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Gabriele Viertel
Gabriele Viertel
Gabriele Viertel

Gabriele Viertel

Country: Germany

German fine art photographer, born near Cologne, Gabriele Viertel now lives and works in Eindhoven, Netherlands.
She grew up as the youngest of 3 children in a rural area with an extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins. Inspired by her father, an avid filmmaker and amateur photographer, she took for the first time at the age of 14 his analogue camera to photograph the children of the family.
During the education in technical design, she worked as a model to fund the studie. Completed the degree, Gabriele decided to move on to pursue the international career as a model and worked more than a decade for designers such as Dior and Karl Lagerfeld. Since 2008 she dedicated herself entirely to the art of photography as a freelance artist.
Conceptually, Viertel's images play with the dialog between the mediums of painting and photography. The magical, often surreal pictorial language and the chiaroscuro light are characteristic means of expression. The major part of her works is staged underwater. Gabriele has received numerous awards, most recently the platin award of Graphis New York, the gold medal of the International Color Award, the silver medal of Prix de la Photographie Paris as well as the Merit Award of Best of Contemporary Photography, Fort Wayne Museum of Art. Her work has been featured in international exhibitions and publications in Europe and North America, notably the Museum of Art Fort Wayne and the Heritage Municipal Museum Malaga. One book on her work has been published by Associazione Artistico Culturale Cameraraw.it. Gabriele's works are in the public collections of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Indiana USA and the University of Art, Rotterdam NL as well as in various private collections.
 

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Rafal Michalak
Poland
1971
Lives and works in Wroclaw, Poland. He studied political science and public relations. Graduate of Academy of Art and Design in Wroclaw with a Master of Arts (Media Art Department). A member of The Association of Polish Art Photographers (ZPAF). He has been associated with the advertising industry and commercial photography for years. In his everyday work he deals with brand communication issues as well as visual identity development for companies and corporations. At the same time, he is actively engaged in creating his own original photography, thereafter presented in exhibitions and published in trade magazines. Winner of many photographic praises and commendations. Human being as individuality and its place in the so fast altering world are the key factors of Michalakís photographic research. In his photography he is mostly consumed with transgression understood as a conscious and intentional exceeding of bounds and limits that we impose on ourselves or encounter. At the same time, it provides a way to learn more about the hidden depths and makes it possible to experience reality from different points of view. Transgressive approach has characterised Michalakís personal style of representation, regardless of used technique and medium, ever since he knowingly engaged in fine-art photography. Transgression determines his personal choices in terms of subjects he approaches, and even more so, the message, i.e. the idea behind a photograph, which he believes to be essential.
Urszula Tarasiewicz
Urszula Tarasiewicz, Photographer, organizer of events and photo exhibitions. Studied at the National Film School in Łůdź, Poland. I produce pictures with a medium format Hasselblad, which for me retains a particular sort of magic. The quality, the way light works on film, always elevates my interest when I decide to shoot a particular subject. The 'truth in photography' is a continuous debate. But that idea has always fascinated me. I observe the space around me, searching for a contrast between people and their environments. At times I allow the subject to play different roles or use simple props to alter the mood in the picture. There are many stories you can choose from when you observe the picture. I like the viewer to question its authenticity. For me, it's the interpretation that creates the magic. - Urszula Tarasiewicz Her photographs are the effect of acute observation of her surroundings and the ability to notice intriguing details and phenomena which are sometimes absurd and marginal, sometimes sentimental reminiscences of the People's Republic of Poland and the birth of the capitalism in Poland Marcin Krasny The artist's eye focuses on the margins of reality, the kitsch and grotesque public space. Simple, plain and ascetic compositions, or quite the opposite - full of details, colorful - frames of Urszula Tarasiewicz's works depict the world as a place which is not as much absurd as it is pleasant and charming Anna Czaban - Art Historian Urszula Tarasiewicz /b. 1975/ studied Photography