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Marcel Van Balken
Marcel Van Balken
Marcel Van Balken

Marcel Van Balken

Country: Netherlands

Marcel van Balken is a self-taught photographer from the Netherlands for about 40 years. As a photographer he is interested in specific themes and conceptual photography. He believes in working thematically with an absolute preference for surrealistic and creative photography. He gives himself a kind of theme or assignment and will not stop making photographs unless he thinks he got everything out of this assignment.

Marcel moves as a photographer ideally in the field of surrealism and magic realism. He prefers to create photographic images inspired by everyday reality combined with his own imagination. He strives to carefully compose photographic compositions of realistic looking scenes in unreal and sometimes magical spheres.

With his pictures he wants to tell a story with some level of abstraction: the image is not an explicit example of the concept, but a general expression of the idea. His goal in conceptual photography is to create a concrete image of abstract definition; to take a concept or idea and create a visual representation of it. A way of looking at the world in a completely different, sometimes surrealistic, manner.
 

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Ian Teh
United Kingdom
1971
Ian Teh has published three monographs, Undercurrents (2008), Traces (2011) and Confluence (2014). His work is part of the permanent collection at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) and the Hood Museum in the USA. Selected solo shows include the Jack Shainman Gallery in New York in 2004, Flowers in London in 2011 and the Kunsthal Museum in Rotterdam in 2012. Teh has received several honours, in 2018 he was awarded a travel grant from the Pulitzer Centre for Crisis Reporting and presented his work on climate change at the prestigious 2018 National Geographic Photography Seminar. He is also the recipient of the International Photoreporter Grant 2016 the Abigail Cohen Fellowship in Documentary Photography 2014 and the Emergency Fund 2011 from the Magnum Foundation. In 2013, he was elected by the Open Society Foundations to exhibit in New York at the Moving Walls Exhibition. In 2015, during the COP21 Paris climate talks, large poster images of his work were displayed on the streets of Paris as a collaborative initiative by #Dysturb and Magnum Foundation. He is a co-exhibitor in Coal + Ice, an environmental group show of acclaimed photographers and curated by Susan Meiselas. It was exhibited at the Official Residence of the US Ambassador to France during COP21. Teh’s work has been published internationally in magazines such as National Geographic, The New Yorker, Bloomberg Businessweek and Granta. Since 2013, he has exhibited as well as conducted masterclasses at Obscura Festival of Photography, Malaysia’s foremost photo festival. He is a tutor at Cambodia's Angkor Photo Festival since 2014. Teh is a member of the British agency, Panos Pictures.Source: www.ianteh.com Artist Statement: "Much of my artistic creativity stems from my interests in social, environmental and political issues. I imagine my work as a series of short films made out of stills. They are narratives that are built on moments of time collected over extended periods. Each story is a woven fabric of compositional and colour threads that come together to create a particular ambience intended to both emphasize my perspective on the subject matter and to, hopefully, encourage the viewer to take the narrative beyond the limits of my frame, into a direction that makes the experience of those images more vivid. My photographs have been widely exhibited and featured in several international publications such as, Time, Newsweek, The New Yorker and The Independent Magazine. I was recently awarded the 2011 EF grant from the Magnum Foundation and also received a high commendation for the 2009 Prix Pictet award. In 2001 I was part of the Joop Swart Masterclass. With some friends I founded Deep Sleep Magazine an online publication and recently we founded our own imprint Deep Sleep Editions to have more control of the publishing process. I have published two monographs, Undercurrents (2008) and Traces (2011)."
