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Natalie Christensen
Natalie Christensen
Natalie Christensen

Natalie Christensen

Country: United States
Birth: 1966

Photographer Natalie Christensen has an inimitable, and enchanting, focus on the exploration of the more banal peripheral landscapes that often go unnoticed by the casual observer. "I quickly became aware that these isolated moments in the suburban landscape were rich with metaphor. Closed and open doors, empty parking lots and forgotten swimming pools draw me to a scene; yet it was my reactions to these objects and spaces that elicited interpretation and projection."

Based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States, she has exhibited her photographs in the U.S. and internationally, including Santa Fe, New York, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, London, Berlin and Barcelona. She was recently honored as an invited guest of the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Washington, D.C. and joined a select delegation of architects, architectural photographers and curators for a one-week cultural tour of the UAE.

Christensen had worked as a psychotherapist for over 25 years and was particularly influenced by the theories of depth psychologist Carl Jung. This influence is evident in her photographs, as shadows and psychological metaphors are favored subjects.

"The symbols and spaces in my images are an invitation to explore a rich world that is concealed from consciousness, and an enticement to contemplate narratives that have no remarkable life yet tap into something deeply familiar to our experience; often disturbing, sometimes amusing...unquestionably present."

In Santa Fe, her work is inspired by commonplace architecture and streetscapes. She realizes that the places she frequents for her images are probably not what people visualize when they think of Santa Fe, a major tourist destination with a carefully cultivated image. "I don't have to go anywhere special to make my photography; instead I find my images around shopping centers, apartment complexes and office parks." Choosing to shoot in locations that may be viewed as uninteresting or even visually off-putting, Christensen finds this challenging, to "see" something hidden in plain sight, noting "it is our nature to ignore what is unpleasant, but sometimes I get a glimpse of the sublime in these ordinary places. When I find it, it feels like I have discovered gold."

Christensen is repeatedly drawn to the swimming pool as a metaphor for the unconscious. In American culture, pools symbolize the luxury of leisure. Yet she also sees a darker interpretation - evoking repressed desires, unexplained tension and looming disaster. "These photographs of a manufactured oasis suggest a binary connection between the world above and the world below, linking submersion in water with the workings of the subconscious."

She dismantles all of these scenes to color fields, geometry and shadow. She shoots every day and is almost never without a camera.

The Royal Photographic Society recently presented her artwork in a traveling museum exhibition throughout the United Kingdom, and had her as a guest lecturer. She led a photography workshop there, as well at Meow Wolf in Santa Fe. Christensen has participated in collaborative site-specific projects at Iconic Standard Vision Billboard, Los Angeles; El Rey Court, Santa Fe; University of New Mexico, Albuquerque; and Peckham Levels, London.

She has been named one of "Ten Photographers to Watch" by the Los Angeles Center of Digital Art. As one of five invited photographers for "The National 2018: Best of Contemporary Photography" at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Indiana, her work was purchased for the permanent collection. Christensen was also the Purchase Prize recipient of the 33rd Annual International Exhibition at the University of Texas at Tyler.

Christensen's photographs are in private and corporate collections. Her work has received awards, including top finalist of 48,000 entries for the Smithsonian's 15th Annual Photo Contest and Honorable Mentions for the Julia Margaret Cameron Award and the Chromatic Awards. Global media have taken notice, with features in, among others, Xi Draconis Books; LandEscape Art Review, United Kingdom; Better Photography Magazine, India; Art Reveal Magazine; Magazine 43, Philippines, Germany and Hong Kong; Site Unseen; Lens Culture; All About Photo and Women in Photography.

