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Oliver Curtis
Oliver Curtis
Oliver Curtis

Oliver Curtis

Country: United Kingdom
Birth: 1963

Brought up in the Cotswolds, Curtis began his photographic education studying photography at the renowned course at Filton Technical College in Bristol. He went on to study film and television at the London College of Printing and has been balancing work in stills and moving image ever since. Curtis continues to produce stills portraiture for major broadcasters as well as generating his own projects for exhibition and publication. He sites as key influences William Eggleston, Saul Leiter and Paul Graham.

He continues to plough a distinctly idiosyncratic path as Director of Photography on feature films as diverse as Clare Kilner's The Wedding Date, Frank Oz's Death At A Funeral and Joanna Hogg's Unrelated as well as experimental gallery-based installations such as Gideon Koppel's Borth. He remains in great demand worldwide shooting commercials for high profile clients such as Pantene, L'Oreal, La Perla, Ferragamo, Palmolive, Rimmel, Coca Cola, Sony, Guinness, Canon and Cadbury's.

About Volte-Face:
On visiting the Pyramids of Giza in Cairo in 2012, Oliver Curtis turned away and looked back in the direction he had come from. What he saw fascinated him so much that he has since made a point of turning his back on some of world's most photographed monuments and historic sites, looking at their counter-views and forgotten faces.

Taken over a period of four years, Volte-face is an invitation to turn around and see a new aspect of the over-photographed sites of the world - to send our gaze elsewhere and to favour the incidental over the monumental...

Curtis feels that despite the landmark not being present in the photograph, the images are still suffused with the aura of the construction. The camera lens effectively acts as a nodal point and, by giving the photograph the title of the unseen partner, this duality becomes a virtue.

Volte-face will be published by Dewi Lewis featuring an essay by Geoff Dyer: https://www.dewilewis.com/collections/new-titles/products/volte-face

The first exhibition of the Volte-face project was held at the Royal Geographical Society in London, Sept 2016. The collection has received a great deal of acclaim worldwide and has featured in the Financial Times Magazine (UK), NPR Radio New Hampshire (USA), Liberation (France) Wired.com and BBC World Update amongst many others.

 