at the Leon Schiller National Higher School of Film, Television and Theatre in Łůdź, Poland. The works from the series New Urban Legends which are on display at the andel's Hotel in Łůdź /curator Lucyna Sosnowska/ have won the portrait category at the 2010 Curator's Contest of the Photo District News Magazine, the 2012 New Talent Award of the German edition of the FotoMagazine, as well as the contest of the Norwegian photography magazine Fotografii for a place at the 17#Debutantutstilling 2012 exhibition in Oslo. The New Urban Legends series has been exhibited in, among others, the Milk Gallery NYC (2010). Other photo series by Urszula Tarasiewicz have been shown internationally: in the US at the Critical Mass exhibition (2012), the series The Future Is So Bright created in Norway during the Artist in Residence program at the HalsnÝy monastery was presented at a group exhibition in Norway in 2013 and in Warsaw in 2015 at the Ja to Ktoś Inny show /curator Klima Boheńska/, at the Krinzinger Galerie in Vienna during the group exhibition Call Me on Sunday (2014, curator Ursula Maria Probst), at the Jam Factory gallery in Oxford (2014), in Stuttgart at the Face to Face show (2014), at the Bunkier Sztuki gallery in Krakůw during the show Kasa z Widokiem /curator Lidia Krawczyk. All about Ogrodowa/Garden Street Garden Street, A project documenting flats after evictions on Garden Street. 150 families left the building. It was the first residential complex for workers in 1880 in the new industrial city of Lodz. Izrael Poznański wealthy entrepreneur (1833-1900) is regarded as being one of the icons of Łůdź. His monumental factory just across Ogrodowa street along with the labourers' tenement houses, is a true city within a city. In its best years, nearly 7000 people in total worked and lived here. The moment Poznański's empire fell after World War II was the beginning of the estate's and all of its inhabitants' long agony. Its fate was concluded with the decommissioning of the Poltex company in 1991. Famuły became a no man's land, its residents left to their own devices. The project 100 Tenement houses in Łůdź, thanks to which a major renovation of the Poznański's factory housing estate started in 2014 was preceded by a long process of relocating all the residents. It was during this time I began to document the empty flats. The famuły rooms stun with their ruthlessness, their coldness, with the visibly absent inhabitants. The artist guides us around the world which is already gone, lost. Looking at Tarasiewicz's photos, we're confronted with desolate rooms, dilapidated walls out of which someone ripped off electrical wiring and where time imprinted the ghosts of furniture and lost artworks.
Gautam Narang
United Kingdom
1984
I found photography by mistake, when doing my GCSE, I was sitting in the study room, then heard a teacher describe the subjects they taught at the school. As he was going through the subjects, he mentioned photography. I thought to myself was this a subject? Photography! It's so easy, all you do is click (How, wrong I was, how very wrong) *sigh*. As a child I used to play around with cameras. I always looked through them as was interested In them. So I sat in the lesson and was very enthusiastic to start a creative art. The journey had begun. One of the first subjects I started to picture was boats .....mmm yes boats. I lived near a canal and started to photograph boats. I don't know why I picked boats, it's quite sad when I look back, but that was one of my subjects. I took thousands of photographs, trying to make the subjects look Interesting. I remember one day I took all my photographs and filled up a whole table. The obsession had started but I hadn't known. Pictures now filled my room. From the start I always wanted to show my best. I would keep a box of my best photographs and then throw away all the one's I didn't like. I always feel the next picture is my favorite picture, wanting to create new work. As I progressed through my studies, I became distracted. There were so many subjects to do and I tried them all. One week I was doing art of history, then chemistry. I then dropped them all and just focused on photography. To this day, I follow photography. I have learned a lot but I am still confused on what to do next. I love what I do, but everybody tells me go into other things. Photography is more than clicking a button. From my first trip In India I have learned more about life then I would from anything. It teaches you to look, understand and observe rather then just walk away.All about Gautam Narang:AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?Well after high school, I pretty much knew that is something that Iíve wanted to do, and itís pretty much all that Iíve pictured myself doing. Iíve tried office jobs, but they usually donít work, for example being an assistant was not a great experience. Order wold be forgotten and iím not a office type or person, the stress kills me. So iíve always gratiated to something creative.AAP: Where did you study photography?I studied at HND Photography at City and islington. Was the youngest student, out of the program my closet friend was Robert Harper who does amazing fashion photography. We used to chill and take pictures, it was really nice experience. Education to me, especially in the arts isnít what iíve expected it to be. The real learning happens when your out of school, and making friends with like minded pepole, finding who you are, I know it sounds like a really simple question, but you get asked ďWho are you? What is your favorite movie? Favorite Artist and etc.