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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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More Great Photographers To Discover

Laurent Dequick
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Patrick Morarescu
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Photography has taken Jeremy to six continents. He traveled with Britney Spears in 2009 as her "Circus World Tour" photographer, documented seventeen countries with the Passion World Tour in 2008, and has been on numerous trips to Africa and Haiti with various organizations. From all his travels, Jeremy has released 3 Photography books, "Hope in the Dark", "The Poor Will Be Glad" and "Awakening", and he's currently working on a 4th new book, "What's Your Mark?" with Zondervan Publishers due out Fall 2012. Jeremy also spends his time on community projects, brainstorming innovative ways to use his camera to make an impact. In January 2010, after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Jeremy responded with his "Voices of Haiti" photo essay, letting the people of Haiti write their own thoughts and prayers on found rubble. This project was displayed prominently at the entrance of a very important gathering of world leaders at the United Nations in March of 2010. 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His LifeFinder Tour is based on his educational DVD, LifeFinder. Jeremy is also an instructor for Scott Kelby's "Kelby Training" and has released 3 classes on the Kelby Training website. Jeremy is a crock pot of ideas, always on low simmer. He doesn't sleep enough. His mind won't let him. Whether it's the next shoot, the next talk, the next book, the next app, or the next humanitarian project, Jeremy just doesn't stop. And that's why his career keeps moving forward. Bouncing back and forth between Nashville and LA, Jeremy draws a lot of inspiration from his amazing wife, Shannon, and their two ridiculously cute and utterly fantastic kids, Adler and Eisley. They also have a dog and a cat, but they are not as inspirational.Source: jeremycowart.com
Eli Reed
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Eli Reed was born in the US and studied pictorial illustration at the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts, graduating in 1969. In 1982 he was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. At Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, he studied political science, urban affairs, and the prospects for peace in Central America. Reed began photographing as a freelancer in 1970. His work from El Salvador, Guatemala and other Central American countries attracted the attention of Magnum in 1982. He was nominated to the agency the following summer, and became a full member in 1988. In the same year Reed photographed the effects of poverty on America's children for a film documentary called Poorest in the Land of Plenty, narrated by Maya Angelou. He went on to work as a stills and specials photographer for major motion pictures. His video documentary Getting Out was shown at the New York Film Festival in 1993 and honored by the 1996 Black Film-makers Hall of Fame International Film and Video Competition in the documentary category. Reed's special reports include a long-term study on Beirut (1983-87), which became his first, highly acclaimed book Beirut, City of Regrets, the ousting of Baby Doc Duvalier in Haiti (1986), US military action in Panama (1989), the Walled City in Hong Kong and, perhaps most notably, his documentation of African-American experience over more than twenty years. Spanning the 1970s through the end of the 1990s, his book Black in America includes images from the Crown Heights riots and the Million Man March. Reed has lectured and taught at the International Center of Photography, Columbia University, New York University, and Harvard University. He currently works as Clinical Professor of Photojournalism at the University of Texas in Austin.(Source: en.wikipedia.org)
Frances Benjamin Johnston
United States
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Frances "Fannie" Benjamin Johnston (15 January 1864 – 16 May 1952) was an early American female photographer and photojournalist whose career lasted for almost half a century. She is most known for her portraits, images of southern architecture, and various photographic series featuring African Americans and Native Americans at the turn of the 20th century. The only surviving child of wealthy and well connected parents, she was born in Grafton, West Virginia, raised in Washington, D.C., and studied at the Académie Julian in Paris and the Washington Students League following her graduation from Notre Dame of Maryland Collegiate Institute for Young Ladies in 1883 (now known as Notre Dame of Maryland University). An independent and strong-willed young woman, she wrote articles for periodicals before finding her creative outlet through photography after she was given her first camera by George Eastman, a close friend of the family, and inventor of the new, lighter, Eastman Kodak cameras. 