All about photo.com: photo contests, photography exhibitions, galleries, photographers, books, schools and venues.
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.
 

Selected Books

Inspiring Portfolios

Call for Entries
AAP Magazine #39 Shadows
Publish your work in AAP Magazine and win $1,000 Cash Prizes
 
Stay up-to-date  with call for entries, deadlines and other news about exhibitions, galleries, publications, & special events.

More Great Photographers To Discover

Laurent Dequick
Laurent Dequick is a professional architect in his forties. His photographic work has been influenced by architecture, since it is primarily focused on ideas surrounding the contemporary city and more specifically, urban sprawl. The photographer’s message is to accurately convey the impression of freneticism stemming from population density and activity in urban zones: “As you walk down the street, the lights, noises, traffic, hustle and bustle, and mix of smells are so striking that no single shot could capture all of it. So do we have to make choices? I don’t think so and I don’t want to.” To convey in images this “congestion” of urban life, Laurent Dequick does not hesitate to juxtapose, superimpose, or imbricate his shots. He fits together photographs representing architectural complexes, highways, and people, all with the same intensity. He condenses the images like the city condenses the sum of the lives of all of its inhabitants. His style is reminiscent of cubism in its rendering, which verges on abstraction in its representation of constant motion. Source: Yellow Korner The passing of time is a fascinating concept which happens all around us, at every single moment of every single day. French photographer Laurent Dequick decided to capture these fleeting seconds in a series of photographs entitled Vibrations Urbaines. Each image is a collective sequence of multiple photographs, superimposed together to visually reflect the chaos and congestion of large urban areas. The series features colorful and energetic portraits of both New York and Berlin. Viewers might feel a bit hyper as they view the still photograph which so strongly convey the motion of cars zipping past and the life of people rushing by. Dequick says his work is “primarily a reflection on the contemporary city and more specifically the proliferation of modern urban space.” Through these compositions, the artist portrays the constant urban action and excitement that are generally challenging to communicate through just one still photograph. Source: My Modern Met
René Burri
Switzerland
1933 | † 2014
René Burri is a Swiss photographer known for his photos of major political, historical and cultural events and key figures of the second half of the 20th century. Burri worked for Magnum Photos and has been photographing political, military and artistic figures and scenes since 1946. He has made portraits of Che Guevara and Pablo Picasso as well as iconic pictures of São Paulo and Brasília. Burri studied in Zurich, Switzerland at the School of Applied Arts from 1949 to 1953, where he worked under Hans Finsler, Alfred Willimann and Johannes Itten. From 1953 to 1955 he began working as a documentary filmmaker while completing military service. During this time he also began working with Leica cameras. Then he worked for Disney as a cameraman until 1955. From 1956 to 1959 he traveled extensively to places including Turkey, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Brazil, and Japan, which led to publications in Life, Look, Stern, Paris-Match, Epoca, and New York Times, as well as a photographic essay "El Gaucho" which appeared in Du. Burri first began working with Magnum Photos in 1955 through Werner Bischof, becoming a full member in 1959 and being elected chair of Magnum France in 1982. His first report "Touch of Music for the Deaf" on deaf-mute children was published by Life. In 1965 he assisted with the creation of Magnum Films which lead to his work on the Magnum-BBC joint production of, The Two Faces of China. In 1967 he produced a documentary on the Six-Day War in Jerusalem for German television. He produced the film Jean Tinguely in 1972. In 1963 Burri was working in Cuba when he was able to photograph the revolutionary Che Guevara; these images of Guevara smoking a cigar have become iconic. Notably, after taking the photos, Burri remembers Guevara "scaring the hell out of him". Describing a situation where an angry Che was pacing his tiny office like "a caged tiger", while being interviewed by an American woman from Look. While "hectoring" the reporter and "chomping on his cigar", Che suddenly looked Burri straight in the eye and told him "if I catch up with your friend Andy, I'll cut his throat" (while slowly drawing his finger across his neck). Andy was Andrew St. George, a fellow Magnum photographer, who had travelled with Che in the Sierra Maestra, and then later filed reports for American intelligence. Source: Wikipedia René Burri studied at the School of Applied Arts in his native city of Zurich, Switzerland. From 1953 to 1955 he worked as a documentary film-maker and began to use a Leica while doing his military service. Burri became an associate of Magnum in 1955 and received international attention for one of his first reportages, on deaf-mute children, Touch of Music for the Deaf, published in LIFE magazine. In 1956, he traveled throughout Europe and the Middle East and then went to Latin America, where