Ē These days things are getting competitive and to really stand out is to have strong connections with people. AAP:Do you have a mentor?Yes, the teacher at my school. He was in 60ís and was my best friend, he taught me a lot on business, being an artist, encouraged me, let me use his studio and gave experience in the studio with while doing still life photography. He would also make all his own equipment, was really cool learning from him. My other mentor was Jasper James, he introduced me to style. He showed me that movies could be arty, before that I didnít really watch any arty stuff. We also traveled around the UK on projects and that was a lot of fun. AAP: How long have you been a photographer?12 years.AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?They were pictures of cannel boats, in England I used to live near a cannel.AAP: What or who inspires you?Well Edward Hooper is a great inspiration. His images feel like movie scenes, they have such a powerful mood to them. Artist have always inspired me. William Eggleston is someone would really inspires me.AAP: How could you describe your style?As simple and bold. Iím a huge fan of bold colors and like to keep things simple.AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?I use the Canon 5D Mark II and my iPhone 4, itís great, you can take it anywhere and pepole arenít imitated by it, you look like a tourist. The iPhone has a look, in 20 years when we have images that are so sharp that you canít tell if your looking at something real. Images from are primitive cameras and mobile devices will be called ďRetroĒ they come with a time stamp, the actually medium is a time capsule. Itís not about the quality, itís about the message, that will last longer.AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images?Iím not a fan of editing, iíve never liked it, only the darkroom.AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?Steve McCurry, Willam Eggleston, Dorothea Lange. AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?Go out and find your own vision, and all this likes and things mean nothing. Itís hard putting yourself out there, and pepole donít usually respond. You start to want to appeal to others and worry if you posting to much. Do it for yourself, who cares about all this fame? Who knows if these websites will be around, this data? One day, you might be recognized.AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?Donít point fingers, point them at yourself first. Donít blame others, really look at yourself first.AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share?My work is constantly changing and I like that. To keep evolving you need to keep changing.AAP: Your best memory has a photographer?Working on location in India, working in a old Indian palace, documenting Indian folk singers. Itís an experience the kings once enjoyed.AAP: Your worst souvenir has a photographer?A broken camera lens.AAP: If you could have taken the photographs of someone else who would it be?Steve McCurry he has my dream jobAAP: Anything else you would like to share?Iím into film making now, really want to be a DOP or camera operator. Currently iím based in Toronto.
Lillian Bassman
United States
1917 | † 2012
Lillian Bassman (June 15, 1917 Ė February 13, 2012) was an American photographer and painter. Her parents were Jewish intellectuals who emigrated to the United States from Russia in 1905 and settled in Brooklyn, New York. She studied at the Textile High School in Manhattan with Alexey Brodovitch and graduated in 1933. While there, she met the photographer, Paul Himmel, and they were married in 1935; Himmel died in 2009 after 73 years of marriage. From the 1940s until the 1960s Bassman worked as a fashion photographer for Junior Bazaar and later at Harper's Bazaar where she promoted the careers of photographers such as Richard Avedon, Robert Frank, Louis Faurer and Arnold Newman. Under the guidance of the Russian emigrant, Alexey Brodovitch, she began to photograph her model subjects primarily in black and white. Her work was published for the most part in Harperís Bazaar from 1950 to 1965. By the 1970s Bassmanís interest in pure form in her fashion photography was out of vogue. She turned to her own photo projects and abandoned fashion photography. In doing so she tossed out 40 years of negatives and prints - her lifeís work. A forgotten bag filled with hundreds of images