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John Sanderson
John Sanderson
John Sanderson

John Sanderson

Country: United States
Birth: 1983

John Sanderson is drawn to broad topographical subjects within the United States of America. It is there in the outdoors he feels most creative. His photographs reconcile American motives of impermanence, and expansion within the contemporary landscape. His projects include themes such as transportation, leisure, residence, industry, and decay. The influence of growing up in New York City’s Midtown Manhattan underpins much of Sanderson's work which is rooted in a passion for architectural design. He captures photographs for each project with multiple large format film cameras as well as smaller digital cameras as needed for commercial clients. Sanderson’s photographs have been featured in a variety of publications such as: Slate Magazine, BBC News, The Wall Street Journal, and NBC News. Fallen Flags, and Railroad Landscapes have both been the subject of several solo and group exhibitions. In 2017, he published National Character, a Monthly Monograph Magazine, by Subjectively, Objective. His work resides in a number of private and public collections including the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New York Transit Museum, NTR Partners, and the Center for Railroad Photography & Art. Zatara Press will publish his latest project titled Carbon County in May 2019.
 

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Ed Kashi
United States
1957
Ed Kashi is a photojournalist, filmmaker and educator dedicated to documenting the social and political issues that define our times. A sensitive eye and an intimate relationship to his subjects are signatures of his work. As a member of the prestigious photo agency VII, Kashi has been recognized for his complex imagery and its compelling rendering of the human condition.“I take on issues that stir my passions about the state of humanity and our world, and I deeply believe in the power of still images to change people’s minds. I’m driven by this fact; that the work of photojournalists and documentary photographers can have a positive impact on the world. The access people give to their lives is precious as well as imperative for this important work to get done. Their openness brings with it a tremendous sense of responsibility to tell the truth but to also honor their stories.”Kashi’s images have been published and exhibited worldwide. Another of Kashi’s innovative approaches to photography and filmmaking produced the Iraqi Kurdistan Flipbook with MediaStorm, which premiered on MSNBC.com in December 2006. Using stills in a moving image format, this creative and thought-provoking form of visual storytelling has been shown in many film festivals and as part of a series of exhibitions on the Iraq War at The George Eastman House. Also, an eight-year personal project completed in 2003, Aging in America: The Years Ahead, created a traveling exhibition, an award-winning documentary film, a website and a book which was named one of the best photo books of 2003 by American Photo.Along with numerous awards, including Second Prize Contemporary Issues Singles in the 2011 World Press Photo Contest, UNICEF’s Photo of the Year 2010, a Prix Pictet 2010 Commission and honors from Pictures of the Year International, Communication Arts and American Photography, Kashi’s images have been published and exhibited worldwide, and his editorial assignments and personal projects have generated six books. In 2008, Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta was published, and June 2009, saw the publication of Kashi’s latest book THREE, based on a series of triptychs culled from more than 20 years of image making.In 2002, Kashi and his wife, writer / filmmaker Julie Winokur, founded Talking Eyes Media. The non-profit company has produced numerous short films and multimedia pieces that explore significant social issues. The first project resulted in a book and traveling exhibition on uninsured Americans called, Denied: The Crisis of America’s Uninsured.“Ed Kashi is intelligent, brave and compassionate. He always understands the nuances of his subjects. He fearlessly goes where few would venture. And he sympathetically captures the soul of each situation. Ed is one of the best of a new breed of photojournalistic artists.”David Griffin, Visuals Editor, The Washington Post
Alicia Moneva
The common thread in all my work is the footprint of the human, with humanized objects and spaces made by man, architectural painting and photography, trying to explain social and psychological concepts through the figure.Coming from the world of painting my type of photography is built. Based on a generic idea, will be taking individual photos that will form part of the final work. Each shot in digital format, will later join with the help of photoshop. This tool is almost exclusively used for the matrix composition. All these pictures are real, the waters of colors are stained for each session, lights, ropes, etc. are used maybe that way I put me more in the concept that I want to express.My work models are people I know, in my environment, there is a complicity and prior understanding, they bring to the session his way of expressing the idea, much enriched the work. Also, say the interest that raised me shadows, which is evidenced in my way of photographing. Penumbra, in