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Vee Speers
Vee Speers
Vee Speers

Vee Speers

Country: Australia

or over two decades, Australian Paris-based artist Vee Speers has established herself in the art world with her unforgettable portraits. Her carefully choreographed images are painterly and ethereal, with a visual and metaphorical ambiguity which challenges established narratives. In her iconic series The Birthday Party, she eternalises the innocence of childhood with timeless portraits that are at once hauntingly beautiful and provocative. She dresses, styles and sometimes masks her characters, creating enigmatic stories to blur the line between reality and fiction and highlighting our need to escape into fantasy. Speers succeeds in choreographing characters that offer allegorical glimpses into life, triggering memories and emotions from our own childhood.

From the legend of the Phoenix, Speers draws inspiration for her most recent work Phoenix, an evocative story about passion, love and loss and an homage to the anonymous women. In this series Phoenix, the battles are over and the flames and ashes disappear. Emerging is the emboldening force of liberation as these women of all ages are on the threshold of new beginnings. At once powerful and vulnerable, Speers' portraits are timeless symbols of transformation between life and loss and the renaissance of a new identity.

Speers' work has been exhibited in museums, galleries, art fairs and festivals around the world, and published in features and on covers of more than 60 international magazines, with 3 sold-out monographs of her work. Her photographs have been acquired by Sir Elton John Collection, Michael Wilson Collection, Hoffman Collection U.S. , Carter Potash Collection, Morten Viskum Collection, Alan Siegel, Lawrence Schiller, DZ Bank, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Museum 21C, Kentucky, George Eastman House, Beth Rudin Dewoody, Hudson Bay Company Art Fund, CB Collection, Tokyo.



More about Vee Speers:
AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?
Vee Speers: I’ve always thought photography was magical as my father had his own darkroom. When I went to art school, I realized that the instant way of capturing an image suited my impatient personality.

Where did you study photography?
QCA, Brisbane, Australia

Do you have a mentor or role model?
Not really. I don’t like to follow.

What or who inspires you?
The cinema is a constant source of inspiration. A story is told, and the way it is filmed can transport you to another time or place. Still images can be the same.

How could you describe your style?
Playful, beautiful, strange, melancholic, obvious and unexpected.

Do you have a favorite photograph or series?
The Birthday Party and Bulletproof This is two series photographed 6 years apart using the same children.

What kind of gear do you use?
Polaroid film and medium format cameras.

Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose?
No, I know right away when I’ve taken a good shot. Or if I haven’t.

What advice would you give a young photographer?
Know what you want and don’t be distracted from your goal. Don’t listen to what anybody else says.

What mistake should a young photographer avoid?
Accepting to shoot anything that will compromise his or her personal journey.

An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share?
Don’t be afraid.

What are your projects?
Portraits, portraits and more portraits.

Your best memory as a photographer?
There are so many. Every time I take a great image, I feel so excited, like everything has lined up perfectly. These are the best memories.

The compliment that touched you most?
A woman once told me that my work had changed her life.

If you were someone else who would it be?
Diane Arbus, with all those wonderful and strange people to photograph.

Your favorite photo book?
Lord of the Flies by William Golding.

 

