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Aaron Blum
Aaron Blum
Aaron Blum

Aaron Blum

Country: United States
Birth: 1983

Aaron Blum is an eighth generation West Virginian, and creates art deeply linked to his home. Most of his work centers around a single question, what does it mean to be Appalachian? Through this question he address many different artistic concepts from idealized memory vs. stereotypes to ideas of folk taxonomy. His creation process is a diversified approach of image-based media to create a glimpse into his own concepts of Appalachia, and the social fabric of a very large and misrepresented people and place. He pays close attention to the quality of light and the landscape as well as cultural markers to produce a unique version of life in the hills. After graduating with degrees in photography from West Virginia University and Syracuse University, Aaron immediately began receiving recognition for his work including Center of Santa Fe, Silvereye Center for photography, Critical Mass, and FOAM.

About The Prevailing Winds of Hills and Heritage
Appalachia pulls at me like a haunted memory. There is an ineffable force that compels me to suspend reality and embrace superstition and myth. It is a longing to hold on to my culture and history in spite of the modern world. The nebulous forests, enveloping moss and dark corners seem to tell a purer truth.

Storytelling in Appalachia has a long-standing tradition, and it infuses the region with mystery. Using lore, pseudo-scientific study, and personal experiences as a compass I see this place through idealized eyes of wonder, and these images become my personal folklore. They bring to life the fantasies and memories I carry with me. This is a place where you can wash away sin in cool stream waters, where corpse birds come to ferry away souls to the next life, rocks burn and kudzu conceals. This is the place where the prevailing winds whisper old stories to those who know how to listen.
 

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Aleksander Rodchenko
Russia
1891 | † 1956
Aleksander Rodchenko was a Russian and Soviet artist, sculptor, photographer, and graphic designer who emerged following the Russian Revolution. He was one of the founders of Russian Constructivist and a Productivist artist, married to artist Varvara Stepanova. He began his career as a painter and graphic designer before moving on to photomontage and photography. His photography was socially involved, formally creative, and anti-painting. Concerned about the necessity for analytical-documentary picture series, Aleksander Rodchenko frequently shot his subjects from unusual angles—usually high above or low below—in order to shock the viewer and delay recognition. "One has to shoot several distinct photos of a subject, from diverse points of view and in varied settings, as though one viewed it in the round rather than looking through the same key-hole over and over," he wrote. Only the camera seems to be really capable of describing modern life. -- Aleksander Rodchenko Aleksander Mikhailovich Rodchenko was born in St. Petersburg to a working-class family that relocated to Kazan when his father died in 1909. He became an artist without any prior exposure to the art world, relying mostly on art periodicals for inspiration. Aleksander Rodchenko began studies at the Kazan Art School in 1910, under Nicolai Fechin and Georgii Medvedev, when he met Varvara Stepanova, whom he eventually married. The critic Osip Brik, 1924© Aleksander Rodchenko Following 1914, he continued his artistic education at the Stroganov Institute in Moscow, where he created his first abstract drawings in 1915, influenced by Kazimir Malevich's Suprematism. The following year, he took part in The Store, an exhibition organized by another formative influence, Vladimir Tatlin. Rodchenko's work was influenced heavily by Cubism and Futurism, as well as Malevich's Suprematist compositions, which featured geometric forms deployed against a white background. Aleksander Rodchenko was Tatlin's student and assistant, and the interest in figuration that characterized Rodchenko's early work faded as he experimented with design elements. He created his paintings with a compass and ruler, with the goal of eliminating expressive brushwork. Rodchenko worked for Narkompros and was one of the RABIS organizers. RABIS was founded between 1919 and 1920. In 1920, the Bolshevik government appointed Rodchenko as Director of the Museum Bureau and Purchasing Fund, with responsibility for the reorganization of art schools and museums. He became the secretary of the Moscow Artists' Union, established the Fine Arts Division of the People's Commissariat for Education, and assisted in the establishment of the Institute for Artistic Culture. From 1920 to 1930, he was a teacher at the Higher Technical-Artistic Studios, a