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Mauro De Bettio
Eric Kunsman
United States
1975
Eric T. Kunsman (b. 1975) was born and raised in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. While in high school, he was heavily influenced by the death of the steel industry and its place in American history. The exposure to the work of Walker Evans during this time hooked Eric onto photography. Eric had the privilege to study under Lou Draper, who became Eric's most formative mentor. He credits Lou with influencing his approach as an educator, photographer, and contributing human being. Eric holds his MFA in Book Arts/Printmaking from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia and holds an MS in Electronic Publishing/Graphic Arts Media, BS in Biomedical Photography, BFA in Fine Art photography all from the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York. Currently, he is a photographer and book artist based out of Rochester, New York. Eric works at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) as a Lecturer for the Visual Communications Studies Department at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf and is an adjunct professor for the School of Photographic Arts & Sciences. In addition to lectures, he provides workshops on topics including his artistic practice, digital printing, and digital workflow processes. He also provides industry seminars for the highly regarded Printing Applications Lab at RIT. His photographs and books are exhibited internationally and are in several collections. He currently owns Booksmart Studio, which is a fine art digital printing studio, specializing in numerous techniques and services for photographers and book artists on a collaborative basis. Eric's work has been exhibited in over 35 solo exhibitions at such venues as Nicolaysen Art Museum, Hoyt Institute of Fine Art, Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, and numerous university galleries. His work has also been a part of over 150 group exhibitions over the past 4 four years including exhibitions at the Center for Photography, A. Smith Gallery, SPIVA, San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, Spartanburg Museum of Art, Atlanta Photography Group, CEPA Gallery, Site:Brooklyn, Colorado Photographic Arts Center, Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, and many more. Eric was named one of 10 B&W photographers to watch of 2018 by BWGallerist, B&W Best Photographers of the Year 2019 by Dodho Magazine, and won the Association of Photography (UK) Gold Award for Open Series in 2019, Finalist, Top 200 Critical Mass 2019, Top 15 Photographers for the Rust Belt Biennial. His Project Felicific Calculus was also awarded a Warhol Foundations Grant through CEPA Gallery in Buffalo, NY. Eric's work has also been published in magazines such as; LensWork, Dodho, B&W Photography along with online articles by Analog Forever Magazine, Catalyst: Interview, Texas Photo Society, and others. He is currently represented by HOTE Gallery in Los Angeles, CA and Malamegi in San Daniele del Friuli (Udine), Italy. There's no "given," formula for what demands Eric's focus as a photographer. Eric is as drawn to the landscapes and neglected towns of the American southwest as he is to the tensions of struggling rustbelt cities in the U.S. northeast. Eric is attracted to objects left behind, especially those that hint at a unique human narrative, a story waiting to be told. Eric's current work explores one of those relics: working payphones hidden in plain sight throughout the neighborhood near his studio in Rochester, NY. Associates suggested they signified a high crime area. This project's shown Eric something very different. Statement Felicific Calculus: Technology as a Social Marker of Class, Race, & Economics in Rochester, NY The felicific calculus is an algorithm formulated by jurist and reformer Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) for calculating the moral rightness of an action by balancing the probable pleasures and pains that it would produce. Bentham, a utilitarian philosopher, believed this calculus could, in principle, help determine the moral status of any considered act. In 2017, I relocated my studio to a different part of Rochester, NY. Colleagues immediately started making comments along the lines of: "...that area's a war zone." My experience with the new neighborhood was positive, so I wanted to discover what visual cues others might be seeing as indicators of a dangerous environment. Several people had mentioned the number of payphones in the area, inferring that only criminals use payphones these days. There really were a lot of payphones in my neighborhood. I began documenting them, and quickly saw that far from being used by criminals, these phones served as a lifeline for some of the poorest residents in the area. Looking deeper, I found the story behind Rochester's payphones reflected an unusually altruistic ‘felicific calculus' by Frontier Communications. Instead of focusing on profits, they had decided to maintain the payphones in poorer neighborhoods for the good of the community. Many policymakers have opted to view payphones as a social indicator of crime, unfortunately leading to ignorant or even dangerous decisions. In Detroit, Michigan, politicians had all public payphones removed without studying or surveying their actual use.They simply assumed the criminal connection. This decision was based on a further assumption that everyone today must own a mobile phone. Decision-makers lacking facts or any real understanding of issues facing citizens from a different economic class just acted on a misperception. Witnessing that type of reflexive judgement from my colleagues drove me to educate myself. I photographed payphones and mapped their locations, then overlaid them with census maps showing economic status, ethnicity, age and sex, and the city crime map. There was an immediate, direct correlation between the poverty level and location of the payphones. Areas with the most payphones coincided with Rochester neighborhoods where the average family incomes are lower than $20,000 annually. There was also no correlation with high crime neighborhoods. Through Felicific Calculus I hope to challenge negative perceptions of social markers that conflate poverty with crime. Though they are relics to most of us, payphones remain important for residents trapped in lower economic circumstances.
