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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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Georgi Zelma
Russia
1906 | † 1984
Georgi Zelma was born in Tashkent in 1906. The family moved to Moscow in 1921 and Zelma eventually found work at the Proletkino film studios. Later he joined the Russfoto Agency and from 1924 to 1927 was their correspondent in Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Central Asia. A large number of his photographs appeared in Pravda. Zelma served in the Red Army (1927-29) before working briefly in Tashkent. In 1930 Zelma joined Souizfoto Agency and his assignments included taking photographs of collective farms and military exercises. His pictures often appeared in the propaganda magazine, USSR in Construction. During the Second World War Zelma worked for Izvestia and took photographs in Moldova, Odessa and the Ukraine. He also covered the battle of Stalingrad. After the war Zelma worked for the magazine Ogonek and the Novosti Press Agency. Georgi Zelma died in 1984. Source: Spartacus Educational Born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in 1906, Georgii Anatolevich Zelma moved to Moscow with his family in 1921, where he began taking pictures with an old 9 x 12 Kodak camera. His first experiences as a photographer took place at the Proletkino film studios and during theater repetitions for the magazine Teatr. He soon joined the Russfoto agency. From 1924 to 1927, he returned to his homeland as a correspondent for Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Central Asia in order to document Islamic culture being reformed by Soviet socialist reconstruction. This work was published in Pravda Vostoka. In 1927, Zelma was enlisted in the ranks of the Red Army, serving in Moscow. After the demobilization in 1929, he returned to Tashkent and worked briefly for the Uzbek cinema chronicles. In Moscow, he entered the team of Soiuzfoto and received a Leica. Through the 1930s, he was sent on assignment to the mines and factories in the Donbass region, to Collective Farms in Tula province and to the Soviet Military maneuvers in the Black Sea region. He worked with Roman Karmen on the stories The USSR from the Air and Ten Years of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Iakutia, which were published in the propaganda magazine “USSR in Construction”. For this magazine he also collaborated with Max Alpert and Aleksandr Rodchenko. During World War II, he was a correspondent for Isvestiia stationed at the front-line campaigns in Moldova, Odessa, and Ukraine. His most memorable photographs are of the Battle of Stalingrad, where he spent the severe winter of 1942-43. After the war, Zelma worked for the magazine Ogonek and from 1962 for the Novosti press agency. He died in 1984. Source: Lumiere Gallery
Milton Rogovin
United States
1909 | † 2011
Milton Rogovin was born in New York City in 1909. He graduated from Columbia University in 1931 with a degree in optometry and a deep concern for the rights of the worker. He moved to Buffalo, New York, in 1938, where he established his own optometric practice in 1939. In 1942, he married Anne Snetsky. That same year, he purchased his first camera, and was inducted into the U.S. Army, where he served in England as an optometrist until 1945. Upon his discharge, he returned to his optometric practice and his growing family. By 1947, the Rogovin's had two daughters, Ellen and Paula, and a son, Mark.Source: www.miltonrogovin.com Milton Rogovin (1909–2011) was a documentary photographer who has been compared to great social documentary photographers of the 19th and 20th centuries, such as Lewis Hine and Jacob Riis. His photographs are in the Library of Congress, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Center for Creative Photography and other distinguished institutions. Milton Rogovin was born December 30, 1909 in Brooklyn, New York City of ethnic Jewish parents who emigrated to America from Lithuania, then part of the Russian empire. He attended Stuyvesant High School in New York City and enrolled in Columbia University, from which he graduated in 1931 with a degree in optometry. Following graduation Rogovin worked as an optometrist in New York City. Distressed by the rampant and worsening poverty resulting from the Great Depression, Rogovin began attending night classes at the New York Workers School, a radical educational institution sponsored by the Communist Party USA. In 1938 Rogovin moved to Buffalo and established an optometry practice there. In 1942, he married Anne Snetsky (later changed to Setters). In the same year, he was inducted into the U.S.Army, where he worked as an optometrist. After his discharge from the Army, Milton and Anne had three children: two daughters (Ellen and Paula) and a son (Mark). Rogovin was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1957. Like many other Americans who embraced Communism as a model for improving the quality of life for the working class, he became a subject of the Committee's attentions in the postwar period: He was discredited — without having been convicted of any offense — as someone whose views henceforth had to be discounted as dangerous and irresponsible. The incident inspired Rogovin to turn to photography as a means of expression; it was a way to continue to speak to the worth and dignity of people who make their livings under modest or difficult circumstances, often in physically taxing occupations that usually receive little attention. In 1958, a collaboration with William Tallmadge, a professor of music, to document music