Bauhaus organization with a "checkered career." It ceased operations in 1930. In 1921, Aleksander Rodchenko joined the Productivist group, along with Stepanova and Aleksei Gan, to advocate for the incorporation of art into everyday life. He abandoned painting to focus on graphic design for posters, books, and films. He was profoundly influenced by the ideas and practice of filmmaker Dziga Vertov, with whom he collaborated extensively in 1922. Impressed by the German Dadaists' photomontage, Rodchenko began his own experiments in the medium, first using found images in 1923, and then shooting his own photographs from 1924 on. In 1923, his first published photomontage illustrated Mayakovsky's poem About This. Rodchenko created his most famous poster in 1924, an advertisement for the Lengiz Publishing House titled Books, which features a young woman with a cupped hand shouting "Books in all branches of knowledge," printed in modernist typography. Photography has all the rights, and all the merits, necessary for us to turn towards it as the art of our time. -- Aleksander Rodchenko Portrait of the Artist’s Mother, 1924© Aleksander Rodchenko From 1923 to 1928, Rodchenko worked closely with Mayakovsky (of whom he took several portraits) on the design and layout of LEF and Novy LEF, Constructivist artists' publications. Many of his photographs were published in or used as covers for these and other publications. His images were concerned with the placement and movement of objects in space, as well as the elimination of unnecessary detail. During this time, he and Stepanova painted the well-known panels of Moscow's Mosselprom building. Varvara Rodchenko, their daughter, was born in 1925. Rodchenko's work was very abstract throughout the 1920s. He joined the October Group of artists in 1928, but was expelled three years later after being accused of "formalism," an accusation first leveled in the pages of Sovetskoe Foto in 1928. In the 1930s, as the Party's guidelines governing artistic practice shifted in favor of Socialist realism, he focused on sports photography and images of parades and other choreographed movements. In the late 1930s, Aleksander Rodchenko returned to painting, stopped photographing in 1942, and produced abstract expressionist works in the 1940s. Throughout these years, he continued to organize photography exhibitions for the government. In 1956, he died in Moscow.
Arthur Tress
United States
1940
Arthur Tress (born November 24, 1940) is an American photographer. He is known for his staged surrealism and exposition of the human body. Tress was born in Brooklyn, New York. The youngest of four children in a divorced family, Tress spent time in his early life with both his father, who remarried and lived in an upper-class neighborhood, and his mother, who remained single after the divorce and whose life was not nearly so luxurious. At age 12 he began to photograph circus freaks and dilapidated buildings around Coney Island in New York City, where he grew up. Tress studied at Abraham Lincoln High School in Coney Island, and gained a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. After graduating from Bard College in 1962, Tress moved to Paris, France to attend film school. While living in France, he traveled to Japan, Africa, Mexico, and throughout Europe. He observed many secluded tribes and cultures and was fascinated by the roles played by the shaman of the different groups of people. The cultures to which he was introduced would play a role in his later work. Tress spent the spring and summer of 1964 in San Francisco, documenting the Republican Convention that nominated Barry Goldwater, civil rights demonstrations at segregated car dealerships on Van Ness Avenue, and the Beatles launching their 1964 tour. Tress took over 900 photographs that were put away and re-discovered in 2009, and featured in a show at San Francisco's deYoung Museum. He currently resides in San Francisco, California. Source: Wikipedia Arthur Tress began his first camera work as a teenager in the surreal neighborhood of Coney Island where he spent hours exploring the decaying amusement parks. Later, during five years of world travel, mostly in Asia and Africa, he developed an interest in ethnographical photography that eventually led him to his first professional assignment as a U.S. government photographer recording the endangered folk cultures of Appalachia. Seeing the destructive results of corporate resource extraction, Tress began to use his camera to raise environmental awareness about the economic and human costs of pollution. Focusing on New York City, he began to photograph the neglected fringes of the urban waterfront with a straight documentary approach. This gradually evolved into a more personal mode of “magic realism” combining improvised elements of actual life with stage fantasy that became his hallmark