was discovered over 20 years later. Bassmanís fashion photographic work began to be re-appreciated in the 1990s. She worked with digital technology and abstract color photography into her 90s to create a new series of work. She used Photoshop for her image manipulation. The most notable qualities about her photographic work are the high contrasts between light and dark, the graininess of the finished photos, and the geometric placement and camera angles of the subjects. Bassman became one of the last great woman photographers in the world of fashion. Bassman died on February 13, 2012, at age 94. Source: Wikipedia Lillian Bassman was born in 1917 into an immigrant family of free-thinking intellectuals, and was brought up with a mindset that allowed her to live as an independent and unconventional woman.She worked as a textile designer and fashion illustrator before working at Harper's Bazaar with Alexey Brodovitch, and ultimately becoming a photographer. Bassman's fashion images are unique, and acheieve their effect through manipulation in the dark room. Appearing in Harper's Bazaar from the 1940's to the 1960's, her work was categorized by their elegance and grace.Bassman had transformed these photographs into original works of art through her darkroom techniques in which she blurs and bleaches the images, investing them with poetry, mystery, and glamour. Source: Staley-Wise Gallery Lillian Bassman is one of the great 20th century fashion photographers along with Irving Penn and Richard Avedon. She began her career not as a photographer but as a painter at the WPA and then took courses at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. In 1945, Bassman was appointed Art Director at Junior Bazaar, giving projects to photographers such as Richard Avedon, Robert Frank and Paul Himmel (her husband). Later in 1947, she became the Art Director at Harperís Bazaar, and her work appeared in Harperís Bazaar throughout the 1940ís and 50ís. Her work was nearly destroyed in the 70ís by a water leak in her studio, and it was not until the 1990ís that her work was revived. With this new spotlight, Bassman received the Agfa Life Time Achievement Award and the Dem Art Directors Club Award in 1996. During the same year, Bassman began photographing again when she was asked to photograph the Haute Couture collection for New York Times Magazine, the Autumn Collection for Neiman Marcus, as well as work for German Vogue. Her work has been exhibited worldwide. Source: Peter Fetterman Gallery
Michael Ackerman
Israel/United States
1967
Born in Tel Aviv, Israel. His family moves to New York in 1974. Lives and works in Warsaw. Since his first exhibition, in 1999, Michael Ackerman has made his mark by bringing a new, radical and unique approach. His work on Varanasi, entitled "End Time City," breaks away from all sorts of exoticism or any anecdotal attempt at description, to question time and death with a freedom granted by a distance from the panoramic Ė whose usage he renewed Ė to squares or rectangles. In black and white, with permanent risk that led him to explore impossible lighting, he allowed the grainy images to create enigmatic and pregnant visions. Michael Ackerman seeks Ė and finds Ė in the world he traverses, reflections of his personal malaise, doubts and anguish. He received the Nadar Award for his book "End Time City" in 1999, and the Infinity Award for Young Photographer by the International Center of Photography in 1998. In 2009, he won the SCAM Roger Pic Award for his series "Departure, Poland". His last book "Half Life" has been published in 2010 by Robert Delpire. In 2014, he collaborated with Vincent Courtois, cellist, and Christian Caujolle, behind the project, in a show called ďL'intuitionĒ which proposes a dialogue between photography and music creation. This show was presented, in particular, as part of the festival Banlieues Bleues and for the Rencontres d'Arles 2014.Source: Agence VU Selected Publications 2wice, Abitare, Aperture, Art On Paper, Beaux Arts, Die Zeit, Doubletake, Eyemazing, French Photo, Granta, Harpers, India Magazine, La Humanite, Internazionale, Les Inrockuptibles, Liberation, Le Matin, Le Monde 2, Metropolis, New York Magazine, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, The New Yorker, Ray Gun, La Repubblica delle Donne, Rolling Stone, Stern and The Village Voice. Awards SCAM Roger Pic Award, 2009. Prix Nadar, End Time City, 1999. Best Documentary of 1999, photo-eye, 1999. Infinity Award, Young Photographer, International Center of Photography, 1998. 2014 Líintuition Ė A projection in collaboration with musician Vincent Courtois, curated by Christian Caujolle. Performed In la Friche Belle de Mai, Marseille, 4 Fevrier Le Lux Scene national de Valence, Festival Banlieues blues, Paris and Rencontres photographiques díArles SUSPENSION Noun: Suspension, Verb: suspend: ďTo cause to stop for a period, hold in abeyance; suspend judgment.