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Marna Clarke
Marna Clarke
Marna Clarke

Marna Clarke

Country: United States

A black and white Kodak advertisement caught my attention. The simple image of a cityscape with a teenage boy leaning against a wall plastered with faded, torn posters portrayed an honest and oddly poignant moment.

It was 1972. I was living in New York City, married with two small sons. Inspired by the ad, I started carrying a point and shoot camera and capturing whatever struck me as memorable or unsettling. I soon bought a 35mm SLR camera and began educating myself with classes and exhibitions. At night I would transform my kitchen into a darkroom and stay up late watching the chemicals turn my observations into silver images. After moving with my family to Hartford, Connecticut, I built a legitimate darkroom in the basement of my house. In 1981, I began working professionally with a focus on portraiture, weddings and events. Color landscapes I had done in Europe and America landed me magazine work and eventually architecture/interior design documentation and advertising. I continued to pursue my own projects, receiving a Connecticut Individual Artist's Grant in 1987 for experimentation in B&W portraiture. I taught at the Hartford Art School for a couple of years as an adjunct instructor.

In 1992 I stopped photographing, sold all my equipment and most of my possessions, and traveled. I had become certified to teach English as a Second Language and wanted employment in Europe. Instead I ended up in an ashram in India teaching English and learning meditation. I moved to California in 1996, and in 2005 began again to capture the world both within and around me. I had met a man who invited me to live with him, had gifted me a digital camera and told me to get back to work. I'm still with this man and still photographing.

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Soumya Sankar Bose
I am a documentary photographer based in India. I did my Post graduate diploma in photography from Pathshala South Asian Media Institute.Born in 1990 Midnapore - Lives and works in KolkataAwards and Fellowships: The Toto-Tasveer Emerging Photographer of the Year. India foundation for the Arts grant for the Project "Let's Sing an Old Song". Magnum Foundation's Photography and Social Justice Fellowship for the Project "Full Moon in a Dark night"Publications: The Telegraph, The Indian Express , Better Photography, Kindle Magazine, Mint Lounge, The Caravan, Wired, A’int-Bad Magazine, Platform, Harmony . As well as online portals such as Scroll.in, The Huffington Post, BBC Online, Gallery Carte Blanche, F-Stop Magazine, Galli Magazine, Fltr , Medium and etc. AAP: Do you have a mentor or role model? Yes, Shahidul Alam who is the principal of Pathshala .And Morten Krogvold was one of my mentor during Chobimela VII .AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?I don't remember my first shot exactly but when I was 7-8 years old, I got a Kodak KB10 from my mother and then I started to capture each and everything around me.AAP: What or who inspires you?My Parents ,Friends, Barnali But mostly my Grand father whose photographs inspire me to become a photographer in my childhood.AAP: How could you describe your style?Once one of my mentor Hasib Zakaria told me that my work is about hyper real. "Hyper reality is seen as a condition in which what is real and what is fiction are seamlessly blended together so that there is no clear distinction between where one ends and the other begins."AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?I like to shoot only on 35mm Prime lens in Film and Digital both.AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose?I don't spend lot of time in editing my pictures but what I keep in mind during my editing is that I should not off-tracked.AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?Alec Soth, Stfan bladh, Graciela Iturbide, Diane Arbus, Dayanita Singh and so on.AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?I am also a young Photographer.AAP: What are your projects?My project documents retired Jatra artists (Jatra is four hundred years old Bengali folk theater which is disappearing day by day) or who have been working in Jatra for more than 25-30 years.AAP: Your favorite photo book?Calcutta Ladies by Dayanita Singh, Fauna and Flora by Dietmar Busse and so on.