style of directorial fabrication. In the late 1960s Tress was inspired to do a series based upon children's dreams that combined his interests in ritual ceremony, Jungian archetypes, and social allegory. Later bodies of work dealing with the hidden dramas of adult relationships and the reenactments of male homosexual desire evolved from this primarily theatrical approach. Beginning in the early 1980s, Tress began shooting in color, creating room-sized painted sculptural installations out of found medical equipment in an abandoned hospital on New York's Welfare Island. This led to a smaller scale exploration of narrative still life within a children's toy theater and a portable nineteenth-century aquarium. Around 2002, Tress returned to gelatin silver, exploring more formalist themes in the style of mid- century modernism, often combining a spontaneous shooting style with a constructivist's sense of architectural composition and abstract shape. In addition to images of California skateboard parks, his recent work includes the round images of the series Planets and the diamond-shaped images of Pointers. Source: www.arthurtress.com
Elizabeth (Lee) Miller
United States
1907 | † 1977
Lee Miller, 1907-1977, first entered the world of photography as a model in New York to photographers such as Edward Steichen, Arnold Genthe and George Hoyninguen-Huene. In 1929 Miller moved to Paris and became the assistant, and lover, of Man Ray. Together, they produced some of the most significant works of both of their careers, including rediscovering the solarisation technique in Man Ray’s darkroom. She quickly became established as both surrealist artist and photographer in her own right and returned to New York to run her own studio with commissions for portraits, packing shots and editorials for Vogue magazine. Lee Miller spent several years in the mid 1930’s living in Cairo with her Egyptian husband, Aziz Eloui Bey. Bored of life in the city, she would travel by jeep through the desert on photography exhibitions and re-imagine desert landscapes with her witty and surrealist flair. In 1939, Lee moved to London and worked as freelance photographer for British Vogue magazine. Alongside this, her documentation of the Blitz was published in Grim Glory, a pamphlet encouraging the US to join the war effort. Lee Miller later became one of the first ever female war correspondents accredited to the US Army and travelled with the US troops throughout Europe during 1944 and 1945. She documented the liberation of Paris, the siege at St Malo and Buchenwald and Dachau concentration camps. Perhaps most famously, she took a self-portrait sitting in Adolf Hitler’s bathtub in his Munich apartment, a statement of the end of the war. Lee Miller mostly abandoned photography later in her life and didn’t speak of her wartime experiences. Her former and final home, Farley Farm House, Sussex, England is now the base of the Lee Miller Archives which holds over 60,000 of her negatives as well as manuscripts and vintage prints. Over 3,000 images are available to view at www.leemiller.co.uk.
Martin Munkácsi
Hungary
1896 | † 1963
Martin Munkácsi (born Mermelstein Márton; Kolozsvár, Hungary, May 18, 1896; died July 13, 1963, New York, NY) was a Hungarian photographer who worked in Germany (1928–34) and the United States, where he was based in New York City. Munkácsi was a newspaper writer and photographer in Hungary, specializing in sports. At the time, sports action photography could only be done in bright light outdoors. Munkácsi's innovation was to make sports photographs as meticulously composed action photographs, which required both artistic and technical skill. Munkácsi's legendary big break was to happen upon a fatal brawl, which he photographed. Those photos affected the outcome of the trial of the accused killer, and gave Munkácsi considerable notoriety. That notoriety helped him get a job in Berlin in 1928, for the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung, where his first published photo was a race car splashing its way through a puddle. He also worked for the fashion magazine Die Dame. More than just sports and fashion, he photographed Berliners, rich and poor, in all their activities. He traveled to Turkey, Sicily, Egypt, London, New York, and famously Liberia, for photo spreads in the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung. The speed of the modern age and the excitement of new photographic viewpoints enthralled him, especially flying. There are aerial photographs; there are air-to-air photographs of a flying school for women; there are photographs from a Zeppelin, including the ones on his trip to Brazil, where he crosses over a boat whose passengers wave to the airship above. On March 21, 1933, he photographed the fateful Day of Potsdam, when the aged President Paul von Hindenburg handed Germany over to