Ē In Michael Ackerman's work, documentary and autobiography conspire with fiction, and all of the above dissolve into hallucination. The particular journeys of his book Half Life encompass New York, Havana, Berlin, Naples, Paris, Warsaw, and Krakow, but the locations arenít necessarily recognizable at all. Michael has been moving towards this erasure of geographical and other distinctions in his photographs for some time. It hasnít become dogma - the Smoke photographs shot in Atlantaís Cabbagetown remain a beautifully regional document, but they document a neighborhood as a particular dream state rather than a set of facts, and the photos could wander easily into his other bodies of work. In all cases, there is surely a trajectory away from the constraints of a traditional documentary mode towards a very different way of getting at the world. Some notes about particular photos in Half Life: A family, seen on a decaying porcelain tombstone portrait - solarized by decades of exposure - is falling apart, as families do, is holding on together, as families do. The shape of their little monument is uncannily like that of the Hotel Centrum on a later page, where such a family, had they existed in the same era, would not have been able to stay. The Centrum, a modern Polish megalith, floats absurdly in the frame, freed from all scale but heavy on the page. A naked man kneeling on a bed; we find him in supplication or some unspecific bondage. He is trapped, caught between stations, and the terrible but accepted scratch lines on the negative make it feel like TV or video, as if the man is seen through some screen, receding. Itís no longer a portrait of a particular person. It seems as if the man has become some vague entity, a sick feeling, a migraine headache, I donít even know. A man goes up stairs or an escalator and his hand is ridiculously long, maybe like that of Nosferatu in Murnauís silent film. The stairs begin in Lodz but, according to the next page, pass a landing in Havana. Suspension... A woman, naked, holds her arms against her torso. She looks up, somehow in simultaneous surprise and recognition. I canít say if her face shows love or sadness or fear, but thereís something inevitable in her expression. Itís strange how she seems so caught in flux, while her shadow, so dark on the wall, is just the opposite, permanent.* * * In the early stages of his building the Half Life book, Michael and I talked about where to put the series of pictures taken from train windows, mostly in deep winter. At one point they were scattered throughout, at other times they fell together in a bloc, but in any case, the body of work, and the book as a whole, started to feel to me like they ran on rails in the snow, and the places and people within them were stops, things seen or felt in passing. Theyíre encountered, drift away, are longed for, returned to, left behind again. If Michaelís work is sometimes tough, the landscapes remind us back to a balancing delicacy, a faith in beauty. Michael deeply loves the snow trains that cut archaically through Europe, especially through Eastern Europe, especially the overnight trains which he and I share as our transportation of choice. On these you travel but are nowhere for the duration of the trip, floating through whiteness if itís wintertime. This nothing in which things float is echoed in his prints, though the white is sometimes heavily vignetted, as if darkness wants in. Alternately, the backgrounds can be of total blackness, and then the subject radiates like a candle. But back to the snow trains, which often run through the most ignored and beautiful parts of cities, where commercial facades drop away like forced smiles into debris and frozen mud and warehouses, which then give way to fields. Riding on one of these trains outside of Katowice, Poland en route to Paris, Michael spotted in the distance the warped row of dead train cars seen in the book. Desperate to photograph them, he guessed at their location and eventually returned. He got off at the closest stop, trudged through the snow, and found the trains, but approaching across a frozen field, camera in hand, his legs suddenly plunged through a chasm in the whiteness, a missing manhole cover. In what he referred to as a ďrare case of quick thinking,Ē he stuck out his arms, breaking the fall, and managed to pull himself out. No one knew he was there, and if heíd perished, it wouldíve been for the love of trains, and of wreckage, and of course, of pictures. * * * Many in the panel of men at the beginning of Half Life were photographed in bars. Some were found in a bar in Paris where the old and ageless proprietor became one of Michaelís favorite people, not just in the city, but in the world. Her bar was a special refuge, and though she was difficult, she truly took Michael in. This tiny bar remains a constant, a place of return, but many of the regulars heís met over the years are now gone. For some moments however, they drew, or seemed to draw, terribly close, with alcohol as glue and pictures proof -- but of whatÖ mutual need, eventual