my opinion, they dimension the vacuum of space, they materialize it, make it real. My work is the antithesis of the photography, which I would call operating room, without just shadows.Overhead view of my work, is strongly influenced by the years that I was in contact with the architects. At the end of my studies of biological sciences I worked continuously with them. My task there was the explanation of the urban projects through roof planes. With a pictorial abstraction were given a human scale. I was very lucky, I found interesting people that opened a world of possibilities, which taught me to see after looking at. At the same time, painting was transformed into something serious in my life, I started to exhibit and to devote myself more professionally to art.Photography was in principle a work tool, a tool more for my collection of data, it helped me to paint everything you had no way of doing so natural. Little by little I found comfortable with the photographic image and the human figure to express the ideas that were emerging. I went through a very unproductive at work time, since I opposed the painting to photography, when they were actually for me very complementary. At this time that seemed to lost went back to College, first studying psychology and later philosophy. None of the two races ended them, as it was not so important to have an academic degree, but if you continue learning, similar of being alive. My exhibitions were photography, although in principle and respect for the world of photography, I thought that I was an intruder, had the desire and the security to do so, also the need.Self-portrait I submit for publication to reflect a state of confusion we all, from time to time we have suffered, when a mesh does not let you see clearly the reality. As if it were a necessary self-deception on occasions.Alicia Moneva Madrid, October 2013All about Alicia Moneva:AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?It was progressive. I needed to work with the human figure and I felt more comfortable with photography.AAP: Where did you study photography?I didn't study painting or photography. My teachers were architects who knew the method and had perception.AAP: How long have you been a photographer?I have been taking photographs for 20 years but, professionally, just 10.AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?They were objects that I wanted to paint in my Studio and I couldn't move them from the place they were. And also black and white portraits, many portraits.AAP: What or who inspires you?I am inspired by philosophy, anthropology, biology... and now also particle physics. Science and arts basically.AAP: Do you have a favorite photograph or series?My favorite series are the last I have been working on: "the disease in our culture", which is about chronically ill people, the unknown heroes of our time. It is a tribute to them, their carers and families. AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?When I started I used an old Pentax, with black and white rolls for portraits and color rolls for objects I painted later. Now I work with a Canon 5D Mark II and a Canon 7D. The lenses are also Canon.AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose?My pictures are made of many individual photographs. I use photo editing programs to assemble and compose the final image. For me it is important to convey the idea I have in mind and I edit the photos until I think the concept is understood.AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?I really like Spanish creativity. My favorite are perhaps Chema Madoz for his pulchritudinous images which I would summarize in "less is more". And Cristina García Rodero because she transmits me all the strength of human feelings.AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?To be passionate about what he is doing, to follow his instincts. And, especially, to be honest with what he thinks, beacuse that will be his way of looking at what the others see.AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?Wanting to be very original? Or thinking you already know everything?AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share?I would mention a fragment of one of José Hierro's poems that summarizes well how sometimes a moment can be turned into something timeless. "...But there are things that do not die and others who never lived. And there are some that fill the universe, And it is not possible to get rid of its memory". (José Hierro / "Alegría" 1947).AAP: What are your projects?I have been working lately on a new project with another Spanish photographer, Judith Sansó. It is shared project with a performance which combines photography and video art. The first of these series is called "the distance between her and yesterday is a photo" and talks about memories and how they shape our personality. These are some of the links to the performance and the making of the video work.YouTube video (In Spanish)YouTube videoYouTube videoAAP: Your best memory as a photographer?None in particular. I like when I start a new project.AAP: Your worst souvenir as a photographer?I can't remember. A well-known neurologist (Á. Pascual Leone) once said that it's more important to forget than to remember, especially bad memoriesAAP:If you were someone else who would it be?I would have liked to be a good silent film director like Fritz Lang, Renoir or Murnau.