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Morris Engel
United States
1918 | † 2005
Morris Engel (April 8, 1918 - March 5, 2005) was an American photographer, cinematographer and filmmaker best known for making the first American film "independent" of Hollywood studios, Little Fugitive (1953), in collaboration with his wife, photographer Ruth Orkin, and their friend, writer Raymond Abrashkin. Engel was a pioneer in the use of hand-held cameras and nonprofessional actors in his films, cameras that he helped design, and his naturalistic films influenced future prominent independent and French New Wave filmmakers. A lifelong New Yorker, Morris Engel was born in Brooklyn in 1918. After joining the Photo League in 1936, Engel had his first exhibition in 1939, at the New School for Social Research. He worked briefly as a photographer for the Leftist newspaper PM before joining the United States Navy as a combat photographer from 1941 to 1946 in World War II. After the war, he returned to New York where he again was an active Photo League member, teaching workshop classes and serving as co-chair of a project group focusing on postwar labor issues. In 1953, Engel, along with his girlfriend, fellow photographer Ruth Orkin, and his former colleague at PM, Raymond Abrashkin, made the feature film Little Fugitive for $30,000, shooting the film on location in Coney Island with a hand-held 35 millimeter camera Engel had designed himself. This camera was compact and lightweight so it would be unobtrusive shooting in public. As such, it did not allow simultaneous sound recording; the sound was dubbed later. The film, one of the first successful American "independent films" earned them an Academy Award nomination for Best Writing, Motion Picture Story and a Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival. The film told the story of a seven-year-old boy, played by Richie Andrusco, who runs away from home and spends the day at Coney Island. Andrusco never appeared in another film, and the other performers were mainly nonprofessional. Though their first film was a critical success, Engel and Orkin, who had since married, had a hard time finding funding for their next film, Lovers and Lollipops, which was completed in 1956. The film was about a widowed mother dating an old friend, and how her young daughter complicates their budding relationship. Like the first one, Lovers and Lollipops was filmed with a hand-held compact 35 mm camera, with sound dubbed in post-production. This was followed two years later by the more adult-centered Weddings and Babies, a film about an aspiring photographer than is often seen as autobiographical. This was Engel's first film to have live sound recorded at the time of filming, and is historically the first 35 mm fiction film made with a portable camera equipped for synchronized sound. In 1961, Engel directed three television commercials, including an award-winning one for Oreo cookies. The other two were for Ivory soap and Fab detergent. A half-hour short film The Dog Lover was made the following year, a comedy about a shop merchant whose life is turned upside down by the stray dog his kid brings home. He made a fourth feature in 1968 called I Need a Ride to California, which followed a group of young hippies in Greenwich Village. Post-production was shelved until 1972 when it was finally completed, but for unknown reasons, it was never released during his lifetime. It finally received its premiere in October 2019 at New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA); it was first released on home video in March 2021. In the 1980s, Engel began taking panoramic photographs on the streets of New York City. Engel and Ruth Orkin remained married until Orkin's death in 1985. In the 1990s, he returned to filmmaking, this time working on video. He completed two feature-length documentaries: A Little Bit Pregnant in 1994 and Camellia in 1998, each revolving around a different child in the Hartman family. First, in A Little Bit Pregnant Engel focused on the 8-year-old Leon's reactions, anxiety and wonderment to the impending birth of his baby sister Camellia. For the second film, two years later, Engel returned to the same family, who gave him a year of access to the now 2-year-old daughter Camellia, capturing her daily life and routines, and her relationships with her family and others. Both films were shown in private screenings, but never had a public release due likely to the Hartman family presumably holding the rights. Engel died of cancer in 2005.Source: Wikipedia Morris Engel was born in Brooklyn to immigrant parents from Lithuania. An early interest in photography led him to enroll in a class at New York’s Photo League, a group dedicated to raising social consciousness through modern photography. Some of the most influential photographers of the time were associated with the Photo League; Engel worked closely with Aaron Siskind on the project Harlem Document from 1936-40 and later assisted Paul Strand in filming Native Land. Like many Photo League photographers, Engel documented life in New York City, producing and exhibiting photo essays on Coney Island, the Lower East Side and Harlem. In 1939 he had his first exhibition at New York’s New School. In 1940 he joined the staff of the newspaper PM, but he left the publication one year later to sign on with the U.S. Navy as a member of a combat photo unit. He participated in the D-Day invasion of Normandy. In 1951 Engel momentarily quit still photography to pursue a career in filmmaking. He made a series of low-budget films with a custom 35 mm camera. His first feature film, Little Fugitive (made with his wife, the renowned photographer Ruth Orkin), earned an Academy Award nomination in 1953 for Best Original Screenplay and was screened in more than 5,000 theaters across the United States. Engel’s photographs are widely exhibited and found in the collections of the International Center of Photography (New York), the Museum of the City of New York, the Museum of Modern Art (New York) and the National Portrait Gallery (Washington, D.C.). His films continue to be screened at venues such as the Whitney Museum of Art (New York), the Brooklyn Museum and the American Museum of the Moving Image (New York).Source: American Photography Archives Group
