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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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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 – whose usage he renewed – 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 – and finds – 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 “L'intuition” 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 L’intuition – 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 d’Arles SUSPENSION Noun: Suspension, Verb: suspend: “To cause to stop for a period, hold in abeyance; suspend judgment.” 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 aren’t necessarily recognizable at all. Michael has been moving towards this erasure of geographical and other distinctions in his photographs for some time. It hasn’t become dogma - the Smoke photographs shot in Atlanta’s 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. It’s 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 don’t even know. A man goes up stairs or an escalator and his hand is ridiculously long, maybe like that of Nosferatu in Murnau’s 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 can’t say if her face shows love or sadness or fear, but there’s something inevitable in her expression. It’s 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. They’re encountered, drift away, are longed for, returned to, left behind again. If Michael’s 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 it’s 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 “rare case of quick thinking,” he stuck out his arms, breaking the fall, and managed to pull himself out. No one knew he was there, and if he’d perished, it would’ve 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 Michael’s 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 he’s 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 what… mutual need, eventual isolation, or the pendulum swing between the two… 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 Daumier’s paintings of drinkers or Denis Johnson’s Jesus’ Son). It is illusory, of course; the people are held in that place where, like the proverbial cartoon character who’s gone off a cliff, they just don’t 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 won’t talk much here about the emotional drive behind the work, or the personal ramifications, but that’s my hesitation, not Michael’s. There’s 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 Michael’s work as a whole, I’m 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 can’t seem to take. The walking of tightropes has always been integral to Michael’s work, but I don’t 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 don’t understand how the pictures happen, how he gets them. It certainly isn’t 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. I’ve 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 doesn’t care about technique, but knowing the time and tortures he’s 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 doesn’t 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. I’ve seen him photograph without putting the camera to his eye, as if to confirm that what he was after wasn’t primarily even about seeing. (That too is deceptive; with time, some photographers know what the camera is getting, regardless of where it’s held). Maybe I mean that compared to many other photographers, Michael’s work isn’t 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 we’ve entered, people increasingly assume that certain pictures must be computer manipulations. Michael is no purist, but that simply isn’t 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, Michael’s 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 don’t know what to make of the picture where someone else’s 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 aren’t funny but they are, as is the man who wears a monocle made of smoke. The Coney Island hotdog signs reading ‘Franks’ 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 what’s it like to be with Michael when he’s photographing such things? Well, it isn’t 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 Michael’s 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 Michael’s 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 don’t. 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: “You’re beautiful.”) It is probably no accident then that the gesture of the embrace recurs again and again in Michael’s 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 surrender… 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, don’t matter at all. At its best, the work speaks past such details, and even beyond photography.
Annie Leibovitz
United States
1949
