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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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More Great Photographers To Discover

Charles Nègre
France
1820 | † 1880
Charles Nègre (French: 9 May 1820 - 16 January 1880) was a pioneering photographer, born in Grasse, France. He studied under the painters Paul Delaroche, Ingres and Drolling before establishing his own studio at 21 Quai Bourbon on the Île Saint-Louis, Paris. Delaroche encouraged the use of photography as research for painting; Nègre started with the daguerreotype process before moving on to calotypes. His "Chimney-Sweeps Walking", an albumen print taken on the Quai Bourbon in 1851, may have been a staged study for a painting, but is nevertheless considered important to photographic history for its being an early instance of an interest in capturing movement and freezing it forever in one moment. Having been passed over for the Missions Héliographiques which commissioned many of his peers, Nègre independently embarked on his own remarkably extensive study of the Midi region. The interesting shapes in his 1852 photograph of buildings in Grasse have caused it to be seen as a precursor to art photography. In 1859, he was commissioned by Empress Eugénie to photograph the newly established Imperial Asylum in the Bois de Vincennes, a hospital for disabled workingmen. He used both albumen and salt print, and was known also as a skilled printer of photographs, using a gravure method of his own development. A plan commissioned by Napoleon III to print photographs of sculpture never came to fruition, and in 1861 Nègre retired to Nice, where he made views and portraits for holiday makers. He died in Grasse in 1880.Source: Wikipedia
Evan Anderman
United States
1964
Evan Anderman is a fine art photographer based in Denver who is best known for his aerial images of Colorado's Eastern Plains, and other less-traveled landscapes across the American West. His work is held in the Denver Art Museum collection and has been exhibited at institutions nationally and internationally, including the DongGang International Photo Festival/South Korea, Mt Rokko International Photo Festival/Japan, The Midwest Center for Photography, The Dairy Center for the Arts, The Arvada Center, American Mountaineering Center, Denver International Airport, Carmen Wiedenhoeft Gallery, The Colorado State Capitol, Robischon Gallery, Lamont Gallery, Buttonwood Art Space, and in his own gallery in Denver's Santa Fe Arts District. In November 2013, Anderman was honored for his unique environmental photography with the inaugural Photo District News (PDN) Duggal Image Maker Award. Prior to becoming a full-time photographer, Anderman spent decades working as a geologist, and holds a Master's and a PhD in Geological Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and a BS in Geological Engineering from Princeton University. Anderman's work aims to challenge our understanding of the relationship between human development and the natural world by documenting the way we use the land. "As a geologist, when I fly over the high plains of eastern Colorado, I look at the overlapping layers and how the land has been modified by a combination of processes, both natural and manmade," he writes on his website, EvanAnderman.com. "The lowest layer, the land itself, has been created over literally millions of years and forms the foundation. Draped on top of that is what mankind has imposed in various ways; activities and structure that are collectively called 'progress.' While my main interest is the subtle beauty of the landscape itself, I also like to tease out what man has done with that land, and make the viewer wonder what is going on and why. The images are fundamentally aesthetic, but leave you questioning the subject matter."