Thomas Eakins
United States
1844 | † 1916
Thomas Cowperthwait Eakins (July 25, 1844 – June 25, 1916) was an American realist painter, photographer, sculptor, and fine arts educator. He is widely acknowledged to be one of the most important American artists. For the length of his professional career, from the early 1870s until his health began to fail some 40 years later, Eakins worked exactingly from life, choosing as his subject the people of his hometown of Philadelphia. He painted several hundred portraits, usually of friends, family members, or prominent people in the arts, sciences, medicine, and clergy. Taken en masse, the portraits offer an overview of the intellectual life of contemporary Philadelphia; individually, they are incisive depictions of thinking persons. In addition, Eakins produced a number of large paintings that brought the portrait out of the drawing-room and into the offices, streets, parks, rivers, arenas, and surgical amphitheaters of his city. These active outdoor venues allowed him to paint the subject that most inspired him: the nude or lightly clad figure in motion. In the process, he could model the forms of the body in full sunlight, and create images of deep space utilizing his studies in perspective. Thomas Eakins also took a keen interest in the new technologies of motion photography, a field in which he is now seen as an innovator. No less important in Eakins' life was his work as a teacher. As an instructor, he was a highly influential presence in American art. The difficulties which beset him as an artist seeking to paint the portrait and figure realistically were paralleled and even amplified in his career as an educator, where behavioral and sexual scandals truncated his success and damaged his reputation. Eakins was a controversial figure whose work received little by way of official recognition during his lifetime. Since his death, he has been celebrated by American art historians as "the strongest, most profound realist in the nineteenth and early-twentieth-century American art". Eakins has been credited with having "introduced the camera to the American art studio". During his study abroad, he was exposed to the use of photography by the French realists, though the use of photography was still frowned upon as a shortcut by traditionalists. In the late 1870s, Thomas Eakins was introduced to the photographic motion studies of Eadweard Muybridge, particularly the equine studies, and became interested in using the camera to study sequential movement. In the mid-1880s, Eakins worked briefly alongside Muybridge in the latter's photographic studio at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Eakins soon performed his own independent motion studies, also usually involving the nude figure, and even developed his own technique for capturing movement on film. Whereas Muybridge's system relied on a series of cameras triggered to produce a sequence of individual photographs, Eakins preferred to use a single camera to produce a series of exposures superimposed on one negative. Thomas Eakins was more interested in precision measurements on a single image to aid in translating a motion into a painting, while Muybridge preferred separate images that could also be displayed by his primitive movie projector. After Eakins obtained a camera in 1880, several paintings, such as Mending the Net (1881) and Arcadia (1883), are known to have been derived at least in part from his photographs. Some figures appear to be detailed transcriptions and tracings from the photographs by some device like a magic lantern, which Eakins then took pains to cover up with oil paint. Thomas Eakins' methods appear to be meticulously applied, and rather than shortcuts, were likely used in a quest for accuracy and realism. 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Although witnesses and chaperones were usually on site, and the poses were mostly traditional in nature, the sheer quantity of the photos and Eakins' overt display of them may have undermined his standing at the Academy. In all, about eight hundred photographs are now attributed to Eakins and his circle, most of which are figure studies, both clothed and nude, and portraits. No other American artist of his time matched Eakins' interest in photography, nor produced a comparable body of photographic works. Thomas Eakins used photography for his own private ends as well. Aside from nude men, and women, he also photographed nude children. While the photographs of the nude adults are more artistically composed, the younger children and infants are posed less formally. These photographs, that are “charged with sexual overtones,” as Susan Danly and Cheryl Leibold write, are of unidentified children. In the catalog of Eakins' collection at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, photograph number 308 is of an African American child reclining on a couch and posed as Venus. Both Saidiya Hartman and Fred Moten write, respectively, about the photograph, and the child that it arrests. Late in life Eakins did experience some recognition. In 1902 he was made a National Academician. In 1914 the sale of a portrait study of D. Hayes Agnew for The Agnew Clinic to Dr. Albert C. Barnes precipitated much publicity when rumors circulated that the selling price was fifty thousand dollars. In fact, Barnes bought the painting for four thousand dollars. Eakins died on June 25, 1916, at the age of 71 and is buried at The Woodlands, which is located near the University of Pennsylvania in West Philadelphia. In the year after