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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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Robert Mapplethorpe was born in 1946 in Floral Park, Queens. Of his childhood he said, "I come from suburban America. It was a very safe environment and it was a good place to come from in that it was a good place to leave." In 1963, Mapplethorpe enrolled at Pratt Institute in nearby Brooklyn, where he studied drawing, painting, and sculpture. Influenced by artists such as Joseph Cornell and Marcel Duchamp, he also experimented with various materials in mixed-media collages, including images cut from books and magazines. He acquired a Polaroid camera in 1970 and began producing his own photographs to incorporate into the collages, saying he felt "it was more honest." That same year he and Patti Smith, whom he had met three years earlier, moved into the Chelsea Hotel. Mapplethorpe quickly found satisfaction taking Polaroid photographs in their own right and indeed few Polaroids actually appear in his mixed-media works. In 1973, the Light Gallery in New York City mounted his first solo gallery exhibition, Polaroids. Two years later he acquired a Hasselblad medium-format camera and began shooting his circle of friends and acquaintances—artists, musicians, socialites, pornographic film stars, and members of the S & M underground. He also worked on commercial projects, creating album cover art for Patti Smith and Television and a series of portraits and party pictures for Interview Magazine. In the late 70s, Mapplethorpe grew increasingly interested in documenting the New York S & M scene. The resulting photographs are shocking for their content and remarkable for their technical and formal mastery. Mapplethorpe told ARTnews in late 1988, "I don't like that particular word 'shocking.' I'm looking for the unexpected. I'm looking for things I've never seen before … I was in a position to take those pictures. I felt an obligation to do them." Meanwhile his career continued to flourish. In 1977, he participated in Documenta 6 in Kassel, West Germany and in 1978, the Robert Miller Gallery in New York City became his exclusive dealer. Mapplethorpe met Lisa Lyon, the first World Women's Bodybuilding Champion, in 1980. Over the next several years they collaborated on a series of portraits and figure studies, a film, and the book, Lady, Lisa Lyon. Throughout the 80s, Mapplethorpe produced a bevy of images that simultaneously challenge and adhere to classical aesthetic standards: stylized compositions of male and female nudes, delicate flower still lifes, and studio portraits of artists and celebrities, to name a few of his preferred genres. He introduced and refined different techniques and formats, including color 20" x 24" Polaroids, photogravures, platinum prints on paper and linen, Cibachrome and dye transfer color prints. In 1986, he designed sets for Lucinda Childs' dance performance, Portraits in Reflection, created a photogravure series for Arthur Rimbaud's A Season in Hell, and was commissioned by curator Richard Marshall to take portraits of New York artists for the series and book, 50 New York Artists. That same year, in 1986, he was diagnosed with AIDS. Despite his illness, he accelerated his creative efforts, broadened the scope of his photographic inquiry, and accepted increasingly challenging commissions. The Whitney Museum of American Art mounted his first major American museum retrospective in 1988, one year before his death in 1989. His vast, provocative, and powerful body of work has established him as one of the most important artists of the twentieth century. Today Mapplethorpe is represented by galleries in North and South America and Europe and his work can be found in the collections of major museums around the world. Beyond the art historical and social significance of his work, his legacy lives on through the work of the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. He established the Foundation in 1988 to promote photography, support museums that exhibit photographic art, and to fund medical research in the fight against AIDS and HIV-related infection.
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Khanh Phan Thi
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Hi I'm Khanh Phan, I'm 34 and I'm from Vietnam. I was born in 1985. I was born in Quỳnh Phụ, Thái Bình, a mainly agricultural land. My parents were farmers. I currently work at the bank and I am a bank teller. Photography is my passion. After a broken marriage in 2017, I was heartbroken and desperated and losing faith in life. Then I thought, I couldn't be like this forever, I needed to get over it and I bought a camera. First I went to take photos of flowers in a park near my house, then I realized that Vietnam, my beloved country, has so many hidden fabulous natural and cultural scenes that only few places in the world have. I have been to many places, met and learned about the different regional customs and practices. I then took those pictures, posted them on social media, and became popular with my friends. Photography has changed my life, got me through difficult times and is now my only personal joy today. At first I received strong opposition from my family. My mother thinks photography is too dangerous. I often have to go to the sunrise photograph from 4 am, come home after sunset. There are nights when I wait for the night dew, or milkyway, I have to be outside all night. My mother worried that I would be in danger of being robbed because women who go out late at night are very dangerous. And with my income, my mother is afraid that I will not be able to take care of my son and maintain a stable life if i pursues photography because photographic equipment is very expensive. I have never taken a class in photography and photoshop, I myself researched and practiced on photoshop and learned the experience for myself. I have been taking pictures for 2 years. Finally, with my own efforts, I received some small awards in photography, my mother believed in me and she supported my work. Vietnam is a country with many feudal dynasties. The Vietnamese family is mainly patriarchal. Today Vietnamese women know how to fight for gender equality, a few participate in politics and hold important positions in the state, but the gender discrimination is still quite clear. In addition to working for a living as a man does, we also hold the maternity role, take care of childeren and family, do the houseworks and rarely have the time to do the things we love. In order to persue my passion for photography, I have to sacrifice my happiness. I could not get married again. My income is about 15 million VND per month (about 600$ per month). With that income, it is enough to raise my son and still has a small part of it for photography enthusiasts including equipments and travel expenses. I often had to take pictures alone, and experienced many life-threatening things like staying in the cemetery alone at night when waiting for the sunrise at the churchs in Thanh Xa, Bao Loc, Lam Dong, wrestling with waves at Hang Rai, Phan Rang seashores, climbing mountains, or wading into swamps. Sometimes I forget I'm a woman. I have won a number of awards such as Sonyworld award 2019, Skypixel 2019, Drone award of Siena 2019 but some people do not recognize my ability and efforts. They think I'm lucky and for the reason that I am a woman. Vietnam from Above Vietnam is a beautiful country with a diverse culture. Each region will have many unique cultural features with traditional villages that are hundreds of years old. The Vietnamese people stick to the traditional profession and take it as a way of gratitude to their ancestors. Although the traditional profession is very hard and low-income compared to other modern jobs, the artisans still stick to the profession as flesh and blood and want to pass it on to future generations. The daily lives and jobs of Vietnamese workers are recorded from above.
