexico City. While there, Modotti moved within avant-garde circles, befriending Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. It was during this period in Mexico that she developed her passion for both photography and politics; this culminated in a solo exhibition at the National Library in 1929 which emphasized the revolutionary quality of her work. 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Attracted to the performing arts supported by the Italian émigré community in the San Francisco Bay Area, Modotti experimented with acting. She appeared in several plays, operas, and silent movies in the late 1910s and early 1920s, and also worked as an artist's model. In 1917, she met Roubaix "Robo" de l'Abrie Richey. Originally a farm boy from Oregon named Ruby Ritchie, the artist and poet assumed the more bohemian name Roubaix. In 1918, Modotti began a romantic relationship with him and moved with him to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the motion picture industry. Although the couple cohabited and lived as a "married couple", they were not married. She was listed as a U.S. citizen in the 1920 Los Angeles township census. Often playing the femme fatale, Modotti's movie career culminated in the 1920 film The Tiger's Coat. She had minor parts in two other films. The couple entered into a bohemian circle of friends. One of these fellow bohemians was Ricardo Gómez Robelo. Another was the photographer, Edward Weston. As a young girl in Italy her uncle, Pietro Modotti, maintained a photography studio. Later in the U.S., her father briefly ran a similar studio in San Francisco. While in Los Angeles, she met the photographer Edward Weston and his creative partner Margrethe Mather. It was through her relationship with Weston that Modotti developed as an important fine art photographer and documentarian. By 1921, Modotti was Weston's lover. Ricardo Gómez Robelo became the head of Mexico's Ministry of Education's Fine Arts Department, and persuaded Robo to come to Mexico with a promise of a job and a studio. Robo left for Mexico in December 1921. Perhaps unaware of his affair with Modotti, Robo took with him prints of Weston's, hoping to mount an exhibition of his and Weston's work in Mexico. While she was on her way to be with Robo, Modotti received word of his death from smallpox on February 9, 1922. Devastated, she arrived two days after his death. In March 1922, determined to see Robo's vision realized, she mounted a two-week exhibition of Robo's and Weston's work at the National Academy of Fine Arts in Mexico City. She sustained a second loss with the death of her father, which forced her to return to San Francisco later in March 1922. In 1923, Modotti returned to Mexico City with Weston and his son Chandler, leaving behind Weston's wife Flora and their youngest three children. She agreed to run Weston's studio free of charge in return for his mentoring her in photography. Together they opened a portrait studio in Mexico City. Modotti and Weston quickly gravitated toward the capital's bohemian scene and used their connections to create an expanding portrait business. Together they found a community of cultural and political "avant-gardists", which included Frida Kahlo, Lupe Marín, Diego Rivera, and Jean Charlot. In general, Weston was moved by the landscape and folk art of Mexico to create abstract works, while Modotti was more captivated by the people of Mexico and blended this human interest with a modernist aesthetic. Modotti also became the photographer of choice for the blossoming Mexican mural movement, documenting the works of José Clemente Orozco and Diego Rivera. Between 1924 and 1928, Modotti took hundreds of photographs of Rivera's murals at the Secretariat of Public Education in Mexico City. Modotti's visual vocabulary matured during this period, such as her formal experiments with architectural interiors, blooming flowers, urban landscapes, and especially in her many beautiful images of peasants and workers during the depression. In 1926, Modotti and Weston were commissioned by Anita Brenner to travel around Mexico and take photographs for what would become her influential book Idols Behind Altars. The relative contributions of Modotti and Weston to the project has been debated. Weston's son Brett, who accompanied the two on the project, indicated that the photographs were taken by Edward Weston. In 1925, Modotti joined International Red Aid, a Communist organization. In November 1926, Weston left Mexico and returned to California. During this time Modotti met several political radicals and Communists, including three Mexican Communist Party leaders who would all eventually become romantically linked with her: Xavier Guerrero, Julio Antonio Mella, and Vittorio Vidali. Starting in 1927, a much more politically active Modotti (she joined the Mexican Communist Party that year) found her focus shifting and more of her work becoming politically motivated. Around that time her photographs began appearing in publications such as Mexican Folkways, Forma, and the more radically motivated El Machete, the German Communist Party's Arbeiter-Illustrierte-Zeitung (AIZ), and New Masses. Mexican photographer Manuel Álvarez Bravo divided Modotti's career as a photographer into two distinct categories: "Romantic" and "Revolutionary", with the former period including her time spent as Weston's darkroom assistant, office manager and, finally, creative partner. Her later works were the focus of her one-woman retrospective exhibition at the National Library in December 1929, which was advertised as "The First Revolutionary Photographic Exhibition In Mexico". As a result of the anti-communist campaign by the Mexican government, Modotti was exiled from Mexico in 1930. She first spent several months in Berlin, followed by several years in Moscow. Traveling on a restricted visa that mandated her final destination as Italy, Modotti initially stopped in Berlin and from there visited Switzerland. The Italian government made concerted efforts to extradite her as a subversive