Graeme Williams
South Africa
1961
I grew up in the whites-only suburbs of Cape Town, South Africa during the apartheid era, when South African law decreed that 92% of the population were regulated to the status of second-class citizens. My interest in photography began at the age of twelve, but I soon realized that a Kodak Instamatic was never going to produce the results that I wanted. I worked for three years in a bookshop and eventually bought myself a Fujica ST701. It was a real thing of beauty; a single reflex camera with a basic zoom lens, that provided me with the means to control how light formed itself onto the surface of the silver halide film. Sunsets and silhouettes held my attention for a few months, but I had already begun to explore the complex tradition of photographic expression. Life Magazine was for me, at that time, the Holy Grail. Over the years, my enthusiasm for exploring the photographic medium has never diminished. My photographic momentum was temporarily diverted after school by parental pressure to obtain a 'proper' qualification. In my final school year I was both the Dux scholar as well as a first team sportsman, which resulted in me being offered a De Beers bursary to study Geology and Statistics at the University of Cape Town. After graduating, I broke the news to my unnerved parents that I was giving up this career path and instead becoming a property photographer at the local newspaper. In the hierarchy of photographic jobs this is very close to the bottom. My immediate aim was to gain access to unlimited amounts of film and the time to work on my own projects. In 1987 I began photographing a conscientious objector and medical doctor, Ivan Toms, who refused to comply with the apartheid government's military service requirements. He was sentenced to 21 months in prison. The essay, highlighted the absurdity of the political system. Renowned photographer, David Goldblatt , took an interest in this work and this interaction led to a three-decade relationship in which he became both a mentor and a friend. The rights to my essay on Ivan Toms were bought by Life magazine the following year. Much of my work during this period was motivated by the desire to expose the social inequalities and racial divisions within my country. I eventually joined the strongly anti-apartheid collective, Afrapix and later became a founding member and manager of documentary collective, South Photographs. In 1989, the beginning of the end of apartheid was evident. I was eager to situate myself in a position that would afford me the best opportunities to witness the transition to democracy. I joined Reuters News Agency as permanent stringer and for the next five years, I became immersed in the events, both violent and momentous, that led up to the inauguration of Nelson Mandela as president in 1994. Many of my photographs from this period have taken on a life of their own. The image of Nelson Mandela walking out of prison with his wife, Winnie, has been exhibited and published worldwide. In 2008, as Barack Obama fought John McCain for the presidency, Newsweek magazine ran a story asking each candidate to choose an image that best personified their world view. Obama's team chose an image that I photographed in Thokoza township in 1991. Last year the same photograph became central in a high profile image-appropriation dispute between myself and New York artist, Hank Willis Thomas. There was a massive groundswell of support from colleagues and media from around the world. An amicable settlement was reached. Since 1994 I have concentrated on producing personalized and contemporary bodies of work that reflect this complex country and the continent as a whole. These essays have been shown in solo exhibitions in New York, London, Paris, Cape Town and Johannesburg as well as numerous photo festivals around the world. (Including China, Singapore, Brazil, Cambodia, France, and the USA). I have been privileged to have been included in major international exhibitions showcasing contemporary South African photography; including Figures and Fictions at London's Victoria and Albert Museum, Apartheid and After at Huis Marseille in Amsterdam, Earth Matters at the Smithsonian in New York, The Rise and Fall of Apartheid at the ICP in New York and Being There, at the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris. Awards include the CAP Prize for Contemporary African Photography (Basel) in 2013, and the Ernest Cole Award (South Africa) in the same year. I have continued working on commissioned assignments and traveling to over fifty countries. My photographs have appeared on the cover of Time magazine twice, and have been published in The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, Newsweek, Stern, and many others. Whilst working on my long-term projects, I try to bear in mind how the work will be exhibited and published. So therefore, during the planning and photographing stages, I attempt to create a broad