isolation, or the pendulum swing between the twoÖ A bar is something like the center of an hourglass: at the top is time disappearing, and at the bottom, time spent. But to those in the place, the regulars, the middle is the only thing apparent and there time has stopped. (An interesting circumstance for others in the time-stopping business, and not just still photographers. The phenomena is beautifully understood in Daumierís paintings of drinkers or Denis Johnsonís Jesusí Son). It is illusory, of course; the people are held in that place where, like the proverbial cartoon character whoís gone off a cliff, they just donít realize the ground has dropped away beneath their feet. Once again, suspension. Which also has a musical definition: The prolongation of a tone in one chord into the following chord, usually producing a temporary dissonance. This prolongation of tone, an ongoing search, gives the work continuity, as does the dissonance, which can be restlessness or loss. I wonít talk much here about the emotional drive behind the work, or the personal ramifications, but thatís my hesitation, not Michaelís. Thereís a picture in Half Life of the photographer and a woman, both with shaved heads, a troubled mirroring, a last strange union. The photograph is a pact: see you now, see you later, so long... In the last few years, such goodbyes have given way to a series of welcomings, explorations of the concrete changes and dream states of immediate family, wife and child. These pictures, deeply caring but by necessity fearless, reverberate with bluntness, warmth, shock, matter of fact erotics, and of course love, which when regarded honestly, includes a steamer trunk of contradictions. So, there is fear mixed in with the fearlessness, the joy includes some trepidation, the innocence is utterly real, but tangled and fleeting. How disappointing it would be if a photographer so open to the wrenching truths of the world would suddenly pull all punches when faced with the most intimate situation of all. How unfortunate it would be, for all of us, if investigations of intimacy were left to the whitewashers and the advertisers, the puritans and the pornographers. And so, in the recent work, new tightropes are stretched and new risks are taken. But in looking back at Michaelís work as a whole, Iím reminded that one of the great challenges artists face is when to pull back from the proverbial edge - those addicted to pushing the envelope sometimes fall into a negative trap which has its own complacency. A kind or subtle or purely beautiful image might actually be the risk that they canít seem to take. The walking of tightropes has always been integral to Michaelís work, but I donít see him falling into that dark trap, which is why the work is thorny but never cynical, heavy but also sweet. Beyond all of that, I still donít understand how the pictures happen, how he gets them. It certainly isnít about the equipment, the cameras come and go, sometimes literally broken but still pressed into use. I think Michael feels that taking pictures and taking chances should be kindred enterprises. Iíve met few artists less uptight about the technology and intricacies of gear and production, though he does of course become completely intimate with what he needs in order to get at what he feels. Once I heard him suggest in a Q & A that he just doesnít care about technique, but knowing the time and tortures heís given over to darkroom work, I thought that was a touch disingenuous. He meant that technique and technology are never the core of the matter, and that he doesnít like to be precious about them. And he needs accidents; they might reveal something, break something open. Sometimes they might go too far and the image itself is obliterated: again, necessary risk. Iíve seen him photograph without putting the camera to his eye, as if to confirm that what he was after wasnít primarily even about seeing. (That too is deceptive; with time, some photographers know what the camera is getting, regardless of where itís held). Maybe I mean that compared to many other photographers, Michaelís work isnít so concerned with sight itself. If he could have been a writer, painter, or a musician, that might have worked too. In any case, the results speak for themselves, and the results are often kind of insane. Sadly, because of the madness of these photographs and the digital times weíve entered, people increasingly assume that certain pictures must be computer manipulations. Michael is no purist, but that simply isnít what is going on here. Do you see how it matters that even if these are accidents of light and the distorting lens, they are things that somehow happened, that were? They come out of the real; however unlikely or impossible, they are measurements - not constructions. They are measurements, but in the end, of the interior as much as of the world. But like I said, Michaelís not a purist, and in his impure searching, he occasionally walks a thin line between accepting pure