Amira Al-Sharif
Amira Al-Sharif is an award-winning Paris-based Yemeni photographer and artist with two decades of visual storytelling experience. Over the years, she has received numerous awards and fellowships, including from the World Press Photo Foundation, the Magnum Foundation, the Prince Claus Fund, the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, the Samir Kassir Foundation, Women Photograph, and Free Press Unlimited’s “Most Resilient Journalist Award.” Her work has been published by National Geographic, the Washington Post, the Guardian, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the New York Times, ARTE TV, TV5 Monde, NPR, ICORN, UNICEF, UNHCR, among other outlets and organizations, and she penned a chapter for the best-selling anthology Our Women On the Ground: Essays by Arab Women Reporting from the Arab World (2019). She has also participated in scores of photography exhibitions and festivals in Europe, the MENA region, and across the world, from India to South Korea, and Cambodia to the United States.In 2010, she studied photojournalism and documentary photography at the International Center of Photography in New York, and later returned to her home city of Sana’a, Yemen, to teach visual storytelling to hundreds of aspiring photographers. Since fleeing Yemen in 2018, due to the wartime constraints on her work and life, Amira has completed a two-year-long artist residency at Cité Internationale des Arts and is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Art at the Beaux-Arts de Paris. With her five-year French Talent Passport for artistic and cultural professionals, she has also launched a Paris-based company for her art practice. Artist Statement People often comment that they do not see war in my beautiful pictures of Yemen, where the world’s worst humanitarian crisis continues to cast a tremendous, even inescapable shadow across the landscape. But, since the war began nearly eight years ago, the vast majority of the scenes that I have captured in my beloved motherland have put my life at risk. Even if the outcome looks beautiful — schoolchildren or fishermen smiling in the north, newlyweds or goatherders smiling in the south, women young and old with fighting spirits from north to south — destruction, destitution, and danger often lurk just beyond the frame. War makes my beautiful pictures war pictures. There are an untold number of bloody scenes from Yemen that only exist in my mind. Mental images that I cannot publish in a newspaper or hang on a gallery wall. They are the scenes that I did not want to photograph, to remember more than I already do. For me, just like my sister Hayat, who is also a photographer, flashing back to the stories and scenes that epitomize how ugly the war has been to us, and how much it has scattered us in all directions, is like free-falling into the darkness. We want to be in the light, to move on with our ambitions and dreams. That is why the word “move” has been dominant in my thoughts and speech over the last couple of years. In spite of the challenging conditions and hardships, we need to keep moving. We need to let go of that which imprisons our souls in all of the unfortunate things that have happened and are still happening to us. Sadly, we cannot stop this war. I often ask myself if people who live in peaceful countries and regions could better identify with the beautiful pictures — seeing themselves in us, their lives in ours — rather than the bloody ones that commonly inundate the international media, from Syria at present to Vietnam in the past. As a photographer with over sixteen years of experience on the ground in Yemen, I have come to the realization that the logic of “blood is to war as beauty is to peace” is flawed, incomplete. And the reason my work tends to focus on the beauty of my suffering country is simple, relatable: like people everywhere, regardless of their context of war or peace, Yemenis appreciate love and life. We, too, wish to live our loves and our lives before that unavoidable moment called “death.” -- Amira Al-Sharif About A Love Song to Socotra Island Documentary photography series (2014) Socotra is an isolated Yemeni island, and UNESCO World Heritage site, that lies between the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. Described as “one of the most distinctive places on Earth,” or the “jewel of Arabia,” this special, almost secret, place is where I made A Love Song to Socotra Island, my first long-term documentary photography series. One Socotran woman in particular, Saadiya, lit up my imagination, and so for months at a time, I shadowed her days, just like the birds of the island. When I met Aunt Saadiya, as I affectionately call her, the mother of seven was locked in a near decade-long struggle against local tribesmen who were after her inherited plot of land, which sustains and shelters her family and dozens of animals. “I have a fighting spirit,” she told me one day. “Whatever happens, I am not leaving my land. I fear nobody.” From mountaintop to seaside, I documented Aunt Saadiya’s radiant life force, relatively free from the everyday constraints and fears of the conflict-ravaged mainland. After we rose with the sun, she greeted the birds and the trees, tended to her goat herd, taught her children to swim, and defended her family’s right to survive. In our last months together, a local court declared her “the rightful owner of the land.”
Kerry Mansfield
United States