William Eugene Smith
United States
1918 | † 1978
William Eugene Smith was an American photojournalist known for his refusal to compromise professional standards and his brutally vivid World War II photographs. Smith graduated from Wichita North High School in 1936. He began his career by taking pictures for two local newspapers, The Wichita Eagle (morning circulation) and the Beacon (evening circulation). He moved to New York City and began work for Newsweek and became known for his incessant perfectionism and thorny personality. Smith was fired from Newsweek for refusing to use medium format cameras and joined Life Magazine in 1939 using a 35mm camera. In 1945 he was wounded while photographing battle conditions in the Pacific theater of World War II. As a correspondent for Ziff-Davis Publishing and then Life again, W. Eugene Smith entered World War II on the front lines of the island-hopping American offensive against Japan, photographing U.S. Marines and Japanese prisoners of war at Saipan, Guam, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. On Okinawa, Smith was hit by mortar fire. After recovering, he continued at Life and perfected the photo essay from 1947 to 1954. In 1950, he was sent to the United Kingdom to cover the General Election, in which the Labour Party, under Clement Attlee, was narrowly victorious. Life had taken an editorial stance against the Labour government. In the end, a limited number of Smith's photographs of working-class Britain were published, including three shots of the South Wales valleys. In a documentary made by BBC Wales, Professor Dai Smith traced a miner who described how he and two colleagues had met Smith on their way home from work at the pit and had been instructed on how to pose for one of the photos published in Life. Smith severed his ties with Life over the way in which the magazine used his photographs of Albert Schweitzer. Upon leaving Life, Smith joined the Magnum Photos agency in 1955. There he started his project to document Pittsburgh. This project was supposed to take him three weeks, but spanned three years and tens of thousands of negatives. It was too large ever to be shown, although a series of book-length photo essays were eventually produced. From 1957 to 1965 he took photographs and made recordings of jazz musicians at a Manhattan loft shared by David X. Young, Dick Cary and Hall Overton. In January 1972, William Eugene Smith was attacked by Chisso employees near Tokyo, in an attempt to stop him from further publicizing the Minamata disease to the world. Although Smith survived the attack, his sight in one eye deteriorated. Smith and his Japanese wife lived in the city of Minamata from 1971 to 1973 and took many photos as part of a photo essay detailing the effects of Minamata disease, which was caused by a Chisso factory discharging heavy metals into water sources around Minamata. One of his most famous works, Tomoko Uemura in Her Bath, taken in December 1971 and published a few months after the 1972 attack, drew worldwide attention to the effects of Minamata disease. Complications from his long-term consumption of drugs, notably amphetamines (taken to enable his workaholic tendencies), and alcohol led to a massive stroke, from which Eugene Smith died in 1978. He is buried in Crum Elbow Cemetery, Pleasant Valley, New York. Smith was perhaps the originator and arguably the master of the photo-essay. In addition to Pittsburgh, these works include Nurse Midwife, Minamata, Country Doctor, and Albert Schweitzer - A Man of Mercy. Today, Smith's legacy lives on through the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund to promote "humanistic photography." Since 1980, the fund has awarded photographers for exceptional accomplishments in the field.Source: Wikipedia Born and reared in Wichita, Kansas, W. Eugene Smith became interested in photography at the age of fourteen, and three years later had begun to photograph for local newspapers. He received a photography scholarship to the University of Notre Dame, but he left after a year for New York, where he joined the staff of Newsweek and freelanced for LIFE, Collier's, Harper's Bazaar, The New York Times, and other publications. Beginning in 1939, Smith began working sporadically as a staff photographer for LIFE, with which he had a tempestuous relationship throughout the rest of his career. During World War II he was a war correspondent in the Pacific theater for the Ziff-Davis publishing company and LIFE, for whom he was working when he was severely wounded in Okinawa in 1945. After a two-year recuperation, he returned to the magazine and produced many of his best photo essays, including Country Doctor, Spanish Village, and A Man of Mercy. In 1955, he joined Magnum, the international cooperative photography agency founded by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, George Rodger and Chim (David Seymour), and began work on a large photographic study of Pittsburgh, for which he received Guggenheim Fellowships in 1956 and 1957. Smith continued to freelance for LIFE, Pageant, and Sports Illustrated, among other periodicals, for the rest of his career. From 1959 to 1977, he worked for Hitachi in Japan and taught at the New School for Social Research and the School of Visual Arts in New York and the University of Arizona in Tucson. His last photo essay, Minamata, completed in the 1970s, depicted victims of mercury poisoning in a Japanese fishing village. Smith is credited with developing the photo essay to its ultimate form. He was an exacting printer, and the combination of innovation, integrity and technical mastery in his photography made his work the standard by which photojournalism was measured for many years. In recognition of his outstanding contribution to the development of photojournalism, the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund was established after his death to support the projects of photographers working in the tradition he established. Source: International Center of Photography
Emmanuelle Becker
France/United States
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