context for my essays, that includes a general look and feel, while creating the space for each image to convey its individual complexity. This need to develop a dual awareness in my personal work has benefitted from a long-term interest in designing and producing photobooks. I have created over 20 publications, some of them winning awards and many being shortlisted in dummy book competitions. During the past five years I have felt a need to shift my attention from South Africa to the America social, political and physical landscape. Some of my motivations for this change in direction have been outlined within the 'Plan' document. In 2016 I was granted a residency in the US by the Ampersand Foundation, giving me an opportunity to develop a body of work that interrogated the social strata within the greater community of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I designed and produced a book called, Diverging Dreamlines that included, portraits, urban landscapes as well as multi-image, digital, illustrations. The publication was chosen as "best of show" in the Annual Photobook Exhibition at the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, Massachusetts. The work was also included in the Unmasked exhibition at Axis Gallery, New York in 2017. Earlier this year (2019) I co-presented a paper, Over Time, at the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA) Congress held in London. Four of my personal essays were incorporated into the presentation, allowing a psychoanalytical exploration into the parallels between this photographic record and South Africa's dynamics and process of change. I have participated in various mentorship programs, supporting students from South African photographic institutions: Tierney Fellowship winners from the University of the Witwatersrand (2018/2019) and the Market Photo Workshop (2015/2016). As well as candidates from the Photographer incubator Program in 2016. Learn more about Graeme Williams on videos: Victoria and Albert Museum Photography and Democracy South African Studios Dwell in Possibility opening Check out Graeme Williams's interview about his latest project America Revisited Discover Graeme Williams' Interview
Alex MacLean
United States
Pilot and photographer, Alex MacLean, has flown his plane over much of the United States documenting the landscape. Trained as an architect, he has portrayed the history and evolution of the land from vast agricultural patterns to city grids, recording changes brought about by human intervention and natural processes. His powerful and descriptive images provide clues to understanding the relationship between the natural and constructed environments. MacLean’s photographs have been exhibited widely in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia, and are found in private, public and university collections. He has won numerous awards, including the 2009 CORINE International Book Award, the American Academy of Rome’s Prix de Rome in Landscape Architecture for 2003-2004, and grants from foundations such as the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting in 2014. MacLean is the author of eleven books including, Up on the Roof: New York's Hidden Skyline Spaces (2012), Las Vegas | Venice (2010), Chroniques Aeriennes: L'art d'Alex MacLean (2010), Alex MacLean: Given a Free Hand (2010), OVER: The American Landscape at the Tipping Point (2008), Visualizing Density (2007), The Playbook (2006), Designs on the Land: Exploring America from the Air (2003), Taking Measures Across the American Landscape (1996), Look at the Land; Aerial Reflections of America (1993) and Above and Beyond; Visualizing Change in Small Towns and Rural Areas (2002). MacLean maintains a studio and lives in Lincoln, Massachusetts. Sea Level Rise On the shoreline of the Atlantic coast from Maine to Florida, rising salt water will impact over 100 million people. As a result, our nation will spend unimagined fortunes to adjust both gradual and abrupt disruptions of rising ocean waters. Sea level rise occurs when warmer temperatures associated with climate warming melt land ice and thermally expand the volume of seawater. Although sea level is now rising in fractions of inches, the impact will accelerate, with mean sea level predicted to be 3 to 6 feet higher by the end of the century. Even though many people are skeptical of climate change, and certainly not engaged in actions to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gasses, there is no denying that sea level rise, enhanced by storms and storm surges, causes erosion, flooding, dislocations, and will result in catastrophic damage along our coastlines. This problem is a significant cost factor reflected in financial markets for hazard insurance and appraisal of real estate values. Sea level rise is a relentless, visible indicator of a warming climate, which cannot be ignored.
Brigitte Carnochan
United States
1941