his death, Eakins was honored with a memorial retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and in 1917–18 the Pennsylvania Academy followed suit. Susan Macdowell Eakins did much to preserve his reputation, including gifting the Philadelphia Museum of Art with more than fifty of her husband's oil paintings. After her death in 1938, other works were sold off, and eventually another large collection of art and personal material was purchased by Joseph Hirshhorn, and now is part of the Hirshhorn Museum's collection. Since then, Eakins' home in North Philadelphia was put on the National Register of Historic Places list in 1966, and Eakins Oval, across from the Philadelphia Museum of Art on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, was named for the artist. In 1967 The Biglin Brothers Racing (1872) was reproduced on a United States postage stamp. His work was also part of the painting event in the art competition at the 1932 Summer Olympics. Since the 1990s, Eakins has emerged as a major figure in sexuality studies in art history, for both the homoeroticism of his male nudes and for the complexity of his attitudes toward women. Controversy shaped much of his career as a teacher and as an artist. He insisted on teaching men and women "the same", used nude male models in female classes and vice versa, and was accused of abusing female students. Recent scholarship suggests that these scandals were grounded in more than the "puritanical prudery" of his contemporaries—as had once been assumed—and that Eakins' progressive academic principles may have protected unconscious and dubious agendas. These controversies may have been caused by a combination of factors such as the bohemianism of Eakins and his circle (in which students, for example, sometimes modeled in the nude for each other), the intensity and authority of his teaching style, and Eakins' inclination toward unorthodox or provocative behavior. Eakins was unable to sell many of his works during his lifetime, so when he died in 1916, a large body of artwork passed to his widow, Susan Macdowell Eakins. She carefully preserved it, donating some of the strongest pieces to various museums. When she in turn died in 1938, much of the remaining artistic estate was destroyed or damaged by executors, and the remainders were belatedly salvaged by a former Eakins student.Source: Wikipedia
Jon Wollenhaupt
United States
For more than 20 years I have been dedicated to photography and fine art printmaking. During this span of time, I have I provided photography services to corporations, not-for-profit organizations, and news and media outlets. My street photography has been exhibited nationally in the United States and published internationally. I have a degree in Fine Art from Grossmont College and further studies in Studio Arts at San Francisco State University. Other current work includes a series called Awakening, which is a series of photomontage works that involve the overlaying of disparate images that reflect the workings of the unconscious mind and amorphous embedded memories. I also experiment extensively with alternative printing processes such as platinum pallidum and cyanotype. About Tales of a City: San Francisco Artist North Beach© Jon Wollenhaupt "For more than 10 years I prowled the streets of San Francisco taking photos without a particular theme in mind. Or, you could say the city itself was the theme. I was more interested in trying to reveal something about the fabric of the city than looking only at specific threads. I hope these photos display a faithful chronicle of everyday life, in which there is glimmer of what John Szarkowski calls “ineffable dramatic possibilities.” Can it be that the capture of those small daily dramas that take place on busy streets, in alleys, and between tall buildings, can tell the story of a city as complex and unique as San Francisco? Perhaps. The story of a great city is always unfolding, and each day a page of a new chapter begins."
Elisabeth Hase
Germany
1905 | † 1991
Elisabeth Hase (December 16, 1905 – October 9, 1991) was a German commercial and documentary photographer active in Frankfurt from 1932 until her death in 1991, at the age of 85 Hase was born in Döhlen bei Leipzig, Germany. She studied typography and commercial art from 1924 to 1929 at the School of Applied Arts, and later at the Städelschule, under, among other teachers, Paul Renner and Willi Baumeister. Hase was active as a photographer during the time of the transition from the Weimar Republic to the Third Reich and through post-WWII Germany. She was able to avoid government oversight of her work by establishing her own photographic studio in 1933. Hase's work included surreal photography, such as close-up photographs of dolls. She received several awards, several for paper designs and collages. During a two-year collaboration in the studio of Paul Wolff [de] and Alfred Tritschler [de], Hase took architectural photographs in New Objectivity style for the magazine Das Neue Frankfurt (The New Frankfurt) and documentary photographs of modern housing projects, including those of Ferdinand Kramer. In 1932, Hase started her own business. It focused on timeless designs like still life, structures, plants, dolls, people, especially self-portraits. Often she used herself as a model in her photographic “picture stories.” Cooperation with agencies like Holland Press Service and the Agency Schostal[2] enabled her to publish her photographs internationally. Despite the bombing of Frankfurt in 1944 by the Allies, Hare's photographic archive survived the war without major damage. Many of those works are now part of the collections held by the Folkwang Museum in Essen, Germany, in the Albertina (Vienna) in Vienna, and in the Walter Gropius estate in the Bauhaus Archive in Berlin, as well as in private collections in Germany and abroad. Despite loss of her cameras and other technical equipment in