John Engstead
United States
1909 | † 1983
John Engstead (22 September 1909 in California - 15 April 1983 in West Hollywood, California) was an American photographer. Engstead began his career in 1926, when he was hired as an office boy by Paramount Pictures' head of studio publicity, Harold Harley. In 1927, Engstead pleased his boss by arranging a photo session for actress Clara Bow with photographer Otto Dyer using an outdoor setting which was unusual at that time. Engstead's creative direction of photographs of actress Louise Brooks led to a promotion to art supervisor, where he oversaw the production of Paramount's publicity stills. In 1932, due to a strike by photographers, Engstead assumed the position of studio portrait photographer, despite having never previously photographed anyone. Actor Cary Grant posed for his practice shots. He returned to his job as art supervisor after the strike was resolved. In 1941, Paramount Pictures fired Engstead, and Harper's Bazaar hired him for freelance advertising and portrait photography assignments. From 1941 to 1949, he took fashion photography assignments from numerous other magazines, including Collier's, Esquire, House Beautiful, Ladies Home Journal, Life, Look, Mademoiselle, McCall's, Vogue, and Women's Home Companion. In the 1940s, Engstead photographed many celebrities, including Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Maureen O'Hara and Shirley Temple. Unlike other photographers, he often shot his subjects at home or outdoors, and his portraits of a young Judy Garland in Carmel, California were particularly successful. During this decade, he built a studio in Los Angeles that became a gathering place for celebrities. Engstead continued to photograph movie stars and other celebrities through the 1950s (Marilyn Monroe) and 1960s. He produced promotional material for many television personalities, including Pat Boone, Carmel Quinn, Donna Reed, Ozzie and Harriet, Eve Arden, and Lucille Ball. He also shot cover photos for albums recorded by singers such as Peggy Lee and Connie Francis, as well as society portraits. His work extended into governmental figures in the 1950s, including then-Second Lady Pat Nixon. Engstead closed his studio in 1970 but continued to accept special portrait and television assignments until his death in 1984 at age 72. Engstead's images are represented by the Motion Picture and Television Photo Archive and can be viewed by the public at MPTV.net. Source: Wikipedia Engstead began his career in 1926, when he was hired as an office boy by Paramount Pictures’ head of studio publicity. Engstead impressed bosses and was promoted to art supervisor, where he oversaw the production of Paramount’s publicity stills. In 1932, Engstead assumed the position of studio portrait photographer, despite having never previously photographed anyone. By 1941, Engstead was working for various magazines, including Harper’s Bazaar, Esquire, Life, Look and Vogue. Engstead built a studio in Los Angeles that became a gathering place for celebrities. Engstead continued to photograph movie stars and other celebrities through the 1950s and 1960s. Engstead closed his studio in 1970 but continued to accept special portrait and television assignments until his death.Source: Motion Picture and Television Photo Archive
Olivia Milani
Switzerland
1984
Artist and photographer Olivia Milani has been captivated by images and the power of visual language since she can remember. Olivia studied photography at Central Saint Martins in London, graduating with a Postgraduate degree in Photography. Through her curious, inquisitive and lyrical looking, she creates subtle, open narratives that usually develop into long term projects. Travel is an important source of inspiration for her work. As much as representing outer places or destinations, her dreamlike images conjure inner landscapes suggestive of internal states and the fluidity of emotions. Partly constructed, partly simply observed or gathered as they happen in the moment, her images are often situations encountered by chance which she then invests with symbolism, mythological and literary references. Her work has been exhibited internationally and she has enjoyed collaborations with many gifted artists. Growing up in the context of a multicultural background in the Italian speaking region of Switzerland, she lives and works in London, England and feels at home in the world. Olivia sees photography as a tool for outer and inner exploration and discovery. Approaching her work with serious playfulness, she likes to let its meaning unfold. Eastern Winds Eastern Winds is about a journey of tracing my roots and reconnecting the fragmented aspects of my family past. It all started when I opened an old suitcase filled with photographs and letters - the remnants of my grandmother Lydia's life in Russia. The photographs were mainly portraits from 19th and 20th century Russia. Their soulful and enigmatic quality captured me immediately and led me on a voyage, first inner and imaginary, and eventually outer - like following a river back to it's source, I decided to travel to Russia. Starting in Moscow, I crossed the country by land, from West to East, travelling along the Trans-Siberian railway route all the way to Siberia, that to me felt like the far northern edges of the world. As I was travelling through the immense vastness of the endless Russian plains, I was imagining the lives and destinies of my ancestors. A great stillness stretched around me and it felt as if the limitlessness of these landscapes was re-shaping my inner geography, linking me back to the continuum of my ancestral connections. My grandmother Lydia was born in Moscow to a Russian mother and Swiss father. All I know is that during the time of the political turmoil of the Russian Revolution her family got torn apart and she had to flee Russia over night. She was 20 and travelled to Switzerland on a cargo train with one sister. She never saw her family and homeland again. These images are a way of weaving back together the broken threads of my family history - a tapestry composed of lost and found family photographs, untold stories and memories half vanished through time. An act of remembrance and a way of reappropriating my family history and transnational heritage. Blending the pictures I took during the journey with the photographs of my ancestors is an attempt of linking past and present together, one family member to another, one generation to another. Reconnecting to the ancestors returns us to the river of life that flows from the past into the present moment to nourish us.