Adolf Hitler. On assignment for the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung, he photographed Hitler's inner circle, although he was a Jewish foreigner. In 1934, the Nazis nationalized the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung, fired its Jewish editor-in-chief, Kurt Korff, and replaced its innovative photography with pictures of German troops. Munkácsi left for New York, where he signed on, for a substantial $100,000, with Harper's Bazaar, a top fashion magazine. In a change from usual practice, he often left the studio to shoot outdoors, on the beach, on farms and fields, at an airport. He produced one of the first articles in a popular magazine to be illustrated with nude photographs. His portraits include Katharine Hepburn, Leslie Howard, Jean Harlow, Joan Crawford, Jane Russell, Louis Armstrong, and the definitive dance photograph of Fred Astaire. Munkácsi died in poverty and controversy. Several universities and museums declined to accept his archives, and they were scattered around the world. Berlin's Ullstein Archives and Hamburg's F. C. Gundlach collection are home to two of the largest collections of Munkácsi's work.Source: Wikipedia
William Wegman
United States
1943
William Wegman is an artist best known for creating series of compositions involving dogs, primarily his own Weimaraners in various costumes and poses. Wegman reportedly originally intended to pursue a career as a painter. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from Massachusetts College of Art in 1965 and a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1967. While teaching at California State University, Long Beach, he acquired the first and most famous of the dogs he photographed, a Weimaraner he named Man Ray (after the artist and photographer). Man Ray later became so popular that the Village Voice named him "Man of the Year" in 1982. He named a subsequent dog Fay Ray (a play on the name of actress Fay Wray). On January 29, 1992, Wegman appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and showed a video clip of Dog Duet, a short which he made in 1975 featuring Man Ray and another dog slowly and mysteriously peering around. Wegman explained that he had created the video by moving a tennis ball around, off-camera, thus capturing the dogs' attention. The same year, he did 3 network ID's for Nickelodeon starring the dogs on pedestals. William Wegman was artist-in-residence at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts in spring 2007 where his work featured on campus in the Addison Gallery of American Art. Wegman has also been an artist in residence at Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, Massachusetts where his Circus series was created with the College's 20x24 inch Polaroid camera. He received the College's Distinguished Alumni Award in 1987. William Wegman made his appearance on Animal Planet's "Dogs 101".(Source: en.wikipedia.org)
Charlie Lieberman
United States
1945
Charlie Lieberman is a photographer and cinematographer based in Southern California. Best known for his work on the TV show, Heroes, Lieberman has also been developing a body of photographic work since the 1960s. His current practice seeks out humble landscapes, avoiding the iconic in an effort to impart a sense of memory, contemplation, and awe. Lieberman is currently an Active Member of The American Society of Cinematographers. He has been represented by Freed Gallery since 2014 in Lincoln City, Oregon. Statement Whenever I take a photograph, I want you to feel like you are there with me. Whether it is looking through a windshield blurred by rain or standing beside a stretch of weathered, empty highway, I want to impart a sense of memory, even if you have never been to that particular place before. Photographs, like memories, have an elusive power to document experiences that approach each of us in different ways. My work is an attempt to reconsider the preconceptions one might have about landscapes and how we move through them, to direct your eye to experiences that often go unnoticed or taken for granted. By avoiding the iconic, I try to reconnect with a past beyond my own, to a kind of humble, primordial existence where one can converse with the world in solitude. When I do enter the urban landscape, it is always through the impact of light and weather, reminding us of the nature we all inhabit. I document what I consider to be a shy world, a world where stillness and contemplation enable us to walk together and share a common experience imprinted upon the landscape even if the human figure is absent in these photographs. It is this absence I hope to capture with my photography, to allow room for our memories-both real and imagined—to inhabit us with renewed appreciation and awe. Exclusive Interview with Charlie Lieberman
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