Argus Paul Estabrook
South Korea
1977
I'm a biracial Korean-American photographer who works in both South Korea and the USA. Frequent travel between these two countries has provided me a unique perspective of Korean identity and its relationship to both global and regional communities. As an artist, I'm interested in creating work that gives voice to others and I often volunteer my efforts to marginalized communities. My work has been awarded by the Magnum Photography Awards, Sony World Photography Awards, LensCulture, IPA, MIFA, TIFA, as well as exhibited at the Aperture Summer Open: On Freedom. I've also been twice selected as a Critical Mass Top 50 artist by Photolucida and a three-time recipient of PDN's Annual Exposure Award. Additionally, I am an alumnus of the prestigious Eddie Adams Workshop and was named the 2017 Dorothy Liskey Wampler Eminent Professor in the School of Art, Design and Art History at James Madison University. Losing Face "Losing Face," documents the energy and emotions surrounding the impeachment protests of South Korean President Park Geun-hye. In October 2016, her relationship with a shadowy advisor from a shaman-esque cult was revealed to extend to acts of extortion. Protests were then held every weekend until Park was formally removed from office in early March 2017. This is what it looks like when the South Korean President loses face. This Is Not an Exit "This Is Not an Exit," bears witness to my father's unexpected struggle with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer as well as documents my mother's grief after his passing. Tying my photography to my mother's narration of events, we weave an intimate family record- one of vision and voice. Bound together through a personal process of grief, I hope "This Is Not an Exit" creates an emotional map, one that reveals our connectedness to each other while also furthering an understanding for all those navigating the loss of a loved one. More about Losing Face
Michael Nguyen
Germany
1958
Michael Nguyen is a photo artist and documentary photographer living near Munich, Germany. He takes photographs since 1988. He has been living in Munich since 2007 and moved to Gauting near Munich in 2015. After a long break in the cultural sector and after a sickness he has dedicated himself 2018 entirely to art again. He is an artist and a photographic poet who moves away from the mainstream, at the same time blurs genres. Most of the time, he focuses on small, ordinary things but through the subjective lens, he give them new perspectives, a new soul. I found my way to photography when I was a journalist for art and culture. One of my main subjects was "Greece", and there was a lot to do with photography. Then, in close cooperation with Dr. Matthias Harder (now Director of the Helmut Newton Foundation, Berlin), we laid the foundation for understanding the photographs of Herbert List and Walter Hege. Since then, photography has opened up a whole new world to me. Michael Nguyen roamed various cities in Bavaria during the Corona pandemic. A focus of his works since COVID-19 are urban landscapes as well as urban spaces in different cities. Urban spaces can all enrich a life between buildings. Since Covid-19, social interaction in the Urban landscapes with their spaces has lain fallow. Michael Nguyen conveys this sensitively in his mostly "deserted pictures“. Nguyen enters the motifs of his urban landscapes with a great deal of empathy. He makes the city, urban landscapes and architecture visible and documents them for posterity. With his artistic documentary photography he refers to a reality that we all know, but interprets this reality with his images. Everywhere I go, my eyes and senses are in motion. With my camera I capture little things that we often don't notice in everyday life. At the BIFA Budapest International Foto Awards 2020 his artwork "Antimatter" was awarded in December 2020 with Gold. In addition to his artistic activities, Michael Nguyen is in Editor-in-chief of the online magazine for photography and art: Tagree. End of March 2021 Michael Nguyen is nominated for the Tassilo Culture Prize of the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) is a German national daily newspaper. It is published in Munich. SZ is the second largest daily newspaper in Germany (as of October 2020). Promoting the cultural sector in the Munich area and motivating creative artists (these are the goals of the Tassilo Culture Prize), which the Süddeutsche Zeitung is offering for the eleventh time this year. The SZ Prize is named after the Bavarian Duke Tassilo. Statement Our head is round so that thinking can change direction - a sentence by the writer and artist Francis Picabia, who inspired me as a young man interested in art and the art scene. Art broadened my perspectives and saved my soul. In the 1980s and 1990s I was a journalist, poet, photographer and event manager. After almost two decades, I found my way back to art in the dark times of my life in early 2018. Yes, once again art has saved my soul. Everywhere I go, my eyes and senses are in motion. With my camera I capture little things that we often don't notice in everyday life. The power of design and the contradictions between art and life Munich's most colorful shopping center facade by Prof. Dr. Rainer Funke When will the containers be loaded? Such a question comes to mind when approaching the