at storefront churches set Rogovin on his photographic path. Some of the photographs that Rogovin made in the churches were published in 1962 in Aperture magazine, edited by Minor White, with an introduction by W.E.B. Du Bois, a founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). That same year Rogovin began to photograph coal miners, a project that took him to France, Scotland, Spain, China, and Mexico. Many of these images were published in his first book, The Forgotten Ones. Rogovin traveled throughout the world, taking numerous portraits of workers and their families in many countries. His most acclaimed project, though, has been The Forgotten Ones, sequential portraits taken over three decades of over a hundred families who resided on Buffalo’s impoverished Lower West Side. The project was begun in 1972 and completed in 2002. In 1999, the Library of Congress collected more than a thousand of Rogovin’s prints.Source: Wikipedia
James Houston
Australia
James Houston's background as a sculptor helped shape and influence his graphic photographic style. Australian born, Houston celebrates beauty and the human form, creating sensual iconic portraits and international campaigns for L'Oreal Paris, GAP, Donna Karan, Hugo Boss and Givenchy. New York based Houston balances his career with passion projects that make a difference in the community. Five award winning international books have been published on his work. Houston's book MOVE (PowerHouse Books), was created to benefit various HIV/AIDS charities and raised close to US$500,000 from sales and launch events. The book project, titled MOVE FOR AIDS was launched in 2006 with the support of Elton John, Hugh Jackman, Baz Luhrmann and Sarah Murdoch. While working on MOVE FOR AIDS, Houston was shocked to learn about American attitudes towards adolescent sexuality and the impact it has on U.S. teens. This discovery inspired Houston to raise over 1 million dollars to fund his first feature documentary titled, LET’S TALK ABOUT SEX (www.letstalkaboutsexthefilm.com). The Award winning film takes a revealing look at how American attitudes towards adolescent sexuality affect today’s teenagers. The film aired nationally on the TLC network in April, 2011 with the goal of helping parents and communities understand the importance of honest and open communication. For his latest photographic project, Natural Beauty, Houston turns his eye to nature for inspiration with the goal to raise awareness for the environment and funds for environmental non profit Global Green USA. In collaboration with MILK, Houston shot a series of striking portraits of some of the world’s leading models and celebrities. These captivating photographs, bring together two of Houston’s great passions – the human form and the natural world. Natural Beauty launched at MILK Gallery NYC April 2013. Houston also directed a web series on the 'making of' Natural Beauty as well as several film installations for the exhibition. Source: www.houstonphoto.com
Manuel Armenis
Germany
1971
Manuel Armenis is an award winning independent street and fine-art photographer based in Hamburg, Germany, dedicated to documenting daily life. He was born in Mannheim (Germany). He studied at Icart, École de Photographie in Paris (France), and at the University of the Arts in London (England). Since graduating he has been working as an independent filmmaker and photographer. The emphasis of his practice is the realization of long-term projects with a focus on exploring the human condition within everyday and commonplace urban environments. Manuel´s work has been exhibited internationally in galleries in both solo and group shows. His photographs were published in leading contemporary photography magazines and online. He has received numerous awards, including 1. prize winner at the Sony World Photography Awards in 2018, and has been a finalist at the LensCulture Street Photography Awards in 2017 and at the Meitar Award for Excellence in Photography in 2019, among others. Manuel currently lives and works as a freelance photographer in Hamburg, Germany. About Diamond Days The quintessential trait of the mundane is, of course, its lack of spectacle. It is recognizable to us, familiar, in its plainness and with its non-event-character. Due to those alleged properties it is a world that gets all too willingly labeled boring and banal. At times we might even feel offended by its lack of sophistication. We believe to know the mundane well, but, unimpressed by its unremarkable nature, we usually choose to look elsewhere. And yet, as much as we try to ignore it, there remains this suspicion that we might not be able to evade it. An inkling that it might contain something that keeps us connected. The series Diamond Days is an exploration of the commonplace. We are shown snippets of the everyday, fragments of moments, ordinary situations. There is a playful touch to this world, a colorful lightness and warmth, a sense of joy; and yet, these unassuming landscapes seem to contain something else. Elusive. Layered. Ambiguous. A somewhat bleaker undercurrent which might pick up on the sensation of slight unease that we often associate with the ordinary. By carrying signs of human behavior and a way of living, the ordinary provides us with a rendering of the now. But it also contains references to a time gone by and challenges us to look back. It exposes our need to make sense of our lives and raises the tricky question of what could have been. It confronts us with the notion of missed opportunities and unfulfilled dreams. And it reveals our disposition to fill any void with nostalgia.