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Robert Mapplethorpe
United States
1946 | † 1989
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.
Nelli Palomäki
Finland
1981
Nelli Palomäki was born 1981 in Forssa, Finland. At the moment she lives and works in Karkkila and Helsinki, Finland. Her timeless portraits of children and young people reveal the fragility of the moment shared with her subject. Palomäki’s photographs deal with the growth, memory and our problematic way of seeing ourselves. One of the crucial themes in her portraiture is our mortality. She describes: “We fight against our mortality, denying it, yet photographs are there to prove our inescapable destiny. The idea of getting older is heart-rending.” She is a graduate of Aalto University School of Art, Design and Architecture in Helsinki. Palomäki’s works have been exhibited in numerous international solo and group exhibitions. Selected solo shows: Shared (Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire, Paris 2018), Shared (Gallery Taik Persons, Berlin 2017), Jaettu (Forum Box, Helsinki 2016), Breathing the Same Air (Ordrupgaard Art Museum, Copenhagen 2013), Nelli Palomäki (The Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki 2013), Sons of Nakhimov (The Wapping Project Bankside, London 2012), As time consumes us (Les Rencontres d’Arles, Discovery Award 2012), As time consumes us (Kulturhuset, Stockholm 2011), Elsa and Viola (Next Level Projects, London 2011), Elsa and Viola (Gallery TAIK, Berlin 2009), I, Daughter (Turku Art Museum, Turku 2008). Her photographs have been shown in several group shows including Helsinki City Art Museum, Hasselblad Foundation in Gothenburg, Bruce Silverstein Gallery in New York, Daegu Photo Biennale in South Korea, The National Museum of Photography in Copenhagen, Purdy Hicks Gallery in London and Aperture Gallery in New York. Palomäki’s photography has been featured in several publications such as TIME magazine, British journal of photography, Independent magazine, New York Magazine, Zoom and Exit. Her book Breathing the Same Air was published spring 2013 by Hatje Cantz. In spring 2010 Palomäki placed 2nd in Sony World Photography Awards in portraiture category and the same year Hasselblad Foundation awarded her the Victor Fellowship Grant for the studies in London. She has been selected as one of the young emerging artist for the reGeneration2–Tomorrow's Photographers Today project. In summer 2012 Palomäki was nominated for the Discover Award at the Rencontres d’Arles in France. Permanent collections include: Moderna Museet in Stockholm; The Hague Museum of Photography, Hasselblad Foundation in Gothenburg and Helsinki Art Museum. Palomäki is represented by Gallery Taik Persons (Berlin), Galerie Les filles du calvaire (Paris) and Jackson Fine Art (Atlanta). Source: nellipalomaki.com About The Work Seen and captured by someone else’s eyes reminds us that the image we have of ourselves is not absolute, it is not truthful. In many senses the mirror lies more than a photograph. We learn to see ourselves in such a one-dimensional way, that hardly any image can satisfy us anymore. While time gnaws away at the faces of us and our close ones, we return to look at the pictures from our past. As beautiful or poignant as an image may be; as much as we could garner from it emotionally, the feeling for which we search remains intangible and elusive. We will never fully comprehend or recreate the moment, it died at the moment of its’ birth. Sadly, the portrait is just a shadow of our meeting, a small stain of the time we spend together. Each and every portrait I have taken is a photograph of me too. What I decide to see, or more likely, how I confront the things that I see, inevitably determines the final image. But more than that, the intensity of the moment shared with the subject, controls the portrait. As we stand there, with our grave faces, breathing the same heavy air; never so aware of each other’s details. One blind and lost without seeing his own appearance, one desperately trying to reach the perfect moment. The complexity of portraiture, its greatest trap, eventually always lies on its power relationships. What I desire to find and to reveal might be someone’s secret. These secrets, finally