actuality and giving it a nudge. We argue about it. I donít know what to make of the picture where someone elseís old portrait of Anna Akhmatova is held up and rephotographed. I guess Michael wanted to invite her into that streetscape, felt she was part of his history or emotional landscape; maybe he just loved her profile and wondered, what the hell, why not? Sometimes the work is funny. The absurdly mismatched nude couple in the book arenít funny but they are, as is the man who wears a monocle made of smoke. The Coney Island hotdog signs reading ĎFranksí and the American flag they stutter towards comprise a whimsical tribute to one particular, beloved photographer; first name - Robert. Occasional whimsy aside though, Half Life is a rough ride through damaged places and situations. And whatís it like to be with Michael when heís photographing such things? Well, it isnít necessarily comfortable, or easy, or pleasant. Sometimes artists push their work, and their luck along with it. Sometimes Michael just plunges in. I was crossing the street with him on the Lower East side once when a woman suddenly appeared, coming towards us in the intersection. Something in her presence struck us instantly with force -- she might have been beautiful or she might have been mutilated -- we had no time to register anything; but he lunged and got off one picture as I stood by and winced. I doubt she noticed at all, but what if she had? (The picture is in Fiction; it appears to be of a ghost in a miniskirt, perhaps with a black eye.) Such pictures do not come out of discretion, or delicacy, or fair exchange. In many of Michaelís pictures mutual understanding simply may or may not have existed. There is a harshness to this observation; it troubles me, and yet I can say that Michaelís pictures are always, deeply made without judgment, in total acceptance. That in itself is a kind of love. And the subjects obviously extend him enormous trust. (Well... except when they donít. Walking with Michael on a street in Krakow, he photographed another approaching woman, a middle-aged matron. She yelled angrily at him in Polish; he kept walking but yelled back, in Polish: ďYouíre beautiful.Ē) It is probably no accident then that the gesture of the embrace recurs again and again in Michaelís work. Which leads me to what may be my favorite set of pictures that Michael has taken, of the couple on the stairs: To what do we owe this strange and tender record ? And what is the record of? An older man and his young girlfriend collapsed in drunken surrenderÖ or perhaps a father and son broken together on a subway staircase ? Who is holding who up? Was the man once a boxer? If the younger one is in fact a woman, is she his lover? The stairs are at once unyielding and rippling, bending and unbending. This couple, whatever their relationship and circumstance, are attended to then in a series of photographs, equally harsh and gentle, unwrapped over time. But what time is given - minutes, hours, or an unending day or an unending night? You can just about hear the tinny loudspeakers in the background of the train station, and thinking of stations, I am reminded that the 13th station is the descent from the cross. The actual circumstances, the truth of it, the year and the gender, hardly matter, donít matter at all. At its best, the work speaks past such details, and even beyond photography.
Hossein Fardinfard
Netherlands-based Iranian documentary photographer Hossein Fardinfard (born 1985) took an unconventional path to his profession. After majoring in cartography, geomorphology, and IT, ultimately he discovered his aptitude for visual storytelling at the age of 30. Fardinfard came to see photography as a means for observing society more intimately, and for knowing himself more deeply in turn. He has thus come to specialize in photography that explores social observation, human rights, and identity. "I like storytelling not only as a process of documenting but also as a means for exerting a constructive influence on society, something like what Lewis Hine, the pioneer of photojournalism, did in his era in the USA. My relationships with photography subjects enhance my understanding of concepts like human rights. To understand this keyword, I need to know people first. Through knowing them, my spiritual investment in human rights has grown remarkably." In the second phase of Fardinfard's artistic life -- at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague -- he had the chance to reflect more intently on the meaning and philosophies of photography and the pictorial arts. This experience also equipped him with principles of psychology and sociology that he readily applied to his photographic gaze. "It's more thrilling when I can find a scientific explanation of the social behaviors and interactions I'm capturing. I believe we can talk about Human Rights in scientific terms. There should be a point where the hard and soft sciences meet. I try to connect them and then visualize that point."