Annie Leibovitz was born on October 2, 1949, in Waterbury, Connecticut. While studying painting at the San Francisco Art Institute, she took night classes in photography, and in 1970, she began doing work for Rolling Stone magazine. She became Rolling Stone’s chief photographer in 1973. By the time she left the magazine, 10 years later, she had shot 142 covers. In 1983, she joined the staff at Vanity Fair, and in 1998, she also began working for Vogue. In addition to her magazine editorial work, Leibovitz has created influential advertising campaigns for American Express and the Gap and has contributed frequently to the Got Milk? campaign. She has worked with many arts organizations, including American Ballet Theatre, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the Mark Morris Dance Group, and with Mikhail Baryshnikov. Her books include Annie Leibovitz: Photographs (1983), Photographs: Annie Leibovitz 1970–1990 (1991), Olympic Portraits (1996), Women (1999), American Music (2003), A Photographer’s Life: 1990–2005 (2006), and Annie Leibovitz at Work (2008). Exhibitions of her images have appeared at museums and galleries all over the world, including the National Portrait Gallery and the Corcoran Gallery, in Washington, D.C.; the International Center of Photography, in New York; the Brooklyn Museum; the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam; the Centre National de la Photographie, in Paris; and the National Portrait Gallery in London. Leibovitz has been designated a Living Legend by the Library of Congress and is the recipient of many other honors, including the Barnard College Medal of Distinction and the Infinity Award in Applied Photography from the International Center of Photography. She was decorated a Commandeur in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. She lives in New York with her three children, Sarah, Susan, and Samuelle. Source Vanity Fair
Bettina Rheims
France
1952
Bettina Rheims is a French artist and photographer. She is the daughter of Maurice Rheims, of the French Academy. After having been a model, a journalist, and opening an art gallery, she began to be a photographer in 1978 at the age of 26. Initially she did many commissioned works such as albums covers for Jean-Jacques Goldman and photos of various stars. From 1980 she devoted herself solely to photography. She made a series of photographs of strip-tease artists and acrobats, which were shown 1981 in two personal exhibitions, at the Centre Pompidou and at the Galerie Texbraun in Paris. Encouraged by this success, she worked on a series of stuffed animal portraits, which were exhibited in Paris and New York. At the same time she took portrait images for worldwide magazines and advertising campaigns (Well and Chanel), created her first fashion series, worked on cover sleeves, and film posters, and in 1986 directed her first advertising campaign. In 1989 her portraits of women were published in a monograph, Female Trouble, and were exhibited in Germany and Japan. In the following year she made a series of portraits of androgynous teenagers, Modern Lovers, which were shown in France, Great Britain and the United States as well as being issued in book-form. Her series Chambre Close, which was realized between 1990 and 1992 in collaboration with Serge Bramly, had an immense success not only in Europe but all over the world. The book is a collection of photographs of nude young women in various postures. It became a bestseller and is regularly reprinted. In the following years her fame began to become worldwide and she is renowned as a one of the most important photographers not only in Europe, but also in the United States, Japan, Korea, Australia and Moscow.(Source: en.wikipedia.org)
Harry Benson
Scotland
1929
Scottish born photojournalist Harry Benson arrived in America with the Beatles in 1964. Harry has photographed every U.S. president from Eisenhower to Barack H. Obama; was just feet away from Bobby Kennedy the night he was assassinated; in the room with Richard Nixon when he resigned; on the Meredith march with Martin Luther King, Jr., next to Coretta Scott King at her husband's funeral; on maneuvers with the IRA; was there when the Berlin Wall went up and when it came down; and covered the aftermath of Katrina in New Orleans. In 2013 Harry received an Honorary Doctor of Letters from The University of St. Andrews, Scotland. On January 1, 2009, Harry was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and received his honor at Buckingham Palace in March. In London in November 2009 Harry received an Honorary Fellowship in the Royal Photographic Society. Harry was honored with a Doctor of Letters from the Glasgow School of Art and Glasgow University in 2007. Twice named NPPA Magazine Photographer of the Year, Harry received the 2005 LUCIE Award for Lifetime Achievement in Portrait Photography; the 2005 AMERICAN PHOTO Magazine Award for Achievement in Photography; the 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Scottish Press Photographers Association; and has twice received the Leica Medal of Excellence. He has had 40 gallery solo exhibitions and fourteen books of his photographs have been published. His photographs are in the permanent collection of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh, and the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, both museums hosted his Harry Benson: Being There exhibition (2006-7). A major retrospective exhibition of Harry's photographs was at Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow from June to September, 2008. Harry was under contract to LIFE Magazine from 1970 to 2000. His photographs appear in major magazines including Vanity Fair, Town & Country, Architectural Digest, Time, Newsweek, Vice, Paris Match, and The London Sunday Times Magazine. Harry lives in Wellington, Florida with his wife, Gigi, who works with him on his book and exhibit
Marcel Giró
Spain
1913 | † 2011