national, but with the assistance of International Red Aid activists, she evaded detention by the fascist police. She apparently intended to make her way into Italy to join the anti-fascist resistance there. In response to the deteriorating political situation in Germany and her own exhausted resources, however, she followed the advice of Vittorio Vidali and moved to Moscow in 1931. After 1931, Modotti no longer photographed. Reports of later photographs are unsubstantiated. During the next few years she engaged in various missions on behalf of the Workers International Relief organizations as a Comintern agent in Europe. When the Spanish Civil War erupted in 1936, Vidali (then known as "Comandante Carlos") and Modotti (using the pseudonym "Maria") left Moscow for Spain, where they stayed and worked until 1939. She worked with Canadian Dr. Norman Bethune during the disastrous retreat from Málaga in 1937. 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Guy Bourdin
France
1928 | † 1991
Guy Bourdin (1928-1991) was born in Paris. A painter his entire life and a self-taught photographer, he was working for magazines, such as Vogue as well as for brands such as Chanel, Ungaro and Charles Jourdan. He exhibited his first photographies at Galerie 29 in 1952. Nowadays his work has been exhibited in the most prestigious museums, such as The Victoria & Albert Museum, The Jeu de Paume, The National Art Museum of China, The Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography and The Moscow House of Photography. His oeuvres is part of the collection of many prestigious institutions such as the MoMA in New York, The Getty Museum in Los Angeles, SFMOMA in San Francisco and the collection of the V&A among others. Guy Bourdin's career spanned more than forty years during which time he worked for the world's leading fashion houses and magazines. With the eye of a painter, Guy Bourdin created images that contained fascinating stories, compositions, both in B&W and in colors. He was among the 1st to create images with narratives, telling stories and shows that the image is more important than the product which is displayed. Using fashion photography as his medium, he sent out his message, one that was difficult to decode, exploring the realms between the absurd and the sublime. Famed for his suggestive narratives and surreal aesthetics, he radically broke conventions of commercial photography with a relentless perfectionism and sharp humor. Guy Bourdin used the format of the double spread magazine page in the most inventive way. He tailored his compositions to the constraints of the printed page both conceptually and graphically, and the mirror motif so central in his work finds its formal counterpart in the doubleness of the magazine spread. Layout and design become powerful metaphors for the photographic medium, engaging the eye and with it, the mind. While on the one hand employing formal elements of composition, Guy Bourdin, on the other hand, sought to transcend the reality of the photographic medium with surreal twists to the apparent subject of his images and his unconventional manipulation of the picture plane. Given total creative freedom and with uncompromising artistic ethic, Guy Bourdin captured the imagination of a whole generation at the late 1970s, recognised as the highest note in his career. Guy Bourdin was an image maker, a perfectionist. He knew how to grab the attention of the viewer and left nothing to chance. He created impeccable sets, or when not shooting in his studio rue des Ecouffes in le Marais, in undistinguished bedrooms, on the beach, in nature, or in urban landscapes. The unusual dramas that unfold in these seemingly everyday scenes and ordinary encounters pique our subconscious and invite our imagination. Moreover, he developed a technic using hyper real colours, meticulous compositions of cropped elements such as low skies with high grounds and the interplay of light and shadows as well as the unique make-up of the models. Guy Bourdin irreverently swept away all the standards of beauty, conventional morals and product portrayals in one fell swoop. Around the female body he constructed visual disruptions, the outrageous, the hair-raising, the indiscreet, the ugly, the doomed, the fragmentary and the absent, torsos and death - all the tension and the entire gamut of what lies beyond the aesthetic and the moral,« explains the exhibition's curator Ingo Taubhorn. Bourdin investigates in minute detail the variables of fashion photography, from brash posing to subtle performances and from complex settings to novel and disturbing notions of images. Guy Bourdin was among the first to imagine fashion photographies that contained fascinating narratives, dramatic effects with intense color saturation, hyper-realism and cropped compositions while he established the idea that the product is secondary to the image. A fan of Alfred Hitchcock's 'Macguffin' technique - an inanimate object catalyzing the plot - the photographer constructed 'crime scenes', getting rid of all usual standards of beauty and morals while his images demanded cerebral responses. When such photographers as David Bailey, in the 1960s, produced fantasy images of the girl-next-door, Guy Bourdin captured the atmosphere of the 1970s with sharp humor, erotism and outrageous femininity. Collaborating with Issey Miyake, Chanel or Emmanuel Ungaro, it was his work for the shoe label, Charles Jourdan, that brought him the attention of a wider public. With the campaign, Guy Bourdin dared to barely show the product and turned the shoe into a trivial element of a theatrical mise-en-scène that enhanced sex and bad taste. Guy Bourdin's imagery not only changed the course of fashion photography but influenced a host of contemporary artists, photographers and filmmakers. It is without question, that Guy Bourdin's work for Vogue and his highly acclaimed print advertising for Charles Jourdan in the 1970s are now being seen in the appropriate context of contemporary art.
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