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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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Tim Franco
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Tim Franco: There is not a precise moment. When I was young, I loved writing stories, then my passion became music. I always wanted to share my ideas and vision of things through some mediums at the end it became photography. Where did you study photography? When I was a kid, my artist mother pushed me from one opening to the other, through museums and galleries. At first I hated it, and then became used to it and started to hang out more and more in her studio, until I took away her old cameras , I have learn through experience, other photographers and reading tutorials. How could you describe your style? Photographers tend to be classified, put into boxes, commercial photographer, photojournalists, artists, etc. I never really know how to classify my work. What I love is telling stories, document facts with an artistic esthetic to it. I also enjoy working on creative commercial assignments. I always try to stay simple in the esthetic and subtle about the story. What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film? For my personal work, I really enjoy medium format. When I see something, most of the time, I ideally want to frame it in square. I don't really like naming brands, they all have different feeling and esthetic and it really depends the look you want to give your image. To name a few I personally work with Hasselblad and old rolleiflex. For commercial work, I use Canon because of their price and availability in terms of lenses.> Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? When shooting film, I usually spend very little time editing, just cleaning dust on films and other small details. When shooting commercial work on digital its another story. Clients are very specific about what they want and color out of raw files needs to go through extensive treatment. My photo agency works with a retouching studio for most of our commercial projects. What advice would you give a young photographer? 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Spain
1913 | † 2011
Marcel Giró was born in Badalona (Spain) in 1913. Since his youth he was fond of mountain trekking and photography. At the beginning of the Spanish Civil War he enlisted as a volunteer on the Republican side. In 1937, disappointed by the constant fighting between the different factions fighting against Franco, he decided to exile. He walked through the Pyrenees to France where he spent nearly two years doing all kinds of jobs. Finally in 1940 he was able to travel to Colombia with two Catalan companions, where they set up a small textile business. He married Palmira Puig, and they moved to Brazil, where they settled. In Brazil Giró resumed his hobby and ended devoted to professional photograpy. In 1953 he opened his own studio in Sao Paulo, Estúdio Giró. Marcel Giró became one of the leading photographers of the country, an active member of what became known as Escola Paulista. This movement, pioneer of modernist photography in Brazil was born around Foto Cine Club Bandeirante, in the 50s and 60s, with photographers like José Yalenti, Thomaz Farkas, Gertrudes Altschul, Eduardo Salvatore, Chico Albuquerque, Geraldo de Barros, Rubens Teixeira Scavone, Ademar Manarini, German Lorca and Gaspar Gasparian among others. He exhibited his works all over Brazil and around the world. His works are today in collections like the MASP (Sao Paulo Museum of Modern Art), Itaú Cultural (Itaú Bank), the Metropolitan Museum and the MoMA, in New York, among others. Giró was also one of the pioneers of advertising photography in Brazil. In his studio worked young assistants that later become world-renowned as great photographers like Marcio Scavone and JR Duran. After the death of his wife in 1978, he left professional photography and artistic photography. He sold the studio and returned to Catalonia. During the 80's and 90's, he began to paint with a very close criteria to his Photography works of the 50s. He died in Mirasol (Barcelona) in 2011, at age 98. For exhibitions and sales in Europe contact Toni Ricart Giró: toniricart@marcelgiro.com For exhibitions and sales in rest of the world Isabel Amado: isabel@isabelamado.com.br
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Scotland
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Richard Avedon
United States
1923 | † 2004
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Matthew Portch
United Kingdom
1970
I was born and raised in Bristol, England through the '70s and '80s in a typical suburb. As a child, television and movies were my favourite distraction, especially anything from the United States. The backdrop of the North American scenery felt like an exotic antidote to the humdrum of the English city suburbs and countryside. I was a keen illustrator spending hours pouring over the minutia of the subject matter. I wanted my drawings to feel as close to reality as possible. This work saw me enrolled in college at a young age where I studied Photography and Graphic Design. Drawing on my childhood memories, the visuals of the American landscape remained a major influence on my photography. I became inspired by North American photographers of the '60s and '70s who were prevalent in using large format film. This laborious system of capture enhanced these seemingly ordinary looking street scenes and vistas with fastidious detail. I discovered a more modern process in the form of a technical camera, digital back, and precision optics, then proceeded to cast my own journey. I like my pictures to be aesthetically simple, clean and graphic, which resonates with my background in design. I prefer the images to retain an air of perplexity, so keeping them free of people and any notable present-day object helps suspend them in a moment in time. As with most large format photography techniques, when I photograph a scene I capture everything across the frame in complete focus. This can lend a heightened sense of reality. Given each picture is deliberately simple and mundane – the detail of the capture is just as important as the subject matter and becomes a character of the image in itself. I use the full size of the sensor and prefer not to crop. Restricting myself to this discipline is almost a digital reverence to large format film. My creative vision is to capture a calm and melancholic disposition in the landscape and create a scene of discernible simplicity to evoke an emotional and response from within. About Lost America Lost America examines a quiet stillness in a forgotten landscape that is, in a sense: 'on-pause'. Backwater towns and rural corners are juxtaposed with the ambiguity of detached suburbia. Places appear frozen in time, their inhabitants absent or long since departed. Ardently stagnant in their appearance, the images aim to unlock a moment of reflective contemplation and instil a melancholic feeling of familiarity. One might not notice or acknowledge these spaces, especially when viewed within the vast stretch of America's panorama. Yet, when framed as a single vignette, the places can appear to echo a moment of mournful reverie. Or, for some, they might behold an alluringly sombre, everlasting impression.
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