he made a series on the Gauchos that was published by Du magazine in 1959. It was also for this Swiss periodical that he photographed artists such as Picasso, Giacometti, and Le Corbusier. He became a full member of Magnum in 1959, and started work on his book Die Deutschen, published in Switzerland in 1962, and by Robert Delpire the following year with the title Les Allemands. In 1963, while working in Cuba, he photographed Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara during an interview with an American journalist. His images of the famous revolutionary with his cigar appeared around the world. Burri participated in the creation of Magnum Films in 1965 and afterwards spent six months in China, where he made the film The Two Faces of China produced by the BBC. He opened the Magnum Gallery in Paris in 1962, while continuing his activities as a photographer; at the same time, he made collages and drawings. In 1998, Burri won the Dr. Erich Salomon Prize from the German Association of Photography. A big retrospective of his work was held in 2004-2005 at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris and toured many other European museums. René Burri passed away at the age of 81 on October 20, 2014. Source: Magnum Photos
Laia Abril
Spain
1986
Laia Abril s a Spanish photographer and multiplatform storyteller whose work relates to femininity. Abril was born in 1986 in Barcelona, Spain. She gained a degree in journalism in Barcelona. She moved to New York City to study photography at the International Center of Photography. In 2009 she enrolled at Fabrica research centre, the artist residency of Benetton in Italy, where she worked as a staff photographer and consultant photo editor at Colors magazine for a number of years. Since 2010, Abril has been working on various projects exploring the subject of eating disorders: A Bad Day, a short film about a young girl struggling with bulimia; Thinspiration (2012), which explores the use of photography in pro-ana websites; and The Epilogue (2014), documenting the indirect victims of eating disorders, through the story of the Robinson family and the aftermath of the death of Cammy Robinson to bulimia. Critic Sean O'Hagan, wrote in The Guardian that The Epilogue "... is a sombre and affecting photobook ... dense and rewarding ... At times, it makes for a painful read. From time to time, I had to put it down, take a breather. But I kept going back." Her extended study of misogyny thus far includes A History of Misogyny: Chapter One: On Abortion, about the repercussions of abortion controls in many different cultures. Work is ongoing to produce A History Of Misogyny, Chapter 2: On Rape. Her other projects include Femme Love, on a young lesbian community in Brooklyn; Last Cabaret on a sex club in Barcelona; and the Asexuals Project, a documentary film about asexuality. Abril's books include The Epilogue (2014), which documents the indirect victims of eating disorders, and A History of Misogyny: Chapter One: On Abortion (2018), about the repercussions of abortion controls in many different cultures. On Abortion won Photobook of the Year award at the Paris Photo–Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards. In 2018 she was awarded the Tim Hetherington Trust's Visionary Award to work on A History Of Misogyny, Chapter 2: On Rape Culture. For the long-term project A History Of Misogyny, in 2019 she was awarded the Royal Photographic Society's Hood Medal and in 2020 she was awarded the Paul Huf Award from Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam.Source: Wikipedia
Stéphan Gladieu
Stéphan Gladieu was born in 1969 and lives in Boulogne-Billancourt. He is represented by Olivier Castaing of the School Gallery in Paris and Artco Gallery in Germany, Cape Town and Joshua Tree. He began his career in 1989, covering war & social issues, travelling across Europe,Central Asia, the Middle East (Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Egypt, Pakistan) and Asia (India, Nepal, Vietnam, China, etc). Going back to his beginnings, he very quickly enriched his photographic writing by using portraiture to bear witness to the human condition in the world. His main focus is on his personal and artistic work through series of portraits in which DNA is colour and the play of contrast between subject and background in natural settings. Stéphan Gladieu plays on the iconic character of the frontal image and on the frontier between the real and the unreal. His portraiture has included covering the Saudi Princes, Princesses in Nepal, actors & directors behind the scenes at Cannes Film Festival, politicians, intellectuals, but also everyday people the world over. Stephan still realize international features and portraits series, for international magazines but he is mainly focused on is personal work: human story through colorful portrait collection. On the side of his journalist activity, Stephan is working with private company (LVMH, Danone, TOTAL…) and International institutions (World Bank, UNICEF) to work on their visual identity. Nowadays, Stephan Gladieu’s work is published in leading publications in France and internationally.Source: www.stephangladieu.fr Exclusive Interview with Stephan Gladieu
Cally Whitham
New Zealand