Jaromír Funke
Czech Republic
1896 | † 1945
Jaromír Funke (1896–1945) was a Modernist photographer and a leading figure in Czech photography during the 1920s and 30s. He was born in Skute? to a wealthy family. He studied medicine, law, and philosophy at the Charles University in Prague and the University of Bratislava but did not graduate and instead turned to photography. Funke was recognized for his play of “photographic games” with mirrors, lights, and insignificant objects, such as plates, bottles, or glasses, to create unique works. His still life’s created abstract forms and played with shadows looking similar to photograms. His work was thought to be logical, original and expressive in nature. A typical feature of Funke’s work would be the "dynamic diagonal." By the 1920s, Funke had become an amateur photographer and began to experiment with constructivism, surrealism, poeticism, and expressionism. He created unconventional works as a form of “pure” photography instead of the traditional reminiscing of other mediums such as painting or sculpture. During his photography profession, Funke published editorials and critiques about photography. By 1922, Funke had become a skilled freelance photographer and two years later he, Josef Sudek and Adolf Schneeberger created the Czech Photographic Society. From 1931-1935, Funke headed the photography department at the School of Arts and Crafts in Bratislava. Soon after, Funke taught at the School of Graphic Art in Prague until 1944. Alongside Ladislav Sutha, the director of the previous school, Funke published Fotografie vidí povrch in 1935. While travelling, Funke became interested in politically engaged photography. Bad living was created during the time period of 1930-1931 and was a photographic series that dealt with the issues of poverty. Funke later became an editor of the journal Fotografický obzor (Photographic Horizons) for several years. He published a number of works including Od fotogrameuk emoci which is understood to be his manifesto. As travelling was limited during World War 2 in 1939, Funke photographed close to home in Louny, Prague and sometimes Kolin. On March 22, 1945 in Kolin, Funke required an immediate operation for intestine damage but the procedure could not be executed as it was during an air raid alarm and he died.Source: Wikipedia Jaromír Funke (1896–1945) studied medicine, law and philosophy at Charles University in Prague but did not graduate. Instead he concentrated on becoming a professional freelance photographer. By 1922 he was a leader of the young opposition movement in photography and a founder of the Czech Society of Photography (1924) whose mission was to create photography that would fulfil new social functions. In his work Funke managed to combine some of the leading trends in modernist European photography, uniting constructivism and functionalism with surrealism and social commentary, with traditional Czech aesthetics. His interest in modernist ideas led him to make clearly focused studies of simple objects. As the decade progressed, he turned to the production of carefully arranged still lifes emphasizing abstract form and the play of light and shadow. During this time he also produced several important series of photographs, including two inspired by the images of Eugène Atget: Reflexy (Reflections, 1929) and as trvá (Time Persists, 1930-34). Funke was also influential as a teacher, first at the School of Arts and Crafts, Bratislava (1931-34/35), which followed a Bauhaus-inspired curriculum, and then at the State School of Graphic Arts, Prague (1935-44). While in Bratislava, he became interested in social documentary photography and joined the leftist group Sociofoto, which was concerned with recording the living conditions of the poor. Throughout his career Funke published articles and critical reviews dealing with photography. From 1939-41 he worked with Josef Ehm to edit the magazine Fotografik obzor (Photographic Horizon).Source: Howard Greenberg Gallery
Christopher Makos
United States
1948
Christopher Makos is an American photographer and artist. He apprenticed with photographer Man Ray in Paris and collaborated with Andy Warhol, whom he showed how to use his first camera. He introduced Warhol to the work of both Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. Makos's work has been in the permanent collections of more than 100 museums and major private collections, including those of Malcolm Forbes, Pedro Almodóvar, and Gianni Versace. His photographs of Warhol, Haring, Tennessee Williams, and others have been auctioned regularly at Sotheby's. Warhol called Makos the "most modern photographer in America". Chris Makos was born in Massachusetts, but grew up in California before moving to Paris, to work as an apprentice with Man Ray. Since the early 1970s he has worked at developing a style of boldly graphic photojournalism. His photographs have been the subject of numerous exhibitions both in galleries and museums throughout the United States, Europe and Japan and have appeared in countless magazines and newspapers worldwide. He