Marcel Giró was born in Badalona (Spain) in 1913. Since his youth he was fond of mountain trekking and photography. At the beginning of the Spanish Civil War he enlisted as a volunteer on the Republican side. In 1937, disappointed by the constant fighting between the different factions fighting against Franco, he decided to exile. He walked through the Pyrenees to France where he spent nearly two years doing all kinds of jobs. Finally in 1940 he was able to travel to Colombia with two Catalan companions, where they set up a small textile business. He married Palmira Puig, and they moved to Brazil, where they settled. In Brazil Giró resumed his hobby and ended devoted to professional photograpy. In 1953 he opened his own studio in Sao Paulo, Estúdio Giró. Marcel Giró became one of the leading photographers of the country, an active member of what became known as Escola Paulista. This movement, pioneer of modernist photography in Brazil was born around Foto Cine Club Bandeirante, in the 50s and 60s, with photographers like José Yalenti, Thomaz Farkas, Gertrudes Altschul, Eduardo Salvatore, Chico Albuquerque, Geraldo de Barros, Rubens Teixeira Scavone, Ademar Manarini, German Lorca and Gaspar Gasparian among others. He exhibited his works all over Brazil and around the world. His works are today in collections like the MASP (Sao Paulo Museum of Modern Art), Itaú Cultural (Itaú Bank), the Metropolitan Museum and the MoMA, in New York, among others. Giró was also one of the pioneers of advertising photography in Brazil. In his studio worked young assistants that later become world-renowned as great photographers like Marcio Scavone and JR Duran. After the death of his wife in 1978, he left professional photography and artistic photography. He sold the studio and returned to Catalonia. During the 80's and 90's, he began to paint with a very close criteria to his Photography works of the 50s. He died in Mirasol (Barcelona) in 2011, at age 98. For exhibitions and sales in Europe contact Toni Ricart Giró: toniricart@marcelgiro.com For exhibitions and sales in rest of the world Isabel Amado: isabel@isabelamado.com.br
Yusuf Sevinçli
Turkey
1980
Sevinçli’s images are highly personal, subjective and dreamlike, in which place and time are uncertain, redolent instead of a deeply felt vision of the world. His fleeting images of everyday life have an air of timelessness about them. Aesthetically and formally they manifest Sevinçli’s respect and deep engagement with the history of photography. Yusuf Sevinçli earned a bachelor’s degree in communications at Marmara University (Istanbul) in 2003, and attended a Masterclass dedicated to documentary photography in Sweden in 2005. From that moment on, he started building his own work through different series which include Good Dog (2012), Marseille (2014), Walking (2015) and exhibited in several solo and group shows in Le Botanique (Brussels, Belgium), Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire (Paris, France), Arter (Istanbul, Turkey), Angkor Festival (Angkor, Cambodia), Istanbul Modern (Istanbul, Turkey), Gallery Boavista (Lisbon, Portugal), Atelier de Visu (Marseille, France), Elipsis Gallery (Istanbul, Turkey), Rencontres d’Arles (Arles, France). One of his latest series ‘Dérive’ has been presented in several places in France, such as La Filature in Mulhouse, Le Château d’Eau in Toulouse, L’Atelier, Nantes as well as in Moscow during the city’s Biennal of Photography in 2016. He lives and works in Istanbul. Published books; Good Dog (Filigranes Editions, 2012), Marseille (le bec en l’air, 2014), Walking (Filigranes Editions, 2015), PUT (Fail Books, 2017). Source: Galerist Discover Oculus
Barry Salzman
United States
1963
Barry Salzman is an award-winning contemporary artist who currently works in photography, video and mixed media and whose projects have been shown widely around the world. He lives and works between New York City and Cape Town, South Africa. His photographic work in particular, began with a fascination for the practice as a teenager, during a time when it served as a way for him to grapple with the racial segregation in apartheid South Africa. Today, his work continues to explore challenging themes around social, political and economic narratives, often coming down to the core concept of identity. Acutely relevant and brave in its willingness to confront, Salzman's photography garnered the 2018 International Photographer of the Year Award in the Deeper Perspective category at the International Photography Awards for his project, The Day I Became Another Genocide Victim, which endeavors to humaize victims of the Rwandan genocide. For the last six years, Salzman has worked on ongoing projects that attempt to challenge the universal fatigue around the genocide narrative. Mostly, he applies visual tools of abstraction to landscape images shot at precise locations around the world where acts of genocide were perpetrated as a means of reminding us that 'that place' can be 'any place'. In writing about his ongoing genocide landscape work Salzman says, "The landscape witnesses all. It sheds its leaves in cover-up and complicity. But through its rebirth, so it rejuvenates. It carries with it the traces of the past and promises of the future. It triumphs over trauma. It is inextricably intertwined with our darkest moments and brightest days." The following images were made in Ukraine, Poland and Rwanda at precise locations where acts of genocide were perpetrated. For additional information, please see: www.barrysalzman.net
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