Karen Knorr
United States
1954
Karen Knorr was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany and was raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico in the 1960s. She finished her education in Paris and London. Karen has taught, exhibited and lectured internationally, including at Tate Britain, Tate Modern, The University of Westminster, Goldsmiths, Harvard and The Art Institute of Chicago. She studied at the University of Westminster in the mid-1970s, exhibiting photography that addressed debates in cultural studies and film theory concerning the ‘politics of representation’ practices which emerged during the late 1970s qnd early 1980s. She is currently Professor of Photography at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham, Surrey. Karen Knorr produced Belgravia (1979-1981) a series of black and white photographs with ironic and humorous texts that highlighted aspirations, lifestyle and the British class system under the neo liberalist Thatcher era in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Her most well known work called Gentlemen (1981-1983) was photographed in Saint James’s clubs in London and investigated the patriarchal conservative values of Britain during the Falklands war. Karen ’s work developed a critical and playful dialogue with documentary photography using different visual and textual strategies to explore her chosen subject matter that ranges from the family and lifestyle to the animal and its representation in the museum context. In 1986 her work Connoisseurs used colour to explore connoisseurship regarding authenticity, heritage and art in England. Here she introduced elements and staged events in the architectural interiors of Chiswick House, Osterley Park House and the Dulwich Picture Gallery. The use of text and captioning appeared as a device to slow down consumption of the image and to comment on the received ideas of fine art in museum culture. These strategies still appear in her photography today with digital collage of animals, objects and social actors in museums and architecture challenging the authority and power of heritage sites in Europe and more recently in India. Academies (1994- 2001), a series of colour photographs taken in academies and museums across Europe, reflects on the relationship between the production of western fine art, its transmission and consumption. The work continues a critical dialogue with conceptual art, visual culture, feminism and animal studies reflecting an engaged interest in theory and its relation to photographic practice. In 1995 the Academies project included video and installation with wall text transfers in order the explore the relationship between art and science in the staging of transgressive performative events and gestures in museums. Being for Another (1995), an 18 minute video records a young man caressing an 18th century sculpture by Canova in the Victoria and Albert Museum and three lifeclass models enact the lifeclass on the dissecting table of the anatomy theatre of Uppsala University in Lessons (2002). The introduction of a sound glass sculpture with recorded birdsong responded to the furniture and art collection of The Wallace Collection in 2001 synthesizing a 1960’s Pete Seeger song with an actual blackbird’s sound. In her series Fables (2004-2008) photographs mixes analogue and digital photography playfully reconfiguring tales (Ovid, Aesop La Fontaine) with popular culture (Disney and Attenborough) in museums and heritage sites which include Carnavalet Museum, the Museum of Hunt and Nature in Paris, Chambord Castle and the Conde Museum in Chantilly Castle. The visuality of these photographs is rich with reference to the baroque. In the last section of the work, Knorr interrogated the free flowing space of modern architecture in Corbusier’s Villa Savoye reintroducing life into the modernist aesthetic of a building. Since her life changing journey to Rajasthan, India in 2008, Karen Knorr’s work continues to explore Rajput and Mughal cultural heritage and its relationship to questions of feminine subjectivity and animality. India Song, a series of carefully crafted photographs explores the past and its relation to India’s contemporary heritage sites across Rajasthan. Since 2012 Knorr has been visiting Japan to reflect on tradition within