the chaos of war, Hase was able to resume taking photographs in 1946 by the help of emigre friends who provided her with film and cameras to use. Among others subjects Hase documented was the reconstruction of St. Paul's Church in Frankfurt. From 1949, her work focused on advertising, consisting mostly of plant portraits. Hase died at the age of 85 in 1991 in Frankfurt am Main. Source: Wikipedia This new discovery is a rich body of work by a female artist who was photographing during the time of the transition from the Weimar Republic to the Third Reich and through post-WWII Germany. Hase's photographic compositions are comparable to a number of her avant-garde contemporaries such as Florence Henri, Ilse Bing, and Germain Krull. Elisabeth Hase (1905-1991) was born in Germany and began her artistic studies in 1924 at the Art Academy in Frankfurt. During World War II Hase was able to avoid the politicization of her work by retreating to her studio. This however would not prevent her work from being wholly untouched by the war. During the air raid on Frankurt in 1944 her cameras and other equipment were lost however, quite remarkably, her archives of glass and film negatives survived. Most intriguing are Hase's self-portraits which experiment with identity and perceived reality. In one self-portrait she has photographed herself in the reflection of a silver sphere, she and the room are warped on the convex surface of the globe. In another image she is sprawled over a staircase as if fallen, with shoes and purse strewn likewise over the stairs. This practice of role-playing and adopting different personas is seen throughout Hase's portraiture. Hase's work has been shown in museums across Germany including; the Folkwang Museum, Essen; the Historical Museum, Frankfurt; and the Museum of Photography, Braunschweig. Hase's work was exhibited in the show "Who is Afraid of Women Photographers?" at the Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France. Her work in found in prominent museum collections internationally, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The National Gallery, the Museum of Modern Art, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Ackland Art Museum, the Chrysler Museum of Art, Folkwang Museum in Essen, The Albertina Museum in Vienna and The Bauhaus Museum of Design in Berlin. Source: Robert Mann Gallery
Steve Toole
United States
1957
"I have enjoyed photography and art since I was young. I was fortunate to have traveled with my family throughout the United States as I was growing up. Taking pictures during those trips was an exciting and rewarding experience. Being semi-retired from teaching, I now have more time to rekindle my artistic pursuits. Much of my work depicts life outdoors, because that is where I spend a significant amount of my time. Capturing moments through photography, whether magnificent or understated, is more fulfilling now than ever. My wife Kim and I live in Ashton, Illinois where we foster rescued dogs, volunteer, teach part time, and enjoy small town life." About Back Roads "There is a sense of timelessness when I travel the back roads of America. Two-lane blacktops and meandering gravel roads are the capillaries that carry me to those places that modernity has mostly ignored. For me, in these places, the sky is bigger, the earth is closer, and the air smells fresher. A feeling of tranquility exists there. Whether a bucolic scene, a sylvan setting or an alpine view, I am transported to a time and place that previous generations might have experienced. Black and white images contribute to that feeling of timelessness, whether depicting a leafless tree, a grazing horse, or an abandoned pick-up truck in a pasture. I hope my photos transport the viewer, even for a few moments, to these out-of-the-way places – sometimes beautiful, sometimes gritty, sometimes simple, sometimes unique, but always real."
Morteza Nikoubazl
I was born in Tehran, Iran in 1974 and studied art and photography there. I started work as a freelance photographer for Iranian daily and weekly newspapers. I began working with the Reuters team as Freelance photographer since 1999 till 2013. After Reuters I worked with the New York Times International magazine, Polaris Images, Zuma Press and SIPA PRESS photo agencies and now I am working with the NurPhoto press photo agency. I am also UNHCR trusted photographer in Iran. Sense of death amid the COVID-19 outbreak in Iran Today is about one year after Government announced officially the COVID-19 cases in Iran and death still is everywhere. I could see patients who were infected by the new coronavirus in COVID-19 wards of hospitals who were breathing and after two hours they were died. In fact, life seems gone, time were stoped and people were looking for an empty hospital bed for their relatives. Sense of death is covered the daily life of people who have to fight with a new invisible enemy, and it will be getting worse when a country is under International sanctions. I was in the city of Bam for covering the earthquake in 2002-2003 and could see a U.S. Military cargo airplane landed after about 25 years since the Victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran and I could see how the humanity could pass over the politic, but today I am witness how politic cover the humanity, sanctions still work and it pushed Iran to the end of the line of vaccine. People die left and right also medical personnel, But they hear about barriers to the import of the COVID-19 vaccines from western countries. When it comes to people's health, politics should be the last priority of countries, but it seems the politic is the first priority for the U.S., Iran and the European countries. On the other hand, Iranians cannot trust the China- Made, or Russian-Made vaccine and prefer the Iranian one, but they must wait until next year and try to be alive.
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