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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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More Great Photographers To Discover

Sabine Weiss
Switzerland
1924
Sabine Weiss was born in Switzerland in 1924. In 1942, she wonders what she will do with her life, and decides that she should become a photographer because it is what she loves to do. She is the daughter of a mother who showed her art galleries and Roman churches at a very young age, and of a researcher chemist father who loved to see her print her little photos with the resources available at the time. From 1942 until 1945 she was an apprentice at Boissonnas in Geneva, house of a dynasty of photographers that celebrated its 80th birthday. In 1945 Sabine Weiss moved to a studio in Geneva, but in 1946 she decided to leave the city of her childhood to live in Paris. She knew there was no turning back. She asked Willy Maywald to become her assistant. In 1949, she met the painter Hugh Weiss and realized right away that she would spend her life with him. Sabine Weiss left Maywald, where she mastered her craft and started a long career, experimenting fashion, photojournalism, advertising and everything else she was asked to do. During her free time, she liked to immortalize the depths of man in all simplicity. Her photographs moved Edward Steichen when preparing his major exhibition "The Family of Man" therefore he decided to present three of her images. In recent years, Sabine Weiss has dedicated her time to exhibitions that showcase the humanist side of her work because it meant a lot to her. Key dates 1924 July 23rd Birth at Gingolph in Switzerland, Naturalized French in 1995. 1942-45 Apprentice at Boissonas in Geneva 1945 Swiss diploma of photography 1946 Settles permanently in Paris 1946-50 Assistant of Willy Maywald 1950 Weds the American artist Hugh Weiss 1951 Works for several advertising agencies 1952-61 Contract with Vogue Magazine (Fashion and Assignments) 1952 Enters the Agency Rapho 1952 Free-lance for major magazines in the USA and in Europe like Paris Match, Life, Time, Newsweek, Town And Country, Fortune, Holiday, European Travel And Life, Esquire... covering countries in Europe, Africa, North America and Asia. Most recent exhibitions: 2014 Vannes, Festival de la Photo de Mer "Portugal, 1954" 2014 Zürich, Photobastei, Rétrospective 2014 Genève, Galerie Patrick Cramer, Portraits d’artistes (Giacometti et Miro) 2014 Salon de la Photo, Paris, Porte de Versailles, rétrospective « Chère Sabine » (Tribute to the photographer's 90th birthday) Decorations 1987 Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of Arts and Letters) 1999 Officier des Arts et des Lettres (Officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) 2010 Ordre national du Mérite (French National Order of Merit) Discover Sabine Weiss' Interview
Joanna Borowiec
Poland
1971
Joanna Borowiec, a graduate of the European Academy of Photography in Warsaw, diploma thesis in the Creative and Expressive Photography Workshop, Dr Izabela Jaroszewska. Member of the Association of Polish Art Photographers (ZPAF). Scholarship holder of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage 2020. Photography Workshop. Enthusiast of medium- and large-format analogue photography. Uses historic photographic processes like ambrotype – wet collodion technique, cyanotype e.c.t. The main topic of her photos is humanistic photography, human. Winner International Photography Awards IPA 2021- category Deeper Perspective Photographer of the Year. She was also awarded the third place in Photographer of the Year category of the Black& White Spider Awards competition. Prize-winner of the Portfolio Black + White Photography UK, the Portfolio Black & White for Collectors Of Fine Photography Canada, the Portfolio 2012 Shot Magazine USA. Her works and interviews with her were published in many magazines, i.a. the Black+ White Photography UK (the cover), the Shot Magazine USA, the Black and White Magazine Canada and in national magazines. Her photographs can be found in public and private collections at home and abroad, i.a. in Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Sweden, USA e.c.t. She has participated in individual and collective exhibitions at home and abroad, i.a. in Poland, Germany, Spain, Singapore, Canada, USA e.c.t. Blue Story Many of my cyanotypes are created by layering a combination of objects and film imagery with carefully timed light exposures for a depth of blue/indigo colors. Inspired by nature and how we interact with it, I arrange natural objects such as leaves, flowers and vines with human made objects or images of objects. I choose to work with cyanotypes "live", in sunlight for the spontaneity of arranging the objects and often have a general idea of what I want to do allowing for of-the-minute additions and subtractions of objects and timing of exposures. I sometimes add acryl paint, or colored pencil to a washed and dried print. Cyanotype is a contact print process using treated, UV light sensitive paper. It results in a Prussian blue final print. Also known as photogram, sun print. The English scientist and astronomer Sir John Herschel discovered this procedure in 1842. (...) Due to the coating and printing process Cyanotypes are always non reproducible unique items in itself. Dreams Unfinished It is a story about pain, love and longing. The photos were taken after the death of my father. He passed away suddenly in his sleep. I could not understand what happened, to come to terms with the loss. I looked for him everywhere and imagined he was asleep and dreaming. As a result, I have contact with him in the dream world he is with me. Works depict dreams, motifs, shards