shopping mall built in 2008 from a distance. But stop! The intense colors of the seemingly stacked cubes and their sophisticated composition immediately give rise to other associations. As if someone had created a special order out of building blocks. One wonders whether this is already the perfect final state, as one tries to create with the Magic Cube, for example. The variety of combinations seems too great for this. Both that of the colors and that of the surface structures. Added to this are the manifold reflections and the astonishing visual dynamics. One does not seem to move past the building itself, but its facades begin to run, to turn, to flow. One is almost reminded of the dancing of the facades and interiors of baroque courtly buildings in downtown Munich. Instead of baroque figurativeness, however, here it is geometry. The closer one gets, the more details become visible. No, these are neither containers nor building blocks. The prismatic shape of the colored and reflective metal plates gives the building shell pronounced plasticity. One would not have expected so much sophistication from a shopping center, especially not here, where Munich hardly has anything typically Munich anymore and is fraying into the landscape. Whether red voluptuousness with bold blue, pastel sweetness, noble gold, lush, or pale green: the overwhelming power of color is, of course, the basic theme of the series of images, always in powerfully soaring, a contrast-rich vertical sequence of seemingly endless parallels. Michael Nguyen's imposing photographs take us very close to this color organ. They make us stand at attention on the parade ground of the verticals. Especially the severity of the composition in detail becomes a theme. This gesture appears once again mercilessly emphasized by Nguyen's camera, as refractions and disturbances emerge from close up. Two framed, square blue lockers, for instance, according to their dimensions probably placed on a blue ground with metallic fittings not colored blue - the attempt to hide them has failed. Nguyen places them in the center. The wonderful striped pattern is disturbed in this way, less perfect and also a bit more lifelike. We experience something similar with the door locks (here the hinges additionally form a counter-rotating rhythm), the intercom, and the stickers on two other images. As a photographer, Michael Nguyen is as uninhibitedly consistent as the facades depicted want to be but cannot be in the storm of life and entropy. The mirrored surfaces evoke almost poetic associations when nature and urban space gently and carefully combine in them (in one picture, the soft shapes of the snow remains are added). Here, too, Nguyen is provocative. One picture is intended to irritate through eight seemingly irregular horizontal cuts in the surrounding colour surfaces. And, of course, dirt and trash. Such a design focused on geometric color perfection is highly moralistic. It points its moral finger in full size at the viewers, admonishing us not to disturb order, to preserve perfection and cleanliness. When we then perceive small discarded things and in addition a dirty floor or even dirty facade surfaces, it hits us with full force. At the same time, we are referred to the particularity and artistic rapture of the facade. Even a traffic sign, placed somewhat askew and in turn, defaced with remnants of a sticker, emphasizes the distance of the art object from life. Even the clash of different grid dimensions of the facade strips and the paving of the sidewalk draws attention and distances. Here nothing has grown out of the ground, where it has been landed. This impression is further emphasized by the filigree grid structure of the surfaces pointing to the left. If then still objects stand before the work of art, like a somewhat demolished container for the clothes collection, an ashtray (nevertheless in strict vertical-orthogonal high-grade steel form and exactly aligned), or admittedly color-coordinated garbage can one wished a ban mile for objects around the building. People appear in two photos. They make us breathe a sigh of relief: yes, the whole thing is made for people. The two people in a picture, shot somewhat voyeuristically behind a lamppost, could, however, already be a bit tighter, more upright, and perhaps defilade past the facade in step! The man with his shopping cart, on the other hand, seems to want to save himself from the austerity of the backdrop into the organic world of the leafy settlement. In an impressive way, Michael Nguyen presents us with this photo series of a building as a work of art and thus points us to the power of design but also to the contradictions between art and life. Prof. Dr. Rainer Funke researches and publishes on design-theoretical issues from a semiotic, cultural-theoretical and philosophical perspective and works as a design consultant for companies. He teaches design theory at the Potsdam University of Applied Sciences. After studying philosophy at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, he earned his doctorate in semiotics and subsequently worked in design-theoretical research at Burg Giebichenstein - University of Art and Design Halle. In 1992, he was appointed to Potsdam as the founding dean of the Department of Design. Rainer Funke was the owner of a design agency, chairman of the board of the Brandenburg Design Center, and visiting professor at the University of Art and Industrial Design Linz. Design theory is supposed to motivate in an enlightening way by conveying methods for the analysis of design, especially for the manifold relations between perceptible forms of artifacts and their meanings in the context of the process of use. Design theory explicates modes of action and historically founded developmental relationships of design and their various influencing factors. (Prof. Dr. Rainer Funke) Exclusive Interview with Michael Nguyen