Richard Avedon
United States
1923 | † 2004
Richard Avedon (1923-2004) was born and lived in New York City. His interest in photography began at an early age, and he joined the Young Men's Hebrew Association (YMHA) camera club when he was twelve years old. He attended DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, where he co-edited the school's literary magazine, The Magpie, with James Baldwin. He was named Poet Laureate of New York City High Schools in 1941. Avedon joined the armed forces in 1942 during World War II, serving as Photographer's Mate Second Class in the U.S. Merchant Marine. As he described it, "My job was to do identity photographs. I must have taken pictures of one hundred thousand faces before it occurred to me I was becoming a photographer." After two years of service, he left the Merchant Marine to work as a professional photographer, initially creating fashion images and studying with art director Alexey Brodovitch at the Design Laboratory of the New School for Social Research. At the age of twenty-two, Avedon began working as a freelance photographer, primarily for Harper's Bazaar. Initially denied the use of a studio by the magazine, he photographed models and fashions on the streets, in nightclubs, at the circus, on the beach and at other uncommon locations, employing the endless resourcefulness and inventiveness that became a hallmark of his art. Under Brodovitch's tutelage, he quickly became the lead photographer for Harper's Bazaar. From the beginning of his career, Avedon made formal portraits for publication in Theatre Arts, Life, Look, and Harper's Bazaar magazines, among many others. He was fascinated by photography's capacity for suggesting the personality and evoking the life of his subjects. He registered poses, attitudes, hairstyles, clothing and accessories as vital, revelatory elements of an image. He had complete confidence in the two-dimensional nature of photography, the rules of which he bent to his stylistic and narrative purposes. As he wryly said, "My photographs don't go below the surface. I have great faith in surfaces. A good one is full of clues." After guest-editing the April 1965 issue of Harper's Bazaar, Avedon quit the magazine after facing a storm of criticism over his collaboration with models of color. He joined Vogue, where he worked for more than twenty years. In 1992, Avedon became the first staff photographer at The New Yorker, where his portraiture helped redefine the aesthetic of the magazine. During this period, his fashion photography appeared almost exclusively in the French magazine …goÔste. Throughout, Avedon ran a successful commercial studio, and is widely credited with erasing the line between "art" and "commercial" photography. His brand-defining work and long associations with Calvin Klein, Revlon, Versace, and dozens of other companies resulted in some of the best-known advertising campaigns in American history. These campaigns gave Avedon the freedom to pursue major projects in which he explored his cultural, political, and personal passions. He is known for his extended portraiture of the American Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam war and a celebrated cycle of photographs of his father, Jacob Israel Avedon. In 1976, for Rolling Stone magazine, he produced "The Family," a collective portrait of the American power elite at the time of the country's bicentennial election. From 1979 to 1985, he worked extensively on a commission from the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, ultimately producing the show and book In the American West. Avedon's first museum retrospective was held at the Smithsonian Institution in 1962. Many major museum shows followed, including two at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1978 and 2002), the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (1970), the Amon Carter Museum of American Art (1985), and the Whitney Museum of American Art (1994). His first book of photographs, Observations, with an essay by Truman Capote, was published in 1959. He continued to publish books of his works throughout his life, including Nothing Personal in 1964 (with an essay by James Baldwin), Portraits 1947-1977 (1978, with an essay by Harold Rosenberg), An Autobiography (1993), Evidence 1944-1994 (1994, with essays by Jane Livingston and Adam Gopnik), and The Sixties (1999, with interviews by Doon Arbus). After suffering a cerebral hemorrhage while on assignment for The New Yorker, Richard Avedon died in San Antonio, Texas on October 1, 2004. He established The Richard Avedon Foundation during his lifetime. Source: The Richard Avedon Foundation
David Pace
United States
1951
David Pace is a Bay Area photographer and curator. He received his MFA from San Jose State University in 1991. He has taught photography at San Jose State University, San Francisco State University and Santa Clara University, where he served as Resident Director of SCU's study abroad program in West Africa from 2009 - 2013. Pace photographed in the small sub-Saharan country of Burkina Faso annually from 2007-2016, documenting daily life in Bereba, a remote village without electricity or running water. His work has been exhibited internationally. His African photographs of the Karaba Brick Quarry are featured in the 2019 Venice Biennale in a group show entitled "Personal Structures" organized by the European Cultural Center. His book Images In Transition, a collaboration with gallerist Stephen Wirtz, was published in the spring of 2019 by Schilt Publishing. "Through my photography I want to express to a broad audience what it's like to live in West Africa. The Western media typically shows only the negative side of life in Africa, highlighting war, famine, genocide, and illness. This perspective is newsworthy but it is incomplete and misleading. It fails to capture the richness and complexity of life in small villages where a large percentage of West Africans live and work. Most live simple, meaningful lives. My photography in the remote village of Bereba and the surrounding region portrays a story of life in the community that is largely positive. My work projects a view that may be at odds with the more common perspective, but is no less accurate or realistic. I am committed to communicating the realities of life in West Africa to challenge the negativity that too frequently pervades the images we see." David Pace About Sur La Route
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