Kerry Mansfield is a San Francisco based photographer whose work explores time and how it affects our perceptions of what we see and the world it envelops. Born in New Jersey in 1974, Kerry graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Photography from UC Berkeley and did further studies at CCA (California College of the Arts). Her work has been exhibited globally and garnered numerous honors including LensCulture’s Single Image Award, multiple PX3, World Photography Organization and IPA Awards, and as a Critical Mass Finalist for three years. A host of press and publications, ranging from Time Magazine's Lightbox to the New York Times LensBlog, have featured several bodies of her work. Kerry’s Expired series monograph was released in spring 2017 receiving high praise from The Guardian UK, Architectural Digest, BuzzFeed News, Hyperallergic and and winning the PX3 Bronze Book Award. She's now currently creating a new body of work focused on tidal shifts as a metaphor for how time alters memories. About Aftermath "As a photographer, I've spent most of my career looking deeply into the spaces we inhabit. The idea of Home - what it meant and how it felt, preoccupied my thinking. Almost all my pictures were of the spaces we live in or the things we live with. But at the age of 31, a diagnosis of breast cancer forced me to redefine my ideas of home. Needless to say it came as quite a shock. I had exercised and eaten correctly, and like many of my age, I felt indestructible, never thinking the most basic of dwellings could be lost. Faced with the nihilistic process of radical chemotherapy and surgery, my ideas of "where" I exist turned inward. As the doctors, with their knives and chemistry broke down the physical structure in which I lived, the relationship between the cellular self and the metaphysical self became glaringly clear. My body may not be me, but without it, I am something else entirely. I knew that my long held image of myself would be shattered. What would emerge would be a mystery. It was in that spirit of unknown endings, that I picked up my camera to self document the catharsis of my own cancer treatment. No one was there when these pictures were made, just my dissolving ideas of self and a camera. And what began as a story that could have ended in many ways, this chapter, like my treatment, has now run its course. While I can't say everything is fine now, I will say, "These are the images of my Home - as it was then", and with a little luck, there will be no more to come." -- Kerry Mansfield
Kevin Lyle
United States
1951
I am, for the most part, self taught. I first became interested in art around the age of 12. Art class became the most interesting part of school. After high school I attended the Cleveland Institute of Art for one semester before realizing that art school was not for me at that time. After moving to Chicago my first job turned into a career in computers and systems management and I did little or no art for many years. I've always had an inclination to collect. Collecting African masks and the process of photographing them for documentary purposes led to a broader interest in photography. When I began going for long walks to search for photographic material I soon realized the exercise and fresh air were an added bonus to this pursuit of collecting images. Artist Statement As long as I can remember, I've been curious about incidental objects and environments and their potential for a sort of extraordinary/ordinary beauty. I find this quality in the work of photographer Eugene Atget, composer Erik Satie and singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie. These great artists are a constant source of inspiration. My process is fueled by an innate hunter/gatherer impulse. Most of my images are collected within walking distance of my home on Chicago's north side. Contemplative wandering in the urban analog world, away from the preponderance of drama delivered digitally via television and the Internet, reveals evidence of real life - evidence of what may be, may have happened or may yet occur. Sometimes mundane, sometimes oblique, askew or atypical. Mostly overlooked, until documented.
Chien-Chi Chang
Taiwan
1961
Chien-Chi Chang is a photographer and member of Magnum Photos. Chang was born in Taichung, Taiwan. He received an MS from Indiana University, Bloomington and a B. A. from Soochow University, Taipei. He joined Magnum Photos in 1995 and was elected as a full member in 2001. He lives in Taichung, Taiwan and Graz, Austria. Chang focuses on the abstract concepts of alienation and connection. The Chain, a collection of portraits made in a mental asylum in Taiwan, was shown at Venice Biennale (2001) and the São Paulo Art Biennial (2002). The nearly life-sized photographs of pairs of patients chained together resonate with Chang's look at the less visible bonds of marriage. At São Paulo Art Biennial he was involved in the Thomann controversy. Chang has treated marital ties in two books: I do I do I do (2001), a collection of images depicting alienated grooms and brides in Taiwan, and in Double Happiness (2005), a depiction of the business of selling brides in Vietnam. The ties of family and of culture are also the themes of a project begun in 1992. For 21 years, Chang has photographed and videoed the bifurcated lives of Chinese immigrants in New York's Chinatown, along with those of their wives and families back home in Fujian. Still a work in progress, China Town was hung at the National Museum of Singapore in 2008 as part of a mid-career survey and at Venice Biennale (2011) as well as at International Center of Photography, New York (2012). Chang's investigation of the ties that bind one person to another draws on his own divided immigrant experience in the United States.Source: Wikipedia Chien-Chi Chang has always been fascinated by the human conditions of alienation and connection. Both are in evidence in his signature work, The Chain, which is a collection of portraits made of inmates in a mental asylum in Taiwan. The subjects are people who have had their bonds to the rest of society – family, community – servered. And yet, as part of their treatment, they are chained to one another, physically linked in pairs throughout their days and only unlocked to sleep. These powerful photographs, nearly life size, have been exhibited at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum (2001), La Biennale di Venezia (2001), and the Bienal de Sao Paolo (2002). Less visible bonds were the subject of another project: A jaundiced look at the ceremony surrounding