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Well connected among elite society, she was commissioned by magazines to do "celebrity" portraits, such as Alice Roosevelt's wedding portrait, and was dubbed the "Photographer to the American court." She photographed Admiral Dewey on the deck of the USS Olympia,[6] the Roosevelt children playing with their pet pony at the White House and the gardens of Edith Wharton's famous villa near Paris. Her mother, Frances Antoinette Johnston, had been a congressional journalist and dramatic critic for the Baltimore Sun and her daughter built on her familiarity with the Washington political scene by becoming official White House photographer for the Harrison, Cleveland, McKinley, "TR" Roosevelt, and Taft presidential administrations. Johnston also photographed the famous American heiress and literary salon socialite Natalie Barney in Paris but perhaps her most famous work, shown here, is her self-portrait of the liberated "New Woman", petticoats showing and beer stein in hand. Johnston was a constant advocate for the role of women in the burgeoning art of photography. The Ladies' Home Journal published Johnston's article "What a Woman Can Do With a Camera" in 1897[9] and she co-curated (with Zaida Ben-Yusuf) an exhibition of photographs by twenty-eight women photographers at the 1900 Exposition Universelle, which afterwards travelled to Saint Petersburg, Moscow, and Washington, DC. She traveled widely in her thirties, taking a wide range of documentary and artistic photographs of coal miners, iron workers, women in New England's mills and sailors being tattooed on board ship as well as her society commissions. While in England she photographed the stage actress Mary Anderson, who was a friend of her mother. In 1899, she gained further notability when she was commissioned by Hollis Burke Frissell to photograph the buildings and students of the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in Hampton, Virginia in order to show its success. This series, documenting the ordinary life of the school, remains as some of her most telling work. It was displayed at The Exhibit of American Negroes of the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900. She photographed events such as world's fairs and peace-treaty signings and took the last portrait of President William McKinley, at the Pan-American Exposition of 1901 just before his assassination. With her partner, Mattie Edwards Hewitt, a successful freelance home and garden photographer in her own right, she opened a studio in New York in 1913 and moved in with her mother and aunt. Hewitt wrote Johnston love letters over the course of their relationship, which are chronicled in "The Woman Behind the Lens: The Life and Work of Frances Benjamin Johnston, 1864–1952." Many of the early letters focused on Hewitt's admiration for Johnston's work, but as their romance progressed, they became increasingly full of words of love: "...when I need you or you need me — [we] must hold each other all the closer and with your hand in mine, holding it tight..." She lectured at New York University on business for women and they produced a series of studies of New York architecture through the 1920s. In early 1920 her mother died in New York. In the 1920s, she became increasingly interested in photographing architecture, motivated by a desire to document buildings and gardens which were falling into disrepair or about to be redeveloped and lost. As her focus in architecture grew, she became specifically interested in documenting the architecture of the American South. Johnston was interested in preserving the everyday history of the American South through her art; she accomplished this by photographing barns, inns, and other ordinary structures. She was not interested in photographing the grand homes and estates of the American South, but rather the quickly deteriorating structures in these communities that portrayed the life of common southerners. Her photographs remain an important resource for modern architects, historians and conservationists. She exhibited a series of 247 photographs of Fredericksburg, Virginia, from the decaying mansions of the rich to the shacks of the poor, in 1928. The exhibition was entitled Pictorial Survey--Old Fredericksburg, Virginia--Old Falmouth and Nearby Places and described as "A Series of Photographic Studies of the Architecture of the Region Dating by Tradition from Colonial Times to Circa 1830" as "An Historical Record and to Preserve Something of the Atmosphere of An Old Virginia Town." Publicity from the display prompted the University of Virginia to hire her to document its buildings and the state of North Carolina to record its