Statement
I live in Santa Fe New Mexico where my work is inspired by commonplace architecture and streetscapes. I shoot every day and am almost never without my camera. I don't have to go anywhere special to make my photography; instead I find my images around shopping centers, apartment complexes and office parks. I dismantle these scenes to color fields, geometry and shadow. The places I frequent for my images are probably not what people visualize when they think of the city I live in, a major tourist destination with a carefully cultivated image. I choose to shoot in locations that may be viewed as uninteresting or even visually off-putting. This is exciting and challenging for me, to "see" something hiding in plain sight. Much of my professional life has been spent as a psychotherapist, and my photography as an extension of that work. Both have called me to explore what is hidden from view, those aspects of the self or the environment that we want to turn away from or simply avoid. I suspect it is our nature to ignore what is unpleasant, but sometimes I get a glimpse of the sublime in these ordinary places. When I find it, it feels like I have discovered gold.
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Smith's photographs are included in the 2004 Ntozake Shange book The Sweet Breath of Life: A Poetic Narrative of the African-American Family and Life. In 2010, her work was included in MOMA's exhibition Pictures by Women: A History of Modern Photography. This exhibition recontextualized Smith's work alongside that of Diane Arbus and marked a growing interest in Smith's work. Organized by curator Roxana Marcoci, it was curated by Sarah Meister through the Department of Photography. In 2017, a major survey exhibition of Smith's work was held at the Steven Kasher Gallery in New York. The exhibition featured 75 vintage black-and-white prints that represented Smith's career. Smith has collaborated with filmmaker Arthur Jafa in the Serpentine Sackler Gallery's 2017 show, Arthur Jafa: A Series of Utterly Improbable, yet Extraordinary Renditions (Featuring Ming Smith, Frida Orupabo and Missylanyus). That same year, she was featured in the Tate Modern group exhibition Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, curated by Mark Godfrey and Zoé Whitley. The show received international acclaim before traveling to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, The Brooklyn Museum, The Broad, the de Young Museum of San Francisco and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Since then, Smith's work was featured in solo presentations by Jenkins Johnson Gallery both at Frieze New York and Frieze Masters in 2019, the former of which receiving the Frieze Stand Prize. In 2020, Ming's work will be included in the group exhibition Working Together: Louis Draper and the Kamoinge Workshop at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, VA. From there, the exhibition will travel to The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, CA, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY.[19] Smith's work is in museum collections including the National Gallery of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Detroit Institute of Arts, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Some of Smith's work displayed in the Museum of Modern Art depicts motherhood in Harlem. These photos are taken using a documentary style way of photographing these subjects. Ming Smith lives and works in New York City.Source: Wikipedia Ming Smith is known for her informal, in-action portraits of black cultural figures, from Alvin Ailey to Nina Simone and a wide range of jazz musicians. Ming’s career emerged formally with the publication of the Black Photographer’s Annual in 1973. She was an early member of the Kamoinge Workshop, an association of several generations of black photographers. Ming has traveled extensively, showing her viewers a cosmopolitan world filled with famous landmarks and extraordinary landscapes. People continue to be her most treasured subjects. This is most apparent in her series depicting African American life. Ming’s early style was to shoot fast and produce complicated and elaborate images in the developing and post-printing processes, so that many of her pictures carry double dates. She experimented with hand-tinting in My Father’s Tears, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (1977/1979). Ming continues to expand the role of photography with her exploration of image and paint in the more recent, large-scale Transcendence series. Ming’s place in photography’s 175-year history was recognized by her inclusion in the Museum of Modern Art’s groundbreaking exhibition Pictures by Women: A History of Modern Photography in 2010. Ming Smith's photography is held in collections in the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York; the Smithsonian Anacostia Museum & Center for African American History and Culture, Washington, DC and the AT&T Corporation.Source: Steven Kasher Gallery
Thomas Struth
Germany
1954
Thomas Struth was born 1954 in Geldern, Germany and currently lives and works in Berlin. He is best known for his genre-defying photographs, though he began originally with painting before he enrolled at the Kunstakademie, Düsseldorf in 1973. Struth has developed his individual photographic practice, often penetrating places of the human imagination in order to scrutinize the landscape of invention, technology, and beyond (as in his recent CERN and Animal images). Celebrated for his diverse body of work-Unconscious Places, Familienleben (Family Life), Museum Photographs, New Pictures from Paradise and Nature & Politics-Struth continues to advance his vocabulary with each new series, while maintaining the same principles core to his practice. Recent comprehensive exhibitions of Struth's work include the major touring exhibition Thomas Struth: Nature & Politics exhibited at the Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany; the Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, Germany, the High Museum, Atlanta, Georgia; the Moody Center for the Arts, Houston, Texas; the St. Louis Museum of Art, Missouri and the MAST Foundation Bolgna, Italy (2016-2019) as well as Figure Ground which opened at the Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany and traveled to the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain (2017-2019). Other recent exhibitions have been shown at: Hilti Art Foundation, Vaduz, Lichtenstein (2019); Aspen Museum of Art, Colorado (2018); the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2014); and a major traveling retrospective which traveled from the Museu Serralves, Portugal to the K20 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, the Whitechapel Gallery, London, and the Kunsthaus Zurich, Switzerland (2010-2012). In 2018 Struth received the Honorary Magister Artium Gandensis from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK), Ghent, Belgium. In 2016 he was elected Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and received the Centenary Medal and Honorary Membership from The Royal Photographic Society, London. In 2014 he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the Royal Institute of British Architects. He is the winner of the Spectrum-International Prize for Photography of the Foundation of Lower Saxony (1997) and the Werner Mantz Prize for Photography, The Netherlands (1992). He has participated in numerous international group exhibitions including Common Ground, Venice Architecture Biennale (2012), Future Dimension, the Venice Biennial (1990) and Documenta IX (1992). Source: Marian Goodman Gallery
Joël Tettamanti
Switzerland
1977
Joël Tettamanti was born in 1977 in Efok, Cameroon, and grew up in Lesotho and Switzerland. He studied photography at ECAL, Lausanne, where his teachers were Pierre Fantys and Nicolas Faure. Following his studies, he worked as an assistant to the photographer Guido Mocafico in Paris. Tettamanti is established as a commercial and media photographer for clients such as Wallpaper*, Kvadrat, and international architects. His work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions in Europe, and has been the subject of several monographs, including Local Studies (2007) and Davos (2009). He lives in Lausanne. The Swiss photographer Tettamanti creates works that focus on the impact of human settlement on the landscape, from Asia to the Arctic Circle. The images are often without people, examining instead the contradiction of human frailty and resilience, and the relationships people form with the land. His work is a vast archive of the structures, villages, and cities people create, and of the landforms and climates that shape them. Like many photographers who have been drawn to archive the world, Tettamanti’s interest lies beyond collecting artifacts of the human imprint on the land. The questions he asks of a place – why things look the way they do, and how they came about – lead to profoundly social narratives about the people who are uplifted and sometimes defeated by the land they inhabit. Tettamanti gravitates toward inhospitable environments where these relationships play out in spectacle: the juxtaposition of sublime natural beauty and buildings of startling banality, or ingenuity, or of land seemingly without limit and the meager architecture put upon it. The story can be one of use and misuse, where urban sprawl or industrial incursions have degraded the land and corrupted its beauty, as well as one of human adaptability and resourcefulness. The land is shaped by people as much as it shapes them. His quest as an artist recalls the expeditionary photography of the American West in the nineteenth century, when territories previously unexplored by Americans were opened to visual imagination by the camera. Today, when technology and globalization make distant cultures accessible, there is still a sense of revelation in Tettamanti’s work. For this artist, much like the nineteenth-century pioneers of the medium, photography remains a means of understanding the world, and retains the power to astonish with images of places that exist beyond the imagination. Source: MIT Museum
René Groebli
Switzerland
1927
René Groebli (born October 9, 1927 in Zurich) is an exhibiting and published Swiss industrial and advertising photographer, expert in dye transfer and colour lithography. He grew up in the Enge district of the city of Zurich, where he attended the Langzeitgymnasium. After two years, he moved to the Oberrealschule, a science-oriented grammar school, but broke off this education after two years to begin an apprenticeship as a photographer with Theo Vonow in Zurich in 1944. When his teacher moved back to Graubünden, Groebli entered the preparatory course of the Zurich School of Applied Arts, attending from the spring of 1945. Subsequently, he enrolled in the renowned professional class for photography under the direction of Hans Finsler and Alfred Willimann until the summer of 1946. Amongst his fellow students were Ernst Scheidegger and Anita Nietz. In September 1946 Groebli began training as a documentary cameraman at Central Film and Gloria Film Zürich, graduating in late 1948 with a diploma, though he did not subsequently practice as a cinematographer. In 1947 he won third prize in a competition run by the monthly magazine Camera with his series Karussell. Freelancing for Victor-N. Cohen agency in Zurich, in 1948 Groebli made his first trip to Paris and in 1949 bought his first Leica. From 1949 Groebli worked as a photojournalist and carried out assignments for the Züri-Woche, and later in Africa and the Middle East for the London agency Black Star. The pictures were published in the magazines Life and Picture Post. His first small folio Magie der Schiene ('Rail magic') comprising 16 photographs (with front and back cover) was also