the union of two people. When his parents began pressuring him to marry, Chang responded by making pictures at weddings in Taiwan. The images are hardly festive, rather emphasizing alienated grooms and lonely brides. They have been collected in the book, I do I do I do. This meditation on the nature of the ties that bind a person to others and to society is a natural outgrowth of Chang's own experience of the divided life of an immigrant. The son of working people in central Taiwan, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Soochow University in Taiwan in 1984 and a Master of Science degree at Indiana University in 1990. He then became a staff photographer at The Seattle Times (1991-1993) and The Baltimore Sun (1994-1995). Over the past decade, he has worked in New York's Chinatown, documenting the lives of immigrants there. These pictures of illegal aliens stranded on an island within an island have appeared in National Geographic magazine, as well as The New Yorker, TIME Magazine and German Geo. The series earned Chang first place in the category "Daily Life Story" from World Press Photo in 1999. That same year, Chang won a grant from the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund for humanistic photography and was awarded the Visa d'Or in magazine photography in Perpignan. He was named the Missouri/NPPA 1999 Magazine Photographer of the Year.Source: artasiamerica Chien-Chi Chang’s photography and films explore the abstract concepts of alienation and connection. His investigation of the ties that bind one person to another draws on his own deeply divided immigrant experience, as he explores the contrasting themes of hope and darkness, restriction and freedom. Chang’s long term interest in the manifestation of restriction and freedom was explored in his project on North Korean defectors. From 2007 to 2009 , Chang travelled with North Korean defectors to document their incredibly harrowing journey escaping to China. Between 2008-2012, Chang worked on a project called Jet Lag, which explored the globalised disconnect of the “jet-setting” lifestyle, culminating in a book of the same name, published in 2015.Source: Magnum Photos
Shin Noguchi
Japan
1976
Shin Noguchi, born 1976 in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan, is an award winning street photographer based in Kamakura and Tokyo, Japan. He describes his street photography as an attempt to capture extraordinary moments of excitement, humanism and beauty among the flow of everyday life. With his discreet, poetic and enigmatic approach to his art, Shin is able to capture the subtleties and complexities of Japanese culture without relying on staged, no-finder or hip shot photography. Shin was the 2014 Winner of the MAP Talent Prize at the Festival de photo Toulouse. He has been invited to hold solo exhibitions in Russia, France and China and other countries, and also He has been featured on The Leica Camera Blog, in Courrier Inte'l, Internazionale, Libération, The Guardian, The Independent, etc, and some assignment work has been also published in Die Zeit, Libération, etc.. and his new book will be published this year in Italy. "Street photography always projects the "truth". The "truth" that I talk about isn't necessarily that I can see, but they also exist in society, in street, in people's life. and I always try to capture this reality beyond my own values and viewpoint/perspective." In Color in Japan From the introduction of the book: Like all good photographers, Shin Noguchi treats the camera as another appendage - a special sensory organ merging hand and eye that allows him to show us what he sees, and more subtly, how he sees. And his camera is always working. Noguchi is internationally respected as a "street photographer," but while he has won numerous prizes for his work in that genre, the appellation does not do justice to his omnivorous eye. His is just as likely to record tender moments with his family or newsworthy events like the typhoon as his encounters on the streets of Tokyo where he works, or Kamakura, where he lives. The connecting vein that runs throughout his work is a belief in the appearance of objectivity, a belief that first began to manifest when he discovered the work of the Magnum photo cooperative when he was still in his teens. It was, as he has said, the first time he realized that art and documentation could be merged. Noguchi knows perfectly well that what he shows us reflects his own sensibility and intellect but prefers to dial back the expressionistic impulse. It is an old trick in photography: make the viewer believe that had she been standing next to him she would have seen precisely what he saw. It’s also a difficult trick to pull off, particularly when the everyday world seems to be so full of surprises. In Noguchi-world, Giraffes wander about temples with Buddhist monks; workers dive into random circular openings in giant bushes, or burst from openings in blank walls as if transporting to or returning from another dimension; golf carts cluster like insects on neon-green lawns; objects possessed of more animate power than the people carrying them seem to propel their human cargo down the sidewalk instead of the opposite. In many images, goofy absurdity suddenly explodes from a sober social milieu in a way that seems to Western eyes particularly Japanese. Sentiment and affection are common themes, but the work is never sentimental. His new book, "Shin Noguchi, in Color in Japan," skates across the peaks of many of Noguchi’s favorite preoccupations (I personally have developed a fondness for his utterly adorable daughters) and one can only hope that we will get to explore his work more deeply in the future. - Chuck Patch museum curator, photographer and writer
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AAP Magazine #33: Nature
July 2023 Online Solo Exhibition
AAP Magazine #33: Nature

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AAP Magazine #33 Nature
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