architectural history. Louisiana hired Johnston to document its huge inventory of rapidly deteriorating plantations and she was given a grant in 1933 by the Carnegie Corporation of New York to document Virginia's early architecture. This led to a series of grants and photographs of eight other southern states, all of which were given to the Library of Congress for public use. In December 1935, she began a year long project to capture the less evolved structures of the Colonial Era in Virginia. This was effort was intended to be a one year project, but evolved into an eight year extensive project, in which she surveyed 50,000 miles and 95 counties in Virginia. Johnston was named an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects for her work in preserving old and endangered buildings and her collections have been purchased by institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Baltimore Museum of Art. Although her relentless traveling was curtailed by petrol rationing in the Second World War the tireless Johnston continued to photograph. Johnston acquired a home in the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1940, retiring there in 1945, where she died in 1952 at the age of eighty-eight.Source: Wikipedia
Ferit Kuyas
Turkey
1955
Living and working near Zurich, Switzerland, Ferit Kuyas fully committed himself to photography in the eighties after graduating from law school. Working mainly on personal projects, he published several books. After visiting Shanghai for commissioned work, Ferit's travels brought him often back to China. His most recent book publication is City of Ambition with large cityscapes from the megalopolis Chongqing, China, which got published in October 2009. 2011 he started working on Aurora, a project with cityscapes and portraits in Guatemala City. Ferit's photographs have been shown in museums, galleries and festivals in Europe, America and Asia. His work is represented in private, corporate and public collections in the United States, England, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany and Turkey. He received a number of awards, among them the Kodak Photobook-Award and the Hasselblad Masters. "Amidst the thousands of images we see, there are some that impact on a deep personal level. It’s like they enter your body in some way and reveal themselves to you in-dreams or come to you at moments in the day when you should be concentrating on the finances, or driving the car. Ferit’s images affected me in this way. From the first time I saw them, their sheer audacity delighted me. I can meditate on it and take myself on a journey. Even if photography did die, it would never die inside me – people like Ferit have filled me up with images forever." - Rhonda Wilson, Rhubarb, Rhubarb, Birmingham UK.Source: www.feritkuyas.net Ferit Kuyas (1955) was born in Istanbul, Turkey. He studied architecture and law in Zurich, Switzerland and graduated 1982 in jurisprudence from the University of Zurich. Working mainly on personal projects, he published several books. After visiting Shanghai for commissioned work, Ferit’s travels brought him often back to China. His most recent body of work is City of Ambition with large cityscapes from the megalopolis Chongqing, China, which got published in October 2009. Ferit’s photographs have been shown in museums, galleries and festivals in Europe, America and Asia. His work is represented in private, corporate and public collections in the United States, England, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany and Turkey. He received a number of awards, among them the Kodak Photobook-Award, the Guatephoto Award and the Hasselblad Masters.Source: Stephen Cohen Gallery
Lee Friedlander
United States
1934
Lee Friedlander (born July 14, 1934) is an American photographer and artist. In the 1960s and 70s, working primarily with 35mm cameras and black and white film, Friedlander evolved an influential and often imitated visual language of urban "social landscape," with many of his photographs including fragments of store-front reflections, structures framed by fences, posters and street-signs. Friedlander studied photography at the Art Center College of Design located in Pasadena, California. In 1956, he moved to New York City where he photographed jazz musicians for record covers. His early work was influenced by Eugène Atget, Robert Frank, and Walker Evans. In 1960, the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation awarded Friedlander a grant to focus on his art and made subsequent grants in 1962 and 1977. Some of his most famous photographs appeared in the September 1985 Playboy, black and white nude photographs of Madonna from the late 1970s. A student at the time, she was paid only $25 for her 1979 set. In 2009, one of the images fetched $37,500 at a Christie's Art House auction. Working primarily with Leica 35mm cameras and black and white