Taking an idealistic view of the world, Cally Whitham records the ordinary, transforming it into a surreal image, reflecting the way things are perceived and altered through nostalgia and memory. Driven by a desire to remember, Whitham uses her camera to collect images, which allows her to preserve her surroundings forever. At the age of 11, she spent Christmas using her first roll of film shooting her favourite things, including her aunt's farm, an old house she wanted to live in and a big tree at the beach. As an adult she returns to similar subjects recaptured in shadows of times past. Based in New Zealand, Whitham finds the subtle, forgotten and overlooked in these locations, which are touched with beauty through their ordinariness and familiarity. Layering her photographs with emotion, the works explore the ways in which personal milieus are captured. Source: www.cally.co.nz The New Zealand photographer Cally Whitham focuses her artistic research on the depiction of everyday life She began photography at 11 years old when accompanying her father who was a painter. He roamed the countryside to do sketches of forests and farms. From an early age she therefore had painting as an artistic reference and mastered the techniques of the Beaux Arts. Source: Yellow Korner Interview With Cally Whitham: AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer? "When I was about 16 I think. I took a class at school and was hooked." AAP: Where did you study photography? "I studied at the Design School, which has since become Unitech." AAP: How long have you been a photographer? "21 years, with a few years break in the middle." AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it? "The first photo I ever took was of my grandparents and brother at a beach. I couldn't believe I was allowed to take a photo!" AAP: What or who inspires you? "Light inspires me. When the quality of light is just right anything seems possible; the unworthy becomes photogenic." AAP: How could you describe your style? "Pictorialism" AAP: Do you have a favorite photograph or series? "Wow, too hard to choose!" AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? "Yes I do. The initial photo is just a part of the process in creating an image. Post production is the place where the image and the vision I had come together. I don't photograph reality but rather create a potential or ideal reality and that potential is added in post production." AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)? "Alfred steiglitz in his early days and Julia Margaret Cameron." AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer? "Have a back job to pay the bills - it's a tough industry now to try to pay a mortgage on." AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid? "Not understanding the business, tax and admin side of being a photographer." AAP: Your best memory has a photographer? "The moments I have realized I was on to something during a shoot."
Corky Lee
China/United States
1947 | † 2021
Corky Lee, born as Young Kwok Lee on June 3, 1947, in Queens, New York, was a prominent Chinese-American photographer celebrated for his documentary work capturing the Asian American experience. Lee's interest in photography was sparked during his high school years when he stumbled upon a book about photography in a library. He began photographing the Asian American community in New York City, focusing on their daily lives, struggles, and cultural events. Lee's work often centered around the theme of representation and visibility for Asian Americans in mainstream media and American society. He aimed to challenge stereotypes and amplify the voices of Asian Americans through his photography. One of his most famous series is the "Chinatown" collection, which portrays the vibrant life and culture of New York City's Chinatown. Throughout his career, Lee tirelessly documented significant events and milestones within the Asian American community. He became known as the "undisputed unofficial Asian American Photographer Laureate" for his dedication to capturing moments that might otherwise have been overlooked by mainstream media. Lee's photographs were not only a means of documenting history but also served as a form of activism. He used his camera to advocate for social justice and raise awareness about issues affecting Asian Americans, including immigration, discrimination, and cultural identity. In addition to his documentary work, Lee was known for his efforts to honor and celebrate the contributions of Asian Americans to American society. He organized numerous exhibitions, events, and projects aimed at showcasing Asian American culture and history. One of Lee's most iconic photographs is the "Gathering of the Master Photographers" taken in 2003. It features a group of renowned photographers, including himself, gathered in front of the Transcontinental Railroad in Promontory Summit, Utah. This image pays homage to the Chinese railroad workers who played a vital role in building the railroad but were often overlooked in historical narratives. Lee's impact extended far beyond the realm of photography. He was a mentor and inspiration to many aspiring photographers and activists, encouraging them to use their talents to advocate for social change and celebrate their cultural heritage. Sadly, Corky Lee passed away on January 27, 2021, due to complications from COVID-19. However, his legacy lives on through his photographs, which continue to inspire and educate people about the rich and diverse tapestry of Asian American experiences.
Advertisement
AAP Magazine #39: Shadows
April 2024 Online Solo Exhibition
AAP Magazine #39: Shadows

