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Russell Lee
Portrait of Russell Lee, FSA ©Library of Congress
Russell Lee
Russell Lee

Russell Lee

Country: United States
Birth: 1903 | Death: 1986

Russell Lee (July 21, 1903, Ottawa, Illinois – August 28, 1986, Austin, Texas) was an American photographer and photojournalist, best known for his work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA). His technically excellent images documented the ethnography of various American classes and cultures.

Lee grew up in Ottawa, Illinois and went to the Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana for high school. He earned a degree in chemical engineering from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

(Source: en.wikipedia.org)

He gave up an excellent position as a chemist to become a painter. Originally he used photography as a precursor to his painting, but soon became interested in photography for its own sake, recording the people and places around him. Among his earliest subjects were Pennsylvanian bootleg mining and the Father Divine cult.

In the fall of 1936, during the Great Depression, Lee was hired for the federally sponsored Farm Security Administration (FSA) photographic documentation project of the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration. He joined a team assembled under Roy Stryker, along with Dorothea Lange, Arthur Rothstein and Walker Evans. Stryker provided direction and bureaucratic protection to the group, leaving the photographers free to compile what in 1973 was described as "the greatest documentary collection which has ever been assembled." Lee created some of the iconic images produced by the FSA, including photographic studies of San Augustine, Texas in 1939, and Pie Town, New Mexico in 1940. Over the spring and summer of 1942, Lee was one of several government photographers to document the eviction of Japanese Americans from the West Coast, producing over 600 images of families waiting to be removed and their later life in various detention facilities.

After the FSA was defunded in 1943, Lee served in the Air Transport Command (ATC), during which he took photographs of all the airfield approaches used by the ATC to supply the Armed Forces in World War II. He worked for the United States Department of the Interior (DOI) in 1946 and 1947, helping the agency compile a medical survey in the communities involved in mining bituminous coal. He created over 4,000 photographs of miners and their working conditions in coal mines. In 1946, Lee completed a series of photos focused on a Pentecostal Church of God in a Kentucky coal camp.

While completing the DOI work, Lee also continued to work under Stryker, producing public relations photographs for Standard Oil of New Jersey. Some 80,000 of those photographs have been donated by Exxon Corporation to the University of Louisville in Kentucky.

In 1947 Lee moved to Austin, Texas and continued photography. In 1965 he became the first instructor of photography at the University of Texas.

In addition to the materials at the University of Louisville, other important collections of Lee's work are held by the New Mexico Museum of Art,[6] Wittliff collections, Texas State University and the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin.
 