film, Friedlander's style focused on the "social landscape". His photographs used detached images of urban life, store-front reflections, structures framed by fences, and posters and signs all combining to capture the look of modern life. In 1963, the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House mounted Friedlander's first solo exhibition. Friedlander was then a key figure in curator John Szarkowski's 1967 "New Documents" exhibition, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City along with Garry Winogrand and Diane Arbus. In 1973, his work was honored in Rencontres d'Arles festival (France) with the screening "Soirée américaine : Judy Dater, Jack Welpott, Jerry Uelsmann, Lee Friedlander" présentée par Jean-Claude Lemagny. In 1990, the MacArthur Foundation awarded Friedlander a MacArthur Fellowship. Friedlander now works primarily with medium format cameras (e.g. Hasselblad Superwide). Whilst suffering from arthritis and housebound, he focused on photographing his surroundings. His book, Stems, reflects his life during the time of his knee replacement surgery. He has said that his "limbs" reminded him of plant stems. These images display textures which were not a feature of his earlier work. In this sense, the images are similar to those of Josef Sudek who also photographed the confines of his home and studio. He was awarded The Royal Photographic Society's Special 150th Anniversary Medal and Honorary Fellowship (HonFRPS) in recognition of a sustained, significant contribution to the art of photography in 2003. In 2005, the Museum of Modern Art presented a major retrospective of Friedlander's career, including nearly 400 photographs from the 1950s to the present. In the same year he received a Hasselblad International Award. The retrospective exhibition was presented again in 2008 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Concurrent to this retrospective, a more contemporary body of his work, America By Car, was displayed at the Fraenkel Gallery, also in San Francisco. "America By Car" was on display at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City in late 2010. He is the father of cellist Erik Friedlander, and Anna Friedlander. Source: Wikipedia
Keliy Anderson-Staley
United States
1977
Keliy Anderson-Staley was raised off the grid in Maine, studied photography in New York City and currently lives and teaches photography at the University of Houston in Texas. She earned a BA from Hampshire College in Massachusetts and an MFA in photography from Hunter College in New York. Anderson-Staley’s tintype portrait work was awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship and a Puffin Grant. She participated in the Bronx Museum AIM residency program in 2007, the Light Work residency and fellowship in 2010, and the Bakery Photo Collective in Westbrook Maine in 2012. She received a grant in Summer 2011 to prepare a solo exhibition of her series of tintype portraits [hyphen] Americans at Light Work in Syracuse, NY. Her color series about back-to-the-landers in Maine, Off the Grid, was one of five runners-up for the Aperture Portfolio Prize (2009). Off the Grid received the grand prize at the Joyce Elaine Grant exhibition in Denton, TX in 2009 and the Arthur Griffin Award from the Griffin Museum of Photography in 2010. The project was also a finalist for the Duke Center for Documentary Studies/Honickman First Book Prize in 2008. She also recently received funding for her project, Imagined Family Heirlooms via Kickstarter, a crowd-funding website in 2011. Her photographs are in the permanent collections of the Library of Congress, Akron Art Museum, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Portland Museum of Art (Maine), and Museum of Fine Arts-Houston. She was the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, a Puffin Grant, a fellowship from the Howard Foundation and the Carol Crow Fellowship from the Houston Center for Photography. Her work published in a solo issue of Light Work’s Contact Sheet and has been shown at the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian, Portland Museum of Art, Akron Art Museum, Bronx Museum of Art, Southeast Museum of Photography and the California Museum of Photography, as well as at a number of galleries around the country. Anderson-Staley has been making wet plate collodion tintypes and ambrotypes for ten years. Her fine art and editorial work has appeared in a number of magazines, including Photo District News, New York Magazine, Art and Auction, Hemispheres Magazine, Camerawork, Contact Sheet, Conde Nast Traveler and Esquire Russia. Online, her work has been featured on Flak Photo, Conscientious, Fraction Magazine, PetaPixel, Ahorn Magazine and Daylight Magazine. Her series of tintype portraits was published in 2014 under the title On A Wet Bough by Waltz Books.Source: Catherine Edelman Gallery
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