of memories which probably appear in everyone's dreams. Dreams - eternal companions of human life - encourage us to analyse our own experiences and understand our fate. They enable us to bring to surface deeply hidden secrets and go beyond the earthly matters. These records are born out of imagination and perishable ephemeral memory. They are not meant to be unambiguous; they should leave the door open for free interpretation and free reading to enable everyone to supplement them with their own story. Glass Faces "The eyes and faces all turned themselves towards me, and guiding myself by them, as by a magical thread, I stepped into the room" Sylvia Plath Glass Faces present unique, enchanting, climatic and hypnotising portraits. Bewitching with natural beauty and somewhat unreal, mysterious, silent and oozing various emotions. Faces of friends and people we have just met. Ambrotypes - positive images created on a sheet of glass using the 19th century wet collodion process - are the vital element of the project. The ambrotype is inimitable. You may try to reproduce it, but a piece created on black glass remains unique. Ambrotype - Ambrotos means immortal... I was born in a camp The story of Jan Chmiel, who was born in the Waltrop forced labor camp - a city in western Germany. According to a record issued by a German official, he was born in 1944. , according to information provided by the mother in 1942. Of the 143 children captured in the Waltrop camp, three survived, including Jan.
Imed Kolli
France/Algeria
1995
Imed Kolli is a 24-year-old photographer based in Algeria. By the time I was 16, my real eduction came from observing what is happening around me and observing that richness don't comes without struggle, and I was looking for a way to translate what I was seeing through my eyes and photography became my voice in this very big confusing world. I started to realize that photography has the power to change prescriptive on life and surprise people with something they don't usually see and sometimes they don't have any idea existed, and it began to push my life in such dramatic direction towards telling the larger story of what it means to be a human, so I bought my first camera , and that was the beginning. To say that my work is evocative would be something of an understatement. Specializing in harrowing, monochrome photos of people living on the fringes of society. I have been doing photography for the last 7 years, I specialized in street documentation photography toward telling the larger story of what it means to be a human and capturing the human condition. In the last 5 years, I had what you would call much a formal eduction by getting my Bachelor degree majoring photography at the highest institute of perfuming arts and audio visuals here in Algeria, I also had the chance to follow my main passion by continuing my master of fine art online degree program at the Academy of Art University in San-Fransisco. My passion for photography has actually never been stronger than it is today and it's 6 years that I've been making pictures that I've involved in visual storytelling. Most of what I know about the world has come through this medium, through practicing it through, learning about it. I've often said that photography is sort of like a condition that you catch and I caught it when I was 18 years old within about three months of learning about photography and I would say that today 7 years later that condition has never been more severe. During years I became obsessed with the idea of combining photography and documenting the human condition and that maybe that could be a way to bring these theories to the audience and perhaps get to learn and tell about the stories that need to be tell. My practice has always been predicated on international work mostly documenting work, documenting the human condition, but I've also done probably the largest project of my career so far ETERNAL FACES was obviously a domestic project, I spent 3 years on that and actually even since that project, I've continued to look at the issue of aging more so through film and multimedia and as time goes on and this is kind of connected to the question about my passion for photography. I feel like my repertoire for the kinds of stories that I want to do, the kinds of issues that I'm interested in are actually expanding, they're not narrowing, so I'm much more open to working on stories that in the past I might have considered you know softer or irrelevant. I'm talking about the world that is grinding out a lot of a critical issues that humanity is facing today, social issues political issues resource, issues you know climate change, how to deal with a permanent underclass of homelessness, I believe there's so many issues in the world that are critically important to look at. Statement This work is being classified as a Street-Portrait Photography which could actually offer a new way of prescriptive of people's portraits in black and white. I tried to reach the authenticity of people who had contracted the bitterness or resentfulness through their lives. The idea comes from street photography and how to shoot homeless, poor people in a beautiful manner from basic. It was all about dramatic situations and the spirituality of portraiture. To me, the most important characteristic was having a sharp eye and being aware of the environment around me. This means looking out for, not just colors, shapes, lights, shadows and so on, but observing my subjects and how they appear and act as well. I exposed the hardships and poor conditions of life of the deprived people through face expression. I did this in an attempt to assuage these problems. Vividly I wanted to expose the realities of squalid living and