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Manuel Armenis
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Manuel Armenis is an award winning independent street and fine-art photographer based in Hamburg, Germany, dedicated to documenting daily life. He was born in Mannheim (Germany). He studied at Icart, École de Photographie in Paris (France), and at the University of the Arts in London (England). Since graduating he has been working as an independent filmmaker and photographer. The emphasis of his practice is the realization of long-term projects with a focus on exploring the human condition within everyday and commonplace urban environments. Manuel´s work has been exhibited internationally in galleries in both solo and group shows. His photographs were published in leading contemporary photography magazines and online. He has received numerous awards, including 1. prize winner at the Sony World Photography Awards in 2018, and has been a finalist at the LensCulture Street Photography Awards in 2017 and at the Meitar Award for Excellence in Photography in 2019, among others. Manuel currently lives and works as a freelance photographer in Hamburg, Germany. About Diamond Days The quintessential trait of the mundane is, of course, its lack of spectacle. It is recognizable to us, familiar, in its plainness and with its non-event-character. Due to those alleged properties it is a world that gets all too willingly labeled boring and banal. At times we might even feel offended by its lack of sophistication. We believe to know the mundane well, but, unimpressed by its unremarkable nature, we usually choose to look elsewhere. And yet, as much as we try to ignore it, there remains this suspicion that we might not be able to evade it. An inkling that it might contain something that keeps us connected. The series Diamond Days is an exploration of the commonplace. We are shown snippets of the everyday, fragments of moments, ordinary situations. There is a playful touch to this world, a colorful lightness and warmth, a sense of joy; and yet, these unassuming landscapes seem to contain something else. Elusive. Layered. Ambiguous. A somewhat bleaker undercurrent which might pick up on the sensation of slight unease that we often associate with the ordinary. By carrying signs of human behavior and a way of living, the ordinary provides us with a rendering of the now. But it also contains references to a time gone by and challenges us to look back. It exposes our need to make sense of our lives and raises the tricky question of what could have been. It confronts us with the notion of missed opportunities and unfulfilled dreams. And it reveals our disposition to fill any void with nostalgia.
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The neglect of the Ottoman regime continued to set the tone, and lack of proper drainage caused rain to flood the streets and even people homes. There was a rise in poverty, resulting not only in a deterioration of the houses outer appearance but also in a spread of diseases. The neighborhood's uniform appearance also began to change, as different kinds of constructions materials came into use, resulting in non-uniform façades. Cheap tin became an alternative to the Jerusalem stone commonly used for construction. In 1948 the Arab-Israeli war broke out and Jerusalem was divided between two countries - Israel and Jordan. The border was very close to Mea Shearim and the neighborhood suffered from military attacks and damage to buildings. Within the next 20 years ,the neighborhood would suffer from decreasing population as the children of the second founding generation moved to orthodox neighborhoods nearby, leaving as few as 170 houses occupied out of a total of 304. In later years the residents returned and the population grew once again. The population remained isolated and segregated, because it refused to cooperate with the government of Israel. Street posters (Pashkvilim) began to appear on a public walls calling on residents not to serve in the Israeli army, not to vote or be elected to the Israeli parliament, and not to participate in Israel's Independence Day celebrations. Today, Mea Shearim remains loyal to its old customs and preserves its isolation in the heart of Jerusalem while trying to stave off the modern world; it is, in a way, frozen in time. The numerous renovations of houses at the end of the 20th century hardly affected the appearance of the neighborhood. They are still common today but fewer in numbers. Houses that were built over one hundred years ago stand alongside a few new ones. The life of the Hasidic community still revolves around strict adherence to Jewish law, prayer, and the study of Jewish religious texts. The large majority of the people are Ashkenazim; there are hardly Sephardic Jews in the neighborhood. In addition to some well-to-do family there are also many needy ones, which are helped by local charity institutions. The traditional dress code remains in effect here; for men and boys it includes black frock coats and black hats. Long, black beards cover their faces and many of them grow side curls called "payots".Women and girls are urged to wear what is considered to be modest dress - knee-length or longer skirts, no plunging necklines or midriff tops, no sleeveless blouses or bare shoulders. Some women wear thick black stockings all year long, and married women wear a variety of hair coverings, from hats to wigs and headscarves. The common language of daily communication in Mea Shearim is Yiddish, in contrast to the Hebrew spoken by the majority of Israel's Jewish population. Hebrew is used by the residents only for prayer and religious study, as they believe that Hebrew is a sacred language to be used only for religious purposes. This is the story of the ongoing battle between the old and the new, the past versus the present, this is the everyday life of a city within a city. My grandmother and I had a special bond. We developed a habit that once a week, usually on Mondays, we cleared our schedule and sat down to discuss the photographs I took. We talked the stories behind the photos, the people, even how the weather affected the light in the pictures. At first, photography was something foreign for both of us and with time, we developed a passion for it. We loved our gatherings and anticipated them every week. In early 2014 things changed, we had fewer opportunities for our weekly routine as her health had begun to deteriorate. She received treatments on a weekly basis and eventually had to be under medical supervision and hospitalized. On one of the visits as I sat by her bed, I wanted to ease her mind from the treatments she received and asked if she would like to see a photograph I took the day before. She immediately said yes and was very enthused when I showed her the photograph. We ended up taking and analyzing the photo as we used to, freeing our minds from the hospital room we were in. Neither of us knew that it would be our last time together. After her death, I decided to do a project based on the last photograph she ever saw. This one photo has led me on a journey, photographing the streets of Mea Shearim. Discover The Christians of Jerusalem
Bettina Rheims
France
1952
Bettina Rheims is a French artist and photographer. She is the daughter of Maurice Rheims, of the French Academy. After having been a model, a journalist, and opening an art gallery, she began to be a photographer in 1978 at the age of 26. Initially she did many commissioned works such as albums covers for Jean-Jacques Goldman and photos of various stars. From 1980 she devoted herself solely to photography. She made a series of photographs of strip-tease artists and acrobats, which were shown 1981 in two personal exhibitions, at the Centre Pompidou and at the Galerie Texbraun in Paris. Encouraged by this success, she worked on a series of stuffed animal portraits, which were exhibited in Paris and New York. At the same time she took portrait images for worldwide magazines and advertising campaigns (Well and Chanel), created her first fashion series, worked on cover sleeves, and film posters, and in 1986 directed her first advertising campaign. In 1989 her portraits of women were published in a monograph, Female Trouble, and were exhibited in Germany and Japan. In the following year she made a series of portraits of androgynous teenagers, Modern Lovers, which were shown in France, Great Britain and the United States as well as being issued in book-form. Her series Chambre Close, which was realized between 1990 and 1992 in collaboration with Serge Bramly, had an immense success not only in Europe but all over the world. The book is a collection of photographs of nude young women in various postures. It became a bestseller and is regularly reprinted. In the following years her fame began to become worldwide and she is renowned as a one of the most important photographers not only in Europe, but also in the United States, Japan, Korea, Australia and Moscow.(Source: en.wikipedia.org)
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