shot in 1949 and self-published later the same year. It captures the ‘magic’ of steam train travel during the late 1940s. Despite being young and relatively unknown, Groebli was able to borrow enough money to finance the high-quality printing. Technically it is a portfolio rather than a book, with pages unbound and laid in loose, inspired by the Man Ray and Paul Éluard publication FACILE (1935) which he purchased on his first trip to Paris in 1948. Photographed with a Rolleiflex 6×6 and a Leica 35mm camera in and around Paris, as well as locations in Switzerland, the often motion-blurred and grainy images convey the energy of steam. An obi-band with German text was produced for the approximately 30 to 40 original preorders, and other copies sold without. He held his first solo exhibition with photographs from the book. He spent three months in Paris where he met Brassaï and Robert Frank and spent a month in London. On October 13, 1951 he and Rita Dürmüller (1923-2013) were married. A second slim picture book Das Auge der Liebe ('The Eye of Love'), self-published in 1954 through his business “Turnus”, was created in collaboration with his wife Rita Groebli. This small book, though respected for its design and photography, caused some controversy, but also brought Groebli attention. It was assembled from shots made on the belated honeymoon that the photographer and his wife Rita took over two weeks in Paris in 1952 and in the following year for a few days to Marseille, though publication of the photographs was not planned in 1953 Groebli sequenced it for a book, introducing a blank page to stand in for daytime in its chronology. In the Swiss Photorundschau, published by the Swiss Photographic Association, the editor Hermann König traded correspondence with a specialist teacher of the School of Applied Arts where the book had been passed around and argued over, the term "love" in the title being considered by students to be too sentimental given the obvious sexual connotations. Where the photographer’s intention was for a romantic effect, the editor admitted that the narrative was sexualized. In the leading periodical Neue Zürcher Zeitunghe, editor Edwin Arnet objected to the emphasis on nudity. Groebli sequenced his photographs to tell the story of a woman meeting a man in a cheap hotel. The last photograph shows the woman's hand with a wedding ring on her ring finger holding an almost finished post-coitus cigarette. In the perception of audiences of the era, the implication was that the woman had to be either an ‘easy woman’, a prostitute, or an unfaithful wife. However the U.S. Camera Annual review of the work in 1955 pronounced it "a tender photo-essay on a photographer’s love for a woman.” After the death of photojournalist Paul Senn in 1953 and the killing of Werner Bischof in Peru in 1954, Kurt Blum, Robert Frank and René Groebli were newly admitted to the Kollegium Schweizerischer Photographen. A major exhibition organized by the 'Kollegium' in 1955 convinced critics that a new "Swiss style" that was indeed moving towards Photography as Expression as the exhibition was titled, and the end of critical (later dubbed 'concerned') photography. However, the association was soon disbanded because of disagreements between Gotthard Schuh and Jakob Tuggener, and Groebli had by then relinquished photojournalism. In the same year, and with four other Swiss photographers, Werner Bischof, Robert Frank, Gotthard Schuh and Sabine Weiss, René Groebli was represented with a picture in the exhibition The Family of Man curated by Edward Steichen for the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His available-light photo shows a tight crowd of excited, dancing teenagers, their movement blurred in the style of Magie der Schiene. Groebli launched his own studio for commercial industrial and advertising photography in 1955 in the newly built residential and studio building in Zurich-Wollishofen. At the end of the 1950s, Groebli also had his home and studio converted and enlarged and in addition to two studios and two black and white labs, a dye transfer workshop with several laboratory workstations was added. In 1963 Groebli founded the limited partnership Groebli + Guler with lithographer Walter Guler, renamed 'Fotolithos' in 1968. The workplace in Zurich-Wollishofen was equipped with the latest and best technical facilities and through the 1960s and early 1970s the business employed a staff of up to twelve, with good profits made from servicing the advertising photography industry. After ten years producing specialist colour photography, dye transfer production and colour lithographs for commercial advertising and industrial photography, in 1965 Groebli published his third photo book Variation through Arthur Niggli Verlag, Teufen. It presented a retrospective of possibilities of Groebli’s colour photography, though with scant mention of the role of his many employees and business partners. In 1971 he issued a second edition Variation 2, with updated information on colour technology including Cibachrome. By the late 1970s, with the more widespread adoption and acceptance of chromogenic methods of colour production less technically demanding and cheaper than dye transfer, Groebli ceased commercial photography and colour production, sold his home and studio and retired, though he still maintained connections with the industry and presented a paper on dye transfer at the 1977 Rencontres d'Arles. Groebli returned to making personal photographic essays in colour and in black and white, in series titled Fantasies, Ireland, The Shell, Burned Trees, N. Y. Visions, New York Melancholia and Nudes. Over the decades of the turn of the century, he worked on his image archive and digitized the most important photographs that he had taken over a career of sixty years. Groebli currently resides in Switzerland.Source: Wikipedia
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