James Houston
Australia
James Houston's background as a sculptor helped shape and influence his graphic photographic style. Australian born, Houston celebrates beauty and the human form, creating sensual iconic portraits and international campaigns for L'Oreal Paris, GAP, Donna Karan, Hugo Boss and Givenchy. New York based Houston balances his career with passion projects that make a difference in the community. Five award winning international books have been published on his work. Houston's book MOVE (PowerHouse Books), was created to benefit various HIV/AIDS charities and raised close to US$500,000 from sales and launch events. The book project, titled MOVE FOR AIDS was launched in 2006 with the support of Elton John, Hugh Jackman, Baz Luhrmann and Sarah Murdoch. While working on MOVE FOR AIDS, Houston was shocked to learn about American attitudes towards adolescent sexuality and the impact it has on U.S. teens. This discovery inspired Houston to raise over 1 million dollars to fund his first feature documentary titled, LET’S TALK ABOUT SEX (www.letstalkaboutsexthefilm.com). The Award winning film takes a revealing look at how American attitudes towards adolescent sexuality affect today’s teenagers. The film aired nationally on the TLC network in April, 2011 with the goal of helping parents and communities understand the importance of honest and open communication. For his latest photographic project, Natural Beauty, Houston turns his eye to nature for inspiration with the goal to raise awareness for the environment and funds for environmental non profit Global Green USA. In collaboration with MILK, Houston shot a series of striking portraits of some of the world’s leading models and celebrities. These captivating photographs, bring together two of Houston’s great passions – the human form and the natural world. Natural Beauty launched at MILK Gallery NYC April 2013. Houston also directed a web series on the 'making of' Natural Beauty as well as several film installations for the exhibition. Source: www.houstonphoto.com
Ricardo Reis
Portugal
1981
Why I Photograph As a young person, I needed and had to put out there so many things that were stuck inside me, and very quickly, I realized that I had a different way of seeing the world. I started noticing that even if there were many people looking at the same thing as me, they weren't seeing what I was seeing. Photography became the most realistic representation of my perspective. Photography blends all the art mediums and I am inspired to create amalgamations of the dream world with the real. I love the challenge of being able to put onto paper the ideas and surreal world of my own creation. My Purpose When I create a photograph image, I want to engage in a dialogue-to make the viewer feel something, even if it's a negative reaction. I appreciate the negative reaction, because I understand I've drawn something out in the viewer: an honest reaction is more potent than an indifferent one. I want to be able to convey an inner conversation-an ambience, a vibe- to create curiosity in the viewer for the lives and moments depicted in my images. My Method I prefer to shoot with black and white 35mm film, because I find it's more honest and direct, at least for me. I like the mental exercise of having to prepare the picture in your mind first and do the chain of thoughts necessary to translate the idea into the final work. Color can be distracting and disruptive of the real intent and emotion I am trying to achieve. My favorite camera is the Canon EOS 1 RS film camera; it has plenty of functions which allow me to have more control over the final product. I love to prepare a playlist and just go and take a walk with my camera and put myself in the mood: a limbo between voyeurism and participant. My Path When I started I wanted to be a war photographer, but in my home country of Portugal, it's very difficult to get the connections necessary to achieve that. I was fortunate to get an internship at a daily newspaper in Portugal which led to my work being published in several major newspapers and magazines. I began to work more in fashion photography and was assigned to the fashion weeks that took place in Europe. During the shows, I found that I always preferred the backstage where I had more freedom to do different things, take more risks. Photography has been the driving force through all my creative pursuits. My love of music, music photography and music videos comprise a large part of my work. As a cinematographer/director for album and DVD covers, I work in collaboration with several European photography agencies in Portugal and in the UK. The more artistic side of my work is represented in several countries and in private collections, from Canada, the UK, France, Netherlands, Australia, China, Portugal, and the United States. Currently I am living in Lisbon, but who knows what's next.