has been a seminal figure in the contemporary art scene in New York. His book, Warhol: A Photographic Memoir, published by New American Library, chronicles his close friendship and extensive travels with Warhol. Makos' photographs have been published in Interview, Rolling Stone, House & Garden, Connoisseur, New York Magazine, Esquire, Genre and People, among others. His portrait of Warhol wrapped in a flag was featured on the front cover of the Spring 1990 issue of the Smithsonian Studies, the academic journal of the Smithsonian Institution. Makos' Icons portfolio is a collection of silkscreen portraits of Andy Warhol, Elizabeth Taylor, Salvador Dalí, John Lennon, and Mick Jagger.Source: Wikipedia Christopher Makos is one of the best and most-known photographers in the world, having photographed New York’s art scene since 1970, the punk and rock scene of the 1980s and 1990s in America, as well as the architecture and artistic scene of European cities. He became famous, making portraits sculptured with the immediacy that characterized the bohemian stream that cheered diversity and urged people not to fear to show what they were. At the age of 66, he still retains his youthful, artistic charm and intense energy, and he never stops preferring to live in the moment and follow his instinct. Chris Makos was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1948, by an Italian mother and a Greek father. His Greek grandparents settled in Lowell in the 1920s and became laborers at the factory in the area, which was the occasion for their acquaintance and the creation of their family – the name “Economacos” became “Makos” after the installation of the family in the US. Little Chris grew up in California and moved to New York after high school in the late 1960s, with no plans or ambitions. He studied architecture in Paris, but not photography. His love for that art was created when he received a camera on his birthday. It was then the beginning, followed by an apprenticeship under Man Ray, who taught him to trust the “original impressions”. New York, in the 1970s, was the scene of a unique creative explosion with Chris Makos fitting easily into it because of his open mind, as he says, and immortalizing “a visual manifesto of the time” and its relationship with the “crude naivety” of the decade. Makos photographed the “madness” of New York clubs, including the famous frequenters of Studio 54, including Liz Taylor, Salvador Dali, Jean-Michel Basquiat, John Lennon, David Bowie and Mick Jagger, who left their signature on the stunning creativity of the Greek photographer. He himself was the starting point for many developments on the scene of modern American art and one of those who narrated the history of punk.Source: www.ellines.com
Joel-Peter Witkin
United States
1939
Joel-Peter Witkin (born September 13, 1939, in Brooklyn, New York City) is an American photographer who lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His work often deals with such themes as death, corpses (and sometimes dismembered portions thereof), and various outsiders such as dwarves, transsexuals, hermaphrodites, and physically deformed people. Witkin's complex tableaux often recall religious episodes or classical paintings. Witkin was born to a Jewish father and Roman Catholic mother. His twin brother, Jerome Witkin, and son Kersen Witkin, are also painters. Witkin's parents divorced when he was young because they were unable to overcome their religious differences. He attended grammar school at Saint Cecelia's in Brooklyn and went on to Grover Cleveland High School. Between 1961 and 1964 he was a war photographer documenting the Vietnam war. Going freelance in 1967, he became the official photographer for City Walls Inc. He attended Cooper Union in New York where he studied sculpture, attaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1974. After Columbia University granted him a scholarship, he ended his studies at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, where he became Master of Fine Arts.Source: Wikipedia Finding beauty within the grotesque, Witkin’s work extends beyond post-mortem photography with his staged set-ups of corpses and dismembered parts. Witkin’s fascination with death was triggered by a life-altering episode at a very early age; he witnessed an automobile accident in front of his house in which a young girl was decapitated. Witkin has also pursued his interest in the human condition, drawing attention to “the other,” photographing marginalized groups of people. Those often cast aside by society—hermaphrodites, dwarfs, amputees, androgynes— inspire his work as he confronts the viewers’ sense of normalcy. His interest in spirituality, in particular the teachings of Christianity, has played into his work, as do frequent references to classical paintings. Works by Picasso, Balthus, Goya, Velásquez, and Miro reappear in his dramatic, staged scenes, as well as the work of E.J. Bellocq, who photographed a series on prostitutes of the red light district in New Orleans in the early twentieth century. Witkin’s work has been exhibited internationally at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco, Galerie Baudoin Lebon in Paris, and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris, among many others. Witkin is represented by Catherine Edelman Gallery and currently resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico.Source: International Center of Photography