contemporary Japan referencing Ukiyo-e prints and folktales connected to Shinto and Buddhist heritage sites.Her first series entitled Monagatari, places animals and humans in temple sites found in Nara, Kyoto, Tokyo and Ohara. Her second related series Karyukai is inspired by the Kano’s 36 portraits of poets also referencing “bijinga” prints of the 17th century. Women photographed by Karen Knorr were asked to compose waka and haiku reflecting on their life and dreams. Source: karenknorr.com About India Song Karen Knorr’s past work from the 1980’s onwards took as its theme the ideas of power that underlie cultural heritage, playfully challenging the underlying assumptions of fine art collections in academies and museums in Europe through photography and video. Since 2008 her work has taken a new turn and focused its gaze on the upper caste culture of the Rajput in India and its relationship to the "other" through the use of photography, video and performance. The photographic series considers men's space (mardana) and women's space (zanana) in Mughal and Rajput palace architecture, havelis and mausoleums through large format digital photography. Karen Knorr celebrates the rich visual culture, the foundation myths and stories of northern India, focusing on Rajasthan and using sacred and secular sites to consider caste, femininity and its relationship to the animal world. Interiors are painstakingly photographed with a large format Sinar P3 analogue camera and scanned to very high resolution. Live animals are inserted into the architectural sites, fusing high resolution digital with analogue photography. Animals photographed in sanctuaries, zoos and cities inhabit palaces, mausoleums , temples and holy sites, interrogating Indian cultural heritage and rigid hierarchies. Cranes, zebus, langurs, tigers and elephants mutate from princely pets to avatars of past feminine historic characters, blurring boundaries between reality and illusion and reinventing the Panchatantra for the 21st century.
Chen Jiagang
China
1962
Born in 1962 in Chong Qing, Chen Jiagang began his career as a celebrated architect and real estate developer before making the transition to photography. In 1999, he was named one of twelve "Outstanding Young Architects" by the United Nations. Jiagang is the founder of the Sichuan Upriver Museum, the first private museum in China and the author of Third Front (Timezone 8 Limited, 2007). He currently lives and works in Beijing.Source: Edwynn Houk Gallery Although originally trained as an architect (and awarded by the UN the accolade of being one of the 12 ‘outstanding young architects' in China), Chen Jiagang has been a practicing photographer for over 12 years, and has exhibited widely since 1999. He has twice been awarded the Excellent Works Award at the annual China Photographic Arts Exhibitions. Chen photographs often feature obsolete and useless factories, hidden away in his country's hinterlands. Among these monumental, abandoned ruins, these industrial leftovers, he places ghostly human figures, reminding us of the workers who lost their jobs and were sent back home to start again. He documents the effects on society of China's extraordinary development drive in these large, sumptuous compositions.Source: Waterhouse & Dodd 1980-1984 studied in Architecture Department of Chongqing Architecture College from 1980 to 1984. 1984-1992 worked in Southwest Architecture Design Institute as a National Certified Architect, and had been awarded grand architecture prizes in various types for many times. 1992 founded the Company of Chengdu Haosi Property Development. 1996 the Company of Sichuan Gangjia Architecture Design. 1997 founded Sichuan Upriver Stock Co., Ltd. 1997 founded Upriver Art Gallery, the first private Art Gallery in China. 1998 founded Chengdu Upriver Guildhall and Kunming Upriver Guildhall. 1999 elected as one of the twelve "Outstanding Young Architect" of China by UN. 2001 Bigining to be an artist from then on. 2002 The excellent works prize of the 20th China Photographic Exhibition. 2003 The excellent works prize of the 21th China Photographic Exhibition. Personal Exhibitions 2012 Diseased City, Paris-Beijing Photo Gallery, Paris, France Chen Jiagang photography, Galerie Forsblom, Helsinki, Finland
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