Madhur Dhingra
I was born an only child to my parents, in Delhi, into a family torn apart by the aftermath of the India-Pakistan partition. Hailing from a affluent background in Pakistan my family was now struggling for survival in the walled city of Delhi totally penniless. Imbedded with deep insecurities and freshly bearing the scars of partition my family was now setting up trade in the walled city dealing in fabric. It is relevant for me to mention this background for these very insecurities I too inherited from my family and they remain with me till date even with the changed times and lifestyle. Things improved gradually financially, with the trade flourishing and much because of the sheer hard work of my grandfather, father& chachas(father's brothers).We settled in Delhi at the start as big joint family. I have grown up hearing tales of how we had started life selling fabric on the pavements of the walled city where we now own several properties. My father could never get over those scars of partition. I too was repeatedly made to realize that ( for better or for worse) even though I was born much later in Delhi. At the age of five I was put to school at St.Xavier's High School, Raj Niwas Marg, Delhi. That period was to become the most memorable part of my life. I remember enjoying that period thoroughly. I was always an above average student with a lot of love for extracurricular activities. In school I would love going hiking, camping, swimming & cycling with the boy scouts. From the very start I was naughty and mischievous and was a regular in getting in and out of trouble. After school I went to the Delhi University and took up English Hons as my subject. But nowhere was it in my mind to take up studies serious. Restless from the start I wanted to travel the world. I now join the Merchant Navy at the age of seventeen ,as a deck cadet leaving college in the first year itself. I loved this new experience and was good at learning navigation. Very soon I was promoted to become the navigating officer. For the first year I never came back home at all. I was fulfilling my desire to see the world thoroughly meeting different types of people and experiencing different kinds of cultures . Once while travelling in the city of Jeddah near Mecca during Ramadan I was amazed to see gold slabs and coins being sold on the pavements of the city. On the loudspeaker I then heard the azaan (prayer call) and to my utter astonishment I saw people leave all this gold unattended and enter the nearby mazjid for prayer. Such was the strictness of the prevailing law of the land that anybody caught stealing would have his hand chopped off. Nobody dared to steal. Now quite a different experience was when my ship first entered Thailand. To my utter surprise I saw hoards of women entering my ship. Their numbers must have been no less than a hundred odd. I was on duty and I objected to their entry and was immediately informed by my senior officer to back off as they were entering with the permission of the captain. These were prostitutes who stayed on my ship till the time it stayed there. Nobody was questioning the morality or the ethics. It was gala time for all officers, crew, and the Captain. This was the way of life for most sailors . One horrific incident I remember was when our Burmese radio officer died on the ship due to a liver problem. As we were still some days away from the next port,his body was put in the deep freezer of the ship, the same place where all vegetables and other eatables were stored. Life was going on as if nothing had happened and everybody was eating and drinking as any other day. In a ship life all relationships and friendships are very temporary and the moment a person gets off the ship all these are left behind and forgotten. My bag of experiences was filling up fast. The restlessness and void was again setting in fast. I was getting bored again after about five years of sailing. The novelty had worn off and my inherent nature and upbringing was not that of a sailor in any way .I finally decided to say quits and joined the family business which was waiting for me to return. My dad was overjoyed at this decision of mine. I had no problem settling into this environment as it just happened to be in my blood. I now decide to get married too. I get married and soon after become a father of two adorable children. My age at that period would have been early twenty or so. Time flew by fast earning bread and butter for my family. Nothing was more important than bringing up the kids properly and with a lot of love, something which I was deprived of badly during my childhood days. But now again the same restlessness and void was setting in. I was in a dilemma, now trying out new ways to end this emptiness . I initially tried my hands at learning sculpture at Triveni Kala Sangam Mandi House, but I soon realized that medium was not meant for me. Destiny seemed to have other plans for me and it was during this period that I was gifted a SLR by someone, a Ricoh 500 as I now try to remember. The camera body had a dial with some numbers and also some numbers on the lens of which I had no clue. There were photography classes also being held in Triveni Kala Sangam and I joined these classes with sculpture classes I was already doing. It was here I met my photography teacher and now a lifelong friend