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
Joseph Szabo
United States
1944
What strikes us first in the photographs of Joseph Szabo is a quiet shock of recognition. His poignant images of the life of American teens present a nostalgic portrait of those tumultuous years between childhood and adulthood. We remember our own high school years - first loves, classic rock, hanging out. We see ourselves in his photographs. Born in Toledo, Ohio, Joseph Szabo discovered his passion for photography as a student at New York's Pratt Institute. By the early 1970s, he was teaching art and photography at Malverne High School in a working-class neighborhood on Long Island. As he struggled to connect with his students, Szabo began using his camera to bridge the gap between teacher and student. In the classroom or on school grounds, and with the neutral eye of a documentary photographer, Szabo depicted his subjects as they were - preening and posing, showing off and goofing around, kissing, smoking - without judgment. What emerges is a dignified, compassionate, and tender view of teenage life rarely seen by adults. Although Szabo's portrait of adolescence in America is specific to suburban Long Island in the 1970s and 1980s, the images are universal and timeless. They capture the bravado and vulnerability, the joy and exuberance, the angst and fear, and the blossoming self-confidence and emerging sexuality of those complex years at the cusp of adulthood. Describes as a "chronicler of teenage life," Szabo's work actually comprises several distinct series - adolescents, Rolling Stones fans, Jones Beach and hometowns - that share a common aesthetic. Wether his camera is focused on his students, the "melting pot of humanity" at Jones Beach, fans at a rock 'n' roll concert, or the suburban streets of the East Coast and Ohio, Szabo's interest is in capturing quintessential American experiences, familiar to all of us, no matter where we grew up. He taught at the International Centre of Photography (ICP). Szabo is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and his work resides in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, International Center of Photography and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris. Szabo is most notable for his photographs of American youth taken during the 1970s and collected in the books Almost Grown and Teenage. His photograph Priscilla was featured as the cover of alternative rock band Dinosaur Jr's 1991 album Green Mind. Szabo made a body of work on Rolling Stones Fans photographed at a concert in Philadelphia in 1978. Joseph Szabo currently lives in Amityville, New York with his wife Nancy.Source: Wikipedia Joseph Szabo is a teacher, photographer and author. He taught photography and art at Malverne High School on Long Island for 27 years and for over 20 years at the International Center of Photography in Manhattan. His 1978 book, Almost Grown, featured many of his students and was acclaimed as one of the “Best Books of the Year” by the American Library Association. In the book’s forward, legendary photojournalist and Founder of the International Center of Photography Cornell Capa, wrote that “…in Szabo’s hands, the camera is magically there, the light is always available, the moment is perceived, seen, and caught.” Throughout the 80s and 90s, Almost Grown attained cult classic status in the fashion world, prompting Vogue editor Grace Coddington to notice that “all the young fashion photographers were looking at Joe’s photographs as their bible.” In 2003, Szabo released Teenage his more complete view of adolescents coming of age. His most recent book Jones Beach captures his forty year exploration of summer at New York’s most popular beach. Szabo’s evocative black and white images have won him worldwide recognition and admiration, from photographers including Bruce Weber and filmmakers Cameron Crowe and Sofia Coppola. He is the recipient of a photography fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and his images reside in the collections of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris, the George Eastman House museum in Rochester, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among many others. His photographs have been published in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Times, French Vogue, Women’s Wear Daily and exhibited at galleries in Paris, London, Japan, New York, Atlanta and Los Angeles.Source: josephszabophotos.com Galleries Jackson Fine Art Michael Hoppen Gallery Gitterman Gallery M+B Gallery
Mária Švarbová
Slovakia
1988