misery faced by homelessness every day. Harrowing street-portraits photography combined with emotion storytelling, were intended to engage and inform the audience and exhort them to act. What I accomplished by taking these photographs from the streets was to inform the world, How people are suffering every day. I wanted to show the life of these people lived, I had experimented with illustrations that dramatized the devastating human cost of the emotional expressions. I realized finally that only photographs seemed to capture the reality with sufficient resolution to change hearts. The singular emphasis in others on subjects, divested of a story, is all the more remarkable for this reason. In this project, I emphasized the reflective mode over the nature of my body of work envisaging,.The images chosen for The -Eternal Faces- did privilege the inventorial, world of observation and artistic classification as it reflects reality, with the objects taken out of context. There is no doubt that my body of work has profoundly shifted the way that we perceive these people in reality, the sensual appeal of reflection outcome intents in the real world has proved irresistible to photographers including my project Eternal Faces. Beginning with the intent to reflect these people's realities and finding expression in practitioners of widely differing outlooks and goals. Photographing these kind of subjects acquire an aura by being taken from their casual, often overlooked, position and put under intense scrutiny. The outcome intent tool which should look upon my project dispassionately is capable of creating images, filtered through the imagination, which compellingly engages the viewer's imagination and emotions. It wasn't empathy, It wasn't sympathy, it was more of a forced, intrinsic, and integral self-reflection. What I did is photograph emotions, I was photographing the initial moment when I laid eyes on the human being beautiful face shape that reflects the whole story of what it means to be broke, Injured, homeless, beggar and poor underprivileged and sometimes even hopeless. I gave with the often willing and knowing collaboration of my subjects, a metonymic typology of people who lived in dark side of society, representing for us the poor, homelessness, the other half. I was after the general truth of a general category, and the finer truths of individuals necessarily caught my inspiration to pick up this precise subject matter to photograph. The center of each picture was the subject matter: a person and his or her experience at that moment in time. To me and many other progressives, the rock bottom status added them from personal contact with the impoverished even when Christianity and the Social Gospel created a burden to extent charity to the disfranchised and discarded in society. I came imbuing them with the iconic soul of humanity and left almost engaging a subject in eyes contact. All of my photographs with human subjects refer to not where the subject is located, but the person before the lens and how did I visualize their emotions and feelings in a humanitarian neutral way. My images are intended to resonate with the viewer on a spiritual and human level and I try to pack in the metaphysical…attributes which tell their own story. I try to provoke an imaginative and intelligent response from the viewer with a purely visual reference.
Vivian Maier
United States
1926 | † 2009
Vivian Dorothea Maier was an American amateur street photographer, who was born in New York City but grew up in France. After returning to the United States, she worked for about forty years as a nanny in Chicago, IL. During those years, she took about 100,000 photographs, primarily of people and cityscapes in Chicago, although she traveled and photographed worldwide. Her photographs remained unknown and mostly undeveloped until they were discovered by a local Chicago historian and collector, John Maloof, in 2007. Following Maier's death, her work began to receive critical acclaim. Her photographs have been exhibited in the US, England, Germany, Denmark, and Norway, and have appeared in newspapers and magazines in the US, England, Germany, Italy, France and other countries. A book of her photography titled Vivian Maier: Street Photographer was published in 2011. Many of the details of Maier's life are still being uncovered. Initial impressions about her life indicated that she was born in France, but further researching revealed that she was born in New York, the daughter of Maria Jaussaud and Charles Maier, French and Austrian respectively. Vivian moved between the U.S. and France several times during her childhood, although where in France she lived is unknown. Her father seems to have left the family for unknown reasons by 1930. In the census that year, the head of the household was listed as award-winning portrait photographer Jeanne Bertrand, who knew the founder of the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 1951, at 25, Maier moved from France to New York, where she worked for some time in a sweatshop. She made her way to the Chicago area's North Shore in 1956 and became a nanny on and off for about 40 years, staying with one family for 14 of them. She was, in the accounts of the families for whom she worked, very private, spending her days off walking the streets of Chicago and taking photographs, most often with a Rolleiflex camera. John Maloof, curator of Maier's collection of photographs, summarizes the way the children she nannied would later describe her: "She was a Socialist, a Feminist, a movie critic, and a tell-it-like-it-is type of person. She learned English by going to theaters, which she loved. She wore a men's jacket, men's shoes and a large hat most of the time. She