Satyasri Ukil for the first time. The Basic course was about learning the techniques of Black & White photography. Satyasri was a dedicated, honest & straightforward teacher. His likes and dislikes purely dealt with the merits of the image and not with the person who had shot the image. I was learning fast with my association with Satyasri at Triveni where he was teaching then . A few of us guys(now renowned photographers), formed a sort of a team under the guidance of Ukil (as we address Satyasri,till date).We were shooting developing and printing the whole day long. Photography was now no longer a hobby but a frenzy. I soon set up my own darkroom in my house and would develop and print negatives all night long. I now start trekking again now with a new SLR in hand going to high altitudes and to very difficult locales. I remember showing my first serious work to Ukil and found him overjoyed. Soon my ambitions grew and I start shooting product for the advertising agencies. My first breakthrough as I clearly remember had come from the agency 0& M whose creative head then was Benoy Mitra, who was one day present at the colour lab called "MultiColour in Jhandewalan, when my portfolio prints were coming out of the lab. He saw my work and quietly handed over his card asking me to see him in the agency. I was overjoyed. This was breakthrough I needed desperately. I soon started getting assignments from most major agencies. But now I started getting bored again shooting mountains product and off and on some fashion. I still needed to express myself in a different way. I decide to work towards my first solo exhibition and I show my landscapes and mountain work to the management of INDIA INTERNATIONAL CENTRE. After seeing my work they agree to sponsor my show fixing the date to 28th November 1998.It is pertinent to mention here that I had then "only" shown them my beautiful landscapes and mountain TP's as I had nothing more at that time in my kitty. I started a new journey, first shooting Ladakh. I found immense peace and tranquility (acting as a balm for my troubled mind )in the monasteries I visited. The filtrations of light from the windows and doors into the dark interiors of the monasteries were indeed very beautiful, tranquil and peaceful. I would sit inside these monasteries for hours at a stretch calming my taut nerves. The prayer gong would echo inside the main hall and seep deep inside my soul. I have always equated light with God and have believed that the darkness of the human soul will ultimately come alive with the play of Light (God) on it. My next visit was to Banaras. Here I found people visiting the Ghats in very colorful attires. A activity on these ancient Ghats like the Dashashwamedh Ghat would start very early in the morning. People from all over India visit Banaras to perform various religious rituals, right from the birth of a child to the cremation of the dead and also later to perform rites for their safe and comfortable passage after death. The quality of light that I found in Banaras was very warm & golden and I wouldn't hesitate a moment to call it heavenly. Now a special reference to the Manikarnika Ghat " the ghat of the dead" is needed. People from all over India come to Kashi (ancient name of Banaras)to cremate their dead at Manikarnika.It is believed by Hindus that a cremation at Manikarnika Ghat gives the human soul an unhindered passage to heaven. Pyres are being lit here continuously without getting extinguished for the last 3000 years. But it was on this BURNING GHAT that my worst nightmare was to begin. I would visit this ghat daily looking at the activities. It was not very long before I realised that whenever a body of a poor person would come in, it would be cremated in a bizarre manner. It required two mun wood at the least (mun is an Indian measure of weight equivalent to 20 kgs) to cover a human body completely for cremation. But the person accompanying the dead body did not have that much money in his pocket. So only that much wood was purchased in which only the torso could be covered by wood. The legs and head were left hanging out and the pyre lit. The head would get burnt in a horrific manner with the head and feet falling away from the torso partially burnt. Then these torn away parts were picked up and put into the pyre or thrown into the Ganges. This whole sequence was so bizarre that I decided to get it on film and show it to the world. This I did manage to photograph secretly even after a lot of objections and hindrances from the people in charge at Manikarnika. Man really "was" meeting his God in Kashi, though in a very bizarre manner. So much for Kashi, our GATEWAY TO HEAVEN.I have posted only a few of those pictures on this website just to avoid unnecessary disturbance to people's minds. In the meantime the Purn Kumbh was being held at Hardwar. This again has become a very interesting event to relate. I was aghast to see completely naked so called Naga "sadhus" storming the streets of Hardwar. It was here I came to understand from the local inhabitants of Hardwar that this whole show was a complete farce. These so called ascetics only stormed the streets during the Khumb. Neither do they live in the remoteness of the Himalayas leading a renounced life, but on the contrary live in air conditioned lavishly furnished akharas in Hardwar itself. They were a weird sight. ( I have shown some photographs of them in my Black & White section). Here I saw them fight pitched battles with the police before the procession. DOWNRIGHT CRIMINALS TO THE VERY CORE, MOST OF THEM. On the day of the procession I got up early in the morning and positioned myself on roof top of a house near the Niranjani Akhara.This was very early in the morning and I was testing the auto focusing of my telephoto 300mm Canon lens when I saw a group of nagas in the akhara compound. I was taken aback when I saw one Naga fiddling with the genitals of the other Naga, "AND I TOOK THE SHOT".