Mária Švarbová was born in 1988; she currently lives in Slovakia. Despite studying restoration and archeology, her preferred artistic medium is photography. From 2010 to the present, the immediacy of Maria's photographic instinct continues to garner international acclaim and is setting new precedents in photographic expression. The recipient of several prestigious awards, her solo and group exhibitions have placed her among the vanguard of her contemporaries, attracting features in Vogue, Forbes, The Guardian, and publications around the world; her work is frequently in the limelight of social media. Maria's reputation also earned her a commission for a billboard-sized promotion on the massive Taipei 101 tower, in Taiwan. Maria's distinctive style departs from traditional portraiture and focuses on experimentation with space, colour, and atmosphere. Taking an interest in Socialist era architecture and public spaces, Maria transforms each scene with a modern freshness that highlights the depth and range of her creative palette. The human body throughout her oeuvre is more or less a peripheral afterthought, often portrayed as aloof and demure rather than substantive. Carefully composed figures create thematic, dream-like scenes with ordinary objects. Her images hold a silent tension that hints at emergent possibilities under the lilt of clean and smooth surfaces. There is often a sense of cool detachment and liminality in Maria's work. Routine actions such as exercise, doctor appointments, and domestic tasks are reframed with a visual purity that is soothing and symmetrical and at times reverberant with an ethereal stillness. The overall effect evokes a contemplative silence in an extended moment of promise and awareness—a quality difficult to achieve in the rapid pace of modern life. Maria's postmodern vision boldly articulates a dialog that compels the viewer to respond to the mystery, loneliness, and isolation of the human experience. Nevertheless, deeply embedded within the aqueous pastels, Maria's compositions hold to a celebratory elegance that transforms the viewer's gaze into an enduring reverence for life's simple beauty. Hasselblad Master 2018 Forbes 30 under 30 Winner of International Photography Awards 2016 Swimming Pool In the Swimming Pool is Maria's largest series yet, originating in 2014 and continuing to develop to date. Sparked by a hunt for interesting location, her fascination with the space of public swimming pools contributed to developing her visual style. Sterile, geometric beauty of old pools set the tone for these photographs. Each of them pictures a different pool, usually built in the Socialist Era, in various locations in Slovakia. There is almost cinematographic quality to the highly controlled sceneries that Maria captures. The figures are mid-movement, but there is no joyful playfulness to them. Frozen in the composition, the swimmers are as smooth and cold as the pools tiles. The colours softly vibrate in a dream-like atmosphere. Despite the retro setting, the pictures somehow evoke a futuristic feeling as well, as if they were taken somewhere completely alien. There is no disturbing emotion, there is no individuality in their stillness. The artificial detachment, created by Maria's visual vision, allows unique visual pleasure, unattainable in real life.
Marc Gordon
United States
Marc Gordon is a photographer who focuses on unposed portraiture and photo documentary. He was trained at the International Center for Photography in New York City and studied street photography with Harvey Stein. He spent several years doing advertising photography at Kripalu, a yoga retreat center in the Berkshires, starting in 2009. Afterwards he turned to documentary and portraiture. All of his photographs try to capture unposed expressive moments, and to show people as they are without interpretation. A documentary series on the Gay Pride Parades in New York City has appeared in L'Oeil de la Photographie and was featured on the Social Documentary Network in late 2020. In addition to documentary and portraiture, Marc also explores landscape photography. As in portraiture, he tries to avoid interpretation and seeks instead to reveal Nature's complex patterns. He currently lives in New Mexico and will exhibit a series of landscapes at the Abiquiu Inn as soon as it is safe again to gather indoors. Marc was trained as a research mathematician and worked for many years on quantitative trading strategies before becoming a photographer. Joy and Confrontation These photos attempt to capture the spirit of the Gay Pride parades in New York City in the years since gay marriage was legalized in the United States. The collection begins with portraits of people encountered in the streets around the parades. Their joyful celebration is challenged by Christian demonstrators carrying offensive and provocative signs who came to condemn homosexuality and warn of divine retribution. Reactions range from mockery to dancing, heated argument, lewd gestures, outrage, and anger. I am grateful to have spent time with these young gay people and to have had the chance to photograph them. For any questions, you can contact Marc Gordon at marcgor@msn.com.
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