Brigitte Carnochan's photographs are represented nationally and collected globally by museums, corporate and private collectors. She has had solo exhibitions in Latvia, Italy, Chile, and Hong Kong as well as in New York, Houston, Boston, Palo Alto, Los Angeles, Santa Fe, Ketchum, Woodstock, Albuquerque, Carmel and San Francisco. In addition to the publication of three monographs (Bella Figura 2006, Shining Path 2006, Floating World 2012), The German publisher, Edition Galerie Vevais, launched a monograph of her images in 2014 at Paris Photo. For many years she taught workshops and classes through the Extension Program at UC Santa Cruz and Stanford's Continuing Studies Program. She is on the Advisory Councils of Center, in Santa Fe and The Center for Photographic Art in Carmel. Statement: Despite the debates over "honesty" and "truth" in photography, it is an intrinsically subjective art and form of communication. The photographer has chosen, from a huge range of images, certain ones - or pieces - from a certain perspective, with the light at a certain angle and at a unique moment in time. And the "story" in the photograph begins with the photographer's decision of when to click the shutter and isn't completed until each viewer interprets that image in his or her own way. The qualities that have fascinated me and led me to make a particular photograph are usually quite intuitive. I generally don't have a completed concept in my mind when I begin--I move things around, change angles, lighting--until everything seems right. To further complicate issues of "truth," I often add color to a black and white image in order to bring out, most convincingly, the impression it has made on me--and I have no concern about whether the colors are the "real" colors. In documentary photography the same subjective issues apply--but realizing and recording the "right" moment requires quicker reflexes and a different kind of intuition. Sensing a moment coming by keenly observing the scene--and always being ready for that moment--is the excitement in that kind of photography. All of my images begin as straight gelatin silver prints, but in my nudes and floral still lifes, I am often drawn to hand coloring on several counts. First in literature and now in photography, I have been interested in the power of the imagination--how it colors everyday life - creates, in fact, private views of experience, whether revealed in words or in images. Even though most people see the world in color, they do not see everything in the same exact colors. From an optical point of view, the colors we see depend on where we stand in relation to the object, where the sun is on the horizon, what color the walls are, or the tint of our glasses (or contact lenses), and so on. From a psychological point of view--everything depends on whether we are worried, elated, anxious, in love, lonely, distracted, or fully alert. For this reason, I often hand color my work, because the process allows me to interpret the essence of my subject according to my own imagination. Whether it is nudes and flowers or the black and white images in my series from Cuba, Africa, or Mexico, imagination colors--literally and figuratively--not only what I see initially, but what the viewer sees, ultimately. And seeing, of course, is everything in photography: seeing--and light and shadow. Beginning in 2007, I am continuing to paint gelatin silver images, but I am also scanning the first copy in each new painted edition (now limited to 25) and creating small limited editions of archival pigment prints* in three sizes. The level of current technology makes me confident that these digitally printed images will not only render the original painted photograph faithfully, but will, like the original, last over time. Discover Brigitte Carnochan's Interview
Andreas Gursky
Germany
1955
German photographer. Shortly after Gursky was born, his family relocated to Essen, and then to Düsseldorf, West Germany in 1957. Gursky’s parents ran a commercial photography studio, but Gursky had no plans to join the business. He attended the Folkwangschule in Essen (1978-80) with a concentration in visual communication and the goal of becoming a photojournalist, but was unsuccessful with finding work. Encouraged by fellow photographer Thomas Struth, Gursky entered the prestigious Kunstakademie, Düsseldorf in 1980 and in his second year began studying photography under Bernd and Hilla Becher. Although the Becher’s preferred black and white photography, Gursky only worked in color, and with the help of his friends set up a color darkroom in 1981. By integrating the “systematically objective and rigorously conceptual”* documentary style of the Bechers’ photography with his taste for color, Gursky began to explore the contemporary culture of the world. Gursky had his first exhibition in 1981 featuring his series Pförtnerbilder (1981-5), a collection of works depicting pairs of German security guards. After graduating from the Kunstakademie in 1987, Gursky focused on photographing urban landscapes, both interior and exterior, and began to increase the size of his large format prints. Gursky had his first solo gallery show in 1988, at the Galerie Johnen & Schöttle. A rise of interest in the international art market for photography paired with the growing popularity of the Becher’s circle brought Gursky much commercial success. Gursky began the infamous May Day series (early 1990’s) in reaction to the biggest economic slump of recent history. A combination of the collapsing stock market with the growth of a dynamic drug-addicted rave scene inspired this photographic compilation. During this time, Gursky traveled to a number of international cities such as Tokyo, Los Angeles, Stockholm, Cairo and Hong Kong in order to photograph the masses – busy stock exchanges, manufacturing plants, industrial-looking apartment buildings, crowded arenas and swarming clubs. Gursky was one of the first contemporary photographers to use new digital photo editing techniques on his large format photographs. In 1999, Gursky created 99 Cent, the first in a series of photographs of discount stores, which “was quickly recognized as one of his most important works and placed in major museums around the world.”* Gursky’s retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 2001, which included the work May Day IV, confirmed him as one of the greatest artistic visionaries of his generation. Source Sotheby’s, London
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