(later to appear on the first page of THE INDIAN EXPRESS). There were hutments built for sadhus by the kumbh authorities across the river bed. I would visit those and sit with some real sanyasis and listen to their discourses and hear them sing bhajans. This was a very nice and peaceful experience. The Kumbh ended and my exhibition date also was drawing near. The IIC Gallery wanted to see the final prints that I had decided to display. Nowhere in my final selection were those beautiful landscapes to be seen. Their place had been taken by naked sadhus with Trishuls and burning ghats & corpses. The Gallery management told me in no uncertain terms that they will not allow the show to go on unless these pictures were withdrawn. My dilemma was that my photo essay "Where Man Meets God'" was a story of a man's passage of life, his wanderings, his search for God. This essay was incomplete without these pictures. I told the management that I will show my work as it is and will not remove any picture from the list. Much courage to take this right stand was coming from Satyasri Ukil who stood by me all this while withstanding this massive ONSLOUGHT . IIC Management banned my exhibition. It was during this period that me and Satyasri Ukil were introduced to Suneet Chopra a reputed Art Critic. He later introduced us to Siddharth Tagore, a gallery owner at Art Consult Hauz Khas Village. Siddharth Tagore offered to hold my preview party at his gallery inviting respected artists like B.C.Sanyal, Jatin Das and many other artists of repute. The preview was a major success with all these stalwarts in their respective art fields giving their nod to my exhibition. Mr.Khushwant Singh the famous and a very respected writer too came up with an article on me in his column "Malice Towards One And All .Now IIC started shifting its stance and a compromise was reached. "That the images will be allowed to display but only facing towards the Gallery wall, whoever who wanted to see them could do so at his own discretion". Almost everybody saw those images.. Many reputed people visited the exhibition, some of them I mention in my TESTIMONIAL column. Eight major newspapers wrote elaborately on this exhibition. There was a TV interview also held by a channel also. The exhibition was a huge success on the whole. I am now planning another exhibition with a different theme and gearing up to hold another show in Milan. Life for me as a photographer continues...
Chen Jiagang
China
1962
Born in 1962 in Chong Qing, Chen Jiagang began his career as a celebrated architect and real estate developer before making the transition to photography. In 1999, he was named one of twelve "Outstanding Young Architects" by the United Nations. Jiagang is the founder of the Sichuan Upriver Museum, the first private museum in China and the author of Third Front (Timezone 8 Limited, 2007). He currently lives and works in Beijing.Source: Edwynn Houk Gallery Although originally trained as an architect (and awarded by the UN the accolade of being one of the 12 ‘outstanding young architects' in China), Chen Jiagang has been a practicing photographer for over 12 years, and has exhibited widely since 1999. He has twice been awarded the Excellent Works Award at the annual China Photographic Arts Exhibitions. Chen photographs often feature obsolete and useless factories, hidden away in his country's hinterlands. Among these monumental, abandoned ruins, these industrial leftovers, he places ghostly human figures, reminding us of the workers who lost their jobs and were sent back home to start again. He documents the effects on society of China's extraordinary development drive in these large, sumptuous compositions.Source: Waterhouse & Dodd 1980-1984 studied in Architecture Department of Chongqing Architecture College from 1980 to 1984. 1984-1992 worked in Southwest Architecture Design Institute as a National Certified Architect, and had been awarded grand architecture prizes in various types for many times. 1992 founded the Company of Chengdu Haosi Property Development. 1996 the Company of Sichuan Gangjia Architecture Design. 1997 founded Sichuan Upriver Stock Co., Ltd. 1997 founded Upriver Art Gallery, the first private Art Gallery in China. 1998 founded Chengdu Upriver Guildhall and Kunming Upriver Guildhall. 1999 elected as one of the twelve "Outstanding Young Architect" of China by UN. 2001 Bigining to be an artist from then on. 2002 The excellent works prize of the 20th China Photographic Exhibition. 2003 The excellent works prize of the 21th China Photographic Exhibition. Personal Exhibitions 2012 Diseased City, Paris-Beijing Photo Gallery, Paris, France Chen Jiagang photography, Galerie Forsblom, Helsinki, Finland
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