shown to the viewers, as they were mine. A portrait remains forever. It is a desperate way to stay connected to someone who, though possibly a stranger, remains so familiar. It is my way of preserving a part of that person, embalming them. Through the portrait I build a relationship with my subject. I carry my subject’s memories with me, memories, as they are, being so intimately connected with photographs. Secretly I study their faces. This is how I remember them. I wonder how they remember me. As the time eats slowly away at us, I still hold these images of them, like they are the only way I ever knew, or will know these people. And that ever pervasive feeling; I met them. They will die and eventually I too will die.
Sonia Costa
Sonia Costa is an was born in Northeast Italy and is temporarily based in Rome. With her studies in Geography and her passion for nature and worldwide different cultures, she has been traveling the world for years studying the interrelationship between people and environment. Promoting a sustainable tourism with a low environmental impact, she has long worked in Indian Sub-Continent, South East Asia and in the most isolated corners of the planet. Award winning free-lance photographer, she has been taking street and documentary photographs for years. Her essential subject is social life, focusing mostly in ordinary life, cultural stories and contemporary issues, always attracted by old stories, isolated places and people out of the spotlight. Her special passion for intimacy led her to develop portraiture as one of preferred means to interact with people and better understand the human condition. Wandering the planet including its remote regions, she has always been fascinated by the profound resilience with which simple people, especially women and children, face life . In a world submerged by conflicts, she tries to document the beauty and delicacy she can still find out there. In 2016 her first pocketbook was published: "La figlia di Saadi" Ed. Polaris, a tour around the world through short stories and photographs dedicated to the female universe. She published her photographs in magazines and books and exhibited her work in collective and solo shows in Italy and in collective shows in USA and Spain, upcoming in Japan. After being away from photography world for a while, she started to share her photographs just three years ago and be awarded in various International Photography Contests. Tokyo International Awards - IPA International Awards - Julia Cameron Awards - Prix de La Photographie Paris. Nominees and Honorable mentions, Merit of Excellence and Nominees : All About Photo APP Magazine - Monochrome Awards - Fine Art Photography Awards - Pollux Awards - Black and White Spider Awards - International Colors Awards - IPA Street Awards. Ordinary life through an extraordinary year I have always loved isolated places and being able to capture images with few people filling empty spaces I felt, in some way, as I was in my loved remote and lonely journeys. I usually travel and live out of my country months a year. Due to Covid-19 Pandemic, I spent most of 2020 stuck in Italy and luckily, when possible, in other European countries. During the lockdown, I wandered through the deserted cities with my camera, in this project I tried to document the ordinary life of two Italian symbol cities: Rome and Venice. In summertime, Venice had somehow returned to what it once was many years ago, even if in indoor places masks were still compulsory. Without crowds of tourists poured through the narrow streets and the cruise ships that monstrously invaded the lagoon, I could hear my voice again and the silent canals could finally breath. Rome, in late spring and fall, looked like certain sunny summers when the city empties itself for holidays and the sultry heat. Only few people going around by tramways or in empty squares patrolled by policemen with the sound of the sea gulls in the air. Documenting ordinary life along the streets, it was like looking at old photographs during the pandemic Spanish flu in 1918. Used to observe distant countries, see and record the changing world, last year I observed and caught the world through our changing cities.
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