Latest Interviews

Barbara Cole and Wet Collodion Photographs
Cole is best known for her underwater photography, but her other studio practice during the cold months in Toronto is an ongoing series of wet collodion photographs. This heavily analog process from the 19th Century is a years-long endeavor of revitalization and experimentation, offering modern day viewers an understanding of what it took to develop photographs in the early days of its invention. Cole has added her own unique take on the process by adding a layer of color in contrast to the usual sepia tones associated with the genre. The resulting wet plate photographs are tactile and dimensional dances between light and shadow, past and present, depicting women in timeless dreamscapes. We asked her a few questions about this specific project
Exclusive Interview with Michael Joseph
I discovered Michael Joseph's work in 2016, thanks to Ann Jastrab. I was immediately captivated by the power of his beautiful black and white photographs from his series 'Lost and Found.' His haunting portraits of young Travelers have stayed with me ever since.
Exclusive Interview with Debe Arlook
Debe Arlook is an award-winning American artist working in photography. Through color and diverse photographic processes, Arlook’s conceptual work is a response to her surroundings and the larger environment, as she attempts to understand the inner and outer worlds of human relationships. Degrees in filmmaking and psychology inform these views.
Orchestrating Light: Seth Dickerman Talks About his Passion for Photographic Printmaking
Seth Dickerman is a master manipulator of the wide spectrum of light densities that reflect off the surface of a photographic print and enter into our field of vision. His singular intent in making prints is to bring out the best an image has to offer, which means giving an image the ability to hold our attention, to engage us, and to allow us to discover something about an image that is meaningful and significant.
Exclusive Interview with Michel Haddi
Photographer and film director, Michel Haddi has photographed many high-profile celebrities while living in the USA including, Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, David Bowie, Uma Thurman, Francis Ford Coppola, Cameron Diaz, Faye Dunaway, Nicholas Cage, Johnny Depp, Heath Ledger, Angelina Jolie, Janet Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, and many others. He also manages a publishing house, MHS publishing, which publishes his own books. Currently based in London we have asked him a few questions about his life and work
Exclusive Interview with Sebastien Sardi
In 2008, Swedish photographer Sebastian Sardi, inspired by an article exposing hidden mining-related incidents, embarked on a photography journey. Without formal training, he explored mines and ventured to India's Jharkhand state to document coal miners in Dhanbad, known as the "coal capital." His project, "Black Diamond," captured the lives of people, including men, women, and children, dedicated to coal extraction in grueling conditions.
Exclusive Interview with Debra Achen
Monterey-based photographer Debra Achen was born and raised near Pittsburgh, PA, where she developed a passion for both nature and art. She studied a variety of studio arts, including drawing, painting, and printmaking in addition to her training in traditional film and darkroom photography. Her project 'Folding and Mending' won the September 2022 Solo Exhibition. We asked here a few questions about her life and work.
Exclusive Interview with Steve Hoffman
Steve Hoffman is a documentary photographer who has who spent the last dozen years working with and photographing the people that live the housing projects in Coney Island. He was the winner of the July and August 2022 Solo Exhibition. We asked him a few questions about his life and work.
Exclusive Interview with Aya Okawa
Aya is passionate about exploring the natural world and protecting ecosystems and wild landsAll about Photo: Tell us about your first introduction to photography. What drew you into this world? Her project The Systems That Shape Us'won the February 2022 Solo Exhibition. We asked her a few questions about her life and her work.
Call for Entries
AAP Magazine #39 Shadows
Publish your work in AAP Magazine and win $1,000 Cash Prizes