was constantly taking pictures, which she didn't show anyone." Between 1959 and 1960, Maier traveled to and photographed in Los Angeles, Manila, Bangkok, Beijing, Egypt, Italy and the American Southwest. The trip was probably financed by the sale of a family farm in Alsace. For a brief period in the 1970s, Maier worked as a nanny for Phil Donahue's children. As she got older, she collected more boxes of belongings, taking them with her to each new post. At one employer's house, she stored 200 boxes of materials. Most were photographs or negatives, but Maier collected other objects, such as newspapers, and sometimes recorded audiotapes of conversations she had with people she photographed. Toward the end of her life, Maier may have been homeless for some time. She lived on Social Security and may have had another source of income, but the children she had taken care of in the early 1950s bought her an apartment in the Rogers Park area of Chicago and paid her bills. In 2008, she slipped on ice and hit her head. She did not fully recover and died in 2009, at 83.Source: Wikipedia Sometime in 1949, while still in France, Maier began making her first photographs with a modest Kodak Brownie– an amateur camera with only one shutter speed, no focus control, and no aperture dial. In 1951, she returned from France alone and purchased a Rolleiflex camera the following year. In 1956, she moved to the North Shore suburbs of Chicago, where a family employed her as a nanny for their three boys. She enjoyed the luxury of a darkroom as well as a private bathroom, enabling her to process prints and develop her own rolls of black and white film. As the children entered adulthood, Maier had to seek other employment, forcing her to abandon developing her own film. Moving from family to family thereafter, her rolls of undeveloped, unprinted work began to collect. It was around this time that Maier decided to switch to color photography. Her subject matter shifted away from people to found objects, newspapers, and graffiti. In the 1980s, financial stress and lack of stability once again put Maier’s processing on hold, and the undeveloped color rolls began to accumulate. Sometime between the late 1990s and the first years of the new millennium, Maier put down her camera and stored her belongings while she tried to stay afloat. She bounced from homelessness to a small studio apartment, which a family she used to work for helped pay the rent. With meager means, the photographs in storage became lost memories until 2007, when they were sold off due to non-payment of rent. In 2008, Maier’s health began to deteriorate after she fell on a patch of ice, forcing her into a nursing home. She never made a full recovery, leaving behind an immense archive of work when she died in 2009.Source: Howard Greenberg Gallery When John Maloof, a real-estate agent, amateur historian, and garage-sale obsessive, acquired a box of photographic materials and personal detritus at an auction in suburban Chicago in 2007, he quickly realized that he had stumbled upon an unknown master of street photography. But despite his vigorous snooping, he could find no record of Vivian Maier, the name scribbled on the scraps of paper that he found among the negatives, prints, and undeveloped rolls of film. He tracked down the rest of the boxes emptied from an abandoned storage garage, amassing a collection of hundreds of thousands of frames shot in New York, Chicago, France, South America, and Asia between the nineteen-fifties and the nineteen-seventies. Two years after he bought the first box, he Googled the name again and, to his surprise, found an obituary announcing that Vivian Maier had died only a few days before. The short text had just enough information for Maloof to deduce that Maier had worked as a nanny in suburban Chicago.Source: The New Yorker
Richard Dweck
United States
Photography has been Richard Dweck's vehicle for expressing what he sees and feels when he moves through the world. He has been through some extraordinarily difficult experiences in life but has been able to use them to see and feel the world more acutely. For him there is no greater pleasure than having someone who is looking at his photograph understand the feelings that he felt when he took that photograph. He also enjoys hearing them express very different feelings and show him things in his own photographs that he might never have seen or felt. The Old City of Jerusalem Last year, for the first time, I photographed at the Western Wall and other sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. The impetus for my travel to this area to photograph was the interplay between my Arabian and Jewish roots combined with my own deep self-reflection following a tragic family loss. When I found that so many people were dressed in black and white it only seemed natural that my photographs should be B&W as well. I shot my pictures from the same level as my subjects (or even from below when that was possible) giving me the sense that I could look into them more deeply and imagine their thoughts. The Gaze shows both the deep reflection of the elder along with the reverence of the child. The child's focus and that of my camera are on the elder. The backdrop is the historic 2000+-year old wall. My landscape and architectural photographs tend to the more abstract, while my portraits are more representational. Nonetheless, geometry and textures still play a big part in portraits. The main focus for me is the emotions that I can capture that can resonate deeply within me and very hopefully with the viewers of my work. I definitely look forward to returning for another emotional and introspective journey there one day.
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